There will be a blogging gap from this evening until Sept. 7 while I move. I'm sure I'll have many things to share from the experience.
Sort of a airline price aggregator, Fast Company Now has a post that links through to Mobissimo. Since I happen to be planning many trips, I tried Mobissimo vs. Expedia. Mobissimo was never significantly cheaper than Expedia, but think the Google landing page vs. the MSN landing page and that gives the perfect idea of how much more no-frills and direct-to-the-point Mobissimo is to use.
Mobissimo returns results from all kinds of major sites and lets you know which site is providing the best price and who the carrier is; results are automatically ranked from cheapest to most expensive. Additionally, there is a cool e-mail option that allows you to shoot the fare information directly to someone else via a simple java script application.
Note that Mobissimo does not actually handle any of the ticket purchases for you; it only redirects you to the site of the ticket that you pick. Further, note that Mobissimo pulls prices from non-US sites that charge in foreign currencies.
Pretty cool find.
It's that time again, I have 4 Gmail invites available to give out. I know that some of you e-mailed me before looking for them when i ran out, but I don't want to send you an invite if you've already received one. If you previously sent me an e-mail requesting an invite, didn't receive one, and still want one, please paste in the original e-mail you sent me so that I can take care of you.
First come, first served; I'm sure they'll go fast.
Thanks for reading!
Wayne over at Blog Business World has a post regarding controversial ways to make money from blogging. This ties directly into my post last week regarding putting ads on my blog. From Wayne's post, here are some other money making ideas:
Interestingly, if you were endorsing and reviewing products on your blog and you had contextual advertising running, you might actually be help a different company also advertise on your blog simply based on the context of your endorsement. So do you have to choose? If product endorsements and placements take off, would you be required by those sponsors not to run contextual advertising? Even better: could you get them to pay you not to?
For some reason Blogjet doesn't seem to like my pasting in from Word; turns the quotation marks and apostrophes into weird numerical/symbol strings. I am going to try to fix this issue, so bear with me. To all of those of you that read the blog via RSS readers, I apologize for the republishing.
"Develop an ability to be a reasonably high risk-taker . . . stepping into a situation that is uncomfortable . . . the dividend can be incredible."
-- Clark Johnson, CEO Pier1 Imports
"Attitude is the single most important thing for getting ahead."
-- Clark Johnson, CEO Pier1 Imports
-- Clark Johnson, CEO Pier1 Imports
"When in doubt, as the leader of an organization, change it."
-- Craig Weatherup, CEO PepsiCo
"Don't get out of school and have it in your head that you are making your one final choice on your career and company . . ."
-- Gary Countryman, CEO Liberty Mutual Insurance
"You have to differentiate yourself from your competition."
-- Bernie Milano, CEO KPMG Pete-Marwick
"naive simplicity + savvy = successful businessman"
-- Mark Brown, CEO Best Western
"To strive. To seek. To find. And never to yield. These are the marks of excellence."
-- Mark Brown, CEO Best Western
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
-- Peter Drucker; Warren Bennis
I collect quotes from business books; I keep them in a Microsoft Word file aptly titled, "Business Quotes." While I find the quotes useful many times for presentations, papers, etc. I found myself questioning why else I was collecting these quotes.
Quotes are wonderful because they are free to collect; the only investment is the time that I put into reading a business text. More than that quotes are wonderfully easy to share.
So here's my plan: Starting today and continuing through the next few weeks I am going to post every business quote that I have collected. You will note that a lot of the quotes are from Tom Peters -- Tom was the first business author that I read when I discovered business books and I honestly feel that a lot of his writings helped me greatly in getting through business school.
As an added bonus, I will also share all of the quotes that I have collected that are not specifically related to business; these quotes are stored in the aptly titled, "Quotes" MS Word file.
I hope you enjoy.
In addition to the free scheduled service, you can also using the free Reservationless System, but this system has the following parameters:
This service is a big deal. Chances are that your company (or you) are paying a conference call service some sort of monthly fee plus a per minute charge per participant for conference calls. The thing to consider with the free services described above is that your long distance rate per minute is probably much lower than the price per minute charges. Furthermore, if everyone dials long distance to get into the call, then the cost of the call is being borne by each individual caller rather than the company or person who is setting the call up.
I must say that I have yet to try this service myself, but I guarantee you that I will be using it soon and will post the results of my experiences.
As a side note, they do seem to provide a pretty aggressively priced 800-number option.
Is free conference calling the new instant messaging? I feel that free conference calling is the perfect voice-driven complement to instant messaging.
ClickZ's Al Diguido considers Google's Gmail service to be a burr under his saddle. It rasps his sensibilities that email marketers could have their communications displayed next to contextual search listings that could include competitors. Among the possibilities he considers is stopping delivery to customers who have Gmail addresses, although he suggests testing emails first to determine if there's an adjacency problem first.
Fine by me if you don't want to send spam to my Gmail account. In fact, I remember even suggesting something like this back when Gmail first came out. In fact, here's a quote from that post:
Here's a suggestion for 3rd parties sending e-mail to Gmail users: set your spamming, I mean e-mailing engines to not send mail to *@gmail.com and *.*@gmail.com. By doing this, you will be able to opt out of having your e-mail scanned.
According to this post on Adrants, Chevrolet banned this commercial after it was shot because they were concerned that people might not realize that it was a dream. You can see the spot here. Apparently they were still concerned after they put the language, "This is a dream. Do not drive without a license." on the letterbox frames.
I wonder if Chevrolet is smart (devious?) enough to pull the commercial and then circulate it on the internet in order to get people to opt into watching it rather than interrupting them with a TV spot. The funny thing is, at least for me (and for all of you that clicked through the link), it seems to have worked.
According to this post on Adrants, Jane Magazine has started a promotion where readers can earn prizes by using their camera phones to take pictures of ads that appear in the magazine and send them back to the magazine. I guess this allows the magazine to tell advertisers not only the number of impressions an advertisement may have made based on subscription and newsstand sales, but also gives them an additional metric to report back on. My point is this: Being able to report on the number of people that take a picture of an ad wouldn't convince me that people were really seeing the ad; prove to me that a camera phone picture of an ad is producing a $3 return to a $1 advertising investment.
As a side to note to interruption advertising in magazines: Those stupid new Virgin Atlantic tear out advertisements drive me nuts! Not only are the huge and bulky, but they leave behind a strip of stiff cardboard that's been bound into the spine of the magazine that, unless removed, causes the pages behind it to fold around all weird. It's bad enough that you've stuck this massive ad in the magazine, but I can understand the economics of the magazine business; what pisses me off is that when I remove that ad, it is not really fully removed and impacts my reading experience until I spend even more time to remove the strip. Grrrr.
The 2 most generally useful manifestos that I have read over at ChangeThis are:
Read them, absorb them, pass them around. The great thing about the portability of a manifesto is its absolute ease of sharing; it comes as a PDF so you can e-mail it and there are links within the manifesto to make the e-mail and sharing process even easier. There's no more trying to keep track of your book if you loan it to someone or having to purchase multiple copies of a book so that you can share it.
The 2 manifestos are in no particular order -- Seth's is a bit shorter -- and you should not necessarily read them in the order I have them above. What you should do is read both of them in a close period of time because they are extremely complimentary.
For those of you that have read all that Tom Peters has written, this is a great summation of topics that you will recognize; for those of you that are not at all familiar with Tom, this is a great introduction. For those of you familiar with Seth Godin, this, much like Free Prize Inside, is another big idea in business (not just marketing); for those not familiar with Seth, hopefully this will inspire you to become familiar with him.
It used to be that there was a cost of entry to access the knowledge of of Seth and Tom: the price of the books, the price of the seminars, etc. I am not saying that the books and seminars are not useful or worthwhile, but the cost of immediate entry just went to zero, and believe me, all of your competitors can afford that price.
So maybe this is old news, but to be honest, unless I do a major revision to my blog page template, the majority of my interaction with Blogger is through Blogjet, with which I author all of my posts. In any event, those of you that read my blog via a web browser may have noticed that Blogger replaced all of the Adsense advertisements at the top of the blog with a Google search toolbar that searches the content of my site; exactly the same as the one located in one of the lower boxes on the left of this site. Why did they do this? Well apparently Blogger actually wants to make it my option as to whether or not to put the Adsense advertisements back on the site and to give me a cut of the revenues should I choose to put them back; this is pretty amazing for a free blogging service. From Blogger:
You may have noticed that we recently removed our ads from Blogger powered blogs. We were making money from those ads but you weren't getting any of it. Now, we're inviting you to set up your own Bloggerized AdSense account so that you make the money. What's the catch? We're going to take some of the action. Based on what we have learned from AdSense so far, this will work out very nicely for both of us. Please note that this program is optional and that it is not required for you to have a Blogger powered blogâall bloggers are invited.
Note: As it says above, all bloggers, Blogger users or not, are invited to add Adsense to their blogs.
So will I do it? I'm not really entirely sure. Readership of my blog is hovering around 300 people per day that are visiting the site directly and I have no way of counting the number of people reading via RSS/Atom. The Adsense items really only affect those people that do not read the blog via RSS/Atom, but I'm still not sure if I'm ok with putting advertisements on the blog. I never started blogging to make money from it, although it does take some amount of time for me to produce the content that I do produce, so it is tempting. Furthermore, I do know that Adsense is not going to affect the RSS/Atom readers by pushing ads via RSS, so that becomes a bit more attractive. Finally, Adsense at least provides relevant advertising to the topics I blog about, so I don't have to worry about random banner ads about items that I would prefer not to be associated with. And my absolute final thought is that we are willing to put up with Adsense as part of Gmail, so why not on my blog.
Any thoughts on this topic would certainly be appreciated.
Browse Happy is an online evangelism site. What it's profiled users are evangelizing is not using Microsoft Internet Explorer; the different users tell their stories about using browsers other than IE, so the site is not a marketing tactic by an individual independent browser producer.
The cost of entry for buying a domain, creating, and hosting a site is astoundingly low compared to just a few years ago. Imagine if people united against a bad product in your industry. What if the name of the site was "Enjoy Theme parks" and it was maintained by a group of people that were evangelizing not going to a certain major theme park because of poor quality.
In so much as aggregating real life stories to make an idea more personal, Browse Happy could easily be compared to Apple's Switch campaign. Of course, Apple has millions to throw at the switch ad campaign and the ability to seek out influential people to profile in their campaign.
The most scary thing for industries and businesses should be this:
If you are producing an inferior product, beware! Your customers or potential customers will no longer put up with it. They will blog about it and they can very inexpensively set up whole websites to evangelize about alternatives to your product. They can easily create logos that others can use to quickly pass on the message of the campaign to thousands of others. This is the viral marketing that you think you are looking for, but not the kind of viral marketing you want; it's viral marketing against your product. And the old adage of "any publicity is good publicity" does not hold water in the lightspeed viral environment.
Apparently the new versions of OnStar equipment are digital-compatible, so Verizon Wireless has teamed up with OnStar to provide cellular calling via the OnStar equipment powered by Verizon. This is actually pretty cool because the personal calling offered by OnStar leaves a little bit to be desired and operates over the old analog cellular network; this would actually make me consider switching to Verizon, but, of course, it's not available in my area.
Here's the short deal on how it works:
You pay the yearly OnStar fees for whatever plan you want (don't pay for the personal calling!). You pay a monthly Verizon Wireless charge for calling service.
It seems that this is a version of a "family plan" where 2 phones share the same rate plan and pool of minutes. In addition, you can forward all of the calls from your regular Verizon cell phone to your OnStar phone either immediately or after a 4 ring delay. No voice mail or call waiting is available when the wireless phone has been forwarded to the OnStar phone. In-Network calling does apply to the OnStar plan. From the language, it seems that you will pick a home operating state and all of the rest of the states will be "roam" states for the OnStar service.
From the Verizon/OnStar site:
"On July 12, 2004, the Americaâs Choice with OnStar plans will be available in Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City, New York and San Francisco. The plans will continue to roll out in many markets through the fall and will be available throughout the Verizon Wireless markets by the end of the year."
For those of you that do not have nor have you ever seen OnStar, the personal calling is all voice-activated; there is no longer a phone handset or keypad to enter in numbers. In most newer models, there is a button on the steering wheel (or a little white button on the OnStar pad) that allows you to activate personal calling.
Note: Verizon and OnStar already work together as Verizon owns the analog cell network on which OnStar services currently operate.
Here's how Robert Scoble of Microsoft does it. From his post and with my comments:
You can never be secure enough and most of the items above require little to no investment. If you need to buy hardware such as routers and hard drives, keep your eye on your Sunday paper for sales and mail-in rebates. For software, peruse Amazon and look for mail-in rebates; sometimes you can get good software for free after mail-in.
Dave Pollard has a great list of things about which you can be optimistic. Great way to start the week!
That information from USAToday pretty much answered all my questions, but if you need more information, I would direct you to the US Department of Labor.
Thanks to this post on Boing Boing for pointing out that Bugmenot.com is live again! According to the post on Boing Boing, there were several issues with service providers, but they've finally landed on nearlyfreespeach.net. Some information directly from Bugmenot, via Boing Boing:
I'm just happy the site is back up.
I think I saw an ad in some magazine for this company, but iPass provides a single corporate billing system that allows corporate employees to access the Internet and their corporate networks internationally through wired and wireless connections. iPass has roaming agreements with:
Pretty interesting service if you run a large. mobile corporate workforce.
Got a Blackberry and a Macintosh? Want to sync them together? Have I found the program for you: PocketMac Blackberry Edition! From the site:
Now you can sync your BlackBerry handheld with your Mac. PocketMac BlackBerry Edition is the first program to allow Mac users to sync their crucial data between their BlackBerry and Entourage, Address Book, iCal, Now Contact, Now Up-To-Date, and even Stickies. And it's fully integrated with iSync as well!
Looking at the picture list of Blackberry devices that the software is compatible with, it seems to be compatible with every Blackberry model I've seen on the market so far.
The name of the software? Rsscalendar, of course. Ok, so I signed up for an account, published the feed, and the general idea is pretty cool: you can get my calendar events via RSS.
Here's what would make this even better:
Very cool start and worth checking out.
I wrote about bugmenot.com a while ago when it first launched and have used it consistently ever since. Suddenly I go to get a login and password and the site is down! For those of you that did have a chance to use the service, Bugmenot maintained a database of logins and passwords that you could use to access registration-required sites, such as the Los Angeles Times Online.
Boing Boing has a post regarding the site being down that publishes a quote from someone understood to be the admin for Bugmenot that states:
"Our host pulled the plug. I reckon they were pressured. If anyone has got some secure, preferably offshore hosting in mind then please let us know so we can get the service back up as soon as possible."
To add insult to injury, Boing Boing readers further report:
"I don't have the inside scoop on what happened to BugMeNot, but thought you might find this interesting. I've used the site in the past from work with no trouble, but as of today, it is blocked (our company uses WebSense filtering). I get a message saying that the site is blocked by the "Racism and Hate" category..."
"Hate." As in hate to have to give an e-mail address and all my personal information to read your news? This was a worthwhile service and I am personally very upset to see that it has gotten shut down.
I've just spent a week using the T-Mobile Sidekick II, and I think it's probably one of the best mobile devices I've ever used. And I can say, with total conviction, that I will never, ever purchase one and neither should you. In fact, after the experiences I've had today with T-Mobile, I'm not sure I can ever recommend one of their products again.
Wow! I was actually excited about this device, but I am excited no longer; I wonder how many others are like me? Note to Danger (manufacturer of the Sidekick and Sidekick II): you may want to source your device to a different service provider.
Looking for a little more information on the Olympics beyond the paragraph on your direct TV receiver that just lists out all the things that could be happening over a 3-4 hour period? You can find an ad-free schedule here.
So seriously: What if you threw an Olympics and no one came?
So I'm working on my experimental work blog over at House of Blues Blog; swing by and check it out. The problem that I'm having is coming up with content for the blog -- I have decided to put everything music industry-related over there rather than here, but beyond that I'm a little stuck. A lot of what I do on a daily basis is just what I do, although it might very interesting to all of you; I'm almost tempted to do a day-in-the-life series much like Trump did in The Art of the Deal and How to Get Rich.
Any thoughts, questions, suggestions are more than welcome; feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment here.
"The reason I draw your attention to this is the important distinction between internal and external. Many articles and posts fail to make this distinction, leading to confusion over what is a corporate weblog."
Installed XP SP2 (click here to find the download, but install at your own risk) on my Vaio R505 home machine last night. Aside from the fact that it took about 35 minutes from the time I double-clicked the package to the time I restarted, there are no real adverse effects that I have noticed. During the boot-up from the restart following installation, you do get sent into a wizard that prompts you to turn on Automatic Updates (or not) before the first SP2 boot cycle can even complete. What is interesting to me is that I already had Automatic Updates turned on in SP1, but apparently Microsoft wants to make a big deal out of the whole Automatic Updates feature because my previous choice certainly did not translate through.
I am running the free year of Computer Associates EZ Armor (click here for the link to the 12 month promo), so I did not get any of the pop-ups from Windows regarding my virus detection or firewall.
Checking in the network adapter settings, the Windows firewall is activated across all adapters for almost every available check box. I do know that when I installed the latest version of SecureClient from Checkpoint last week on my work machine it prompted me with a dialog box to deactivate the Windows firewall; I haven't tried installing the latest version at home, so I'm not sure what will happen will SP2.
Just to verify what I had heard, I tried re-installing AdAware. AdAware is not digitally signed and SP2 is not especially friendly to unsigned application installs.
Internet Explorer is very beefed up. One of the obvious major additions is the pop-up blocker that is now integrated into the software. I still had Google toolbar installed when I booted IE, and I neglected to see if the Toolbar counter was registering blocked pop-ups or if IE was blocking them before the Toolbar even had a chance to notice they existed. One major thing that I did notice: I have been using the "New Window" tag on some of the links on this blog and IE very effectively blocks them so all links on this blog moving forward will open in your default window unless you right-click and designate an alternate opening path -- definitely want the blog to be SP2 friendly.
There seems to be major improvement in the Wireless Network Connection interface. Right-clicking on the wireless icon in the tray brings up a much more user friendly interface for selecting wireless networks to connect to and generally configuring wireless networking settings. If you may remember my previous post regarding Windows XP and WiFi, there was a documented problem with Windows XP SP1 and WiFi and SP2 was supposed to correct the problem listed in my post. I have not been able to verify if the problem has been fixed through my own extensive use, but there does seem to be better latency with a Linksys access point with which I used to have horrible problems (of course my Sony is not Centrino-powered so it is using a separate wireless card meaning that I can disqualify the Centrino-certified access point problems right off the bat).
All in all there seems to be no negative impact on the home machine. The IT department at work plans on testing SP2 for at least a month, so I won't be able to provide tons of hands-on feedback from my daily work. The one thing that I do find interesting about SP2 is how Microsoft packaged the SP2 upgrade with the major TabletPC upgrade (more details about the Tablet PC upgrade here). The SP2 file is about 250MB, which is a hell of a download for someone on dial-up and I do have to wonder how much of that overhead isn't even used when installing on a non-Tablet PC.
I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and re-report this information from The Register regarding a possible Apple tablet-type wireless display thing:
It will be exciting to see what comes out of this. Everyone, including me, would like to see some sort of further extension of our Airport Extremes and I certainly wouldn't mind having a wireless tablet that displayed my iTunes window along with other information such as contacts, e-mail, RSS feeds of television schedules, etc. Sort of meld between my Blackberry, a computer running iTunes, and that crazy $1000 wireless Internet remote control that I can't remember who manufactures.
A car wash for my truck costs me anywhere from $15-$19 for a "hand wash" at most of the car washes around my home and office; the car wash in the bottom of my building, which is a true hand wash (they use buckets of soap and water, no mechanical devices) costs about $15. At almost all of the car washes I go to they use compressed air to blow water from around door frames and out of cracks: areas that they could not reach with towels or cloths. Because they are already using compressed air, how hard would it be for them to correctly adjust the air pressure in my tires? I think I would pay an extra $1 for a quick air pressure refill. Lots of people I know would pay a small extra fee for an air pressure fill because I know that the only time their air pressure gets checked and adjusted is when they get an oil change; believe me, your air pressure needs to be adjusted more frequently than every 3,000 miles.
Even better than charging an extra $1 for the service, just make it a free prize with the expensive package. On the menu of options, just add another bullet point that says "Tire pressure checked." Once people figure out that there's a tire pressure adjustment, they might just upgrade from the $9.95 basic wash to the $18.95 premium wash. The great part is that if the car wash already has compressed air at the drying stations, it's a very small investment in a tire filler adapter and a gauge for each station -- maybe about $15 per station.
Courage is what next month's Fast Company (as always, you need the subscriber code from inside the magazine to read the articles) is all about. While I can't access all of the articles yet, I can give you a sneak preview of some of the questions that they asked to various leaders regarding courage. Questions from the article and some answers from me:
What Is Courage?
It's the willingness to shoot from the hip and even go so far as to follow Ross Perot's "Ready. Fire. Aim" methodology. But more than just going with your gut, it's the emotional energy that you put behind the gut-driven decision.
How do you decide what's bold and daring versus just damn stupid and reckless?
Use your best judgment. Experience and background and learning all play a part in the decision.
Can bravery be learned? Or is it genetic?
You are what you are. Just like in the answer above, it is all of your experiences and background and learning that make you brave, and, sure, genetics plays a role in that.
Can you prepare to be courageous?
"A man who has to be told to act before he acts is not a man of action . . . you must act as you breathe." -- Georges Clemenceau
Can guilt produce courage?
Can you fake it?
People can smell a lack of emotional commitment from a mile away.
Stress: Does it stimulate or stifle courage?
Is courage an individual or a group activity?
You need to have support to take a courageous action; the effects of courage relate directly back to the group. That being said, a courageous decision is not the result of a group vote.
How do values relate to courage?
Your values dictate your risk/return attitude.
So is there courage in being patient?
Sometimes. Ready. Fire. Aim. seems highly aggressive with little patience, but you can pick out targets and fully prepare your weapon a long time before you are "Ready."
Where do you find the courage to speak truth to power?
How do today's CEOs define bold leadership?
How do you get a board of directors to be daring with you?
What's the greatest enemy of courage?
You can get more varied answers than mine and answers to the questions that I did not answer in this month's Fast Company.
What is woot and who's behind it?
woot.com is an online store and community run by the employees of a 10 year old consumer electronics distributor that focuses on close-outs and generally buying stuff cheap. Since the distributor doesnât sell to end users, Woot, Inc provides us with an employee-store slash market-testing type of place. Hopefully the boss wonât take notice. We anticipate profitability by 2043 -- by then we should be retired; someone smarter might take over and jack up the prices.
I see only 1 item, do you sell anything else?
No. We sell 1 item per day until it is sold out or until 11:59pm central standard time when it is replaced (see next entry for details). However, each item we sell is in stock and ready to ship that day. Our warehouse manager thinks we are insane.
What is the schedule for new items?
OK - this is simpler than it sounds: A new product is released at 12am central standard time Monday through Friday mornings (if you are not a morning person, this can be described as Sunday - Thursday at midnight. better?) Friday's product will last through the weekend unless we sell out. If a product sells out during itâs run, a new item will not appear until the next release time. You will know if a product is sold out, because the main page says "SOLD OUT" instead of "I want one". (clever, eh?)
I missed yesterday's item, can I get one still?
No. Each woot.com product is discontinued at 11:59 central time monday-thursday and sunday. We may get more at a later date if we're lucky, but we offer no guarantees, we allow no backorders, and we have no waiting / notification lists. Too bad.
Woot sounds like an awesome idea to me. The principles behind it are so simple that some people might find it complicated. Can't wait to see how many other retailers steal this model.
Ok, this is one of my big pet peeves.
When shaking hands apply a firm pressure: I am not shaking your hand to test your grip strength, but at the same time, I do not want a limp fish in my hand. If your hand is clammy or sweaty for some reason, quickly wipe it on your pants before you shake my hand; with practice you can do this very discreetly. When you grasp my hand you want the web in between your thumb and first finger to meet with the web between my thumb and first finger; do not just grab my fingers.
For women: Everything above applies to you as well. Do not offer me only your fingers. Chances are very good that I am not going to kiss the top of your hand, so unless we are in a situation that absolutely dictates that the top of your hand needs to be kissed, offer up your whole hand for the shake. I promise that I am not going to try to crush your hand, but I do ask that you provide some sort of strength feedback during the shake.
Here's a direct repost from this post on Lockergnome:
âSoftware designed to exploit the much lauded Gmail service has been released this week. Aptly named âGmail Hackâ the software performs Dictionary and Brute Force Attacks against a GMail email account.â FYI to those of us with Gmail accounts. Be sure youâre using strong password practices!"
I'm not entirely sure how I would up on the Stamps.com mailing list, but they have sent me 2 e-mails about their new Photo service. In short: Apparently Stamps.com will now allow me to my own personal picture on a stamp. I'm not entirely sure how that's useful to me; I hardly even look to see if letters are addressed to me before I open them, but I do know some people who care about these kinds of things.
Here are the economics of a regular $0.37 stamp:
For this example, assume you order one sheet of $0.37 stamps. With shipping and handling the cost per stamp is $0.99, which is about a 275% mark-up over the original price of a regular $0.37.
I'm sure that this service will be huge with certain people. I do have to respect a business model that imposes a 275% premium mark-up; I truly hope that they are successful.
Are we looking at a paradigm shift here? Are we moving away from the logos on envelopes to the logos on stamps? Will the postal service use a different cancellation method on these stamps so that they are not maimed and can be saved as a memento? Can you put your return address information on the stamp (it would pretty cool if it was encoded within the barcode so that if the envelope were returned the system would know exactly where to route it)? Could you put the address of the person you were sending something to on the stamp and stick the stamp to the middle of the envelope?
There really seems to be no good reason why all of us couldn't print these ourselves at home with our own color inkjet printers. I would imagine that Stamps.com will be introducing software that allows you to do that sometime soon.
So it appears that someone with the porn community has figured out that they can push links through the Bloglinker system to the "blogs" on the porn sites. Take a a look at the Bloglinker window on the bottom left of this page and notice that of the 5 recently added links, 3 of them (maybe more by the time you read this) are links through to some sort of porn site. Bloglinker does give me the ability to suppress, delete, etc. and link I don't like, but I'll wait a couple of days to do so in support of this post.
The really interesting thing is that I started getting notifications of these link-throughs just yesterday morning and there seems to be quite the steady stream. I wonder if it's one webmaster for all the sites or if this is some sort of big move by the industry into the blog world. Certainly you would think that an RSS feed that people opt into rather than receive nasty e-mails would be a better model for the industry, but I am certainly no expert. Actually, consider this: If you received illicit content through a RSS feed, would your company's screening systems be able to monitor and block that content? To that point: Are there RSS feeds that you have to authenticate to (i.e., subscription services)?
". . . the organizers of the Athens games have warned spectators that they could be barred for taking a surreptitious sip of Pepsi or an illicit bite from a Burger King Whopper.
Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games.
Sweltering sports fans who seek refuge from the soaring temperatures with a soft drink other than one made by Coca-Cola will be told to leave the banned refreshment at the gates or be shut out. High on the list of blacklisted beverages is Pepsi, but even the wrong bottle of water could land spectators in trouble.
Fans will be allowed into the Olympic complex if they are drinking Avra, a Greek mineral water owned by Coca-Cola, which paid $60 million US for the privilege of being one of the main sponsors. Officials are under orders not to let in rival brands' bottles unless the labels are removed.
Staff will also be on the lookout for T-shirts, hats and bags displaying the unwelcome logos of non-sponsors. Stewards have been trained to detect people who may be wearing merchandise from the sponsors' rivals in the hope of catching the eyes of television audiences. Those arousing suspicion will be required to wear their T-shirts inside out."
If they actually happen to be successful, is this something that could happen here at our sports and entertainment venues? Personally, I think that the security and event staff have enough to do managing the crowd without being on the lookout for "bad" logos.
In another Olympic story, MSNBC is reporting that the Athens Olympics mascots are having a hard time in the press. From the article:
Olympic mascots Phevos and Athena, siblings named for a pair of Greek deities, are catching an ungodly amount of abuse around Athens.
The pair were derided in various news articles, described as animated condoms and mutants from a nuclear meltdown. Their names were co-opted by anti-Olympic activists, who promptly firebombed two government vehicles in February.
NBC announcer Bob Costas maligned the mascot as âa genetic experiment gone horribly, ghastly wrong.â
I'm sure that wearing Phevos and Athena logos won't be banned, but it sounds like it should be.
Ok, before you read how to get it, here's my caveat: I have not installed it myself and probably will not for at least a couple of weeks after the consumer version is released; the information below should be considered to be for power users.
Here's where you can download the network installation package or you can download a version from here. This install is not really designed to simply update one machine, but you can update one machine should that be your end goal. If you are willing to wait for the consumer version of SP2, simply go to this link and follow the instructions; essentially it just turns on Automatic Updates for you and verifies your firewall and virus protection.
If you are looking to create a clean Windows XP install CD that includes the SP2 components, go to this link and follow the extensive instructions complete with screenshots. Note: You will need the following to accomplish this:
Ever heard of these two? How about if I add on to the full name of their company: "Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company." A new attraction in the Palms casino, Hart and Huntington is also featured on the A&E Special: "Inked."
I happened to catch the show on A&E last night and was very impressed with the idea of the H&H shop. Try to imagine a very high end salon with marble countertops, cool chairs, custom sound system, leather walls, faux painted walls, dramatic lighting, and new stainless steel equipment. Now imagine that instead of coming to get your hair cut, you are instead coming to have your skin permanently inked; there is a buzz in the air, but the buzz is from the tattoo guns, not from the drone of clippers.
Where did this idea come from? According to this article:
"The masterminds behind the venture with Palms Casino Resort Owner George Maloof are freestyle motocross legend Carey Hart and the country's premier nightclub promoter John Huntington. Carey Hart is an Extreme Sports Motocross Athlete, and John Huntington is a nightclub promoter whose credits include producing four of the largest parties in America such as Club Rubber and the Pimp 'n Ho Costume Ball."
You do have to admire everything that the Maloofs have done to keep The Palms fresh and cool. From hosting a season of the Real World in one of their rooms to creating one of the coolest clubs, "Rain," the Maloofs are constantly reinventing their brand to keep at the cutting edge.