Don Burnside

Recipes, technology, personal stuff and a crap load of archives.

Too Busy Being Awesome

A question posed to me this week by one of the White Roof Radio boys had me thinking, and researching. And, well, I’ll just come out and say it.

Holy Crap

I have been posting words to the internet, in some fashion of a blog or another, since about 2001. I can’t verify that however, so I have to dig through the archives. did you guys know that went ‘live’ on or about 9/24/_2002? That is the date of the first post. It might have been at blogger, but it’s there, so it counts.

WRR went live on August 1st, 2005. The show started a few months before that, on June 30th, 2005, which means I have been podcasting for 12.5 years. Let’s go back to the title question for a bit and have a proper, very long time in coming, rant.

Podcasting, at it’s core, is very incestuous. I’m on a few of the groups on Facebook and have listened to a few of the podcasts about podcasting, and they are nothing more than circle jerks of people telling each other lies about how big their shows are, and how many millions of downloads they have gotten. Each one of them, of course, is also an expert in podcasting, blogging and social media, as you would expect.

I guess my ego isn’t big enough.

Easy there kids. My ego is plenty big, trust me. And, as you probably know, I do have a bit of diva in me. I’m not trying to kid anyone. I just don’t think my ego is that big. I have a hard time showing off my work (not to you guys, but to strangers) and flaunting to a group of people that I can only imagine do not give a shit. These are the people that are popular. The yellers, the screamers, the ‘look-at-me’-ers. They are the ones with the shows that have triple digit downloads getting nominated for awards and crap like that.

That’s just not me.

Another thing that those people are really good at is burning cycles. Checking stats like it’s the end of times, constantly fussing with their website, trying to figure out why they aren’t getting any traffic from Facebook, and checking stats. A few of them can actually keep this up for more than a month before they burn out and stop making their show. Which is usually ok since their shows aren’t that great anyway. Oh, c’mon now, you know I’m right.

The thing that I learned, a very long time ago, is that all of that is crap. The trick is to focus those cycles on things that matter. The thing that matters is making a show. Fine tuning the show to something that is awesome, made with awesome people and listened to by people who have become fans because it’s awesome.

Why are we not more popular? To the contrary my dear Watson, I would argue that we are very popular. I would guess that there are very few MINI Cooper owners in the United States and Canada that have not heard about WRR. Do you know how many MINI Coopers there are in the United States and Canada?

Why are not getting awards and recoginition for being podcasting pioneers and producing a show for almost 13 years? That’s easy, it’s because we are too busy being awesome.

It’s the 21st Century. Welcome.

Working a help desk for the past almost year has been a very interesting experience. Ignore what I have said for a minute and understand that it has been an interesting experience.

It has reminded me that people, still, are afraid of computers. It has also reminded me that, still, people expect to have their hand held 200% of the time when they are using computers. And here I am, thinking it is the 21st Century, when in fact, you are acting like you just got Windows 95 for the first time.
Continue reading “It’s the 21st Century. Welcome.”

Radio Shack are Spammers

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I was in need of a power accessory for my car. Sure I could have gone anywhere, but to save me driving all over town, I decided to hit up my local Radio Shack store. They had the parts that I needed, a power adapter splitter and a USB power adapter, which I took up to the counter after ‘the manager’ helped me find them. He rang me up and asked for my phone number, which has been common practice at Radio Shack stores for a few years now.

Number given, somehow my customer information had mysteriously vanished from their system. Odd since I’ve been in that system for as long as I can remember. He asks for my name, again, my phone number, again, and my home address. I give him all of this, but then he asks for my email address. To which I say no.

Instantly he goes on the defensive.

I say no.

He continues his offensive.

I continue to say no.

He continues his offensive even more.

I interrupt him, rudely, and tell him in my dad voice No.

Which makes him almost cry. So, against my better judgement, I let him continue with his bullshit reason for needing my email address. He swore to me, crossed his heart and hoped to die to me, that he left the ‘checkbox’ unchecked that should keep me off the ‘please send me Radio Shack Spam’ list.

He lied. Not even 24 hours after I made my purchase did I get my first ‘welcome to the club’ email from Radio Shack. I was not happy, as you can imagine. Do I decided to let them know about it via the very well hidden email form. And this blog post. And the above Twitter post.

Remember gang, no means no.

Do what you can to avoid Radio Shack at all costs. They are rude. They are unprofessional. They aren’t terribly knowledgeable about anything on their shelves beyond what’s written on the packaging and I’m pretty sure that when their employees aren’t on the phone with their friends while on duty, that they are in the back doing unspeakable things to kittens and old people.

Well, maybe not that last part. But don’t shop with them. Really. But if you do, give them an enemy’s email address. Trust me on that, you’ll be glad you did.

The Problem with GoDaddy

Oh boy is the internet pissed at Godaddy this week! Turns out they supported SOPA (which they later changed their mind about). That was reason enough for quite a few folks to start pulling their domains and move them to different registrars. I know I did, but not because they supported SOPA. More like, that’s the straw that broke the camels back.

I’m transferring domains away from GoDaddy as fast as my checkbook will allow. I only have 8 or so left with them, and I hope to have them transferred to Hover by the end of January. This is a process I started earlier this year after Bob Parsons came home from Africa after spending some quality time shooting elephants. But that’s only part of why I’m moving my domains.

Another part is their famously awful user interface. Or the fact that they are the worst WordPress host. Or the fact that when trying to check out when purchasing **anything** you have to click through 10 different pages offering upgrades, magazine subscriptions and ginsu knives. But, like the other reasons, this is just a part of why I’m transferring away.

If we take a second to look at the graphic at the top of this post. That is a screen shot from my Gmail account. Please note the date stamps on each line. If you want to know why I’m transferring away from GoDaddy, it’s because they are practicing email spammers and there is no way to make it stop that I can find.

Buy a domain? 2 emails. plus the weekly “buy more domains” email. Have a domain? 9 months before it expires they start sending reminder emails to renew. As the date draws closer, the frequency of the emails increases until you are getting 2 per day (per domain). Once the expiration date has passed, they continue to send emails at the rate of not less than 1 per day per domain. And there is no way to make them stop.

Worse part is when you don’t want a domain name any more. I let about 10 go this year that I will never do anything with (or my customers won’t be using). And the damn emails never stop. It’s truly rediculous.

So, if the emails won’t stop, if the UI won’t change and if the check-out process won’t stop pushing ultra high security email and faxing from my rotary phone, then I’m out.

And now you know
The rest of the story.

It’s Time We Nerds Help

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Just through the course of a day I end up on some photographers website. Invaribly it’s something hosted by or wix, all done in flash with copy-righted background music playing and a crappy looking WordPress blog hanging off the side like dirty dish rag hanging out of the kitchen window. I keep asking why, but never get answers that I find acceptable.

Until I asked Stella the same question. Being the photographer of the house, I thought she would have good insight into the reasoning behind photographers having such horrible websites. Our conversation went a little something like this.

  • dbwilldo: why do photographers have such yucky websites?
  • Stella:because they are not nerds

Could it really be that easy? A person that has the ability to charge thousands of dollars for their services that they perform with (possibly) tens of thousands of dollars worth of **very** complicated electronic components just aren’t nerdy enough?

That must be it. I think the problem that we as nerds run into is in our thought patterns. Photographers _aren’t nerds_. Photographers are _creatives_, that just so happen to do their creating with digital equipement. A fact, I think, fools the rest of us into thinking that photographers know the same things that we do.

Which they don’t.

They just want a website that displays their portfolio and other information in a pleasing manner, just like everyone else. Sites like photobiz and wix have capitalized on this, targeted photography professionals with words like ‘easy to use’, ‘background music’, ‘elegant’ and ‘comic sans’ to lure them in. So they get stuck.

Makes me wonder. Do they not try to open their websites on their iPhone/Android/Blackberry? Have they not tried to open their site using an iPad or Android tablet? If they have, do they just shrug their shoulders and say “Oh well. I’m not a nerd enough to make something better”?

Or do they see Flash as their security blanket? Thinking that if their photos are wrapped up in flash, they can’t be stolen and used in nefarious ways. Nerds know otherwise, don’t we?

Instead, I prefer to think that we, as nerds, have failed the professional photographers. Failed in that we haven’t shown them the way to nicely display their photos on any device, on any platform and with any browser. We have failed to guide them in best web practices. Failed to help them save money by avoiding services such as these.

As nerds, we owe it to our photography brethren to show them the right way. The way to display their photos in a pleasing way that is easy to use and keep their photos as safe. The way to share their work with iPhone/iPad/Android/Blackberry users. The way to save money by not having to pay the rediculous rates that the other guys charge. We owe them.