Findings

SOFEX: The Trade Show for the Business of War

“You know, it’s weird, man. It’s like everybody’s real cordial with each other. But, at the end of the day, we’re, like, buying weapons to destroy each other. I don’t want to, like, sound too liberal or anything. But it’s really not glamorous. This s*** f***** kills people.”

Amazing web documentary on SOFEX, the bi-annual trade show at the centre of the business of making war.

Impressive stuff from Vice. I remember when they were a punky zine in Montreal.

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Inside Voice

Google: “Sorry, there seems to be a problem.”

For the past ~6 months Google has been giving me this message when I try to reconcile my business email address (james(at)adhack.com) because of a change they’ve made to accounts managed through Google Apps for Domains.

As a result, all the data in my account prior to their change has been dumped in the kludgy james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com account. But when I try to add that account to an existing account or move it into a new account, I get nowhere. Or, more specifically, I get the error in the attached screenshot.

So I carry on with james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com for my Reader account and a few other Google services. This felt like a small first-world problem for many months but now feels like a Kafkafian purgatory.

I cannot merge the data into another existing account. I cannot migrate the data into a new account. So james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com persists.

The larger story is that Google wants me to use its products like Google+ and to pay for Apps for Domains so I can access Docs and Calendar and Mail. But I have no confidence in them delivering on reliability.

And then what? Who resolves the problem?

They say, ‘Sorry, there seems to be a problem.’

And they’re right. There is a problem.

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Findings, Inside Voice

It is not the critic who counts

I like this.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Theodore Roosevelt

Found on Destraynor.

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Inside Voice, Nerdery, Vancouvering

2 New Year’s Resolutions: Gymnastics and Drawing

Welcome, 2012.

I have 2 new things I’d like to do with you: gymnastics and drawing.

Gymnastics? Yes. I’d like to try out gymnastics, again.

Last time I was taking any gymnastics I was in the 5 to 7-year-old range, so it’s  return to youth, to recess, to trying to do something new with the body.

I’ve done a little searching and the options in adult gymnastics are scarce. Most are geared towards high-level gymnasts who want to keep training and stay in shape. I am not one of those.

I am an amateur looking to try gymnastics for 1 to 3 months. I have taught myself handstands with low consistency but can’t master the cartwheel. I’d like to be able to do a handspring and to feel comfortable with my body upside down and flipping.

Best option thus far seems to be Phoenix Gymnastics.

And drawing?

Yes. I am a terrible drawer. I have some difficulty with stick figures. Flowcharts I can must in a tortured fashion but I need some basic skills: shape, perspective, composition, scale. The fundamentals.

The search is on for a class. If you have anything to suggest, please let fly.

And all the best in 2012.

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Findings, Nerdery, Stories

Ernest Hemingway Quotes of Hard-Won Wisdom

Been thinking a lot about Hemingway quotes of late. Collected a few particular favourites here, below.

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.

— A Farewell to Arms

Never mistake motion for action.

The shortest answer is doing the thing.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.

The first draft of anything is shit.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

In our world of excess and super abundance of words, entertainment, distractions and information, the spareness and clarity is refreshing.

Each quote a refreshing breath of hard-won wisdom.

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Findings, Inside Voice, Nerdery

A model for creating great advertising: inheritance, product, pretending

A model for understanding the key ingredients of great advertising: inheritance, product, pretending.

Have I’ve spoken to you about this before?

If so, now I’m following up with some early-stage draft ideas. If not, here’s the background.

I’m working on a bit of a model for creating great advertising.

My idea is that great advertising emerges from 3 things: an inheritance, a product and pretending. The image above presents a conceptual model.

The idea rose from reading this post by Russell Davies on pretending.

When adverting can hit the middle of this model, it succeeds. Big time.

The trouble is: everyone has their own version of the above model in their head. That’s what makes good advertising so tough to do.

Everyone has their own frame of reference (inheritance), usage patterns (product) and imagination (pretending). So everyone’s experience of the advertising is different.

Okay, that’s assumed. But can this model help us understand the ingredients needed to get beyond that unique experience and to a common experience?

That’s what I’d like you to help me with.

I’m trying to work out some clever, salient things to say that make sense of this idea and this model. I’d love to hear what you think about the model overall and about how useful it is.

Best,
James@adhack.com

(and comments way below too!)

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post

Will Americans Spend Again?

In the Harvard Business Review Grant McCracken writes about Why American Consumers Will Spend Lavishly Again.

The “new normal” — the idea that when income, credit and confidence return, Americans will not return to our free-spending ways — is an idea on the march, recruiting everyone from PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke. It’s spreading so fast it threatens to become the new orthodoxy.

I believe the argument is flawed. When Mike Duke says, “[P]eople are saving more, consuming less, and being more frugal and thoughtful in their purchases,” he is right in the short term, but wrong in the long term. When income, credit, and confidence return, consumers will party like its 1999.

To me this is one of the most important arguments going on in western society today. Will we return to our spending ways or will we back away from the consumer precipice and make more considered purchases?

What evidence is there that the ‘new normal’ is real and not an aberration from 60 years of consumerism?

I’d love to believe it but it seems thin to me.

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Food

Hunting Is Chic in the NYTimes

The NYTimes reports on The Urban Deerslayer.

Best line:

“They eat my garden, so I thought maybe I should eat them,” he said.

And I’m of mixed emotions.

Great that people are getting in touch with where their food comes from, how it is killed and what it takes to eat meat.

But I think I preferred hunting before it was fashionable.

And it’s no coincidence that the two main species profiled in the article — white-tail deer and wild boars — mingle well with people, aren’t threatening and don’t require large tracks of land to survive.

The club may be called The Bull Moose Hunting Society but no one’s hunting moose. These are easy hunts, close to the city, not too spicy.

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