Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

A Stroll Down Out-of-Memory Lane

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Ah, summer–grilling, campfires, water sports, family trips, watching the World Cup (at least until yesterday)…

It’s easy to get distracted this time of year, and particularly this week, with national holidays in the U.S. and Canada. So in the spirit of taking a midsummer break from work, here’s a completely off-topic post.

We were cleaning out a storage area in our basement helping an older friend clean out his basement recently when we came across a box of old computer parts, cables, and software from my early days in engineering documentation early in his career. These photos may bring back memories for anyone who can recall when the 286 (for those under 30: that’s the Intel chip that preceded the 386, which preceded the 486, which preceded the Pentium, which preceded the Core i7 possibly powering your laptop today) was considered fast.

Back in the day before software was a service, it had to be installed. And installing something significant, such as an operating system upgrade, was a project. Windows 3.1 came on diskettes–14 of them:

Windows 3.1 install diskettes - 14

Diskettes gave way to CDs, which made installation faster and easier. Here’s the CD for Microsoft Office. Not Office 1.5, or 3.0, or 95, or XP, or 2013–just Office.

Microsoft Office - original CD

The great leap from DOS to Windows was that one could use a mouse. The original wasn’t cordless, or IR, or ergonomically correct, but IBM nevertheless sold a zillion of these.

IBM computer mouse

Finally, there’s this: an anti-static wrist strap. When installing circuit boards or memory chips, or doing any other kind of word on the inside of older PCs, one had to wear one of these things clipped to the computer chassis in order to avoid damaging sensitive components with static electricity. These are no longer required.

Anti-static wrist band

Have a great holiday / Canada Day / 4th of July!

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A Little Christmas Cheer from Webbiquity

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Here’s a quick gift to readers of this blog: I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In, sung by Cantamus, the Iowa State University Women’s choir. It’s amazazing.

“Peace on earth, and good will toward all.”

Christams tree purple

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Funny Business: The Best Digital Marketing Humor, 2013 Edition

Monday, July 15th, 2013

One of the greatest aspects of being a marketer is that, in most professions, sitting around the office thinking up bad puns, penning snarky double entendres, or storyboarding cat videos would be considered goofing off. In marketing, that’s called “work.”

There are three kinds of marketing data analysts: those who can count and those who can’t. If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success? I once saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second.

Yes, the marketing profession can be a challenging and frustrating one: unrealistic expectations, dizzying change, crazy demands on time—and that’s before heading to the office.

So, grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine, depending on what time of day you’re reading this), sit back for a few minutes, and enjoy some of the funniest, oddest and/or most creative posts, videos, lists and infographics of the past year.

The 7 best “what I’m really doing” graphics by iMedia Connection

What a social media marketing manager doesBethany Simpson writes “Whether you’re a runner, a designer, or a marine biologist, you finally have the chance to tell the world you’ve been misunderstood for too long. Thanks to the ‘What I really do’ meme, everyone gets a voice! We’ve listed some of our favorites.”

10 Funniest QR Code Fails by Mashable

Christine Erickson shares a compilation of some of the dumbest placements and uses of QR codes, such as across subway tracks (or great placement–if you are trying to actually kill your target customers), in subway cars (for products you wouldn’t be caught dead scanning), on billboards, and more.

25 New Nike Designs Including Twitter, Google & Michael Jackson! by Bit Rebels

Twitter-shoeIt’s unclear whether or not these are still available, but Diana Adams highlights custom Nike sneaker designs from Daniel Reese that range from Twitter and Pac Man to Super Mario and Flash (the superhero, not the software).

12 Most Hilarious Parody Accounts on Twitter by 12 Most

Cara Friedman highlights a dozen of the best Twitter parody accounts, including @Lord_Voldemort7 (“If Lord Voldemort was evil at Hogwarts, imagine him giving commentary on current pop culture”), @FakeAPStylebook and @BettyFckinWhite.

Betty White parody tweet

 

31 Jokes for NERDS! by vlogbrothers (on YouTube)

Hank Green tells 31 rapidfire jokes which combine funny stuff with nerdy stuff. One of the best: Argon walks into a bar. The bartender says “We don’t serve noble gasses here!” Argon doesn’t react.

 

6 Iconic Things You Won’t Believe Began as Publicity Stunts by Cracked

Not so much funny as surprising (and even educational), this post explains how six, well, as the title says, “iconic things” had their origins in PR. One (perhaps) surprising example: the Guinness Book of World Records was invented by the beer company to sell in bars, so that patrons would have an “official book of records that could be used to settle bar bets.”

Awkward Stock Photos

Awkward stock photoWe all know that stock photos are what designers turn to when they need to put SOME kind of photographic image on a page, that reflects some idea, but don’t have access to any real photography from the client. Many have been overused (the business meeting including the white-haired guy with glasses, the attractive brunette with the telephone headset that just screams “customer service!,” etc.). This site, however, showcases stock photos that…no one is quite sure of the intended purpose for.

15 of the Funniest Tumblr Sites Out There by Sexy Social Media

Blogs aren’t just for sharing in-depth “hot to” articles or thought leadership pontification. And you certainly won’t find either of those things in this collection, but you will likely find amusement (and bemusement) on these specialty blogs such as Breaded Cats, The Lisa Simpson Book Club and the can’t miss Lesbians who look like Justin Bieber.

The Digiday Dictionary: What It Really Means by Digiday

Saya Weissman helpfully explains what many commonly used business and digital marketing phrases really mean. A few examples:

social strategy: give it to the intern
strategy: PowerPoint
synergy: whose idea was this anyway?

Uncommon Sense: A Rose By Any Other Name by MediaPost

In a twist on the dictionary concept above, Jeff Einstein riffs on 21st-century euphemisms, such as artificial intelligence: “AI is where we currently deposit all of our hopes for a better future through digital technology — largely because we have no faith in our own intelligence anymore (for obvious reasons).”

100 of the funniest things we have read on a CV: Part 1 by Response

Nathan Lloyd compiles 100 actual examples of the types of information it’s best not to include on your resume, among them:

KEY SKILLS – “Perfectionist with a keen I for details.”

SIZE OF EMPLOYER: “Very tall, probably over 6’5?.”

COVER LETTER – “Please disregard the attached CV; it’s totally outdated”

10 Ways to Make Your Next Infographic Totally Awesome [Infographic] by DIYBlogger.NET

Infographic by Danny AshtonThe inimitable Dino Dogan observes that some people are good at visualization, and some are good at link baiting, and that when it comes to infographics, the two groups don’t like each other much. After being trashed by a visual purist, here is the infographic on how to produce infographics that resulted “one lousy link-baiter/infographic-maker decided to strike back, with vengeance.”

Five ideas to prevent a Facebook phone fail by leaderswest

Noting that the concept of a Facebbok phone “looks to be a derivative product developed a few years too late into a market that it can’t differentiate in,” the prolific Jim Dougherty suggests a handful of enhancements that could nevertheless turn this product into a winner, among them: “Game thwart. In response to any Zynga game request, with Facebook phone you can pay to ruin that person’s social game. Dispatch a small Army of gophers into anyone’s Farmville or get the word out in Mafia Wars that your friend is a snitch. The best feature is that you don’t even have to understand the game to do this. Just pay Zynga through Facebook’s PayPal analog FacePal and they will take care of it for you.”

Bing’s Sponsored Results For ‘Keyword’ Are Out Of Control by Business2Community

Why do ads for “a seemingly random assortment of merchants – Bloomingdales, BMW of Sudbury, ankylosing spondylitis treatments, whip cream chargers” show up on Bing for a search on the term “keyword”? Elisa Gabbert gets to the bottom of it.

40+ humorous print ads by Web Design Depot

tatoo-babyStacey Kole showcases more than three dozen print ads that will make you alternatingly cringe, chuckle, scratch your head, admire the art director’s creativity, wonder why the art director hasn’t yet been confined to an institution, and express other emotions.

Blog Theft is Serious…but Sometimes It Can Be Entertaining by Inkling Media

Ken Mueller displays the humorous result of scraping and auto-rewording (Ken surmises “it must have been run through some sort of program that looks for synonyms, and then replaces a lot of the words, while supposedly keeping the intent and context”) gone horribly wrong. Hey, at least the original backlinks were left intact.

Spinning Beach Ball of Death by Improv Everywhere

As the post notes, “a presenter at the TED conference has his talk interrupted by the Mac spinning wait cursor” that slips its digital bounds, and, well…the results are fun–and the look on the presenter’s face is priceless.

 

25 signs you work in social media by Ragan’s PR Daily

Kevin Allen identifies more than two dozen signs of a social media affliction beyond addiction, such as:

14. When you think of “engagement,” a future wedding is no longer top of mind.

20. Man or woman, you write like an excited teenage girl sometimes and you just can’t help it.

22. You don’t just use exclamation points—you abuse them!

The most meaningless (and hilarious) job titles on LinkedIn by iMedia Connection

Josh Dreller pokes fun at 17 real by ridiculous job titles, including Wizard of Light Bulb Moments (“How many HR directors does it take to fire a ‘Wizard of Light Bulb Moments’?”), Social Media Badass (really, is your mom proud to tell her friends that?) and Direct Mail Demi-God (“I would think an omnipotent, all-knowing being would have had the sense to get out of traditional media by now”).

 

What’s made you laugh today?

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Why Google Glass Will Fail

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Google Glass, the search giant’s foray into wearable augmented reality technology, has generated considerable interest within and beyond the tech community, and generally positive press. The glasses-like device essentially overlays a close-to-the-eye computer display over whatever is in the wearer’s field of vision, and provides smartphone-like features through Bluetooth voice commands.

But while it’s an intriguing technology with some fascinating potential applications, Google Glass is likely to, if perhaps not quite fail, then succeed only as a niche product—not like the broad consumer applications Google loves (search, AdWords, Android, YouTube, etc.).

Google Glass Banned - Sign of the times?The reasons aren’t as simple as some have suggested. Consumer embrace will not likely be limited by price, since like any other new technology, the cost should decline steeply over time. Nor will the product fail because most people think they look better without glasses.

First, anyone who’s not self-conscious about having a Bluetooth headset protruding from their ear is unlikely to be concerned with how they look wearing Google Glass. Second, the appearance issue is easily fixable: make Google Glass look like aviator shades. Suddenly the wearer looks like a Tom Cruise character instead of just a rich dweeb.

No, Google Glass will fail—or succeed only in limited, niche applications—because both valid concerns and not-entirely-unreasonable-Google-paranoia will cause the product to be banned in many of the locations where it isn’t already impractical.

So, is Google Glass half-full…

First, among the applications where Glass may find a home:

Tourism and travel: imagine being able to walk the streets of an unfamiliar city and get instant information about your location, transit options, nearby restaurants and attractions, the architect who designed the building you are looking at…pretty much anything. For walking tours, you could download an app that would automatically display supplemental information to what the tour guide is saying based on where your gaze lands.

Gaming: get off your couch! Google Glass creates some amazing opportunities for game players. No longer limited to their flat-screen TVs or the imaginations of the game creators, gamers will be able to shoot zombies, Nazis, and aliens popping out from behind the couch, the car, the backyard fence—any object in any place where such behavior is allowed and doesn’t look too strange.

Medicine: Google Glass offers a wealth of opportunities in this area, from assisting with diagnosis to keeping vital signs within view during surgery. Harvard’s John Nosta recently wrote an outstanding article for Forbes about how Google Glass is changing medical education.

Field work: this technology can be used to provide critical supplemental information to professionals across a wide range of “in the field” professions, from land surveying to civil engineering to underground inspections to on-site equipment repair—pretty much any application where visual information is needed, instantly, outside the office or home environment.

Exercise: though the current version would be close to worthless here, a more comfortable, rugged, and considerably lower-priced versions would be ideal for runners, cyclists and others who want to track heart rate, miles traveled, calories burned, and other fitness activity tracker metrics.

…or half empty?

The above applications and others offer promising niche market opportunities for Google Glass. But unfortunately for the goal of making this a widely adopted, mass market technology, there are many more places where the technology is likely to be banned outright. Among them:

Any secure area: these are not limited to nuclear facilities and government laboratories, where most of us don’t spend much time anyway. The sign above was actually posted in a small factory / retail outlet that makes and sells bulk foodservice items like baked beans, chili, and au gratin potatoes. The owners ban Google Glass because they don’t want anyone stealing their recipes or techniques.

Google Glass may be banned anywhere the collection and recording of too much visual information could present a business or security risk…even, potentially, airports.

Meetings: it’s highly likely that Google Glass will be banned at business events and meetings. Meeting organizers are already frustrated by the electronic distractions offered to attendees via their smartphones (checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…). Google Glass takes the potential for distraction to an entirely new, and one would suspect generally unwelcome, level.

Driving: cell phones are a dangerous distraction, even in hands-free mode. Google Glass would make that problem far worse by creating visual as well as audible distraction. Look for the wearing of Google Glass while driving to be banned by legislatures across the globe. Unless, perhaps, one is wearing Google Glass while riding in a driverless Google Car.

Retail stores: showrooming is already a serious problem for brick-and-mortar retailers, costing an estimated $217 billion in lost sales annually. Though the practice isn’t difficult, it does currently require some degree of work by consumers; Google Glass would alleviate even that modicum of effort. It could also be used by competitors to see, in real time, a retailer’s pricing, selection and display for any and every item in the store. It would be surprising if retailers don’t start banning Google Glass in their shops.

Public performances: cameras and video recorders are already barred in most theaters, concert venues, arenas and stadiums. Banning Google Glass would be a logical extension of those bans. With file sharing having sucked so much income out of the recording industry, musical artists now rely on concert revenue more than ever before. The NFL famously prohibits even “accounts of the game” without consent; what team is going to allow 60,000 real-time recording devices in the stands?

Courtrooms: as with theaters and arenas, cameras are recording devices are already banned. It’s virtually inconceivable an exception would be made for Google Glass.

In short,  Google Glass represents a fascinating technology, but one with ultimately limited usefulness. Niche applications may be enough for Google, but given the company’s history, once the limitations of the market become clear, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Glass go the way of Google Reader, Knol, Buzz, Picnik, Jaiku, and other products in the Google graveyard.

What do you think?

 

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Amazon Shuts Down Minnesota Affiliates

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

It’s official—Amazon will close affiliate accounts in the state of Minnesota due the state legislature’s recent passage of an online sales tax bill. Here is the announcement that Amazon’s Minnesota affiliates received today:

“We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013.

This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.

Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to July 1, 2013, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 30, 2013, any final payments will be paid by August 30, 2013.

While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Minnesota residents.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Associates Team”

The web retailing giant has previously ended affiliate programs in California, North Carolina, Colorado, Connecticut, Arkansas, Illinois and Rhode Island (at least).

So far, the closings don’t seem to have harmed Amazon much nor helped the brick-and-mortar retailers clamoring for online sales taxes (Target and Best Buy were big supporters of the Minnesota law).

So it’s not clear who wins from such laws, other than the politicians who collect hefty campaign contributions for passing them. If large online retailers like Amazon simply respond by shutting down local affiliates, the bills won’t raise the promised revenue for states.

But it is clear who loses: thousands of small website owners who made a few bucks each month sending buyers to Amazon.com. Isn’t that special.

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