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Archive: 23 September 2003

Signs and Importants

Spotted in and around Cedar Falls, Iowa:

  • The license plate 007 JFK.  Because Iowa plates are formatted as three numbers followed by three letters, this is likely a random occurence instead of a vanity plate; typically vanity plates aren’t allowed to be in the same format as the random plate series, for fear of platespace collisions.  Maybe that was a poor choice of words.
  • Two minutes later, a license plate reading 152 EGO.
  • A sign attached to a traffic light stating “OBEY ONLY YOUR SIGNAL.”  The one the CIA transmits via my fillings, or just the one I get on the car radio?  (The same signs were later spotted in the Chicago area.)
  • A gas station called “Kum ‘n’ Go.”  Seriously.  It has great big signs at each station reading “PAY AT PUMP.”
  • A whole bunch of people (as in a few dozen) standing around the downtown Cedar Falls area with nametags on their chests and clipboards in hand, looking at the buildings and putting pencil to paper.  It turns out they were design students studying the downtown, which is award-winning, but it was still just a tad creepy.  I couldn’t help wondering if they were collecting information for TIPS or not.

Spotted in the Minneapolis International Airport:

  • Restaurants called “Miami Subs” and “Malibu Al’s” adjacent to each other.  Doubtless they were related, probably had the same owner, but it was still strange to see in Minnesota—particularly since elsewhere in the airport I passed a “Maui Tacos.”
  • Pay-to-surf WiFi.  I thought about ponying up the money just so I could use Airport in the airport, but my cheapitude got the better of me.

I also noticed a lot of attention being paid to Jeff Veen’s article on the business benefits of standards, coincidentally published on the same day I delivered a talk on that very subject at the University of Northern Iowa.  Jeff’s piece is a great overview of why using standards can save you money, so if you haven’t read it, you should; this is an important and often overlooked aspect of the whole standards movement, even though it’s the thing that is most likely to drive more standards adoption.  Tristan Nitot published an article with a very similar title on DevEdge back in February, and it might be worth revisiting.  Of course, I believe so strongly in this that I founded a consultancy with a core goal of helping organizations figure out how to save money by better using standards in their Web sites, both internal and external.

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