Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

28 May 2008

What the Hell is This?

Straight out of my inbox:

Somebody in PR put my figurative finger on Tori Spelling's pulse. And frankly, I'd like to have my hand back, please.

23 May 2008

On Fighting the Good Fight

I've stopped believing ... but I haven't stopped waxing.

Remember, soldiers: a haphazard appearance just isn't patriotic. Nobody gives gold stars* out for "Most Slovenly."

When last we crushed souls.


*Or promotions, for that matter.

lolscobles. Seriously.

The site linked below is a tastament -- whoa! -- testament to Robert Scoble's contribution to tech culture. But the million dollar question is, what is he always pointing to?

I can haz Scobles? (via.)

22 May 2008

So This is How Facebook Sees Me.

I was lying around feeling appalled and bitter about an ugly pair of shoes that Facebook apparently thought I'd find "hot," when I noticed a link marked "More Ads."


One compulsive click later, I found myself at the Facebook Ad Board. This fascinating page contains all the ads served to me at any given time, based on input from my profile.

Here's part of my Ad Board page.

Right now the ads are seedy and hit-or-miss, probably based more on my gender and age than any other unique details.

It didn't even get my alma mater right, which is embarrassing, considering Facebook once catered specifically to universities. (You'd think my choice of college is the one detail against which it could best serve ads.)

What beguiles me is the transparency of this ad board. It's probably a decent reflection of how well most websites interpret the information you provide. As your profile and the advertisers change, you can watch that interpretation evolve!

In the context of the "you-are-as-the-'net-sees-you" mindset, which is growing in popularity (and by its own definition, fast evolving into an absolute truth), it won't be long now before somebody can viably argue that you are a reflection of what the Ad Board -- any ad board -- serves you.

Is that what I want?

As a consumer, sure. By all means, ad guys, sharpen your targeting capabilities. Feed me cookies, track my eyeballs. Ads that I enjoy will improve my content landscape -- and generate more conversions for you.

Philosophically, however, I'm not fond of the idea. I don't like thinking that what I am -- all the AWESOME that is ME -- can be distilled in a lovingly-terraced product grid.

...but that's just a conceit, isn't it?

For the cult that believes we can only be defined by how others perceive us, it isn't such a big jump to assert "you are what Google says you are." And from there, it doesn't strike me as unreasonable to say you are defined by what you buy.

Or by the ads you click on.

All advertisers need are more sophisticated lenses.* Then, voilà: mirror to your soul.


*They're getting sharper by the minute. Read about Phorm, which works with ISPs to track all your online activities, creating a more accurate collection of your loves and hates than Facebook could ever dream of eliciting from you.

21 May 2008

On Being a Blogger

One of the weirdest things about being a stay-at-home "online publications editor" (a.k.a. "blogger") is you develop a warped relationship with The World Outside.

It becomes strange to meet people that aren't on Twitter. ("I've heard of that. What is it?")

Like a 16-year-old teeny bopper, your ears perk up every time somebody in a 500-yard radius mentions Facebook.

You find your relational skills wanting when people ask about work. But God forbid they venture to introduce advertising -- worse still, Google or Apple -- into the conversation. Like one of Pavlov's dogs responding to the dinner bell, you're suddenly frighteningly animated. Aggressive. Opinionated. Passionate.

And the problem is, nobody else will be. Because they have real jobs involving spreadsheets and mergers and affairs. They will observe you in polite interest, the way one would a monkey playing with its own feces, and tactfully locate the nearest exit.

All those topics that made you a charming college co-ed -- the opinions on Shakespeare, on socialism, on Adorno and jazz? Out the bloody window. (Where did they go?)

It probably doesn't help that you've come to think of showers as optional. You've also developed violent feelings about the consistency of morning coffee, and thrice-worn pairs of socks no longer strike you as dirty.

What's more, you've come to understand that the charming vices of writers in history were not idly cultivated. You, too, have begun to chain smoke and drink before noon, mostly to stave off the abject (but romantic) creative loneliness.

Every once in awhile you'll come across a grad school kid who goes, "What you do is really cool!" And then she'll embark upon some misguided rant about a paper that's due tomorrow. And you will glare. Because that paper-due feeling she so loathes? That is your life. Every. Day. FOREVER.

Once sufficiently alienated among outsiders, you gravitate to the nearest computer, or whip out your BlackBerry and compulsively check email in an effort to look busy.

Congratulations: you have become the walking, talking, less interesting shadow of your website.

19 May 2008

What's Your Incontinent Underpants Style?

The above Target ad recently appeared on my friend's site Girls are Strange, shortly after she blogged about her newfound talent for changing toddlers' diapers without yakking.

I think it's brilliant. Not just because each one of the "incontinent pants" look the same. Something about the way they're rumpled in front strikes me as genius.

18 May 2008

The Best Pitch I've Received All Weekend

Assuming that's what it is.

editorial请 各 用 工 单 位 查 收,谢 谢!

(国 际 认 证/全 球 通 行/雇 主 认 可/联 网 查 询)(国 际 注 册 人 力 资 源 管 理 师)

***《 新 法 新 政 下 的 招 聘 体 系 建 立 与 面 试 甄 选 技 巧》高 级 认 证 班 ***


2 0 0 8 年 6 月 1 3 -- 1 4 日 (深 圳--名 兰 苑 酒 店)

2 0 0 8 年 6 月 2 7 -- 2 8 日  (上 海--金 水 湾 酒 店) 

*课 程 特 色

全 面 系 统 地 介 绍 当 代 人 力 资 源 招 聘 的 核 心 技 术 方 法;紧 密 结 合 企 业 招 聘 过 程 中 所 面
临 的 关 键 问 题,从 有 效 性、实 用 性 角 度 提 供 解 决 方 案。本 课 程 以 现 场 实 操 为 导 向,课 程 中
设 计 相 当 数 量 的 案 例 剖 析 和 学 员 互 动,帮 助 学 员 掌 握 招 聘 选 拔 的 关 键 技 巧,运 用 课 堂 讲
授、案 例 分 析、实 操 练 习、角 色 扮 演 等 方 式,通 过 大 量 实 战 案 例 点 评 启 发 学 员,促 进 学 员 思
维 观 念 的 改 变,引 导 行 为 技 能 的 提 升。授 课 风 格:案 例 丰 富、轻 松 诙 谐、互 动 性 好,在 生 动 性、
实 用 性 与 启 发 性 上 有 较 成 功 的 结 合,确 保 其 所 学 能 直 接 用 于 现 实 的 招 聘 工 作 中。

*培 训 目 标

◆ 学 习 国 内 最 先 进 企 业 的 招 聘 体 系;

◆ 学 习 招 聘 的 基 本 流 程 和 组 织 管 理;    

◆ 学 习 结 构 化 面 试 的 方 法 和 技 巧;

◆ 学 习 招 聘 的 流 程、方 法 与 控 制 要 点;   

◆ 了 解 PDP 测 评 在 人 才 甄 选 中 的 技 术;

◆ 学 习 招 聘 成 本 控 制 与 招 聘 效 果 评 估 的 方 法。

*学 员 收 益

通 过 培 训,学 员 掌 握 有 效 的 招 聘 组 织 管 理 与 结 构 化 面 试 的 技 巧,熟 练 掌 握 面 试 的 关 键 技 巧,
以 及 失 误 规 避 的 方 法。从 而 建 立 好 适 合 本 企 业 的 招 聘 体 系。

课 程 大 纲 curriculum introduction 


一、新 法 实 施 后 对 招 聘 工 作 的 影 响
---新 法 实 施 招 聘 如 何 适 当 管 控 成 本;
---新 法 实 施 考 察 环 节 之 重 要;
---签 约 前 应 明 示 哪 些 职 责;     
---新 法 实 施 后 试 用 期 的 管 理。

二、招 聘 规 划 策 略
---广 告 策 略
---通 知 复 试 应 注 意 的 要 点
---确 定 招 聘 的 六 个 维 度
---职 位 分 析 的 架 构
---案 例 分 享:某 跨 国 公 司 职 位 说 明 书 样 本

三、明 确 企 业 的 招 人 标 准
---通 过 职 位 分 析 确 定 岗 位 职 责 及 能 力 素 质 要 求(KSA);
---制 定 岗 位 的 胜 任 能 力 模 型(competence model)
---案 例 分 享 世 界 500 强 企 业 最 看 重 的 能 力 素 质 模 型
---以 K S A 及 胜 任 能 力 模 型 确 定 招 聘 测 试 的 内 容 与 方 法;
---演 练:拟 定 一 个 岗 位 的 招 聘 广 告

四、结 构 化 面 试 的 流 程 及 前 期 准 备
--何 为 结 构 化 面 试;
--最 有 效 的 行 为 逻 辑 面 试 (BBSI)流 程;
--布 场 与 考 官 必 备 材 料 准 备; 
--面 试 官 的 培 训 与 资 格 认 证;
--演 练:拟 定 一 个 网 络 工 程 师 岗 位 的《招 聘 维 度 表》
--案 例 分 享:Intel 独 特 的 招 聘 面 试 制 度

五、如 何 有 效 识 别 和 筛 选 简 历
--对 求 职 简 历 信 息 的 规 范 管 理; 
--如 何 高 效、准 确 地 筛 选 大 量 简 历;
--解 读 简 历 与 虚 假 信 息 的 识 别; 
--演 练:审 阅 一 个 技 术 岗 位 的 简 历

六、面 试 经 典 问 题 类 别 及 实 施 技 巧
--引 导 式 问 题(渐 入 佳 境);    
--行 为 式 问 题(穷 追 猛 打);
--案 例 分 析:这 个 面 试 官 的 问 题 有 效 吗?
--智 力 式 问 题(暗 藏 玄 机);    
--动 机 式 问 题(意 欲 何 为);
--虚 拟 情 境 式 的 问 题(身 临 其 境);
--案 例 分 享:Intel 对 应 届 毕 业 生 的 提 问
--压 迫 式 的 问 题(兵 不 厌 诈);   
--面 试 问 题 的 信 度 与 效 度 检 验;
--面 试 者 要 给 应 聘 者 多 大 压 力
--如 何 合 理 安 排 提 问 类 别
--案 例 剖 析:宝 洁 公 司 的 经 典 八 问 
--专 题:如 何 测 定 应 聘 者 的 情 商
--演 练:运 用 结 构 化 面 试 技 巧 招 聘 一 个 职 员 和 一 个 总 经 理 助 理。

七、面 试 过 程 控 制 及 常 见 误 区
--面 试 过 程 不 同 阶 段(开 头、过 程 及 结 尾)的 控 制 重 点;
--面 试 官 有 效 倾 听 的 技 巧;  
--面 试 官 的 招 聘 中 要 注 意 的 细 节
--回 答 薪 酬 问 题 的 技 巧
--如 何 识 破 应 聘 者 的 谎 言;  
--如 何 回 答 应 聘 者 的 疑 问;
--避 免 应 聘 材 料 的 误 导;
--案 例 分 享:国 际 猎 头 公 司 对 一 个 技 术 服 务 岗 位 的 面 谈 结 构 表

八、PDP 人 才 测 评 技 术
--如 何 使 用 面 试 评 估 表
--人 才 测 评 的 基 本 概 念;
--三 种 测 评 的 实 务 讲 解 与 演 练;
(1)公 文 筐 测 评
(2)霍 兰 德 职 业 倾 向 测 评
(3)PDP 测 评
--如 何 运 用 PD 建 立 任 职 资 格 模 组;
--如 何 利 用 PDP 进 行 候 选 人 排 序 选 择; 
--PDP 样 本 解 读
--案 例 分 享:一 个 企 业 的 PDP 招 聘 甄 选 方 案

九、招 聘 面 试 评 估 与 优 化
--招 聘 面 试 评 估 的 要 点;  
--如 何 提 高 面 试 官 的 "命 中 率";
--面 试 评 估 过 程 中 常 见 1 0 大 误 区 及 避 免 方 法
--招 聘 管 理 体 系 的 优 化。


主 讲 :阮 哲 林 老 师(香 港 培 训 认 证 中 心 高 级 讲 师)

世 界 五 百 强 企 业 管 理 咨 询 专 家、资 讯 1 0 0 高 级 培 训 师、MBA,曾 工 作 于 国 有 企 业、美
资 企 业 及 多 家 民 营 企 业,担 任 过 培 训 经 理、人 力 资 源 经 理、总 监 多 年,积 累 了 比 较 丰
富 的 管 理 工 作 与 培 训、咨 询 经 验,亲 自 面 试 的 人 员 过 万 人,培 训 过 的 公 司 上 千 家。以
中 国 古 典 哲 学 思 想 结 合 多 年 的 外 企 管 理 经 验,研 发 出 一 套 独 特 的 人 力 资 源 管 理 系 统。

培 训 课 程 主 要 特 色:依 托 于 多 年 的 管 理 工 作 背 景 及 管 理 培 训、咨 询 经 验,并 结 合 相
关 的 管 理 理 论,在 众 多 的 具 体 案 例 分 析 中,使 课 程 翔 实 生 动 - - 既 能 调 动 学 员 积 极 参
与 的 兴 趣,活 跃 气 氛,又 能 使 学 员 在 短 暂 的 交 流 中 有 所 收 获 。

课 程 主 要 特 征:理 论 知 识 + 案 例 分 析 +分 组 讨 论 + 情 景 模 拟 + 互 动 游 戏

主 要 培 训 课 程:《新 法 新 政 下 的 招 聘 体 系 建 立 与 面 试 甄 选 技 巧 》《 团 队 建 设 与 有 效
沟 通 》、《 非 人 力 资 源 经 理 的 人 力 资 源 管 理 》、《 人 力 资 源 系 统 建 设 与 统 筹 管 理 》、
《 领 导 科 学 与 公 共 关 系 》、《 如 何 为 员 工 规 划 职 业 生 涯》、《 招 聘 甄 选 技 巧 - 经 典 六 问
慧 眼 识 才》等。

服 务 过 企 业:

金 融 行 业:人 民 银 行、浦 发 银 行、中 信 银 行、金 融 联 等。

通 讯 行 业:广 州 移 动、深 圳 电 信、长 通 科 技、络 道 科 技、天 音 通 讯 等。

连 锁 经 营:HANSOM、 贝 利 斯、皇 朝 家 私、中 联 集 团 等。

综 合 行 业:三 星 中 国、华 润 集 团、康 佳 集 团、先 科 集 团、 嘉 里 集 团、南 海 油 脂、石 化 集 团、
安 琪 集 团、建 设 集 团、雷 士 照 明、康 美 药 业……

*主 办 机 构:HKTCC

*费  用:2000 元 / 人( 包 括 培 训、培 训 教 材、午 餐、以 及 上 下 午 茶 点 等 )

*学 员 对 象:企 业 总 经 理、副 总、各 部 门 经 理、主 管 相 关 负 责 人、人 力 资 源 经 理、招 聘 人 员等

*注:企 业 人 力 资 源 经 理 带 团 队 学 习 效 果 更 佳。

备 注:

1.认 证 费 用:480元/人(参加认证考试的学员须交纳此费用,不参加认证考试的学员无须交纳此费用)。

证中心HKTCC”《 国际注册人力资源管理师(人力资源方向)》职业资格证书。


[深-圳-咨-询-电-话] 07 55 - 83 90 59 59 ,,83 90 59 69 李 小 姐

[上-海-咨-询-电-话] 0 2 1 - 51 69 25 36 , 51 69 25 38 蒋 小 姐

[深-圳-报-名-传-真] 0 75 5 - 83 90 59 69

[上-海-报-名-传-真] 0 2 1 - 51 69 25 38

【报 名 流 程 】 电 话 咨 询 -- 索 取 报 名 表 -- 填 写 报 名 表 -- 回 传 给 主 办 单 位


{ 报 名 回 执 }

填 写 完 毕 后 请 传 真 到:<>


其 余 的 事 情 全 部 就 交 给 我 们 来 做,谢 谢!

付-款-方-式(请选择打“√”): □1、现-金 □2、转-帐 □3、电-汇

请-您-选-择-参-会-地-点:(请选择打“√”)□上 海 □ 深 圳

#参-会-单-位-名-称:__________________________________ 参-会-人-数:_________人

#参-加-课-程:《 新 法 新 政 下 的 招 聘 体 系 建 立 与 面 试 甄 选 技 巧 》


#参-会-费-用 ¥:______________元

#参 会 人:_________所-任-职-务:__________移-动-电-话:_________ 邮-件:__________

#参 会 人:_________所-任-职-务:__________移-动-电-话:__________邮-件:__________

#参 会 人:_________所-任-职-务:__________移-动-电-话:__________邮-件:__________

#参 会 人:_________所-任-职-务:__________移-动-电-话:__________邮-件:__________


1。请 您 把 报 名 回 执 回 传 我 司,为 确 保 您 报 名 无 误,请 您 再 次 电 话 确 认!

2。本 课 程 可 根 据 企 业 需 要 组 织 内 训。

14 May 2008

In Case You Hadn't Noticed...

The One Show Festival is over and I'm back in Ithaca, nesting.

The ad ceremony/party posts:

- The student competition (SpOnSoReD By DoRiToS!!!). I did get links to the winning student work, which I have yet to incorporate in the post
- One Show Interactive (professional photos hither)

The speaker coverage:

- Jerry Della Femina
- Brian Collins

Highlights: meeting very cool people that I didn't want to spill drinks on and laugh at, seeing Della Femina and Collins at close range (although I think I put Collins off when I told him he had "neat glasses"), and seeing my favourite ads (IN GIGANTOR-VISION!) win well-deserved awards.

I didn't get that whole Halo 3 "Best in Show" thing, but apparently my 19-year-old sister Meia loves them. Her gushing went something like this: "They were amazing! They made the struggle" (struggle?!) "seem so real. Oh and all my friends bought the game."

Like they weren't gonna buy it anyway.

I did, however, think Projector's UNIQLOCK campaign totally deserved "Best in Show" for the Interactive ceremony. It blew me away. Then I spent, like, 15 minutes trying to show Benj why I thought it was so cool and he just wasn't sold.

His reaction: "Is that the time in Tokyo? Oh. All right, I've seen enough."

13 May 2008

The Needle or the Pipe

Last month the CW decided to pull episodes of Gossip Girl off the internet, arguing it cannibalizes the network broadcast. What a backward and stupid thing to do.

That kind of behaviour punishes people for evolving. It also betrays a lack of creativity. But worst of all, the CW is suggesting TV and the internet cannot viably coexist.

One day these platforms will merge. Until they do, there is room for both: each boasts a benefit the other currently lacks. People with the money and the choice will, more often than not, opt for both.

Accenture's Global Broadcast Consumer Survey recently found that consumers are loyal to favourite programs regardless of medium. At this point in the development of media -- where new shows are online and on TV, but streaming broadcasts are generally a day late -- how consumers want to experience their vice (pipe or needle?) will determine how they consume it.

For the latest episode of a favourite show, or maybe just for an undemanding escape, they'll turn to television.

To fill holes in the plotline (that is, to watch extras or episodes missed) or research past seasons of a show they're thinking about following, they'll turn to the 'net.

Benj and I follow Lost and Desperate Housewives with the perseverance normally reserved for cause-oriented marathon runners. It was a pleasure to find we could stream them from the 'net because it meant we wouldn't need to get a TV.

Two weeks ago, while I was away on business, Benj bought one.

"It's just for DVD watching," he said casually. "Don't you think it'll be nice to have a big screen for movies?"

The logic made okay sense. To celebrate, we had a Lord of the Rings marathon with a friend. The bigger screen definitely brings new dimensions to Hobbiton.

The week I left for Manhattan, Benj suggested we get cable.

"Why do we need cable?" I asked, perplexed. Online TV aside, we have whole seasons of shows we haven't even begun watching.

"Because then we can watch new Desperate Housewives episodes THE NIGHT THEY AIR instead of the next morning!" Benj said brightly. "Come on. It's only $15 a month."

I'm still not sure why (curiosity? His daily harangues?), but I ultimately gave in. Since then, it's impossible to get our asses of the couch. I have never experienced anything as magnetic as TV -- with the exception of the internet, which has rather lost luster now that I depend on it for financial survival; and my BlackBerry, which feels more like a leash than a Pandora's box of vice-ridden treasures.

On TV, even the ads are more exciting.

We're back to where the spendy advertisers want us, thanks mostly to the internet. So who says the 'net and networks can't survive in tangent?

*I think I'm sort of into Tyra. And Benj? He's definitely into Oprah. His word for her show, uttered fresh today, was "soothing."

08 May 2008

Halo 3 Won Best in Show, and Then I Had Epilepsy

As posted on Adrants:


The One Show ceremony took place last night and I Twittered like a woman on a suicide mission (or at least a "lose-all-my-followers" mission).

Highlights of the show: the ads were incredible! The King made a speech! Sometimes Tom Papa was funny!

The event kicked off with the first-ever One Show People's Choice award. If you loved BBDO's "Muffin Top" spot for Lifesavers, rest assured the rest of the world did too.

One Club president Mary Warlick approached the podium to honor the contributions of Hal Riney and Phil Dusenberry. Their tribute videos were reflections of my childhood: these men were behind so many of the ads I grew up with. It's a strange feeling to miss people you've never met.


Moving forward:

HBO/Voyeur won a butt-load of honors, repeating its victory streak from the One Show Design ceremony.

Whopper Freakout was also recognized, scoring gold for the Integrated Branding category. In total, BK got two Gold Pencils, one Silver and "Client of the Year." The King came up to absorb the accolades and broadcast his victory speech, an unexpected surprise that got me all excited and out-of-sorts.

See specifics for what Voyeur and Whopper Freakout won at MarketingVOX.

I got excited near the end, because stuff got really good for TV Spots under :30. Fallon's Bravia Bunnies and Cadbury Gorilla got Bronzes, as did the Coca-Cola Balloon ad that lit up the Super Bowl.


Silver winners were almost too awesome to stand: "Dangerous Liaisons" for Levi's (BBH), Skittles' "Touch" (TBWA\CHIAT\DAY), and that hilarious CareerBuilder self-help spot. I was like, What could top those?!

I don't have an easy answer for that. Because can you honestly say you're wild about "Believe"?

Let's hope so, because that same Microsoft Xbox Halo 3 campaign walked away with "Best in Show." And, well, I walked away with a bad case of WTF?!?!-face (which looks something like this).

Read about the judges and other Pencil recipients at the One Show website.

07 May 2008

One Show: W+K's Kevin Proudfoot Talks Intimacy


One thing I love about the One Show speaker sessions: they're only an hour long. And because the speakers want to show off their advertising, they have to be brief where actual talking is concerned.

Between ESPN and Nike plugs, Wieden+Kennedy's Kevin Proudfoot shared five guidelines for establishing intimacy with users. Intimacy, he imparted, is key to brand success.


1. Let the person know you're thinking of them. This is a touchy-feely way of saying you should consider the user experience before launching something. How can you make their lives easier or get them to laugh?

2. Talk directly to them. Don't address people from on high.

3. Enable and encourage them to be themselves. A brand or product should let people reflect themselves. Examples include iGoogle's customizable layout, customized Nikes, flickr, blogging, Facebook, Starbucks (Proudfoot says it conceived the notion you could be a "grande vanilla latte" if you wanted to).

4. Avoid schizophrenia. "This should really be 'multiple personality disorder,' but 'schizophrenia' looks better on a slide!" Proudfoot joked. Polite titters. The moment passes.

It's hard to be intimate with a brand that's all over the place, so commit to who you are and what you represent. Not to suggest a brand can't say many things. Proudfoot says to consider GEICO, which runs disparate campaigns with success, but only because those efforts are true to GEICO's core persona.

Think of everything that leaves your walls -- and even the things that don't -- as an opportunity to reinforce. "Every PR that goes out is an expression of the brand," said Proudfoot.

5. Encourage the other person to participate. For client Nike, W+K distributed little boxes of street chalk -- in "Lance Armstrong" yellow -- to Tour de France spectators. Users were encouraged to write encouraging messages to Lance all over the streets.

Proudfoot said this was a good way to incorporate Nike in the Tour de France without paying sponsorship dollars.


Because these tips were inspired by Dr. Phil, Proudfoot closed his session by making the audience repeat a statement out loud: "Every relationship needs a hero!"


I left with that awkward feeling you get when somebody you don't like "that way" tries getting all personal with you.

Before Hanging Yourself with that Apple Extension Cord, Consider the Park Lane


I think I'm on suicide watch at Helmsley's Park Lane Hotel.

Somewhere around Madison and 28th St., I contemplated this while absorbing the sight of the NesQuik rabbit, whose gentle invitation to "come to your happy place" seemed to exist just for me.

Everything that happened leading up to Park Lane death watch:

I woke up early today, had breakfast and plugged in my computer. One cannot eat if one does not work; and one cannot work if one does not Twitter.

That's when -- heavens above! -- my trackpad and its clicky button thing stopped working. There was a quiet moment of panic. Then I swallowed what remained of my Belgian waffle, packed my things and hauled ass to the Apple Store.

Some backstory: After attending the OneClub student exhibition last night (to be covered in one of my next posts), I returned to my hotel via subway and noticed with vague interest that I'm right across the street from the Apple Store.

"Neat," I said mildly, even though -- having spent about a quarter of my soul's value on a Macbook Pro last year -- I never planned to walk into an Apple Store again.

"Hmm," said the guy on the other end of the Genius Bar, who blew a little air between the buttons and examined the computer with friendly apathy.* "I'm not really sure what's wrong with it. You're gonna have to turn it in for repairs."


He cocked an eyebrow at me. We tried plugging in a mouse; no dice. If I get Pro Care, he said, maybe I can get my computer back in 24 hours.

We stood there while I contemplated the end of my career. I thought of all the news slipping by me, all that typing I'm not doing, and felt myself get all clammy.

"So..." I said. "What if I turn this in and get, like ... a Macbook Air?" For the time being it seemed to be the only solution, plus I kind of wanted to try one anyway.

The suggestion turned the Genius into an veritable faucet of Macbook Air laud. "I love mine!" he gushed. "I bring it everywhere."

"Do you pack it in an envelope?" I quipped, to which he immediately shouted, "GENIUS! THAT. AD. WAS. GENIUS.


"Every time an envelope is placed anywhere near a computer, there goes more brand recognition for Apple," he bragged. "And you know what else? Now OTHER companies are trying to stuff computers into envelopes. They're all saying, 'Mine fits in an envelope too!' but what they're really saying is, 'I can be just as good as Apple!'

"Apple IS THE STANDARD!" he bellowed.

I thought it might be best to grab a computer and GTFO. So I did. And I tried to be casual about it, but the thought of how much time I was losing (10 minutes until the newsletter deadline!) made me all panicky again. And I hated how, so soon after getting my Macbook Pro, I was once again dropping another two grand on some Apple "necessity."

It was kind of an emotional catastrophe.

On the way home, some other lame stuff happened involving my Verizon wireless card, which I don't really want to get into but which felt really last-straw-on-the-camel's-backish.

I got to the hallway of my hotel when my electronic key card stopped working and then something weird happened: big, deer-sized clown tears started rolling down my cheeks. I felt like a leukemia poster child who'd lost her puppy.

That's when the maid came.

"Oh my," she said. "Oh my."

She dashed over, grabbed my head and buried it in her big maternal bosom, which smelled like carnations and fresh linen.

"Let it out, sweetheart, let it out," she said in thickly accented English. Other guests inched by us, looking awkward.

"He hurt you, didn't he," she crooned, lifting my face toward hers. "You've been hurt."

"Uh-huh," I whimpered, because the actual story seemed too complicated. (In retrospect, senior copywriter Edward Herda observed that I had, in fact, been hurt by a man.)

"You don't cry anymore. You go in and lay down and don't cry," the maid said.

Oddly, the waterworks stopped the second I shut the door behind me. I powered up my swanky new laptop, got to work, and fielded a call from the Park Lane's head of security ("Just checking up!"), as well as a personal visit from the head of housekeeping, both of which gave me their names and numbers and asked me to call if I need "anything, just anything at all."

I later related this story to Diane Stefani of The Rosen Group, which does PR for the One Show Festival. She gave me something between a disturbed and amused look, then introduced me to the OneClub people and other news writers -- two girls that flew in from India and Germany, respectively.


We all shook hands and smiled, then I went back to my hotel where I found my room had been cleaned -- again. A small pyramid of chocolate mints sat resting by the bed.

What thoughtful people.

I'm tempted to ask for free wi-fi, but I don't want to seem pushy.


* I am actually being really rough on this guy. He spent a lot of time on my issue, trying different tactics and consulting with other Geniuses, and he truly couldn't work out why the trackpad had gotten all late-bloomer on me. I feel grateful, despite that contrasting totally-broke feeling.

03 May 2008

The Verdict's In: Ruby on Rails is Not Scalable. For Twitter, Anyway

Any hardcore Twitter user will tell you that for all its merits, Twitter's got reliability issues -- especially during periods of high demand, which isn't conducive to growth.

And apparently it's all Ruby's fault.

Following the departure of Blaine Cook and Lee Mighdoll, word has it Twitter will be abandoning Ruby on Rails.

TechCrunch says it'll be starting afresh with either PHP or Java.

When I attended the Ruby Conference last year, this was the big enthusiastic takeaway: "RoR is great for development!" But the lingering question was, "Is it scalable?"

Nobody had been on Rails long enough to know. Pro-Rails devs could only surmise. Most, including Blaine Cook, argued yes.

Michael Arrington writes:
Rails has always bred controversy. Developers have argued that it is fundamentally flawed and unscalable; others have argued back saying the opposite. Earlier this year, one of the core community members and creator of the popular Rails web server Mongrel abandoned rails and trashed the community.

I don't really know if the underlying architecture is Twitter's core problem or if there are other, more philosophical issues brewing back there. For the company, the immediate goal is to create a reasonable degree of stability for users. (Maybe then it can try making money.)

That won't necessarily be easy, considering Twitter's userbase is uniquely sensitive to site hiccups of seconds or minutes.

The good thing about switching to something like PHP is developers have more experience scaling it. So provided Twitter can transplant -- or slowly replace? -- two years' worth of infrastructure without a hitch, its long-term outlook looks less murky.

From a creative perspective, the departure is disappointing. In a way, Twitter is Ruby on Rails' first mainstream success. It's the true test of whether RoR is a legitimate architecture for enterprises, and not just geeks with discretionary time.

Still, the conservatism behind the approach makes sense. I like RoR and all, but if you're a company on a growth spurt whose top architect just exited stage left, this is a bad time to be playing Mad Scientist on a framework nobody really gets.

02 May 2008

Dynamic CV

For a few months I've been bouncing the idea of a "social media biography" around in my head. Imagine knitting a perusable patchwork of human experience (à la Griffin and Sabine), using random blog posts, vapid PR headlines, Flickr images, appropriated advertising and tweets.

Dos Passos had a bit of it going on with his "camera eye" concept, and Douglas Coupland kind of did it with Microserfs and Jpod.

I got excited enough to get off the couch and run over to the computer, where I opened a TextEdit window and just stared at all that white for a long time.

It occurred to me then how ambitious this would be. Parsing out Twitter stream-of-thought? Burrowing through email -- most or all of which Google has encouraged us never to throw away? Excerpting from a panoply of personal and professional online websites -- not to mention all my compulsive handwritten scribble? (Big Moleskine user.)

Not to mention the IM logs! The Gchat files! The social network comments and the memes! Getting it right would take forever.

I feel like my Human Experience -- that thing we work so hard to distill -- is leaking onto every open surface in throwing distance. The idea of trying to make it all linear, making it narrative, seems totally unreasonable.

Well, about as unreasonable as tax time. Or directing a Fellini film.

I feel like I need a library index. "Perception of life as RSS feed," located at LU050208. "Philosophy on benign sustenance" at TW043008. "Issues with cereal," TW043008, cross-reference to XN043006.

I was spouting anti-cereal propaganda this same time two years ago! That's the kind of thing I want to highlight and underline. Because yes, it's lame, but isn't it also kind of amazing? We evolve, we change so much, but some part of us we don't even pay attention to remains fundamentally the same.

01 May 2008

Natural Born Killers

My landlord has this theory about men and women. It follows thus:

Men who obsessively code, and do so in lieu of playing sports, are trying to satisfy a testosterone-driven need to prove themselves the Alpha in their peer groups. "It's like, 'Look what I've accomplished!'" he explained.

And to satisfy some deep inner urge to hunt and kill, women go shopping.

"Shopping?" I was skeptical.

"You mean to say you don't think shopping is a form of hunting?"

There was an elongated, awkward pause between us. I tried to visualize Red Tag Day at Nordstrom.

"Angela. I've seen PUPILS SHRINK in little old ladies." His voice was getting shrill.

"So what you're saying is, we feel a primal need to hunt ... so most of us go shopping?"


I like the idea of having a carnal hunt-and-kill streak. I considered other scenarios in which I may be said to manifest a desire to tear the legs off a jackal with my jaws.

"Okay," I said.

To illustrate this post I tried scoring an image of a predator killing a gazelle in mid-flight. But all I could find was this neat shot of a tiger playing with piglets. It was too good to pass up. Here you go:

Crisis of Cool in Aisle 6

So today I was at P&C, a bunk-ass grocery store I intensely dislike, examining the contents of some peanut butter Nature Valley bars.

I heard a familiar tune overhead and shook it off, but it seized me like the plague and wouldn't let go. As it rolled to the vocal I went, "OMG! That's Sufjan Stevens."

I was ridiculously happy for, like, two seconds, and then I remembered I am in the same store that periodically plays "Heal the World" and "Unbreak My Heart" back to back.

A chill shot down my spine and attacked my tail bone. Does this mean Sufjan Stevens has ceased to be awesome? Could it be possible there's something wrong with me?

Dilemma. I left with a gigantic bottle of V8 and a box of overpriced Luna Bars (who takes EACH BAR out of the BOX and charges the per-item price?! This would never happen in California), feeling damp and conflicted.

One Show Events Calendar Goes Live

Ning, the platform we used to build AdGabber, has this new Events feature that lets you post happenings and solicit RSVPs.

I spent most of the morning posting the major One Show stuff I'll be attending next week. Take a look.

Hopefully I did it all properly, but to the untrained eye it looks like spam central. Also, I made no differentiation between cocktails, ceremonies and after parties. Just kind of mashed it all together so an obscure event like "One Show Interactive" appears to last from 6pm to the wee hours.

Will probably fix it sometime before next week, but right now the prospect terrifies me. Steve is planning to put a link to it on Adrants so others can either Plan Accordingly, or just Observe the Lame.