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I've Moved This Blog!

For those of you that have kept up with my thoughts here, I certainly appreciate it. However, in simplifying my online presence, I’ve chosen to move this tool onto my own site at the link above, rather than maintaining everything on a 3rd party site like Tumblr. I encourage you to bookmark the new site, or point your RSS reader to http://fienen.com/feed. I will no longer be posting content here moving forward.

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Only on YouTube can you find identical twin electric harpists covering Aerosmith in a desert.

Dream On - Aerosmith (Electric Harp Duet) Camille and Kennerly, Harp Twins (by CamilleandKennerly)

Source: youtube.com
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So, I was just thinking about something. Remember in Back to the Future III when Marty went back to 1885 and tore his fuel line? He and Dr. Brown then experimented with other fuel options to replace the gasoline. In the process, they tried whiskey and blew up the intake manifold (or something along those lines). Dr. Brown proceeds to explain that it will take him a month to rebuild it, which is an obvious problem, because, you know, pending death and all.

BUT.

Dr. Brown arrived in 1885 via the DeLorean which he then hid in the cave so that Marty could find it in 1955, which he did, and subsequently used to go back to 1885. SO, there was a SECOND DeLorean available in 1885 Hill Valley that they could have scavenged the parts off of (and possibly even fuel, though one could speculate Dr. Brown drained all the fluids and either disposed of them or used them for something else). It’s even reasonable to assume all of that could have been done without destroying the timeline that would allow Marty to travel back in the first place to save Dr. Brown.

Ain’t time travel a bitch?

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So, is it just me, or is the NFL.com website slowly backsliding to something more fitting c.2009? This is an organization that netted something like $9.5B last year. First off, I’m sort of blow away that the homepage isn’t responsive (that’s not to say it’s not mobile friendly - mobile devices get kicked to m.nfl.com). The new, dark background really makes you feel the claustrophobic use of a fixed width layout that uses internal white space barely adequately. There’s virtually no context for elements in the sidebar, with ads visually blurring together with features and headlines of a random sort. The body is just a giant, random assortment of articles from different categories, inexplicably broken up occasionally by a horizontal video block or tweet. In the end, I’m sort of shocked that THIS is the best the NFL can do with their home page, because in my humble opinion, this is pretty much just awful. It’s not even helpful as a news site, because the information is so random.

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It probably says a lot about me that the first thing I did with the Clean Dictionary is this…

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Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

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How many times do I have to say it? DON’T PASTE FROM WORD. Caught this on the local news scroller on the Today Show this morning.

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JCP, this one is for you, because it illustrates the exact problem with why online marketplaces have the power to not only disrupt, but crush you. I needed shoes. It happens. Specifically, I wanted the all black Chuck Taylor Converse All Stars to wear with my suit this weekend.

All Black Chuck Taylor All Stars

Yes, I wear Chucks with a suit. I’m one of Those Guys. That’s beside the point. Now, I didn’t need them tonight, or tomorrow, but in time for the weekend. So it wasn’t last minute, but there was a schedule to respect in the matter.

Problem #1

I absolutely hate retailers that have both brick and mortar stores, and online stores, and their online stores don’t tell me a:) if my local store carries the item, and b:) if my local store currently has it in stock. I’m sorry, there’s no excuse, especially for you Big Department Stores with your Fancy Inventory Management. You should know this, and as an extension, I should know this. It’s getting more common, but there are still some out there (JCPenny’s, I’m looking right at you) that don’t.

But I needed the shoes, and it wasn’t a long drive, so I went down to the local mall and went in to JCP and found, to my delight, that they HAD the shoes in question. Good deal. “Hey Mr. Shoe Guy that’s ignoring me, do you have these in a 9?” He goes in back and returns with two boxes. The black ones I wanted in an 8, and the black on white style in a 9. I didn’t ask for 8s. I could at least attempt to get into bigger shoes, but smaller? Physics, good sir, physics.

Problem #2

You didn’t have my size. Ultimately forgivable (though only barely, assuming your business is to sell me crap and your chance to do it is when I’m in front of you). If you sell out, you sell out. But in this case, and 8 is FAR too small for me. And what did I discover? You were happy to offer me the chance to order them, but it would take 5-7 days.

Conclusion

So what happens? I tried on your black-on-white 9s. They fit perfectly. I left. I didn’t buy them. Instead, I’m going to go on to Amazon Prime, order them cheaper than you had them, and get them in two days (with free return option if they don’t fit, but thanks to you, I know they will).

First, it blows my mind that I can order something online and have it UPS’d to me faster than their internal supply chain can get it to them. That’s insane and ultimately unhelpful. Second, there’s a store 30 minutes from here the next town over. I don’t need shoes right this instant, and the gas I’ll burn will pretty much take away any chance at savings. THEY should have a truck running nightly to shuttle inventory back and forth. If they could have said “Hey, we don’t have it, but Joplin does and we can have it here in the morning,” I would have bought it. But no. Lost sale.

If you are a B&M retailer, your chance to make a sale is when I’m right in front of you. Once I walk out that door, you are screwed. And if you can’t give me a better alternative, you will lose that sale every single time. Even in the case of knowing one’s size, folks like Amazon offer free return shipping to get you the right size. So the only mitigating factor becomes one of time vs. necessity.

B&M retail store, take this as a lesson. Thanks to JCP for helping me find exactly what I want and take my sale elsewhere, that was very kind of you. You HAVE to do better than this.

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This is a really cool look at multi-axis time lapse video. I’d love to be this smart and creative.

El Cielo de Canarias 2012 / The Light of Stars (by Daniel López)

Source: vimeo.com
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This is one of the more strangely creepy splash images on a website I’ve seen.