Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kate is great!

Don't have much time this morning, as I'm off to Sacto for the California Democratic Party state convention, but I wanted to point to this post by Kate the Great in Canada. Be sure to follow her link to Steve Rubel's post too.

Yes, we've seen a HUGE uptick in women CEOs. Gosh, they now make up 2% of the Fortune 500 CEO roster. Woo hoo!

But Kate is looking at this stat in the context of her idea to host a BlogHer North (Toronto.) (Not that I think any BlogHer needs and excuse to want to throw a big ol' blogging party.)

Anyway. Start reading Kate. She's Grrrrrreat!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cross post: hip & zen stereo speakers?

Originally posted over at the hip & zen pen, but since it's more about how to communicate rationally with bloggers than it is about cool design, I thought it belonger here too.

I don't, as a matter of principle, like to blog after receiving some anonymous email pitch. Don't get me wrong: in my work as a blog marketing chick I often email bloggers and point them towards something I hope they will find relevant to blog about. But each such email is personal and absolutely on point. I email bloggers that I actually read, and I tell them exactly why I think they and the people who read them might be interested in what I have to say. Personal. Customized.

I got an email talking about some new speakers coming out from Infinity. Now I write for nine different blogs, so when someone writes and says they'd like me to write about something "on your site." I inevitably think to myself, "which one?"

This email talk a lot about the cool design of the speakers, and there was also an oblique reference in the mail to sustainability...that the parts were made from recyclable materials, not the usual vinyl and particle board. So bingo, I figured it was a hip & zen approach.

I went and checked out the pictures on the site, and sure enough, the speakers are quite hip. Too bad the pictures are in some embedded Flash media format, instead of actual digital pictures, because I would have been happy to show you what they looked like.

So. Why write about them at all if I'm going to be so cranky about it?

Because I am a kind kind person who hopes this publicist takes this in the spirit intended: you've got what looks to be a cool product. But you are the first impression of the product we have. Take just that little bit of extra time to personalize, and you'll get a lot more interest. Because I can tell you: if you think I'm cranky, you haven't talked to too many bloggers yet. I'm a pussycat!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Guy Kawasaki writes tech-rotica for marketers

OK tech marketers: Read this list of the Top 10 Lies Told By Engineers by Guy Kawasaki, and tell me you don't feel a little swoony.

Yes, even guy marketers...don't you fell like Guy gets you...he really, really gets you?

I have written about this a time or two before. Sometimes, and I know this will shock you, I even get a little snarky about it.

But snark aside, Guy nails it. I have heard every one of these lies. And more. Yes, "lies" is a strong word, and sometimes, to be fair, they don't even realize they're lying.

Oh and, yes, marketers end up telling do service reps, sales guys and executives. But for a brief shining moment Guy's post shone the spotlight on a group of folks who are usually only lionized by tech-ophiliac Silicon Valley.

I gotta go smoke a cigarette.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spoke at SLAC - alleviated fear of the Blog Police

Yesterday BlogHer buddy Evelyn Rodriguez and I spoke about blogging to the Women's Interchange at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator.)

Evelyn focused on the cultural phenomenon. I focused on blogs as an efficient communications tool. We made a pretty good team :)

Despite being a highly technical environment (Nobel-winning physics work goes on there) many of the folks in the room were not all that familiar with blogs. Funny how no matter the envinronment people approaching blogs do so gingerly and ask very simlar questions:

-Am I allowed to delete profane or pornographic comments?
-How much time does it take to blog?
-Do I have to post every day?

Somehow people have the impression that the blogosphere is this monolithic gain entrance you must sign in blood (or perhaps forfeit your first born child) that you will have an "anything goes" attitude and devote your entire life to your blog. If you fail to do so, some horrible fate awaits you in cyberspace.

They also think of most blogs as personal, sometimes also political, endeavors...not business, academic, or interactive endeavors.

It is always good to get away from the Web 2.0 bubble world in which I live and talk to other segments of the Valley. It's not just the cliche of our "mothers" that don't get the fuss about is also highly technical people who aren't in the Internet field.

Miles to go before we sleep.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Anyone else having trouble with Blogger?

Yes, I'm sure you'll ask what I'm still doing on Blogger, but as I am, the point is moot for today.

Today Blogger doesn't seem to want to publish anything.

We have this new bloggers' session at BlogHer entitled Blog in a Box. Given that the majority of attendees are not complete blog virgins, the skew of the session will probably change a bit to help bloggers who consider themselves rank beginners to take it up a notch.

I have shied away from shifting any of my Blogger blogs to another tool, convinced it will be miserable, risky, and disruptive to my readers.

I think the Blog in a Box session leaders could help people like me decide once and for all whether switching is worth it.

Given my publishing issues this morning, I'm considering it more than ever.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"What's that's not Burberry, what is it? Blueberry?"

The above quote is not a joke.

At dinner the other night with a very old friend he remarked that he felt very disconnected from what was going on in the U.S. He spent five years teaching school in Budapest, and when he returned he found that there seemed to have been a technological revolution in his absence.

Now this guy not a techie, so it's not like he was trying to keep up, but he does own and use a laptop, a cell phone, the Internet. He even has (and loves) his TiVo now.

But he feels that, in a way that wasn't true before he left for Europe, technlogy is now part of pop culture here. And that's when the above quote was uttered.

"What's that's not Burberry, what is it? Blueberry?"

"Blackberry", says I.

"Right, Blackberry.Well, it's referenced all the time...on TV, for example. And for the longest time I felt so out of it, I didn't even know what they were talking about."

I see his point: iPods, TiVos, Blackberries (Blackberrys?)

These are the "Kleenex" of the aughties.

To give credit where credit is due perhaps it started way back with "Xerox"?So, the questions are:

1. Do you agree that technology is newly included in the realm of pop culture?

2. If so, what do you think started it?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blog gives first-time author "hope"

Had dinner last night with one of my oldest friends. He is also a first-time author, having published and sold an impressive number of his teaching memoir, 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny.

The book has done quite well, but of course he wants it to do even better, thus making it easier to secure a second book deal.

He told me that he thinks blogging has been very helpful to keep the momentum going on his book. When he Googles his book he always finds new mentions of his book in some blog somewhere. So it lets him know that people are still buying and reading his book...and spreading the word.

He thinks it helps the book.

But he also thinks it helps the author. As he put it, "It gives me hope. Makes me feel like the book isn't dead."

Blogs giving hope to an emergent artist.

Not bad.

PS-yes I did tell him about the existence of blog-specific search engines which might make his hope-inducing ego-searching more efficient.)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Yes, cable is in denial.

Broadband Reports ask the question, but I've been giving the answer ever sine I left the cable industry.

Here are just 3 examples:

An open letter to the cable companies

Cable losing ground to DSL...well, duh!

Silly cable customer for you!

And bear in mind: I don't even talk about cable very often.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blog released by captors

Well, after three urgent emails to sales, support and the general info email, and after 2 frantic posts on their forums, and after several posts on a couple of blogs...oh, and after 6 full days...Lifli responded to my anguished cries for help about my personal blog suddenly held hostage by an invalid "trial version" designation.

They replied to my first email, had the good sense to apologize for the delay, and gave me a registration code that fixed everything.

Unfortunately for them my iBlog story is forever changed. While I used to talk only about how iBlog came along (via Apple) and got me really going on blogging because they provided that clean, easy WYSIWYG interface, now the story will evolve to include the fact that they are a really small company, not backed by Apple anymore really, and you sometimes take your chances on support.

Too bad really. But 6 full days. Come on.

Carnival of the Vanities is up at Fere Money Finance

Enjoy the rich diversity of the blogosphere at this week's Carnival of the Vanities.

Of course I'd point out the diversity, given that I submitted my post here about gender diversity at conferences. (Yes, I know, one of many.)

But seriously, at what other Carnival will you get one post about whether someone is losing their strength and independence by being "relaxed in the envelope of a man's love", and another post about applying for the appropriate home loan.

Only at the Carnival of the Vanities. You gotta love it. (Even if I know some of you prefer the more elitist approach)

So enjoy the chaos at this week's Carnival of the Vanities. :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Built Like a Woman. Thinks Like a Man."

OK, I just have to rant about a billboard I saw whilst in NYC making my way toward the airport and my way back home. It's been bugging me for a week now.

The billboard was an ad for talk radio's "The Radio Chick." Flickr has let me down, as I can find no photos of it there or via Google, but let me describe it. A woman from the waist up, arms folded in a "no-nonsense" stance, and she's got a bit of cleavage showing.

The billboard copy: "Built like a woman. Thinks like a man."

WTF? Can I tell you my head just about exploded?

Let's start with the fact that the word "Built" is right there at bust level on the billboard. Subtle much? Besides, are we really still using the word "built" to describe a great rack? Ha!

Now, is it only my socialization that led me to assume that by saying "Thinks like a man" they were trying to send the message that this woman, despite the overflow of estrogen that might be polluting her blood stream, still manages to rise above that to be rational and kudos to her? I don't think so. That is definitely one woman who felt she had to become one of the boys to be a successful woman. Even if that includes insulting the intelligence of every woman out there. I presume her radio station's demographic is about 99% 18-24 year old boys?

What surprises me more is that I can't find any other bloggers who have even commented on how offensive this billboard is. I only found this one. Right on sister.

Am I missing some other possible interpretation of this billboard.? Really. Please share if you can think of one.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blog Held Hostage: Day Two

More than 24 hours have passed and no one from Lifli has responded to my urgent message about my personal blog. They are suddenly asking me to pay for a new license key for the software. This is a software that was provided to me by Apple upon renewing my dotMac membership a few years ago. I've used it happily (and upgraded it regularly) since then, without ever encountering a problem. I received no communications that some change to my status as a customer was changing (nor, however, would I consider it fair, even if they had communicated with me.)

I've evangelized the use of iBlog to Mac users, especially beginners who want to get into blogging in a really user-friendly way.

I feel a tad betrayed right now. And like my 3-year old blog, which gets more traffic than any other blog I write, including this one, is being held hostage.

I also posted my problem to an iBlog Forum, and again no one responded in the last 24 hours. Although it's pretty likely that the moderators of this Forum aren't actually Lifli employees, I don't really know.

So what do I do next?

Frankly this is exactly the kind of little thing that gets my panties in a twist. This is exactly the kind of thing that would make me go to great lengths to avoid giving them the stupid $19.99 for a license...when they don't have any right to it.

What would y'all do?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I guess Mesh follows the O'Reilly 10% rule

Or, another example of why BlogHer won't be "passe" in my lifetime!

Billed as Canada's Web 2.0 Conference, Mesh wants to be hip, but sorry, I don't think any confernece that can only find about 6 slots for women in a speaking roster over 50 strong qualifies as anything but old-school, Web 2.0 or not.

Usually tech (read: O'Reilly) conferences trot out the excuse that they're looking for deeply geeky presenters, and while I would argue that deeply geeky women abound, I agree that deeply geeky men are the low-hanging fruit. Of course, I've already established that I believe it's the conference organizer's job to seek out representatives of diverse perspectives, not the other way around, but let that go for the moment.

Let that go, so you can check out Mesh's schedule.

Honestly, tell me you can't think of a prominent woman that could be on every single panel on that list. Look, I'm happy to see the 6 women who are there. They are all leaders. I checked out Mesh's site because of one of their women speakers.

But I'm sure not going to spend the money to go to it.

Look, BlogHer is right up front that our speakers are all women. We're bringing you the best and brightest women speakers we can find. Take it or leave it. If you leave it because of that, we'll own it.

So, if other conference organizers didn't think it was worth much effort to diversify their rosters, I want them to own that too. Just don't tell me they're not out there.

The Metro goes thru a re-design. There is now a Silicon Veggie page

Imagine my surprise when I went to go find this month's Silicon Veggie column to post, and found the Metro's site completely re-designed. Since earlier this morning, I mean!

There seem to be some glitches, since I keep getting asked for passwords, but nothing happens when I cancel out of the request, but it looks much cleaner and more professional. Better yet, they have created destination pages for regular me.

OK, so the name of the column is actually "Silicon Veggie", a play on the term "Silicon Valley", and they kind of ruin that by calling it "Silicon Valley Veggie", but who am I to quibble? I have my own page :)

Blog held hostage

Weirdest thing happening today.

My personal blog is published using a software called iBlog, created by a company called Lifli.

I downloaded iBlog about 3 years ago, as it was offered as a free benefit for getting a dotMac membership. It's a desktop application, which then publishes via my dotMac account.

Over the years I have downloaded upgrades without incident and have the most recent software release version (which was distributed in November 2005.)

I published a post as recently as yesterday, but today when I tried to publish one of my much-anticipated American Idol recaps, i get a message saying my "trial version" of iBlog has expired and I need to go to their site and purchase a license.


OK, so Apple introduced a new software app to enable easy blogging at MacWorld in January. Maybe Lifli is feeling a little pissy about it. But I don't think that gives them a license to suddenly require a new license from long-time users. Or to hold blogs hostage.

I am extremely disconcerted by this development. It's not the $20 they want for the application, but the fact that I don't get why they think they're entitled to it, and why they think they can just arbitrarily do such a thing without notice or warning.

This would pretty much define a boner customer service move, guys.

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