Allow me to toot my own horn... The trade magazine advertisements that I make for our company received the highest awareness ratings in our size category (1/4 page) for 2005. We even beat out some 1/2 page and 1/3 page advertisements from companies ten times our size. All of this without using an outside marketing agency! It helps that we advertise our prices in big huge font, and follow lots of Ogilvy rules.
That being said, work has been pretty slow for me these past two weeks. I think it might be because I am eating so much - trying to gain weight. It makes me very, very tired in the afternoons - hard to focus.
Last Monday, US Helicopter launched service from New York City Wall Street heliport to the American Airlines terminal at JFK Airport. The less-than-10-minute trip in an S-76 costs $139 one-way (increases to $159 on May 1) and allows passengers to bypass traffic and security procedures at the airport.
A few facts about Direct Mail will follow.
Direct mail returns an average of $12 for every dollar spent.
98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it's delivered.
Postcards are 8 times more likely to be read than letters.
These notes are a few days early, because our family is going on a cruise next week. We will be aboard the Carnival Miracle, a fairly standard huge cruise ship with an upgraded balcony room. I'm excited, because I have never been on a cruise before, but I have also heard that cruises are a little ... how do you say ... crowded and tacky. So I read a great book about the cruise industry called Devils on the Deep Blue Sea and it really helped me to understand how much of a cash cow this industry is. I can't wait - I am really excited to check out the money machine first-hand. And, even if it is tacky and filled with drunks, I can't complain because the 'rents are paying for it, right?
Last night's Mates of State concert in Athens was great. I was a super-fan and sang along with most of the duets. I even made a sign for one of my favorite songs - La'hov. Here is how it all went down.
Nick Gray (holds up sign halfway through show)
Jason Hammel - Do you see that sign? Kori Gardner - What sign? (looks at my sign) Jason Hammel - That's a really good sign. Nick Gray THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG!! Jason Hammel - Oh, wow - we haven't played that song yet on this tour... (looks at Kori) Should we? Kori Gardner - We might mess it up. Nick Gray - No way!
And then they played it, I and went crazy like Donkey Kong. I mean, crazy like a 13 year-old girl at a Hillary Duff concert.
For my favorite picture of Avril Lavigne, click here.
Here is a list I am compiling of ways to say What's up? or How's it going? in different languages.
- Polish: Do widzenia?
- Arabic: Ki feq?
- Thai: Wong ay?
- Chinese: Ni how?
- Spanish: Que pasa?
- Hindi: Casay ho?
- Gujrati: Sue che?
- Marathi: Kasa kai?
- French: Ca va? If you know any more, please leave them in the comments!
Quotable... "If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower
The crisp new SED TVs that we saw at CES 2006 from Canon and Toshiba have been delayed 18 months due to yield difficulties in manufacturing. I think that means they are too expensive to produce.
I had a bad experience at an Atlanta Bread Company located in a strip mall on State Bridge Road in Alpharetta. The cashier was slow, the menu was ill-conceived, and they even charged me $.25 for a small side of peppers. Be warned: All franchises are not alike.
Last October, John Kerry's old campaign charter plane (a private Boeing 727 corporate shuttle) was taxiing in San Antonio. The plane no longer had any Kerry affiliation - it was a private jet company running some company execs out to the West Coast for a charter. Anyhow. A tug came up and asked if they needed a pull out to the runway because the pilots had turned too far at the end. Pilots said no, they would use jet thrust to move themselves. So they reversed with thrust, but when they applied forward thrust it blew down two huge hangars and seriously injured (nearly killed) somebody inside of the. Pilots continued flying to LA. That's the story of how John Kerry's old campaign plane nearly killed somebody last October.
Remember - The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill. Or Earth, for that matter.
First launch of SpaceX didn't go as planned - they had to destroy the rocket after about a minute of flight due to an engine fire. Bummer - details
Reminder - Mates of State in Athens at the 40 Watt tonight, then Friday here in Atlanta. I really like their music, it is a personal thing, your mileage may vary.
Some friend shout-outs... Congratulations to my sister Emily, who got a nice Leadership scholarship from Southern Methodist University a few weeks ago. She visited the campus on Friday and they actually had a tanning pool. How crazy is that? Also, congratulations to my colleague Jay, who finished 4th place (age group) in his first triathalon. There was a 400 yard swim, 11.5 mile bike ride and 3 mile run.
Lots of travel in April. We are taking a family cruise down to Belize, then spending a week in Palm Springs, California for an industry trade show.
Bollywood movie - I rented Yuva, which was the third movie I have seen by director Mani Ratnam. The stories in his movies are really great. Eight out of ten stars. This was set in modern day Calcutta, about students who get involved in politics and about the hitmen who do the politicians dirty work. Very modern and very good.
Trying to keep up my habit of only reading Flickr on the weekends, maybe I will also try limiting my casual Bloglines usage. I will be a strong time manager on the computer.
The fam plus about five of Emily's friends went up to a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend. It was a nice break - there was a small boat that we all enjoyed, as well as a fireplace.
Light news this week, sorry... Hoping to really crank it up at work.
I am considering a Ricoh CL7200D printer for our office.
Update 8/3/2006 - I bought one! We have had our printer for almost five months and average about 5,000 color pages per month. The printer works great with thick (24lb and up) paper and I am very happy with the low cost of toner. Continue reading the comments at the bottom of this page for more information.
While researching reviews on-line, I happened to find a Usenet post by someone who had purchased a CL7200. I emailed the author to ask how he liked the printer, and this was his answer. Hopefully it will help someone else searching for information on the Ricoh CL7200.
Not entirely happy.
I bought it for one major project, and for that one it put out excellent
high resolution color on 11X23" paper using the postscript driver. The
PCL and RPCS drivers don't color match nearly as well, and the output is
sub-par compared to the postscript.
So long as the printer prints well using the PS driver, I don't need the
But lately I have been having color registration problems.
And the most frustrating problem: Using the postscript driver I can't
predict what color will result when I place color text over a dark
background in Adobe InDesign. For example, if I place orange type and an
orange rectangle over a purple background, the rectangle prints at the
specified orange color and the type prints at a very pure yellow, not
nearly the same.
The only way to get around the problem that I have found, after much
searching online and much dropping of forum requests, is to convert the
type to outlines. Once they are converted to outlines, they print orange
-- but then they are no longer editable text.
The problem exists even if I output the InDesign file to a pdf. If I
convert to outlines the pdf prints color accurately; if I don't convert
to outlines the pdf prints unpredictably off-color text.
Ricoh support has been no help at all on this issue. I sent a test file
to Ricoh and to my printer vendor. The vendor experienced the same
problem on the same model printer; Ricoh reported there was no problem
when they printed it. Very frustrating. They passed the hot potato off
to a local hardware tech, but in a phone call we both agreed that there
was nothing he could do: the machine hardware can print orange and all
the other colors fine; it's the software drivers or the firmware that
are screwing things up.
I recently bought some coffee from McDonald's. It was really great. One impressive thing about their coffee cups - McDonald's uses 1/8" thick styrofoam cups wrapped in a four-color glossy paper print. This leaves the cup feeling very, very sturdy. A revolution in consumables! I was really impressed by the cup and the coffee.
Some American pop music today is totally pornographic! Just an observation.
From a recent article in Business & Commercial Aviation magazine, written by a pilot of a Global Express (Bill Gates has one of these private jets). Their crew had just shuttled around the chairman of an anonymous company to four cities - Hong Kong, London, back to Singapore, then Rome - in just six days.
I smile when I hear people describe corporate airplanes as a "perk." They're the same type of perk as e-mail, easier than writing, but try doing business without instant communication. Large international companies pay for everything you've read about here in less than two minutes of operations. Any one of those meetings in any one of those countries could generate enough income to fund the flight department for over 100 years. The truth is that corporate airplanes let you do more business. That's all. If you're not doing your business correctly, you'll lose money faster with a jet because you do more business badly.
I have had the most fun at old school-type hip hop concerts. I should really make an effort to go to some more. I have a hard time dancing to anything else because the beats in old school hip hop are pretty deliberate and easy to follow. This is an example of a random thought that I can write on Monday Personal Notes. For good, decisive and intelligent writing - go somewhere else. For consistent updates on my life, stay tuned.
Haven't practiced much Hindi lately. I rented Maine Pyar Kiya and watched it with Greg on Saturday morning after our ritual 8am IHOP breakfast. It was generally entertaining. Cute story that featured sometimes ridiculous moments of escalation - mutlub (meaning), a peaceful party would turn into an all-out gang war after only two phrases exchanged by rivals.
On Saturday afternoon I went to Piedmont Park for the first time. It was pretty cool - like a small version of Manhattan's Central Park right in downtown Atlanta. There were thousands of people. Suha pointed out that most of them were either drinking beer, holding hands with a man or walking a dog.
Later that night we went to a bluegrass ballet performed by the North Carolina Dance Theatre at the Ferst Center. It was bluegrass music that ballet-trained dancers performed to. Really, really cool.
Sunday afternoon featured another beautiful bouldering session at the top of Sawnee Mountain Preserve. I even had a small audience of little kids and worried mothers for a few minutes. Note to self: My cardio is terrible. Need to jog more.
Alright, that's it. Special shoutout to Meg in Portland who corrected me on my use of for all intensive purposes for all intents and purposes. Getting corrections from friends is sometimes painful, but a healthy process overall.
Update: Corrected the Bollywood movie title that I rented on Saturday morning, Maine Pyar Kiya.
I worked until about 6:00pm on Sunday and when I went outside it was absolutely beautiful. The air smelled pretty, the lighting was great, etc. Bollywood movies must be turning me into a romantic or something.
From an industry magazine that we get at the office...
When Dassault Aviation began designing its Falcon 7X, which is scheduled for certification late this year, engineers found themselves in a darkened room, wearing 3-D glasses and using joysticks to manipulate aircraft images on a 10-foot screen. The French manufacturer figures the technique cut some $300 million from development costs. Boeing has since bought Dassault's software for use in designing its 787 Dreamliner.
The new Buffett Berkshire report is out, you know where to find it. Huge gains for Berkshire Hathaway, and guess who their big loser was in the portfolio? NetJets, the biggest fractional private jet company in the world. Go figure.
My dad reminded me of a joke - How do you make a small fortune? The answer is, Start with a large fortune and then get into the aviation industry.
I wish I had more to say this week. Last week really flew by. We got a Xerox C2424 network printer at the office, but we are going to return it. It uses solid ink technology that is hard to explain and slow to warm up. Otherwise the output look nice and it prints very fast. If I had another $1000 in my hardware budget I would get the Ricoh CL7200D.
I noticed something about the working tourists that are so plentiful here in Georgia. ("Working tourists" = illegal immigrants) The thing that I noticed is that they buy a lot of stuff, especially packaged beverages. For example, at the RaceTrac gas station in the morning, it is swamped with Hispanic guys buying Doritos, Red Bulls, donuts, Hawaiian Punch, etc. Every guy that buys coffee pours - I am not joking - at least ten tablespoons of sugar. And then at the gym yesterday, I saw two guys drinking Sobes and Gatorades while they were lifting weights. Everybody else in the gym pretty much brings recycled bottled water. No complaints, just a dumb observation - but I am glad to see the money going back into our economy.
I am being billed $1.99 for three instances of Mobile Content from the Mobile Life content provider. I think I am getting slammed for these charges. I have no idea what this is!
My phone is a Danger Sidekick II. I do not use ringtones or wallpaper, and all of my data charges are inclusive of my monthly bill.
I have tried three different times to refuse these charges on my bill, and T-Mobile just says it is impossible to get a refund. Furthermore, all three T-Mobile representatives that I spoke with had no idea who the Mobile Life content provider is!
Update 1 - I called T-Mobile again and they had this information.
Mobile Life is a third-party company. To cancel your premium service with Mobile Life, send the word STOP to this number - 21277. You can call them on the phone at 1-888-880-7577 (DISCONNECTED) or visit www.mobilelifestyles.com
Update 2 - I have reason to believe that Mobile Lifestyles, dba Mobile Life is a TOTAL SCAM. Buyer beware! These charges are nearly impossible to get reimbursed, and T-Mobile claims that they have no way to stop the charges. What a crummy billing system!