Hearts and Minds

by Jonathan Deutsch

In light of WordPress controversy, I have come to realize that conducting business ethically is truly in the best interest of the business itself. The WordPress community has suffered a serious blow, one that could have easily been averted if the founder would have been more upfront about his revenue streams. I do not want to see HyperEdit tarnished in the same matter, so I’m going to be upfront about one of the slightly-less-than-ethical techniques I use to increase HyperEdit sales. People often tell me how much they love HyperEdit. While I’m definitely flattered, this comes as no surprise to me.

Anyone who has seen Saved By The Bell knows of the episode where Zack puts a subliminal message in a tape for Kelly Kapowski to try to convince her to go to a dance with him. The point of a subliminal message is to use the power of suggestion in a way not conscious to the person, but that still gets processed by their brain. Zack used a frequency spectrum that went unnoticed because the brain receives the signal, but filters it out.

HyperEdit uses a similar technique, but with vision. In order to increase sales and win the hearts and minds of my users, I have embedded an image in the preview pane of HyperEdit that says, “I love HyperEdit!” (“I,” instead of “you,” because studies show the message should be written in a way that the user would say it themselves). Because of how it is displayed, the brain filters it out, but the suggestion still gets embedded in the subconscious. Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like:

As you can see, the image is very light and blurry — barely noticeable. It actually only gets displayed for one frame every 5 minutes, and is synced to the monitor’s refresh rate. Thus, if your monitor has a vertical refresh rate of 75 hz, this image will be displayed once every 22,500 frames in a span of 5 minutes. Since the human eye cannot perceive much beyond 60 hz, the small flash gets filtered out by the brain. The risk of people noticing it is further diminished by the fact that most people when using HyperEdit focus on the editor pane, thus the preview pane is still slightly out of focus.

So, if after using HyperEdit, found yourself in love with the little app, I’m sorry to say it isn’t because of its usefulness, but because of my unethical business practices. Depending on how the community reacts, I may remove this feature from the next version. Hopefully being upfront about this will avert any crisis.