Archive for February, 2008

links for 2008-02-24

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

links for 2008-02-21

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

I’ve never been the “play it cool” type anyway

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I’m not even going to pretend for a second that I don’t think this is super-cool:

We found that the page with highest rate of entering and then exiting quickly was our homepage,” says Kate O’Neill, director of customer experience and product development, “And it was happening at such an alarming rate. We needed to find a way to engage people, so we started experimenting.
[...] will continue to test to see how they can personalize and cater to these segments in the future. “In the coming months, we will take yet a closer look at segmentation. We want to be able to give our customers different channels to explore and offer them what they might be looking for in real time. It’s all about customizing the user experience,” says O’Neill.

And I’ve been asked to speak at the Circulation Management conference in Chicago in June.

No lie, this is fun stuff.

Wondering what to do for Valentine’s Day? (In the Nashville area, that is)

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

I bet there are a lot of posts out there that offer suggestions for how to spend your chilly February 14th, and ordinarily mine would be “stay snuggled up in bed” but since my mom is going to be in town, I needed something a little better suited to mixed company. So here’s my suggestion:

Valentine Celebration

Matraca Berg - Suzy Bogguss - Raul Malo - Gretchen Peters
with Orchestra Nashville - Paul Gambill, conductor

Grace Chapel
in Leiper’s Fork

We’re actually going to the Friday night show, and I’m sure it’ll be amazing. Gretchen, as I’ve mentioned once or twice before, lives in our neighborhood and is a fantastic songwriter. Matraca Berg is, well, only one of my songwriting heros, and Suzy Bogguss and Raul Malo are wonderful singers and songwriters whom I respect and admire very much.

And what’s even more wonderful is this: the publicist for the show has offered a 15% discount for folks using the promo code ‘honeybowtie’. Seems he saw my link posted a few weeks ago and wanted to reassure me that it would indeed be “something good to do.”

I told my mom, and she’s excited. Karsten and I can’t wait.

And I hope to see you there, too!

Haven’t thought about that in a while

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Oddly enough, a Google news alert for “kate o’neill” brought me to this topic in the bisexual community over at LiveJournal. Turns out no one was talking about me — the “kate” came from “Kate Winslet” and the “o’neill” from “Chris O’Neill” — but in a way, they kind of were, in a strange coincidence.

The discussion was around the list of movies in the Bisexual category at Netflix, and whether the titles constituted a good set, or were just stereotypes. Some commenters had already made the case that they were, for the most part, a good set, which I appreciated… since I’m the one who put the list together.

I left the following comment:

I’m the person who initially put together the list of bisexual movies for Netflix. I was the content manager there in 2000-2001, and I created the Bisexual subgenre within the content database, gradually populating it over time with titles that I (as a bisexual person) recognized as pertaining in some way to bisexuality, because they either feature an openly bi character, have some fluidity of sexuality within the story, are mentioned in Wayne Bryant’s wonderful book “Bisexual Characters in Film,” or seemed relevant in some other way.

I certainly understand if they seem random; I thought it would be preferable to have a broader category than one that missed the breadth of representation of bisexuality, for better or worse.

The internet is such a small world.

links for 2008-02-11

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Sneezy Sunday

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

I have got to stop being sick just to get some downtime. I mean, no, I’m not getting sick intentionally, but the net effect of being sick is that I get to be low-key, which ends up being kind of nice (if you overlook the whole watery-eyes, runny-nose, sneezing, coughing, headache-y, feverish part), but it shouldn’t take being sick to relax, right? Right.

Ugh. Pass the tissue and aspirin, please. And a blanket. I’m chillin’ out over here, literally.

links for 2008-02-10

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Birthday present - for both of us

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Birthday present

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

Around the middle of December, Karsten was getting ready to start making visual art again after a long, intense period of house renovation, and in the middle of a period of exhaustion and depression, he needed a comfortable project to ease him back into it. Unfortunately, he’d also gotten his mind set on oil painting, which is a medium he’d done almost nothing with since art school.

I’m no artist, and I know almost nothing about oil painting except what I’d learned from Karsten while he’d been doing research, but I do know projects and I know how complexity compounds difficulty in execution. And I know Karsten, and how ready he is to feel bad about himself when something he tries doesn’t go quite right.

So I was worried that he would take on a painting project that would require a lot of skill with oil paint and he’d get frustrated and disappointed in himself. I tried to help him think of something that would reduce the variables in the process: we talked about copying an image from somewhere else and doing it in solid tones. The thought was that not having to work from an entirely original concept seemed like it would reduce the risk of losing faith in his own artistic vision due to medium complications, and not having to make elaborate color mixing decisions seemed like it would reduce the complexity of the painting and leave him to get familiar with other elements of technique, such as the application of the paint itself.

And then I happened across a print in a Chiasso catalog (which is seemingly no longer available). It was orange and white, like the colors I’m starting to use in my new home office concept, and featured a simple silhouette of a vine. I really liked it, but I thought it lacked a sense of animate life and needed a perched bird to be truly perfect. And I saw a wonderful multi-effect opportunity emerging.

When I asked Karsten if he thought he could paint the picture for me, he was unsure if he was up to the challenge. That was his fatigue and depression talking, of course, and I did worry that he might not be ready to try it, and that if he tried and felt like he failed, he’d be crushed, but he agreed to give it a try so I crossed my fingers.

It took several weeks, and I got to peek at it during the process, and it was always just as wonderful as I hoped.

He presented it to me a few weeks ago, and I have it sitting on a shelf in my home office, waiting until we finish painting the walls from their current dirty-pepto-bismol-pink to a simple crisp white before we hang it.

You can see how it fits in with some of my office accessories in this picture.

I just love it. It’s about the best birthday present I can imagine, for so many reasons — not least of which is that Karsten now has so much more confidence about taking the next step with painting. So maybe it’s sort of a present for him, too.

The fieldstone effect

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Detail of front walkway at gate
Detail of front walkway at gate,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

One of the interesting things about getting deep into any major project, like renovating a house and yard, is that new metaphors sometimes emerge throughout the process. For me, one of the best new metaphors to come out of the work we’ve been doing in the front yard is the idea of replacing the paved sidewalk around the house with a fieldstone walkway: the paved sidewalk, not only visually incongruent with such an old and charming house, encourages brisk walking, whereas the fieldstone walkway with all its inconsistencies in level and varied surfaces nearly forces the walker to slow down and look around at the garden and the house.

It’s not uncommon for Karsten or me to make references now to the “fieldstone” effect in our lives, of something having a welcoming slowing-down effect. I really love that about this house, and I’m also happy that Karsten and I can both appreciate what that does for our quality of life.

See? As much work and expense as this house has been, it’s actually rewarding us in unexpected and deeply meaningful ways. I wouldn’t trade a moment or a penny of what we’ve invested in it.

And I’m not even nervous, really.

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

All of a sudden, I’m finding myself with several public speaking (or teaching) opportunities. Next week, my former boss, who is now teaching an e-commerce class at Vanderbilt, wants me to step in and teach two of his classes while he’s out of town. So after next week, I can add to my resume “taught classes at Vanderbilt.” Weird.

And based on some work I’ve been doing at, I’m going to be presenting at a subscription marketing summit in New York in May, and there’s a possibility I’ll be making a very similar presentation at a vendor conference in Salt Lake City in March.

I’m pretty happy about it — I do like public speaking and teaching. It’s just funny how I’ve gone quite a while not doing any of it, and now I’ll be doing (relatively) a lot of it in the next few months.

Why it’s not easy to get anything done in my home office on Saturday mornings

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Why it’s not easy to get anything done in my home office on Saturday mornings

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

Do you (MS) Yahoo!?

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Clearly, Microsoft looking to acquire Yahoo! suggests a direct run at Google. And I’ve heard rumblings from people over the years about various Yahoo! products being superior to their Google counterparts: Y! mail, for instance, lead Gmail in innovations for quite some time before Gmail started catching up again late last year. And I’ve heard only good things about Yahoo!’s User Interface Library, though I personally haven’t spent a lot of time investigating it.

But MS and Yahoo! both have struggled to capture the public’s imagination nearly as much as Google continually does. It looks like a long shot to me. But if I were making the decisions at MS, I would absolutely do it. If nothing else, Yahoo! is a far less hated brand than almost anything Microsoft owns. Heck, that’s got to be worth millions all by itself.