Archive for Mark McEachran

Sand

The hot wind hit Angel like a warm towel. The sand aloft in the air scratched like the fabric. The sand, it was hard to walk through the sand with no socks — only shoes that he was forced to empty every block or two. The sand was everywhere in the city. It piled along the buildings and alleyways like the snowdrifts of years past.

Gone were the plows to clear the way for traffic. Occasionally the wind would reveal a patch of pavement. Sometimes Angel would spot a crosswalk or a yellow line that ran down the middle of the road.

Block by block he worked his way across the city. The sun baked down on him. Without his clothes his mile-long walk would have given him cancer, or at least an excruciating sun burn.

He walked it every week. He walked among the empty streets and buildings of this once magnificent, second city. This place had survived a tragedy before, a great conflagration that destroyed nearly everything. There was no escape for her majesty this time around. The devastation was complete, along with every other city around the world.

Ten years had passed since the last remaining vestiges of the world’s military squared off for the slivers of fertile land near the poles. The final battles took place in Antarctica. The West won, but their prize was short-lived. Even the southern continent succumbed to the warmth. The heat and the dryness obliterated crops, as they had done across the globe years before.

On he trekked, climbing over rusted relics that used to move along the streets, but were now buried in tons of silicon and grit. He climbed down from upper streets to lower streets on scattered fences, jumping into dunes when the makeshift ladder fell short.

Only the wind, the sand, the sun and the decay made any sort of sound. Glassless behemoths stood and howled, as if to call out in slow anguish while the years tore them down. Pitted walls gouged by the relentless beating of the air made them look as ancient stone in some places, relics and ruins in others.

The air was thick with heat, but short of oxygen. More than the shoes, exhaustion slowed Angel’s pace.

A world had gone wrong, infested with a short-sighted species that valued power over existence. A world that had been abandoned by logic and empathy had no recourse to right the wrong, and no way to cry for help.

This is only the beginning of a story based on a very strange dream. I also have a book coming out soon. If you’d like to be informed about my writing escapades you can follow me on Facebook or sign up for my mailing list.

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Michael’s Chimes

This is a story about Michael, a dear friend who recently passed. I told this story during his funeral service.

First, some housekeeping

If you are the owner of a small, green SUV with out-of-state plates – You may have gently bumped and dented Michael’s car.

So – over the last few days if you’ve been experiencing some strange things going on in your house:

  • Bumps in the night
  • Missing keys
  • Books removed from their shelves and stacked into vertical pillars
  • Or an unexpected toilet flush during your shower

Now you know why.

Wedding

Wind Chimes, CC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Photo by Mark Larson

Larry and Mike, Mike and Larry – a few years ago they gave my wife and I a gift of wind chimes. We let them sit there on the shelf for a year before I could track down the proper mounting hook that would allow us to put them outside our bedroom window. I finally found the hook a couple years ago and now they chime for us if the wind is just so.

In the middle of the night last night the wind was perfect.
I woke up to the sound of it tapping away a melody on the chimes. The wind on the chimes told me how to write this story.

At first their music reminded me of our wedding.

Thirteen years ago we managed to coax Mike and Larry to recite poetry at our wedding. It was at the end of our ceremony. The two boys got up and Michael took the microphone in his hand while Larry held the paper upon which the poem was printed.

It was titled Love, written by Roy Croft. It had six verses, and they were to alternate reading each verse.

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After All

As they read this poem the microphone began to shake in Michael’s hand. First it was a small tremor. And it grew little by little as each verse was recited. By the final verse the tiny colony of microphone lint was experiencing a 7.2 earthquake.

Carol

The chimes went on from the ceremony to the reception where we ate and danced. And Michael met my aunt Carol. And they danced and danced.

Having only met Michael once, 13 years ago, my aunt Carol asks about him every time I see her. Having only met Michael once, she will miss him.

Dealing with Life

The chimes then did something unexpected. With perfect pitch and timing they played the first four notes of the Star Trek theme song. – Of course they did because I said they did.

Captain Kirk once said: How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life. Based on the outpouring of attention, flowers, and companionship we can see that love is prevailing in both.

In the house yesterday I imagined Michael as a giant, like the ones the enterprise crew would face every third or fourth episode. This enormous man, 4-stories tall, was crouched down by the house with his arms wrapped around it. He was smiling at us – and sticking his finger through the window to bump someone just enough to spill their wine. And he laughed, because it was funny.

I think I will keep that vision of Michael. It’s comforting to know that he’s still there, his mischievous self, hugging the homes of his loved ones – and, occasionally, blowing on the wind chimes.

Michael’s Services

Saturday, March 4th

Open House 2PM – 7 PM
Larry and Michael’s home

Sunday, March 5th

Grein Funeral Home
2114 W Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60618

Viewing 10AM – Noon
Celebration Service Noon – 1PM
People are asked and encouraged to bring stories of Michael to share during the service.

Anteprima
5316 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

Remembering Mike 1:30PM – 4:30PM

 

Donations or Flowers

Michael loved his flowers. However, if you would like to make a donation in lieu of flowers, we believe that Michael would have preferred to take care of animals in this way. The choice is entirely yours, and Larry appreciates your expression of love either way.

He and Larry donated to Guardians of the Green Mile, a dog rescue. Any donation to them would be a lovely gesture.

Another favorite organization is PAWS Chicago. They happened upon their lovely Elliot at PAWS. A donation there would also honor Michael.

Photos

Larry and Michael’s family would love to have your best photos of Michael among his friends and family. Please upload them to this google drive if you are willing to share.

 

 

 

Header Bidding: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Header Bidding: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Whether you think it’s a fad, a “hack,” the new standard, or the latest shiny object, header bidding has had a significant and disruptive impact on the advertising technology ecosystem. It may only be a matter of time before Luma Partners adds header bidding wrappers as a new box to their (in)famous landscapes.

The promise of header bidding with multiple exchanges has yielded positive results for advertisers and publishers but it has come with a cost that, over time, might be too much to bear. Whether it survives the fray, or evolves into something new, header bidding has changed the game forever.

Header Bidding: The Good

In the movie starring Clint Eastwood, The Good guy is not necessarily altruistic in nature, but he’s really good at capitalizing on opportunities.

Header Bidding brings those opportunities by providing premium inventory into the programmatic marketplace. No longer  are the best impressions locked away in the tower of publisher ad servers. They are now accessible via  the myriad of sophisticated Seller-Side Platform (SSP), Exchange and Demand-Side Platform (DSP) technologies. This gives sellers more articulate controls over the rules of engagement for every transaction.

Retargeting, made easier by RTB, can now be applied at all inventory priority levels, improving yield for commerce sites. Elusive audiences could be more readily captured by private marketplaces and the open auction, inviting new advertisers to test, refine, and commit to new deals with new partners.

Meanwhile, demand side systems are given the opportunity to bring more premium buying contracts to their platforms. This could be why some publishers started seeing higher revenue with header bidding in play. During Advertising Week in New York, one publisher cited header bidding as being responsible for 50% lift in CPMs. These types of statistics have been echoed by several others in the industry. While this might not be the panacea that saves the online newspaper, it certainly helps keep a few more lights on. Next: The Bad

The promise of header bidding: Opening up premium inventory to programmatic channels

This article was originally published in Venture Beat on November 29th, 2016. I have written previously about the conundrum of header bidding. While my thoughts back then are still valid, the technology has progressed and the market is following. Following this, I’ve posted the good, bad and ugly of header bidding.

header biddingEveryone is talking about the promise of header bidding, but what does it really mean to the future of publishing and mobile monetization? Header bidding is leveling the playing field by allowing sellers to make more intelligent inventory allocation decisions between traditional and programmatic demand. For advertisers, header bidding allows for better campaign delivery and optimization by providing more access to audiences at scale.

By implementing header bidding, publishers and app developers are able to expose every single impression to a programmatic marketplace. Many sellers are already reporting 40-50-percent increases in CPMs, and buyers have a new ability to bring their data to bear across multiple inventory sources. Next: The evolution, yield opportunities and scale