The Judge = Guilty of Being Excellent

The judgeRobert Downey Jr. played Robert Downey Jr. – a cocky, too smart for his own good jerk.  Robert Duvall played Robert Duvall – a curmudgeonly aging man’s man.  There was nothing really surprising in their performances… but you know what?  It worked.  This is one case where casting was spot on.  I do have to mention that Duvall’s performance was in keeping with his other roles for the most part, but there were one or two scenes when he showed a vulnerability that only a confident actor can pull off.

I also enjoyed Vera Farmiga as the spunky love interest and was surprised with Billy Bob Thornton‘s portrayal of the bad guy lawyer.  The surprise was how different he looks – the acting was typical Billy Bob… good stuff.

I really liked that it was a deeper story than most and although all the clues were pretty much right out front, it didn’t lead you by the nose.  (You know the kind – they flashback to show you the clue they showed you earlier in the film…  that is insulting to the viewer.)

I do have to point out that the cute little village in the film is supposed to be Indiana but it looks much more Northeastern.  I am sure that is just a factor that the location scouts were forced to deal with and I am being entirely too picky in noticing.

I really enjoyed the movie… much more than I expected.

RATING 8 out of 10 social media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.com

by Chris Doelle

Bitcoin followup

bitcoin crypocurrencyOkay, so I dipped my toe in the Bitcoin ocean.  Here is what I did:

I had someone offer to buy the Xbox for Bitcoin but they wanted me to drive to San Antonio.  It’s not really worth driving an hour to trade an old Xbox for something I may never use, so I passed.  I also had several people email me saying, “What is Bitcoin?”

When the post was shared out on Twitter, I got one gentleman responded to the post title “Bitcoin – am I in?” with a tweet that said, “You are Now!” and used a service called ChangeTip (@ChangeTip) to send me $1.00 worth of Bitcoin.  I thanked him and asked when he was available for a chat about Bitcoin.  His response was to send another $3.50 – that was way cool of him.  I am continually inspired by the generosity of people.  Sure, it is only a couple bucks but its moves like his that make me feel better about mankind on the whole.

Due to price fluctuation, my $4.50 worth of Bitcoin is now worth between $4.48 & $4.58 depending on when I look.

I still really want to have a conversation about Bitcoin with someone who is actually using it for something productive – other than a get-rich-quick scheme.

So, I am no officially in.  I am still in the dark, but I am in.

by Chris Doelle

Dracula Should have remained Untold

Dracula-Untold-boxDracula Untold  is a film that may have had great intentions but it sure didn’t deliver.   Luke Evans did a good job as the lead character, Vlad with a very weak script.  Even the cameo by Charles Dance ( Tywin Lannister – Game of Thrones) felt forced and overdone.

The special effects were decent, but nothing special.  It was like DU spent the entire time trying to be another film.  From the darkness of the scenes to the over-used CGI, this film never found anything original to say.

In the end, the writing killed this film.  The idea of taking the legend of Dracula and trying to connect it to the legend of Vlad the Impaler (yes, History Channel attempted to do so too – but documentary style) and make it a magical fantasy story was just too much to even attempt.

It appears the writers got lost up in 100 different “that would be cool” ideas and never delivered on any of them.

Long time readers know that any period or fantasy setting automatically earns 3 stars in my review so you can see what I thought of the film outside of the setting.

RATING 5 out of 10 social media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.com

by Chris Doelle

Is Hootsuite in trouble?

I have had numerous problems accessing Hootsuite for the past few days.  I get redirected to https://eureka-sandbox.imedidata.net/login when I try to sign in and then it errors out.  I found a kludgy workaround by going to the Help Desk area and signing in from there.  Then I can go to the website and my cookie will bring me in.

Another issue that I’ve been fighting is getting notices every other day or so that Hootsuite, “had trouble sending” a post. I also have clients that are having intermittent problem with pieces of Hootsuite not working.

I’m hoping it is just growing pains and not a sign that, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” to borrow the bard’s quote.

hootsuiteLet me say that I love Hootsuite and wish them the absolute best.

by Chris Doelle

Careful who you do business with

utterliI am always cautioning clients about putting their content on sites like Facebook.  When Facebook wants to, they can delete everything you’ve put years into creating.

This struck home hard this week as I was tweaking the RSS feed for my podcast here on RWTWD.  I found something was not working so played around until I fixed it and now it is up and running smooth again on iTunes and other places.

I noticed however, that a stretch of shows I record from October of 2008 through March of 2009 were no longer available.  I dug in and found out that this was during a brief time when I was using a service called Utterli in conjunction with my Blackberry.  It allowed me to take a short video and record audio that was posted automatically to my feed and went out as a regular show.

Apparently, Utterli is utterly gone… kinda like Blackberry.  With that death came the end of those files… lost forever.  It was only eight shows, but it is still a loss.

Every other show I have created has been stored on Libsyn and backed up regularly by me.  (Yes, I did find a couple of instances where the file on Libsyn was missing or corrupt so that backups really helped.)

Pay attention to where you post your content.  I made the short-lived move to Utterli because I investigate new things and it seemed a tad easier.  I went back to my tried and true method six months later, but it was an expensive experiment – in terms of posterity.

by Chris Doelle

How good is your warranty?

lifetimewarrantyjpgI have a couple of recent warranty stories and thought I would share them.  I’ve always been concerned about customer service as that is probably the most important aspect of your marketing.  I have worked as a mystery shopper helping companies ensure their customer service is top-notch.

Warranties and guarantees are a huge part of customer service.  How good are they?  Are they worth the paper they’re printed on?  Most of the times, yes.  Sometimes however, they are just an immoral attempt to con you out of your money from people with no interest in honoring them.

I had the opportunity to test the warranty of three companies recently.  Hydro Flash, OtterBox and Mont Blanc.

Here are the scenarios:

Mont Blanc – I had heard that Mont Blanc pens were guaranteed for life so I decided that since I was in a warranty mood, I would try this one.  Bear in mind I got the pen as a graduation gift from high school – so we are talking about an OLD pen!  These pens run $300-500 too – so I’m not talking about a Bic here.  About ten years ago, mine developed a crack and a piece broke off.

To test their warranty, I could only find a phone number.  I called and was told, “No, the pens are not guaranteed for life – but for two years.”  I was also told that they do repair pens and could send it in for repair costing about $100.  I don’t really need a $100 pen, so it ended there. 

OtterBox – I have used their covers for my iPhones/iPods since I got my first one at the inaugural podcasting convention back in 2005.  The silicone rubber cover of my latest iPhone case has ripped in several places.  It is only about six months old because I bought it to replace another one that had the same issue.  I only recently heard from my wife that they were guaranteed for life.  I filled out the online warranty form and waited…

Turns out, I only had to wait a couple of hours.  I got a response from them thanking me for filling out the request and letting me know that the item is backordered but will be shipped out as soon as they are available.  The notice said to allow 3-4 weeks for deliver.  I’m cool with that!  Grade A+

Hydro Flask – I absolutely love my Hydro Flash ever since my wife first gave it to me.  Shortly after I started using it, the straw discolored.  The others we own look perfect. I went the social media route with this issue.  Finding their twitter account, I made a simple inquiry asking what the warranty was for the flip lids.  We chatted via twitter and I was assisted by a caring/engaging person.  I was told they would be happy to help and given a link to fill out the warranty form.

I filled out the form and waited…

The next day, I got an email showing an order receipt and notification that the item was being shipped to me within three business days at no charge.  I would call that another big win!

So what is my takeaway?  Warranties are something that good companies stand behind and a valid reason to make a purchase if you are on the fence about the decision.  If you buy quality items, the warranties are something you can count on to make sure you keep the value.

Yes, I am pleased as punch with these outcomes.

by Chris Doelle

Bitcoin – am I in?

bitcoinOkay, I have to start my saying I am an absolute novice in the world of Bitcoin and crypto-currency in general.  I realize that I have missed the gold rush of Bitcoin but I finally took a few minutes to educate myself.  I won’t bore you with all that I found, just let you know where I stand.

Bitcoin is a good idea, albeit a bit scary, that has potential for a lot of good, but it sure has a lot of potential for bad as well.

In theory it was created to have a currency that cannot be manipulated by governments.  The big problem with that theory is:

  1. It requires internet access and computers to even have Bitcoins
  2. The internet/power grid etc.  all go down without governments
  3. When that happens, Bitcoins all disappear

The other big thing that bugs me about Bitcoin is that there’s a finite amount of coins.  Once they are all in circulation, the inflation will skyrocket.  I don’t believe that wealth is finite – you can create wealth with your labor and with your thoughts.  Those things are infinite.

I am not worried about the black market or untraceable transactions.  That exists regardless of the currency.  That argument against Bitcoin is just fear-mongering.

I do have a Bitcoin wallet.  I have nothing in it.  I don’t intend to mine for coins – it has reached a point where you would have to have a bank of computers running full-time to make it worth doing.

Will I take payment in Bitcoin for my products or services?  Yes, but I will switch it to other currency as quickly as possible.  I fear being stuck with a worthless currency.

Will I speculate in the Bitcoin market?  Not a chance.  I don’t waste my time speculating in other markets so certainly won’t jump into one that I barely understand.  I think I’ll run a test on someplace like Craigslist and sell something for Bitcoin.

Do you have Bitcoins?  What are your thoughts on this currency?

by Chris Doelle

Book Review: The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

2014 Books Read: 59 (92% non-fiction)

the_hot_zone_coverAll the talk of Ebola in the news recently reminded me of a book I read back around 1997, The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virusby Richard Preston.   Seventeen years ago this book was a shocker to me.  I read it from cover to cover in a couple of days and don’t mind telling you it startled me.

I decided to read it again to see if it holds up after all this time.  I also was wondering if it would shock me even more now that Ebola is in the United States.  The book is every bit as good as I recall but it didn’t scare me any more than it did then.  It also didn’t scare me any less.

If you want to understand the origin and danger of Ebola, this is an excellent book.  Not only does Preston track the path of Ebola and Marburg as they burst onto the world stage, he makes it very understandable.  This was a simpler time.  This was a time when nobody was worried about infections sweeping across the planet.   In addition to the story of the spread of virii, Preston tells a chilling tale of the effects when contracted by humans.  It is scary stuff.

Does it make me want to seal up my house or lay low in a bunker?  No.  Does it give me pause for concern?  Most definitely.

by Chris Doelle

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