Thoughts on eBooks…

I’ve been talking with a lot of people who have recently published e-Books. I’m not sure exactly why I’ve been surrounded by it lately, but it might have been a few short stories a friend released for free by a friend under a pseudonym, or something paid but also hilariously evil, like The Diamond Club:

I would, most likely, do a book of poetry, or possibly short stories… but I’ve done a lot of thinking lately as to whether I would like to do something like this and try to self publish, use a service like Vook, or actually try to submit some work for publication with a “real company.” I’m one of those internet guys who likes to turn norms on their heads and do things my way. Just look at this site! It’s grown from nothing at all to thousands of visits a month… sure, I’m not rich and famous, but I’m excited for what the future is going to bring and I love watching my statistics for the website gradually increase. I’m lucky to have so many interested people, and maybe that means it really is time to try and put something together. But will it be what the people are looking for? We may have to wait and see.

The problem with internet advertising (in 2012)

In the early days of the World Wide Web, advertising was non-existent. But it didn’t take long before friendly “link-exchanges” became massive money making advertising schemes. Pay to show your banner ad, to drive traffic, pay-per-click, it all became about getting money in to people’s hands. These days Google is among the biggest and best in the business. I even use Google Ads on my website, and some day hope I’ll get a little something out of it.

But unlike the early days of the internet, where not just your spam emails were about viagara, but every pop up ad on the internet was completely random and might’ve had something to do with your personal disfunction, your love of collecting fine china, or your need for better virus protection. Or, of course, how lucky you were to be the ten thousandth visitor to the website, of course! Everybody thought the birth of the targetted ad was a wonderful thing – finally, something I care about, people would think. People were much happier to see advertisements for movie tickets, or a certain book, or that model of car they’ve had their eye on; it was better than more purple pills and lucky lotteries!

Before long that honeymoon was over, though, and people were suspicious of the advertisers. They know too much. If you really want to be paranoid, you can believe that. I don’t use things like AdBlock Plus because I really think that the few pennies a day that goes to lowly bloggers like myself is a nice gesture (made 3 cents yesterday!). But do I think it’s wrong that Google knows I shopped for a Clear mobile hotspot? No.

What, then, is the problem? It’s how bad that advertising is. It doesn’t work for impulsive people, and it’s really bad for families with multiple people sharing a computer. I was impulsive, and purchased that Clear hotspot. Several weeks ago. But I am still getting ads for it, on every website I visit! Am I reading something on Slashdot? Clear. Gaming news over at Joystiq? Clear. Wedding gifts for friends? Clear.

The perfect example presented it to me when I was previewing this article before publishing it:

How much is clear paying to advertise their product to someone who already bought it? And why can’t I tell the system that I own this item? And where were those ads when I was thinking about purchasing it? They didn’t exist. I bought it on a whim. It doesn’t work for impulsive people! The act is done, it’s in the past, quit reminding me that I should do it, because I already did it.

I don’t have a true solution to the problem, but the ability to click ‘beneath’ an ad and opt-out of certain types of ads, or ads for certain brands, or even provide feedback and say “yes, your advertisement made me purchase this item” would be nice. But once I have the product, and have been using it for two months, you should know when to stop wasting your advertiser’s dollar, because they’re not getting their money’s worth from you, the ad-agency.

Politics drive me mad…

Senator Stilskin: a Baby-Eater from Brady Fitzgerald on Vimeo.

It’s that time of year, when everyone you know on Facebook, where you work, in the grocery store – everybody everywhere – is suddenly a political analyst. I remember four years ago asking a friend where they got their news from. This person genuinely thought that one of the best places to get information was from the attack ads. Do you want to vote for a politician who is a cannabal? Really? You don’t want to listen to the speech the person actually gave, just selected, edited, and cropped sound bites that the other person is telling you was said. Is there any worse way to find out what a person is like? Even a person with the best intentions could still mix up the message – why not hear someone’s actual words?

I don’t know. It’s all just so over the top. And with new media, social media, the instant feedback from the internet – there is no time to pound away and send one message home as political candidate, you have to have something new to say every single day, because each day, everybody is hearing your message. It’s not like it was a few hundred years ago, when you had to campaign all around the country. Now you’re campaigning nationwide every day! Quotes get put on the news, ads are put on Youtube, and statistics are misrepresented and outright lied about in stupid pictures that get retweeted and shared a few hundred thousand times over.

I’m a geek. A geek who loves music, and video games; hockey, and football; whiskey, and cold beer. I have strong convictions on social and fiscal policies. But I just know that this year, more than any in the past, is going to be ugly. The attack ads are going to really turn me off to this election season, and we’re a long way from the finish line. I’m hoping to keep my head low, but you can’t even turn off the TV this year. It’s already started on radio, every social network, and even YouTube’s pre-roll ads. It just makes me sad that so many influenced by the negative campaign ads, rather than listening to the messages of the candidates themselves. Know where someomne stands, know how they’ve voted in the past, and vote for your candidate of choice – not the candidate who bashed the other guy the most. Republican or Democrat: I just hope we all come out of this one alive.

2013 is going to be an expensive year…

original photo by: Christian Fischer

You may have heard something about this drought we’re going through? We’re getting warned that the price of corn has increased by 38% already, and though others expect it to climb, some are saying it’ll only result in a few cents more being paid at the grocery store. I couldn’t disagree more.

I’m not an economist. I’m not a farmer. But I have common sense. Corn is everywhere. It’s in breakfast cereals, sodas, fruit juices, snack foods, potato chips – and when not used as some sort of high fructose corn syrup, then it may be used as feed for chicken, pork, and other livestock. Corn is only one of the crops that’s suffering this year, you can count on many, may more vegetables suffering as “berry season” appraoches. I haven’t had a good watermelon yet, this year. Everything is about to get more expensive.

It’s going to be gradual. Infact, this is the time of year when livestock herds are going up for auction most frequently, so you might see prices drop over the next few weeks and months. But if you’re the kind of person who likes to have a Christmas ham? You’ll be paying more than last year. Go ahead and watch prices – early next year on in to next summer, I expect prices to rise. Substantially. That $2+ bottle of cola won’t just be in over-priced vending machines anymore, and everything from Dorito’s, to hamburgers, to heads of lettuce are all going to get more expensive. Pick your favorite product, watch its price over the next 12 months. Chart it in Excel, I dare you. It’s about to get pricey, and you should at least plan ahead a little right now. Prices won’t double, but when the price of every single thing you buy goes up, your wallet will take a punch. Be ready.