Oakland Needs To Stop Stealing Its Own History

Oakland, California doesn’t have the greatest reputation. Crime, failed redevelopment efforts, and petty politics all contribute to this.

That aside, I’ve been living in Oakland since 2008, and I really do enjoy it here. The weather is better than San Francisco. It has decent public transportation and freeway access. Not to mention, the cost of living is more reasonable than other areas around the Bay.

However, the way Oakland disregards its own history is really sad, as was recently seen by the theft of a monument to the USS Maine.

Remembering Together: Our Collective Desire To Connect Through A Common Experience

It’s interesting to watch how people react to a major news event. We reach out. We tell stories. We try to connect through a common experience.

Most recently, this can be seen with the passing of Steve Jobs, though it happens all the time. Events like September 11th, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the assassination of JFK all form pointed moments that everyone alive at the time experienced. Often, these even cross physical, political, and cultural boundaries.

But, why are these tied so strongly to our desire to connect with other people?

Dinosaurs Are Still Here, Alive, And Doing Really Well

The dinosaurs are still here, living with us, and thriving. Seriously.

No, I’m not talking about crocodiles or alligators, turtles, or even lizards. While these are all ancient forms of life that existed in some form during the time of the dinosaurs, they evolved from an earlier branch of organisms. In other words, if you climbed up the tree of life, you would reach their branch before you came to that of the dinosaurs.

The group of animals I am referring to are on the same branch as the dinosaurs and, as increasing evidence has shown, are actually descended directly from them. They evolved while the dinosaurs were alive and kept right on thriving after their relatives went extinct around 65 million years ago. The animals I am talking about are classified as aves, however we simply know them as birds.

My Childhood Hero: How Steve Jobs Inspired Us To Think Different

There have been exactly two moments in my life when the untimely death of public figure has deeply moved me.

The first was Jim Henson in 1990.  Then, I was young enough that I couldn’t quite believe or understand how this man could die. He was the embodiment of so many characters and shows that I knew and loved. When I found out, I walked into the backyard and sat alone. It was the first time I truly realized that we do not live forever.

The second moment was today, upon hearing of the passing of Steve Jobs. And, in many ways, this affected me more, along with the rest of the world.

Rethinking Customer Service: Why Innovation Isn’t Only Needed On The Cutting-Edge

Bad customer service. We’ve all experienced it. The problem has become so commonplace that we willingly accept it, and what’s worse is that many companies have too.

Many frustrating customer service stories begin with a phone call:

  • “I called to ask a question about my bill and couldn’t find a way to speak with a human.”
  • “My internet was down, and I spent over an hour on hold, only to be told to contact my computer manufacturer.”
  • “I just wanted to change my address, but my call got transferred to four different people.”

Poor service isn’t just limited to phone calls. Online chat, email, even face-to-face conversations can all be a nightmare. Normally, such a large problem would have businesses and entrepreneurs working on a fix. Yet, where are the innovators in customer service?

Without SEO, Nobody Can Find Your Website

Optimizing your website so it shows up in search engines, otherwise known as SEO, has been written about often. That said, it can be tough to find good, basic information if you are just starting out as I discovered recently.

I’ve been working on a new website for Sara, whose background is in music rather than technology. A few days ago, I brought up the topic of SEO and how she needed to optimize the content on her website and begin link building. We discussed why these were important and how, if she did them well, people would start coming to her website. That’s when the real fun began.

Hello World! From WordPress

Hello World! It’s the cry of a computer program coming to life. And, if I remember correctly, it was the first program I ever wrote in C++ over a decade ago. Fittingly, it will be the first post to my newly created blog.

I’ve spent the last few days installing, configuring, and writing a custom WordPress template in order to integrate it with my website. You don’t need to do this in order to use WordPress, or even blog. There are thousands of great looking pre-built templates already created. And, there are still other services out there, that you only need to “throw a switch” and turn on. No configuration required. My goal, however, was a bit bigger.