Monday, January 23, 2012

Great advertising is everywhere - if you know where to look


Here is the latest masterwork in my oeuvre - as I continue to test my microphone and iMovie.

I swear: if I can keep this up, in just 25 years I'll be as good as lonelygirl15.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zinio: the easiest way to read a digital magazine

A screencast about a digital magazine reader? How po-mo of me.

As our first-year students embark on a tradition dating back to before even I was a student - "the magazine project" - I hope that they take heart at knowing that this might be one of the last years we care about whether they print it or even call it a "magazine" (I hope - I'm starting to feel like I'm trying to sell Gutenberg a stone tablet).

As the magazine stand at 7-Eleven continues to shrink and print pubs continue to fold, I thank Zinio for keeping the magazine-reading experience alive and well on my laptop, iPad, and iPhone.

Zinio bills itself as "the world's largest newsstand and bookstore," allowing you to subscribe, search, read, share, save, and sync magazine content. 

You can buy the Zinio app for iPhone and iPad in the App Store, or download the Zinio Reader for your laptop.

Screencasting for dummies (like me)

By the way, the embedded video above is my very first screencast, as you can tell by my "ummms" and "tsks."

I made it using the trial version of the Snapz Pro X software, which is pretty cool if you can get past having to wear the nerdy microphone headgear ("roger, roger!"). To post it here, I simply recorded it on my laptop using the software, uploaded it to Vimeo (YouTube works too, but I hate it), and used the embed code to show it on my blog.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your mission in '12, should you accept it

We've shattered the mission-statement glass ceiling.

Every year, my PR students write a mission statement for our class. Each student composes one, I shortlist the candidates to five or six, and the class votes on them. The winning mission statement is our reason for being and motivating force for the semester.

This year - with help from student Scott "The Hatchet" Best on shortlist duty - the class selected the mission statement written by Jennifer Thiessen, which is the first time that a woman has taken her place on the Mission Statement Wall of Fame - a well-deserved and long-overdue distinction.

The PR-class mission statement Wall of Fame:

"To learn Kenton's ways so that we may one day take his place."
- Ray Brickwood (class of '08)

"You can't spell party without PR."
- Will Cooke (class of '09)

"Share some laughs, share some beers, share some work (just kidding, that's plagiarism!). Share some tears, shake some hands, walk away the better for it all."
- Thor Blondal (class of '10)

"To propagate, not contaminate."
- Eman Agpalza (class of '11)

"To systematically break down students' will and character, then rebuild them as indestructible PR robots (or PRobots)."
- Jaremy Ediger (class of '12)

"Our mission is to be creative, unlike this mission statement."
- Jennifer Thiessen (class of '13)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Know yer online copyright law

Intelligence borrows, genius steals. I know because I stole that line from some guy. 

This week at CMU was a master's class in online copyright and plagiarism in which I learned much about the murky world of copyright, lawyers, guns, and money. Hint: guns and money aren't as bad as lawyers.

Your resources:

1. Website for the great doc, Copyright Criminals.

2. Online copyright quiz.

3. Indiana U's "How to recognize plagiarism," online test, and official plagiarism certificate making you a certified plagiarist. Or something. Every student at Indiana U must take - and ace - the test, which constitutes understanding and compliance of the school's guidelines.

4. How to use and cite Creative Commons resources.

5. Taking the mystery out of Creative Commons Licenses.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A dozen new words to the wise-ass

 Do all the work. Pay us. F- off. (See number 12).

1. Anticipointment - Awaiting inevitable disappointment. 

2. Anuary - January: the month you freeze your arse off.

3. Barbadass - Arriving back from Barbados with a larger "trunk" than when you left.

4. Deutschbag - The place you put your German garbage.

5. Enterpride - Bragging about your new business.

6. Fistmas - The day you open presents and feel depressed.

7. Kention - Thanks for the shout-out!

8. Misfaithed - "I have utmost faith in this policy." "It is misfaithed, bonehead."
9. Quilty - Feeling bad that you have no marketable skills when someone gives you an elaborate, homemade quilt.

10. Ricktum - Body part found near the caucus. 

11. Scamsung - A Samsung product that looks like an Apple product.

12. Self-Serving Checkout - The checkout at Sobeys, where the store gets you to do all the work and gives you no pay.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ted Kennedy's blurry head: a Fotobabble

You've seen the photo, now hear me babble. 

I've been fooling around with Fotobabble for my Master's, and it's a load of fun. Upload your photos, narrate, embed, sit back, and wait for the money to pour in. 

Visit the website or download the app now. Students: might make for an awesome first blog post of the semester. Hint, hint.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Remembering my uncle Charlie

 Charlie Camilleri, from

My uncle, Charlie Camilleri, passed away in Toronto on Dec. 23. He is remembered as a war veteran, a two-time Grey Cup winner with the Argos ('46 and '47), and an executive with CBS records.

To me, he was uncle Charlie of "my Toronto family," famous for mailing us a giant package of records at Christmastime, hanging out with Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, and Pink Floyd, going to every sporting event in town, and - get this - having a backyard swimming pool.

I remember my uncle as the funny guy who had a quip and opinion for every occasion. He delivered my favorite on a road trip to Niagara Falls, as we passed Hamilton, ON: "It looks like Independence Day after the aliens hit."

His banter with his sons is legendary in my family:

Charlie (to my cousin Ron): You need to exercise more.
Ron: Dad, I played golf yesterday and carried my clubs for 18 holes.
Charlie: You should have carried the cart.

My cousins once made fun of my uncle's plaid shorts and said they would be too embarrassed to sit with him at a Blue Jays game. After delivering a barrage of insults back at them, he disappeared for a bit, and walked back into the room, ready for the game in a new pair of pants.

I'll miss him.

Obit from the Toronto Star:

On December 23, after a long illness, Charles passed away in his 88th year. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Margaret, sons Rick and Ron, and grandson Spencer. Charles will be greatly missed by his nephews, niece and relatives as he reunites with his parents Joseph and Mary and brothers Michael and Vincent.

After serving in WWII, Charlie returned home and joined his beloved Toronto Argonauts where he found teammates for life. He was rewarded with two Grey Cup wins. He now reunites with some of his legendary teammates. He also played and won a Canadian softball championship with People’s Credit Jewellers giving him two pro sports championships in the same year.

After his athletics, he enjoyed a wonderful career with CBS Records where for decades he was loved by his fellow employees and artists alike. He retired from CBS to home life. He will be remembered for his enduring friendships and dedication to the people around him.

Charity also played an vital role in his life as he served for many years with the Variety Club of Canada, also being awarded the prestigious Heart Award. The family will be holding a private service and a celebration of Charlie╩╝s life in the new year. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.

The man, the dog, and the escort next door: just another New Year's Eve in Grand Forks

What's the catch?

You haven't enjoyed New Year's Eve until you've spent it in a cheap Grand Forks motor hotel with paper-thin walls.

I did some years ago, and it was magical. The plan was to head down to the U.S. with my then-girlfriend, do some shopping, go to a happenin' bar, and call it a New Year.

Instead, there was a blizzard, the stores and bars closed, and we spent the entire weekend in a miserable, little hotel room, listening to our next-door neighbor and his dog.

Sample overheard conversation:
Dog: Bark, bark bark!
Man: Stop your barking!
Dog: Bark, bark, bark!
Man: Get back in your house.
Dog: Whimper. 
On New Year's Eve, there was a knock at our neighbor's door. We pressed our ear to the wall to learn that our neighbor had ordered up his very own Grand Forks escort. They agreed on a price.
Man: "I'll get ready. Be right back."
Sound of the neighbor's bathroom door opening and closing. Quiet, followed by the sound of the door re-opening.
"Well, what do you think?" asked the man, now wearing...we could only imagine.
"Lookin' good, dude!" responded the escort, mustering all of the phony enthusiasm she possibly could after what was probably a long, long day of answering the same question in countless other hotel rooms. 
The dog continued to bark.

Fearing a sound-picture we would never forget, we left our room and waited in the hotel lobby long enough to come up with a moral to the story: maybe dog isn't man's best friend.

Update: Jan. 14 - Looks like North Dakota took my story to heart