Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rdio killed the Apple Star

Yes that title is a play on the title of the old song “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which you can listen to right now on Rdio (assuming you have an account).

Rdio is a new music listening website that lets you listen to all the music you want, and don’t own, for just a few bucks a month.

I still pissed off at Apple for eating up (an innovative iTunes competitor) and shitting it out. Now that Rdio is online and slowly opening up it’s services to listeners, I’ve got another start-up to cheer for… and secretly hope will rain down some Karma on Apple for their monopolistic activities in the world of music.

I’m not sure that Rdio will kill the Apple Star, but I’m very happy to see a new competitor enter the arena. Turn on your Rdio.

The execs at GM must really want to collapse their company

This is truly funny, and I first heard this news on Jim Hightower’s podcast.

It seems that the executives at GM are killing the ‘Chevy‘ brand. Yep, they are going as far as fining employees that use the name ‘Chevy‘ in conversation a quarter every time they use the word ‘Chevy‘. It seems that someone thinks that they should switch to ‘Chevrolet‘ and kill off that old ‘Chevy‘ stigma.

Problem is… Chevy has a positive stigma. I mean if ‘Chevy‘ had a negative or sinister reputation like Blackwater Worldwide (the infamous mercenary company) and you wanted to fade into the background, you might want to change you name to something completely forgettable, like Xe Services LLC. That’s a perfect camouflaged brand name few will remember.

My guess is that some expensive marketing guru told GM them that by killing off their past and building a new consistent brand on ‘Chevrolet‘ they can move their products into a new market segment. I think it’s stupid myself, since Chevy is such a friendly and familiar word.

Google trends shows a slight preference out there online for the word “Chevrolet” but I think this kind of evidence doesn’t come close to reflecting the truth behind the brand. I’m certain if you filter out all the official press that Google includes (below) and looked at what real people use in conversation, you’d find that car buyers predominantly use the word ‘Chevy.

As far as fining employees 25-cents for use of “Chevy” in conversation… that’s just F’d up.

If I were some kind of professional corporate marketing expert (wink) I’d advise the folks at GM to reevaluate this decision and conduct some very careful research before dumping the friendly and trusted name CHEVY.

Feel free to stick to the CHEVROLET name all over your cars and trucks but don’t correct your staff or the public by telling them that their trusted old friend CHEVY is dead and gone. If you do, I suspect you’ll be sending a bunch of buyers to FORD.

I filed my first FTC complaint today

What’s an FTC complaint? – The rules for email marketing are defined by the CAN SPAM act. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) fields complaints and enforces the law. Each unsolicited email a company sends can result in a $16,000 fine. So most legitimate businesses do not send emails that do not contain a mechanism that allows email recipients to opt-out (remove themselves from the list) and that violate CAN PAM in any way. To file a complaint against a spammer, or an internet fraudster, just go to the FTC Complaint website.

Since February 4, 2010 I’ve received five emails from a company called Weber Shandwick that have marketed General Motors products. Weber Shandwick appears to me a very professional marketing/advertising agency so I can only imagine that General Motors is a client and these emails are the result of a paid marketing campaign. None of the emails contained the required CAN SPAM language or opt out links. I’ve asked them to be removed from their distribution lists with no action on their part.

So I slogged through the FTC website and filed the complaint. Ironically I should now probably report the FTC site for not being ADA compliant… I was shocked at all rotten javascript on a government website. Most of those were cleaned up years ago. But I can only tilt at one windmill per day and what’s the government going to do, fine itself!? LOL

So… if you know who is spamming you, and you have 30 minutes to potentially waste, file a complaint. Most unsolicited email you’ll receive from someone recognizable is CAN SPAM compliant, so most of the time it’s not worth the effort because there is no way to stop all spammers. Big corporate email marketers should be much smarter than that.

If you’re curious… here are the emails I received from Weber Shandwick.

Tiny Free House Update

Last weekend I spent a day and a half working on my tiny free pallet house. It’s been terribly difficult to find time to build but it really felt great to be working on it again. When you sit at a desk in front of a computer all day every day it’s nice to get out and do physical work. I know that sounds moronic to those who actually ‘work’ for a living but it’s still true. Anyway I’ve posted more photos on my Tiny Free House blog if you’re curious.


Complete Redesign Of Tiny House Design User Interface

It’s midnight and I think I’m done reworking the UI of tiny house design. My main concern wasn’t the look & feel but the navigation. One of the biggest problems with a blog, by nature, is it’s ability to hide away old content. But the beauty of the WordPress CMS (and I think it deserves to be called that) is it’s flexibility. Anyway take a look.

Busy Night Blogging Last Night

I finally got around to doing some posts on Tiny House Design again. I’ve been slacking. I posted three different short posts on stories I’ve been aware of for a week or more. I’m glad I finally got back to it.

I also had an idea about a blog customization, maybe a wordpress plug-in opportunity, and that’s to put a microblog right inside a larget blog. Maybe control is using a category or something. For all I know it exists already, I’ll go check.

Basically the end result would be the main blog and a sidebar with very short posts, almost like twitter posts, but with thumbnail images to get more looks. This would allow a blogger to write a longer quality post and short blurbs without cluttering up the main page. Just a thought, not sure if that would really help keep the blog active or just lead visitors away faster with more exit links. Might be worth exploring.

Would You Eat This Meat?

I had to run to the grocery store tonight to get a few items and saw this while waiting at the check stand. Would you eat this meat? I was extremely surprised to see that someone was actually trying to market beef jerky under the brand name “Crazy Cow.” I mean come on… doesn’t this branding just scream, “Mad Cow Diseased Beef Jerky!” I’m sure it’s not diseased and that they probably meant it to be a play on words and sickly funny… but if you want to sell something you might try NOT to advertising it could kill you. Call it “Wild Cow” or something.

this YES-ON-8 guy has issues

We were running an errand today and on the way home spotted this guy in his extra large yellow 4×4 with the words ‘YES ON 8′ written boldly on the front, back, and sides. For all I know it was written on the roof too just in case the CHP in the helicopter wondered where he stood on the issue of gay marriage. Now I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with this picture… don’t you think he’s protesting just a little too much?

Then… if that wasn’t funny enough… moments later the COWBOY UP dude pulled in behind him and followed him in traffic for a while. All I have to say is that seeing this made the trip worth while. We laughed all the way home.

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The Coast with the Most – The Mendocino Coast

You might have read in the New York Times article that Julia and I long to move back to Mendocino County, downsize, and simplify. Here’s what Steven Kurutz wrote in the article.

“Instead, he wants to be a living example encouraging people to downsize, even if it’s only to a moderately smaller home. The Janzens plan to do just that, as soon as the housing market bounces back and they can sell their current home without taking a loss. The couple wants to move back to Mendocino County, where early in their marriage they lived in that 450-square-foot cabin.” – NY TIMES

When we lived in Mendocino County before we lived in a little place called Redwood Valley and and made pilgrimages to the coast which was about an hour away through some very twisty roads. When we move back someday we want to be much closer to the coast, just not right on the coast. Here’s a photo of the village of Mendocino.

I’m pretty sure a historic home in the village of Mendocino will be out of our reach… I guess it will just depend on how successful I’m as a writer, blogger, whatever. I think we’ll probably look for a piece of land that’s just inland, outside the coastal commission’s jurisdiction and in the sun a little more. Having a peek at the ocean will be enough for us. Owning a home right on the ocean comes with too many maintenance and zoning limitations. Definitely not a simpler life.

Every day we listen to KOZT online. KOZT is one of the last real radio stations owned and operated by real radio people who have escaped the world and hidden out up there. If you’re a Beatles fan they run a great radio show every Sunday from 8AM to 10AM called Breakfast with the Beatles. We listen to is to stay connected.

But for now we’re stuck in our big house, like millions of Americans. I’m hopeful though. I read economic reports coming out of the bank I work for every week, public reports… no insider information here. We still haven’t hit rock bottom but I know a lot of people think we’ll have a good recovery once consumer confidence comes back up, maybe as soon as the holidays. In any event I’m certain I’m in my house a job for a few years, nothing can recover that fast, but I’ll keep doing everything I can everyday to move toward this goal. Being proactive is the only way to go.

Photo credit wikimedia commons.