We’ve Reached “Peak Messaging”

As the quintessential early adopter and a propoent of creative disruption, I never thought I’d find myself saying this: when it comes to messaging, I’m old school.

Sure, email has it’s problems, but it works. The same goes for SMS. Both are ubiquitous - it doesn’t matter what mail client you have or what phone you use, it just works. For everyone.

Planning for #Sandy (Or, “What to do when you can’t find a generator”)

Almost exactly a year ago, we were without power (And heat. And fresh water.) for almost five days.

My wife and I vowed that we would never go through that again if we could help it, so we planned to buy a generator and transfer switch for this year's storm season so that we could power our home's basic necessities (heat, hot water, sump pump, fridges).

Long story short, we didn't. The money we budgeted for a generator went toward replacing our broken hot water heater, but we vowed to get a generator as soon as it made sense for our budget.

Then we started tracking Hurricane Sandy.

Thursday night, my wife said, "We should get a generator tomorrow." 

Powering our sump pump is critical for us, especially after installing a new hot water and heater and, six months earlier, replacing a broken washing machine - both of which are located in our relatively wet basement.

At 7 AM on Friday I began calling around, looking for generators. Most retailers laughed at my request while others were sympathetic to my search - but they still couldn't help me as there weren't generators in stock, anywhere.

So I started to do some research to find a creative solution. Here's what I came up with.

Wingstand Portable Tablet and Smartphone Stand

If you're like me, you use a variety of gear to remain productive.

The mainstay of my workflow is my MacBook Air, with my iPhone being second in line, followed by my iPad.

In my opinion, any real work on an iPad requres a keyboard. Perhaps, if you grow up using an on-screen software keyboard, you might feel differently, but I get frustrated by the lack of tactile feedback that a real keyboard provides.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I frequently live-tweet some of the professional events that I attend. I don't always have a net connection for my MacBook or iPad, so the iPhone is my fallback device. It's these times that I wish my iPhone also had a full-size keyboard.

While this has been possible as of iOS 4, using Bluetooth, the remaining problem is about placement and orientation: what do you do with the iPhone while you're using an external keyboard?

This is where the Wingstand comes in.

Amazon Adjusts to New App Store Rules with Clever Marketing

Apple has been asserting control of its App Store rules by asking app developer to remove the "purchase" buttons for third-party stores in certain apps. The most obvious ones impacted by this have been the Google Books and Kindle apps.

Last night, I discovered a bit of clever marketing on Amazon's part in response to this change.