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Archive for November, 2012


When Advertising Goes Wrong

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I am on the record as being a fan of viewable impressions. Similarly, I am a fan of fewer units to make more money. I am also on the record as recognizing that there is an element of prisoners dilemma in the programmatic sale of ad space in that if you constrain supply and someone else doesn’t, your creation of value may inadvertently create value for them in a way that hurts you at some level.

But I went to the web site for the first time in forever and what I found offended me:

Yow, that is uncomfortable. I count 4 300×250’s and another ad unit across the bottom. Every one of these is Google remnant. So is basically becoming a bad actor here. Furthermore, you will notice that the article I was reading they paginated. That’s right, this was one of two pages. So for 500 words, I saw 10 ads. I think that is worse than a regular newspaper. I am virtually ready to get on-board with the ad blocker guys after seeing this. The user experience here is absolutely terrible.

I would love someone at to comment on what CPMs are like for these different units and how they justify this user experience. It is hard to imagine that anyone likes visiting their site. Frankly, this is an example, in my mind, of the worst kind of web site. A wave of sharing links, a wave of related articles, the formatting at the end of the article reflects a lack of attention to detail. Bleh.

Questions to ask at a parent teacher conference

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I have a first grader and I took my parent teacher conference fairly seriously. After reading many, many sites on questions to ask, this was my list. I wanted to record it for the permanent record in case I need it again or it can help other parents.

  • How is my child doing academically in your class?
  • How is my child doing in relation to the rest of the class? (Is my child performing in the top 25 percent? Top 10 percent?
  • What grade level is my student working on?  Is my student at grade level in reading and math?  How about the other subjects?
  • Is my student in different classes or groups for different subjects? Which ones? How are the groups determined?
  • What do you see as my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What subject does my student like most? Least?
  • Is my student working to the best of his ability?
  • Does my child exhibit a good attitude toward learning? Does my child make a good effort on assignments and turn in completed assignments?
  • Do you feel my child is breezing through class assignments with little or no effort?
  • Could you make class assignments that are more challenging for my child?
  • Does my child stay on task well or need frequent reminders? Has my child been developing good work habits?  Does my child finish what he starts? If she asks to make a project, does she complete it or become bored easily? What is his attention span? Can my child follow complex instructions (two or more steps…first this, then that)? Sometimes, children need additional explanation or prefer a certain learning style.
  • How do you view my child’s emotional and social skills?
  • How does my child do with working in groups and working independently?
  • Does my child participate in class? Does my child behave in class?
  • How Does My Child Interact With Other Children? This question is somewhat vague, so you may want to build on it based on the initial answer received. What you really want to know is if and how your child socializes with others. If your child is shy or does more self-play than group-play, follow up with questions about whether this is normal for your child’s age or if there are any special concerns.
  • Who Are My Child’s Friends? Ask about your child’s friend preferences. The information may prove valuable for play dates or parties, but also helps to give parents a better idea of a child’s sociability.
  • Have you noticed any issues that need to be addressed or interests to be encouraged?
  • Have you noticed changes in the way my student acts? For example, have you noticed squinting, tiredness, or moodiness that might be a sign of physical or other problems?