Monthly Archives: October 2007

Portfolio Magazine: The Business of Cluelessness

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PORTFOLIO magazine is the new business magazine from Conde Nast … publishers of VOGUE, GQ and subsequently, the current owners of the NEW YORKER and even WIRED magazine.

They are the GE of publishing. We’re here to be #1 in the category, we will wear you down with professionalism, a crack sales staff and if need be – we will out-write you … or in the case of VOGUE, we will sell so many ads you will just curl up and sob loudly.

It seemed like a first rate idea when Conde Nast announced they wanted to launch a business magazine … if there’s anything that today’s world is about, it’s the business of business – from the time you are speaking as an ankle-biter, you are saying things like, “Just Do It,” and, “I’ll have a Bud.”

It used to be an orderly world. Large corporations proclaimed what they were going to do in quarterly and annual reports and held news conferences. They hired ad agencies and keep that relationship for 30-50 years … the ad agencies were full of guys in white shorts, narrow ties and expense accounts to take reporters to lunch. Unless you had millions, no broker would call you back with a quote – after all, what’s difference is $.25 change for a $33 dollar stock – you can read the stock quotes in tomorrow’s paper and wait for your quarterly statement from the brokerage house – what’s your hurry. If the “Dow” went up or down $3 a day, it was major news …

Fast forward to 2007 and really, I mean – fast forward to 2007 … if you don’t get SMS from your brokerage or website, you might miss a $3 BILLION dollar meltdown between 11:45 and 11:55 … and that’s just Countrywide Mortgage … There are swings of 30% in stock if it’s a good or bad day … and of course, billion dollar companies and 140 year-old accounting firms can fold up overnight … and relationships with ad agencies? The ad agency guys want to make ads to win the Cannes Gold Lion featuring midgets, Salvador Dali look-alike and 100 CGI Jessica Alba’s in bikini’s stroking a white cat … and of course, you sell jet turbine parts … the best ads are on YouTube where two fat guys in Decatur had a free afternoon and the neighbors video camera … at least Peter Luger’s is still around.

What William Goldman once so aptly summed about the business of Hollywood, “Nobody Knows Nothing,” now applies to EVERYTHING in business. A real life Homer Simpson runs NBC, you can artificially create diamonds better than the ones created by Earth’s own forces and 55 day traders have highjacked the crude oil contract exchange.

Man, do we need a magazine to read … except when you reach for the martini, someone has put chocolate in it.

Welcome to Portfolio magazine …

They say a successful magazine is aimed at a specific reader.

Who is Portfolio aimed at? You know the cliche in the movie where a guy sits on a wide expansive veranda and he’s wearing a big Panama hat, a linen suit, smoking a cigar and his housekeeper brings him a pitcher of mojitos and when you look out, you see indentured servants toiling in the fields of some small Central American country?

Which is fine if it was 1958 …

But 50 years later, who is this guy? This guy is now the guy who runs around with Curious George dressed as a giant banana … in other words, WTF?

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Of course, that’s the problem is that the old cliches don’t ring true anymore.

FORTUNE was aimed at senior managers and directors, BUSINESSWEEK aimed at more supervisor managers and investors, and FORBES – the personality of the bosses and international news … and during the dotcom boom, they were joined by FAST COMPANY about managing and empowering people and later: INDUSTRY STANDARD, BUSINESS 2.0 and a few others who were basically the SPORTING NEWS of the dotcom boom … who are the hottest players and how they like to shine their bats … and WIRED, while not technically a business magazine – straddles the areas of technology, business & pop culture and of course, the business behind all that …

So, what’s left for Portfolio?

Of course, BW, Forbes & Fortune are aimed at a general audience now … Fast Company abandoned the empowering thing and is just another business mag rag … most of the dotcom “scorekeeping” mags have folded (B2 was just let go recently).

WIRED still rings true to its original point of writing for the Silicon Valley interested … whether you’re in Silicon Valley or not … while not as great as the first idiosyncratic 3-4 years, it’s still plenty interesting and a must-read.

The WSJ does a great job on the day-to-day stuff along with nice analyses … mainly the nice thing is their writers actually know what they are talking about no matter how arcane the industry.

And of course, there’s 24/7 news (not just ones focused on business/financial) and of course, that internet thing in general …

So, what’s left for Portfolio?

So, with CNBC, Fox Business News, the internet & the WSJ, the day-to-day is mostly covered plus anything that can be told visually or is remotely “sexy.”

So, what’s left for Portfolio?

In-depth interviews or even non-indepth interviews?

Honestly, most people now could care less about putting any business types on a pedestal of any kind after all that has happened and of course, the people who often are interviewed are exactly the OPPOSITE of who people want to hear blather about business … it’s the people who DON’T TALK that people want to read about … or in today’s world, no one wants undue publicity for themselves or their company – trade secrets, professional jealously or why confirm your game plan or even why show off YOUR rising stars so some other company can snatch them away?

In-depth analysis?

If the in-depth analysis is too good, isn’t that just giving the book idea away? Or in the case of business world now, maybe an entire COTTAGE CONSULTING gig?

Or if if you know that industry so well, why aren’t you working as a consultant and can make a lot more?

The problem with the business of business writing is exactly like NCAA Basketball Division 1 … how many juniors and seniors are still in college playing hoops that are great players? Some but it’s all just a stepping stone …

And that’s what’s wrong with Portfolio.

It’s a random collection of red-shirt freshman, sophomores with an eye on moving on, juniors with a chip on their shoulder (or some surgery scar) and what else?

Portfolio is best described as random.

It’s bits and pieces of Conde Nast.

Let’s borrow the typeface from the NEW YORKER (well, not exactly a lift but in some bizarre tribute, Portfolio decided on a typeface to evoke Art Deco New York … uh, isn’t Art Deco New York like 1932? While a 70 year old typeface might seem appropriate for an arching literary magazine like the NEW YORKER, it doesn’t quite work for a business magazine).

… and borrow some random charts design elements from DETAILS (which is really a lifting of the non Conde Nast magazines design of NEW YORK magazine … already paying tribute to SPY magazine … so how many magazines is that removed?)

… and if the length of a feature in the NEW YORKER indicates intellectualism … then by golly, we can do that same thing from our brethren publication … sometimes for no reason … don’t think we can write 40,000 words on cardboard, we’ll show you!

… of course, we need the hipness quotient from our West Coast brethren, WIRED … who manages to pull in print the look & feel of the short attention span & disheveled feel of a half-shaven dot-comer with wild in the sky ideas … like a real dot-comer, some ideas that only naiveté conviction could make it work like FACEBOOK, some half-baked idea that ultimately is cool like SKYPE and the plain weird that actually is almost something like TWITTER but then WIRED, in the hands of PORTFOLIO comes off like Microsoft’s “social network.” Too much copying, not any heart. Too much robot, not enough cyborg.

… and the worst feature of most all of Conde Nast’s books, let’s annoy our readers by splitting every freakin’ article in half … are they telling us the last half is not worth reading? Because in 90% of the cases, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DO … I stop reading it. I am not going to look for the second half of 40,000 words on cardboard. You got me hooked in the beginning but then you lost me … let me ask the editors this … when a writer sends an email with their feature and you print it to read, do you only print 50% of the pages, read it – then go have lunch, knit your cat an afghan and then read the rest of the pages and write GREAT on it? (this is what I imagine happens at Conde Nast 🙂 OR so you read it all in one sitting? Then why do you treat your readers with less respect?

HOW TO FIX PORTFOLIO

Now, the writing itself is to Conde Nast standards – professional and top notch … the problem is its randomness.

Who is your audience?

Not the dude in a Panama hat smoking a cigar.

It’s a manager who’s looking for insight and information to slap down in front of their boss (or forward in an email or meekly sneak it on their table) to say, see, they is doing this … we should too! Or to get a glimpse at managers/employees at some other business handle the business of business …

Plus, we have NO TIME. We already have 40 calls to make, 262 emails to answer, 5 conference calls and 3 meetings no one is sure who called the meetings.

How about a business magazine that is useful and saves us from reading more than necessary!

If you’re going to a chart, one is useful … like this one … insightful and interesting about how YOU CAN literally sell TAP WATER to people with a TAP …

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But then this is totally not, it’s NOT EVEN lined up correctly – don’t get cute for the sake of being cute.

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This chart would be more interesting and MORE INSIGHTFUL if it was about donuts within a 5-block radius of the Conde Nast building.

Right now, it tells ME NOTHING.

What should I gleam from this chart that is useful to me as a business person or as a manager?

These Wall Street companies didn’t understand the implications of the bundling of securities and financial instruments?

D’UH.

We all know that.

Why did the designer spend 11 hours making 10 versions of this chart (rejected ones include ones that are lined up, one where there is a red separating line, one where there is a separating line that goes down halfway, one where the lines are green, and a grid version).

ALL telling me exactly … NOTHING.

What PORTFOLIO needs to be a RSS for the busy executive … summarized and a quick read.

What is the behind the scenes maneuvers with the BAE & Oracle thing? Oracle has bought a bunch of companies – all fit into the Oracle culture? Is Carl Icahn of 2007 the same dude as the Carl Icahn of 1997 and of 1987?

SUMMARIZE.

If I’m not interested, I’m not going to be more interested 20,000 words later but give me a quick over-view to decide.

And make features useful for all the aspects of the business world – what’s the takeaway for marketers? For financial? For HR?

Or there are about 100 business books published every month – how cutting to the chase and tell me if what kind of people should read this book? Marketers at small companies? CEO’s at Fortune 1000 companies?

BOTTOM LINE

I’m busy. Think of me as your CEO. Do you go into a senior meeting with a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation? Do I want your life story?

And this applies to any other business magazine.

Make me smarter. Make me smarter in my job. Make me smarter in my company.

And you have 10 minutes.

GO!

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Filed under Advertising, Design, Financial, Gadgets, Internet, Magazine, Marketing, Media, media companies out of shape, TV

Geek Warp Speed: The Star Trek Putter

I suppose this might be the best way to test out your golf nerves – can you putt while all around people are slapping their palm to their heads, mocking you loudly or throwing their clubs, beer bottles and the golf cart at you?

Will you kiss the putter head and mutter ‘prime golf directive?’ (get it in the hole?)

Instead of the “stimpmeter,” will you use a Kobayashi scale?

Go bold where no golfer has gone before … or dare go.

I’d like to see someone pull this out in a round at St. Andrews – the caddies will carry you by the cliffs and toss you over …

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Yes, it is an official licensed product: the Golfsmith U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 Putter.

Order it here.

It is limited to 1,701 and actually not expensive as putters go ($129) but then what good is a putter that you can never take it out of your house … or can only use it on a course where you have to hit a ball through Abe Lincoln’s mouth?

Much better just to say you won it online at startrek.com.

(I believe this is our first post where our TAGS are Star Trek, golf).

P.S. – if you are sadly beaten to another realm with this putter, here’s your final resting place

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Filed under Advertising, Film, Gadgets, Marketing, Retail, Sports, TV

NBC-U Jeff Zucker, His iTunes Numbers Don’t Add Up

NBC-U Jeff Zucker is now mad people consider him and his Hulu venture idiotic so he is trying to talk as if he actually understands digital and the television business going forward.

He now claims that $15 million from NBC iTunes sales is not enough for him.

Nevermind that is 7.5 million impressions of NBC shows … or that 7.5 million people were willing to pay for it instead of downloading it for free … instead, Zucker’s very confused.

The bottom line is he wanted to raise prices and Apple did not – no biggie, that’s a business decision, right or wrong – that is his right as the guy NBC/GE’s board decided to hand the major decision making to – they have appointed him as the brains of the operation.

But instead, he tries to open other areas of discussion that he is clearly not qualified to discuss.

He babbles about Apple controllling distribution. At no point has anyone ever raised the issue about exclusive content – so how exactly is Apple controlling distribution when previous and going forward, NBC can sell their shows in every format including on their own website. The only distribution point Apple controls is iPod distribution … network TV, DVD retail, other internet venues, VOD, etc, etc … all NBC – what exactly is the problem with another distribution point? Most companies consider a NEW distribution a good thing (see, Zucker, how this works, if another store can sell your thing, you make more money).

He also talks about wanting to get iPod revenue because clearly we’re buying iPods to watch NBC shows … uh, sure – even if that were remotely true … shouldn’t then the auto makers pay Goodyear because cars without tires aren’t much fun? Or hey, is NBC paying us to use OUR airwaves? What is Zucker’s position on that issue?

So, he’s mad that Apple is not willing to raise prices and has only added $15 million to NBC-U coffers … so he picks a fight with Apple that he clearly doesn’t understand. What is the alternative to $15 million from Apple?

ZERO.

At what cost to sell at Apple iTunes? Practically nothing – how much is to digitize a show to load onto a jukebox that you NEVER have to reload – that requires no real maintance on your part? Apple handles EVERYTHING else?

If you sell a series on DVD, you have to project how many you can reasonable sell and that retailers will order – convert the series to DVD format, create a menu, design jewel case artwork and box, get it manufacturered, shipped and have provisions for returns and damaged discs.

Which is simpler?

So, instead of having yet another format for consumers … another $15 million (even presuming that iTunes sales do not grow) from a different non-exclusive source, he choose to walk away from that …

But that’s not enough for him – instead he thinks he can launch another YouTube.

So, it’s not just good enough to subtract $15 million from revenue but let’s spend how many hundreds of millions to launch a YouTube 1.1?

They already have 100 employees for a site months away from launch … it takes most startups years to pass 100 employees.

I don’t know YOUTUBE’s headcount now but I’m sure before the Google buyout, they were under 100 …

Zucker seems confused about how a startup works.

Of course, GE doesn’t seem to mind he still doesn’t understand anything – GE & Zucker a few years ago paid $600 million for iVillage.com, launched a TV show to promote it and have thrown in hundreds of millions of free promotional spots in order to grow the page views … so far, no real growth at iVillage with some reports that the other massive women’s site has surpassed them. The TV show flopped.

Again, it’s fine to launch new business ventures – no real problem with that but why roil the waters by trying to annoy Apple? Why give up $15 million dollars in revenue for no apparent reason? Did Apple say NBC couldn’t launch streaming on nbc.com or hulu?

No.

Zucker seems to think it’s an either or proposition?

He can’t conceive that some people might prefer to get a show commercial free? AND willing to pay for it? (nevermind the promotional value of people who actually want to watch a show?)

He can’t do a new business unless he walks away from something?

Can he multi-task?

What’s next? Because Zucker doesn’t control DVD pricing at WM or Best Buy – only sell DVD’s at NBC.com?

The bottom line is instead of a steady stream of revenue, he’d rather hire hundreds and spend hundreds of millions to launch Hulu … spending billions to make millions? That doesn’t sound like GE, sounds more like a certain company in Redmond …

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Computing, Film, Financial, Gadgets, Internet, iPhone, Marketing, Media, media companies out of shape, mobile, Music, Retail, TV, video

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: What’s in the Stores Now? (Winter 2008 UPDATE)

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It’s March 3, 2008 and where do we stand now? Most of us are caught up (if you;re just starting out, check out our newbie checklist which shows which ones are easier to find).

JUST ARRIVED

Dudley Spare (Octane Gain Pitty)
Flik
Gasprin (#70) – Floyn Mulvihill
Gold Mia
Gold Tia
My Name is Not Chuck
Octane Gain (launcher)
PT Flea
Tow (Piston Cup Tow Truck)
Tow Cap (#4) – Rusty Cornfuel

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ARRIVING NEXT

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POSTPONED

Pit Crew Member Sarge
Richard Clayton Kensingston (Security Van)

(Here is our speculation as to why most of the “new” CARS have been pulled from the next 4-5 shipments).

Complete COMPLETISTS should also be aware the NEW WOC CARS also come in two card versions – some are sniped “New” on the front and there are versions that are not. NOTE – Ghostlight Ramone – hardly “NEW” by most measures of the word comes in BOTH versions. The first release wearing the ‘NEW” snipe that is pretty much a stretch (it is new in the sense that it is NEW to WOC and NEW as a non-exclusive CAR).

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12-CAR CARRYING CASE with LAUNCHER

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As Mattel says, “Just turn the hub to send vehicles rolling from the gravity launcher!” They also promise heart-stopping fun though I do not hope they mean that literally as I have eaten way too much bacon in my lifetime. 😉

Amazon also has it. It also comes with SNOT ROD.

NEW HANGING BLISTER MULTI-PACKS

PIT ROW RACE OFF

“Each includes a die-cast vehicle with launcher. It’s your favorite racers from the hit Disney/Pixar movie CARS, in the new Pit-Stop Racers Assortment. Each includes a die-cast vehicle with launcher. Connect the launchers to recreate Pit Crew Row, then send your character cars into high performance mode with a pow! Assortment includes Lightning McQueen, The King, Chick Hicks, Octane Gain*, Leak Less and Nitroade.”

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*Octane Gain has arrived in some stores.

They will retail for around $7.99.

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3-PACK (HANGING BLISTERS)

Also on the shelves – completists should note that the Charlie Checker (Piston Cup Pace Car) has yellow tail-lights. The WM version had red tail-lights. If you’re arguing accuracy, pace cars in our world are just regular cars or in some cases, with souped up engines but in 99% of the cases, just like street cars – with red tail-lights (the pace car only has to be able to do 55 to 85 MPH so really, most any car can be a pace car).

Box A (IN STORES)

Cactus McQueen, Dirt Track Doc Hudson (Red Rims) & Sheriff (2)
Pace Car (Charlie Checker), Lightning McQueen & King (2)
Lightning McQueen, Flo & Lightning Phase Ramone (2)

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Box B (IN STORES though good luck finding Gold Mia & Tia)

Cactus McQueen, Dirt Track Doc Hudson (Red Rims) & Sheriff (2)
Pace Car (Charlie Checker), Lightning McQueen & King (2)
Gold Mia Tia & Dinoco Chick Hicks (2)

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THE FIRST “TREASURE HUNT”

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While not officially a treasure hunt/chase car in the normal scheme of things. If you purchase the Blu-Ray CARS DVD, for $3.50 (plus tax), you get a “free” CAR. It is limited to 15,000 and you have to sign up with Disney Movie Rewards.

ALL the info is available at our other post on signup tips, etc, etc.

The promotion has ended – eBay only – sorry.

MOVIE MOMENTS

IN STORES:
Dinoco Mia & Tia
Flea & Flik
Tow Cap (#4 – Rusty Cornfuel) & Gasprin (#70 – Floyn Mulvihill)

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ALSO ANNOUNCED FOR 2008 as NEW MULTI-PACKS

(again, no older ones are retired – won’t rehash those to save space, I’m only listing the NEW Movie Moments packs)

(SCHEDULED IN LINE – AFTER …)

Leakless & No Stall (#123 – Todd “The Shockster” Marcus)

PLAYSETS

YES, Curio Shop, Ramone’s & Luigi’s are ALL BACK!

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Thanks to reader ‘Kristie’ who spotted them.

$19.99 – EXCLUSIVE to Toys R Us in the new WORLD OF CARS motif.

BOX SETS

The newest one coming is the TRU only box set, DINOCO BLUE

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Of course, the Dinoco 400 is still on Target shelves …

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Thanks to “KristieD22,” Target on Amazon has it on sale for $17.99 – while you can search to see if it’s available at Target stores, I’m presuming Target retail matches Target.com pricing? And yes, that photo is incorrect but you get the Dinoco 400 set.

COMING NEXT

Not particularly exciting to TRU (it’s like 2006 all over again!):

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If you’re collecting the Mini’s – our post on the Target exclusives

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SUMMARY

Not sure about your parts of the country but here in NoCal, we are pretty much stripped clean – Boost’s and Lizzie make up 95% of the individual blister cards here. But not much of anything else which means this Christmas/holiday season, another couple hundred thousand kids were welcomed into the CARS order of lunacy. Will they take up the baton and see past the 14 CARS listed on the back of the cards and realize there are 67 more? Will new mom or dad go on not a grail quest but a CARS quest – day, night – pulling off freeways from 5 lanes away when they spot the blue letters of WM or the giant red Target or the giraffee?

This is one reason Mattel is okay to keep shipping older CARS as newbies are coming in … but enough of Buzz & Woody, okay? So, break out your wallets. Last year, Mattel gave us breathers – this coming 2008? I have a feeling they are going to be going by a new old saying …

“A CAR a day, that’s all we ask …”

We will update this post when new CARS diecast items hit the shelves (or in reality, eBay).

In January/February the HK and NY Toy Fairs, we should hear more about what’s coming in early 2008.

RECAP OF OUR OTHER POSTS

THE BASICS

If you want a recap of the Mattel Pixar CARS line from the beginning.

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect

Unlike other toys/hot items that stay hot for a few weeks or months – this Mattel Pixar CARS diecast line has pretty been SIZZLING for 16 months – not just rare but almost un-heard of.

Of course, we would love to tell you that if you show up here at 7:00 AM, you are assured of seeing it on the shelve un-touched … or course, that is not really possible with this line due to real demand and eBay “re-distribution” demand but we have tried to sum up why it’s seems impossible and some buying tips that while not foolproof, might make things slightly easier …

Mattel Pixar Cars: I Want to Buy But Where?

BUYING CASES & WHAT’S NEXT

First, one way to skip the driving around is to buy sealed cases, here is a brief rundown on what that is AND what are the CARS coming this holiday season (the last two months of 2007):

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes

And what’s coming in 2008:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes Holiday 2007 & 2008

Or what the latest on the shelf cards & CARS look like?

Mattel Pixar: What’s in Stores Now

If you wish to plot out what CAR will make its first appearance & in what box in 2008, a friend of 2aDay has thoughtfully provided a spreadsheet you can download or it’s also been added to our online checklist/spreadsheet.

HOW TO COLLECT

For those on the intermediate & advanced stages of this obsession (yes, I has the fever! I has the fever 🙂 ) … you’ll want a “field guide” to spotting what’s what:

A Basic Checklist (in spreadsheet form)

The checklist offers a few versions on how you like your poison 😉

Then of course, a more indepth guideline on how to collect them – just one of each? one of each available on a different card?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: How to Collect

As you progress further, you might need or want a guide to understanding what do the three different designs on the front indicate and how complete of a collector you want to be:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: Card Backs

Info on the Blu-Ray Dinoco “Blu” CAR

The LIMITED & EXCLUSIVE Disney Blu-Ray “Blu” Dinoco McQueen

MORE INFORMATION THAN NORMAL

Of course, by now, you’ll want to know everything and plan your budget carefully … Mattel will definitely release 35/36 of the Piston Cup Racers in one massive collector’s set but will they release them in smaller sets? Our speculation on why rioting is probably not necessary:

Mattel Pixar Cars: All the Piston Cup CARS-Speedway of the South Box Set

If you prefer to see some of the cardbacks in a larger file size or to view the two posters for a visual look at the CARS to collect, our FLICKER page is here.

Did you know the Blu-Ray DVD (for HDTV’s) will include a “name-spotter” feature that will let you see the names of 217 CARS within the movie?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect-Part II – 217 CARS?

And while we’re at it – pure speculation on our part as to what might be coming next?

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009? Part II

Mattel Pixar Cars: Mia & Tia – All the Possible Variants

MORE USEFUL INFORMATION

Details on the Mattel sponsorship & CARS charity auction for CAAF (Children Affected by AIDS Foundation):

Mattel Pixar Cars & Children Affected by AIDS Charity Auction

While Frank the Combine on eBay seems enticing, you might want to know that he’s very small and all plastic but there are some other options …

Mattel Pixar CARS Movie: Frank the Combine – eBay Warning

Too much money in your bank account – starting collecting the other CARS line …

NEW Mini Adventures CARS & Playsets

The Sarge Recall:

Mattel Recalls Pixar CARS Sarge Diecast Metal Car

Nothing very insightful about what’s coming but still good to know that CARS is bringing in money and everything is looking smooth.

Mattel Pixar Cars: 3rd Quarter 2007 Earnings-Financial Numbers

CARS 2, THE SEQUEL?

Yes, more speculation & answers on our part but the stars and other things seem to be syncing up for a 2011 sequel:

Pixar CARS 2 Sequel: Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

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Filed under Advertising, Checklist, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys

Why is the NFL so Cheap?

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At an NFL game, when the field goal kicker is about to boot the ball, they send two guys to run up a net behind the goal posts.

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Why? To protect the people a good 50 yards behind the net? If you’re sitting behind the goal posts, can you not see a 12″ inflated leather obolong ball drifting towards you?

No, because the NFL does not want you to get a “free” football.

Every once in a while, the ball will fly over or skip past the net so what happens? At a baseball game, you hold up your ball to cheers or even get to auction it for millions. At a hockey game, hopefully, you didn’t lose too many teeth but at an NFL game?

EVENT SECURITY scurries over to take it back – if you don’t hand it over – ARMED POLICE OFFICERS come over.

I’ve seen them take a ball away from a 9-year old kid.

Is that REALLY how the NFL wants to be seen?

As cheap skinflints?

For a ticket that costs at least $50-$75 face value and perhaps hundreds of dollars for buying a season ticket? Or a bottle of water costs $5 dollars? Or the multi-BILLION dollar TV contracts or the free stadiums built by cities is simply not enough to cover the cost of losing a few footballs (not even pigskin anymore – cowskin now)?

Is a football all that costly?

It’s $100 retail but what does the NFL pay for it? $15? Even at full retail and let’s say they lose 5 balls a game (unlikely) – you mean there’s not $500 in the budget for footballs?

How many baseballs are lost in a game? 50? 60? 100? I’ve seen at-bats where a guy fouls 12 balls into the stands. The NFL would chase all those back?

I’m sure they might call it a safety issue? But tell me that it’s less dangerous to have someone heave a baseball or hockey puck back into the field? Or how far can most non-NFLers chuck a regulation football at a “dangerous” speed? And if you can, shouldn’t that guy be signed?

70 years ago, a football might’ve been a day’s wages and the league was run on a shoestring but now, tell me the jumbo shrimp catering budget is not 10 times as large for EVERY NFL team? Well, maybe not the Bills.

It’s time to let a few football fly into the stands and stop snatching them away from kids who retrieve them.

Are you really that cheap, NFL?

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Filed under Financial, Marketing, Sports, TV

Comcast: Intercepting & Changing Your Internet Traffic

Recently, AP and others have caught Comcast red-handed intercepting internet traffic and changing the header/packet info.

Mostly, they seem to slowing down or halting BitTorrent traffic but they also seem to be intercepting/slowing/halting Lotus Notes traffic across the internet.

On the surface, they might seem to be claiming that all BitTorrent is “illegal” and slowing their network but when you really examine the issue, you have to wonder if Net Neutrality is already dead and that Comcast is playing judge, jury & prosecutor?

They loudly sell their service as much faster than DSL and it’s “unlimited.”

Verizon already learned a valuable and $1 million fine-induced lesson that “unlimited” is NOT subject to lawyerese as to what it means. Unlimited means just that.

Already, Comcast is treading on thin legal waters.

Next, while some of BitTorrent’s traffic might be perceived as illegal but is it Comcast’s place to judge? One of the many, many uses of BitTorrent and peer to peer (p2p) traffic is for distribution of large files such as Linux OS releases (such as Ubuntu last week) … illegal? Hardly? Warner Brothers LEGALLY sell their movies and uses BitTorrent to help distribute the load of large downloads. Who decided Comcast should judge what is legal?

What will Comcast declare illegal next?

If you buy a 10 MB camera and take 300 photos that are all 5 MB or larger and place them on all one HTML page, that might take a while to display and view – sucking up a lot of bandwidth, will Comcast play judge, jury & prosecutor and declare you illegal also?

Or it’s illegal to buy wine by mail in certain Southern states, why not just block those websites to save on bandwidth if you live South of the Mason-Dixon line?

Is using Lotus Notes illegal to Comcast since it appears as BitTorrent traffic?

This is a prime example of what happens when a corporation decides what parts of the internet they want to carry … don’t remember that part in the ads … nothing about 94% of the internet …

The excuse they use is they are throttling back bandwidth to assure that everyone has access – which sounds fine on the surface but what’s the reality?

THEY are PRE-JUDGING what will use up their bandwidth.

In the AP example, they tried to BitTorrent the Bible … hardly a copyright violation even according to the Vatican … yet, throttled back or not possible at all. How giant of a file could the Bible be? A few MB? Even an illustrated version – a couple hundred MB that should take seconds to upload or download.

They presume any BitTorrent or BotTorrent-like file will take down their network?

What is their network built of?

Is their network really so feeble that a few hundred MB will take down a section of the network?

But what’s worse is it’s pre-emptive?

Now I can understand if in the AP example they tried to upload and download 20 HD movies and TV shows, that would be understandable they use parse only some of the bandwidth for that user and proactively throttle or increase the available bandwidth depending on the usage for that node or neighborhood …

But apparently BitTorrent is set at .05% or ZERO?

ALL BitTorrent traffic?

Comcast has decide all BitTorrent traffic is not part of the word and selling point, “unlimited?”

And worse, by changing the packet information, they are purposely changing your file information … but perhaps in a perverse way, if you do send something illegal or incriminating, now you have an out – it’s NOT my file – the packet header clearly says it came from Comcast – that’s not mine. If you pull the logs like this one guy did, it’s all Comcast.

Like most people with limited brain power, Comcast does not seem to understand irony.

Next time your Congress rep says that Net Neutrality is not needed, here is a perfect shining example of Comcast taking over 100% of the infrastructure that we built with tax dollars – yes, they own the lines for the last 50 feet to your house – but the rest is ours … well, it used to be.

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Filed under Computing, Financial, Internet, Marketing, Media

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist Buying Info & News : All Our Posts

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Thank you for following all our posts on the Mattel Pixar CARS line. We try to keep you updated as to what’s what and we updated EVERY post whenever we get reliable information – it’s not always easy and many thanks to the readers who’ve added helpful info & photos.

We just want to recap everything on one page for you so in case you’ve missed something and good for us to keep track of what posts needs to be updated:

OUR OTHER POSTS:

THE BASICS

If you want a recap of the Mattel Pixar CARS line from the beginning.

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect

Unlike other toys/hot items that stay hot for a few weeks or months – this Mattel Pixar CARS diecast line has pretty been SIZZLING for 16 months – not just rare but almost un-heard of.

The post below outlines why the line is so difficult and some solutions. There is a list of the main retailers, some online options and for international customers,s ome options.

Mattel Pixar Cars: I Want to Buy But Where?

BUYING CASES & WHAT’S NEXT

First, one way to skip the driving around is to buy sealed cases, here is a brief rundown on what that is AND what are the CARS coming for 2008:

Our brand new post with JUST 2008 information on what’s in the cases – not just for the individual CARS but also the multi-packs.

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist 2008: Cards, Sealed Boxes, 3-Packs & More

Though Mattel has made some MAJOR changes to the next 5 shipments – here’s our post on what the changes were and why we think there were changes …

Mattel 2008 CHANGES

Our first post on why you might want to buy by the sealed box.

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes

The older post that covered the last part of 2007 & the intial info for 2008:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes Holiday 2007 & 2008

Some of the best places to buy factory sealed cases:

Why You Should Buy by the Case & Some Great Places Online

Or what’s the latest on the shelf cards & CARS look like?

Mattel Pixar: What’s in Stores Now

HOW TO COLLECT

If you just joined the craziness, here’s a starter’s guide:

Mattel Disney Pixar Cars Checklist: I Just Bought One, Now, What?

For those on the intermediate & advanced stages of this obsession (yes, I has the fever! I has the fever 🙂 ) … you’ll want a “field guide” to spotting what’s what:

A Basic Checklist (in spreadsheet form)

The checklist offers a few versions on how you like your poison 😉

Our new post on how to collect and what’s the current running count of being a completist … a complete completist or an ultra completist …

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: Collectors & Completist 2008

Our older post on collecting?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: How to Collect

As you progress further, you might need or want a guide to understanding what do the three different designs on the front indicate and how complete of a collector you want to be:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: Card Backs

Info on the Blu-Ray Dinoco “Blu” CAR

The LIMITED & EXCLUSIVE Disney Blu-Ray “Blu” Dinoco McQueen

MORE INFORMATION THAN NORMAL

Of course, by now, you’ll want to know everything and plan your budget carefully … Mattel will definitely release 35/36 of the Piston Cup Racers in one massive collector’s set but will they release them in smaller sets? Our speculation on why rioting is probably not necessary:

Mattel Pixar Cars: All the Piston Cup CARS-Speedway of the South Box Set

If you prefer to see some of the cardbacks in a larger file size or to view the two posters for a visual look at the CARS to collect, our FLICKER page is here.

Did you know the Blu-Ray DVD (for HDTV’s) will include a “name-spotter” feature that will let you see the names of 217 CARS within the movie?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect-Part II – 217 CARS?

And while we’re at it – pure speculation on our part as to what might be coming next – some have come true.

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009? Part II

Mattel Pixar Cars: Mia & Tia – All the Possible Variants

Whether you want a nice display case or a plastic box to keep it night and sealed/unopened, here are some links that should point you in the right direction.

How to best display your CARS?

Here’s what my collection looks like so far … just on a bookcase now because I’m using the last “easy assembly” instruction sheet to wrap my RV 🙂 though that Ikea glass case looks like nice and at a great price …

Our Photo Blog

MORE USEFUL INFORMATION

Details on the Mattel sponsorship & CARS charity auction for CAAF (Children Affected by AIDS Foundation):

Mattel Pixar Cars & Children Affected by AIDS Charity Auction

While Frank the Combine on eBay seems enticing, you might want to know that he’s very small and all plastic but there are some other options …

Mattel Pixar CARS Movie: Frank the Combine – eBay Warning

The 2006 Mattel Factory Set …

The Scoop & Our opinion of it and thanks to Noel, some great unboxing photos

Too much money in your bank account – starting collecting the other CARS line …

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NEW Mini Adventures CARS & Playsets

The Sarge Recall:

Mattel Recalls Pixar CARS Sarge Diecast Metal Car

Nothing very insightful about what’s coming but still good to know that CARS is bringing in money and everything is looking smooth.

Mattel Pixar Cars: 3rd Quarter 2007 Earnings-Financial Numbers

CARS 2, THE SEQUEL?

Yes, more speculation & answers on our part but the stars and other things seem to be syncing up for a 2011 sequel:

Pixar CARS 2 Sequel: Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

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Filed under Film, Financial, Marketing, Toys