Monday, February 21

Thursday, February 17

Blogging about work

I read an interesting article today on, about a former employee of Google, that was fired because of things he wrote in his blog. According to the article, Mark Jen was critical of some of Google’s practices and other things. Jen was hired on January 17. By January 28, he was no longer at Google. He posted to his blog on February 9, saying that he had been fired. IN the article, Jen says that he wasn’t really given any reason for his firing, and Google really didn’t disclose why Jen had been fired. Though they did say that he had worked at Google.

Last year, a flight attendant for a major airline was fired because of some pictures of herself in uniform, that she had posted to her own blog. Apparently someone from the airline saw the pictures and found them offensive.

It seems that talking about your boss or the company you work for, and then getting fired for it, might become a more common occurrence in this day and age. On the one hand, I can understand the temptation of talking about one’s boss. You want to vent, and by blogging, you can put your ideas down on “paper” and come away feeling a little better. The idea of being able to write my ideas on my own personal journal, is undoubtedly, very appealing to me, and I can see how blogging can get to be popular among people. However, I also understand that this type of journal is not sitting in my desk drawer. Instead, its out on the Net for anyone, anywhere in the world to read about—including my boss. Granted, I don’t know how often my boss might find herself reading my blog. But, I do know its possible. After all, I make it freely available, with a link from my site to my blog, and have heard from several people already that have said that they were going to bookmark my blog.

I’m not really sure how I feel about blogging in all of its forms, but I’d like to think that I’m smart enough to not blog about anything work related that might get me in trouble at work. I like my job; I like getting paid, :)

What do you think? Are blogs personal property and should they be kept as such? Or, is it wrong for someone to blog about employers? Should we be surprised from someone getting fired, because they blogged about the loss in profits that they’re company may or may not be facing?

Saturday, February 12

Grocery Shopping: When things don't add up

Have you ever noticed that granola bar manufacturers are selective on the kinds of bars they produce and in which packages they put them? For instance, its not uncommon to find a variety pack of granola bars, or to see single packages of one particular flavor, such as chocolate, strawberry, oatmeal raison, etc. However, it is rather unusual to find single packages containing some of the other flavors in the variety pack.

I happen to be a fan of the chewy granola bars, I’ve gotten the single pack of chocolate chip bars, or the variety packs made by Quaker. But, there are some kinds of bars that I find in the variety pack, that I only find in there and not in a single pack. For instance, have you ever seen a single package of Oreo cookie granola bars? Or perhaps cookies and cream or Smores? Oh sure, I can get the variety pack of these flavors, and more, and get one bar of each flavor. But that’s just the problem: what if I want more than one Oreo cookie granola bar? Currently, the only way to get more than one is to buy more than one box of the variety packs. Does anyone know where these extra single packs of flavors have gone?

The reverse could be asked about the Honey nut Cheerios and milk granola/cereal bars. You see these in single packages, but as of yet, I haven’t seen these in a variety pack? Why is this?

Of course, as long as we’re in the grocery store and talking about things that just don’t add up quite right, let’s go over to the hot dog and hot dog buns area. There’s like 8 dogs and 10 or 12 buns. There are times quite often when I go shopping that I want things simple stupid. However, if I were to go over to the dogs and buns area, I need a calculator in order to figure how many packages of buns and dogs I need to buy to make the numbers even. I suppose I could get one pack of each, but then there would be leftover hot dog buns. I suppose the cycle could be repeated of getting dogs and buns, and keeping the left over buns, but at some point, the numbers won’t add up and you’ll be left with extra buns and no dogs. And hot dog buns aren’t like hamburger buns, where you can recycle the buns and use them as sandwiches or for other things. If you really want to be adventurous, I suppose you could just make several mayo, Ketchup and cheese hot dog buns, in order to use the extras, but what’s the point if there’s no dog to put on them?

Just some, uh, food for thought, :)

Wednesday, February 9

Paratransit rant, and a theory

I have several different transportation options as a blind person. There’s the public transit service (called Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART), there’s the Paratransit service, a division of DART, which basically allows those disabled people that don’t drive an option for transportation; and then there are the lesser known but equally valuable walking and friends/family. I use a combination of all these options in my daily life: taking Paratransit to and from work, taking the bus to a nearby rail station for shopping or to go to the grocery store, and various other things. Well, since I’ve moved from living in my parent’s house to an efficiency, which I’ve been at for going on 5 months now (can’t believe its been that long already), I’ve had different experiences with the Paratransit services.

When living at the other house, they always picked me up on time and often were sitting out there before it was time for my designated pick up time. However, now that I’m in the new place, this has changed. Which leads me to a new theory that has proven to be correct more often than not.

If I’m on time in my getting ready process and go out at the exact pick up time, then I end up waiting for the Paratransit ride. However, if I’m the least bit lagging or late, and happen to walk out two or three minutes past the designated time, they get all upset. They have a rule that states that the passenger has to be ready and in the process of boarding at and up to 5 minutes after they arrive. However, they allow themselves a 20 minute window to arrive, in which the passenger has to be ready and waiting for them. Since I’m in a smaller place, it usually takes me about 30 seconds from the time I pull my coat and gather my things, lock the door, and head down the sidewalk to board my ride. So I’m not that concerned whether or not I’ll make their 5 minute window, though I nearly always am out there at the beginning of this window in case the driver were to get impatient and drive off.

The driver on the other hand, pulls up, sees I’m not there, gets impatient (well, to be fare, some do and some don’t, but I seem to get the ones that do more often than not), calls the dispatcher telling them to call me and remind me that my rides sitting out there. Meanwhile, I’m pulling my coat on and gathering my things, getting ready to step outside. Several times, I’ve had my keys in hand and have even been in the process of locking the door, when I hear the phone ring. Who else would be calling me at 7:30 in the morning? So, like a fool, I quickly unlock the door, nearly drop my things while running to get the phone, only to pick it up and hear, “This is DART Paratransit. You’re rides out front. (Why aren’t you?)” I should say that I’ve added this last part. They’ve never said that to me, though I’ve come close to having a few choice words to say to them.

Anyway, here’s my theory: whenever I’m on time, they’re late, and whenever I’m even slightly late, they’re impatient and demanding that I get outside and board the ride. Once, the driver thought she would take charge and threatened to give me a “no show,” which you get if you don’t show up during the 5 minute period that they give you to scramble to the car. At which I said, “You know what? I don’t care. Go ahead.” She was surprised and questioned why I would have taken the no show. I responded with this: “Listen. You know how many no shows I’ve gotten in the year and a half I’ve been using this service? Try none. So one really isn’t going to upset me too much. Besides, I had decided when I got up this morning that if I missed this ride, I’d probably call a cab.” That seemed to satisfy her. I should add though that the Paratransit people reset your no show count each month. So, in theory, its possible to get one or two no shows a month and not get your service suspended, which they do after you get three.

And this is the type of service your tax dollars go to fund. Wow. Leaves me speechless, :) At least until the next entry.'s Advertising Strategy: did it work? ran an ad during the Super Bowl last Sunday that some may consider offensive. Since I'm unable to see the ad, I'm not sure I can comment on this. However, I would like to point out their advertising strategy.

In the ad, a woman appeared in front of a mock committee on commercial censorship. In the course of the GoDaddy commercial, one of the woman's straps for her bra came loose, and she was left trying to hold it up. Apparently though, it was loose enough to give the viewer a glimpse.

Now, after running the ad in the first quarter of the game, Fox and the NFL talked and pulled the ad from the fourth quarter, where it was to run between the two minute warning and the end of the game. From news stories I've read on this, the GoDaddy ad was to be one of the last ads run in the Super Bowl, during game time anyway.

When the GoDaddy people heard that their ad was pulled, or when they didn't see it in the game, they contacted Fox and asked why not. When they were told, they were upset that the ad didn't run because of its content. They claimed that they paid nearly $5 million between the two times the ad was supposed to run, and were upset that they weren't getting their money's worth. However, it stands to reason that they've gotten more than their money's worth since Sunday with all the news coverage and blogs across the Net mentioning their company name and the ad. Not to mention the fact that the GoDaddy ad was one of the top TiVo moments in this year's Super Bowl.

The goal in coming up with effective advertising, or one of the goals, is to create something that people are going to remember. I would say that people will remember the GoDaddy ad, though whether its memory from the content or the controversy surrounding it leaves one wondering. Nonetheless, they in affect, achieved their goal of name recognition and memory with the public. Which leads me to ask the following: Was that their goal the whole time? Is that why they created the commercial that they did; why they chose the content, and why the strap happen to break, thus becoming one of the top TiVo moments?

Tuesday, February 8

My First Post

Greetings. My name is Wayne Merritt, and I'm trying this blogging thing out to see how it all works. I am a blind computer user, and have heard a lot about blogging, but until recently, never gave it much thought. Anyway, I'll tell more about myself and the kinds of things I will blog in future posts. Right now, I'm just curious to see how this entry will look.

Talk soon,

P.S.: Check out my website and learn more about me: