August 20, 2004

Business Olympics

I have been to more meetings this week than in the last six months combined. Again and again, when I'm forced back into The Swing of Things, I am dumbfounded at how human beings--many of them--do this stuff every day. More dumbfounded that I used to do this stuff every day. Makes me happy for traumatic amnesia.

I am so out of shape for the world of business, I might as well be an Olympic track and field athlete who's never stepped foot on dirt. It feels quite like the rest of the business world is running some kind of relay, while I look on wondering, how do they run so fast? And what's that thing they're handing back and forth?

What I find is that I'm left feeling old. Not so much from the raising of a child, or the usual mother things, or my own anemia and nicotine deficiency. No. This is the aging of technology. This is the aging of starting out in the 80s, filling my heart with the Mac, swapping disks like a mad scientist, believing the 512-E was sent from God. That was a century ago in technoyears.

Mine is the aging of having to keep up with and spit out enough technoelequence personally between 1998-2000 to fill most community libraries. In technology years, I'm 112. Many of us out here are well into our 100s. Some of you must be 220 in technoyears.

Do you feel it like I do? Don't you get tired? Couldn't you be happy not learning another thing, not watching another wave, not caring about what's emerging from where? When do we all get to go sit on a beach and wonder how starfish walk with all those legs?

I don't want to medal anymore.

I want to sit on the bleachers and watch the kids run by.

Riders on the Storm

From Tom. Read it.

August 19, 2004

I know, Wait! Let's NOT Use the Internet to talk about Technology!

play kid games - lose yourself.

Intertom Outback

Tom writes about the simple, yet nearly undeliverable items--at least from a radius larger than 20 miles--that might make life a wee bit easier for those fighting back from the Charlotte County disaster, courtesy of Chalotte's bratty cousin Charley.

I think if we can roll up our sleves and help Tom clear out all the bushes, that might go a long way toward putting a smile on his face and some quarters in his pocket. Maybe even a roof over his head.

I have dibs on the bug spray. Cause I'm not sure Amazon carries ice.

August 18, 2004

Five Year Style Guide Update

From: jeneane sessum []
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 10:02 PM
To: 'Benjamin Lipsman'
CC: 'The Rest of the Internet’
Subject: Style Guide 3.0

Dear Benjy:

As an update to the style guide email of 3/15/99, please note the following changes:

Hyphens Are Old News

GOOD NEWS! We can now write email (not e-mail) and online (not on-line), which should save us approximately 3,330 keystrokes a year. (ught oh, could mean more layoffs!)


BREAKING FROM WIRED STYLE, we will keep Internet upper case because 1) It is sacred. 2) It is a proper noun. 3) For crying out loud, how will we tell it apart from intranet (which will remain lower case) when we’re only half paying attention to what we read anyway?

Other updates will be forwarded promptly.


Great Ideas 101

Oh my God, I just had a brainstorm!

Let's use the Internet

to talk about Technology!!!

Mailbox Plot

I know that I don't use mailboxes as much as I used to. In fact, the only thing I use them for these days is to mail our health insurance premium each month, which I'm so anal about that I now get a money order for (no chance of bouncing) and add two stamps to what is very clearly a one-stamp envelope, then place in an official USPS mailbox by the 1st (okay, the 8th) of each month.

That's why I know when something's fishy.

When I went to mail that very same envelope last week, I headed off the mailbox in front of Publix, which is where I usually kiss my $621 goodbye. To my surprise, the mailbox had vanished. Concrete repaired and smooth. Like the mailbox had never been there.

Huh? Who takes out a mailbox that's been sitting there for 15 years?

I began looking behind me, over my left shoulder then right, like an idiot--where'd that mailbox get to?

I wasn't sure what to make of it, but I thought maybe a Publix customer had walked into it and broken an ankle, or perhaps car hit it in the frenzy of a two-for-one sale, so they decided to get rid of it. That seemed feasible.

Off I went to the next mailbox I sometimes use, over on a street that runs in front of the quiet club where we swim during the summer. Hardly anyone uses that mailbox because it's such a low traffic area.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my backup mailbox was gone too.

Now, it had been a month since I'd mailed a bill, but WTF? Two mailboxes vanished? At once? Who's taking them? And Why? And what am I supposed to do now?

Then it hit me. It's the terrorist thing.

It has to be. Ashcroft either 1) Does not want sleeper cells sending post cards of downtown Kennesaw to one another, OR 2) He has good intelligence that the next strike will involve strategically placed mail boxes across North Georgia.

Wow. Suddenly I was all a quiver. To have walked into the middle of a terrorist plot in my own backyard. I wasn't sure what to do. What to think. Who to call. Then I remembered the instructions:

Go about your daily business.

Hmmm. This was my daily business. I was stumped.

So I took the insurance payment home and made dinner.

Then the next day I drove to the crowded post office--with all the other people who couldn't find mailboxes--and let them handle it. I am now busy making plans on how to mail next month's insurance payment. Because you have to stay one step ahead of the terrorists.

It sure is freaky being part of a Nation Under Attack.

August 17, 2004

Re: No comments from yous.

Is this what they call a failure to communicate?


I sent an email to RageBoy's list today because he called me from a cell phone he obsconded with from who knows where to let me know that I should let you know that his home phone got involuntarily separated this evening, downsized, rightsized, outside, and the like, so if he's not picking up when you call it's because he can't hear the phone ringing (because it's not).

Then I figured why not post the email here, I mean a few more of you might want to call the guy and spread some cheer, but don't use up his battery charge, for crying in a bucket, or he'll be incommunicado (I have no idea how to spell that), on a wireless without a net, so to speak.

On the other hand, you could spend your time reading Manifesto This! the latest in viral joojoo to spread around the net and clutter an environment already full of enough blog URL trash to cut a hole in the Internet nozone 6 miles wide thanks to the A listers who pee on themselves and one another in a rush to support All New Ideas On The Net Whether Or Not They Are Noise Or Back Slapping Or Something Actually Meaningful.

So here's that email you've been waiting for:

TO: {All the wierdos on RB's email list, including people who have asked that he never contact them again. Especially those people}
FROM: {me}
SUBJECT: {A Message from the Author by Proxy}

I have a roaring headache, so excuse me if my head explodes in the middle of this public service announcement.

It appears that in Boulder, the phone company expects payment for the voice and data services it provides. Although the whole thing seems silly to me, as a business model I suppose it has some merit. Those crafty Telcos.

In accordance with this strategy, it also appears, the phone company has pulled the plug on our cultural crime fighting hero, Mr. RageBoy. As of this evening, he has no phone, no Internet access. (Yes, although many refuse to believe it, he still uses dial-up.) I think he also still has that cat he’s been writing about. But now he’s wondering how she might taste with some sage and cumin because, well, all the tuna’s gone.

BACK to the topic at hand: This latest right-wing conspiracy to shut down the important messages broadcast from Mr. Boy’s condo has put a nasty dent in RB’s latest “Get Out of Debt Quick” plan, which he asked me to point you to here:

His plan is simple. His messaging concise. He is, after all, a marketing professional:

Talk to RageBoy on the Phone!
For Up to One Whole HOUR!
~~~ Only 50 Bucks! ~~~

[[editor’s note: pre-paid]]

I received a call about an hour ago from RB from his cell phone (you have to hear that story), and he asked that I send you—his Valued Readers—this number where, for now, he can be reached: 720-530-4897.

For our Spanish-speaking friends, that’s 720-530-4897.
(Operators are standing by. Have your credit card ready.)

As a final note, I would be remiss if I failed to remind you that Mr. Boy’s DONATE button still works just fine -- Thank the Good Lord Ma Bell hasn’t gotten her greedy little paws on that.

Life is so funny sometimes.


Where is Halley Not?

Halley is on the web, in print, and now on the air waves here with her new IT Conversations [[don't know what to call it--show?audiocolumn?]] Memory Lane. Halley interviews Joi Ito about tech and bi-culturalism, although I haven't listened to it all yet, so it could be about other things too.

Now I know what Joi sounds like. He doesn't sound like his IM font. That's probably good.

No Home No Cry

In Sudan.

No Back To School

In Sudan.

August 16, 2004

Kill Your Manifesto

I'm a manifesto, you're a manifesto, he's a manifesto, she's a manifesto, wouldn't you like to be a manifesto tooooooooo....?

Seth Godin [[has kicked off an idea]] that takes the form of pretty pdfs called manifestos and he's encouraging bloggers to "spread the word" (viral joojoo). Many will. In return ChangeThis links to those mouthpieces in an "as seen on Oprah" fashion, which, since this idea is Seth Godin's, should be enough for any blogger.

The design of these pdflettes is slick. No doubt. They're pretty. They are digestible--unlike the dreaded sugar discussed in "Kill Your Children," which, as a manifesto, could be summarized in 1 item: "Sugar's really bad."


Not exactly a manifesto, if you ask me, or, which will tell you that a manifesto is "a public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature."

Or, more concisely, something of substance.

Although the ChangeThis Customer Evangelist Manifesto, which is, and I quote, "a must read for any consumer-heavy business" (huh?), ought to make Southwest happy, the assumption of the document -- "in the new world of marketing, evangelists act as key influencers on future customers" -- is not news. It's not "the new world of marketing." It's a proven strategy most companies already use. Call 'em champions, call 'em evangelists, call 'em Bob who'll say anything as long as he gets to fly down, play golf, and hit the Cheetah once a month.

It's NOT a manifesto and it's not revolutionary and it's not particularly moving.

Except for that snazzy design... that fancy packaging... that sweet look & feel... makin' me woosy with the power.... gettin' me a little bit high...

Kind of like sugar.

[[editor's note: Oh I was pretty hard on this bunch. Especially now that I know that these revolutionary Business Manifestos were done by summer interns...enthusiastic, smart young folks who are undoubtedly savvy and "cool" (their word), but, um, maybe okay, I'm going to get in trouble here, a bit, um, young, I mean, to be writing the coolest hip thing in business manifestos? Now I get it. Seth had an idea. The team is good at design. Seth wins. They win. It's a win-win.

But does every single idea that hits the Web and uses (abuses) the word "blog" deserve our unconditional Love? Optimism? Kindness?]]

Um, no.

Indies.... Start Your Engines!!

As your premiere website for the latest economic indicators here on the emergent Internet, Allied would like to announce that summer vacation is officially over.

Following in the duck prints of Allied's fine staff, U.S.-based contractors will become extremely busy over the next two to three weeks, securing some much-needed work and synchronizing alarm clocks for tactical, real-time waking up before 11 a.m.

The reaction of the small business and contract employee base to the barrage of work has been mostly positive. To quote one Dallas-based independent consultant in the high-tech industry: "Dude, whoa!"

This economic forecast has been brought to you by Contractors for Donald Duck, Steamboat Rowers for Truth, and the Law Offices of Kerry Bush Heinz & Associates.

August 15, 2004


Tom & Family Okay.

Tom has surfaced to say they are okay, but the house isn't. In an email Tom mentioned walls caved in, roof half off, etc. Much of the area, it seems, is in similar shape.

The following line from Tom's email gave me a good sense that he is still in his good senses:

The President was good enough to fly in and tie up traffic. (Saw a good bumper sticker: "There is a village in Texas that is missing its idiot.")

This too shall pass.

Tom, please let us know what we can do, once you know what can be done.