My wife found this vintage 1990 Radio Shack commercial last night touting the new, ‘portable’ car phone. Amazing how far we’ve come in 20 years, but also how well the ad foreshadows the fact that people with cell phones walking around in public will become a major source obnoxiousness by the year 2010.
Google announced today that it will begin offering its new pay-per-action ad service to its higher-traffic publishers (over 500 conversions per month). While it’s great that Google is offering this new service, I’m not exactly sold on how effective it will be for publishers.
Google’s standpoint is that the pay-per-action ad, which only pays the publisher once the person who’s clicked the ad signs up for a service or completes another such task on the advertiser’s site, will cut down on frivolous or downright illegal clicks by people being paid to do so, or bloggers cheating on their own sites. I’m sure this will happen, and I’m sure it will push more companies towards online advertising that have been hitherto reticent to jump into such a murky and unknown market.
On the other hand, as a publisher, I’m not sure I want to be responsible for someone else’s crappy site. For example, if Google puts an ad on a page that links to a site that wants its users to sign up for a free service, but the form is so long and intrusive that less than 1% of the people who click the ad end up signing up, I don’t want that ad on my site anymore. So, the solution could be as simple as the problem, if Google has acknowledged it and is planning to account for it: rank the ads by their overall conversion rate across all publishers. Then, if a particular ad performs terribly no matter what site the users are coming in from, push it down the list, so publishers can display ads for better written sites in their valuable ad space. Of course, right now Google makes its money from those very publishers, so I’m sure the way they display the ads is the same as for the standard AdSense–the more the advertiser pays, the better their position.
This is a commercial for Southwest that I saw for the first time recently. It follows their ‘wanna get away for a while’ campaign, this time at a bank…
Recently at work, I had to come up with a way to uninstall any installed versions of Java on our AD managed systems, then install versions 1.5.11 and 188.8.131.52 (the latest versions of 1.5 and 1.4, essentially). Luckily, Alan found a site that directly addresses this issue, and I was able to quickly grab all the upgrade codes for the previous Java MSIs. Armed with this info, I quickly inserted all the upgrade codes into the 1.5.11 JRE MSI, which I had extracted from the setup .exe bootstraper (it’s in %username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Sun\Java\jre1.5.0_11). I tested it with 1.5.10 on my system, and it upgraded it like a charm.
Since the upgrade code for each sub-version is different (why, Sun, why?), you have to paste about 20 codes in one by one, which is a major pain. As a service, I’ve created an MSI that is only the upgrade codes. Just paste the upgrade table of this MSI into the Sun Java one (I’m not providing a hacked MSI on this site, that would just be stupid), and you’re good to go, and you can avoid the 20 stupid table entries. Here’s the file:
As part of its new Viagra advertising campaign, Pfizer has created an ad series running on Canadian television in which the characters speak in a completely made-up language. Examples include words like ‘spanglecheff’ and ‘minky noni noni.’ Obviously, this campaign attempts to skirt around viewers who have issues with the sex-related medication, especially in Canada, where drug companies are apparently prohibited from mentioning both the name of a product and the condition it is intended to treat in the same commercial.
If it’s successful, it will say a whole lot about Viagra’s name recognition, since the product is the only ‘real’ word in any of the commercials. Also, it’s a pretty clever way to use imagination to market a product to a particular age group, namely adults who provide within their own heads the translation of the obviously sexual conversation conducted in the made-up language. Plus, any kids who see or hear the commercial will have no idea what’s going on, unless they’re already aware of Viagra and what it does. If they don’t, of course, the very word will sound just like the rest of the nonsense surrounding it.
Of course, what’s really happening here is that the first guy is telling the second “There will be no deal, young Jedi.”
If you’ve worked with MSIs before, you’re aware that you can either stream setup files with the MSI directly, or attach them separately in .cab cabinet files to be extracted at run-time. The former method saves file space: when the user installs the program, only the MSI is cached in WINDOWS\Installer, so the data in the cabinet does not occupy space on the user’s hard drive. The downside, of course, is that you can no longer get clean copies of those files during a re-install unless you have the original installation media. The other major downside, from an Active Directory standpoint, is that you can only push single MSIs with Group Policy, not multi-file installs.
So, if you have an MSI with a separate .cab file, what’s the easiest way to stream that cabinet? First you’ll need the Windows Installer SDK (available separately from the 1.2Gb Microsoft Platform SDK as a 7.9Mb download here). In there is a program called msidb.exe. Its only mission in life is to pack .cabs into .msis, so it’s appropriate for the task. If you’re into esoteric stuff like that, you can check out the full docs here.
1) Put the .cab and the .msi in the same directory as msidb.exe.
2) Open a DOS prompt and navigate to the directory with msidb.exe in it.
3) Run the following command, replacing the defaults with the names of your MSI and CAB files “Msidb.exe -d mydatabase.msi -a mycab.cab”
4) In the Media table of your MSI, rename the link to the .cab file with a # sign in front of it. In other words, if your file is called Data1.cab, the Cabinet column of the Media table should now read #Data1.cab.
Your MSI will now look inward to find the files it needs, and after all, isn’t that what world peace is all about?