Friday Heh

  • Mister Cup

    [via Leah]
  • Bipartisan Dorm Review: Carman – A detailed upsides/downsides review of the dorm I stayed in when I was a freshman in college, 15(or so) years ago. Among the accurately described downsides of our beloved Carman Hall, “Prison-like walls that do little to combat seasonal depression.”
  • Change Is Beautiful – Heh from a campaign for Credit Unions Of Washington in the form of Carl Weathers delivering uncomfortable inspirational moments to unsuspecting citizens.

  • USB Monkey SD Card Reader – At $12, an affordable and enjoyable office acoutrement from USB Geek.
  • The Blind Leading The Blind – ‘What Does Poned Mean?’ – Because in the end, every conversation in this world eventually leads back to the Jonas Brothers if you give it enough time.
  • Cleansing Product Makes Magic Snow – Neither Obama nor McCain has yet addressed the growing awesomeness gap between Japan and the U.S. This is only going to worsen.
  • Monkey Runs Wild In Tokyo Subway – Dear video remixers: please marry this video track with Yakety Sax and speed it up a bit. Cheers.

  • Man’s ‘Pants’ Password Is Changed – “A man who chose ‘Lloyds is pants’ as his telephone banking password said he found it had been changed by a member of staff to ‘no it’s not’.”

Friday Heh

The Allure Of Junk Mail From India

Email spam has me so fixated that when I recently received an odd piece of its tangible ancestor, junk mail, I momentarily forgot what to call it. Land spam? Oh, no, that’s right, we used to call that junk mail.

Dear Mr. C. Dave, Please Send Us Money

This was a strange specimen indeed. What caught my eye was one of those oldschool Air Mail envelope, with what appeared to be a return address in India(“Sri Sri Radha Giridhariji Mandir,” in Gujarat) and a beautiful, postmarked Indian stamp. I was disappointed that the address was printed on an inkjet printer, not banged out on a typewriter.

What was inside was a pamphlet with extremely vague information about cow sponsorship stapled to a printed sheet all in what I assume to be Gujarati. Just like an American direct mail piece, there are notes and underlines printed in red ink made to look like hand-written annotations.

Important Portions Apparently Fake-Underlined

In one sense, this whole rig was quite effective. I opened it, and as I did my imagination ran wild with far-fetched scenarios involving the few people I know in India and what they might be up to these days. The romance of foreign postal mail still makes me a little breathless.

But in another sense, they really need to get their materials in shape. Were they hoping I could read their native tongue? Presumably when they addressed the envelope they knew they’d be sending it to a dumb American. Is there something else behind this? Could it be some sort of second-order scam or is it just a group that wants money? I’m still left scratching my head wondering why this would be worth wasting Air Mail postage to send.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that someone in India should offer mail sending services for American individuals and companies. If more of my correspondents sent me stuff in Air Mail envelopes from India instead of in those lame “Important Message For” domestic envelopes, for at least a short period of time I’d be reading their messages instead of shredding them on sight. And I’d love a service where I could send a letter to someone down the block via a real post office in India and let them experience the joy of opening a letter from an exotic land, carbon footprint be damned.

Friday Heh

Feeding The Long Tail With Two Gadget Facts

This week I was researching car stereo head units and my new Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M scanner, and I uncovered two helpful facts that took a fair bit of legwork to track down. I’m sharing the two somewhat unrelated pieces of information here in case you find yourself on similar quests in the future.

For Car Stereo Seekers:

I’d like my car stereo head unit to handle Sirius radio itself, without the need for some other radio sitting on my dashboard. But when you go down this path, you find that it’s difficult to know before you install it what the display will actually look like. None of the demo units at your typical BestBuy will be wired for Sirius, and the demo videos and photos you see on and the manufacturers’ sites don’t show real photos of the display in its various modes. Your important gadget fact: Pioneer car stereos that claim to have 2-line displays, like the DEH-P6000UB, still only show one line of information when you are listening to Sirius. One line displays the word “Sirius” and the other displays song title. Crutchfield wasn’t sure about this, so I called Pioneer’s customer service line and they confirmed that none of their head units display more than one line of data from Sirius.

If you want better Sirius information displayed on the head unit, so far all signs are pointing to the Alpine decks, like the CDA-9886.

For Organization/Productivity/Wireless Office Nerds:

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M, which the greatest document scanner I’ve ever owned, can’t be mounted over a network via the Apple Airport Extreme base station’s USB port. This means you can’t have the scanner connected to your laptop wirelessly and locate it in some other part of your home or office. It’s a pain to have a highly portable laptop computer tethered to your scanner via USB cable all the time. And I hate having to reach for cables to connect things when I need them fairly regularly.

The good news is that in my research I uncovered that the Keyspan USB 2.0 Server does just that and does support the ScanSnap specifically. I have an email in to the company to confirm.

From Australia To Atlanta via UK, From URL To Physical Object

I found color palette community thanks to Cocolaco and one of the Pocketmakers tasks. After digging around in there, I found that you can order a set of pre-designed special Colour Lovers Moo cards with pleasing color combinations on the front of each. I ordered some, with no text at all printed on the backs, as something to keep on my desk when I’m in need of color inspiration. Less than two weeks after Cocolaco passed me the site recommendation, here they are on my desk:

Colour Lovers Moo Cards

Feel free to stop by and thumb through them if you need to think color for a while.

Joining Edelman

Last time I changed the “feeling most like” photo on the Extraface “about” page, it went from McNulty to Colvin as I made the transition from my role at EarthLink to that of an independent consultant. Today, it’s time to change the photo again as I’m extremely excited to be joining Edelman‘s Atlanta office as a Vice President, Edelman Digital. I’m not sure who it’ll change to yet, and I may expand beyond The Wire’s character set. It’ll be back up once I decide who my next status indicator should be.

I’ll be working mainly with the Atlanta account teams, helping companies relate to people, the people inside companies relate to people outside, and vice versa. If you’ve followed me at EarthLink and/or Extraface, you know I’m about approaching technology as a means and not an end, figuring out how regular folks and specific niches adopt technology and what they want to use it to accomplish, and resisting all that which makes human forms of communication incrementally less human.

A little over a year ago, at last year’s BlogOrlando unconference, I was sitting around a dinner table with some of the presenters, including Shel Israel, Nik Wilets, Geoff Livingston, and Joseph Thornley. I remember remarking to Joe, to my left at dinner, that “I don’t do PR.” As a long-time, influential PR practitioner, he questioned my statement and its implications, and we spoke for a bit about how the field has changed and what it means to “do PR” nowadays. Here I am a year later, joining a field that I had lots of questions about, not because they are all resolved, but perhaps because many of them are interesting to me. I also think the point of entry from which we approach the challenges at hand matters less and less. The best approaches are interdisciplinary. What matters is seeing as full a picture as possible and understanding how it all fits together. After knowing Leah as a colleague and friend for the past couple of years and then meeting with Claudia, Patty, and the Atlanta team and Kevin and Rick of Edelman Digital, I feel strongly that that’s what’s important to them as well.

The hodgepodge of digital culture analysis and observation, personal reflections, ephemera, and East Atlanta notes that you find here as Extraface The Blog will carry on just as it is. I trust if I meander too far into industry blather too often, you’ll let me know. For their part, Toofis and Max will continue to provide the kind of brilliant but scatterbrained design work you have come to expect from two middle-aged Italian Greyhounds curled up on a sofa.

Friday Heh