Google Plus vs. Facebook...

C.C. Chapman was good enough to hook me up yesterday with a Google+ invite (link goes to a post of his initial impressions). You’ll notice it looks very familiar: So far I like it better than Facebook, it has a much better UI for putting contacts into groups. By default when you add a new contact you can add them to Friends, Family or Acquaintances. They call these “Circles” and you can add custom circles. There’s a contact management screen where you can drag and drop people into Circles that is very cool. I noticed that it’s very easy to set up integration with Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn and even facebook. But have yet to test what these integrations actually do. There’s integrated video chat, and it looks like you can do shared viewing of YouTube videos through integration there. It appears that they are throttling the addition of accounts. Last night there was a button to send invites, this morning it is not appearing. I’ll mention it on twitter when it comes back, if you are not already following me I’m @johnjwall Looks like they are shooting at Facebook in a big...

Techno Fear vs. Techno Joy...

Missing the Mark

Sorry to drone on again about running, but this is a good discussion of product marketing and choosing the feature set to go to market with. A couple of months ago I read that Nike was going to be releasing a GPS watch for running that worked with the Nike + running system. The idea is that you wear the watch when you run, and then you upload the data to the cloud where it keeps track of your runs and lets you challenge others (sort of like a Facebook for running). It also allows you to wear a heart rate monitor, which I have used because I am an old fat bastard, and don’t want to die out on the course. If you dig into some of my prior posts you’ll find that I was big on Nike+ when it first came out and I loved the iPod integration. The big win was to get audio feedback. You could have your playlist of favorite running songs, and then it would automatically lower the volume and tell you “You have reached 4 miles, your pace is 9:00 per mile”, and then the music would go back up to volume. I just loved how it was completely integrated and seamless. Of course time marched on and I left Nike+ behind for two reasons – one was that the method of measuring distance (basically a pedometer in/on your shoe) was not very accurate. This was a real bummer when I thought I was at the race’s end, turned a corner and found I still had a tenth of a mile to suck it up. The other was that Garmin had a better system – similar cloud features (although not as sexy), and an integrated heart rate...

Yeah We’re Comin’ to Your City...

The Sheer Joy of Well Crafted Prose...

As a younger man I wrote only to pass on knowledge. I still print rather than use cursive because it’s easier to read, and my copy was the same way – lacking irony or metaphor, but communicating effectively. Now I worship the well-crafted phrase. It’s not enough to get your message across. Great copy can also entertain, and I prefer humor. On the other hand there’s no faster path to sloppy copy than Gin, but that’s another story. I don’t bike much at all, but this piece on biking in Boston is absolutely brilliant. Not only is the Boston attitude spot on, it sets up a turn of phrase that stands at the peak of perfection:  “thus alerting the wizard, who alerts the monkey”. This is the comedy I hold in highest regard, it has no need to resort to vulgarity, and is as funny as anything out there. I get the feeling Clarence has done some stand up in the past, or in his...

Random Friday Copy Entertainment...

We’ve had many stories on Marketing Over Coffee about things I’ve run into with the Google alert on my own name. Between high profile college basketball prospects, nature photographers and Saints there’s a lot going on in the world of the John Walls. This week I found the first tie to Professional Wrestling, John Wall, the husband of Gladys “Killem” Gillem. It’s actually a great short read, a bombastic story of a pioneer Lady of Wresting, Lion Taming, Alligator Wrestling, The Fabulous Moolah, and a guy getting crushed by 500 pound crate. I was also glad to see that the $70 gallon of milk on Amazon now has well over 1,000 reviews, great reading. Have a great...

Funniest Cakes on Earth...

Last week I was in the supermarket and saw this cake that someone had gone to the trouble of having decorated, then for some unknown reason decided to “hide” it in the Doritos rack. Trying to come up with the story behind it made me laugh – what, they decided that they really weren’t going to miss  Kelly that much? Or maybe it came down to choosing between Kelly’s Cake and a bag of Tacos at Midnight Doritos (sorry Kelly, how about a Dorito?). I laughed all the more because a co-worker told me about Cake Wrecks about a month ago and it’s the funniest thing in my feed reader. My personal faves: The one that started it all Vader baby cake Getting the digital picture on the cake Big Budget Wedding Cake...

Death Star Canteen

I saw Eddie Izzard on The Graham Norton show and I couldn’t stop laughing about this for the next hour.  Aside from a few f-bombs it’s safe for...

Second Life Stats – Who Cares?...

I’ve had this draft in my “stuff to complete” forever. As I was reviewing my drafts I saw this and started to laugh – have you been to Second Life recently? I sure haven’t. Here were the facts that I had picked up, which are probably horribly out of date – hey, what more do you want from a Saturday post? As Vice President of Systems Engineering, Ian Wilkes is responsible for all aspects of IT infrastructure at Linden Lab. LSL – Linden Scripting Language (they have their own….) Grey Goo (This was sort of a virus that threatened to consume the island until it was stopped). 956 square KM, 8x San Francisco, 100TB of user-created content, 30 million concurrent scripts Monolithic C++ App Linux Closed Source Started selling in...

Why I Didn’t Spend $1,300 at Best Buy on Black Friday...

As the IT Director of my family we’ve been updating the hardware infrastructure. Over the past couple of years everyone is migrating to Mac. I no longer loose Thanksgiving or Christmas time doing Virus Protection upgrades, and my family members now have a 50/50 or better chance of getting the pictures off their digital cameras (or better yet, even being able to look at them on said machine). Unfortunately there is no Apple Store out in Western Massachusetts, not surprising given the falling population density and the loss of many large employers in the area. When Best Buy rolled out an Apple center within their store here in Natick I thought that the one out west would be similar. Alas, it was not. I talked my dad out of mail order so we could head over on Black Friday and see what they had. Unlike the Natick store there was no dedicated store section, just two lone machines on the long rack of laptops. Jobs’ fanboys are groaning now at the sight of a Macbook and Macbook Pro on the same asile as Acers and HPs. The clincher was that after watching 3 sales people talk to folks checking out the Macs, we got our turn in line. Instead of just listening to the pitch (the same one other 2 customers got) about how cool they were, I hit them with the heat – “Yeah, we’ll take one of those.” This required going off to check the stock and talk to a manager, used-car lot style. The punchline is that there are none to sell in the store, we were told we could go BestBuy.com and get one on line, complete with (wait for it…) Free Shipping! The guy also said that when checking...