Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

24Jun/11Off

Because It’s Like A Piggy Bank Waiting To Be Smashed Open

The Globe and Mail has a simple but very telling article that questions Pixar's motivation for producing a Cars sequel. Why? Because they sold a fuckton of merchandise and look forward to doing it again. Surprised? Me either. Here's hoping that it isn't an epic piece of shit because I'm fairly certain that I will have to see it more than once.

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23Jun/11Off

Go Wyoming, I Guess

It looks like Wyoming is the first state to standardize on Google apps for government which is super duper cool because most government organizations are pretty closed systems in terms of circulating documents and whatnot and GA also allows for access restrictions that are simple to control.

The problem, of course, is that like twelve people live in the state of Wyoming so the dollar amount of savings is less dramatic than other states where population density is anything more than a Babbit-esque dream of roping more people in. Petty jabs at places where tumbleweeds outnumber people aside, this is a pretty smart move.

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4Jun/11Off

Make Way For The King

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4Jun/11Off

When It’s Time To Steal From Better Thieves

I read this this article about Kaiser Permanente's 'Thrive' advertising campaign earlier today and have intended to come back to it since then as I've had my fair share of interactions with KP with some mixed results including Oscar's birth which wasn't handled by a Kaiser facility directly, but covered under its plan.

The funny and timely part for me is that I'll be signing up for KP again in a few days despite being offered something like eight other health care options with my new employer. As an aside, my new employer is pretty badass when it comes to benefits, but I'm not talking about that directly here. The reason that I'm choosing that plan instead of the others is simply cost and convenience. This becomes especially important since the entire family is going to be on my plan which gets prohibitively expensive when you start looking at the smaller deductible plans that aren't quite as HMO-ish. I'm not 100% stoked on the plan, but with its smallish cost I can afford to go wherever I want if KP's typically conservative recommendations don't tug cherubically at my heart strings and I can still get the drugs I need to take daily in order to avoid dying mailorder.

Now, to the article above: I agree with the author that KP isn't exactly the source of all evil that it is often characterized as. It also is not the all smiling and huggy organization that the ad campaign suggests. The one smidge of truth about the entire campaign is that (and this carries over into even the el cheapo plans I think) is that preventative care costs nothing. This makes perfect sense because, after all, "KP is a business above all and is much happier when you're covering the costs of routine exams with office visit payments. This makes you feel better about paying them money and makes KP more profitable at the same time. It's almost like we're working together towards a common goal. Just like the voice over said, man!

The larger point that is being made by Clayton Lord is that KP is winning the public relations war by using the PR methodology that organizations that perform functions that are genuinely and only in the interest of the public good should be using. They're successfully feeding us our own dog food and actually influencing educated (well, sorta) opinion in their favor and not resorting to outright information to make these points. Another thing that Lord nails that hadn't really occurred to me before reading his article was the capitalization on the idea that KP is a non-profit organization (it isn't; not-for-profit is another ball of wax entirely). I really like the way he summarizes his feelings about it:

Where this gets me in terms of New Beans is more abstract, maybe. There’s something vaguely aggravating to me about these organizations, which, while technically nonprofits, are hugely successful business enterprises without a true social welfare mission, co-opting public value arguments that we should be making. And at the same time, given that we don’t really spend a lot of time making them, maybe having someone else do it isn’t the worst thing. And, at least in terms of Kaiser, it’s not just smoke—they also have a thriving theatre program that takes health-themed short plays into local schools to teach kids about being healthy through art.

So, sadly, folks who do work in genuinely non-profit arenas have something to learn from KP (or at least their agency) about projecting that good outward. How frustrating.

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3Jun/11Off

CloudFlare (For The Hell Of It)

I decided to give CloudFlare a whirl as I've heard only good things about their service, it costs nothing to use the basic service, and I was curious how it would interact with my convoluted DNS setup. Page load speed seems to be the principal reason that most folks are using CloudFlare. I'm as interested in the built in threat protection as I am anything else if only because I like having as close to a zero maintenance site as humanly possible.

A bunch of time goes by as I watch most of a baseball game

Now I've had time for the DNS changes to propagate out and I'm really impressed by how much faster everything seems to load. I don't have a reasonable way to test out the security features, but a quick look at the dashboard for threat protection already had a few spammers and a botnet zombie. Oooh. Exotic. After poking at it for an hour or so I'm going to keep it up and running for the time being.

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2Jun/11Off

A Project Proposal For All Of My Masochistic Friends.

An idea occurred to me the other day that sounded fun but next to impossible when I initially mulled it over. I've been super excited about recent articles like this one from Smashing about building media sites using WordPress and other how-to-ish stuff like it that explores the topic in some depth and doesn't drop the subject with a bullet pointed list of features and hints at possible uses for the default features. That stuff gets linked and twittered endlessly, but at the end of the day, it isn't useful other than as device to hype a given CMS or an attempt to hitch your wagon to $stuff.

I had a different idea and, as always, to do anything remotely like this it would require more than just me driving and a fair amount of scheming on infrastructure, etc. Here's what I would like to do: A website (weblog variant would be fine for the sake of presentation) about doing real world projects in different CMS's. An errant thought occurred to me regarding doing this work for non-profits and organizations in need, but I think I'd like to keep the focus of this unimplemented and poorly considered idea on doing medium complexity website projects involving different CMS's, sharing what we learn along the way, and generally being truthful about how the process worked or didn't. This theoretically would include sharing code customization, plugins or external resources used, and the whole shebang. I realize this is beyond ambitious and staggers right into the realm of biting off more than a person or two could possibly or responsibly chew.

The killer for me about the traditional 'Make x CMS into z really cool and useful thing is that the process of adaptation is almost never covered in any depth by folks who present the aforementioned types of articles. I'd always stumble on them and wonder while reading through the write up why the folks playing with it made their decisions or how you might make slight changes to achieve something completely different while using most of the same steps. Why? I dunno, but I know this would require a fair amount of commitment from its participants and wouldn't be easy by any means.

Anyone interested? Let me know either in the comments or by sending me some mail goneaway at this domain here. If you've got a better or less sprawling idea or alternative I'd be interested in hearing about that as well. If something like this already exists I would love to help out.

2Jun/11Off

I’m Seriously Not Watching Any More Fucking PowerPoint Slides.

I'm awash in a ton of sit there and listen and then sign things not-so-busy work so I've been doing a lot of reading that has nothing to do with intellectual property. I guess that is sort of guaranteed given the utter lack of giving-of-shit on either side of the equation. I'm ready for this week to be done and to get started for reals.

Glenn Beck is sharpening up his repertoire as our country's leading satirist and is expanding to new markets. He is founding a publishing company which is allegedly going to publish real books that aren't the religious themed picture menus I'd assume his target demographic is more comfortable with. I suppose I should be pleased that at least he's attempting to create something that has tangible value instead of scams that prey on paranoia and ignorance. I suggest doing some stretching to accommodate the coming deep belly laughs that are no doubt forthcoming.

So, here's a good example of being completely crazy and daring to be very public about it. After you've finished being completely horrified be sure to read the comments because they're not only hilarious, but a bracing affirmation that you, as the reader, are not the fucking crazy one. To be fair, there is a vividly embarrassed follow up that addresses both the comments and attempts some light hearted self-diagnosis.

Tennessee's governor made 'broad' sharing of Netflix (and other premium streaming content) a crime in his state. Christ. Fuck the South again and again.

1Jun/11Off

Shit. Nine Years.

I just realized while looking at the calendar that the ninth year has passed since I started up this infernal machine. Looking back at some of my older and oldest posts I realize that the last few years have been close to non-years in terms of anything other than posting random 'oh shit. it's been a long time' posts that only serve to keep the sidebar from outpacing the content. Still, nine years is a long fucking time. That's a quarter of a lifetime spent puttering around with words here.

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