Marketing IT Dept.

When Even a Backup is Not Enough

Update: Eureka! I’ve fixed it, the blog Lives! If you want to know what went down…

As you can see, everything is all f’d up here.

Over a week ago disaster struck at my hosting company, during a fire alarm test the suppression system was triggered, hosing all the servers. This blog was dead for a full week.

We were offered to move our hosting from the version 3 infrastructure to v4, and I took up the offer since it got my domain back 2 days earlier. Unfortunately the new environment is not the same – even though I have a full backup of my Database that supports this blog, the new system does not allow you access to the directory where that data is kept.

I’m no expert in MySQL, but it looks like I’ve gone from having my own instance to sharing one on the server with everyone else.

The end result is that all my archives are gone for now and my Google juice vanishing as there’s no access to any of my archives. It looks like my only path is to install WP and MySQL on a box of my own, then do a wordpress export so I can then import it back in. I cannot believe that having the actual files is not enough for me to do a restore, that is complete crap. If anyone has any better attack plans I’d love to hear them. Please DM me @johnjwall I’m closing comments on this post b/c if all goes well this domain will resolve to the real site soon.

Swipe File

The Formulaic Nature of TV News

Just in case you didn’t take the bait in the last post, this is too good for me to not post…


Daily Life

Why Chili is So Important

I was a bit surprised to realize that in the 3 years I have been writing here, I have never written about Chili. Then I thought “Well, that’s not a huge surprise, considering that Chili has absolutely nothing to do with Marketing”. If you are not into cooking or chili, this would be a good time to check out some other blog post or watch this hilarious video.

C.C. Chapman posted his 7 can chili recipe and I checked it out. It’s pretty far over on the 1970’s Mom scale, it reminds me of the shtick in “Undercover Brother” where everyone in the family has their own jar of mayo. Of course this is the trade off for complete convenience, it doesn’t get much easier than that recipe. Fortunately C.C. completely redeems himself with his 7th step – tweaking the mix with BBQ sauce, Beer and Tequila (actually in the chili, not doing shooters). Tweaking a chili recipe with liquor or other bizarre ingredients is a key attribute of chili aficionados. Pick up your latest issue of Chili Aficionado for more info.

And so you may be asking, “John, who gave you a chili pro sombrero and the right to critique anyone, let alone C.C. Chapman?”, or maybe you weren’t, but you sure are now. My Dad was on the Ski Patrol at the local ski area and every year for probably 15 years or so we would have a chili cookoff at our house to celebrate the end of the ski season.

While the adults all thought most of the chilis were great because they were so damn drunk, I was too young to enjoy a Natty Lite to wash it down so I actually tasted most of them. There were three key lessons I took away from those years:

  1. It needs to be beefy. Exotic meats such as venison or buffalo are fine but if there’s no meat, it’s not for real.
  2. Lots of chili that comes in a can like Dinty Moore (often used on hot dogs to create a “Coney Island”) actually taste fantastic but do all kinds of damage to your system that will remain unspoken.
  3. Never have your dog around at a chili party because everyone will feed them little bits and nothing empties out a room faster than a gallon of dog puke filled with chili.

Years later I came upon two other important observations:

  1. I used to think that it gave me indigestion until I went on a high protein diet and found out it was the bread/pasta/rice that it was served with that gives you the heartburn.
  2. Tarantula Jack’s Chili Stand in downtown Seattle (long closed) had the greatest Chili on earth.

Jack’s won some kind of Million Dollar cookoff (ok, it was “only” $25,000) with the recipe and it’s been published, but I think he held something back. I’ve made it many times and it was great but just not as good as what he served at the store.

And so, to answer the question – Chili is important because it tastes so damn good here in the land of ice an snow. As my gift to you – Tarantula Jack’s Chili recipe:

This recipe is still up at the International Chili Society website where I first got it years ago, reprinted for you here (but go to the site for other killer recipes).

Tarantula Jacks Thundering Herd Buffalo Tail Chili

3 lbs cubed beef
2 medium Walla Walla Sweet Onions (chopped fine)
3 large cloves garlic (finely minced)
2 10-oz cans of chicken broth
2 12-oz cans Hunts Tomato Sauce
7 tablespoons Gebhardt Chili Powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Saute beef in skillet. Put beef into your favorite chili pot and simmer with onions and garlic broth for one and a half hours. Keep your hands off and leave the lid on!

Add the Hunts Tomato Sauce, Gebhardt Chili Powder and the ground cumin. Stir.

Fifteen minutes before eatin time, take off the lid and enjoy the aroma of the greatest chili ever to slide into a melmac bowl! Add the Tabasco. Put the lid back on and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Its now ready top serve. Give out the Pepto Bismol samples to all small children and women who wish to eat your chili. Give your empty chili pot to the chili groupies and suggest they use new Dawn Detergent to clean it up. (Its the Official Grease Cutter of the International Chili Society) Comb your hair, straighten your hat and practice being modest before you receive applause OR the Championship Trophy if you are competing in a sanctioned ICS Cookoff. Serve with a cold Budweiser. This will serve 6-8 hungry Varmints.

Podcasting Productivity Booster

Recording Skype to Skype

During my trip to The Fortress of Solitude for November to avoid the blogosphere I had a friend ask about the best way to record a phone interview. It was more strategy than tactics and Tim Street called me out for shoddy workmanship. Since I had begged off on blogging for the month this was classic “No good deed goes unpunished”. Now after a few months in my draft bin, here’s how to do the best option – skype to skype:

  1. Have a smoking fast internet connection. I use Verizon Fios.
  2. There are many ways to run skype and record it via software on the same computer. I don’t trust any of them.
  3. Run skype on your PC and have your sound card set up so that you can monitor yourself in your headphones and hear the caller. I use a standard issue Dell laptop but add an external sound card. I use the Mobile PRE USB, which then allows me to record with my E/V N/D767a microphone (this is about $250 worth of stuff).
  4. Instead of going to the headphones the audio out goes into a digital recorder. I use the Marantz PMD 660, which is more expensive than a lot of recorders but it is a lot more rugged, gets great sound, and sarcastic news audiophiles say it’s so simple even a reporter can use it.
  5. Monitor the sound on the recorder, now you are listening to the final output.
  6. If possible make sure your interview subject is using headphones and has a good microphone. One benefit of this method is that if your subject is not tech savvy you can still use Skype Out to get them on a regular phone and they will sound ok, and you will still sound great.

This is not the cheapest way to do it but it sounds great and it’s the safest way to go. If you are going to get only one shot at the interview this is the way to go.


Last Week’s Marketing Over Coffee

If you follow the MoC blog or subscribe then this is nothing new. If not then check out last week’s interview with Seth Godin. I wanted to have a link to send around to a post with a flash player in it to make it as easy as possible.


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