Saturday, February 28, 2009


The problem with most hide-a-key solutions is that they are so common it is the first place people will look. Ie)fake rocks, under the doormat, etc.

I like this solution (from Think Geek via UberReview)

I'm sure if one really thought about it there would be lots of options for hiding keys. The biggest concern is remembering where the key is.

The Internet in 1996

Jason Kottke's recent post on "Was the internet boring in 1996?" got me recollecting about my history with computers and the Internet.

Unless you think about it 1996 doesn't seem that long ago, well for me at least, cause I am still fairly young. But 1996 is 13 years ago, and for me that is a little more than half of my life ago.

It is hard to think about everyone not being on the Internet, but back in 1996 there were a lot of people who weren't connected.

My family has always had a computer and some sort of Internet connection, thanks to my Dad who has always been at the forefront of technology. But my big Internet starting point was in 1996-1997. This was my first year of Junior High School at John D. Bracco in Edmonton, AB, Canada. I volunteered to help the IT guy put together a website for the school. This was very exciting because I got to do a lot of learning about HTML as well as getting to spend otherwise school time on the computer.

My three biggest memories of computer and Internet usage from 1996-1997:
  1. After Edmonton Oilers beat the Dallas Stars in Round 1 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I found and emailed a picture of Todd Marchant's game 7 winning goal to our IT guy. He put the picture as the wall paper for the entire computer system. It was only a thumbnail size, but brought so much emotion to using the computer because that was one of the most exciting goals I've ever seen.
    Infact, watching this goal still gives me goosebumps.

  2. I got a bunch of .bmp picture files that I wanted to put on the school's website I was creating. I knew enough to know that .bmp files wouldn't work on the Internet, so I converted them to either .jpg or .gif files (I can't remember which). The only problem was that they wouldn't show up on the webpage. No matter what I tried these files just wouldn't work. My Dad finally helped me trouble shoot, and we realized that I didn't actually convert the files, I just changed the file ending.

  3. I signed up for Hotmail so I could have an email account to get all my webpage design stuff completed more efficiently. This was back in 1996 shortly after it came into being, and before it was purchased by Microsoft. I remember very early on they employed a login button that was actually a picture with a link attached to it. I found this a little frustrating because I could type in my username, tab over and type in my password, but I couldn't just hit enter or tab and enter to finish the login process. I actually had to move over to the mouse and click on the login picture. I decided I would send this up as a suggestion to the Hotmail team, and sure enough the next day the login picture was gone and was replaced by a login button. I like to think I changed the course of Hotmail and free webmail service for the rest of time.
It is a lot of fun reminiscing about when back when on the Internet. What fun stories or good memories do you have of the Internet from the mid to late 90s?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pepsi Natural

I twittered the other day that I was trying/drinking the new Pepsi Natural.

I wanted to give you a bit of a summary of my experience, in case you were thinking about or hoping to try this new product from Pepsi.

First off, I bought a 4-pack, like most things I buy, from Target. I paid $4.49 (plus deposit and tax, not including my discount).

My first impressions were positive. Glass bottle, fairly natural looking 4-pack carrier, and minimalist bottle design.

It does utilize the new logo I blogged about back in October, whether good or bad it is a personal choice.

The color of the soda itself is not as dark, which adds to the perception of natural. As you can see by the packaging, the Pepsi is made with sparkling water, sugar, and kola nut extract. It doesn't taste exactly like Pepsi, and I'm not sure I'm the best person to be talking about the taste of Cola's because I'm not sure I could even differentiate between Pepsi and Coke (just because I don't really care). It does seem to have a lighter taste and experience in your mouth. It doesn't have the same acidic taste I am used to when drinking cola. The carbonation is a lot lighter as well.

Overall I like it. I am not completely sure if the natural ingredients mean it is actually healthier but for the amount I actually drink soda if it was healthier I would probably drink this more often.

Check out these two articles on new Pepsi products using sugar instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

UK Times Online
Chicago Tribune

I actually haven't been able to find a lot of information on this new Pepsi Natural.

Rogue Festival

Today is the first official day of the Rogue Festival 2009.

I've been to a couple events in the past, but not nearly enough. I'm hoping to check out at least a couple of shows this year.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Fresno Rogue Festival, from their website:
The Rogue Performance Festival enters exciting year number EIGHT celebrating Independent Performance and Art … and has grown into one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the West! Started in 2002, this annual non-curated, non-juried festival showcases a variety of disciplines including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, storytelling, spoken word, visual art and film. Plus, 100 percent of the box-office go to the performers!
See their website for more details, venues, shows, and artist information.

Is Marketing Evil?

Check out Seth Godin's recent post as to whether marketing is evil.

The answer, in a nutshell, is that it can be. Just like almost everything in the world, marketing can be used for evil purposes. This doesn't mean, however, that marketing is inherently evil.

I have found that especially with some Christians I have met, they cringe at the word marketing when it relates to Church and God. I strongly believe that marketing can be good, and used for good purposes.

I would also recommend checking out Church Marketing Sucks post on Seth's post. I really loved the quote:
Those who think the church should never be involved in marketing by
saying we aren't "selling" a product etc. should let that sentence
marinate. While I understand the word "sell" is tough to swallow isn't
selling about consuming and don't we want people to consume the Word
and who Christ is?
In the end, I think the key is what you market. If the thing you are marketing is good (like God) is there a way that it can be marketed poorly or bad? Marketing, like Seth Godin says, is all about telling a story, and as long as you are telling the truth your marketing is just an extension of the thing you are marketing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Oldish" Fresno Retail

Here is a video showing retail stores in Fresno, CA from probably 15+ years ago, although I don't have a good idea as to when it is from. I enjoyed this video. I have only lived in Fresno (and area) for around 7 years, so a lot of the stores on this video are different than what they are now. I also like to see the evolution of retail, and shops like that.

This video is a little more than 10 minutes, and is a little painfully slow. It also has a very strange soundtrack, but I hope you enjoy!

Via The Fresnan

Friday, February 06, 2009

Double Take Hair

Not to make a comment about the hair on these kids, but when I first looked at this poster, I really thought all three of these bands were the same musicians.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Use of Space

A follow up to a previous post about adaptive spaces and getting full use out of a space.

I was thinking that if certain rooms in your house are only used 1/8 to 1/3 of the day, and that is not very good use, then Churches are even worse offenders.

Assuming even 4 hours of Worship services a week (which I will assume is even a high average) and there are 168 hours in a week, these places are sitting empty and unused for almost 98% of the time. I think I would find it difficult to reconcile that if I were going to be building a new Church building. Now, this of course doesn't ring true for every Church. There are many churches that meet in schools, such as my friend Luke Mundy's church RVC Fresno.

As well, from what I understand, the Mormon's do a better job than most at utilizing space, including multiple "congregations" using the same buildings
In one sense, the local Church meetinghouse is a religious building principally dedicated to Sabbath worship but is also used for social, educational, and community activities during the other days of the week.
-From Mormon Church
Check out this page which illustrates possible uses of money that would be available if all the real estate owned by churches in the United States was sold. While you might not agree with all the ways that money should be spent, it is very interesting to see what kind of impact could be made with this change of thinking.

This was also something my family talked about as we visited Saddleback Church a couple of weeks ago. We found out that Saddleback Church has around 100,000 members, of which around 25,000 are very active. While the main campus we visited seemed at first glance huge, daunting, and maybe even over the top, it probably is a better use of resources than a bunch of smaller churches each having their own buildings etc.

According to this site the median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings and an average of 186 attenders. Let's split up the 100,000 members of Saddleback by 125 people in a regular congregation and we come up with a whopping 800 different churches. That means 800 church buildings and parking lots. I don't know the exact number, but I would wager a lot of money saying that Saddleback doesn't come anywhere close to the square footage of 800 separate churches. This just goes to show the efficiency of scaling up, especially in churches.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On My Birthday

The #1 song according to Billboard Magazine on my Birthday was "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins.

Check out the list for the other years on April 23rd. Some notes of interest:
  • 4 Elvis Presley songs were #1 throughout the years on April 23rd
  • Only 1 Beatles song was
  • This is really obvious, but it's amazing how well the songs of the different decades group together
What was the #1 song on the day you were born?

Via Presurfer

Adaptive Spaces

This post on Treehugger really intrigued me. The facts about specific rooms only being used for fractions of the day were especially interesting.

This is one of the big reasons I bought a Smart Car. Sure there might be times when I could use my car to transport more than two people (including myself) but especially for this point in my life, I rarely do. When those situations come around, there are other options.

I do realize that a living space is a little different than a car, and that having dedicated spaces to which to retreat can be extremely valuable, these situations can just use a little bit of good old creativity, such as getting out of the house, etc.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

MooLaLa Fondue

I recently went to MooLaLa Authentic Swiss Fondue & More in Fresno. (3050 W. Shaw Ave, Ste. 111)

I enjoy good fondue, as it had become somewhat of an American Thanksgiving tradition in my family.

The Cheese Fondue I had at MooLaLa was very good, and it was served with bread and some preserved peaches. At $19 a person for two people (for the cheese fondue), it is not a cheap meal for the food you get, but I did find the service very good. There were only two parties at the restaurant while I was there, which may have added to the great service, but it is a small enough place where service should be always be good. The atmosphere was also quaint, and with the pictures from Switzerland gave it a fairly authentic Swiss feel.

As a not-so-common type of food, I think they also did a good job of "teaching" the basics of the fondue.

I would recommend this restaurant to those considering something different and unique.

How To Spot A Canadian

I just found this website which is amazing, especially being a Canadian-American, so many of these things ring true, with a little satire and humor added for effect. is exactly what it sounds like, a website/blog dedicated to distinguishing Canadians (and mainly their differences from Americans).

Some memorable quotes I found:

They have spent their entire lives defining themselves as "Not American" and some guy in France is not going to screw this up for them!

Only in Canada would a soulless, multi-national corporation easily become a symbol of national pride. A Tim Hortons doughnut is like American apple pie. It's a fixture of Canadian culture.

Canadians don't care about their own politics; only 59.1% of Canadians turned out to vote in the country's last election. It was the lowest voter turnout in history. But that Canadian apathy did not spread into US politics. Nope, Canadians held parties to celebrate the US election.

It reminds me a lot of Stuff White People Like but with the twist of being about Canadians.

I like it because I can relate to a lot of the topics, and it is basically what I was doing with my "Canadianism of the Week" in my Life of Luke newsletter.

Via The Presurfer