Reading Around on June 10th

1890 ad from the U.K.

1890 ad from the U.K.

Some additional reading June 10th from 19:41 to 19:41:

  • Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive « alex.moskalyuk – Number 7 sounds like Apple’s iPhone 3GS and 3G pricing model:
    “A more expensive product makes the old version look like a value buy. An example here is a Williams-Sonoma bread maker. After an introduction of a newer, better, and pricier version, the sales of the old unit actually increased, as couples viewed the new item as “top of the line”, but old product was all of a sudden reasonably-priced, even though a bunch of features were missing”

Brian Sanders Creates ‘Mad Men’ Poster for New Season

It’s the Future

It’s the Future

Earlier today…

The image recalls work that Mr. Sanders did for an even more famous screen project. In 1966 he was asked by Stanley Kubrick, who had seen some of his experimental, noncommercial collages, to spend months with unfettered access to the set of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and illustrate scenes from the filming. Most of the images remained unpublished for decades. (Kubrick, famously averse to set photographers, seemed to have been ambivalent even about drawings.) But the experience was a formative one for Mr. Sanders in honing an illustration style that balanced slightly trippy abstraction with a concrete feeling of reportage.

Brian Sanders Creates ‘Mad Men’ Poster for New Season

Do You Work for a Fee, or for Free? | Small Agency Diary – Advertising Age

Is it me, or is there a growing trend in people seeking free ideas from those of us in the business? I’m not referring to spec pitches; I’m speaking about a phrase that I hear more and more: “I’d like to pick your brain.” Am I right? Have you been getting the same request?
For whatever reason, in my world, there are more brain pickers out there than ever before. My assistant even has a code for it when people call and ask to meet me for coffee to run something past me: “Another ‘Brain Picker,’ Marc. Want to take the call?” So who are these people, what do they really want? How can we make them pay for what we do for a living?
Brain Pickers come in all shapes and sizes. They are relatives. Friends of relatives. Close friends. Friends of friends. Relatives of clients. Friends of clients. Industry veterans. And industry rookies. Some want an hour of your time. Others just a quick call.

Do You Work for a Fee, or for Free? | Small Agency Diary – Advertising Age

TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash — and Leave Viewers in the Dark | Free Press

Media analysts project that campaigns, Super PACs and “social welfare” groups will spend a record-breaking $3.3 billion on political ads by Election Day.

And let’s consider these stations — are they offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time?

…Free Press took a deeper look at local news coverage in five of the cities — Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Tampa — where ad spending has been highest.

We inspected the political files of stations in these markets, identified the groups most actively placing political ads and pored over hundreds of hours of local news transcripts. In all five of these markets, we found that local newscasts were lacking when it came to covering the ads that dominated their stations.

In other words, they provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted eve

TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash — and Leave Viewers in the Dark | Free Press

Abandoned Schiltz Sign on West Grand

Abandoned Schlitz sign on West Grand

Taken with the newish Ina’s 1935 film addition to Hipstamatic. Located on a wall at the southwest corner of the Damen/Grand intersection. There are apparently less than ten of these Schlitz globe signs still existing in Chicago. Most are better preserved than this one. In fact, some might even be given “landmark” status.

The Schlitz brewing company of Milwaukee was the most prolific builder of tied houses in Chicago. Designed by the architectural firm of Frohmann & Jebsen, Schlitz tied houses are generally executed in a revival style such as Queen Anne or Baroque with varying levels of accuracy and detail. One common factor in most Schlitz tied houses are the distinctive globes encircled by a belt, as if Schlitz had a stranglehold on the world. Another common feature is the alternating red and cream face brick which can be found in different patterns.

(click to continue reading Tied Houses | Forgotten Chicago | Chicago History, Architecture, and Infrastructure..)

Like this one:

Schlitz Trade Mark

Farewell, Facebook

Here’s why I’m selectively changing a lot of my information in Facebook – faking my demographic details and so forth – Facebook wants so desperately to make a dollar off of my data, they have become skeevy, and untrustworthy. I’m old enough that there isn’t too much that is embarrassing in my Facebook profile, but I don’t every corporation in America to have access to my information without my permission1

Nothing remains from the past

The chorus of pro-privacy, anti-Facebook bloggers is getting louder. Facebook wants to keep track of everything you “like” — all over the Web and even in the real world. McDonald’s has signed on as Facebook’s first geolocation partner. Whatever that means. The Observer has a deeper relationship with my Facebook page than my best friend. Today I’m deactivating my account. Here’s why.

Then I stumbled upon a list of the various third-party groups that have access to my account. In all, there were 32, including the makers of “Which Jane Austen heroine are you?” (I’m Fanny Price), The Awl, a snarky, high-brow commentary site, and Business Insider. The latter two I didn’t recall approving. The media sites, I discovered, were installed automatically when I browsed their websites while logged in to Facebook. Jane Austen, I’m afraid, I must take responsibility for. Reports are unclear as to what information applications can pull from your account. Some warn that developers have broad access and do not distinguish between what you mark as public and private, and some quizzes even get access to friends’ information.

Considering Facebook’s track record of shifting privacy settings, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation wraps up here, and you can get a visual sense of here, it seems pretty much guaranteed that user control over personal information will only get weaker. At the same time, Facebook is collecting new data based on user browsing habits across the Web. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently unveiled Facebook’s “Connect,” a tool integrated with sites across the Web so users can “like” everything from articles on major news sites such as The Washington Post, to items for sale on retailer sites. Those connections are public, and if you don’t like it, Facebook has this advice to offer: “If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.”

At the same conference, Zuckerberg also announced that the company will let third parties store information longer (previously, outside developers could store user information for no longer than 24 hours). So not only do we have to worry about Facebook’s policy; we also have to worry about the huge ecosystem of parties that hold Facebook data.

(click to continue reading Farewell, Facebook | The American Prospect.)

One could just delete one’s Facebook account, or take the guerrilla warfare route, and make lots of false data points. The latter option sounds more fun, actually.

Senator Al Franken of all people, with the help of The Consumerist, has published some detailed instructions on how to modify your Facebook privacy settings, which at the very least you should glance at.

  1. such as, if I purchase a new Nikon, I’ve given Nikon permission to update their records of me, and so on. McDonald’s on the other hand, shouldn’t have any information about me as I haven’t stepped into one of their restaurants in decades []

Sarah Palin and TLC

The rumors are Discovery Communications1 is paying Ms. Palin $1,000,000 an episode for some Alaskan reality-esque show. Nice work if you can get it, no? But will it be worth it to the network? Will the controversy keep blue chip advertisers from sponsoring the show, ala the highly successful boycott of Glenn Beck’s show?

Wrong Bus
[Wrong bus, Juneau, Alaska]

Sarah Palin used to say the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom was lipstick, but now she might hope that advertisers didn’t take that line too seriously.

It’s the hockey mom, after all, that would attract more marketers to “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the eight-part documentary series that Discovery Communications has acquired for its TLC channel.

The show will be supervised by Mark Burnett, the force behind such TV hits as CBS’s “Survivor” and NBC’s “The Apprentice,” and will strive to “reveal Alaska’s powerful beauty as it has never been filmed,” as Discovery’s chief operating officer, Peter Liguori, said in a statement today. “The deal was just concluded this week and now we begin the development and production,” a Discovery spokesperson added. “TLC is about strong characters and compelling narratives, and there is absolutely no intention of making a political program whatsoever.”

But Ms. Palin, a figure as polarizing as she is charming, will be the star attraction. Even though the show won’t be political, her central role will have an effect on its audience and ad support.

Ad buyers are already suggesting that the show may not attract advertising from big marketers that need to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Smaller players, on the other hand, may see opportunity.

[Click to continue reading Will Marketers Buy Into ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’? – Advertising Age – MediaWorks]

Testimonial Kodachrome

And as many others have pointed out, Sarah Palin on a science channel? Sarah Palin who doesn’t believe in evolution, as if evolution is just an opinion to agree or disagree with; Sarah Palin who thinks man and dinosaurs walked the earth together, slightly over 6,000 years ago? Sarah Palin the avowed hater of secular liberalism, and presumedly anti-science? She’s the one getting multiple millions of dollars to appear on TLC? Why not just piss your corporate dollars in the ear of a dead moose and film that?

In tough economic times, “a lot of cable networks are walking away from their brands and trying to get ratings,” said Mr. Berger2. “They’ll do anything they can do to get ratings and it’s a short-term fix, but I think it’s really hurting many networks in the long term,” because such stunts often draw broader audiences that don’t stick with the channel.

Critics have already pointed out that Ms. Palin’s track record on the environment doesn’t necessarily pair up with that of Discovery Communications, TLC’s parent. In 2008, the company launched Planet Green, a cable channel devoted to sustainability, and a companion website, Ms. Palin, on the other hand, has come to be associated with the chant “Drill, baby, drill,” for advocating the drilling of natural gas and oil in her home state.

  1. corporate parent of TLC []
  2. Ira Berger, director-national broadcast, at Dallas independent Richards Group [] Settles Lawsuit

Thankfully, the ubiquitous banner ads are less prevalent than they once were. I never had a weak moment and signed up, but some did, and some got compensated for their blinding loneliness.

myspace has agreed to refund nearly $10 million to users who were told that long-lost school chums were looking at their profiles, only to find, once they’d ponied up a subscription fee, that no one they knew was looking for them at all.

The proposed settlement would end a lawsuit filed in November 2008 on behalf of user Anthony Michaels who sued after he spent $15 to upgrade to a Gold Membership at, one of the net’s original social networking sites. But that fee was a rip-off, he said.

“Upon logging into his Gold Membership profile in order to view the classmate contacts … Plaintiff discovered that in fact, no former classmate of his had tried to contact him or view his profile,” the complaint read. “Of those users who were characterized … as members who viewed Plaintiff’s profile, none were former classmates of Plaintiff or persons familiar with or known to Plaintiff for that matter.”

While denies it engaged in any deception, it agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to the estimated 3.16 million people who signed up for the service after seeing ads and e-mails encouraging users to upgrade in order to see what members had been looking at their profiles. Each will be offered $3 in cash or a $2 certificate towards future membership.

[Click to continue reading Lonely Users Get $9.5M in Suit]

Don't Even Bother

The real winners, of course, are the class action lawyers1, who as always get the major portion of the settlement. Most members of the class get $3, if you were a primary defendant, you get $2,500, but the attorneys get $1,300,000. Pretty much par for the course.

update: see here for more details, but

But this week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a damper on the business model of legal extortion by trial lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits.

Frank has become the proverbial fly in the trial lawyers’ ointment, objecting again and again to bogus nuisance settlements that make up the bread and butter for some. In January, his objection helped convince a court to throw out a settlement between online social site with the annoying popup ads) and some users who felt they had been duped into signing up.

In that case — whose merits appear much stronger than the Bluetooth case — the lawyers had negotiated $117,000 for the aggrieved class, and a million-plus-dollar fee for themselves.

Frank’s organization, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is currently fighting settlements that are overly generous to trial lawyers in cases against Kellogg, Volkswagen and Toys “R” Us, among others.

  1. note: this link to the PDF is currently not working []

Cellphone place based advertising

Am very leery of this new kind of advertising, as it has the potential to be extremely irritating.

Cell phone-iphile

LIKE many retailers, the North Face has been having trouble luring shoppers into its stores. The company, which sells outdoor apparel and gear, is about to try a new tactic: sending people text messages as soon as they get near a store.

Advertisers have long been intrigued by the promise of cellphones, because they live in people’s pockets and send signals about shoppers’ locations. The dream has been to send people ads tailored to their location, like a coupon for a cappuccino when passing a coffee shop.

The campaign was created by Placecast, a location-based mobile ad company in San Francisco. It uses a practice called geo-fencing, which draws a virtual perimeter around a particular location. When someone steps into the geo-fenced area, a text message is sent, but only if consumers have opted in to receive messages.

Placecast created 1,000 geo-fences in and around New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, cities where the North Face has many stores and areas that get a lot of snow or rain, so the company can tailor its messages to the weather. In urban areas, the fences are up to half a mile around stores, and in suburban areas they are up to a mile around stores

[Click to continue reading Advertising – North Face Campaign Sends Texts When Shoppers Near Stores –]

Some corporations are fairly loose in their definition of “Opt-in”, if these businesses start sending text messages, there are going to be a lot of angry customers. We’ll soon see.

Google Invades Privacy With Buzz

The Google Buzz seems a little half-baked, if you ask me. Perhaps there should have been a public beta first before Google just turned Buzz on for all of its customers.

Don't disappear in your own life

But what Google viewed as an obvious shortcut stirred up a beehive of angry critics. Many users bristled at what they considered an invasion of privacy, and they faulted the company for failing to ask permission before sharing a person’s Buzz contacts with a broad audience. For the last three days, Google has faced a firestorm of criticism on blogs and Web sites, and it has already been forced to alter some features of the service.

E-mail, it turns out, can hold many secrets, from the names of personal physicians and illicit lovers to the identities of whistle-blowers and antigovernment activists. And Google, so recently a hero to many people for threatening to leave China after hacking attempts against the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, now finds itself being pilloried as a clumsy violator of privacy.

As Evgeny Morozov wrote in a blog post for Foreign Policy, “If I were working for the Iranian or the Chinese government, I would immediately dispatch my Internet geek squads to check on Google Buzz accounts for political activists and see if they have any connections that were previously unknown to the government.”

[Click to continue reading Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service –]

And The Grey Lady is too delicate to link directly to Harriet Jacobs complaint:

In an expletive-laden article that was widely cited on the Web, a blogger who writes about issues related to violence against women complained that Google had made her fearful. She said that she had unexpectedly discovered a list of people, which may have included her abusive ex-husband or people who sent hostile comments to her blog, following her and her comments on Google Reader, a service for reading blogs and automated news feeds.

In a further effort to contain the fallout, Google reached out to her and made changes to enhance the privacy of shared comments on Google Reader.

But Gizmodo isn’t:

Oh, yes, I suppose I could opt out of Buzz – which I did when it was introduced, though that apparently has no effect on whether or not I am now using Buzz – but as soon as I did that, all sorts of new people were following me on my Reader! People I couldn’t block, because I am not on Buzz!

Fuck you, Google. My privacy concerns are not trite. They are linked to my actual physical safety, and I will now have to spend the next few days maintaining that safety by continually knocking down followers as they pop up. A few days is how long I expect it will take before you either knock this shit off, or I delete every Google account I have ever had and use Bing out of fucking spite.

Fuck you, Google. You have destroyed over ten years of my goodwill and adoration, just so you could try and out-MySpace MySpace.

Harriet Jacobs is the nom de plume of the author of Fugitivus. She’s a mid-twenties white girl living in the Midwest, working at a non-profit that assists families and deals with a lot of racial politics. Harriet has had a fucked-up life, and Fugitivus —fugitive—is her space to talk, where the fucked-up people who did the fucked-up things couldn’t find her and be creepy.

Ms. Jacobs has now hidden her blog from the public, at least for a while, and who could blame her?

No Admittance

For me, I’m less concerned with embarrassing details leaking to a salacious public as I’ve always tried to keep a so-called Chinese Wall separating public and private sphere. Of course occasionally I blab too much, but then I’m happy to remain low profile enough so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

As far as Google Buzz, not really sure what the point of it is, but hey, I’m no stock-holder in Google, so if they want to dip their corporate toes in social networking, that is their decision to make. I’m much more interested in having access to super-fast network provided by a less obnoxious telecom, as Google also mentioned this week.

Dirty Dirty Dirty

Nobody wants to be on The List, of course, but at least TripAdvisor seems to have more credibility than a site like Yelp! who allows the process to be subverted by financial concerns.1

Rooms 75 cents

Those are just a few excerpts from reader-generated reviews of various hotels in Britain, culled from the “2010 Dirtiest Hotels” lists published recently by, the online network of travel sites. TripAdvisor says it has reviews of more than 450,000 hotels around the world.

In the United States, hard-hitting online travel reviews cause a lot less commotion, even though TripAdvisor’s reviews of the “dirtiest” hotels in the United States are just as blunt as the rest of the worldwide lists. (“Sleep in your car, not here!” warns LuckyDude, Chicago.)

Web sites using online reader-generated commentary are rewriting the rule book for travel reporting, and no site has as much impact as TripAdvisor, which is owned by Expedia and is one of the biggest online reader review sites. So it was a good time to talk with TripAdvisor’s chief executive, Stephen Kaufer.

The dirtiest hotels lists are a tiny part of what TripAdvisor does, of course. But Mr. Kaufer was happy to address the criticism.

“You bet, if you’re a hotel on that list, it is not a good sign for your business,” he said. “We have advertisers who call us up after they see one of their chain properties on the list and say, ‘Come on, I spent money with you advertising, and you put the property on the list?’ The sales guys tell them, ‘The editorial team looks at all the reviews; they look at what the guests say on the site — and one bad review does not get you on the list. But when it’s consistently ranked as a bad hotel by lots of people saying terrible things, hey, we are not shy.’ ”

“Please believe me,” he added, “we are careful about the lists, so a hotel isn’t named just because there are four bad reviews. We are dealing with someone’s reputation. It’s the ones that are consistently bad that make it — and I challenge any curious ind

[Click to continue reading On the Road – A TripAdvisor List That No Hotel Wants to Be On –]

Surprisingly, the Hooker Hotel Radisson near Dallas Love Field did not make the TripAdvisor 2010 list, though the reviews of that shit hole are nearly as bad as they should be.2

  1. Or so it seems []
  2. Obviously, I’ve stayed there recently, and I’ll tell you about it sometime. Quite the story []

We Can Do It!

We Can Do It!
We Can Do It!, originally uploaded by The U.S. National Archives.

Other Title: Rosie the Riveter

U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: NWDNS-179-WP-1563

From: Series: War Production Board, compiled 1942-1943 (Record Group 179)

Created by: Office for Emergency Management. War Production Board. (01/1942 – 11/03/1945)

Coverage Dates ca. 1942 – ca. 1943

Persistent URL:

Repository: Still Pictures Unit at the National Archives at College Park (College Park, MD)

For information about ordering reproductions of photographs held by the U.S. National Archives’ Still Picture Unit, visit:

Reproductions may be ordered via an independent vendor. The U.S. National Archives maintains a list of vendors at

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted
Use Restrictions: Unrestricted

love this image

Harper’s Magazine in Trouble

Ru-oh. I’ve subscribed to Harper’s Magazine continuously since the 1980s; it has shaped me in all sorts of subtle ways. I can’t imagine a world without it, but apparently, I better quickly grok the idea.

Newstand on State Street circa 1996

In a rambling 40-minute monologue that left many attendees perplexed, John R. MacArthur, 53, talked about the problems facing Harper’s: readership was down 35,000, newsstand sales were plummeting, the only direct-mail piece that seemed to work was 20 years old. Worse, Harper’s seemed irrelevant — “the mainstream media is ignoring it to death,” he said — according to people who were at the meeting.

What he did not address was the chief concern on everyone’s mind: two days earlier, without warning, he had fired the magazine’s well-liked editor, Roger D. Hodge, in a five-minute conversation as Mr. Hodge was finishing his breakfast croissant.

The episode has sent ripples through the placid magazine, which has long been an outlier in the fast-paced New York publishing world.

Harper’s is a nonprofit that relies on the support of Mr. MacArthur’s foundation. As advertising revenue in publishing has declined, many organizations have considered that foundation model — combining traditional revenue with donations — to finance quality journalism. But as the Harper’s situation shows, no publishing model is immune to change — especially when one influential person runs the place.

[Click to continue reading Rick MacArthur Shakes Up Harper’s as Sales Fall –]

Lewis Lapham is like my third grandfather, but he’s no longer editor, and hasn’t been for a few years. I have no solution to proffer, just hope Harper’s doesn’t vanish. Harper’s is also one of the few magazines I subscribe to that I want to keep after I’ve read: I have several years worth of back issues. I know I shouldn’t keep them – what’s the point, right? Very rarely would I think to go browse an old issue, but still, they feel substantial, so I keep them on a shelf until they fall victim to one of our periodic house cleaning purges. We subscribe to plenty of periodicals, but most are ephemeral, of the moment. Harper’s Magazine isn’t.

Harrison Ford at the Haymarket

Harrison Ford at the Haymarket
Harrison Ford at the Haymarket, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: John S
Film: BlacKeys B+W
Flash: Off


billboard for Extraordinary Measures looking at Marry Brogger’s Haymarket Riot Memorial statue