Sunday, March 29, 2009

Should Facebook Listen?

As a follow up to my post the other day about all the complainers of the new Facebook, read this post from Seth Godin about ignoring your critics.

This kind of message is hard to swallow and even harder to actually implement, but its true that the masses usually only want the status quo. Growth requires change, and change is often difficult.

Quote from Kings

I am in the middle of watching episode 2 of Kings (which I blogged about yesterday).

King Silas just said something that really caught my attention.

Every day I look for signs in my life and try to read into them God's intentions
take a good look at your life right now, and think hard, what does God want you to do today?

I really like it, what do you think?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I watched the first episode of NBC's new series "Kings" this evening. Here are my thoughts.

  • It is based on the story of King Saul and King David from the bible. It takes place in what appears to be present-day United States, but rather than the US as a democratic country, it appears that it is a number of different monarchies and kingdoms.
  • The story, so far, seems to be generally following that of the biblical account. Obviously, a number of the aspects have modern twists. The epic battle between David and Goliath is portrayed as David going head to head with a type of tank called a Goliath.
  • I wonder if the series becomes popular will they start to change and add on to the story to allow the series to continue or will they keep with the biblical genealogy of David, then Solomon, etc.
  • There seems to be a fair amount of spiritual and God references, as well as what at least appears to be divine intervention in certain situations.
  • If the storyline does continue on with David and his genealogical line of Kings, it seems like they will have to write in a lot more about God into the story. I think this would be great, but I think this is unfortunately unlikely.
  • The visual effects and action scenes are pretty good
  • One of the real draws for me is that the fantasy of this show is strongly based in our current time period and is therefore easy to relate to. Even if some things like a King ruling a Kingdom within what I know to be the United States is far fetched, it's not a far stretch when the cars, computers, fashion, and all the other little things are the same. (Also one of my reasons for liking Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis so much.)
I still have yet to watch the second episode, which is also available on Hulu, and I believe the third episode airs tomorrow night (Sunday) on NBC.

As of right now, I am planning on keeping up with this series.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Alberta's New Logo

If you haven't heard, the Province of Alberta recently redesigned their tourism logo.

Growing up I always thought the old logo was good, but it needed an update. However, like almost everything else, what goes around comes around. The comment from Armin in the Brand New link above says it perfectly, "The old logo... is quite awesome and would probably sell like crazy on a ringer tee at Urban Outfitters."

Check out this brand book (PDF, 5.22MB) showcasing the new brand and what it means.

Also, check out this video.

The similarities in the "A" was one of the first things I noticed in when I saw the new logo. I like the new logo, and I don't mind the square at the end, which some people aren't too fond of.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Worry and Stress

I have realized over time that I don't easily get stressed out and I am not usually a worrier. This is really nice because emotionally I tend to be much more evenly distributed. I imagine this makes for an easier life in general.

There are, however, times when I do get a little stressed out. This is how that process goes for me.

It always involves something important to me, for example relationships.

I am very much a thinker, and when something happens I will usually try and think through all the possible scenarios that I can imagine. I also tend to want to be prepared for all scenarios. In my opinion the scenarios that require the most preparation are the worst case scenarios. This usually means that the scenarios I tend to dwell on as to what might happen are the worst case scenarios. The combination of dwelling on the negative possibility and the whole subject being important to me will start to worry me and give me a bit of anxiety.

What I have been working on more recently is realizing that a)I am not as smart as I sometimes think I am and that means that I probably don't know exactly what other people are thinking, b)worrying rarely does any good and I probably won't be able to change something even if I do, and c)It is so much more helpful/useful/rewarding to give all this worry and stress up to God.

God is in control, and as long as I trust in his goodness, power, and plan then it doesn't really matter what happens.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Appropriate Advertising

While driving around on my scooter today I passed by a teenage boy holding up a sign that said "Car Wash Today". I was the only vehicle around on that road at the time, and when he saw me he jumped wildly with his sign to get my attention.

I don't think it crossed his mind that I was in fact driving a scooter and that the chances of me stopping for a car wash with my scooter was very low. He could have been just practicing for when a real car came by, and I guess it really didn't hurt to advertise to me but I guess it just seemed strange.

Would it have been worth their time, for raising money, to have more specific advertising for motorcycles/scooters? Maybe a greatly discounted price for washing a motorcycle, you'd need a few more signs, but even if you got a couple more customers, I'm sure the cost/benefit ratio would have been worth it.

I think it's probably just short-sighted and a lack of creativity that stops people from thinking about different scenarios that they can actually use to increase their business.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Simple Logos

Read this blog post from Noisy Decent Graphics about the end of the life of black and white logos.

I agree with him about black and white logos being much less useful in a world of increasing digital presence. I also think that as we move completely away from paper and exclusively to digital medium then the black and white logo will cease to be of any use.

I do, however, continue to believe that a simpler logo is better than an extremely complicated one. Not only is having a logo that can cross mediums important, but also a simple logo allows for easier recognition.

Smart Parking

I like this announcement (PDF press release) from Smart USA (also on Treehugger).

Photo: Flickr, CC

Basically Smart USA has made a deal with a number of parking garages throughout New York and New Jersey to offer half price parking to drivers of Smart Cars. I think it makes sense, because they do take up half the space of a regular car.

Photo: Flickr, CC

In fact, whenever I pay for parking in a lot, I will usually ask (more jokingly than not) if I get half price on parking because I drive half a car. Unfortunately, it usually gets more laughs than discounts, but maybe someday it will work.

The New Facebook

It seems like I write something like this after each time Facebook changes their layout, but it is usually in response to so many people complaining about change.

After reading a number of people's reasons for disliking or even hating the new Facebook, here is my summary of the complaints.
  • Confusing
  • Difficult to do things that were easy to do in the past
  • Don't understand it
  • Want to see more customization of the Homepage/Newsfeed
I just have to say that anyone complaining using the first three issues is just not giving it a chance and is probably against change in general. There is going to be a learning curve with anything new. Utilize the resources that Facebook has provided to learn how to do the things you want to do. These types of things work better when people know what they are doing.

The fourth type of complaint I partially agree with. I agree with it because I think the customization/filtering of the homepage and newsfeed should be a little more powerful. However, most of the complainers that used this reason didn't seem like they realized there is a filter on the left side of the page that does what they were talking about. So most of these people need to read the above paragraph.

As a matter of fact, I've actually been reinvigorated with the new Facebook. I have found that I've spent a little more time using Facebook after the change compared to before. I would also be as bold as to say that a lot of the people who are complaining that they aren't getting to see all the "stories" about their friends that they did in the past, are the same people who complained that the newsfeed was too invasive and stalkerish in the first place.

I guess my point is that people are often too quick to fight against change. In a month or two everyone complaining about the new Facebook will have forgotten about their issues, and in all likelihood will have found something else to complain about.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pecha Kucha

I was fortunate enough to attend Pecha Kucha Vol. 2 last night here in Fresno at the Starline.

What is Pecha Kucha you ask? Read this.

From all accounts it was a great success, especially since its only the second Pecha Kucha event held in Fresno, and the first one they actually started charging for. It was standing room only by the time the show started, with estimates of 150+ attendees. I got there early, and had great seats (can you pick me out of the first picture from the BeeHive post on the event?)

I really enjoyed Walmer Medina and James Collier's presentations, but all that I got to see where interesting in their own right.

While talking with my friend Andrew Ellenberger who attended with me, I thought that my Dad could make a great presentation at one of these things with his collection of Cereal Boxes. Of course, narrowing down his collection to 20 slides might in fact be the most difficult task.

I am really looking forward to attending Vol. 3 on June 8, 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Decision Paths

This article from Noisy Decent Graphics was very interesting. It basically talks about how even when signs are clearly showing a detour (specifically with walking paths) people are usually tempted to at least check out the potential obstructions for themselves so they can make their own decisions. The point is also made that the larger a group, the longer it takes to make a decision about the path to take.

I thought about the marketing implications about this. If people are skeptical or at least don't always blindly follow instructions, how does this affect the marketing of instructions? How often do people read cover to cover a user manual, or read the fine print on a receipt outlining a store's return policy, or pay attention to the potentially life-saving safety instructions after boarding a plane? Not very often is my guess.

I think one way around this would be to make things more interactive. It gives people a certain amount of that decision making process, and also gives them the important information.

One idea I had, which could have multiple applications, is using those paper wheels that you spin around and line up certain things and information is revealed in little boxes. How much more interesting do you think airplane safety information would be if it was on one of those things?

What ideas do you have for making instructions clear and more enjoyable?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Traveling to Europe?

If you are planning on any traveling to Europe, especially if you are wanting to do it on a budget. I would suggest checking out my Squidoo lens on European budget travel. It is a compendium of the basics of my knowledge of european travel. It should give you a good basis for planning a trip to Europe. If you need more advice, feel free to contact me. I'm always happy to help fellow travelers out for a nominal fee, depending on how well I know you of course.

Twenty-Twelve or Two Thousand Twelve?

Check out this article on Boing Boing about what we should call the years, especially in this first century of the millennium.

I've thought a lot about this topic, and I think we are on the right track. For the first 10 years of the millennium it is awkward to call the years anything but Two Thousand________. Specifically the year Two Thousand (2000), you wouldn't call it Twenty or Twenty Hundred. Same with a year like 2005, it wouldn't be Twenty-Five, because that is a different number than 2005 as you lose a zero. The year 2012 on the other hand can be said Twenty-Twelve because putting those numbers together doesn't lose any digits.

Another aspect of importance on this subject is things like sports video games. When coming out with new ones every year, the games are distinguished by the year. This intrigued me back in the late 90s when I was trying to guess what the games would be called in the new millennium. Early on the games were, for example, NCAA Football 99, then NCAA Football 2000-2005, then in 2006 and beyond it became NCAA Football 06.

I think that 2010 will be the official start of people getting back into the Twenty-Ten etc. of saying the year. I do think there will be a transition period because of the pattern of the last 10 years. By the time we get to 2011, most people will have stopped saying Two Thousand Eleven because Twenty-Eleven is the path of least resistance.

Facebook Game

I just came up with a time-killing game that you can play on Facebook.

Step 1 - Pick 2 friends on Facebook (preferrably 2 that don't necessarily run in the same circles)
Step 2 - Go to the profile page of 1 of those friends and click on one of their friends that show up in their "Friends" box
Step 3 - Continue to click on friends of these friends until you eventually make your way to the other friend you chose in step 1.

That's all. Can you think of any adjustments or changes that might make this game even more fun and interesting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clever Company Slogan

On my way home from work the other day, I saw this truck. I took a double take just to make sure I read the slogan correctly, but I apparently did.

Twitpic Picture

This truck belongs to a Framing and Construction company called Felix Haro Construction.

While I don't necessarily agree with the content of the slogan, I think it does qualify as being very clever, creative, and buzz-worthy.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

I found this video on Hulu the other day. It is an enjoyable musical starring the talented Neil Patrick Harris as a man who wishes to become a super-villain. It was released in three acts totaling about 45 minutes. The entire episode is available at Hulu.

If you've got some extra time, check it out.