October 2004 Archives

Imagine this scenario: You visit a museum for the first time. After walking around for a while, you go up to someone who works there.

You: Hi, I really enjoy this exhibit! Where is the bathroom?

Employee: Thank you.

That exchange is followed by awkward silence as you realize you are not going to get an answer to your question. Of course, the setting doesn’t matter — this could just as easily be in a store, a salon, etc. No matter where it happened, it would be just as bizarre.

Unless, of course, it happened in email.

Continue reading “Communicating with Customers”…

This MSN article about obesity rates by state caught my eye because I always like to see how Oklahoma does on such charts.

Fourteenth. I figure, by the end of football season we should be at least third.

Anyway, I started noticing how many southern states were in the top ten. Which made me wonder: Is there any correlation between obesity rates and how a state votes for president?

Oh, c’mon. You were wondering the same thing. Admit it.

So, I took the data from the article and matched it with the current map at the Electoral Vote Predictor. Here’s what I found:

  • Average adult obesity rate across all states: 22.8%
  • Average adult obesity rate among states voting for Kerry: 21.3%
  • Average adult obesity rate among states voting for Bush: 23.4%

So there you have it: Scientific evidence that weight determines a person’s political affiliation. Or vice versa. Or not.

More importantly, if you hurry, there’s still time to register or before the election.

I had a professor in college who would often talk about software projects in terms of hiring someone to build you a house. Once the blueprints have been drawn up, you can ask for anything you want and they’ll do it, but they will charge you. And, it won’t me a small fee, either.

Maybe that’s why I got such a chuckle out of this: If Architects Had To Work Like Web Designers… It’s along the same lines of something I wrote recently.

(via Keith)

Comics are one of those things that just make sense to subscribe to in a newsreader. If it doesn’t come to you, you probably won’t bother to go get it. That’s why I really appreciate the feeds at Tapestry. When Tapestry stopped carrying feeds from UComics (because he was forced to by the people at UComics who don’t understand how to treat their customers), I decided to throw together my own feed for my own use.

After I’d been using Bloglines for a while, I discovered that other people were subscribed to my comics feed as well. Now, I didn’t really mind, since the bandwidth use was almost nothing. But, I didn’t want to have the UComics people coming after me for republishing their comics, like they did to Tapestry. So, I moved the feed, and when I subscribed to the new feed in Bloglines, I chose the option, “Access: Private.”

Yeah, no, that doesn’t do what you think it does.

It keeps the feed from showing up in your personal blogroll, but it still appears in the Bloglines directory.

Which means people found it again, so I’m moving it again. But, to show I’m not completely, “sellin’ out to the man,” I’m putting the code here for people to use if they want to setup their own private feed:

Download mycomics.php

It’s pretty simple. To use as is, just unzip it and upload the file to your web server. You could add more comics to it — the UComics “formula” for URLs isn’t hard to figure out. Anyway, it’s released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, so do with it what you will.

I watched the presidential debate the other night. Actually, I’ve watched all of them. I keep hoping to see one of those movie moments where someone says or does something and everybody knows that’s it: The tide has turned because of that one moment. Because of that one moment, we will have a clear winner on November 2, not the debacle that occurred last election.

Unfortunately, that never happened. Thank the Commission on Presidential Debates. It’s their job to insure that nothing significant happens at these events. They’re very good at what they do.

However, lost among all the issues was one little statement that really irritated me. When asked what he would say to a worker who lost their job to outsourcing, President Bush responded:

…Here’s some help for you to go to a community college.

What a lovely idea. Why didn’t the 140,000+ white-collar workers who have lost their jobs to outsourcing, most of whom probably already have at least a bachelor’s degree, think of that? They can just go to a community college so they can get a completely different job that makes no use of their current skill set. If they work hard, in 10 years they just might make it up to the same salary they were at … when they took their first job out of college.

Now, I don’t know what should be done about outsourcing, but telling people they just have to start over isn’t a very encouraging answer. And it wasn’t just what he said, it was how he said it. As if professionals should be happy the government will help them throw away all their training and experience and get a lower paying job. Personally, I would prefer a president who offers hope instead of defeatism. Help people keep their current jobs, or get better ones. Instead of sending them to community colleges, pay for education that will advance them in their current career field. Better yet, spend that money on research and development that will create new markets and new jobs. Then, everybody wins.

I debated about writing this (Debated, get it? Oh, well, nevermind then.), because I’m trying really hard not to write about politics. But, since I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, I felt it needed to be said.

I’m excited by what I’m reading about podcasting. Ok, excited is a little strong. Ritalin-controlled excited is more accurate. The potential for greatness is there, but the landscape is pretty desolate so far. Once more interesting podcasts pop up, then I’ll be really excited.

Podcasting is the term used for being able to automatically download stuff (songs, radio shows, etc.) from the Internet to your iPod (by which we mean any popular, large-capacity personal MP3 player, by which we mean an iPod). This is done with a news aggregator that knows what to do with RSS enclosures.

I hope this becomes wide-spread. I’d love to be able to get feeds of NPR shows that I could carry with me and listen to all day, or save up for a road trip.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Engadget has a good overview. I’m working on an article about this for the next eMonitor and I’ll post about that when it’s done.

You know what I like about the State Fair of Oklahoma? It’s obviously not the web site. No, it’s the culture. It’s the free exchange of ideas. It’s food on a stick.

The state fair is a place for artisans to display their crafts. Whether you’re an artist, performer, or even a pie-eater, the state fair is a place for you to demonstrate your talent. I am proud to say my wife did just that. Besides winning two first places (this pin and this card) in the craft categories, Angela’s name was drawn to participate in a pie-eating contest. She wasn’t the winner — audience cheering decided the contest, and the winner brought quite a posse. However, I think she did pretty well for herself.

You be the judge — Angela is the third pie eater shown: