Archive for September, 2009

In the future, you’re fat.

belly-fat-main_full[1] We’ve seen the future, and you’re fat.

It’s not totally your fault, it’s our stupid calendar’s—the way we pack Halloween, Thanksgiving and the rest together in some sort of three-month gauntlet of flab.

But good news: we’ve found something that can help you stave off the jiggles.

fitbit Meet Fitbit, the pocket-size fitness monitor of the future, now available in the present.

Think of it as a Nintendo Wii for your pocket. Using the same motion sensor you’d find in a Wii remote, it records your every move, tracking every step you take, every move you make and every bond your break. (Kind of like Sting, but without the puffy shirts.) And if you happen to wander near your computer—where the dock station lives—boom, it uploads all your stats to your PC.

Once online, you’ll see how many calories you’ve burned and even how well you’re sleeping at night. You’ll want to start adding some basic details (number of martinis consumed last night, number of bourbons consumed this a.m.) and pick a reasonable goal—like losing five pounds in the next month, or burning 300 more calories per day.

Unfortunately, Fitbit cannot high-five you yet.

Fitbit, is available now .. I don’t sell them, but I could lose a couple of pounds.

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September 28, 2009 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Stay warm this winter

l_216913_s06_blkI remember moving to Chicago one winter having grown up in Florida. I was shocked, I thought my wind breaker would be warm enough. Ha! I had to rush out and buy an arctic parka!  I saw this geeky jacket and knew this is the solution for this winter.

This is Mountain Hardwear’s insulated Refugium Jacket, a pre-wired jacket using the Ardica Moshi Power System battery and Technology Connector that not only heats your core, but can charge your iPod, phone or other USB devices. With the addition of the battery, you have 3 temperature settings that provide up to 8.6 hours of on-demand heat, all while Thermic Micro insulation works at keeping heat close by.

 

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1696564&dest=-1]

What a great idea.  Yes, I want to charge my Ipod! The power system is really pretty cool.  Check out the video.

 

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September 25, 2009 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

Is Augmented Reality a good marketing tool?

What if you could drive people to your web site or create buzz like a viral video? Augmented reality (AR) uses a connected web cam, shape recognition, and 3D art.  Put it all together and you have an interactive experience that people love.

What is Augmented Reality?

Wikipedia says: “Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.”

This is a new technology but many uses I have seen are a bit lame or just not practical.  My first experience with augmented reality was with promotion leading up to the release of Sony Pictures District 9.  I heard about it on NPR and then saw the movie poster with the AR shape at the Sony store. The video below is pretty cool for an early use of AR and I expect it to grow in use.

Best Buy printed a Sunday newspaper insert with an AR shape and it was a bit disappointing.  See http://bestbuyin3d.com/, I hope that Best Buy includes shapes for each product in the circulars and with AR we can see it in 3D (without balloon ads) and click to get more info. Now that would be useful!

GE used AR to show wind and solar energy in 3D – http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/#/augmented_reality, pretty cool but still not a real practical use of AR.

The Star Trek movie did pretty cool promotion of the movie using AR!  This looks like fun, but alas I am a but of a Star Trek nut. Again, I think that once the newness wars off AR like this will cease to wow us.

Layar Augmented Reality

Now, I am truly excited, a Netherlands Company called Layar has developed a AR browser to enable the Google Android phone, using it’s web camera, GPS and shape recognition to display layers (or is that layars?) of information super imposed over the camera image.  Imagine being able to point the camera at a restaurant  and being able to see it’s menu. Or looking for real estate and able to see prices by pointing your phone camera at a property?  I can see many practical uses for this technology and yet it has the wow factor big time.

It’s unfortunate but it’s not available in the US until it is released in Europe.  I saw that the Layar browser is being ported to the iPhone.  Is the Blackberry to follow? Layar, I am ready for this – fantastic idea! Sign me up!

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September 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

Save Your Relationship for Just $1

GFK1It’s not that you don’t care. It’s just that sometimes, you get busy.

Sometimes, you just forget to call. Or text message. Or email.

Or write the epic poem about flowers and her hair she so deserves.

If only there were someone to do it all for you. Or better yet, something…

GFK2

That something: Girlfriend Keeper, a first-of-its-kind iPhone app designed to save you from absent-mindedly destroying your relationship, available now. Think of it as the romantic side you never had time to develop, but you always knew was there. First, you’ll adjust a couple on-screen meters for "relationship level" (from "strangers" to "married") and "contact frequency" (from a casual once-per-month to a stalkerish every-other-hour). Then you’ll feed it the basics about her (email address, phone number, birthday) along with some not-so-basics like eye color and your anniversary. (Note: if you’re using this, you might want to double-check and confirm both of those.)

And then—and this is the beauty part—you do nothing. Yes, absolutely nothing as it begins dropping your beloved regular personalized email messages ("Scarlett, I will love you until my heart stops beating") and text messages ("Your birthday is in 54 days, perhaps I will get you something blue to match your eyes"), all signed with your name. (We’ve sent them a firm note requesting they add a "physical massage" function.) And as the app gets updated, you can add new stats like hair color (blonde), favorite food (pizza) and even pet name (Rosebud). They’re also working on letting you register multiple relationships, because sometimes life gets…complicated. Just be warned: they’re also making something evil called Boyfriend Keeper.

Note: Find Girlfriend Keeper info here

September 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Carefully Build Your Social Network

Think … interesting communities

tweetdeck We all know that some people think social networks are a waste of time.  Sometimes they are! If you don’t use them properly as part of a marketing plan they can be just a fun conversation. But wait – social networks can be so much more. It’s not just about numbers of people connections – it’s about numbers of targeted connections. 

I love Twitter – first of all it’s limited to 140 characters.  I like to follow people who talk about things I am interested in and that relate to my work.  There are so many twitter tools that let you do just that.  These tools can search the Twitter public stream and look for posts containing key words typed by people you may want to follow.  You can manually add these people after a review of the post or automatically follow them.  I have used this method to connect with over 10,000 people in just a few months. Once I follow people, they usually follow back. Ultimately, I don’t follow people who don’t follow me back, because to me, it’s all about connections.  My favorite Twitter application is Tweetdeck – it allows me to filter tweets of others by subject and helps me with Facebook posts too. Just do a search for Twitter applications – the number of these grow daily!

I think that Facebook is the more personal social network. I prefer to connect with people I know and their direct friends.  I make an exception by joining targeted groups on Facebook. You may also find the groups and fan clubs are helpful for making focused connections. I also repurpose my Twitter feed as my Facebook status.

I like to think of Linked-in as a way of connecting with groups of special interests.  I find that may people think of it as more “business”.  Actually all of these social networks are good for business. But Linked-in does have more of a business orientation.  I search for connections by using the search on Linked-in and look for groups of people with the interest I want to target. But you must add to the group “think” and talk with members in order to be accepted.

ilikesocialnetwork All the social networks have unspoken manners you must adhere to to be successful.  For example it’s a real turnoff to sell a product directly – but it’s cool to post a link to an article on your blog.

Where will social networking go in the future? I think that the big networks will definitely be around and continue to be useful but there will be large growth in niche networking as people become more discerning about with whom they connect. For example I recently heard about a bartenders network with an invitation only tier for the elite in this craft.  I think we will see more tiny focused social networks like this in the near future.

So, connect and grow your network but be targeted!  Feel free to post a comment or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Linked-in. You will find my profile at www.dwightcook.com.

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September 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment


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