October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

While personally, I think that EVERYDAY should be a Cybersecurity awareness day, the good folks at the Department of Homeland Security have made October National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

This “awareness month” was created in 2004.  Have previously heard of it?  I’ve been aware of the awareness month, since 2010, but I think that the overall awareness of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is still quite low.  Which is quite a bad thing, since the number of online security threats seems to growing on a daily basis.

Let’s take this opportunity to share our knowledge with our friends, family, and co-workers.

Some ideas:

-Talk about malware/viruses with your co-workers
-Suggest to your neighbor that he put a password on his wi-fi network
-Remind your mom that around Christmas time, she will probably get lots of emails pretending to be from FedEx, that have an attachment. DO NOT open the attachment.
-Visit the National Cyber Security Awareness Month website for more ideas

I’m sure that there are many other great ideas that you may have.
Please feel free to share those!

(I do practice what I preach, and those 4 examples are things that I have done in the past, and yes, my mom still did click on the link in the fake FedEx email).

What’s In A Name? Nothing it seems to Dodge

Perhaps yo have seen the new commercials for the 2013 Dodge Dart (you can find the long version here).

“How to change cars forever”, is certainly a bit of hyperbole, but that isn’t the main issue that I find with this new car.
If you are truly building a car (or anything) that will be “all new”, finding a new name for any such product is another key element.

I find this a bit sad.

The car seemed like a new direction for Dodge, and I was intrigued…and then simply the old name “Dart”, quickly killed that off.

I know that in the 70s the Dart had a reputation as “sturdy, reliable car”…however, the target market for this car is people who are about 25-40.  The experiences that this demographic has with the Dart, are that it is an old car that one of your friends grandparents might have had.  There is definitely no positive correlation with name.

This sort of disconnect seems show a lack of proper marketing research, and a lack of creativity.  To me these failings make me question what else in the car when through the same thought process, the therefore undo any of the goodwill that the ad might have created.

What do you think about give an “all new” car, an old name?


Friends and Barbecue Sauce

Does this word mean the same to you, as it does to me?

A quick trip to your local grocery-mega mart will reveal that there are hundreds of types of BBQ sauce…and as you travel to various regions of the US, you will find that “BBQ sauce” can mean different things in different places…is it think or thin? hot or mild? Is it barbecue or BBQ? vinegar based, mustard based, ketchup based? fruity, or smokey, or flavored in some other way?

Since it is summertime and (at least to me) summer means a lot of outdoor cooking, and a lot of BBQ sauce. It got me thinking that a word “BBQ sauce” (and similarly, the term “barbecue”) means different things to different people.

As the world gets smaller, thanks to the internet, more and more collisions of terminology like this will arise.


What does it mean to be a “Friend”?

Clearly Facebook Friends aren’t ‘friends‘; or at least not ‘Friends‘.
6 or 7 years ago, a “friend” was a fairly well understood term. And it was understood that you might have layers of friends….those who you would have over to a barbecue, those that were the parents of your kids friends, the nice people at work, and then there are those who would help you clean up after the barbecue, and those who know you so well that you could never be elected to any public office.

Terminology continues to change…what is the next term to lose it’s meaning?

Are Your Competitors Your Friends?

As the world becomes flatter, and communication with people in different organizations becomes much easier, it seems that competition has become even more frantic.

One place for a savvy community manager or social media leader to find an odd ally is amongst your competition.

Now I’m not saying that you should spend time editing their blog posts and give them access to you AdWords account (of course!)….but there are occasions for customer/market education where rivals can come together to solve real problems.

For the sake of an example, I just happen to be looking at the hand sanitizer on my desk….so let’s say that I marketed hand sanitizer. Without neglecting my message of killing the most germs and having a nice aloe scent; there is a larger theme of fighting the spread of germs and disease; and around this theme I could contact my counterpart at a competition and propose an awareness campaign that we collaborate on. Then as more people are aware of the benefits of hand sanitizer, both of our sales will increase. A healthy dose of co-opition

(Of course the assumptions here are that you have an ethical competitor, a problem to solve, and a market that is big enough for the both of you)

The Olympic Brand Games

Perhaps I am showing a bit of my age here, but I remember when the Olympics used to be about sport, competition, ‘the thrill of victory’…about people who may have had political, religious or philosophical differences coming together to celebrate excellence.

Then the Olympics became a brand.
And I am all for brands, and good branding management.

Then the Olympics used social media.
And I am all for people and organizations using social media.

Then the Olympics decided that they could control social media.

Now, would it be proper brand management to have social media guidelines?
Of course.

But the Olympic guidelines on social media and blogging have (in my humble opinion) gone too far.  A few snippets:

  • Athletes and journalists must post/tweet/blog/etc in the first person.
  • Athletes and journalists may not upload video
  • Athletes and journalists must receive permission from everyone in a photo prior to posting
  • A few highlights include that any domain name or URL with the word “olympics” must be approved by the IOC ahead of time.

In general, I am a sports fan, and sometimes when the Olympics roll around, I find myself caring more about some less popular sports than I normally would.  I don’t think that I am alone in this…ask yourself, when was the list time that you watched diving on TV?  <The answer is 2008, and the time before that was 2004>.

Social media is a great opportunity for some of the lesser known sports to emerge, and become a part of the publics conscienseness.  Swimming has Michael Phelps, gymnastics has Nastia Lukin, in the winter there are Apollo Ono and Shaun White.  However, most of the Olympics sports don’t have a highly visible, easily identifiable “face”.

With the vast proliferation of social media, London 2012 would have been the perfect opportunity for some of those other sports to use social media to grab some of the spotlight.

The IOC may be protecting their brand, but it is going to come at the expense of the individual sports and athletes.

Re-birth of a Blog

This blog has been ignored (by me, and anyone who might potentially read it) by close to year.

I apologize for that (to myself, and to anyone who might have wanted to read it).

I have thought about things to blog about for quite a while, and have decided to give this blog a larger focus, not just on online communities, but on all aspects of digital media.

Welcome to this blog.

Acrobat to Zooropa…Listening to Every U2 Song In One Day

First of all, to be alphabetically correct, the title should be “A Celebration to Zooropa”, or if you are being alphanumeric, it would be “11 O Clock Tick Tock to Zooropa”.

However, “Acrobat'”is song title more recognizable to U2.  If I hear that word “acrobat” I think Kerri Strug, and then U2.  The term ” A celebration” leads to many, many other thoughts.  Plus, I really like the song “Acrobat”.

With that out of the way, I am presently 59 songs into this 232 song adventure.  I am not going strictly alphabetically throught, especially not since I am pulling the music from 3 different sources…however the iTunes portion (156 songs) is in alphabetical order.  I was able to get 50 songs lined up in a playlist on Rdio (which I subscribe to), and I created a playlist on YouTube for 26 of the harder to find songs (such as Mercy, Soon, Fast Cars, Maggie’s Farm, etc).

I had a tough time determining which songs to include, there were a lot of obvious choices…but then should I include Passengers?  What about Million Dollar Hotel?  Mission Impossible?  SpiderMan?  What about cover songs?  Or medleys?  What about songs that became other songs?  And lastly what about songs that suck?  As much as I love the music of u2, and even if you love their music more, in 200+ songs you can’t deny that they’ve laid an egg or two.

I decided that U2 songs are those played by Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam…so SpiderMan and Mission Impossible (and similar ventures) are out.

Passengers is somewhat in.  Songs by the ‘Million Dollar Hotel Band’ are out.  The specific U2 contributions to that album are in.

Cover songs are available.  However the songs that have snippets that are occasionally included as medleys (such as “Ruby Tuesday” in BAD, etc) aren’t included.

Songs that were performed as a complete song that then become something else entirely, such as Native Son becoming Vertigo are both included…however I did not do exhaustive research into this.  Actually, I primarily used the Wikipedia list, and made a few modifications (such as deleting the instrumental Passengers songs), and adding few (Cry).

Remixes were deemed to be unnecessary.

Songs that I don’t like…I feel I don’t need to listen to in their entirety…at least the verse and chorus though.  Even “Unknown Caller”…but hearing ‘force quit, move to trash’ does force me to quit listening to that song…and “Maggie’s Farm” was crap when Dylan did, no one should have to listen that again.

My intent here is just a goofy little challenge to myself and a tribute to my favorite band…so I won’t dwell anymore on the negative.

The highlights…the other 220+ songs, make for 17 hours of great music today.

So this all clocks in at over 16 and a half hours worth of music.  I started listen at 6:40AM.

I did finish with 24 hours, but due to a few issues (such as “real life”, a “job”, and family) I got an hour or so behind, and this carried over until the following calendar day, but 24 hours makes a day…and there is no way that I would try this again.

Mission Complete.

The highlight: at about song 145 I was getting really tired of this, but then Sunday Bloody Sunday came on an I rallied.

The lowpoint: the iTunes section of this was done alphabetically.  The “M” section seems to have a lot of  less good U2 songs (A Man and A Woman, Miami, Moment of Surrender).  Evidently, “A Man and a Woman” is alphabetically in the “M’s” according to iTunes.   Who knew?

Grilling the Perfect Burger – 40 Things to Do Before I’m 40

How to grill the best burger ever.

The key is to start with great ingredients.

The quantities here are for 8 burgers.

  • 2.5 lb beef (chuck roast)
  • 1 container of blue cheese (I think that these are about 4 ounces)
  • 1 package of buns (I recommend Orowheat Potato Buns, but you can get fancier I suppose)
  • 3 walla walla sweet onions
  • 1 lb Bacon
  • Salt, turbinado sugar, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar
  • Pappy’s BBQ seasoning (or similar rub)


Slice sweet onions (thick), 4-5 slices per onion.  Using a tooth pick will help keep the slices intact during marinating/cooking.
Put in a 1 gallon ziploc with sea salt, cracked pepper, raw sugar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Marinate in fridge for a couple hours

I make my own, but any “good” bacon will do.
Cook it as you normally would (do this ahead of time)

Buy big hunk o meat (chuck tenderloin whatever)
Cube it about 1″ or so
Season generously (I use Pappys)
Set in fridge, covered for a couple hours
Grind the meat (I use the kitchen aid attachment)
Form in to balls about the size of a baseball (I get about 3 per pound of meat)
Divide each ball in half.
Flatten each of those halves
Put blue cheese on one
Put the other half on top, an press together

Grill onions, this can get messy so I try really hardy keep the slides intact.  I usually remove the toothpicks, but not always.

Cook them until they are soft, and brown (and perhaps a few are getting black)

put them on a piece of foil in back of your grill…(optional, dust them with a bit of brown sugar)
Keep cooking them until the are gooey and brown and melty, move them around with tongs every so often

Cook the burger like you normally would.
IF you cooked the bacon the day before, you might want to warm it on the grill

Toast the buns on the grill

Top the burger with the onions and bacon


Wait for the compliments.

Thank me later.

40 Things to Do Before I’m 40 – The Perfect Manhattan

I’m not really that familiar with Manhattans.

Back when I was in college,  The Simpsons did the “Bart Joins the Mob” episode.  In that episode the substitute bartender makes Fat Tony a Manhattan that generates the response “What have I done to deserve this flat, flavorless Manhattan”.  Bart then is ordered to make Fat Tony a Manhattan (and his life, seemingly depends on it).  Fat Tony pronounces Barts’ Manhattan to be “Su-poib”.

My friends and I still use the catchphrases “Su-poib” and “What have I done to deserve this flat, flavorless Manhattan”, regardless of if a Manhattan is involved.

So I asked some friends, and finally settled with the recipe that my friend Sally gave me.  Sally went to bartender school and as a side gig does some bartender at weddings.

Here is her recipe:

2 part Southern Comfort

1 part Sweet Vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi Rosso)

Dash of Angostura bitters

4 ice cubes


Ice goes in glass, then add Southern Comfort, vermouth and bitters.


Feel the hairs on the back of your neck tingle.



#Trust30 – Image

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.

Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future.

30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.
Image by Matthew Stillman

Mess up your hair. If you are wearing makeup – smudge it. If you have a pair of pants that dont really fit you – put them on. Put on a top that doesn’t go with those pants. Go to your sock drawer. Pull out two socks that don’t match. Different lengths, materials, colors, elasticity.  Now two shoes. You know the drill.  Need to add more? Ties? Hair clips? Stick your gut out? I trust you to go further.  Take a picture.

Get ready to post it online.  Are you feeling dread? Excitement? Is this not the image you have of yourself? Write about the fear or the thrill that this raises in you? Who do you need to look good for and what story does it tell about you? Or why don’t you care?

There has always been a line between your work life and your personal life.

Social media (and being connected almost anytime/anywhere), have gone a long way to blur that line.

If I took a picture such as mentioned above and posted as a goof on my personal Facebook page, I would think that it is hilarious.  But it’s foolish to assume that anything that is online is private or personal (I don’t deny being paranoid)

I don’t think that I (or anyone) needs to walk around everyday looking like they are going to have their head shots taken.

I don’t think that I (or anyone) needs to look perfect or dressed to the nines at the office.

But I do think that the way that you dress and take care of yourself does say a lot about your personality/character.

Now that may be something that you manipulate, or it may be something that you neglect and it harms you in social settings.

If I were meeting (or seeing) someone for the first time and they had mismatched clothes, I would assume that they don’t pay much attention to detail.  Professionally, such a picture would send an incorrect (and negative) image to colleagues, customers, future employers, future employees, etc.


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