Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hurricane Irma – Social Media ad gouging


The public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.


We heard lot about price gouging from Governor Scott and Attorney Pam Bondi, and I haven’t seen much of that.

Local TV Channels curtailed most of their advertising for continuous, at times almost too much, hurricane coverage.

I periodically had enough and dropped off to Amazon Prime for a movie.

Local media social media sites and apps were a different story.

They were beset with flashing ads, scrolling crawls and dysfunctional displays of hurricane information.

Side bars, banners and scrolls displayed often confusing information.

Hurricane maps were surrounded by useless text and even more often useless ads. I was not looking for a car at the moment, and it was a little late for hurricane windows at that point.

Even more annoying were the popups, blinking notices and auto start ads with varying volume levels.

As you might imagine we have a number of computers running here and I was looking for continuous feed of the hurricane track with no banner, side bars, scrolls and no ads, so we could have distraction free real-time tracking information that would stay up for up for hours with no interruption.

I could not find, although there may have been one, a local media web site or social media page that would let you open a hurricane tracking map with no banners, scrolls or ads, text boxes and expand to full screen and stay open indefinitely.

IF YOUR MEDIA OUTLET HAD SUCH A SITE AND/OR PAGE COMMENT BELOW.

After considerable searching, I found such a site.

The NBC affiliate in Dallas, Texas Channel 5 had a simple page with limited text and no ads with several options one of them a real time Irma tracking map that would clearly expand to full screen with no banners, scrolls, popups or ads. The page would stay up for 5 to 6 hours at a time and when it did drop it went to an NBC logo and all you had to do was scroll down click the link, and it was good to go for another 6 hours or so.

So, here’s the point. Just because your social media whiz kid can cram a crapload of banners, scrolls, widgets, popups, auto start ads, blinking boxes, pictures, hyperlinks and text boxes full of useless or out of date information on to you web site or Facebook page doesn’t mean you need to.

At times like these, the public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.

People are looking for simplicity, clarity, ease of use, and they ARE NOT SHOPPING.

It is a good bet that a lot of first-time users of local social media, and those slick apps were more than a little turned off by what they found.

It is a little difficult to understand why the same thinking that limited ads and provided clarity on the broadcast side did not prevail on the social media side.

Probably a message for management in there somewhere.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

Please comment below.

Friday, September 15, 2017

After Irma – Things to know before you take your boat out


Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.



St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.



Looks like it may be a pretty nice weekend, and you may be tempted to take the boat out for a cruise around Tamp Bay, up the intercostal waterway or out on one of our fresh water lakes.

First of all, you might want to think carefully before you make that decision.

There will be a lot of floating debris in all of our water ways. Though a lot of stuff gets washed out and up onshore by the tide, a lot of it floats around in Tampa Bay for a long time.

Pieces of docks, construction material, metal roofs and even sunken boats are common scenes following an event like Irma.

A lot of the material floats just under the water making it almost impossible to see. Dock boards are especially notorious for floating just below the surface.

Obviously if you hit one of these objects, it could do a great deal of damage to your boat and/or motor and also to you and any passengers onboard.

It is a good idea to stay away from any sunken or partially submerged vessels or boats and remember that the rigging from a sunken sail boat may still be attached to the hull with long steel cables.

Watch for sailboat masts sticking up out of the water especially at dusk and it is a very good idea to get off the water before it gets dark and you lose all visibility.

I was a charter captain here in Tampa Bay for years and invariably someone tries to pull an abandon boat off a shore or a partially sunken one back to port. Sometimes the results are humorous sometimes they are tragic, but almost always you end up damaging something on your boat.

Be very careful if your boat is powered by an outboard motor, as an improperly secured tow may cause the stern of your boat to sink suddenly when you apply power swamping your vessel in just a moment.

Most modern pleasure vessels are not designed to tow much of anything, and any salvage attempt is a dangerous effort no matter how small the boat you are trying to save.

Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What to do after IRMA is gone

Staying safe after the hurricane is your first priority.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.


If you have evacuated and are returning to your home or just venturing outside after the storm passes, here are some suggestions to keep you safe.

Check out this Red Cross Link Be Red Cross Ready

From the Red Cross site:
 “Preparing to return home after evacuating will keep you safer while inspecting and cleaning up the damage to your home. Before traveling, ensure local officials have declared that it’s safe to enter your community and that you have the supplies you will need. Follow the suggestions below for returning to, inspecting and cleaning your home.”

Items to Take When Returning Home:
·         Government-issued photo ID and proof of address
·         Important phone numbers
·         Bottled water and non-perishable foods
·         First aid kit
·         Cleanser/ hand cleaning gel for personal use
·         Hygiene products and toilet paper
·         Insect repellent and sunscreen
·         Long sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy waterproof boots and work gloves
·         Flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries
·         Cameras for photos of damage for insurance claims
·         Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

Things to watch for:
·         Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
·         If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
·         Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
·         Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
·         Stay out of any building that has water around it.
·         Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
·         Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
·         Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
·         Check for smells of leaking gas
·         Watch out for an increased presence of rats and other rodents which may feed off spoiled food or animal carcasses. Contact animal control authorities for information on how to dispose dead animals found on your property.
·         Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
·         Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
·         Don't wade into the water. Standing floodwater on your property may hide a host of dangers including live electrical lines and fecal matter from overflowed sewage lines.
·         Do not let children play in any water or touch objects that may have been exposed to possibly contaminated water.
·         Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
·         Watch your back. Use teams of two or more people to remove debris and heavy objects that weigh more than 50 pounds.

Take care of yourself:
·         Stay Hydrated
·         Take your medications
·         Take frequent breaks 
·         Wear sunscreen
·         Wear gloves, long pants and boots when removing debries
·         If a task looks dangerous call for help
·         Don’t try to do everything in one day

Finally, don’t take any unnecessary chances. Nothing at your home is worth a serious injury or your life.

Think before you act.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

Please comment below.