What Winter Storm Pax Has Taught Me

Winter Storm Pax has taken the South by storm (pardon the pun). In Georgia, around 105,000 people were or are still without power. Over half a million people were part of the Southern black-out in Virginia, Albama, and Georgia in total. I am part of the fortunate few that does not have to wait until Saturday (February 15th) or later to have service restored. It’s been quite an experience!

image

It was scary at first feeling so isolated. Nights were cold and dark. Roads were blocked and there was not much to do. With no Internet access and limited cell phone service (and battery life), it was like a taste of the apocalypse to some. Sure, that may seem extreme but, in our connected culture, never underestimate the effects of isolation and doing things the slow way!

Three whole days of no power has given me plenty of time to reflect on a number of things. Part of me is disappointed power was not restored sooner.  I was caught in the midst of scheduling a bunch of posts and preparing some new shows. We had to cancel HorsePLAY! LIVE last night, which sucks, but we’ll bounce back!

Allow me to share some introspective and personal development tidbits…

Gratitude & Perspective

Like many of the folks in Augusta and the CSRA, I am grateful to have my electricity return.  It was easy to get bitter about being in the dark (quite literally) but when you think about all the engineers, police officers, fire men, and other emergency personnel away from their families for long stretches of time, a fresh perspective dispeled such angst. Some of these folks worked double or triple shifts to bring people back online quickly.

We all have had our own trials and tribulations to deal with during the aftermath of Winter Storm Pax.  Some have had damage to their homes and vehicles, others have had to deal with injuries and death. These realizations are humbling.  I am grateful now, more than ever, for what My family has and less worried about what we lack.

Without this perspective, it would be easy to be cynical or jaded. One could say the diligent efforts of Georgia Power and other companies was purely driven by self-interest; after all, getting customers back online ensures billability. On the flip side, we have already established the diligence and sacrificed required to restore electrical grids throughout the South. Let’s not forget the efforts to clear all the trees and roads.

As a whole, I think many of us focus too much on white whine and first-world problems. We forget how much bigger the world is and how fortunate we really are. Be wary not to develop a sense of entitlement, folks. Every day is truly a blessing!

My thanks go out to those facing the bitter cold and dangers while helping restore order!

Continue reading

Jackie Chan Is NOT Dead: Internet Hoaxes & Lazy Content Marketing

image

A few days ago, my oldest son told me Jackie Chan was dead. Naturally, my immediate reaction was great sadness and a feeling of immense loss. Like most other red-blooded males, I love kung-fu flicks and often annoy my significant other with them. I also love Jackie Chan as an actor, director, and person. That’s besides the point, though.. Jackie Chan’s death would be the worst celebrity loss since Michael Jackson, in my opinion.

There is an awesome success story too deep to discuss here (Wikipedia has a wealth of history and it is mostly on-point, if you are curious). My love for Jackie Chan runs pretty deep, and I don’t idolize celebrities like most. He possesses traits and core values similar to my own and, in many ways, I aspire to be half the man he is. Jackie’s antics, warm smile, and quirky personality are enchanting, as Guy Kawasaki would say. His sense of humor is tops, which is something my wife would say I lack, in spite of my own beliefs. *smirk*

Being a bit of a Jackie Chan fan boy, I could not simply accept this news at face value. A quick Google search for “Jackie Chan death” revealed that it was yet another Internet hoax. I was relieved and annoyed at the same time.

Are people so devoid of original ideas that their content must be limited to mere pandering and silly hoaxes/stunts? That’s a rhetorical question, BTW.

This is not by any means the only or last Jackie Chan Internet death hoax. It seems anyone who wants site traffic or attention simply panders by writing about celebrity gossip, famous deaths, and silly pop culture. Some may consider Jackie Chan’s sense of humor or comedy style rather corny or over-simplified.. But he is still far more entertaining than most online content today. Truth.

Sadly, there is more to this story. Part of the issues here is that social media and SEO will always be abused. That means there is a lot of junk and lies spreading around! I blame laziness mainly.

image

Continue reading

SOPA: Why And How We Can End This Internet Threat!

SOPA and PIPA aim to destroy the global economy, our freedom, and the Internet as we know it.

SOPA and PIPA aim to destroy the global economy, our freedom, and the Internet as we know it.

Do you consider the Internet an indispensable resource for personal and/or business purposes?

Well, SOPA aims to destroy the Internet as we know it.

Now, before eyes start to roll, know that political discussions and causes are not the usual fare on Y3B but this issue hits home for all of us, much like the SaveTheInternet (a.k.a. Net Neutrality) cause I promoted years ago.  In the United States, we take for granted just how good we really have it.  We have access to so many tools, games, and great information in our unadulterated Internet but not everyone around the world is so lucky.

Just look at China, where the Internet is all spin and lies.

In simple terms, SOPA serves small interest, not the good of the general public.  If nothing else, the proposal of deep packet inspection (invasion of privacy) and blocking on a link, IP, and domain basis is scary stuff.  This bill would give large corporations too much control over the Internet, while putting a great risk on our personal privacy and security.  Most sources indicate that the blocking would be strictly on a domain basis, which would not do much to curb piracy but certainly have an impact on the millions of businesses out there..  and the consumers that depend on them.

Note that, whether bans will be temporary or not, IP or domain-based, the impact will be great to not just businesses, but non-profit organizations that are trying to educate, provide aide, and the like.  SOPA and PIPA would not only be a greater blow to our struggling economy, but it will send the whole world into disarray at the cost of our freedom, no less.  All this to maybe dissuade some software and media pirates.

In other words, SOPA and PIPA are aimed at protecting intellectual property but are ineffective in doing so.  Instead, this will open the doors to poor business practices that will put our privacy, freedom, and livelihood at risk.  Seems like a high price to pay, eh?

SOPA no es bueno.  No me gusta.

I have a simple call to action here today: check out these links and spread the word.  Tweet about it, blog about it, post to Facebook or Google+, share via StumbleUpon..  Whatever works for you!  But don’t sit by idly as corrupt decision-makers try to control how we consume information, connect, and communicate, just for their personal gain!

  • http://www.copyblogger.com/sopa/ – This article provides arguably the most comprehensive look at why this issue matters so much.. and why we all need to take action.  Every effort matters!  Thank you, Copyblogger, for spreading the word on SOPA and PIPA.  You guys do such a great job and are a great hope to all us online entrepreneurial types!
  • http://americancensorship.org/ – An action center that aims to put a stop to SOPA before it goes up for “vote” on January 24th, 2012.  Even if you’re not in America, this issue has global implications we all should be aware of..  and it goes well beyond censorship concerns.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act – The Wikipedia document is contested as biased but it seems pretty darn accurate to me and there are plenty of other sources to check out so you can be more informed on the core issues here.

As you can see, just about any online entity sees the potential damage the passing of this bill would cause.  The Internet has been a great equalizer for small businesses, giving consumers more options than ever before.  SOPA would essentially force us to do business with and learn from only approved sources.

*** Important Dates ***

January 18, 2012 – Internet Black-Out SOPA Protest
January 24, 2012 – SOPA Gets Denied (With Your Help)

We MUST stop SOPA as it stinks like aged cheese..  and it’s nowhere as appetizing!

(BTW, I’ve already written Congress and tweeted about it..  But I know we can do so much more together!)

The Suit Does Not Make The Man/Woman

Straight from my page on Blogspot, home to more of my rantings and random blurbs…

Recently, I enjoyed a myriad of skeptical consumers that said that Wii’s would not be available until after the holiday season. I avidly disagreed and cited several reliable sources, including quotes from salespeople that could be trusted, which is something hard to do with your stereotypical salesperson, lawyer, or religious fanatic (sorry, it’s true). People huffed and scoffed at my liberal, idealistic ideas.

Fast forward just a few hours after the conversations tapered off and, lo and behold, people are coming out of major stores with what? Bags. What is in them? Nintendo Wii gaming consoles. Not only were there lots of Wii’s coming in today and still being put up on shelves in phases, but accessories were abundant. Sony really dropped the ball and I don’t care what S&M (sales and marketing, that is) goobledygook they throw at you, it was all part of some sad tactics. It failed miserably because now people are fiendin’ for the Wii more and more each day.

This just goes to show you that self-proclaimed experts, especially those that wear a suit or uniform, do not know it all. Just because you go to a gaming store and ask someone there about something does not mean that they will answer correctly or honestly. In fact, I’d say that these days incompetent people at the points of customer service are more common; they are the rule, not the exception.

There are a few reasons for this. Quite simply, people just don’t give a flying fart anymore. The passion and interest in someone’s area of expertise has taken a backseat to self-pity, apathy, and plain old indifference. Another problem is that people don’t know how to say “I really don’t know”. Last but not least, folks do not do their homework even though all you need to do is search the Internet and all the information is right there at your finger tips.

The uniformed retail experts are up there with paper-certified IT “professionals”. I scoff at them. Please don’t use someone else’s word as fact. Don’t be so naive. Because of the incessant insistence that there would be no Wii before Christmas, you all missed out on an abundance of systems today, BLACK FRIDAY. *shakes his head* Can I get a “pwnt” in the house? =oX

*** 10 Points, Yogi – 0 Points, Corporate America ***

UPDATE: Mind you, as much as I grow tired of stuffy suits and ties due to my bid in Corporate America (before I decided to fly solo), I do realize the importance of first impressions. Really, appearance is part of the complete marketing approach so you can’t forego formalities, even if you’d like to see a paradigm shift away from old money rules. It’s not just about looking good to feel good. You have to match your audience and show that you take them and your business seriously (a mechanic in an apron, for example, would likely throw scare you away, right?). The purpose of this article was to support the idea that looking the part is not good enough: you have to do your research and value your customers too!

For a good read on dressing to impress, check out JJ’s article on “Dressing To Be A Professional” at DogSpotOn.com – great read! She ruffles some feathers but really creates the urgency here.

Related Links:

Microsoft Brings Out SECRET WEAPON A: Holiday 2006 Price Drop

If you have been to any gaming site or checked out gaming-related videos online recently, the big word on the street was that XBox 360 units were going to sell for a super low $100 on Black Friday. The reality is that this sale is in actuality going to be in a few hours (Thanksgiving Day) so I hope I can help those looking for a good Christmas gift out by letting you know this is VERY much real and not a scam in any way. In fact, this item was so popular that it was voted the #1 deal on Amazon and is the very reason it is one of a few select items to be sold at a dramatically lower price tomorrow.

Heavy Weapon (Xbox 360) by PopCap Games
[ About this random Xbox 360 screenshot: this is Heavy Weapon for the XBox 360. A game developed in the spirit of games such as Contra, Tank Wars, Scorched Earth, Gunbound, and Worms Armageddon. The folks at PopCap Games have another winner there – yay for retro-style games that focus on replay value! Hello to John Vechey, Brian Fiete, and Dave Pardon, old buddies of mine over at PopCap. =o) ]

Continue reading