Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 21, 2021

You’ve got two ears, right? Then why are you limiting yourself to just a single mobile phone? Financial research firm Compete reports that 16 percent of wireless subscribers own two phones, i.e. two cellphone numbers/accounts, citing advantages like more complete coverage between two carriers and retention of longtime phone numbers.

And yes, they do engage in double-input:

“There are frankly times when I have calls on both ears,” says Chris Murray, an executive at Internet-based phone company Vonage.

I can’t say I’ve personally run into anyone who talks in double-barrel action. I do remember, several years ago, some high-powered sports agents routinely carrying two phones around — one only for incoming calls, the other only for outgoing (which is another reason for today’s two-phone customers). Seemed pompous then; seems pompous now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/21/2006 10:21 PM
Category: Society, Tech
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gonna pack it up nice
It’s going to get harder to get your free Magnolia-mackin’ fix online. NBC’s legal hounds have gotten YouTube.com and other video sites to yank unauthorized copies of “Lazy Sunday/The Chronic(What?)les of Narnia”, the wildfire film short that made “Saturday Night Live” almost worth watching again.

It is still available for purchase on iTunes. And it’s allegedly viewable for free on NBC.com, although it’s not accessible as of this writing.

I find it funny that some have missed the point in NBC’s actions:

Several online commentators noted that NBC’s response to YouTube, while legally justified, may have been short-sighted. The online popularity of “Lazy Sunday” has been credited with reviving interest in “Saturday Night Live” at a time when it is in need of some buzz…

“We got e-mails from college students, and a lot of them said it’s the ‘Lazy Sunday’ clip that turned them on to potentially watching ‘S.N.L.’ again,” she said.

What’s not to understand? NBC initially allowed the clip to circulate far and wide over the Web (not that it could have stopped it in the early stages, but still). It even introduced the iTunes offering as a freebie. In that way, “Lazy Sunday” did its job. Although I have to point out, “potentially watching” doesn’t mean a whole lot — college students are going to be out partying late Saturday, not glued to the TV.

That phase is over. Everyone who wanted to see it has seen it by now. It’s not like it’s going to continue to serve as a timely promo for “SNL”, two months later. It’s time to pull it back (as much as possible) and make it a more sought-after commodity.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/21/2006 09:41 PM
Category: Comedy, Internet, TV
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I don’t know if this applies to the latest-and-greatest 2.0.x version of WordPress (I haven’t upgraded from 1.5, and don’t intend to until/unless I have to), but for me, the Dashboard page in the administrative backend has been only partially loading. The aggregated Planet WordPress links, that normally are delivered onto everyone’s Dashboard via a feed, haven’t been rendering for the past few weeks.

At first I figured I wouldn’t miss them. Despite their nominal role as informal newsbites from around the WP development world, I found a bunch of the posts to be irrelevant. Plus, it would occasionally lag, and thus slow down the entire page’s loadtime. In fact, I wonder if the general site slowdown I experienced last month wasn’t a symptom of this (somewhat doubtful, although I noticed that most of the problem then were occuring in the backend pages).

I figured there was a problem from wordpress.org’s end, and if killing their feed (it’s currently coming up as an error page) was their solution, so be it.

But lately, I found myself missing one site in that aggregation: Weblog Tools Collection. It doesn’t exclusively cover WordPress stuff, which actually is good. I’ve found a few useful tidbits via the site over the months.

So, I figured I’d get the Dashboard looking pretty again, and get my Weblog Tools Collection fix at the same time. I simply opened up the index.php file under the wp-admin directory, deleted the Planet WordPress URLs, and typed in the WTC-only feed. Pretty simple, and I figured it was also less fraught with potential flubs than deleting the entire feed-delivery code instead.

Obviously, you could sub in any feed into the wp-admin/index code. So if you’re brave enough to tinker, go for it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/21/2006 12:58 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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Everyone and their mother has heard of Vonage by now.

I’m willing to bet not as many have heard of Vongo. And if presented with the name, the average person is likely to respond with, “Aren’t they that Internet phone company?”

Vonage has done a great job of blanketing TV, print and radio with ads, helped along by a catchy theme song. Combine that with a fairly fundamental offering — cheaper phone service — and the company has done a terrific job of brand-building.

Now, Vongo has started running its own TV ads. They’re quirky, and while they don’t much resemble Vonage’s spots, they’re vague enough that I have a feeling the name similarity — along with both companies being Internet-based businesses — are going to lead to a lot of consumer confusion. Even the corporate logos are fairly close. And Web-wise, I notice that the favicons for each company website is practically indistinguishable (which is not a big deal, but punctuates the situation).

I don’t know which company was formed first, but if I were Vonage, I’d be looking at ways to prevent the erosion of brand identity. They spent a lot of money and resources to make themselves so easily recognizable; no reason to let a late bloomer like Vongo mess with that.

On the flip side, I can’t believe such mindshare confusion would help Vongo in building themselves up. I can’t believe they could convert a bunch of dissatisfied landline-telephone subscribers into movie-download customers. Going forward, they ought to try a new look.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/21/2006 12:21 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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