If It Ain’t Broke…

Courtesy AdAge.com – Twitter is raising a massive $100 million round of funding from seven sources, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Twitter, which has already raised $55 million, has become a valuable resource for brands, both big, national ones and local ones, and can act as both a broadcast and a listening tool.
View the full article at: http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=139265

My response (in apropos tweet format) is twofold:

What should Twitter do with $100M? http://bit.ly/F6MMX Don’t fix what ain’t broke!
http://twitter.com/larissayoung/status/4375704644

Twitter is a word-of-mouth communications tool & is fine as-is. You know who needs $100M? Poor/starving/sick people. NOT TWITTER.
http://twitter.com/larissayoung/status/4375730813

I realize that they are a business, and will need constant revenue. Let’s look at the basics.
First, on their website, they say, “Twitter has many appealing opportunities for generating revenue but we are holding off on implementation for now because we don’t want to distract ourselves from the more important work at hand which is to create a compelling service and great user experience for millions of people around the world. While our business model is in a research phase, we spend more money than we make.”

Compelling service? Yes, Twitter can be habit-forming. This is why celebs are tweeting about nothing (SOMETIMES IN ALL CAPS), pseudo-celebs are tweeting for stardom, marketing folk & social media gurus are tweeting about tweeting, and bored teens are tweeting horribly misspelled past lunch experiences. This is why iPhones and Blackberries mention Twitter in their 30 second ad spot. This is why businesses are creating Twitter accounts, this is why spammers are getting banned as fast as they appear, and this is why everyone thinks life is described 140 characters at a time.

This ties in with Marketing, which is pretty straightforward at the moment: Twitter (along with the various monikers of it) is a near-household name. People mock it, enjoy it, hate it, love it, but the popularity has skyrocketed.

Great customer experience? It’s a simple yet powerful platform for many types of people, so overall, yes. Except for when the Fail Whale appears.

Server/bandwith/hosting costs? Okay, that will need to be paid for. The service is currently not ad-supported, so perhaps small ads built into the web browsers could be something new, which might cover their cost on that if they cap it at 10 advertisers a year (for example). These would be prime/coveted positions, and also manage to be unobtrusive.

Employee pay? They have a small crew that seems to be productive and happy. Location, perks, benefits all seem to be good. It’s about what you’d expect from a small company, except that they have almost entirely changed the world of communication as we know it. (Hit up http://twitter.com/jobs for more info.) These guys came from Google, Blogger, Xanga, CNET, AOL, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and more, so you know they know what’s up – and expect/deserve to be compensated accordingly.

Looking past all that, Twitter is a small business with a huge current-event megaphone, and they’re doing well, so they do need revenue to keep going. That, I understand.

But $100 million? What are they planning on doing? I honestly hope it doesn’t involve trying to fix what isn’t broken. As much as all the social media folks, marketing directors, Google Gurus and trendy people want the extra bells and whistles, do we, the Normal People, the ones who helped make it what it is, really need all that?

Just leave it alone, Twitter. It’s fine. (Except maybe you could build a little habitat for the fail whale to hang out in, because he really doesn’t need to show up quite so often.)

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The Kindle

So.

Kindle.

I am not familiar with the history behind that name, or much else with that product besides it being an e-book reader. (Researching it will make me want one even more.) The response to this product has reminded me greatly of the thoughts from when mp3 players started to arrive on the scene. People really enjoyed the fact that they could carry their whole music library on a tiny portable machine and listen at their leisure. They kept buying CDs (many people still do), but mp3 players offered convenience.

The Kindle will never replace the feel of an actual library. Growing up, I had the pleasure of living nearby several libraries – beautiful architecture, high ceilings, a silence that was almost holy, and the calming sensation that only libraries can produce. There was something about all those books waiting quietly, sitting for years in sunlight and dust motes. The atmosphere bled knowledge, a pure sense of entertainment, and an almost Gothic tranquility.

These days, libraries are still pleasant places to spend hours browsing or studying, but the ones I’ve visited in California have lost something in translation. That sense of calm is still there, along with the nice touch of being able to read for free, but there is a definite lean towards a modern and more digital route. As nice as the Internet is, I honestly wish today’s youth was a little less technologically inclined.

For those of you who love books and libraries as much as I do, the Kindle appears to be able to bring the sensations home in a semi-convenient package. This would work very well for those with lengthy commutes (who are able to read and not get motion-sick), or those with casual desk jobs that want to catch up on their reading without having to always carry various books around. Yes, I understand you’ll still be physically holding something, but it’s different.

The only thing that worries me is the potential for ad intrusion. Once we move into territory where Kindle downloads are highly popularized we may start seeing things along the lines of “Download this free e-book, paid for by our sponsors”, and then have the print (on your screen) reformatted to fit various ads. Perhaps add in an extra page here and there that is a full-page ad. I know you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for), but these sorts of things seem to be always out there.

What prompted my entry was the following article on the NYTimes blog, “The Kindle Lets Amazon Make a Lot From the Few”.

They’re right: this definitely won’t overtake physical book buying, and I doubt libraries have much to worry about, it’s just – as they put it – the right product for the right customers. Now if only someone would buy me one so I can test and review it properly!

Parasitic Telepathic Octopii

Just wanted to let you all know that a coworker let me borrow Stephenie Meyer’s new book, “The Host”.

I’m about 2 chapters in, and my subject line seems to sum it up accurately so far.

It is late, and that is all. Tomorrow: more.

Pending, Indeed.

1. The American economy is indescribable.
2. I suppose Chris & Rihanna are relevant because if we take our minds of the insane economy, we need to look at someone else’s relationship instead of our own.
3. 1. Jessica Simpson isn’t fat, can everyone just shut up now?
4. Not just poor people should experience this.
5. Can I have a Kindle, but maybe not the super-expensive one that does the same thing but is a little less shiny? I’m okay with that.

In summation, the economy is insane (even though it really doesn’t feel like it to a lot of people), 15 minutes of fame is can sometimes be extended to 20, technology is advancing to a remarkable state, and the reason I haven’t blogged anything of worth in the past couple weeks is because searching for a house makes me CRAZY.

Teakettles, Vampires, and Anti-WSYIWYG

This is the ‘manic’ stage of my bipolarity. Despite dealing with (being bipolar) for more than half my life, that word still looks silly to me. Nonsensical. Still, there it is, and there I am. If you’ve followed my blogging for more than six months, you might be able to follow the stages – digressive, abrupt, link-filled during the manic times, perhaps with various illustrations or crafts, while the lower periods will tend to be short and cryptic.

As enjoyable as the productivity and elation of the extreme manic times can be, the fear of the inevitable downswing always dulls the excitement of Really Getting Things Done. It’s similar to (that classic story whose name escapes me) now, in which the main character could never really enjoy time off of work due to the inevitable return to his job.

Thinking now… my grammar and spelling are not perfect. My hands have crafted many a typo (though admittedly, I’ll do my best to avoid that), and occasionally – okay, sometimes more than occasionally – I’ll have to look up the proper spelling or punctuation marks. My (now-no-longer-secret) personal goal is to phrase my writing so as not to use the proper noun “I” so many times.

You know what used to be really fun for me? Diagramming sentences. Some people like football, some people like to split up the independent clauses and make cute little trees out of their words. These days, my ability to chop up a sentence’s structure (in visual form) is rusty, but the faint recollection is there. Oh Google-fu, come to the rescue!

Anyway, that whole bit was mostly just to say how much I completely abhor what younger people today have done to the English language. LOLcat is for macros, sarcasm is for flavor. Please check yo’self.

A week (or two?) ago, a programmer friend of mine mentioned Notepad++. I thought he was making a funny, “Uh huh, remember using Notepad in your Angelfire days, it went real well with that winged baby devil, hahaha, yeah, you call yourself a web designer, whatever Miss DREAMWEAVER 4, har har har.”

Days later I sigh, and admit to a total lack of knowledge in the coding department: http://notepad-plus.wiki.sourceforge.net/FAQ

Also… since phase 2 (/4) of the site I’ve been working on is almost complete, I’ve suddenly had a craving to learn code.
All of it.
This reminds me of the CollegeHumor video someone forwarded to me, The Matrix Runs on Windows.
“I’m going to learn… Ubuntu?”

Last week a coworker somehow convinced me to go see Twilight with her. Why, exactly, isn’t something I’m entirely sure of: thanks to The Internet!, a preview of the trailer was readily available and convinced me that bad, bad things were afoot. Note here (because it’s so awful I don’t care about spoiling it) – just stick with the books.
We’d devoured all four of the aforementioned books and though spending $$$ for a small popcorn, ticket, and bottled water wasn’t on my financial priority list, I somehow found myself in the theater, mentally trying to prepare for the flick that was ahead.

Two words: BAD. MAKEUP.

In the book, vampires are supposed to be basically… made of marble. Cold, pale, et cetera, and a major scene is how the main vamp sparkles in the sunlight. With all the money they raked in, I was thinking it would be a nice shirtless display of body shimmer and well done MAC.

Two more words: CGI TWINKLES.

My final verdict is that I feel bad for Pattinson, because it was cinematic garbage. I almost walked out, but at least got a good ab workout from all the laughing.

Oh, it’s not a comedy? …oops.

That’s about all you’ll get from me as far as an in-depth analysis or detailed review. If you’re really interested though, stick with the books, and stay away from the malls for the next month or two.

Here’s a little clip with Daniel Radcliffe talking mostly about Equus, and a little about how the teenybopper girls he knows are starting to really get on his nerves with their Pattinson-obsession.

http://twilight-movie.org/2008/11/28/daniel-radcliffe-talks-about-twilight/

Finally, since “Winter” is now upon us (quotation marks for the San Diegans in the room), I’ve been renewing my love for my favorite beverages – hot tea & hot cocoa!

Check out this neat tea maker/warmer from Adiago. It’s not my beloved Tassimo (yes, I still want it), but it’d be a nice consolation prize.

Chinese Democracy – Guns n’ Roses

More like a Chinese fire drill, I’m not impressed. Thirteen years, countless line-up changes, and this is what you have to show for it, Axl? It’s not all bad; there are several songs worth taking a listen to. However, most of the album sounds like 80’s hair music. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t G’n’R despise that particular style? By the way; the 80’s were two decades ago. Most of your listening audience is past that period – even the 80’s fashion return is on its’ way out.

I’ve read this review from the A.V. Club. Perhaps Mr. Klosterman has been drinking the G’n’R Kool Aid for far too long.

If it is true that Axl tried to jam every element of G’n’R into each song he didn’t succeed, and that is such a contrived thing to do in relation to being a musician. In an effort to make this record sound different from their earlier material Rose manages to create nothing more than a montage of cheesy sound. A couple examples of successful changeovers he may want to look at are The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” and The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” albums.

Delving into details, we have some guitar solos that do not seem fit with anything in particular, and Rose’s voice is unrecognizable until the 4th or 5th song. He wails and howls, but it doesn’t have the same conviction as earlier G’n’R offerings.

Too long between records caused too much hype. I’m just glad that I didn’t pay for this album.

To DK or not to DK…

That is the question. With the launch of WotLK a new class has entered the fray. Part Paladin, part Warlock, all bad mamma-jamma, the Death Knight.The DK starts out as a level 55 eliminating the process of leveling another ALT. They look cool, have a cool mount, and even travel with a little minion. I’m just not sure that I want to plunge in right away because everybody and their mother appears to be playing a DK.

Are you playing a DK? Or will you let the fad pass and play one at a later date?