February 11, 2004

Wrong impressions

Advertising is hard to avoid. It waits in envelopes on the doormat in the morning, chases you on your way to work over the radio and billboards, lurks in the paper at lunchtime and interrupts your favourite TV programming. Everywhere you look companies are desperate to convince you that your life is not complete without them and their particular brand of widget.

What makes me cringe though, is when you can't get away from your own company's advertising. It's a bit like having your own voice played back to you: You don't mind it being out there, so long as you never hear it directed back at you.

More and more over the last week I've been targeted by the spawn of the marketing department, and it's beginning to grate on me. The last straw was when I started to get ad bar impressions on the web development sites I read. The content has about as much relevance to the product as mice on the moon*, and I honestly think they're just doing it to annoy me.

I think I already have enough of our particular widget in my life. From the logo on my payslip to my branded mouse mat and everything in between, I'm all widgeted out. I know that without our products, there would be no food on my table or clothes on my back. I would not have anywhere to go each morning at 8 o'clock, and weekends would bleed seamlessly into each other.

If our widget never entered my life, I might have spent years roaming the globe doing nothing but sightseeing. I could have spent all my time studying the guitar, become a rock star and earned thousands screaming incoherent lyrics to packed venues over the globe. I could have realised my childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut, a commercial airline pilot, or even a bus driver.

Or I might be in a gutter somewhere, broke, covered in moss and wearing eau d'Special Brew.

This marketing confuses me. When it comes to your company's own products, are you better off with, or without?

* we make no account here for green cheese theory.

February 09, 2004

Disk, no boot

When your hard disk crashes repeatedly and persistently you speak only in a series of obscenities.

Like a virus, frustration presents differently from person to person. In my case it has a nasty habit of modifying normally innocuous words by putting very, very bad ones in front of them. And after them. A few (extreme) times they've even infiltrated the cracks between syllables. Last week was one of those times. My mother has been known to drop by these pages, and despite the sometimes base and slightly bizarre undercurrent to this site's search referrals, I do try to keep things vaguely respectable around here. So instead of getting all wound up, I've been just been getting it sorted. Mate.

After a week and a half journey through the valley of the blue screen of death I made it back, lighter by a whole months worth of emails and the rather spiffy new layout I was working on. But never mind. These things happen.

'F*#$ing Windows 98! Get Bill Gates in mheuh!'

This is what I'm talking about. I actually got back up and running yesterday, but I was finding little nuggets of profanity hiding lurking like hangover fuzz on the tip of my tongue all weekend, so I steered clear of the 'puter and instead spent some quality time with other household appliances I hadn't seen for a while, such as the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner. While I don't think they were too bothered by my absence, I know that the living room certainly felt better for making their acquaintance again.

So, here I am. Squeaky clean, meadow fresh, 0 bad clusters and with 97% free space. Back to business...