Analtech wants public input on whether they should rename the company


What’s in a name?

We’ve talked with a few experts in the field of marketing, branding, etc. and here’s the general consensus:
   1. Analtech is a brand name known and trusted by the academic and science communities worldwide
   2. Under normal circumstances, such a branding after nearly 50 years would be considered a huge success
   3. Analtech faces certain challenges because of the "juvenile" humor that has developed in the past few decades and current web filters that may block the company name

What do you think?

We’re turning to you, our friends and customers, to see what you think.
click here for a simple, two question survey.


flukeFor the record: Fluke has never even thought about it and they are doing just fine.


SHOCKER: Survey sez recession adding stress to holidays

CNN, doing it’s part to keep pollsters employed now that the election is over.

Americans say the sagging economy is making the 2008 holiday season more stressful than previous years, according to a CNN poll out Monday, with up to two-thirds of them reporting some belt-tightening.

Next up: Most Americans say water IS wet!

Bold predictions: “Thanksgiving air travel projected to fall”

Yep, that’s the official word from the Air Transport Association of America. Can’t wait for the followup study — “Toys: Do Kids Like Them?”

I hope I didn’t startle you too much with this one.


Economic group says developed world in recession

In case you were still wondering.

Study: “video games make kids violent, stupid and sick.” General: “Gamers make great soldiers.”

Oddly the video game study and the general’s comments are two separate stories over at The RawFeed.

In the first:

Researchers at the University of Michigan published a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health this week that found “exposure to virtual violence increases the risk that children and adults will behave aggressively.”

I forget, what did we blame it on before? Oh, yeah … TV. Before that it was comic books and before that it was movies and before that abstract painting and before that the waltz (true) and before that … well, I remember when Dungeons and Dragons was in the mix. The only way we’re going to take care of this problem and get back to our pre-lapsarian state of bliss is to eradicate the original source. All those in favor of banning Artisophanes, signify by saying Aye. The chair will also entertain motions to expurgate the Old Testament. (Congrats to U of M for getting so much exposure for something without blaming Facebook.)

At least one police official has gone further than suggesting a mere technology is to blame and has started to name Brand names:

New Zealand’s national manager of police youth services, Superintendent Bill Harrison, said this week that youth violence has “jumped” in the past two or three years worldwide, which he says coincides with the rise of advanced console games like the Xbox. His point is that better quality video games increase the realism of violence, which does a better job of desensitizing kids to the real thing.

So remember, nurturing parents buy the Wii. Does anyone ever study the number of people who play video games obsessively and DON’T turn into murderous thugs? No headlines in that, I guess. Or maybe there are studies about this and no one reports on them. Kind of an endless circle of stupidity.

Meanwhile, General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army, has found a bright side to video games warping kids today:

“There was a time when commentators and some more experienced members of the Army expressed concern as to whether the ‘PlayStation generation’ were up to dealing with the gritty bloody conflict that is routine business in southern Afghanistan and Iraq. Well, I’m pleased to say that they are. Our young soldiers, drawn from across British society, are more than a match for what is required of them and I salute every one of them.”

Clearly the more experienced members of the Army need subscriptions to The Journal of Adolescent Health.

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Why you shouldn’t read any stories about Black Friday

There’s nothing worse than having to fill a newspaper or broadcast over Thanksgiving weekend. Nothing happens in the US. Well, nothing happens that any beat reporter is covering, which is what the US press means when it says nothing happens. Of course, the US consumer being the US consumer, things happening in the rest of the world aren’t of any interest. Nonetheless the media still must fill all that space with something. This is why every year we get something like:

Preliminary data showed welcome and unexpectedly strong shopping figures for the Black Friday weekend.

This could have been written in 2006 (“The nation’s retailers had a strong start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at mall-based stores.“), 2005 (“Steep discounts, enticing rebates and expanded hours drew hordes to the nation’s retailing meccas Friday, and merchants saw hopeful signs that consumer spending will be lively for the holidays.“), 2004 (“In an early sign that buying will be strong this year, Visa USA said Saturday that the total of its credit and debit card transactions was more than $4.1 billion, up 15.5 percent from the same day last year.“), etc.

Just as surely as a Cubs collapse, these stories are followed by stories later in the week and/or month which say

But the hot streak cooled down over the weekend as stores returned to their regular hours and promotions were scaled back.”

The truth is that Black Friday sales numbers are as accurate as sheep entrails when it comes to predicting the holiday season’s retail sales. The only real news here is that anyone actually pays attention to these numbers.

Bad editor! No latte for you!

Further proof press will run any study that blames Facebook for something

(cross-posted from Business & Networking)

Two Australian press outlets (and counting) have come up yet another way Facebook Is Destroying The Economy: The Age & The Courier Mail both have reports today on how, “a growing number of young Australians are becoming addicted to online social networking.”

Of course you don’t just make charges like that without substantiation. Both publications site the same study — and nothing but that study. This study was put together by one Julian Cole, an interweb strategist with the Aussie ad firm Naked Communications. As is usual in these things, Mr. Cole and his research are the only source cited in either story.

In a previous version of this post I incorrectly implied that Mr. Cole’s research may have been biased because of where he works. Mr. Cole has graciously written in with a very important correction:

The thesis was actually part of an Honours degree at Monash University. Naked Communication just happens to be the place that I work.

My apologies to Mr. Cole. I should stick to what I know best — making fun of lousy press coverage. Nowhere in the stories I read was it made clear that this work was done for his thesis. That is the fault of the reporter, not Mr. Cole. I have no reason to believe or even suspect Mr. Cole’s research is anything but scientific and accurate.  I was lead astray by lousy reporting. Again my apologies and thanks for the note.

My personal congratulations to Facebook for being accused of the same crime that the Athenians got Socrates with: Corrupting the youth. That’s some pretty damn good company you are keeping.

Yahoo! News has five other outlets reprinting the same story. Well, it’s early in the news cycle here in the US so I have no doubt that number will grow.

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Facebook is not only destroying the economy, it’s helping the Mob

Today’s example of ridiculously bad sensationalist journalism comes once again from Australia, where the idea of having more than one source for a story seems to be unheard of.

ORGANISED criminals are increasing their efforts to steal sensitive data from the computers of company chiefs, British-based IT security firm MessageLabs warns.

Go here for more details.

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Facebook CONTINUES to destroy the economy!

This time it’s in the UK & the BBC are doing the PR work for the company with a vested interest who has produced the study:

Workers who spend time on sites such as Facebook could be costing firms over £130m a day, a study has calculated. According to employment law firm Peninsula, 233 million hours are lost every month as a result of employees “wasting time” on social networking.

The only person quoted in the story? Someone from the law firm. Here’s the key quote that’s being picked up by other outlets too lazy to actually do any reporting on the story:

“Why should employers allow their workers to waste two hours a day on Facebook when they are being paid to do a job?” said Mike Huss of Peninsula. “The figures that we have calculated are minimums and it’s a problem that I foresee will escalate.”

If we could link this to Iraq, Global Warming & Brittany it would be the perfect media storm.
USAToday sources the story by saying “the BBC reports.” That’s a stretch of the word reporting. Google comes up with 22 outlets that have either picked up or re-written the story.

I’m still waiting for a reporter to

  1. Check the methodology of these studies
  2. Interview ANYONE ELSE about it
  3. See if anyone knows how much time was being “wasted” prior to the advent of MySpace/Facebook, et al

Is that really too much to ask? Apparently, yes.

My other favorite not-as-yet-questioned-by-press study about time wasting, computers & work:

Among white-collar workers surveyed, nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they play casual videogames “at work.” 35 percent of CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives also said they play at work, according to a PopCap Games survey targeting white-collar workers, reports MarketingCharts.

Well, if the CEO is doing it then it’s got to be OK.

Also, if workers are “wasting” so much time on these sites, how come we keep getting these increases in productivity?

See also:

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Press falls for another claim that Facebook is destroying the economy

The meme goes on…

Over at the usually reliable CNET they’ve done a one-source story about how companies’ are limiting employees’ access to the site.

Half of businesses are restricting employees’ access to social-networking site Facebook, due to concerns about productivity and security. According to research by security company Sophos, 43 percent of workers polled said their employer blocks Facebook access completely. A further 7 percent said access is restricted depending on whether it’s required for a particular job.

So far 51 fools, I mean respected journalism outlets have run this story or variations on it. A random look at four of those 51 stories showed NONE quoting anyone except an executive with the clearly unbiased company Sophos.

Best line of bad journalism comes from the alleged newspaper The Telegraph: “ LloydsTSB, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs have reportedly banned the site …”

REPORTEDLY?!?! That’s short hand for we didn’t make any phone calls to try and confirm it. The moon is reportedly made of green cheese. I am reportedly Queen Marie of Romania.

God, I hope TechDirt is going to redeem journalism on this one too. They’re my only hope at this point.

If anyone needs me I’m spending the rest of the day expunging anything to do with journalism from my resume.

BTW, Raw Feed has a nice example of a similar phenomenon happening with coverage of pollution in Beijing (which nicely ties up all of the day’s posts — wasn’t that good of me?). Media reports opposing results on Beijing smog.

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Republicans prove they’re smarter than Dems: The leading GOP presidential candidate is None Of The Above

I don’t care if he’s dead. I’m voting for Pat Paulsen. Or Pogo. Or Willie Nelson. Or Chris Rock. Yeah, I’m voting for Chris Rock.

Another reason I love the French: They dislike themselves even more than the US dislikes them

The survey of six nations, carried out for the International Herald Tribune daily and France 24 TV station, said 44 percent of French people thought badly of themselves against 38 percent of U.S. respondents who had a negative view of the French.

Pass the brie. I’d move there in a minute.

Jargon alert! What do you get when you mix ADD and WWW? Wilfing.

As in “What Was I Looking For?”

A survey by YouGov claims “Wilfers lose two working days a month to aimless browsing, with men being the worst offenders, the study said. Shopping sites are the most distracting.

Jason Lloyd, from price comparison Web site, which commissioned the research, said: “Although people log on with a purpose, they are now being offered so much choice and online distraction that many forget what they are there for, and spend hours aimlessly wilfing instead. It’s important people do not allow unnecessary online distractions to get in the way when surfing the Internet, as it can affect productivity in the workplace and relationships at home.”

Anyone remember when this was called “surfing” and it was a good thing?

BTW, I think this one will have a tough time catching on as a buzzword because of its similarity to Milf. But that’s just me.

Study: Drunks don’t laugh at jokes when they’re not funny

Problem drinkers may know how to have a laugh but they often do not know how to take a joke or understand a punchline, researchers in Germany found.

And now a sample joke from the study:

It was Mother’s Day. Anna and her brother had told their mother to stay in bed that morning. She read her book and looked forward to breakfast. After a long wait she finally went downstairs. Anna and her brother were both eating at the table.

The test subjects were then asked to pick the punchline from one of the following:

a) Anna said: “Hi mom, we didn’t expect you to be awake so early.”

b) Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brothers head.

c) Her brother said: “We have a new teacher at our school.”

d) Anna said: “It’s a surprise for Mother’s Day. We cooked our own breakfast.”

 “The researchers found a marked difference between the two groups with less than 68 percent of the alcoholics able to pick the right punchline, d, versus 92 percent in the healthy control group.”

That means that there were people who, without the benefit of booze, found ANY of these answers funny.

For reasons of what I must assume be political correctness, the press did not include another answer, which is a sure fire laugh generator at all the Komedy Klubs in Kologne: “Seize the Sudetenland!”

Early entrant in the dumbest press releases of 2007 competition

Lane Home Furnishings Kicks Off the First-Ever National Reclining Month with Recliner Sales and Promotions throughout January 2007

TUPELO, Miss., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ — More than a third of Super Bowl viewers (37%) say a recliner is one of their favorite spots to watch the big game. That’s one of the reasons Lane Home Furnishings is launching its first ever National Reclining Month in January with sales and promotions available on all Lane recliners and motion furniture.

As part of its National Reclining Month celebrations, Lane commissioned a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults to discover how Americans like to relax. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R), found that nearly three fourths of U.S. adults (73%) agree that they are relaxed as soon as they slip into a recliner.

The survey has many more surprising results, I suggest you peruse them at your leisure. From a recliner