Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maybe Walmart employees are already getting paid what they're worth

We had a "going away" party yesterday for a lady at our Little Rock claim office. One of the supervisors called a Wal-Mart and ordered the cake. He told them to write:

"Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that write "We will miss you".

I think if I got that cake I'd proudly display it at a party. It's hilarious.

Really, there are so many things that could be said about Walmart and its employees at this point (there's gotta be some joke about always getting low prices), but I think I'd rather hear your thoughts. Sound off in the comments.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Gmail changes on their way!

Check out the new Contacts Interface:

Notice in the upper right corner (circled in red) it says "Older Version". When I first logged into Gmail it said, "Newer Version". I clicked it and nothing noticeable happened except I noticed the URL changed from this:

To this:

So far the only change I've noticed is in the Contacts and it appears that it's being rolled out gradually as it's only in one of my accounts and none of the people I've chatted with have it yet.

I wrote the Google Person inquiring about it. Google Person wrote back promptly (MAN! They work some crazy hours!) and referred me to the Official Gmail Blog. While it doesn't mention a new UI specifically, it looks like they're going to be gradually releasing new changes. Keep your eyes peeled!

Digg this story here.

President Hinckley's face carved into a pumpkin

My friend Hunter and his wife spent five hours carving this for their ward Halloween party.

"We wanted to win the pumpkin carving contest," Hunter said.


P.S. They don't know if they won. Check back Wednesday and I'll post the results.

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, and to the disappointment of Primary kids everywhere, Hunter and his wife swept the pumpkin carving contest.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

IMAP on Gmail: I had a hunch - someone at Google told me...


Yesterday I got a cryptic e-mail from a mysterious person at Google asking if we could have a confidential conversation regarding my blog post.


Anyhoo, it turns out I got lucky. According to The Google Person I was one of four people over the last several months who caught onto their IMAP testing efforts and as a nice gesture, tipped me off to the fact that IMAP was just around the corner.

Boo-ya! Thanks Google Person!

I'm still not clear on a few things, namely how in the world Google Person discovered The Other Drummer and that I'd stumbled across that particular screen shot. Also, I'm still suspicious that other changes may be coming along soon: there weren't any visual/UI enhancements with the IMAP roll-out, despite the shiny new icons/layout of said login screen.

Something to keep an eye out for.

(It should be noted that now that it's released Google Person said I could go ahead and blog about it after it launched.)

Dreams do come true: Gmail's got IMAP

Gmail is sportin' some fancy new IMAP moves. It's active on three of my Gmail accounts. Waiting for two more before things get really crazy in Mail.

Wow. I'm such a geek.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Autopsy performed on live man who wakes up during the procedure

Seriously. That's the guy (who is obviously alive) holding the orders for his own autopsy. Creepy. Check out the scar on his face. That's where they started cutting. Then he woke up.

Apparently the Venezuelan authorities declared him dead after a car accident. He wasn't.


Story courtesy of Reuters

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wow. Now France does something right.

What the crap is going on here? First AT&T does something impressive and now the French are following suit? Something freakish is that half naked chick who just killed all those people and is now walking over their lifeless bodies.

So France is getting the iPhone. Whoop-de-doo. The notable thing is the bit about French law which says phones can only be exclusive to a carrier for up to six months.

Yes. They get unhacked, unlocked iPhones. Wow. The French actually have something I want.

Never thought I'd say that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

2757.272164 - refresh your Gmail login and watch the capacity counter

I noticed today as I refreshed the Gmail login screen that the capacity counter (which is currently at around 3,631 MB) that it flashes briefly as 2757.272164 MB before showing the running counter at 3+ gigs.

Why is this? Hugh thinks, "2757.272164 is coded into the page and they must use a javascript to change it to the correct counter."

Any other ideas?

A good article on Google and privacy concerns

It's a quick read. Take a peek here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AT&T does something right: prorated cancellation fees

AT&T just scored a few points in my book. According to this article they are prorating cancellation fees based on how long you've been under contract.

I would assume it's based on how many months you have left, so a $175 cancellation fee spread out over 24 months leaves you paying about $7.30 per month left on your contract if bailed prematurely. Not too shabby considering before you'd get dinged with the full $175 if you ported your number out even a day early.

Maybe two year contracts aren't such a bad idea after all.

They're also no longer extending contracts when you switch rate plans, a practice which has screwed over numerous people and seems completely unethical.

Of course, all this is in the face of a law that will most likely pass, forcing them to do it anyway. But hey, way to kinda step up and sorta look out for your customers!

I heart Zappos

Customer service bringing a tear to your eye (but in a good way).

See the article here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Gmail coming: the evidence

There have been some mounting rumors about a revamped Gmail in the chutes. As a huge Gmail fan, I'm particularly excited about this and would probably be willing to sacrifice some kind of small animal in exchange for IMAP support.

That being said, I've noticed a few things of late that seem a little unusual.

First of all, I've been randomly directed to a new login screen. Typically, the login screen looks like this:

Twice now I've come across this one:

New UI coming? Google Docs-ish? That's the rumor anyway and this redesigned login seems to give a nod to the shiny new Google Docs interface.

As far as non-UI features go, Google has a page where you can suggest features (go there and check IMAP!!). Normally they have the changes they've already implemented on the right, just above a list of popular requests for features. (Sorry, I don't have a screen grab.)

Notice in the following screen shot that the list of popular requests is missing:

I'm hoping it's because they're removing a few items from the list *cough* IMAP *cough*. Then again, if that were the case they'd probably remove the "suggestions we've implemented" too. Hmmmm.

O, Gmail users, what new features would you like to see in a new and improved Gmail?

P.S. Not that I need it, but I'm diggin' this accelerated increase in storage Gmail's got goin' on. I've dropped 4% in the last three days without deleting a thing! (Sounds like a weight loss ad.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize (seriously) - UPDATED

See here.

While I definitely think things need to be done about the way we treat the environment, and I've blogged about An Inconvenient Truth before, it seems a little weird that Al Gore's work on climate change wins a Nobel Peace Prize.

I don't get it.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm not the only one with this thought. NPR had a bit on it here.

(Photo courtesy of USA Today)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Madonna dumps her record label

As reported in TechCrunch the pointy-bra'd superstar followed Nine Inch Nails' example and dropped her record company, opting instead to sign a $120 million deal with a promotion company.

While she didn't turn to a direct-to-consumer approach, I'm sure the record industry is probably pretty nervous about now - Madonna isn't exactly a small name.

How do you think this will affect the music industry? Is it the beginning of the end? I'm interested to hear what everybody thinks the ramifications of this (near- and long-term) will be.

Apartment fire in Salt Lake, owners screwed

As many of you probably saw on the news last night, some apartments in Salt Lake had a gas leak which exploded, turning many people out of their homes. My friend Hunter lives there. Fortunately his apartment was OK and nobody was hurt in the explosion.

After the initial shock wore off, my first assumption was that Questar had another PR nightmare on their hands. But after reading KSL's coverage (from which I quote extensively here. And thanks for the pic guys. Really. You're the best.) I realized the apartment owners are actually the ones in a world of hurt.

If you like PR-cringe-inducing quotes, check these out:

One resident said, "...he contacted the complex's maintenance crew to fix the leak on several occasions, but nothing was done."

Charmaine Harmon, another resident said, "...she'd smelled natural gas so strong it made her nauseous. She says Country Lake's maintenance crew didn't fix it. 'It's been weeks, and we've been trying to get them to do something about it,' she said. 'We've had exposed gas lines and everything since we moved in.'"

Ouch. But wait! There's more! This time from the owners of the property:

"Country Lake Apartments are owned by Alliance Residential Company, a national property management group. A spokeswoman from Colorado arrived today but refused to give us her name."


"We have since identified her as Kelli Billman, a vice president of operations for the company.

She tells us her number-one concern is for the residents, but she refused to comment on Harmon's allegations. Upon further questioning, she threatened to have us removed from the property."

WOW. I'm no PR expert, but I'm pretty sure that's not how you're supposed to do things.

Any random PR gurus (or armchair PR gurus) feel like commenting on the situation?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sushi advertising in Salt Lake

I saw this on the wall of a small sushi restaurant on my way to work. Clever, but I don't think I'm going to eat there. I just don't like sushi.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Southwest: the airline with a personality

If you hadn't heard the news (it happened a while ago), Southwest flight attendants asked Kyla (seen above) to cover up a bit because some of the other passengers complained.

When she couldn't tug that "skirt" down any further she, "...Was left embarrassed by the situation, which she said played out in front of fellow passengers -- so embarrassed she requested a blanket to cover herself for the flight."

So embarrassed she felt she had to *gasp!* cover up?! Heavens no! We can't have that!

Bad PR? Yes. Is Kyla dressed like a skank? Yes. (But I suppose that's to be expected from a Hooter's waitress.)

There was no official apology from Southwest, but after she made a fuss to the media about it Southwest responded:

From a Company who really loves PR, touche to you Kyla! Some have said we've gone from wearing our famous hot pants to having hot flashes at Southwest, but nothing could be further from the truth. As we both know, this story has great legs, but the true issue here is that you are a valued Customer, and you did not get an adequate apology. Kyla, we could have handled this better, and on behalf of Southwest Airlines, I am truly sorry. We hope you continue to fly Southwest Airlines. Our Company is based on freedom even if our actions may have not appeared that way. It was never our intention to treat you unfairly and again, we apologize.

Awesome. In the words of my father in-law, "Way to take it a step further." Southwest even had "miniskirt fares" for a while, in celebration of Kyla's revealing attire. Seriously.

It's great to see corporations with personality and a sense of humor. I love flying Southwest and have cracked up more than once at the flight attendant's humorous antics.

Well done Southwest.

Photo & quote courtesy of ABC

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A new apostle has been called: Quentin L. Cook

Of course, Henry B. Eyring has been called to be second counselor in the First Presidency. It's amazing to think how the Lord has organized His church. Without any fanfare or debating or arguing or politicking, the leadership of His church has been reorganized. What a testament to the inspired process - the Lord's hand is over this work.

The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
- Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540

Monday, October 01, 2007

Apple has gone "corporate"

Of course, they were always a corporation. But lately they've seemed to lose sight of the consumer and act more like the companies they usually mock.

I find this video to be appropriately ironic. What do you think?

Brittany Spears loses custody of kids

All I gotta say is when a court finds Kevin Federline to be a more fit parent than you, it's time to reevaluate your life.

From CNN:

In addition to ordering the twice-weekly drug tests, Gordon ordered Spears to spend eight hours per week working with a "parenting coach," who was to observe her interactions with her children.

Gordon also told both parents to avoid alcohol or "other non-prescription controlled substances" 12 hours before taking custody of the children.

So it's OK for the parents to use non-prescription controlled substances, just as long as it's not within 12 hours of when they're going to take custody of the kids? I thought using non-prescription controlled substances was illegal...

Anyone seeking fame and fortune, take a good look at what it can do to you.