Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Droid, iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian....AAAAH

Two nights ago, in a typical act of klutzery, I spilt a strongly brewed cup of herbal tea on both my personal laptop and my cell phone. Thankfully, my laptop survived after a restore, which is sort of amazing considering the damage the tea did to the finish on the kitchen table (should I be worried about my stomach???). But my phone? It spent a day flickering and sputtering, and finally quit just before I went to sleep.

I had planned to put off my smartphone purchase for another couple months, but it seems absurd to buy anything else just to have it for a couple months. I still may grab a $15 go-phone to give me deliberation time, but I would love all of your assistance... And so!

Here are my priorities, in order:

-A fabulous web browser.
-Outlook 2003 compatibility.

It sounds like I can get a good browser on any decent smartphone. I'd go with Windows Mobile, but it sounds like the newest version requires Outlook 2007, and my work is still on 2003 (ha).

That's it! I'd love to be able to do some of the other fancy things, like set my phone to download NPR news each day so that I can listen on the Metro, or scan bar codes for comparison shopping, but those things are small compared to those above.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Marketing on YouTube: A Double-Edged Sword

“Brands that let their channels lapse and fade away into the wasteland of untidy and untended pages lack a clear understanding of how to use YouTube as a social media vehicle,” writes Catherine-Gail Reinhard, creative director at Videasa, on Mashable.

A branded social media account requires a strong commitment. B.L. Ochman, a social media strategy consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the head of whatsnextonline.com, wrote about how starting a Twitter account and then not using it can be damaging to a company's brand. A YouTube account can certainly be valuable, but requires just as much care.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Learning from the Pros - Red Bull Extends the Brand to the Web

Smart branding extends a consistent personality to everything the brand touches. Benefits to emphasize are carefully chosen and extended to everything from the colors, fonts, and logos used, to the events sponsored, to what the CEO says in an interview. It is absolutely essential that every brand have an Internet presence that fits its brand.

Red Bull, for example, markets to young, risk-taking audiences seeking tons of energy. They emphasize a dangerous image for their highly caffeinated, nuclear-neon drink by well-chosen sponsorships: late-night parties, b-boy competitions, extreme sports events, athletes, and music artists (like a client of mine- Bassnectar), all in cohesion with their daring and energetic brand. Red Bull’s website opens with a video of extreme mountain bikers crashing.

"I don't know how many bones I've broken," one biker reports. "I think it's about 25."


Friday, August 28, 2009

Vinegar and Ice Cream, Cialdini, and Woot.com

Two weeks ago, I ordered thoroughly indulgent gourmet vinegar: Cavedoni Botte Piccola Italian Balsamic. The normally $56 bottle was selling for $39.99 on Woot.com. At first I resisted temptation, but after reading the enthusiastic discussion on the forums, I gave in. I am one of many who daily submit to the site's brilliant business model.

Woot purchases a single item in bulk and offers that item at a large discount until it runs out. Cialdini discussed this "weapon of influence": scarcity. We do not like when any choice, including the choice to buy, is taken away. Thus, we are more likely to buy something we know will disappear, just because we still have the opportunity to do so.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Web 2.0 Job Hunt: 5 Tips to Keep You Sane

Advice I'm taking, and passing on to you:


It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of options, and it will be hard to accomplish anything if you hunt and peck. Decide your criteria and job location before you start.


Use keywords that relate to specific skills or interests. I found some really interesting jobs by searching for health, performing arts, and green building in conjunction with the main keyword: marketing.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Warning: May Cause Tastebuds to Spontaneously Combust

After a stressful morning and afternoon, I turned in the evening to cooking experiments. I figure if I self-medicate with healthy food, it's okay. Ha.

Since my last post I made another wallet-denting market trip, realizing that- hey, summer doesn't last forever and blackberry season is even shorter than that. Thus we have Exhibit A:
Dangerously tantalizing little things, aren't they? One more, because I can't help it.

That, right there? That's what blackberries are supposed to look like. Not those flavorless things you get at the grocer, which shouldn't even be allowed to call themselves blackberries. They taste more like weak orange juice really, nothing at all like the flavour you get from these. Real blackberries bleed purple juice all over your fingers. Mmmm.

The nice lady at the market warned me that whatever berries I didn't eat tonight I should freeze, because they were already so ripe. I've been making smoothies out of these guys and other fruit, so that sounded fine. I freeze the berries as they are, or chop bananas into chunks or scrape out all the mango/peach/apricot pulp into a bowl and freeze that, before throwing it in the blender with a splash of milk and a pinch of stevia. Heaaaven.

But today as I made my usual cyber walk around the gluten-free foodie mecca that is our internet, I saw the lovely Heather at Healthy Indulgences had recently posted a sugar-free blackberry ice cream recipe. No ice cream maker needed.


The only ingredient I was missing was the heavy cream, so I set out to Martin's to get some (and of course ended up buying a pile of Bob's Red Mill Flours I'd been wanting to get... me + good food and new recipes to try = empty wallet). I'm going to make gluten-free soft pretzels soon!

Anyway, blah blah blah, here is the result. It's beautiful. The texture is much better than I expected from the pictures- not too hard, not too icey- it feels absolutely delightful in the mouth and tastes aaaamazing.

As always, those of you not trying to cut carbs or gluten or sugar can substitute the sugar back in and do it that way. I understand- erythritol is expensive stuff (but so worth it!).

Want a bite?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Go to your Farmers’ Market. Buy some food. Drool. Eat. Savor. Repeat.

My first job was working at the Eastern Farmer's Market on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, selling produce for Marshall Farms. I think I was ten years old? Back then I didn’t eat much of the produce I was selling. Eggplant looked terrifying to me. Squash was untouchable. Even tomatoes were too strange, although I gladly handed out samples, explaining to customers that some were sweet, some tasted more acidic… parroting what I’d heard people say, and faking a southern accent. City folk trust southern produce.

There are a lot of socially conscious reasons to buy local, but my primary motive? Taste. Nutrition. A better, fresher, more flavorful and delicious peach than you could ever find at Food Lion. An heirloom tomato from Takoma Park that takes a sandwich that was alright and makes it heavenly. Blackberries too delicious to talk about without blushing. ..I wish I’d taken a picture before I ate them all. The carnivores will find happiness, too, enjoying flavorful, fresh cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, and so on. The fresh butter is delightful. The eggs are scrumptious and hooray! –chemical-free. A necessity for allergy-crushed kids such as myself. My kitchen currently boasts farm-fresh peaches, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, two types of squash, zucchini, cayenne, turkey, butter, and eggs. There are some things worth spoiling yourself over, and I think splurging on food that’s healthy and delicious is more than worth it.

I admit I’m selfish in that I target much of my activism toward personal benefit. Obesity-prevention initiatives to lower the costs of fruit and vegetables by taxing sugary drinks? Sign me up. Network neutrality to protect my precious internet? I’m there.

By buying local food, I get much bang for my buck. The food is delicious and nutritious. I know most of my money goes right to the farmer. I’m stimulating the local economy. I’m preserving the genetically diverse and thus varying flavors of heirloom produce instead of mass produced food only in the most easily shipped and preserved varieties. I’m taking care of my environment by taking trucks off the road and conserving energy. As I sit eating a piece of cantaloupe, I feel conscious and spoiled all at once. Glorious.

For my Blacksburg crew, the market is on the corner of Roanoke and Draper Roads and is open on Wednesdays from 2pm-7pm and Saturdays from 8am-2pm. Come out August 22 for the Tomato Contest and taste over 40 different tomatoes!

For everyone else, find local farmers’ markets by typing your zipcode into LocalHarvest.org.

Enough from me. Why do YOU buy local food?