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The views expressed on this blog and its related web sites or podcasts are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer, clients, investors, wife, children, pets, parents, friends, friends-of-friends or anyone else with whom I may be acquainted.

 

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Sunday
Jul152012

Unboxing 14-year-old Technology

As a follow-up to my post on bringing back the use of the Swatch .beat Universal Internet Time, here's a gallery of the unboxing of my original Swatch Beat watch after being in storage for all these years.

Sunday
Jul152012

It's time to bring back the .Beat

In 1998, my wife bought me a Swatch Beat watch. I think she heard me mention it after reading about it in Wired magazine and she got it for me as a gift.

WTF is a .Beat?

Swatch, along with the endorsement of Nicholas Negroponte, who was then the Director of the MIT Media Lab, proposed a Universal Internet Time known as the .Beat.

It works like this: A day is divided into 1000 ".beats". So, one Swatch ".beat" is equivalent to 1 Minute 26.4 Seconds.

You set your watch according to Biel Meantime (BMT). (In a classic marketing move, Biel, Switzerland is the corporate headquarters of Swatch.)

So, when you want to schedule a phone call with someone across the world, you don't have to figure out time zones - you simply indicate that the meeting should take place @xxx .beats.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun172012

Great Budget Espresso Machine

Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I have a very special relationship with espresso. It's my morning (and afternoon) drug of choice and one of my favorite hot beverages. (Yes, I'm a Starbucks shareholder. That should tell you something...)

I've owned a variety of espresso machines over the years and while none of them would be considered "commercial" quality, some of them were quite expensive for "consumer" grade machines.

When you use a consumer grade espresso machine every day, it eventually dies, even with proper maintenance. They're just not made for that kind of frequency.

So, when my Super Duper Espresso Maker 9000 died a couple of months ago, my wife saved me from the oncoming withdrawal symptoms by stopping at a local Bed Bath & Beyond and grabbed a Krups XP3200 Opio. With tax (and a coupon) she paid just over $100 for it. (A the time of this post, you can get one on Amazon for $99.99.)

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr192012

RSS Feed Ads for Boing Boing

It looks like Boing Boing is starting to include ads in their RSS feeds.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar182012

Power

My single biggest takeaway from SXSW was all the talk about battery life. Every single person. All the time. People changing plans because they needed to recharge their phones. People walking around with chargers. People who were chargers. Mophies galore. People uninstalling apps that would drain power. People putting phones into airplane mode in areas of weak signal. People borrowing other phones so they didn’t have to waste the power on their phone.

This is the way I live my life, almost every day, with the iPhone 4S but I don’t use a Mophie Juice Pack or any of its brethren.

I got a Zagg Sparq last year - an external battery with two USB ports - for two reasons:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar162012

Sparrow for iPhone: No Push? No Problem.

Sparrow for iPhone was released yesterday and by all counts (including my own) it's great.

The one complaint that some people seem to have is that it doesn't support Push Email. I've rarely used the Push Email feature in the iPhone mail client due to the major suckage of power from the battery.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to be notified of new email.

I use Google Apps Mail (Gmail with my own domain name) and the connection to that service is plain ol' IMAP. Built into the technical standard for IMAP is something called IMAP IDLE mode.

Basically, if your mail client supports this feature of IMAP, you'll receive notifications when you have new mail. Of course, the iPhone Mail app doesn't offer this (and neither does Sparrow) but that's OK: for a couple of bucks, you can purchase a third-party app that can do this for you.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb162012

Join me at the Small Business Summit in NYC

I'm really happy to invite you to join me at the Seventh Annual Small Business Summit on Tuesday, March 6th, in New York City.

The Summit is NY's premier event for small business owners, entrepreneurs and business professionals looking to network (500+ attendees), learn from experts, meet with exhibitors and win great prizes.

At the Summit you'll...

  • Learn how Orabrush used creativity and low cost video to boost sales of their tongue cleaners.
  • Hear from Dell how the power of online software can help you grow your business.
  • Listen how Bonobos' customer service ninja works to please customers and sell more pants!
  • Enjoy the luncheon keynote by John "ColderICE" Lawson that will have you laughing, crying - and inspired
  • Listen to Scott Hintz, Founder of Tripit, share his success in building and selling two businesses - powerful lessons for EVERY business owner
  • Learn form a sales guru about her secrets to getting the customer to say YES!
  • Enjoy breakfast, lunch and LOTS MORE...

Tickets are $149 until Feb 24th, then they go to $199 - BUT I've got a special deal for you.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan222012

DIY QR Code Pet Tags

After seventeen years of being a one-dog household, we decided to double our dog ownership.

We adopted a ten-year old chocolate Cocker Spaniel named Oreo whose owner was moving from a house to an apartment and couldn't take him. Given our history with rescue dogs, we know that it's typical for older dogs to be passed over for adoption since most families want younger dogs or puppies.

We didn't want to see him spend the rest of his life in a foster home (or worse) so we decided to welcome him to our family. He's a great dog and gets along well with our Lucy, a four-year old, black and white, parti-colored Cocker Spaniel.

Oreo has a microchip but we don't know who the vendor is, so we can't find the registry. That means that the old guy definitely needed new dog tags.

I started poking around the Interwebs and found a few interesting things.

You can get pet tags with QR codes!

Unlike many of the silly uses of QR codes that I see, this is a brilliant use of the technology: find a pet, scan the QR code on its tag and find out all about them including their owner's name and address, eating habits, favorite activities, medical history - the works.

One thing really bugged me, though: the only QR code pet tag solution I could find is managed by one company: PetHub. I tried creating profiles for both of our dogs but I found the service slow and buggy.

Plus, as a person who calls himself "half-geek, on my mother's side," I knew I could do better, so I did. ;)

Here's how.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan112012

Guest on Nonprofit Radio January 13th at 1 PM

I'll be a guest on Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio talking about Podcasting for nonprofilts. 

Join me - you'll be able to listen live or grab the podcast next week.

Monday
Dec262011

You Give a Kid a Kindle - Then What?

My son loves to read, so my wife and I decided to get him a Kindle Touch for Christmas.

He recently turned nine and we think that he's responsible enough to care for an eReader - and what better way to demonstrate our confidence in him than to surprise him on Christmas day?

The problem that we had (as do many parents of young children) is the lack of parental controls on Kindle devices.

Kindles have gotten cheap enough that they can serve as suitable replacements for kid's books without breaking the bank (or a kid's back) but they're still designed with adults in mind: one-click purchases for books, games, apps, movies, music and audiobooks. (Sorry, Amazon, but that doesn't work in our house.)

So, I set about figuring out how to handle this with our son.

Click to read more ...