August 2004 Archives

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

This is Why I Hate Tests
This is so prefectly worded, I’ll just quote it directly:

“Whole-body CT scans, long controversial because of doubts about their effectiveness in finding hidden disease, can significantly increase the recipient’s risk of developing cancer, according to a study released Monday”

Folks, that is a pretty bad product review.
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When modern art meets the janitor…
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The New iMac
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. . . Monday, August 30, 2004

Journalists Come Home (Cover Journalists)
Dateline NBC has quite a scoop this week. Stone Phillips will have an exclusive on the bipolar disorder that until recently seriously hampered Jane Pauley (who’s launching a new talkshow this week). I wonder if she’ll admit that her disorder was the direct result of a former employer who insisted on hiring less experienced and dumber broadcasters to replace those who weren’t quite as hot?

We have seen this trend coming. News outfits morphed in TV magazine outfits which dumped the idea of foreign news and substantive issues for the much less expensive covering of meaningless nonsense, celebrities and stories within a block or two of their main offices.

But I didn’t think it would come to this. Now they’re covering their own.

What’s on next week’s Dateline?

Bill from editing is selling his minivan and here’s how you can help…
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Washington Post’s Old School Blog
The W Post has a pretty cool convention diary tht uses old school stylings with today’s technology. Pretty cool.
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. . . Friday, August 27, 2004

From Rags to Donuts (and Back)
Krispy Kreme: A cautionary tale.
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. . . Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Politics Doesn’t Entertain?
A couple of pop culture meets politics posts are available for your enjoyment over at Electablog.

Kerry’s Unfunny Appearance on The Daily Show


The Beef Between Laura Bush and Diddy
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. . . Tuesday, August 24, 2004

And Suddenly, Everyone is Reading Again
There have been several recent reports describing a drop-off in the number of books Americans read each year (maybe these trends start at the top?).

Maybe that will change this year. But not for reasons that will likely please those anxiously awaiting an upswing. It turns out that bookstores may be going the way of music thanks to MTV and magazines thanks the Maxim and FHM and DVDs thanks to the fact that we can order them online, brown-paper bag style.

Long story short: Sex and Porn are coming to a shelf near you.
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. . . Monday, August 23, 2004

Tip: Companies that sell computers and computer equipment are worth a peak.
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Melt the Fat Away
I’m not sure that this idea really compares with George Foreman’s grill wherein slightly tilting one’s cooking surface has been raised to and beyond the level of an art form. But one imagines that there will plenty of buyers for the newly introduced fat-burning microwave oven from Sharp.

The expensive, new cooking tool offers steam that is heated to the tune of 572 degrees which is hot enough to melt fat and calories from your food.

But what if you want all the fat and flavor but still want to burn those calories?

Expect the walk-in fat burning microwave to be introduced soon.
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. . . Thursday, August 19, 2004

Making Calls Next to Madonna
When I first moved to New York (I lived there for three years in the early nineties) there was a phone strike going on. So for the first three or four weeks I lived there I would have to make all of my calls from a pair of payphones on Spring Street in Soho.

One morning while I was talking to my parents, I noticed a striking blond head of hair in close proximity. I glanced over and saw that the person who had struck a pose at the adjacent payphone was none other than Madonna. I felt I needed to share this news. So I quickly ended the call with my parents (who preferred Klezmer to the Material Girl during this period) and called a guy who had been my college roommate for a couple of years.

“Dude.” I whispered. “Madonna is using the friggin’ payphone next to me right now.”

The former roommate (who I haven’t really talked to since) responded that it probably was just someone who looked like Madonna. Folks, this was arguably the most photographed female artist in the history of the Western Civilization at the peak of her pre-Kabbalah powers. I’m pretty sure I’d recognize her. (The exchange reminded me of the time I mentioned to a friend that I had been playing at a craps table with Manute Bol and the friend explained that it was probably just a guy who looked like Manute Bol.)

The point of all this is that I was a New York greenhorn. Only a Big Apple newbie would even glance over (much less make a series of calls) because a celebrity was using a nearby payphone. In New York, the stars are not the stars. The city is. There are few places on earth where equality reigns more supremely than in a corner store on some random block in NY.

New York is the city that never sleeps. But more importantly, it is the city that doesn’t care. And I predict that characteristic will be on full display during the Republican Convention.

Contrast New York’s reaction to having a convention with what we saw in Boston. Bostonians left. And it seemed like that departure included pretty much everyone other than convention volunteers and cab drivers. There was no traffic. Restaurants were empty. And remember, this was a Lefty city welcoming a bunch of Lefties into town.

In New York, people will not leave. The city is not shutting down. In fact, there is a major sporting event (the tennis U.S. Open) going on at the same time as the convention. Aside from those who live and work within the Madison Square Garden security zone and the dancers at Scores, I’d be surprised if a lot of New Yorkers even cared or noticed what was going in midtown.

The city will also play host to thousands and thousands of protesters. Their reaction? They set up a special website to welcome peaceful protesters and offer them discounts at certain stores and restaurants. Mayor Bloomberg explained: “It’s no fun to protest on an empty stomach. So you might want to try a restaurant. Or you might want to go shopping, maybe for another pair of sneakers for the march.”

I bet Madonna could walk right up to Madison Square Garden and use a public payphone and no one (other than a NY newbie on the phone with his mom and dad) would even give it second thought.
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. . . Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Narrowing the Broadband
Understanding the spread of new technologies by understanding my friend Andy.

Look, if you’re reading this post, there is a very good chance that you already have broadband access. In fact, you’ve probably had it since about five minutes after it was first available in your area.

But you’re not my friend Andy. Andy knows me. He knows I am a tech geek and that I am generally right when it comes to related purchasing decisions. But Andy avoids the cutting edge. That’s just his personality. He rolled his eyes when my friend Dave and I urged him to get TiVo for years. And he laughed us off as socially inept losers when we ridiculed his dial-up account.

Now he a TiVo freak. He often askes himself why he waited so long to get on the bandwagon (we never rub it in). And he’s got DSL too. And as we predicted, his relationship to the web has dramatically changed and he uses it more often and it brings him more pleasure (and he’s paying about the same amount).

To understand the roll-out of “new” technologies, you need to understand Andy. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands Andy that broadband growth in the U.S. has slowed a bit in recent months.

Just about everyone who wanted it badly got it early. And just about everyone else who was lagging but would come around eventually (with the constant help and support of folks like my friend Dave and me) is slowly getting onboard right about now.

The mad rush for broadband is over. The slowdown was to be expected. It simply takes longer to convince Andy to get broadband than it took to convince you or me. Let’s just be glad that we don’t have to read about the slowdown in broadband growth using a dial-up account.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to trying to convince Andy to upgrade his wood-burning stove.
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Quartered Horse
Google has cut the range of their IPO offering by about a quarter. At the time the company goes public, it will be worth about $26 billion (for that kind of money, what’s the point?).

While the media hype and the public interest in the Google story seems to know no boundaries, there is another group anticipating this stock offering almost as much as early shareholders in Google. Other dot coms that have been delaying their own IPOs until Google goes out.

But what happens if Google doesn’t really bounce? Or perhaps, more importantly, what happens if they do?
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. . . Tuesday, August 17, 2004

When Equality Goes Too Far
Look, I’m all for equality and no one wants to see someone (regardless of wealth or fame) get preferential treatment.

But come on? Oprah should not have to perform jury duty.

She has more than done her share of civic good just by being, well, Oprah.
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Death by Discount
I am not a very religious dude, but on the off chance that there is some sort of afterlife, all I ask is this:

Please don’t send me there in a friggin’ casket from Costco.
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It’s the old walking to school in the snow both ways uphill story. Every generation likes to tell the next one how much harder they had it.

Well, I’m going to break that trend. My generation didn’t have every minute of every day scheduled. We went outside and came back inside when it was time for dinner. We didn’t have nearly the same pressures when it comes to getting into the right preschool or making the right team.

We ate carbs.

And we didn’t have to cope with baby yoga.
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. . . Monday, August 16, 2004

Targetting Bloggers
Warner music had a decent idea. They figured that they’d send out the MP3 of a new band and try to get music bloggers to review the song and perhaps create some buzz.

But it’s always been nearly impossible for brands to try to recreate the buzz created at venues (virtual or real) where individuals and groups are participating in something a bit more heartfelt.

By the end of the process (which included, rather pathetically, some Warner Music folks writing positive comments about the song on the blogs that linked to it), Warner had probably alienated more bloggers than it had attracted.

There is, of course, a simple way around all of this. It’s called sponsorship. Blog readers support their blog writers and want to see them make some dough off of their efforts. So if Warner spread around a few grand and sponsored the targetted blogs, their loyal readers would click on the sponsorship ads and Warner would benefit from supporting the medium instead of trying to manipulate it. It’s really quite simple and it is the secret of how blogs with strong individual brands will make some decent dough in the near future.

Oh, and if you sponsor someone, over time, you’ll find that they are failry positive about your offerings. It’s not a payoff. It’s just human nature.

This all, I realize, ignores one short term fact that I’m sure is not lost on the folks at Warner. Their blog efforts made the NY Times business section and the band they were pushing is (even if slightly soiled) suddenly a household name among music bloggers. Any publicity is good publicity I suppose.

Of course, Vanilla Ice is also a household name…
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The Root of the Situation
Let me ask you a quick question that I think gets to the heart of the issue of having professional athletes in the Olympics. Actually, although there have been some tennis dropouts, let’s not refer to all athletes. Let’s focus on the NBA’s so-called dreamteamers and let’s think about the question in terms of the Olympics (which is always more exciting when it marks the most important competition in a sport – example: gymnastics and swimming as opposed to tennis and soccer) and in terms of the brand the NBA is currently serving up. OK, that’s the set-up.

Now here’s the question:

Is there anyone reading this who is really rooting for the USA basketball team to win a gold medal?
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. . . Friday, August 13, 2004

Craig’s Bay?
Ebay has bought a 25% stake in Craig’s List. Weird, no?
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Late, Late No Show
Wait a second? You’re not allowed to quit a job as a late night TV talkshow host, are you?
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. . . Thursday, August 12, 2004

CNBC’s Road Show That Wasn’t
How is John McEnroe’s new show doing over at CNBC? Well, he’s attracting about as many viewers as the average high school play. Twice already, he’s registered a 0.0 rating.

But here’s the rub. The show isn’t all that bad. He is uncomfortable and an odd interviewer, but enjoyably so. There are a few key problems. First, the Dennis Miller lead-in. Not only is Miller’s show terrible, it attracts exactly the type of audience that would flip back to Fox News instead of watching McEnroe. Second, the CNBC vibe just doesn’t make sense for McEnroe. Without any changes, I think Mac could do decent numbers on an edgier network like Comedy Central.

Is there any hope? I doubt it (although they’re sticking with the show for now). But here’s a tip for the folks at CNBC. Bring back Mac’s wife (and get rid of his current double’s partner). She was on the first show and the exchanges between them were among the most interesting in the show’s short life thus far. They could be a could combo and a husband-wife team would give the show a twist to attract a few new viewers. I’m not suggesting timeslot champs here, but I can almost guarantee such a move pumps McEnroe up to a solid 0.1.

And while we’re doling out advice. The folks on Mac’s show should seriously consider not mentioning tennis every segment. If we want to watch John talk about tennis, then why is he wasting his time on a primetime show? Drop it and let’s all meet at the U.S. Open.
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. . . Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Little Steven Tries to Save Rock and Roll.
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Anti Pros
Between the embarrassments caused by the NBA stars losing international games and the recent last minute drop outs by two women scheduled to represent the U.S. in Olympic tennis, do you ever wonder if we’d be better off limiting participation to amateurs who really care about the games and winning medals for their country?
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. . . Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Running Without the Pack
Think running a marathon sounds hard? Well what about running it at the pace maintained by elite runners? The average American would be lucky if they could stay with a marathoner for 200 yards. In Greece, the marathon has this little hill in the middle of the course. Well, not that little. It lasts for 13 miles.

Aside from stark, raving madness, what are the traits that separate the elite runners from the pretty good ones who train week after week after week?
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. . . Monday, August 09, 2004

Celebrity Journalists
What would happen if the celebrities went from being over-covered by journalists to becoming journalists themselves?

We are now finding out.

The next trend will be celebrity-journalists who will cover other celebrities. It will spread to other fields after that. Celebrity dentists, celebrity podiatrists, celebrity drivers (most of these functions will be handled by personal assistants).

And soon, there will be nothing left but celebrities. And you’ll love it and you’ll buy-in just the way we all buy-in to the fact that Madonna’s daily routine is actual news.

Look at it this way. Pretend you have a major toothache. The pain is extreme. You can either go to a real dentist or you can can go see Beyonce.
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TiVo: Waking Up on the Death Bed
TiVo is a noun and a verb and a way of entertainment life for millions of loyal users. But they may very well be left out of the revolution they created.

With new choices on the horizen, TiVo has decided to step up their marketing campaign and lower prices. But is it too little too late? The software should have been freely licensed to hardware manufacturers from the beginning. The marketing message should have been all about a next generation VCR instead of pausing live TV and the introduction of new features that only complicated the sales pitch for non-geeks.

The new TiVo ad campaign slogan gets closer to the right message. It went from “TiVo is TV your way,” to “You have a life. TiVo gets it.”

I prefer, VCRs suck. This doesn’t. In the next 15 seconds I’m going to show you how to make sure you never miss your favorite shows again.
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Game and Activity Ideas for 14 Month Old Babies

I have to confess, I feel at times I’m in a rut and have a hard time coming up with ideas for games, activities and other things to do with my 14 month old son.

I’ve decided tonight that I’m going to make a stronger effort to work on this, and I’m going to blog about it at the same time.  My goal is to make a new post each month.  Perhaps I’ll even backtrack and cover previous months.

I’ll continue this post tomorrow, but for now, here’s a rough outline of what I have in store for the day.  Oh, by the way, I’m a stay at home Dad.

Diaper change
Wake up, fix a nice breakfast, both of us eat.
Baby bath, shower for me
Do a few chores, dishes, etc. so the house doesn’t get out of control
Check email, etc. to make sure nothing crazy is going on out there.
Try to find a unique indoor activity that is new to him.  I’ll have to do some research online…
Play.  Simple as it gets.  Put yourself in his shoes and act as if you were his age and see where it take s you.
Take photos and video
Go into town for a haircut?

The problem right now is that it’s super hot outside, so this limits most activities to indoor.

Ohh… I know an activity.  Swimming!  I’ll check and see if we can do that after my wife gets home.  Hide and seek.

How to Embed Tweets on WordPress

WordPress 3.41 has a new feature which allows you to embed Tweets into your blog posts. Maybe this feature was released earlier, but let’s just pretend it was 3.41.

To embed a tweet, just go to your favorite person on Twitter and get the full URL for an individual tweet. To get the full URL, click on the time in the upper right corner of the tweet area. This is usually something like 2h (for hours) or 15min (for minutes).

Copy the URL and paste it into your blog post. The result will look something like this:

Logos Quiz Game Answers Level 3 – 4

Download our FREE Logos Quiz Game Strategy Guide! To download, simply subscribe to The Last Blog on the Internet Newsletter below, and it will be automatically delivered to you:

This is a continuation of the first post: Logos Quiz Game Answers.  On the first post you can find the answers to levels one and two.

Logos Quiz Game Answers Level 1 – 2

Logos Quiz Game Answers Level 3

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Logos Quiz Game Answers

Logos Quiz Game is an app for the Apple iPhone and iPad where you guess the names of hundreds of logos from many different companies.

You can get clues to help you answer or… just use this handy walkthrough guide below.  😉

I will start with Level 1 and go all the way through.  This post may take some time to complete, so I’ll update it as often as I can play the game.

Note: Some logos may be confusing – the ones that are made from letters… so you may see some that have one or two letters from the logo.  An example would be “M” for IBM and “os” from Microsoft.  It is also possible that they may mix up the logos a bit for each level depending on if you are using Android, iPod, iPad, etc.

NEW! Download the FREE Logos Quiz Game Strategy Guide ebook! To receive it, simply subscribe to The Last Blog on the Internet newsletter below:

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Welcome to The Last Blog on the Internet!

Hello, world.  You have reached The Last Blog on the Internet.  This is my first test post so I’m not going to say much.  I’m also falling asleep as I write this as I took an ambien and it’s 3:30 a.m. and my cat is staring at me.

Time for a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and then off to bed.  Don’t knock it man. Honey Nut Cheerios tastes good man.