Apple Store Frozen in Time

I stumbled across this pictorial recently. It is of an abandoned (circa 2000) Apple Store in Kuwait that’s just been sitting there. It is very interesting to see how Apple’s design philosophy has changed so much over time. For those of you long time Apple users, like myself, this should be very nostalgic.

Photos by Miskan

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NetVibes Digital Life Aggregator

So I discovered NetVibes today. Ok so I didn’t so much discover (as in Christopher Columbus) it, because I’ve known about NetVibes for some time now, but I made the switch from IGoogle(and Google reader) as my DLA/homepage over to NetVibes. NetVibes is a free Digital Life Aggregator, that allows you to organize your entire online life( for the most part) into tabbed pages. Everything from email to blogs to comics and games. Why, might you ask, would such an avid supporter of the googleverse make such a fundamental digital-life change? Well for what I have lost in one click access to all my various google accounts/apps and tools I have gained in recouped time and ease of use. So here are some of the things that made me switch:

Thing number 1: Visual appeal

The flexible layout ie. 2/3/4 column options make visually much easier to canvas all your feeds in a manner that saves time and space. It truly allows you to get all you information at a glance. Plus there’re just more things that can be optimized to better your experience.

Thing number 2: It’s like Google reader and Igoogle smashed into one app.

Netvibes’ layout and navigation is more like igoogle (on steroids), but the functionality and depth of information is more like google reader. Most widgets display up to the last 25 posts from an rss fee, whereas igoogle only allows you a measly 9.

Thing number 3: Sharing stuff

Incidentally, that’s how I first leart of NetVibes, through an invite which included the invitor’s setup for a particular tab. Yes, I was able to, with one click, start using a presetup netvibes page inclusive of cool widgets and feeds already setup by my friend who invited me to test it out. By the way, here’s a link to try net vibes out: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?preconfig=126efb5c739f8468139e69206b4fe46d

Thing number 4: It’s portable

If one day I decide NetVibes isn’t for me anymore, I can pack up my digital belongings via OPML and move on the the next DLA. Google has been touting the coming of this feature for a long time, but I am yet to see it. Incidentally, had they already done this, it would have made the switch to NetVibes a lot less time consuming.

Thing number 5: Netvibes supports igoogle widgets!

At least so they claim, and we all know how “support” for a 3rd party format can be. Up until writing this posted, I hadn’t tested the feature, but it does exist.

Thing number 6: They’re going social with Netvibes Ginger.

Yes, now it will be a whole lot easier with NetVibes Ginger (now in testing) to share all this wonderful “Funtastimation” that you’ve amassed in all new ways.

So why doesn’t Google just make one even more killer app like Netvibes?

My guess is: 1. They’re working on it and/or 2. The same internal structure which has led to Google’s great success where people take ownership of projects that are their own ideas can sometimes lead to political/bureaucratic slowdowns when it comes time for the company to change direction, shutdown, or merge projects especially if those project leaders have become more influential in the company . and/or 3. We’re so big and have so many things going on right now that this is the least of our issues. Plus, what is a “netvibe” anyways? Who knows. My point is, give Netvibes a chance, you might just like it.

Rf.

The Bamboo Notebook PC is Here!

Bamboo PC1By Philipp Gollner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Back in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I, an early personal computer that consisted of a circuit board in a simple wooden box.

Apple Inc and other computer makers went on to make advanced PCs in metal and plastic casings, but now Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc is finding potential beauty — and sales — in an eco-friendly notebook PC encased in another natural material: bamboo.

The Asus Eco Book, as it’s dubbed, has a case made of laminated bamboo strips available in different shades.

Harvesting bamboo, an abundant, flexible, durable and fast-growing grass, is unlikely to harm the environment as processing wood from trees might, Asustek said, although glues and laminates for shaping and fortifying the material sometimes contain toxins.

The product is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo is suitable for laptops, which have to endure extreme conditions while allowing heat from microprocessors and monitors to escape.

The Eco book is a new tack for a company that caters to executives and other high-end users with its calf leather-bound notebooks and faux alligator-skin models.

“Originally we came out with a leather model style-book,” said Cher Chronis, director of marketing communication for Asus Computer International, the Taipei-based company’s U.S. unit.

“It was very popular,” she said. “After that, it was kind of natural for us to experiment with other types of materials, so we decided to go green.”

Asustek says its leather notebooks have not been criticized by animal-rights activists and that the Eco book is not meant to assuage critics.

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BAMBOO MICE, KEYBOARDS

While just about all big computer makers are taking steps to make technology more environmentally friendly, Asustek is one of the first to unveil a bamboo-encased computer.

Some niche companies geared toward eco-conscious consumers offer bamboo computer mice, keyboards and monitor frames.

“As part of a portfolio of case choices, it makes sense,” said Roger Kay, president of PC market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc.

“I don’t think the computer is going to go over to wooden casing,” Kay said. “It’s ecological to grow it, but my sense is there’s probably more show than substance to the claim of sustainable manufacturing.”

While plastic casings often contain toxins like polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, the bigger environmental threats come from lead in cathode ray tube monitors

All major manufacturers, such as Hewlett-Packard Co, the world’s largest PC maker, Dell Inc , the No. 2, Apple as well as Asian rivals Lenovo Group Ltd and Acer Inc, have programs to reduce energy consumption, recycle components and reduce hazardous materials in computers.

Consumers and businesses are expected to buy about 260 million PCs this year, a 12 percent jump from 2006’s level, according to market researcher IDC. Growth is being fueled by surging demand for notebook computers.

With so many computers being sold, and an estimated 500 million computers hitting obsolescence in the United States alone in the past 10 years, PC accessory makers are going green, too.

PVC-FREE

Laptop computer case and accessory maker Targus Inc recently introduced its environmentally-friendly Grove laptop cases, made of recyclable plastics, nickel-free hardware and PVC-free material.

Targus teamed up with the Texas-based computer maker last month to sell its cases on Dell’s Web site and will donate a portion of its Dell-sold cases to Dell’s “Plant a tree for me” program, which allows consumers to make donations to plant trees to offset the carbon impact of electricity for running their computers.

Dell and Lenovo plan to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, another potential hazard, from their new products by 2009, and Dell requires its parts suppliers to meet environmental targets such as carbon-emission reductions.

Apple says it plans to eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs from all its products by the end of next year.

The major computer companies including Apple and Dell also have programs to recycle discarded PCs and monitors. By 2010, Apple expects to recycle 19 million pounds of so-called e-waste per year, or about 30 percent of the product weight it sold seven years earlier.

HP said it is on schedule to meet a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of equipment and supplies by the end of this year.

Asustek, while small compared with HP, Dell and other heavyweights, says its size enables it to design, manufacture, market and distribute PCs on its own, allowing it to get new ideas like the bamboo PC to market faster.

“If it does get to the point where we do find a model that meets all the engineering requirements and allows green computing, we will release it,” the company’s Chronis said. “Everybody loves the Eco book. It’s a beautiful computer.”

(Editing by Brian Moss)

Source: Reuters

Rejected Ipod engravings – who knew?


Here’s a great list I stumbled upon on the internet recently. It’s a compilation of rejected Ipod engravings. Yes, even your most personal expressions on the back of your music player are censored by “The Man”. Enjoy.

10,000 Stolen Tunes Inside
Not to be used as a suppository.
When my battery dies, so will you.
Not responsible for prolonged damage to the ear & brain.
iPod Limited Edition: Retard Compatible
Rip, Mix, & Burn Down RIAA Headquarters
Cocaine and razor blade not included
Lick My Shiny Metal Ass
karma is a bitch
Something small & white that Enrique Eglasias Isn’t In.
I play with myself.
Steal this? Will self destruct when used.
Screwing The RIAA One Download At A Time
I cost more per ounce than cocaine.
This iPod will self destruct in 1 year.

Below are some barely legal inscriptions made it on to Ipods but were just as funny and or clever.

Your mamma uses a walkman.
One time at band camp.
49 20 66 75 63 6b 69 6e 67 72 75 6c 65 (translation: I ***** rule in HEX)
I don’t need good taste, I’ve got selection.
Kiss me, I’ve got Irish music.
To all the Chinese children who made my iPod, Thanks!
George Bush Hates Black People ~Kayne West
I Don’t Do Windows ~Anonymous
Trapped in iPod factory. Please send help
Me vs. RIAA: Exhibit A
My other iPod is a Millenium Falcon
teal At Your Own Risk. Bomb Installed
Mic0s0f7 5ux a$$
I may be small and white but at least I’ve got a big disk!
Scratch your balls, not my metal.
Who said Apple sucks?
Save water, drink beer and shower together
Now you have two little white pocket rockets.
People will pay more to be entertained than educated.
WARNING: Contains Yanni Box Set
10,000 reasons to ignore my wife
If only women’s buttons were this easy to push.
This iPod makes up for my small hard disk.
Once you go small and white…
98% Liberace-free
Harmful If Swallowed
Dear [insert name], Thanks for the iPod idea. ~Steve Jobs
I’m so trendy look at my white headphones!
Size Does Matter
Musically Disturbed
Weapons of Mass Distraction Inside
Caution: Do not insert product into anus
Contents Under Pressure from RIAA
My other handheld is a PocketPC
CDs are for amish people!
Quarter free jukebox
Why drink and drive, When you can smoke and fly.
I last 8 hrs. You last 2 minutes. Who’s the man?
My iPod can beat up your honor roll student
Say hello to my little friend

Do as I say. Not as I sell!

” Ask questions from your heart and you will be answered from the heart.”
– Omaha Proverb

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This just never ceases to amaze me whenever it comes up in conversation – as it did again at this year’s SES San Jose.

Memoirs from SES San Jose 2007: Swag review – The Good, The Bad and What The?!!

SES San Jose 2007
So SES San Jose 2007 is over and done with and it was in one word…Awesome! It was my second SES but my first in San Jose. The experience at San Jose’s Search Engine Strategies is an incredible one. The intangible yet palpable cloud of knowledge and industry insight was extraordinary. Whether it came from industry leaders or my SEM peers, information and answers were always on tap. Just knowing that I was getting the best, most efficient strategies in the industry direct from the horse’s mouth as well as the most intelligible guesses as to the future of search engine marketing made the pricey conference fee well worth it. Or, maybe I was just star-struck, at least as star-stuck as one can get in the search industry. I mean, I met Marissa Mayer from Google, I made Matt Cutts chuckle and I got to a chance to one-on-one about link baiting with Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz…all totally awesome!

But enough about the people, great sessions and info at SES San Jose, my more detailed summaries will come in later blogs. Right now I am talking about those unsung heroes of conferences like SES, the foot soldiers of brand equity: Chochkies…a.k.a. leave behinds a.k.a. promotional products, premiums etc. etc. Though we oft take these small stars of the business world for granted, sometimes these knickknacks drive entire industries…for example the pharmaceutical industry spends several millions per year to produce effective leave behinds that keep their drugs top of mind for doctors, especially prior to the availability to them of the mainstream media. So in honor of the creative minds who used their brain juice to work extra hard for brands… here is my review of the chochkies from the exhibitors at SES San Jose 2007.

T-Shirt review.
There was an abundance of T-shirts. T-shirts are always a great. Everyone uses them and of course they’re awesome for branding – think Nike, Versace, Fubu etc. My favorite was, of course, the Google Dance shirt. The creative (artwork) was good…it was in association with an event (great branding and relevance)…and frankly it was cool looking, and will be doubly so once I get back to MCO. Other T-shirts worth mentioning came from LinkWorth – one of the only booths that you HAD to give them your contact info (via badge scan) to get one – hey, if your paying good money for your promotional items…turn them into lead generators. GenieKnowsGames.com also gave away T-shirts at their mondo display complete with freeplay video games. My T-shirt lust also led me to discover Moniker.com, a forward thinking Domain Asset Management company…I like forward thinking companies – heck! I like the words “forward thinking”.

tshirts from SES San Jose 2007

What the ??!!
The What the Heck award goes to Findology‘s little Findology watch-a-ma-call-it (molecule). I have no idea what it does…but it’s cool looking when arranged in a line on their exhibit table. The downside of this marketing piece is that you don’t do anything with it so after a few days of looking at it, mine will probably eventually find the trash. I guess Findology is a science best understood by those who practice it (ha I kill me!)

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Water bottles.

Ah water bottles, colorful, plentiful and mostly boring. But we can always use more. Water bottles offer lots of real estate for brand and tend to be something that people keep around and reuse, so though not the sexiest of chochkies…they can provide good bang for buck. I did get one cool one though on a private tour of Google (but that’s another blog entry :).

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That’s cool.
I haven’t had so much fun with two magnets since elementary school. ABC search‘s noisy, disruptive spinning magnet things were fantastic…I even almost got put out of a session before it started just because they could possibly be potentially disruptive..lol! Oh yeah! Also, I loved Hakia‘s totally novel “Search Music”. It was music composed and performed by members of staff at the search engine. They all seemed very proud of this piece at the booth…and rightfully so…I could easily see this charting well on Billboard’s ethno-techie-world-ambience genre!

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Best of Show.
A lesson in relevance, and relevance really is what search is all about. Superpages.com a business directory and local search engine owned by Idearc Media Corp. out of Dallas, Texas. So for Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007, they gave away a very comprehensive Survival Kit and guide to the city of San Jose. Kudos to the Superpages.com marketing team and forward-thinking executives who approved what I’m sure was a fairly costly and well branded leave behind piece. It included an offline paper version of their mapping technology (it’s great…you have to see it), hand sanitizers, key rings, a flashlight and other small useful items plus a (complete) 2007 Zagat survey. For their great effort and execution, they get from me a keyword rich backlink: yellow pages maps directions.

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Others worth mentioning…

The light up bouncyball from ClickPath. My 2-year-old daughter has already gleaned hours of fun from this gadget.

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MP3 Player speakers from Island Data. I just wish there was more about their brand included on this piece – like a tag line &/or website.
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A USB jump drive I got from Google (on my tour of the campus).
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The moral of today’s story?
1. The best leave behinds are those that are most relevant to the event and to your audience!
2. Not all link baiting needs be online…as a matter of fact, if you want a link back to your website, send me your best chochky, T-shirt or whatever and I will review it and give you a backlink to your site.
mailto: Ryan Weidman, 7450 Sandlake Commons Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819.