Tag Archives: ipad

The Last Dinosaur Still Reads Books

I recently visited the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden in my beloved Bronx. I spent two hours enjoying the beginning of spring by taking pictures and relaxing among 10,000 orchids and 500 like-minded people. Most people were taking pictures with their smartphones or tablets. I was part of the crowd, equipped with my iPad, but by the end of my visit I went to the garden’s bookstore and gift shop.

The books were displayed in a beautiful setting among flowers, plants, and mood lighting, but the store wasn’t busy. This allowed me to compare a few of the flower photography prints in the books to the photos I took with my iPad. The iPad photos were all right compared to the professional pieces, but they did not jump out off the screen the way they did when I was looking at the printed material. I thought about all of the people who bypassed the store to beat the traffic home and missed out on a big part of the experience.

I have been taking photos of popular bookstores throughout New York City the last few months, and I find it sad that they are slowly disappearing. Though many protest, I still find an attraction to the physical printed piece, which always seems to have a lasting impression that its digital counterparts can’t seem to replicate. When the bookstore becomes extinct, both a visual and physical component of reading will be lost. The sense of touch as experienced with textured paper or the smell of a piece straight off the press is just as much of the fun as the content.

I must confess, however, that this blog was written on my iPad and my Botanical Garden photos have all been uploaded to my Facebook profile. There’s no doubt that digital technology makes our lives easier and information much more accessible. If I ever need to look up one of the flowers from the garden, I don’t have to go all the way back to the store––I can find it online.

In my next post, I will be sharing the results of a survey I conducted of younger generations and their feelings toward printed pieces and print aggregators like bookstores and libraries. You know this dinosaur loves his print, but how important is it to the new hands in this industry? Stay tuned to find out.

Author: Joe Corbo


Cutting Through the Marketing Noise

How many of you have signed up for a credit card or a discount site just to save that extra dollar on a purchase, only to regret it the next morning when the spam––sorry––marketing campaign begins? Every search, purchase, “like,” download, post, and check-in is captured and analyzed so that companies can effectively and efficiently market their brands to targeted audiences. For the consumer, this means tens (if not hundreds) of emails each day, sponsored links on Facebook timelines, ads in apps, and strategically placed advertisements in both web pages and search results.

From a consumer standpoint, every day is a battle of the spam. I have gone to great lengths to limit my exposure to the onslaught of marketing campaigns. I do not “like” or follow companies/brands on social media, I filter all my emails, I fast-forward through commercials on my DVR, I browse incognito and frequently clear my history, cookies, and cache. I’ve even gone as far as setting up a new email account to escape the plethora of junk email from various sites and promotions that I signed up for.

This week, I came across an advertisement that caught me by surprise. I’ve gone back to the advertisement about a dozen times and have shared it with my coworkers and family. The advertisement was for Avis, and the advertising was done brilliantly. I was reading one of my favorite magazines on my iPad when I came to the dreaded “advertising spread.” Here is the moment that, with one swift swipe of a finger, I would turn the page and move on to reading another article. Something strange happened: The advertisement was shaking on the screen with the big, bright words “SHAKE ME” at the bottom.

I suddenly had the urge to shake my iPad, just to see what would happen. To my dismay, the error message (below) popped up, as I was in a PATH station without a Wi-Fi connection––fail.

While on the train, all I could think of was what would happen next!! As soon as I reached my stop, I hurried out of the station, headed to the first Starbucks I could find, and started shaking my iPad furiously. What happened next was a bit disappointing: The car turned into a room, and I could keep shaking my iPad to change the setting to a different room (three options in all). There was a link that I could click on to customize my room of choice, but I suddenly didn’t have the urge to invest additional time into the advertisement.

On a positive note, this is a perfect example of a company being able to “cut through the noise.” There was no QR code, no link, no survey––just a simple statement that tickled my curiosity. This advertisement, however, did have some flaws. First, the entire interaction relies on the user being connected to the Internet. Even though I was intrigued enough to run to the nearest Starbucks, there could be as many (or more) users who were deterred and wouldn’t shake again. Secondly, the concept was better than the message that was delivered. Maybe this was intentional, but the only thing I can remember from the ad besides the “Shake Me” is the car morphing into a room, which still befuddles me today. Either way, the advertising worked as planned. Avis is now permanently branded (pun intended) into my head and I have shared this ad with anyone who would listen.

Now onto what matters … Analytics!!!

This advertisement is a prime of example of interactive advertising that was made possible by the gyroscope and accelerometer technology built into the iPad. A study performed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau found a direct correlation between the effectiveness of an ad and the type of mobile advertising utilized (static, animated or interactive). Interactive ads were most frequently considered engaging, innovative, and memorable. Not surprisingly, interactive ads were found to be both the least boring and the least ordinary (see chart below). Reading the study reaffirmed my belief in the effectiveness of the Avis advertisement.

Image from Internet Advertising Bureau UK (iab)

For now, the marketing directors have won. I will continue to be intrigued by interactive advertisements. So if you see me walking on the street or around the office shaking my iPad, do not fret. I haven’t gone mad––I’m either using my iPad as an Etch A Sketch or I am testing out the latest “Shake Me” ad! Let’s just hope I have a Wi-Fi connection to view it!

Author: Michael Hiney

Dirt and iPhones Do Mix: One Vanguardian’s Perspective on Technology on the Farm

So you play FarmVille on Facebook, and as you build your “farm” from the comfort of your easy chair, you feel like you are accomplishing something, right? OK, man up already and face it––you have no clue what it’s like to run a farm. My experience is slightly different––my family had a chicken farm in Rockland County that we “city kids” would visit during the summer to “help out.” The farm also grew corn as a staple crop for feed and to sell. By the time we would get there in the summer, the real work was done––our biggest chore was shucking the corn for dinner.

Flash forward to spring 2012 and my reality. I consider myself a “gentleman farmer.” I live on nine acres of pristine property in the mountains of Sullivan County, NY, in the tiny town of Glen Spey (Google Map 12737). I have a barn with a hayloft, split wood for the fireplace, operate a tractor (lowlanders have riding mowers; we have nothing but tractors), drive a pick-up truck, and have a back brace with suspenders for the real work. My frost date is Memorial Day weekend, which means no planting till then––seeds are OK, but the real work begins on the holiday weekend.

My “field” is a 60′ x 40′ horn of plenty, filled with fruit trees and bushes, grape vines, 20 varieties of vegetables and cutting flowers, and surprisingly, no corn. Each year I fertilize with up to 300 lbs of cow manure, lime, and fireplace ash to keep the pH correct. My beds are raised, and I till each one until the soil is the consistency of butter. What self-respecting plant wouldn’t want to wiggle its roots in my bed? Call me crazy, but I commute three hours to work each way because I love where I work and love where I live, just not necessarily in that order.

Last weekend, I did the first cut of the season. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and as I made the turns on the tractor with my music playing from my iPhone, I stopped to take a photo of our family of tree swallows working on their new nest in the birdhouse. As I paused to take it all in, I realized how much technology I have come to rely on to make my life easier. Besides the joy and convenience of having music and photography attached to my belt, much of this process is technology-driven. Consider that I use my iPad to order everything from new tiller blades to seeds to chain saws to fertilizer. Weather is a big consideration on a farm, and I have not one but three weather apps to help me know when to plant and when to water. These apps also help to notify me of approaching storms or frost.

When the day is done and the stars come out, I have a great app on my iPad called Star Walk. This app is terrific if you have a clear view of the night sky and you can see all the stars and constellations overhead. This app also shows which satellites are drifting by. (Unfortunately, the shooting stars you may enjoy flash by too fast to be named.)

There are a plethora of other apps to help your green thumb, and it’s always best to read some of the reviews before you purchase. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention an oldie but goodie, the Farmers’ Almanac. Continuously published since 1818, this periodical is known for its long-range weather predictions and astronomical data mixed with humor, trivia, gardening, cooking, fishing, and human-interest content. While not yet an app, it is available as an e-book for your iPad, Nook, or Kindle. This is a must-have for even the “black thumb” gardener who can’t keep even a houseplant alive.

To finish on a positive note for my FarmVille friends, reviews of the new FarmVille Version 2.7 are high. Released on April 4, 2012, FarmVille has gone tropical. Grab your sandals and head to FarmVille’s new Hawaiian Paradise. Leave those clunky coins at home because the new currency is coconuts. Love the beach? Cultivate your favorite water crops and play with new aquatic creatures. While Zynga is excited with the reception the latest version has received, I am sure the lucky few who sample my harvested veggies will be glad there are “gentleman farmers” like me who like to play in the dirt.

Author: Tom Caska

The LinkedIn iPad App – A New Connection to Your Connections

I am a longtime user of LinkedIn. My number is 210,856, meaning that I joined when there were only a couple of hundred thousand users. (According to Wikipedia, there are now over 150 million users.) With its new iPad app, I am a bigger advocate of LinkedIn than ever. For me, LinkedIn is steadily becoming a morning must-read along with the Wall Street Journal, The Daily, and Flipboard (which aggregates social-network content in a magazine-like format).

The elegance of the Flipboard experience has transformed how we consume content on the iPad. The LinkedIn Updates section provides an experience similar to Flipboard in that it allows you to view content from your connections. I still use LinkedIn through Flipboard, but now I get better Profile and Inbox sections in the LinkedIn app.

There should never be complacency in the digital space, so I look forward to more enhancements to the LinkedIn app that help me to stay on top of my business game.

Author: Dana Farbo

Transitioning from Print to Digital Publishing Design

If you are currently making a living as a print designer, I can almost guarantee that you have thought about what it would take to design for digital publishing. And by digital publishing, I mean publishing to tablets and smartphones. For many designers, this issue has caused a great deal of stress. Well, I am happy to report that Adobe is making designing for digital publishing much easier with its new release of Creative Suite 6.

Creative Suite 6 boasts a whole plethora of new features that will help designers and the like perform their daily job functions more efficiently. What makes this release better than its predecessor is how you can take a print layout in InDesign and transition it over to any tablet or smartphone––landscape or portrait! With previous versions of Adobe’s digital publishing suite, you had to design two separate files for portrait and landscape orientations. This led to a lot of duplicate work for designers and never allowed fluid translations to different devices.

Take a sneak peak at CS6 and some more interesting features!


Author: John Mehl

What is LTE?

After months of rumors, Apple introduced the new iPad. It has been upgraded in several ways and now has better resolution, a better camera, and is 4G- or LTE-compatible––but what is LTE or 4G? 4G stands for the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards, and LTE is short for Long Term Evolution. 4G LTE was launched in the United States in 2010 by Verizon and AT&T, and continues to roll out today. In the world of mobile devices, LTE means speed, games that zoom, and videos that play without hesitation by using radio waves, allowing for more data to be transferred than in a 3G network. To oversimplify the LTE network, think of LTE as a superhighway that allows information to travel efficiently. Phone calls are considered a high priority and are less likely to be dropped, while higher–data load files like videos and games would get dedicated lanes that allow the information to travel smoothly along the “highway.”

Author: Susan Hallinan

Nook, Your Tablet Set My iPad on Fire. Are tablets killing the adoption of mobile computing?

Shortly after the iPad 2 launch, the late Steve Jobs welcomed the iMasses into the “post-PC era.” So, post-PC netizens, where are we now?

Let’s review. Apple has a mountain of apps, Amazon has its thunderous cloud, and Barnes and Noble has stacks of books, but who will win the battle of the single-purpose e-readers? The Kindle Fire has Amazon’s huge cloud presence plus some of the cloud-processing and storage services missing from the competition. The Fire lacks cellular data, which means you are tied to Wi-Fi with a petite data stomach; the Fire may leave heavy data-storage users hungry. The tablet and, more importantly, mini-tablet markets are changing, but does it really matter? No. Here’s why.

Mini-tablets comprise the growing market of devices that aren’t iPads or smartphones or laptops or netbooks. These devices tend to be large, pocket-friendly units that are multimedia consumption devices with single-use potential. Encouraging users to consume media and providing a pipe to the mothership’s storefront (an app store) is the operating strategy of these low-priced devices. Much like cigarette makers, the tablet manufacturers and marketplace shopkeepers hope to get users addicted to content for the shiny, colorful screen and then make them pay for all the new, delicious media pieces that the never-ending publishing, music, and movie industries can churn out.

Just how preposterous is this idea of mini-tablets? Let’s examine a few analogies.

Take, for instance, the car industry; assume that every car manufacturer also manufactures all the gas. In order to use your car, you must buy gas from your car manufacturer’s station in order to drive. I don’t think so!

What about a newspaper publisher? What if every publisher owned the store that sells the paper and you could only buy certain brands at one store or face paying a higher premium at a competitor for the same title? Doubtful!

But wait, there’s more.

Take my personal favorite, the desktop printer. First, when a consumer buys a printer, he or she is buying a single-purpose device to be used for one primary function: PRINTING! Yet in order to print, you must spend gobs of money on ink every time one of the colors runs out. (Check out this dated piece by PCWorld on inkjet costs.)

The tablet market is essentially the same. User buys tablet, user becomes addicted to multimedia content from the comfort of his or her lap, user shells out mountains of cash to consume the most current content. This is all fine and dandy until the user wants something that is exclusively tied to another marketplace or device. Then the user waits for the content to be available or consumes it via a different medium, say from a, gasp, bookstore or, double gasp, physical video distribution method like Redbox, Netflix (by mail), or a theatre. Add in the complexity of the app, not just the media content, and the tablet market is even messier.

Why are single-use devices to attractive to the byte-obsessed, always-connected, touchscreen-loving, SMS crowd?
Simple. They do one thing well (or so the advertising tells us). The lower the price at which a user can buy a device that does one thing well, the more attractive these media-consumption portals appear to be. Little do the users know (well, they probably do, but go with it) that once they get addicted to the sweet taste of femur-supported, organized pixel displays of pleasure, delivering virtually all their media requests, that either a big credit card bill or heaping pile of disappointment and frustration lies ahead. They have to choose: Cough up the greenbacks for more digital editions of Wired or The Daily or Mad Men or be left out in the Wi-Fi-required cold with too small a tank to hold their media fuel and no fuel in sight.

Warning, the following content is not suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised for those who can’t handle the truth.

Segmenting content into different marketplaces may be a great way to make a buck, but it kills the adoption of new technology.

Tablets lack innovation.
Other than the Motorola Xoom, no one has brought anything really cool to the table. Apple gave us the iPad and added gimmicky software, such as gestures and a magnet in the body of the tablet to turn the screen off. Don’t get me wrong––these are great, innovative features––but other than the iPad being the first device to feature them, what is their wow factor? Nothing yet. Make media consumption on my single-purpose device better, damn it. Maybe the 3D obsession was supposed to be a new source of amazement. Yawn… Palm was onto something with the TouchPad and its ability to transfer applications from one device (the Pixi or Pre) to another (like the TouchPad), but bad timing and poor management killed that tech. All we can hope for is that HP may revive it.

Non-smart, non-connected, non-location devices are pointless.
If the phone is the rowboat to all that is digital, then the tablet should be the luxury cruise liner, right? Well, why doesn’t what is on the market match the expectation that bigger should mean more functions? Ford Taurus drivers who upgrade to a Porsche expect more features, so when I upgrade my clunky desktop, laptop, VCR, or library card to a tablet, I should get more features (and not content fences). Likewise, users who have an iOS or Android phone expect more when upgrading to a tablet, but these expectations fall short with the Fire and Nook Tablet. Then again, it may not be an upgrade but rather a segmentation of function, essentially taking reading and watching from a phone and moving it to a tablet. The lack of GPS and cellular data kills the mobile function. Part of the enhanced reading experience is the ability to interact with rich multimedia and content from the web or to pop out to a web browser to follow a call to action in a piece of media. One question: Why don’t advertisers focus more on selling ads for rich, location-enabled devices and the platforms that they use?

There is planned tech obsolescence.
OK, planned obsolescence may be a bit extreme, but users who buy a mini-tablet and want feature upgrades like GPS and cellular data are left hanging. Their addiction to content makes them reliant on one marketplace, with few options for upgrading.

As of yet, we haven’t seen a tablet that changes the model with which we interact with content on a mobile platform. Many would argue that the mini-tablets and tablets have taken media consumption out of the house and moved it anywhere the user wants to go. This is true as long as the user has planned all the content he or she wants to consume before leaving the warm comfort of Wi-Fi. Single-purpose media consumption devices serve just one purpose––media consumption––but without data connection and a rich feature set, these simple devices are changing the behavior of users. What the future impact of these changes will be, we shall find out, but competition in the market is a good thing so far, as long as the jump from mini-tablet to smart tablet becomes shorter and filled with more options.

What say you––are single-purpose mini-tablets useful in widening the adoption of mobile technology and media consumption?

Check out some comparisons of the iPad2, Nook Tablet, and Kindle Fire here, here, here, and here.

Author: John Carew