Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey Look, It's a New--Squirrel!--Blog!

Yes, dear readers, it's blog time again. This time, I'm having a hard time focusing on what topic exactly to opine about. So, you get to reap the ADHD benefits, and get a --Squirrel!-- link round up. And comments. You know, cause that's how I roll.

Facebook, Your Future Bank
I don't trust Facebook to get my privacy settings right, so I sure don't see myself handing them my banking information any time in the near future. And what do you mean that the "virtual currency" market will reach 2.1 billion in 2011? That's a lot of fake gardens, Farmville people. How about you give me the $$ you'd spend on that, I'll make a real garden, and not pester the crap out of your friends?

Microsoft: IE9 best at sparing your laptop battery
I read this article on a laptop that has no battery life left, has been through three--count 'em--three power cables, and it occurred to me that I hadn't ever thought about my browser being an integral part of my power drain. But there you have it, in all it's graphy glory.

The Next Generation Of Social Networking Has Emerged
"The next generation" might be exaggerated a bit (I read nothing of Klingons, blind engineers, or British-accented Frenchmen.*) However, I see using social media as invention sounding board, cheap R&D if you will, as just another facet of social media as a marketing tool.

PSA of the Day
Just a good thing to do every so often. Who among us hasn't felt the nausea of a hard drive crash? Or, for those elite, smelt the distinctive odor of toasted computer components? Neither is pleasant, so lets just back our info up, shall we?

* yes, I just made a Star Trek reference. My geekery knows no bounds.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Facebook "Like"

Been on Facebook lately? Yeah, I know, that's a silly question. But have you noticed that Facebook has been changing the use of the "Like" button? That when you like a company now, it acts more like you've shared it? And so it shows up on your friends' news feeds, letting them know you like a company. From a marketing standpoint, this is fantastic--John, and all of John's friends now have more brand awareness for WidgetCo that he just liked. John will be able to receive special offers that WidgetCo may send out, and therefore hopefully be more brand loyal. And WidgetCo hopes that John's friends will in turn like the Facebook page too. for a business, that is wonderful--more brand exposure.

But in all of this liking, does Facebook come off sounding like a valley girl? Are they making the fact that someone likes something on Facebook trite? Is it becoming something that people will gloss over, simply because it is everywhere? Are we losing the impact of the marketing by making it automatic, rather than something someone has to make an effort to do? Will John's friends care that he likes WidgetCo, or will they ignore it because there's five other news stories similar to it? Something for marketers to noodle.

*side note, you know how if you stare at a word too long, it can look like it is spelled wrong, when it isn't? well, in writing this, the word "Like" is looking crazy wrong right now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Were You in 2001?

Let's travel back to the year 2001, shall we? Gas cost $1.46 a gallon, and a postage stamp was 34 cents. The iPod is released, and Wikipedia goes online. Shrek, Ocean's Eleven, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were at the theater. What were you doing in 2001? I was in college, typing term papers on a two inch thick Compaq laptop that ran Windows 98 (that would change at Christmas time, when I would upgrade to Windows ME.) I surfed the interwebz on dial-up, with Internet Explorer 6. In the ten years since then, I have graduated college, gotten married, had five different addresses, spawned three children, and upgraded IE twice (IE9 is due any time now.)


What's that? You're still using IE6? I'm afraid that we're going to have to stage an intervention regarding that. And this site would agree. After all, as they state on the site, "Friends don't let friends use Internet Explorer 6." You don't want to be behind the times, do you? you don't want to make some poor web developer's life harder, do you? If you use IE6 you are doing just that--developers have to put in extra hours to support IE6, as opposed to the newer browsers. So go and upgrade your IE already. Let someone else be left behind by technology.

Friday, March 4, 2011

And One Password for All

Wanna know what I think would be a fabulous idea? Make one password work for everything you do on the internet. Think about it: you would no longer have to remember your password for Amazon, for your bank, your credit card site, itunes, etc. Pay your car payment online? Same password as for your Papa John's account. How could this go wrong, really?
Was that a little heavy on the sarcasm? Sorry folks, I'll try to lighten it up next time.

So, yeah. There is a proposal floating about wanting to make this happen, in the name of security. "It will be a great thing for commerce" they say. "It will be more efficient" they say. Efficient, maybe. More secure? I doubt it. You see, in jobs past I have worked with people who, though they were told not to, wrote down their passwords on sticky-notes, and had them stuck to their monitor. Even if their password was "12345" they still had it written down, and stuck to the computer. Really. They weren't being asked to have complicated or elaborate passwords, no 15 character, numeric and special characters combo jobs. But, you may say, they'll take it more seriously! They'll be sure to make it a password they'll remember, be conscientious to make it secure! If you believe that, then we've not worked with the same type people in the past.

Another reason that I have big misgivings about this "one password" idea is that, if it were to be hacked, a person would be screwed. This would be password would be linked to benign things like Amazon and Papa John's (if those retailers enrolled in the program) true, but it would also be linked to things like your banking, your mortgage, and your medical records. Think that having your identity stolen now is a pain? Then think about it if they could get everything about you, down to your tonsils that you had removed when you were eight. This would way surpass what they can do with your Discover card number and your social security number. "But it would be really hard to be hacked" you may say. True. But even the Pentagon's computer system has been hacked. If our military, our national security's computer system is vulnerable to hacks, then I am skeptical that they could keep so much information out of the wrong hands.

And that is what all of this boils down to, really. It's my information. My mortgage, my Amazon account, my hospital records, my Expedia account. If i choose to be a moron and tell everyone that my password is the names of my kids all put together, then so be it. I get to reap those repercussions. But I would rather be able to make those decisions than have it made for me. Maybe I'm stubborn. I rather think it's independence.

Want to read more about it? Take a look here.