Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Be a better liar

Read this small article on Fortune by Seth Godin — it’s a nice add-on to All Marketers are Liars.

More reading from All Marketers Are Liars

There’s a list at the end of All Marketers Are Liars of suggested further reading by Seth Godin.  Instead of having to punch all of those books into Amazon or other shopping engines, you can find the full list with hyperlinks to purchase the books at this post on 800–CEO-READ Blog.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Looking for a few things to do today?

Well, here are some great programs you can start today all from Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog:

  • Give Up Coffee.  Steve offers several easy steps to break your addiction.  Need more reasons?  Here are the top reasons to be caffeine free.
  • Become an Early Riser.  It’s too late for today, but you can start tomorrow.  Note that you don’t have to go to bed early to get up early.  You should read the whole post, but here’s the lesson in a nut-shell: Go to bed only when you’re too sleepy to stay up, and get up at a fixed time every morning.”
  • Reduce TV Watching.  You might think that this is the completely wrong day to start doing this.  Ok.  Try Steve’s method tomorrow and enjoy the Orange County Choppers Marathon or Boy Meets Grill marathon (or whatever else you are watching to pass the hours today).
  • Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking.  Steve recommends joining Toastmasters, which you probably can’t necessarily do today.  But here’s a thought: Step away from the TV and do a little research on Toastmasters meetings in you area (see how I’m pushing you towards the bullet above?).  Listen, even Tom Peters says this about public speaking: “Let me tell you about powerful public speaking: If you have any sense of humility at all, it scares the hell out of you.”  Practice is the only thing that helps you overcome the fear.

Apparently carriers aren't asking for Blackberry Connect on the Treo

At least according to this post on BBHub, palmOne CEO, Ed Colligan had this to say in an interview with Andrew Carton of the Treonauts Blog:

"Ed Colligan mentioned to our surprise that there was little interest from carriers for the present version of BB Connect on the Treo," writes Andrew, "and that this was the primary reason why it had not yet been made available."

That’s a little hard to believe.  Perhaps Ed should go read the forums on many Treo-specific sites and see the Blackberry Connect is one of the most eagerly anticipated software features for the Treo, especially for those whose companies are heavily invested in Blackberry Enterprise Server, but want the ability to use a superior piece of hardware.  Additionally, I thought that all of the carriers were into enhancements that allowed them to charge monthly incremental data plan increases.

Video for Skype

This post on Skype Journal details the test of Video4Skype, a new 3rd party API that allows one-to-one video conferencing using Skype.  In short, the software performed well, was slightly bandwidth heavy, and only supports one-to-one at this point.  Can’t beat the price.

Switching to Mac

From this post on Working Smart comes a link to the Mad As Hell series of posts on the Security Awareness blog (there’s a lot more to the title, but I didn’t feel like typing all of it).  Well-authored reasons to ditch your PC.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Seth Godin's summer intern

Seth Godin is again this year looking for summer interns to work on a secret project according to this post on his blog.

Last year’s group of interns built ChangeThis, so you can only imagine how exciting this year’s project will be.  Although a little cryptic (and rightfully so), this year’s project is described as:

. . . a new business that (hopefully) will turn a profit as it changes the way hundreds of thousands of people influence the very shape of the web. The concept is pretty robust and we’re going to launch it… fast.

Working with Seth is a great thing to have on your resume.  Additionally he’s offering a $1,000 bounty to anyone who refers someone that becomes and intern, so if you find out about it from my blog and get a position, be nice and share so money with me (actually, just take the money and invest it in your future endeavors — just link to my blog from your blog).

What if your cell phone wasn't?

That’s right, wasn’t a phone at all.

Everyone expects consumer devices from Nokia to be phones.  This morning, according to this article on MobileBurn, Nokia released specifications on its 770 Internet Tablet that runs on Linux.  Surprisingly the 770 has no phone (GSM, CDMA, IDEN) radio inside of it, solely on built-in Bluetooth and WiFi radios to provide access.

Nokia apparently envisions the device as a replacement for a 2nd or 3rd computer that a family might purchase for the home.  As the form factor is really small and the price point as anticipated to be around $350.00 Nokia may very well have a good idea on their hands.

Imagine leaving this device around the house with PDA-like instant-on capability that would allow you to immediately check e-mail, control your home stereo, and generally do all kinds of things that you wouldn’t want to wait on your computer booting to do.

More at this post on Gizmodo and this post on Engadget.

I’m pretty sure that this kind of device is what Apple’s aiming for with all of these Apple Tablet rumors that keep floating around, but the Apple device will most certainly include iTunes controls (if it happens, of course).

Office workouts

I have made the added the following workout devices to my office:

  • Dynaflex Powerball ($24 on Amazon, but I found it at a local store for $19) — once you figure out how to use it, the powerball is a great way to strengthen your hands and forearms.  The nice part is that the footprint is very small on your desk as opposed to the old-style spring-loaded hand strengtheners.
  • 65 cm exercise ball (currently $18.71 at Amazon or $19 at my local store) — I sit on this for part of the day rather than my chair.  As you are first getting used to sitting on the ball, you will feel some amount of burning in your abs as if you’ve done a lot of crunches; great way to exercise if you sit in front of a computer for any amount of time.
  • Medicine ball (this is one of the higher end ones on Amazon that is gyro stabilized) — I keep the medicine ball under my desk and do 2 things with it: (1) roll it back and forth with my feet while sitting (you’ll feel it in your calves), and (2) toss it up and down and hold it while swinging my arms side-to-side during the day.  Do not throw the medicine ball at your coworkers, it will end up badly.

All of the above will allow you to work different muscle groups while taking up very little space and will allow you to stay at your desk to perform the exercises.  Additionally, none of the workouts with any of the devices above are enough to make you break a sweat (at least you shouldn’t break a sweat).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wireless unlock remotes

I purchased my truck in California and have since moved to Colorado.  The wireless door unlocking remote that came with the vehicle gave me no problems in California, but I have noticed that the remote sets off alarms or unlocks doors on other GM vehicles in Colorado.  Makes me wonder if they ship particular frequency remotes to particular states with the assumption that vehicles will stay in the state where they are sold.  It’s an interesting phenomenon and makes me a little concerned that if my remote can activate other vehicles that other remotes can activate mine.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What Every Good Marketer Knows

Download the PDF of Seth Godin’s “What Every Good Marketer Knows.”

Found at this post on Brand Autopsy.

Pre-order on iTunes

You can pre-order the new Coldplay album on iTunes.  The hook is that if you pre-order, you will receive bonus tracks that will not be available when the album goes on sale June 7th.  I’m pretty sure this is a first for iTunes.

Now, do you get to download the album on midnight of June 7th.  If so, midnight in what time zone?  Oh, and does iTunes automatically download it for you?

Free MacWorld Boston passes

According to this digg, you can get a free MacWorld Boston pass by going to this site and entering this pass code: B0801.

I’m sure there’s a limited number or someone will shut off the code soon, so hurry if you want them.

Are you a Kevin Smith fan?

You know, Silent Bob?  Silent Bob now speaks on Kevin Smith’s blog, My Boring-Ass Life.

iTunes 4.9 to support podcasts

No more 3rd party apps needed if you have native support in iTunes — from this post on Engadget.

Oh, and the post also says that Steve Jobs has stated that he would also consider selling podcasts through iTunes.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Inventing better outlets

Do you have to use a power strip just to plug 2 things into an outlet because the plugs are too big or weird-shaped to fit together?  Worry no more with 360 degree rotating outlets from 360Electrical.  Here’s what they look like:

Pretty cool stuff.

Google personal page

Not surprisingly after their introduction of the Google Account, Google has launched the personal Google home page.  Basically you can create a personalized landing page on Google that incorporates all kinds of Google services including Gmail.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Google personal page

Not surprisingly after their introduction of the Google Account, Google has launched the personal Google home page.  Basically you can create a personalized landing page on Google that incorporates all kinds of Google services including Gmail.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Movie times overlaid on Google Maps

From the same people I wrote about yesterday that overlaid cheap gas prices onto Google Maps comes movie times overlaid onto Google Maps.

All Marketers Are Liars

Seth Godin’s new book, All Marketers Are Liars is in bookstores today — go pick up a copy (note that the Amazon link lists the release date as May 23, but it is in some stores today).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Contact deals

If you wear contacts, I would recommend checking out Costco or Sam’s Club for very aggressive pricing.  In my case, I wear Acuvue Daily lenses, which can be quite spendy through an optical shop or even through 1–800–CONTACTS.  At Costco, my lenses cost around $12/box; if I purchase 6 months worth of contacts I get a $30 mail-in rebate and if I purchase 12 months, I get a $60 mail-in rebate.  The contacts I order at Costco are shipped directly to my door within 3–5 days from the date the order is placed.  Dollar savings in contacts alone is enough to justify the yearly cost of the Costco membership.

Backpack has released an API

I don’t know how to program and certainly don’t know how to make use of an API, but Backpack has released an API (I wrote about Backpack earlier here).  When I originally wrote about Backpack, I called it a “web service,” and at the time I was correct; with the release of an API, however, Backpack becomes a platform, which makes it quite a bit more powerful.  Programmers can now interact with Backpack by not only pulling data from it, but also by moving data to it.  Because the API is not platform-dependent, programmers can create applications for any operating system to work with Backpack.

I look forward to seeing programs that make use of the Backpack API.

Cheap gas with Google Maps

This is really cool: cheap gas prices overlaid on a Google Map — check it out.

Improve your communication skills

10 ways to do it from this post on Open Loops:

  1. Develop your voice.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Animate your voice.
  4. Enunciate your words.
  5. Use appropriate volume.
  6. Pronounce your words clearly.
  7. Use the right words.
  8. Make eye contact.
  9. Use gestures.
  10. Don’t send mixed messages.

Go read the post, there’s a lot more information there.

I think you can boil this down to just a few points:

  • Pay attention to your words and voice.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Be animated — mouth and body with your body matching what your voice is saying.

And here’s mine that’s not on the original list:

  • Practice active listening.

Happy communicating!

Windows Update

Ok, so for security reasons it’s pretty cool to use Windows Update.  I updated today to a new version of the Windows Installer that will apparently make it easier for me to download and install future Windows Updates.  Once finished, the Update application asked if I wanted to restart now or later and I chose later because I have a ton of stuff open that I am working on.  Now every 10 minutes a little dialog box pops up asking me if I want to restart now or later.  I’ve already answered that question a bunch of times, but Update must not think that I’m making the right choice because I don’t think it’s going to go away until I actually restart.


Tom Peters wire service

Basically a clip blog with Tom Peters name on it, but it’s got cool articles in a single place — check out the TP Wire Service.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Make custom RSS screensavers for Tiger

In case you want to know how, here’s a full tutorial with pictures from Engadget.


Update from Technorati of people linking to me.  Thanks for the support — you’ll see links to you appear on the right pane by the end of the week.

 Vinay Talwar’s Beat
 think again, ideascape moves people to action
 Recall Blog
 jim's blog
Strategic Board Blog Complete Archives
Blog Grok

WEP sucks

According to this post on Boing Boing, FBI teams successfully cracked WEP (WiFi encryption) in 3 minutes using the following 2 methods:

The FBI team used the deauth feature of void11 to repeatedly disassociate the laptop from the access point. Desired additional traffic was then generated as Windows XP tried to re-associate back to the AP. Note that this is not a particularly stealthy attack, as the laptop user will notice a series of "Wireless Network unavailable" notifications in the taskbar of their desktop screen.

Another attack method the FBI team used is a replay attack. The basic premise of this attack is to capture at least one packet traveling from the victim laptop to victim access point. This packet can then be replayed into the network, causing the target AP to respond and provide more traffic to capture.

You still have to be fairly skilled technically to crack WEP and it’s definitely more secure than just leaving your network wide-open with no protection at all (i.e., don’t take this as a good reason not to enable security on your WiFi).  Seriously, the number of wireless access points that I can find in my neighborhood with no security at all is staggering.

VOIP walkie-talkie?

According to this post on Engadget, a company called DingoTel has created a dongle that uses VOIP to turn your walki-talkie into a nationwide two-way device (you know, like Nextel).  The system seems to support a bunch of family radio service radios, but not a whole lot of commercial radios.  Additionally, the VOIP two-way is made over a proprietary DingoTel network and not something cool like Skype.

Anyway, it looks kind of interesting and cheaper than Nextel.

Mobile e-mail is lame

At least according to this post on Communities Dominate Brands.  From the post:

What is the messaging killer app in mobile? Even West Coast American telecoms journalists already know that it is SMS text messaging. 8% of all person-to-person messaging traffic is SMS text messaging, which delivers over 20 times more revenues worldwide than e-mail in all its forms, on fixed and mobile networks. At 50 billion dollars in service revenues, SMS text messaging is bigger than Hollywood. Bigger than videogaming. No, bigger than Hollywood and gaming, combined !!  SMS delivers 15% of mobile operator revenues in Western Europe and 55% of total profits. The most profitable service or product in the history of mankind.

I’m sold.  Read the rest of the post, it’s pretty amusing and entertaining.  I’ll leave you with this final comment from the post:

. . . e-mail is outdated, it is not used between friends, and not between colleagues. The only people you would use mobile e-mail with is the older generation at work, ie your boss. e-Mail? Its so 1990s.

IE7 to have tabbed browsing

According to this post on Slashdot, Internet Explorer 7 will have tabbed browsing as one of its new features.  Neat.  You can wait for IE7 or simply download Firefox now and get this functionality immediately (along with a simply better browsing experience) — your choice.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Buy an iPod Shuffle out of a vending machine

No shit.  Check out this post on Lifehacker.  You can’t see the whole machine in the picture, but I wonder if there’s a credit card reader; that’s a lot of cash to shove into a vending machine if there’s no reader.

Doxa finally responds (sort of)

In response to my really long post about my problems getting a watch I ordered from Doxa, here was the response I received:

From: "DOXA Watches USA" <newsletter@doxa.us>
To: Ross Hollman
Subject: Shipping confirmation for your DOXA SUB600T professional Dirk Pitt Edition
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 09:27:55 +0200

Dear Valued Customer,

Your ordered watch will ship today.

Please note that you will receive a free orange rubber strap and a free DOXA baseball cap with your order

Thank you for your understanding and sorry for the delay.

DOXA Watches LTD

I really don’t think I’ll be wearing the hat or switching out to the rubber strap (might have been nice for them to have waived the shipping charge or paid the duty for me).  At least I’m finally getting the damn watch.

Big bottle of Georges de Latour

One of my favorite wines, BV Georges de Latour has been produced in a 27 litre (7 gallon) bottle according to this post on Luxist.  Apparently the bottle will be traveling all over the country on the “Vineyards to Vegas” tour — I hope they don’t ruin the wine inside by putting it on display (not that I’m going to have a chance to drink any of it).

Want to work for free?

Sometimes it’s hard when you are young to get a big position at a company.  Would you be willing to take a job for no pay in return for titular compensation?  That’s the question Dave Morgan asked when he founded Real according to this article on Inc.com.  From the article:

With no reputation and no money to fund a payroll, Morgan’s biggest challenge was recruiting employees. Looking to keep costs low, he focused on recent college graduates eager to work for a technology company. Then, when they applied, he simply told them that he couldn’t afford to pay a salary.

Not surprisingly, most candidates withdrew their resum├ęs immediately. But two twentysomethings eager to get their foot in the door agreed to work unpaid for six months. Morgan sweetened the deal by giving them both founders’ titles and a lot more responsibility than they would have received at an established business.

It can be hard to get an executive job without executive experience which you can’t get without having an executive job — I don’t know that I wouldn’t have turned down an opportunity like the one detailed above when I graduated from college.

Easy to understand doorhandles

Ok, doorhandles are not really all that hard to understand, but what if your doorhandle glowed green when it was unlocked and red when locked.  You might not want this all over your house, but imagine the business applications (think security and privacy).  This post on Thinking by Peter Davidson links through to a company called Brighthandle that sells these doorhandles.  There are both hard wired and battery powered models available and it doesn’t yet seem that they have distribution in the US.  No pricing details are available on the site.

Be a better boss in just 5 minutes a day

This post on the [non]billable hour links through to this post by Rosa Say.  In short, Rosa suggests that managers set aside 5 minutes per day of “no-agenda time” to interact with a minimum of 1 employee.  From Rosa’s post:

In the process of developing this habit, [managers] greatly improved their own approachability. They had nurtured a circle of comfort for their employees to step into and talk to them——whenever time presented itself. The Daily Five Minutes itself soon became a more personal thing. Employees started to share their lives with them——what they did over the weekend, how their kids were doing in school, how they felt about a local news story. Managers began to know their employees very well, and their employees began to relate to them more as people and not just as managers.

Knowing well enhances relationships.

This is applicable no matter how many employees you have; start today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Seth Godin's Imperfect Guide to Building a Website

Formally titled KnockKnock, you can download the e-book here from ChangeThis.  Can’t beat the price; read it and share it.

My spring wishlist

The American Express Spring Wishlist is now active, so you can buy high-end toys at vastly reduced prices (very similar to the Christmas Wishlist promotion).  I wonder how many people sign up for American Express cards in order to have the right to purchase items?  Obviously it must be working for Amex if they’re running it again.

Although there’s nothing in the current display that I’m super-excited about, you can pick up the Westin Heavenly bed collection for $1,000 on Thursday (I posted about this a couple of days ago), which is about the price of a higher end mattress.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

iTunes 4.8 released

It provides support for video — not real surprising.

Keeping it clean

This post on 43 Folders links through to this article on Real Simple that tells you how to keep your house clean by just expending 19 minutes a day.  Since 43 Folder detailed out the Family/Living Room plan, so here’s the bathroom plan with a time investment of 2 minutes:

BATHROOM, 2 minutes daily
Make cleaning the basin as routine as washing your hands. But don't stop there. Get the most out of your premoistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.
# Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
# Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
# Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
# Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
# Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Monday, May 09, 2005

Doxa watches -- bad experience, bad story

UPDATE 11/2/05: Before you make a purchase decision about a Doxa watch based on this post, please read my updated post.

So I posted about the Dirk Pitt Doxa watch quite some time ago, and, being a big Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt fan, I went ahead and ordered myself a watch from their site. When I ordered the watch, the site listed the item as in-stock and they charged my credit card a few weeks after they received my order. Below are e-mail conversations that I have been having with Doxa customer service since I placed my order almost 1 month ago. The thing that really sucks is that the stuff below is going to make you not want to order one of these watches. Additionally, it’s going to make you have ill will towards Clive Cussler and the Dirk Pitt books; not that Clive Cussler can do anything about my order, but it’s still going to make you feel as frustrated as I do. If I were Mr. Cussler who, for all intents and purposes because he’s written in his books for so long about this watch, really created the story and therefore the advertising, I’d be damn pissed off. Here goes:

From: <confirmation@doxawatches.com>
To: Ross Hollman
Subject: =Order_Confirmation_for_your_DOXA_SUB_600T_Professional

Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 20:54:56 +0100

Dear valued customer,

Congratulations on your purchase and thank you for buying DOXA, Dirk Pitt's® choice.

Our Billing department in VIENNA-AUSTRIA will debit your credit card and process your order within 48 hours from order entry.

Due to the high demand after the announcement of the new Dirk Pitt® block buster SAHARA, there has been a high demand on the orange-faced DOXA SUB600T series, the stock which was supposed to last till the end of the month is sold out, but we are committed to supply fresh stock within several days, so please expect a 5 to 10 business days delay on shipping your order.

Thank you for your purchase and sorry for the inconvenience.

best regards,
DOXA watches LTD promises you it will be worth the wait


So that was my initial e-mail from Doxa on Mar 25 that states a 5–10 business delay on the shipping, which would put shipping the week of March 28 or April 4. I sent the following e-mail on April 11, coincidentally the same day that they charged my credit card:

From: Ross Hollman
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 6:52 PM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation for your DOXA SUB 600T Professional Dirk Pitt® Edition

Is there a status update on time to ship?

To which I received this reply:

From: <confirmation@doxawatches.com>
To: Ross Hollman
Subject: =Re:_Order_Confirmation_for_your_DOXA_SUB_600T_Professional
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 19:52:27 +0200

Dear Sir,

thank you for your patience, we will be shipping this week

Best regards
Customer Care

So I was fine, waiting to receive a shipping confirmation by April 15 or so. Never got one, so I then sent this e-mail on April 20 (5 days after it was supposed to ship for those of you doing the math):

From: Ross Hollman
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Order Confirmation for your DOXA SUB 600T Professional Dirk Pitt® Edition

Is there a new status update on time to ship?

To which I received this response:

From: <confirmation@doxawatches.com>
To: Ross Hollman
Subject: =Re:_Re:_Order_Confirmation_for_your_DOXA_SUB_600T_Professional
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 17:06:31 +0200

Dear Sir,

we are starting to ship all watches ordered before April 1st. all other order have not been billed
and will be processed and shipped within the next days

unfortunately we are aware that over 100 orders from March and April are due and we are working 24/7 to get them out ASAP, the problem is that every watch has to be tested thoroughly for at least 1 week and this is very time consuming.

Please accept our apology and final notice that we'll be ready to ship by April 29th.

Thank you for your understanding and sorry again for the inconvenience, please also note that you can cancel your order at any moment for a full refund

Best regards
Customer Care

So the e-mail above clearly states that the final date for shipping is April 29. This morning I still had not received a shipping notice, so I wrote this e-mail:

Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 15:41:08 GMT
To: "
confirmation@doxawatches.com" confirmation@doxawatches.com, billing@doxawatches.com, orders@doxawatches.com, sales@doxawatches.com
From: Ross Hollman
Subject: Re: Re:_Re:_Order_Confirmation_for_your_DOXA_SUB_600T_Professional

Let me address your points below in order that you stated them:

1. You state that "all other order have not been billed." In actuality, you billed my credit card on April 11 for $<deleted by Ross>, so it has been almost a month since you billed my card and I have still received no shipping confirmation.

2. You state that "we'll be ready to ship by April 29." I have yet to receive any sort of order update or shipping confirmation and it has now been 11 days since the date that you promised as
your "final notice" below that you would be ready to ship.

Obviously this situation is unacceptable. I have no desire to cancel my order, I would simply like to receive the watch that I have ordered and expect to receive it immediately. I will further note that on your website when I placed the order, there was a blinking icon that stated "This Item is In-Stock." When I checked your website today, that same statement of the watches being in-stock is still being made.

Please get back to me immediately on the status of my order.

Ross Hollman

Note that I have now copied the Sales, Billing, and Order e-mail addresses found on the Doxa website (

I have not yet received an e-mail in response to the one above, but I’ll keep you posted. Obviously I can very easily dispute the charge with my credit card company and get the money refunded, but that’s not the point — as I said above, I just want the watch.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Skype to blog calls

That’s the title of this post on SkypeJournal and I have to admit I was a little confused at first, but reading the post cleared things up:

What's a Skype to blog call? Well don't you want your blog to capture voice comments from readers? I certainly do.

So how do you get it to work?  Essentially you have the Comment link force an interaction with the Skype API and divert the call to a program called Pamela, which records the call and returns a URL that links through to recording.

Sounds a little complicated and definitely sounds like it won’t work unless your blog lives on a server you control, but the concept is really interesting.

Apparently it's national-tell-a-friend-about-blogs week

I’ve really only see this at this post on Seth Godin’s blog, but I respect Seth, so I am doing as he asks:

If you've got a blog, why not put up a post encouraging your readers to participate in national tell-a-friend-about-blogs week? And if you don't, how about sending an email to ten colleagues (just ten, no need to be greedy) and introduce them to your favorite blogs.

I’m not going to send the e-mails as the impact of posting on my blog impacts many more people, but if you’re a reader and don’t have a blog and you feel good about participating, send out that e-mail (and feel free to include my blog as an example).

Spoof e-mails easily

Author’s note: please only use this for good, never for evil.

From this link on digg that links through to this page on CollegeBums with full instructions.

Traffic data via RSS

Lots going around about the ability to view traffic data for your through RSS via Yahoo, but I found this post on John Resig’s blog where he has created a simple form to easily create the RSS feed URL.  Essentially, instead of trying to build your own URL, you just enter an address or zip code into John’s “Location” field, pick a radius from the “Radius” drop-down, a severity from the “Severity” drop-down, and the form will produce the URL for the RSS feed.

Looking through the comments, I then found this utility that mashes traffic data together with a Google Maps (note that it also works when you click over to the Satellite view) — cool!

Pack smart

Great article on Business 2.0 by Kevin Knox with Advanced Micro Devices that travels 150,000 miles per year.  Kevin explains how to fit 10 days worth of clothing into a carry-on.  Note that a lot of Kevin’s tips assume that you will be outsourcing some pressing and potentially some cleaning at the hotel where you are staying.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Google Account

So here’s a question: Why doesn’t my Google Account (you know, Gmail access, search tracking, etc.) log me into Blogger or AdSense?

I know that the Accounts site says “initial services,” but it’s curious to me why they haven’t activated for their other owned and operated properties.

Hacker's Guide to QuickTime

I’m not condoning anything that’s written in this document, but here you go: Hacker’s Guide to QuickTime.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Backpack is live

I wrote about this a few of weeks ago, but the Backpack web service is no active and free for personal use.  I just signed up for my own Backpack site, but haven’t had enough time to play with it — I’ll tell you this, it looks pretty damn cool. 

More to come.

Forbes' 10 Ways to Live Longer

Here’s a link to the article and the short version if you don’t want to click through:

    1. Don’t oversleep
    2. Be optimistic
    3. Have more sex
    4. Get a pet
    5. Get a VAP (it’s an advanced cholesterol test)
    6. Be rich
    7. Stop smoking
    8. Chill out
    9. Eat your antioxidants
    10. Marry well

Lots more information if you go to the article and click through the hyperlinks attached to the list.

How to fold fitted sheets

I’ve never been able to figure out myself, but here’s a handy tutorial from Target (via this post on Lifehacker).  Complete with pictures.

Make your own waterproof, wireless webcam

In case you have the need, you can follow these full instructions via this post on Gizmodo.

Major shift in Absolut Vodka marketing (at least in Australia)

From this post on it’s what I do . . .:

"Absolut, a brand with one of the most iconic & successful advertising campaigns evah, is launching a new product with *zero* advertising. No advertising in a category that typically buys $3 million in media for a rollout (Australian market)."

So how is Absolut going to launch the product?  From this post on Like it Matters:

Absolut has taken out a short lease on two pubs - one in Sydney's Surry Hills, the other in Melbourne's St Kilda - hired bands, DJs and put on a photographic exhibition on life in five state capitals. Visitors to the Absolut Cut bar will get a free bottle of Cut and eventually the public will be given a chance to contribute their photos, generating what Absolut hopes will be a viral element to the campaign.

Experiential and viral — big companies are starting to truly embrace the new world of marketing.

Amazing because of the size of the company, but inevitable.

Linkin Park does not want to produce any more albums for their record company

According to this article on the ABC Philadelphia website:

Linkin Park wants out of its deal with Warner Music Group just as the label is about to go public.

The band has issued a statement saying the new owners will reap big awards from an initial public offering but no money will be given to the artists.

The band claims it has been responsible for ten percent of the label's record sales over the past five years. Linkin Park owes Warner Music four more albums, but the band says they're looking into releasing music over the Internet and it does not plan to deliver a new album to Warner.

While the record company claims that the band’s numbers quoted above are over-inflated, it will be very interesting to see if Linkin Park is successful in breaking their contract and releasing albums direct to the internet — perhaps it will signal a shift away from the traditional record company model.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Westin Heavenly Bed collection available for home purchase

This post on Luxist reports that the Westin Heavenly Bed, mattress and associated linens, is available for purchase for you home.  From the post, here’s the pricing:

The Westin Heavenly Bed At Home Collection will be priced at $35 to $300 for the sheets and $1,250 to $1,450 for the mattress. The entire ten-layer setup can be purchased for upwards of $3,600.

The Westin Heavenly collection will be available for purchase at select Nordstrom stores nationwide.

I’ve stayed in the Westin Heavenly bed before and it’s nice, but doesn't seem worth the $3,600+ pricetag.  I would say you can get the same level of comfort with the following:

  • Denver Mattress Company Doctor’s Choice mattress — costs about $600 for the king size mattress and boxspring.
  • Lilac Season’s 1000 thread count sheets from Linens-n-Things — costs about $300 for the king size set (you can buy multiple sets and create 10 layers if you wish)
  • Pillows, comforter, and blanket — buy Hotel Collection items at Foley’s, Mervyn’s, Macy’s, etc. — just wait until they run a coupon in the paper for 10–15% off (you can open a store card and generally save an additional 10–15% if you want)

Just my $0.02.

Blogjet follow-up

So I wrote this post a few weeks ago regarding a bad experience I had trying to download a new version of Blogjet.  I got this e-mail from the author of the script that allows you to download the new version:

A friend just emailed me your article about Blogjet bad move. I read it and I found that they're using the free version of the autoresponder that I coded. If you do not want us to e-mail you, just leave the fields blank. Ok, the script does not work this way, you must insert a name and an email address.

I was redirected here to the "Awake Autoresponder" that said:

SUBSCRIBE Awake Autoresponder ERROR: Invalid Email/Name. Awake Autoresponder by Daniel Berg, 06-21-2004 © Copyright 2003, 2004. All rights reserved. DANIBERG

I don't know, it just seems that's my fault here... and there's my name on it!!

After asking if I could publish the e-mail above, along with his agreement for publishing, he sent this:

Yeahh.. you can post my email. I just thought that I needed to email you 'cause Blogjet is using my script, and that's their fault if they don't ask their users for name/email.

I would tend to agree that it is Blogjet’s fault for publishing a use of the script that is not supported by the script.

Thanks for responding!

Good Morning Silicon Valley now via RSS

I don’t know how new this actually is, but I just noticed that Good Morning Silicon Valley has a RSS feed — I like reading this column and am glad I can now get it in Bloglines.

Find free MP3s with Google

Full instructions here on Hotniss.com — use only for good not for evil.

iTMS RSS generator

You can find it here (in case you care).

Get 30 free songs from iTMS

I saw this offer pop up on iTMS today — buy an Airport Express and receive a certificate for 30 free songs on iTMS.  Initially I thought that I was actually going to be prompted to purchase the Airport Express through the iTMS commerce engine, but when I clicked the link, I was redirected to this website.  If you were looking at purchasing an Airport Express anyway, no reason not to take the 30 songs (who knows, you might be able to re-gift the 30 free song certificate).

Monday, May 02, 2005

Private browsing on the new Safari

Apparently if you install Tiger and use the new version of Safari included with it, you can turn on a private browsing session that does not add items to history, removes downloaded items from the Downloads history, does not populate autofill, and does not populate search history according to this post on TUAW.  I’m sure this has nothing to do with browsing porn, but is instead, as th post suggests, for “security when browsing in private areas.

You can never be too secure.

If you're not going to turn your old pc into a lockpick . . .

. . . perhaps you might like to try to turn it into a DVR —full instructions via this article on Makezine.

More MBA

From this post on the Never Eat Alone blog:

So you've got two arms, two legs and a Harvard MBA, but why would anybody hire you? There are five classes ahead of you, people who've been out in the real world with real knocks against them that are probably -- especially at this stage and in this market -- looking for the same jobs you are. Furthermore, you don't know anything and you're too costly. Any company's going to have to invest a lot of money in you before they get any value out of you. So you better bust your hump to make sure that when you enter into your position, you know something that's going to add value from day one.  

The "generalist" concept, I believe, has good emotional appeal. But you really have to be a deep expert in this world.

Aspire to some level of thought leadership. There's something about the business you want to go into (or the one you're already in, for all you non-MBA students) that you can know better than anyone else.

Enough said.

Sell by listening

From this post on Corporate Engagement if found this post called “Selling by listening.”  From the author:

At a recent product pitch, a customer told me that we were the only remaining contender from an original short-list of three. One of the original vendors did not return repeated invitations to demonstrate their product; the other began the engagement by telling the company that they would be guinea pigs for the product in Australia. Later, at a demonstration of the product, a salesperson continually interrupted with sales spiel.

My reaction was disappointment for the customer. While advantageous to me, the behaviour of these vendors prevented the customer from being able to select the best from a range of competitors, although judging by the behaviour of the others I think they already have!

It is hard to understand the vendors' arrogance - how can they believe they can sell their product like this? If they weren't ready to sell the product, why were they wasting the customer's time offering it in the market? Having the best product in the world will not save a company than cannot - or will not - communicate honestly with its customers.

There’s more to read with good advice from the author.

Crapload of wallpaper

Find all kinds of wallpaper for your computer here.

Got old computers sitting around?

You can make a lockpick out of one of their hard drives.  I’m not kidding.  Check it out here at this post on Digg.

I Park Like An Idiot

Found these stickers via this post on Cynical-C — don’t you ever want to do anything to those idiots that block 17 parking spaces?  (Liability disclaimer: I am not advocating that you put these stickers on other cars)

Repository of Apple ads

Ever want to see that 1984 ad from the Olympics?  Via this post on Adjab, I found this link to a site that has archived all Apple TV ads.

Bloglines into Safari

If you use Bloglines (like I do) and want to get your subscriptions into the new version of Safari included with the OSX upgrade, follow these instructions on this post on TUAW.  Beware that your folders in Bloglines may not transfer over (I’ve never gotten this to work with NewsGator); the post does not make it clear as to whether or not Bloglines folders transfer.

Personally, I like Bloglines because it is platform-independent and I use multiple different operating system at home and in the office and I like to be able to check posts at computers that are not mine, but you’ll have to make your own choice.  I guess there’s really no reason why you couldn’t use Bloglines and Safari together, but you’ll have to manually add subscriptions back and forth as there is no sync program (yet).