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Showing posts from April, 2012

Car Vs. Bike: Long Term Outcome

As a cyclist in the city and suburbs, I took particular note of this story in today's SFGate of a cyclist who recorded being hit by a car, who seemingly veered into the two bikes, and then proceeded on, as if nothing had happened. Take a look below; the actual crash happens around 2:35: Now this is horrific, to say the least. But it brings up a series of observations and questions for me: As the comments in YouTube all point out, earlier in the video you can see the cyclists casually blowing through stop signs, without stopping. Am I guilty of this? Yes, at rare times, when there is no one around, and not in a busy area; still doesn't make it right. Do they deserve to be karmically punished for this by the actions of the car later? Of course not. But cyclists have to remember that we are vehicles, and, as this video shows, defenseless ones. We need to obey the rules of the road, period. What an amazing use of digital video! I never thought of this; brilliant. Now, if I

Paper Must Die: Adobe Finally Gets It Right

I recently opined about an article that proclaimed the fax machine was now "obsolete." Much to my chagrin, I noted: I only wish! It astounds me that we still don't have mainstream digital signature technology for contracts and the like. Companies like RightSignature are trying hard, but we're not even close to getting rid of this 1970's behemoth until we do. Sure, we can use scanners and PDF attachments to e-mail, but that's above the heads of most of the folks who deal with these things daily. Conclusion: Nope. Well, Adobe, makers of the Acrobat PDF reader, finally updated the app this week, adding in signature support. Yes, you can now either let them make an ersatz version of our signature, as if you signed with your precious quill, or you can use your own scanned signature for more verisimilitude. Better yet, they also updated the mobile versions: that's right, you can now digitally scrawl your John Hancock from your iOS or Android device. I

Paper Must Die: The NFL Edition

More great news from the killing paper front: another team in the NFL has decided to shift from paper-based playbooks to the tablet (in this case, like so many, the iPad). The Denver Broncos have decided to join the Baltimore Ravens and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in tossing out the massive, obsolete and frequently outdated complicated NFL playbooks in favor of an iPad. This is a trend that needs to continue. Now, maybe Denver feels the time is right, as they have a new quarterback who is known for calling his own plays at the line, but the fact that this is updateable, and can be enhanced with actual video of the team running the play, means this is a trend that's here to stay. And who knows? Much like videogames have trained an entire generation to be future Air Force drone aircraft operators, or have influenced cockpit display design , who's to say that the next Bill Parcells won't use their version of Madden on the iPad to parlay into an NFL head coaching job? It&#

Pinterest: E-marketing Success Story

Great article today on the rise of Pinterest , that now seemingly viral service that has exploded onto the scene. The article focuses on a few aspects that I have marveled at: Unlike Facebook Like and Twitter, this time online marketers, specifically those with e-commerce capabilities, have embraced and integrated Pinterest into their offerings in absolute record time. While it took months/years for many etailers to figure out how to drop Facebook Like buttons onto product pages, Pinterest buttons popped up in mere weeks. There seems to be as much emphasis on mobile with Pinterest as web; that's a huge differentiator. In fact, as today's article points out, it's forcing changes to site designs to accommodate the mobile visitor automatically. Who's have predicted the catalyst to make sites ubiquitously mobile friendly would be a rehashed social bookmark service? Unlike other services, e-marketers are embracing Pinterest across the enterprise, not just in the "

Instagram Bought By Facebook: Triumph Of The Echo Over The Voice

The world is a'buzzing this morning with the big news: Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion . HUGE move: one of those seminal business moments that will mark a seismic shift. Hearkens back to the moment AOL bought Time Warner, or Netscape's IPO, or Google crossing the $400/share mark: all moments the landscape changed. In this case, the ramifications are many, but I want to highlight two. The first is the title of this post: this is truly the triumph of the echo over the voice. I've recently been wrestling with the perception dilemma of a feature vs. a product/company; there is a very good argument to be made that Instagram is nothing but a feature of Facebook: just a slightly better photo sharing. $1 billion is a lot to pay for a supposed feature, right? Here's where it gets interesting: there is a steady succession of companies who you could argue have taken a feature of other companies and turned it into a full product. For example, Twitter is, for all int

Topsy Turvy Offer World

As I have been in the local offers business for a couple of years, I was surprised today by two radical changes in the offer landscape. First, a while ago, Google got into the local offers game . Unlike others there, they took a "customer-forward" look, offering generous refund terms for customers and promising to use the wealth of data that they have to ensure the offers were relevant, high-quality, and good. They started off with a bang, with great offers from local and national businesses that have been stalwarts in the community. Unfortunately, that honeymoon seems to have worn off. Now, I can overlook the "filler" type offers that have come through lately ( photo collages , etc.), but there is one that shows Google is right among the same low quality offers that seem to be plaguing daily deal sites these days that have no other business with the merchants: Maid 4 Hire . On the surface, looks like a good deal: $149 for 3 2-hour cleanings of your home. In