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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I’m helping a friend out with some email campaign management, Google Analytics, and some stuff like that.  (It’s not my forte, so if you know this stuff really well and would fancy a phone call or email thread with me to answer some questions, I’d probably pay pretty well for your time.)

Anyway, one of the contenders out there for email campaign management includes Mail Chimp.  So far, they win the interface design award because, man is it DANG easy to sign up and “get to know” their product.

Their welcome page comes complete with a monkey welcome, evidently speaking Monkese

There are links all over that help you understand this, view that, and learn the other thing.  The interface is smooth and easy on the eyes.  It even offers to sign you up for a free webinar, where evidently sending great contact can be easier than eating a banana.  (and yes, they actually link to a hungry monkey on Youtube for comparison.)

And up in the right-hand corner, the monkey’s feelings become a little more clear.

Now who doesn’t appreciate a little monkey love every now and again?

I still need to check out some others, like icontact, Constant Contact, InstantService, Soffront and a few more.  The goal is to send out an email campaign and track it and potentially collect more info from interested parties.  Secondary goal is to make it as cheap as possible.  

Again, any recommendations you guys have would be most welcome.

Or, if you’re interested in some of my sample test Monkey Love emails I’ll be sending with my free trial account, let me know that too – I’m sure I’ll come up with something funny to put into the test emails.

Oh, and Me love you.


Update: I think I just fell in love with Mailchimp.  Evidently, the fresh little monkey up top changes what he says.  Often.  and he’s a LOL-enabled monkey.

Update #2: Now you don’t even have to tell me you want a subscription – you can subscribe yourself!  And I might even have a surprise for you…

2:10 pm
Post Meta :

I don’t know if this is the coolest thing ever, or just an early April Fool’s joke.

Go to the Powermat site, and watch the quick little demo they have of the iPhone being set on top of the mat and it just charging.  Supposedly it will work with cameras, cell phones, laptops, bluetooth headsets, any enabled device.

Seems way too good to be true.  

What do you think?  Is it real?  Is it a hoax?  Is it proof that the government has been sitting on all the cool technology for years and just releasing what they feel like to keep people right on the edge, teetering between the massively stressful and the incredibly joyous aspects of life?  Kind of like velcro was?

They supposedly explain the whole gizmo on their Technology page, cleverly throwing out references to Tesla (what does 80’s rock have to do with this?  Oh wait, maybe it’s a power ballad thing?), magnetic induction (pulling babies out of pregnant mothers with magnets?  Sounds painful) and something called “optimized standby consumption” which evidently means I can efficiently eat while I sit and wait for my next flight.

How long until the first person dies from falling asleep on their desk, with their head rested on top of this ultra-thin mat?  

Or maybe we’ll be redefiningt the meaning of the “power nap.”

9:41 am
Post Meta :

I sold a few things on eBay recently and was just plain AMAZED at the ebay/paypal/ups/usps partnerships that have grown over the past years.  I’m new to this “online postage” thing and “back in my day” (hehe) when we sold something online, gosh-darned-it we had to box it up and go to the post office and stand in line.

<Potter voice ON> And we didn’t even have a fancy computer drawing program to paint us a picture! <Potter voice OFF>

This time, however, I just accepted my paypal payment and from there saw the “print shipping label” link and figured, what the hey.  5 minutes later I was able to print a shipping label for USPS for $2.20, boxed up the item and could just stick the sucker in my mailbox at home.

That was convenience in a cup.

The second item I did?  Same deal, but even faster because now I knew what I was doing.  

Call me Shipmael.

Then I needed to ship a box NOT related to an auction, Paypal, or anything online.  Jaden (our 6yr old son) received a pair of Heely’s skate shoes for Christmas and was hella excited about them.  

And why wouldn’t he be?  I can’t recall how many times I dreamed of going through school halls or down the street with shoes that had wheels in them.  I knew I’d invent it when I got older and make a million dollars.  


Anyway, problem is, they’re a size too small.  So I go to the retailer’s website, and lo-and-behold, they have a great return policy for wrong size.  You just ship them the shoes with a note, and they’ll ship a replacement pair FREE.  They’ll do this only once, but that’s more than fair.  Did I mention they’ll ship us the replacement pair for free?

I box up the shoes and weigh the box – comes in at 3.8 lbs.  I go over to my trusty paypal account thinking I could just whip me up a neat shipping label and…. 

nope.  Paypal won’t do a shipping label unless it’s specific to a transaction.

Oh well.  So I go to USPS.GOV thinking I can just print me up another one of those fancy labels.  And sure enough, I can.

But only for PRIORITY MAIL.

What kind of crap is that?  For one, why is it more than eight bucks to ship a 3 lb box, even if it is just Parcel Post?

UPS Ground was about the same price, but I expected UPS to cost more – they’d get it there in 4 days vs 6 days.  Another issue is that I remember seeing a sign at the post office that said something like “packages over 13 ounces cannot have stamps on them” or some such, so it’s not like I was comfortable buying $8.62 of online postage and taping it to the box either.

A driving force in play here is that Jaden is without his Christmas present until the Heely’s can get to NY and back.  So the 4-day delta is a big factor, especially since I’m the one who picked out the original size and messed everything up in the first place.  Guilt creeps in, makes a bed in my soul and promptly starts snoring.

So I go with the $12.14 2-day Priority Mail option.

While I wait, I peruse the “features and benefits” of this shoe.  No-lie, these are ACTUAL PRODUCT QUOTES FROM THE SHOE.

  • Slice through the skate park – ninja style. 
    um, you have to be a pretty imaginative person to equate a 6yr old learning how to skate on just one wheel per foot, flailing about through the park, hugging on every stranger, pet or porta-potty they can get their hands on to not fall down… with a ninja.  Especially a slicing ninja.  
  • Synthetic suede and perforated leather upper with text-filled graphic. 
    mmmm, sythetic suede!  And what’s that you say?  The graphic is, hold me down from the excitement… TEXT-FILLED??!!?!! OMG!  I didn’t know graphics could be filled with text!
  • Padded tongue and collar add extra comfort and support. 
    I wish all the asylums had that.
  • Soft textile lining. 
    Hmm.  a lining made of textile.  You might as well say “this shoe is very shoe-like.” 
  • PU midsole. 
    So does this mean the feet come pre-filled with stink? 
  • Textured EVA outsole. 
    Best. Outsole texture. EVA. 
  • MEGA graffiti wheel. 
    Not just a graffiti wheel, but a MEGA graffiti wheel.
  • ABEC 5 608 bearings. 
    I have no idea what this means. 

It’s a Cumulus cloud!


(don’t forget – the deadline for guessing last month’s txt messages for $10 ends tonight – can comment on either of My first Predictify contest or Predictify THIS)

2:39 pm
Post Meta :

First, don’t forget to PREDICTIFY how many text-messages my 14yr-old daughter had on her last month’s cell phone bill for your chance to win your choice of $10 gift certificate.  Contest is open until this Friday.

Now, onto today’s banality.

I saw this on Twitter just now (don’t know what Twitter is? I’ve written about it a few times

And then I saw Snackiepoo’s reply:

so I figured… maybe I should check out my “follow cost“.  

And?  I’m still in the dark as to what this really means.  Let me think a little bit.  7.  12.  7 point 8 oh.  twelve point six-five.  milliscobles.  hmmm.  *scratches head*

Wait a second.  It says “last 100 updates”.  Does that mean I’m going to die!??!?!  GAH!

OHHH! That “per day” down there probably means something.  I think it means “updates per day”.  Ok, that helps.  WOW I can’t believe I average 12 updates per day for last 100 updates (8 days I guess).  That does seem a little annoying.  Or it would if it were measuring updates from people OTHER than me.

I’m thinking it would be cool if the Twitter interface (I use twhirl) could tell you this info when you decide to follow.

One thing I DON’T like are those tools that require you to enter in your twitter username and password because to me – they’re just too dangerous.  Fortunately this one doesn’t require a username and password to get your info, and even when you select “tweet your follow cost”, it does The Right Thing and brings you to twitter.com’s page with a pre-filled tweet box.  Way to go, guys!

I’ve already changed my password a few times after getting lulled into some seemingly “cool” new toy and then realizing “DUH!”  They probably are just gathering twitter usernames and passwords, and THEN they can store that password, then monitor your activity, then later on try that password on your blog, your work accounts, your bank accounts, anything and everything since it’s possible you use the same password for something else.

Yeah, I’m a little paranoid.  In fact, I wonder if YOU’RE even reading this.  You could be a robot for all I know.

9:37 am
Post Meta :

Get some love.  er, luv.

First, if you’re not listening to my Utterz, you should consider doing so.  I speak my mind more than a few times per week over at Utterli, and the latest ones are shown over in the sidebar to the right.  One thing I really like about Utterli is the telephone interface – it’s a good way to fill up the commute with semi-worthwhile activity.

You could hear me sing a little Def Leppard over on the above utter or maybe hear about the low low price of gas on this one.  Sometimes I geekout to the extreme.

heh, sometimes.  I crack myself up.  “sometimes”.  HA!

Secondly, Andy Bailey over at CommentLuv is giving away lots of prizes, and you can win.  

Have you noticed on my blog’s comments how it lists someone’s most recent blog entry and puts a little heart symbol?  I don’t type those in manually – oh no!  That work is done by the CommentLuv plugin for WordPress.

Here’s all you need to do:


  • Register your blog, if you have one, over at commentluv.com and have it verified.
  • Enter a profile description
  • Comment on my blog somewhere
The more you comment, the better your chances, but you cannot spam.  That’s like calling into a radio show just for the prize.  Well, no, strike that – it’s WORSE than calling into a radio show because, well, I don’t have a radio show. I have a blog.  This is all about me.  Don’t spam my blog, man.
If you don’t have a blog, I don’t think you can win.  Sorry, them’s the rules.  But you can get a free blog over at WordPress or Blogger (or tons of other places).  So go do that, then register, and woohoo! you could win.

… so good.

One of my bestest blog and IRL buddies, Jennefer, pointed this little site my way. Have you heard of Animoto? It’s called “the end of slideshows” because you upload photos (or point it to a collection like Picasa or Flikr), pick some music, and then it renders a VERY cool video for you.  It’s like making your very own music video.  For Realz, yall.

You can create 30 second videos for free, pay $3 per full-length video, or get a yearly pass for $30.  You can get $5 off that pass if you sign up through my referral code.  Be careful though – once you create a 30 second video, you will likely want to purchase a full-length one.  I just did.  And judge for yourself how good the quality is.

So here’s “my” first creation, featuring the dogs that we’ve owned for the last 20 years. The music is provided unwittingly by the great and masterful Jonathan Coulton with a song I can’t get enough of called “So Far, So Good”.


And below, you can see the little honorific (or is that horrific?) video Jennefer made for me. I suppose it’s a tribute, but… hmmm, you can judge for yourself :). Um… Thanx, Jen. I think.

… but I never know how to express them. 

Fortunately, I have Wordle to help me. 

wordle of whall.org tweets twitter 
(click to enlarge as PDF)

The above graphic represents my tweets. 

What’s that you say?  “What’s a tweet?”  A tweet is something I twittered.  It’s a short one-liner I presented to the world through twitter.  And the above “word cloud” represents all the words I used in all my tweets since I started using it in October 2007.  The more common the word, the bigger it’s representation.  Common words like the, and, a and wtf are removed for clarity.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I took all the words in all the tweets I’ve done so far on twitter
  2. I massaged them a bit with vi and command line text tools (to make it all lower case, get rid of URLs and HTML, and get rid of “new blog post”)
  3. I submitted the resulting text to Wordle
  4. I got back a word cloud summarizing all of my tweets.  Made the graphic and the PDF.
  5. (I found Wordle through Jonathan Coulton, who found it through Brad Sucks.)

Yeah, I guess I have some kind of twitter-crush on Dave2 (blogography).  Whatever.  I also see absurdist and snackiepoo and gally, avitable, watchdogjestertunes, mr_shiny and martymankins.  All these people are on twitter and get replies or messages from me.  You can join twitter with us and get in on the fun.

This got me thinking – what do my post titles look like? (what do I write about?) What about all my posts? (How do I write about them?)  What about the comments?  (What do YOU write about?) I didn’t have to wonder long – I just exported my comments, titles and posts from my WordPress blog’s database, did the same massaging and then made myself some graphics.

whall.org post titles Wordle:

whall.org wordle post titles
(click to enlarge as PDF)

whall.org posts Wordle:

wordle whall.org posts
(click to enlarge as PDF)

whall.org comments Wordle:

whall.org comments as a wordle
(click to enlarge as PDF)

I especially like the java interface where you can change the font, layout and color scheme and it renders in real-time.  Very slick!  Nice job, Jonathan Feinberg!

And the final result?  If I mash up all the posts, post titles, comments and tweets?  I get a decent summary of my online presence:

wordle of all whall.org comments posts titles tweets
(click to enlarge as PDF)

Yup.  It says it right there – “good blog.”

3:37 pm
Post Meta :

What do you think of when you see this icon?

geotag icon

Evidently, we’re SUPPOSED to think of a thumbtack marking a spot on a map.

I, on the other hand, think of someone on a drinking binge.

geotag icon looks like someone on a drinking binge

But that’s just me I guess.  And for me, this specific someone has a different colored arm than their face, and is probably a distant relative of Pac-Man.

I think I “get” the geotagging concept – you write a blog post, take a picture, tweet or utterz something, and you tag your GPS coordinates to the entry itself so you can map it.  Maybe the device you’re using (camera, phone, computer, AI) does it by itself or maybe you add the tag later.

I can see some uses for this – like Twittervision is kind of cool (especially the 3d view), but it’s not literally geotagging.  It does get the idea across, however – you can see visually where things happen.

Do you use geotagging? 

2:16 pm
Post Meta :

Time Warner Cable’s RoadRunner Internet service offers a $10/month “turbo upgrade”, which makes the already-fast broadband connection accellerated to 15MB/s download and 2MB/s upload.

time warner austin 

(Wayne dramatically waves arms in horizontal arc)


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