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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Jan. 5, 2024

Hoping you had a great holiday season, that your new year is off to a strong start, and that you didn’t miss me last week.  I took a couple of days off and the few that I was here in the office, there wasn’t much interesting come through the old inbox. So, I figured I’d give you a break.  That said, it was still rather quiet this week, although I do have some well-timed pieces about gift cards and lost luggage, considering the just-ended travel and gift season.  Enjoy!

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Lost Luggage

When we went to Vegas a few weeks ago, Nancy left her Kindle on the plane.  Of course, she didn’t realize this until we were in the Uber to the hotel. Once we got checked in, I got online and filled out a form on the Frontier (it was the only direct flight out there) website.   What flight #, what destination city, what device, what serial number… but not the (to me) obvious question- what seat?  Anyhow, I waited a week for the promised update, and they still hadn’t found it.  Being Christmas, I figured I’d replace it for her.  Another week and I got the second promised update- still nothing, and “we’re closing the case.”  The new Kindle appeared the following day- perfect timing.  And the next day, I got an update that they’d found the original.  Of course. As it happens, there’s a store in Alabama that sells all of the lost and unclaimed baggage that airlines find. Who knew?  I wonder if anybody has ever purchased their own lost items?

Gift Cards

I’ve never been a fan of gift cards, as I think they’re a bit of a cop out. If you don’t know the person AT ALL, then maybe they’re ok. But why not put a little thought into it?   Then there’s the fact that we get them, set them aside, and forget about them.  If you’ve ever wondered what happens to all that gift card money that doesn’t get spent, now you can find out.  

Hacked Webcams

It’s long been known that IP webcams are one of the most easily and commonly hacked internet of things (IoT) devices.  Recent news shows that the Russian military has been hacking into Ukranian home security cameras and changing the viewing angles to help with their bombing missions.  This is a good reminder that IoT devices which often have very minimal default security settings can be of great interest to others, for a variety of reasons. Make sure to change your passwords and update the firmware as often as is possible. 

Trust But Verify

As with many offices and businesses, we have a few catch phrases that everybody knows and is expected to live by.  One of ours is “trust but verify” (thanks to my old high school classmate Rick Ainsworth for reminding me that Ronald Reagan popularized that statement), and in this day and age of AI and mis-/disinformation, it’s probably a rule that everybody should live by.  I’m sure this will be the first of many pieces about foreign governments trying to influence the 2024 elections through fake media and social media sites.  If you want to trust everything you read, have at it.  But at least verify it through another source or two.

Smartglasses

If you have any leftover gift cards to spend, you can always investigate a new pair of smartglasses.  I got two different items in my inbox this week so I figured I should share with you.  One is a review of Amazon’s Echo Frames, while the second was a bit about Ray-Ban’s entry (thanks to Meta) into the smartglasses market (which, per the review, are significantly better than Amazon’s product)

 

Nancy's Nuggets

Back when I was working with a digital marketing firm (2011-2014), we tried introducing the use of QR codes and mobile websites.  One of our first clients was the stone and tile company where Nancy was working at the time.  We threw a big QR code on the side of their delivery van and made a cool mobile website, but it never really took off. Guess we were too far ahead of our time.  Now, the Indiana Pacers have become the first major pro sports team in the US to have a QR code on their jerseys.  I hope they’re standing still. 

That’s all for this week.  Getting this out just in time for puck drop of the World Junior Hockey Championships (WJC) gold medal game between the US and Sweden (taking place in Goteborg, Sweden, this year).  Considering that this is always some of the most exciting hockey in the world, it’s a shame that it’s only aired on the NHL Network.  So, I’ll be following along on X as the US looks to win their sixth ever WJC championship. And if they do, tradition says they’ll be singing this song in the locker room.

 

Otherwise, it looks to be a quiet weekend, aside from taking down Christmas decorations and watching the Browns 5th string team (now known as ‘starters’) play a meaningless pre-playoff game.

Hope you have something fun planned!

Abbey

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