Saturday, February 10, 2007
Friday, February 9, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
- Innovators – venturesome, educated, multiple info sources.
- Early adopters – social leaders, popular, educated.
- Early majority – deliberate, many informal social contacts.
- Late majority – skeptical, traditional, lower socio-economic status.
- Laggards – neighbors and friends are main info sources, fear of debt.
End of marketing lesson. What I’m getting at, in my own odd fashion, is that consumers have adapted to technology faster than the government or business. Case in point, my post from yesterday, when I bemoaned the fact that my Yahoo mail account had been blocked by people whom I refer to as the Internet Nazis (which may not be fair to the real Nazis).
I would place most consumers in the “early” categories, and most employers in the “late” or “laggards” category, which is where the conflict starts. Business has been slow to adapt to changes in technology that are used by their employees, who are consumers when they’re not working. Employers do not want to spend money to prevent something that consumers want, like e-mail at work. It’s an odd juxtaposition of wants, unless the employer is one of the innovators.
In 1975, when I started working, the big issue was personal phone calls. We used to get a copy of the company’s phone bill, and we had to check off our personal calls and pay the company for the charges. We spent an hour to find 40 cents.
Now, the issue is Internet usage. Same issue, different technology. Companies pay people in I.T. departments thousands of dollars to install spam blockers and regulate Internet usage, and they’re treated like war heroes. The trouble is, they were late to the party. It took them a long time to get a handle on what was happening, and their slow reaction time has made it difficult on the consumer (an employee when they’re working) to change a behavior that is now commonplace.
Napster, MySpace, Ebay and even blogging are all victims of slow adaptation by regulatory agencies. While consumers are quick to grasp onto the technology, the people in charge of overseeing have been either asleep or slow in recognizing what consumers want and how they will go about getting it.
Free music, for one, is a hot-button issue, which is surprising, since consumers have been griping about the high price of CDs for years. Fifteen bucks for an album that’s 30 years old? Why wouldn’t people want to download it free? After all, most of us already bought it at least once before, so we figure they are still spending that money, but the law wasn't put in place until well after consumers had grown fond of getting their music free. If business was really on top of things, they would have figured that out beforehand.
Meanwhile, we are going to have to persevere while lawmakers and attorneys figure out how they are going to deal with something that we have already figured out. In the meantime, there are going to be a lot of ridiculous laws made. In 25 years, we’ll be laughing at them, just as we laugh now at how, in parts of Kansas “all cars entering the city limits must first sound their horn to warn horses of their arrival” or that in New Jersey “it is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon”.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Roto-Rooter's 'Pimped Out John' in an undated handout photo. Roto-Rooter says its 'Pimped Out John' is designed to 'fulfill all your wildest bathroom dreams'. Special features include an iPod music player and speakers, an Xbox video game console, a refrigerator filled with drinks and snacks and a cycling exercise machine.
But the big story...
Bill Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Last month, the Beltway Elementary School in Washington, D.C. posed for their class picture. Aren't they cute?
The side streets are a mess. People bitch about property taxes, and when the roads aren't salted and the intersections are skating rinks, they have every right to bitch. Meanwhile, the groove that's worn from the car tires is making me drive on the shoulder. Slowly, I realize I'm way over on the right. And the light is turning red. Jesus. Even the Goddammed roads are Republican.
HIGHWAY RULE #1 - The big triangular sign says YIELD. It's for the people on the on-ramp, not the people on the expressway. We're doing 70mph and the guy in front of me gets on the brakes to let somebody in. I'm multitasking. High beams and horn. If I could have gotten my shoe off, he'd have gotten "the toe".
Tire spew from the wet highway kept my wipers and washer fluid going for almost the entire drive. I needed to have one of those Air Force re-fueling planes riding beside me, filling my washer fluid. I'm probably going to get eye cancer from spraying that stuff on my windshield.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid's son Britt is getting hauled into court on his weapons and/or heroin charge. He's wearing a Hoodie and chewing gum. What. is with. the gum? The kid needs a shoe piece.
Now, I'm at work, **twirling finger in the air** where the Internet Nazis have pretty much shut down the service. Something called Websense has blocked DYNAMIC CONTENT, which means I can't get to my Yahoo mail, but I can get to the blog? I'm insulted. All this time, I thought it was dynamic. I was kidding myself. They have already blocked STREAMING AUDIO, so I'm stuck with static-radio or MUZAK. Pity me.
The bastards. I'm going out to my car to get my washer fluid. You'll next see me (in the hoodie) being hauled-in on Washer-Fluid Weapons charges. I think it's a misdemeanor in New Jersey.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
I always felt like the mentally handicapped were happier than most people.
They generally aren't saddled with the stress of responsibility and the wants we have been told we want. Their needs are basic and met. Food, shelter and people. It's a simple existence.
I'm not saying I envy their life or anything, just that maybe we'd be happier if our lives were simple. To us, It’s sad that they have to live that way, but are THEY sad?
I suppose we don’t really know if they’re sad, or if they find themselves wishing they were like us, but I am like us (kind of) and I find myself wishing I was less like us. Really. I see them in the food court at the Mall, being happily led around with a content look on their faces, and I find myself wishing that I had a lot less to think about and more people around for support.
Think about all the junk and clutter we have infested our lives with in an effort to satisfy us. Does any of it really make us happier? Are we happier with all this stuff than we were before we had it?
I think about the happiest days of my life, and they were many years ago, before my life was infested with cell phones, Internet, mp3 players, big TVs and the general clutter that is associated with modern life. All that stuff is supposed to make our lives easier (or so they claim) but does it do anything but complicate it? Complications lead to stress, and stress makes us unhappy.
We struggle to pay for it all, worry about whether we have the latest and greatest [whatever it is] technology, while in reality, the life we had was just as good as the one we have, at least as far as the happy part is concerned. That’s why people generally talk about “the good old days” and reminisce about times long ago. It isn’t that they’re getting old, it’s that they’re getting smarter.
For example, the Super Bowl spawned the sale of thousands of high-definition TVs. Meanwhile, the game was played in the rain, with fuzzy camera shots and raindrops spoiling the beauty of the event. The complaints I have heard centered on the fact that all they got was high-def rain. The game looked better in low-def. More stuff, more stress and no satisfaction. Is anyone going to pine away for the good-old days of Super Bowl 41, when they paid $3000 for a TV and watched high-definition rain?
The trouble with living in my Utopian world of simplicity is that I would have to drop out of society in order to live that way. Modern life and the world as it is prohibits me from doing that. Before I knew what was happening, I got sucked in with the rest of you. I think it all started with getting a Social Security card, and went downhill from there. Our lives are inundated with clutter, products and so-called modern conveniences. All of those things clog up our lives and minds until we have accepted them as a part of us, and we believe that we cannot live without them, when in fact, we did before – quite nicely.
Timbuk 3 actually did a song about it, back in the good old days…
Don't need nothin’ new.
Nothing too expensive,
Just a sinful life with you.
Give me something borrowed,
I'll buy you something blue.
I'll trade this life of sorrow
For a sinful life with you.
The point is (finally) that happiness is simple, or at least it should be. Find it where you will, but I don’t think that happiness lies in the next hot consumer product or whatever the folks in marketing tell us we need in order to make us happy. I’m happy doing this, and it doesn’t cost a nickel.
Sometimes, the more we chase after something, the faster it runs. Maybe we need to get off this treadmill for a minute and focus?
Inside Nowak's vehicle, which was parked at a nearby motel, authorities uncovered a pepper spray package, an unused BB-gun cartridge, latex gloves and e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein. They also found a letter "that indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein," an opened package for a buck knife, Shipman's home address and hand written directions to the address, the arrest affidavit said.
Even astronauts aren't astronauts anymore.
Monday, February 5, 2007
STEP ONE: The facts. As we learned from this New York Times article, 288 “Super Bowl XLI Champion Chicago Bears” hats and T-Shirts were shipped to places like
STEP TWO: The issue. I want a hat.
STEP THREE: The Plan. I go to
STEP FOUR: I package up the hats and ship them home, where I will gleefully wear them to every sporting event I attend and watch as puzzled sports fans try to (a) add up the roman numerals on the hat, thinking that they may have missed something, and (b) regale them with my wonderful story of how I made a new third-world buddy.
Hey, it beats the Hell out of a Snickers bar. That commercial ruined Snickers for me. Seriously.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
As far as the TV, it was a bunch of lame commercials. The only ones that made me laugh were the Letterman/Oprah promo and the beard comb-over guy. $2.6 million for 30 seconds. Otherwise, I think they came up short. I never figured out why advertisers would want to spend so much for so little. Who's writing this junk? Two auto mechanics kissing over a candy bar? WTF? Suddenly, I don't think Pam is the biggest automotive idiot out there. Comparatively, you're a genius, dear. Got any candy?
And by the way, um ... FedEx ... you're not weightless on the moon. For less than half of the $2.6 million, I could have told you that. Lame-Ex.
I gained a new found respect for Prince, though. Not only did he do a nice half-time set, but he did it in the rain as well. I'm not so sure I would have been anxious to strap-on an electric guitar in a rain storm.
Billy Joel also did a nice rendition of the Anthem. Not that I was surprised. Although, after the jet fly-over, the guy sitting next to me at the bar proclaimed, "Ya can't get more patriotic than that, can you?" Well ... I didn't want to get into a drawn out discussion of military vs. patriotism, but ... yes, you can get more patriotic than a song about a war we lost and big military instruments of destruction flying over a stadium full of people celebrating a television holiday. Maybe a little more patriotic. ... How about voting? That's a start. But, I digress.
As far as the gambling angle ... the missed extra point by the Colts in the first quarter wound up costing me $200, as the score wound up a point short of my block. Oh well, I suppose I'll have to go back to working for everything I earn.
The bartender won a big prize, though. For some reason, his block pool paid off in NCAA Final Four tickets. Those are going on Ebay, so I hear. Atlanta in March ... yep, sell the bitches.
Since I specialize in asking questions, here's one. Every year, the hats and shirts magically appear for the winner of the game moments after it's over. This year, the Super Bowl XLI Champion Colts stuff popped up. What happens to all the Super Bowl XLI Champion Bears stuff? Minutes afterward, Colts gear was on sale on Home Shopping Channel and on the heads of the Colts players. Meanwhile, you know the Bears stuff has to be there someplace in the bowels of Dolphin Stadium, waiting for the big comeback. Where is it? I suppose it's been shredded or burned in our great disposable product tradition. Personally, I'd pay double the price of the regular hat to walk around with a Super Bowl XLI Bears Championship hat, (I'm strange that way) but it probably goes against some made-up rule by the NFL (the No Fun League). I want a Bears Championship hat.
I'm looking on Ebay, for that and those Final Four tickets.
DNMMFAWFIAAEWSSP - Do not mistake me for a wizard, for I am an elf with shape shifting powers.
ROFLISIAGOTF - Rolling on the floor laughing. I'm serious, I actually got on the floor.
OK, so I've got the Beltway Boys on the TV. I know ... stop. Anyway, the two nitwits are discussing the coming 2008 presidential election, and who would make the ideal Republican ticket (gag). I guess anybody can get a TV show? So, the one Boy looks at the other one (lovingly) and says that his ideal ticket would be John McCain-Jeb Bush. He was serious. Let me tell you something, in this public forum. If those two supreme jackasses get nominated, I'll start packing. If they get elected, I'm outta here. Who's coming with?