Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, September 27, 2021

by degrees
They ditched the “Phoenix” signifier years ago, but the Arizona Cardinals find themselves tagged with their home state’s largest city once again. The team’s sparkling new roost in Glendale will be rechristened University of Phoenix Stadium, after the for-profit higher education company ponied up $154.5 million over the next 20 years for the privilege.

Yes, fans in the desert are rolling their eyes, both over the crass commercialism and the unwelcomed school ties.

On top of all that, while the proximity of the city of Phoenix would seem to make this a most appropriate product placement, the potential for confusion probably trumps that. Fact is, U of P is going to be so nondescript in this branding that this ranks right up there with the Monster Stadium misfire in San Francisco.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/27/2006 11:58pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Football, SportsBiz
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Is Hugo Chavez responsible for 7-Eleven cutting ties with its longtime gasoline provider Citgo?

You’d think so, from the spin applied in the convenience store king’s announcement. But the experts aren’t buying it:

But 7-Eleven had been considering creating its own brand of fuel since at least early last year, and some analysts suggested 7-Eleven may now be hyping the political angle as a way to curry favor with U.S. consumers.

“This has nothing to do with Chavez,” said Oil Price Information Service director Tom Kloza. “They (7-Eleven) just didn’t want to be tied to one supplier.”

Of course, Chavez has been thumbing his nose at the U.S. for several years now, so 7-Eleven’s intention to not renew their 20-year contract with the Venezuelan petroleum company could have had a longer-term run-up. The fact is, the way the political backdrop is developing, it was looking like the timing of any potential renewal announcement with Citgo would reflect badly. That alone could trigger grassroots boycott impulses, and the situation could easily get out of hand.

And so, a more fortuitious timing, that just happens to dovetail with 7-Eleven’s desire to diversify. Actually a very deft move by management.

Then again, how widespread is the knowledge that Citgo is a Venezeulan concern, anyway? I’d bet most consumers just assume Citgo is part of the 7-Eleven brand, reinforced by the fact that you never see free-standing Citgo stations. Heck, even with the recent controversies, I doubt most Americans could even identify Venezuela as an oil-producing company. Just reinforces the idea that this is a preemptive business strategum.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/27/2006 11:24pm
Category: Business, Political
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Opinion, please: Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I had to force myself to fix up a gin and tonic tonight?

That’s right, I had to practically coerce myself into having a drink. Just one more oddity in what’s shaping up to be a really off-kilter week. Hope the approaching weekend yields the appropriate payoff.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/27/2006 10:45pm
Category: General
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Let that Tim guy take you on a haphazard Web surfing safari as he uses Firefox’s tabbed browsing feature as an opportunity to nurture his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. From Harlan Ellison to leatherworking to progressive rock to The Beatles, and all it took was two computers and a lot of wasted time.

The virtues of Mozilla’s browser often center on the tabs; it’s probably the second-most cited advantage over Internet Explorer (after security). As Tim points out, the tabbed interface is something that you either get or don’t get. I prefer it, and it’s the chief reason I use FF myself (and why the first thing I do when using a Mac is to turn on the tabs option in Safari). But for most users (i.e., non-geeks), who don’t consider that a browsing option other than IE even exists, it’s initially a hard concept to grasp. It even comes off as an unnecessary additional interface layer, given that opening new windows and having them reside in the computer’s taskbar is not such a big deal. And as I point out on Tim’s blog, Windows XP defaults to a quasi-tab organization for all program windows that display in the taskbar, which seemingly supplants the need for browser tabs (and if that doesn’t, the forthcoming IE 7 will include tabs as well).

What works and doesn’t work in graphical user interface designs has always been fascinating to me. Paramount in this area is what’s configured as the default behavior when the computer or program comes right out of the box — a fact that most hardcore users never quite grok. Casual everyday users are not going to dive into menus and submenus to tweak — they simply won’t. It’s a daunting exercise, fraught with the danger of somehow screwing things up. So those default settings determine what 90 percent (probably more) of users take in as the commonly-recognized parameters for an operating environment.

Tabbed browsing falls into that category. It’s not a default setting on Windows or Mac (note how even usually ahead-of-the-curve Apple doesn’t make it truly native on Safari; having it as an optional turn-on is nice, but ensures that it won’t be widespread), and so it’s going to be a minority experience. The new IE might change this, unless (as I suspect) Microsoft follows Apple’s lead and doesn’t make it a default setting in the new browser.

Actually, given Tim’s time-sucking experience with having so many pages loaded into the background (an experience many, including me, have shared), I think there’s even more disincentive for going tabbed. Who needs more reason to stay glued to the computer monitor?

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/27/2006 09:26am
Category: Internet, Tech
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