Blogging Event in Chicago

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, February 19, 2007 at 08:01 AM with 2 comments

SOBCon logo – link to Web siteHave you ever wanted to talk to fellow bloggers in person, without using their comments box? On the weekend of May 11-12 in Chicago, you can have that opportunity.

SOBCon07 is a conference that was born from – you guessed it – blog comments. When I heard about this over the weekend, I realized that I was a small part of those comments. It is being presented by Phil Gerbyshak and Liz Strauss, the latter I have not only communicated with through comments, but using that other device on my desk called a telephone. The agenda includes speakers, presentations and plenty of networking opportunities.

What does SOBcon stand for? SOB, despite what you may think, stands for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers. The name got my attention too!

BusinessTechnology • (2) CommentsPermalink

This past week I was in Boston, and with the snow storm coming across the Midwest to New England, I wanted to get an idea if I was flying home as planned. On Tuesday morning at 6:30 am Eastern (5:30 am in Chicago) I grabbed some coffee and started up my friend's browser on what ended up being an unscientific quest by a person still waking up to find out the forecast for the Windy City.

My first stop was the Web site for WMAQ, or NBC5 as they prefer to be called. My lovely wife and I just about always watch this station for news. I had been to their Web site before, and though I am not a fan of its layout and design, it's where I started. On the home page there were large red bars across the middle with links to school closings and weather alerts – easy to see with just a few sips of coffee. But as I clicked onto what I saw as the Weather Plus page, the entire Web page started scrolling, and I wasn't touching the mouse! It was an ad for GM for the Auto Show that was expanding before my eyes. As I hadn’t found the forecast, I decided to move on.

After a few more sips of coffee, I ended up on WLS's Web site, or ABC7 as they prefer. There I found weather headlines, just not as bright, and a link to watch a video forecast... from Monday night. At that time, there must have been a video clip available from the morning show, right? Sip more coffee, time to move on.

My next stop was WGN's Web site, who does go by the acronym for the World's Greatest Newspaper. However, they have 3 stations, so at wgn.com I was presented with a plain page with their 3 logos – Channel 9, AM 720 and the Superstation. Choosing the first one, the first thing I saw was a link to a video clip of Tom Skilling... from Monday night. What gives? They have a morning show too. Got another cup of coffee, and moved on.

What ended up being my last stop was the Web site for WBBM, or CBS2 as they prefer. Right front and left of center was a link to a video clip... of a weather forecast from about 15 minutes ago. Yea! As I was watching the video, I took a closer look around the site and saw a clean design, mostly text, with an RSS feeds link at the top of the page.

This was not scientific, and I did not go to WFLD (or Fox Chicago) or CLTV, Chicago's answer to CNN Headline News, as the sites came to mind as my mind was slowly awakening. I finally got my weather forecast, as disappointing as it was, and a new source for news in Chicagoland.

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Theirs is not Your Domain Name

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 03:21 PM with 4 comments

It may be your email address and your identity, but if you have your email through a third-party service, using their domain name, you don’t have complete control of it. These examples have caused grief for thousands, and hopefully it drove some of them to their own domain name.

Many people have their email addresses through their Internet provider. This is a very common practice, and all tends to work well with sending and receiving email. But what happens when you decide to change Internet providers, or you move and have to choose a new provider? Or if you change from dial-up to broadband and go with a new provider. In all cases your old email account will cease to exist when you stop paying for it. Some providers may offer limited forwarding, but that will soon end.

The extreme case of this was when AT&T (note the capital letters) bought cable and broadband provider MediaOne. They decided to terminate the use of the email domain name, mediaone.net, in favor of their own, attbi.com. Individuals and businesses were then forced to change their email address, and in some cases business cards and letterhead. And to add insult to injury, when Comcast bought AT&T Broadband and they eliminated attbi.com for comcast.net, more changes ensued.

Up until recently, individuals and businesses were paying AOL monthly fees just to keep their AOL email address, even when they have moved on to broadband. AOL’s announcement of offering their email services for free changed this; you must contact them to make this change.

If you own your own domain name, your email address would not have changed in any of these cases, and saved you printing costs and time wasted telling everyone of your new email address.

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Beanpot University

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, February 16, 2007 at 10:12 PM with 0 comments

Congratulations to the Boston University Mens Hockey Team for winning the 2007 Beanpot Tournament! As the BU Terriers once again beat their cross-town rivals, the Boston College Eagles, in an overtime win, they continued their dominance in this local tournament of the original four schools that play their games in Boston, including Northeastern University and Harvard.

Of the 55 years of the tournament, BU has won it 28 times. For those of you who do not follow college hockey or are fans of the Midwest teams, you are probably wondering what the big deal is, especially with a tourney featuring the same teams. If for any other reason, it is bragging rights, and the continuation of a tradition in an age where traditions tend to fade away. After missing the last two years, it was great to see my Terriers take the trophy home.

GO BU!

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Revolutionary Entrepreneurs

By Mike Maddaloni on with 0 comments

If you travel through New England, you can barely go fifty yards without seeing some historical landmark or marker of where something in the history of the United States took place. As someone who grew up there, you are almost oblivious to the significance of what happened several hundred years ago. When I go back to visit, it is almost like I see these for the first time.

Take a look at this historical marker, which is located in the center of Arlington, Massachusetts:

photo of Samuel Whittemore marker

(click on the photo to see a larger image)

The marker reads, "Near this spot Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten and left for dead, but recovered and lived to be 90 years of age."

This event happened as the British were retreating from the famous battles of Lexington and Concord. Whittemore was a retired British soldier who owned a farm, an entrepreneur in his own right. No wonder his resiliency.

And as to the distance between historical markers, across the street from this one is another marking the birthplace of Uncle Sam, an entrepreneur in his own right.

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I believe everyone should own a domain name, and use it - at a minimum - for their personal email. This way you have control of your email address, and don't have to solely rely on – or be hostage to – an ISP or service.

Over the next several posts, I will be writing about domain names and email addresses. My hope is to present my thoughts, hear what my small but mighty readership has to say, and will shape them into larger publications of some form or another.

As I believe strongly in controlling your own Internet presence, I hope this forum can serve as a springboard to sharing this information to an even larger audience.

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So much for all the other designs

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 03:24 AM with 1 comments

Why is the "power" button on the LodgeNet TV remote control on the bottom of the remote? Sure, it’s green, but it’s relatively small as compared to the large, round "menu" and "order" buttons at the top of the remote.

Why is the design of the remote control that you find in just about every hotel different that the paradigm of just about every remote control found in your home? So much for that “home away from home” feeling.

TechnologyDiversions • (1) CommentsPermalink

My Take-Aways from the book Small Giants

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 06:30 PM with 3 comments

This year I have a goal to read one book a month. Where for some this may not seem like much, it is a big deal for me. I have not been much of a reader in the past, with the exception of trade magazines and technical manuals. As I finish each book, I will write not a review but my "take-away" or the things that made me go “hmmm” after I put the book down for a final time.

My book for January was Small Giants by Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large at Inc. magazine. It highlights several companies that are "giants" in their respective industries, but chose to remain at a certain, smaller size, and details their path to this decision. Some of the companies featured include Anchor Brewing, CLIF Bar and Chicago's Artists' Frame Service.

When people talk about growing their business, the discussion starts at getting larger, but it does not tend to stop anyplace. The companies in this book made a decision to get to a certain size – by the number of staff or services they offer – and are content there. They do not see themselves being limited by this, and the contrary they feel much better about their businesses and its vitality, and in turn themselves. As I plan to grow my own business, this book has given me a different perspective on what growth is, and insight into some choices I may have to make in the future. I recommend fellow small business folks to give this book a few hours to read.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Book Take-AwaysBusinessDiversions • (3) CommentsPermalink

Creepy Part 2

By Mike Maddaloni on with 0 comments

With all of the curiocity surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith, I visited her personal Web site, annanicole.com, on Friday and all that was there was a black background and the words “Anna Nicole Smith 1967-2007” (as of this writing, it has since been replaced with a photo of her and the dates).

That creeped me out. Why? Because I was born in 1967! It has nothing to do with her age as compared to my own. It was more to do with the fact that I saw a date range for a death that started with the same year I was born.

However this was not the first time I was creeped out over this. In 1994, shortly after the death of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, t-shirts were being worn with his picture, and his name and birth and death years. Again, 1967 was right in front of me.

Yet another reminder to make the most of our days...

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Wal-Mart Loves Microsoft

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 at 08:50 PM with 2 comments

There are purely cross-browser Web sites, ones which can be viewed and function the same no matter the browser brand or version they are viewed in. Then there are Web sites that have small quirks or functionality that only work in some Web sites.

Then there are some that only work in one browser. When someone who builds Web sites thinks about this, they typically chalk it up to bias or sloppy work on the part on a single developer/designer. But Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer? TechCrunch has the screenshot of what Wal-Mart's new video downloads site looks like in the Firefox browser.

After walmart.com was down most of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) last year, why does this not surprise me?

Technology • (2) CommentsPermalink


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