flash in the pan

July 12th, 2001

Hands up everybody who immediately clicks “skip flash intro” without waiting to see ANY of the flash.
ok, now. one, two, three, four…ten..twenty..a hundred… – oh, this isn’t going to work…
Right, then. Hands down.

Now, Hands up everybody who usually cares to watch the whole flash intro before getting to the content.
ahh – that’s better. one… two…you there – is your hand up or are you scratching your head?..ok, two…….three. ok, three – let’s write that down


dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer

July 11th, 2001

Chris Nott at dithered says that the recent spate of comments about marketing-speak

…has made me think if those who are leary of marketing respect the marketing (or similar) department in the companies they work for.

Heh heh. Since i’m an independent consultant, I don’t have a marketing dept per se. My experience, though, is that I don’t have much time for businessspeak or marketingspeak. If a marketing department spouts it, I don’t have respect for them. If they are clear in their communications, I do. I spent over a decade as a snivelling servant for the Ontario government and had my fill of doublespeak and gobbledegook.

I do have a colleague who markets me to clients and I really respect what he does and the value he provides for his percentage. I wouldn’t be happy with him if he told customers they could leverage my synergistic qualities to make a win-win value-added seamless business solution for them, but if he lets them know that I’m personable, knowledgeable and can coax all sorts of extra functionality out of their systems with my scripting expertise then he’s gonna get me solid repeat business, and that he does. All by talking with humans as humans, not interfacing with corporate-speaking entities.

It’s all relationship building. As The Cluetrain Manifesto says it so well, markets are conversations, and the dialogue has to be bidirectional. If the marketers are talking AT customers rather than conveying information, then they’re not listening. Senseless marketing blather is designed to be vague enough not to make any points significant enough to hang a real discussion on. Effective marketing motivates the consumer to enter into a two-way dialogue with the vendor.


eyeballs, impressions, bullshit

July 9th, 2001

In the past couple of weeks, there’s been a bit of hoopla about KnowNow. This company has cool interesting technology and is populated by more than a couple of industry cognoscenti, but likely due to the dynamics of the post-bust dotcom situation found itself with an internal power imbalance leaning away from the technology and its potential and towards venture capitalists and marketers. The website read like a “how-not-to” guide for clarity in communication. I was glad to see that they listened to the various voices who decried the vacuous marketspeak and rewrote their introductory pages to actually convey understanding.

I’ve been researching some CRM stuff this morning, specifically call scripting software. Marketspeak abounds. It’s remarkable what lengths they go to to provide rambling verbose descriptions of their products without ever giving me a clue what its actual technical specifications might be, how I might be able to use it or integrate it, etc, etc. Just who is the target of these sites? I can only assume it’s aimed towards government and corporate buyers who don’t actually know the problem space the product fills, although my experience with them is that they’ll at least want a technical laundry list.

If I want to know more, I have to supply my contact information, exposing myself to a sales call, numerous followups and a lifetime of self-authorized spam. One place requires me to give them contact info just so they can send me their whitepaper.

Hey guys, just give me INFORMATION. Allow ME to discover your product and its specifications, and I will ASK when I want to know more. The minute you try to force me into your salespitch stream, you’ve lost me. I’m out the door to find a shop that will let me browse in peace without a salesman stalking me through the store.

Ain’t it always the case. I blog about something and then immediately run into someone yakking about the same stuff, usually saying it much better than me.


fab, we’re glad…

June 26th, 2001

overheard: is there anything borax can’t do?


spinning back up

June 25th, 2001

I’ve been away on holiday for a while and am only now getting the cogs grinding again. So, a few small things.

Tim Morgan does some way cool things with DHTML.

Kevin Dangoor continues to have a brain which is quite well attached to his powers of expression.

Robert Scoble has seen the man behind the curtain, and he has a perennially bad haircut and nerdy glasses.

Adam Bosworth has a lot to say about n-tiered XML-based services (via Joel).

In true blog fashion, I’m linking to others who think the same way I do. I’m gonna have to start reading and linking to crap that I find malodourous and unconscionable, when I get the time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why Doc feels it important to advertise the uptime on his Linux box (Uptime: 105 days.. etc). My guess is that it’s part of the “Linux is way more stable than Windows” thing.

I know I’m fishing for a black eye here, but I contend that it’s not even particularly relevant for a desktop system, and isn’t really an issue with most server configurations.

Desktop systems, because they’re not serving stuff to others, don’t need to be running all the time. I always leave my desktop running all day in case I need to use it, but it goes off at night and gets turned back on in the morning. I use Win2000’s hibernation feature,
so it doesn’t actually cause a reboot, but I’ve usually closed all programs by then anyhow, so it’s just a matter of what will boot up faster. I guess with Hibernate, I only boot once a month or less, but again, on a desktop, it’s not very relevant.

Server-wise, I want the machine running all the time. I set up the services running on it and then off it goes. Other than power failures, my NT4/SP4 box was up from December to June before I forced a boot with the SP6 upgrade to fix some security issues. No unexpected downtimes or runaway memory. I use this machine for HTTP/FTP/SMTP and some sundry stuff I do via remote control.

That reboot was necessary because various in-use system DLLs were replaced. With Windows, the operating system and its associated services aren’t as granulated as with *nix, so this happens. With Linux, messing with the Kernel is the only thing that will really require a reboot.

Other things will only require stopping and starting the particular program or daemon in question. For a dedicated web server, for instance, whether you reboot the whole system or just stop and start web services is moot – the single task the system is serving is interrupted.

My argument is with those folks who continue to write program installers for Win2000 as though they were dealing with Win3.1, and force a reboot on you although it is not necessary. They’re simply too lazy to write the shutdown/change/startup sequence stuff in case there is some unexpected state happening, so they write onBoot
installer stuff to force a known condition.

Culturally, nobody has ever written *nix installers that way, so they aren’t about to start, Unfortunately, Windows’ ability to have unobtrusive installations arrived after installation developers got used to having to force reboots on you, so some people continue to do it.

It’s mostly about the users. I don’t need to reboot my NT machine because I’m a nerdy guy who knows when and why to boot and not to boot. The vast majority of Linux users have a clue about their machine and take care to do things accordingly. When I’m using Linux however, I’m booting all the time in order to correct some damn thing that I don’t care to take the time to figure out how to fix without a reboot. Of course, if I start to use it in a professional atmosphere, I’ll act professionally about it and get a clue.

Unfortunately, Windows, like automatic transmission and cruise control in cars, has taught people that it’s neither necessary nor desirable to have a technical clue about the machinery you’re careening about in. Until people are forced to prove some real aptitude with the technology before using it, we’ll simply continue to have lots of crashes and their consequences.

And I’m sure that will happen as soon as you need to pass an exam before you can parent a child.

With that italicized glib remark at the end, I think I’ve managed to bring todays blog into complete compliance with disenchanted’s blog rant. Oops – except for a word-of-the-day. Now let’s see… serendipity.


following in her footsteps

June 19th, 2001

In front of Mann’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard:

“Hey, Dad, here’s Shirley Temple’s footprints!”

Hey, Dad, here’s Shirley Temple’s footprints!

“I wonder…?”

I wonder…?

“They fit!!”

They fit!!

“Dad, have you seen my shoes?”

Dad, have you seen my shoes?


the anaheimlich manoeuver

June 12th, 2001

“a day to remember”

A day to remember


a day to remember

June 12th, 2001