Some Iconic Characters Educate Us on Gadgets, Programs, and Services That Make the World Go Round
By Chip Compton
Last August, I wrote “What Would Happen if Famous Authors Wrote Product Descriptions?” for the Britton Blog. Readers were treated to (or tolerated) fictional expositions in regard to the ordering of a Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato from seven famous authors, including Stephen King and Dr. Seuss. And while that post did not go viral, nor did it “break the Internet,” it did stir enough interest to create a sequel. Yes, the very post you are reading right now. So sit back and see what Spicoli, Benes, the Dude, Targaryen, White, and Gunderson have to tell us about technology.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s Jeff Spicoli Explains the Cloud
Aloha, readers. What I have to say, after having some pizza with Mr. Hand, is that the cloud is awesome, totally awesome! First of all, the cloud is about sharing, which is totally cool. It’s not bogus at all. It’s, like, this network of servers where our data can go. Like when you take a picture on your smartphone. It stays on your phone, but you can also upload it to the cloud. Whoa! But you gotta have a phone, and you hafta upload your data. Like I always say, “No phone, no upload, no dice!”
Since the cloud backs up your data, you don’t have to worry about losing your pictures, which would be bogus. But get this: The cloud isn’t even in the sky; it’s a bunch of computers that are stored everywhere. It’s like it’s there, but nobody knows where. Gnarly.
How much can the cloud store? Nobody knows for sure, but some think an exabyte. How much is that? About 4.2 million MacBook Pro hard drives. I know I just blew your minds.
So the next time you want to use the cloud, just look at your phone and say, “Hey, bud, let’s party.”
Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes Explains Wearable Technology
When I was first asked to explain wearable technology, I said, “I’ll go if I don’t have to talk.” Well, Britton Marketing & Design Group wore me down. That’s because they knew what the key to my vault was. So here goes.
At J. Peterman we had the Urban Sombrero, but we never had wearable technology. Well, THAT’S JUST GREAT! Electronic technology or computers that are worn as clothing or accessories (we could have placed them in our Himalayan Walking Shoes!)? Why didn’t we think of that? BECAUSE WE WERE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS!
Just as I didn’t believe it when Todd Gack said Dustin Hoffman was in Star Wars, I didn’t believe that wearable technology would become as successful as it has. People using this technology have access to real-time data, including heart rate, steps taken, distance walked, yada, yada, yada, um, I meant to say just to name a few. In addition to personal use, wearables can be used in almost any field, including medicine, education, and transportation. GET OUT!
So there you go. Wearable technology allows you constant access to data, and the data also transmits to your computer and phone. The information is out of the vault. I can’t keep a secret, not when there’s Hennigan’s around.
The Big Lebowski’s Dude Explains Streaming
Hey, the Dude here … or His Dudeness or, uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Anyway, I gotta talk to you about something, and I’m not even sure I understand it completely, but it’s called streaming.
Walter first told me about it after my car was stolen with my Creedence tapes. Streaming was really what I needed, especially since I hate the Eagles. Streaming is like downloading (which is sort of like recording your vinyl on a cassette, man), only there is a huge advantage. Two, actually.
The first one is that you can start listening to your music, or watching your video, while it is downloading. Hence the streaming, man! You don’t have to wait, which is perfect. And you don’t have to listen to “Desperado.” I just get my beverage and then I enjoy the show. It’s great because sometimes I just have to relax.
The second one is that you don’t have to keep the song or video you streamed, if you don’t want. It just disappears. When Walter first told me that, I was like, “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man,” but it’s true. I’m a fan, man. The Dude definitely abides.
So whether it’s YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify, this streaming thing really ties the room together.
Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen Explains Cookies
As a Khaleesi of the Dothraki and the wife of the great Khal, it is my solemn duty to honor the great texts of the Web and to enlighten the masses on the workings of the cookie.
For years, I wondered how I could control my computer if I couldn’t even control Slaver’s Bay. But now I can, as I now understand the power of the cookie. Once thought to be dangerous and a threat to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the cookie is now known to be harmless, nothing more than a piece of information stored on your computer.
A cookie makes its journey to your computer through a Web server, which works in a similar way to our ravens. Your computer then stores it, thus enhancing your next experience to the website you are visiting. It’s not unlike a pub owner remembering what Tyrion Lannister likes to drink. It enhances the experience.
Once, when I thought cookies were evil, I would shout, “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me! We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!” All of this, in retrospect, seems a bit harsh, especially after learning that I have hundreds of cookies on my hard drive, and that they cannot transmit viruses.
So be it Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, or Tyrell, we should not be afraid. The cookie means no harm — unlike the Boltons and the Freys.
Breaking Bad’s Walter White Explains Gamification
Skyler, there’s something I have to tell you. Wait … readers. I meant readers, not Skyler. I have to tell you about gamification. And you all know exactly who I am. Say my name. “Heisenberg.” That’s right. Or Walter White. Let’s go with that.
Simply put, gamification is helping people achieve goals through games or gamelike measures. Gamification grabs people’s interest and engages them. But you have to do it for yourself. I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And … I was really … I was alive.
Gamification addresses people’s desire to compete, collaborate, achieve, and to make a boatload of money through any means necessary. Wait, scratch that last one — I was referring to myself. Anyway, businesses can use these desires to their advantage by rewarding users. Think airlines and their frequent flyer programs. Think Starbucks and its star-reward system. Think the Blue — no, don’t think about the Blue.
Gamification, just like my business, studies data to understand why users act in a certain fashion. This understanding leads to providing a better — a more pure — experience for users. All this knowledge can help retain customers and improve business.
But one of the most important things for users to remember is that if they don’t know a company, if they don’t understand the “game,” then the best course would be to tread lightly.
Fargo’s Marge Gunderson Explains Twitter
Ah, hon, ya got Arby’s all over me. OK, just a second. OK, let’s talk about this Twitter thing. It seems to be the way that the kids are talking to each other today. The way I understand it from BMDG content strategist Nic “The Swede” Hulting — oh, he’s a nice fella — is that it’s a microblog where you share short messages. As a matter of fact, ya can’t have more than 140 characters. But there’s more to life than sayin’ a lot, I’ll tell ya that.
Anyway, these tweets — that’s what they call the messages — allow users to share their thoughts. The tweets can have location tagging (we could have used that when we were lookin’ for Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud), images, links, and hashtags, which happen to be funny-lookin’ things. They look like the number symbol on Norm’s old rotary. So the Swede told me that these hashtags are used to help the conversation with the tweets. He said it’s best to use two. He also said if ya use more than two that the interest in your tweet is going to drop by 17 percent. Sheesh, the Swede sure knows his stuff.
Do you want to reach more people? Well, you gotta keep your tweet to fewer than 95 characters. That way you can include an image or a link. Also … also. Wait, there’s more? You betcha! You can tag up to 10 people — for Pete’s sake, that’s a lot of people — in a photo and it doesn’t affect the character count. The Swede told me that by all means you should do this because more people get to see what you have to say.
That’s about it for now. You readers have been nice people. I was trying to give this talk down in Brainerd and was getting flack from some Luddite gentleman. I just had to tell him, “Sir, you have no call to get snippy with me! I’m just doing my job here.”
Sources: “The Beginner’s Guide to the Cloud,” “Wearable Technology and Wearable Devices — Everything You Need to Know,” “What Is Internet ‘Streaming’? Is It Like Downloading?,” “What Is an Internet Cookie?,” “Gamification,” “The Definitive Guide to Getting the Most Out of Organic Reach on Twitter,” andIMDB.com.