Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Wow, it has been over two months since I last posted. In some ways, I feel bad about that, but it's really just an indication of how busy I have been at Parallel Path.

Because of this busyness, I was determined to spend the Thanksgiving weekend 'unplugged' and not working, and to get in some quality time with my family. And it worked out just as I had hoped, with lots of throwing the football around, playing kickball, and generally goofing off. One of the highlights was on Friday, when the boys and I (and some other family members) spent the day shooting rockets. It was a beautiful, clear day with no wind; perfect for rockets.

As regular readers of this blog know, for many years I put on Big Science Saturday for the boys. That has waned quite a bit, but we still seem to find time for fun and practical applications of science, and launching rockets is a perfect example. We have been launching rockets (of theEstes variety) off and on for a couple of years now.

What was particularly fun about this launch is that we have started to experiment with getting the rockets to do fun things they weren't necessarily designed for. By doing so, I hope the boys start learning about some of the basic physics involved in rocket flight.

This weekend we experimented with launching an 'astronaut' in the rocket. The astronaut was made from Legos, and you can kind of see him in the lower left of
this photo (thanks to Pawel for all of the pics):

The Lego astronaut had his own parachute that deployed separately from the rocket's recovery chute. We then went through several launch cycles, first by Maddox:

... then by Ryan:

I'm not sure the boys learned much about rocket physics through the activity, but they did learn what happens when you don't put enough protective wadding between the rocket motor and your astronaut. We ended up with a very scorched astronaut dude:

Overall, a tremendous day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Mac Hijinks

Yes, yet another Mac vs. Windows post. Sorry, but I just keep stumbling across interesting stuff.

A while ago I posted on the Apple TV ads that beat up on Windows. Well, it turns out that Apple doesn't confine their shots to their advertising. I stumbled across a subtle shot embedded in my new Snow Leopard operating system update.

One of the few new (visible) features in Snow Leopard is that the cover flow view is integrated into the Finder window. This provides a cool way to quickly view the files and subfolders in a folder. Here's an example:

Today I was looking for some documents on our corporate network using this Finder view. When I viewed the network, I saw several servers in the Finder window:

The first couple of times I saw this view, it didn't occur to me that these images were intended to represent Windows servers. When I realized this, I wondered what the text might be on the screens, so I blew it up:

You may not be able to see the detail, but it's the Windows blue screen of death!

They never miss an opportunity to take a swing. I love it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Twitter silliness

I use a web monitoring tool called Filtrbox to search for certain phrases across websites, Twitter, blogs, and other social media. It provides broader and fresher results than Google Alerts, which I used to use, and makes Filtrbox a terrific real-time market intelligence tool.

One of the keyword phrases I monitor is my employer's name, Parallel Path. The daily results of this search have highlighted a thread that has been going through Twitter for weeks that is unrelated to my company. The following phrase has been tweeted hundreds of times over the last several weeks:

It appears in various forms of grammatical construction, but the concept is always the same.

I have to admit that I don't get it. At multiple levels, I don't get it. But clearly, the following people do:

@redd_foxx (I thought he was dead. Tweeting from beyond the grave?)
@WhYYuOnMy****GG (Word removed by FCC censors.)

These are people that have tweeted the phrase in the last few days, some several times. The first tweet I saw of this was on July 18, so this has been somewhat viral for over a month.

Quantcast estimates the current demographic profile of Twitter users as follows:

Clearly, I'm not squarely in the demographic center of Twitter users (as compared to the Internet average). I'm not a female African American and I'm on the older side. When I look at some of those Twitter account names above, that mimatch is certainly reinforced. My Twitter account, @tearles, just doesn't fit on the same list with @sKAY_shesPoppin or @MzCitaBaby.

I guess that explains why I just don't get it. (But it highlights to me the beauty of Twitter as a communication medium and marketing tool. That's for another post ...)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Microsoft v. Apple - They Both Win

(I know it has been a very long time since my last post. The main reason for that is that my work, which I am enjoying immensely, is keeping me very busy. However, I have been thinking about this topic for a while, and it's time for me to actually post about it.)

I had a recent experience with my Mac that reminded me why I own one. But before I get to that, I'd like to discuss what I like about Microsoft or, more specifically, what I like about their new advertising campaign:

Almost a year ago, I posted that I enjoyed and appreciated the "I'm a PC" campaign from Microsoft, a campaign created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Crispin Porter excels at communicating both the essence of brand and the value a product delivers to customers. In this case, they're doing the latter, highlighting the configurability of Windows-based machines, so you only pay for exactly what you want. In every commercial, they take a direct swipe at Apple by pointing out that, to get just what you want from Apple, you would need to pay much more than a PC would cost. It's a powerful campaign, and does what I have always tried to do in marketing: highlight my product's strengths while moderating its weaknesses.

Here's another thing that I enjoy about these new ads. I love that Microsoft and Apple are actively bashing each other. Apple has been plugging away at Microsoft for a long time with their "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads, and this is the first example of an effective counterpunch from Microsoft. Why do I like this? Because this kind of competition is great for consumers like you and me.

Now, will these ads make me buy a PC? No way, and a recent experience will show why. My wife's sister-in-law celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary, and the family was asked to submit video wishes to the couple. We decided to make a goofy video about an episode from the couple's past. We shot about 10 minutes of very loosely scripted video, and I imported that into Apple iMovie. I then edited it down, inserted opening titles and closing credits, overlayed intro music, and inserted transition effects. I had never done anything like this, and it took all of about an hour. If you'd like to see the video, here it is. (However, it's full of family inside jokes, so I'm not sure you'll appreciate the humor.) [I just noticed that the embedded video doesn't format correctly in either Firefox or Safari. If you'd like to see it on the YouTube site, you'll find it here.]

How does this illustrate why I wouldn't own a PC? Couldn't I do this on a PC? Sure. But I'd have to research the software required to do movie editing, go buy it, install it, figure out how to use it, make sure I had the correct drivers for my camcorder, etc. With a Mac, it was all there, it all worked, and it was intuitively easy.

This was all done on my work laptop, by the way. If I were one of the people on the PC commercials, I would have defined the ideal work laptop for me, which means I never would have included something like Mac's iLife suite. But the fact is, my work laptop is my only computer; it has to do everything in my life. If I had to equip a PC with every application that I MIGHT need in the future, like photo or movie processing or creating PDFs, it would cost at least as much as my Mac, and it wouldn't work nearly as well. Apples-to-'apples' price comparisons have been done many times (like here and here), and generally conclude that Macs and PCs are about the same price, when similarly equipped.

Macs are complete machines, amazingly well designed. And not more expensive than PCs, when measured 'apples' to apples.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Customer service, done right

Recently, I complained about an experience my wife had at 24 Hour Fitness. On the same day I posted, a senior member of the company submitted a reply to my posting, attempting to make the situation right. There was a bit of piling on by other commenters, but at least 24 Hour Fitness's Harry was trying to do the right thing and provide a remedy. I don't believe Gina ever took Harry up on his offer, so the situation was never completely resolved, but at least he tried.

Similarly, I recently had an interesting customer service experience with Proflowers. I had little or no experience with ordering flowers online, but my favorite local flower shop went out of business and I need something for Mothers Day. I remembered reading an article about Proflowers' unique business model that ships flowers directly from the grower to the customer; something about by eliminating the local retailer middleman, the flowers can be a little cheaper and, more importantly, arrive at the customer's home with more of their useful life remaining.

(From a marketing perspective, it also helped that I was constantly reminded of Proflowers through their advertisements on ESPN radio. Remember, in a post last year I both admitted that I listen to sports talk radio and commented on radio advertising effectiveness. This is another example of radio's effectiveness [although I can't comment on the ROI associated with radio advertising investments].)

I decided to give ProFlowers a try, ordering a bouquet of Gina's favorite flower, tulips, to be delivered for Mothers Day. Well, their arrival was very disappointing. It was basically 15 flowers in a cardboard box. No decorative paper, no flower food, no little water bulbs on the stems, and two of the stems damaged. After we put the flowers in water, they all laid over and never looked right.

I shot off a quick email to their customer service and received a near-immediate response, apologizing for my disappoint experience and offering me a free order, including free shipping. I ordered the same thing, 15 tulips, to be delivered the next week.

When the second order arrived, it was a completely different experience. This time there was flower food and the flowers were wrapped in paper. Most importantly, the flower came with instructions on how to put the flowers in water and support them initially so that they don't lay over. The flowers turned out great.

After the pleasant second experience, I'm willing to assume that I was just the unfortunate victim of a random, errant shipment and give Proflowers another chance.

If they had just offered me a discount on my next order, I would never have made another order because there would have been too much risk associated with it. They removed all risk by providing the second order completely free. They did so because they recognize the lifetime value of a customer, rather than the value of a single sale. It's amazing that some companies focus solely on the value of the sale.

Knowing the lifetime value of a cusomter is good marketing, and can lead to very good customer service.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The future is difficult to imagine

I came across the following thought-provoking video:

I apologize if you have already seen it, since it has been out about six months. But one thing about the video that struck me as relevant to this blog is the statements it makes about children, that we're training children for jobs that don't even exist yet, or that they will hold so many jobs before their mid-30s.

Is there a stronger statement of generational differences? And I thought there were a lot of differences between my dad's generation and my own.

Why is this relevant to this blog? Because of what I have said about Big Science Saturday and why I do it. (Or, more accurately, did it.) I can't say that my boys are going to be scientists, nor do I care. But I want them to be able to evaluate situations in a structured, critical way, since there is no way we can predict what they'll be faced with.

On a related note, it is Science Fair season at Crest View Elementary. Ryan's is required this year and Maddox's* is optional, although they're always required at the Earles household. Ryan's not a fan of Science Fairs, maybe because I have required his participation every year when only a few of his classmates also participated. However, we found a topic he enjoys, and we made it a little more interesting by suggesting he blog about it. Feel free to read his posts and comment. He loves getting new comments.

And who knows, maybe he'll really take to blogging. Gina and I are trying to use his blogging as an opportunity to teach some writing techniques, grammar, and spelling. But, even if he gets none of that from blogging, it's still fun to see him put himself out there.

*One of these days, I need to learn how to properly write the possessive form of Maddox: Maddox' or Maddox's.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

24 Hour Fitness just doesn't get it

This morning, my wife met her friend at 24 Hour Fitness to take some kind of cardio kickboxing class. Her friend was a member and had a free guest pass for Gina to use.

This 24 Hour Fitness facility is pretty new in north Boulder, having been open only a few months. As with any of these types of facilities, they have a fairly large, aggressive sales staff, since gyms make the most money off of sales to new members. (Of course, they hope these members don't use the facility so they can oversubscribe their asset base.)

When Gina showed her free guest pass, the salesman began giving his pitch. He asked if she was currently a health club member, to which she replied that she was and that she wasn't interested in joining 24 Hour Fitness. He then told her that she would have to leave!

He explained that they only give out those guest passes to those that are willing to go through the sales pitch. Gina pointed out that the pass said nothing about that, but that didn't seem to matter to him. Since she wanted to attend the class with her (now very embarrassed) friend, Gina agreed to listen to his pitch after the class, since it was about to begin. She ultimately just walked out after the class.

The whole thing just left a very bad taste in her mouth for 24 Hour Fitness. Do you think she's going to recommend that anyone else join that gym? Rather, she's probably going to go out of her way to tell potential members to avoid it.

Would it have been very difficult for the salesperson to say, "We normally provide those guest passes for those that may be interested in joining. However, please enjoy your visit today and make sure to tell your friends what you think?" The incremental cost of allowing her to visit was effectively zero. The incremental cost of trying to apply a rule that should not even have been in place (if you're going to have a rule, state it on the pass) was creating an annoyed, but well-networked, active health club member that knows a lot of other health club members. Seriously dumb.

How's this for a different approach? My friend David (his blog Bluerant is here) markets a kids' TV show called Big Green Rabbit. He saw that some fans posted a video from the show on their blog, so he sent them a little thank you package. Here is their response. What do you think that package cost BGR, maybe $20, including shipping? What do you think the value of that family's BGR evangelism is worth?

Businesses are built one delighted customer at a time. They can be torn down quickly by a handful of people with negative feelings.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

If everyone's going to see it, make sure it's right

Twice over the last week, I have had the pleasure of using a Sloan Valve flushless urinal. (I bet you haven't read many blog posts that start with a sentence about urinals, have you?!) The facilities at which they were installed were justifiably proud of their green initiative. So much so, in fact, that at both institutions, they had the following sign hung above each urinal:

Nice, huh? Sure, if you ignore the poor grammar. What poor grammar, you may ask? Admittedly, it's minor, but it bugs me nonetheless:

"... you are helping the environment to conserve ..."

Does the environment conserve? If the environment itself can conserve, then why are we being asked to do so? Let's just let the environment fix itself!

Maybe a better way to word this would be "... you are helping the environment by conserving ...".

Even then, it's not really accurate. Am I, as a user, really helping the environment? I suppose if there were traditional urinals next to the flushless ones and I chose to use the flushless ones, then I can say I helped the environment. But there were no traditional ones, and I wasn't going to go find one because I had to pee.

So it was really the facility owner that was helping the environment by taking away my choice, and they should be applauded for that. The sign should really celebrate them: "The University of Colorado is helping the environment by conserving ..."

It reminds me of when I was publishing an email newsletter for SharedPlan Software. Our newsletter distribution got up to about 20,000 readers, and I would stress out every time I hit the Send button. Any little grammatical error was going to be seen and judged by all those people, so I would critically read and reread several times before sending.

Make sure you get it right before the whole world reads it!

(Author's note: I saw the first of these signs at some facility last week, and it wasn't until I had already left that this grammatical issue occurred to me. I wanted to blog about it, but wanted the picture, so I was glad to come across the same sign today. However, I had never really thought about how awkward it is to take a picture around a bank of urinals. You know, there's just a certain urinal etiquette that must be respected. So I kind of had to hang around until everyone left to avoid any potential embarrassment, but I didn't want to be seen as lurking, either. I ended up washing my hands really, really well.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Detonators!

I recently professed my love for Discovery Channel shows. As the boys and I were lazing away a snowy Sunday morning watching Cash Cab (they seem to love that show), we saw an ad for The Detonators, a new Discovery show starting January 28.

It appears to be the ultimate show for the boys and I. Why? Because all they do is show how they blow stuff up! Really big stuff!

Sometimes, I amaze myself with my parenting skills.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How much can we infer from inauguration speeches?

My wife and I watched Obama's inaugural address last night, and I thought it had some exceptionally intriguing passages, such as his direct address to the Muslim world, and his several swipes at the outgoing administration. (I may blog about some of the more thought-provoking statements in a subsequent post.) As we all listened to those words, we probably all wonder how much of Obama's presidency is being foretold in his words. Of course, there's no way to know, but I thought it would be interesting to go back and read Bush's first inaugural address to see how much his words presaged his presidency.

I'm no political scientist, much less a presidential scholar, and am not particularly politically active. I have only written three posts, out of over 100, that had anything to do with politics. But for some reason you folks keep reading so I'll plow ahead. I reviewed the transcript and have repeated some of the better statements below:

"It is the American story—a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals." This seems to be a nice swipe at Bill Clinton's foibles of infidelity.

"The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born." Although this could be read as an equal opportunity kind of message, I also read this as a message regarding his anti-abortion stance, which guided his actions over his two terms in a few ways. These include his failed effort on abstinence-only education and probably his most significant political action, his reshaping of the Supreme Court. The latter was one of the items in which he noted special pride in during his final press conference.

"The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth." Another aspect of Bush's legacy was the No Child Left Behind legislation, another legacy item in which he expressed pride.

"And sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity." OK, this is a meaty one that will require more than a sentence to summarize.

The country had just endured a very divisive and deeply flawed election. Democrats thought the election was stolen, and I don't know that we ever saw as much bitter partisanship on display as we did in the days between election day and the Supreme Court's final ruling. This statement would seem to indicate a willingness to try to heal those wounds and reunite the country into a "single nation."

We now know, however, that this was not a statement regarding reunification; that instead the Bush administration worked tirelessly to create a single nation of enduring Republican majority, rather than a bipartisan reunified nation. Karl Rove, Bush's master strategist, has spoken repeatedly of the pursuit of this goal (and has yet to give up on it, even in light of Obama's victory).

The examples of this pursuit were many. For example, we now know the Justice Department illegally used political affiliation in their hiring practices, although no connection has been made to Attorney General Gonzales or his predecessor Ashcroft. (Amusing side note: the liberal New York Times' article on this government watchdog report doesn't mention that lack of connection, yet the conservative Washington Times states it in the second paragraph. Talk about editorial biases.)

This same watchdog agency has yet to publish their findings on their investigation of the Justice Department attorneys. However, one aspect of those firings that has already been made public is that several of these attorneys had one thing in common, they did not vigorously pursue voter fraud. The aggressive pursuit of voter fraud, whether perceived or real, is one tactic frequently used to suppress minority voter turnout, which could be a component of an enduring Republican majority strategy.

There are other examples of working tirelessly toward a permanent Republican majority, including gerrymandering in Texas, Colorado, and other states, and probably no better example than the Bush's apparent disinterest in crossing the aisle to compromise on legislation.

None of this is anything but politics as usual, and I don't find it surprising that Bush pursued these activities. However, the depth and breadth of it would seem to indicate that Bush went into the presidency with no intention of creating a "single nation" built by reunifying in a bipartisan way, but rather by unifying the nation under Republican rule. Words can sometimes be tricky things, can't they?

"We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American." Bush tried and failed to achieve immigration reform, but he did build a very big wall.

"We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent." Bush tried and failed on Social Security, and won a modest victory with the Medicare prescription drug plan. As with immigration reform, he words predicted his efforts, just not his successes.

"We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors. The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom." In hindsight, these words might seem to foreshadow our invasion of Iraq, and there are some that say that Bush had the overthrow of Saddam Hussein on his agenda on the day he entered the White House. Certainly, according to both Clarke and Woodward (and ultimately the White House itself), the plans to attack Iraq began very soon after 9/11, even though there was no connection between the two. Coincidence?

Of course, those same words could have been intended to be more broad and to apply to what he came to call the "axis of evil," and meant nothing more than that Bush was ready to act swiftly and decisively against the threat of WMDs, wherever they appeared.

"Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws." Over the course of his presidency, Bush shifted government funds to faith-based initiatives for fighting poverty and other problems.

So, from several statements in Bush's speech, we can see several concrete examples foreshadowing his goals and intents. And, as can be seen from his statement regarding a "single nation" or possibly his statement regarding WMDs, that foreshadowing can be a little misleading.

What are we to make of Obama's speech, then? One article tries to capture it here and, as I said earlier, I may do a post of my own. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Did Nortel fail because of collaborative tools?

I was surprised and saddened to hear about Nortel's bankruptcy on the radio this morning. Not because I thought they were particularly healthy, but mostly because they were such a big firm, were such an key customer of mine at a couple of past employers, and, most importantly, were such a great equipment supplier for decades.

I read an article about their failure in on businessweek.com, that basically states that Nortel's attempt an innovating away from their past reliance on core carrier equipment was too little, too late and and that they chose the wrong products to develop. One comment caught my attention, however:
Roese used a public blog to communicate with customers and attempt to re-establish Nortel as an innovator.
This is clearly a problem. One key success criteria for this kind of public conversation is credible honesty. I didn't read the blog, so I can't comment on it specifically, but it would have been valid to discuss how Nortel is attempting to reinvent itself and becoming more innovative. Describe that process or journey, and the unique challenges that you're experiencing, but don't jump straight to a presumed conclusion that you have arrived as an innovator.

The 'death' of Nortel happened to occur on a day when we lost another great icon: Khan (Ricardo Montalban). Khan delivered one of the great movie lines of all time in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, when he quoted Melville's Moby Dick:
To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

A little more on social marketing

OK, soon I'm going to jump to another topic, but I just found two more interesting items on the topic. First, here's a fun little video from a German ad firm illustrating the challenges that social marketing is trying to address:

A short history of marketing from Michael Reissinger on Vimeo. (Sorry, but the video that I inserted was taken down from Vimeo for some reason. However, I found it here, as well.)

Second, John Kembel of HiveLive posted his thoughts on what's in store for enterprise communities in 2009. I tend to agree with his comments, but I would add one more trend:

6. Social marketing companies must make money.

In the current economic climate (and related venture capital environment), marginal business models will perish. This situation will not change dramatically any time soon, so social marketing companies must prove that their firms are sustainable. In other words, they must make money. I would not be surprised if half of the social marketing companies currently in existence are no longer around in January 2010.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Social marketing is not dead

A new Advertising Age article is spreading doom and gloom about marketing expenditures. Obviously, I certainly can relate to the d&g. The article states that:
...more than half of the marketers surveyed said their budgets will be cut in the coming year, and another 44% said they'll cut or freeze hiring.
Again, clearly I get that.

It does identify some "Pockets of Optimism," however. But not listed among those pockets are social networking and media. In fact, they state that:

Buzzword fatigue has also set in more firmly on an aging set of digital terminology, including "Web 2.0" (19% said they were tired of hearing it); "social networking" (12%); "social media" (11%); "blog" (8%) and "viral marketing" (6%).

Now, I look at those numbers and see that social marketing only has a little more than 10% of the respondents claiming weariness. That doesn't sound very high to me for trendy items like these. In fact, they go on to state that:

However, that doesn't mean those digital ideas aren't important anymore, Mr. Anderson said. "In fact, each of those ranked as a bit more important this year," he said.

Given that I have already stated that I'm a fan of these marketing techniques, I have to say I'm pretty encouraged that they're growing in importance, even if only modestly, in this environment.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good wiki app for iPhone?

Gina and I are taking the family to Costa Rica in a couple of weeks, and we have a lot to do to prepare for the trip. Gina suggested that we should create an online collaborative space in which to share ideas and to-do lists. Her idea was to use a wiki.

I currently use a great little application, Evernote, for my own to-do lists, notes, saved web pages, and many other kinds of content that I want to capture, access, and edit later. It runs as an application on my Mac and on my iPhone, and automatically synchronizes the content between the two platforms. I have thoroughly enjoyed using it.

However, for the Costa Rica shared to-do list application, it has two shortcomings:
  1. It doesn't run on Mac Tiger, only Leopard, and Gina's Mac OS is Tiger. (She runs Evernote, but her laptop access is web-based, rather than via their installed application.)
  2. It doesn't allow private sharing. It does allow content to be shared with everyone (and indexed by search engines), but not shared privately with specific individuals or users.
I recently received an email from Evernote describing their feature upgrade plans for 2009, and one of the items involved improved sharing. Here's what they said:

The public notebooks functionality that we launched in 2008 was a timid, first step in our ambitious plans for making Evernote a great tool for sharing your memories and collaborating with your friends and coworkers. In 2009, we're going to greatly expand what you can do with your memories, documents, files, photos and anything else you throw into Evernote. If you're the social type, we're going to grow up from being your external brain to being a telepathic-mutant-super-brain, but with good manners. Of course, you'll always have the option to keep any or all of your info totally private.
Obviously, they're being deliberately vague on their exact upgrade plans, so I built a wiki on PBWiki that we'll use for now. PBWiki is a traditional hosted wiki application, but it doesn't have an iPhone app to allow mobile access.

A search of the iTunes iPhone app store yielded nothing. Any suggestions?