Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pouring Beer Faster and Better with Magnets

Brilliant new beer pouring system uses magnetic discs to fill glasses from the bottom up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Technogeekboy's Favorite Android Phone Apps

I'm a big fan of the Android platform. It's fast, it's stable, and it's got apps. Lots of apps. In fact one of my few complaints with Android is the Android Market. Even with the recent update, it's harder to find good apps than it should it be. Here's a little help.


Advanced Task Killer Free
You need a task killer and this one works great. You can also set it to auto-kill background processes

Lookout Free
Great free security suite. Includes a phone finder and backup tool.

Quick Alarm Free
Great for quick naps or as a snooze alarm. A couple taps sets an alarm between 5 and 60 minutes from now.

ClipNote Free
Simple multi-paste tool. Great for filling out forms.


Baseball Superstars $
There aren't a lot of good sports games in the Android Market, but this is one of the best I've played on any mobile device. Plenty of action, strategy and fun.

Field Goal Free and $
A great game for a quick time kill. Nice graphics and gameplay with plenty of challenge.

Alchemy Free and $
A fun and sometimes silly game that has you combining "elements" to form new things. For instance, did you know that glass+fire=lamp or fruit+pressure=juice? Well it's true.


DoggCatcher $
Pricey but invaluable tool for podcast fans.

Relax and Sleep Free and $
It goes beyond any sound soother to let you build and save custom sound combinations. You can even set a separate volume level for each sound in the combo.

Rhapsody $ subscription
I've been a Rhapsody subscriber for years and bringing the "listen to anything anytime" model to a phone is a truly liberating experience.

Last.FM Free and $ Subscription
I'm a big fan of internet radio site and their Android app is actually better than the Web site. It's slick, responsive and sounds great.


Extensive Notes Pro $
Simply the best mobile note taking app out there. It also sports a wide array of extras including a to-do list, currency calculator, image sizer, weather report, lyrics search, and on an on.

HootSuite Free and $ Subscription
A full-featured Twitter and Facebook manager. Post or schedule posts to accounts and pages, follow streams and messages.


Pulse Free
A very attractive news aggregator that presents news in a grid-like format with all the bells and whistles.

Yelp Free
Still the best social ratings and reviews site for restaurants, venues, and more. The mobile version gives you a very clever "Monocle" real-time view of what's around you. My only quibble is that you can only draft reviews from your phone. You have to go online to publish them.

DroidAnalytics $
If you use Google Analytics for your Web site, you'd best get DroidAnalytics for your phone. Keep up to date with almost all the important traffic data about your site.

Google Sky Map Free
Use your phone to scan the stars in real time. Even if you're not an astronomy buff, this is one cool app.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

5 Things I Wish Apple Would Have Released Instead of the iPad 2

The iPad 2 came out and the world, other than Apple Fanboyz, let out a collective yawn. Apparently it's thinner and now has two crappy cameras instead of one. So go out and buy one and sell me your "old" iPad for $50. Everybody wins.

Maybe instead of releasing the iPad 2, Apple should have focused their consumer savvy on some products that we actually still need.

A Next-Gen Car Stereo

Most car stereos I see are pretty much the same. Little LCD panel, bunch of poorly named knobs and buttons, etc. Some have nifty features, but nothing tremendously different than it was 10 years ago. Couldn't Apple come up with something that looked better and did more? Maybe with 4G built in?

A Brilliant Clock Radio

I have a pretty awesome clock radio (it's this one here). I can set two different wake times (one for me and one for my wife) each day and they can be different depending on the day. It works great but it's a real pain in the ass to set up and work with. Plus, it's nicer-looking than most clock radios, but I wouldn't consider it stylish. I would think Apple could design a brilliant clock radio. Something like the Sony Dash but cooler.

A Watch I Don't Mind Wearing

I stopped wearing watches many years back. Mostly because I don't like the feel of a watch, but also because it really doesn't offer much. I think most people just use their phones to tell time these days, unless they just like to wear watches. I suspect Apple could give people a reason to wear watches again. Something that looked slick and did things other than telling time. Maybe reading your vital signs or generating power kinetically for your other devices.

A New Instrument

When was the last time someone created a new, game-changing instrument? Something you could grab as easily as a guitar to take on stage and make sounds never heard before? Sure, you could hook up a laptop to some speakers, but a laptop is inelegant and difficult to play. Imagine some white glowing tube with a few mysterious buttons or panels that sounded like whale songs or an underwater banjo.

An Amazing Educational Toy

Leapfrog makes some cool educational toys, as do other toy makers. But I haven't seen anything game changing in kids toys in a while. What if Apple put its brains behind a simple, effective educational toy that first and second grade kids could use at home and at school? Something that wasn't a computer I mean. Something devoid of a computer's distractions but rich in interactivity and education. Something that could be wirelessly updated by the teacher at the end of the day for homework. I don't know what it is, but it would be a great legacy for Steve Jobs.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Tmail Tmail and Other Odd Popular Searches

I was looking at the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and noticed that some of the most searched-for keywords in the world don't make much sense, including tmail tmail which seems to be an obscure task management application that, for some reason, gets over 20,000,000 searches a month.

Some other odd popular searches with numbers in the millions:

  • apple0
  • microsoft0
  • xp windo
  • erthe google
  • woff woff
  • macbood

Now I'm heading to Amazon to pick up a macbood for my woff woff so she can use tmail tmail.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Praise of Doors

I don't have a door at work. I've had jobs where I did have a door, but at the moment I'm not only doorless, I'm in a high-traffic, utterly public cubicle. In fact, as I was typing that last sentence, a salesperson came up and started reading over my shoulder. I wish I were kidding.

While cubicles are a step up from simply having desks sitting out in the open, they still lack a mechanism that has the potential to dramatically increase worker productivity -- a door.

People wonder why today's office worker has the attention span of a 4th grader. They blame Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all the other attention-sucking tentacles of the Web, but I guarantee a fair part of it has to do with never being left alone.

I can shut off my email, close my browser, send my phone calls to voicemail, and still get interrupted every five minutes. It's hard to prioritize a person standing at your desk. As much as I'd like to click on him or her and set them to "Low Priority" my only option is to deal with them right now. Even if I tell them I'm busy right now and I'd be happy to stop by and interrupt them later, I have already been pulled away to tell them that and write down a note to myself.

This wouldn't happen if we all had doors. In our increasingly digital office we have a wide variety of ways to shut people out when we need to concentrate. In the real world office only certain people have doors and if they need to concentrate or have some private work time, the door gets closed. Sure, people will knock or poke their heads in sometimes, but you've cut down interruptions by a significant amount. Plus you can always lock the door and ignore the knocks. You are back in control of your own time.

This is unfortunately not an easy problem to solve since office space and remodeling aren't cheap. But here's the deal. If you run a company or plan to run one some day, look for office space with plenty of offices. Don't settle for anything less. And when you move in, give offices to anyone who wants one. If you run out of offices, have people double up. It's a lot easier for two people to figure out when to leave each other alone than for an entire office.

Doors should not be status symbols in an office, they should be used to make workers more productive. ALL workers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writing for New Media: The New Inverted Pyramid

This is probably an obvious point to anyone in Marketing these days, but I've noticed a pattern in what I do every day when it comes to content. When we have a new product or feature that we need to communicate, we start with a print piece. It's usually a two-sided page of copy that gets laid out to look nice and gets distributed to our field sales team as a hard copy and to our Web sales team as a PDF. Let's say there's about 800 words in the piece.

I'm given the copy (hopefully as a Word document and not a PDF) and I rewrite it to work on a Web page. I shorten copy, remove marketing-speak, turn paragraphs into bullets, make it scannable, etc. Hopefully I've cut the copy down to about 350 words.

Then I take that copy and consolidate further for an email, which, if I'm smart will link back to the Web page I just created. Now, I'm chopping out any remaining fat and selectively leaving out even some of the more important details. Now I'm down about 125 words.

Next I'm taking that copy and pounding it flat as schnitzel to post on Social Media. Sure, you get 141 characters on Twitter, but who has time to read a tweet that long? I'll keep it under 100 characters.

Finally, I'm taking that copy and consolidating down to three lines of text for a Google text ad. A short headline and two short lines of copy. Maybe 85 characters.

Illustrated, the process looks like this:

I guess this is a daily reminder of A) How we consume content and B) How important it is for today's Marketers to know how to distill a message down to its core over and over again. You have to spend a lot of time asking the questions: "Why is this really important to the intended audience?" and "How do I say that as succinctly as humanly possible?