MonthJuly 2012

A little story about Target

Last night, my wife and I went shopping for some cleaning supplies. We went to Target and inevitably ended up with twice as many things as we had planned to buy.

One of these things was a dust buster to reach small corners and tight spaces. We found one. We stuck it in the cart. We paid for it.

We got home to use it and…

No dust buster.

It was on the receipt but never made it to a bag. We checked the car again. No dust buster.

We resigned ourselves to return to Target this morning since it was already closed when we arrive home.

So we did.

Upon returning to the store, we went to customer service and explained the situation. The girl behind the counter said she needed to speak to security since the item was not logged in last night.

She took the receipt to security across the room and a few minutes later, the guard emerged from the room and went into another back room and returned with a large bag.

Inside the bag was out missing dust buster and receipt. We left, delighted.

I was apprehensive about how the conversation would go and how we’d prove that we didn’t have the item on the receipt. However, Target was quick and efficient in resolving our issue and sending us home delighted.

This is customer service at its finest and I commend Target for doing it right.

Why are commercials screaming at us?

What is with the screaming commercials? I will spare your ears and not embed any of these ads but they are linked from the offending company’s names.

First, there was the most obnoxious commercial I have ever had the misfortune of watching from King’s Dominion.

I couldn’t believe it got made, aired and more than one person thought it was a good idea.

Tonight, I saw a similar ad for Little Caesars. Instead of screaming, all the people just yell WHOOOOO!!!! and hold things up.

To round out the aural assault trifecta, JC Penney gave us this terrible ad with people screaming sometimes in slow motion, other times in stores.


Who thought that screaming would sell more product? Who likes to be screamed at? How did they feel a screaming ad was going to build good feelings towards their product?

I am disturbed by this trend of reducing advertising to the levels of Idiocracy.

Zenbe Lists is dead, Long Live Wunderlist

Ever since the demise of Zenbe Lists I have looked for a replacement. It was a very simple list that I could share with her and we could update and keep in sync through our iPhones. It was simple and painless. Until the sync stopped working.

Why not use paper?

We keep a paper list on our refrigerator. We update it when we realize we’re out of something.

However, we are rarely near the kitchen when we think about something we’ve run out of or need to replace. Even when the list is updated and has a glorious collection of items to buy, we walk off and leave the list sitting there, on the refrigerator, hanging uselessly.

Enter Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a fantastic to-do app that is free to use and exists on nearly every platform. It works on Mac, Windows, Android, iPad, iPad, Blackberry and on the web.

This is the perfect app because I am using it as my to-do list for everything and I can share out the grocery list with my wife so we can have one big list we both contribute to.

It’s so simple and free and syncs upon update to the list so I know we’re always working from the most updated copy.

Check out Wunderlist, free for every platform.

The Setup

I’ve read The Setup for as long as I can remember. It’s a collection of interviews with people from all walks of life. There are photographers, writers, hackers, web nerds, Mac/Windows/Linux users. They are people from everyone and anywhere.

I love the interviews because they’re so short, only 4 questions but those four questions can reveal so much about who they are and how they work.

Those questions are:
1. Who are you, and what do you do?
2. What hardware are you using?
3. And what software?
4. What would be your dream setup?

That’s all it is. From those questions, the recommendations, ideas, workflows and combinations of tools are limitless.

Every time a new interview is posted, I learn something new or find out about some cool work being done or awesome tool I never knew existed.

Every interview is a learning experience.

There are even a collection of community interviews that readers of the site have submitted answering those same four questions. There are also a large number of similar projects listed along the same idea such as My Linux Rig, Teachers Uses This, The Desk Setup (Library Stuff and The Creative Setup in addition to more than similar sites in different languages like Das Setup and El Setup. There is even a Google+ featuring interviews from various people who use Google+. 1

I know I’ve just given you a ton of information to read and digest so here’s a starting point of interviews I recommend.

From the community, I’d recommend Thomas Brand, Mac and Newton nerd and Kanen Flowers, filmmaker, hacker.

As for The Setup interviews…

Mc Frontalot, Nerdcore rapper
Marco Arment, Instapaper, Tumblr Developer
Stephen Wolfram, Mathematician
Michael Lopp, Engineering Manager
Richard Stallman, Freedom campaigner
Brad Fitzpatrick, LiveJournal developer
Cheryl Klein, Writer, Editor
R. Stevens, Cartoonist
Warren Ellis, Writer
Adam Lisigor, Video Director
Kari Love, Costumer, Puppet Artist
Paula Pell, , Actor (30 Rock, Parks and Recreation), writer (SNL)
Jakob Neilsen, Usability Specialist
Gina Trapani, Programmer, Writer
Jonathan Coulton, Musician
Gabe Newell, Co-founder of Valve

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have. There is the potential to fall down the rabbit hole and try to read them all. You can get started on the interviews page which has them all sorted by category and year.

I’d start with 2009. Even though they’re outdated by now, there are some great ones in that list.

  1. I am falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. I may never find my way back out. 

Schooling has failed me

I went through years of schooling and I didn’t learn anything to prepare me for life after school.

On a recent walk, my wife and I were discussing how we’ve both been through many years of school1 and we feel totally unprepared for adulthood.

We were never taught how to:

  • Prepare meals from fresh foods
  • Find time and motivation to exercise
  • Setup savings
  • Make and keep a budgets
  • Prepare for retirement
  • How to keep a house in good repair
  • Plan for unexpected expenses
  • How to care for a car
  • How to manage a credit card
  • How to buy in bulk to cut costs
  • How to research and choose the best product for you
  • How to buy a car
  • Splitting bills with roommates

What do you feel you were never prepared to handle as an adult?

  1. She holds a Master’s Degree and I a Bachelor’s. 

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