Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beyond the Treadmill

Ah, nothing like the feeling of putting on your running shoes and heading to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. You say to yourself, "I am exercising because it makes me feel good! And it relieves stress!"

If only that were true. You want to know how many calories you burned in order to justify that lunchtime burger and milkshake, and the chocolate croissant you scarfed down at 10 am. You want to know how far you ran, and many miles closer to are to fitting into your favorite outfit from 2004.

Enter, a great site for mapping routes and getting inspiration from fellow runners. The technology is based around Google Maps, allowing you to zoom and drag with ease. The first step is entering your zip code, which then takes you to the general area where you will be starting your run. From there, you can search through saved routes (from other users) or create your own.

For each marker you place (by clicking on the map), it will calculate the distance between legs and how long it should take based on the speed you enter. Pretty cool, right? Now if only there was a site that pushed us out the door to go for a run everyday...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ryder's Fireside Corner #1

"The HOTTEST search blog on the net"

Greetings wary travels, come gather 'round for a healthy dose of search marketing knowledge nuggets. I will be unleashing my search geek supreme powers each month in an effort to quench your thirst for information on all things search. ~ Enjoy.

How MSN (Dumb) and Yahoo! (Dumber) Are Falling Behind in the Search Marketing Game.

Those bad boyz at Google just keep giving MSN and Yahoo! a digital snap kick to the head in the paid search battle. Not only does Google crush the competition in volume:

But Google AdWords empowers a search marketer in ways only kings and maybe Craig T. Nelson could understand. When an engine provides great research tools, a powerful user interface (UI), and customizable reporting options it allows search advertisers to be smarter about their campaigns which ultimate leads to a better user experience and large advertiser budget allocation.

For those not in the U-BOATS (Unquestioned Boorish Overlords of All Things Search) refer to some of the capabilities available and ratings for each engine:

Google has left the competition behind over the recent year with tools like AdWords Editor, a desktop application that allows for bulk account changes and unbeatable account visibility. Additionally, only Google pushes the envelope with innovative search outlets like video and click-to-call. Now if they could just work on their chatzkies.

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Excel-erate your Productivity!

Are you taking your Excel game to the next level or are you just getting Excel-cuted? If you use Excel with regularity like most of us data jockeys then you might appreciate my list of shortcut keys: Download Here. Other than that if you are ready for some advanced add-ins then pimp your Excel with ASAP Utilities. My favorite four ASAP functions:
* Columns/Rows > Merge Column Data
* Text > Convert to lowercase
* Fill > Copy values to empty cells below
* Web > Clean web imported data

More great Excel functions:
=len(reference cells here) > counts characters withing reference cells
=concatenate(cell 1, cell 2) > merges cell data into one cell
=if(data test, if true, if false) > more uses than you can shake a stick at, ask any AM for details.

Multimedia message - picture sent from my phone!

I geeked out on the bus on the way to work this morning and tested Blogger's mobile posting functionality. The lovely picture you see above is from my AAAA class on Wednesday night (the speaker was from a PR firm) and yes, the lighting in the room is actually that bad...

It's really easy to post from any mobile device, and next time I'll probably write something as well. The only thing you have to do is send an email to and the rest is done for you.

Happy Lima Bean Respect Day!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Getting Your Green On

Earth Day is this Sunday, which means everyone and their mom is jumping on the "green" bandwagon. PG&E's "Let's Green This City" campaign has caught my attention while running errands, during my morning commute, shopping, etc. From Muni bus stops to the SF Chronicle to online banners (one that I ran into tests your recycle tong skills by dropping trash into a bin), they have made the green lifestyle seem fun and accessible for everyone.

What makes these ads both interesting and powerful is how they have tapped into the emotional feeling of living in San Francisco- giving everyone a sense of ownership and pride. Several of their ads (and even their site) showcase familiar landmarks around the city, such as the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bay Bridge. Some examples of copy:

“Green is Saturdays at the Embarcadero.”
Green is buying locally grown produce to cut down on transportation pollution. And it’s helping make our city the greenest in the nation.

“Green is yellow.”
It’s the color of that big orb in the sky responsible for such gifts as sunsets, sun-dried tomatoes and renewable power. Green is solar energy. And it’s helping make our city the greenest in the nation.

Be sure to visit the site and find out how you can participate in Earth Day activities this Sunday. The site includes videos, discussion boards, examples of their ads and event calendars. Overall, it's a great example of an integrated campaign that speaks to many audiences and educates the consumer, rather than preaches to them about being environmentally aware.

Happy (early) Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Taking Your Show On the Road

The latest press release from Hands-On Mobile announced that they are taking the popular video game Guitar Hero (which just became available on XBox 360 this month) and moving it into the mobile space. The company's hope is that the immersive music/gameplay experience will now be available anytime you're on the go.

Mobile gaming, like the gaming industry in general, is trying to "have something for everyone," whether it be sudoku or True Crime. From a competitive/industry perspective, there are many things to consider:

1) Mobile consoles (Nintendo DS, PSP) have better graphics and truly appeal to the crowd that needs an extension of the console gaming experience on the road

2) Lack of standardization across phones and carriers makes it difficult to distribute games and analyze metrics

3) Pricing and payment structures are a barrier for consumers, as many are hesitant to download games for the first time- mostly to avoid dreaded recurring monthly charges

4) Mobile marketing companies like Third Screen Media and Enpocket are struggling to understand the consumer and give them content they want without being intrusive (research shows that most cell phone users are skeptical of ads)

As the mobile gaming space continues to evolve, users are also becoming more sophisticated in the ways they consume content on the go. Weather and sports are the most popular categories, but companies like Hands-On Mobile are hoping that gaming will become an equally habitual activity.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What are you doing?

The world wants to know what you are doing. Or, maybe the world doesn't want to know about you specifically but is an intriguing demonstration of what happens when people collectively share (small) pieces of their lives.
is focused around one question: "What are you doing?" Consumers can answer through IM, mobile, or right on the site. Current responses include, "stressing" and "heading out to a meeting". Users also have the option of displaying a thumbnail picture alongside their response and alias. Do people read the responses and feel that maybe they should be doing something more exciting? Are these a source of inspiration, or maybe even a way to breathe a sigh of relief that we're not the guy that's "home with a headache"?

Facebook already offers the same functionality to update your status, and my friends have written things ranging from: feelings, how they feel about a trip, what class they are in, what they are studying, how bored they are at work, etc. However, the hyper-simplification that we see with Twitter is making social networking even more accessible across age groups as well as media platforms (combination of web + IM + mobile).

Today is also National Eggs Benedict Day. A perfect thing to Twitter about.

Friday, April 13, 2007


It's no surprise that everyone uses the internet for networking these days. Between the match.coms and shared Google calendars of the world, there are also endless galleries to browse, and more blogs than anyone would care to count.

I, of course, am just as prone to getting sucked into Web 2.0 as anyone else. In fact, there is a lot of fun in seeing how many views your latest Flickr set has gotten, and who has saved your photos as a "favorite".

Another fun feature of Flickr is the ability to see the latest photos uploaded by your contacts. In fact, this very feature is what led me to find out that one of my friends is now engaged! The main picture was appropriately titled "The Ring". Ironically, there are probably groups of strangers that discovered that set of photos before his friends!

How much of our lives do we want to publicly share? How much smaller will the world become as our media consumption changes?

Please excuse me while I visit Flickr and make sure none of my friends are having kids.