Video: Our Robot Overlords Now Know How to Jump

Thanks, Boston Dynamics (and Google). Thanks MIT. Thanks a lot.

Already Sick of the 2016 Election? Have I Got a Proposal for You!

Election ads have already begun. This is horrible news for the country. I love political ads because, while they’re full of lies, they’re among the most honest ads out there in that they show the marketers involved as sniveling, cutthroats who’ll do or say anything to gain or maintain power! But I don’t live in a swing state, so I’m not subjected to political ads from now until next November. NEXT November.

So, in my most recent column for Ad Age, I’m proposing Abigael’s Law, named after the little girl above, driven to tears by the last election.

The law I’m proposing is fairly simple. During the general election season, you can’t advertise on TV or radio at all until 60 days prior to the election. For primaries, it will be 30 days out from the election in that particular state.

We’re going to avoid all the confusing distinctions between candidate and party and advocacy advertising made by regulators in other countries, if for no other reason than to curtail cries that we’re violating First Amendment rights of faceless political groups bankrolled by downtrodden billionaires. Everyone can advertise! And everyone can spend as much as he or she wants!

But there are a few caveats — and a few more jokes — in the full piece. Go read it.


On the Unbearable Hysteria of Tech World

To the overwhelming majority of Americans, the words periscope and meerkat refer to periscopes and meerkats. In certain demographics, though, they’re Periscope and Meerkat and they’re going to change the way you experience reality! And because of that, every marketer should be rushing to Periscope and Meerkat immediately. Because there’s nothing people using a new service love more than a bunch of fucking commercials (sorry, native content) cluttering it up.

With a serious face, some people will actually let the following words come out of their mouths: C’mon Marketers! Why Aren’t You Periscoping Your Meerkat Sessions Yet? (The subtext is that marketers should be paying these people for their expert consulting. How someone becomes an expert on a one-month old technology is something they never explain.)

“It’s video. On your phone. So what?” you might say, if you were a rational human being, rather than an insane person carrying a sack stuffed with $1.5 million that you were going to hand to the first person you ran across at SXSW.

And then someone, either the insane guy with the $1.5 million in a sack or one of the people desperately hoping to run into him, would have said to you, “But it streams video, you see. Live video.”

Read the whole thing.

From Zero to 270 (Smoker): Trial Run

In the course of getting married, Cara brought up the subject of wedding gifts for each other. I’m sure most men out there could spend a good half an hour ranting about this need women have to exchange gifts for every occasion, and often multiple times for the same occasion. This can get particularly crazy when the Wedding Industrial Complex is involved. Many a man might even think of saying, “Isn’t getting married to me gift enough?”

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Nothing to Worry About: Your Data Is Perfectly Anonymous

If you follow technology and marketing news, I have to question your life decisions. But if you do, you probably notice that the tech and marketing worlds are in love with the promises of Big Data — and small data and your data. Every time they make an announcement about an awesome new advancement in tracking consumers’ behavior, purchasing habits or favorite color and targeting ads and sales pitches to them, they always make sure to point out that there’s nothing to worry about, though, in terms of privacy and security, because the data’s been anonymized.

My latest column in Ad Age tackles the topic:

Data anonymization is a load of horseshit. Data anonymization is also a clever bit of technical and verbal misdirection used by marketers and tech people to keep regulators at bay.

What data anonymization decidedly isn’t, by any meaningful definition that has to do with reality, is making consumers and/or their data truly anonymous to marketers and tech people.

Read the rest here.

Or go back to dumping tons of personal information into Facebook and then whining about your privacy later.

I Ran the New York City Half Marathon and It Was 13.1 Miles

If my calculations are correct, this past weekend I ran my 16th half marathon, the New York City Half, put on by New York Road Runners. This is different from the Manhattan Half, also put on by NYRR, which I was signed up to run back in January or February or whenever. But I skipped that one this year because I only run it if the temperature is below 20 degrees.

Anyway, the NYC Half is a great race, if you can get in. It’s a lottery system. I got in because I ran all of NYRR’s other major races last year. NYC Half does a loop in Central Park, then down through Times Square (which is cool) over to the West Side Highway and ends down in the Financial District. All the hard part — Cat Hill (totally overrated as a hill) and Harlem Hill (FUCK YOU HARLEM HILL) — is in the first four miles and it’s down hill and flat from there.

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Behold! A Symmetrical Watch Band!

Last week, Apple officially revealed its watch. As an employee at a publication that does some tech coverage, we were all herded into a dungeon where we were forced to pay attention to this nonsense.

I’m typing this on an Apple product. I have an iPhone and owned a bunch of iPods. I like Apple! But, as I wrote in the wake of this watch wave:

Watching an Apple promotional video is enough to make me want to take a hammer to my Apple products and beat on them until I no longer feel shame.

One of the watch things we watched — or in this case re-watched — was a video released last year by Apple. I’m glad we watched. It was one of the funniest things I watched all week — and I watch “Archer.” So I wrote about it. You can watch the video and watch read the rest of what I wrote right here.