May 2002


I just figured out why Alias is so popular.

Netflix raised some 82.5 million yesterday [NYT subscription required]. Hope they give some of it back to the subscribers that have been with them since 1999. (thanks Dave)

I’ve been using Netscape 7.0 PR1 at work on the Mac lately, and I must say that i’m in love with the tabbed browsing.

Ordered a 256MB RAM chip for the new iBook today from Ramjet. Great retailer — Aaron’s always a pleasure to buy from, and the price was like $40 less than CompUSA’s price, and I know the quality will be better.

Josh sent me a link to this article by Joshua Allen at webmonkey. It’s a fun look at all the different ways to set up a weblog. If you’re interested, read on… otherwise, don’t ask me how I built this site ;) BTW, Josh updated Janicek.com to use php-nuke today, the same stuff that we use for englers.org. look for me to add the RSS feed to a sidebar next week hopefully…

Also, Doc posted a link to Open-Source Fight Flares At Pentagon: Microsoft Lobbies Hard Against Free Software. When will Microsoft die, or will they at all? Heh… M$ called open-source software “Un-American” — since when is getting stuff for free and selling it to someone for a profit not completely American? Also, this long story at Business 2.0 talks about how people are competing with Microsoft (there are some nuggets in here for all of us) [thanks Cam]

Lastly, I think all I need for the house now is an iToilet, and we’ll be set.

Today (May 23rd) is our 4th wedding anniversary. Congratulations can be sent here, or you can paypal us, if you forgot to send a gift. ;)

For our anniversary, I gave Christine an aquamarine pendant and matching earing set that she’s been looking at. She told me “I found what I wanted in Zales, and the guy behind the counter was really nice.” That’s all I had to go on, so after work today, I stopped in to Zales to find out what she really wanted. The first tip that I was going to enjoy this little endeavor was that the particular Zales I was at only employed one male, and he was the jeweler, you know, the guy in the back that doesn’t ever see customers. So, I sort of guessed to myself that Christine had no idea what store she was really in when she found what she wanted, so I walked down to Gordon’s. I know Christine’s taste and there wasn’t much in Zales that she’d like.

So, in Gordon’s I asked the people if they’d see my wife yesterday… I was encouraged that there was at least one guy behind the counter, but no one remembered Christine looking at Aquamarine pendants. So, we walked over to the counter, and I looked at what they had. One piece was really pretty, and right up Christine’s alley. It was in the price range she’d told me about, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I bought the necklace and earings, and asked them to wrap it up for me, which they were happy to do.

I came home and put the package next to Patton’s cat food. When Christine came home, I asked her to “feed your cat”. She obliged, and came out of the utility room bag in hand. Big smile in place.

So, she went into the kitchen, and I followed. She opened the bag, and said “oh my gosh, you got exactly what I wanted!” She was pretty excited (her hands were shaking) You see, Christine saw the Gordon’s bag and was sure that I’d bought the wrong thing… remember, she thought she found what she wanted at Zales, so the fact that it was the exact right thing just floored her.

So, mission accomplished… I was on top of the world, and so was Christine.

After that little episode, Christine and I went to CompUSA and bought an iBook and Airport Base Station, and I’m now typing this from the bed, about to go to sleep (been a long day). I love that girl.

From today’s Aggie Hotline:

Sitting Down on the Job Is Not Such a Bad Thing to Ergonomist Gordon VosGordon Vos, an assistant professor in the Ergonomics Center of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), studied pressures on the posterior while people sit in chairs. Vos’ 2001 doctoral analysis of buttock/thigh pressure and a dozen top ergonomic chairs also looked at the importance of armrests and posture. “Chair construction was the most significant factor in lowering peak pressure. Armrests and posture didn’t make much difference when compared to the chair design,” said Vos, who noted nearly 75 percent of all work in industrial countries is done while seated. Vos also found that men experience more pressure on their bottoms when sitting in chairs than females. He added that while more research was needed to determine why, he thought it was probably due to weight. An online version of this story — including photos — is available.

Think about that next time you look at buying an Aeron.

So, outta the blue Josh emailed me a link to Engler Machine and Tool. It seems that a distant relative named Tim is a long time Tractor pulling star and has gone into business for himself, selling high performance engine parts. Looks pretty interesting, and I have a feeling Evan should look into contacting Tim about selling his parts and services here locally. I’m sure there’s a market for high performance tractors in Bellville or Sealy, if you just pound the street a little.

Like I said below, today was Yardwork day.

At 4:00 I found out that my one neighbor with a truck that I wouldn’t feel akward asking for help wasn’t going to be able to lend me his truck… so I called Joe again and asked him if he wouldn’t mind going to the Plant Shed with me in the Jetta to buy a tree or two. Joe said “okay, but we’ll look stupid,” but he was willing to look stupid with me… that’s all that mattered.

So at 5 or so, we left for the nursery, I was fully intent on buying two trees (remember that Christine still doesn’t know about this), one for the front, and one for the back.

You see, last weekend, when Josh and Elise were up, Josh said to me late Saturday night as we say on the back porch (really its just a concrete pad) “Man, you really need some trees.” That hit me sort of funny, because he’s right and we’ve been putting it off for no real reason. So, this weekend I decided it was tree time.

Back to today:

So, we went to the nursery, and I bought a Chinkapin Oak for the front yard and a Bald Cypress for the back yard. They were having a sale (25% off) so I bought 10 gallon trees for $50 each instead of 5 gallon trees. I also bought some composting material and some more pine bark mulch. Joe picked up some periwinkle ground cover to hold the soil in place along the side of his house.

When we got home, I decided we needed some beer, so I made a quick run.

I pulled up to see Joe getting out his shovel (he was planning on helping me, which was cool). So we unloaded the trees from the trunk of the Jetta (yes they looked dumb, but what do you do without a truck) and got to work deciding where to put the first tree in. We moved it around a few times, finally deciding on the location and digging out the sod.

After two beers (a man can tell time by how many beers he’s had) we were done planting the Chinkapin and Joe’s wife was ready to go to dinner, so I moved the second tree and the materials for it around to the back of the house, put everything up and watered in the Chinkapin.

It looks really good, and when Christine gets home (if I’m not too drunk) I’m going to get her to help me figure out where I’m going to put the Bald Cypress tomorrow. She’s got a really good eye, and the backyard is totally bare, so I figure I’ll need her help. We were planning on making a large landscape plan before we bought trees, but Josh touched a nerve in me. I’ve got to have at least a start on one tree in the back. Thanks Josh.

It’s now 8 pm and I’m going to sit on the couch, drink another beer or two and play some PS2 while I wait on my lovely wife to return from her all day scrapbooking marathon. I love that girl.

Today was a day for Yardwork, with a capitol Y.

I awoke around 8ish, put on some shorts and came downstairs until about 10. Christine was heading out to go do some scrapbooking with her friends, and I heard my neighbor, Joe, out doing some yardwork. I noticed that he was edging my yard (probably because he knew I was going to borrow the edger from him later anyways), so I walked outside.

Joe looks up and says “John, you’re right. It is harder to edge your lawn than mine.” To which I replied, “probably because you actually edge every time you mow, so there’s less dirt and crap in thw way of the edger when you edge.”

At that precise moment, I decided it was outside day for John. Christine was just coming out of the house, so I told her to go have fun, and didn’t mention that the yard might look different when she returns.

After she’d driven away, I went to the Plant Shed, the local nursery, and bought some edging for my flower beds and two bags of pine bark mulch (to pay Joe back for edging my yard). I came home and started digging the grass out of the front flower bed. I then installed the edging. Total time: just over an hour. And it looks great now.

When I was at the Plant Shed earlier, I saw some really nice trees that I’d like to go buy and get put in the ground today, but I have to find a truck first… more on that later, if I find one.

It’s now 2pm and its hot as hell out side (85 – 90 degrees) and very windy, so I came inside to cool off. Karen, Joe the neighbor’s wife, just ran to Sonic to buy us all lunch and I ate over there with them in their backyard. It was a pleasant break, but boy is it hot.

Today at work, I adjusted my screen resolution to 1152×870 from 1024×768. It’s just a little bit bigger, but seems so much larger. I’m not too pleased with the change because the monitor gets pretty fuzzy at this resolution.

Also, we took a tour of AdRelevance today from Joe Bunner, our contact at Neilsen//Netratings (Joe’s an excellent guy, if you’re looking for good data on anything to do with the internet, call him: 512.343.0101, and tell him I said hello). The product is awesome. It’s got so many facets to it: Ad Sales Research, Competitive Analysis, Partnership Compliance checking, all sorts of uses. I love it.

Other than that, I didn’t do a whole lot at work it seems… mainly just account maintenance and building a few RFPs. Our Adblocks installation is much more solid now, and I can use it for just about every piece of my daily sales routine. It’s really useful for a sales process routine (daily tasks, call lists, etc…) I’d recommend it to any ad sales person.

If you’re interested at all in the next version of MacOS X, read the O’Reilly recap of WWDC.


Other stuff:

Read about the ugliest buildings in the world today here. It includes the worst building I’ve ever seen, the Experience Music Project building in Seattle. ugggghhhhhly.

Have some fun at the Secret Fun spot.

Ever wonder what happened to the ยข sign?

and if that isn’t enough for your weekend… go midget-tossing.

Have a good one…

Today was an okay day. I drove over to Temerlin McClane to meet with some of the creative folks for the advertising campaign coming up on Bestfares.com for one of their clients. Great folks, great office, and quick trip. It’s about 40 minutes from our offices in Arlington, so I was out at 10 and back by noon, all business taken care of.

6 months ago I wasn’t really happy at work, cause most of the time, I didn’t really feel like I had anything to do… I’m one of those people that like to be busy… for the past couple of weeks I can say I’ve been busy as hell, and loving 90% of it, so I can’t complain too much. The details are still a bitch, but aren’t they always?

simplex veri sigillum


Visit MacMinute to win a new iMac… it can’t hurt to sign up.

Damn, now this is totally cool. Did you know that MacOS X can filter spam for you… all on its own… no need to buy anything, but a Mac of course.

It doesn’t matter where you work, read this if you’re interested in building a customer-based focus. Inc.com continually publishes great quick-read articles with bite sized nuggets worth reading, no matter what stage of business your in.

Thank gosh my employer doesn’t use advertising like this. Might put people into some sort of seizure.

Who’d have thought Google has a weblog or a store?

I read a post from Doc Searls today about TV advertising and it’s future from Brad Templeton:

See, what makes TV so lucrative for the networks and stations and agencies (and everybody but the guys paying for it) is its extreme inefficiency and persistent unaccountability of the whole system. Most advertising is wasted. But as long as there appears to be no alternative, advertisers will continue to pay for, and rationalize, the waste. But as PVRs like TiVo continuously improve the efficiency of TV viewing, they only beg more questions about the poor efficiency and accountability of TV advertising. The industries that sell that advertising doesn’t want those questions asked. The status quo is too lucrative.Make commercial TV accountable and efficient, and suddenly the sellers are making a lot less money. Ergo: no motive to change.

Hence, I sell online advertising (primarily) and the money there is so much less than TV advertising… why? Cause we can measure the hell out of it, and agencies and advertisers demand accountability… oh to sell TV advertising…

I need some 250×250 house banners for work, so that I can fill a section of the website that we’ll be launching soon. I’d ideally like to have advertising from our paying advertisers, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to get any creatives done quickly enough, so, I spent about 30 minutes or so playing with some stock art I have and came up with these…

I’ve also decided the jpeg’s just don’t look good when I make them using Fireworks, but I’ll try them tomorrow with Photoshop if I get the chance.


Client: Bestfares.com

Goal: Fill house inventory with creative that drives people to buy a membership, by telling them not to miss the next “Coast to Coast Supersale”.

specs:

Filesize: 15K Max

Looping: 3 times max

size: 250×250 pixels

Creative Executions: 4

Image name: bf_ss_1_250x250.jpg

Image name: bf_ss_2_250x250.jpg

Image name: bf_ss_3_250x250.jpg

Image name: bf_ss_4_250x250.gif

notes: this gif file is created to show the difference between it and the jpg with the same name.

Image name: bf_ss_4_250x250.jpg


Client: Lavender Hill Suites

Goal: Drive people to investigate the property and eventually book a room.

specs:

Filesize: 15K Max

Looping: 3 times max

size: 250×250 pixels

Creative Executions: 1

Image name: lh250x250_1.jpg


Client: African Tourism Department (fictional)

Goal: Peak the interest of the casual web browser that might be looking for a trip that’s just a little bit different.

specs:

Filesize: 15K Max

Looping: 3 times max

size: 250×250 pixels

Creative Executions: 1

Image name: africa_250x250.jpg

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, did anyone celebrate it?

Did you know why why you were celebrating?

If not, read here… I thought it was the celebration of Mexican Independance, but I was wrong… great article over at Kuro5hin, short and explanatory.

On Friday, Josh emailed me and said “hey dude, mind if we come up and visit this weekend?”. I’d been bugging him about coming up since they’re now living in Temple, which is much closer than Austin is. We really didn’t have anything planned, so I called Christine and she was okay with it, so they came up.

On Saturday, Christine and I were volunteering for the Monticello Mad Dash benefitting Kids Who Care, a local thespian training group for kids. Christine was on the planning committee for the race. We showed up at 5am, helped them with set up and the event… and then stuck around to tear it down. We were done by noon, and we really had a lot of fun.

After driving home, we both cleaned up and rested for a couple of hours. Josh and Elise arrived at about 1:45pm or so.

We hung out around the house, talking and what-not. I helped Josh with some php/MySQL and we played a little PS2. Then we all went down to the Fort Worth Stock Yards for the afternoon. We visited all of the little shops, Christine and Elise tasted Texas wines, and then we ate at Riscky’s Barbeque. Afterwards, we bought some beer, came home and played PS2 into the wee hours of the morning.

We woke up on Sunday, played a little more PS2 and then headed to the Mayfest being held at the Trinity River. We took Wesley with us, but they wouldn’t let him in, so we decided to head back home… Josh and Elise needed to get back to Temple anyways. We stopped at a garage sale on the way home, but no one bought anything. The poor old ladies selling their stuff really didn’t have much and wanted way too much for it.

Josh and Elise left for Temple at 3, and Christine and I are watching Moulin Rouge this afternoon. We might even watch Bridget Jones’s Diary tonight if we’re up to it.

Today was a fairly uneventful day. I’m running into all sorts of questions/problems with our new ad sales software, probably because I did something wrong and don’t know that I did something wrong… We’re getting it fixed though, so it’s not that bad… just frustrating to look at reports and know that they’re wrong, but you’re doing everything you can to make them right.

I left work at 5 today… been there too much lately…


Now in other news:

Need a logic lesson, or some big terms to make you look smart next time you and your boss have an argument? Read the Index of Logical Failures.

Want to know what it’s like to be a terrorist? Play this game… pretty sick, but I had to point it out.

What the hell is going on in this world that would make a pricipal want to check all of the girl’s underwear at a dance, in public, in front of other kids and Police Officers? This pincipal should just rot away in jail if you ask me. It’s sad.

Ever had to worry about seat space in coach on an airplane? Print this out for your next trip, or fly American with “More Room in Coach.”

Saddam turned 65.

and lastly,

The Alexa WebSearch looks pretty useful… check it out sometime.