New iPhone May Make Books Social

IPGLABTwitter_biggerIn a recent post for the IPG Emerging Media LAB, I delved into the future of book publishing and how social media advancements through devices like the iPhone 3G S and the Kindle could advance the glory of reading into the digital realm. Check out the IPG LAB post here!

You Can’t Judge a Kindle By Its Cover

kindless-idrinkbookshelf01With the launch of the new Kindle 3.0, Amazon is moving the wireless book industry forward with a larger and more comfortable screen. But, there is a problem here. With the possibility of the Kindle really taking off in the near future, what does this mean for the book cover industry?

One of my favorite things to do on the subway in New York is see what other random people are reading. I like to compare people’s shoes with their books and see if the girl in stilettos has an eye for Truman Capote or if the man in the suit and tie is consumed with Hunter S. Thompson. If the Kindle really takes off in the way that Amazon would like, scanning the subway for interesting people and literature would loose it’s most important feature – book covers.

The Kindle is plain. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a book at all. It’s more like an over-sized piece of plastic. What will this do for those random moments when we can peak into peoples lives through a glance at the back of their reading materials? Of course this is all easily done online with sites like Good Reads, but through a computer and on website it all feels a little less personal and edgy.

What will happen when we can’t see what anyone else is reading?

Life will go on, but hopefully someone will think of a way to make book covers display on the back of a Kindle – that would be cool!

Let’s Bring LA Some Tweet Transportation

picture-1The next step in social media transportation looks to be Tweeting transportation. In a recent episode  from the BBC’s Digital Plant I learned about the IBM Hursley campus bus – that Tweets! This bus, that’s used at the largest software development lab in Europe, will send out Tweets regrding real-time stop locations so people know exactly when and where the bus is coming. This “smart bus” sends information on its location and number of passengers back to a server that integrates this service with Twitter and various other applications for people using the system. By tracking the number of people on the bus, it can also determine how much carbon is being saved by its passengers.

While this technology isn’t used in many places, I think it would be the coolest way for Los Angeles to hype-up it’s much criticized transit system in a cheap n’ chic way.

Just like the popular food truck Kogi, that Tweets its food stops to crowds of followers willing to drive across town for a Tweet taco, so too could the LA bus system. While the buses don’t have food to offer, they do have a more effective time schedule to share and ways to save the planet – and for LAers on the go – that is completely worth it!

Enjoy Your Cheap Internet – It May Not Be Around Much Longer

01-large-cash-money1Last Thursday Time Warner Cable announced that it has temporarily halted plans to increasee the cable costs for their heaviest Internet consumers.

Their plan was to introduce a tiered payment system where those who consumed around 20 videos a month or 100 gigabytes, would pay $150 monthly bill.

Luckily there was a loud outcry in the community and public officials against this price increase – an increase that some claim to be a simple power play. While Time Warner Cable insists that this price increase is strictly to cover upkeep costs for wiring etc., others argue that with new technological advancements in the “Internet Provider Arena” like Docsis3, cost are actually dropping.

So why is Time Warner Cable looking to charge more? Because they can.

Unfortunately this may only be the tip of the iceberg in what could turn out to be quite the battle. With major player like – the government – Time Warner Cable – and Comcast, major price wars will probably be a thing of the future.

One interesting point brought up in the recent NY Times story about this, is that one reason Time Warner Cable is interested in raising pricing for those consuming large quantities of online video, is to hinder the consumption of online video – so not to deflate the consumption of cable television.

There are many slices of this Internet pie to be dissected – this is simply one issue of many in the cost battle of cable providers.

What Does Web Design and a First Date Have in Common?

3022028931_cb21f06a97Navigating to the homepage of a site with too much information splashed across it is on par with meeting someone for the first time, and having them immediately spill a lot of unnecessary personal baggage.  The website, like the person, may be in dire need of close friends, but they’re going about their first impressions the wrong way. Few people get through more than a few sentences on a homepage, so an unnecessary mountain of text that greets first time users is like flying the “freak flag” a little too early.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that aesthetically simple sites like Twitter and Google have a mass of followers. For one thing these sites offer a great service, but they also come across as carefree and easy to understand – qualities that many find beneficial in people. On a first date, we’re encouraged to keep things simple and not to divulge too much personal information – so as not to scare anyone away. This doesn’t mean that our personal information is not interesting to the potential prospect; it’s just not necessary on the first date. This same standard should be applied to homepages.

As the Internet advances on a daily business, and as websites take on more accepted social norms, the lines between human behavior and design structure will blur. After all, humans are behind this Internet curtain – at least for now.

Peek into the Future at the IPG Emerging Media Lab!

1279716203_17d397e42c1Last week our class visited the IPG Emerging Media Lab – a place that gives a peek into the technological landscape of the future. After learning about the cutting-edge technologies that are sprouting out of brilliant minds, here are a few of the most fascinating things I learned about:

  • The Modern Refrigerator: Somewhere to store food, with a computer/TV on the door that could display RSS feeds for recipes or kitchen needs and possibly (in the future) RFID tags that can inform you when you’re out of milk!
  • HOME: A playstation video game/space/SNS that provides private spaces for players to have conversations with friends or even work through homework with professors. This is a game where players can shop using micro-purchasing and where advertisers can incorporate their latest campaigns inside virtual malls showcasing storefronts with the latest trends. This takes shopping and advertising to a whole new level.
  • 3-D Television: This is such a trippy experience. With airplanes flying at you while strangers walk towards you, 3-D television is a very cool concept, but probably not practical due to the fact that it makes you cross-eyed – not a comfortable feeling for long periods of time.
  • Qik.com : This is a great site that displays the potential future of live streaming video. By the end of this year most phones will be able to record and stream video live onto Facebook or other sites using the Qik.com system. All the world is stage…

In closing, I was fascinated by all the toys that the IPG Media Lab had to offer and I look forward to the possibility of returning for another visit and peek into the future!

Drop Drop Drop.io is HOT!

drop_io_logo_blogWhen I’m not inhaling the daily social media sandwich or assisting in media and marketing at Ovation TV, I  spend time exploring communication strategies for my stepfather’s alternative energy venture. One of the most frustrating aspects of of this used to be the exchange and collaboration of large files online. I tried downloading various programs to help with this, but it wasn’t until I discovered Drop.io that I found an easy solution. This site provides free and easy access and exchange of documents online.

While there are many programs and sites out there that provide document exchange and sharing online, I find that Drop.io is the most user friendly one I’ve seen. It is incredibly simple and yet still provides a myriad of  options like chat, e-mail, voicemail, conference calling and podcasting  in addition to file sharing. What’s even cooler is that it provides people with their own website to load document onto that they can share and send to whomever they please.

For a small business owner or freelance communicator, this is an ideal solution for simple media exchange.

We’ll all I have to say is that I’m pleased – very very pleased indeed!