EJM Designs Limited Blog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Videos: Fried Gnocchi, Metrodome, Worst Web Meeting Evar

Fried Gnocchi

A cautionary tale. Don't fry your gnocchi. Really. Don't. Evar.

(via urlesque)

Metrodome Roof Collapse snOMG!

If you haven't seen it yet, here's your chance.

Worst Web Meeting Evar

A little creation of my own, collecting all the head-shaking moments as a web developer in one meeting from hell.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Media: State Farm, Tempur-pedic, and Leveraging PR

Tempur-pedic & State Farm have both been doing something in the past several months that I have seen NO other companies doing and I wanted to bring it to light.

Perhaps you've seen this commercial from Tempur-pedic?

"Ask me," they tempt you. "Go to Facebook," they say.

Or perhaps the "People Trust People" commercial from State Farm:

"Talk to State Farm ...but not yet."

Both of these commercials are taking a single idea, leveraging social media, and coming out more transparent and credible for it.

The idea is this: The guy/gal selling you something has words staged to sell. If you hear "X Company is awesome" from them, it doesn't carry NEARLY the weight of hearing "X Company is awesome" from a friend, friend on Facebook, or as a testimonial from an existing customer.

And these companies are taking a chance: if you're looking for negative views of Tempur-pedic or State Farm, you can find them on the internet. They're staking a claim on the positive reviews of their clients, and because they both have a solid product that people are generally happy with, they have faith that YOUR friends or other people you don't necessarily know will speak wonderfully about what they have to offer.

(Side Note: the psychology behind justifying a large purchase that's better than what they had [Tempur-pedic] or "nothing going wrong when nothing happens" [State Farm] is not being addressed here.)

The great thing about these campaigns is that it's a design every small business can emulate (as long as you don't have a backlog of unsatisfied clients).

How does it work for small business? Easy.

When you're networking, when you're selling yourself, when people ask (and they should): Why should I choose you? You answer them by saying "Here's what makes us special..." AND "We can do what you need to increase value to your company, but here are a couple people/companies that know what we can do. Talk to them first. If you're still interested, my number's on the card."

You, too, can leverage organic PR to grow your business. You just didn't know you needed to do it yet. Now you do. Make it happen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Videos: Star Trek Sitcom, Papa Johns Freakout, Transformers, Google Search 2010

Star Trek: The Sitcom

A few years old, but bumped into it again this week. Brilliant.

Papa John's Freakout

Pizza can never be completed quickly enough for college-age Veruca Salt.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Official trailer!

Google Zeitgeist 2010

How the world searched in 2010

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flashback Nostalgia: The 286 & Hindenburg

I came across this historic video of the Hindenburg disaster and my nostalgia circuits lit up out of my mind:

Back in what must've been 1990 or 1991, I was about 13 and our first home computer was a 286 PC. I still laugh at the words the salesman at the computer store pitched to my father: "This thing has 40 MEGAbytes of hard drive space - you'd never fill that in your lifetime!" (Note: At the time, modified for data explosion, 40MB was like 4TB for home use.) He wasn't lying. He just didn't have any idea about Moore's Law.

I remember helping set up this computer and being so excited and one of the first things we did was access the Encarta encyclopedia program through the DOS operating system (I later was able to install Windows by modifying batch files to drop other BS and allocate necessary memory). My parents and I and one of my sisters clicked around and found ...VIDEOS!?!?!

The point being: the VERY FIRST video I ever saw on a computer was an Encarta file that must've been about 150 pixels wide of the Hindenberg disaster. I think we found a video of Hitler screaming something terrible in German after that. But as weird as it sounds, it was a defining moment in my life. I was energized with what computers had the potential to do and at the same time my post-modern referential file was opened at 13: "Oh, the humanity!" entered my lexicon before most of my peers and, well, I'd guess many Americans probably couldn't tell you the source of that quote to this day.

Hindenberg opened my eyes in many ways that were never imagined when that blimp went down in flames. And I guess it's iconic that the the highest tech of my time united me with the highest (dirigible) tech of that time.

Yay computers!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIP Palm Pre: Jun 2009 - Nov 2010

Palm Pre

I loved you, Palm Pre. Yes, I took the chance and early-adopted and was aglow in your wonder from the first moment I purchased you. And while your OS sometimes faltered, I stood by you. And when iPhones and Androids mocked your lacking app catalogue, I fought for you. But, Palm Pre, you failed me.

Say NO to Crack

The Palm Pre has one fatal flaw that is shared with any and all touchscreen phones: crack the screen in a way that disables the ability to touch control the phone and the phone is not only dead to use, it is dead to transferring anything via USB and dead to a Sprint rep pulling your contacts from it.

Palm Pre, because of its particular shape, is especially prone to cracking.

Personally, I had my phone, not in a case, but in my pocket with a pen - I think that's how it started. Apparently an angled lean produced a slight crack in the face near the charger port on the right. It was sad, but not catastrophic. But basic use can turn a small blip into a monster, like a windshield splitting.

The crack spread towards the single button over a couple months. In the other direction it spread to crack the rest of the charger port and the piece holding in the port plug was disabled; it fell out. Two weeks ago, the crack hit the main button and spidered - on the inner-screen - in a 5-fingered mess.

At first, I could still use the screen in all but the lower right 1/4 quadrant. But then it got worse. Thanksgiving day I woke and noticed I couldn't drag the icon out to unlock it. My touchscreen had been rendered useless.

My New Sidearm

I've broken my Pre and didn't get insurance when I bought it, so it is dead. Luckily my wife recently upgraded from a Blackberry Curve to a Tour, so I'm now slinging a cranberry Curve.

I just need to get my contacts transferred...

Sprint & Palm: Customer Service ...?

First stop: Sprint store. Within a minute of presenting my phones and declaring the Pre screen useless the Sprint CSR said: Sorry, there's nothing we can do.

Great. Okay, second option: I have my contact data backed up on the Palm server through my profile. I can just access that, right?

WARNING: Always use the rule of 3's on data. With phone contact information, you want to back up with the device company, with Gmail, and obviously you'll have your data on your device. Lessons learned...

Palm has my data. But through a broken-English online chat with "Steve" and then his supervisor "Austin," it was clear that they had NO answer except: You will never see your data again unless you purchase another Palm product. Frustrated, I had them escalate it to Corporate (yes, you can do that) and got a call back yesterday. Yes, Sprint can transfer the data, but they'll need to use a separate device to login to Palm with my account and harvest the data from that.

Entering the store this afternoon, I talked to a very helpful and understanding rep name Cort. He was happy to answer any questions I had and even suggested something I'd never considered: if they have a Pre in store for a repair, they could just switch out screens temporarily to make that one screen press needed to generate the file for transfer.

Unfortunately, they didn't have any Pres. Nor did any of the other 3 Repair centers in the region from Dayton to Florence, KY. Boo. So now I'm waiting, calling every day to see if they've got one in so I can transfer hundreds of contacts to my new business lifeline.

Looking Back

The Palm Pre was a great phone. I enjoyed the ease of use of PalmOS, the slick feel of the "river stone" design, the Google integration, and the induction charging of the dock. Yum. I loved the squidgy tactile feel of the buttons that allowed my too-thick fingers to feel comfortable typing on such a small board.

I won't miss 5 integrated emails and moderate use killing the battery in 3-4 hours (activating WiFi at home or hotspot could extend that by 1-3 hours). I'll miss the multiple alarms but not some of them going off twice. I won't miss checking the phone for time and - creepy! - it jumping back a minute. I won't miss the sparse App menu.

After a few days playing with my Blackberry, I'm really missing the multitasking of the Pre (I can't check a text while using the GPS Nav program without completely closing out of the Nav program). I can't stand that text messages and sync'd emails and facebook messages are all lumped into one mass pile (Pre had separate text section sorted by threads), though each email has its own icon. The extensive customization is just not there. But it'll do. It'll do.

Looking Forward

I got my Pre in June of 2009. At the time, I was enamored with the design and hot off a Treo with a terrible Windows Mobile OS. As I mentioned, I loved my Pre. Based on my purchase date, I don't get the full benefit on an upgrade until June next year.

And I'm troubled.

I've been hot for the HTC Evo since I first glanced at it. It's damn hawt. And then when I was in the store today I saw - and touched - the Samsung Epic and I think I had to wipe the drool off my face with its slick interface and physical keyboard slide.

But there's a part of me that's scared to get a new touchscreen. Then again, I'd get the insurance on it and now know to double-down on the contact backups.

But that decision is a few months down the line and I'm guaranteed that I'll be even more conflicted in six months when even sweeter phones have come out.


Palm Pre was great, but I probably won't go Palm again. I will ALWAYS get the insurance and ALWAYS back up my contact data in as many ways as possible. Until then, I'm rocking the Blackberry. And that's okay.

Hopefully you can take something away from this tech silliness. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Restarting the Flow

Sometimes life interrupts.

And that's not an excuse. Life always interrupts. But people who try to blog on a regular basis, try to keep their social networks going, sometimes falter. That's me right now.

It usually comes out as "Oh, the holidays!" or "we had a death in the family" or "business got too busy" or "everyone in the house is sick" or they're lazy or tired or depressed or "there just wasn't time." Please, don't think I'm criticizing anyone but myself. Count me in on all of them.

How do you fix it?

You get back on the bus; you restart the flow, and you keep that flow going.

My best advice?

Plan well. Set your week's blogging subjects on Sunday or Monday. Even all you do is create a blog and give it a title and save it for later, you've already got your week primed for a quick interjection.

Set a schedule like it's part of your job. If you are even remotely related to social marketing, it is. "I'll blog at 10am every day." If you can pin down a time, you have no other thing to be doing. Blog.

So go ahead and plan and set and we'll be seeing more of you and your business.

And you'll be seeing more of me.

That will be all :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiration: Rebirth

I was out on my back deck this evening and noticed the tree in our neighbor's back yard had gone completely gold. Not yellowed out, not drained, but enriched with a fantastic and beautiful color that brought a boldness and majesty to the scene.

I know that that tree - and Autumn specifically - means that those leaves are dying and will eventually fall off (mostly in my yard) and eventually decay, but I was in awe of it for just a moment as I realized it was the hallmark of rebirth.

In order for you to have REbirth, there must first be a death. And perhaps this post will be reposted in Spring, but for now let's take a look at those leaves.

As a tree grows, as it passes from Spring to Summer, those leaves are its tools: they are the sole engines of photosynthesis that turn CO2 and sunlight into overall growth for the lifeform that is that tree. And that tree grows. This time of year, those tools wary and fall to the ground to be replaced in a few months in that cycle that never ends until the death of that tree.

We can take a lesson from that tree, both in business and in life.

We find life in our personal interactions, using the tools we have gained since childhood. We find business growth in the tools we have learned and fostered and those have helped us grow. But every once in a while, we need to purge.

So this Autumn, as you see the wonders of nature change into modes of color you could only imagine, take a look at your own tools, your own conventions. Drop them all and start a list: what worked for you this last year? What didn't? What do you need to change?

Discard those things that soured your growth, that stunted it. Pick up new tools and ideas and theories on sustenance. Start fostering your new ideas, take the ones that worked with a fresh insight, and GROW!

You can wait until Spring, but why put it off that long? After all, you're not a tree :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspiration: Life!

It's been a while since I've been able to push some serious inspiration your way, and I was outside this weekend doing some yardwork and I just had to pause. Focused on mowing and stripping my deck and my tunnel vision on those aspects of "get it done," something told me to listen.

At first I heard the neighborhood: kids playing, laughing, cars moving, airplanes overhead. Then the insects and birds and squirrels: chirping, humming, running. And then the wind through the trees, blowing the leaves; in a way, they were speaking.

I opened my other senses and saw the squirrels and the clouds and the trees swaying in the breeze. I smelled barbeque on the grill, wood burning in someone's outside pit, the freshness of cut grass. And I wanted to touch it all.

It was a rare lesson - but more, a reminder - to keep it all open. And I never want to forget.

So if you're stuck in the box of a cube or your office all day, if you've got your eye on the prize of goal fulfillment: STOP.

All around you there is life. All around you, something else is happening. Take a moment to appreciate that wonder that exists all the time, that wonder we often block out because it's not the focus of our day or our task. Never forget that there is "awesome" all around us and we need only to pause to appreciate it, take it in, and see the magic of which we're all a part.

Take joy in life!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Videos for Monday: Star Wars, Catnip Tigers, Piggies

This week, let's start it off with some videos. Little thinking, lots of smiling.

A couple years old, but classic.

I've always wondered this...

...and the last commercial that made me LOL:

Make it a great week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cincinnati Bell - Family & Technology FAIL

Cincinnati Bell

My wife and I have a 14 year old daughter. With having a 14 year old daughter comes some of the complications implicit in raising a teenage girl. Namely: goofy boys. They're mind-boggled, silly, and still growing up. Yes, even I was one once.

And boys will be boys. Prank calls will be made. But there is a line. And this is where technology comes in and Cincinnati Bell falls flat on its face in the protection of families.


Since there have been phones there have been prank calls. I'd bet after the famous "Mr. Watson come here I want you," when Watson was settled back in the other room the second call was "Watson, is the refrigerator running?" (anachronism noted - I can't even do Prince Albert in the Can!). So on occasion, if we get a prank call with some boys goofing off, I don't pay much mind and just hang up.

But about 2 months ago, the calls - though still rare - started to become more malicious. They started edging towards the middle of the night. And knowing my daughter was not allowed to talk on the phone that late, became targeted at myself and my wife with specific reference towards our daughter. Last Saturday night / Sunday morning was the last straw. Someone called our home and when I told them our daughter could not speak, they proceeded to become - let's just say sexually explicit. It was not nice. And as the father of the 14 year old girl, I was not happy.

The Research

I called Cincinnati Bell on two different occasions because the simple fact is that despite the caller(s) using *67 to block their identity, there's a server somewhere with that phone number on it. And living in a small community with responsive parents, the easiest way to deal with the situation would be to get the phone number and have a parent-to-parent talk. Not happening.

Harassing phone calls are a crime as soon as they're made, so Cincinnati Bell's policy for harassing - and even life-threating - phone calls is as follows:

No prior harassing calls made can be tracked (read: looked up). Period. It is my responsibility to talk to the police and file an official police report. It is the police department's responsibility to contact Cincinnati Bell and request a tap on the phone. At that time, Cincinnati Bell will place a tap on my phone (read: press a button or click a checkbox) for 21 days. It is my responsibility, when the next harassing call comes through, to myself make a phone call to a special voicemail box to log the time of the call as well as keep a written record. At the end of that 21 days, they will remove the tap and forward the list of phone numbers to the investigating officer. And then it becomes a legal matter.

However, if the calls become more threatening or more graphic or more frequent, nothing still happens for those 3 weeks. If the pranking trolls don't call in those 3 weeks? Nothing. I'll have to wait for another harassing call, file another police report, rinse and repeat.

The Conclusion

This is both lazy and unacceptable on the part of Cincinnati Bell. It would be like if your house was robbed and you had the license plate of the getaway car and the police said "Here's our policy: I know you've been violated, so we're going to install a camera across the street. If they come back, leave us a voicemail so we can timecode the rough time of the crime, and after three weeks we'll take a look. If they don't come back in that window, nothing we can do. But we'll come back to put up that camera if they come back after that."

They have that number on file somewhere that can easily be referenced with knowing the time of the call(s). Once there is (reluctantly) police involvement, there should be no issue of digging backwards. Unfortunately for all of their customers, with Cincinnati Bell, an efficient method of family protection is not anywhere on their agenda.

So what are your thoughts? Should retrieval of a phone number be available to civilians? To police upon request? Is the 21-day tap reasonable? Is Cincinnati Bell protecting privacy or being lazy? What if it was your child?

Lots of issues here - can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Tom Petty

A couple weeks ago I had the wonderful experience of seeing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with my wife from ten rows back at the Riverbend Arena. It was amazing.

But as I was standing there in awe of the sound and talent, of the music coming from the stage, I saw many, many people looking around and even straight at the stage with a blank or even guarded look on their faces.

And the only thing I thought was "Why aren't you smiling?"

I had a giant grin on my face from the moment we walked through the gates - and got to hang in the VIP area - to when we drove out of the parking lot. It was a stunning performance, even if they ran a little short of expectation.

And I wondered about those people who had things on their mind other than the experience, other than just focusing on the moment itself. And I felt bad for them.

So for your own sake and the sake of those around you, express yourself! If you're having a great time at a concert, smile. If you're having a good day, smile. If you're enjoying that sandwich: SMILE! You will not only brighten your own experience, but you'll pass it on. And what a gift that can be.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inspiration: The Day TV Died

Today my Sony 36" CRT, only 9 years old, bought the farm.

And at first I was sad. I was troubled.

But then I realized how much I would get done if that infernal box was not a part of my life.

At least for now (already looking at LCD HDTV).

But over the last few weeks, I've had some of the best conversations with my wife - some of the best in the 10 years we've known each other. And today there's no excuse to catch up on our DVR (just finished Flash Forward last night), but more of a direct excuse to head back out to the deck, to talk like real people and not like the TV-addled masses in this world.

Yes, we'll eventually pick up a new (non)tube, but for now, I'm thrilled. We'll eschew the tales of crime and fantasy and live in our own heads, on our own time.

So the TV died. Long live the TV! But not tonight. And maybe not for a week or two. Maybe it's time to live with quiet, live with just us.

I'm not saying "Kill your TV," but maybe a couple days out of the week it should just stay off. Turn your phone to vibrate. And talk to someone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The FREE Way to Clean & Protect Your Computer

I recently got an emergency email from a friend of mine saying her 9-year old daughter was having issues with some non-age-appropriate pop-ups. I was happy to help her, and it reminded me of those "Make Your Computer Faster" commercials where they'll "scan" your computer and then suggest you purchase their cleaning program.

You don't need to subscribe to a service or buy software to clean your system. You can do it youself - for free! Here's an overview.

The Problem

Every time you visit a website, every image you see on your screen is actually stored on your computer in a temporary file. It's referred to as a cache by the browser. When connection speeds were slower, this helped everyone: the browser checked if the referenced file was already living on your system and the server didn't have to download it and you saw web pages faster because the bigger graphics were already there.

But today, when speeds are much higher and good developers optimize graphics, it's not so much an issue. But the storage still happens. And with a higher rate of speed comes a higher rate of browsing - and much more sitting, stale, on your hard drive.

Along with graphics comes Cookies. A Cookie is when you go to website - say a weather website - and they put a little bit of information on your system. In this case, your zip code. So when you visit that weather website again, you don't have to enter your zip again; it reads it off the cookie and you see your town without ever thinking about it. Multiply that times a million.

The Danger

Whether it's a nasty bug or a full-on virus, if you are on the internet, your are vulnerable. Programs and clips of programs piggyback on everything you can possibly download. And it can shut down your system or act as a "zombie," waiting an activation code to attack anything from YouTube to a government computer, depending on what the writer intended.

Some viruses only exist to propagate and gum up the system. I actually had one of these 2 years ago and it not only slowed my system to a crawl, but crippled almost all my anti-virus and anti-malware programs, as well as shutting down the installation of new anti- programs.

So whether it's cleaning your system or killing viruses, here's what you need to do.

Your Browser

First off, everyone who is using Internet Explorer needs to be using Firefox. Go to their website and download it for free (will open in a new window - do it NOW). IE is more susceptible to these issues. Period.

Once Firefox is installed, go to Tools > Options > Privacy and make sure Clear History when Firefox Closes is checked. Click the Settings... button next to it and make sure it clears everything. Then, every time you close your browser, you're getting rid of junk.

The Shield

And here's where I tell you to download the cleaning software. Don't worry; it's all free (save 1 optional). And you don't need ALL of them. Try the first couple and if you still have issues, keep going. Click on the name to go to that site - all open in a different window.

CCleaner - cleans out the temporary files and cookies cached on your system. It scans your registry. You should run this at the end of every day.

Window Washer - This does what CCleaner does, but a little more thoroughly. It's my personal fav and the only program you would have to buy that I'm listing. It can erase data with an overwrite standard of the NSA. I like it; you don't have to buy it. CCleaner does what 99% of you need to do.

Malwarebytes - scans for some of the more dangerous items, called "malware" that can be part of downloads and might be programmed to do your computer some damage. If your computer has them, it'll root them out.

Ad-Aware - Classic standby to keep the pop-ups at bay. This hits the cookies as well, but tends to be best to root out the bad stuff you might pick up by clicking (or even viewing) advertising.

A-Squared - This is the program that saved my computer. Granted, it was because the virus's database did not include that program as a Stop, but it's especially good at rooting out trojan horse viruses. And killing them dead.

HijackThis - This program will run a scan on your whole running system if you have a problem. The only issue I have posting it is it's not DIY for amateurs. You'll have to go to the website forum, post the result, and get an answer. Granted, the folks there are awesome and responsive. Just wanted to alert anyone to the extra step (especially if they're dealing with a dead internet connection).

That Virus Thing

You should also have ONE anti-virus program running (multiples can cancel each other out or even fight for dominance). These run all the time and check out incoming items as they're saved or opened. The best free I've found - and both are excellent - have been:


Avira AntiVir

Now go get those programs and clean up your stuff! If you've had your computer for more than 4 months, you should probably also Defragment your hard drive, but that's a completely different post.

Be with you soon about that.

As always, comments welcome, especially from anyone who has different/better programs to pass on to my readers. Much appreciated!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twitter Headlines: Library of Congress, Retirement, Divorce, iPhone


I know this semi-regular Wednesday feature declares to report on Twitter Headlines, but the fact is that I don't care that Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan show up in my search every week. No. More. Attention. Go talk to Perez Hilton if you're that interested in their shenanigans or that it's news that there is a lack of shenanigans. Granted, if they showed up in the same article...

Tweeting for Posterity

This is a very interesting article about the collection and analysis of Tweets, noting that in April the Library of Congress announced that it will be obtaining the entire archive of Twitter which, as of now, is already 5 terabytes in <= 140-character slices. What an odd slice of human history / culture / eccentricity. I can't wait to see what the culture crunchers have to say in a couple decades.


While I'm reticent to post any vapid celebrity Twitter information, two huge legends of sports and media have decided to announce their retirement through Twitter: Lance Armstrong and Larry King.

Divorce Court

Looks like the lawyers are getting in on the social media scouring we're all starting to get accustomed to. In divorce cases, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and MySpace (jk - no one uses MySpace anymore) are being used as evidence of intent, flirting, and any other behavior that would be relevant in divorce proceedings. But in a world where prospective and current employers and higher education institutions treat a social media search as common as a background or credit check, can anyone say they're surprised by anything except that it took this long?


It appears that 1) iPhone 4 has some problems and 2) there's a fake Steve Jobs Tweeting about a recall. In other news: I'm writing a blog post and the sun will rise tomorrow morning a little later than it did today.

Technology & Politics: Ur Doin it Wrong

In the past few years, and specifically the past few months, technology and those with public voices have not merged quite as well as some of us who work in tech think they should.

The Recent Past

Let's hit a couple popular examples of what we're talking about:

Series of Tubes

Classic, Senator Ted Stevens of AK:

(this was an official argument against Net Neutrality)


The origin of a meme in how politicians understand tech:

Net Neutrality

Aside from the above joy from Sen. Stevens, we've got more on Net Neutrality. In the last few months the American public has been bombarded by radio talk show hosts that have horribly mishandled the reality of the situation. I keep this blog away from politics as often as possible, but when people are not only misinformed but blatantly lying about how technology affects our lives, I get a little fired up (equal opportunity coming 2 sections down).

For the record, Net Neutrality is what we have. Now. Net Neutrality means that as a user, no matter what ISP you're using, internet access to websites - all websites - is equal. As fast as Google or Ebay or YouTube can send, you can receive (as long as you're not - God forbid! - still using dial-up).

But Telecom companies are trying to push the end of Net Neutrality. What if, for instance, Time Warner Cable changed its policy? What if they said "We're purposefully reducing the speed of all internet data transmission by 25%. BUT, if your company wants to write us a big, fat check, we'll let your traffic come through unimpeded."

So Net Neutrality exists now, Telecom companies want it to go away so they can make more money, and somehow it's being twisted into what I've heard on certain talk radio stations: "Net neutrality is going to be passed in Congress to limit your access to websites and control what you see on the internet." And that's not just getting confused or not understanding; it is a deliberately misleading LIE.

Here's a quick video primer on Net Neutrality:

Net Neutrality is a great example of how people are not just misunderstanding technology, but they're misrepresenting technology to those who haven't had the education or haven't done the research. Again: stating that Net Neutrality is a control mechanism is a LIE. The lack of control is the definition of the "neutrality."

Limbaugh on Adwords

You may have seen my post last month on how Rush Limbaugh was twisting the story of Goldmann Sachs and saying that they were controlling Google by purchasing ads on the words.

This is BS. And as an example of concept, I spent a couple hundred dollars purchasing those words to point to that blog post. And my ads were #1 most of the time.

Google Adwords is a very sophisticated system of bidding on keywords or phrases that are linked to ads you create. Anyone with a credit card can choose words, create ads, and have your ad show up at the top of the sponsored results. It does not mean that someone is "buying Google."

Olbermann on Adwords BP

To keep it even in the political spectrum, Keith Olbermann jumped on the same absurd train as Rush Limbaugh to make the claim a couple weeks ago that BP was purchasing the Google search engine.

No, Keith. They are buying Adwords. And anyone can do it. Check out my note above or hire someone who knows something about social media.

And an even worse betrayal of technology on that segment of Olbermann's Countdown was one of his interviewees stating that when they searched for "oil spill," they saw a bunch of stuff on BP. That man said "BP has purchased the algorithm of Google."

I'll allow a minute for you to stare dumbfounded or stop laughing hysterically.

BP is on top of organic searches because they've had years and years to build up relevant content about oil. Simple as that. The Google algorithm is more well protected than the recipe for Coca-Cola or Bush's Baked Beans (argh, save that two-timing talking dog...). Selling "the algorighm of Google" would be akin to selling your own child into slavery. And it's absurd to even suggest such a thing. And if it would ever occur to Google to betray the trust of its dedicated users and fans and "help" someone out, it wouldn't be a pollution-tainted, multi-billion dollar, non-sustainable-energy corporation.

Finally Starbucks is doing Wifi Free

I heard this in passing on a financial radio show last week. The implication was that you always had to pay for Wifi at Starbucks. Actually, if you have one of their rechargeable cards, register it, and have used it in the last 30 days, you get 2 free hours of Wifi every single day.

It wasn't a completely inaccurate statement; you do have to make a purchase in the last 30 days to get the wifi free. However, the inherent ignorance of the statement paired with the speaker's snide commentary made him sound like an uninformed tool. Which, at that moment, he was.

In today's 24-hour media cycle, there are an unfortunate abundance of people who are willing to speak on things that they - and their researchers - know nothing about, especially as it pertains to technology. And they sound silly at best, stupid at most, and lying at worst.

My advice: Hire someone who has a clue; otherwise, you're undermining your own positions. And there are many of us watching. And we will call you out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MONDAY Videos: Hat Cat, YMCA Classic, Gandalf, Snowboard WIN

Missed the post on Friday, so what better way to start out the week than with those interesting videos?

Kitty + Hat + Cat = Hilarity!

YMCA: Christophers

This one's a few years old, but good all the same.

Gandalf Goes to the World Cup!

And a WIN!

I know we usually focus on FAILs, but this is just too cool.

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Generations & Internets: Collapsing Standards or Just Change?

When I was growing up on usenets and dial-in BBS's, yes there was the birth of the troll, but there was a higher standard of communication. You treated your messages as you might treat a written letter. Now? Not so much. I'm barely into my 30's and I'm feeling what every person before me has felt: the degradation of communication, the irascibility of the younger generation.

For example, take the now-high-ended ideal that someone might spell words correctly in a proper email. Then degrade it with txt-msg'ng language, reduce it to a Facebook pseudo-meme liek [sic] "On 11:11:11 on 11/11/11 I'm going to make the most monumental wish evar" as one of the 500 trite pseudo-groups you now "like" and post the following jpeg I found in my daughter's feed:

were friends

Teaching children to use Photoshop without teaching them art is like teaching someone to fire a rifle without referencing the basics of morality.

You can quote me on that.

(For reference, many "art" classes in schools are now completely computer-based and grammar is not a great focus.)

So how does this saga end? Do we hope that high school and college education (along with our involvement) can properly educate our children - despite social norms - and teach them to maintain standards of communication? Or are we doomed to the fate of Idiocracy?


Any thoughts/feedback would be appreciated.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Twitter Wednesday: Deplorable!

I was all ready to get back to an old tradition of mine of picking the web headlines clean of Twitter-related headlines and reporting openly to you - and then I saw what was out there. Boo!

My duty is to report, but I'm not even pushing links here the information is so nonsensical and trivial. Really, you're better off - and probably smarter - for NOT having read what is to follow. Okay. Here we go...

Lindsay Lohan has been taking a little time off personally collapsing her celebrity status and found out that she still has some Twitter star power. So she's got that goin' for her. Amanda Bynes announced her 24-year old retirement on Twitter. There's a thin line between barely having acting gigs in the last decade and retirement. It's called unemployment. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev joined Twitter. Huh? Rep. "I'm sorry BP" Joe Barton has a Twitter account. And after apologizing to BP and unapologizing for the apology on Twitter, apparently there was a retraction of the unapology post. Politicians are so good at the technologies (see my upcoming post). Oh, and Kim Kardashian Tweeted "Ewww" about a woman breastfeeding next to her. [Insert vapid celebrity plastic surgery joke here.] And...item! Heidi Montag Accuses Spencer Pratt of Being a Famewhore. Yeah...uh, who? And unsurprisingly, news like the World Cup and that earthquake in Canada that we didn't really quite feel here in Cincinnati is still being disseminated via Twitter.

I warned you that it was mind-numbing. "Huh? What was I reading?" you reply.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Candid: The Loki Keyboard that Bit Me

In Norse Mythology, Loki is the troublemaker, the gadfly, the instigator (in case you needed that reference).


And in day to day reality, I am a fallible tech geek. Some folks who blog - especially those that have a business - hold themselves at a must-be-godlike standard. I understand, however, that occasionally exposing my flaws makes me more human, and we can all do with a little more human in our day to day interactions. It doesn't happen often, so enjoy the story:

Ghost in the Machine

About a month ago, I noticed that I was having some keyboard issues on my workhorse laptop. Specifically, on occasion, when I was trying to do anything from advance between the regular cavalcade of almost a dozen working applications to simply keeping a cursor in a web form, it wasn't working. Things were popping up or shifting fields as though there was a sticking problem in either my ALT or CTRL or TAB keys - or all three.

I would do anything from reboot to pound on the ALT key to scream and invoke Thor to take down this Loki in the machine. (Hey, when you're hand-coding and can't get a "<" out to start an anchor tag, things get a little crazy in the room.) I once did a Trojan scour, found one and thought it was all good - for about 30 minutes. And sometimes it worked, sometimes it faded for a time, sometimes it sent me to the Xbox360 demo of Bayonetta to do some virtual killing of demons with gun-shoes.

Yes, this has been going on for a month. I'd done some rudimentary searches for MS bugs on Vista, but only came up with a few minor operational errors that appeared rare. Bad thing was, when I was hard-up for a solution, I couldn't do a decent search because my keyboard didn't work.

Threshold | Epiphany

And this morning it hit a threshold: waking after a restless night, not yet enough coffee in me, the bug came at me with the first touch of the keyboard. I could send an email with the mouse, but couldn't type the contents; the pressing of buttons resulted in the on/of switch that is CTRL+Space, which takes my English letter combinations and translates them into a selectable tooltip for Asian characters. Basically, I could get absolutely nothing done.

I got another cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths, and - suddenly - it struck me. Not any more monumental than any other epiphany as I was holding back hope for disappointment, but there it was:


With my graphics background on a Quantel Paintbox (pen & board), I have much greater preference for a mouse over the horrible touchpad that is on most laptops. About 6 months ago, I clicked-out my first, wired mouse and switched to a wireless Microsoft one I had previously purchased for my wife. It was a simple setup of a USB plug-in to a wireless receiver to accept input from the mouse ...and paired keyboard.

So, what if...? I went to the storage closet about 20 feet behind my desk, opened it up, and found said keyboard - sitting underneath a box of paperwork. I moved the keyboard to a higher shelf with nothing on top of it.

Guess what? No boxy, no pressy, no Loki.

Without pressure on what I thought was a do-nothing keyboard, the problem stopped: I'd been fighting with a keyboard in the closet with a box on it that was resting on the TAB, SHIFT, CTRL, ALT, and Space keys.

So what's the lesson here? Humanity, by definition, is fallible. Tech-savvy people, by definition, are fallible. And no matter how perplexing and unresolvable the problem you face, you may be surprised by the simplicity of the solution. Just pick up the box that's weighing you down.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Inspiration From LOST: Define Yourself!

(No, no spoilers folks)

It's been a few weeks since the finale of LOST and I'm still stewing in the philosophical and metaphysical implications of how it all ended, but something came to me today about the overall character plot of the show that gave me inspiration to write this post.

As the plot went, a plane crashes and the survivors of that mess must survive on a mysterious island. For 6 years, we're shepherded (no pun intended) through the lives of these characters. And one of the more subtle themes that emerges is that many of these characters have allowed others and their surroundings in the "normal" world to define them; they have not worked to write that script themselves.

This goes for politics to branding to you and me in our personal lives: Are you writing the story of your life or are you letting everyone else do it as you passively float through? Are you driving your own bus?

If you are, chances are some focus and push and you could be doing it more efficiently. If you're not? Well, get on the stick! It only takes a little introspection to see who's in charge here. Take that charge. Take it seriously. Define yourself!

And if you've got a brand you want to control then work on that too - write that story too. But step one is self. Just like you can't truly love others without loving yourself, you will have little luck putting a business in order if your house is a mess.

Now get out there and have a great week!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Videos: Pakistani Grover, Butter Jesus, Church Biker Fail

Pakistani Grover

This is amazing and worth every second.

"An incredible mash-up from Pakistan. Grover and friends do some shaking to a 'Sufiyan English' song from a 1970s Pakistani film."
h/t to BoingBoing

Big Butter Jesus

And if you've been at all conscious this week and live around Cincinnati (or caught it on various national news programs), Touchdown Jesus, a.k.a. Big Butter Jesus went up in flames when it was struck by lightning Monday evening. Here's Haywood Banks' classic to some video:

Church Biker Fail

And since I know and you know you're here for a decent FAIL, let's keep with the religious theme and give you the church biker:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Graphic FAIL: Tara Medium

Had this image hanging around in my drafts. Unfortunate in that the glimmer makes the "a" read as a "d."

Tara Medium or Tard?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Videos: McDonald's Old Style, Hockey Guys, Pool Jump FAIL

4-year Old McDonald's Burger

I watched Super Size Me and it did not do what this video did for me. I will NEVER touch McDonald's (or much other fast food) ever again. Evar.

Hockey, Guys!

I feel kinda bad for this guy, guys. Guys?

...of course that's not as bad as the legendary Boom Goes The Dynamite!

Pool Jump

And since you're actually here for a serious FAIL, here you go:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tech Love: WISE, Cursed Phone#, Cyborg, HTC Evo


What's wise? NASA's new Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. And what's id doing? Already taking images like this:


They call that the Heart and Soul Nebulae.

Cursed Phone Number?

Bulgaria - no one will be issued the cell phone number 0888 888 888. Why? The last 3 people who had that number have died under suspicious circumstances.

Also noted: bad business, mob boss, and coke dealer might have had something to do with those deaths. Spooky?

Infected Wit teh Tech

After having the brilliant idea that he needed to implant an RFID microchip in his hand, Dr. Mark Gasson thought it would be interesting if he purposefully infected that chip with a malicious virus.

He says he apologizes in advance should this result in the simultaneous creation of a true biomechanical and the rise of the machines as our new masters. He also claims "safe" as their Adam.


I'm kind of a tech whore. In articles and blogs, we call ourselves early-adopters. There's an art to it, measurement of risk, etc. that lets many jump on the newest iPhone while still running Windows XP at home.

You'll remember me about a year ago fawning over and reveling in the release date capture of my Palm Pre. And not 12 months later, the joints are a little loose, I've gained a small crack, and, well, since I saw this one thing...our relationship hasn't been the same.

What I saw was the HTC EVO.

Sprint's HTC EVO

Android-running, 4.3 inch touchscreen, streams HD video on the new 4G network, dual cameras (8MP back, 1.3 front-facing), 1GB Snapdragon processor.

Nom, nom, nom.

I've got about a 20% chance of getting one soon. Sprint's "eligible upgrade" time period is 2 years, not one, so I'd pay a mint for the phone. But I will continue to drool. And hope.

Sidenote: Palm's guru Matias Duarte has moved to Google.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Videos: Awesome Chemistry, Pacman, Wedding FAIL

The Awesome of Chemistry


Pacman Ghosts Discuss TV

...and because it's just not Friday without some FAIL,

Wedding Photo FAIL

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inspiration: Try Something New!

I wasn't here Monday, so here's your weekly inspiration, completely planted into my head by my recent trip to Los Angeles!

Sometimes, working as most of us do on a day-to-day basis and getting so into what we're doing, we whittle ourselves down into our specialty, we unconsciously have installed blinders to everything except what we're doing right now. We get tunnel vision.

And anyone who's experienced that phenomenon knows the reality of monotony. And monotony is living in a rut. It is drab, slow, and joyless. And who wants to lose the joy in their work, in their life?

(Note: If you're not finding some joy in what you do every day, stop now. Walk out the door. Then DO SOMETHING ELSE!)

So there's the problem: drab, slow, joyless. How exactly do you get away from that? Easy! Do something new.

Now I'm not saying you need to take off to LA for 5 days or even one day, but that's why vacations are so important to the vacationer: you get a breath of fresh air, do something new or different and come back with fresh eyes, a reinvigorated spirit. (European employers genuinely trust the productivity increase which is why you'd start there with 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation per year. Yum!)

So you don't have the vacation time. So what? You can still do something different! Go for a walk after dinner. Spend your lunch hour in the park. Try writing a short story. Get out that To Do list and actually DO something on it instead of whining about how old some of those goals are. And if you've got a little over a hundred bucks, nerves of steel, and a Saturday afternoon, go skydiving. Seriously. It will change your life.

But all of these suggestions are for one reason: expanding your horizons. By doing something new or different, by changing your patterns, you change the physical chemistry of your brain - you actually alter how it works. So when it is time to go back to the daily grind, you will see it differently, gain new perspective on the day-to-day.

And if not? At least you've got the next new thing to look forward to.

Make it a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

As many of you know from my Twitter/Facebook updates, I spent the last several days in Los Angeles to visit my brother. This is a random listing of some of the things we did and some of the thoughts I had.

Please note: this is by no means a comprehensive compendium of what LA is actually like as a whole. I spent most of my time in Hollywood and Burbank and only 5 days at that.

Normal, Just Big

Growing up in the Midwest, you get this iconic, fabled view of what Los Angeles and Hollywood actually are from movies and teevee and popular songs. Which proved surprising when everything was so normal. Sunset. La Brea. Santa Monica. Busy, stacked with restaurants, stores, bars, but pretty normal ones. We didn't walk into any place I didn't feel comfortable

Population Makeup

Again, from news and television, I guess I expected a much larger Hispanic population, but in Hollywood - while that existed - there was also a noticeable Asian and Armenian population. Even a "Little Ethiopia." And it all makes for a fantastic selection of little restaurants and a very diverse culture.

As far as the idea of "pretty people everywhere," you can knock that to the curb. The population appears to have a much larger percentage of fit people, but if you match the overweight with the unhealthily gaunt, I think the averages weigh out.


Terrifying. I spent some time driving in Boston, some time driving in Dublin (Ireland), and this beats all. The traffic here can be best described as erratic and random with punctuations of straight up danger. Constant lane-changing almost into your car, motorcycles swerving between larger vehicles. Basically, if you're not "on" you're going to get into an accident.

Much love to my brother Adam for taking the helm for my entire visit.

Jay Leno

A great co-worker of Adam pulled us some Leno tickets. After going to Guest Relations, were were pooled with some 20 other people and we walked through the back lots to Studio 11 where we turned the corner and ...hundreds of people were waiting 2 and 3 deep on the right and left. And we walked past them all. It was exciting and elating and I had the biggest grin on my face.

We entered the studio audience ahead of everyone and it appeared we were getting sweet front row seats in fixed-seat house (yeah!), then a coordinator pointed to us and said "you two, come with me." He ushered us out on the floor house left and pulled tape off a couple seats to plant us in row 2. On the floor. Of Leno. Waaahaa!?

Eric Marschall, Adam Marschall on Leno
My brother in blue, me: to his left

It aired Friday, May 7th, and you can still see it on NBC.com as well as Adam's other screenshots on Facebook here.

Don Cheadle, Erin Andrews guests, George Takei showed up to say "panties," amongst other words, and Landon Pigg & Lucy Schwartz performed. All-round, a great show.

Celebrity Sighting

On Sunday, we headed over to Hollywood's Happy Ending bar on Sunset (an excellent sports bar in its own right) for some Cavs :( and grub. Amazing food, great staff, great clientele.

As a matter of fact, Neal McDonough stopped in to root for the Celtics against the Cavs.

Neal McDonough

You may know him from Desperate Housewives or Minority Report. I loved him in SyFy's "Tin Man" and he was also in an old episode of Quantum Leap, Angels in the Outfield, and Band of Brothers.

But he was just another guy in a bar watching the game. And that was cool.

Business Expansion Potential

I don't want to generalize or pine romantic about Los Angeles, but as a web developer, the problems I've seen there for production companies and restaurants are pretty much the same as here:
  • Sites built entirely in Flash; this is still not a viable option, especially if you expect someone to pick it up with a smartphone.
  • Remnants of a site built several years ago that has used duct tape to keep it up with minor updates.
  • A website composed by a cousin who had this class this one time and looks like 1995 (read: cheesy animated gifs)

Yes, these sites exist, even in LA. Which is sad and disappointing, but a fantastic opportunity, especially for the markup potential in what the market will actually support.

Ending Notes

I'd like to thank my parents. Really. My dad was a local celebrity on Cleveland television and my father always said: "I'm just a regular guy; I'm just on TV." And that helped ground us growing up and I don't think any one of us four kids ever got big-headed or name-dropped for any reason. It was just Dad. And seeing celebrities in Los Angeles it's the same thing: they're normal people, just with a job on TV or in movies.

I can't wait to go back. As I said before, it's not demonstrative, but you can see what I did while I was there through Foursquare and check out my pictures on my Facebook profile.

I leave you with The Decemberists. Yes, Los Angeles, I'm yours.


Unfortunate Facebook

Juxtaposition can sometimes have unfortunate consequences. This appeared as a Facebook update in my feed. Blurring to protect the innocent.

Facebook Unfortunate

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Demonstrable Generally Works Better

Sometimes I find myself just being me and think it's a good idea to lay it out to let my readers get a little insight into who I am.

It's 11:30pm. I'm watching "How the Universe Works" (Black Hole episode), beginning a book to bone up on my PHP ninja coding skills, and drinking a Miller Lite. (and pausing in the midst of it all to blog)

Is that too much? Or refreshing?


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MSNBC.com's Unfortunate Juxtaposition

I'll let the graphic I pulled from the site today speak for itself:

MSNBC Horse Body Weight FAIL


Google, Rush...What Happened Last Tuesday?

I've received emails and phone calls and it seems the question that keeps coming up is: what the heck was that?

That is, in reference to my post on Rush Limbaugh, Google Adwords, and Goldman Sachs. And if you haven't had the pleasure, click that link!

The Setup

A friend of mine called me and said "Turn on Rush. He's talking smack about Google or something." And low and behold - as explained in my post - he was. The unfortunate thing about mixing politics and technology is when one is relatively well-versed in one, they are generally deficient in the other. Case in point: Rush's implication was that links and placement were being purchased and there might even be an outright collaboration between Google and the White House.

The truth was simple enough: White House PR was buying Adwords phrases. Just like anyone else can do.

The Plan

Shameless promotion and exploitation. Something Rush said stuck with me: "If you type 'goldman sachs sec' into Google...'"

Rush Limbaugh has millions of listeners across the country and his show is syndicated and paced through every time zone so I can pretty much guarantee those words are going to be spoken every hour between 1pm EST and 3am PST.

A quick search (as Rush told me to do) displayed 2 ads: The White House ad and one more saying "Not just the Obama's Ad." In other words: Open field.

The Moderation

Step 1: Provide something that is both intelligible and educational. That was easy. A basic tutorial on what are paid ads and what are not with reference to the ease of creating an ad campaign is exactly what I was aiming for.

Step 2: Do not turn it political. That was a little more difficult. I have no problem staying away from the Goldman Sachs topic in the posting, but I have a solid peeve spot for people with very large audiences opening their mouths about things they know little or nothing about and making things up that support their end of an argument. And I knew if I directly attacked Rush Limbaugh for doing so, I'd be shifting from business to politics. I believe I succeeded.

The Numbers

I ran the ad nationwide from Tuesday at about 2 to 10pm. Then switched the geographical focus to Ohio only and Wednesday morning knocked it down to Greater Cincinnati.

As of this posting, in a little over 48 hours, I have over 7,500 impressions with over 760 clicks, pulling a CTR of a little more than 10%. Average CPC was $0.41, landing me at a little over $300 for this experiment.

Was it worth it?

Short answer is: if one of the 4 leads I now have pans out, then yes. If not, I've hopefully educated some people who may not have known how Adwords work, and for me the education of someone that prevents a later misunderstanding is worth every penny. Ounce of prevention and all that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wonder and Woe and Humility


After our universe began, it took 385,000 years before the basest of molecules were formed because what we call matter outnumbered anti-matter by one in a billion.

9,000,000,000 years later, our planet Earth was formed.

4,500,000,000 years after that, it's now.

Molecules forming, suns exploding, every piece of you now is a result of cataclysmic events. Every piece of you is more or less from a star.

From the beginning of the universe, energy has turned into matter, matter to energy, to make you and the world around you. Billions of years to form your world, hundreds of millions of years of life transforming for you to read this right now.

So what are you doing today?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Twitter: I'm Sorry: Hollywood n Drama

I scraped and plodded and searched but it looks like all the Twitter stuff this week is, well, crap. So let's just get this over with. Friday the 13th remake sequel dead in the water via Twitter, Lindsay Lohan tweeted some overly-dramatic whining about her dad and cops, Ooh, live tweet with the cast of Eclipse, and OMG Perez Hilton and Spencer Pratt start a Twitter war!

Please flush the toilet on the way out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Dynamic, Spooky Truth of Google

Spotted in this month's Wired (18.05):
Found, Then Lost

In his article about Google ("Inside the Box," issue 18.03), Steven Levy used the phrase "mike siwek lawyer mi" as an example of a search that showed Google's power and effectiveness - how easy it is to find an individual lawyer in Michigan! But since the article was published and blogged about, those links crowd out Mr. Siwek, and his Web site no longer appears in Google's top search results. So very ironic.

And that me blogging about the letter discussing the blogging that changed the dynamic will also have an effect? Downright spooky.

Reminds me of that time I took over Jaguar Grooming in Cincinnati, Ohio...

Google, Rush Limbaugh, Goldman Sachs

A friend of mine alerted me to Rush Limbaugh's show today where he was talking about Goldman Sachs and how if you typed "goldman sachs sec" you'd get Barack Obama's website. But the language Rush was using was a little troubling. He said "Google takes you there" and that President Obama (or, realistically, his PR folks) was buying links and making a strong insinuation that Google's search results were being influenced by the White House.

And as soon as I got back to the office, I realized the mundane truth: The President's PR force, in light of a drive towards financial reform, had bid on the phrase in an Adwords campaign. Just like anyone can do.

As a matter of fact, I just began a campaign myself for "goldman sachs sec" that you can see as well if you type those words into Google. Just to show you how easy it is - and take advantage of a happenstance spike.

[UPDATE: Either the unwanted attention from radio or an exhausted budget have caused the "Organizing for America" Ads to disappear.]

[UPDATE2: The ad is still there (just saw it), I believe cycling now that other folks have gotten in on the phrases.]

Search Engine Ads 101

For those of you who may not be aware, when you search for something in one of the main search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you actually get two types of results: organic and paid. Here's a screenshot from a search of "goldman sachs sec"

Goldman Sachs Google Search results

Now, pay close attention to the areas highlighted in red:

Goldman Sachs Google Search results

Those areas - the top and the right - are labeled "Sponsored Links." Those are Google Adwords or paid ads. Anyone can open an Adwords account, choose phrases, and pay for people to click on their ads. Mine are already running and leading back to this post. This is just how search engines work today.

The rest of the links on the page, the place where most people are drawn, are the news and video, etc. that are also listed. Those are organic listings.

In Closing

Unfortunately many people do not know how search results work (hopefully this helped for some) and even less will check the validity of the claims for themselves. The truth is not nefarious nor malicious nor collusive; it's actually a pretty clear case of Capitalism in action. Heck: even I got on board.

Monday, April 19, 2010

That Little Voice Inside Your Head

Everyone has one (or two or three...). It's that little voice inside your head. If you don't pay attention to it, know that you're not driving. Either way, know that you have control over it.

Generally, the Voice represents your inner-most psyche, and it can take many forms.

In a professional environment, the Voice can tell a writer "no, that's not the right word" or "rewrite that last sentence" or "no one is going to read this!" It can tell an entrepreneur anything from "you're on the right track" to "stop trying - you're going to fail!"

Personally, you may hear "you're too fat" or "you can't do this" or "why are you even trying?" But you can hear "you're watching what you eat" or "you have the potential to succeed" or "work for it and win!"

Do you get it yet? The Voice is not some other-worldly being or force. It is you. And if you pay attention to it - yes, all the time - then you can catch it when it dumps anything negative on you. Because that's you questioning yourself. But more than questioning, it's self-defeating.

So today's message is: pay attention to what that inner Voice is saying. It is a part of you. You can manage the message. Not only "can" but "must." If you let a negative attitude run your inner Voice, you will fail. Simple as that. It will feed you nothing but poison and doubt.

And I'm not saying that the process of paying attention and fixing this is one fell swoop; you will notice first the message, the inner-doubt. Fixing it is like training for a marathon. There will be negative messages that come through, but you simply dismiss them with notice and override them with a conscious control: "It may take time, but I will succeed."

Notice your inner Voice, manage your inner Voice to encourage you and point to success and you will have nothing but. Let it go, and that may be the sole reason for failure.

Success! You own it. Take control of it.

You FTW!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Inspiration: Growth!

It was inevitable. You're looking for inspiration and there it is right in front of you: Spring. Printemps as the French would say. (Sorry, listening to Rock Velours on Sirius right now.)

Spring in Cincinnati

If you have to ask why Spring is inspirational, you have bigger problems than what I can address in a blog post.

But here is Spring in Cincinnati: green, growth, color, leaves on trees, the odors of the flowers, life!

Yes, life! Everywhere you look: life! Things that have been dormant for months are coming out, returning, energizing.

And in that is this week's lessons:
  1. Business building: Whether you're new or been around for awhile, take advantage of the lesson of nature to grow. The tree knows it only has a few months to make the most of the new season; act like it, act like your only growth can happen now. Fire yourself up, energize yourself with the wonder outside your window! And get out there and get it done.
  2. And if you're in business now and lagging behind and can't seem to find your place, the message is the same: DO IT! NOW! Nature and energy and growth is all around you; borrow that drive, see it and follow it. You have no excuse except...nothing. Do or do not. Now's your chance.

Spring is the best time of the year to build a business, to grow an existing business, to drive yourself to make it bigger and better, to rein in quantity over quality.

It's yours to use. You can succeed or fail any time of the year. But now's the time to take a good look around and shout to the heavens "Success!" and make it yours.

So make it yours.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Videos: Tiger After Dentist, Old Spice, Trampoline + Pool FAIL

Tiger After Dentist

I was going to post the original Tiger Nike commercial here, but after finding out the audio was pulled from a 2004 DVD and (unsurprisingly) that his father wasn't really addressing the problem at hand, I was left only with the fact that Nike sees more profit than liability in the long-term investment in Tiger, to the point that they will exploit a recording of his own dead father. Boo.

So how about a parody instead? The audio is pulled from the monstrously viral David After Dentist, and is oddly relevant.

Odor Blocker from Old Spice

Have you seen the new commercials? Me neither. But they're Awesome. I guess it's not a coincidence they're directed by Tim & Eric from the Tim & Eric Awesome Show. Awesome. Here's the channel, and here's a few examples. Did I say Awesome?



Pool Trampoline FAIL

Because it all comes down to the FAIL. But wait, you say. How can a pool and a trampoline possibly combine into a fail scenario? Allow me to show you...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Motivation: Don't Forget the Wonder!

This past weekend I was on the back porch watching our dog run around and in an adjoining yard heard some kids playing. One of them said "Hey, look at this!" and they crouched down, I'm guessing to look at a bug crawl around on the grass.

And I was beside myself.

Here I was, outside in some pretty nice weather, taking a break from some programming, my head swimming in code, and I suddenly realized that I wasn't paying attention to any of the things around me.

Prompted by the wonder of the children across the way, I looked around and saw the sky, the floating clouds, the trees, and heard the birds. And I was amazed at how alive I felt.

We so often focus so much on what is immediate, on what is "important" that we often forget that there is wonder and discovery as close as our own back yards. As close as walking outside to our cars. As close as now.

Your motivation this week? Step outside your home or office door and take a minute or two to appreciate the wonder of everything that surrounds you every day. It is alive; feel alive with it! Check the nuances of that tree, listen to the birds, and wonder at the sky, that odd miracle of atmosphere and color and clouds that exists way beyond our reach.

Share it with someone. Wonder is a gift we are given at birth and everyone still has it. Some just need to be reminded.

And if you're really into it, squat down and take a look at that bug. It's really pretty interesting. Just ask the kids.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Youtube: Animal Power Moves, Shocked Kitty, Mortal Kombat

Animal Power Moves!

Animal strength in one clever or gross or strange way or another.

The Shocked & Appalled Kitty

It's just shocked and appalled. Nothing more.

Oregon Trail vs. Mortal Kombat

Anyone who grew up with Oregon Trail in any capacity also grew up with MK. Exactly what it sounds like.

And that'll be it for this Friday. Have a great weekend!