The Week in Review 1-17-2014


I’ve decided to start doing Friday summary posts about things that happened during the week in the various categories I obsess over. It’s so easy to just let interesting articles, ideas, and discussions march down the social media conveyer belt and off into the darkness. They deserve better.

So here we go, highlights from my week in…



My director/editor, Blake Faucette, is ready to begin putting together sequences for Shoot Again, our pinball documentary. Interviews are basically done now, which brings us to the long quiet editing period. I’m very excited about this film, because the wave of “pinball is back” articles and buzz continues to grow. A co-worker told me he heard a news segment on the radio about it this week, complete with the canoncial Roger Sharpe New York City Council story (where pinball was finally legalized in New York, because Sharpe was able to demonstrate that it was a game of skill). We plan to be right there on the crest of this resurgence, because we acted on the trend early. Oh, and we’ve got Roger Sharpe. 🙂

As far as playing pinball, I’m focused a bit on the old, and on the new. The second machine we ever owned, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, has re-entered our collection. Themed after the 1994 film by the same name, it’s the only pinball machine that ever has or ever will feature Kenneth Branagh. The musical score is what makes me love this machine; it’s the Edgar Winter Frankenstein song and it ROCKS. I’m dividing up my time between that and Stern Pinball’s new Star Trek machine, based on the JJ Abrams reboots. Both are great to play, and it’s nice to bounce back and forth between an older DMD machine and the latest cutting edge razzle-dazzle. I’ve been able to get my initials onto Star Trek, but so far, no such luck with Frankenstein.



I’ve been working this week on a series of newsletters for one of our customer segments. Automated newsletters are a great tool to help keep your company on the mind of perspective clients, especially when the sales cycle is really long (and in this case, it is). The key is to make sure that your emails all provide serious value, so crafting a dozen or so emails that pull this off can be challenging.

Still thinking about gamification a lot right now, too. The UP band has lost its place on my wrist for the time-being. I walked out to get lunch today, even though it was raining, and my bandless self wouldn’t “get credit” for those steps taken. Maybe that’s a good sign. Not for Jawbone, though.

slideshare-brainsWe just got word that our Transparent Language SlideShare account was in the top 1% most viewed of 2013. I’m pretty pleased about that one, especially considering we didn’t even join until May of last year. Our most liked SlideShare was about how language learning will help you in the zombie apocalypse.

I’m also reflecting on what makes a good product demo. This was partly brought about by the sinister success of the Tropico 4 demo discussed below…


Video Games

This week I asked a friend on Steam chat if he had any suggestions for games that might satisfy that “Caesar III” sort of SimCity craving (the announcement this week that SimCity 4 will FINALLY be playable offline is not going to do it; that ship has sailed). He suggested Tropico 4, a tropical island sim with a Cuba feel that came out in 2011. After several hours on the demo version, I purchased the Collector’s Bundle. I guess I have had my fill of survival and zombie games for the moment, and missed the old sim style games I grew up loving. Civ V is NOT proving to be my cup of tea at all, but Tropico 4 is exactly what I was looking for.

Also one night when I was playing Tropico with my son looking on, I started joking about the gold mine I was creating, that I was Dave Turin, building a road through the jungle to get to it (my son watches Gold Rush with us, and Dave is his favorite character). In Tropico, he likes to watch the workers make the buildings, so we were just sitting there watching and I happened to click on the worker. Who happened to be named Peloma Hoffman. If you aren’t familiar with Gold Rush, this season the Hoffman crew is in Guyana, building a gold mine in the jungle. The people in this game are randomly generated, and I very rarely click on them, so the odds of catching a Hoffman building our gold mine are just SO slim. It was really funny.


I’m still popping into Rust when the mood strikes. I guess I just like it for the escape. Literally; I spend almost all my time in Rust trying to escape from hackers and snipers, bears and wolves… and in some rare cases, zombies.



blue-apron-tweetAs I feared, all the recipes from our first Blue Apron delivery were fabulous. It feels like an enormous amount of packaging waste, and you would THINK with a little planning ahead the results could be duplicated. In theory, you’d be right. In practice, things are just a little hectic to hope to pull that off every week, though I would love to try. For now, while we won’t be getting Blue Apron every week, we probably will keep getting now and then. I applaud that you can just tell the system to skip delivery indefinitely, on a week by week basis, without having to cancel. It meant my not cancelling, so that’s a smart account management feature on their part.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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