Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Joke for Atheists

Apologies to my religious friends, but this was too funny.

Since my teen-age years I've used the following to explain how I arrived that there is no God.

A is A. (A being defined as EVERYTHING.)

A has always existed. (Inconceivable)

A comes from nothing. (Impossible)

Following the dictum of the great 19th C philosopher Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "once you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

Since A coming from nothing is impossible therefore A has always existed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Qwikster, Branding Hell for Netflix

Netflix has made a series of mistakes lately. One can agree or disagree with Netflix's decision to raise their prices, divorce themselves from the DVD market, force some of their customers to have two accounts (one for the streaming video and the other for DVDs). In fact a good case can be made for Netflix to go entirely to streaming video (provided their library includes all their current DVDs) and even for them to raise their prices but there is no excuse, none whatsoever, for them to not research their trademarked name.

The Board of Directors at Netflix approved the unimaginable: they approved the name of their spinoff company without checking to see if the twitter handle was taken. It was.

Say hello to Qwikster

And here's one of the last tweets from qwikster:

Bored as shyt wanna blaze but at the same time I don't ugh fuck it where's the bowl at spark me up lls

What a public relations nightmare. How is it possible that a tech company allowed this to happen? Here's a few paragraphs from a less than complimentary article:

If there is one downside of Netflix's decision to cancel Qwikster, it is that Jason Castillo, the semi-coherent, weed-curious high-schooler who owned the Twitter handle @Qwikster, never got to extort Reed Hastings and his company for all the money that he could. The single bright side in the monumentally stupid Qwikster fiasco was the existence of @Qwikster; there was an unspoken hope that the totally undeserving, totally unprepared and likely totally blazed owner of that Twitter handle would somehow stumble into a large financial payday from Netflix, which would have represented some kind of victory-by-proxy for all of those customers stupefied by Netflix's stupefying decision to split the services in the first place.

Qwikster was a dumb idea. Dumb, dumb, dumb. It should certainly be a first ballot entrant into the Bad Decision Hall of Fame, enshrined next to New Coke, Prohibition and that time Garth Brooks dyed his hair black and played rock music under the name Chris Gaines. Better choices have been made at 24/7 Las Vegas chapels after too many Limoncello shots.

I agree. Better decisions have been made by drunken fools partying away their life savings in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Discussion on Branding

Read an interesting article at The New Yorker, Famous Names by John Colapinto. [Unfortunately The New Yorker doesn't allow nonsubscribers access to their articles. A big mistake, they're still thinking like the dead-tree media they are - but that's the topic for another post.] Colapinto interviewed Lexicon’s founder and C.E.O., David Placek and discussed the process involved in branding: from the Intel's use of "Pentium" to Apple's "PowerBook" to the development of the "BlackBerry." Non-tech examples include the rebranding of the Patagonian toothfish to Chilean Sea Bass.

Lexicon employs linguists who have found commonalities that cross multiple linguistic boundaries. They search for sounds and cadences that evoke the desired response. As with good IAs and BAs they try to determine what their clients need -- which is to seemlessly integrate their product into their customers life.

This article is a worthy read - well worth the effort to download it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Google+ and Privacy

Love what I see from Google+. The problem I see from Google all revolves around the issue of personal privacy. Can we make on-line information private? There are, different definitions of privacy. Some/all information will be kept in corporate databases - but who will access this information and how? I don't care about advertising/market research. I do care on "unauthorized" people being able to search or query the data for my personal information.

There are several levels of privacy:
1. Companies using the data for market research
2. Companies advertising goods and services
3. Individuals researching you and finding "unauthorized/private" data
4. The government researching you / keeping dossiers.

All I have to say is:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ...
4th Amendment to the US Constitution

This YouTube video is an excellent introduction to Google+.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Facebook and Privacy

I detest the fact that so many sites push Facebook to comment on their pages especially when they ignore Disqus and other such services. Today I went to install Spotify and lo-and-behold, I am unable to sign in without a Facebook account.

I understand that Facebook wants to be the portal to the web - the same as AOL a decade ago - but I hope they understand why I, and others concerned with privacy, need to push back.

Just the fact that I MUST have a Facebook account to use this product; that information is being shared between the two companies - and I am forced to opt out, apparently each time I log in, gives me great concern regarding the battles that will be fought in the not too distant future over the definition of personal data (privacy).