Virtual Sunglasses, Real Shopping

I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses from Eyefly.com through a great deal on Living Social. ($49 for a complete pair of glasses, shipped.)

That was pretty cool, but this is even cooler:

While browsing for glasses on Eyefly, you can take a photo of yourself with a webcam. The site uses software that will automagically place a 3D rendering of the glasses on your face so you can see how they might look.

QR Codes Provide Quick and Easy Access to Facebook Likes On-The-Go

Recently, Optify shared some research inferring that social signals (Facebook "Likes") correlate with search engine results. Given this fact, it's a no wonder that so many web sites and businesses are asking you to hit the Like button.

I advised a client that he could use a number of incentives to get people to Like his Facebook page, including using a Like as an entry in a drawing. He took the advice and decided to giveaway an iPad to people who like his page.

What he didn't tell me was that he wanted people to Like his page and perform the giveaway at a professional conference made up of less-than-tech-savvy attendees.

This was a bit of challenge. Access to social networks are, by design, very personal. Most people engage with them on their computers or smartphones - neither of which would be on-hand by many folks at this event.

The fallback method I suggested for acquiring Likes and entering people into the drawing was SMS. Simply send a text to

32665

with the text 

like yourpagenamehere

The only problem with this approach was the name of the page. Instead of being something quick and easy to type like facebook.com/YPN he had chosen a long, search engine-friendly version such as facebook.com/thisismyreallygreatsuperduperpage

It's enough of a challenge to get someone to opt-in so the last thing you want is for him to feel foolish when he can't type the long name on his flip phone or his touchscreen smartphone.

The solution - which I didn't deduce until after the fact - is a QR code. Yes, there still aren't too many people who have QR code scanners installed on their phones either, but it does solve the text-entry challenge.

Grove Demonstrates Great Use of the Facebook ‘Like’ Button

Grove, an Oregon-based maker of gorgeous bamboo cases for the Apple iPhone, demonstrates an excellent use of the Facebook "Like" button. Rather than simply enabling customers to express their love for the company, Grove has implemented the Like button for each product. I found them via the Twitter @earlybird service. Use the code EARLYBIRD at… Continue reading Grove Demonstrates Great Use of the Facebook ‘Like’ Button

Aggregated Media Beats One-Off Titles in the iPad App Store

In thinking about content for the iPad (books, magazines, movies, etc.) my instincts and experience tell me that having a unique product in the App Store should drive more sales than an app that aggregates premium content. That's because I believe the value of keyword search is greater than the value of aggregation  - it becomes difficult to effectively list all the aggregated content on the app's sales page and harder for consumers to find that content.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Another Flaw in the eBook Agency Model

Some major book publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster) have opted for Amazon's "Agency Model" to sell their eBooks. Simply put, this means that the publisher sets the price and Amazon sells then delivers it at that price. However, it also means that Amazon is not the seller anymore, and they've gone through the trouble to… Continue reading Another Flaw in the eBook Agency Model

Adobe is Running Scared from Evolving Standards

Buy this from SpreadshirtLike the iPhone and iPod Touch that came before it, the iPad runs the same slimmed-down version of Mac OS X complete with it's multi-touch controls, icons and menu bar.

The iPad also shares with its forebears a lack of support for Adobe's Flash. Flash is an application runtime environment (a nerdy way of saying "software that lets other software work") that competes with the native applications on the iPhone, so it would make business sense that Apple might exclude it from the native capabilities of the "iPlatform".

More likely however, is the fact that Flash is buggy, crashes often and can suck up CPU cycles like crazy.

Case in point: now that I'm running Google Chrome on my MacBook, I can see how often Flash crashes as the browser will remain functioning but indicate that the plug-in has crashed. These are crashes I used to blame on my browser - Safari, Firefox, Opera, Camino - all of them. Shame on me.

Given how maniacal Apple is about the user experience and stability of the iPlatform, it's a no-brainer for them to exclude Flash - competitive issues aside.

And now, with the triumvirate of the iPhone, iPod Touch and soon iPad, Adobe is getting a little uncomfortable. If there's one company that can utilize its momentum and marketing prowess to shift an industry from de facto standards to web standards, it's Apple - and in this case, that web standard is HTML5.

Apple did this for the Webkit rendering engine that now powers Safari and Mobile Safari, but also Google Chrome, Android and soon a variety of other Webkit-based browsers for mobile devices like BlackBerry. They did it for video with H.264 and soon, they'll do it for HTML5.

[Review] Vook: Books and Videos come together – but is that a good thing?

I've been following Vook (the company) for awhile and was excited to see that they've wasted no time releasing their first Vook (the product). For a customer and reviewer, the nomenclature and lack of distinction between the company and the product can be a real PITA.

As for the product, here's a description from Vook.com:

A vook is a new innovation in reading that blends a well-written book, high-quality video and the power of the Internet into a single, complete story.

Given current trends - the challenges of the book publishing industry, the adoption of ebooks, the use of the iPhone and other portable devices becoming more pervasive, near ubiquitous wireless broadband - I found the concept of Vook (the product) intriguing. This review is based on a thriller entitled The Embassy by Robert Doetsch.

There are two types of Vooks:

  1. Those that are sold as iPhone apps
  2. Those that are browser based

Each share the same basic premise - mixing text with complementary video - but with slightly different approaches. Here I review both types.