Posted by: acohen109 | February 19, 2009

Big Mac

http://www.macrumors.com/2009/02/19/turn-by-turn-iphone-gps-app-already-available-in-itunes/

This makes me laugh; anticipation about a GPS system for the iphone completely shut down by…a previously downloadable GPS system. Apple recently lightened up its tactics on duplicate apps. Good thing, because they are officially ripping off independent developers.

It’s not like this is a brand spanking new idea; GPS has been around forever, and this was all only a matter of time. But it’s the principle of the darn thing. And principle, as always, is a double edged sword.

Apple sponsored GPS app; good for consumers. Probably runs a whole lot cleaner and smoother than the independent version currently available. I guarantee it will end up prettier. Overall, a better project.

Bad for: developer. Their mojo is being stolen and repackaged, which is sad because they essentially beat Steve Jobs and co. to the punch and are going to get screwed out of what they probably deserve.

Good or bad for Apple; we’ll have to see how it shakes out. Ultimately they can’t go around stealing from the people who are putting time and innovation into these apps for too long; it will bite them in the ass. Independent iphone apps will spur creativity and development into places the official team would never have a chance to reach. They’ll even screw themselves if they only cherry pick the best apps; after all, every developer thinks their app is amazing and the best.

Apple currently controls the mobile market but that might not hold up forever and overall I can’t say I approve of this tactic, even if it’s just an example. Just another example of disguised evil.

Posted by: acohen109 | February 10, 2009

Twitter wises up

There’s been whispers about this kind of move for a while, but Twitter has finally set into motion a plan to start charging Brands for using their product. This opens up a whole heap of questions.

1. What exactly constitutes a brand? Are you going to charge sponsors or celeb representatives?

2. How much? Is it going to be on a scale?

3. Why you gotta be doing me dirty like this, Twitter? Seriously, a big part of the appeal of selling social media programs to our clients is the cost, so this dulls the blade a little bit.

Either way, I’m sure more on this will develop; the Twitter peeps haven’t shown their hand completely yet. For the #3 social network out there right now, I’m surprised this hasn’t come through before now.

Excuse me, I have to find out if anyone in the phone book has the last name of Zicam. Mr. Zicam isn’t a brand, honest…

Posted by: acohen109 | February 9, 2009

The New Kindle is here

Go Away Kindle

OK let’s be serious for a moment.

The kindle is the death of conventional literature and should not be tolerated. I guess it was inevitable. Every day there are new tricks, gadgets, and reasons to stay connected to a screen. Already, there were thousands of books available on the internet. But the Kindle is so viciously easy and effective that for the first time I believe the “Book” is in serious danger.

I might be biased. I’ve spent quite a few years of my life in a hybrid bookstore/art gallery.

You can find a few of my dad’s works on the Kindle. I know because he looked them up, and was all giggly. Disgusting. He is being neglected. Writers are being neglected by the kindle. But more importantly, readers are getting cheated out of real book reading experiences.

Blah blah, I’m not going to get into that amazing book smell, or the entirely weird experience that people are having as we speak of curling up in bed during a rainstorm and reading…a Kindle. Come on. Not even power outages will stop this thing; at least books on the internet had a kryptonite.

I’m glad that this thing might popularize reading just a tad, god knows there’s not enough of it going on. and during a crappy economy I get that this thing is easier, cheaper, and more convenient than running out and picking up new books. But ultimately, who is reading their favorite novels because of how easy they are? 1st graders?

To me at least, reading is part muscle memory and part instinctual and there’s a legit sense of comfort that cracking upon a book can endow upon my psyche. But it appears to be headed in the direction of the horse drawn wagon; something you only see in Museums. It makes me quite sad. I can only hope that, like snail mail, books will stubbornly remain in the public consciousness for decades to come.

But there’s a Borders closing down a few minutes from my house. It’s the same Borders that shut down all the local independent bookstores. This is turning out to be a fairly depressing blog entry.

Do you know the best way to cheer someone up after talking about something depressing? Leave abruptly.

Posted by: acohen109 | February 4, 2009

http://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract

Booya!

That’s the Twitter account of QTip, who you may or may not know as the frontman for the legendary Tribe Called Quest, for my money responsible for some of the best music the 90s had to offer.

Anyway last week he repped a product we represent here at GH so I got to tap him and say thanks. We exchanged a few direct messages…I managed to keep my professionalism together enough to not drool. Anyway his Twitter account is actually pretty funny, I recommend it.

Freaking Q Tip, come on! In honor of the occasion, I present a Tribe lyric modified by my friend Josh. Although slightly vulgar, it makes me laugh, so excuse me in advance.

I go to the bar to find some twitter.
But I was always told that I will never find worthwhile twitter at the bar.
For that I go to church or the library.
Everybody love library twitter.

And there you have it.

Posted by: acohen109 | January 31, 2009

The Internets, they are bad for you

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/31/google-flags-whole-internet-as-malware

Google does good. And yet, due to some glitch (yes) or remarkable foresight (no), every site could harm your computer. Probably not good for business. Somehow though, i do think people will forgive Google, if only because they have no other choice; it is entirely pervasive.

Maybe it’s still doing good. After all, displaying a page on your browser permanently stores a ghost of it somewhere in your comp, jah? It’s why computers slow down after a while, the information piles up after keeping track of everything that your computer has been up to. Google brings people more internet than ever before, so really it’s possible that your computer is indeed being harmed by every site out there.

Or it’s a glitch and I’m still just throwing things to the wall. But I still think an occurrence like this, when Google has always appeared to be so infallible, is noteworthy.

Everybody has seen the Twitter fail whale (right?) and gone, “oh, that whacky Twitter, they’re just too popular for their own good. They may even be doing it on purpose to drive demand.” Even Facebook shuts down sometimes. every major site has downtime to clean up for maintenance. Google never gets a break, and besides that is the most used and popular site on the internet. Something like this is still shocking to most people though, because of google’s perceived invincibility. I guarantee there are a dozen start-up search engines doing dances right now, just because there might be a crack in the Google armor. When you’re as big and dominant as they are, showing any kind of vulnerability is going to stoke the competition’s fires, and that’s a lesson that can be applied to basically anything.

To sum up, here is Failblog; http://failblog.org/

Posted by: acohen109 | January 27, 2009

Shark fin shaped Ice

Just a short note today; wouldn’t want to be accused of stealing time.

An interesting thing happened here at my amazing place of employment just now that has struck a chord with me.

Wow, with a hook like that, how could anyone not read on? Fascinating stuff to follow, I’m sure.

Yes, I provide my own sarcastic commentary, because I’m interested in saving you time.

Anyway, in a nutshell, a big ol’ chunk of cash had been set aside to create a Canadian version of a Drupal site…but ultimately you can just transfer the Theme settings from one site to another. The second this was pointed out, the chunk o cash flew out the window. Good for the client, bad for the developers.

The whole ordeal really got me thinking about the depreciation of technology values. Goods and services that were $100,000 a year ago are $10,000 now, and next year they’ll be free. There are so many small development firms/groups that the undercutting going on just to acquire business from reputable companies is also contributing to this decline. The obvious answer to this conundrum is to keep finding and implementing that next “big thing.” Once it was facebook and Twitter. Now it’s mobile apps and the like. Finding out what’s next is a big part of getting paid these days.

I’m a firm believer in finding conventional and new uses for old junk. As the world moves on and everything becomes devalued and easily accessible, innovation is IMO going to be more valuable than the platforms themselves.

This blog has become far too stream-of-consciousness-y for me. Next time: thematic structure and possibly annotated outlines.

I’ll dig up a legitimate tech-related link for later, but for now the site that accompanies my post is going to be my beloved Qwantz, home of dinosaurs.

http://www.qwantz.com/

Bonus site: http://www.ohgizmo.com/2009/01/26/shark-fin-ice-tray/

Yes, shark fin shaped ice. They even float upright. Excellent.

Posted by: acohen109 | January 25, 2009

Good afternoon on a warm, bright Sunday. I know I’m getting older because I’ve started looking back with fondness at the carefree days of my youth.

I’ve been thinking about the tendency of all these fun technologies we have going on to consolidate and swallow each other up. easy, conventional TV on mobile phones is imminent (very), and the mobile platform has already swallowed up email, browsing, knee jerk communication like IMs and texts, and god knows what else. Meanwhile, social media sites are becoming one as well, as Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. slowly take over the same responsibilities. It makes me wonder just how long it’s going to be until we just have…the Box, everyone’s entire life and anything they could possibly be interested in compacted and put into a single item.

It would save time, sure, and convenience ultimately is the word of the day in modern society, so it’s coming. But I really feel like there’s some kind of satisfaction that comes with searching for something and finding it. Thrill is way too strong a word, but everybody’s had to search something out on the internet and had that Eureka moment. Where we’re at now…Youtube is suggesting videos it thinks I might like, advertisements on gmail are customizing themselves to the content of my inbox, and it’s all contributing to an automaton-like experience. As a kid, the internet was about exploring. Now there’s almost a set path, and not only do i think it’s all missing the point, but I feel like it’s taking away from what drew a lot of people in initially.

Not that the internet’s going anywhere. So maybe I’m just going nuts.

OK here’s the most amazing site in the world this week:
www.animoto.com
You select around 15 pictures to upload, and a song, and it puts together an amazing, commercial quality (almost!) 30 second spot for you. They’ve got their own song collection as well. Wandering around my facebook profile is an exceptionally sappy video it created of my girlfriend and myself. At work, my boss and i were using promo stills for certain companies and we were loving the results. This site will make you happy, and it only takes a few minutes.

Aaaaaaaand cue the funny picture:
fncka9emq2

Posted by: acohen109 | January 20, 2009

No one knows how far to go on the first blog.

It’s just different for everyone, I suppose.

Ah, WordPress.  Like an old friend from high school that you hadn’t really thought about it in a while.  The kind who made you laugh a few times, but honestly we never hung out all that much when you really think about it.  Yeah, I know WordPress.  Vaguely.  Spicing up the background and adding some fun gadgets are next, but for now I’m diving right into my first post; aka Diary for grown ups.  

Starting up a blog the night before the inauguration of President Obama seems oddly appropriate to me.  However, given my position as a new media guy, and the extent to which the Obama campaign brought all the fun stuff into the mainstream, it’s no surprise.  I’m not planning on seriously overt politicking in this blog, but given that Obama and his team are thoroughly dedicated to the cause, I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to ramble on about him.

Swearing by the theory that every blog post should contain some info that actually is useful to whoever might be reading it, I present http://www.cli.gs.  Have you heard of TinyURL?  Free, infinitely available service that shortens obnoxiously long user names for easy posting in new media outlets like Twitter.  Well, cligs is a very similar service, except it provides analytics, page views, and anything you could want.  Exceptional when it comes to tracking who is clicking on your links…say, if you were sending out coupons via Twitter in a grass roots campaign.  Instead of linking directly to a coupon page, send it through a Clig.  You’ll find out where and when people are looking at your page, and these are the little details the Client always likes to know about.

Funny clig story; using it to track users of a certain product my company represents (I haven’t decided how specific I’m going to be re: describing work experiences on this blog, my apologies) I found that I was receiving a decent number of hits from the farthest reaches of Europe and even Asia.  As far as I could tell, the product was strictly available in the U.S.  So what were foreign nations doing checking out a coupon page?  My curiosity wouldn’t let it go.  Using social media trackers such as Radian6 (pay service) and Boardreader.com (totally free, i highly recommend it) I searched for mentions of my product and countries such as Italy in conjunction.  I found my answer:  Americans, traveling the globe, were still getting online and posting their thoughts on blogs and twitter, and they were giving me my foreign hits.  Astounding that even as the American population hits the road, we are still stuck to the internet.

I mean, I was in Europe not too long ago and even I managed to stay off the internet most of the time.  Kind of.  The Lakers were making a finals run, give me a break!  Yes, I got home the day after game 6 of the finals, a bloodbath.  Sigh.

Well, I was going to continue on with a decent anecdote or two regarding the Facebook and our dark and sordid past together, but I think it can wait.  in the meantime, I can’t recommend Cligs enough, just remember it’s got a funky address (www.cli.gs).  Boardreader is excellent because you can point its search at any message board.  Twitter too.  Very handy when you’re researching specific topics that you know are going to have their own dedicated communities built in.  

I haven’t decided how many people are going to know this blog exists, I haven’t even sitemapped the thing yet.  But for sure I know the APOC group will have access, and you guys should know I think you’re a great group of people and we’re going to be able to have some fun while we make our way through this program.  I don’t get much sappier than that, so sayonara for now.

And because a blog is worthless without a funny picture:
Possibly the greatest picture ever to grace the internet.

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