The caffeine equation

Glasses of beerI just read Daniel Pink‘s post over at The Huffington Post. It’s titled How Starbucks Explains the World and it’s an interesting meditation (if a tad tongue-in-cheek) on coffee:

Two weeks ago, my family and I visited Kyoto and stayed at a ryokan … A block away in one direction was an old-fashioned market. A block away in the other … was a Starbucks.

He suggests a relationship between caffeine and productivity (and the resulting improved economy). I would have simply commented over there but it required registration and I’ve registered for too many online things lately so I’ll offer my comment here, which is simply:

What would have happened had Starbuck’s sold beer instead of coffee?

Think of that!

Hmm … character issues

I updated all my blogs to WordPress 2.2 and now they all have character issues, such as posts that use apostrophes as in it’s.

And I’m definitely not the guy to figure out why and how to fix it.


It appears to only affect previous posts, like the one just below this, not new ones. Hmm.

Meaningless but pretty words

Adobe Email small versionThe Adobe people are pushing their Adobe Creative Suite 3 these days (for those who love acronyms, aka Adobe CS3). And that’s fine but I find that they, along with many other companies that market using email, send very little content and a whole lot of design.

It’s makes sense in one way, if you’re Adobe, given the products they sell. But these emails frustrate me to no end because I can so seldom find any words that a) I can see enough to read and b) carry any meaning.

While the text looks nice, helping with the overall design, the size of the font makes the words difficult to read. On top of that, with the exception of the headline in black, the remaining text is shaded out – they use a degree of grey.

So for all intents and purposes, I’ve been emailed an image and a logo. And I’m expected to click on this. Well, that ain’t happening. The image may be intriguing but if you seriously want me to click on something, or even to open your next marketing email (essentially spam) you should put some text in it that is easy see, easy to read and that actually says something.

You know, something that might have information that would get me interested?

Just a thought.

I love to write, I hate to write

I have a new writing assignment and it’s exciting in the sense that it is fun – or at least, it should be fun.

So why is it so difficult to get started on it?

I know it has the potential to be fun. I know that once I start, it will likely be as easy as falling off a log.

So why can’t I get started?

There is all kinds of advice regarding this sort of roadblock. I’m not interested in that. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all before and many times. Not that advice is unwelcome, but that’s not what I’m interested in.

I want to know why.

Why do people find it difficult to start something, even something they like, even something that will likely be easy?


Social networks – does size kill value?

myspace_canada.jpgSocial networks are like lawns with dandelion problems. They’re very nice, and hopefully well-maintained – but those weeds!

I’ve joined quite a few now, primarily out of curiosity. The value is clear, at least to me, in the better ones. Being connected is a good thing, and finding new people with similar interests, hobbies, careers and so on can be very helpful.

But good grief – the noise!

I finally signed up for MySpace – they launched a Canadian version yesterday and, given that it’s the biggest one out there (not the Canadian version, but the whole deal), I decided to sign up to get familiar with it. It’s too early to tell but my gut reaction is: very good tool, pretty well designed, not a great deal of value for me.

I think size kills value – that’s my guess. There is just so much, and so many people, that pretty soon I think you end up spending most of your time trying to crawl your way through all the “stuff” and people to find what and who you want. Take music for example. I’d say something like 95% or more of what I see there is stuff I don’t give a monkey’s behind about. Same with film.

I still find my own blogs to be of much greater value to me. And my own address book. And my Gmail account. Yes, it’s much smaller. And yes, there is likely a great deal I miss. But … well, I’m okay with that.

However, I’ll still stick with MySpace, Facebook and all the others. You never know when a light bulb will go off and I’ll see a way of getting more from them. And it’s never a bad idea to keep up with what everyone else seems to be doing, if only to remain informed.

Make your soul go

From the Harvard Crimson, May 19, 2000, an interview with Kurt Vonnegut:

“… As far as being a great writer, that is not the only purpose of writing. The real goal is to make your soul go, not to make a living. Practicing art, even in a mediocre way, can make the soul go. The most interesting writers are not those that take extensive writing classes, but those that put their soul into their writing.”