EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twitter Headlines! MSFailWhale, Muppets, and Black Friday


Microsoft tried to hang with the cool kids again by promoting a #holidaywindows hashtsag and had those display in the window in Saks in NYC. Guess what? It backfired as it was jacked by Apple lovers. Or, as Microsoft puts it: Nuh-uh!

And every week: OMG sports drama and OMG celebrity drama!

And Twitter (and the world) is totally in love with the Muppets' Bohemian Rhapsody

And if you haven't heard already, Facebook and Twitter are being rolled out in full force for Black Friday. Here's an article to get you started.

Have a great Turkey Day and never forget to give thanks for all the wonder in your life!

Web 2.0 FAIL

Web 2.0 Fail

Ever look into the mirror and see the back of your head? Weird.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Film: P-P-P-Poker Face, FAIL, Cute, Today Show

Will I ever consistently title this Friday post? No. Probably not. Friday Film good? Maybe Terrible Tube? We'll figure something out. Or not. Here's your ration:

Can't get enough p-p-p-poker face? Here's a triple dose with Lady Gaga vs. Christopher Walken vs. Cartman. Worth every second. A cowbell reference here would be trite.

Did somebody ask for an epic FAIL to wrap up their week? Of course! But you'll be emphatically sore for a while after watching See Saw Epic Fail

Ooh, sorry about that. I know it hurts. How about cute to cure that ache?

Dang. Too cute. How about some pseudo-news? Kid reporter on The Today Show? Deirdre. And the freak out that follows...

Good round for the week. Anything you would've included? Not included? Let me know, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Googling Out Tech Thursday

I'm a Google addict. I admit it. I use Gmail, Google Apps for my website email, Google Voice for my local number, and I've got a Google Wave invite coming from a friend as soon as Google gets on the stick and plops it in my inbox. I even occasionally drop Firefox for some Chrome browser time. So today we'll just talk a little about Google.

I just mentioned Google Chrome. How about a Google Chrome OS? "What's that?" you ask.

That's what that is. And today they open sourced Chromium OS a year before the OS is targeted for release. Sheesh!

If image search and vision technology are your thing, check out this info on Swirl, Google's new Labs pet that groups visually similar images. Sweet.

And while I could write thousands of words on Google stuff I'd like to close today that those of you waffling between iPhone and Android (Palm Pre's pretty sweet too, guys!), hold on to your panties. Reports this week reignite the hopes we all had what seems so long ago and it appears Google and HTC are Wonder Twin Powers activating a Google Phone. For reals. But what does that mean for the Droid?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twitter Headlines Wednesday: Gaming, Lists, and CSRs


Okay folks, let's make this quick. I've got to get to my DVRs of Heroes (yeah, I'm still doing that), CSI: Miami, NCIS, and V.

Looks like the mass integration of every social media interface to every other social media interface is almost complete. I've got my Tweetdeck pushing to Twitter and Facebook, my Linkedin linked in to Tweeting, and my ping.fm as the one site to rule them all.

And along comes Microsoft and Sony. Facebook and Twitter for everyone! (Okay, so the PS3 still lacks Tweet capability but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.) My biggest question is: Who wants to pause a battle with a Big Sister (reference to forthcoming Bioshock 2 - yay!) to txt a tweet about how you're going to have to reload your last save file? Interesting integration, but not sure how well it'll be received.

Twitter's doing some things to refine the lists process. Biggest complaint I have on the lists bit is: You rolled this out when I had almost 1000 followers? Now I need to categorize them? Argh.

Here's something happy about how a company can use Twitter to make customer service that much better.

And on the side: some sports pros angered their coaches, everyone's goofy over "New Moon" (Read some Anne Rice!), and something about Lady Gaga. Or something.

Until Next week, hold on to your Tweets! (or let them go, and if they come back they love you; if they don't, it was never meant to be.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Social Networking: Check the Politics at the Door?

I attend several networking events every week and for the most part I've been wonderfully pleased with the interactions, meeting people briefly, getting to know the face to the tweet, setting up some 1 on 1's. All very on the level, always a step in the right direction.

But I was at a networking event last week attended mostly by business owners and service providers and listened as someone used a good deal of their time to promote the Tea Party Movement. And I was quite surprised.

Cincinnati has always been described to me as leaning conservative. Hamilton County went for the Democratic candidate in the last presidential election. There is a good mix of people on both sides of the political spectrum in this - and most - cities around America. And right now, politically, people all over the country are very polarized. And to take a solid stance on one side of the political arena might be off-putting to those on the other ideological side.

I'm not going to dig into my own personal politics here, but I would have been just as surprised if someone had announced something as polarizing from the other side. Actually, I was. If I remember correctly someone else took some time to promote the idea of ending all war.

It all gets quite messy. But the purpose of this post is more to pose a few questions than anything. I respect anyone who has a passion about politics, a drive to change things for the better. But is a business networking meeting the right place to do that? Is it better to alienate a portion of your potential clientele or business contacts in order to build a greater respect from others? What do you think about mixing politics and business?

Is there a solid answer?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Videos: Wicked, Voice Acting, FAIL


This recording of the Glee cast recording the Wicked song "Defying Gravity" has gotten a lot of play and has turned people onto Glee as well as Wicked, which I saw at the Aronoff Center for the Arts about a year ago. I've never seen Glee, but did grow up (and still occasionally partake in) acting in the theatre. It's a fantastic song from an amazing musical.

Here's Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth performing Defying Gravity at the Tony Awards, if you want to know what it looks like. [insert superlative here]

Wouldn't want to get too silly with the art stuff when we could get silly with bad voice acting. Here's the top 50 worst voice acting clips from video games. Evar.

And then there' Risky Business Gone Wrong, for a piece of FAIL this week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twitter News Roundup: TV Fame, Durgs, Linkedin, You're Fat!


Twitter to TV

Examiner reports that CBS has ordered a script for a domestic comedy based on the Twitter account Sh*t My Dad Says. I'm blocking out the curse words for propriety sake, but if you haven't visited the account and don't mind cursing, go there now. Start at the beginning. There are less than 75 tweets - and if a script based on 75 tweets tells you anything, it's hilarious. Enjoy gems like this:
Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don't realize until later that it's because it f***ed you.

Does anyone your age know how to comb their f***ing hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started f***ing.
...and the rest will remain a wonderful surprise. Enjoy!

Point of this one? If you're clever enough, social media can vault you to popularity at a much higher level. That kid Fred on YouTube showed up on an episode of iCarly. Now a Twitter account with less than 75 tweets is deemed script-worthy. I'm waiting for the opening credits of a film to say "Based on a real Twitter Feed."

Durgs fur Eberybody!!

The drug industry is not complacent with magazines and ads on the teevee; they would like to have Adwords and Facebook and Twitter accounts too. And because they do not actually understand social media, they think that offers and information on pills will be of any value to any person's Twitter circle. Or we'd all join the Viagra Facebook fan page.

I believe they need a consultant. My contact information is on the right.

Twitter n Linkedin r Married!

Twitter's got some good things going with their integration with Linkedin. Turns out you can hit one and it populates the other's status. I hooked into Ping.fm this week and update 10+ statuses in one shot. So...meh.

Twitter-Equipped Bathroom Scale Tells the World How Much You Weigh

Kind of cool. But...why?

Yeah, I think that's about it for this week. Oh, and some celebs whined on Twitter and some coach got pissed about a player Tweeting disparaging remarks about his coaching, just like every week. But we're above that at this point.

Get into that first story. Hilarious.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Media Tuesday: Ping.fm

No, it's not a radio station or a ping-pong website, or a ping-pong website that works as a radio station that adjusts on how you play the game and your aggregate score.

Ping.fm went public a little over a year ago and hadn't been of much interest right away for me. What is it? It's a simple way to organize your updates if you just need to blast something out.

For example, I signed up for Ping.fm and linked my (deep breath) Twitter, Facebook, EJM Designs Facebook Page, MySpace, TBN Ning, Google Talk, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Plaxo, and Yahoo status.

I probably hit my Twitter 2-5 times a day, Facebook and LinkedIn every day or two, and ...wait. I still have a MySpace? Exactly. As a part of so many social networks, I don't really have the time to dig into every single site and update each status. And because stagnancy and silence is the death rattle of social media credibility, Ping.fm rocks out to that purpose. I'll still personalize my Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn more often, but to keep the rest fresh, I love this for a simple solution every couple days or so, or if something that important needs to be passed on.

The best part? Simple. Email, password, name if you choose. The rest is just setting up logins. One post and BLAMMO - everyone knows your business.

Let me know if you've had any experience with Ping.fm and if you have if it's been a positive or negative one.

Bonus Trivia: the top-level domain name ".fm" is for the Federated States of Micronesia. Awesome!

Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Get the Internet

From Sky
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has suggested the company's online newspaper pages will be invisible to Google users when it launches its new paid content strategy.

He claimed that readers who randomly reach a page via an internet search hold little value to advertisers.

When asked by Sky News Australia's political editor David Speers why News Corp has not stopped Google from finding its content, Mr Murdoch replied: "I think we will."

(feel free to watch it)

This is quite possibly the most naive thing I've heard about content on the internet - or the internet in general - in a long while. I remember the moment, actually. Perhaps Mr. Murdoch and Ex-Senator Ted Stevens should get coffee. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you may want to review Stevens' Senate floor terribly inaccurate diatribe about how the internet works while arguing against net neutrality. "Series of tubes" ring a bell?

But back to Murdoch. First off, many national news websites publish their news as re-extruded wire news, so the idea that anyone is "stealing" content by reading it is absurd. Secondly, what does Mr. Murdoch see as the reality of the situation, if he really intends to block all content from Google?

For example, let's say this ludicrous plan gains some legs and Fox News gets blocked. Okay. Then you've got to block all Fox affiliates. That's right, that means that Fox19 here in Cincinnati and every other local Fox station would need to be blocked as well. And because local television station URLs are not standardized, unless you've got it bookmarked or memorized, you can't exactly Google it. And then once you get there you have to pay to read the content.

People have, for much too long, come to expect free news on the internet with little hassle. Attention spans are measured by portions of seconds. Taking an entire news enterprise and hiding it from content aggregators and search engines is a death sentence for that enterprise. If someone cannot find your content or has to work harder for that content, especially if most of that content can be found elsewhere for free, that someone will go elsewhere and you and your business will wilt.

I'm not even sure if I can put into words how silly this idea is. Or if I already did.

This is why you hire experts to educate and speak when you do not know how something - especially something as ubiquitous as the internet - works.

And what's the take-home? I'm not just poking at Murdoch for the lulz (and there are many), but all too often I see people making decisions about websites and businesses that are represented by them that are not informed decisions. We are an internet culture, and anything less than a polished, comprehensive web presence does not cut it anymore. If you don't know if you're where you need to be, talk to somebody who does. If you don't know somebody, call us. It's free.

Now have a great day!

Bonus insight: "News Corporation is a major shareholder in BSkyB, which owns Sky News," meaning that if Mr. Murdoch had already had his way, I probably wouldn't have known about it or posted this because Sky would've already been strong-armed into hiding their own content.

Bonus question: When I say Murdoch, what do you think of first: a news mogul, MacGyver's nemesis, or the crazy one on The A-Team?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Motivation Monday: Inside and Out

How do you get out of bed in the morning? What drives your awakening? What's the fuel for that drive?

Some people wake up every morning and think about reasons to do what they do that revolve around how much money they'll make or how much closer they are to a flat screen plasma or simply making sure their boss or spouse doesn't get angry at them. That's what's called extrinsic motivation: a push you derive from something outside of yourself. It can be either a potential positive or avoiding a negative. Either way, it's gaining some peace of mind from what is "out there" in one form or another.

Other people wake every morning with a drive that comes from something internal: intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation could be a focus on a certain challenge you know exists, something that conquering would deliver personal satisfaction. The desire to do well for the simple desire to do well is that internal drive.

So what?

Extrinsic motivation depends on other aspects of rewarding for fruition: a pat on the back from the boss, enough money to buy a new car. And intrinsic motivation is driven without those "things" and is dependent only upon yourself. Of course it also only leaves yourself to blame.

But I tend to look at it this way: Every challenge I meet and beat and every hurdle I jump, I get to see myself grow. A television or a car can break, a boss's validation can be temperamental. Success in yourself and faith in yourself is not stuff, and becomes a solidified part of not just you, but how you deal with the world.

Bring on the success.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tech Geek Thursday: Anti-Gravity, Alien Arms, LHC

An Anti-Gravity Emdrive?

Okay, so the video's not that exciting, but perhaps we're looking at the Stage0 of the Jetson's flying car!

Granted, it's got some scary military things going on for it (click the link in the subject title) but at the least, a Skywalker speeder?

Aliens (the movie) Robot Arms!

Aliens Robot Arms
Panasonic-owned firm Activelink Co. built this robotic exoskeleton called a Dual Arm Power Amplification Robot. The Activelink slogan is delightedly science fiction-esque: "Creating a New Human Machine Age." According to the company, "Using Robotic Technology equipment anybody can become a superman. We are bringing this dream one step closer to reality." They should hire Sigourney Weaver as the Activelink spokesperson.

...so everything Ellen Ripley said was right...

LHC Breaks (because of) Bread
Here's one for the books. CERN's Large Hadron Collider has once again been shut down. No catastrophic helium leak or failing magnets this time. The culprit? A speck of bread, which officials believe was originally part of a larger baguette. To make it all the more ridiculous, it's thought that the piece of bread was dropped into the works by a bird.

The morsel found its way into the doomsday device's outdoor machinery, sparking a temperature differential that triggered an automatic shutdown sequence. I know, I know — I'm sure that ruins all the images you had of a bird navigating the LHC's 17-mile-ring like a Death Star trench run, but there it is.

Yay Science!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Networking Cincinnati: Do It In Person - Positively!

Those of you who have been reading along have noticed that one of my running themes has been the "in person" aspect of networking (a couple months back I got a great response from an overview of Cincinnati's social networking events).

As I mentioned in a few past posts, a smile and a handshake is worth a thousand Tweets. And then some.

Whenever I encounter someone who bemoans that their Twitter account is not making them money, my first question is: What value do you add to your followers?

Because it's not about what services or products you offer - not right away, and never for some followers - it's about what value you add. Who is going to pay attention to you if all you're doing is tweeting a product and linking to your site 3 or 10 times a day? Who's going to even keep following you?

And it goes further than that. Even beyond the value you add to your readers is: how well do they really know you? After you've done what you can to add value and gain genuine followers and connect to the online community, what are you doing to connect to the local community in person? What are you doing to be the face of your brand, the smile, the handshake in the living flesh?

You need to get out there. In the post above I mentioned several of the in-person types of groups or ways to find groups.

You need to stick it out there, both online and in person, risk flowing into reward. Especially for small businesses, social media almost requires that your face is now a recognizable part of your brand. Brand is not just a logo or the crafted copy of your website; it's the personality you inject into your blog and Tweets, it's your avatar, and it's the attitude you show when you meet someone else. Again: risk and reward.

Plan accordingly. We'll cover some other issues in online etiquette in another post, but if you're a grump in the morning, don't attend morning networking events. If you go to bed at eight or have a personal grudge against anyone who raises a beer, don't attend after-hours events. Play to your strengths, show up your best, and that's what people will remember.

Just remember to smile. And keep that handshake firm.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inspiration Monday: The Muddy Road

In collecting my thoughts and gaining a handle on what is often a busy day, I sometimes use some of the readings of Zen Buddhism to refresh my memory of what is important and what is calm and what is flow. One of my favorites (I even used it in a piece of inspiration to a family member recently) is an old koan entitled "The Muddy Road:"
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. As they came around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at an intersection.

"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

Simple yet brilliant. Dwelling and ruminating and worrying get you nowhere. Something either is or isn't. As Mark Twain once said, "Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you don't even know if you owe."

But at the same time this koan makes me remember that all is change, all is in flux, and that focusing on one aspect of something for too longs adds nothing but stagnation to your river, for lack of a better analogy.

Take things as they come. Say "Thank you" for blessings. Overcome obstacles (then say "Thank you" again). You'll come out a better person, and others will see you as geniously anticipatory when all you were was flexible and mindful.