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Rick Turoczy is hypocritical. Marketing, identity, branding, and the easiest, laziest way I can find for keeping my content current. And maybe, just maybe, a way for you to find a marketing morsel or two.

Last Build Date: Fri, 03 Apr 2009 16:17:43 PDT


Twitter track hack: Where there's a will, there's a workaround

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 23:42:03 PDT

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Twitter.Well, I was, until it started being so unreliable. Now, I'm caught with some golden handcuffs. I find myself using Twitter because that's where the people to whom I want to speak tend to reside. And yet, Twitter's ever faltering set of features has me struggling to find ways to workaround its fickle architecture.But that got me to thinking. Maybe this is my problem to fix. Maybe? I mean, I already have to use tricks to stay on top of Twitter content. Why couldn't I come up with a trick to replace the Twitter functionality that I find truly valuable?Maybe I can.Let's take Twitter's track feature. Anyone who spends much time in Twitter eventually happens upon track. It's a really easy way to make sure that you're staying on top of Twitter conversations that are important to you.Long story short, Twitter track uses the Jabber/XMPP interface to send messages to your IM (instant message) or SMS when a term you're tracking pops up. The beauty and elegance of the solution is that it knows whether your online or not. Online? IM. Offline? SMS.Elegant.There's only one problem: Twitter track has been broken for quite some time. And it's showing absolutely no sign of being repaired anytime soon.But, I've come up with a workaround that's helping me compensate for the lack of track. So I thought I'd share the hack. (I'm a poet.)So, why now? It's been broken for ages. Well, three things:Replies were broken for awhile (fixed!) which led me to use Summize pretty activelyI just read an inspirational post from Marshall Kirkpatrick on RSS magicAnd a recent post by Corvida on IM Feeds sparked a bit of an epiphany for meSo let's get on with it, shall we?Faking Twitter track by jumping through some hoopsLet me start out with some caveats.First, this isn't perfect. It doesn't capture everything. But it grabs far more than what you're seeing right now.Second, this isn't as elegant as the Jabber/XMPP thing. If you choose to do both IM and SMS, you're going to get both IM and SMS. It's not an intelligent or elegant means of alerting you. It's a hack.Third, this is some serious hoop jumping, relying on a number of services to function.Fourth, this isn't instantaneous. I've seen anywhere from a few minutes delay to 30-minutes delay.And finally, fifth, if you're tracking your username, you're going to get an echo of the tweets you send.That said, it's still better than nothing.So, how do you build a pseudo Twitter track?Go to Summize (or TweetScan or another preferred Twitter conversation search that provides an RSS feed) and search for the term you want to track.Look in the left sidebar for the "Feed for this query"Right-click or Control-click to copy the URL of that feed.Okay. Now, you've got the golden nugget. That RSS feed for the important term you want to track on Twitter. Now, you need to decide: Do I want to be alerted via IM? Do I want to be alerted via SMS? Do I want both?(Actually, before you do anything else, another thing you might want to do is go ahead and add this feed to your preferred feed reader, too. I mean, just as a fail safe.)If you want to build a fake Twitter track via IM:Head on over to IM Feeds (or a similar RSS to IM service)Add the appropriate account to your IM softwareWait for the instructions to arriveSend the contact the message "sub [feed URL from Summize]" (or through its prescribed subscribe mechanism)Congratulations! You now have a half-assed Twitter track solution for IM. Bravo! When that term pops up on Twitter, give it a few minutes for Summize to catch it, then give it a few minutes for IM Feeds to process it, and then you'll get it.If you want to build a fake Twitter track for SMS:Head on over to Pingie (or a similar RSS to SMS service)Enter your particulars and the feed URL from SummizeVerify the account when the message hits your phoneVoila! You now have a half-assed Twitter track solution for SMS. Now we're cooking!Use both IM and SMS and maybe you'll actually catch all of the messages that Twitter is supposed to be tracking for us. (And, again, add that RSS feed t[...]

Twitter sanity via RSS feeds

Fri, 21 Mar 2008 00:13:58 PDT

I know. I know. Hypocritical is getting all dusty from lack of use. I apologize.But I have excuses.I've been spending a great deal of my time working on Silicon Florist, a blog about under-the-RADAR startups in Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas.But what about the snark? The venting of my bile that used to occur on hypocritical rather regularly? Well that, gentle reader, has been occurring—for the most part—on Twitter, where I found that I can exorcise my demons in 140 characters or less.If you haven't tried Twitter yet, I would highly recommend you do.Which brings me to this post's topic.I got into a discussion today about "influence" and "attention" on Twitter. And while I don't have good answers to those questions, I do have a decent answer to one little tangential question that was asked, "How do you use RSS feeds to manage Twitter?"Now, I follow more than 1,000 people on Twitter. So sometimes the information can get a little deep. To help me manage the information flow (and to help you if you're interested), I have three simple ways that I use RSS feeds and a feed reader to make Twitter more manageable—and exceedingly valuable. (For more thoughts on using Twitter, I highly recommend Marshall Kirkpatrick's "Twitter is paying my rent.")Enough lead in, let's get to it.You've got a feed reader, right? If not, go get one. Google Reader will suffice. And you've got your Twitter account already, right? And you're following me? Oh wait. That last one is appreciated but not required.So let's dive in.Add your Twitter "with_friends" feed to your feed reader. (That's the feed that's available off of when you're logged in.) Why add this feed when this is the stream you see all the time? Trust me. You're going to miss stuff once you start following a few folks. And having a backup is going to help.Choose a few friends who are "must reads" and add each of them to your feed reader. (This would be the feed from something like Once the tweets start flying, you'll find that the person who seemed to dominate your Twitter stream in the early days will suddenly seem practically silent. Cut through the clutter by making sure you've got a trail of his or her tweets.Use a Twitter search engine to capture feeds of important topics, your username, and common misspellings. I use both Tweetscan and Terraminds (if it ever recovers) for my Twitter searching. Both offer RSS feeds. Pick a term, search for it, and snag the RSS feed. For what do I search? Well, I search for my username, for one. Because unless someone uses your @username at the beginning of a tweet, it's never going to appear in your replies. And, I know this may come as a shock, but some people misspell "Turoczy" from time to time. I know. Crazy. So, I also have feeds on "turcozy," just in case. You can use Twitter's track feature for this, as well. But I find having a feed makes it easier to process this info at my convenience. (Okay, I use track too, but the RSS feed is a good backup.)So those are my three basic ways to use RSS to help manage your Twitter stream and your sanity.If you're interested in more advanced techniques, just let me know via comments. I'd be happy to highlight some more.And I look forward to chatting with you on Twitter. [...]

Starbucks retraining results, my reaction

Thu, 28 Feb 2008 15:47:35 PST

So, I went back to Starbucks, today. For the first time in a long time. And, yes, you know me. I fell for the hype about the retraining.And that's why I went back. Because I just had to see.Took it. Hook, line, and sinker.And while the cynic in me was really hoping to be able to report an "epic fail" on my first attempt, I have to admit that wasn't the exactly the case. And yet, in some ways, it was.Now, I have frequented various Starbucks establishments for more than 13 years. I've been a barista (although not at Starbucks). I drink a lot of coffee. And I'm in marketing. Which means I have to drink a lot of coffee. (It's like a prerequisite.)So the hype about the now infamous "Starbucks retraining" that closed down stores to bring the "partners" back to a common understanding of their roles in the organization? Loved it. Ate it up. Brilliant marketing move.But it only becomes a brilliant marketing campaign if it actually has a pay off.So I went back. To the worst offender of the "Starbucks way" in my neighborhood. (Please bear in mind that I have at least--at least--six Starbucks within a mile or so of my house that I could call my "neighborhood Starbucks.")The service was noticeably better. A revived sense of politeness. A willingness to help. Chatty without being too chatty. Really a nice experience, personally.But, then there's the thing that I actually came for: the coffee.Now, I drink the same drink practically every time I go to Starbucks. I mean sure, sometimes I fall for the Cinnamon Dolce Crack Latte or a seasonal Peppermint Mocha. But day-in and day-out, it's a quad Con Panna that will fit the bill.Okay. I realize that thinking of "tastiness" as one of the benefits of a Con Panna is like thinking of "weight loss" as one of the benefits of meth. I get that. But I've been drinking these things for years and years. All over the country. At Starbucks and otherwise.I mean, I was drinking them when they were still on the Starbucks menu. So I know what they should taste like. I know what's good and what's bad.And the one I got today? Still tasted like ass.Now, it doesn't help that I've had a couple of meetings at Stumptown Coffee, this week. Where I've had the opportunity to have a really, really good quad Con Panna or five.I mean, that's not really fair. That's like eating your grandma's homemade apple pie for a few days and then expecting a McDonald's apple pie to compare.It's not fair. It's not fair to expect miracles overnight, either. But then again, I'm not generally rational or fair.And continuing the McDonald's analogy, at least with McDonald's the apple pie would be the same apple pie, no matter where I bought it. At Starbucks, the consistency is all over the board. A million different flavors of crappy, with some bright spots of tastiness in between.So service? Great. But coffee? May still be a problem.So, I've now officially given up. Despite the convenience and the history. I'm done. I mean, I'm an addict, so I'll go if it's the only option. But if I have a choice? I'm done with Starbucks.You see, there's a reason that I go to coffee shops. And it's not for atmosphere.There's a reason that I'm willing to play the role of "completely uncool old guy" at Albina Press or Village Coffee or Urban Grind or Stumptown or Ugly Mug.And that reason is because of the coffee. Good coffee.And I'm willing to put up with pretty surly service to get it. Because that's why I go there.If I can get great service and great coffee? Then you've got me.And Starbucks, in my opinion, still has a ways to go before that happens.But, please keep working at it, Mr. Schultz. And maybe I'll be back. [...]

In Marketing? Please read this post.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 22:30:53 PST

I know, I know. You're busy.

Running around crazily, all day, trying to get your marketing stuff done.

I understand. I do.

But if you're in marketing. Especially marketing communications. And you're even thinking about approaching social media. Then you need to do yourself a favor read Marshall Kirkpatrick's "Ten Common Objections to Social Media Adoption and How You Can Respond."

Required reading, to be sure.

Go. Right now. Scoot.

Oh, and happy new year. Glad to see you're back.(image)

Starbucks' and Amazon's respective holiday advertising blitzes

Wed, 05 Dec 2007 13:51:22 PST

There must be a glut of money and a lack of thought up in Seattle.

I can think of no better reason for the advertising campaigns from two of the Emerald City's most well known entities, Starbucks and Amazon.

Let's take Starbucks first. Because their ads, while annoyingly pervasive, are at least palatable.

Regardless of that, I still have to ask myself "Why? Why does Starbucks choose to spend money on incessant advertising campaigns?"

Are they losing market share? Did they think that people forgot about the super-special holiday drinks? Is it impossible to consider that Starbucks may be ever so slightly approaching a saturation point?

I mean, really.

Get off of my TV and billboards, Starbucks. And work on the quality of your coffee and service at your Portland Garden Home location which has been precipitously slipping over the past few months.

That would be money well spent.

Now, Amazon.


Where to begin?

All right. I'm just going to let you have it.

I'm sorry, Amazon, but your radio advertising campaign? Inane. Inane and practically unavoidable.

With all due respect (to Adam Sandler, not you), who were the ad wizards who came up with this one?

I know someone who's going to be having a very happy holiday: your media buyer.

Amazon, I just don't get it. Were you suddenly gripped by the fear that everyone had forgotten about your site? Did the millions of purchases per day drop a few points?

And perhaps, most importantly, did you seriously think a moronic "Is there really an Amazon?" themed ad campaign was going to having people arriving in droves?

If anything, the current campaign makes me want to avoid shopping on Amazon.

With as much money and talent as you have at your disposal, I think you could probably find someone to write better ad copy. Anyone. Please.

Right now. Before you purchase any additional media. And before your media buyer has a second home in the Bahamas.


Oy. Happy holidays indeed.(image)

Performance reviews whenever, and from whomever, you want

Tue, 06 Nov 2007 10:46:30 PST

It dawns on me that I have failed to mention one of my little side-projects to the hypocritical reader base. Hypocritical, I may be. Rude? Not usually. So, please allow me to share...

Once, in the not-so-distant past, I went nearly five years without a performance review of any sort.

That's not a typo. Nearly 5 years. More than 1,700 days.

I mean, I got anecdotal feedback. A few pats on the back. Some kind words. Minimal guidance.

But a formal review? Nope.

To put that in context, I basically went from selecting a college to getting my bachelor's degree without receiving a single grade.

And while the organization didn't really see this as a problem, I did. Because I was hoping to actually grow and improve.

Strange, I know.

Without feedback, my perception of self-worth plummeted. My motivation cratered. And, when it was all finally over, I found myself becoming very much the employee I didn't want to be.

Instead of the one that I did.

So, I promised myself that I would figure out some way to help myself retroactively. To give that version of me an out. To prevent someone from suffering through the same problem.

And after much scrapping and scraping, I am happy to announce that we have a very 1.0 version of the product that may help that version of me out of that rut.

We call it Kumquat. It's a simple tool designed to help you get feedback on your performance whenever you think you neeed it.

Quarterly? Weekly? Daily? Yes. Use it to your heart's content.

We're still building out the tool, but there is enough "there there" that we're comfortable letting people behind the curtain or in the backdoor or past the velvet rope or whatever to try Kumquat for their own performance reviews. And we're hoping that you'll critique Kumquat, as well.

So if the idea sounds interesting to you, please give soliciting your own performance reviews a try.

Or if you're just interested in learning more about the concept, please visit hello, kumquat.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled hypocrisy.(image)

Periodic table of branding

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 10:48:08 PST

Useful insomuch as its mere existence is a reminder of how 99.9% of things claiming to be "branding" focus on being pretty, while being, in actuality, relatively useless.

Built by Kolbrener, a branding company(image)

Adobe Photoshop logo: You have chosen poorly

Wed, 19 Sep 2007 10:41:14 PDT


File this under "you can't please any of the people any of the time." Or "how not to launch a new identity." Or, to paraphrase the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "You have chosen... poorly."

Looks like the release of the Adobe Photoshop "logo" went over like a lead balloon with the Photoshop community.

Not exactly a sterling example of "using the blog community to your advantage."

Nevermind the confusion between the Photoshop mark and the Photoshop application icon. The mark, itself, is drawing a ton of negative feedback.

Now, I've done a great deal of work around rebranding and brand refreshes, so I've heard it all in terms of how much people hate the work or the look or the identity or the voice. But this trainwreck is especially interesting as many of the users of Photoshop are actually professionals who work on identities for a living.

I haven't seen this kind of vented bile since the exceptionally awful London 2012 Olympic mark was released.

Can't wait to see Brand New's take on this one.(image)

Apple iPhone rebate: A hypothesis

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:37:06 PDT

[Full disclosure: I have been an Apple Macintosh user since the late eighties and I bought an Apple iPhone the day it was released.]For those of you who know me or for those of you who read hypocritical, you realize there is an evil, evil marketer buried within me. One with whom I have to battle. One I have to keep at bay.I'm a Darth Vader in the making, if you will. Even if you won't.So when I see the whole Apple iPhone price-drop-rebate thing? The evil marketer cackles with morbid cacophony.It's the same kind of cackle that erupts when people say things like "How did Prince get to play the Superbowl halftime show?"And then, it changes into a sad, sad headshake. Pawns we are. All of us, pawns. P0wned.Oh, I'm sorry. What Apple iPhone thing?Well, in case you didn't hear, Apple recently cut the price of the iPhone by $200. And then, all of the early adopters whined. And then Steve Jobs became Mr. Magnanimous and gave us all $100.Wow. What a heartwarming story.If only it hadn't been planned from the beginning.Here's my hypothesis about what really happened:The Apple rebate? It's all marketing, people. Marketing.And I'm willing to bet the price-reduction-rebate tango has been part of the product launch plan since day 1. Or at least day 2.Apple wanted... nay needed to hit a certain number for the financial community. That number was based on the "new" price of the iPhone ($399). That number was not based on the "original" price of the iPhone ($599).The original price provided Apple with a good deal of float. So that, if they could sell more than they expected, it was all gravy.They were pocketing $200 above and beyond the required price of the product.$200.Because most of us iPhone buyers? We were going to buy it anyway. Price be damned.But not everyone is as rabid as we.They were planning to drop the price all along. And they knew people would squawk.They have to drop the price to make it through the holiday season. No one is going to shell out those kind of funds for gifts. It had to be done. Well, Apple users will. But the general AT&T customer?So, I guess the point, more correctly, is that Apple didn't need to drop the price. AT&T did.So, to get more folks, they have to make it appear that they have "substantially lowered the price" of the iPhone.Mind you, Apple is just moving the iPhone price to the required price now. (And I'm not even going to mention how the new iPod Touch has bolstered Apple's buying and production power, allowing them to make the iPhone at an even cheaper price than they could previously. Let's just ignore that thread for now.)But they still have $200 extra for every iPhone that has been sold.So now, as if by script, Steve Jobs comes out and says he's going to give us early adopters a $100 rebate.They dropped the price, waited patiently for the public outcry that they knew would come, and then provided the gift that they had always planned to give.Winning hearts and friends.$200 - $100 = Apple is still $100 up.What's more? That $100 rebate is a store credit. It's not cash folks. It's a gift certificate.You know what happens if you don't use a gift certificate, right? The company gets to realize that revenue after a set amount of time.And if we do use the gift certificate? They get that revenue back and move more product.And they're still $100 up.Genius. Marketing genius. Evil, but genius. [...]

Hulu violates cardinal rule of naming

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:19:27 PDT

And there was much rejoicing (inside the the NewsCorp and NBC Universal offices) as the name of the "YouTube killer" was finally announced.

And the name? Hulu.

No, I didn't cough. It's Hulu. Hulu. With one "L." Hulu.


And as if that wasn't bad enough, they went and violated the cardinal rule of naming: they told you it was supposed to be "fun."

Um, okay.

In fact, the CEO slathers on the fun and pounds you senseless with sophomoric pedantry as he explains:

"Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it."

Wow. I feel lucky to be alive.

As one commentor said, "Should have stuck with ClownCo."

I couldn't agree more. ClownCo screams fun. But it doesn't rhyme with itself.

In other news, "hulu" is Indonesian for "ass."(image)

The relentless pursuit of mediocrity

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 11:51:12 PDT

Just saw word that Chrysler has likely hired a former Lexus marketing VP as their CMO.

I wrote a post over on More than a living about how Chrysler's recent CEO choice was likely a complete mistake. Now, there's this.

Hopefully, the new CMO will have a hand in brand consolidation, product management, and research & development.

Because, I have to be honest. Chrysler has more problems than I can shake a proverbial stick at.

And, if they continue to think of this as a "perception" problem or a "communications" problem, all the Celine Dion and Dr. Z in the world isn't going to save them from the deadpool.(image)

Portland, Oregon: Rose City + Silicon Forest

Thu, 09 Aug 2007 12:54:44 PDT

Portland, Oregon. Call it the "Rose City." Call it the "Silicon Forest." Call it whatever you want. Point is you've heard all of the hype. Yes, yes. It's a cool place and it's where I happen to live. Bully for me.But there's one thing that I've noticed lacking.No, it's not sunshine. It's following-the-shiny-object tech coverage. You know, the "get all excited about the latest and greatest thing and then forget about it in a couple of days" tech coverage? Or, to be less snarky, the "I think I've built something really cool and I want everyone to know about it" tech coverage? I mean, I read a bunch of the "Web 2.0" blogs. Every morning. TechCrunch. Mashable. eHub. And they're great and all. But I really want to know about the cool stuff that's happening down the street from me. Or in my backyard. I've told you guys a hundred times. Get out of my backyard. NIMBY!Sorry. Forget about the guys in my backyard. I'm more interested in the stuff down the street.I'm talking about the folks who are doing great work, below the radar. They're not getting coverage in The Oregonian or the Silicon Forest blog. Although those folks are interesting to me, too.But I'm thinking primarily about that other group.You know those folks. They're all interested in "building standards-compliant tools" and "making cool products." They're busy being developers and not marketers. So they often don't have time to toot their own horns. Well, luckily, I have time to toot their horns. So I will. So to speak.So, being the industrious type that I am, and needing somewhere to remind me of all the cool Portland developers and bloggers doing cool stuff, I started another side project.At this point, I have more sides than a dodecahedron. Yes, it's a blog. Shocking.It's called Silicon Florist. And it's designed to bring recognition to the great work being done in the Portland community. Small scale startup work. Thoughtful big company work. Good thinking and good building.With Silicon Florist, I'm hoping to help a thousand flowers bloom here in our little Silicon Forest. If it sounds interesting to you, why not subscribe or at least stop by for a visit?And, if you're one of the aforementioned companies. And you live or work in the Portland metropolitan area. And you're busy doing good work. Feel free to drop me a line and I'll keep an eye on you. [...]

LinkedIn and the Michelle Madigan DEFCON debacle

Mon, 06 Aug 2007 13:08:01 PDT

Plenty has been already been written and broadcast about the Michelle Madigan DEFCON incident, so I won't bore you with yet another rundown.

But there is one thing I noticed, but haven't read about yet, so I'm a bit curious...

How bad do things have to get before you pull your LinkedIn profile? (Michelle Madigan's LinkedIn profile is cached by Google, here.)

I mean, sure, she's not going to want to list "DEFCON 2007 attendee" under activities. But I'm sure LinkedIn could be a helpful resource in her imminent, if not already initiated, job search.(image)

Evaluating a career opportunity with The Empire

Fri, 27 Jul 2007 08:24:46 PDT

I've written, nay griped, about Monster spam on several occasions, most notably here and here.But this one? This one seems like a legitimate opportunity for someone with my skill set.Friday, July 27, 2007Confidential Jobseeker,In response to your posted resume, we would like for you to seriously consider sitting down and evaluating a career opportunity with The Empire.Our industry growth has allowed us to now offer select Sales positions for quality personnel. We provide industry leading support and development with rapid advancement into Management positions.We offer:+ $60-$80K 1st year potential (No Experience)+ $75-$150K 1st year potential (Management Experience)+ Sales and Management bonuses+ Stock ownership+ Lifetime residual income with vesting after 2 yearsPositions are available in Portland and your local area.Interviews will be conducted by Sales Director Curt Denny.Tuesday July 31st @ 1pmComfort Inn8225 NE WascoPortland, OR 97220503-408-8000 - for Directions ONLYTo reserve your interview, e-mail back the that above time and date works for you. Include a phone number in case a manager needs to contact you. We look forward to hearing from you.Please bring a resume, be prompt and dress appropriately. We are looking for individuals who possess high integrity, strong work ethic and appreciate professional training.To learn more about the products sold by The Empire, a local agency of Family Heritage, please review their website at of RecruitingSitting down and considering a job with the Empire? You're damn tootin' I'm thinking about it! The mind swims with reckless anticipation.I mean, I'm sure there are a number of openings, among them:Stormtrooper, first classTie-fighter pilotStar Destroyer staring-at-blinking-lights warm-prop guyChoking victim cleaner upperDeath Star clean up crewLight-saber severed hand picker upperBut I wonder about dressing appropriately? Do I wear a cape? Should I cackle a lot? Do I say things like:I find your lack of faith in my abilities disturbing.I was going to buy some power converters at Toschi station, but I came here instead.Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?No disintegrations! Well, without sufficient reimbursement, at least.The Emperor does not share your optimism... but I do!For so long, I've worked for the dark side. Now, my true calling has finally come! Thank you, Monster, and all of your spammy goodness! I won't forget this. [...]

Unfortunate public relations timing

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 07:13:02 PDT

Today, 365 Main fell victim to both a San Francisco power outage and unfortunate public relations timing. [Update: Wha? Where did it go? See below]

Of course, no one will remember this a week from now, so why I feel like calling attention to it is beyond me.

Sometimes, my desire to post is stronger than my desire to exercise editorial discretion.

(Additional schaden freude via Mashable ("Ironic Press Release Heaven") and Valleywag ("Great Moments in PR"))


Okay, I kind of felt a little bad about posting this. Originally. But not now.

In a failed attempt at revisionist history, 365 Main has pulled today's release from its Web site. Of course, the release is already out on the wire and can be accessed here, RedEnvelope Reports Two Years of Continuous Uptime at 365 Main's San Francisco Data Center, or here.

While they're cleaning up, they might want to fix this, as well.

[Update for July 25, 2007]

Finally, a response from 365 Main about what happened during the San Francisco power outage.

Of course, all of this just leads me to ask, as the so-called "Web 2.0 host" and home to SixApart's hosted applications, don't you think maybe, just maybe, there might be a better way for 365 Main to stay in touch with their customers and target market? Maybe? Like, I don't know, say a blog?(image)

How To: iPhone emulator

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 10:04:25 PDT

Want to send terse, typo-ridden emails to your colleagues, just like us schmucks who shelled out cash for the iPhone? This simple, but effective, iPhone emulator will have folks thinking you waited in line all day on June 29, 2007.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Open your email program
  2. Navigate to your settings
  3. Choose to edit your signature file
  4. Replace the existing signature with the following (spelling must be exact!):
    Sent from my iPhone
  5. Done!
What's that? iPhone not your cup-of-tea, but you still want to appear to be among the digerati? Try this simple Blackberry emulator:

  1. Open your email program
  2. Navigate to your settings
  3. Choose to edit your signature file
  4. Replace the existing signature with the following:
    Sent from my Blackberry
  5. Done!
Either way, gentle reader, you're soon to be basking in the glory of geekdom. Just don't ever run into these folks, whom you're emailing, in person.(image)

iPhone after the afterglow

Fri, 20 Jul 2007 17:36:54 PDT

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely happy that I fell for all of the iHype about the Apple iPhone. And it is, without a doubt, more impressive than the first color Mac LCIII I owned, or my first iPod, or my MacBook Pro.I mean, really, would you expect any less of me? Falling for all the hype and running out to buy one on the first day? I thought not. After all, I'm the guy who wants Apple everywhere, remember?After all, I'm not the only one. Word around the campfire is that there were more iPhones sold in three days, than HD radios sold in last three years. Which reminds me... Oh wait. That's not this post. That's a story for another time.Where were we? Oh yes.After a few days of using it, there are a couple of foibles I've noticed. A few things that seem not-quite-there yet with this little technological marvel.So, for those of you who took the plunge or for those of you who may, I thought I would list a couple of should-be, could-be requests. (Caveat: It's quite possible that these are things that I have been too stupid or uncool to find as of yet):Using the rest of the iPhone while on a call?Let's say you're chatting with someone and they say, "Are you available for lunch, next Thursday?" You're talking on an iPhone, so you give the requester a rather smug, "Let me check my schedule on my iPhone, on which I am speaking to you currently, forthwith." You go to check your schedule. What the...? No dice. You can navigate to contacts, start some conference calls, hang up. But no other functions while the call is active. Seems like I should be able to check my schedule while on a call, doesn't it? Watch a movie while I'm on a really boring call? Something?[Update July 17, 2007: Um, duh. Push the "home" button. Problem solved. Check that one off the list.]IM client?I know SMS is all the rage with the hip kids. But me? I kick it old school with IM. Why isn't iChat on this thing? Or at least something else? I could IM all day on my old Samsung, but not on my iPhone? Sniff sniff. And the iPhone has a better keyboard, so my IM messages would actually be intelligible. Unlike my previous phone, where I would send things like "wamt tm mddt md fmp a bddr?"iTunes?I would really, really, really like some iTunes on this bad boy. I mean, sure, it's an iPod. But why can't I run iTunes on this mother? If I had iTunes, I could listen to the music I'm sharing over my home wireless network. Just like a Walkman before they had tape players. Talk about old school. I mean, why download all the music when I just want to listen within wireless range? Better yet? When I'm wandering around my neighborhood, why not let other people browse the music sitting on my iPhone. I mean, in addition to me getting to obsess about "what kind of music I need to carry to seem uberhip," they would get to listen to my tunes, or vice versa. How cool would that be? You can't tell me this isn't on the road map. If it's not, it should be. Because if it's got iTunes, I could buy that music, right then and there, too. Hmmm. Interesting.[Update July 20, 2007: Hallelujah!]Short list. I know. That's it. Those are the only complaints that come to mind, so far. I'm sure I'll come up with more, but the relationship is still young.I mean, sure, a few iCal issues and whatnot, but that's not huge. And some other weirdness, here and there. But that's to be expected with new technology.I'm still smitten. [...]

Does the preemptive upsell ever work? Ever?

Fri, 29 Jun 2007 13:26:08 PDT


I frequent fast-food establishments. Probably a little more than I should. But I do.

And lately, it's become increasingly obvious that the preemptive upsell is rapidly ascending to the preeminent way of interacting with customers. Which leads me to ask: Does this stupid technique ever work? Ever?

What's a "preemptive upsell"? What? You don't like me blathering on about amorphous concepts?

A preemptive upsell--until I can come up with a better phrase--is when someone offers you something before you've even begun your conversation.

It usually sounds something like this: "Welcome to [where ever]! Can I interest you in a [food item]?"

Now, I don't know if this is a commentary on the idiocy of the general populous or what. But how many people fall for this?

Take a look at this gut. Do I look like I've just stumbled into your fast-food establishment for the first time? Do I seem struck by some Jamesian blooming, buzzing confusion in these strange, cartoonish surroundings? Have you rapidly assessed that am I clearly unable to effectively articulate that which would slake my hunger?

No, no, and no. You've simply been told by your management to assault every customer with this prattling, emotionless question.

Does this technique ever work? Do you ever fall for it? I mean, really.

Well, I came in here for a burger. But come to think of it, that mayonnaise-on-a-stick does sound pretty tasty. Yes, I'll definitely have the mayo-on-a-stick. What's my name again? Where am I?

I just don't get it.

But if people tell me that this works, I'm going to start doing it, too.

Welcome to hypocritical! Can I interest you in a marketing communications strategy?(image)

Desperately seeking CSS

Tue, 19 Jun 2007 06:56:30 PDT

Interested in working with us? Glutton for punishment?

Ah, phooey. I can't do it.

Look. I was going to try to make this gig post cute and pithy. But the fact of the matter is I'm tired. Sick and tired. Sick and tired and slightly perturbed.

I'm in love with our idea and in hate with the current CSS. It—to put it bluntly—sucks. (If you don’t believe us, ask our developer.) I would much rather it didn’t. So, if you write elegant, standards-based CSS and have an eye for design, we could use your help.

Feel free to take advantage of our desperation. The right person can work where they want, when they want, for whatever price they want.

We’re tired of sucking, so the most timely, qualified response gets the gig.

Please send any sites of which you’re especially proud to rick at returncorp dot com. Say you saw it on hypocritical, and we'll likely move you to the front of the line. Because I'm egotistical and vain.(image)

Google suggests hiring a hooker

Mon, 18 Jun 2007 22:26:33 PDT

Google suggests hiring a hooker
Originally uploaded by turoczy

Apparently, not clicking on the "I feel lucky" button means more than I thought.

Here it is large enough that you can see it.(image)

McSweeney's needs your help

Tue, 12 Jun 2007 08:27:13 PDT

One of my dreams was to be an author. It still kinda is. And I kinda am. What with hypocritical and More than a living and whatnot.So, I began my professional career in the publishing industry. And I learned enough to make me sick. So, I shelved that dream. It's easy to prattle on about the bad things about the publishing industry. It's an easy target.What's not easy is finding true gems--people who respect creativity and authors and the art of the written word. That's why the news of trouble at McSweeney's hit me especially hard. Because those McSweeney's folks? They're gems. Truly. Through and through.Here's the deal (re-published in toto):As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000—actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers, who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensable comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and the entire backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George W. Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14. More special items will be appearing as we go, so check back often.This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter—the Believer Music Issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip [...]

FeedBurner feels the love

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 16:08:17 PDT

UPDATE (June 1, 2007): FeedBurner and Google make it all official and stuff. More on the FeedBurner blog.


Word around the campfire is that FeedBurner is being purchased by Google to the tune of 100 million clams.

In my not-so-humble opinion, congratulations are well in order. And, quite frankly, this couldn't happen to a better bunch of folks.

I've been a user of FeedBurner for quite some time. They provide the hosting for the hypocritical RSS feed and the email subscription form over there in the sidebar.

I've gushed about their service in the past. And fawned and blushed when they showed me some attention.

But I gush for a reason.

When I've had problems, they've been responsive, helpful, and kind, to a person. They've provided an invaluable service for promoting my blogs. And for helping me better understand who is reading and what they like.

They do something incredibly simple. Yet, they do it incredibly well.

And they've managed to do that with an undeniable personality, charm, and grace.

Companies like that are few and far between. And I'm really happy to see them get some reward for doing things right.

So, Dick, Joe, Traci, and everyone else over there in FeedBurning land, congratulations. And thanks.(image)

Yahsoft or Microhoo: Two wrongs don't make a not evil

Fri, 04 May 2007 07:51:22 PDT

I know posting has been a little light, lately. But I couldn't resist chiming in on this one...

The blog world is all atwitter (I don't really feel like I can use that word anymore, thanks to Twitter, but I will) about the possibility of Microsoft taking over Yahoo!.

$50 bees is the number being reported. Both Mashable and Techcrunch are good sources for additional details if your interested.

Hypocritical, as always, remains a good source for I-think-I'm-smarter-than-everyone-else snark.

Does anyone see a bubble around here? Anyone smell the wafting success of TimeWarner and AOL? Anyone?

Of course. The so-called reasoning for this little maneuver is obvious, even to me. Who don't want to take a run at those kids in Mountain View?

But a software company that has never really understood how to use the Web and a Web company that is barely getting over its preening as a media company and getting fat on a Web 2.0 acquisition diet? Let alone, the cultural implications for employees?

Putting all that aside, have you ever been through a merger or acquisition? It's not exactly a team-building exercise. And it certainly doesn't enhance your focus.

It will be interesting to watch the hype and the coverage. And to see if it ever comes to fruition. But I just don't see these two as a combined company presenting a serious challenge (anymore than they would have as individual entities) to Google anytime soon.

The whole is less than the sum of the parts.(image)

Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 23:16:13 PDT

There are very few authors whom I hold in high esteem. Who manage to keep me rapt with their ideas, their wit, and their masterful use of language.

I'm a bit of a snobbish ass in that regard.

But I read Kurt Vonnegut. With a vengeance.

I used to posture, refusing to read many living authors--claiming there was too much good literature written by those who had come before, those who were no longer around.

Vonnegut was one of the few exceptions.

I read everything he wrote. Over and over. And I learned something new, each time.

The simple, short--and sometimes crude--prose belied the genius of the works. The man had a gift for brevity I will never even comprehend, let alone achieve.

Recurring characters became like old friends. Kilgore Trout. Eliot Rosewater. Those Tralfamadorians.

Thank you for sharing that wonderfully esoteric world of yours, Mr. Vonnegut. You will be sorely missed.

So it goes.(image)

Sheer genius

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 15:36:39 PDT

No one belongs here more than you.

Yeah, you're welcome.

And, thank you, Mr. Godin.(image)