I haven't updated this recently mostly because I've been really busy, but also... I started a new blog, an actual blog, with its own domain name. I mostly did it because I wanted to register the domain names that went with my name and my uh.... nickname. So I got aaronnemoyten.com and swivelmaster.com
The blog is at swivelmaster.com
check it out.
I've complained about this to various people, and now I'd like to document it.
I dial *3. This is good. The payment system is integrated into the service so I can call and they should recognize my phone and...
Sprint: "For English, press 1."
Sprint: "Please enter your ten digit Sprint telephone number" (or something like that)
What? Shouldn't know? It's the ONE I'M CALLING YOU FROM! Or does Spring not actually have caller id?
enter: my number
FIVE SECONDS OF SILENCE
Sprint: "Please confirm your ten digit Spring telephone number"
WHAT? It's the one I'm calling you from, motherfucker! It's YOUR SERVICE! YOU SHOULD KNOW!
enter: my number again
FIVE SECONDS OF SILENCE
Sprint: "RING... RING.... half a second of hold music"
Sprint: "Welcome to the Sprint automated payment system."
WHAT? Didn't we just...?
Sprint: "For English, please press 1."
I hate you.
Sprint: "Please dial your ten digit Spring PCS account number followed by the pound sign.
FUCK YOUUU!!!! This is the THIRD TIME!!
enter: my number
Sprint: "You entered: " (and my number) "To confirm, press 1."
Sprint: "With this option you can --" (explanation of payment options, with 'debit or credit card' as the first one)
Sprint: "To confirm that your payment is posted to the correct account, please enter the last four digital of your social security number, followed by the pound sign."
I'm sorry, wait. So the fact that I'm calling from my Sprint phone into the Sprint payment system on my Sprint account and I have entered my Sprint phone number three times now HAS NOT actually confirmed that I am trying to pay for MY OWN service? Would somebody else accidentally pay for my service? How could they do that? Is it even possible?
enter: the last four digits of my social security number
Sprint: "You entered..." (and tells me my number) "If this is correct, press 1."
Sprint: "To pay with..."
Well, they're about to present payment options. Since the MOST POPULAR METHOD OF PAYMENT and FIRST MENTIONED IN THE LIST BEFORE is atm/debit/credit, I'm just going to save myself some time and hit '1'
Sprint: "Please enter your nine digit routing number..."
OH SHIT! Now they want me to pay direct out of my bank account? How is this the first option? What do I do?
enter: star, star, star, ... pound?
Sprint: "I'm sorry, I was not able to process your transaction. Goodbye!"
...and hangs up.
Okay back to payment options.
I'm smart and I hit 2 this time.
Sprint: "with this option, you can pay with your..." (and explains the payment options that were already explained a few menu items ago)
Sprint: "You owe blah moneys, to pay in full, push 1"
Okay cool at least I can save some time here.
Sprint: Please enter your credit card number, followed by the pound sign.
I'd just like to note here that I've paid with the same CC number for the entire duration of my account, which thus far has been three years. For a few month, Sprint was saving the number and asking if I'd like to pay using that card again. I guess somebody complained that it was too convenient not to have to enter your credit card number over the phone every single month, so they removed that option.
so I enter my number.
Sprint: "You entered..." (and the number) "To confirm, please press 1."
Sprint: "To confirm, the card ending in ---- will be charged the amount of ----."
And finally I am on my way.
So let's see. I had to enter my phone number three times, my language of choice twice, the last four digits of my social security number, my credit card number, and push 1 to confirm those entries about ten times.
Here's how it should work:
I dial *3. It automatically knows my phone number (duh) and asks me if I want to pay my own bill or somebody else's. I push 1 for my own bill. At the end of that first prompt is the Spanish option, because there's no reason for them to assume that over the course of my subscription I have somehow lost my ability to speak English. Thus, the thing with the smallest chance of being true - somebody who does not speak english is using my phone to pay the Sprint bill of someone who is not me - should be LAST and not FIRST.
Next, it tells me my balance and asks if I'd like to pay in full. I push 1.
Next, it notes that I paid with a credit card ending in ---- last time, and if I'd like to pay again with that credit card to press 1.
Next, since at this point anybody could be using my phone and we need to make sure somebody isn't paying my bill with my credit card without my permission, it asks for the last six four of my social security number. Enter that, it confirms my order, I push 1, and that's the end of it.
Now, that's five inputs. Four of those are pushing 1. (not counting dialing the payment system to begin with).
Why can't it be that easy?
Since I graduated, I've been doing a lot of nonfiction reading. In fact, the only fiction reading I did was starting The Stand by Stephen King, which I kind of lost interest in about 50 pages in.
Here's a rundown:
The Art of Innovation
This is a book about a design company called Ideo, famous for doing the original Apple mouse, the palm pilot, and a bunch of other cool stuff, plus some medical devices and a water pump for people in third world countries. A lot of the book is about how to think of problems when it comes to designing things, especially thinking in terms of eliminating problems so basic, so common, that we work around them without even knowing they're there.
Masters of Doom
About the guys/company who made Doom. Way more interesting than you'd expect - it focuses on John Carmack (the genius programmer) and John Romero (the cocky wannabe-rockstar designer), who had a perfect working relationship for a few years that made them millions of dollars... and eventually fell apart, got Romero fired from his own company, and nearly destroyed both their careers. They're seriously interesting people - together (with the rest of their company, id software, of course) they made some of the biggest computer games of all time, established both gameplay conventions AND business conventions (giving huge chunks of their games away for free to get people hooked). And they both have Ferraris.
Unleashing the Ideavirus
All Marketers Are Liars
These are all marketing books by Seth Godin. He's bald.
The Tipping Point
Both by Malcolm Gladwell. TWO OF THE MOST INTERESTING BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ! Seriously, I read nearly all of Blink's 280 pages in one day (at work). I was glued to it. It's that good. Blink is about how peoples' subconscious minds can make snap decisions about lots of things without people even knowing it, and The Tipping Point is a study on how social trends and ideas are spread (including an explanation of how Hush Puppies became popular again, why there was a Syphilis epidemic in Baltimore in the mid 90's, and why Blues Clues is quantifiably better than Sesame Street!)
Small Business for Dummies
Words That Work
If you are interested in politics, read this. It's by Frank Luntz, kind of the evil genius of Republican marketing strategy. He's in charge of coming up with the words and phrases used to repackage shitty ideas so that fence-sitters will vote Republican. Regardless of what you think of his work, it's VERY effective - he is absolutely the best at what he does, and he is brilliant. The book is very useful, informative, and he tries not to toot his partisan horn at all for the sake of not pissing off the liberal half of his audience.
Basically an index of retarded 90's dot com companies. Not in depth at all, but funny. Lots of swearing, calling company founders 'shithoses' and other fun names.
Kind of a "The Rise And Fall of The American Nineties" history lesson - starts at how the internet was invented, traces through to the Netscape IPO, and ends with the stock market tanking after 9/11. Most of it is very interesting, though it gets less interesting towards the end when it goes from being a story about people founding companies and doing stupid things to just a story about economic numbers.
The Fall of Marketing and the Rise of PR
This is what it says it is, except it's written by actual PR people, so it's kind of biased. Still, very interesting. I honestly can't watch TV commercials the same way after reading this - it makes a very good case against 'entertaining' and 'creative' TV commercials.
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
Kind of a zen guide to maintaining creativity and individuality within a massive corporation. Written by a guy who worked at Hallmark for 35 years and spent his last few there with the title Creative Paradox, in an office where he'd light candles to make people think he was crazy... oh and he hung a chair from the ceiling and had it float about 8 feet above his desk.
Word of Mouth Marketing
and I am halfway through Don't Get Too Comfortable, which is really good. It's a humor/social satire essay book by a fun-hating gay Canadian journalist. Party time!
So I'm not really doing anything with film or music right now. That's intentional. I'm focusing my learning somewhere else and trying to relax about artistic things... hopefully I can come back to them within a few months feeling refreshed. Until then, I'll continue to work on my big internet projects with my housemate and hopefully turn that into my day job :)
Since I'm now involved in an internet startup, I am now writing for a blog... about being involved in an internet startup. My two 'cofounders' started the blog, and I've decided to try to add a kind of outsider-looking-in perspective to it - they've been involved in this 'scene' for a lot longer than I've ever been aware of the scope of it.http://www.startupism.com/
I wrote the latest entry (as of this post), "The Feature Stupid Test," as well as "Through the Looking Glass" further down the page.
It's amazing what's going on with tons of new sites popping up and getting press as if they're the new rock stars. What's really funny is that a lot of the sites basically do the same things as each other, but regardless it's a pretty insular, self-important scene where anyone who starts a new 'Web 2.0' site and gets press on techcrunch.com or valleywag.com automatically gets 15 minutes of fame.
Check out my articles and post comments on the blog if you feel like it.
edit: Okay it got displaced by a newer entry already. Damn you Alex!
Well holy crap, I wish I was in Toronto to see this.
There is.. I crap you not... an EVIL DEAD MUSICAL!
Here's a review-http://www.torontostage.com/reviews/evilDead.html
And here's the site-http://www.evildeadthemusical.com/toronto/
The Original Cast Recording album features such instant classics as "Housewares Employees," "All the
Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed By Canadian Demons," "Bit Part Demon," and of course, "Ode to an Accidental Stabbing."
Possibly producing an acoustic EP with Josh from A Night at the Pictures.
Possibly getting involved with a massive short film production with some guys from SF State.
Possibly getting involved with an internet startup that basically had the same idea as me and is already working on it - I met with them last night at 8 and we ended up talking in their apartment until 1:30 in the morning.
Running sound at a wedding early next month.
Hopefully going into the studio with the Chop to demo a few songs and try to pitch myself as producer.
Maybe recording another band, but I'm not sure because they've been flakey on me in the past.
I just got back from LA. I felt refreshed the first half of today, but by now I'm already feeling the pressure again - mainly the fact that I have about $1000 in fixed monthly expenses (rent, car, utilities) and I don't know where some of that is going to come from - rent is due in a week, car payment I have three weeks for. Hopefully more a/v gigs will fall from the sky as they usually do (though since it's now taking 30 days for me to get paid for Google stuff, that's not immediately helpful!)
I just found out recently that my favorite non-news radio show, Radiolab, has a third season out.
Radiolab does five one hour shows per season, about the broadest topics possible.
Season 1: Who Am I?, Stress, Emergence, Time, Beyond Time.
Season 2 gets a little less philosophical and more concrete - detective stories, musical language, morailty, where am I?, and Space.
Looks like Season 3 is getting back to the more abstract topics - Placebo (not the band :), Sleep, zoos, memory, and mortality.
If I had an ipod I'd put these on it and listen while walking around the neighborhood.
RECAP OF MY TRIP TO LA:
Went to CineGear. This is a free trade show where you can go to see the latest in cameras, lighting, and things you put cameras and lights on, plus some audio stuff... for film and video production. It's smaller than most tradeshows, and it's outdoors... but it's free so why complain? :)
I got to see some crazy stuff, like massive cranes and gib arms (a gib arm is kind of like a giant seesaw with counterweights that you put the camera on for smooth movement and to get it up really high. Similar to the crane but smaller.)... there were also automated/robotic dollys on tracks, including this crazy rig they used for the car attack scene in Children of Men. ALSO there was a steadicam rig with a circular mount so you could actually rotate the entire thing and the camera would stay level to the ground.
After that, the group I was with got a private film demo at Kodak, and then the Kodak representative, a really nice lady named Gail, took us all out to dinner at this Italian restaurant at that big crazy mall next to Mann's Chinese Theater that has the replicas of set pieces from an old movie with the giant elephants on pillars.
That was Friday. Saturday, I hung out at my friend Joe's place with him, his room mate Andy (cool guy), and another Aaron from the SF State film program... and Joe's insane cat who bites people a lot. We played a lot of Super Mario World. Then, we all went out to dinner at a pub and had incredible pizza and some damn good beer.
Sunday was more hanging out. We tried to go catch a movie, but traffic was such that it took half an hour for us to travel about a mile in a car, so we missed it.
In all it was fun. I managed to spent only 80 bucks for the whole trip - I gave my ride there and back a total of 45 bucks, and the rest I spent on food.
Thu, May. 31st, 2007, 10:56 pm
I made a video.
My friend Aaron (from Agent Records) has this new site called viddyou. I'm borrowing a camera so I did a blog post with it on viddyou.