Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sea of Dreams - December 29, 2007

Living in the SF Bay Area and have no idea what you are doing for NYE?

Check out Sea of Dreams! It's brought to you by alot of the same crew that does Burning Man. I'd be there, but I'll be in NYC instead :(

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catfish Noodling - December 27, 2007

I remember hearing about catfish noodling a little bit ago, but being back in Texas reminded me of how unique it is to the Southern culture. I sure as hell wouldn't do it.

Check out the video below:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Muart (music meets art) – December 26, 2007

After a delicious dinner at Frascati, Sosia and I gallantly walked the worn steps up to the Jo-Tel. In our hands were masterpieces. True works of art! Undeniably truthful and inspired remnants of our emotions scraped together and birthed via a non-ethereal media.

We were about to enter the 3rd Annual Jo-Tel’s Top 15 Songs of 2007 Listening Party. Within the grasp of my digits was my personal claim to fame…a carefully crafted art piece intended to represent one of the fifteen best songs of 2007. I was a true pugilist. Trained not with an intent to harm, but to invent wondrous creations that stimulate and provoke the mind. Fourteen other individuals were selected by Shark to develop smart depictions of the artists and the songs.

Last year, Shark gave a few of us pieces of construction paper to convey our interpretations of the top 15 songs of 2006. I could tell this year would be much different from last year, as we were only assigned the artists and songs sans predetermined media. We were free to let our brains roam.

As the music played and the booze lingered down the gullets of our throats and swam in our blood, the brilliance of the art prevailed. There were paintings, sculptures, drawings, writings, and maybe even some performance art. A community passionate about music emerged from the electronic debris (email, blogs, google groups, etc) from which it was formed, and electrified the night.

Besides the bottle of champagne and Jack that I helped destroy, here are my top highlights of the night:

- Finally meeting Deepa
- Recording a video of everyone watching a video Hip E made of two girls watching 2 girls 1 cup
- Impromptu dance party
- Sosia’s mind boggling creativeness
- Break dancing until my knees were bleeding

Check out more pics on my Flickr page, and enjoy this video of Mark's primal scream.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve's Day - December 24, 2007

I saw this on LaughingSquid, but it's officially from Spluch. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

PreTxt - December 21, 2007

Every holiday season I inevitably piss off my friends by forgetting to call them or send them a text message wishing them a “Happy – insert holiday here –“. If you’re anything like me, here are the top five reasons why you probably forgot to wish them the best:

- I was drunk
- I had too much to drink
- I was passed out from drinking
- I was too hungover to move
- My friends tied me naked to a tree

Regardless of the reasons, I’d really like to avoid the whole, “Sorry I forgot to call or text you…I the lamest person in the world…please forgive me…I promise to never do it again…you can have my first born.”

Enter PreTxt. It’s a service from a company called Mobile Campus, which allows you to schedule text messages to be sent out to your friends whenever you want. I learned about it at work, and I hope this year it will help me avoid those awkward moments. To use it, all you have to do is sign into the service on the Internet, create your message, enter the mobile numbers of who you want it sent to (up to 42), and then select when you want your message sent. The rest is history.

Now…where did I put that eggnog?

Some screenshots of the webpage below

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wha wha wha – December 18, 2007

The title of this blog post is supposed to mimic the sound that gets played in cartoons whenever a character becomes demoralized. I entitled it as such because this is the sound I played in my head when I saw the latest Dell advertisement in Facebook.

Here’s what it looked like:

Ok, so tell me again why I would want to click on this? Why has Facebook allowed advertisers to buy space in the news feeds section of Facebook? I thought the space was reserved for news relevant to my sphere of friends? Last time I checked Dell wasn’t one of my friends.

Even though the Dell website is somewhat cool (see pics below), and has a good viral aspect to it (you can send videos of cheesy celebrities to your parents/friends telling them to buy you ___ gift), the manner in which they engage Facebook users is weak sauce.

Has anyone else received really lame Facebook news feed ads?

RAD - "send me an angel" - December 20, 2007

What could be cooler than cheezy eighties music, bmx bikes, slow motion video, a high school dance, and chicks doing stunts?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Can you hear me now? – December 19, 2007

So you decided to write a “blog”. Welcome to the club! What’s that? You want to find out whether or not people are reading it? Beyond layering in some Google Analytic html code, or checking out Technorati to see your authority level, there are other ways to figure out how much of an influence you have (or don’t) in the blogosphere. Marketers can also use the tool to check out if people are talking about their products or brands.

I beta-tested this really interesting conversation monitoring product from a company called BuzzLogic. In theory, it allows a user to enter a set of key terms into a search query box, at which point the product will then crawl the web and identify key blogs and conversations relevant to the search query. It measures things like frequency, relevancy, level of influence, key influencers, etc. It also creates a map of how the blogs link together, and gives them a rating of what ones are most important. In their own words, BuzzLogic says it can, “Surface the influencers leading conversations that matter and target your messages to them and their audiences for the highest return.”

I tried it out, and found it to be somewhat useful. It requires a high level of involvement, and I wasn’t 100% positive that the algorithms they used to identify key influencers were right. In the end I’d rather have this tool than not.

If you don’t have any money to subscribe to a service like BuzzLogic and you’re interested in trying a beta-test of a social monitoring technology, try checking out Scout Labs. It’s got a demo you can watch that shows you what its technologies can accomplish. Sign up to test their product and see what happens.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Save Me – December 18, 2007

Palm, Inc is in a world of trouble. Not only does it get its lunch money stolen by Apple and Blackberry, but there is no reassuring statement from the CEO that Palm will once again prevail. The Palm blog didn’t even post any information about today’s miserable news. Palm’s shares, which have lost more than half their value this year, are looking to remain low for a while. Investors only recommend buying this stock if you’re in it for the long haul.

Palm had the opportunity to really kill the market when they had the chance, but for whatever reason they chose to remain stagnant. While the Treo has remained successful with business folks, it has minimal appeal to the consumer, which invariably limits their potential market.

Here are three factors that I think put Palm in its situation today:

1. Inability to recognize the mobile shift

I once had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Palm, Ed Colligan, in the summer of 2006. In our conversation I explained to him that cell phones were no longer going to be about making calls, writing emails and texts, and adjusting office documents on the fly. The evolution of consumer generated media, location identification (GPS), real time reporting, video, and information sharing are going to push the definition of what a “cell phone” really is. Furthermore, I painted a picture of their target audiences and how they have evolved and will evolve in the next few years. The conversation was enjoyable, Ed was a great, down-to-earth guy, but I don’t think he quite bought my argument. His loss.

2. Terrible advertising

Need I say more than showing you these ads? They suck! Nothing intriguing. Nothing unexpected. It doesn’t play on my emotions. Lame lame lame! Thanks Young and Rubicam.

3. Slow moving

Not only was Palm late to release their latest Treo in time to combat the iPhone, but the Treo device itself has not evolved. The form factor is not sexy, unique, or alluring.
Treo 300 (pretty damn old)
Treo Centro (newest)

Random memory - Decemeber 18, 2007

Setting: My old apartment at the Jo-tel, November 2006
Scene: Shark is sitting on my bed going through the music folders on my computer
Action: Shark clicks on the folder entiltled "new music"
Line: "Reid, are you serious? Village People, Village People? Oh my God!!!!"

Big Umbrella – December 18, 2007

This past weekend I checked out my new local art gallery/studio space. I guess a group of students got together to create a space that they could both work in and showcase their art at. *POOF * a co-op is born in the name of art.

Their first opening wasn’t terribly disappointing as one might expect from a student run studio. Some of the works were fairly unique and innovative, while others dull and lacking inspiration. In the end, I’m proud of this group banding together to form a rogue gallery, and I wish them the best.

Here’s their somewhat functioning website:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Say What? – December 17, 2007

I was watching one of the instructional iPhone commercials AGAIN, and something caught my eye. Maybe(probably) this has been blogged about, but I noticed this:What’s going on here? Obviously it's a blatant endorsement of Google, but why?

Maybe it’s a subvert tactic to show the over inflated value of Google. Honestly, I’m puzzled as to why Apple would want to highlight Google, essentially a competitor of Apple, in their commercial. It makes no sense to pay millions of dollars to create and broadcast a TV ad, only to make their audience think of a different company during a portion of the commercial.

I know Apple and Google have aligned to battle Microsoft, but should they make this relationship so obvious?

Weird. Anyone have an answer to this?

Ice Pick Beer – December 17, 2007

Ahhhhhh…….what quenches your thirst on a California winter day better than a cold tall-boy of Pabst Blue Ribbon? Hmm, well, I guess a cold tall-boy of PBR that has been twice stabbed in the lid with an ice pick so that it guzzles down your throat as fast as you can drink it.

Where oh where can one find this magical beer? Murio’s Trophy Room in the Upper Haight. It’s sketchy, sometimes smelly, borderline dump, and might have women’s underwear stapled to the ceiling. I recommend heading to Murio’s for a PBR, checking out some music at Amoeba, then another beer at Murio’s, and finally some grub at Cha Cha Cha…guaranteed good time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jargon – December 14, 2007

As a marketer I understand the importance of developing an alluring message to convince people to consider buying/using my product or service. As a consumer, I know that I am rarely persuaded by taglines and product claims, however, at the very least I’m allured to learn more about that specific product/service.

Unfortunately, some companies do a terrible job of creating outbound messages to describe what their product/service is about. Below is a great example of a message that is used to explain an extremely popular service that over 50 million people around the world use:

“______ is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.”

Any guess what it could be? It’s freaking Facebook. Wow! Mark Zuckerberg could use a lesson or two in marketing. This phrase, which is the most visible on Facebook’s landing page is more of an internal rallying cry versus something that should ever be said to a potential user.
Imagine if Zuckerberg had his way with these taglines:

Nike “Just Do It” would be transformed to “Providing motivated individuals with the essential equipment to achieve their goals”

Cingular “More Bars in More Places” would eventually become “Wireless telecommunications for individuals from Arizona to Azerbaijan so that they can reliably talk to each other and whoever else they want to in any place at any time”

Coors “Tap the Rockies” might end up as “Genuine mountain water cold filtered adult beverages that enhance experiences and friendships once imbibed”

Look Out - December 14, 2007

Photo from BBC

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marketing Paradox – December 13, 2007

cartoon courtesy of Daveloa
As a male consumer (and a purveyor of cool), I enjoy hearing about intriguing new products and stuff geared for my lifestyle. How I learn about that stuff is a different story.

I’ve suffered through thousands of feminine hygiene advertisements, I’ve been bombarded with erectile dysfunction messages, and I’ve been subjected to retirement commercials more times than I have seen my own face in the mirror. The PROBLEM is that these ads have absolutely nothing to do with me, however, the companies paid millions of dollars to make sure I heard their message.

Rather than annoy me with crap, doesn’t behavioral and targeted advertising make sense? The Center for Digital Democracy says no! The biggest gripe the CDD has with marketers is that they violate personal privacy as they gather and accumulate data (online and offline) about their target audience. Jeff Chester, founder and executive director of the CDD wants companies to be able to deliver appropriate messages to niche audiences, but the data about the “target” can not be personally identifiable.

This poses a huge paradox; People only want to see ads that interest them, but marketers aren’t allowed to collect personal data about their audience. How then are marketers supposed to deliver relevant advertising? Of course marketers can develop highly detailed personas that are representative of their target audiences. However, marketers must observe the true behavior of the audience in order to develop the most effective media and messaging to reach them.

It should be interesting to see what the Federal Trade Commission deems appropriate. More to follow on this later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vexillology - December 12, 2007

Flag of the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques.

Vexillology is the scholarly study of flags. The term was coined in 1957 by the American scholar Whitney Smith, the author of many books and articles on the subject.

The word "vexillology" is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum and the suffix –ology meaning "study of". The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the calassical era. Unlike most modern flags which are suspended from a pole or mast along a vertical side, the square vexillum was suspended from a horizontal crossbar along its top side, which was attached to a spear.

Source from Wikipedia

Photo Me Cool – December 12, 2007

I’ve been checking out some really cool things an amateur can do with Photoshop. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Model Landscapes – Make your picture look like a miniature model
photo courtesy of Automatt

Mini-Planets – Turn your picture into its own planet

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Open Handset Alliance – December 11, 2007

What do you want from your mobile phone?

The Open Handset Alliance is going to try its best to make sure your phone does what YOU WANT it to do. I wonder if the 3 billion cell phone owners in the world think that their phone is just what they want.

Cell phone providers and manufacturers have long provided us with the best equipment possible, as well as the best applications and services to run on that equipment. Wait! Even though these companies have tried their best to fill their customers needs, it’s not good enough. They have finally come to the realization that they aren't filling our needs and they are taking steps to rectify the situation.

Much like how Facebook opened up their doors to outside developers, the world of wireless is going to do the same. A basic operating platform, Android, is going to serve as the base that everyone has to build their applications for. Completely "open" phones will support Android and any applications run on it.

Companies from Sprint to Intel to Google to Ebay to Motorola have all joined the alliance in hopes of elevating the usefulness of what phones can offer to users. To elevate the stakes, Google is offering a $10 million dollar prize to encourage companies to develop truly useful and innovative applications for the Android platform.

The next three years are going to be freaking awesome! There'll be mash-ups of all kinds, so much mobile commerce I'll want to puke, and a radical shift in the way Americans use their phones.

2007 Year-End Indie "Rock" Top 50 Fantasy League Draft – December 11, 2007

For the past three years the Jo-Tel has hosted a year-end Indie rock fantasy draft pick. Firstly, yes, we fully acknowledge how nerdly we are.

How it works: Basically, everyone gets a turn to select what they think were the best Indie albums of the year. The order of turns is determined by a random draw of names from a hat. (See Patsy drawing names below)
Everyone then gets a turn to name one artist that they thought was the best that year. The process is repeated until everyone has chosen eight artists. No artists can be repeated. Our results are then compared against Pitchfork, Coke Machine Glow, and Rolling Stone’s reviews of the best artists' albums of the year.

Points are awarded to individuals who have selected artists that are listed in any of the critic review sites. Various point levels are determined by the placement of the artists within the individual critic review lists. For instance, anyone who picked an artist who was in first place would receive 50 points, but if they picked an artist in 50th place then they would receive 1 point.

After all the critic review sites are reviewed and points assigned to each participants’ lists, total point values are compared. Whoever has the most points wins.

Like I said, we’re dorks.

Here’s the final list of artists and a video of us in nerd action. I’ll post results once completed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Much Better - December 10, 2007

I recently compared two English advertisements on T.V. The first ad posted here is the actual ad produced by Cillit Bang. The second ad at the bottom of the post is the one that had been remade by a consumer. The funny thing is that the original ad sucks and has only had 45,000 hits, while the remade ad is bizarre, hardcore, and energetic and has recieved 285,000 hits.
Oh yeah, the remade ad is almost twice as long as the original, yet it was five time more entertaining and not painful to watch.

Hmmm....I wonder which one would get people to buy more cleaning product?

Original Ad

Consumer Made Ad

Talk to Me - December 10, 2007

I wish I knew who you were so I could create content that better suits your interests. Sure Google Analytics can tell me where you're coming from, how often you visit, what size underwear you wear, etc, but I want to hear what you have to say! the name of being as least lame as possible, I want all the readers to leave a note in the comment section to tell me what they like in my blog and what they want to see more of.

Or, you could just watch this priceless video of Eddie Murphy singing his one-hit wonder.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Indie Indie Indie - December 9, 2007

I'm going, are you?

Scarification - December 9, 2007

This post is definitely not for the queasy.

I’ve kinda always wanted a tattoo, but not really. First off, I’m not entirely sure what I would want on my body for the rest of my life. Secondly, tattoos look great at first, but then they fade and loose their brilliance. Hmmmm, what’s a boy to do? Scarification? My god, yes! (totally still not for me, but I will continue to write about it)

Scarification has served as a right of passage for men and women for thousands of years. From the tribes of New Guinea and New Zealand to the streets of Manhattan, and every individual has their reasons for cutting into their skin. Check out this video, and if you haven’t become nauseated, click on this link.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jet Blue – December 7, 2007

I LOVE JetBlue, and I fly it whenever I can. After a recent trip (no pun intended…hahhaha) to their website, I noticed that they were advertising a new payment method. Basically, anyone can buy a JetBlue ticket today, and not have to pay for it for 90 days.

That’s brilliant! As long as JetBlue has their financials in order and don’t go bankrupt financing a bunch of trips that never get paid for, this could be truly disruptive to JetBlue’s competitive set.

I give this an 8 on the disruptive scale. It’s smart because it offers travelers who can’t afford to pay for a trip in full the option to finance their excursions. This set obviously includes the lucrative college-aged audience, as well as low to middle class Americans.

I look forward to seeing if this trend continues across the board.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Block The Evil Beacon!!! – December 6, 2007

I know everyone loves to have their own special online identity. Some people like to make everything about their life public, and others choose to select what they make public. I think carefully about what I post online, as I know potential employers, friends, and family are going to eventually look at it. There also happens to be super psycho stalkers and creepy old men trolling the Internet in search of prey. I walk the fine line of political correctness, and that’s cool with me.

Facebook, however, is really pushing its user base to make everything about their lives as public as possible. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to create this social grid to connect people online just as well as they are connected in real life. Oh yeah, he also has this tiny little idea of giving advertisers the tools they need to bug the hell out of you online.

So here’s the deal. Facebook recently launched Beacon, which is a way for companies and marketers to infiltrate your Facebook world. Think the "Eye of Sauron" from Lord of the Rings. Essentially, all companies and marketers have to do is install a couple lines of code into their website, and if you go to their site and do anything transactional, it will be posted into your Facebook account unless you opt out of it. In Facebook’s own words, here is what Beacon will do for businesses:

“Facebook Beacon enables your brand or business to gain access to viral distribution within Facebook. Stories of a user's engagement with your site may be displayed in his or her profile and in News Feed. These stories will act as a word-of-mouth promotion for your business and may be seen by friends who are also likely to be interested in your product. You can increase the number of friends who see these stories with Facebook Social Ads.”

Uhmmmmm….if they are going to use me as a piece of media, where the hell is my cut of the pie?

I highly suggest you opt out, or perhaps you want your friends to know about those adult diapers you bought on Amazon.

Here’s how:

Log into Facebook. Next, click on the privacy settings tab.

Then click on “External Websites” setting within the privacy tab.
THEN CLICK SAVE. All done! Enjoy!
Here's a great video of what life will be like with Beacon censored, created by XgenghisX on YouTube.

Happy 15 - December 6, 2007

Today marks the 15th year that we have been text messaging each other. YAY! At least now we have a history of the drunken messages we send to friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Picnik – December 5, 2007

I have a new official favorite free web application, it’s called Picnik!

No, it has nothing to do with checkered blankets, French cheese and wine, or a set of bocce balls. Picnik is the most awesomest greatest free photo editing tool ever! If you have a Flickr account, all you have to do is click the “edit photo” button, and you can begin adjusting that awful red-eye, and add that mini-cartoon Santa Claus into the picture that you always wanted there but didn’t have any idea how to do it so you just gave up and settled for a nice scenic view (whhheeww).

You can also upload pictures into Picnik from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and Webshots. It’s super duper easy to set-up an account! Just do it!

Of course, an upgrade can be made with Picnik so that you can have unfettered access to all of their delightful magical photo editing goodies.
picking photo time
i made me a funny photo time

Tweat Tweat Twitter – December 5, 2007

Twitter, a microblogging platform, had so much damn hype, but recently I haven’t heard much about it. Honestly, I’m really not that surprised. When I first learned about Twitter I immediately signed up for an account and started to explore. Basically, it was pretty much worthless to me. I had no friends, there were no niche groups that I found interesting, no one was “following me”, and I was “following” no one. Like Facebook, there are also a plethora of third-party applications, none of which are clearly identified by the community as “must haves”, beyond the generic mobile and IM chat apps. Many of the third-party applications look pretty confusing/unprofessional as well, and I stayed away from them to protect myself from being frustrated with buggy apps.

Twitter’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t make it easy for non-tech people to adopt this technology. If they want to gain critical mass, it needs to be more viscerally navigable, otherwise people will stick to the technologies they know: text messaging, blogging, email, Facebook/MySpace, or IM.

The founders had an intention to get people to quickly and precisely tell everyone what they are doing in less than 140 characters, just like a text message. In principle, I think the idea makes sense as a supplement to an established offline relationship. However, by not allowing users to elaborate on thoughts or ideas within Twitter, one ends up saying nothing meaningful at all. Although Twitter has immense possibility to facilitate flashmobs and culture jams, I have yet to see how Twitter is better than IM, email, or texting.
On a side not, I recently did a little experiment with Twitter to see if it could drive traffic to my blog by generating a series of phrases I posted into the public timeline of Twitter. I posted a new phrase every one or two hours for 24 hours. Long story short, my blog has not documented any traffic directed from Twitter. So sad!

Wine Bottles - December 5, 2007

I'm not sure why I was thinking about this, but I was, so there! Here is a chart from Wikipedia that outlines the different sizes of wine bottles. Personally, I'd like to see a Melchizedek!

Side-by-side comparison of champagne bottles. (L to R) On ladder: magnum, full, half, quarter. On floor: Balthazar, Salmanazar, Methuselah, Jeroboam

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Les UX - December 4, 2007

I recently read a quick note on Noah Brier's blog about the elicit subterranean Parisian group known as “Les UX”. I had heard of this group before, but I dove a little deeper to find out more about them. Apparently, it’s a group of about 150 individuals who vary in social status and skill set, however, they are tied by one common theme – liberation. Whether they are bringing an old clock back to life, building an underground cinema, or exploring more catacombs, this group is about liberating themselves from the drudge of modern society. They are constantly exploring new ways to alleviate Paris from its social demise, but they are damn secret about it.

Read more about them at Wikipedia:

Check out the Untergunther site (one of the "teams" within the Les UX):

Quotey Quote Time – December 4, 2007

The Guardian Unlimited posted an article today that was of keen interest to me. Basically, they wanted the chief evangelist at Google to tell them where he thought the future of the Internet etc was headed. Instead, he sent them some of his email contacts. Here are a couple of the quotes I thought were the true insights from the article:

Chris De Wolfe -
- "Online social destinations work best when creativity and development are collaborative concepts"
- "The evolution of social networks is kick-starting a broad global shift for how people, content and culture collide on the web."
- "Fundamentally, all social destinations must expand while staying personal"

Chad Hurley -
- "Video broadcasting will be the most ubiquitous and accessible form of communication."

Maurice Levy -
- "Prescribed time - the 7 o'clock news, the Friday night out at the cinema, etc - is now becoming multitasking time."

Biz Stone -
- "The power of the internet is not limited to the PC"

Peter Norvig -
- "Instead, our interaction [with the Internet] will be more fluid, our computers will accept our requests in many forms, and will scan our environment proactively"

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mental Archives – December 3, 2007

Back in the day when I would go out to raves and clubs pumping ear bleeding bass, there was a phrase that was intended to be emblematic of the rave movement. “PLUR”

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.

These words were meant to guide the raver’s behavior and actions. I guess you could call it the rave scene’s “brand driver” for all of you ad geeks. Not a bad sentiment, however, from my perspective the scene was anything but that. What I do like is the fact that cultural groups and movements generate and seal their identity by way of some outward phrase or statement.

Regardless, I was reminded of this word from the depths of my mind, and I wanted to write about it. Now, enjoy the glowsticking video.

Reid the Hulk - December 3, 2007