Fusion

Those of you who are visiting the site will notice a slight design change and, more importantly, a new addition to the right of the content area. Thats right, it’s an advertisement. Not just any regular advertisement mind you, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Here’s the thing. I never have wanted ads on my site. I even mentioned such in my post on Value. Based on that premise, placing ads on patrickrhone.com is a huge about face for me and might even cause some to scratch their heads in wonder.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate most advertising on the web. Everything I said in my Value post still stands. I never considered advertising on this site because, to me, it detracted from the value of the content and did not enhance it. It seemed just some blogger’s low rent way of making a few extra bucks off of their site. I continue to hold this view, nothing has changed there.

What has changed is that I now make one exception – Fusion Ads. A big part of how they are different is right on the front page of their site:

“Fusion rethinks traditional advertising by offering well-designed, premium advertisements to an engaged audience. The distinguishing factor between Fusion and typical ad networks is that only a single Fusion ad is shown per page, and each ad is displayed prominently ‘above the fold’ on all sites in the network. There are currently fifteen advertisement spots available, and with the exception of “roadblocks”, all ads rotate equally between each of the thirty-two sites and services.”

While this is contrary to the traditional wisdom of advertising — cramming as many ads as possible on a page — we believe that the value of Fusion’s ads are that they’re exclusive. With a single, unobtrusive ad shown on each page, sponsors don’t have to compete for attention among other advertisers, and readers don’t feel insulted by flashy banner ads”

I love Fusion Ads. I love the design. I click on them. I buy products from them. I unblock them from my ad blocking software. I keep them on in Tweetie and actually have scrolled back through my tweets to try catch ads I have missed. I don’t do this only because I like and respect the folks at Fusion and want to support their hard work (which I do). I do this because I often can’t wait to see what the next ad is and will reload a page I am on with a Fusion ad to see if I get one I have not seen before. It’s crazy. It’s just not like me. I feel like such a gushing fanboy even admitting to it. It is one hundred percent true. I feel Fusion ads actually add value to my content.

Then there is this, taken from the copy on their front page:

Membership to Fusion is by invitation only. By controlling the quality and relevance of the sites on our network, we preserve the integrity of the advertiser’s target market. Sites on Fusion are the best in their class — chosen based on their exceptional quality of content and established readership.

In other words, to be invited to join the Fusion Ad network is an honor. Especially considering some of the other sites that are members, I see it as a stamp of approval from a well respected peer. A sign that, somehow, I have managed to write enough quality content or sphere of influence that I would be among those respected enough to host Fusion Ads.

I could not be more happy about being so previously wrong.

TextEdit

TextEdit

Here’s the thing, most people think they need to install a “Word Processor” on their Mac. They go out and purchase Microsoft Word (part of the Office suite) or Apple’s Pages (part of the iWork suite) in order to remedy the assumption that the Mac does not ship with a word processor. I would argue that, for most intents and purposes, it does. It’s called TextEdit. It has shipped with every version of Mac OS X since version 10.0. The current iteration includes most of the features that people might use a traditional word processor for. In fact, it is so chock full of features not found in a normal “text editor” that I would argue that it qualifies as a full fledged word processor. Let’s run down just some of those:

  • The ability to create lists and outlines with advanced controls for numbers and bullets including support for the various outlining styles (Harvard, Legal, etc.).

  • The ability to create tables.

  • Advanced spell checking.

  • Advanced text formatting including spacing, text alignment, and kerning.

  • Embedded hyperlinks.

  • Include images,  photos, music, or movie files.

  • Open and save in Microsoft Word document format including the recent “docx” format.

There are even those who have extended it’s functionality by creating small utilities that extend it’s functionality. For instance, NanoCount provides word and character count for TextEdit. With all of this, do you really need what we typically think of as a full fledged word processor?

The Mother of Invention

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. I would say that, more often, problems are. This was recently brought to mind when I read about and subsequently purchased this pencil:

DSC_0005.NyIle1E20V5c.jpg

You see, I have always hated writing with pencils. I hated the way they felt on the page (scratchy), I hated that the line would become uneven quickly as your sharp point quickly ground to dull. I hated constantly having to turn it slightly every couple of words in an attempt to keep the point sharp.

Uni-ball has solved this problem with the Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil line and it has done so in a very simple way. It has a spring-loaded clutch system that slowly rotates the lead every time it hits the page. This in turn keeps the lead constantly sharp at the point. It is one of those eureka moments that makes one say “Why didn’t I think of that?”.

I suspect the answer to that question is that, most of us, work with a problem instead of looking for a full fledged solution. In my example, I either did not use a pencil or, when forced to, came up with a solution that, in truth, was a way to work with the problem. The difference is a subtle one, but it is often times what separates folks like you and I from the folks that come up with brilliant “million dollar” ideas.

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