Honor Cyber Monday in Your Heart

And keep it all the year. Or at least until the holiday shipping deadline.

Double_exposureHappy Day After Cyber Monday. If you forgot to celebrate, don’t fret: Cyber Monday has basically become Cyber Week – maybe Cyber Month. Even Black Friday is showing signs of going cyborg. Whereas shoppers in past years traditionally stormed brick and mortar castles, this past Friday saw nearly a nine percent increase in online sales over the previous year. And nearly 47% of all online traffic to retailers this Black Friday was via mobile devices. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you might want to get on that.

Remember the Buffalo Convention of 1908? Player-piano manufacturers met at the Iroquois Hotel in Buffalo to hash out, once and for all, a perforations-per-inch standard for piano rolls. Provided you are neither a player piano manufacturer nor a producer of piano rolls, you can be forgiven for not caring. More than a hundred years later, one could make much the same argument about HTML5, which was officially recommended in October by the Web standards body W3C. Still, even if you’re involved only at the consumption end, it may be worth knowing a bit about the group – and the document – that decides “what is ‘the Web’ and what isn’t.”

More coding-related reading: Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) have been much discussed of late, for their evident limitations as much as their potential benefits. Quincy Larson, writing for the Free Code Camp Blog, offers a more practical perspective, describing his journey from self-taught programmer to working software engineer and sharing some of the detours he wishes he’d avoided along the way.

“A good programmer’s skill set,” Larson writes, “can be described as T-shaped, with shallow knowledge in many areas, but deep knowledge in at least one.” Larson advises self-motivated programmers to find one area of interest and focus their energies on mastering it from the fundamentals on up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn much the same vein, novelist Rachel Toor, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, shares some great advice for becoming a more productive writer. Not surprisingly, a lot of it amounts to spending time writing (or at least trying to). It’s about habits and practices, not tricks and shortcuts. That said, there are some potent reminders here that are well worth printing out and keeping near your “lucky fountain pen.”

We may be nearing the end of the year, but list-making season is just beginning. Adweek got out of the blocks quickly with their top 10 ads of 2014. Top honors went to Newcastle Brown Ale’s Super Bowl anti-ad campaign “If We Made It,” a series of ads about an unmade ad that really wasn’t made and really didn’t run during the Super Bowl.

Sound complicated? Cleanse your palate with these “Awkward Family Viewing” ads from SS+K for HBO Go (#8 on the Adweek list), which manage to actually tout a feature (“Far, far away from your parents”) while they entertain.

HBO GO – Awkward Family Viewing – First Cousins from SS+K on Vimeo.

Double exposure photo by Sinbad 28 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADouble_exposure.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.

Fountain pen photo by MAKY.OREL (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFountain_pen_pelikan_writting_write.JPG) via Wikimedia Commons.