Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Digital TV

I don't have cable here at the apartment, which made getting an HDTV all the more special because of all the "extra" digital channels you can get over the air. And High-Definition programming is amazing, and it really is a huge step up from analog TV.

Here is a listing of the digital channels I get here in Fresno. (This is not a comprehensive list of the digital stations in Fresno, I'm sure there are some channels that I don't get).

I have noticed though that two stations (40.8 and 40.9) have shown up with a channel search. Nothing is being broadcast on these channels, and nothing came up in a quick google search. It almost seems like these are actually some other type of signal that has made its way into the DTV spectrum.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything Simpsons

If you are a fan of the TV show The Simpsons I would like to share with you a website that will have you more excited than a kid in a candy shop.

The Simpsons Archive is
The Simpsons Archive is the Internet's clearinghouse of Simpsons guides, news, and information, voluntarily maintained by members of alt.tv.simpsons and other fans around the world.
The website address (http://snpp.com/) in itself is interesting (Springfield Nuclear Power Plant). Anything you ever wanted to know about any Simpsons episode, or really anything pertaining to The Simpsons can be found here.

Check it out, but be careful because you might spend too much time browsing.

Classic Sesame Street

Since the economy and a lot of things in our world aren't going so well right now, I thought I would introduce a little happiness by sharing some classic Sesame Street skits.

Here are a few of my favorites:




Honorable mentions:



If you don't crack even a small smile from watching these you probably have some issues for which you should get help.

Got any other favorite Sesame Street videos?

Sound Waves

Similar to the other speaker trick an experiment consisting of a speaker, a metal sheet, and some salt. Watch as the science is expressed visually.

Warning: At some point in the video, the sound gets so high that it might hurt your ears. Also, make sure your pets are not around while playing this video.


I love watching this and seeing the progression and the relationship between the pitch and the patterns.

Via Presurfer

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Voting Choices

Have you ever had problems deciding for whom you will cast your vote? ABC News has an interesting tool on their website that is supposed to help you make that choice a little easier.

The Match-O-Matic pits quotes from the US Presidential Candidates McCain and Obama against each other without telling you who said which. You pick the quote you agree with most, and it tells you how you score. Many of the quotes, as can be imagined, are fairly easy to discern the candidate, but I was surprised at the outcome of my final score, and how the spread ended up.

As with my actual vote during the election, the outcome of this little test (whether reflective of my vote or not) will be a secret.

Luxury Trailer

Check out this trailer from T@B.

I am not really looking at buying a trialer, but I definitely think I would consider this if I was. The key to an RV is that you can live in luxury in the wild. Most large RVs accomplish this with both size and luxury. From the RVs I've seen, size is the real source of the luxury. The T@B XL appears to derive its luxury from luxury itself, and it isn't so big that you can barely maneuver it around the campsite. I love camping in tents and "roughing" it just like the next guy, but if I wanted a trailer this would be the one. Plus, it doesn't appear to be that expensive either (for a nice trailer), only around $62 000.

Via UberReview


I have an issue with PG&E's website.

When I go to their website they ask me if I am there because of a Personal or Business Account, and whether or not I want them to remember my choice. The screen looks like this:

I think it's fantastic they ask me if I want them to remember why I am going there. The biggest problem is that every time I go there they have forgotten. I don't delete my cookies or anything, but I do only go about once a month to pay my electricity/gas bill.

It would be really nice that when they solicit a question such as this that they would actually follow through.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Name Badges

Name badges and name tags have been a fascinating thing for me, especially over the last 5 years.

You may be aware that I wore a "Hello My Name Is" name tag every single day of my four years of college. (Starting about a month into my Freshman year). And working at Target has given me the opportunity to continue that tradition of wearing a name tag.

I was reading this post by Robert Scoble about the nTAG badges given out at the MIT Emerging Technology. Read about them, they sound pretty interesting.

I haven't been to a lot of conferences, in fact, I can probably count them all on one hand. However, one conference I did attend was the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association conference (IHRSA) held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. I was on one of the committees for the planning of the Student Recreation Center that recently opened up at Fresno State. One of our assignments was to plan out some of the fitness and exercise equipment, so a natural thing to do was head to the IHRSA convention and check out some of the vendors and their products. One of the most interesting things was the name badges. They were nowhere near the sophistication of the nTAG badges, but every name badge had a barcode on it. If you were interested in receiving more information from a vendor or enter to win a drawing/prize, you could just have them scan your name badge and they would have your contact information directly uploaded into their database. This saved a lot of time and carpal tunnel pain.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Product vs. Promotion

I've always been a big believer that good design is at least as important if not more important than good marketing, or more specifically having good design and a great product is the best marketing you can have.

Check out Make Marketing History's post on the 12 Reasons Why Products Outweigh Promotion.

HTC Touch HD

At least I am not as late on this one as I was on the HTC Touch Diamond, but HTC recently announced a new addition to their Touch lineup, the Touch HD, with a full, wide, HD quality screen smartphone. While a few of the specs are the same as the Touch Diamond, there are quite a few improvements and changes.

HTC Touch HD

HTC Touch Diamond

Here is my comparison of the HTC Touch HD to the (Apple iPhone 3G). (Here is my original comparison of the Touch Diamond to the iPhone 3G)
  • 115mmx62.8mmx12mm (115.5x62.1x12.3)
  • 3.8in screen (3.5in screen)
  • 480x800 px (480x320 px)
  • 146.4g (133g)
  • 3G (3G)
  • 5.0MP Camera (2.0MP Camera)
  • Secondary Camera in front (No secondary Camera)
  • A-GPS (A-GPS)
  • Resistive & Capacitive Touch Inputs (Capacitive & Resistive Inputs)
  • 528MHz Processor (620MHz processor underclocked to 412MHz)
  • MicroSD expansion slot (8GB or 16GB of Internal Storage)
  • G-Sensor for screen orientation (Accelerometer/Proximity/Ambient Light sensor)
  • 1350mAh battery (1400mAh battery)
  • 288MB RAM (128MB RAM estimated)
There are some fairly substantive differences between the Touch Diamond and Touch HD. I would say the biggest differences are the Touch HD has a larger screen, even better resolution, bigger size (almost the exact same size as the iPhone), better camera, and a MicroSD expansion slot instead of integrated memory. The Touch HD still uses Touch Flo 3D ontop of Windows Mobile 6.1 platform.

I was very thrilled about the Touch Diamond, but I like this Touch HD even better. The only complaint I do have about it is the larger size (almost exactly the same size as the iPhone), but I guess with the larger screen this is almost a necessity. Look at this Sizeasy comparison of the iPhone, Touch HD, Touch, and Touch Diamond. The other thing I might miss is the lack of navigation control buttons, which I actually use quite a bit especially when navigating with one hand. However, I think with the larger screen size this may be less of an issue.

This appears to be a new top contender for my next phone, but it will all come down to what is available when I am ready to get a new phone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Positive Politics

I think non-negative politics would be another good name to call this, but it doesn't have the alliteration backing it up.

I honestly think, from a marketing perspective, that the candidate who decided to take a completely high road and feature ONLY happy, upbeat, and generally positive campaign commercials would be a hands down winner in the upcoming US Presidential election.

Especially with where the US is sitting right now from a financial, economical, military, and energy standpoint, good news and hope coming from a candidate would spell certain victory.


How can a person watch this video and not just think happy thoughts about Obama? It's upbeat and (as far as I can tell with my VERY limited spanish knowledge) quite positive, with no negative slams against anyone.

Even campaigning is all about marketing a candidate to the people. People might think that "marketing" was more important in the past when a voters only opportunity to experience a candidate may have been through a leaflet or poster and this single encounter was paramount. However, even now with technology and media as pervasive as it is, marketing a candidate is even more important. I firmly believe that marketing is about any exposure or interaction with an entity that has the opportunity to affect the opinion of someone else. Whether it is a commercial, a speech, a news story, or a blog post, marketing is happening in politics just like in the business world, often times not under the control of the organization with the product or service. This means that the exposure you are in charge of must exemplify your position with unwaivering steadfast resolution. Of course, there will always be naysayers, but as long as you can stand firm on what you stand for you can probably drown them out.

Powerhouse Edmonton

I posted last week about my favorite city, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am always amazed when I get a chance to go back to Edmonton, especially after a long 2 year hiatus like this past trip. So much is being added to Edmonton all the time, namely new construction, both buildings and infrastructure like freeways and extending the light rail transit system.

Check out this article about the Edmonton & Calgary corridor being one of the most successful economies in the world right now and how Edmonton has the potential to become one of the top five mid-sized cities in the world over the next few years.

This article does give me a little more hope, especially related to my thoughts on how Alberta needs to handle their surge of wealth from the oil sands by investing in other economic sectors.

Plus, a huge reason why I like the article so much cause it points out another way that Edmonton is better than Calgary in the friendly Battle of Alberta.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stop Motion Aging

This guy created a stop-motion type video of himself aging by taking two different pictures of his head every day for the last 17 years. I think it is really interesting especially to watch his hair styles and facial hair change as time goes on.


Via Hack a Day

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Virtual Pet

Who needs a pet when you can just get a virtual one online.

I would like to disclaim this with a warning that if you dislike spiders, I would recommend not visiting this site.

Play With Spider is a 3D flash program that allows you to play with and control a spider. You can adjust a lot of variables to change appearance and motion of spider, as well as drop little insects for the spider to eat.

The spider is creepy enough to have me slightly worried that it might try and attack my mouse cursor, but so far so good.

Via BoingBoing

Sustainable Schools: Colleges and Universities

Check out this report on Green Higher Education that was recently released by the Sustainable Endowment Institute. (Via TreeHugger)

I was a little disappointed to see that Fresno State didn't even make the list at all (whether as a top contender or not). Especially after the recent addition to the huge solar panel parking lot project.

Having sat on a number of University-wide committees during my time at Fresno State, I know for a fact that the solar parking lot is only a part of the overall plan that Fresno State administration has for creating a more green campus. I definitely give props to my Alma Mater for making these important decisions, and hope that this type of thinking stays part of the Campus Master Plan.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Veni Vidi Vici in Fresno

I went out last night to Veni Vidi Vici here in Fresno in the Tower District. I had never been to Veni's before, and it turned out to be a pretty cool hang out place. When you first walk in through the 10-12 foot doors, you enter a small, dimly lit room with some tables and a bar. The walls are exposed red brick and the top of the bar is cement.

Walking to the back through a small hallway you emerge outside in a fairly large patio with tables and another bar at the far end. Right in the middle of the patio is a large tree. Lights are hung throughout the patio as well as overhead fans to keep the air circulating.

It's a very chill place, and it's great for people watching, especially because it is in the Tower District, and there are a lot of interesting people that hang out there.

The place seems to really start getting busy around 11pm to 11:30pm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Permission Marketing

There is a great conversation happening over on A Case of the Mundys about permission marketing and e-newsletters.

Go over there and let us know what you think about the topic by leaving the other Luke some comment love.

Edmonton, Festival City

As I had the awesome opportunity to spend this past weekend in my favorite city in the world, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I was strongly reminded how much I love the city where I was born and grew up. It is only in part to the fact that I have a lot of friends and family that I love Edmonton so much. Here are a list of my favorite things about Edmonton.

  • The River Valley (longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America)
  • Climate
  • Culture (Including nightlife, festivals, and museums)
  • Oilers/Eskimos
  • Walkability of areas
  • Architecture
Of course, I think I definitely learned to appreciate all this stuff much more since leaving Edmonton, and it makes me want to get back that much more. Here is a post I came across about a similar thought experiment.

If you were to leave your city/area what would you miss the most?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weird News

Coming straight from this great city of Fresno is this extremely weird news story. I'm really not sure what to make of it, so I'll let you just read it.

Via @mikeoz

The Opposite of Helium

Everyone knows what happens when you inhale helium and then start talking, but did you know there is a gas that can cause the opposite to happen?


Via BoingBoing

10 Things You Didn't Know About the Earth

Here is some interesting science mixed with math and a touch of fantasy.


Via Kottke.org

Friday, September 05, 2008

FAA Regulations

I am just checking the FAA regulations for my upcoming flight today, so I can make sure I'm not taking anything illegal on the plane, and here are some excerpts of items allowed or not.

Box Cutters No Yes
Ice Axes/Ice Picks No Yes
Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives No Yes
Meat Cleavers No Yes
Razor-Type Blades - such as box cutters, utility knives, razor blades not in a cartridge, but excluding safety razors. No Yes
Sabers No Yes
Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches Yes Yes
Swords No Yes
Baseball Bats No Yes
Bows and Arrows No Yes
Cricket Bats No Yes
Golf Clubs No Yes
Hockey Sticks No Yes
Lacrosse Sticks No Yes
Pool Cues No Yes
Ski Poles No Yes
Spear Guns No Yes

The first column of Yes/No is whether the item is allowed as carry-on, the second is whether it is allowed as checked luggage.

My favorites are meat cleavers, sabers, bows & arrows, and spear guns. Really? We have to tell people this?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kid Energy

I love this article on Kid Energy from World Changing.

Kids have a lot of energy, so we really should try to harness it. It will also give kids a great opportunity to stay active, especially in this every increasing video game culture in which we live.


Please don't misinterpret this blog post. I am not necessarily against hybrids. I think they are doing their part to reduce oil consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

My issue comes when I read articles like this. Sure hybrids do all these great things, but they are much more of an interim step on our way to oil independence (no longer using oil/gas). In this article the Boston taxi fleet plans to have an all hybrid force by 2015. This may sound great, but that is 7 years off. In 7 years (I hope) hybrids are going to be old technology with relatively bad gas mileage, because other super-efficient and even no oil alternatives will exist, such as hydrogen, plug-in hybrids, and maybe even plug-in hydrogen hybrids.

I just think hybrids are short-sighted for what we really need to accomplish.

New Target Commercial

As is definitely expected, I pay a lot of attention to marketing from Target Corp.

This week they released a commercial that strays from their "normal" routine of advertising. A commercial first broadcast on Sunday uses price points in the advertisement. This is the first time Target has done that in quite some time.

Here is the commercial.

When I first heard this commercial would be coming out, and that Target would be using price points, I was a little worried. I am under the strong conviction that marketing on price alone is a bad idea. Seth Godin is a big believer in this, and it is one of the biggest lessons my Dad has given me over the years. The idea is that people will buy your product or service if it is the cheapest, however, theoretically someone will always be able to go cheaper, so there is little point in trying to market on that angle.

My first thoughts as to what this price point commercial advertising might entail looked something like this. I thought the commercial would be something where price would be the focus and they would be stepping away from the really artsy, fun commercials with good music we are used to.

Fortunately when I actually saw the commercial, I was pleasantly surprised. The commercials are quite similar to what they've been in the recent past, with scenes focusing on a certain product or two, the biggest difference is the specific price points for the items.

What is your take on this new commercial and new direction from Target?