A few Thanksgivings ago, as my family was gathered around the table about ready to feast, my dad was saying grace and slipped in a line something to the effect of, “and we pray to soon add a new son-in-law to our family.” My only sibling was already married at that time. I’m still unwed to this day. Thanks, dad.

Speaking of inappropriate prayers, have you seen the video of pastor Joe Nelms saying a prayer before last Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Nashville Speedway? It’s been causing quite the commotion in the media.

Although many of the phrases Nelms uses come from the movie “Talladega Nights,” which I’m sure a large portion of his audience finds humorous, some have also found it offensive. I’m not one of those people, however, I do find the use of product mentions interesting.

NASCAR is notorious for its ridiculous amount of sponsorships, so I guess it’s fitting that the prayer included a number of product mentions. In fact, I think it’s pretty smart. It would have been even smarter have he gotten paid for it.

July 29, 2011 · Posted by in marketing  

Alright, I’ll admit it. I think about winning the lottery a lot. I purchase a ticket almost weekly hoping to hit the lucky multi-million dollar jackpot. For one North Carolina mother and daughter, that dream has turned into a rich reality. And not just once.

In the past 20 years, Amy and Kimberly McCauley have enjoyed three big lottery wins. The most recent one, this month, with daughter Kimberly winning $100,000 playing an instant-scratch off game.

The North Carolina Education Lottery says back in 2007, mom Amy, won more than $160,000 in the Carolina Cash 5 game. The lucky pair also won big back in 1991, when Amy won $15.5 million in the New York Lotto. Back in 2009, she also netted two $1,000 prizes playing the North Carolina lottery’s $130 Million Blockbuster.

Good for them! Now maybe I can have them buy one, or three, lucky tickets for me.

July 28, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

System Administrator Appreciation Day

I’m sure you all know this, but I’m going to remind you anyway…

This Friday is System Administrator Appreciation Day!

What’s System Administrator Appreciation Day?

It’s the day we appreciate the system administrator. In case you’ve forgotten, the system administrator is the guy (or girl) who takes care of your computers, your servers, your network, your printer, (and possibly your tablet and phone) and all those “systems” to make everything work together so you can get your work done.

A sysadmin is a professional, with complex skills, ethical challenges, and a daunting job. Many, if not most, people find computers difficult to use, and sometimes they’re unreliable. Being a sysadmin doesn’t absolve someone of dealing with unreliable computers. Oh, one can dream of such a day, but the opposite is true; no one sees more dead computers in a day than a sysadmin. No one sees them doing truly baffling things, and no one has more stories of computers failing, acting possessed, or even catching on fire.

The sysadmin is the guy (or girl) who was at the office for an entire weekend to make sure the server upgrade was done by Monday morning.

And while running an office consisting of Mac OS X servers and computers makes things easier… it’s still a fair amount of work.

So feel free to leave tokens of your appreciation on my desk. Thank you. :)

July 27, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

Forget Aunt Tilly

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The Old Lady was resting
Photo by Victor on Flickr

There’s this concept of “Aunt Tilly” in the world of software and technology, where people often use the argument of “Aunt Tilly wouldn’t understand it!” to explain why some new idea/concept/software won’t work.

Aunt Tilly is sometimes the reason things become simplified and easier to use, but I also think the Aunt Tilly argument is used inappropriately.

For instance, you could say “Cameras are too confusing! Aunt Tilly can’t figure out how to use them!” as an argument that an easy-to-use camera is the the camera everyone should have. My complaint here is that while an easy-to-use camera is, easy to use, it’s not always the best camera for the job. There are point-and-shoot cameras, and there are DSLR cameras, and there are cameras like the Flip Video (or the Kodak Zi8) and there are cameras like the RED ONE. The DSLR and the RED ONE are not as easy to use, but they are powerful tools, and sometimes powerful tools have a learning curve, and that’s OK.

I can hand a point-and-shoot camera to someone and explain it in less than a minute, while a DSLR takes a bit more time to learn and become familiar with. This is fine. There should be a spectrum of knowledge and skills for such things.

This recent Advertising Age story We Tried to Resolve the Google+ Issue on Google Wave but… uses the Aunt Tilly argument, and I think it’s flawed:

Dear Aunt Tilly isn’t on Google+. She’s too busy playing “Farmville.” Sure, she signed up for Twitter, but she never used it. There was so much going on! Google+ confuses her. Is it Google Plus or Google Plus Sign?

While I’m often called an early adopter in the technology world, I’ve seen plenty of people who started on networks like Twitter or Facebook (or even Google+) not exactly sure what it was, or why they were there, or what they should do, and over time some of them “got it” and became experts, utilizing every aspect of these services, and becoming so comfortable with them, it’s like they’d been using them since the beginning of time.

If Aunt Tilly doesn’t use Google+, and just stays over at Facebook playing games, that’s fine with me. If she sends me a message via Facebook, I’ll probably still get it. Personally though, I’m finding way more signal than noise on Google+, and way more noise than signal on Facebook. Will that change in the future? Maybe… I’m willing to stick around and find out, and if the Aunt Tillys of the world don’t join me, I’m fine with that.

(And for the record, I’m one early adopter who thought Google Wave served no real purpose. Then again, I still believe email is useful.)

July 25, 2011 · Posted by in photo, social media, video  

Santa Monica Airlines

Check out this interesting story about how a small skateboard company ended up “spending” $7,000 on their first tweet.

In the end, they made a lot of friends and fans, as well as supported a cause they believe in.

July 22, 2011 · Posted by in misc, social media  

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