Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, May 20, 2021

It’s opening weekend for The Da Vinci Code, meaning it’s raking in millions upon millions of dollars as I type this.

Meanwhile, I spent part of the afternoon watching Monty Python’s Life of Brian on DVD.

Shows you where I come down on the whole hidden-life-of-Jesus thang.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/20/2006 05:38:15 PM
Category: Movies | Permalink | Feedback (2)

front-line defenses
So, what’s the deal with those big read concrete balls at the front of most Target superstores?

Their placement and heft put some in mind of building fortifications, perhaps to guard against urban terrorist assaults — or overzealous, car-ramming Black Friday shoppers.

I concur, but take it even further:

Oh, I always assumed they were designed as fortification defenses. Very astute of Target Corp. — you never know when civilization’s going to collapse! And when it does, you’ll be able to hole up in your local Target and ensconce yourself in a rainbow of bargains ;)

I guess I’m just amused by the notion of Target being a safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world. Supermegastores are such a fixture in the societal landscape now; why not envision them as building blocks for a rebuilding world?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/20/2006 05:34:32 PM
Category: Comedy, Business | Permalink | Feedback

Here’s an interesting discovery:

A few nights ago, I was making a song purchase on iTunes Music Store. I clicked the purchase button, confirmed that I wanted to buy that song, and watched as the download began…

And then, the lights went out.

The worst-case scenario happened: A power-outage right in the midst of pulling in a file. Worse yet, it was a file that I’d just paid real money for! My computer stayed on, since it’s a notebook with built-in battery; but the Internet connection cut off, and the mid-stream file just disappeared. I figured I was screwed, that Apple had gotten my 99 cents and registered the purchase as being in the bag.

When the power and Web came back an hour later, I clicked the purchase button on that same song. Partly I wanted to see if it would pick up on the previous attempt, but mostly I just wanted to buy the song, finally.

I was pleasantly surprised to get a popup dialogue box from ITMS that informed me that the system showed me as having already purchased that song, but not having downloaded it. It gave me the option of retreiving it now, already paid for. Naturally, I did.

So, a disconnect in mid-transmission doesn’t mean you’re out of luck on iTunes. Useful to know for situations where your power and/or Web connection might be iffy.

It also gives an indication of how transactions are processed through the music store: I guess the purchase is registered to your account first, and the file delivery kicks in only afterward. Smart backend design.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/20/2006 04:36:40 PM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback (1)

round three
Astute visitors today will notice a new wrinkle on this blog: An additional AdSense box, placed at the bottom of the posted content and/or the page (depending on whether you’re looking at a single-post page or a multiple-post one).

What can I say? I live in New York now; it’s a tad more expensive than Florida.

Actually, I’ve been wanting to add another for a while. The existing ad units in the top and top-left of this site — implemented some nine months ago — have been performing pretty well. Since Google allows placement of up to three boxes on a page, I figured I was practically losing money in not taking things to the limit. I could even throw in a couple of referral banners and text-link units, but for now, I’ll stick with the traditional boxes.

What prompted me today was this Inside AdSense mini-case study about how border-less boxes seem to pull in more revenue than bordered ones. I don’t experiment as much with the advertising options on this online space as I’d like, so I’ll take the opportunity to test the clickthru effectiveness of different layouts. And, depending on performance, it’ll provide some fodder for a future post.

A secondary reason: The lack of a true footer for this blog layout always kind of bugged me. It’s obviated somewhat by the way multiple posts stretch the vertical on this page; but still, scrolling all the way down to page’s end and seeing nothing but that last post signature and white space always made me wince a bit. My old blog had a footer, and strictly from a stylistic perspective, it served to complete the page layout. An adbox isn’t an ideal solution, but short of some template tinkering that I’m not inclined to do right now, it’s good enough.

I’m curious to see how this third box performs. I decided on the 336×280 large rectangle because it’s one of the better-performing units in the AdSense roster. Plopping it well below the fold on most monitors seems to negate that, but some studies suggest a footer ad actually has something going for it:

For example, on pages where users are typically focused on reading an article, ads placed directly below the end of the editorial content tend to perform very well. It’s almost as if users finish reading and ask themselves, “What can I do next?” Precisely targeted ads can answer that question for them.

Yes, it’s a bit tricky, but who am I to resist online readers’ need for that next convenient clickthru spot?

Anyway, as with previous posts on this subject, this one’s purpose is mainly as a record for the start date to this experiment. If anyone else finds it useful, it’s a bonus.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/20/2006 02:59:31 PM
Category: Bloggin', Advert./Mktg. | Permalink | Feedback (1)