Author Archives: mediainmind

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind."

Microsoft’s Truly Awful Tech Support

Two days ago I went online and purchased Office 365 for Mac (2016) and downloaded it. But when I tried to open any of the apps (Word, Excel, etc.) none of them would launch. I got a pop-up that said “Invalid” and when I clicked on “More” got a window full of alphanumeric code. I saw something about “library” in there.

I tried to access MS’s online chat and after a long session we tried deleting various files, deleting all the Office apps and reinstalling Office. No luck. I went through this process twice.

I got another, supposedly higher up tech person. He was going to have me repeat all that and I let him know it had all been tried. Could we please just download Office 2011 for Mac, which I had deleted on the advice of my first techie. He navigated me to the appropriate web page and started the download. When we were all done it turned out we had Office 365 for Mac 2016 all over again!!!

The last tech sent me an email apologizing for the problem. He gave me both n 800 number to call and a support website URL. I tried the phone and got nothing but a continual outgoing message to go to the support website. No advice of my call being answered by a real person, no telling me I was in a queue position. So I ended the call and tried the support website, which put me through the same bunch of crap as my first two tech “support” attempts. And its responses to my inputs told me it was clearly some kind of AI robot, not a real person, as it clearly never read my original message.

I am now downloading the Apple apps for the MS files I have used up to now (Pages, Numbers, etc.) and as far as I’m concerned Microsoft can go bankrupt.

Reining In Smart Phones

I want to thank my niece for bringing this article in “The Guardian” to my attention. It’s an excellent look at how some of the inventors of high tech tools we use and overuse are taking steps to wean themselves off those very tools and protect their families from them.


Box Office & Ticket Prices

So my wife and I went to the movies last Saturday. We’re of an age that entitles us to senior citizen discounts, and at our local Laemmle Theater I’ve been accustomed to getting change back from a $20 bill for two tickets to spend on refreshments. No longer. Try AMC or Regal/Edwards and it’s even worse.

I read the various entertainment industry trades like Hollywood Reporter and as a subscriber to the L.A. Times I get exposed to their fairly extensive entertainment industry coverage. Often of late I see articles about the decline in box office, along with various theories as to why this is happening.

What I do not see is any discussion of the role that the rise in ticket prices plays in the decline in attendance. And if you ask me, high ticket prices are a top-tier reason for poor attendance. Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie…these and many others like them (and I admire all of the ones I mentioned for their talents) are getting totally outrageous salaries to appear in movies whose ticket prices keep going up and up and up on an elevator with no top floor. Well, I submit the top floor got reached a few years ago and Hollywood has yet to wake up and notice that there’s no longer a still-higher floor in their ticket price skyscraper.

The studios seem to think that as attendance goes down, prices must rise. (They must be following the electrical utilities pricing model in our era of more off-grid supply; people need less, so we have to charge more.) In the very short term it makes sense. But the short term ended a while back. We’re in the future now, and the future of movie box office is starting to look a lot like the sets of Blade Runner 2049. Simply put, the ecology is not sustainable.


Die, Twin Peaks, Die!

The worst TV series I’ve ever watched is now over. The two-part finale that aired this past Sunday epitomized all the poorly conceived ideas and brainless writing that have manifested all season long. Undecipherable plot threads, ambiguous dialog, horrible special effects, wasted acting talent, the list goes on.

The exercise is now over, thankfully. And if anyone ever pulls the trigger on another season of this swill, they should be encouraged to make a career change to cleaning toilets.

I watched to the bitter end out of a sense of fascination and the duty to watch the whole thing before rendering a final critique. Now, my masochistic streak has been satisfied for the next 20 years or so. It was a terrible show. May such never happen again.

Mr. Lynch has hung himself with this expensive travesty. Showtime should be ashamed.

More about Online Ads

Well, since my rant about Time magazine, the problem has gone away!

Now there’s a new problem from some outfit called “Ads by MapsScout” and I hate these people with a full, rich hatred. It seems every time I open a new tab I get a pop-up ad in the lower right corner with a timer that starts at 10 seconds and must run down to 0 before an “X” appears that lets me shut the damned ad off.

A pox on these people and any company that employs their services.

Time magazine all-time award winner for intrusive web advertising

I’ve had it with Time. They have finally gone over the edge with their website ad practices. Video ads that always started up could be paused before they finished. No longer. Now I have to watch the whole damned ad before I can use pause.

The smaller video ads that always popped up down on the lower right of the page with an “X” in the upper right corner could be deleted by pressing the X. Try that now and the ad instead follows your cursor all over the page.

Time magazine, you truly are paragons of intrusion. You are evil. I teach courses in advertising and marketing and I will now use you as an example of what NOT to do in advertising and electronic media. May you rot in h$##.

App Anxiety

You mental health may well be at risk if you are succumbing too often and too much to the siren call of your favorite social media app(s). Apparently our biology is having trouble adapting to the new app-reality, so our brains are chemically trying to compensate–and not having much success. Have a look at this article:

Cal State University professor Larry Rosen is quoted: “We have kind of dug ourselves into a hole where we feel the need to check in often [on social media]. You’re constantly feeling this urge or need.”

And if you fail to scratch that itch, you get anxious, thanks to brain chemistry.

Article author Denisse Moreno notes, “Once you start feeling the need to look at your social apps, you’ll start showing signs like palm sweat, armpit sweat or butterflies in your stomach, depending on how your body usually reacts when you’re nervous. Because of those feelings, you give in and end up checking your social media to make the anxiety go away.”

The solution? Control the chemistry. But that may be easier said than done….

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