Random Ideas \ Thoughts \ err \ posts!

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Blogging August 27, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 8:02 pm

I have been amazed at my little experiment with blogs on both my personal and business websites, and it has not only made a very notable change on the ranking of those main websites, but the blogs are frequently visited by real people at a rate much faster than I expected. Pretty wild to see how popular blogging is. It is also a little scary to see how many people will absorb un-vetted blogs!


Some office stuff for sales – UPDATED August 25, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 12:08 pm
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We’re posting a bunch of no longer needed office equipment, computers and other equipment over at CraigsList, be sure to check it out. We will also be posting some inventory reduction sales over at Craigs List shortly – this will remove the overstock we’ve held and don’t want to bother moving it. (more…)


Support the MDA August 22, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 3:14 pm
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Hi Friends – as many of you know I have spend the last two years support the MDA through local charity events and fundraisers. Many of you have helped support me in rasing money to send kids to summer camp. Here is a new opporunity where you can receive something back. Many coroporate sponsors have donated items which you can bid on, auction style online. A great example is CITGO is donating a year’s supply of gas! Starting bid is $999 — which is a great deal! Take a look over at http://www.mda.org/auctions/ and get involved today!


Fast Food in Silicon Valley August 21, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 3:06 pm
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It was a close call this week as proponents of a year long ban of fast food restaurants petitioned the San Jose city council. And while I try to rarely consume fast food and I believe in free enterprise, have the proponents even done their research?

Last week Campos and other proponents of the ban cited the problem of obesity in children and said they want more information on the role fast food plays.

– San Jose nixes fast-food moratorium proposal – Silicon Valley Business Journal

Is this saying what I think it is saying? That they don’t specifically have a link between fast foot and obesity of children? Yet they are willing to take steps to prevent fast food restaurants from opening? (more…)


Voice over IP Telephony

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 2:37 pm

Many people have tried and failed at Voice-over IP Telephony. With the excellent marketing efforts to bring this new technology into the everyday consumer market, many people have not only heard about VoIP, but they’ve actually tried it. Going beyond the hype of free internet calls, we’ve seen companies such as Comcast providing their own service, Comcast Digital Voice; which was a reaction to the growing popularity of third party service providers such as Vontage.

Many people have been trying Vontage, as a paid-for-service model, was well as other people using free services such as Skype. Also there is a plethora of hardware that has become available for this market. From hard phones to digital PBX systems and proxy servers. (more…)


Behavioral Targeting August 15, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 10:43 am
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In sci-fi movies we’ve seen that advertisements know your purchasing trends and provide target specific advertisements. Walking down the street, the billboard will reflect something you’re inclined to purchase. Good or bad, this is something which is beginning to take form online. In a recent Tech Republic Blog it exposes how the US House of Representatives is beginning to question ISP and other online agencies about their Behavioral Targeting practices. It is an interesting point to discuss. On one end, as a person who has no interest in beer and “female undergarments”, I really would appreciate not seeing those ads on signs, magazines and online pop-ups. Then again, it would probably be filled with the latest books, technology and most significantly ads relating to Disneyland. There may be way too much temptation for me if I saw such ads everywhere I turned… 🙂 But I digress…

There is nothing new about behavioral targeting, and it is used every day in virtually every form of advertising, ever since the science of marketing was invented. The problem that most people have is that instead of targeting a group, they are now targeting me specifically, and individually. And the fact that somebody knows that sort of information about me is concerning… or at least it is to some people. Yes, this information could be used for ill purposes. But stop for a moment and think about Amazon.com – they use this sort of individual, behavioral targeting – placing products I’d likely purchase on the homepage. Do we really have a problem with this sort of usage? At what point did we really be concerned about out privacy to this degree?

Let’s take a step back, and go low-tech for a moment. Rush back to the turn of the century, and you purchase your groceries from the local market. You see your regular clerk twice a week, and he notices by pure observation that you’re purchasing baby products, perhaps you even bring your child to the store. At some point there is a sale, or perhaps about to be a sale on cloth diapers (remember, no disposables back then!) — and he mentions this to you… Wouldn’t you be genuinely appreciative that he took a moment to acknowledge you as a unique person with specific needs – and then addressed them? Yet, fast forward to the 20th century — we would probably be offended by that same clerk today that he was prying into my private life… Last time I checked, things readily observable is not something any privacy law protects. How far is too far with this in-reach of privacy laws?

My guess is that it is the people that have something to hide – perhaps people involved in illegal or other questionable in legality — or perhaps just some things they think are slightly immoral, or would be the subject of questioning — if other people learned about their habbits. Now I don’t think our houses shoudl be made of glass walls — some things that take place in my home are made to be private… But if I am interacting with the world, then I really shouldn’t have the expectation of privacy: amazon is an extension of my local bookstore, and google is an extension of my library.


Flex those grey cells!

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 7:42 am

I discovered a web site a few weeks ago which has been a great time-out from the world and gives a chance to flex those grey cells! TESTfunda is a website based in Mumbai which is designed to help students pass one of the standarized tests they have over there. They post a Question of the Week which will bring you back to the word math/logic questions you may remember from high school.

I enjoy them because it forces me to think outside of the box in solving problems — and in real life, that is something which is certainly necessary. Enjoy.

Here is one for you to try…

Once Birbal was returning from a visit to a far land when his ship capsized. He was taken prisoner by a mad king in a distant land who had heard of Birbal’s intelligence. The king wanted to see how intelligent Birbal really was. He gave Birbal two large jars – one with 50 red marbles and the other with 50 white marbles. He allowed Birbal to move the marbles around between two jars. The only condition was that each of the 100 marbles should finally be accounted for in one of the two jars.

After Birbal finished, he would be blindfolded and the two jars will be shaken. Then the king will chose one of the jars at random and give that jar to Birbal. Birbal will have to pick one marble out of that jar. If he picks a white marble, he will be set free and sent home in comfort; if he picks a red marble, he will be given 100 lashes and sent-off on a boat without food or water.

What should Birbal do to maximize his chances of picking a white marble?