in SF

So the first day of the conference is gone - more on that in the next post. What an amazing city this is, too. Love the energy and relaxed vibe all in one package.

I'm on the tmobile wireless thing and it's giving me fits, so first I had to get some thoughts down on my flight into the airport and make sure the connection's working.

Coming in was one of the scariest landings I've ever seen, water everywhere and just as we're about to touch down, out of nowhere appears the runway. Impressive and frightening all at the same time.

The flight in general was one of those kind of quirky ones where you never really know if it's a sign your trip is going to be good or bad.

I thought about it as a bunch of little battles...
  • 7 ounces vs. 0.7 ounces: security guard was not amused I misread the "." on my shaving cream: whups
  • 23 sneezes by the 8 people around me vs. my immune system: no lie
  • my movies on DVD vs. the laptop: argh
  • the no seatbelt sign vs. my bladder: double argh

After settling in, one thing I'm thrilled about is the presence of Anchor Steam beer everywhere. I love going places with special microbrewed beers like Denver (Fat Tire) or Austin (Shiner) - even though I can get them in DC, it just tastes to much better in its home state.


round here

A combination of work schedules and life etc. have limited the posting here recently.

Hope to resume more writing soon, I just booked tix to the ad-tech SF conference, so that should serve as some inspiration. Anyone out there been to that conference before, or going this year?

video of the week

just mesmerizing.


videos of the week

Here are a few make-you-think-without-frying-brains-in-a-pan anti-drug ads from the ONDCP. W+K's above the influence campaign uses a dog to show disappointment with a pot smoker vs. a harder "this is your brain on drugs" message.

The campaign does work in different (better) ways than having a human read a scripted "don't do drugs" message into the camera - in a way the minimal cartoons make the situations more real because it's easier for the audience to relate.

They should start producing these videos in a longer-form version, too. The music is mesmerizing Sufjan Stevens-ish, and a powerful story could be developed as a 5-minute movie... just a thought.

Will this type of message work these days? Would like to know the effectiveness of the work in reducing marijuana use among teens, but it's probably too early to tell at this point.

Quite a difference from this type of thing:


ferry rides

This weekend I stupidly went up and over to Poolesville, MD to play some golf in the 20 degree (spring?) weather. A friend and I had coupons for a free game before April 15th that we had to use. We lasted 7 holes, the wind was bitterly cold. I've always thought that coupons end up forcing you to make not-so-wise decisions and sometimes spend more than you otherwise would, and this instance was no different.

The $6 spent on White's Ferry across the Potomac was well worth it, though... I wasn't expecting it either which made it more special. The directions I had pointed me to "White's Ferry Rd" but I didn't make the connection that there would be an actual ferry there. It was fun, the anticipation of getting onto the ferry after the previous cargo drove off, being in my car on the river, and driving off on the other side. Easily the highlight of the day.

on powerpoint

information aesthetics points us to a study on processing information by researchers at the University of NSW in Sydney. They've found that the brain processes and retains information better if that information is presented in either verbal or written form, but not both at the same time. Gives more credence to using image-driven presentations, with diagrams and visual representations of the words you're saying. Here's a quote:

"The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster," Professor Sweller said. "It should be ditched."

"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind & decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."