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A New York Morning

Comments Off on A New York Morning

It’s a little after 5 A.M in New York City. I’m still a little tipsy from the previous evening during which I must have bored my client to tears with my Long Island Ice Tea-induced ramblings. I don’t drink often these days and it shows. No matter, we had wonderful conversations about the future. I still can’t sleep and decide to greet my favorite city early. The falafel stand  next to the hotel is already open and I order a lamb kabob. I can feel the love the owner puts in his creation as prepares it in front to me. He asks me if I’d like onions and sauce and I say yes.  It tastes like heaven.

I turn around and, above the Subway’s entrance, I spot a large LCD display advertising TV  shows. The occasional car and airline ad interrupts the smiling faces of Letterman and Co. The ads are different, more attention grabbing than what you might see on Television, even though there is no sound. New York is one big marketing course. And I’m an eager student.

Security guards at the 24-hour Duane Reade are smiling and appear happy to see me. Another customer who for some reason feels the need to get vitamin supplements and shaving cream at 5 in the morning; just another day. I ask where I can find the vitamins and a smiling clerk tells me the exact location (downstairs, isle 6) and calls me ‘Sir’.

The smell of the falafel stand fills the air now, and the subway’s noises coming from underground  are oddly comforting to me. I spot the first worker bees jaywalking their way to work; the ever-present NYPD patrol cars are waiting their turn to proceed on 34th Street, watching those little law breakers rush on their way. Nobody gets hassled. This is New York – there is work to be done that, collectively, drives the country forward. And right now, nothing is more important.

Comments Off on Ozzy Osbourne Book Signing, Tempe AZ, Changing Hands 02/20/2010

Insanely long line at the Changing Hands book store in Tempe, Arizona. Those with a ticket are assigned a group number. Since I don’t have six hours to just stand around I decided to pay someone in the group to call me when they are closer to the book store entrance. Not gonna cry if I never get that call…

Video camera: Blackberry Curve; Original Resolution 240×176 at 14.69 FPS

Comments Off on Dynamic Content Updates Page from Sprint

Regardless of how you feel about Sprint, this new, constantly updating Flash-based promo page for the “Now Network” is quite amazing. The longer you wait the more the page changes. Updates seem to keep coming so it appears this isn’t just some Flash loop but rather utilizes dynamic content to update itself.

Sometimes you’ll have to look closely to see when something new pops up – it’s that cluttered with “stuff”, but in this case the clutter actually makes sense since Sprint is trying to convey the sheer amount of things happening in this world every second.

Quite impressive. After some time one of the many new updates is an option to embed a small version of the page on a blog or post to Facebook or Myspace. Sprint really put some thought into this (or, more likely, the company or team that actually built this thing).

Go here to see the actual page. Just be patient, the white splash screen will go away in a little while and then you’ll see the page I’m talking about.

See More Now

Comments Off on CNBC – Porn: Business of Pleasure

I thought CNBC’s Porn: Business of Pleasure was a pretty fair docu on the adult industry. Show host Melissa Lee (who could’ve been a pornstar herself, in my eyes) had about an hour to profile the industry, so the whole thing was of course very “soundbite-y” in nature.

Steven Hirsch, Vivid KINGS AND QUEENS

The show had industry honchos like Steven Hirsch (Vivid), Joy King (Wicked Pictures) as well as Max Hardcore, Digital Playground contract star Jesse Jane, and others discuss some of the problems the industry faces, the biggest one of course being that free porn is pretty much anywhere you go now so there’s much less of an incentive for consumers to actually spend money on it.

Yet Hirsch hasn’t really managed to maximize his online presence. Sure, Vivid has its sites and a (surprisingly outdated) affiliate program, Vividcash, – but it’s all kind of half-assed.

Digital Playground, for as technologically sophisticated they are, isn’t doing all that much better in terms of online presence. Both Vivid and DP are still primarily playing in the brick and mortar market and that’s just not where the money is now. They say so themselves. But I digress…


They threw in the obligatory “porn is an addiction, and here’s a guy who struggled with it”– segment which I think just gets a laugh these days. (Hey buddy, Ben and Jerry’s ic cream is addicting too. Guess what, nobody forces you to eat it.)

A short segment on Max Hardcore’s prison sentence, and a nod in the direction of the Department of Justice and the legal status of pornography in the United States rounded up the anti-porn portion of the show. Good, because I don’t think most consumers have a problem with porn these days.

Actually – I know they don’t. I live and breathe this industry every day and see the numbers, read the forums, and study the consumer and trends. Yep, porn’s not a big deal anymore. And that’s both good and bad.

“We” are everywhere now. “We” now sell cheap site memberships, pay-per-view minutes – and allow thieves to upload our stuff to the tube sites so everybody can have our stuff for free, and we don’t do shit about it.

“We” shot ourselves in the foot. But it’s all a matter of adapting to the changes, be they brought on by us or someone else. This time the music industry seems to actually be adapting faster than we are. But wait, big things are coming…


I was happy to see CNBC mention and show a little bit of some folks who I think are rocking the industry right now, like Joanna Angel; and Sasha Grey, who just did the mainstream movie The Girlfriend Experience with director Steven Soderbergh;

Joanna Angel, and Belladonna, in particular, have been impressing me a lot lately. Those girls are a huge force in the industry. Where Jenna Jameson was one of the first leading ladies to really bring porn to mainstream, Joanna and Bella, among others, have been taking this to a whole ‘nother level.

The fact that women like Samantha Lewis and Joy King are in the ruling class of the adult industry (and there are many, many more) is a great silencer for those who still think the adult industry exploits women and is ran by sleazy old guys in bath robes. (Hi Hef. Fuck you, Sir.)

TABOO? Phhht…

It was stressed how porn, once a taboo subject, is now pretty much talked about and seen anywhere, all the time. This, of course, is a big reason profits are down – stuff just sells at a much higher markup if it is hard to come by. The days when you had to walk into a porn store and fork over fifty bucks for a VHS tape are over.


It was amusing to watch the show and see a bunch of girls I’ve worked with in the past. I even recognized some of the shooting locations I’ve been to. Like the one in the screenshot to the left here – I swear, I shot there more times than I can count. House on a hill. One story. Pool in the back. Owner has a thick accent and makes an amazing espresso. Good times.

When they talked about “Max Hardcore and his girlfriend” I knew they were talking about Layla Rivera, who I shot way back for Aziani. Super sweet girl. Didn’t know she was Max Hardcore’s girl until after the shoot.

Porn: Business of Pleasure showcased Digital Playground quite a bit, and went into some detail about its Pirates movies (the most expensive adult productions ever made…so far.). I enjoyed watching little snippets of video guys hauling RED cameras around, and wielding boom microphones. Of course the majority of porn isn’t shot with expensive pro gear like the RED ONE, or even just boom mics.

Watching these cut-ins could let someone to believe that all porn productions require big money, which of course is not true. But it was fun to watch nevertheless.

(Reminds me- I wanted to get myself a RED ONE. Still holding out for the Scarlet series though.)


Of course there was a lot that wasn’t covered. I didn’t expect this to be all-inclusive show about everything related to the industry though. But there was practically nothing about the incredibly huge Amateur or Pro-Am part of the industry. More understandably, there was no profiling of the technology or marketing side of online porn (yes, what I do), which is a big part of it.

Our arch enemies, the tube sites, got plenty of honorable mention though. Not in an entirely positive light but also not nearly as honest as I would have liked. They are, after all, one major reason a lot of adult outfits are now struggling, or have already gone completely out of business. (And don’t tell me they don’t – I work with people affected by them every day.)

I would have loved to have seen something on people like Buzz and Rachel from Aziani / (of course), Rob from FTV Girls, or the folks behind Nubiles or Lightspeed because these folks have had quite some impact on the online adult industry over the past few years. But they’re usually playing under the radar and are pretty quiet about their influence so it’s not a big surprise they didn’t get mentioned on the show. Besides, the big California porn studios that still make DVDs are just so much cooler to profile on TV, right?

If you missed CNBC’s Porn: Business of Pleasure, check out a summary and some additional stuff about some of the peeps profiled on CNBC’s web site.

Comments Off on Forget this and the Customers will forget You

There is one easily overlooked and yet ultra crucial aspect a lot of e-commerce sites are missing, and it’s costing them a lot of sales.

Even many technologically sound sites don’t do this. This doesn’t apply to adult sites but to everyone else this is really, really important.

It’s accepting customer payments via PayPal.

This is now more important than ever before as a large number of internet savvy consumers already have a working PayPal account.

Tom's ShoesTo give you an example of how important PayPal is let me tell you my experience of trying to buy shoes from Tom’s Shoes last night.

Like others, Tom’s grossly underestimates the laziness of its customers (like me) and the power of impulse purchases.

As so many consumers, I often purchase stuff I want (more than need) and do so on an impulse basis. I had seen the Tom’s Shoes commercial where the owner tells the viewer that for every pair of shoes they sell, one pair will be given for free to a child in need.

Last night I remembered I needed some new casual footwear for my home office and Tom’s Shoes came to mind. After realizing that those guys really only have one type of shoes I figured I’d give it a shot anyways and put a pair in my shopping cart. I’m nowhere near my wallet. It’s 3 AM and I’m getting sleepy – a perfect time to sell me pretty much anything I might remotely want.

When I was ready to check out and purchase I realized Tom’s didn’t offer to let me pay with PayPal. This is how I usually buy stuff on a whim – click the PayPal button, type in my username and password, hit the authorization button, and I got stuff.

So now Tom’s wants me to fill out their customer forms and, worse yet, requires me to find my wallet, dig out my credit card, try to read the worn-off numbers on it, and send my financial info into the unknown. All for a pair of cheap linen shoes.

I figure I’d come back later and do that. At that time I just didn’t feel like going through the credit card hassle.

Actually, I never do. Nobody does.

And that’s the problem – I abandoned my shopping cart (this is aptly called the “ abandonment rate” to retailers) and chances are I will never come back and complete the purchase because once I had some time to think about it I realize $50 for a pair of linen shoes that may or may not fit plus ten bucks shipping might not really be worth it. Instead I got hit by Amazon with some sweet deals I just couldn’t say no to.

And Amazon (they are the kings in my book) does this right – not only does it suggest stuff I might actually want, it also makes buying everything super easy. One click and I’m done. Awesome.

Tom’s (and the countless other retailers who didn’t let me pay with PayPal, Google Checkout, or another convenient payment method that doesn’t require me to grab my credit cards) lost a sale. How many times per day do you think this happens to them?

How many times per day does this happen to you?

Do you make it ultra convenient to pay for your goods and services? Do you force customers to fill out a bunch of forms before they can make a purchase?

Don’t discount this. My little story sounds simple but this is how in fact a large percentage of sales happen – on impulse. The retailer who offers the quickest, most convenient way to buy, wins. Always.

Link: PayPal for business

Comments Off on Windows 7 beta shutting down – Beginning Today

Windows 7 Beta

Reminder: if you’re using the Windows 7 beta your computer will begin shutting down every two hours beginning today, June 1st 2009.
If you haven’t already, go ahead and download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) now.

Also on the Microsoft front, their new search engine, is now live. I’m impressed so far, the layout and suggestions are excellent, the speed is incredible. We’ll see how that pans out for them.

Why this Matters

Right out of the gate (stupid name) is already a very strong contender as the next serious Google competitor. This matters to you if you are running web sites or doing any type of SEO work because if Bing keeps it up and gains momentum you need to start working on “optimizing” for it too.

Don’t freak out just yet but keep in mind and start reading up on how it works and how you could take advantage of it.

Comments Off on ALPS Touchpad Driver Windows 7

If your laptop’s touchpad doesn’t scroll properly on Windows 7 or Vista your driver needs to be updated.

Here is a driver provided by Dell for the ALPS touchpad. However, this driver may work on other touchpad brands as well so give it a try.

ALPS Touchpad Driver for Vista and Windows 7 32 bit

Other Windows 7 drivers you might find usefull:

Intel Pro Wireless adapter driver (if your laptop can’t get online with Windows 7)

ATI Mobility Radeon driver ( ATI mobile graphics cards only)

Before you download: Always check for newer drivers on the driver providers’ web site. Also remember that these drivers were released by Dell and were originally meant for Dell laptops. The drivers here may or may not work on your particular system.

Comments Off on Google Gmail Password Secret Link

Seth Godin just posted about a secret link to reset the Gmail password flag, without actually resetting the password. Basically what’s happening is that if you use a mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird (my choice) sometimes Gmail’s servers keep asking you to provide your password, even if you have it saved.

Then you keep typing it in but you keep getting the damn login pop up. Gmail keeps rejecting your password even though you know it’s correct. So you’d ordinarily curse at Google and then go to reset your password.

However here is a link where you can verify to Gmail that you are a real human being, so you won’t have to reset your password. Yes, it’s CAPTCHA based.

Here are some other thoughts and tips about using Gmail…

Comments Off on Google Outage – Let This Be a Reminder

Google OutageJust a quick note on the Google outage on Thursday – if you are entrusting your important business documents or email to Google you are, frankly, an idiot.


Google went down for parts of the world and with it went their mail service and Google docs. If you couldn’t access your business documents or missed important emails because of this you need to wake the hell up right now.


Not only do you never, ever, rely on one single company in order for your business to run, you especially don’t want Google (or Yahoo or any other free provider) to be the company that “facilitates” your business. Because Google will use the information you provide, knowingly or not, to adapt its advertising and search algorhithm. That’s what Google does and I’m not bashing it. But you need to be aware of this.


Gmail spies on your email content. You should know this by now. No, it’s not that Google employees are looking at your emails every time, but sophisticated software does gather and process the content of your mail. Did you never notice how creepily fitting some of those ads are you’re seeing over your inbox?

This data has to go somewhere. What’s to say a rogue Google employee or contractor won’t access your stuff one day?


Same for Google docs – that stuff’s online. If it’s online it’s hackable, and accessible to third parties, particularly whoever provides the service. In this case Google.

For years I’ve been telling clients: don’t use Gmail as your sole business email. It looks unprofessional and it’s not secure. Same for Google docs. Anything Google or any other free provider offers should be used with great caution. And always have a backup.

I don’t feel sorry for anyone who was negatively affected by Google’s SNAFU.

Google is not your friend. It’s a business.

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