Good Peanut Butter and Good Toilet Paper

…the rest of life is butter if you have those two things.  Really good butter.

Check out this awesome video of our ol’ buddy at ktownlowdown and his (much) better half, CouponKatie. You may have to watch the video twice, because the first time through you’ll most likely be distracted with thoughts of, “how did that guy land her?!?!?”

I don’t think such things, because I’m in a similar situation myself.

UPDATE–Had to link to the video…the autoplay was driving me nuts.

Katie is a serious money saving ninja and has built an incredible resource for families looking to save money in our area.

If I had any money I would actually pay her to come help me save it!!!

A Quick Hi and Some Thanks!

The last few days have been pretty crazy.  Last Thursday Newscoma and I launched a little project, NewsTechZilla.  We thought it was a good idea and would be a fun way to document some stuff.  Little did we know it would explode.  We’ve seen an unbelievable amount of support (and traffic) so far, and I want to take second to thank some people from this side of the State for their help.  Without you guys, we would not have seen this kind of success.

Seriously, you guys helped us get the word out, give us feedback, encouragement, and even content.  We can’t thank you enough!

Michael Silence was unbelievably generous in writing our first feature article, and he went a step further by featuring us in his Sunday deadwood column.  Jack Lail wrote a very nice intro for us on his blog last Thursday too.  These guys got us noticed by Glenn Reynolds, who gave us an unbelievably successful first day “live” when he linked to us from Instapundit. All this within the first three days!!!

Guys, I know a link from me here is worth about 1/100 of what you did for us, but it’s all I can do for now.

Since then, we’re receiving more support from people like SVD at KTownLowDown, and some local guys from Copa Creative, Abunga.com, and TUAW who were generous with their time in answering some questions about the iPhone for an article we were doing.  I can’t even begin to thank all the people who’ve talked about us on Twitter and sent their followers our way.

I’m uber-busy with work (real job) right now, but I intend to (at some point) thank all the local people I’ve forgotten in this short post and all the other folks around the country who’ve been so supportive.

I’m also going to change that poll before the eight week period (I hope).

A Content Generating Machine

NewsTechZilla!!!
NewsTechZilla!!!

Obviously, I’m not talking about me.  I’m talking about Newscoma, who normally writes more before 9 am than I get to read all day.  How lucky am I to get to work on a new project with someone like that?

There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere right now about the demise of newspapers and changes in the media.  This “citizen journalism” thing seems to be a little more than just a fad.  It’s leaving a lot of journalists with some choices to make, and it’s a tough row to hoe for some to learn new technology.

So we’re developing a resource to help them along the way, answer questions, and discuss the changes that are occurring in media right before our eyes.  We were even able to persuade Michael Silence to write our first featured article.

NewsTechZilla is where tech (me) and journalism (Newscoma) collide, duke it out, shake hands, exchange barbs, and hug it out for the good of all.

Actually, there’s good stuff theree for everybody, not just journalists.

We just decided to do this a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been working like mad over the holidays to generate content, work on our site layout, get our feeds up, fix the things I break, etc. and “officially” launch today.  Go over, check it out, SUBSCRIBE (it’s free) and jump into the fray.

2009 Internet Goals

I read this post the other day on Daily Blog Tips on 2009 Internet goals.  It’s a group writing project they’re sponsoring.  I haven’t participated in one of these in quite a while, but this one is pretty poignant.  Goal setting is usually something that I do in my head, but of course it’s a good idea to write these things down so that we can go back later and check them, right?  Right.

I think I came pretty far in 2008, and I hit most of the goals that I’d loosly set for myself, but there’s a pretty good chance I’ve just forgotten about the ones I didn’t hit, so I think writing them down is the way to go.

1)  Get at least two friends to start blogging.  This means you!!!  Even if you keep your blog private (that’s easy to do) or accessible only to your friends and family, it’s just too easy to have a nice site these days.  I have a whole different post coming about managing your online reputation.  Having your own site is the first step.  Grab a domain name for a few bucks a year, and talk to me about hosting.  I’m running a friend special right now.  😉

2)  Get over 100 subscribers to this blog (finally).  I’ve been hovering at around 85 for quite a while now.  I’m not really sure how to make it over the hump, but I have a year to figure out, right?  I think one of the problems may be that I bounce around a lot of different topics and get pretty streaky on things.  But that’s the way my mind works, and this is supposed to reflect what I’m thinking, right?  Oh wait, there is one thing I can do…BEG!!!  Please subscribe if you haven’t yet.  If you aren’t sure what I mean by “subscribe”, here’s a quick tutorial.

3)  Launch three new sites.  I actually know what two of these sites will be centered around–more on that next year.  That leaves me with the task of coming up with one other idea.  This shouldn’t be too tough to do–I’ve got a million ideas I haven’t even thought yet.  But then, there’s the implementation–there’s the rub.

4)  Money.  Financial goals are always fun.  With all of my efforts combine, I’d like to make it to $600/month by the end of 2009.  Right now I’m at about $225 per month, and it’s increasing at a pretty steady rate.  I think this goal can be attained by June or July, but I think it’s prudent to give myself some wiggle room just in case I don’t get a bailout.

5)  Empower a bunch of people.  This one is tough to measure, but I know a bunch when I see a bunch, and I hope some of the projects I’m working on will help a bunch express themselves and share information.

6)  Complete two WordPress plugins.  I’m almost finished with one sizeable plugin, and there’s another I’d like to write as well.  They both tie in with goal #5.  I think they will go a long way in making things easier for people to accomplish some tasks with their WordPress blogs.

7)  Get two links from A-list bloggers.  I’m not as concerned with which of my site(s) get these links as I am that I get them.  And I’m not picky about who these A-listers are.  Why would I be?  I think this is definitely doable–I got one last year.  Then again, that was in January and I didn’t get another one all year.

The Death of News Stories?

I was running with @Mr_Schwartz the other day, and we were (once again) coming up with solutions to the world’s most difficult problems.  Unfortunately for the world, I’m not doing too much distance these days, so there isn’t enough time to fix every problem.  Nonetheless, the topic of conversation this cold and rainy night was the news.  See, @Mr_Schwartz made a funny comment to this post last week, but in making a joke he also made an excellent point:

Why is is that NO ONE in the popular media has talked about how much this guy looks like Stephen King? You don’t see many of those haircuts out there, and if you do then they aren’t hung on jack o’ lantern sized noggins like this guy. AND he wears track suits??? Awesome!
We have someone that is trying to turn himself into the most stereotypical corrupt politician since the Mayor “diamond” Joe Quimby on The Simpsons.
I need these angles played, media! Do the work, Campbell Brown! You have to earn it…

I’ve been harping on this for a while in a roundabout way.  It’s a little baffling to me that newspapers are continuing to struggle in a market where the appetite for news is insatiable.  Of course, the management of newspapers can lay some of the blame at the feet of bloggers, but the fact that bloggers are beating them at the news game seems like proof to me that the market is thriving.  Is this just a management issue?

I’ve also realized that so many people at the top of the news business (print in particular) are still dealing with old standards that no longer exist. Instead of using the tools available and realizing that there has to be a balance between newsroom/tech crews, there are some local papers that are just seeing the dark at the end of the tunnel.

That’s a scary proposition to me, and I’ll tell you why.  I’m afraid that the death of newspapers is going to be the death of news stories.

Not the death of the dissemination of news facts–I can get those on Twitter.  Actually, I prefer to get them there real time.   Not the death of news analysis–I can get that on countless blogs and cable stations.  Actually, I can just read my own blog for that.

But news stories that are investigated, fact checked, pieced together through multiple interviews and accounts may actually disappear with the newspaper.  I would hate to see that happen.  Anyone with time to hit 140 buttons can tell a lie on Twitter, and blogs are like opinions–everybody’s got one.  But writers who can piece together and accurately tell a story are rare, and a lot of them are working for newspapers…for now.

The good news is, I believe there’s a place for these folks online.  I think the ability to accurately tell a good news story is about as rare on the web right now as it is in newspapers (yeah, ouch).  And I think journalists who are enterprising may utlimately find they are more comfortable and productive working for themselves online instead of working for bosses who just don’t get it.

But that’s just the opinion of a guy behind a keyboard at 7:30 am…not a proven fact, and definitely not researched.  😛

Back by Popular Demand

Actually no demand at all, but I’ve added the poll back onto the site.  I don’t think anyone missed it, or if they did I didn’t hear about it.  But, as Say Uncle says, “Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.”  I think he only says that because “Powered by Spite” was taken.

So please vote on the latest poll.  I’ll switch them out and write really long posts about the results when I get bored and want to change them–every 4 or 5 months or so.

New Digs

 

Change
Change

 

Big changes here, obviously.  I have a lot of other changes planned as well, but will phase them in gradually.  Some things remain the same though–bad writing, lame attempts at humor, and uninformed opinions remain.

Basically I’d hacked the other theme up to the point that something had to be done.  I’m not very good at designing anything to look nice, so I went out and found a theme that was 99.9% what I wanted.  Again, still some changes coming, but I think I may stick with this for a while.

Just like last time, please let me know if you catch anything here that’s broken and I’ll get around to fixing that at some point.  Ah, who am I kidding?  I’m never gonna fix it unless it’s costing me money.

What She Said, Part 5,307

Jen is channeling my thoughts.  However, she writes better than I do and probably smells better too.

The question shouldn’t be “which of those two are you voting for” but rather “why are you tolerating a system that is stripping you of your right to fair process and what can we do to change it?” Stop settling for less and start demanding more from the systems that your dollars support. Stop following the process blindly and start looking at the bigger picture and asking the hard questions. Demand more… our nation deserves it… our nation needs it. We certainly do need change, but I assure you change will NOT come from any candidate put before us by either the democratic or republican parties.

Every election cycle we seem to get more and more polarized as a country, aligning ourselves with two parties that are becoming more and more alike.  I’m worried that this country may have missed its last chance to grow a set and demand more.

Two Things I Don’t Discuss Here

Religion and abortion.  I hesitate to even bring either of them up.  There’s not much anyone can say to change anyone else’s mind about either, and I’d rather just avoid those topics altogether.

Knowing that I’m not trying to persuade anyone to believe anything, please enjoy this excerpt based purely on its cleverness.  You can argue with LissaKay at her place if you’d like, or you can argue in the comments here, but I won’t be piping in with an opinion:

I then went on to propose that if women wanted to have abortion as a birth control option, then men should too. If a couple gets pregnant unexpectedly, if the man doesn’t want the burden or inconvenience of raising a child, or even just being financially responsible for it for 18 years or more, then he should be able to force the woman to have an abortion. Equal rights and all, you know. Her reply to that was so very predictable … if a man doesn’t want to be making babies, he shouldn’t be sleeping around. 

Right. Exactly. Neither should a woman. With equal rights comes equal responsibility, and it goes both ways.