Friday, May 30, 2008

Links for 05-30-2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Links for 05-29-2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Links for 05-27-2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Links for 05-22-2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A PR Rant

It seems that, if possible, I'm getting more and more PR mail that, if not quite spam, certainly is starting to get in the neighborhood. I'm speaking of the press releases and PR missives that concern trivial announcements or events associated with trivial companies that are typically not even associated with anything I cover.

Let me give you a case in point. I'm not naming names because this is, unfortunately, but one random example among countless and I have no interest in embarrassing any specific individuals. (With the aid of Google, you can probably figure out the guilty party but I'm not going to.)

So let's start with the subject line.
ACME Recognized for Application Acceleration Innovation
Seeing that this is going to be about some sort of "recognition" or award has already started started my finger rapidly moving towards the delete key. Other leading candidates include CEO speeches, sales office openings, new Board of Directors members, random conferences, and new white papers on the company Web site.
I wanted to provide you with an update on ACME, a leading provider of solutions that accelerate dynamic web applications. Over the last week ACME has been recognized by three leading organizations for its innovations in the application acceleration space.

I don't especially care about accelerating dynamic web applications and I'm not sure what I've written or what it says in my bio that would make you think I do. But, then, it's hard to vet your list that carefully when this is doubtless going to thousands of your closest friends.

Most significantly, ACME received the Red Herring 100 Award given to the 100 most innovative private technology companies in North America by Red Herring magazine. Red Herring's annual list of top companies has traditionally identified new and innovative technologies and the companies responsible for them.

And this is the most significant? You see "magazine" isn't quite the operative word here because, well, there is no Red Herring magazine any longer. That went down last year. (In all fairness, because I am nothing if not fair, there is still an online edition but it's hardly the touchstone of high-tech journalism that it once was.)

In addition, ACME's BIT SCRAMBLER was named a finalist for the Best of TechEd 2008 IT Professional Award. The Best of Tech-Ed 2008 Awards recognize companies who offer innovative products in the industry. Winners will be selected by Window IT Pro and SQL Server magazines and announced at TechEd in June.

More magazine awards. Nothing personal, but I find most of these pretty bogus. I've even been involved in judging a few "Best of the Year" type things and I've found it all horribly arbitrary once you get away from products that have actually been hands-on comparison-tested. Oh, and I see they're just a finalist--which for all I know means they just entered themselves for the award.

Finally, the British Colombia [sic] Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) selected ACME as a finalist for the Most Promising Start-Up and Excellence in Product Innovation categories in its annual Technology Impact Awards, the premier awards program devoted to promoting and celebrating innovation and high-tech excellence in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Winners will be announced at the BCTIA's awards gala in June.

British Columbia is a very nice place. Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler--great destinations all. But with all due respect to my friends from British Columbia, now we're really starting to stretch. I'm sure the BCTIA awards gala is an affair not to be missed and all that, but--how do I put this nicely--did ACME really have to survive insurmountable odds to become, again, a finalist for this particular award?

I feel better now.

(Again. I have no desire to pile on this particular company. They're probably nice people, are kind to dogs, and may even make an interesting product. But this kind of email does not raise my estimation of them.)

[Update: And BTW. Unless our allies across the sea have invaded a certain South American country, I believe that the proper spelling for BC is "Columbia."]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Too much information is as bad as too little

There's a great point in this comment:

Not surprisingly, people develop strong filters for what information they're going to take in, let alone process. When you say oh it does no harm to provide people with more information, you're totally missing this. It certainly may do them harm, because, as a rule, all of our information bandwidth is presently occupied -- very few of us are standing around, in line at fast-food joints or not, wondering how we can find something to read or think about because our brain is just bored, bored, bored.

I ran into a situation just this weekend. My power went out Sunday morning. I have various outdoor cookery thingies out in the garage but that's sort of a pain. How about firing up my propane-powered stove? What could be the issue?  But the manual has this scary warning about NOT operating the stovetop.

I know the electrical spark thingies won't work but I'm OK with that. And the on/off lighting indicators won't work. OK as well.

And as far as I can determine those were the only reasons the stern warning was in the manual. Which decreases respect and observance for any other warnings that have a serious basis. Of course, many of the other warnings involve admonitions about warming up your gasoline on the stovetop and the like. Not that these aren't things to guard against but the conflating of the basic common sense with the the non-obvious but important doesn't do anyone a favor.

Links for 05-20-2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

New pics from Nevada

Earlier this month, I had a few days off between events in Las Vegas and San Francisco so I decided to rent a car and spend the time exploring some ghost town and semi-ghost towns in Nevada--as well as Great Basin National Park (the former Lehman Caves National Monument). My Nevada photos (99% from this trip) are in this Flickr set. (Photo on the left is from Pioche.)

Links for 05-19-2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Links for 05-16-2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Links for 05-15-2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Links for 05-13-2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Links for 05-07-2007