Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Verizon Sells Out

Verizon to Allow Ads on Its Mobile Phones


VERIZON WIRELESS, among the nation’s most widely advertised brands, is poised to become the advertising medium itself.

Beginning early next year, Verizon Wireless will allow placement of banner advertisements on news, weather, sports and other Internet sites that users visit and display on their mobile phones, company executives said.

The development is a substantive and symbolic advance toward the widespread appearance of marketing messages on the smallest of screens. Advertisers have been increasing the amount they spent on mobile marketing, despite lingering questions about the effectiveness of ads on portable phones.

Verizon officials said their initial foray would be a cautious one — they will limit where ads can appear, and exclude certain kinds of video clips — and thus may invite greater demand to place ads then they can accommodate.

“We know we can make significant dollars in mobile Web advertising in 2007,” said John Harrobin, vice president of marketing and digital media for Verizon Wireless. “That said, we likely will not — we want to take it carefully and methodically, and enable the right experience.” More generally, he added, “Mobile advertising is going to take off in 2007.”

In absolute terms, the amount of money spent on advertising on mobile phones has been small but it has been growing rapidly. In 2005, advertisers spent $45 million on such messages, and should spend around $150 million this year, according to Ovum Research, which projects that such spending will reach $1.3 billion by 2010.

The interest of advertisers in the medium stems from a theory that ads placed on mobile phones could create a particularly intimate bond with consumers. The gadgets are ubiquitous, personal, and messages could theoretically be tailored to individuals based on demographics like age, gender and location.

Numerous factors have limited the growth of cellphone advertising. Chief among those factors has been the reticence of carriers to allow ads to appear alongside news, sports and other information that is provided by their official content partners. These partners, from ESPN to USA Today and dozens of others, appear on the content menus that subscribers see when they use their phones to search for information over the Internet.

Carriers have also been concerned about annoying cellphone users with obtrusive marketing messages.

In October, Sprint became the first major carrier to allow advertisements to appear with content that is listed on its menus, or as they are known in the industry, their official content “decks.” Cingular, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, declined to comment on whether it would allow advertising on its decks.

The participation of the carriers would greatly broaden the potential audience. Seventy to 80 percent of what people view on their cellphones derives from links on these decks. The rest of the content is viewed “off deck” — on innumerable content sites that wireless consumers are free to access over the Internet.

Lack of access to these cellphone screens “is one of the biggest considerations right now,” and has limited growth, said Angela Steele, a mobile marketing expert at Starcom USA, a media buying and planning firm whose clients include Kellogg, Nintendo, Oracle and Allstate.

Even without cooperation from carriers, advertisers have been able to reach consumers visiting off-deck sites, and such marketing has grown in size and in scope.

The first advertisers drawn to mobile phones tended to be quick-serve restaurants and hotels — businesses that people might want access to on the go. But increasingly, there is traditional brand marketing, said Jeff Janer, chief marketing officer for Third Screen Media, a mobile ad management company that pairs advertisers and agencies with providers of mobile content, like USA Today and the Weather Channel.

Mr. Janer said an example of the evolution took place over the last few months as Unilever ran an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter campaign on mobile phones. The campaign, which Mr. Janer said cost $75,000 to $100,000, placed small banner ads on sites like the Weather Channel that urged consumers to click on a link to visit the “Kitchen of Love.” The link took them to a site featuring Fabio, the romance heartthrob, who is spokesman for the ad campaign.

“It’s the first consumer products group we’ve run on mobile,” Mr. Janer said.

Mr. Janer, echoing the sentiment of executives from traditional ad agencies, said that mobile phone ad budgets were growing. He said that a year ago, advertisers typically committed $25,000 for a campaign of four to six weeks. That figure is now $150,000 to $200,000, he said.

The ads have tended to involve simple banners or text messages, like those connected to the “American Idol” show, in which consumers are urged to send in a vote. Or they have offered digital coupons, like those that allow Dunkin’ Donut customers to show a coupon on their phone at the counter to get a 99 cent latte. Or they have involved sweepstakes offers.

Increasingly, driven by the growing capability and speed of wireless networks, they involve more intensive graphics, and, to a much lesser degree, video clips.

Despite these developments, advertisers continue to have serious questions about the effectiveness of mobile ads. While acknowledging there is potential for a particularly intimate relationship with phone users, advertisers say there is a dearth of data about whether the ads are motivating consumer behavior.

“There’s still a question of cost and value,” said David Cohen, executive vice president and United States director of digital communications for Universal McCann, an ad agency, whose clients include Microsoft, Sony, Johnson & Johnson and Wendy’s. The agency last week said it had signed a deal to use ad management software provided by Third Screen Media to deliver mobile ads and try to track their effectiveness.

Mr. Cohen said mobile advertising still appeared to be costly and inefficient. Because of a constrained supply of quality ad space, he said, the cost per thousand impressions is around $40, compared to $10 to $15 on the Internet.

David Goodrich, director of digital for the West Coast region for OMD, an ad agency, said he did not believe mobile advertising could be particularly effective until marketers could regularly and easily buy space for video clips.

Advertisers “are crazed to get information” onto the phones, Mr. Goodrich said. But the effectiveness “will be really limited until you’ve enabled site, sound and motion.”

That will not be happening anytime soon on Verizon, according to Mr. Harrobin. He said that during extensive tests the company did in determining whether to run ads, and how to run them, it determined that consumers find short, stand-alone video advertisements to be intrusive.

But Mr. Harrobin said that in the tests, consumers did seem to accept a single banner at the top of a page.

“What we don’t want to do is repeat the mistakes of the Internet — spam, interstitials, pop-ups,” Mr. Harrobin said. Bored, offended or inconvenienced consumers could quickly blame Verizon and leave for another service, hurting the wireless carrier’s core business and reducing its monthly subscription fees.

“We offer voice services,” he said of Verizon’s core business. Advertising “is tertiary on top of that.”

Complete Story - New York Times

Friday, December 15, 2006

Daily Horoscope for Aquarius

All neurons are firing now as mental sparks fly and communication becomes intermittent from static noise. Your key planet Uranus is electrifying your thinking and everyone may not be able to keep up with your quantum leaps of logic. Others might not recognize your brilliance today, for your mind is racing faster than you can speak. Don't waste energy trying to bring someone along on your ride. You can always fill them in on the experience later on.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Mappy Hour!

Coolest tool ever. Click Here for a map and then click on a location to see a list of all the Happy Hour bars in that location.


Map + Happy Hour = MappyHour. Get it?

"There are 40190 happy locations in our databank, and rising."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Google SMS

I recently discovered this cool feature from Google that allows you to send a text message to Google from any mobile phone and then Google will text back free information (such as driving directions, phone listings, translations) to you. It's actually an old feature (who knew!) that I just uncovered.

SMS Quick Start

1. Start a new text message and type in your search query

2. Send the message to the number "46645" (GOOGL)

3. You'll receive text message(s) with results

Here are some examples:

Local listings: hospital San Jose CA
Driving directions : pasadena CA to santa monica CA
Movies : world trade center 94110*
Weather : weather dallas tx
Stock quotes : tgt
Q&A : population of Japan
Glossary : define prosimian
Translation : translate coffee in french
Froogle : price mp3 player
Zip code : 94043
Area code : 650
Calculator : 160 pounds * 4000 feet in calories
Currency conversion : 5 usd in yen
Sports : ny jets
Help : help
Tips : tips

You can go HERE to enter terms into a sample phone to get a feel for how it works.

The only cost is a normal text message cost from your provider. This is a great feature when you are on the road and away from your computer or an internet connection. You can send a text message to 46645 and get directions, phone numbers, language translations, many things! Check out Google's site for specific instructions.

Google SMS

Sunday, September 24, 2006


George Carlin (on religion)

"Religion has actually convinced people that there is an invisible man living in the sky, and he has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these things he will send you to a place full of fire, and smoke, and burn and torture forever and ever 'till the end of time.... but he loves you. And he needs money."

~ George Carlin

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Berkeley Cookie Party

Arrests follow Berkeley marijuana cookie party
Thu Sep 7, 2006 7:10 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Three people including two students at the University of California, Berkeley, were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of making and serving marijuana-laced cookies that sickened at least a dozen students.

University police said a student who felt anxious and ill after eating the cookies told them the treats were served on Wednesday at a student-run housing cooperative near the campus.

About 15 other students at the cooperative reported similar symptoms, and a dozen of them were sent to local hospitals. They were released on Thursday morning.

Carmen Anderson, 21, a student, and Christopher Portka, 23, face a variety of drug charges including possession of more than one ounce of marijuana.

Michael Tobias, 24, the other student, was arrested on suspicion of furnishing marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Up to 14 hurt in SF hit-and-run spree

SAN FRANCISCO -- As many as 14 people were injured this afternoon by a motorist who drove around San Francisco running them down before he was arrested, authorities said.

Seven of those injured were in critical condition, police and firefighters said.

Authorities have identified the man who was arrested as Omeed Aziz Popal, who has addresses in Ceres (Stanislaus County) and Fremont.

Authorities said they believe Popal was the same driver who ran over and killed a 55-year-old man walking in a bicycle lane in Fremont, at Fremont Boulevard near Ferry Lane, just after noon. That crash scene is just blocks from Popal's Fremont address, where he had most recently been living.

Popal was arrested at a Walgreens at Spruce and California streets.

In San Francisco, the attacks began around 1 p.m., but it was unclear in what order:

• Two people, one of them a child, were critically injured around by a sport-utility vehicle on the 3500 block of California Street in Laurel Heights.

• Three people were hit at California and Fillmore streets. Witnesses said they included a man with a broken hip and a woman with a gashed head.

• Two people were seriously hurt at Bush and Pierce streets and one person was seriously injured at Bush and Buchanan streets, police said. One person suffered minor injuries in an incident at 1850 Fillmore Street.

• Two other people suffered minor injuries when they were hit at Pine and Divisadero streets, and another two were hit and suffered minor injuries at Divisadero and Bush Street.

"It was like 'Death Race 2000,' " firefighter Danny Bright said at California and Fillmore streets, as an ambulance stood nearby. "Guys were walking down the sidewalk and the guy just came up and ran them over. The guy went crazy.''

Fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said Mayor Gavin Newsom had been notified and was coordinating the response with the command post at Spruce and California streets.

This afternoon, Newsom left City Hall saying he was en route to a hospital -- presumably San Francisco General, where seven people had been admitted.

"Eleven people were hurt in the field, and police are still finding others," said Lann Wilder, a spokeswoman for San Francisco General Hospital. Seven people ages 18-84 were being treated at San Francisco General, she said.

Wilder did not comment on the patients' conditions, but said she would provide further details later this afternoon.

Three people were taken to St. Francis Hospital, one to Kaiser and two others California Pacific Medical Center, Wilder said.

One victim, Pedro Aglugov, 70, was sitting at a table at a sidewalk cafe at California and Fillmore with his head bandaged with gauze, holding an ice pack to one elbow.

"He was going real fast," Aglugov said of the driver. "I was lucky I wasn't hurt more.''

Eliseo Billones Jr., 24, a canvasser for Greenpeace, was standing on the corner when Aglugov was hit.

"He was going berserk," Billones said of the driver. "It was a red light and he just ran the red light. I saw him (Aglugov) hit the corner of the bumper and tumble.''

Barclay Lynn, 39, of San Francisco, said she and a friend were driving east on Bush when they saw a black SUV driving away and saw a motorcyclist who had been hit.

"The motorcyclist stood in the intersection trying to signal the driver to stop,'' Lynn said. The SUV then "went speeding in reverse on Bush heading west, weaving in and out of traffic. The whole right side of his SUV was smashed in.''

At Frankie's Bohemian Cafe at Divisadero and Pine, a man named William, who asked that his last name not be used, said he was walking south on Divisadero when "we heard the thump, turned around, saw bodies flying.''

He described the vehicle as a black Honda Pilot SUV that looked new and had a windshield that was shattered on the right side.

The driver went down Pine and Bush, "stood on the gas,'' then a couple of minutes later "came flying up through the bus lane'' headed north on Divisadero.

Another man at the cafe, Max Bran, said, "We thought he was going to stop and give up, but instead he just stepped on the gas. It didn't matter, regardless of the lights.''

He saw a woman knocked down. "She was just crossing the street, just crossing the street," he said. "In fact, I had just crossed the street.''

The two men said someone who had been at the cafe earlier picked up a license plate from the SUV.

Authorities believe the same suspect struck and killed a pedestrian in Fremont earlier today.

That victim was walking north on Fremont Boulevard in the bicycle lane when he was struck from behind and knocked several feet into a field, Fremont Officer Alan Zambonin said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. The black SUV, a Honda described as a Pilot or a CRV, made no attempt to stop or help the victim, police said.

The vehicle had right front end damage and a shattered windshield.

Zambonin said one witness saw the collision from about 1,000 feet away, then stopped to try to help the man, who was already dead.

Zambonin estimated the SUV was going as fast as 50 mph and sped away with a blown out windshield.

"It's a good possibility (the incidents) are all connected,'' Zambonin said.

Chronicle staff writers Vanessa Hua, Matt Stannard, Wyatt Buchanan, Jill Tucker, Nanette Asimov, Cecilia Vega and Susan Sward contributed to this report.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Steven Wright Quotes

Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

I bought some batteries, but they weren't included.

I have an existential map. It has 'You are here' written all over it.

I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place.

I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out.

If you shoot at mimes, should you use a silencer?

It doesn't make a difference what temperature a room is, it's always room temperature.

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.

Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates... When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, 'Do I know you?'

Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.

My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

What's another word for Thesaurus?

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes.'

You can't have everything. Where would you put it?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Attack of the Blonde Bridezilla! My Sister!

May 10, 2006

What turns a bride into a "Bridezilla"? In the case of NICOLE WHITE it is the desire for the ideal wedding. "I wanted a BIG wedding with lots of flowers," she explains. "I wanted to be the most beautiful bride ever. And everything is PERFECT!"

Nikki is featured on the third season premiere of "Bridezillas," airing Sunday, June 11 on WE tv. "Bridezillas" is the series that takes a look at the dark side of matrimonial madness, featuring the blow-ups and meltdowns that normal woman experience when planning their wedding that turn them into ranting and raving brides-from-hell.

In this instance, Nikki, a 28-year-old from Diamond Bar, CA, had waited seven years for her boyfriend to propose, so maybe her desire for perfection can be understood. Truth be told, she had purchased her strapless bridal gown three years before her wedding! And she reveals, "Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of a Cinderella-like storybook wedding."

Nikki and TONY met at a club, where she was first attracted to him by his outgoing personality and his dimples. So when he finally asked her to be his wife, she declares it "the happiest moment of my life." It was made even happier when her parents volunteered to pay for the big bash that included eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen and 200 guests.

"There was a budget set and it is exceeding the budget, and I am dealing with it," her dad says philosophically.

Five days before the wedding, Tony, who had up to then escaped his bride's wrath, experiences a "Bridezilla" moment when he and Nikki go to pick up their marriage license. She has had to take an extended lunch hour to make the trip to the licensing bureau, so she is not happy when Tony gets lost. But things get even worse -- when they finally make it to the front of the line, he has forgotten his ID -- meaning they have to come back another day.

"Maybe that is a sign we shouldn't get married," she snaps.

Tony and Nikki do make it to the altar, but not without problems at their wedding rehearsal. Nikki didn't hire a wedding planner, so she attempts to organize her unruly wedding party herself.

But that isn't the worst of her problems. On her actual wedding day, the limo forgets to pick her up and one of her bridesmaids is late.

For a sneak peek at the premiere episode of "Bridezillas," tune in to tonight's ET. Then catch all the action in detail when the series premieres on WE tv on June 11.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

EFF: AT&T forwards all Internet traffic into NSA

Story - April 7, 2006

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Wednesday filed the legal briefs and evidence supporting its motion for a preliminary injunction in its class-action lawsuit against AT&T.

After asking EFF to hold back the documents so that it could review them, the Department of Justice consented to EFF's filing them under seal -- a well-established procedure that prohibits public access and permits only the judge and the litigants to see the evidence.

While not a party to the case, the government was concerned that even this procedure would not provide sufficient security and has represented to the Court that it is "presently considering whether and, if so, how it will participate in this case."

"The evidence that we are filing supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

"More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now," said Bankston.

EFF's evidence regarding AT&T's dragnet surveillance of its networks includes a declaration by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician, and several internal AT&T documents. This evidence was bolstered and explained by the expert opinion of J. Scott Marcus, who served as Senior Technical Advisor for Internet Technology to the Federal Communications Commission from July 2001 until July 2005.

The internal AT&T documents and portions of the supporting declarations have been submitted to the Court under a tentative seal, a procedure that allows AT&T five court days to explain to the Court why the information should be kept from the public.

"The public deserves to know about AT&T's illegal program," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "In an abundance of caution, we are providing AT&T with an opportunity to explain itself before this material goes on the public docket, but we believe that justice will ultimately require full disclosure."

"Headquarters for the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, approximately ten miles northeast of Washington, DC. Despite having been described as the world's largest single employer of Ph.D. mathematicians, the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers, the second largest electricity consumer in the entire state of Maryland. the owner of a chip fabrication plant with production of dedicated semiconductors, and having a budget ($7.5 billion) much larger than that of the CIA, it has had a remarkably low profile until recent years. For a long time its existence was not even acknowledged by the US government. It was often said, half-jokingly, that "NSA" stood for "No Such Agency" or "Never Say Anything" (source: Wikipedia.org)"

The NSA program came to light in December, when the New York Times reported that the President had authorized the agency to intercept telephone and Internet communications inside the United States without the authorization of any court.

"Mark Klein is a true American hero," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "He has bravely come forward with information critical for proving AT&T's involvement with the government's invasive surveillance program."

In the lawsuit, EFF is representing the class of all AT&T residential customers nationwide. Working with EFF in the lawsuit are the law firms Traber & Voorhees, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and the Law Office of Richard R. Wiebe.

Full Story - Spam Daily News

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Crazy Cat Terrorizes Town

Come on now...this story is exaggerating juuuuust a little bit:


Residents of the neighborhood of Sunset Circle say they have been terrorized by a crazy cat named Lewis. Lewis for his part has been uniquely cited, personally issued a restraining order by the town's animal control officer.

"He looks like Felix the Cat and has six toes on each foot, each with a long claw," Janet Kettman, a neighbor said Monday. "They are formidable weapons."

The neighbors said those weapons, along with catlike stealth, have allowed Lewis to attack at least a half dozen people and ambush the Avon lady as she was getting out of her car.

Some of those who were bitten and scratched ended up seeking treatment at area hospitals.

Animal Control Officer Rachel Solveira placed a restraining order on him. It was the first time such an action was taken against a cat in Fairfield.

In effect, Lewis is under house arrest, forbidden to leave his home.

Solveira also arrested the cat's owner, Ruth Cisero, charging her with failing to comply with the restraining order and reckless endangerment.


Information from: Connecticut Post

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crafty Cal Bears - USC Loses

As reported by Rangelife, USC guard Gabe Pruitt gave some crafty Cal students a way into his head at the foul-line....resulting in a couple missed free-throws and a loss for SC.

"It turns out that a couple of mischeivous little bastards from the Cal student section had been IM'ing with Pruitt all week under the identity of "Victoria," a fictional UCLA hottie, and Pruitt was eagerly anticipating a date with this nubile co-ed back in Westwood after the game. In preparation for the date, Pruitt had handed over his digits, which the Cal student section recited back to him in unison."

Full Story Here