Keeping up with the Websters

New words are being created every day, many due to the influence of technology and social networking. Here are some fun new words that you have likely heard and used already … now sanctioned by Merriam and company.

  1. big data: data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools … as Ed Sullivan would say … it’s really, really, big
  2. catfish: someone who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes … gives a bad name to a pretty good fish (Have you ever seen the reality show on MTV? Oy.)
  3. crowdfunding: soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from an online community … political contributions come to mind … hmmmm
  4. fracking: injecting fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources like oil or natural gas … not exactly a new practice … but a seriously new name that sorta sounds like what it does
  5. freegan: an activist who scavenges for free food in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants as a means of reducing consumption of resources … ok, this is a little crazy and dangerous, not to mention potentially stinky
  6. gamification: the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something to encourage participation … I confess that we have been guilty here … but who knew there was a word for it. *laughs*
  7. hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet). Ahem … seems a little on the late side, Merriam, since we have been using this word for years.
  8. pho: a Vietnamese soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles, herbs and a protein (Yum. I think I’d like some mo pho please.)
  9. poutine: a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds … this one is a heart attack waiting to happen
  10. selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a cell phone especially for posting on social networks … guilty again
  11. social networking: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online … and again
  12. steampunk: subgenre of science fiction and fantasy steampunkliterature featuring 19th century society dominated by steam-powered technology. Steampunk has developed in recent years to become a craft and lifestyle movement.
  13. turducken: a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey … for those who cannot terducken 2decide and want it all (but the bones), I guess
  14. tweep: a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets … what?
  15. Yooper: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan —used as a nickname (um, why?)

Words in general fascinate me … and new word development is even more fun … and it’s easy to see how they evolve. As Cameo would say … Word up!


Internet of Things

So have you heard about this -The Internet of Things (IoT)? Pretty remarkable stuff, I’d say, although certainly not unexpected. Let me explain.

IoTRight now it’s possible to unlock your house, turn on your heat and watch your nanny cam from your Smartphone … this use of remote technology is how IoT rolls. You know … running your “things” using the internet. So, at the next cocktail party you attend … casually drop the term and see who bites or who excuses themselves to grab a cosmo. The actual definition (i.e. what Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would say) is “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable computing devices within the existing internet infrastructure.” The simple story is we will be able to monitor, control and program a large number of devices from the palm of our hand.

Interestingly enough, the concept of a network of smart devices was discussed as early as 1982, with a modified Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University becoming the first internet connected appliance, able to report its inventory and whether newly loaded drinks were cold. Who knew?

Fast forward to 2014 where the Internet of Things has evolved due to a convergence of multiple technologies, ranging from wireless communication to the Internet and from embedded systems  to micro-electromechanical systems  (MEMS). This means that the contributions of traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, automation (including home and building automation), and others all are enablers of the Internet of Things.

Some research estimates more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (that would make it the Internet of Everything) by 2020!  As per a recent survey and study done by Pew Research Internet Project, a large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users who responded—83 percent—agreed with the notion that the Internet/Cloud of Things and embedded and wearable computing will have widespread effects by 2025. That’s means a whole lot of bandwith for a whole host of benefits. Think I’ll have a cosmo now.

Political jargon …


Ok … I’m guilty. I listen to political talk radio and television way too much. Hey, I’m practically having relationships with pundits and news anchors. And goodness knows I love a rousing debate. What I also find pretty interesting is what I call politispeak … the jargon of politics. Do any of these sound familiar?

“At the end of the day
Geez… everyone seems to know what will happen at the end of the day – the proverbial “wrap-up” phrase which I find to be hilarious. Know what actually happens at the end of my day? A really good cocktail.DemocraticLogo

“The fact of the matter”
Oh this is good. What fact are they referring to exactly? This expression often precedes a diatribe from one side or the other which covers talking points and serious partisan rhetoric about that darn matter. Maybe it’s just time filler… a breath catcher, if you will.

“Fundamentally flawed”
This is a big favorite since I love alliteration and this expression says “Your idea sucks” in such a polite way.

“The American People want”
Now there is a broad brush expression if I ever heard one, and it’s one that many people use. The fact of the matter is (sorry, I couldn’t resist but this is true) we are seriously divided as to what we want … and no one side can claim to know what The American People really want unless some bipartisan legislation has a 70-80% approval rate (I highly doubt it).

“The war on …”
Apparently we are always fighting a war on or about something … women, race, taxes, religion, drugs, 16 oz soft drinks. Pick your noun and head for the bunker as a war may very well be declared on it.

“With all due respect”
This one is very entertaining and generally precedes a real clear insult to the opposing side. After all,  one can hardly say “I’m going to be disrespectful to you and your ridiculous p.o.v. right now”, so one uses the disclaimer to sugar coat the diss. Then pow!     *rolls eyes*

Does this really mean one is about to be candid or honest?

“The folks”
Ah yes, we are often referred to as folks. Is this a warm and fuzzy colloquialism for the American people? Or is it referring to commoners? Because in my world “folks” means my parents. I’m just sayin’.

Let’s see. We had the auto bailout, the bank bailout and the Mac and Mae bailout. Since when did a term associated with doing (or not doing) jail time become synonymous with government lending paid for by the taxpayers?

“Too big to fail”
This is the ever famous theory which asserts that certain corporations, particularly financial institutions, are so large and so interconnected that their failure would be disastrous to the greater economic system, and they therefore must be supported by government when they face potential failure. Oy vey.

In my view, we are currently experiencing the most polarized political debate in decades, with rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle (ah…another interesting term) at an all time fever pitch. I can only hope things will calm down so the changes that this nation so desperately needs can actually get accomplished. As “the folks” used to say, actions speak louder than words.

(Laughs … instead of cries)

Are you really a Frank Perdue?

Many companies have attempted, but few have succeeded, in making their owner, CEO or founder the face of the brand.  Frank Perdue did manage to become the face of the brand in his family chicken business … but as the story goes, he also frank perduebelieved in the power of a talented advertising agency and did his diligence when he set out to hire one.  And with that, Frank’s relationship with Scali, McCabe, Sloves began.  As told in Esquire Magazine, Ed McCabe, the copywriter who eventually made Frank famous said, “You know, Frank, I’m not even sure I want your account any more because you’re such a pain in the ass.” Unperturbed, Frank agreed with McCabe and just went right on asking questions and making comments. In the end, the iconic platform line “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” was introduced. By appearing in more than 200 commercials beginning in the 1970s, Frank Perdue became the face, voice and name of the chicken industry. His TV appearances created remarkable name recognition for his company, Perdue Farms. Frank Perdue died in 2005 at age 84. That year, his company achieved over $2.5 billion in sales.

BRANDS-popupDave Thomas, The founder of Wendy’s was a regular in the hamburger chain’s commercials and appeared in over 800 TV spots from 1989 until his death in 2002. Alas, they were never to reach the popularity of the 1984 spot “Where’s the beef?”

Entrepreneurs and business leaders at all stages of their company’s successes have been tempted to put themselves in the spotlight but there are some considerations on such a choice. When Men’s Warehouse changed hands there was something missing in their advertising and that was the voice of George Zimmer, the founder, whose voice was deeply connected with the brand for 25 years. “You’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it” was not a campaign they would be able to use again without that signature voice.

Other successful CEOs and founders have been able to make this formula work, among them,  Orville Redenbacher, Roger Riney, (Scott-Trade), Charles Schwab, Lee Iacocca and famously successful, Martha Stewart.

That being said, there are many more CEOs, owners and founders that do a poor job of becoming the face of their brands. I often see local advertising for medical procedures, dental offices, law and plastic surgery practices that feature the faces of the practitioners, and I’m not at all sure what they are going for.

Becoming the “face” of a brand can work IF you have the right fit, a strong agency, a sound strategy and a reason to believe.  Not every face is ready for prime time … just sayin’.

Email-Fatigue … Are you responsible?

online shoppingI’m an online shopper … I admit that I love to shop in my jammies, capitalize on free shipping and use promo codes.  I keep a running list of what is to arrive and use my Amex card to get points … it’s true, I’m a user.  I have my favorite sites like Proflowers and Chicos … but seriously, do I have to hear from them every day?  I think not.

So I am forced to use the unsubscribe button … or face deleting the sale flyers in my email that proliferate at an alarming rate … I mean who buys flowers every day?  Someone who is either in love for the first time and has unlimited funding or a relative in the business?  So I unsubscribe. But low and behold … the emails come back. Grrrrrr. I read the fine print which admittedly informs me that that my email address has been sold to a third party who is sending me email on behalf of Proflowers … really?

Email pollutionEven when loyal to a brand or service, subscribers can experience email fatigue and choose to unsubscribe.  And once subscribers unsubscribe, they become detached, literally and psychologically, from an advertiser’s messaging.  So how do you as an advertiser protect your customer (and your business) from email fatigue fallout?  Follow some simple rules of e-mail etiquette.


  1. Don’t spam your list.  Determine the frequency that you should be using with your client list and stick to it.
  2. Don’t over-automate. Sending automated messages can be useful, but be sure you balance the automated messaging with the non-automated so you are nurturing your contact list … not alienating them.
  3. Respect the unsubscriber’s choice. It’s the law that recipients must be allowed to unsubscribe from your list, so please make it easy for them to do so.
  4. Scrub your list regularly. Determine the difference between soft and hard bounces and make sure to take off the addresses that have permanent delivery issues.
  5. Test your e-mail. Just as you would proof anything, proof your e- blast by sending a test to a small group and making sure the message is working and the subject is not ending up in the “junk” folder.
  6. Personalize. Send the message from a real person in your company and send it to a real name.  This is more welcomed than “Dear customer”.
  7. Be mobile-friendly.  Make sure your e-mail looks good on a mobile device.
  8. Offer a text version – just makes sense.
  9. Make e-mail attractive but do not use JavaScript and flash, which will be annoying to the reader.
  10. Avoid spam trigger words in your subject lines.  There are spam trigger lists to consult – just do it.

Happy e-mail customers make for successful e-mail campaigns … just sayin’.

Making a Case for “Case”

Fps or FPS …

Here is where case makes
a big difference.  If displayed
in logreg-shorts-1aflatedtsmwer case, fps is short for frames per second, a measure of how much information is used to display motion video. The term applies to both film video and digital video.  Since each frame is a still image, displaying frames in quick succession creates the illusion of movement. The image of the skiers is approximately a half second of frames display.

If seen in capital letters FPS is short for “First Person Shooter” … and this pertains to the video game genre where the gamer can only see the character’s hands holding a weapon on the screen. Games that involve first person shooting are great for letting off steam. While playing, one often times dies, or in attempting to heal, grabs a medical kit and as we say in gaming, lives to die another day.

Gaming has served yet another educational function … especially for people like myself … the visually cursed. I realized very soon that the resolution and display of the graphics in my video game needed to be very crisp and fast – for this the fps (the refresh rate of video) needed to be 30 frames per second for a great display experience sFirst-Person-Shooter-games-1024x819o a high definition graphics card is essential. Only Nvidia or AMD will do. Every time I buy a new computer I need a high end graphics card … cha-ching (see what I mean about visually cursed?).

This also means a fast connection is required – so no DSL for me. Fiber optic is supposed to be the fastest – so depending on where you live and how the data is delivered determines your speed for MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game). Also, many of us are in voice as we game together … so that also drains your signal.  I never knew I would learn so much about computers playing online … but hey – it’s good to still think like a 23 year old on occasion.