Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Flash on My iPad and iPhone? Don’t Mind if I Do!

September 17th, 2011
Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’m a firm believer that Apple is winning the 21st century’s smart phone wars. There’s no question that the iPad is dominating the tablet market by what is actually a completely embarrassing margin.

I’ve owned recent Blackberry, Android and iPhone models, and can honestly say that iOS is best operating system out there. Android sells more phones; car dealers sell more Hondas than Porsches, but which would you rather have? The single biggest complaint about iOS has always been that the browser doesn’t support Flash. I have good news: now it does. I have bad news: now it does.

There are several reasons Apple didn’t want to support Flash on iOS devices. They could have. Steve Jobs could have flipped the switch whenever he wanted. Truthfully he never anticipated the competition would offer it that quickly, or that they would even want to. The truth is, Flash sucks. It’s full of security holes, massively unreliable and a resource hog. It’s a lightweight video player that Adobe shoved down programmers throats. Apple made its choice for the right reasons (Steve’s reasons here), but that didn’t stop Google from pretending it had a competitive advantage by supporting it (it doesn’t, Flash still sucks).

Apple’s share of the smart phone and app marketplace was too much for Adobe to miss out on, though, so last week they announced their Flash Media Server 4.5. The good news is you’ll finally have flash on your iPhone without wasting your resources. Flash built into your iPad or iPhone wastes battery and memory. It’s generally a miserable experience on Android devices. What Adobe has done is basically converted the Flash before sending it your device, thus both saving your device and giving you what you need.

The bad news is (did you forget there was bad news?): each website is going to have to update to version 4.5 before it works. So, nothing yet. Also it only supports Flash video, so you won’t see any Flash apps coming through Safari. You can get all the apps you need through the App Store; as you may or may not know, there’s usually an app for that.

To be honest, though, all my favorite sites have already converted and are offering all their video in an iOS compatible format. Frankly if your blog, site, video, or online project isn’t iOS compatible, I don’t care about it, because I don’t believe you do.

The iPhone 5 will be out next month, which is all I really care about right now. No, I’m not eligible for an upgrade. Yes, I’m going to upgrade.

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Borzou Azabdaftari

Borzou is managing partner of Falcon Printing & Copying, a full-service printing and graphic design company in Tysons Corner, VA. His company focuses on building relationships and delivering the highest quality print materials, from poster to invitations to business stationery, to their clients. Passionate about printing to a fault, Borzou eats, breathes, and sleeps paper and ink, and his rare combination of intellectual curiosity, technical savvy, creativity, and interpersonal skills have transformed him from a print service provider only into a branding consultant as well.

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Social Media Vending Machine

May 31st, 2011

A few months ago, my three year old cousin was over, and he was dissatisfied that I was watching the news on TV. He walked up to my 50″ plasma and started swiping his hand against the screen to change the channel something else. When nothing happened, he looked back at me, shrugged his shoulders, and says, “It’s broken.”  I informed him that it was supposed to be that way and explained that the TV wasn’t an iPad. He shook his head and walked away. The TV was the problem, not him.

This moment made me really happy. I’m a huge fan of technology. I love progress. Innovation. Things getting better. The next generation is already tired of something I thought was amazing just a few short years ago. I’m looking forward to gesture-controlled TVs and other devices. My grandfather can navigate an iPad as easily as my cousin, and that tells me everything I need to know about where technology is going. Apple hit the nail on the head. Pepsi is trying to take it a step further.

This is Pepsi’s new social media vending machine. The huge touch screen on the front of the vending machine allows you to buy drinks for friends, or use their “Random Acts of Refreshment” feature to buy a drink for a total stranger. You can even send a video message right form the vending machine.

Not sold yet? There are important benefits for the owners of the machines too. They can monitor inventory levels and schedule deliveries remotely. That means no more unnecessary trip to the machine if it hasn’t sold enough drinks, and knowing it needs to replenshed right away when it does. More efficiency, more revenue, less work.

From the press release:

“Our vision is to use innovative technology to empower consumers and create new ways for them to engage with our brands, their social networks and each other at the point of purchase,” said Mikel Durham, Chief Innovation Officer at PepsiCo Foodservice. “Social Vending extends our consumers’ social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting they’ll want to return to, again and again.”

Social Vending also enables “Random Acts of Refreshment” – the ability to buy a drink for a complete stranger through any other Social Vending system. For example, a consumer could send a symbol of encouragement someone in a city that has experienced challenging weather, or a congratulatory beverage to a student at a university that just won a championship. The platform holds potential to extend PepsiCo’s digital and social programs for its food and beverage brands.

Am I going to use this the second I see one? Absolutely. If this is a success, expect to buy everything this way really soon. I suspect Coke will be announcing their machine in 10…9…8…7….

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Borzou Azabdaftari

Borzou is managing partner of Falcon Printing & Copying, a full-service printing and graphic design company in Tysons Corner, VA. His company focuses on building relationships and delivering the highest quality print materials, from poster to invitations to business stationery, to their clients. Passionate about printing to a fault, Borzou eats, breathes, and sleeps paper and ink, and his rare combination of intellectual curiosity, technical savvy, creativity, and interpersonal skills have transformed him from a print service provider only into a branding consultant as well.

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We’re Not Talking Mobile Anymore – We’re Living It

May 12th, 2011
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

This is blog post has been adapted from its original version, which was published on CMSWire and written by Debra Lavoy.

Mobile used to be about “mobile access” but that’s not all it is anymore. Our portable devices are now access, participation, and creation devices. The rise of the integrated camera function and the ease with which pictures and video can be posted, tweeted, emailed and/or texted has made us all photojournalists, inspectors, and, most importantly, actors in our own stories.

Two Truths about Mobile and Three Personal Stories to Prove Them

Truth 1: It’s a mobile world

This has a dramatic impact in every sphere of life from the personal – I can document the charming antics of my children and share them with whomever is in my address book – to the professional – I can scout locations and send back information to the team – to the political – as we watch the map of the Middle East and Africa get redrawn in real time.

It is no longer enough to look up the meeting room schedule at a conference - you must be able to update it or even relocate it from the palm of your hand while standing in a random corner of the convention center.

The statistics are quoted and quoted again. But the story is this – we’re very mobile now. It is vastly more common to have a mobile phone than a land line, especially in the developing world. In the US, every child wants – and those with double digit ages have – a phone.

There are tectonic shifts in the work world, from the pace of change to the complexity of problems to new, more fluid organizations to new ways of working, and mobility is playing a big part.

Truth 1: Mobile is fundamentally changing how we live and work

Any discussion of mobile is, in my opinion, incomplete without reference to some of the most exciting research on youth and mobile by Graham Brown. Graham is so prolific and profound in this area, it’s hard to make a comparison, but start here with 50 Key Mobile Youth Facts.  While Graham focuses on youth, he’s actually documenting how mobile has changed the way we live.

The importance of mobile can be told by the numbers, level of effort, and rush of new products into the market, or by a few vignettes from modern life.  Note that the critical change we’ve seen in the last 6 months is that mobile is no longer about access –  it’s about full “anywhere” participation.

Three Personal Mobile Stories

Story 1: Losing my mind, trying to act casual…

You have some variation of this story of your own, I’m sure. I was in London when my Blackberry was run over by a lorrie. I would almost have preferred to have lost my passport. At least I could have gotten that replaced at the Embassy. I was untethered and twitchy. I had lost contact with my colleagues, my home, and the group of people in London that I worked with. Of course, I had my laptop, but I had no office there, so relying on my laptop was very awkward.

The Point

People are deeply invested in their mobile devices, because our smart phones solidly bridge the gap between the personal and professional in a way that Facebook and Twitter don’t.

Story 2: Black and white to technicolor….

My boss is laughing himself to tears over my newly inarticulate, sometimes indecipherable email style. He let me expense the shiny, expensive iPhone, and I can’t type on it.

And yet it is a big improvement over my last phone, because I can view websites the way they were meant to be seen. Only smaller. Not only that, but I have access to apps!

But I can’t type. Darn.

The Point

Access itself is really important, but participation is equally so.

Story 3: Funny bumping into you here…

As I get off the plane, nose buried in the iPhone, I nearly trip over the airport shoe-shine person who is typing (I’m so jealous) on his Blackberry.

The Point

This is not just about us as individuals, it is about all of us.

Final Thoughts

For a while we were satisfied with email and the ability to (barely) read and respond to them. But that’s no longer enough. We need decipher-ability on the phone that is equal to what we have at our desk. We need even fuller participation.

Two years ago, my colleague, Michael Edson, was talking about mobile at the Smithsonian. He indicated it was absolutely imperative to the museum experience. I thought he was a bit shrill to be honest. But he was not shrill; he saw what I didn’t then, but do now. We have fewer and fewer passive experiences. And a place of learning cannot survive as a passive experience.

We are all photojournalists of our experiences, and our journalistic contributions are making the world a richer, more navigable place. We – and I mean we in the broadest possible sense here – are also changing the face of world politics, freedom, and justice. As John Hancock used pen and ink, and Paul Revere used his horse, and we now have cell phones to declare war on authoritarian regimes.

Mobile also means never having to be clueless.

Oh, and one more thing: I have two kids. One is 11, and the other 6. The 6-year-old is the primary user of the iPad in our family. She does not need any instruction, nor does she find it the least bit notable that I can photograph her antics and email them to grandma in real time.

She’s the one to watch.

Deb Lavoy has been studying the dynamics, culture and technology of collaborative teams and knowledge transfer for 12 years, while working in product marketing and strategy for companies as diverse as AOL and Adobe. She is currently Director of Product Marketing for Social Media at Open Text Inc.

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Deb Lavoy

Debra Lavoy has been working with collaborative and social media for over 15 years at companies such as AOL and Adobe and now serves as Director of Product Marketing for Digital and Social Media at Open Text. She is a regular speaker in the D.C. area, where Obama’s transparent government initiative has created a world of thought and activity on the need to leverage both cultural and technological advances to move ahead to new levels of customer relationships and organizational productivity. Her philosophy of successful products can be summed up in 4 points: 1. Know your user and their community. 2. Make sure you’re building something that they will care about. 3. Ensure you have a business model that will let you survive the ramp-up and 4. Have a better customer acquisition plan than “if you build it, they will come”. Deb Lavoy is the Director of Product Marketing for Digital and Social Media at Open Text, and Founder of ProductFour consultants, a group of talented people who get you, your product and your business and can help you see the forest for the trees. Deb is deeply excited about collaborative teams, leadership and organizations and the cultural and technical elements that enable it. If you can barely contain your excitement when you talk about this stuff, then we should talk. If you’re just figuring it out, then we should talk.

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Is Watson the Beginning of the Robot Revolution?

February 23rd, 2011
Human Evolution

The Evolution of Humans .. From Apes to Robots

As interesting as it was to watch IBM’s supercomputer Watson go up against 2 Jeopardy champions and beat both of them handily, all this hype about Watson is actually quite alarming. 

Humans started as apes, and it looks like we are evolving into robots–in my eyes at least.  The big question people will begin asking about Watson is “Do you have one of those?”  We all know everyone wants what they can’t have.  Therefore, it’s just a matter of time….

Watson has industry insiders talking about the technology.  It’s great.  Industries can program robots to do what humans can’t or won’t do.  Every industry has brilliant ways this “Watson” technology can be utilized.  The opportunity is limitless, and this is when the fear begins to set in.

How long will it be until robots complete human tasks better than humans?  Why do we need to pay salaries to employees who are surfing the web all day when a robot will be 100% more efficient?  What happens when there are numerous “Watsons” co-existing?  These are questions that may come around in the next generation, or sooner.

It’s all so exciting, until you play the tape all the way through….

Watch more on YouTube:  IBM on Watson

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Alexis Levine

"building brands & holding hands" ... in the Advertising Technology space.. I live in DC, between Georgetown & Dupont Circle. I founded this cool company when I was 23, Savvy Media. The concept: "spend less smarter utilizing new technology." My short resume: I used to sling ads for both Clear Channel & CBS. Now, I wake up everyday & aim to change the game. I'm hard at work with some really awesome brands.

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The ‘getting it’ gap: A guide to ‘get’ the online generation

November 24th, 2008

Remember your first virtual conversation? It was longer ago than you think.

It seems the world is divided into 2 groups, the offliners and onliners. An onliner is someone who is mystified by the online social activity of what we will call the “onliners” and just so we don’t get into too much trouble, we’ll call the rest, the offliners. The onliners, well, you know who you are.

Almost every time I have talked to a group of decisions who are not yet involved in social media, the same sentiment is raised. “I just don’t get why these kids talk about stuff on facebook and are on it so much.”
But you do, don’t you? My parents and their parents grew up engaging their friends through technologically mediated virtual conversations sharing facets of their lives. Yes, they talked on the phone. The facebook wall, flickr page and twitter are augmenting the more traditional virtual phone chats.

So if this is not new, why is it so hard to understand? There must be something different than just a phone cord. I found 7 gaps to getting it.

1. Comfort and acquisition of technology. The multimedia online applications which hop between pic, vid, sms, and walls require time to learn and an initial comfort level with interactive computer applications. We have a world divided between those who can sit down and explore the functions of an application in 15-30 min and those who are still reading the last page of the terms of service and deciding which was their favorite pet.

2. One to many vs One to one. It takes a different way to think about messaging many in a group. The traditional phone conversations usually worked by a grapevine strategy. One person would tell 2, 2 would tell 4 etc and news would get around. Now 1 can tell 2, 20, or 2000 without additional effort. The online tools allow greater amplification of the message, so it can move through a large group more quickly. This seems to have a great effect on how to think about composing the message and its content.

3. Multitasking. I am told by JessieX that this is a generational difference. It seems this can account for younger people feeling perfectly comfortable keeping an eye on the friends, watching for twitter SMSs while chatting on the cell with a very close friend. The still disjointed nature of a lot of the online social scene can be pretty intimidating to those would prefer it just be one site and one device.

4. Virtual vs In person Group Dynamics.
Even when we would talk to a small group in school or other places, it was a different mental process to track these group conversations than it is to think about online conversations. Now who you tell is based on which network they are part of, rather than which physical clique they are a part of. It seems a little different to keep track of a group you see together in person versus a collection of screen names, groups etc. The openness of online conversations seems related to be comfortable or have the confidence to let go of message control.

5. Emotional Involvement through Icons. The excitement we see in onliners from events involving online people though online relationships seems odd. But you did this too.. just through different media. The older generations were taught that TV and radio characters events equaled reality and would get emotionally involved in their fictions. So its not too hard to understand getting emotionally attached to the multimedia though often low-res or iconized internet media.

6. Value of online communities. Onliners value their online reputation and position more offliners and sometimes more than their own offline reputation and position. Achieving a reputation or leadership position or even relationship with many people has become more doable online than offline for many.

7. Living it. A lot of these values or differences seem to only form by living the online social experience. No one is born to live online or for that matter, watch TV. But its something you acquire and learn to equate things you value offline with their online equivalents. So don’t get frustrate if you an offliner and curious, give it a chance. Go step by step, learn a little and live a little online.

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Ken Fischer

Ken Fischer is the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) for ClickforHelp.com Inc, a web-based software and social media strategy company. At CFH, Ken has led over 100 software and web projects, including creating online communities, tools to measure the effectiveness of public service announcements, web based messaging, and online collaboration tools with unique search capabilities. Ken has also led software development projects in a wide diversity of industries such as finding new way to better deliver reliability centered-maintenance, to onsite visual iAHAection to creating online communities. Ken is also the founder of Gov20Labs and Director of Gov 2.0 Events for Potomac Forum. He has been involved in the Gov 2.0 movement to create continuing education workshops, as a sponsor, and as a solutions provider for over three years. Ken is especially interested in using technology to make Government more effective, efficient, and accountable through transparency, participation, and collaboration. He actively blogs on Open Government and creates training programs for the planning and implementation of Open Government. (He does not speak on behalf of any federal, state or local governments.) Ken also blogs about the commercial side of web 2.0 at web20blog.

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