Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Possibly the Coolest PR Job Ever

Tired of pitching some lame new "revolutionary" tech product? Have secret a secret desire to live the life of Jason Bourne? Well, USAID is looking for a Communications Coordinator in their Civilian Response Corps.

"The Active Component of the Civilian Response Corps (CRC-A) is a team of first responders with a wide range of skills whose primary responsibilities are to train, plan for, provide direct support to, and conduct USG R&S operations in foreign countries or regions that are at risk of, in, or transitioning from violent conflict or civil strife."

Okay, sound interesting. Now a few of the requirements:

Incumbent may be deployed to remote and/or isolated locations around the world under arduous conditions. If selected for this position, you must be available for overseas deployment within 48 hours for up to 6 months.

Okay, I like travel, but it is just going to be typical flack work, right?

"You are also likely to work long hours, with no R&R opportunities, in isolated conditions and be under personal threat of counterintelligence operations, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, ongoing and intrusive surveillance."

Yeah, but I'll be working out of a secure office, right?

"Deployments may be to the most isolated and restricted overseas locations, including combat zones, and may involve embedding with U.S. or international military or peacekeeping units."

Do I get to travel first class?

"Incumbent will be transported in off-road vehicles, helicopters, military troop transport aircraft, or other types of military transportation and will be wearing/carrying heavy protective, emergency and communications equipment, items of which could weigh up to 40 pounds."

Cool!! Do I need to undergo any special PR training?

"A mandatory training (up to 8 weeks per year) that includes medical first aid, field maneuvers on foot, weapons familiarization, surveillance detection and evasion and evacuation drills"

Calling all weekend warriors and wanna-be James Bonds in the PR world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Smell Pulitzer

Warning: This story from the Washington Post is extremely depressing. It also happens to be one of the finest examples of writing/journalism I have read in a long time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Here at Flack U. headquarters in Washington, DC. We are decidedly pro-2nd Amendment liberals. There are actually more of us around than you may think. As you can imagine, we were hopeful that DC would finally let us exercise our constitutional rights following the landmark Heller decision.

Well, this month the MPD published their latest revised firearm registration requirements.

If you don't want to wade through the 13 pages, this is a summary of what you need to do own a handgun in your home.

  • Take a 5 hr. training course ($150)
  • Go to MPD and get your paperwork
  • Go to Maryland and buy a gun
  • Call the only FFL in DC and arrange a transfer($125)
  • Go to MPD and get fingerprinted and background checked. ($35 + $13 for the application)
  • Wait 5 days. Go back again to MPD to get your registration
  • Go to FFL and get your gun. Pass the NICS.
  • Go back AGAIN to MPD with your gun for ballistic testing ($12)
  • Wait until MPD calls you and tells you to pick up your gun
Pretty bad I know. Not the least of which is that going through the process costs $300. Worse is the training requirement. I know that training is a good thing, but remember, this is not for concealed carry (none in DC). This is to keep a weapon in your home. Even DC's grandstanding AG Peter Nickles has said he will likely not be able to defend this in court.

But this is what is really crazy. In order to register a shotgun or rifle, I need to take a 4 hour course on gun safety AND one hour of range time with a HANDGUN. I called a few of the approved trainers and confirmed that, indeed, their courses are focused on handgun ownership.

In supposedly complying with Heller on handguns, the DC City Council has actually made the process MORE restrictive for people looking to buy a shotgun or rifle.

I am sure it is only a matter of time before this, and the other meaningless hoops are eliminated (ballistics testing only works on Law & Order. Maryland wasted $2 million on a similar program). Why could they just not accept the inevitable and do it right the first time is beyond me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Farewell PC Magazine

PC Magazine announced that it was ceasing production of its print magazine. I’ve seen a lot of print magazines come and go, but I have to admit, this caused me a little sadness.

I am old enough to remember the days when PC Magazine was the bible for quasi-geeks like me. I used to save issues that way my parents saved National Geographic, or my brothers saved Rolling Stone.

We were a large group composed of non-engineers who none the less were fascinated by technology. It was PC Magazine that taught me how to build my first computer. It was PC Magazine that taught me how to create my first network. It was PC Magazine that taught me how to write that formula to get MS Excel to do exactly what I wanted. We are the same people who thought the original Screen Savers with Leo Laporte was the best show on TV (Where else on television could you find out how to hack password files (in case you forgot yours, of course), copy DVDs (in case your originals were lost in a fire, of course) or make a stun gun out of a disposable camera (um…no excuse for that one other than it was really cool)).

Every week, I looked forward to John Dvorak complaining about Microsoft, video cards, new peripherals, John Dvorak complaining about Microsoft, year end predictions that never materialized, the hottest PC games, and John Dvorak complaining about Microsoft. I also will miss puzzling over why a tech magazine carried ads for a sex pillow and “dietary supplements.”

One of my few regrets in life was when I emailed PC Magazine suggesting that they focus more ink on covering the Internet and gaming. An editor wrote back saying that was a good idea and encouraged me to submit something. Of course, I was too busy/lazy to follow through. Sigh.

Times change, however, and PC Magazine began to lose both its audience and voice. As PC prices dropped, and more technology options became available, people became more concerned with what the box or software could actually do, and less concerned with how to tweak what they already have. Furthermore, I found myself less inclined to read a print review comparing 5 types of video cards when I could go online to compare 25 types.

The core problem for the print version of PC Magazine was that they could not serve the broader consumer market interested in digital cameras and HDTVs while maintaining their core tech audience.

They made a ill-conceived effort to try, however. In the second half of a recent issue, I read about an open port strategy for my router. The first part of the same issue had an article that breathlessly advised me that I “can get a free email account by going to mail.yahoo.com.” Really? Thanks PC Magazine!

The truth is I haven’t subscribed to PC Magazine for many years. The only time I would ever really read it is when I am flying-and I found less and less reason not to leave it in the seat pocket for the next person.

So farewell print version of PC Magazine. You had a good run. Now I just need to figure out what to read on airplanes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Worst Press Release in History??

So how does a company announce bad news like layoffs? Well, Nokia decided an approach where they hoped the reader would fall asleep before they finish reading the first line.

"Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the preliminary planning process to identify the proposed remaining headcount reductions necessary to reach its previously announced synergy-related headcount adjustment goal."

Open eye, insert needle.

Read the full press release train wreck if you dare.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Did John McCain hire the former Iraqi Information Minister?

Something tells me he did.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Pitbull in Lipstick!!!