Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bush and the blogosphere

What does United States President Bush think about the blogosphere? Does he like blogs or not?

It should be fairly obvious: he loves blogs. They saved his ass, when there was that controversy of liar Dan Rather (rather not speak the truth) over phony National Guard service records. Rathergate.

Even if you don't like President Bush, you must admit: the bloggers rushing to analyze, collaborate, and defend, not Bush, but truth, this was grand. It boosted the popularity and the fear of blogs.

Blogs are hated and feared by those who wish to destroy free expression, free thought, freedom of and from religion.

If you or your "faith" go around killing people who disagree with you or your "faith", then I am the eternal enemy of you and your "faith". You may attack me all you wish, but do it in the awareness that I am committed to the total annihilation of your "faith".

Whether that "faith" is religious, political, music theory, style of dress and decorum, browser brand, programming language, blog platform, or operating system, it means nothing to me. As long as you kill or flame those who disagree, I'm deadset against you.

Now that that's settled, let's look at what President Bush thinks about blogs.

"Bush hails blogosphere"

[QUOTE]

But the Drudge Report has excerpts from Bill Sammon's new book, Strategery, in which both Bush and Karl Rove talk about the document scandal:

President Bush, for the first time, is hailing the rise of the alternative media and the decline of the mainstream media, which he now says “conspired” to harm him with forged documents.

“I find it interesting that the old way of gathering the news is slowly but surely losing market share,” Bush said in an exclusive interview for the new book STRATEGERY. “It’s interesting to watch these media conglomerates try to deal with the realities of a new kind of world.”

For example, journalist Dan Rather left the anchor chair at CBS News after Internet reporters revealed he had used forged documents to criticize Bush’s military record in September 2004. The forgeries, which Bush now calls a conspiracy, ended up helping his reelection campaign, he acknowledged in the Oval Office interview.

“It looks like somebody conspired to float false documents,” the president tells author Bill Sammon. “And I was amazed about it. I just couldn’t believe that would be happening [and] then it would become the basis of a fairly substantial series of news stories.”

He added: “Then there was a backlash to it. I mean, a lot of people were angry that this could have happened. A lot of Americans are fair people and they viewed this as patently unfair. So in a funny way, I guess it inured to our benefit, when it was all said and done.”

Although Memogate was initially expected to harm the president, it ended up backfiring spectacularly on the press.

“The guy that it hurt most was Dan Rather and the executives at CBS,” White House strategist Karl Rove said in an interview for STRATEGERY. “It further disgraced a network which is third in ratings and, if you look at the demographics of their consumers, it’s like 70 percent Democrat.”

Rove said Rather’s eagerness to broadcast obviously forged documents proves he is “no serious reporter.” As for Rather’s insistence, to this day, that the documents are real, Rove said: “That’s really bias.”

Memogate has helped accelerate the decline of the mainstream media, generally defined as CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times and other establishment news outlets.

“I think what’s healthy is that there’s no monopoly on the news,” Bush said. “There’s competition. There’s competition for the attention of, you know, 290 million people, or whatever it is.

“And the amazing thing about this world we live in is that there’s a kind of free-flowing, kind of bulletin board of ideas and thoughts out there in the ether space, sometimes landing on somebody’s desk and sometimes not, but always available. It’s a very interesting period.”

Having long been pilloried by the mainstream media, Bush now finds the rise of the alternative media nothing less than revolutionary.

“It’s the beginning of the twenty-first century; it also happens to be the beginning of—or near the beginning—of a revolution in newsgathering and dissemination,” he said. “Not in newsmaking—that tends to be pretty consistent.”

Rove considers Memogate a watershed in the rise of the alternative media.

“The whole incident in the fall of 2004 showed really the power of the 'blogosphere',” he said in his West Wing office.

“Because in essence you had now, an army of self-appointed experts looking over the shoulder of the mainstream media and bringing to bear enormously sophisticated skills,” he added.

Rove also noted the down-side of the blogosphere, especially on the left:

“There is so much ugliness and viciousness and fundamental untruths that the blogosphere transmits,” he lamented. “It also is a vehicle for ugly rumors, for scurrilous personal attacks, an avenue for the creation of urban legends which are deeply corrosive of the political system and of people’s faith in it.”

That's true, too. But, as Rove also notes, the mainstream media have hardly been free from urban legends and scurrilous attacks...

[END QUOTE]

For my part, whenever I see an interesting news report on television, I turn to my wife and announce solemnly: "I wonder what The Blogs are saying about this. I wonder what Instapundit is saying."

I care nothing for Republicans or Democrats. The best thing that could happen to our country is for all the political parties to vanish overnight, along with their mistaken agendas and lobbyist love embraces.

But I like how bloggers defended the truth, and how they crucified a criminal liar, a biased reporter, a typical representative of the cursed MSM: Dan Rather Not Speak the Truth.

Monday, October 30, 2006

introduction to blogs for beginners

Blogs are coloring books you can scribble words and dribble paint into.

Blogs are good for you, and they taste rather like chicken.

Blogs are big scary monsters that bite corporate ankles.

Blogs are what naughty people do in their pajamas.

Blogs are ugly-worded, mini-web sites, of very little significance or consequence, if you're 109 years old.

Blogs fly around at night, like owls and bats. This is an owl blog.

Beginning bloggers should, most of you, indeed almost all of you, please stop.

Calm down, please, and patiently reconsider what you're doing and the level of dedication required to be a blogger, and quit. Delete your blog.

You either have nothing to say, you can't write well enough, or you are articulate and poetic, but you're just boring or insane.

Take up roof gardening or hand stamp collecting if you must have a little hobby.

Blogs are

Blogs can

Blogs will


"Why I Fucking Hate Weblogs" by Donald Brook (Sept. 22, 2001)

business bloggers creed

Here's my newly polished, never publicly revealed, and rather robust

Business Bloggers Creed:

I will never use a blog for anything other than web-based communication and online community formation, for the benefit of the audience and not my company.

I understand that to step into blogging with my old clunky MBA Business As Usual mentality, is to be wearing the wrong pair of ideological shoes. I accept the fact that to blog is to transform my company's internal culture and external presentation as a whole.

I submit to the truth that a blog cannot be an isolated experiment, it must come from a deep need and necessity to connect candidly with customers, and care for their needs.

I surrender to the judgment of my customers. If they think something sucks, then it sucks. No matter what I'd prefer to think, no matter what management tells me, no matter what my colleagues say. I promise to exalt the user over the muser, the consumer over the marketer, and the customer over the internal culture and structure.

I will help customers gain deep expertise on the products we sell and the environment in which those products are, or can be, used.

I will not attempt to pervert a blog into acting as a Business As Usual advertising, sales, or multi-level marketing machine.

I will talk more about other bloggers and business writers than I do about myself. I will put my mentors and role models in the spotlight, and be very low key and shy about my own expertise, services for sale, and client project work.

I will never display sleazy links or dubious ads, such as online gambling sites, pharmaceuticals, real estate loans, discount software, erectile misogyny dysfunction, or other typical scumbag

I will blog only about what I personally, genuinely care about.

I will never write a post with the ulterior motive of purely seeking to boost traffic, as in opportunistic topic selection, or superficial pretence of relevant substance.

I will never promote a product with paid enthusiasm.

I will never rant about things about which I don't know shit.

I will never kiss the ass of the MSM or, in a deluded state of grandiose ego, think I need mainstream journalists for any purpose, least of all "media attention". I don't need corpses to clap their hands for me.

I will always side with the blogosphere against any MSM or corporate accusations.

I will only attack ideas I see as harmful, counter-productive, misanthropic, or deceptive. I will try not to attack the persons holding and advancing these errors, unless they relentlessly attack me personally. Then, I won't fight back, I'll simply and swiftly destroy.

I will never attack a person as a person, but will pit text against text. Even if my favorite mentor and role model says something stupid or destructive, my words will move out and defend the truth, without the slightest care about damaging a friendship.

When it comes to truth, I have no friends. I will speak my mind about anything and anybody at any time, and I can never be persuaded or constrained to do otherwise.

I will bite the hand that feeds me, if it feeds me a line of bullshit.

I will never attack my loyal allies publicly, but only send a discreet email, when I think they've done or said something wrong.

I will attack anything or anybody, as I see fit, with no fear and no emotional hysteria or personal animosity.

I will strive for harmony, cooperation, diversity, freedom, and compassion in the beloved blogosphere that gives us all a level playing field in terms of communication and networked interactivity.

I will be constantly strive to improve, enhance, and perfect my blog.

I will share my expertise on blogging, my product field, my personal interests, and my hobbies, with all who seek it.

I will interact with everyone equally, giving no preference to those considered wealthy, successful, or celebrities. I judge "wealth", "success", and "celebrity" in far different terms than the world does. I am a blogger of immaterialism and inner riches.

I will not abandon or forsake my blog, unless I have tried everything in my power to avoid quitting, but life pressures force me to do so.

I will not post material to my blog, and ignore the other bloggers out there. I will gladly and abundantly post relevant, substantial, amusing comments at as many other blogs as possible. That way, I am enriching other blogs, while coincidentally possibly attracting others to my own blog, but my primary goal is to help others succeed.

I will seek out new blogs to enjoy, and encourage new bloggers to press on to the promised land.

I will try to always be inspiring, brazen, self-confident in the pursuit of noble ideals.

I will use my blog, not to push my company, not to hype my products, but to help others solve problems, succeed in work, and enjoy a lifestyle.

I will blog because I believe in human equality, freedom, and community.

I will blog because I want to help, not because I want a narcissistic platform for personal or professional vanity and exhibitionism, or simply because it's "cool" or "mission critical".

I will practice and proclaim the blogo-gospel of the 9 Core Values of Blogging, Absolute Switched On User Empowerment, Universal Content Utopia, and Global Democracy Revolution.

Blogger maintenance and problems here

Blogger.com did some maintenance on internet access today, but apparently, more trouble has occured, judging by how this blog looks.

The entire sidebar has vanished, but the code is complete in the template. So it's a display problem, not a site problem. I had trouble posting new posts yesterday. Just be aware that I can always be found at Corporate Blog Revolution, in case of massive and long term failure of the Blogger service.

Be sure to note my email also: steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wired 6 word short stories


Extreme Writing Exercise #1

Write a whole novel in just one sentence. A short story in just six words.

It's good for your brain and sparkling personality to try to craft special micro-content, highly condensed and self-explanatory statements, short, crisp, non-effusive, modest, constrained, exhibiting a supernaturally, mystically powerful degree of spartan self-discipline and stoic sublimation of libido.

Six Word Short Stories at Wired magazine.

http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/sixwords.html

Here are my favorites from the list (first one is more than 6 words, I know):

[QUOTE]

God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist.

- Arthur C. Clarke

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
- Stan Lee

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth.

- Vernor Vinge

It cost too much, staying human.
- Bruce Sterling

Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.

- Richard Powers

Kirby had never eaten toes before.

- Kevin Smith

Rained, rained, rained, and never stopped.
- Howard Waldrop

To save humankind he died again.
- Ben Bova

We went solar; sun went nova.
- Ken MacLeod

TIME MACHINE REACHES FUTURE!!! … nobody there …
- Harry Harrison

Epitaph: He shouldn't have fed it.

- Brian Herbert

Batman Sues Batsignal: Demands Trademark Royalties.
- Cory Doctorow

Heaven falls. Details at eleven.
- Robert Jordan

Bush told the truth. Hell froze.
- William Gibson

Help! Trapped in a text adventure!
- Marc Laidlaw

Thought I was right. I wasn't.
- Graeme Gibson

Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.

- David Brin

Bang postponed. Not Big enough. Reboot.
- David Brin

We crossed the border; they killed us.

- Howard Waldrop

H-bombs dropped; we all died.
- Howard Waldrop

Finally, he had no more words.

- Gregory Maguire

There were only six words left.
- Gregory Maguire

In the beginning was the word.
- Gregory Maguire


Weeping, Bush misheard Cheney’s deathbed advice.
- Gregory Maguire

Corpse parts missing. Doctor buys yacht.
- Margaret Atwood

Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved.
- Margaret Atwood

He read his obituary with confusion.
- Steven Meretzky

Time traveler's thought: "What's the password?"
- Steven Meretzky

I win lottery. Sun goes nova.
- Steven Meretzky

Steve ignores editor's word limit and
- Steven Meretzky

Parallel universe. Bush, destitute, joins army.
- Steven Meretzky

Dorothy: "Fuck it, I'll stay here."
- Steven Meretzky

[END QUOTE]


Here are my submissions to the 6 Word Short Story kreative writing challenge:

(1) Age reversal ray works, we meeeshiiioooojeeeemooooppygoooo...

(2) Aliens are in my mind and...

(3) $1,000,000,000 for you if you just...

(4) Remove my head and watch me...

(5) Money vanishes, wars and poverty ends.

(6) Don't stare into laser with remaining eye!

(7) Use remaining hand to grasp lever.

(8) We all will die in ten...

(9) Next morning, the world was gone.

(10) I awoke, I was not alive.

(11) I fly through soil, air swim.

(12) World got bored, life stopped living.

(13) Aliens found us, and ate us.

(14) We found aliens, ate them all.

(15) Never is forever when today stops.

(16) Smiled, world frowned, he's sad now.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

music for Florida art galleries



CompuMusik

"Music for Florida Art Galleries" (77:33)

1. man in the machine (13:18)
2. agile galaxy machine (16:17)
3. null-terminated Pascal strings (7:41)
4. vapor bodies (17:28)
5. 0==x (10:29)
6. blue cream oscillator (12:19)


Steven E. Streight + Source Forge
Audacity audio editor + microphoenix

For Rob "Roblimo" Miller
Linux.com
6 premium channel noise events.

Recorded "live" in the New Reformed
Martian Transition Studio,
Peoria, IL, USA, on Oct. 27, 2006

This music was created in one night, for playing in Florida art galleries during shows, and for art films.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Google Summer of Code and Video Marketing Thoughts

Need some inspiration to knock your ass out of the box, so you can try to think outside the blasted thing? Check out the Summer of Code from Google.

http://code.google.com/summerofcode.html

Last night, at my web development committee meeting for the W. D. Boyce Council - BSA, I was pleased to see my idea, from 3 years ago, to have a virtual assistant and virtual tour available, not automatic, but optional, on site. And my idea about videos to promote Scout camps to outside users, like the National Guard. Seeing both ideas being spontaneously discussed, and I think they forgot that it was I who originally proposed them.

I kept quiet about that, however, just in case they don't work, and then they go looking for someone to blame.

;^)

They need, for camps in particular, some generic, non-Scouting promotions in various media, but I believe most crucially in video marketing. Video is the best way to selling something the user interacts with physically, from APIs to camping facilities.

For the Linux crowd, check out Linux.com

Video, that's how you promote APIs and music and art and humor. Videos that amuse, entertain, and instruct, all three in one video. Cool ambient music, intriguing actresses and actors, well written, clever scripts, quality production values, correct equipment, enlightened enthusiast zeal backed up by wide area knowledge acquisition (C. Locke).

Video is what you need to market everything.

Exciting, avant garde, business-minded, buzz-generating, imitation-spawning, industry accolade, media attention-getting VIDEO. Let us see the Product In Use Solving Problem. Show us your thingamajig actually doing something, online or in the real world that seems to exist sporadically outside the net.

Experiment with video now, especially if you've got something to sell, something to show, something that is visually conveyable in a memorable beneficial manner. That's how to sell things now, not through mailing lists, but through video that has substance, tutorial oriented or highly entertaining.

Mix profound business insights with humor and strange, haunting ambient background music, and pretty, but modest ladies and handsome, but honorable gentlemen...what more can I tell you?

Learn how to make and distribute effective videos for API, software releases, web sites, blogs, music, art, films, and corporations...by staying tuned to Vaspers the Grate. I know I do.

3 business models that always work for everybody

I have three (3) business models that I dream of in perfectionistic bliss.

The unusual thing about them is that they always work for everybody who uses them correctly and persistently, heck, even sporadically and lazily like me:

(1) Get rich by doing next to nothing.

How?

(a) 100% User Generated Content: like Post Secret, Digg, and YouTube.

You just provide the platform and a steady flow of agented benefits for the community (you find fresh content or present new functionalities your audience wants or will want once they see it).

(b) Change Nothing: do what you do anyway, for pleasure, with no one having to remind or motivate you, like a hobby or craft or music or art or programming, and figure out a way to solve a problem with it that seems impossible to solve, then market that solution to those who desperately need it.


(2) Help others help you as you help others.

What? Okay listen: you want something? Become an expert on it or help others get it. Assist, with info or advice or systems or structures, others in obtaining what you don't even have yourself, but also want. Like fame, power, money, success, happiness, salvation, nirvana, prestige.

You want other bloggers to blog about you, answer your burning question emails, and invite you to be a keynote speaker at conferences?

Then blog about those other bloggers, talk about them, quote and analyze them, in your blog. Post helpful, thoughtful, funny, informative, sincere, relevant comments in their blogs and in the blogs they discuss, negatively or positively.

See if you can say something so spot on, so profound, so provocative, so challenging, you start a whole new conversation thread. What you say is so smart or so unique, it sparks its own discussion, and you become a center of attention for a day or two.

With your blog URL embedded in your comment signature, others can click on your name and navigate to your site. Eventually someone who needs what you do may visit your blog, be blown away, and want to contact you to hire you for some project or position. Hang in there. These things happen every single day.

So you help others achieve something, something desired and difficult or time-consuming, like research or marketing strategy, then you make it easy for others to know your expertise and to contact you.

Post comments all over the place. Do new things on your blog: email interviews with other bloggers, podcasts, video, art, music mp3s. Keep making your blog more interesting, provocative, entertaining, and of unique value to your audience.

(3) Give away tons of FREE things.

The faster you put out FREE material, free music, free consulting, free art, free videos, free samples of whatever you do or make, the faster you'll be famous.

You never pine or weep for success, envying others, feeling sorry for your own sorry ass. Get up and distribute free samples, even to those who may not care about it, because perhaps they'll give your weird music CD to a cousin or nephew and they'll rave about it a year from now. Who knows?

Life Is Backwards. Yes it is. You want something, you have to give it away before you get it. It's a paradox, but it always works, with perfect (not necessarily your) timing.

Music is a great example. There is too much of it. So how do you stand out from the crowd? NOT BY TALKING ABOUT IT and pleading with mailing lists to come to your next five gigs. The only way to promote anything, especially music, is FREE SAMPLES.

Don't worry about "protecting" your shit. Just get it the F out there, dude. Quit whining and complaining. Stop demanding that others tell you how to make money. Forget money if you want to make money. Focus on value, altruism, sharing, and cooperation.

Initially, don't worry so much about "making money". Knock it off. Simmer down. Keep mowing lawns and repairing roofs. It's going to take you from 2 to 6 years to make any money with a blog, web site, API, web service, ecommerce operation, what have you.

Get famous. It's all free. It doesn't cost anything to promote stuff, including yourself, online. With Net Neutrality and Universal Content Utopia, everything (almost) is free and abundantly shared, discussed, rated, and ranked.

Put your stuff out there. Everywhere. If you're not discovering 5 new places to put your stuff online everyday, you need to do more web surfing and trust linking. Go to reputable sites, and link or navigate from there. Don't go too deep into the link bin. It eventually starts deteriorating, no matter how pure the originating site. But check out the blogrolls and the sites that are linked to in posts.

Promote others more than you promote yourself, and you'll be ushered into the promised land.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

what is a blog? today?


a blog, today, is not what it was back in 1992 when Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, invented and first used it.

a blog is by definition a web communication tool.

a way to easily and quickly publish content to the web and to archive your musings, gripes, and beefs.

in a low threshhold state, it can degenerate into an exhibitionistic narcissist trap, a digital quicksand quagmire that pulls the blogger (not the audience) down deeper and deeper into trivial nonsense that makes cold machines seem more human.

some blogs have comments enabled, but the first blogs functioned more as mini, one person bulletin boards, that is, they did not resemble the current MySpace music band blogs and such other mutations, not in the slightest.

the early blogs, the pioneer blogs, what we may refer to as The rEAl bLOGs, they existed in a different form and have been refactored and defiltered to a denatured state of considerable decay.

some coax or bully or encourage businesses to "blog", because it is "cool" and you can use a blog to make people like you, or your company. I say "no".

But nobody listens to Vaspers the Grate, because when I have important things to say, I first repulse the hangers on with idiocy to make them disgruntled ex-users of this blog, I post bizarre fluff here and there, to throw them off track, so they leave and never come back. Then, when the coast is clear, I reveal the heavy impact material and concepts to the worthy and noble FEW.

I weed out the exploiters and tune out the opportunists with strange electronic tones and marketing strategy crosses and bones.

what's a blog? today?

it's a slow chat room, an invalid vending machine, a horn of ones own to toot, an ad parade, a shoe horn for the Feat of Progress, a pair of slippers for the Lacanian dilemma of auto-insuggestion, "dada in desire", a Get Rich Slowly charade. A place that rejects buzz marketing, bully influence, unquestioned tradition, and yet installs a hall of mystery mirrors wherever it goes and it shows.

what's a blog doing today?

blogs create a vast white spot of emptiness in the middle of your brain.

what is a blog or a book?





A blog is your digital surrogate, and includes the dumping ground of your bot-like agenting for your readers.

A book, that is a worthless work of fiction, in the other hand, is simply an inauthentic and textually frozen rehearsal of fake characters who laugh in the face of non-facile faux reality, false stories of imaginary, conjectural, and non-actual events featuring unreal people who never existed having hypothetical adventures that never happened and will never happen in implausible places that don't really exist, or exist, but not exactly the way in which they're described, no matter how skilled the author.

Other books exist, books who contain real facts, are not artificial contrivances, and are busy documenting procedures of computers and other animals.

how to sell music


Let's now look at how to sell music, using all the latest technology and social media.

How To Sell Music: part 1


Put some of your music, like an EP of 5 short but catchy songs on a net label, or let's create a net label with some fellow musicians, other local bands, a composer in another country, all via the web, so physical location no longer matters.

You become like spirit.

Why?

Because, as with spirit, PHYSICAL LOCATION AND TOOLS no longer matter.

You build a web site, optimize it, link to other cool music blogs and blogs you think your listeners might like.

Then display a link on your site that says "free CD mp3s". Make entire EPs and CDs available for free download. You may also display non-free CDs and their prices, but provide one or two tracks as free mp3s, to enable listeners to see if they will like the rest of the album.

Let your fans see you or some pretty abstract pictures in motion:...upload home-made music videos from shit web cams, using post- or non- digital effects and clever shimmerings from primitive glub.

So that way it stands out as inimitable. The only art that lasts and has value is the inimitable. It's new or it's dead.

Next step is to ecommerce the shit.

How To Sell Music: part 2

Downloadable product, unfree mp3s for sale, via PayPal.

THAT's the FUTURE. No more buying CDs in record stores. Too many niche interests. Diversity gone insane. The End of Mass Market Anything. The Rise of Super Selective Consumers-Who-Also-Produce and the emergence of user-generated everything, empowerment kingdom, Universal (Mostly Free) Content Utopia.

Free music is the way to achieve sales of other non-free music. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.

Free music is the way to achieve sales of other non-free music. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.

Why? because there is, as you attest, TOO MUCH MUSIC of every conceivable and ill-conceived stripe out there, so consumers are confused and frustrated, burned too many times by music hype and peer pressure.

Too Much Unknown and Known Music: and almost all of it is Uncertain, even from known artists, how can anyone trust it? By hearing it, that's how. FREE mp3 of entire songs, not dumbass sample teasers, give them the whole thing.

Thus: all the poor kid MySpace rock band blogs will vanish in a puff of narcoleptic smoke within 2 years, replaced by INDIVIDUAL NET LABELS by individual sound artists.

You create your own music, your own distribution channels, your own promotional tools, your own fanfare, your own archives, your own buzz...quickly, easily, at no cost.

You post comments on music blogs. You You mail free CDs to friends and family and enemies and net labels and whoever you can force them on. Threaten to hurt them beyond repair if they don't listen to it every day all day for the rest of their lives.

That's exactly How You Sell MUSIC TODAY... and for all foreseeable TOMORROWS.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

API promotion, Joel Spolsky, tech writing



My client wants to promote an API (application programming interface) to the developer community. I told the client to make sure that they have a good API to begin with, and a good developer tools and support system, often called an SDK (software developers kit), or DP (developer program).

Seeing an API as a "product" and developers as "end-users" or "customers" of the API seems to be a rather new idea. I've been researching this field, emailing developers, registering at developer web sites, and talking to colleagues.

I needed to get up to speed on the developer community, who they are, what they do, how they think, what they need, how to help them. I would never try to exploit or push something at any audience, as my loyal readers are well aware. The blase, understated, low key approach is best for nearly every sales or marketing situation. Aren't we all fed up with hype, high pressure sales, dopey aggressive marketing? I sure am. I hate pushy sales efforts and ham-fisted influencers.

Most people buy more product if you just leave them the hell alone. Set up an environment where the product sells itself, and let your customers browse at their own pace. Seek the benefit of the customer, even if it means encouraging them to go elsewhere to get a more relevant or better product than what you offer.

Sound like marketing suicide? Then you have no experience in this field. Soft, modest, intelligent approaches work best in every sales situation, and I bet my reputation on it. Any sales that is called "a numbers game" is bullshit. "Numbers game" means annoy as many people as possible, until you find some poor chump you can bully or trick into buying your crap.

Truth. Honesty. Friendliness. Altruism. Problem expertise (not just product expertise). That's what makes legitimate sales. And a gentle, but confident approach generates repeat sales and customer satisfaction.

Anyway, I did a ton of research online, then after a few weeks, decided to go to Barnes & Noble to see what I could find. I looked, not at marketing books, but at books on software project management, extreme programming, software development, and other related topics.

Then, I stumbled upon two books from a guy whose blog I already read and enjoy, a pioneer developer and early blogger: Joel Spolsky. This guy is a profound and funny writer. He has the rare gift of drawing analogies. He can make abstract, complex, specialized concepts seem simple, plain, and easy to understand, without dumbing them down with oversimplicity.

Joel Spolsky is the best technical writer I know.

He's the founder of Fog Creek Software, and one of the first bloggers in history. Joel worked at Microsoft, where he designed VBA on the Excel team, among many other astonishing achievements. He hires only programmers who are good communicators, can also write normal English, and tech specifications, really well.

When I make my next trip to NYC, he is someone I would love to meet, even for a few minutes, just a little "Hello, Joel, you're The Man!"

If you're a programmer, project manager, IT department head, software salesman, or computer user of any type, even a teen hook-up blogger, you should consider getting some Joel Spolsky in your brain.

Go to his blog, Joel On Software. If you like what you see, then get these two books pictured above:

Joel On Software (Apress, 2004)

The Best Software Writing 1 (Apress, 2005)

These books rank at the highest level for entertainment, information, writing skill, humor, and wisdom. I put them up there with the best: Tom Peters, Jakob Nielsen, Seth Godin, Chris Locke, David Weinberger, Al and Laura Ries, Harvey Mackay, Jacques Derrida, Peter Drucker.

rough notes for the End of Music


[[[preliminary sketch for a treatise on the Destructive Death of Music]]]

We've had our fill of the mush called "music". The RIAA, the music industry, hard working bands that play in nightclubs, classical music stations that refuse to play avant garde composers, rock stars with filthy habits, rappers who hate women and police, the musical groups who hype themselves on MySpace, but rarely offer any free mp3s so you Can Hear What They Sound Like, all this stupidity and vanity is old fashioned, outmoded nonsense.

We'd rather hear science fiction sounds, the roar of other worlds, alien tones, remote realms of sound, than whistle while we work. Melodies, rhythms, and lyrics only distract us from our computer tasks.

It's time to move on and emancipate sonic reality from the shackles of impoverished ancient notions. Welcome to the Funeral of Music, the death of melody and rhythm, the emergence of ambient sludge, thuds, and cracklings.

From the pitch proportions of Pythagoras (515 BC) and the Pindar odes (500 BC), Aristoxenus's Harmonics and Elements (360 BC), Delphic hymns, strophic dithyrambs, through-composed monodies, tetrachords with conjunct or disjunct scale patterns, Claudius Ptolemy's treatise on Harmonics (2nd century AD), then into the Medieval modal scales, polyphony vs. heterophony vs. magadizing, into counterpoint and isorhythm and coloration (red note deviants of normal values), rhythmic palindromes, villanellas and madrigals, canzonettas and balletos, quodlibet, just intonation (pure fifths and thirds), all the way through classicism and romanticisms, to cakewalk and ragtime, tone clusters and indeterminancy, serialism, atonal/pantonal, dodecaphony...

...all this mess that culminates in the Revolution of Sound Set Free From the Tyrannical Constraints of "Musical Theory", which is based on expression of libido and mindless adherence to tradition.

The radical shift, the complete break with the past, was incited by (1) the wire recorder of Vladimir Poulsen (telagraphone) in 1898 which evolved into flat steel bands, then (2) the magnetic tape recorder of 1935.

The first non-traditional music, music made without any musical instruments, was really more "living sound" (Pierre Schaeffer) than "formalized music" (Mozart, Stravinsky, Ives, Bernstein), as discoverable in music concrete, the tape recording and looping of natural organic sounds, then manipulating, cutting, splicing, reversing, compressing, pitch shifting, speeding up, slowing down, reverberating, etc. the sound path modules existing on mag tape.

Composers trained in classical constraints suddenly blasted off into outer space.

Ring modulators, Theremins, Daphne Oram's light pattern sound generations (later to be used in film music recordings), the catgut string synthesizers of Oskar Sala (used in Hitchcock's The Birds film), Moogs, Buchla voltage-controlled systems, Fourier-synthesis, vocoders, wah wah pedals, envelope filters, analog delays, Korg workstations, and Fairlights.

The ultimate occured in the 1960s and early 70s with direct mind-to-machine electrode tone generation that translated the electronic brain waves into sonic patterns, thus leading eventually to my oneiric innovation: the Dream Record and Playback System (DRaPS).

So music is at last free to flourish as sound, as audio output, rarefied air, free from the constraints of past formulations and restrictions.

Now, with audio editors like SourceForge Audacity, we can prescribe exact atomic units of sonic material, visualize the wave forms, manicure the throbbings, shape the sine waves, filter specific contours of sound, cut and paste sonic path chunks and sequester them in any way we please, besides letting computers output sounds from precise mathematical algorithms and formulas, as in the stochastic explorations of Iannis Xenakis.

From amoebas splitting to galaxies colliding, the total universe of noise.

Music, as understood by the ancients, is now gone, dead, over.

Noise, sound, and audio, these are the new realities.

CompuMusik subversive music for social change VIDEO


CompuMusik "subversive music for social change" (2:59)


From "Atoms and Errors: Digital and Post-Digital Audio by Canadian Artists"

[QUOTE]

The rise of consumer-grade digital audio technology and rapid technological developments in personal computing and the Internet have made available a set of very powerful tools for sound explorers.

In decades past, access to sophisticated computer music tools was generally only available to those with an affiliation with universities or research institutions.

But in the last ten years or so, a new generation of maverick digital experimentalists has begun the process of creating a new digital aesthetic which exists largely outside of an institutional framework. Despite their lack of institutional ties, these artists' works often borrow from and build upon the rich heritage of the computer music tradition.

The works presented here survey a range of facets of this new tendency in digital audio art: glitchy beatless textural explorations, beat-oriented pieces influenced by techno and electronica, pieces using advanced microsound DSP techniques for the manipulation of "sonal atoms", and works which feature the deliberate cultivation of digital errors and glitches as compositional material.

[END QUOTE]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

bloggers vs ken lay VIDEO

Wait. Worry. Watch this spot, this placeholder post, soon to be filled with a fresh new post-boring video to waste away your time.

Vaspers the Grate "bloggers vs ken lay" (4:18)

Monday, October 23, 2006

product innovation and user reality

As I pursue the complex and mysterious realm of API design, testing, and promotions, I have made some wonderful friends and received some excellant advice.

Without revealing the real inner secrets of API marketing to the developer community, for which my client is paying large sums of cash to me, I will share and discuss some of the core issues involved.

One of the helpful resources for this client project has been the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). Krzysztof Cwalina, and Steven Clarke, are active in software usability testing and analysis for Microsoft, and have been a big help, both via email and through online articles and videos.

You know it's obviously true: the best way to design a product is to find out what people are having trouble doing, and come up with a way to make it easier or more efficient to accomplish these tasks.

How do you find out what difficulties people are having? Not by asking them, that's very limited and prone to memory errors and ego defenses. Humans can be very inexact in their confessions and descriptions.

Here's what Steven Clarke has proposed, to get a better idea of what people need.

"Help us learn about how you work"

[QUOTE]

We want to make better products.

[VASPERS: Innovation and customer satisfaction originate with a strong desire to provide products that meet the real needs of real people, as they try to (1) solve a problem (2) fix a broken (3) enhance a lifestyle (4) enjoy an activity (5) pursue an interest.

This includes work, play, hobbies, and personal passions, like music or art.


A successful product is a product that makes a user successful at some task.]

One way of doing that would be to design a product that we would like to use and then hope that others outside of Microsoft would also like to use it. Sometimes that approach works, other times it doesn't.

[VASPERS: I think too many software products are made by advanced users for advanced users, forgetting that most users are not advanced.

Typical business users, along with the vast majority of non-technical consumer users, know only enough about computers to do what they like, or are required, to do: email, spreadsheets, VoIP, video chat, photo sharing, video uploading, music mp3 downloading, and other fun or work-related activities.]

Not everybody writes the same kind of software that we do and not everybody likes to work the same way that we do. So it's likely that not everybody will like tools that we design for ourselves.

But the only way to learn if we need to design products differently is to understand how people work and how they use the tools that they use.

One of the best ways to gain that understanding is to visit people at their work and observe what they do.

[VASPERS: The user observation test is the only way to know the true usability of a product. To actually witness the product in use, by a customer, in their attempt to solve a problem. This is also a good advertising strategy, to show the customer using the product to accomplish some task.

Not surveys, not focus groups, not questionnaires, not interviews, not intuitive hunches, not educated guesses. These can be helpful to a limited degree, but watching users is unquestionably the best strategy.]

Only then can we really understand what they do, how they do it and why they do it that way. Other approaches such as focus groups and lab studies are useful, but one thing that we've learned is that it's easier for somebody to really explain what they do by doing it, rather than just talk about it.

[VASPERS: When a person explains what they do, they forget many details, especially the preliminaries, the set up tasks, how they prepare.

People also tend to present themselves in a good light, and exaggerate their abilities, their performance speed, and their difficulties. Nobody wants to appear stupid, especially to the expert who is questioning them. More especially: if you both work for the same employer. Nuff said.]

So, we're trying to find people who are willing to have us come and visit them for a few hours to simply watch them work, and ask a few questions along the way. We're not asking people to take time out of their work. Instead, we'd like them to do whatever they would normally be doing, just with us watching them. If you'd be willing to participate, please let me know.

[VASPERS: This approach is superior to any other usability study. To quietly watch people at work or play, rarely interrupting them, taking notes, asking most of your questions when they're done, if possible.

In my MUNOT or Multiple User Non-intervention Observation Testing, I remain silent. This is essential.

When a test subject gets stuck, I merely offer sympathy, not solutions. You must allow test subjects to struggle along, with no coaching, no advice, no clues. Otherwise, it's an artificial situation, not reflecting the actual work situation. The web site or software has to be self-describing and user-guiding, as intuitive as possible, which means adhering to norms, except in cases where you have extremely good reasons to deviate from what most users expect.]

Obviously security concerns are an issue - we will not share any proprietary information that we learn about while visiting you.

[END QUOTE]

To rule the world, one must first understand what's really going on within it. Steven Clarke is on the right track.

Now, what can you do, today, to learn more about your blog readers or customers?

;^)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

CompuMusik this mysterious vibration VIDEO

Here's the first video single from my new CompuMusik CD entitled "Sound Frontiers in Unknown Dimensions". On the CD, the word "this" is missing. Mixed via online studio Eyespot.

CompuMusik "this mysterious vibration" (7:34)


"This Mysterious Vibration" video URL
(copy and paste to send video link to others):

http://eyespot.com/share?cmd=permalink&r=
338f45bb57c5d735c6c515a29826545d3cdaa0fc6
dcbf678d60c69dc81c3dead3aac0e0099e9c2e972
cde92ee3b4523820a392f763cb1a1cbf6b9430550b6692

Playing tip: click on the play button, then immediately pause it, to allow download to perform, then when download is finished, click on play button to watch video without network interruptions.

Lessig vs. YouTube

Lawrence Lessig is not happy with YouTube's content policy. He even says YouTube is a "fake sharing" site.

Since the post is short, I quote it in its entirety.

As much as I might wish to agree with Lessig, I must discount and put aside my feelings, dismiss them as I pull up my trousers, and clash with whatever gets in my way.

[QUOTE]

The Ethics of Web 2.0: YouTube vs. Flickr, Revver, Eyespot, blip.tv, and even Google

So there’s an important distinction developing among “user generated content” sites — the distinction between sites that permit “true sharing” and those that permit only what I’ll call “fake sharing.”

A “true sharing” site doesn’t try to exercise ultimate control over the content it serves. It permits, in other words, content to move as users choose.

A “fake sharing” site, by contrast, gives you tools to make seem as if there’s sharing, but in fact, all the tools drive traffic and control back to a single site.

In this sense, YouTube is a fake sharing site, while Flickr, (parts of) Google, blip.tv, Revver and EyeSpot are true sharing sites.

Fake Sharing Sites

YouTube gives users very cool code to either “embed” content on other sites, or to effectively send links of content to other sites.

But never does the system give users an easy way to actually get the content someone else has uploaded. Of course, many have begun building hacks to suck content off of the YouTube site. (On the Mac, I’ve used TubeSock to do that). But this functionality �” critical to true sharing — is not built into the YouTube system.

True Sharing Sites

By contrast, ever other major Web 2.0 company does expressly enable true sharing.

  • Flickr, for example, makes it simple to download Flickr images. (See, e.g., here.)
  • blip.tv explicitly offers links to download various formats of the videos it shares. (See, e.g., here.)
  • EyeSpot (a fantastic new site to enable web based remixing of video and audio) permits the download of the source and product files. (See, e.g., here.)
  • Revver (the site that enables an ad-bug to be added to a video so the creator gets paid when each video is played) builds its whole business model on the idea that content can flow freely on the Net. (See, e.g., here.)
  • And even Google increasingly enables access to the content it creates and collects. Its fantastic Book Search project enables people to download (funnily formatted) PDFs of public domain books. (I know this link used to work, but now that I’m in Germany, Google is obviously not permitting me access to the work because it is so insanely hard to know whether it is in the public domain anywhere else.) And I am told (though I’ve not yet seen how to do it), Google Videos can be download to a machine.
This difference, I suggest, in business models should be a focus of those keen to push the values of Web 2.0. Though Tim O’Reilly’s canonical statement of those values implies this freedom is necessary, it doesn’t really expressly say so. The freedom to access the content seems, in my view, related to the Web 2.0 principle that “the service automatically gets better the more people use it.” Or at least the right to access it if the author chooses (another Web 2.0 principle: Some Rights Reserved) seems essential for this ethic to make sense.

As O’Reilly puts it, “Design for ‘hackability’ and ‘remixability’” — precisely what hoarding content doesn’t do.

If YouTube is a trend, this is a depressing turn. No doubt, that amazing company has a billion things to think through (including what to do with more than a billion dollars). But one thing it really needs to keep in focus is a very important part of its success: That it was seen to respect the ethics of the web.

Why post on YouTube rather Google Video? At least some did so because YouTube was “cooler.”

Whether it continues to be as cool depends critically on the values it practices.

posted by [ Lessig ] on [ Oct 20 06 at 5:12 AM ]

[END QUOTE]


But you can subscribe to the videos of other uploaders, so what's the big deal?

An RSS feed that will automatically transmit the latest videos to your inbox? or blog?

Videos can be downloaded off YouTube, but I am wanting to explore the possibility of burning DVDs of YouTube videos, especially music videos.

People don't use a web service, like YouTube or Google or MySpace or Odeo simply because it's "cool". It's cool because they, and millions of other users, use it. The coolness is the ease, speed, simplicity, content, and popularity comes last. Popularity is based purely on usability and associated factors of desire and convenience.

YouTube rules because it's fast and easy to use, and somehow, some high quality material has been uploaded. Rich, relevant, rare content is the key, just like any other web site.

how new blogs can succeed

Net neutrality is the issue we must all rally behind. The liars made us pay for fiber, but now they want to make us pay for it again. The USA is a third rate country when it comes to internet speeds. We are crawling on the information superhighway, barely limping along.

Slow as we are, we can still philosophize about best practices.

How can a new blog get any attention, traffic, comments?

Chris Sells makes some good points about the way a new voice in the blogosphere can rise to a position of authority and popularity. Obsessive, frequent posting of relevant content is the royal road to SEO.

The Internet Is a Meritocracy
http://www.sellsbrothers.com/
news/showTopic.aspx?ixTopic=2030

[QUOTE]

It's easy to think that if you're already got a high page rank in google, that you'll get more than your far share of traffic, polarizing the internet into a small number of sites that get all the hits. Luckily, according to "Topical interests and the mitigation of search engine bias," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that's not the case:

"Our result has relevant conceptual and practical consequences; it suggests that, contrary to intuition and prior hypotheses, the use of search engines contributes to a more level playing field in which new sites have a greater chance of being discovered and thus of acquiring links and popularity, as long as they are about specific topics that match the interests of users as expressed through their search queries."

In other words, if you've got something relevant to say, the folks that care will find it. Yet again, letting the internet decide yields the best result.

[END QUOTE]

This reminds me of a response I got to my Blog Pro Survey about a year or two ago, which haunts me, as it should haunt you too.

BLOG SUCCESS: "You have to work really really really hard for a really really really long time, and then you might get really really really lucky and be a successful blogger."

Maniacal devotion to a Topic, or clever Self Expression, with some kind of reader benefit, that's how you slowly but surely succeed in blogging. You have to keep at it, even when you hate it, or are too tired to force your eyes to stay open.

Some may be gifted at Sleep Blogging, which is like Sleep Walking, except you just walk over to your computer, and start blogging, in your sleep, and awaken next day to bizarre truth of your somnambulent dilly dallying.

Avant Garde Music TV episode 8

Andy Squirrel "Oscilloscope Swirls" (1:29)



Plasticman "Disconnected" (3:11)


Ixtlan "Dial Space" (1:53)


Fartomatic "The world felt like snow" (2:19)


Vangelis "Antarctica" (4:00)
Famous pioneer electronic music band for films.


Television Personalities "All the Young Children on Crack" (3:24)
Classic lofi avant art band with new video.


Rich Kids "Ghosts of Princes in Towers" (6:25)


Cabaret Voltaire "Nag Nag Nag" (4:57)
Classic industrial band, early song.

Friday, October 20, 2006

PC performance upgrades going badly

I'm researching a whole new type of marketing for a client, so new, it doesn't even have a name yet.

Plus, I'm in the midst of hardware upgrades for my system, so there may be some strange pauses in service here, meaning I may miss a day or two of blogging, depending on the nightmares I'm dealing with.

Nightmares, they are, indeed. I put a Kingston Memory RAM stick in my computer, and now it won't even turn on. So I had to yank it out. Did I mention I've got a MyBook external hard drive sitting on the floor, giving me dirty looks?

"Low Disk Space" message pops up, every few seconds, and I can't get Norton AV updates or send a job to my printer. I'm glad still can burn CDs from my iTunes playlists, but I can't import any mp3s. Video? Forget about it.

I am in a state of digital paralysis, for most intents and purposes. And right in the middle of some massive client research, testing, and development programs. Maybe everything will be okay tomorrow.

So, if I haven't been as responsive to emails and comments here, it's not my fault, it's society and technology that are to blame. I've promised music CDs and videos and many other things to my friends and allies. Hang in there. I think it will all be perfectly fine in the morning. I sure hope so.


Beat Happening "Midnight A Go Go" (2:51)
Wish I could find their "Teenage Caveman" video.


Olivia Tremor Control "Another Set of Bees in the Museum" (3:39)


Merzbow "Minus Zero" (3:24)
Mildly brutal noise from king of harsh sounds.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CompuMusik sound frontiers CD


CompuMusik: "Sound Frontiers in Unknown Dimensions"

Noise compositions on
SourceForge Audacity audio editor
by Steven E. Streight (2006).

Total Time 62:00

Free. Request your copy today and hear dream music for real.


Side A

[1] other oceans (9:34)

[2] mysterious vibration (7:34)

[3] audio clock disaster (4:13)

[4] night to sound fountains (8:05)

[5] unsilencing the sounds (3:00)

Side B

[6] you shouldn't fly kites at night (7:37)

[7] musically treated air (3:33)

[8] electronic voices (8:43)

[9] sound frontiers in unknown dimensions (9:37)

ALSO SEE free legal mp3s on noise art net label Zero Moon.

Eric Rice of Hipcast vs Walmart blogs

I examine and interact with a recent post by Eric Rice, founder of Hipcast, on the Walmart pseudo blog incident.

From the About Page (which is the single most important page of any website or blog)...

Eric Rice is one of the world’s leading experts in consumer generated media, particularly in podcasting and videoblogging. As co-founder of Hipcast (previously Audioblog.com), Rice’s goal is to bring solid tools to enable everyone to create personalized or business media. As chief evangelist for Audioblog.com, Rice travels around the country to explain the values and simplicity of podcasting and videoblogging to the masses.

Concurrently, Rice is the founder and executive producer of Slackstreet Entertainment, a holding company for podcast and videoblog consulting and products. With Slackstreet, Rice has consulted some of the largest entertainment, technology, and Internet-based companies in the world, as well as developing original audio and video programs for worldwide distribution and syndication. Slackstreet is the home of the KSSX network, Backstaging, Everyday Films, The Eric Rice Show, among others.

Rice is a highly sought-after speaker on a variety of topics that touch upon his past and current experiences. He is married with children, and still lives in his native Silicon Valley.


"walmart, edelman, and my trademark brand of snark and insight"
http://www.ericrice.com/blog/?p=154

Now that Walmart and Edelman are old news (number 2 on Technorati! so, so yesterday afternoon), and the blogosphere has put away their copies of Les Miserables song lyrics, I thought I’d share some anecdotes and a possible black helicopter theory.

[VASPERS: I like a slight shimmering of self-parody in a blog. Exaggerating ones own opinions is a good way to use humor to secretly influence the vast unwashed masses.]

Let’s have some fun before kicking the awesome science. First, the anecdotes.

[VASPERS: "anecdotes" euph. > "gossip" = human interest schedule.]

I’m fortunate to have plenty of non-bloggerblogosphericals, non-Mission District, non-PR-type friends. Everyday Joes and Janes, who might shop there, or might even blog, but because they like it, not because it’s some grand movement. I polled a few of them about their thoughts on the basics of the Walmart fake-blogger thing/Edelman PR thing.

[VASPERS: Appeal to the common crowd, which is having fun with the new technologies, as Eric cleverly points out "because they like it". We all love music, OUR music, and videos. Videoblogging will soon be almost the only blogging.]

Alas, as I suspected, it was hard to get past the giggles and the eyerolls when Walmart + Blog was used in the same sentence. Forget issues of transparency, some might say, it’s fucking Walmart. Okay, so not much progress there.

[VASPERS: Videocasting is the new and most humanized form of telecommunications. As I search for new forms to inflict upon this field, I admire those who put their image where their blog mouth is. Actionable video judo.]

Even the story is retarded. Walmarting Across America? Man alive, if you want to be pissed, be pissed at the creative who came up with THAT idea. And even if it was real, it would probably be mocked equally.

[VASPERS: I'm currently, as I type this, listening to a mind-boggling CD I just burned via iTunes, from free legal mp3s of noise band beauty at Zero Moon net label, songs like "Potame, first 2 et 3 movement" by X-Ray Pop, "No Beauty Contest" by Vox Populi, "Track 01" by Crisis in American Music, Kapotte Muziek "An Apology is Necessary", "When I First Saw You" by Das Naturhistorisch Museum Der Klang, Pandora's Wooden Bucket compilation.]

The short version: “I’ll take ‘things I could give a shit less about’ for 100, Alex.”

[VASPERS: This goes good with any tune by New Carrollton, or Mystery Hearsay, tastes like chicken.]

Now, onto a couple other thoughts. The mascots and ideas of long ago. Betty Crocker. The Maytag Man. People who might otherwise be considered to be ‘real’ although not. I dug up some print ads from 1951, and lo, there’s a picture of Betty Crocker, with a quote about cooking (Betty Crocker is not a real person, and has evolved over the years). Where’s the transparency? Of course, there was none. Character blogs have come under attack, but I don’t know, that would be like ripping on Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny for blogging. Shut up and let us have some fun.

[VASPERS: Sure, have all the fun you can.

But remember that deception and fictionality are twin brothers up to no good on a blog or anywhere else.

The best blogger for a firm is the CEO. That servant leader must be the most informed, most charismatic or quietly deadly serious, most enthusiastic, most visionary employee on the payroll. Truth. Transparency. Authenticity.]


Yet, I’ve worked in client services industries before. You know that thing, about the customer being right? Have you ever had the most ridiculous client that you wish would just go the hell away, but you aren’t allowed to actually say that, since you have some duty of professionalism?

[VASPERS: If you really think a client should go to hell, why service the schmuck?

If the client was cool at first, then suddenly gets myopic, structural, narcissistic, exhibitionistic, paranoid and greedy, why not just dump the jerk?

There are plenty of good clients, seeking smart marketers. Spare yoself the agony. I feel your pain, and my own. Scars never fade.]


Here’s a fictional scenario about Walmart and Edelman (And I’m willing to bet that some of you will nod your head in resigned, lurkish silence, and won’t post on this, cuz this is plausible).

Scenario: Steve Rubel, one of the champion voices of Edelman for transparency and all that, is in the client meeting. Walmart, being the client, is a seriously big fucking client. That’s cash money. That pays the bills, that feeds the kids and puppies. That pays for Typepad.

[VASPERS: Pays for shit, sure. Right.

But with what kind of money? From what type of ethics?

From what ultimate goal or futuristic plan? In what manner of acquistion, and at what cost to others?]


Steve, advises against the fake blog idea, and Edelman associates nod. Shit, I like Steve, but I think he can be too stiff on riffing on character blogs (Captain Morgan had a blog, Steve didn’t like it, zOMG lighten up dude).

[VASPERS: Fictional characters are okay for children and silly themed products.

But for a fake character to pose as real, convincing the gullible or hurried and multi tasking surfers, and to confide false adventures, at non-existent locations, bringing back bogus recipes, for a food blog, for example, that sucks.

That violates Authenticity, and may even verge on Consumer Fraud or deceptive practices.]


So I’d believe it if Steve said, yeah I tried to tell ‘em.

Walmart has a big ego. And big money. And can certainly say, no, we really want to do this. It’s not like they have to sign a waiver, like when you tint the windows in your car too dark, and risk getting a ticket. Yeah, not like that. If Walmart gets outed, it blows over. There’s no *fines* involved.

I worked at a bank once. The web division. The CEO’s ear was bent 100% by his ‘good friend’ who had ‘advised him for nearly 25 years’. Blood runs deep. Even if that guy might be WRONG, you can’t change his mind.

So, Steve Rubel and Edelman PR try REALLY REALLY HARD to convince him, because they all know that a PR storm will start brewing. Maybe Steve walked away from the project internally, not anticipating that people wouldn’t like that either.

And everyone is faced with the Big Dollar Walmart saying, “Look, we want to do this, and if you don’t let us do this, fuck you, we’re taking our money elsewhere.”

[VASPERS: Then have some guts and integrity, and say: "Then take your fancy big butt chicken head eating, corn mullet munching, cow patty frying money with you and shove off mister Warbucks!"]

Duh, what do you think happened? (if you are just joining us, this is a fictional scenario I’m painting of what could have happend with Walmart and Edelman PR). “Transparency in Blogging” does not pay the goddammned mortgage or pay the medical bills or anything else.

[VASPERS: Really? Transparency is not so great after all?

I have a different opinion on that. Inauthenticity does no service to the perpetrator thereof.]


Naturally, Edelman isn’t going to let it walk, they are a business. Walmart is a huge client. An arrogant one, sure, but huge.

[VASPERS: Rule of the Almighty Dollar dwarfing the blogosphereic values of honesty, candor and modesty? There is Financial Karma, and the rules have been spelled out by all great business leaders.

The self-policing blogosphere has ways of dealing with all of us.]


And Steve Rubel and the rest of Edelman sit and wait patiently for it to blow up, stressing on how to do PR for a PR company (has that been done?)

–end scenario of fakeness that I believe could be quite the plausible one–

Even in the aftermath, I don’t believe Rubel or Edelman can come out with this, even if it was true. Hell no. I don’t think they’d get a big client such as that if they did, because who knows, maybe there is a type of PR-client privilege? People in the blogosphere bitching does not equal business-to-business services and we know it. They (Edelman) would be fucking themsevles WORSE if they outed this scenario (if it was true).

So there it is. My two theories.

1. Everyday people can give a shit about this
2. Edelman might have said no, but Walmart said yes and threatened to take their huge budget elsewhere.
3. Betty Crocker is a non-transparent evil whore we should all blog about.

Thank you and good night.

[VASPERS: Thanks for the cynical guesswork, but what is the cure?

How can we all learn from this and try to evolve into better dimensions and more productive truth harvestings?]

Intel blog is cooler than yours

Business bloggers, and even more so, non-blogging business leaders: wake up and smell the rosey perfection of an actually correctly done blog:

Intel IT blog

It's candid, crazy, self-loathing, intelligent, creative, interactive, responsive, ... all while serving the cause of Intel. A corporation must enter the blogosphere as a single human voice, or a harmony of differentiated voices, not in goose step with the corporate line, but in subservience to truth, transparency, diversity, democracy, and universal content utopia ideals.

Be yourself, be professional, be beneficial. Seed a conversation. Share your expertise. Help others along. The entire secret to all blogging.

You really can be a technically correct blogger and a business person, stranger things have happened, you know.

And this blog is proof of my whimsical optimism that I secretly reserve for about .01% of the business blogs out there, most of whom are wretched, boring, old fashioned, mono-media mostrosities of plain text narcissistic blather.

I advised Jeff to post video of short messages on this blog. Video is the best way to humanize and personalize a blog. Let your audience both see and hear you, as well as read your text. Be as funny or profound as necessary, and watch what happens to your connections with your blog visitors.

Don't just be ahead of the curve, carve out your own curves.

I quote this entire post because it demonstrate s the right way to blog.

"Read Ye And Be Advised Of The Wisdom Of The Great Intel!"

posted by Jeff Moriarty on October 14, 2006

http://blogs.intel.com/it/2006/
10/read_ye_and_be_advised_of_the.html

[QUOTE]

Writing this blog is not part of my internal duties, I have no official time set aside for this, and I’m in the middle of a gigantic program reset tied to all of the reorganization and “efficiency” efforts going on at Intel. Also, much of my management chain thinks I’m a disrespectful oddball, and I’ve already had several senior Intel folks coach me on my approach. So why am I doing this and drawing more fire? I found a beautiful articulation for my suicidal career behavior in another blog.

Intel is sponsoring a Live Without Borders event in New York City, where a whole section of NyC is being created in Second Life by master builder Versu Richelieu, who is doing it live from a storefront window. I like this idea for a whole host of reasons, but the note that caught my eye was in a comment on Eric Rice’s blog.

“Thanks for playing WITH us, Intel, and not talking AT us”

Intel is truly an amazing company, but we often (usually?) come across as a bunch of egotistical, lecturing, pompous jerks. It’s bizarre trying to reconcile the incredible people I know are inside our walls with the crazy way we appear to the world. We pronounce, not discuss. We lecture, not share. We dictate, not lead.

Our processors, chipsets, technologies, compilers, and the like are all just super spiffy, but they are not Intel’s sole asset. In fact, standing alone, I wonder if they really are our greatest asset. Where we could really add value to people, to IT shops, to companies, and to the world is if we worked more collaboratively and built solutions together. If we lower our guard a bit, and talked WITH people instead of AT them.

I’m not the only person at Intel who feels this way by a long shot. This is also the passion of many Intel employees, and there are some great programs running (like Live Without Boundaries) in this direction. This blog is an opportunity for me to support them, and their direction to make Intel a more valuable partner for everyone who uses our hardware (and maybe even for those who don’t).

I feel strongly enough about Intel and this direction to spend my Saturday morning, sitting on my patio, writing about it. I have no idea if it will make any difference, but I’ll give it my best shot.

[END QUOTE]

Vox blog invitation

Sign up for a Vox blog invitation today.

It's a new blog platform from Six Apart, that promises to be more beautiful and integrated than any other. It's a Web 2.0 blog service, set up for all the interactive, multi hyper media whistles and bells you've come to expect and deserve. Link via Bill Davies blog.

I don't like the way comments are in faint, tiny gray type under the title of the post. This is against web norms, and will make many users think comments are not enabled, making the blogs seem less for conversation and more for exhibitionism and pulpit pounding. Huge mistake, Vox.

Or can the bloggers alter the design template code? If not, then the platform is dumbed down, and will attract a certain class of people, while disempowering the tech savvy bloggers who wish to create, change, enhance, and make art of their blogs.

Mena Trott has a blog at Vox, it's called VoxTrott. Check it out.

[QUOTE]


Vox is free and fun!

Register to join now. New invitations are sent out a few times a week.
Vox is made with you in mind.

Your friends. Your family. Beautiful design. The most powerful, flexible privacy features available anywhere. Integration with YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, Amazon, iFilm and iStockphoto. Plenty of storage space for everything you care about.
Vox is better with you on it.

Sign up for an invitation or explore Vox here.

[END QUOTE]

Here's the text of a Vox Team announcement post, where Amazon integration and new tools are explained...

[QUOTE]

There's a great new feature for you Amazon fans -- you're no longer limited to one Amazon site when searching for books, videos or audio. Now you can utilize Amazon US, Amazon , Amazon France, and Amazon to help fill your Vox library.

Whether you're writing a post in Compose, or entering in your whole bookshelf from the Organize page, you'll now see a dropdown box with the four Amazon sources. Select the desired Amazon location, enter your keywords, and click Search. It's as easy as that!

Using Amazon is a great way to add to your Vox Library, whether you're interested in books, audio, videos, or even all three.

Adding an item from Amazon will show a variety of information about it, including the cover image if available, which makes your blog as colorful and happy as you are. Enhancing your Library is all about showing your neighborhood or the Vox world what you like: what you've got on your nightstand, what you've been watching on DVD, or what's in your CD player.

You can utilize these new Amazon locations no matter where you live. Maybe you want to blog about an import CD from another country, or about original series DVDs from the BBC. Or to just show people something good you've found in another country that you'd love to get your hands on. You might also find that these Amazon resources are great for finding alternate covers for books!

We hope you take the time to explore the options for books, audio, and videos, and enjoy these new Amazon locations along the way. You can always find out more info about using Amazon or the library in general in our Knowledge Base under our Books, Audio, and Videos sections.

--Vox Help team


[END QUOTE]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

hypelogs: self-serving business blogs

I've seen it happen too many times. A blog deals with business topics, at first. Relevant content for an audience. But at some point in the blog's life, it suddenly changes. A bad change.

Now it seems like every other post is horn-tooting, fanfare and pomposity, vainglorious hype about a book, a seminar, a conference, or a new online community based on...guess what? Based, NOT on user needs, but on a PRODUCT.

A reversion to the caveman marketing era, where you interruptlingly blared your message and pounded your product catalog on the heads of as many suckers as possible. You're hoping statistics will grace you with some chumps who'll recklessly, impulsivley give you their hard-earned cash.

Blogs are lousy advertising venues. You can't sell much on a blog. Blogs don't work well as capitalistic stores or malls. You CAN provide FREE stuff in abundance, then hope to sell something later, perhaps on a separate site, so you don't contaminate your hard-acquired online community, which is focused on a Topic and not a Product.

Blog visitors are on an information, socializing, or entertainment mission, not a shopping spree. Self-referential, auto-gratification blogs are real turn-offs.

To pretend to have a Topic as central, but in reality you keep bragging about who's attending your shindig, or who praised your book, such narcissistic grandstanding rings Crass, Hollow, Cooler Than Thou.

This is doom in the blogosphere. You shoot yourself in more than the foot by being so foolish and ego-maniacal.

Blogs are about passions, expertise, experience, anything but advertising, promotions, and other delusions of commercial grandeur. It just doesn't look right, pushing a product, service, anything, unless you're sharing your critique of some other person's thingamajig. Rant and rave, flame and fondle all you want. About others. Not yourself.

Exception: an upcoming event that needs registration, things of this nature that offer a benefit and a required action by users. Or announcing your new product, that's okay once in a very great while.

But to keep harping on and on, post after post, about some deal you've got going to help deepen your own pockets, spare us. Please. It's like going on and on about your health, children, or religion. It's personal. Keep it closer to the chest and get on about your benefiting your audience, organized around, NOT "you" or your "product", but a Topic.

Nobody visits a blog to "BUY" something. We flee from shopping malls and television commercial insanity to the oasis of the paradaisical blogosphere, calm and clamor, but it's Us yapping at each other, rather than Them, the Business As Usual zombies.

Hype Blogs are nothing but boring old fashioned garbage.

You got an event or an item to sell? Blog about it once, then put an ad in your sidebar that links to full details. If you're approaching a deadline, blog about that if you must.

But endless posts about your this and your that are a real drag. It's not about you or your junk. It's about community needs and interests.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Web 2.0 Expo

[QUOTE]

Web 2.0 Expo
April 15-18, 2007
Moscone West, San Francisco

The Call for Participation at Web 2.0 Expo Is Now Open

To meet the growing demand for Web 2.0 skills and
technology, O'Reilly Media and CMP Technology
have launched Web 2.0 Expo, a combined conference and
tradeshow for the technology and business community.

Web 2.0 Expo is the first event specifically designed
to help teach Web 2.0 techniques and best practices to
people in the trenches directly involved in the design,
development, engineering, marketing, and business of
second-generation internet technology.

Here's your chance to speak or present at this ground-breaking
Conference. The Web 2.0 Expo call for participation is now open.

O'Reilly and CMP are seeking the best and brightest
in the Web 2.0 universe to show the world how the next
Internet Revolution is being designed and delivered.
Are you an alpha geek? A design rockstar? A black hat SEO?
The best web-ops engineer money can buy? A once-burned-twice-shy
dot-com entrepreneur, now battle-tested?

If you can explain how Web 2.0 works, we'll give you
one of the biggest stages in tech to tell your tale.

Please submit your proposal by October 30, 2006.

[END QUOTE]

Monday, October 16, 2006

Walmart should delete their pseudo blogs

Blogososphere is all buzzy about WalMart blogs, Steve Rubel, Edelman.

Walmart and other big businesses should stay away from the blogosphere. We'll eat their eyeballs right out of their sockets. We don't like arrogance, domination, or using blogs as pulpits to preach the same old non-Cluetrain sermons. How we should love them and keep buying their shitty outmoded products from China, an oppressive country.

I am only mildly curious about the whole affair.

Authenticity. Transparency. Integrity. It's just adherence to the 9 core values of blogging. Either you comply with blogospheric ethics, or you brush them aside in pursuit of the unmighty dollar.

All I'll say is that blogs are not good vehicles for most businesses. It makes them look like they'll use anything to further their agendas. Most businesses want to import their loser Business As Usual junk into a blog, and it won't work. It never does. It just increases ill will and public animosity.

Business blogging is very tricky and difficult. One false step and you've got the full weight of blogospheric fury on you. It's not easy to shake, once you've made the mistake.

These blogs are repulsively self-serving, just the same old yelling and whining, in a new medium.

"We're innocent. We're good people. We keep prices low, and working families appreciate that. Unions attack us, but look at their dwindling membership. Our vile detractors, let's look at their selfish, hidden motives..."

The WalMart blogs violate every principle of blogging. No comments. No desire to engage in a candid conversation with the public. No content of true value to anybody. No reason to read it.

Using blogs as megaphones, that's all it is, like that stupid WOMMA web site and all its crap propaganda and weak ethical formulations.

From "Word of Mouth Marketing Code of Ethics":

[QUOTE]

The Honesty ROI: Honesty of Relationship, Opinion, and Identity

Honesty of Relationship

We practice openness about the relationship between consumers, advocates, and marketers.

We encourage word of mouth advocates to disclose their relationship with marketers in their communications with other consumers. We don't tell them specifically what to say, but we do instruct them to be open and honest about any relationship with a marketer and about any products or incentives that they may have received.

We stand against shill and undercover marketing, whereby people are paid to make recommendations without disclosing their relationship with the marketer.

We comply with FTC regulations that state: "When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience) such connection must be fully disclosed."

[END QUOTE]


Word of Mouth Marketing, so called, is offensive to me in several ways. The main problem is that there is no place for it. You are either a paid salesman, who is an expert about the product and the problems it solves -- or you're a satisfied customer who really loves the product.

There is also the advertising writer, who is paid to learn about the market, manufacturing process, competition, and benefits of the product, and then speak on behalf of the company, in its voice, in its presence manifested in ads, commercials, and other promotion material.

For a person to pop into a blog, forum, discussion list, acting like a normal user, but unleashing an ad campaign in comments and debate, this is sick. It's called "blog whoring". What if your husband or wife often said, "I love you"...but one day you found out the frequency was because someone was paying them $100 each time they said it? Wouldn't that be creepy?

Pay me to act all happy about your product? Why should I shift from confidante to con? From impartial advisor to product pusher?

Word of mouth must come spontaneously or not at all, and it's based on product quality and usability. If your product solves a problem for, enhances the lifestyle of, or entertains someone, you might receive praise after a few Blue Moons. Who knows? Maybe two Fours.

Check out these pathetic, lame ass blogs:

Working Families for Walmart

Paid Critics

Let these blogs teach how NOT to use a blog. Learn from the sewage of corporate greed trying to worm its way into the blogosphere.

WalMart: Tear down these blogs!