Texting While Driving Now Illegal

Look out super multi-taskers. As of January 1st, texting while driving is illegal – at least in my home state (Washington). According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, cell phone distractions are responsible for less than one percent of the collisions.

The good news: it’s only a secondary violation, meaning you have to get pulled over first.

The bad news: the greater than 99% causes of collisions are still out there.

The worst news: starting July 1st, talking on your cell phone at all while driving will be illegal unless you use a hands-free device. Hands-free device providers must be excited. Bluetooth even use “Seattle” as the code name for their next generation of hands-free devices.

These new laws will become confusing when the lines between technology begin to blur. What happens when people can receive texts on built-in dashboard LCDs, using voice recognition software to send texts, or even right now when a person uses the speaker function on their cell phone instead of a hands-free device? Judges and officers will also have to define what exactly is texting. What about sending or taking pics with your cell phone, or checking your phone for the time or sending pre-drafted or templated messages that require just one or two clicks?

Personally, I think texting while driving is a bit dangerous, though a quick glance to read an incoming text in Seattle’s typical stop-and-go traffic is not a big deal (no worse then loading in a new cd, checking a map, a crying back-seat baby, or a talkative passenger).

I feel the hands-free law is probably over the line. True, it is safer, but I believe the ability to drive while on the cell phone is up to the drivers ability then anything else. If we want to we want to create blanket laws for all drivers, they might as well outlaw drinking coffee, listening to the radio, talking to a passenger, doing make-up (actually, this one should be a law), picking noses, and reading billboards or bumper stickers while driving.

Radiohead In Rainbow Changing the Music Industry But With Poor Online Execution

I love seeing people using the Internet to change entire industries. Radiohead is geared up to do so by releasing their latest album, In Rainbow, as a download for as little or as much as the fan wants to pay. They are taking a gamble that people won’t download it for free, or they figure those people will find a way to get it for free anyway.

I love the idea and hope the best for Radiohead as this will make a big impact in the music industry, but was a little disappointed after I visited the site. From a search engine and usability standpoint, Radiohead made some major mistakes that might come back to haunt them. Let me list out some of the mistakes and explain the possible implications.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site mistakes:

  • 302 redirected their existing site homepage (radiohead.com) to new site: www.inrainbows.com, but…
  • www.inrainbows.com 302 redirects to www.inrainbows.com/Store/Quickindex.html
  • The more logical site domain, inrainbow.com (no “s”, which matches the album title) wasn’t registered, purchased or used. Instead a domain parker will receive lots of traffic.
  • Title tag for In Rainbow site mainpage is “Radiohead”
  • Site mainpage only has images with no search engine readable text
  • 2nd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • 3rd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • Home links go to the 3rd page
  • Shopping cart very awkward & buggy (keeps losing track of my order)
  • Grammar mistakes confusing
  • Amounts only shown in British Pounds
  • Question mark help icon doesn’t provide any help or explanation
  • There is actually a 1 GBP minimum, that’s $2.04 more than free
  • There is actually a 99 GBP limit. Want to be an extreme fan and buy it for $1,000? Too bad.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site Mistake Implications:

  • With the 302 mistakes, not only are they begging for a search spammer to hijack their site traffic, but they are linking to a page that they will probably change URLs over time.
  • With all the search engine & readability mistakes, they will essentially allow standard retailers and online stores to steal away their direct payment opportunities by allowing them to rank higher for their own album and even site.
  • The usability issues will also turn people back to iTunes or other dealers.
  • Their main site may suffer rank decreases and traffic losses for a long time.
  • The download for free concept won’t be given an honest shot, which may deter other artists like Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, REM, Metallica and other likely candidates from trying a similar experiment.
  • Regardless of the mistakes I list, this will be an effort worth watching for those in the music industry, movie industry or any other industry where self-distribution online could be a big opportunity.

Unknowingly Published

Just found out Andy Beal has created a free SEO eBook based off two years of scholarship entries. There were some educational entries and some funny entries. My entry was all about humor and was shoved near the bottom of the book, despite its popularity because it probably embarassed Andy a bit – heck, I called him a “Master Baiter”. Kudos to Andy for working hard to make the scholarship contest more valuable.

The ebook is availble for a free download here (2.1mb pdf)

In related news, I was recently quoted on Omniture’s iPerceptions integration.

Blogging Excuse: Server Issues and DNS Changes

My blog has been a bit offline due to server issues, DNS changes, sickness & being incredibly busy. I realize not blogging and making excuses is lame, but I just wanted to drop a note that I am still here and the blog is very much alive. In fact, I fully expect a plethora posts in the near future.

Blogging New Year’s Resolution Wake Up Call

March is here and I’m seeing New Year’s resolutions fade left and right. Offline, fitness centers worldwide are emptying out as people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. Online, blogs go empty and stale as their sites are forgotten by their most important user: the blog administrator.

Sadly, I must rope myself into this group. I started 2007 strong, even with posts that actually grabbed the attention of my industry peers (tough to do with a newer blog), but by mid-February, I had failed myself. I didn’t post anything for weeks. I have my excuses: I’ve been terribly busy – which is true, but I can’t let myself off that easy. Why blog if you aren’t committed to at least bi-weekly updates?

So, consider this post my wake-up call and maybe yours, if you’ve fallen to the same trap! I’m at my busiest point of the entire year and will be on the road for the next two weeks, but I’m commited to continue adding my voice to the topics I have chosen to cover (more on my blogging strategy in the next post).