Posts made in October, 2011

I’m not a Hank Williams, Jr. fan. I’m not into football. I’m actually into Australian Rules Football, and my Geelong Cats just won the Grand Final! But I digress.

You may have heard that recently, Hank stuck his foot in his mouth when he compared Obama to Hitler. He probably thought that since he was saying that on Fox News that it would be well-received or even cheered. But since it was actually said out loud on TV, other people heard it too. Like ESPN, the dudes who have been paying him for his “Are You Ready For Some Football” opening “song.”

ESPN decided that his comment wasn’t cool, and they pulled his opening song with no plans to put it back. A few days later, Hank released a statement that included:

    “After reading hundreds of emails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct. 3, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.”

I think this is a case where it’s way too late to try to unspin what’s already been spun. All capital letters aside, it still would look as if ESPN pulled the song and didn’t want him back. I think I hear Cartman saying, “Screw you guys. I’m going home.”

There are so many other ways this could have been handled. And this is another good example of where someone needs a good manager, handler, or PR person to help them come up with a public response that might make the largest group of people feel as good as possible.

Share This Page
Read More

Oh, Google Wallet…

Posted By on Oct 7, 2011

Google Wallet page, screen shot in Chrome… with a big top bar notification that the page isn’t properly secure. Click to enlarge:

Share This Page
Read More

On Steve Jobs’ Passing

Posted By on Oct 6, 2011

In 1979, I was put in a computer class to learn BASIC on a Commodore Pet. I was 7 years old. In 1985, my parents bought our first home computer, the Apple II+. Wow, we thought it was amazing. You could barely get me away from that thing. One day, it was upgraded to the Apple IIe with dual floppy disk drives. Oh, I think I cried. That was just too amazing to imagine. I could boot off one disk, and save my data to another. I didn’t have to swap out disks anymore!

I started college in 1989, and bought the school’s bundle of the Macintosh SE and Imagewriter printer. I needed glasses after staring at the 9″ black and white screen for my first semester. But I made great things happen on it. In my sophomore year, I added some music equipment and a MIDI interface, and did my music classes’ homework on Deluxe Music Construction Set, and eventually Mark Of The Unicorn’s Mosaic. I sequenced with Vision, which I was very proud of since it was what Howard Jones and Thomas Dolby were using back then. I had quite the setup.

I also had one of those Mah Jongg tile removing games (in black and white) that was Mac themed. The tiles had little pictures of things like the Apple logo and Steve Jobs’ head.

In 1993, I treated myself to an upgrade, and got the Mac Centris 650 with a 13″ colour screen. I actually still have it (and all my 3.5″ floppy disks) in my storage room. In 1995, I started a web design business, and found that none of the software I wanted to use to write web pages was available for Mac. The websites always said, “Available NOW for Windows 95. Available next year for Mac.” I decided that if this is my path, I need Windows. So I had a Windows computer custom built for me, including a SCSI card and Seagate SCSI drives. This allowed me to use my Mac SCSI peripherals.

At first, Windows was just terrible compared to Mac. I missed fixing my computer by dragging a backed-up Finder over a messed up Finder. But nowadays, I’m happy with Windows. It’s not perfect, but it’s fine for me. I know Macs aren’t perfect. I have seen them crash! 🙂 I have had artists who work for me be without a computer sometimes for a month because their “Mac is in the shop.” Computers are what they are, especially when you work on them as many hours as I do.

I’m not a big fan of Apple products now. I don’t have iAnything, and I stronger prefer Android over iOS. I’m happy with my Windows laptop and netbook. I just bought a refurb Macbook so that I can test things on a Mac, but I plan to keep that computer mostly shut off in a corner. It just doesn’t appeal to me, for whatever reason. But I recognise the contribution that Steve Jobs and Apple gave to my formative years, and continue to give to the whole world.

I just saw a post go by that said that Steve Jobs was our generation’s Thomas Edison. I think that’s about right. I can’t think of anybody else that has affected so many people at home, at work, or at play, especially musicians. Thanks to Steve and Apple for changing the world.

Share This Page
Read More

Yesterday, I got a promoted tweet from Pepsi, I guess trying to get me excited about watching The X Factor on TV. Not interested. But what did interest me was that they had a hashtag on their tweet: #PepsiXFactor

I clicked on that to see who else is tweeting with that hashtag. The answer was nobody. Each Pepsi tweet with it got a handful of retweets. But no other twitter account seems to have generated a tweet with that hashtag.

So what DO people use when tweeting about The X Factor? Evidently, they use #xfactor. Hardly surprising. Why wouldn’t Pepsi jump on that? That way, anybody going through X Factor tweets might find Pepsi’s plug. I think they’ve done themselves a disservice by creating a hashtag nobody wants to use.

Share This Page
Read More

Government Background Checks

Posted By on Oct 6, 2011

Someone who used to work at my web shop got a job offer from the government. This person used me as a reference, which is fine. Well, I just got the form from the government. It’s basically asking me if I think this person is trustworthy… since this person would need to get a security clearance.

I’m sure there are levels of security clearance, and I’d hope that higher ones are pursued with much more than the same type of form I used to take a test in 7th grade. And remember that this person listed me as a reference. So when you read the questions on this form, you can imagine that you would NOT list anybody who would say crap about you! So what’s the point!

Here is what the back of the form looks like. I mostly filled it out. Click to enlarge.


Share This Page
Read More

Well, um, this is a little awkward. Right now, Oracle’s big conference is going on. Reportedly, Marc Benioff of Salesforce paid Oracle $1M to give the keynote. He paid THEM. That’s what the news said this morning. And at the last minute, he got cancelled. The news said he’ll be getting his money back, and that he STILL plans to give his speech somewhere outside the event. Here is AllThingsD‘s article on what happened.

Salesforce wants everybody to know that, and is paying to promote this tweet I just got. I guess they still wanted to burn that million dollars. And with the Oracle Open World 2011 hashtag. Nice touch!

They could have just tweeted for free, and used the hashtag, hoping to get the attention of conference attendees. I’d think by now, the attendees know he’s not giving that speech this morning. They might be Googling for what’s up, and found the news.

Edit 15 minutes later: Stop the presses. I just hit Facebook, and was shown this ad:

Share This Page
Read More

Why I’m Not Impressed By Siri

Posted By on Oct 5, 2011

I can’t claim to know everything about Apple’s newly-announced Siri. But from what I do know, I’m not impressed. From what I know, Siri lets you speak voice commands into your phone, and it will look for things or do things.

My Windows Mobile phone did that before there was an iPhone. My Android phones have done that since I got my first Android phone in early June 2010. There are a lot of Android apps that take advantage of Google’s speech recognition and TTS (text to speech, where the phone reads you stuff). So welcome, Apple! Glad you made it. You now do what my Windows Mobile phone did in 2007.

Back in the day, I paid $6 per month I think to Nuance for the Windows Mobile app. You could speak into it. It recorded you. It used the internet connection to send it to Nuance, which processed it on their end, and sent back what it thought you said. The whole thing took a noticeable amount of time. But if you were driving, and just wanted to send a text, it made sense to NOT type that text. So I paid for it until they discontinued it.

I’d like to think that a phone has its own voice recognition engine, and everything is better, but on my Android phone, I can’t use voice recognition unless I’m connected to the internet. So I wonder if we just have a faster version of what Nuance was doing back in the day.

The best quote I found about Apple’s announcement came from the Facebook page of my old adopted-hometown cool paper, The Tucson Weekly, who said:

    “The real problem with the new iPhone 4S? Since it looks just like the iPhone 4, people won’t be immediately impressed by your phone purchasing magnificence.”
Share This Page
Read More

I’m a fiercely loyal user of SlideIt on my Android phone and tablet. You had better have a really amazing keyboard to get me away from the wonderful SlideIt. I’m wildly fast at the swipe-style typing, and I love the shortcuts, which are like macros.

Then, Swiftkey X came along. It claims to read things you’ve typed before, figure out your style, and predict what you’re going to say before you say it. Psychic! Sure, let’s try that.

As you type, Swiftkey X shows 3 words it thinks you mean. The middle word is bold and green since that’s the one it REALLY thinks you mean. So I decided to run an experiment. I installed it. It combed through things I’ve written. And then I just kept clicking on the middle word to see what it think I’d be typing.

Before I show this to you, let me defensively say that I’ve never typed ANYTHING remotely like this. More after the quote.

    I am a beautiful person. The creator of the most popular and the other hand, the first time, and the high street shops.

I have NEVER told anybody I’m a beautiful person. I live in the USA. I don’t say “high street shops.” I decided to try to fool it. In the middle of the sentence about “the most popular,” I chose the word “will” instead of “and.” This is what it ended up typing:

    I am a beautiful person. The creator of the most popular will be able to do that. I just wanted to say that the information you need to be a good idea to advertise your company slogan.

Hmmm. I know I’ve never said that. I DO know that I say, “I just wanted to say,” a lot. The rest is wackadoo wackiness.

I don’t see how this would help me type faster. I say lots of different things, not just the most popular in the high street shops. I appreciate that Swiftkey X wants to help me with a daily affirmation about how beautiful I am! That’s lovely.

But I reactivated SlideIt. I just can’t see changing, and I can’t see losing my speedy swipe-style of typing for what seems like brain mad-libs.

Share This Page
Read More

Once in a while, promoted tweets pop up in my Hootsuite stream. Most recently, they were for HP ink for printers. I am assuming HP is just tweeting everybody since they can’t possibly know if I have an HP printer or not. It’s not like I mentioned that in my twitter profile.

I was just fed a bizarre promoted tweet:

So there’s no real message here other than hey, come look at us. Stiefel doesn’t mean anything to be other than it’s German for “boots.” I like boots… I have many pairs. But then I notice that the promoted tweet message says that Stiefel is a GSK company. That’s GlaxoSmithKline, aka big pharm.

This promoted tweet appears to be the equivalent of “Ask your doctor if Stiefel could be right for you,” when you don’t know what Stiefel is or what they do. Turns out, they are a company GSK bought in 2009. They focus on dermatology and skin diseases. The tweet could have said, “We have solutions for skin problems.” Maybe then people would be more likely to click.

But how compelling is this promoted tweet? Would you click on it? What would it need to say (and be relevant to Stiefel) for you to click on it?

Share This Page
Read More