Archives for the month of: January, 2010
Media_httpimgurcom4nv_ufgiu

Is it just me or does the sign on the Wpromote men's room make it seem like there are facilities for both the disabled as well as GIANTS?!

So far, I have yet to see any giants attempting to use the restrooms here at Wpromote. This is probably because we have yet to hire any giants or, really, even get one in the door for an interview. It's not that we discriminate against giants, I guess there just aren't a lot of giants specifically interested in search engine marketing. However, should a giant eventually join the Wpromote team, it's nice to know that we will have bathroom arrangements suitable to a person of his stature.

Media_httpnewsdiscove_mgiza

I love dinosaurs but I know that the technical side doesn't interest a lot of people. Therefore, I'll keep this one short.

Unbeknownst to many lay people, lots and lots of dinosaur fossils have revealed indications that certain dinosaurs had hair-like filaments which were probably the precursors of feathers in both ancient and modern birds. In fact, if Steven Spielberg were to reshoot Jurassic Park, he would be remiss if he didn't put such "dino fuzz" on the giant Velociraptors depicted in the film. Of course, we all know that Velociraptors weren't that big–only Utahraptors were even close to that big among the Dromaeosaurids–and that many of the other dinosaurs were quite flawed, but that's not the point. As it turns out, some genius scientists in China have found fossils of Sinosauropteryx ("Chinese lizard wing" pictured above) that had fossilized elements indicating pigmentation in its feather-like structures.

So, because of this and because science keeps getting more and more sciencey all the time, my guess is that we'll have a decent idea of what some dinosaurs actually looked like in full color in the not-so-distant future. Of course, we'll all know what they look like some day because eventually I'll be the trillionaire mad man that pays every scientist in the world to abandon their altruistic and humanitarian endeavors in order to resurrect actual dinosaurs. Then, when they revolt against their human masters and we're being chased from our homes by the coolest animals ever to walk the planet, we'll be able to get a pretty solid look at all kinds of dinosaurs.

But, until that happens, this is a darn significant find! Good job, Science!; keep it up! [Discovery]

Media_httpitsncomipho_sllbj

Attention, residents of Florida: a 64-year-old, male sex offender will be at large in your area in the month of February! Hide your children!

Oh, what's that? He was cleared of those charges? So, he's not guilty. Huh? Oh, he's also rock legend Pete Townshend of the Who and he's here not to molest a gang of Floridian babies but, rather, to play with his band at the Super Bowl? Oh, okay, just checking.

So, it seems a correction seems to be in order.

Attention, residents of Florida: the Who will be playing at halftime during the Super Bowl and the only convicted sex offenders around will likely be scattered randomly throughout the crowd. By the way, you should probably not be too worried about Pete Townshend anyway because he's easy to spot, he'll be on stage the entire time and he's probably looking forward to getting out of your crazy state as soon as possible. Thanks anyway, Florida, for embarrassing the crap out of a rock legend who was cleared of all charges!

By the way, if you don't already, start listening to Uhh Yeah Dude from which this bit was stolen. [SportingNews.com]

Media_httpwwwblogcdnc_gcstk

I hate to crap in the punchbowl but I’m somewhat of a techie dude and an Apple fanboy and, so far, I’m a bit disappointed in what I’ve seen from Apple’s brand new iPad. I own a laptop and it’s great for helping me work. I own an iPhone and it’s the best mobile device around. I own a Kindle and it has truly reignited my love of reading.

So, what the heck am I going to do with an iPad?

Maybe I’m not the target market. Maybe, if you own all three of these devices, you’d be foolish to dole out $700+ for an iPad. And yes, I know that the device starts at $499 but, seriously, if this is truly going to change the way you listen to music, do work, watch TV shows and movies, etc. you’re going to need at least 64GB. Heck, I have 32GB+ of music alone!

So, again, maybe Apple isn’t going after me and my money. But, even if you only have two of the three devices, would you seriously consider buying an iPad?

Let’s assume that everyone who gives a flying fig about the iPad in the first place owns a laptop that they consider serviceable. I think that’s fair. That leaves three scenarios: a laptop owner who also owns an iPhone (but no Kindle), a laptop owner who also owns a Kindle (but no iPhone) and a laptop owner with neither an iPhone nor a Kindle.

Scenario 1: Laptop + iPhone. My guess is that if you own a laptop and an iPhone, you aren’t going to spring for a device that ads the functionality of an eBook reader and little else. Anyone who has ever used a Kindle knows that the advantage of the device isn’t the capacity to hold thousands of books or the ability to download books and articles on demand; the advantage is the opaque screen/e-ink system that makes reading just as easy on your eyes as reading actual ink on paper. It might even be easier! Couple that with the fact that Amazon eBooks are cheaper than all other books (“e” or not) and the Kindle will pay itself off in a year for an avid reader; Apple plans to charge around $15/book for a smaller selection of books. I hate reading off of my monitor, I hate reading off of my laptop and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that I’d hate reading off of yet another backlit device like the iPad.

Here’s an idea, Apple: either make a device that can somehow transition from a backlit screen to an opaque screen seamlessly or stop calling the device “magical.” Yes, I know that that would be a tall order but a tall order is what you expect when your spokespeople refer to a single device as “magical” more than three times in a single presentation!

Scenario 2: Laptop + Kindle. Now, let’s say you own a laptop and a Kindle (or similar device) but no iPhone. Well, perhaps the iPad is for you, right? Umm… wrong. Considering the size of the iPad, it’s not going into your pocket. Considering the price of the iPad, you’re not just going to tuck it under your arm; you’re going to need a messenger bag. So, if I need a messenger bag and I’ve already got my laptop and Kindle in my messenger bag, there’s no reason add an iPad to the mix.

To be honest, it would just make more sense to purchase a cheaper, 85% as functional iPhone at this point or just be satisfied with whatever functionality my current phone/smart phone brings to the table. Keep in mind, the iPad cannot make calls. If you are a real genius and know how to jailbreak your iPad and use a sweet combination of Google Voice and Skype, you could probably fix that but, for most normal folks, the iPad is just a big iPod touch, not a big iPhone.

Scenario 3: Laptop only. Even given a $599 price point for the non-3G, 32GB model of the iPad, I could literally go buy a $299 32GB iPhone 3GS and a $259 Kindle and have $41 left over to take my girlfriend to go see Avatar in 3D. To boot, I’d have a better, truly mobile device and a better, e-ink-based eBook reader. Assuming I own pockets and a bag for my laptop. I’ve sacrificed nothing in terms of convenience.

The only thing I’ve ignored so far is gaming, which, apparently, some crazy people would plan on doing with their iPad. Most gamers would probably agree that this is a joke. Also, if I saw a guy holding his iPad at “ten and two” with his arms outstretched, twisting at the shoulders as if he were driving a Formula 1 car through a series of chicanes, I would walk up and slap the device onto the ground out of principle. Really? You’re going to use a $700+ piece of equipment as a virtual steering wheel in public? That’s just unacceptable. Wait until you get home and play Xbox like an adult!

I love Apple. It’s up there with my favorite brands: Google, Pixar, Alberton’s Generic Oatmeal, etc. I’m loyal to them because they almost always get it right. I still hope that I’m proven wrong about the iPad, however, unless I’m missing something big, it looks like it’s poised to be the biggest flop since the last Apple tablet: the Newton. The only way I could imagine someone justifying purchasing this thing is because it’s worth the price to them as a status symbol alone. If that happens and the iPad succeeds, the good news will be that the recession is officially over and Americans are ready to start irresponsibly burning cash again!

[See a review of Apple’s presentation at Engadget]

[Edit: Additional, damning review from Gizmodo]

Media_httpimgurcomxdz_cegio

I got an email last night from Mountain West Research asking me to take a survey. It's a survey about California, its politics, the upcoming election and technology as an economic factor in California. Because I always complain about the statistics touted by talking heads that originate from surveys–often saying things like, "There's no way that many people prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate!"–I try to complete every legitimate survey that comes my way. You can't complain about the president if you don't vote, so, it stands to reason that you can't complain about shoddy statistics if you don't complete surveys, right?

Wrong.

The reason is because 93% of statistics are complete BS. See? There's a BS statistic right there! Seriously, though, there are lots of issues with surveys and the questioning methodology that lead to bad stats. The image above demonstrates a couple of big ones.

First of all, this is the most leading question I've ever read. The question should read something like, "Are you proud of California's participation in the tech sector in the past?" Instead, it paints a picture of California as a global leader in tech; it mentions the biggest success stories in tech (and none of the failures); it portrays tech as an economic boon to the states (and fails to mention that little bubble we had a few years back).

Is California a leader in tech? Sure. Am I proud? Absolutely, but don't make those who might otherwise say "No" feel foolish for doing so right there in the question! That's just bad data-gathering!

The second thing I hate about surveys like this is that there is no room for ambiguity. I think that it's probably fair to say that there are a lot of Californians that are neither bursting with pride nor filled with shame about California's history in the tech sector. Let's say you're one of these people. How do you answer? Do you choose "No" because, specifically, the emotion of pride does not adequately express the way you feel about tech in California? Do you say "Yes" because, now that you think about it, you guess it is kind of cool that Google is a California company, even though you never thought about it at all before? Why is there no third option for "no strong feelings" for this question?

I don't know for certain, however, based on the survey questions and the name of the firm (Mountain West Research), I'm pretty sure that the folks behind this survey are hoping for positive sentiments about the tech sector in California. Mountain West, CA, after all, is home to Google's main campus and next door to other Silicon Valley giants mentioned in this question. The sad truth is that, for the most part, all surveys come from biased origins because only people with a bias actually care enough to fund and distribute the survey in the first place. So, anytime you see opinion polls like this, just remember to take the statistics delivered with a grain of salt. My guess is that 19% of you will take my advice, 33% of you will ignore it, 35% of you feel like you didn't need it in the first place and 13% of you will go overboard and take such results with two or more grains of salt. I can't be sure though; I'm still waiting for the results of my survey to come back.

Media_httpwwwwpromote_jydob

Please go to the Wpromote blog and check out the latest edition of the Tues News: 1/26 (Funny Edition), my weekly feature on current news in search marketing. Thanks!

Media_httpblogscitypa_gfkpk

The title of this article from CityPages pretty much says it all. Jeremy Baier is going to eat three Chipotle burritos per day for a week for a total of 21 colon-busting burritos in a row. When I eat a Chipotle burrito, it turns me off of all food for the rest of the day, much less two more burritos, so this guy is truly a visionary.

My friend and colleague, Michael Stone, is the only other person I know who attempts something like this. On one of the first days of Spring, Stone goes and gets two Chipotle burritos and eats them in a ritual he likes to call “Spring Cleaning.” And that’s only two burritos!

If you have the stomach for it, feel free to follow Jeremy on his quest to rid himself of working, human intestines on his website. At least, if he dies, he’ll go out with the sweet taste of Chipotle in his mouth.

Lastly, I sure hope he bought himself some Chipotle-Away!

Man, that’s gross… and hilarious.

Media_httpengtechfile_bcely

Bill Gates is one of the smartest guys in the whole world; that’s undeniable. However, in the world of search engine optimization–a world of nuanced intelligence–that doesn’t mean jack squat! One of my industry heroes, Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand, gives Bill some much needed SEO advice about ranking higher in Google for his personal blog.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Maybe Bill Gates doesn’t care that his blog shows up below impostor blogs. After all, Google is his enemy!” That’s cool, that makes sense. Unfortunately for Bill, his blog doesn’t even show up on Bing’s first page at all! If you’re in the search engine marketing business, that’s high comedy. If you aren’t, then this is probably the most boring blog entry you’ve ever read. Sorry about that! [SearchEngineLand]

Media_httprlvzcacheco_qdqaf

If you're like me, when you think of USC, you think of the University of Southern California, Trojans, football and good-looking ladies who aren't quite as hot as my girlfriend. In fact, if you're like me, you probably saw the picture above and thought, "Why does that shirt have a South Carolina license plate on it for a California school? Is USC boasting about the breadth of its popularity?" No, as it turns out, there is another USC: the University of South Carolina. Or, should I say, there was another USC.

Sorry South Carolinian fans of abbreviating but the University of Southern California won a lawsuit that solidified their exclusive use of the initials USC for merchandise. That means that there really is only one real USC now and that makes a liar out of that guy's shirt.

So, the next time you hear someone yell, "Go USC!" you won't have to do anything differently because nobody ever thought about the Univ. of So. Car. when people say, "USC" in the first place. By the way, "Univ. of So. Car." is probably what you'll start seeing on South Carolina merchandise that's too small for the whole name of the school. You know, wristbands, tchotchkes and such. That'll look nice. [BusterSports]

Media_httpwwwjessicas_hqfyv

I was checking out Yahoo's Odd News section and Florida didn't disappoint. Not one but two headlines come from the Sunshine State this morning and both are hilarious:

Fla. woman in PJs charged with DUI twice in 3 days
Fla. woman just out of prison allegedly steals car

Perhaps the best part of these stories is that the woman in both cases is in her forties. Most women I know who are in there forties are too busy working and/or taking care of their kids to be stealing cars and/or drunk driving in pajamas. Not in Florida! I would have loved to post a picture of either woman, however, no picture was available. Instead, I posted a picture of what appears to be a dachshund mix in pajamas because dogs wearing sleepwear is hilarious. My friend Marissa got a Snuggie for my dog but he hates it, so, in order to check out dogs wearing hilarious sleepwear, I have to go to the Internet. I'm not sure if a Snuggie counts as sleepwear (I guess it's more "loungewear") but what's the point of even owning a dog if he won't wear one? 

By the way, if you don't already, start listening to Uhh Yeah Dude from which this bit was stolen. [Yahoo News]