Super Friends Super Show Episode 0 Pilot / Test

Here is the first episode of a podcast with my dear Polish friend Stefan Wójcik as he learns about our lovely country by living and working here.

Download it!!

iOS7 DMG Download / Safari Easter Egg: January 24th 1984 12:00 AM PST

Just noticed this easter egg while downloading iOS 7 for my iPhone 5 (Model A1429). I have multiple teams on the Dev Center so I need to use Safari ( I am excited to switch to Safari full time once I install Mavericks 10.9 ). The file downloading says January 24th 1984 1:00 AM ( I am currently in Mountain time on my trip across the country ), which if anyone knows is the date the Macintosh first said Hello to us from an auditorium at De Anza College blocks away from Apple’s Cupertino Campus.Safari Easter Egg

There’s always money in the Banana Stand!
Why Netflix is the new
King of Guerrilla Marketing

I for one welcome our new streaming overlords.

Netflix is shaking up the entertainment industry and we all have them to thank for bringing back our beloved Bluth family. But they have shareholders to report to just as the fictional Bluth company. They have a different business model and they have to utilize different mediums to reach their audience. Since they don’t own a traditional network they can’t just blast the American public with ads during their other prime time hits. Sure they know their demographics well and they will suggest that they watch the show, and they already have the data of that mattered to make the decision to start production, who has been watching the 53 episodes during the show’s almost 7 year hiatus. If they have their game together, they already know how many people are going to watch the show from their existing subscriber base.

But someone at Netflix was smart enough to take things to the age of tumblr and Instagram. They have done this by inviting the rabid fans of the show, myself included, to a series of events bringing two of the most iconic brands of the show into the real world. Netflix has brought the Original Bluth Banana Stand on a world tour while also parading around the family’s infamous staircar around the Los Angeles area. And that alone would have been enough to please fans of a average show, but they went above and beyond. At the stair car I was handed a branded pad of post-its and told to “always leave a note”. At the banana stand, fans who waited in line were not only rewarded with an actual frozen banana with a Bluth logo on it, but were given Mr. Manager stickers for their pictures. The person who was socking the banana stand was dressed as an inmate and the guy taking pictures was dressed in a banana suit. Stars for the show have been showing up for pictures and all of these events have been promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and even food delivery website Seamless.com.

This execution of a guerrilla campaign done so perfectly is something that the traditional networks need to take note of. Plenty of fans are plastering the Internet with pictures that would have not even been possible to take a year ago.

This is all for a show that Fox couldn’t justify keeping on the air.

We won’t know until next week if all of this work has been for naught but hopefully it pays off. This kind of marketing spend rewards loyal fans and gives them the incentive to promote the show while bribing them with a real world experience from the show itself. Hopefully it won’t be long before the whole thing is wrapped up in a nice HBS case study for b-school students, as this will be the most likely way it will wind up on the desk of Jeff Zucker.

Oh and for fans in the LA area today ( at 1pm ) there is a “never-nude” rally at the Paley Center for Media. According to the Facebook even there will be “dozens of us”.

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We are not Consumers, We are the People, as in We The People!

I have told many that I love this country and even the structure of our democracy, but that the government in its current form is deeply flawed. It just clicked for me after reading this Hill piece about CISPA passing the House.

“[CISPA] was approved in a 288-127 vote despite ongoing fears from some lawmakers and privacy advocates that the measure could give the government access to private information about consumers.”

Wait, what? Did I read that correctly? I may buy a lot of stuff, but should I only be viewed as “a consumer” in the eyes of the government and my democracy? I guess I am a consumer of democracy if we’re talking about how I watch and consume political television ads, and buy your political BS by engaging in the electoral process.

The problem with this frame of reference is that hiding behind the term “consumer” allows a politician to vote on in a vacuum. It’s an Orwellian view of “the people” completely removed from their position as the sovereign, who deign to grant the government the power protect their freedom in the first place. The term “consumer” is devoid of the notion that we “consumers” have freedoms and rights that are inalienable; instead of rights, the consumer wants only “protection” and hand-holding.

Congress should be asking, “how will this affect the people I represent,” rather than solely “is this good for the economy?” I’d rather you waste my money selfishly voting on pork barrel politics with a bridge to nowhere than with some unapologetically corporate pandering like letting Intuit totally derail simplified tax reform.

Nobody asked me, but I believe in this country and freedom of speech. I believe in free market economics too. But many forget that buying favors from the government to further your interests in a business context is not free market economics. It is a product of economic forces, however. Corporations are not the constituents or the sovereigns of the government. The people are. And the consumer-corporation dichotomy entirely overlooks what is good for the people.

Starting a Journal – A Declaration

Finally set up a journal… or so I hope. This has been on my list of things to do for quite some time but I have wanted to do it in a way that was encrypted, searchable, and versioned. Eventually I will want to find a way to augment this data with information from Facebook and the such… or something cool like, URLs visited. No idea yet. But most importantly the purpose of this diary is to offload information from my brain so that I can keep a clear mind for more important things. People spend a lot of time thinking about menial things, or lamenting on emotions past their expiration date. I hope journaling will be a personal cure for this.

Over time, I hope my writing style to improve, and to have an overall improvement in my clarity of thought, as well as the content I spend my time thinking about. There is a lot to be improved in my life, and I lot that is already amazing and I am grateful for. This journal will allow me to share goals and thoughts with someone who can hold myself accountable for them… Me.

Occasionally, some posts will make it out of here to the public web. This is one of those posts.

(For those reading this online, I am using Olelo to have a nice interface to a git repository stored on an encrypted sparse image bundle. For having multiple devices, I am using git to resolve conflicts with its ability to have a “remote” thats actually local.)

Why Google Doesn’t Have Phone Support

I am no novice when it comes to Google AdWords. I have managed campaigns for clients before, but recently, I wanted to take advantage of a free $100 advertising coupon to test market an idea. The ad has now been live for a couple days, and I wanted to make some changes to the keyword list, to help filter out some negative paid traffic.

I logged in, and upon seeing the dashboard tried to browse to the campaign management page to pause the campaign. Page load. Refresh. Page Load. Refresh. Continue. You get the idea… Its broken. So after trying other browsers and even other AdWords accounts, I get a little peeved to find the same problem. This is where you search for an email address, or in the case of spending money, an 800 number.

Finding a phone number for Google isn’t TOO difficult. But only since their home page happens to house the world’s biggest search engine. Instead, I turn to my email where they sent me a message after starting an account by accident (because linking AdWords accounts is the biggest nightmare in the world).

Call us now to claim your free trial: 1-800-848-9256

That’s odd… Google asking us to call them.  So I decide to give it a try.  And after a simple phone menu, I get what I least expected.  A US based Googler, and 0 rings of wait time.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Hey, I just started a new account and I wanted to pause my campaign to make some changes. But when I try the page keeps reloading.

Googler: Yeah, sorry to hear that the system is down.

Me: Any idea when it will be working again?

Googler: Well they are working on it now, so I could only guess that it should be up momentarily.

Me: Ok, uhhh, thanks.

Googler: Thanks for calling Google.

I couldn’t help but get the feeling, that this, the company culture, their idea of support as consisting of feedback and split testing, culminated in the least supportive phone support call I have ever made.  There was no support, or any attempt at conversation on the other end of the phone.  Not even an attempt such as “I’m sorry to hear that, how has your experience with adwords been otherwise?”.

This is why Google doesn’t have phone support.  Their company culture is based on a notion that they are smarter than their customers, with the exception of knowing what their customers want.  And in that case, they set up tests, similar to what a lab scientist might do, to see if a product works or makes it in the market, if a feature should be added, or if their logo should be moved by one pixel.  Dealing with actual verbal feedback, is not part of that plan, at least not until their speech recognition is finally ready for prime time.

Own your phone number with Twilio

Today I have made a major decision. After 7 months of Google Voice, trying out Android, and Verizion… I have learned some interesting things.

  1. iPhone is the only phone for me. (and it should be for you too)
  2. All cell phone networks have their issues, and its not getting better any time soon (my experience with 4G has not been great either)
  3. Ownership is freedom.

So as for the decision.  I am going to take my cell phone number, which I have had for over 9 years, and port it not back to AT&T, but to Twilio.  Their pricing is great, and I will truly own the number as best as an individual can.  And here are my plans for the number: (using their simple REST apis)

  • Call my number? You will get an obnoxious reminder recorded by me that you should change my number in your address book… Your call will be logged, (so I can harass you later about it), and then your call will be forwarded along with caller id.
  • Send me a text? I will reply automatically with my new number, and a reminder to update your phone.  The text will be forwarded to google voice, as well as logged, again for future harassment for those in non-compliance.

Now this is just a mere 1% of the power and capability of Twilio so you should check it out for other reasons. If your website or app needs to make or receive calls or texts you should check it out… You get $30 of credits to play around with.  Calls are 3cents a minute, and having a phone number for incoming calls is $1/month.  The APIs are all REST based and really cool… I plan to open source my “Phone Number Forwarder” when its done.  Oh and when you first put money in your account, use the Promo Code: JASON … I don’t get any money or free service for it or anything… but YOU get an extra $30 in credit.

Charity ads on Hulu?

Since finally ditching cable I have started to notice something a little more closely on Hulu: PSAs.  Public service announcements… how can the evil aliens at Hulu (Fox, NBC, ABC, Disney et al) allow this to happen?  There has to be some way this affects their bottom lines…

Hulu randomly asks its users to fill out a quick survey in exchange for 250 views for their choice of 5 different charities.  Simple and somewhat elegant…. which describes the majority of Hulu’s pre-subscription, Boxee-Blocking, Stay the hell off of my mobile phones business actions.  My only complaint… and the complaint of others on the internet… the choices aren’t that impressive….  Kiva, Michael J. Fox, Donors Choose, and two others I can’t remember… Maybe I’m just being selfish, but where’s cancer? Or Heart Disease? Or Even Diabetes?  These are things I have given money to personally but more importantly affect people in my close family.

The questions… well with my fancy marketing degree I could tell the 15 question survey was just curious how you thought Ford, Chevy, Toyota, and Hyundai stack up in quality… Since Ford doesn’t care, and Toyota has books written about them… Its most likely sponsored by Chevy… who has been trying to compare with Toyota on quality and MPG, and has even seen Toyota fire back…  Hyundai?  If it was there survey the 4 choices would most likely have been different.

All in all, a great spin on marketing surveys… Normally win $10, get a coupon, or donate $1 to a charity would not be enough to entire me.  But getting to show the ad to 250 people is much more significant (although it may only raise that same $1)…

And in case you’re wondering…. I gave my ad time to Michael…. for the lulz.

What to expect, the obligatory first post

In today’s online world its a must to control your online identity before google does.  That is the purpose of this post but not of this blog.  This blog is a place for me to vent, explain, and share when 140 characters and a bit.ly link just aren’t enough.  By subscribing to my posts you will get some great content in the RSS reader of your choice (ahem Google Reader).

Pixels:

This covers all things tech, design, and maybe when I get around to it, photography as well.  I am heavily obsessed with technology, its uses, misuses and even future uses.  If its awesome, cutting edge, and not covered by an NDA I will post about it.  If I see something neat on engadget, that doesn’t mean it will show up here, unless I don’t like the spin of the rest of the web.

Politics:

After recently joining the quarter century club, I have somewhat cemented my political affiliations, thoughts, believes, and even idealisms.  This is a very exciting part of the blog, as you will see my bite my tongue and say things I wish I hadn’t later.  Or will I?  In many of my college classes, I would pick verbal fights when bored, or say things that were out of line.  While I have grown up since then, and later learned that on the virtual world this is known as trolling, you will still see statements like these on my site, but they will generally be punctuated with a question mark, or precluded by a disclaimer.  Please keep the discussion civil, as my name is written all over this site.

Lunch:

Ah, lunch.  I eat it almost everyday.  Most of you who know me well know that I have been toiling away with friends on a little known project called “EatMyLunch.com“.  We have plenty of things coming down the road, most of which should start to surface in 2010.  Not to ruin any good surprises but here are the domains affiliated with things we have planned. (And no clicking on them for hints…)

And lets not forget the Eat My Lunch API which will power anyone on the web to be just as creative with online food ordering as we plan to be.

Well there you have it, thanks to those who paid attention for the entire ride.  … Permanecer sentados por favor

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