Category Archives: Technology

A technical note…

I am informed by my friend, web host provider, bon vivant, teller of tall tales and singer of sea chanties (let’s call him “Major Disaster”) that  we have a failure to communicate with the fine folks that provide him with the dedicated server hosting. In short, the company he uses for dedicated hosting sold out to some new guys. He’s found the service provided by the new guys to be, shall we say, “less than optimal.” (I’d say more, but I think you can read between the lines on that one.) As a result, the Major and the old hosting company have come to a parting of the ways. The Major has already contracted with a brand spankin’ shiney new web hosting company (this is a good thing), so this blog (and the many fine websites we have created for ourselves and clients) will have a new home shortly. The downside is that there may be a slight interruption of service, as we get all the files transfered over. (Read: I’m not sure how long or how bad, but I got a bad feelin’ about this, Sundance.)

Of course, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time, as I am on vacation, at my family reunion. The box I do all my site management on is several hundred miles away. So if this blog goes away for a day or two (or three), rest assured, it will come back, hopefully beter, faster, (cheaper would be nice), and perhaps a little more bulletproof, this time around.

My two cents.

The Captain is IN.I’ve been in the business of using computers, in one way or another, since 1982. I wrote my first college paper on an Apple III. I owned one of the original IBM PCs (Hercules Graphics Card! 512K RAM! Two full-height 5 1/4″ Floppy Drives! Dot Matrix Printer! DOS 2.0! Ashton-Tate Framework! All for the low, low price of $4,000!!!). I’ve worked as a software engineer, product manager, project manager, marketing manager, and user interface evangelist for software publishing companies. I was around for the birth of Windows 1.0, the life and death of COMDEX, the rise of the common user interface, the Year of the LAN, and a slew of other things, long consigned to the dust bin of computer history. I’ve been a user, author, coder, beta-tester, evangelist, designer, and planner. In short, I’ve held just about every job you can hold in the software industry.

Now I’m writing reviews. Continue reading My two cents.

Goin’ Digital.

I love photography. I have since I was a kid. Back then, the big barrier to entry was the hassle and price of developing film and getting prints. This struck me this morning, because I was asked by my daughter to take pictures of her for a school project. She protested a couple of shots, feeling as if she wasn’t ready for the shutter to snap. I explained to her, that it didn’t matter – I could take as many pictures as we needed to get the right shot – the bad pics would simply be deleted. Continue reading Goin’ Digital.

2007 Jeep Wrangler: First Impressions

Wrangler_3

Let me start by saying that I’m not your typical “car guy.” I didn’t grow up with my hood under an engine, and I’m not an expert in all things automotive. I did spend a couple of years working in automobile advertising, and I’ve owned twelve vehicles over my adult life, three of which have been Jeep products. I drive – a lot – and I know what I like. Those are my qualifications. Don’t look to me to talk about gear ratios, drag coefficients, and other arcane topics. I just wanna know if the vehicle drives well, handles well, is well-made, and will suit my purpose. That having been said… Continue reading 2007 Jeep Wrangler: First Impressions

Patently Ridiculous.

Can we stop for a moment and talk about patents? I’m a creative guy. Over the years I’ve come up with any number of creative ideas. Some of them could/should be protected, intellectual property. Some were just great ideas. As a creative guy, I’m generally in favor of some kind of protection for those who come up with some useful new invention. On the other hand, I’m for the immediate dissolution of the U. S. Patent Office, and the creation of a new agency that understands what in the HELL they are doing.

Here’s the deal. Let’s say you invent something. Nobody ever thought of it before. It’s useful. It’s cool. You don’t want somebody to steal your idea, so you apply for a patent. Your product takes off. You make millions. At some point, your patent runs out, and everybody and their cat decides to market a me-too product, turning your product from a unique gadget into a commodity. You resign yourself to make less money.

This is how patents are supposed to work. Continue reading Patently Ridiculous.

Bugs.

bugs.
I’m working on a BIG project in Flash right now. Flash used to be this really simple little animation program. Not any more. It now has a full-blown, object-oriented programming language (ActionScript) that is based on JavaScript. I’m trying to bend some code to my will. So far, the code is winning. It’s not a pretty sight. I am reminded of what some incredibly perceptive individual once said:

If debugging is the act of removing bugs from software, then programming must be the act of putting bugs into the code.”

My second thought for the day is:

If architects designed buildings the way programmers design code, the first termite to come along would end civilization as we know it.

And now…back to the salt mines.

Standards.

The IBM PS/2.I once worked for Mark Cuban. Seriously. Back in Dallas, long before he was the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he was the outspoken owner of a company called MicroSolutions – a computer dealer. (He later sold Microsolutions and started RadioNet/Broadcast.com, became a billionaire and bought the Mavs, but that’s a different story.) Anyway, when I worked for Mark, I was the “desktop publishing specialist” for MicroSolutions. (The very words “desktop publishing” should give you some idea about how long ago this was.) When IBM renounced the standards they’d created with the PC and AT boxes and released the then-new “PS/2” computers, a bunch of us were sent to IBM’s Dallas HQ for training. As the DTP specialist, I was particularly keen to learn about IBM’s “desktop publishing solution.” Continue reading Standards.

Confessions of a Car Dealer Advertiser.

Okay. I admit it. For a year and a half, I created ads for car dealerships.

It’s funny. When I began writing and directing car ads, I quickly discovered that there are reasons that most car dealers have ads that…how can I put this delicately…um…bite.

First of all, the budget for car ads is about $300. That covers talent, videography, post-production, and everything from script to screen. That’s not much money, and it doesn’t allow for much in the way of wiggle room for talent, props, sets, or anything else.

Next, let’s add to this mix the fact that most car dealers want to use their sales staff in the commercials. It’s been my experience that most sales reps aren’t really comfortable in front of the camera. And it shows. Lastly, lets examine the “we’ve always done it this way” phenonmenon as it applies to car ads. The industry mantra is that the manufacturer sells the car, the dealer association sells the promotion, and the dealer sells the deal. That’s why you see dealers running ads that show one or more vehicles with payments or “off-MSRP” pricing, instead of ads that try to convince you why you should deal with a specific dealer. Continue reading Confessions of a Car Dealer Advertiser.

WHAT was Jeep thinking?

Jeep® Commander

Full disclaimer: I’m a Jeep guy. I drive a Wrangler. Don’t want to drive anything else. Between my wife and I, we’ve owned four Jeeps. I also used to work for an in-house ad agency that had several DCX dealerships – two of them sold Jeeps. I love ’em. So it is with a degree of puzzlement, chagrin, and concern that I ask, what were they thinking with this latest TV ad? Continue reading WHAT was Jeep thinking?

Who is Captain Digital?

What is this all about? Simple. I’m a marketing guy/graphic designer/copywriter/animator/whatever. As you might expect with all those “/” in my vocations, I have a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Mostly marketing and advertising, but we may wander ocasionally. Check back here for random thoughts on the state of marketing, advertising, politics, pop culture, and (un)common sense.