Business's monitoring consumer shopping

I wanted to like the idea of private business's logging what we buy to provide a better experience for us; the concept is really cool. When it actually happens however, it comes off as a little creepy.

Today we received a series of coupons in the mail for Fry's Marketplace (Kroger, FredMeyer, Smiths owened) and every coupon we received was for a product that is on our shopping list at least once a month. Every coupon we will be able to use this weekend when we go grocery shopping.

It works. Monitoring what we buy and sending us coupons entices us to return. We tend to shop at Walmart because of the cheaper prices and larger selection. Today however my wife said she wanted to go use the coupons at Fry's instead of shopping at Walmart. So we will go spend our money at Fry's.

I like receiving the coupons for products we use on a regular basis. It's pretty cool. At the same time, when it finally sinks in that they are monitoring what you are buying, it gets kind of creepy. Very much like what Google does with their targeted ads.

After seeing this today, I'm even more on the fence. Again, it's great because we benifit from it. At the expense of sacrificing the privacy of what you're buying at the stores.

To much entertainment content

I've been spending time thinking on the topic of entertainment lately. Pondering if we as a society have to much of it.

For instance, on my iPad I have 111 games out of my 309 installed apps, 45 games on my iPhone. On my Steam library I have well over 100 games, bought and paid. None of these games I have finished, more than half haven't even been played more than 5 minutes.


I have 17 podcast subscriptions, which produces 42 new episodes for me to listen to each week. Because of the quantity of podcasts I listen to. (I enjoy them!) I can't keep up with my audible subscription, where I currently have 19 books totaling 341 hours of audio, with unspent credits for redeeming books and unspent cash credits.

My commute round-trip is usually just shy of two hours everyday and I can usually get in 2-3 hours of content while I listen and work; I still can't keep up with my audio entertainment, let alone all of the video games and movie bundles we've acquired lately.

Throw in your social networks and RSS feeds and you find yourself swimming in so much media that you have no time to do other stuff, like play one of those games I haven't touched yet.

There are so many sales now-a-days that sometimes it's hard not to buy stuff. I wonder what impact cramming so much content in our busy schedules will ultimately do to you. Raising a new born, working full-time and starting a independent start up company leaves little time for entertainment, and yet I buy, and buy and buy.

So my new goal is to stop buying content, weed out my podcasts and finish what I have before I go any further with buying more stuff. Even when it's on sale.

Google+ Helps with Exposure

There is no denying the fact that Google+ helps provide a lot of exposure to your content. The largest number of page views I received on my previous Wordpress blog was roughly 300 over the course of a month if I was really active. In just 24 hours I have received 92 visits to this site, which is a brand new site on a brand new domain.

The only two places that I've posted to is Twitter and Google+; the stats I have show that the majority of them come from Google+. You just can't beat the community on there.


Version 1.0

I started blogging way back in December of 2006 when I was working on a MUD game engine titled TBG Engine. The blog was more or less a Sourceforge project web-site that I was using to provide updates to the project. While putting this post together I was reminded that at the time I was writing my code in Visual Basic 2003 on the .NET 1.1 Framework and had just started targeting the old Windows Pocket PC 2003 phone OS. Things sure have changed since then. I've moved from writing in VB from roughly 1995 to 2005, to C# through 2012. Currently I'm writing my code in Objective-C.

The TBG Engine project was actually migrated to Visual Basic 2003 from Visual Basic 5.0 and it was far from having the best looking source code. So I ended up dumping it and moving on to C# in 2005 and re-writing the entire MUD engine from the ground up, rebranding it as Mud Designer Tool Kit; which went through several metamorphosis itself. The project moved off of the sourceforge site and onto the Microsoft Codeplex site in 2009. When that happened I had to move my blog, which went to Google's Blogspot. I used it for less than a year; it really sucked when I compared it to other platforms such as Wordpress.

Version 2.0

I migrated my posts from the blogspot account over to a new Wordpress site that they hosted for me. I used it quiet a bit until 2011. Reading traffic for my posts had increased and I decided it was time to move once again, to a self hosted Wordpress installation. My thinking was that I could use this as an opportunity to build a complete website based on Wordpress. Host my own files for download and have my own domain. I stuck with Wordpress longer than any of the other sites, ultimately giving it up this year. I found I never posted to it, it was cumbersome to post to when compared to other services such as Tumblr; where I ended up moving to.

I like Tumblr, it's a solid place for blogging. The issue that I ran into with it though is that you can't post code snippets and you're limited to just one picture in a post. I discovered pretty quickly that I tend to post a lot of source code (hadn't really realized it) along with pictures. Tumblr really fails at letting me do this. I needed to do something different; without returning to Wordpress.

I tried Google+ but it doesn't support code snippets or inline photos so I quickly gave up on that as a proper blogging platform. It doesn't differ from Tumblr very much in reality, except that the social aspect is much better. I enjoy how it allows content authors to interact with their community better, but it was just to limiting for me to use.

I had been experimenting with Podcasting as well, so what ever I choose, I need it to support that as well. Without me having to host any of it.

Version 3.0

Enter Squarespace. A modern blogging platform that seems to support all of the prerequisits that I have. It supports Markdown which was a big plus. I can post code snippets, multiple photo's per post and upload podcast episodes to them for hosting. It's a win-win for me. I will run with Squarespace for now and see how I like it. If it works out well, I'll keep it as my new blogging home.