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One question: did you get your soap in the mail this week?
Friday, November 28, 2008

As far as marketing campaigns go, sending soap to prospective clients is just plain weird, or maybe a genius move, as I'm writing about it without anyone asking me.

I got a single bar of soap in the mail, and I still don't know why. Who sends soap in the mail? And why me? Do I smell (rhetorical question)? Should I assume that I have a potty mouth, since the directions on the box read APPLY VIGOROUSLY TO POTTY MOUTH? I'm sure I use the F word during the day--after all, I'm only human--but how did they know? Whoever this "they" is.

It seems like a waste of good soap, because I can't use this soap. I will not use the soap that a total stranger sent me. Besides, I'm on a rigorous moisturizing program, thanks to Renee. The soap we use literally melts in your hands. Let's just say it is no man-in-the-mountain-manly soap: I smell like potpourri or fresh ripe mango on a daily basis. Note that I'm not saying I don't like or that I like it; I'm just saying that it has extra moisturizing properties: my face and hands are silky smooth. Of course, the soap is gone in 3 days, but that's a different story altogether.

For a marketing and customer acquisition campaign, the soap mailing is very out of the box thinking (see what I did there: image, sentence...they go together). I wish I could have been in the boardroom where the person who came up with the idea said, "Why don't we snail-mail soap to potential customers?" Was anyone surprised? If you were there, email me.

Which company is the soap from? I won't tell you, as I don't want to give free publicity here and the message didn't work: I'm not buying any of the products or services offered with the soap. And it's not what you would think, e.g., it's not Dove or Palmolive. The mailer of the soap has nothing to do with the cleaning industry. Next time, however, I'd recommend not sending me soap: it's too personal of a thing and it opens the company to trouble. For example, what if I use the soap and I have an allergic reaction?

Next time, try deodorant...or why not a pair of socks or a pair of underwear: undergarment would definitely say that you care enough and are not open to an allergy-reaction law suit.

5:03 PM | 0 comment(s) |

Useless stuff, until someone finds it useful
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool stuff: And I have to admit that it's not as useless as it seems, as having this categorization allows anyone to search images by color pallet, e.g., an existing site that needs images to fill in the gaps.

I kept wondering how this can be done, and the process is rather simple:

Of course, the hard part part is parsing the images' pixels to get every color; once the colors are separated, an SQL database does the trick. There has to be some compromises, as an image can be composed of millions of colors: imagine the size of the database. Nonetheless, you have 124 colors in total and you can choose up to 10. That is a large number of permutations: 1.63177724 x 1014. You know, as in , where n = 124 and k = 10.

6:03 PM | 1 comment(s) |

Wearing T-shirts inside out
Monday, November 24, 2008

I think we got T-shirt design all wrong.

Let me explain: I wear my T-shirts inside out because the stitching is too thick and bugs me to no end. Furthermore, T-shirt designers thought that adding plastic to strengthen the stitching was a good idea--this stuff is itchy. Therefore, I wear most T-shirts inside out: it's comfortable, trendy, and stylish. My style says, "I'm cool enough to wear my clothes inside out and I don't care."

BTW, Gabriel (my 8 year old son) does the same thing; however, I don't think he does it to make a point: he's always in a rush to put his clothes on and just goes out with whatever and however they fall into place. It's not rare to see the zipper of his shorts on the back side; when I mention it to him, he just shrugs and continues doing whatever he's doing.

I agree that social norms and trends dictate how and what to wear (to a certain extent). Nevertheless, T-shirts should be super-comfortable to wear: I mean, they are so close to your skin that adding any irritants is just plain bad design.

8:18 AM | 0 comment(s) |

Carpooling is illegal in Canada
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, some kinds more than others. Who knew there were rules to carpooling. I have to admit to have broken the law a few times with my "giving rides to school" shenanigans.

This story feels like an Onion story: OHTB takes the side of the Bus Company. Sadly, it's not.

Stop carpooling; don't be a law breaker!

1:11 PM | 0 comment(s) |

Oops. Virus scanner breaking your machine since...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AVG virus scanner removes critical Windows file.

11:50 AM | 0 comment(s) |

Recession. What recession?
Saturday, November 08, 2008

There is such a thing as recession proof industries.

Wikipedia lists the entertainment and weapons industries among them: whether the economy is good or bad, we need to be entertained and someone needs to be shot at (this says a lot about or society, if you think about it).

Computer hardware is not recession proof for various reasons. Though some manufactures want to prove us wrong, if current computer prices for top of the line machines are any indication: Lenovo1 and Apple still sell ridiculously over-priced hardware.

I know that cost and price are relative and that value is not only about money, but I have a hard time looking at a $6,000 laptop and thinking to myself, "Hey, that's a reasonable price for my computing needs."

It's no secret I like ThinkPad notebooks: I own 3 of them, and will likely continue buying one every 2 years. Nevertheless, paying $6,000 for a laptop today is extreme, to say the least.

The target demographic for this laptop--the ThinkPad X301--seems to be "the mobile executive" who needs to have a light computing companion to read emails, surf the web, and dazzle investors with great presentations, but can't be seen with a pedestrian laptop. You see my point, though. Is the laptop really worth this much?

The answer to this question smashes onto the never ending wall of reason. On one side you have exquisite and expensive items; on the other you have utilitarian yet affordable products. The winning argument for luxury is simple to state: if you can afford it, why not? The winning argument for cheap is also simple to state: why pay more, when I can get the same function? Both arguments have their defenders, and you will make either of them, depending on the circumstances.

I want to point out that I'm making the price of the X301 to be so exuberantly high because of similar offerings in the market that costs less. But the price isn't really that high, when you put it in context and the cost gets lost in quarterly balance sheets as part of the "depreciating assets" umbrella--then the price doesn't seem that bad. There are far worst things on what executives can spend shareholders money. What's more, portraying a winning image is part of the job--just ask Sarah Palin ($6,000 for a computer is nothing compared to $150,000+ worth of shirts and pants). Just imagine the power executive in the next meeting: laying that marvelous X301 on the boardroom's table speaks volumes. It screams, "Trust me with your money!"

Let me state that I'm not bashing over-priced laptops. Specially, a Thinkpad. The X301 is a very well engineered machine, and it's thin as thin can be. I really like this laptop; however, it is grossly underpowered under the hood, with a low voltage CPU running at 1.4 GHz. This machine is all about portability and long battery life, because it assumes its target market is always on the go. Lugging a 5 lb laptop around O'hare is no laughing matter, but there are "cheaper" computers that weight less and have more computing power...but they are no X301s and don't look as good.

There is no questioning the fact that our workforce needs to remain productive everywhere, 24/7. We are a connected service oriented society and we depend in our connectivity to create value. Though, fiscally responsible shareholders will be looking at these expenses a bit more carefully. Unless, of course, you sell movies or guns or both, then there is no point of skimping on pennies here and there for cheaper, ungodly looking hardware. For these markets, things keep looking better and better, regardless of what economist say. Recession? What recession? Exactly...

1. I priced this machine this morning. I considered for a long time buying one of them, because I like thin laptops. The entry model is around $3,000, but the computer I quoted on Lenovo's site included the best combination of components money can buy. I didn't include anything I wouldn't use on a business trip (a 21" LCD); everything in my spec is about a single machine I can put in my laptop bag and just go. The spec included the biggest hard drive available, the most RAM I could put on it, the best warranty service I could get, the most bloated MS Office Lenovo offers, etc., etc. The price surprised me: $6,300 + 13% TAX. Yes, that's over $7,000.

11:35 AM | 2 comment(s) |

Herman Miller, where are thou?
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

As I'm giddily awaiting the delivery of my new Herman Miller Mirra, I came across the new Miller creation: the Embody. I think I made the right choice. This new chair is socially conscious (95% recyclable material), but it doesn't appeal to me just yet. Maybe I need to see one up close to have a better opinion. Though it maybe the orange color throwing me off, because the black version looks all right:

11:37 AM | 0 comment(s) |

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