Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eat Indy

Here's a quick list of my favorite eateries around town in Indianapolis, IN.
  1. India Garden, the buffet is amazingly varied and the staff is excellent. The decor is very pretty also.
  2. Brugge Brassierie, the location and ambiance is authentic Belgian-pub style atmosphere. The beers and mussels and fries are scrumptious. My kids love the food too.
  3. Thai Spice on the border of Greenwood, they make a wonderful ginger-spiced goong-ob with the freshest shrimp in Indy. This is complimented well by their ginger tea.
  4. Yats. Cajuny goodness, and the best place for crawfish in town. The red beans and rice is a kid-friendly favorite.
  5. Le Peep for breakfast. The granola blues for rich carb satisfaction. The coffee is well brewed, and flows as freely as the wi-fi. FYI Chicago has Le Peep locations too.
  6. Jockamo pizza in Irvington. Exotic pizzas, spacious tables and quick service. The BBQ Chicken pizza is great.
  7. Cafe Patachou, the sandwiches are fresh fresh fresh and delicious.
  8. Hisago Japanese restaurant, fresh tasty sushi ad a dinner special makes it economical.
  9. St Elmo's, get the shrimp cocktail. Twice. It is world famous, and unlike most things that claim that distiction, this one is deserved. Scrumptious. A nice before-show date stop for a quick appetizer and drink.
  10. Bosphorous cafe. I traveled in Turkey, and attest that the food is authentic. The owner is a gentleman who oversees the restaurant personally and knows regular customers well. The hummus is tasty, the bread is fresh-made, and the vegetarian dishes are delightful for those restricting their diet or not. The lamb is good too.
  11. Claddagh Irish Pub has tasty fish and chips, and the mussel appetizer is great. Again, they have Illinois locations too.
  12. Bub's burgers and ice cream. Good old-fashioned generous burgers and hand-dipped shakes. Unusual options such as Elk burgers available too.
Thanks David Mark for the inspiration for this post.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

6 word resume

There's a new meme going on for a 6 word resume at G.L. Hoffman's blog. The idea behind this is so true: so many resumes are just plain boring. If you could give yourself a quick, entertaining and informative 6 word intro, you'd be ahead as a job seeker.

The meme is to post a 6 word resume for someone. Here's my entry:

"As I live, so does Apple" - Steve Jobs.
Check Hoffman's page for more examples. And share your own!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Unabashedly Reducing my Inventory

I recently read an article about the shameful online resale of books and was interested to see that some may think there is a moral issue here. Why there should be such an issue now, when for centuries booksellers along the Seine have been servicing students of the Sorbonne unaccosted escapes me. Apparently, taking something that has been done in slow and unorganized fashion for ages and modernizing it somehow brings moral issues into the picture.

From a moral perspective, one might think that many would be in favor of used book selling; selling books hits the trifecta of environmental saaviness - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - in a way that many other green initiatives can't compete with. Selling a used book reduces that book from the waste stream. Reusing a used book is an excellent example of fixed cost depreciation, in that doing so reduces the impact of the sunk cost to the seller of the initial purchase. Plus, selling a book is an implicit endorsement of the content and a recommendation, in a way that a recycled tin can can't compete with. I might easily venture to a new author in a seller's collection if I feel an affinity to the authors I know in their store, but am very unlikely to adventure to some new vegetable based on seeing the can left out for recycling in my neighbor's bin.

On my ejly store, I've sold everything from books to CDs to toys to consumer electronics. Check it out if you have a chance.

Why do I sell used items on Amazon?
  1. I used to use ebay, but their pay-to-play modus operandi is sour to me after Governor Blagojevich's fiasco. Why should I pay to advertise something that doesn't sell? For we of the craigslist generation, this makes zero cents.
  2. Listing is super-simple with the UPC code handy, and Amazon has calculated the likely shipping costs for me already. Bravo. Again, simple and easy to get started. I don't need to invest in a scale to start; I can trust their shipping prices.
  3. I can carry a huge inventory at no particular expense. On other sites, the listing fees prohibit this.
  4. I'm shopping on Amazon anyway, so listing there makes sense.
  5. Amazon provides great tracking for sellers to stay on top of buyer activity.
  6. Amazon provides for communications management to buyers within their site.
  7. Amazon's listings are indexed by Google, and your resale item is sold right alongside the new item, which positions it well for the sale.
  8. The ratings system is fair, buyers understand the product better since the inventory is UPC based and can provide ratings easily that are focused on the service of the seller and the quality ofthe merchandise shipped instead of holding the seller liable for the manufacturer's quality. So, for example, you can still get a high-quality review for selling a lousy book. The lousiness of the book is recognized as being beyond the seller's responsibility.
  9. Every item that leaves my house is one less that I have to dust, inventory, and maintain. My square footage is valuable, why should I pay to use it to store a copy of a book at home that I also pay taxes to support a libary to house? My local library, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, is fantastic about ordering new books, CDs and movies that are suggested, too. (Disclosure: I have an overload of books at home, and no plans to eliminate them all. The ones I re-read and reference are kept close at hand, in beautiful hardback form. Some of which were bought with funds from used book sales.)

Thanks Monicuta for inspiring this post!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I use Gantthead for project management info and top-notch templates. I haven't yet found a project plan yet that I could use without alteration, but have found many project plans usable as the starting point for a project. My personal favorite is the EVA project plan template. Gantthead recently rolled out a new feature called Ganttface which encourages PM's to set up their own public profile. My profile highlights for my work as a Project Manager/Business Analyst.

I also recently started using a set of free, public tools on Basecamp HQ for a project I'm working on with Chuck Westbrook. These tools are helpful too for providing starting places for project initiation.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Suffix rule induction and morphology

I teach spelling by telling stories, like The Story of Yed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wigilia menu, traditional fusion

Wigilia dinner menu - served at the rise of the first star (actually Venus in our case). Per tradition I put 12 plates of food on the table, and always set an extra place at the table for any stranger who might drop by.

We start the meal with the sharing of oplatek and wine. Oplatek are small, thin wafers of bread - basically unconsecrated communion wafers. Each guest gets a wafer and instructions to share the wafer with the other guests, and to make a wish for them and receive a wish in return.  Wishes range from the wacky "good night, good luck, and may your god go with you" to the traditional "health, wealth and happiness in the new year." Also each guest may reserve pieces of the oplatek to share with loved ones who are not at the wigilia dinner (very common for situations when servicemen and women are overseas).

My menu:
  1. potato mushroom soup with imported polish mushrooms
  2. artichoke bottoms marinated in chili flakes and balsamic vinegar
  3. watergate salad (recipe easy for kids to make)
  4. brussel sprouts baked with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. lima beans with garlic and onion tomato sauce
  6. pierogi, various kinds - cheese, sauerkraut & mushrooms, fruit.
  7. broiled salmon
  8. mussels
  9. fruit compote
  10. baked brie with salted rye bread
  11. black olives and pickled cucumbers and beets
  12. sauteed spinach with sherry, cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts
Cookies a plenty for dessert! And a chocolate fountain! And stuffed dates!

More info on Wigilia for you is available from:

Time to go see if I can roust Santa to deliver gifts. And start up the Holiday Music. Happy Wigilia!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ejly's twitter grade

If you're in a competitive business (and who isn't nowadays?), then keep yourself on top of your game by seeing how you are doing in your social network. Twitter Grader will score your Twitter profile based on certain criteria, such as the completeness of your profile, the frequency of your updates, and your proximity in social networks to their CEO. Actually that last one I made up, but it could in fact be true because their scoring algorithm is proprietary and super-secret.

There's more info on twitter tools in a recent article of mine at Biznology, Using Twitter to Reach Nirvana.

I'll be looking for you on twitter. Find me there at

Other twitter tools posts:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Wigilia, y'all.

My favorite part of the Christmas holidays is spending Wigilia together - the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. Where I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, it was easy enough to find traditional Polish items. In fact, it was hard not to. Here in Indiana, we're a little further South and a lot less Polish. I think the nearest Polish Deli is in Hamtramck. Fortunately, I've got a caravan hauling Polish goods in on I-65 so we'll be set for the holiday. I'm importing not just one but two 100% authentic Polish Grandmothers so that if one gets a virus we have a hot-swappable spare all booted up and ready to go.

In past years I recall, family would gather at my grandmother's and grandfather's house in the afternoon after work on Christmas Eve and help to prepare the last few dishes together. Most things, like the mushroom soup, were made already and the fragrant delicious smells were thick in the house and would set my tummy to rumbling. There would be a festive red-and-green lima bean dish, a steaming hot cauliflower, and sauerkraut. Ick.

I waited and saved my appetite for pillowy fried pierogi, baked fish, cocktail shrimp, and olives and pickles and beets. And potatoes, with a side of potatoes. There was also crusty rye bread and fresh rolls. Yum. Note there was no meat, as the dinner was a vigil and fast day in the religious tradition. The meal started traditionally with the sharing of oplatek, where we broke flatbread with each other - the bread was similar to communion wafer bread - and gave wishes to each other for the new year. These run from the traditional "may you have a prosperous year ahead" to the wacky, "live long and prosper".

My grandma would never admit to being a trickster, but we were always careful to watch where the sauerkraut pierogi ended up so that we could avoid them in favor of the cheese or fruit varieties. It was like an evil shell game where, if you lost, you had to stomach the vile cabbagey thing and stare plaintively at cousins gobbling up the last few cheese pierogi. Utterly unfair.

Dinner was particularly scrumptious as we kids were told we could not eat until there was a star in the sky; on an overcast day, that could take a while. The hunger never made the sauerkraut palatable, but it was a near thing and we almost lost one cousin to an early-served plate of the vile stuff before we distracted him with a kolache. In the event of a service delay due to tardy constellations, someone with exceptionally sharp eyes was usually called out to 'see' the first star so that we could eat.

I'll be hosting the meal this year, and trying to give my boys some ethnic memories to save for their old age. I posted my dinner menu for Wigilia too. If you pass by and see me out hunting gwiazdka, don't worry - it just means the fish isn't done yet and I'm pursuing a delaying tactic. It always worked for Grandma.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monogamy at Blogger and Godaddy

I can make godaddy and blogger hook up, but it isn't pretty to try and do multiple-blog linkings to one domain. Godaddy, in terms of its DNS assignments, has all the scruples of Betty Page and is willing to pair up with anyone, anytime, whenever to serve up a website. Blogger, on the other hand, strictly enforces monogamous couplings. Setting up for a bit of tomfoolery on the side takes some patience, listening to blogger's recitation of the ceremonial betrothal: "You, domain providing company, do hereby take this blog to have and to host, to serve and protect, to cherish and obey, and shall put no other above her... "

But I can put multiple blogs on one domain, and so can you. I've had a book blog for some time and also am doing other things online. I wanted to consolidate the various items online and thought a domain of my own might provide for some fun experimentation. And really, where else can you get a $1.19 lesson in domain hosting and blog publishing except from Godaddy and Blogger?

So I moved my book blog to first. Here's steps for you to follow:
  1. Register with
  2. Log into godaddy already to start administering your site.
  3. Go to Domains, then select My Domains
  4. Click on the domain name
  5. Click the link "Total DNS Control and MX Records" - the page is really busy, so do a text search for "Total DNS Control and MX Records" to find it if you can't easily see it
  6. In the CNAMES (Aliases) section, click the button for "Add a new CNAME record"
  7. Add "blog" and "" as the new screen name. Attached is the screen shot showing what it should look like. (CNAME.jpeg)
  8. It may take an hour (at least) for this to start propagating across the internet, and the propagation process may take up to 3 days or more to complete. That gives you time to do the next part. Sometimes it is really quick.
  9. Log in to blogger, go to 'settings' then select 'Publishing'. Then select 'custom domain' then select 'switch to advanced settings'
  10. Add "blog.yourdomain.yourdomainextension" or whatever is appropriate to your particular idiom.
  11. Do step 7-10 again for additional blogs, be sure to vary the first part of the URL. Your original Blog*Spot address will automatically forward to your new domain. That way, any existing links or bookmarks to your site will still work.
Thanks to How to set up your blogger custom domain with Godaddy by Blogger Buster for some tips.

The $1.19 price tag for the lesson is for the 99¢ domain name registration currently available from godaddy, plus the 20¢ ICANN fee.

Ejly on Google Reader

Friday, December 19, 2008

Humane Society of Indianapolis Holiday Supply Drive

I volunteer as a dog foster parent for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. In 2008, I’ve helped rescue 6 dogs and place them into permanent homes with families that are delighted to have them. At this time of year the Humane Society puts out a wish list of items needed in order to provide for the animals. Take the time to de-clutter your closet for the holiday season and help the animals at the same time if you can! Throw in a towel which the Humane Society staff can use for the animals.

Thanks already to the generous employees at W.D.D. Inc and Delta Faucet Company for donating to help provide supplies to the animals. If you'd like to participate, drop me a line to let me know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I've had a few requests recently to explain a bit about how to use twitter. My rambling explanations got confusing enough that I sat down and wrote up a more detailed view of How I See the Twittersphere. And thus was begun the seeds of what eventually became an article, Using Twitter to reach Nirvana on the Biznology site. I hope it is useful to all y'all as well.

In sum, the article discusses how to set up twitter to update social networking sites and how you can benefit by setting up twitter to be updated by rss. I refer to this as twirvana -
twirvana: the graceful state of existing on twitter in an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.
Tweetback with a hashtag of #twirvana, and follow me @ejly if you want. And if what you just read didn't make sense, go read the article. : )

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm using digsby now to consolidate social networking, IM and email notices. Wicked.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Technorati widgets

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tron as made with a lower budget for these desperate times

Cardboard Tron

Uploaded by freres-hueon

Saturday, December 13, 2008


are you a friend on facebook?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amazon reviews

In this season, when finances are tight, it is especially important to give good gifts. Check out reviews and product information before making a gift purchase - and avoid gifting a dud.

I offer a few Amazon reviews of mine as examples of reviews you might find online to help guide your purchase decisions - also check out and Get Satisfaction.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Delicious Linkroll

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008 Wish List Indy Humane Society

I'm collecting items for the Indianapolis Humane Society this holiday season. If you have any items which you'd like to donate, let me know. I'll drop off items Christmas Week. And remember, if you want to buy yourself a pet this holiday season - adopt, don't shop.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sick of tinyurl?

Tiny is tidy, says twitter, and happily abbreviates all your pretty urls into tinyurls. Even the search engine optimized, gloriously specific urls are smushed into the tinyurl container. But if you want to rebel a little bit, check out REALLYHUGEURL.COM

For examle, here's a permalink to this site:

Thanks @swhitley for introducing me to this service!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Skinit Twitter Promotion

I was pleased recently to be selected to receive a new laptop skin from HP for my MacBook through a promotion run by @HPHolidayCheer on Twitter. I love the simple look of the white macbook, but since I recently purchased enough machines to qualify for an OS X site license, I need a way to tell mine apart without booting it. This will fit the bill.

In exchange, I'll offer some kind and constructive criticism for HP on the ordering process.

Great image: this was my most important evaluation criteria, and the HP folks aced it. The image quality is great and the print quality is excellent. I chose a particularly tricky image - a close up of a furry beagle - and the image is clear and not pixelated.

Easy on, EZ-off: the sticker was easy to apply and remove, without any significant residue. I didn't feel fearful of putting this on my laptop and ruining it. It went on without major problems for air bubbles or wrinkles. The 3-step instructions were clear and basic - "clean, peel, apply" and printed on highly readable glossy paper, double sided with my invoice on the reverse.

Shipping undamaged: the skin came in a shipping tube with plastic endcaps that seemed quite oversized for it. On the plus side, it kept my dog enjoyed chewing it up later. I would think that a smaller sized tube without endcaps - such as u-line's Snap-Seal-Tubes would be more environmentally friendly. And they cost 11¢ less per unit for quantities >500. Frugality is the new green.

On the other hand... what is a business day for HP? I ordered the skin on 11/22, and had to calculate in a convoluted way when to expect the skin. Eventually I figured it should ship by 12/2. Should I as a customer care about when HP is open or not? I think it would be more sensible to position days as in calendar days, and just add days to your service level agreement to account for weekends. So, instead of saying 'ships within 2-5 business days' just say 'ships within 1 week'. That would be much easier to understand. And makes much more sense than expectation setting with a convoluted phrase such as the following, quoted from the HP website: "There can be a variance in the length of the production process depending on a variety of factors."

An inflexible customizer: It was a minimum 5 step process to order. It took a bit to get to the customizer in the first place. 3 steps into it, I find out Flickr isn't supported. And there's no way back, so I had to relaunch the customizer. After relaunching, I enter a flickr image url which doesn't end in .jpg. The tool refuses to acknowledge that this is an image and the image can't be uploaded until I backup, restart the customizer, and rename the image. Note I've launched the customer 3 times now. I doubt if I was paying for a skin that I would have hung around that long to go through this . I hope the folks at HP can check out a few other image manipulation sites for some easier ways of doing this ( is pretty nice to work with). Additionally, the customizer did not offer options for standard Apple laptop sizes, although they did have the iphone standards available.

Updates on my order: I received an order confirmation immediately upon placement of my order, which was great. The confirmation email said I would receive a later email. On 12/2, I hadn't yet received an update, so I emailed customer service. I received an email later the same day with the tracking number, showing the Skin had shipped on 11/25. Whatever happened to my shipping notice? Lost on the ether, I suppose.

Thanks to the folks at HP for sending me the sticker as part of the promotion on twitter!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frappr Map Widget

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Voyager 510

I really really like plantronics headsets. Really truly, even my Amazon review of the Plantronics Voyager 510 says so. I've been using plantronics headsets since I worked at the phone company 10+ years ago and despise other brands (for the record, I have no financial relationship with plantronics aside from sending them money once in a while to buy a new headset). I like the new headset so much so that recently when my office converted to VOIP I was over the moon excited to get my very own plantronics voyager 510 headset. I like our telecom manager. That headset they bought me came complete with a USB plugin to make it work with the VOIP. Sweet. That's my 4th Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headset. No, I don't have one in each ear and a failover backup. I have a beagle. I very chewy beagle, who finds nothing so tasty as a Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headsett. If they made these things in different flavors, like liver, bacon, or fancy italian dress shoe flavor, he wouldn't be happier.

He destroyed his 3rd one today. Normally, dog destruction is commonplace enough that I wouldn't bother blogging it. But today was an exception. After I kenneled the beagle to keep him from harm, I picked up the pieces of the headset and went back to work. C'est la vie, right? Then I got a phone call. I answered, but there was no audio on my handset. I heard a faint warbling from the bookshelf though. Could it be...? Yes, that poor little damaged plantronics voyager 510 was fighting its little blue-blinky heart out, struggling to produce the audio. It was actually working. And not in a cruddy, half-assed manner, but it was working well enough that the caller could not tell that their voice was being reproduced on a device that until very recently had been intimately and lovingly masticated by the lusty incisors of a very eager beagle. I finished the call, disconnected and thought about how hard it is to design a laptop that can withstand a mild drop, a camera whole lens resists scratching or a phone that can survive a bit of water. Kudos, plantronics, for building quite the rugged device.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fangirl Confession

On Saturday, I saw Whirled News Tonight at the IO theater in Chicago. For the 6th time. If you've never seen it, you're missing a great show. The shtick is: the audience selects articles which inform the improv scenes but do not confine it. As an example, an article about the shuttle astronaut's freeze-dried Thanksgiving dinners led to an improvised scene where the astronauts decided to return to earth briefly and unfortunately got the shuttle towed by an overeager police officer. But never fear if you missed it: they're on every Saturday, and podcasting now too. Though to miss the physical/visual side of the show is a tragedy - hey WNT guys and gals, how about a vlog? And Padraic Connelly is easily the most eager voyeur I've ever seen in an imaginary bowler hat. Improvisationally, that is.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mr. Tweet, the tall dark and handsome stranger

I signed up for Mr. Tweet by following @MrTweet on Wednesday night. By Sunday morning, I got my Mr. Tweet ejly report - kudos for the turnaround on a holiday weekend, Mr. Tweet!

Mr. Tweet accepts a request for a report simply by following them, and a short while later will follow you back and DM you with a detailed report suggesting people you should follow, and why. The report seems heavily tilted towards twitter celebrity on the first few pages. I skipped to the last page of the report and started working my way backwards. The report shows the profile information of various twitterers I don't currently follow, along with three additional data elements - reciprocity, updates, and followed-by. Reciprocity was a useful predictor of whether the twitterer would follow back if I followed them; I did follow 6 highly-reciprocal twitterers based on the report and will update soon as to followed back to see if Mr. Tweet's assessment of reciprocity is valid for me. Updates shows how many updates the twitterer posts per day. Followed-by shows how many people in your network follow that person already. The latter is the most interesting part of the service, in showing which friends-of-a-friend you should introduce yourself to with a follow.

One feature request I'd love to see in the future would be a way to tell Mr. Tweet which of the people you follow to use in developing their recommendations. My twittersphere includes, for example, people in Improv, people in Indiana, and marketing SMEs. If I'm trying to grow my base in one of those dimensions, it would be useful if I could have Mr. Tweet focus on that as well.

I have also sent in a request this morning to have Mr. Tweet work on a minor twitter account I set up. I'll be curious to see what that report looks like, since it is presently unassociated with any of the twitter elite. I suspect the recommendations may be more accurate. But patience is required; it will take 91 hours, Mr. Tweet just said via DM, for me to get my report on this account. That's ok; and kudos for DMing me to set my expectations.

For a more detailed review, see You Gotta Try Mr. Tweet by Mark Hopkins. And for more on twitter tools, see my post on Twitter Grader or my post on Twirvana.

Other twitter tools posts:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Twitter widget

    follow me on Twitter

    Other twitter tools posts:

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    Digg widget

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving

    If you are not meleagris, today is a day for celebration. We're having waldorf salad, mixed sweet-and-white mashed tubers, mushrooms, crustless pumpkin pie, cranberry salad, cashews, rye bread, brussells sprouts, meatless mince pie, and turkey - but we didn't win the turkey from a radio contest. This year, I'm particularly thankful for my friends and family. MWAH y'all.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008


    I started watching The Guild this summer after finding Felicia Day on twitter through the Dr. Horrible videos. The new series just came out and is off to a fun if slow start. If you're a gamer, I highly recommend checking it out. And to Billy, the punk who stole some of my AD&D books in high school including my personal favorite Ravenloft, I haven't forgotten about you. Perhaps someday Zabu may show up on your doorstep for retribution.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Why I'm not a stay at home mom, part VII

    We get home from the dentist, the boys get in a falling-down fist-fight over who is going to get the mail for me. B1's pants rip, B2 gets sent to a time out. I serve snacks, realize it hasn't been long enough since the fluoride treatment, and retract snacks to much kvetching. I step out to empty out the roomba dustbin, and get locked out of the house by B2 helpfully releasing the hounds. Tromp around in my dress shoes in the needs-to-be-raked yard until I can figure out which window has a kid behind it, and start banging. 

    B1 and I have a shouted conversation through the door about how yes, he isn't supposed to let  anyone in without me, but it *is* me, so he can let me in, even though I specifically told him not to let anyone in who claims to be his mother. I'm ready to compromise and walk back to the  doorwall so that he can get visual confirmation of my motherhood credentials when he caves and opens the door.  B2, in the meantime, has made a massive mess which requires major hazmat cleanup, so I handle that and get him in the shower where he is pruning up nicely now while I finish my lukewarm tea.  I've been away from the office for 3 hours and feel like I've scheduled a board meeting, adjudicated a war crime trial, negotiated my way across a picket line, and cleaned up a hazardous waste spill - when really all I did was set up a kid's birthday party, handle two rowdy boys, dealt with a lock-out, and sterilized a bathroom. It was definitely not on the agenda to clean a toilet today. Photo by Mecredis.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008


    I volunteer as a foster parent for HSI and today would have started week 8 of fostercare for Lunar, the bluetick coonhound. However, Lunar has found a home today I am happy and sad together. Lunar was very nearly a keeper for me. To try and get past missing him, I created a bluetick amoeba to evolve in Spore Origins.


    The Indyprov players were on stage today for family-friendly improv at the Second Story Playhouse. Next showing is Saturday 12/6, at 3 pm or 6 pm with a bonus workshop in between for folks who donate canned goods for Gleaner's - RSVP if you can make it, we'd love to see you there.

    Friday, November 21, 2008


    I attended an online social marketing webinar from Hubspot today regarding Facebook. They used Twitter to take questions. The experience was a tad bit omphaloskeptical, but I mean in a good way. I did learn about the Facebook Grader there, which seems like a nifty tool.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Telling Off

    There's a new article of mine today at Biznology: Are You Telling Your Customers Off? Do not reply emails make a bad impression. How do you feel when you receive a message from donotreply@....?

    image by libby.


    Chip asked today why Google didn't tell him he'd be getting the flu. Google can predict the flu. Unfortunately, they don't give personalized forecasts. Yet.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008


    Mobile Boarding passes are the first public application of the online-all-the-time smartphone feature to consumer convenience. It used to be that the price of using a coupon was the planning that went into making sure you had it with you beforehand. Now with that barrier evaporating, will coupons be making a comeback or will companies be reducing coupon values as redemption rates increase?

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Cotton and Campaigns

    1860s Cotton production and Obama campaign successes coincide.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Colts 33, Houston 27 in the Oil Dome

    Happy happy joy joy Colts win! I love that the play to seal the win was a defensive interception for the Colts. And I got to see it and photograph it from my seat behind the endzone.

    Saturday, November 15, 2008


    I'm happy that the Indy humane society's new policies are benefiting the animals.

    Friday, November 14, 2008


    We all know the BBC has a tendency to show reruns, even when we're begging for more Top Gear. But recycling 1,600 year old material about dead merchandise sets a new record.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008


    I'm getting a lot of useful stuff for a work project from Open Source Six Sigma.


    What type of user are you?

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008


    If you value freedom, thank a veteran.

    Time in a bottle

    This Veteran's Day, thank a veteran for all that makes you proud to be an American. United States servicemen and servicewomen answer a calling to service of the American republic, so that we who do not serve can live in peace. Whether we as individuals support the government policies or oppose them, I believe our support for the soldiers should be unstinting, and that the commitment doesn't end when the soldier leaves the service.

    Thanks Dad.

    I have a lot to be proud of this year, as an American. This election year was extraordinary in so many ways, and for me as a mother I hit a milestone of having 2 children who are politically aware for the first time. 4 years ago for the last presidential election, neither understood what was happening very well. This year, both boys were full of questions about the process, they wanted to know about the issues, and they wanted to engage with it somehow. We wanted to do something important, something significant and immediate, that could commemorate the historic political event. I brainstormed with them for a bit while we were discussing how that might happen, and we then decided to make a time capsule and seal it - not to be opened until the next presidential election.

    To start with, each of us in the family drew a flag. I had expected a few variations on the stars and stripes but instead they drew family flags, complete with beagles and coffee and bionicles. I then collected up some of the campaign materials I had available for the envelope and tossed them in. My elder son started a tic tac toe game challenging his future self; he made a move and now is eager to see if he can set a record for the Guinness Book of World Records for longest lasting single player tic tac toe game.

    We'll see in 4 years what has happened to our time capsule, our economy, and the American status in the world community. I'm proud to be an American.

    Time capsule photo by MShades.

    Monday, November 10, 2008


    I am very proud of my 4.0 score in The Eyeballing game.

    Saturday, November 8, 2008


    Indyprov onstage at Second Story Playhouse today at 3 pm and 6 pm.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008


    I'm launching today. Here 'tis. Consider it a beta.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    SETI@Home Classic Nostalgia

    Screen shot of SETI@Home (Enhanced 5.Image via Wikipedia
    How did a lot of people get their start in social networking back before facebook, twitter, friendfeed and blogs existed? They got their geek on and signed up for SETI@Home. The distributed search for extra-terrestrials was a watershed event in social marketing.

    In retrospect, the most interesting part of being involved in SETI@home was in being part of  a collective (and competitive) computing effort. I was a member of the "Friends of BALR" team which had a score that was impressive enough. Participating in this effort was a good preparation for engaging in other efforts, such as becoming a Wikipedia editor/contributor, or becoming part of a team of bloggers.

    SETI@home had interesting social networking aspects. You could track your friend's activity and ranking, à la Facebook News Feed. The competitive aspects caused participants to recruit others - so it had a viral, word-of-mouth marketing growth engine too.

    Consider also that SETI@Home had an estimated 4 million users 10 years ago who downloaded the requisite software; Twitter has an estimated 6 million users today by comparison. 

    What other lessons are there for social marketers to learn from former child-stars such as SETI@home?

    Postscript: I was #477 in the final tally of SETI@Home searchers in the Class of 5/18/1999 - I made the top 2% (for that day's class, which was day 2 of the public release, according to wikipedia's Seti@home article).
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    Monday, November 3, 2008


    See my blog for the latest post: Giveaway Carnival

    Sunday, November 2, 2008


    Why do you read? Twittermoms share some of their motives.


    DST still makes no sense.

    I still hate daylight savings time

    Again, I wake today afflicted by daylight saving time. The fall DST ending is at least a little less onerous than the spring DST beginning. But I'll still find myself wanting lunch at 10:30 am and having to leave for work in the dark.

    DST is basically a collective action motivated by a misplaced and unproven idea that we can save energy by making better use of daylight. In fact, DST is recognized as increasing energy use and costs. A new perspective on my aggravation at DST has emerged this election season as I see how very powerful collective action can be. A motivated group can have tremendous impact towards achieving a shared goal. What a shame that we waste that collective effort on something with so ambiguously beneficial as DST. What if instead we had a national event to "pick up one piece of litter" or "take a 10 minute walk"? We'd probably make a big change towards a cleaner environment or reducing American obesity with that effort - much more of an impact on those issues than we see on our energy use with daylight saving time.

    If someone could show me a well-vetted scientific study showing that DST actually did have significant quantifiable benefits, I'd line up and comply without complaint. But as with many lemming-like popular movements, DST has not demonstrated that it has a real, measurable benefit.

    Saturday, November 1, 2008

    Resources for Grantwriters on the Internet

    I was at an internet marketing conference recently, and during the trip back home I had the opportunity to mentally reminisce about my past online efforts and wonder how I got from there to here. One thing I recalled was the messy early days of internet article publishing; rather than using hyperlinks to send users to an interesting article, articles would be mirrored, or republished entire, at other sites. I was pleased at the time when a page I wrote for a class at the University of Michigan got picked up and mirrored at the University of Miami. It was pretty difficult then to even tell when this had happened. This was back in the days when Google was still in alpha, and the simple interface we love today wasn't available; if I recall correctly, my page was optimized for display in Lynx. There are still a few scattered links in dusty directories online: Indiana State, the University of South Carolina, and Valdosta State University still have the link. After a bit of digging around, I found some of my early html and thought perhaps, with the magic of google docs, I should repost it.

    So, from my own personal wayback machine, let's set the dial to February of 1995: Resources for Grantwriters on the Internet.

    Friday, October 31, 2008


    Thanks to Blogdesignblog I heard today on twitter about a neat concept proposed by fellow twitterer cwestbrook : How You Can Help End the Problem of Blogs With Great Content and No Readers. It seems like a complementary idea to crowdsourcing with a collective action twist; cwestbrook is looking to develop a horde of bloggers who will commit in serial fashion to reading a selected blog of the group's for two weeks, and then move on to another. This reminds me of crowdsourcing, but in a twisted way - perhaps it is sourcecrowding? Where instead of throwing a problem out to the receptive masses for a solution to be generated, the seeking masses go roving around looking for a place to contribute. Almost like following the grateful dead from venue to venue, but way more geeky, like halloween socks complete with red flashing lights.Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

    cwestbrook describes the benefit of this best in his own words:
    "Imagine how it would feel to have those numbers and those people looking at your blog after it’s been frustratingly quiet for months. It would be tremendous. That blogger would be permanently bolstered, and it would all be because of the strength of their content, and anything that allows bloggers that focus fully on content to succeed is great for the medium."
    I'm optimistic enough with a positive perspective on human nature to think this would be great.

    Round crowd image by alex itin.
    But those feet are all mine.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Cream filled center of the marketing éclair

    Yesterday I attended the American Marketing Association Conference on Digital Centered Marketing. It was a smaller group than attended the last such event on search engine marketing, but as such the group was very active and participatory instead of just being quietly receptive. That was pretty neat.

    Featured speakers included:
    • Bill Flitter, Founder of - Bill led a great discussion about how to leverage from one social site to another using connector sites, and explained persuasively why that was the right tact. He also provided an excellent case study re: Kryptonite locks and the power of social networks along with a very real dollars-based quantification of the impact. (One small criticism: his handouts made me feel a bit guilty - lots of 24-point font sentences on 66 pages of single sided paper. It presented well on screen but the handout wasn't designed as a handout, it was just a print of what was shown and not therefore as effective. I feel like I need to go plant a tree to make up for the gratuitous paper usage. Often presenters should consider providing multiple-slide per page layouts on double sided printouts to be more ecologically minded.)

    • Toby Bloomberg of Bloomberg Marketing - great material on how to sell what social marketing is based on building relationships. She covered the basic netiquette of getting started in the social marketing arena. One helpful take away she provided was information about corporate blogging policies; see her post on this, Corporate Blogging Guidelines for further info.

    • Dana VanDen Heuvel of MarketingSavant - Dana got closest to addressing the holy grail I was questing for by coming to the conference: how do I value social marketing efforts? Unfortunately, I don't think the medium is mature enough yet to start pricing it - or, the data is lacking for the analysis I want. Dana will be someone to check back with later though as I expect he'll take a swing at addressing this someday.

    I twittered the event. Here's most of my tweetstream for the Digital Centered Marketing Event, excepting those posts I forgot to tag. Quick twitter lesson for online marketers - use the hash mark and a phrase to tag your tweets to group them for later indexing. (Hey twitter or twitter-analogues I have a feature request: how about an auto-tagging widget tag summary type tool?

    • The conference today was good, the AMA gives good Hot Topics. Thanks to the presenters! #AMADCM about 2 hours ago from web

    • checking out #AMADCM about 5 hours ago from web

    • now in the lab portion, we're assessing how today's lessons could be applied tomorrow. #AMADCM about 5 hours ago from web

    • talking about the book Groundswell #AMADCM about 5 hours ago from web

    • Currently Browsing: http://www.digitalcenteredm... is the event website. I love electronic handouts instead of paper. #AMADCM about 6 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • I won a book in a corporate bingo - Citizen Marketers. So, now I have another book to review. Thanks Dana! #AMADCM about 6 hours ago from web

    • Ok, I can hook this site to that and the other for updates. But what if one hook goes under? Better to keep the hub in house. #AMADCM about 6 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • Social Marketing analysis of the Obama campaign - very topical insights, kudos Bill. #AMADCM about 6 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • how to use rss to tie all the social networking sites together now. Write once post many. #AMADCM about 6 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • thinking about product images on flickr and google images. How'd they get there? How do I get more up and promote the brand? #AMADCM about 7 hours ago from web

    • Anyone else remember the the kryptonite blogstorm? Makes a good case study. #AMADCM about 7 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • there is a fan for every product. But does it make sense that hot wheels has a market cap higher than GM? about 8 hours ago from web

    • wondering whether the wii internet channel will support ads. Hmm. about 8 hours ago from web

    • Bill Flitter, founder of pheedo now presenting #AMADCM about 8 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • wolfgang puck serves an awesome business lunch. #AMADCM about 8 hours ago from web

    • word of mouth recommendations from an person on the take is only 63% as effective as unbiased recommendations online. about 10 hours ago from web

    • Social marketing gives you answers to questions that you never asked. Yes, but how to separate the wheat from the chaff? about 10 hours ago from web

    • reviewing a recommended article #AMADCM about 10 hours ago from web

    • Now speaking at the AMA digital centered marketing conference: Toby Bloomberg of Bloomberg Marketing about 11 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • Over 63% of reviews on are positive. Maybe I shouldn't be so cynical. #AMADCM about 12 hours ago from web

    • A recent verified study for a Christian Women's group found only 3% of women age 33-50 were social networking. #AMADCM about 12 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • "We're in the beta economy." Awesome quote, given market conditions. about 12 hours ago from TwitterBar

    • doing digital centered marketing right requires a solid CRM strategy too. Well, of course! about 12 hours ago from web

    • there are 7000+ variations of the my coke rewards program emails, varied by behavioral heuristics. Dang. about 12 hours ago from web

    • Dana VanDen Heuvel of MarketingSavant is now presenting re: Assessing the impact of new media. I want numbers. about 12 hours ago from web

    • Jupiter research says: social network users are 3x more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising in purchase decisions. about 12 hours ago from web

    • Today I'll be live tweeting from the AMA conference Digital Centered Marketing about 12 hours ago from web

    • Awake in Chicago. about 14 hours ago from twitterrific

    I won a book in a corporate bingo (caught Bill saying 'target market' - ha! The book is Citizen Marketers by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba. So, now I have another book to review soon. Dana said they selected it as a good review of the evolution of the 'everyone is in the marketing department' idea. Thanks Dana!

    I learned of a bunch of interesting sites I will soon check out. Top on my list is the digital centered marketing event website. I am very, very impressed that this was available immediately after the event with the slides and references. There was some great discussion going on with fellow students in the class; I wonder if that discussion will be able to continue on the site?

    The majority of the sites discussed are bookmarked at And of course I will have to dive into their list of 24 books on digital centered marketing that they recommend.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008


    When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Choice Architect

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    My Grandmother's Chest

    When I was a teenager, I first noticed an old linen chest that my grandmother kept in the basement with a few potted houseplants atop it. The chest was interesting to be because of the elaborate combination lock on the front and the heavy solidity and history of it - I used to imagine that Houdini could have used it for one of his acts, had he been able to lift it. The wood is heavy, difficult to move around, and dangerous in that there is no guard to stop the lid from crashing down on one's fingers.

    Even so, I've always liked the piece and it has usually found itself in a prominent place in my home. Unfortunately, the damage to the wood veneer from Grandma's zealous houseplant watering left some unsightly blemishes which I covered up with a cushion. I always wanted to get it repaired, but estimates were way too costly and I wasn't sure who to trust with the piece. I have no other heirloom pieces, so if this one was lost or ruined I'd be out of my furniture heritage entirely.

    Fortunately, Paul at Paul A Howard custom furniture set me up nicely by upholstering the top with some nifty brass tacks adorning the new leather. It coordinates nicely with the house, and the leather is grainy enough that even with everyday use it should hold up well. Thanks Paul!