Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Using Richt Text TextArea results in error (java.lang.Double cannot be cast to java.lang.String)

Well you guessed correctly from the title. There is something odd going on.
If we are passing on variables that are typed as numeric to an argument (height and width) that would conceivable accept numeric values we will get this error:

java.lang.Double cannot be cast to java.lang.String

Here is sample code to reproduce this:

<cfset iHeight=Val(200)>
<cfset iWidth=Val(500)>

<cfform name="myForm" method="POST" action="Self.cfm">

<cftextarea richtext="true"
width="#iWidth#" value="">


This could easily occur when passing values as returns from functions. I found two ways of avoiding this.
a) specifically declare variables as strings

<cfset iHeight="200">
<cfset iWidth="500">

b) introduce space when passing arguments so as to force an implicit conversion

height=" #iHeight# "
width=" #iWidth# "

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Micromarketing - Web 2.0+ and the evolution of human to machine marketing

It all started with search engines. People built sites and wanted other people to find them. This was a submission game. If I submit my site to X engines, it would increase traffic by n. This type of site registration work was done mostly by generalists maybe using special submission software to make this repetitive task easier.
However, as search engines became smarter, this stopped working well. Besides, the few surviving search engines where exploring the mechanisms on how to make more revenue and would for that reason alone want to control the results more actively.
Thus, a change happened in marketing. Even before this happened I did make a bold prediction that we would have this new aspect of marketing appear. The human to machine specialist. Marketing before this was mostly an affair of humans trying to convince other humans to do things or spend money on things and services they presumably did not think to be needing otherwise.
The common incarnation of the human to machine marketer was the search engine specialist. Now, here was a marketer blissfully unconcerned about any human audience, rather focusing his energies on how to influence a system (search engine), which in turn would yield the outcome (higher search results). Whole companies specialized in this and are still today providing these services to others.
Banner companies appeared, and a sophisticated system of banner advertising that was content sensitive appeared. Things evolved and no one in their right mind wanted to click on banners any longer. Google ads was begotten and as most things Google, it drowned everything else out. Google rules the masses with Add text banners.
Now, we have this Web 2.0 happening and some of the paradigms with sites and submissions went out the door. So, then, you may ask, what with this web 2.0 stuff happening, whatever that is, will happen to the human to machine people? Will this have any impact on how marketing will evolve? Of course, thanks for the lead in .... If I were free to opine (which I am) I am going to make a prediction. Marketing will change once more to adopt to the next level of message delivery. Machine to machine marketing, or more specifically machine to machine Micromarketing, will emerge.
Sure, obvious you say; maybe so, but let me explain my particular take on this. Imagine a web application in new web 2.0 style, highly interactive, highly social (high stickiness). Maybe you and your buddies are watching a bike race unfold online. As you are looking at the leader riding his Schwinn bike to victory, in the background systems (machines) are negotiating advertising rates with Schwinn based on this event, i.e. sports (special section bike related), audience (your buddies, target group size, average incomes and ages, etc.); Schwinn's systems may have to bid automatically against a competitor (automated market rate auctions) to gain the rights to transparently overlay a marketing message on the race as the race unfolds. This happens several times, as leaders change position, new Marketing messages are negotiated. This is target advertising driven to a next level, highly personalized, informative, automatic, integrated. Wow! You are right, there is no escape now, we will be truly slaves to our passions and exploited for our whims ;o)
However, we are not there yet. There is a lot of work needed to create this next level of reality for marketing. Infrastructure and systems and protocols are just a few things.
  • Negotiation protocol for marketing events. Probably something on top of WS standards, containing event information, exposure times, audiences, bid information.
  • Advertising systems that can recognize types of events and are policy driven (executing against a pre-defined marketing strategy) to react to 1000s+ add requests per second.
  • Micro-payment system: The ability needs to exist to pay for impressions or executions (clicks, seconds of videos watched, games played, names captured); maybe a quarter cent per incidence.
Of course, some of this could be outsourced to specialist, which will then program your policies in their systems on your behalf. Maybe this could be the next Doubleclick service. Just say I didn't tell you so.