We’ve Reached “Peak Messaging”

As the quintessential early adopter and a propoent of creative disruption, I never thought I’d find myself saying this: when it comes to messaging, I’m old school.

Sure, email has it’s problems, but it works. The same goes for SMS. Both are ubiquitous - it doesn’t matter what mail client you have or what phone you use, it just works. For everyone.

It’s time to bring back the .Beat

In 1998, my wife bought me a Swatch Beat watch. I think she heard me mention it after reading about it in Wired magazine and she got it for me as a gift.

WTF is a .Beat?

Swatch, along with the endorsement of Nicholas Negroponte, who was then the Director of the MIT Media Lab, proposed a Universal Internet Time known as the .Beat.

It works like this: A day is divided into 1000 ".beats". So, one Swatch ".beat" is equivalent to 1 Minute 26.4 Seconds.

You set your watch according to Biel Meantime (BMT). (In a classic marketing move, Biel, Switzerland is the corporate headquarters of Swatch.)

So, when you want to schedule a phone call with someone across the world, you don't have to figure out time zones - you simply indicate that the meeting should take place @xxx .beats.

DIY QR Code Pet Tags

After seventeen years of being a one-dog household, we decided to double our dog ownership.

We adopted a ten-year old chocolate Cocker Spaniel named Oreo whose owner was moving from a house to an apartment and couldn't take him. Given our history with rescue dogs, we know that it's typical for older dogs to be passed over for adoption since most families want younger dogs or puppies.

We didn't want to see him spend the rest of his life in a foster home (or worse) so we decided to welcome him to our family. He's a great dog and gets along well with our Lucy, a four-year old, black and white, parti-colored Cocker Spaniel.

Oreo has a microchip but we don't know who the vendor is, so we can't find the registry. That means that the old guy definitely needed new dog tags.

I started poking around the Interwebs and found a few interesting things.

You can get pet tags with QR codes!

Unlike many of the silly uses of QR codes that I see, this is a brilliant use of the technology: find a pet, scan the QR code on its tag and find out all about them including their owner's name and address, eating habits, favorite activities, medical history - the works.

One thing really bugged me, though: the only QR code pet tag solution I could find is managed by one company: PetHub. I tried creating profiles for both of our dogs but I found the service slow and buggy.

Plus, as a person who calls himself "half-geek, on my mother's side," I knew I could do better, so I did. 😉

Here's how.

Virtual Sunglasses, Real Shopping

I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses from Eyefly.com through a great deal on Living Social. ($49 for a complete pair of glasses, shipped.)

That was pretty cool, but this is even cooler:

While browsing for glasses on Eyefly, you can take a photo of yourself with a webcam. The site uses software that will automagically place a 3D rendering of the glasses on your face so you can see how they might look.

It’s not Me. It’s You. (updated)

There's a bug in one of the blogging platforms I use which has been consistently appearing during regular use. (Not this one, BTW.)

It's a minor bug, but it's appearance has become annoying and tedious. I continually remind myself that the service is free, and that I shouldn't complain.

Yesterday however, I figured I should take a moment to notify them about it as it could be helpful for them to know.

The response (from offshore) is below:

PSE&G: A Public Utility’s Failure to Inform the Public

It's been nearly four days that I, and a number of my neighbors, have been without power due to this year's early snow storm.

While the storm was unexpected, the results were not: the snow was dense and heavy and the abundance of leaves still on the trees made it easy for snow to find purchase on weak limbs which fell onto power lines. Given that I live in a town called Maplewood, you can imagine how many old, large trees we have in town and that extent of the damage is probably higher than other towns.

Needless to say, it's got me a bit torqued out. Finally, this morning, I had to get on a plane to go to Blogworld LA, leaving my wife and son home without electricity and a wood stove that neither of them are comfortable operating.

But what's really got me pissed off is our utility company, PSE&G.

Say what you’ll do. Do what you say.

I had an entirely frustrating experience with AT&T Wireless yesterday. (Shocker!) To their credit, the story ends well, but it strongly reinforced a principle that I learned early in my career: set proper expectations and manage them accordingly. Even better: under-promise and over-deliver, if you can.

My ordeal with AT&T began with my pre-ordering of the iPhone 4S (note the pre part) . I always like to have the latest iPhone so I can understand its capabilities when creating apps or mobile marketing programs. (And yes, I'm guilty of being an Apple enthusiast. Sue me.)

Luckily, my wife and I are on alternating upgrade cycles for our iPhones and she doesn't care if she has the newest hardware. So, during every iPhone refresh I get a new one and she gets my current one. (That's a pretty sweet deal.) 😉

She's been asking me about the upcoming product refresh since she's grown tired of the quality of the photos and video on her iPhone 3 GS and wanted my iPhone 4. So, when they announced the start date and time for for the iPhone 4S pre-orders, I set my alarm an hour early on that day so I could make sure to get an order placed before they ran out of the first production run of devices.