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The Law Of Unintended Consequences

5.31.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Another monopoly falls victim to podcasting. Tired of paying for the audio tour at a musuem? Download a podcast instead!

This is nothing

5.30.2005 by Kevin Creighton

So watching the season premiere of a TV show featuring a snappy song is a marketing opportunity?

Meh.

Try watching VH-1's I Love the 80's (or I Love the 70's, too. I'd forgotten how good Earth, Wind and Fire's "Boogie Wonderland" was before I watched that show), with a laptop, WiFi, and the iTunes Music Store.

The perfect storm of marketing and opportunity. I would watch a segment on, say, Dexy's Midnight Runners, then find myself on iTunes, buying their music.

Now there's an uptapped marketing opportunity. Viacom is too busy trying to re-invent iTunes by selling music online themselves, they're missing a lot of great co-branding opportunities. What about VJ iMixes? I Love The *0's iMixes? Whole areas dedicated to MTV, much like Disney has its own iTunes category?

But considering how VH-1 has morphed itself into E! (and E! has morphed itself into oblivion), and how MTV is now The Young Adult Reality Show Channel, I'm not holding my breath.

It's the little things,

by Kevin Creighton

that change the world.

Steve Jobs has announced that the next version of iTunes will have support for podcasting.

Ok, that's nice. So what?

How about totally changing the way we listen to and buy music (again), that's what.

Fantastic article, and a must-read.

Lost in the shuffle

5.28.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Listen to this song. While we think of it as a "surf guitar" song, it's the drummer that has the hardest part.

Cart before the horse

5.27.2005 by Kevin Creighton

We've decided that we needed new flatware, and there's a black metal set at Sears, of all places, that we liked best. So we went by the local mall to pick up two sets, enough for eight people in total.

The mall store only had one box, enough place settings for only four people.

"No problem," I told my darling wife, "we'll just buy them both packages at once online on Sears.com."

Never having visited Sears.com before, I was amazed how clunky their navigation was. I tried to browse to the items I wanted, but gave up and used the search box instead. Finally finding just what I was looking for, I dropped them into the online cart, entered in all my contact and credit card info, and hit "Checkout".

Only to be told they were completely out of stock online, too. AFTER I had spent all the effort to enter in all my customer data. And to make matters worse, all that was displayed was "This item is not available in the quantity ordered." I had no idea if my order went thru, no idea just how many were in stock, so I tried the order process again from the beginning, re-entered in all my data, and tried to buy just box of cutlery.

"This item is not available in the quantity ordered." Not "We're sorry, this item is out of stock. Would you like to be notified when it is available again?" or even "We are temporarily out of stock on this item. Please try again later."

Aside from all that frustration, why couldn't Sears have included a "check available stock" function the minute I dropped the product into the cart? It would have saved me ten minutes of typing in all my contact info twice and trying to decipher a confusing error message.

Good design anticipates a customer's needs.
Bad design forces the customer to fit their actions to your website.

Nous Nous Rendons! (Redux)

5.25.2005 by Kevin Creighton

According to the CEO of Intel, if you want to easily free yourself from spyware, buy a Mac.

At last, something we agree on.

It's not too early to start shopping for Christmas...

5.24.2005 by Kevin Creighton

To My Darling Wife:

Almost anything from here would be great. I especially would like the Fighter Pilot For A Day trip.

- Your loving husband

Can't. Wait. (redux)

by Kevin Creighton

The Unofficial Apple Weblog is reporting Motorola's iTunes phone was demo'd yesterday at the Wall Street Journal's "D" conference (Dumb, dumb name. -k).

Looks like it will be everything I hoped it would be.

Why is this news to the news?

5.23.2005 by Kevin Creighton

The Wall Street Journal has an op/ed piece on how "Old Media" (TV, newspapers, books, et al can survive in a digital world. I liked this quote in particular,

"papers shouldn't just use their online sites to post the same stories readers can see in print".

Seems so elementary, right? I read the local paper daily here, but always online, never in print. I get my sports via ESPN, my comics on my Yahoo! homepage, international news via CNN, so all that's left is local news. And the Republic has to battle for mindshare in that market with all the local TV stations and their websites, too. Not a fight they can win, unless they distinguish themselves from the others somehow.

If you've ever written a line of HTML, ever,

5.21.2005 by Kevin Creighton

You need to read this.

If' you're, um, thrifty, you can wait until September.

But I'd advise against it.

Seth doesn't introduce any radically new concepts in website design, he just lays out, clearly and quickly why people use the web, and what you can do to make sure your site is one they'll see, and one they'll want to visit and use.

Really, really useful

5.19.2005 by Kevin Creighton

A comprehensive guide to online color tools.

Heeeee!

5.18.2005 by Kevin Creighton

How to price your freelance work.

I don't want the world

5.17.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Don blogs about how free wifi is a nice customer service touch, and it is. I frequent coffee shops that have free wifi over those those who charge, but that's still not enough. I've had wi-fi at home, work and school since 1998 (early adopters, unite!), and as I've said before, when I'm out of the service range on my cell phone, it switches over to roam, seamlessly, and I pay a bit more per minute for my air time. Why can't I sign up for WayPoint's service, and when I'm at a T-Mobile hotspot, sign in and pay a bit more for their service, without having to create (and pay for) a separate T-Mobile account?

If pay-for-use wifi is going to compete against free, companies like T-Mobile and Waypoint have to figure out a way to give their customers the same flexibility and freedom as free wifi, and fast.

Are you a boring person?

by Kevin Creighton

Do you want to become creative, but lack the patience and any real talent?

Then the Ad Guy Starter Kit is for you!

A blog for everything,

5.16.2005 by Kevin Creighton

and everything in it's blog.
Radio Marketing experts blog, too.

Read this.

by Kevin Creighton

And be refreshed.

I'm at one of those points in my life where I'm almost convinced I'll be stuck on the Second Ark (a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Reference) when the time comes for us to leave.

But then I read something like that, and know there's still hope.

Nirvana

by Kevin Creighton

An interview with Seth Godin about Apple marketing.

I can die happy now.

:-)

Do as we want, not as we do.

by Kevin Creighton

Given Wal-Mart's, um, spotty reputation as a bastion of free speech, why did they think this ad was a good idea?

Blog wisdom

5.13.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Empowerment to the people!

Redux

by Kevin Creighton

I blogged about Richard Dyson's blast against "creatives" about a week ago, and it's been on my mind ever since, especially this quote :

"And the fact is that they are not creative at all. They are doing the very worst thing you can do, which is to sit staring at a drawing board trying to come up with an idea out of nowhere. You need dialogue to create."

He's right. But yet, he's wrong.

He's right in the creative dialogue, the give and take needed for synthesis of new ideas doesn't exist in a vacuum (even a Dyson. ;-) ). But he's wrong, because you don't need other people to have that dialogue. You can have the conversation that's needed for creativity, if you apply yourself to create something for it's own sake (and not for someone else) and are honest with yourself about the quality of your work.

I remember talking with an old girlfriend when I first started out about how blessed I was to be a photographer, because I had a built-in barometer of my emotional health. If I was depressed or over-elated or had something that wasn't clicking in my conscious mind, it would show up in my work, allowing me to deal with it. We've all had those moments in the creative process where we step back and say "Whoa! Where did that come from?" as our feelings or emotions get drawn out of us and plopped down onto the paper/keys/film/canvas. Having those moments, and recognizing them when they happen, is exactly the dialogue with oneself that allows something truly creative to happen.

Slick.

5.12.2005 by Kevin Creighton

VERY slick.

I really, really like this Flickr export plug-in for iPhoto.

Very well done.

Hey, look, it's 1999 again!

5.11.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Memo to self: Buy Apple stock. It'll be worth a pretty penny in 2005... :-)

Careerbuilder.com is doing a SuperBowl Ad in 2006.

Yawn. Didn't we see this in 1999, with the eTrade chimp and the sock puppet dog?

Well, yes. But think. This is a different world than the "Business Plan? What Business Plan?" 90's. Companies do ads like this not because they can, but because it makes sense. It's a sign that the whole Internet/E-commerce is finally developing into a mature, stable market.

Maybe.

Mary Mapes has found another job,

5.10.2005 by Kevin Creighton

At Wired, it seems.

Disappointing. I've been a subscriber since issue 1.2, and this seems like a lack of basic journalistic research on their behalf.

As usual,

5.09.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Lileks says it the way I'd like to think I was capable of saying it. But I know I'm not. Nor will I ever be.

"Who cares if the wife of the guy who brought us Power Rangers wants nationalized pre-school? (The day I listen to anyone connected with Saban lecturing me about children is the day I listen to some named Hanna or Barbera lecturing me about the nuances of backgrounds in animation.) "

July launch for iTunes phone?

by Kevin Creighton

Sure looks like it.

Want one. Badly.

As I've said before, if it has a camera and a half-way decent PDA function, I'm first in line.

Bang for the buck

by Kevin Creighton

A couple is selling advertising rights for their baby on ebay.

If they can get a $100 for that rather... interesting looking kid, imagine how much I could get for the advertising rights to this:

The mind reels at the fortune that will soon be mine... :-)

Blogs gratia blogis

5.08.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Somewhere, a Latin major is crying over that title... :-)

"Blogging for blogging's sake."

A while ago, I read thru this book as a way to get thru a creative dry spell. It's a good book on re-starting the creative flow, and her main suggestion (she works with writers, primarily) is to spend 15 minutes a day writing in a journal about whatever comes to your mind.
I'm not a writer. (As readers of this blog have figured out by now...), but the idea remains. Spend 15 minutes a day creating something for it's own sake, not for a client, for no other reason than to work on something you enjoy.

Hence, blogging. I don't carry a digital camera around with me 24/7, but I'm usually near a web browser, and I surf a lot (too much, according to my wife). I write about the stuff that I find interesting around the 'net here, on this blog. And maybe it'll be interesting to others, too (Hah!).

Even though it may be never read outside of my circle of friends and family, the mere act of putting thoughts into a blog each day helps my creativity. Keeping up a routine of posts in this blog for my own benefit helps out with coming up for creative ideas for other people. Don may talk about photoblogs being a neccesity for photographers, but even a textblog like this can help with the creative process, if it's done routinely, and for no other reason that it's fun.

How those last two are reconciled, routine and fun, that makes all the difference in so many different things.

Only where love and need are one
and the work is play for mortal stakes

is the deed ever really done

for heaven and the future's sakes


- Frost

The Lost World of Mac OS's

by Kevin Creighton

I'm pretty unimpressed with Tiger, so far. The speed bump from Panther (OS 10.3) wasn't near as dramatic as going from Jaguar to Panther, and the added functionality isn't lifting my skirts.
Plus, there's been a couple of annoying bugs. I haven't figured out how to make the iMac running Tiger appear on my network, and there's been some problems with Safari and submitting to webforms that have forced me to switch to Firefox for my online banking.

And now this. (Warning: If you're running 10.4 and Safari, DO NOT click that link.)

This reminds me all-too-much of the problems that ActiveX is causing Microsoft users, and it needs to be changed, now. Allowing programs to download, auto-install and run without user intervention always leads to bad things, no matter how innocous they appear at first. ("Oohh, Aahh, that's how all of this starts, but then later there's the running and screaming." From this movie.)

All I want is the ability to turn off Dashboard. Completely, and from the GUI. I can do it with Konfabulator, I need to have that with Dashboard, too.

All in all, I should have stayed with Panther. This is the worst release of OS X since 10.0.

Still, my worst day on the Mac is STILL better than my best day on Windows. ;-)

Ouch

5.06.2005 by Kevin Creighton

A very insightful blast against the "creative industry" from a guy who knows a thing or two about creativity.

The OS Give and Take

5.05.2005 by Kevin Creighton

A nice little background on the state of the art in operating systems today.

And yes, he puts OS X in first place.

Remember when,

by Kevin Creighton

these three guys were supposed to be the new sound of rock music?

I do.

Gates : Do as I say, and not as I do.

5.04.2005 by Kevin Creighton

The Bill is worried about bloggers giving away Microsoft secrets. So, naturally, he leaks the ship date of XBox 360 himself, after all the bloggers in his employ have kept it a secret.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright...

5.03.2005 by Kevin Creighton

- Apple introduces an OS nicknamed "Tiger".

- Tiger Direct sues them, claiming prior use.

- The founder of Red Hat Linux, who's also the owner of the Hamilton TigerCats CFL team, offers Steve Jobs the license rights to Tiger, as his football team has used "Tiger" for 136 years.

Truth is stranger than fiction, indeed.

Hi-speed connection, slow-speed purchase.

by Kevin Creighton

A recent survey shows that online shoppers take Internet Week >up to 19 hours of shopping to make a purchase.

So fast?

I've been looking for a backyard swingset for my son for at least two months now.

Hack the system.

5.02.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Problem: You need a rewards card at my local supermarket to get the best value. This card, however, tracks your purchases and your personal information to use for their marketing.

Solution: According to what I put down on the application for the card, I am a 64 year old lady living in a retirement home. Problem solved, they can't track me.

It makes me wonder what they think when I go for a late-night beer run, though...

Problem. American Idol just sucks. It's an overblown kareoke competition, and the "winners" it produces are nothing but tomorrow's one-hit wonders.

Solution: Votefortheworst.com.

My response would be "How can you tell who's worst on that show?"

If you're not reading Lileks,

5.01.2005 by Kevin Creighton

you should be.

" Yes, I am snorting powdered Kool-Aid up my nose. It’s faster that way. Why do you ask? "

Still giggling.

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Kevin Creighton's views on online marketing, design, photography and the future of technology

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