Perusing Amazon reviews, I came across this three-star rating for David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man.
If I had known this book was published in 1963, I probably would not have bought it. The fact that other reviewers called it a "classic" should have tipped me off.
I did enjoyed reading it, so much so that I read the entire book the same day I got it. I especially like his advice on how to choose an ad agency.
I imagine much of the advice is as true today as it was in 1960, but a lot of the advice is as dated as Ed Sullivan. It is left to the reader to decide what to ignore and what to cherish.
In case you're wondering, Aristotle fares well on Amazon. Maybe the secret is to get really, really outdated.
Friday, December 02, 2005
The Google Maps - RISK mashup has run afoul of Hasbro's intellectual property rights, it seems.
"OK, we don't want anyone to get hurt here. Let me see your hands. Now throw the gun on the floor, nice and slow. Now stand up and slide it across the floor. Throw that knife on the table. Now Peru. That's right, Kamchatka too..."
Thursday, December 01, 2005
All you Firefox fans can rejoice, for the fairly long-awaited 1.5 release is available for download here. Fore more information, see the release notes.
I'm sure by now most interested readers are aware of the new and improved features in 1.5, so I'll just round up my favorites:
* Reorderable Tabs. Dang, it's about time. Also, if your mouse has a scroll button, you can easily close a tab by clicking it. Nice and handy. Firefox was starting to seem too slow and inflexible for me, especially after testing out the developers release of Flock, which has both of these capabilities.
* Faster Browsing. Again, Firefox was feeling sluggish to me. With 1.5, I can't quantify it, but I do believe it's faster.
Least favorite features:
* Automatic software updates. While admitting that I don't fully know how this will work yet, anyone whose played in Firefox long enough knows that newer versions tend not to play well with certain extensions. Supposedly 1.5 has better extension handling, and shouldn't cause conflicts as in previous 1.0.x versions.
* Clear Private Data. Really, who needs one keyboard shortcut to clear all your private info? If you need this, you're probably doing something you shouldn't be!
For a complete list of all new features and bug fixes, see the Unofficial Firefox 1.5 changelog from Burning Edge.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Canadian business owners: Google Local Business Center is now available for Canada. Increase your chances of potential local customers seeing detailed info about your business: do this now.
Hot on the heels of Google's debut of the bewildering new Google Base service, Microsoft says it too is vying for the distinction of "eBay killer" aka "Craigslist slayer" with its own entree to the online classifieds business, codenamed Fremont. Say, haven't we seen this before?
Everyone knows Microsoft has a well-earned reputation of "embracing and extending" everything that was once cool, but do they have to be so blatant about it? I mean, come on! The paint isn't even dry on Google Base. Nobody really knows what Google Base is going to be when it grows up, and already MSFT is copying it! I guess they'll be eagerly watching base.google.com, and as soon as a new feature is introduced, Steve Ballmer will pick up the red phone and give a command to a thousand Indian developers to start coding!
Of course, Microsoft denies the me-tooism. In fact, they say:
"We started this before anyone knew about Google Base. Having seen what Google Base is doing, I don't think they were aiming for a classifieds service," Wiseman said. "They don't have a taxonomy of listings like we do. They see it as an open database."
Somehow I doubt the sincerity of their claims about the coincidental timing. And what's with the splitting of hairs about the functionality of Base? You know, if it walks like a duck...
And not to bash MSFT too much, but their homegrown search engine is almost a year old now. Wasn't it supposed to have dethroned Google by now? Or at least Yahoo? And where is it now? Still in the low teens in search marketshare. That doesn't sound like a very good investment to me.
Yahoo Avatars in your email interface: irrelevant diversion or "free prize inside"? Hard to say whether this is the kind of thing that's supposed to distract users from the fact that even a Yahoo employee preferred GMail in his review, or whether it's actually an advantage to tailor web offerings to the lifestyley crowd (translation: kids?).
As a client asked me pointedly this morning: "why's Google's stock so much higher valued than Yahoo's"? Hmmm. Fundamentals matter. Yes, sales and profits. But what underlies that, still: search engine usage market share.
More on that later.
But back to Zawodny's GMail vs. Yahoo Mail review. A direct quote: "I've decided to continue using GMail as my primary vehicle for sending and receiving personal email. A copy of everything still goes to my server (and then to Thunderbird) just in case." Surely this must be satisfying news to GMail's developers.
Monday, November 28, 2005
What does the founder of Craigslist do for an encore?
Craig Newmark, dissatisfied with today's fair and balanced mainstream media, starts an online journalism company.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Gord Hotchkiss jots down some amusing, if slightly unsettling, observations about the cult following surrounding certain Googlers at certain industry events.
On the one point, though, about a spammy page that was brought to Matt's attention, and it probably being penalized after Matt got a look at it... I'm puzzled. Is this how Google catches spam pages? If the attempt was clumsy and stupid, as Matt implied, how come it was ranking? Shouldn't Google's algo, not Matt, be the one to weed out the clumsiest black hat efforts?
Meet Google: the world's largest human-edited link collection. :)