Zombies. They're a pain. They're annoying. They aren't going away anytime soon. It's a sad truth-- the epidemic is spreading. Chances are someone you care about will become a zombie.

Tell them how you feel BEFORE they start moaning and shuffling, with our convenient zombie greeting cards. Let them know that if you see their zombified corpse, you'll feel bad when you put a slug through their brainpan.

Because, once they're a zombie, it's too late to say you care... Send a Zombie Card

Zombie Cards, Zombie News, Zombie Blog

Think of the United States' best colleges. Harvard, Princeton, College of the Canyons, MIT, Stanford. Wait, what was that middle one? Yes, COC in beautiful Sclarita, California is top of our list for this year's high school graduates. This fine school features concrete, military bunker-ish construction and interior decoration reminiscent of an industrial plant management office. But that's just a fancy bonus. This year, they're offering the class "Zombie Defense 101". Next to typing, we can't think of a more valuable skill. Are you planning to apply? Let us know in the comments.

Nobody on staff at ifyouwerazombie.com is into award shows. The categories often seem random, the presenters' delivery wooden, and the breathless winners reciting thank-you's to people we don't know is boring. However, after seeing this video by the band "hey Negrita" we've decided to offer our first ever Zommie. And the award for "The most creative use of a microphone stand in an animated British country-rock zombie music video" goes to:

Congratulations, guys!

Thanks to zombie enthusiast, "John" for the tip.

Excuse the interruption, but I have a small rant to get out of the way.  Today, for the sixth time in two years, I found myself reinstalling Adobe's Creative Suite.  For those of you more familiar with the finer points of zombie decapitation than pushing pixels, I'll explain. 

Adobe Creative Suite is a software package for professional use typically including Photoshop, Illustrator and other software to edit images, manage html code, edit video or create flash animations.  It's great professional software and it is priced accordingly.  The costs range from about $1500.00 up to $2500.00 depending upon the package you choose.  New versions are released about every 18 months and upgrades are priced at $400.00 - $800.00.

So, nice software, priced for professionals, and I'm happy to pay them for their hard work.  As a matter of fact I've been paying them for their hard work across 8 versions of their software.  Add it up, carry the three... ok, so I'm not good at math.  Let's just say lots of money over the years for various versions of their software.

The problem is that about three versions ago, Adobe realized that most of their installed user base "aquired" their software through sites such as The Pirate Bay.  They were losing millions of dollars in revenue to pirated software and needed to do something about it.  Product activation to the rescue. 

Adobe came up with a system to verify that the software is legally installed every time it is started.  Again, good for them.  I want the talented, hard-working Adobe employees to get paid for their work and I want Adobe to have the funds to continue development of their software.

Unfortunately, the only time I usually need to re-install Creative Suite is when I've had a problem with my computer.  The hard drive crashes or a motherboard is fried.  Generally this means that I can no longer run Creative Suite because the hardware no longer works.  The only way to deactivate an Adobe license is to run the software and choose "deactivate" from the help menu inside the program.  But of course I can't start the program to deactivate the software and do a new installation because the original hardware doesn't work.  Vicious cycle -- it now becomes clear why fighting zombies is a necessary hobby.

OK.  Old computer is not accessible.  I've installed Creative Suite on new hardware.  Stomach knots up because I know what is coming when I start Photoshop... and there it is: a popup that says "Pardon the interruption, but we've decided to stop your workflow for a bit because we just don't trust you."  Well, it doesn't exactly use those words but that's the general idea.

This screen displays a cryptic 12 digit number and gives you exactly three options:

1.  "I've deactivated the software on my old computer and want to activate it on this one"

2.  "I'm ready to buy a new license"

3.  "I want to use this for 30 days as a trial"

Adobe's solution is apparently to hope you will buy a new license.  There's no mention of how you can manage old activations.  There's no phone number or support email listed.  There is a link labeled "Learn about software activation" which will eventually take you to a page which lists a phone number you can call to beg for a new activation.

How about a fourth option of "Manage my existing software activations"?  Since I've already registered the software and have an Adobe user account why can't I just log in, see a list of machines I've installed the software on and deactivate the old, non-working hardware?

I've had installations of Photoshop stop working because they suffered a corruption of the activation key.  The software had been installed and running for months, but one day Photoshop decided it needed a vacation and stopped working.  Guess what?  You can't deactivate that computer either because you can't start the program. 

I know that software piracy is a controversial topic and I'm not going to impose my beliefs on others.  I think people should be compensated for their work and I will pay for their product.  Others argue that Photoshop is only popular as a professional tool because it was so widely pirated.  The claim is that most people who illegally acquire software would never have bought it in the first place so no sales are lost.  They go on to say that many people who learned how to use pirated software eventually get jobs that require that software and influence their company to buy more copies. 

Fair enough-- the argument is probably at least partially valid.  But these same people who pirate Adobe software, easily bypassing Adobe's copy protection scheme and not  paying a dime, are never hit with the inconvenience of failed software activation.  Most of the people who have their work day stopped are paying customers.  The paying customers deserve to be treated better than the criminals.

Everything above was written while I was on hold waiting for an Adobe agent to allow me to run my legally licensed software.  25 minutes on hold.  When I mentioned this to the customer service agent he became very angry and said that I wasn't on hold, I was "in the queue".  I asked if he could pass on a suggestion of allowing customers to manage their own machine activations online for future versions of Creative Suite.  He angrily told me that it can't be done and that I had agreed to a software license that allows Adobe to refuse to activate their software (little bit of an implied threat there).  The ferocity of his response tells me that I'm not the first to complain.  I'm guessing his job really sucks.

(On a related note: Hey Apple--ditto for iTunes.)

We need your help.  Our researchers in the If You Were a Zombie Psychological Assessment and Relationship Enhancement department need subjects for an upcoming study.  We've all heard the saying, "It's the thought that counts" but precious little research has gone into checking its truthiness.

What better time to do a detailed study than Valentine's Day.  Yes, the day originally meant to honor two or three (seriously, who has time to count) martyred Christian saints named Valentine and has since morphed into the confectionary-fueled minefield which men in insecure relationships must traverse annually.

This year, instead of candy, flowers, jewelry or an incredibly sweet and creative night on the town send her this FREE ecard from ifyouwereazombie.com.  That's right, all you have to do to help is send this free Valentine's card

If she seems upset at the lack of additional loot, just tell her, "I thought this would be easier," or "I thought I'd save some money," or even "I thought it was all you deserved this year."  See, look at all that thought you put into this year's celebration!  Let us know how this worked out for you.  Our strangely single staff of researchers thanks you.

Zombie Road SignYou may curse the common road worker.  They delight in setting up orange cones and slowing our commute.  It isn't uncommon to see a dozen surly men and the occasional beautiful woman in classy reflective vests watching with fascination as another worker stands in a hole.  Add a supervisor with a clipboard and an over-enthusiastic back-hoe operator and you've got seven miles of closed off construction zone for at least two years. 

Well, now it seems that these misunderstood public servants may just be our salvation.  Our loyal (and exceptionally good looking) readers have been sending tips of signs of local outbreaks for the past couple weeks and it seems things are finally coming to a (undead) head.

Messages have been appearing on electronic road signs across the United States warning of zombies.  As is usually the case, the first sign of trouble came from the great state of Texas where a sign in Austin warned of "Zombies Ahead."  Transportation lackeys were quickly sent to lie to panicked news crews.  There was no zombie outbreak, they claimed, the sign had just been hacked by teenage pranksters.

The trouble soon spread to other local highways as alert road crews risked their lives to slowly type out an electronic warning before they ran for the hills.  "Nazi Zombies!  Run!!" said another Texas sign while  Illinois' unionized finest warned  "Raptors Ahead - Caution".  Ok, we don't quite understand that one, but maybe they were a victim of the iPhone spell-checker.  In any case there have been sightings across the country of "Daily Lane Closures Due to Zombies" and "The End is Near!" and "Danger: Zombie Attack!"

Recently,  auto blog jalopnik.com published a guide about how hackers could have changed text on these signs.  We approve of warnings from qualified personnel, but ask you not to tamper with these signs on your own.  To help you understand what not to do, we've provided the following guide.

Warning, do not tamper with these signs produced by the ADDCO Company.

  1. Do not open the access panel on the back of the sign.
  2. Do not remove the black control pad and do not plug the curly cord into the keyboard port.
  3. For god's sake, do not try to enter the default password of "DOTS"
  4. If the default password does not work, do not hold down "Control" and "Shift" while you enter "DIPY".  This will reset the password to "DOTS", which, as we said before, you should never enter.
  5. Do not scroll to "Instant Text" and do not type any warnings about zombies.
  6. Do not hit enter to submit the text and do not select "Run w/out Save".
  7. Do not add additional messages by selecting "Add Page"

These signs should only be changed by authorized personnel in the event of an actual emergency.  Remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf-he got a famous story named after him.

Thanks to Chad, Shannon, Erin and everyone else who sent this in.

Zombie card newspaperThere comes a time in a web site's life when it undergoes certain... changes.  The site might notice that pages which were once light and airy have now become cramped and confining.  Links which once happily moved the visitor to wonderous new content start to malfunction and ads (which never actually pay off anyway) begin to sprout in the most inconvenient places.  It's an uncomfortable time, but with a little counseling and help from those special people known as web site developers  it all turns out better in the end.

Yep, we've done some housekeeping and boy was it about time.  There were little bits of electronic cruft everywhere!  You wouldn't believe some of the things we found hidden in the server behind the FAQ.   We're particularly fond of the new color scheme of  Grey, Gray, and Ghrey.  We think we've fixed all the issues, but you can never be sure.  If you see anything acting hinky, let us know in the comments or drop us a line.

 To celebrate, we've lazily recycled a graphic from the old site in zombie ecard form.  Hooray for old crap!

Sci-Fi legend, writer, collector, producer, agent and sometime actor Forrest J. Ackerman has died at the ripe old age of 92.  Ackerman was not only a fan of Sci-Fi from an early age, he actually created the term Sci-Fi after hearing an ad for a stereo system on the radio.

 Ackerman was a founder of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and was credited with launching the careers of Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Marrion Zimmer Bradley and many more.  He published stories under dozens of pseudonyms and created the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland

 He played small parts in over 200 movies (sometimes as a zombie or a victim for zombies) including President of the Earth in Amazon Women on the Moon.

Forrest, or Forry, was most well-known for his extensive collection of sci-fi memorabilia which filled his Hollywood hills home.  Every Saturday, Forry would open his house to allow fellow fans to see his collection.

I visited his home (the Ackermansion) about 15 years ago not knowing what to expect. The sheer quantity of stuff was amazing. Hundreds of thousands of books and magazines filled shelves, boxes and piles on the floor. Every extra piece of floor space had display cases containing movie props, masks and awards. The walls were covered with photographs, book cover and magazine paintings (most featuring nude women), and movie posters. Shelves full of books, awards and movie props lined every wall including the staircases.

An old-school Cylon was propped up in his living room next to tasteful Victorian furniture and his kitchen table held an impressive, overflowing mountain of unopened mail. The overall impression of the chaos was overwhelming but fascinating.

Walking down the stairs to his basement I turned around and noticed an Original Series Star Trek phaser and communicator just sitting on a shelf on the stairway. Any of these strangers could have just picked one up and left but there was a sense of great trust in the air.  He couldn't conceive that other fans would take advantage of him and he was right.

People wandered around the maze of hallways and rooms (including his own bedroom) on their own unguided tour, always respectful that they were in someone's house and occasionally running into Forry as he wandered about as well. A couple times I saw him grab an object from  a shelf with a smile (as if he just discovered it) and look around for someone to show it to.

Even though he had people in his house every week, he loved playing the host. He didn't tire of telling stories and wanted to show off his more obscure pieces. When he saw me trying to figure out what a sad looking stuffed creature was (sitting next to the robot from Metropolis) he grinned and showed me a frame from the original King Kong-- It was the remains of one of the dinosaur creatures from the movie.

Later after most people had cleared out he invited everyone to sit in his living room and he told stories about his days in the ancient history of Hollywood and quirks of his author friends.

He claimed one of his proudest moments was being cast as "President of the Earth" in Amazon Women on the Moon and told us of his grandfather who was involved in designing the Bradbury building (which was featured in Bladerunner). When someone sat down on a wooden chair he told them it was 150 years old and was made for Lincoln. He laughed when they quickly jumped up-- "No, no. Sit. That's what chairs are for!"

Forrest Ackerman was a generous, kind and trusting man who had a passion for both sci-fi and people. He pushed forward the genre in ways most fans don't understand or appreciate.  The world is a more entertaining place because of him.  We tip our zombie-splattered hat to you, Forry.  Thank you. .

  Fighting the zombie scourge isn't all guts and glory.  Sure, we spend some of our day digging trenches, sharpening crowbars and packing shotgun shells.  However, just as important is our work here on the web keeping you informed about the undead menace.

This means part of our day is consumed scouring the web for zombie news, researching our award-winning, in-depth exposes and keeping the most popular web site for undead news and greeting cards alive.  Although we employ a large IT department to keep things humming, occasionally we need to contact other companies for tech support.  Sometimes, like this week, there is a perfect storm of problems that require us to make almost a dozen support requests from various companies in just a few days. 

This isn't a post complaining about out-sourcing-- we're all big supporters of the free-market economy and even offer zombie tech support at our Bangalore facility.   All our support technicians are highly trained in both superior customer service and have the knowledge to help solve your problems quickly and painlessly.  In the past week though, we've had some poor support from various companies and thought we would offer them some advice:

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