But... schools

October 28, 2014 :: 0 comments

There’s a political ad on the radio in California that’s arguing against an Indian gambling proposition that would allow some new casinos. The negative ad is funded by some of the big Indian casinos, but I’m sure it’s not just because they want to limit competition.

In the ad, a warning is given about how dangerous it would be to expand casinos in the state. It includes the phrase "what’s next, casinos near schools?" It’s stated as if it’s obvious that such a thing would be bad. What are they expecting would happen if a casino were near a school? Children skip class to play the slots? Crazed gambling addicts shaking down kindergartners for their milk money?

This idea of shielding schools from perfectly safe and sane things isn’t limited to casinos. Last month a local high school protested against an indoor gun range opening nearby. The principal was quoted as saying that a gun club close to the school is obviously wrong. But why? Guns nearby are going to make people go mad and increase school violence somehow?

This school alarmism needs to stop. For the children.

Travel weight of coins

August 26, 2014 :: 0 comments

Preparing for a long trip overseas I emptied the laptop bag I use for longer trips out. It was getting heavy, and I needed to cut the load down. Among other things, I found 115 coins from 6 different countries in there.

When I get to an airport, I dump the contents of my pockets into a small mesh zippered pocket in the bag. I don’t empty it often enough and the collection of coins just grows. The pile of coins in my bag weighed 18.1 ounces — over a pound.

The biggest difference in weight-to-value is the US penny. They’re 0.10oz each. The second biggest is the Philippine 5 Peso coin. It’s worth about 11 cents US, but weighs 1/3 of an ounce. So if you want to waste weight for very little monetary benefit, carry lots of these coins. Also of interest, the official abbreviation for the Philippine Peso is “PHP” just like the programming language.

All the power cables, video dongles, thumb drives, and power adapters in my bag have a total weight of 11 ounces. Other than my 35 ounce laptop, this pile of coins was by far the heaviest thing in my bag - and something I can live without.

Aereo: a parable

June 26, 2014 :: 0 comments

Your neighbor is unable to get TV reception from his property, but you can get it from yours. He asks you if he can put his antenna on your house and runs a cable from it to his house. He offers to pay you $10 a month for the trouble.

Wouldn’t it be silly if the government stepped in to prevent you from making that transaction?

Now that same neighbor decides the long cable isn’t working out. It’s ugly, and the squirrels keep chewing through it. He comes over and replaces the long cable with a short cable plugged into a Slingbox and a DVR so he can watch from home without those pesky squirrels interrupting The Bachelorette.

Two technologies legal to combine in his house, he’s just moved them 50 feet to the other side of the fence.

Three of your neighbors hear about your arrangement. They all bring their own antennas and Slingboxes over and set them up the same way.

Nothing’s changed from your single neighbor, you’ve just got more antennas.

Later 10 more neighbors want to join in, but you decide that having all these neighbors coming over, traipsing through your begonias, and installing their own antennas is a pain in the ass. So you buy 10 antennas and 10 Slingboxes and 10 DVRs yourself, install them and give those 10 neighbors each access to one of them.

Now you’re Aereo and the Supreme Court says you’re violating copyright law.

The birth of cubicle hell

April 29, 2014 :: 1 comment

Herman Miller Action Office

Wired chronicles the late 1960s arrival of office furniture that inadvertently gave rise to the dreaded cubicle:

It turned out that companies had no interest in creating autonomous environments for their “human performers.” Instead, they wanted to stuff as many people in as small a space for as cheaply as possible as quickly as possible.

-- "The Cubicle You Call Hell Was Designed To Set You Free"

Double Opt-In helps you

April 2, 2014 :: 0 comments

Marketing communications should be double opt in. When someone subscribes, send them an email to confirm. That does two things…

The poor bastard with a common word on a popular mail host as their email address doesn’t get accidentally subscribed to hundreds of email lists when someone incorrectly types their email in a web form.

The woman who wanted to subscribe to the list, when she doesn’t get the confirmation right away, will realize there’s something wrong and try again, hopefully netting you a real subscriber you weren’t have gotten already.

Make the most of opportunities

March 5, 2013 :: 1 comment

The story of how minor leaguer Brock Bond got into professional baseball is humorous.

It was a mistake. A clerical error.

The Giants meant to take Casey Bond, a gliding, 6-foot-3 center fielder out of Lipscomb University in Tennessee. They mistakenly took a high-achieving, 5-foot-11 infielder from the University of Missouri.

But what he did once he got that opportunity is an inspiration. It’s the story of a guy who realizes he shouldn’t be there, but is determined to make everyone forget that.

Brock Bond had to prove himself at every level but just kept finding ways to get on base, and kept holding on to playing time. A switch hitter, he has drawn 256 walks to 266 strikeouts over six seasons, and last year at Triple-A Fresno, he hit .332 with a .422 OBP in 106 games.

Often, part of success is being in the right place at the right time. What will you do with the opportunity when it happens?

This can’t be good: http://t.co/vJCJ3D2g Jun 21, 2012 10 :07 via Twitter

Am I the only one wondering what would happen if I unplugged that Ethernet cable? Jun 19, 2012 11 :03 via Twitter

Now I know why my hotel wifi signal is so good: http://t.co/ADAKVtPK Jun 19, 2012 11 :01 via Twitter

The Oakland A’s are selling root beer floats to raise money to fight diabetes. Next month, how about beer proceeds donated to AA? Jun 18, 2012 12 :17 via Twitter

Dear gmail, please sort autocomplete contacts by frequency of use. I email my wife Christina way more than I do @ChrisPirillo. Put her 1st. Jun 17, 2012 7 :42 via Twitter

My son’s school is selling or giving my contact info to local businesses. Lovely. Jun 16, 2012 9 :25 via Twitter

Two iPhones in the house took a swim this week. Opened them up, cleaned them out, they’re both working again. Jun 15, 2012 7 :38 via Twitter

If your pitch deck is more about the animations than the company, you’ve already lost. Jun 15, 2012 3 :36 via Twitter

The ER is always filled with interesting people. Jun 14, 2012 10 :04 via Twitter

Proof reading is gud. Jun 14, 2012 6 :31 via Twitter

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Recently

But... schools (Oct 28)
This school alarmism needs to stop. For the children.
Travel weight of coins (Aug 26)
My laptop bag was getting heavy, so I emptied it. Found 115 coins from 6 different countries in there. That will do it.
Aereo: a parable (Jun 26)
Here's why people who understand both technology and copyright law think the Supreme Court's Aereo decision defies common sense.
The birth of cubicle hell (Apr 29)
Where do cubicles come from?
Double Opt-In helps you (Apr 2)
A simple reason why double opt-in is a good thing for marketers.
Make the most of opportunities (Mar 5)
Often, part of success is being in the right place at the right time. What will you do with the opportunity when it happens?
Email as a model for future mobile phone service (Feb 10)
What if your phone wasn't tied to your phone number?
MySQL inadequecies (Feb 9)
This guy seriously hates MySQL and helps you understand how to use it better.

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