New Links and Big Changes for 2008

I’ve been doing some blog juggling recently. I am slowly moving everything off of the WordPress.com platform and onto my own server. I am still using WordPress software, but I am free to tinker with extras and plugins, and design if I wish.

I have also decided to separate some of the things that I do, instead of aggregate. JasonTheodor.com will be my place for online rambling, thoughts, experiments, announcements, and information about me.

The work on my book, my workshops, lectures, and the like will eventually be moved to ThereIsNoBox.ca.

The LifeFocus™ System will come to life on it’s own website sometime in the new year.

1percent.wordpress.com, my communal link blog, has been moved to 1over100.com (1/100).

Just thought you should know.

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Operating Instructionz

Bratz Manual
I loathe Bratz dolls. Especially the Bratz Babyz, with their bikini-brief diapers, fetal hydrocephalic heads and 2-Much™ make-up. I was appalled that my daughter asked for them by name for Christmas. They were on every list she made and even whispered to Santa at the mall, so my wife bought 2 of them despite my protestations. Their only saving grace is that they have chunky baby legs and they come with the most amazing Operating Instructions I have ever seen:

* Pull on the ponytails to detach them.
* Snap them back on by putting the pegs in the holes.

Not too complicated when you think about it. Still, what made me laugh out loud was this notice:

Please keep this manual. It contains important information.

That was it. That was ALL the information. A diagram of a big head, 2 arrows, and 2 ponytails, accompanied by 2 obscenely obvious messages. Perhaps this is important to know if I have REAL babyz™ kicking around that might chew/suck/knaw on the ponytails and get them jammed into their tiny esophagi, but do I have to keep the manual? And calling it a manual is also pretty funny considering it’s half a sheet of paper at most.

My best guess is that this protects MGA Entertainment (the makers of Bratz™) from any lawsuits. Little Susie chokes to death on a Bratz Babyz ponytail, but on cross-examination it is discovered that the neglectful father threw the Operating Instructions, which contained important information, in the trash. He was told to keep it. He had been warned. A witness claimed he was snickering as he pitched it in the bin. It’s another win for the Bratz Lawyerz™.

Happy New Year… Soon

Year of the RatI’m going to cheat this year. That’s not a resolution, that’s a fact. Today is January 1st, 2008, and I usually start my annual attempt at another LifeFocus Card based Routinization cycle. Typically I last until my birthday, which is about 50 days. This year I’m going to aim quite a bit farther and try get enough momentum to last a full trip around the sun.

But not quite yet. I got my computer back on December 31st, 2007. It is now a tabula rasa, which means it will take me a few days to install software, tweak configurations, copy files over, and then update the system. I will also be using some serious back-up software this year!At any rate, this will take some time. So I’m cheating. I’m not going to start my New Year until February 7th: the Chinese New Year. Two-thousand and eight is the Year of the Rat, which is also my birth animal, so it is supposed to be “my year”, or at least have special significance to me.This is my Reboot, my Year of Living Creatively.

The Pheonix and the Underwear: How I Spent (and then Lost) November and December

Standing on the Beach

A lot has happened since October. I went to Florida for a few weeks, and lived in a condo on the Gulf Coast. I went to Disneyworld (with the kids) for the first time and my cynicism towards Disney has abated somewhat. I saw the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from about 15 miles away. I got to brainstorm with clients at the top of the 4-Seasons hotel in downtown Chicago. I flew to Winnipeg via Air Canada on the day their computer systems were down and had to wait in line almost 2 hours to run to the plane to then sit and wait for it to be de-iced. Oh, and they lost all my luggage so I had to buy socks and underwear at the Giant Tiger. My suitcases then arrived 5 hours later.

The Internet Is My Co-PilotI gave a lecture at FITC Road Show Winnipeg on finding inspiration online called 1% – Because 99% of the Internet is S**t. I got to meet and hang out with R Blank, Josh Davis, Erik Natzke, Hoss Gifford, Robert L. Peters, Branden Hall, Derrick Ypenburg, Tim Scollick, and many others at the Kings Head Pub. I spent a few days with House of Doc before their western tour, and showed them how to use Twitter. Because of this I knew when their van broke down, and when they got caught in a blizzard. I accepted a 6 week full-time contract with idea|couture while at the same time prepared for a marathon 8 hour workshop on Exponential Brainstorming at the Rich Media Centre in Toronto. The workshop is finished, I’m wrapping up my contract, I’m finalizing invoices for the year, writing Christmas lists, and shoveling out of the biggest dump of Toronto lake-effect snow in years. Phew.

Oh, and then my 5 month old MacBook computer hard drive committed suicide by crashing the read/write arm into the magnetic platters all night long until every single shred of data was destroyed. I had planned on using Time Machine (Mac backup software) last week to back up all the work I’ve done, but I was a day too late. I shipped my crippled machine to California (during the busiest mailing season) to an Apple approved data recovery centre called DriveSavers. They reconstructed my hard drive in a clean room, but told me that the ‘click of death’ I had heard when I first noticed something was wrong had actually managed to mangle all data. All of it.

I felt like my house had burnt down.

But it was entirely my fault and entirely preventable. There was really nothing to do but accept it and move on. I just have a lot of work to do coming into the new year. I have to reconstruct everything I spent the last 2 months trying to build. But I know it will be better in the long run. And I’ll appreciate it more this time. And I’ll be copying it onto other drives this time (in triplicate).

I miss the pictures I lost the most… all the images of my kids having fun… but they’re in my memory as well. I just can’t print them or share them the same way. As luck would have it, my LAST ACT was emailing my 16 favourite kids images to Dayna to print, so I actually managed to keep 0.5% of these memories alive.

Now I’m just waiting for a new drive and using Dayna’s laptop for a week or so. It’s much like wearing someone else’s underwear: it’s great not being naked, but it still feels very uncomfortable.

Wii Know Where You Live

Wii Remote JacketNintendo recently announced the Wii Remote Jacket, which will begin shipping with all remotes by mid-October, 2007. It is a silicone slip-cover which one cannot help but compare to a condom— especially the ridged tip. It is ugly, laughable, and will, according to some estimates, cost Nintendo 17 Million dollars. This is because they have decided to send up to 4 form-fitting sheaths directly to your door for absolutely nothing. Not even shipping costs.

According to GoNintendo, George Harrison, Sr. VP of Marketing Nintendo America had this to say about the Wii Remote rubber:

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our products and make sure everyone has a safe and fun experience. Many electronics manufacturers provide similar protective covers for [their] products.”

*COUGH*

Everyone is talking about how stupid this is, or how generous (depending on your reaction to it), but no-one has really speculated what’s in it for Nintendo.

Free Wii Remote JacketWell, it’s a simple direct marketing technique. For just under $2 a console (assuming 9.3 Million have been sold worldwide) Nintendo gets your full name, address and postal code. This up-to-date list of user data will tell the Wii creators exactly where you live, which will allow them to speculate your age, your average income, and other socio-economic data that is readily available about your neighborhood.

Next they email you Christmas & holiday offers for new accessories, games, and products they ‘know’ you’ll enjoy. This time you’ll have to pay for it, but hey, you already know how to use their online ordering service now, don’t you?

Tweenland

On September 10th, 2007 I spoke to Ogilvy & Mather and Kraft Canada at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. I was there to shed some light on tween trends and the media environment of the ‘net generation’. A planner from Ogilvy New York, Olivia Farr, also gave some fantastic and informative lectures on tween truths gleaned from much research and agency insight. The highlight of the day had to be knocking out a Kool-Aid brand manager in an after-lunch Nintendo Wii boxing match!

Here are the slides from my Keynote presentation (which I controlled using Remote Buddy software and a Wii remote)

Bacn Bits

UPDATE: Join the Bacn vs Spam facebook group and bring home your thoughts on bacn.

Bacn vs Spam

Bacn (pronounced bacon) is the term given to electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time. Bacn is email you want but not right now. They differ from Spam (electronic) messages, in that they are not unsolicited and are not necessarily sent in bulk. Bacn messages can be thought of being more useful than spam messages.

No it’s not a typo, but it is a four-letter word. I wasn’t going to post about this, but a few things have changed my mind.

First: I found this great old picture of Pork Cuts at Gutenberg.org and just couldn’t resist modifying it.

Second: I’ve noticed a massive increase in the amount of mail I receive from all the social communities I’ve joined: Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku, Mashable, GetSatisfaction, Flickr, Facebook, even MySpace sometimes. It’s mail I want to read, just not right now. Arguably, it deserves its own term. I usually end up archiving this mail, then going to the ‘offending yet not-offending’ site and blazing through a bunch of notices and requests, then returning to whatever I was doing. Now I’m going to create a new tag/folder called bacn and flow all of these extraneous message into it.

Third: I’m always interested in the latest memes. Even meme’s I can’t stand. I tried to resist the word awesome in the 80s when all my friends started using it, but eventually caved on that one too. Still, it’s fun to see how fast and far these catchwords spread. In just a few days (6 as of this post) bacn has gone from a mention at PodCamp Pittsurgh on August 18th, 2007 to being featured by major news organizations. It is out of control in my feed-reading circles: wikipedia (being considered for deletion, so I’m not the only one questioning this term), boingboing, wired, the uk telegraph, the washington post, metafilter, and buzzfeed.

Bacn has it’s own bacn: official site, official shirt, twitter feed, and official video. Thanks to me it now has it’s own useless Facebook group as well (Bacn vs Spam)

TiNB (there is no box) marketing would suggest that coining the right new word can generate a LOT of attention, especially if it describes something geeks can identify with. Why geeks? Because they are prone to mass distribution: blogs, microblogs, social networks, and mobile messages. Which terms have you coined lately?