Category Archives: Public

Ad Blocking Backlash – Can the User Tell Good From Bad?

Been reading a lot about the new ad blocking feature in iOS 9 and this post from John Gruber at Daring Fireball stood out. He comments, “Are we fighting ads, or are we fighting garbage?”

John, I would argue that we are fighting the latter, the problem is that for the layperson, they don’t know the difference since they can’t tell which ad service is doing nefarious things and which are good (like the one you use). Therefore, with this new feature, users are opting to just block everything since they have no way of knowing the difference.

2005 Bordeaux Tasting

I was invited to a tasting of 2005 Bordeaux’s tonight by the International Wine and Food Society. It was the 449th gathering of this particular chapter. A great group of people and a lot of fun. The food was quite tasty and the wine was even better!
Below is a wine list of what we tasted, their ratings and the retail prices. The event was sponsored by Bob Myerson of the Wine Warehouse, and to him I say thank you. There aren’t many opportunities to drink at a tasting like this and compare this many wines, yet alone wines of this caliber!
The tasting was done blind, and if I said I wasn’t a bit intimidated doing it blind, I would be lying. At the end of the tasting, you were to rate what you thought was your top five, they tallied up the scores and announced them later on.
Again, it was a blind tasting, so you didn’t know what was what…. My score card that I turned in rated them in the following order (1 to 5 as my top five)… E, F, C, J, A. The winners, after all scores had been tallied were: J, E, I, F, H
So to put it into real terms….
1. Chateau Mouton Rothschild (J) — which I rated as 4th
2. Chateau Pavie (E) — which I rated as 1st
3. Chateau Palmer (I) — which didn’t rate 🙁
4. Chateau Monbousquet (F) — which I rated 2nd
5. Reignac (H) — which i didn’t rate 🙁
So all in all, I didn’t do too bad…. got some, missed some. If you want to know what was what and the full list, their RP ratings and retail prices, click on the pdf image below and you can see our tasting list that was given out afterwards, so we knew what we drank.
An amazing evening that I am very, very happy that I was invited to!
2005 Bordeaux Tasting

Cor.kz is Released For Sale in the iPhone App Store!

So a couple of friends/buddies/partners and I have done an iPhone App (opens iTunes) called Cor.kz… It’s all about wine! It is a front end to the worlds largest repository of wine data, vineyards, bottles and reviews and doesn’t just give the ability to lookup wine info, but you can also manage your cellar if you want.
We have gone to great lengths to try to incorporate all the stuff that you would want in Cor.kz, ’cause this is an application that is designed for, and by the people that use it (the three of us have extensive wine collections, but we’re working on making them bigger!) But we also understand that not everyone uses software in the same way, and there are some features that are in the works that will be available in the next release (coming in a couple weeks or less, hopefully).
So please, go out and buy Cor.kz, use the app, give us feedback and tell us what you think or what you want in the next version that we haven’t thought of yet :-)! We really do want to know, are totally consumer centric and will do our best to incorporate all feasible requests :-).
It’s pretty cool right now, we think… not only does it do all the lookups and display reviews, prices and ratings from CellarTracker.com, but it also is set up to “announce” what you are drinking to Twitter if you use that service too. So your friends can watch what you are drinking in real time, and drink with you :-)….
I hope you enjoy Cor.kz and find it as useful as we do!
By the way, the name of the application is the same as the domain, so you can go to http://cor.kz and learn about it there!

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff luncheon

While I get to go to a lot of cool events due to my “past life” in the concert business and my mother’s really cool job as President of Town Hall Los Angeles, of which this was one of her events, I must say that this was one of the cooler!
Admiral Mullen was very well spoken, had a knowledgeable command of the topic, whatever it was as many questions were asked from the audience, and was in general (no pun intended) just a really nice guy! He spoke/responded about the Middle East, the Sub-Asian Continent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), Veterans Affairs. When a former Colonel who had been discharged due to medical reasons recently from active duty asked about what can be done re: veterans, etc. Admiral Mullen was open and straightforward and even told the gentleman that he should contact him directly via email and he’d look into it, as he reads and answers all his own email. I thought that was pretty impressive for such a high ranking official to be that approachable.
At the end of the event, for those high schoolers that were there (Town Hall Los Angeles always invites students) he handed out a number of “coins”. they carry the seal of the Joint Chiefs and say “presented by Adm. mike Mullen” and are really, really cool… I didn’t get one :-(. Was actually told now, they were for “special folks”. My mother got one though, so I guess that’s coming later in life with her hockey puck that Gordy Howe gave her :-)… He did offer something else that is even more cool than the coin, but you’ll have to wait to find out about that one….
Yes, that’s the Chairman as my mother was introducing him… See how close I was (and yes, I got to talk to him (and joke) quite a bit when the event was over… a really nice man!)
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Police to Manage Film Location Security

There is an article in today’s Los Angeles Times about security on film set locations. It mentions how most of the officers that you see around town doing security and directing traffic on sets are retired, no longer active members of the police force.
Personally, I find this quite disturbing! While I live in Santa Monica, which is an independent city (Los Angeles is an amalgamation of lots of little cities inside a great big one), we have similar issues. And if you read my posts from the past, you can see that filming in Santa Monica can be a problem.
You might ask, “What’s the problem with this?” Well, the problem is that often times they “protect” the filming. Go and read the article, it talks about how they (the filming) often work past hours that they are allowed, create excessive noise and other things that disturb the surrounding neighbors/neighborhoods. The officers aren’t there to protect the filming, they are there to enforce the rules and protect the neighbors/neighborhoods.
If they aren’t doing their jobs by protecting those that are effected, then what are they doing? Are they just there impersonating a police officer? They wear police uniforms and ride police motorcycles even though they aren’t police. Isn’t this against the law? Can I dress up as a police officer and provide security…? I didn’t think so, and just because you are retired doesn’t give you the rights to put on the uniform again and act like police, especially when you are allowing film crews to not abide by the rules (time limits, parking issues, security, etc., i.e. breaking the law!).
Again, go read the article and you will be as shocked as I am… The LAPD sent out officers to spot check and found that often there are violations, which is why they are now looking to oversee these folks that do film security, impersonating officers! I say go to it!!!! The film folks say that it will raise costs, increase hassles and make them move filming elsewhere…. Then go! There is no reason that a film crew/comapny/industry should not have to follow the same rules that the rest of the public does.
A rare occurrence in LA, where the police have been investigated by the FBI, etc. I say go LAPD :-)!

TechCrunch50 Judged by Someone Who Committed Securities Fraud

So the TechCrunch50 is about to happen in early September. One of the judges that will be rating/reviewing the companies is Henry Blodget. While Mr. Blodget is a smart man, no denying that, he has also committed securities fraud and has been banned from the securities business for life!!!!
Mr. Blodget did settle without admitting guilt, but if you didn’t do something shady, why would you settle and take a lifetime ban…? What did he do… well, he said one thing as an analyst, and in emails said the opposite (good investment by mouth, bad investment by email). So if he’s been caught doing this before, why would you trust him? Kind of like the old “bait and switch”….
What makes matters even worse is that no where on the site for TechCrunch50, in the blurb, or even in the CrunchBase listing does it tell the truth… It does espouse about his accolades in the securities business, but it doesn’t mention that although he was voted/rated/ranked as one of the top analysts, he is now banned from the securities business for life…. That’s not a good thing!

And Folks Wonder Why Parking is Messed Up!

So you have read me rant about parking in Santa Monica for a while. This morning as I walked home from breakfast with the boys, I saw this…
Parking Huh
Notice the pylons, ratty old things with no markings. There is some paint on the street, but no damage that would prevent use to the actual street or parking space (it’s just a small crack from a root… while yes, I agree it needs fixing or it will just get worse, it’s not like it’s a gaping hole… :-)).
There are no signs posted as to what the pylons are there for. There are no “No Parking” signs on the pylons, or anywhere else for that matter…. Nothing.
And folks wonder why I get so frustrated with the City of Santa Monica. City personnel tend to “cut corners” and do things the easy way and fail to follow through. They don’t double check their work and it shows! Of course I speak in generalities, and it’s always one bad apple that spoils the bunch…. But if you don’t like being called out for poor service in a general manner, then do something about it. When you see/hear/learn of your co-workers doing a poor job, tell them. Point it out, be proactive! If you don’t, I will, and it makes you look bad :-(….

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Ticketmaster and Their Change of Heart Regarding the Secondary Market

There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (article and video, $ site) about Ticketmaster and what they are doing about their rivals selling tickets in the secondary/brokerage market.

The crux is that Ticketmaster is finally getting competition for services, but I don’t think that the article hit the nail on the head. I have some experience in this area, and I don’ think that this is the real issue…. Ticketmaster isn’t going to lose a whole lot of business to folks reselling tickets. This has been an issue for many years and the only difference between today’s digital age and the past is that the digital age has done a lot to legitimize the business. So the secondary market isn’t as shady as it was…

Who cares?!? Re-sales of season tickets and the secondary is small compared to the number of tickets available. Ticketmaster is even rolling out these services (the article even comments on this). Clients don’t want to have to deal with multiple inventories, so if you are a Ticketmaster client, there is very little need for StubHub (and their use would be a violation of the Ticketmaster contract, from what I know), and you’ll most likely use the same services offered by Ticketmaster.

So what is Ticketmaster’s greatest threat? In my opinion it’s the internet itself. In years past, what made the ticketing industry is that they aggregated a fractured market and provided distribution…. Customers (the public) could go and get tickets at outlets/phones/internet (i.e. tons of “touch points”) and clients got a service and a potential revenue center (money sharing of service charges, etc.). But that aggregation and access is now done by the internet itself. And with today’s branding and marketing push, why would a company let another take that away from them?

Staples paid millions of dollars for the naming rights of The Staples Center in Los Angeles, and yet all the ads for shows say, “Get your tickets at Ticketmaster”. With the advent of the internet, where even Ticketmaster is selling 60-70% of their tickets online, why isn’t the tag line, “Get your tickets at StaplesCenter.com“?

So what is Ticketmaster’s biggest threat… branding!

And I Saw Ann Richards Recently….

I grew up in Texas and my family was involved in politics (kind of…), having an opportunity to meet/talk with Ann Richards on more than one occasion. She was an amazing woman….

But I just saw her at the beginning of the year while I was traveling in India. We were both in Delhi for the “Beat the Retreat” parade/celebration (sorry, no pictures, cameras weren’t allowed due to the dignitaries and their security). She looked healthy enough, not that white paste look that you get when you are really ill…. Sorry to hear of her passing.