Archive for January 2010

Something Better than the iPad

29 January 2010

In my previous article The iPad is Just an iFad, I asked, “How is this product [the iPad] any better than what I already have?”

Here is what Apple should have introduced, the Light Touch™:

Light Touch™ interactive projector

From the Light Touch website:

Light Touch™ is an interactive projector that instantly transforms any flat surface into a touch screen. It frees multimedia content from the confines of the small screen, allowing users to interact with that content just as they do on their hand held devices – using multi-touch technology.

If Apple had introduced this product, we would be hearing ooohs and aaahs from everyone, instead there’s hardly a murmur from the main stream media and tech journals; see MIT’s Technology Review and the Independent.

Apple has momentum from the successes of the iPod and iPhone so I wouldn’t be surprised that even if they came out with an electronic toilet paper dispenser, they’d still sell 4 million units in the first month, wiping out [ow – sorry] the competition.

electronic toilet paper dispenser

Photo courtesy: Walyou

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The iPad is Just an iFad

28 January 2010

Apple iPadI don’t get it. How is this product any better than what I already have?

The Kindle 2 gives you a crisp, paper-quality look and feel when you read a page with a pixel density of 167 ppi, while the iPad has a pixel density of 132 ppi. [see more Kindle advantages at marclafountain.com] So the iPad is not the best ebook reader.

Sure one can run all existing iPhone apps on the iPad, but if I already have an iPhone what do I need an iPad for? Just to see an app running in a tiny block on my iPad? Want to make a phone call? Sadly, iPad doesn’t have an APP for that.

So what about its browser capabilities? Sadly there’s no Flash support in the iPad. So how is that better than my PC?

When the iPod came out, it was a better and more convenient way to buy, download, store, and listen to music.

If it was a better way to buy or read books than the Kindle (it’s not), or a better way way to browse the Internet than a laptop (it’s not), or an easier way to get music than the iPod (it’s not), or better at accessing thousands of apps than the iTouch (it’s not), or connect people with phonecalls than the iPhone (it’s not) then perhaps it would be worthy of the hype.

What is the iPad better at?

Hitler is just as unhappy with the iPad, see the video here.

How to Succeed in Business

22 January 2010

The wheel was invented about ten thousand years ago. At each stage, from a simple log to help move heavy objects, to chariots for hunting and war, to two-wheeled farm carts, to covered carriages, and finally to four-wheeled freight wagons and passenger coaches, there was an entrepreneur who helped advance to the next and greater wheel.

There are only two choices in life: be an entrepreneur or work for someone. I ignore for a moment the twentieth century invention of the union where one can not bother working at all and still get paid.

Aside from drug dealers I’m one of a select few Americans who has actually carried a suitcase weighing 110 pounds filled with hundred dollar bills or walked the streets of New York with millions of dollars of gold in my backpack; so it is quite often that young people who know me ask for advice regarding what occupation or profession they should pursue to succeed in life. Actually, they are asking what business should they get into in order to eventually be their own boss and make lots and lots of money so they can retire early.

The answer is deceptively simple. Two things:

  1. Find something you like to do. Steve Jobs liked to quote an old Chinese proverb: “The Journey Is the Reward.” If you do not like your job, you will never succeed.
  2. Be the customer – don’t focus on the product. Another old Chinese proverb: “Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.” Case in point: Verizon is a company that will eventually fail because they are focused only on their products, not on their customers. For example, most of you are likely familiar that Verizon charges 1.99 for data usage, and that hundreds of millions of dollars each year are fraudulently being billed to people who have never made use of the service or who might have accidentally switched on the service.

    The Consumerist, Verizon Configures Phones So You Incur Erroenous Data Charges? (To The Tune Of $300 Million)

    “The phone is designed in such a way that you can almost never avoid getting $1.99 charge on the bill. Around the OK button on a typical flip phone are the up, down, left, right arrows. If you open the flip and accidentally press the up arrow key, you see that the phone starts to connect to the web. So you hit END right away. Well, too late. You will be charged $1.99 for that 0.02 kilobytes of data. NOT COOL. I’ve had phones for years, and I sometimes do that mistake to this day, as I’m sure you have. Legal, yes; ethical, NO.

    Roger Tang, Verizon’s regional head for Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, said the charges were not an attempt to con customers out of their money [Read more: Fierce Wireless].

    Despite that protests of innocence, Verizon is only “crediting customers for unintentional data charges as customers bring the ‘error’ to our attention.” This is of course how Verizon gets away with their scam. They know that it is very easy for a customer to mistakenly activate the Internet on their handsets but rely on the fact that only a small percentage will notice the extra $1.99 charge on their bill. The majority of people pay their bill without even looking at it because they trust Verizon.

    Over-billing, billing for non-existent services, billing for uncompleted calls, these are the standard practices of all the Baby Bells. Hopefully as consumers become more aware of these fraudsters, fewer people will do business with them.

That’s it. Once you find a job you absolutely love and you can “be the customer” then opportunities for going on your own will appear. If you focus on product or simply on making money, you must fail.

At the risk of pimping companies I consult for, I’d like to give you an example of a business you can start by first being the customer and then when you get the hang of it you can become a SIP Reseller; it’s simple, easy to start, doesn’t require huge upfront fees, and is completely refundable if you’re not satisfied.

Anybody Else out there Vertwittered?

15 January 2010

kids at beach

Ver·twit·ter (fuh-twitta)

v.tr.
1. To wear out completely with tweets, twitters, twhirls, twitter widgets, twitter tools, twitter gadgets, PocketTweets, Twellow directories, Twubble, Twittie Me, Twitdir, Twitstats, and 50,000 other twitter apps.
2. To drain one’s resources and energy by downloading 8 hours of twitter applications every day without the possibility of ever using any more than one or two of them in a lifetime.
3. To exhaust your friends, family, work associates with a constant flow of meaningless, useless, never-ending minutia of whatever you are doing every single minute of every single day.

Since its rollout in 2006, developers and websites now offer Twitter apps in the tens of thousands. Take for example Twitpic which Tech Crunch informs us is one of the top 20 Twitter apps with more that 1.2 million unique visitors in January 2009.

See the photo of the young folks at the beach? Do you know any of them? Neither do I. Do you care? Neither do I. I don’t want to see photos of people I know – why would I want to go look at random photos from people I don’t know? OK, OK, there exist twitterholics who do not have a life and this is very exciting for them, I understand. However, isn’t there an overabundance of photo websites already on the Web?

I find it unbelievable that more than 4 million twits follow Britney Spears. I don’t believe we need to waterboard any terrorists, just read Britney’s tweets to them for an hour or so and they’ll quickly drop a dime on Osama Bin Laden’s butt.

The Telephone was invented in 1876. The First APP for the telephone was the answering machine which came in 1935. The second APP, call-waiting came in 1971 along with Three-Way Calling, Call Forwarding, and Speed Calling.

A few apps over the course of a century made it easy for people to learn to use the phone and the applications at least were actually useful. I suppose if Bell had invented the phone today there would be 50,000 useless apps like: press *2543839 to listen to people who have indicated (by pressing *1088766) that they are from Miami and talking to someone from New York. Yeah, that’s right; certain phone users would pre-agree (by certain touchtones) that they don’t mind having other people listen in on the conversation. After all, what are tweets but textual phone conversations.

Don’t want to listen? There’s an APP for that – hang up.

10 Clever Commercials

8 January 2010

Just thought I’d list 10 interesting video commercials today.

Vodaphone tells their story in 11 seconds: video.

If you are out of shape it only takes 22 seconds to find out: video.

Here’s a German ad (with English voice-over) for John Deere: Video [H/T to Small Dead Animals].

Here’s an ad for Levi’s that shows us the journey is more important than the destination: video.

It takes a lot of guts to make a 2 minute and 27 second commercial where you don’t reveal the product until the last 4 seconds, but Sony BRAVIA does that here: video but T-Mobile also carries it for a few seconds longer (2 minutes 41 seconds) at Liverpool Street Station: video.

Want to show that your product has the human touch, try this clever Toyota ad: video. Then for a change of pace, try this Toyota piece that Bests Ads Ever calls ‘Best car ad ever?’: video.

Guiness takes a hackneyed phrase and turns it into an improbable race with snails: video.

The best commercial of all time is arguably the Honda cog ad: video.

When is too much Money?

7 January 2010

Terrence Howard and Zulay Henao…are definitely a couple.
Terrence Howard
Photo Credit: Hissip

This is a post in 3 parts.

Part I

Iron Man should have hit theaters twenty years ago when Universal Studios bought the rights to develop it for the big screen. After a series of potential directors, writers, and actors looked at it, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights in 1966. Then after numerous adaptations, rewrites, screenplays, and even more directors, writers, and actors, Fox sold it to New Line Cinema.

In 2005, after two years of unsuccessful development, New Line Cinema returned the film rights to Marvel Studios who were anxious to develop it themselves since Iron Man was their only major character not already depicted in a live action film. Being anxious they were perhaps over-generous to the first actor to sign on, Terrence Howard, who portrayed military liaison Lt. Col James Rhodes (and possibly to play the character War Machine in sequels). Howard, seen here cavorting with Zulay Henao on a beach, was actually paid more than Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, or any other actor. Hey, are you finished looking at the photo?

Marvel must have had low expectations for the film; indeed, Downey never starred in any film to gross more than $100 million, so Howard (who had a base plus percentage) hit the lottery when the film grossed more than $585,133,287 worldwide in its first 22 weeks in theaters (Domestic: $318,412,101 ; Foreign: $266,721,186)

Because Downey’s performance surprised them, Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux decided to minimize Howard’s story line for Iron Man 2. Because of that, the studio went to the actor’s agents with a much reduced payday – more in line with what the other supporting actors were getting. But Howard would not take a pay cut.

Instead of making a few million less, Howard opted for no money at all.

Part II

When Disney asked Julia Roberts to star in the flick ‘The Proposal,’ Julia refused to lower her salary, so the studio went with Sandra Bullock. Sadly for Julia, ‘The Proposal’ cranked out a whopping $314 million in worldwide ticket sales (Domestic: $163,958,031 ; foreign: $150,700,000) in its first 140 days of release.

Instead of making a few million less, Julia opted for no money at all.

Part III

Now this part is for audience participation; fill it in yourself;

Two of the stars of ___________ (fill in TV series name) may not be back for the _____ (fill in) season because they’re reportedly asking for too much money. _______ (fill in studio name) is said to be meeting
with _______ and ______ (fill in actor names) as substitutes.

Actually this is an easy question to answer: you know you were asking for too much money when they decide to give you nothing at all.