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The Disney-fication of our world

Dear reader,

I took the Brightline yesterday from West Palm Beach to Miami for SunshinePHP. When we arrived at the Miami station, there were employees waiting to get on board to do their job. As we pulled past them, each was smiling and waving at us as the train inched by. It was a wonderful experience.

I learned this when I worked at Disney. Any time a Disney employee is “on stage” – somewhere the general public can see them – they were to be smiling, friendly, and helpful.

Contrast that with support at my local cable conglomerate. They are curt on a good day, and surely on all the rest. I dread having to contact them for any reason because the conversation is never pleasant.

How do you want to be remembered by those you have casual contact with, surely, or smiling?

The world would be a much better place if we all took a cue from Brightline and Disney.

Smile at people that you pass by in life. Greet them warmly, even if you don’t know them. Do this, even if you aren’t feeling it.

Make everyone around you feel like they are at Disney.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

People understand copyrights, they just don’t like being screwed

Dear Reader,

No, this is not a SOPA rant, but it is related.

Recently, I attended a round table discussion on SOPA hosted by my Congressman, Rep. Jim Cooper. While the discussion was heated at time, I felt that overall it was a good meeting. I didn’t actually expect anything to get resolved, and I wasn’t disappointing. I did however, get to meet some new people here in Nashville that I hope will become friends.

One person I met, I will not say who, had something very interesting to say as we were shaking hands at the end. They said:

The problem is, we have a generation that doesn’t understand right from wrong.

I disagreed and said so by quoting my friend Jacques Woodcock from a previous event where he sagely said:

It’s not that people don’t understand that copying music is wrong, it’s that they don’t care. They don’t respect your copyrights.

(ok, I’m paraphrasing Jacques quote since I’m working from memory on it. Jacques, feel free to correct m if I got it wrong.)

It’s not that people are looking to steal stuff. If the material is made easily available and reasonably priced most people will buy it instead of trying to download it from somewhere. Most people want to do the right thing, but when they can’t, they are willing to violate the rights of a copyright holder, especially when they feel they are being treated unfairly.

Here is a specific case to prove my point. in 1995, Disney released “The Goofy Movie”. It was meh but my kids loved it. In addition to buying a VHS copy when they were available, we bought the CD sound track…which was equally meh. There was however, 1 song on the sound track I-2-I that was catchy. I really liked it, it got my toes to tapping. (Seriously, if you know me, don’t act surprised. I like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez too. My kids are threatening to disown me.) :)

Fast forward 10+ years, the CD has long been lost. I don’t want to buy it again, just to get that one song so I do what everyone does, I go out to iTunes (and also Amazon) to find the song. Guess what, you can buy most the other songs individually for $.99 but I-2-I (mislabeled “121”) can’t be bought individually. So while all the other songs are reasonably prices, this one is effectively $10.

I don’t mind respecting copyrights but I seriously dislike being ripped off.

NOTE: I am not admitting to finding an alternate source for a song I have already paid for and legally own a license to, I’m just using this as an example.

1/2 of the equation for killing most copyright violations out there is reasonably priced. $10 for 1 song is not reasonably priced. Attention big media, I am happy to honor your rights as long as you don’t abuse me. You don’t seem to have learned that lesson yet. People like Louis CK have proven that if you get it right, you’ll have to rent a truck just to carry all your money to the bank. (You guys in big media have got to seriously hate him for poking large holes in all of your arguments!) :)

Keep getting it wrong and I’ll remind you of this post in a year cuz you’ll still be bitchin’ about how copyright violations are gonna kill you. They aren’t killing you, your own stupidity is.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Seven Things – Tagged by Matthew Weier O’Phinney

Dear Reader,

I’m really curious about the origins of the Seven Things Meme. Anybody know where it started? Anyhow, I’ve been tagged by my friend Matthew Weier O’Phinney so I’ll play along. (It forces me to blog, something I’ve not done a lot of in the past 6 months)

  • My super power is thinking up titles for things
    Everybody has a super power, some of us just have to look harder than others to find them. Luckily for me, mine manifested itself early in life, I am good at making up titles. It doesn’t matter what needs a title, I can look at something or hear an idea and come up with a title for it. (examples would be this blog you are reading, or this one, or this one) Unfortunately for me, it’s not a power I can control. They either come to me, or they don’t. So if you are ever stuck coming up with a title for something, ping me.
  • I wrote my own PHP framework.
    Ok, so who hasn’t? The only difference is that I wrote a PHP framework back in 2001. Apparently, SourceForge doesn’t clean out it’s closets often because it’s still there. The name of the project is a good example of how my super power doesn’t always work. (Matthew, you are not allowed to laugh at my code, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel)
  • I didn’t have to take English 101 because I wrote a perfect paper
    This one will come as a surprise to anyone who followed DevZone closely. I can’t spell and I regularly butcher the English language. Names are my specialty. Give me a name and I’ll show you at least 3 alternate spellings. However, when I started college at the University of South Alabama, my first class was English 101. The first day, the assignment was to write a paper on what you did that summer. I turned mine in and the next day I was informed that I had passed the class because there were no grammatical or spelling errors in the paper. No one was more surprised than my mother, an English teacher. :)
  • I want a tattoo
    I’ve wanted a tattoo for some time to complete my mid-life crisis. Kathy even designed me one but she won’t finish it up. Her design centers around “Property of Kathy” written in Tengwar.) (Do me a favor, drop @kateva a note on twitter and encourage her to finish it.)
  • I used to produce live concert videos
    I wore a lot of hats before I donned the battered Fedora and started writing about PHP. A few years ago, that hat was a beret because I was in “the biz”. I produced over 40 live concert videos. Most of them were for Southern Gospel groups but I did a couple of contemporary Christian groups and even two comedy videos. I’ve moved on now and while I love programming computers, I can honestly say that producing videos are some of the most fun and yet the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life.
  • I met The Lovely and Talented Kathy while we were both working at Walt Disney World
    The year I graduated high school, Walt Disney World opened EPCOT Center. That summer, they went on a hiring spree to staff up for the fall opening. It was during this spree that I sneaked in, with the help of a couple of nice ladies who went to church with my grandparents. I was hired into “Cash Control”, basically, the bank for all of the stores in the park. (For those that care, it’s in “the tunnel” directly beneath the Carousel.) On my first day in Cash Control, I met The Lovely and Talented Kathy and knew I was going to marry her. Unfortunately, she didn’t quite see it that way. (I was a mere child of 18 at the time and she was…well a year or two older than me) One night, after we closed the park and then closed Bennigin’s, her car wouldn’t start. With a straight face and more than one Banana Banshee in her, she looked at me and said “Hey, my car won’t start, will you ride home under the hood and hold the distributor cap on?” The sad thing is that I was so smitten with her that I would have done it. That’s ok, she eventually came around…or I wore her down, I’m not sure.
  • I got my job at Zend quite by accident
    Back when I was at Jupiter Hosting, I actually had time to write some code. I didn’t get to write a lot, but between meetings and other management crap, my team would take pity on me and give me a small project to chew on. One of the projects I wrote (I forget which one) I thought was pretty good. There was this company named Zend that had a code repository (it’s gone now) and I wanted to submit the project to it. I submitted the project and waited…and waited…and waited. After about 2 days of hearing nothing, I started emailing people asking what was up. I ended up talking to Jayons Minard who told me no one was managing the repository anymore, so I volunteered. I ended up managing it for about 4 months while I was working at a small start-up back in Nashville.

    When the start-up went tits-up, I started doing contract work until I found something I liked. One of the contracts I started working on was this new site that Zend was building and Jayson was in charge of, DevZone. One thing led to another and after about 3 months of working on contract for Zend, and constantly asking Jayson if there were any positions open at Zend, I got an email from him. He said that Mark de Visser, his boss, would be in Nashville the next week for a Red Hat conference and wanted to interview me. I had a great interview with him and had an offer letter in my email in box when I got back home.

    It was probably the weirdest journey to a job that I’ve ever traveled, but it was worth it. :)

Ok, there are my Seven Things. Now for my Seven People. I think this part may be harder than the seven things.

  • The Lovely and Talented Kathy – She will have to post her entry here because she’s yet to join the blogger nation.
  • Mark de Visser – The best boss I ever had and the man who taught me the value of a community to an open source project.
  • Louis Davidson – My long time friend whom I talk to maybe once a year but think about every day.
  • Joe Stagner – Because if more people at Microsoft were like him, it would be a much cooler place.
  • Allen Fuller – Who if he doesn’t already know Keith Casey, probably should.
  • Sebastian Bergman – the official photographer of the PHP community.
  • Christian Flickinger – Spooooooooooooon!

And now, the rules:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

Until next time,