frank's blog

Amazing “Little Printer” by BergCloud

Posted in design, ideas, internet, Media, quality by aldorf on December 5, 2011

The guys at BERG are just amazing. No wonder they came up with an amazing product.

Here’s what’s important…

1. Printers are the most boring things around-(we worked on Epson and know the challenges) these guys managed to make one that’s cool

2. It’s cool because it has personality- “little printer” shifts it from a inanimate object to something personal and cute

3. It’s cool because the form factor plays with our conception and expectations of a printer

4. Small is the way to go because it matches and fits with our other devices- it’s a printer that doesn’t look out of place with our mobile devices and it looks like we can take it wherever we go

5. It recognizes and demonstrates to us that we might have things on our mobile devices that warrant printing- smart user understanding

6. HP dominates the business and has spent millions trying to make printers cool and they have failed every single time

7. Anyone can have an idea, but not everyone brings them to life

8. You need to bring it to life in a clever way- Berg’s film is great and agencies should have no problem doing this part

9. If you can dream it up- why not make it real? There’s nothing stopping you from dreaming up a product, bringing it to life and selling it- why not make your own products? (via influxinsights)

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Paid Apps vs. Free Apps – Intriguing Insights by Marco Arment (Instapaper)

Posted in blog, Media, quality by aldorf on April 29, 2011

First of all, kudos to Marco for creating with Instapaper a useful and one of my favorite tools out there. This is a great blog post about an experiment he started last fall.

Last fall, I conducted an experiment: I quietly removed Instapaper Free from the App Store for three days, leaving only the full, $4.99 Instapaper app. Not only did sales increase incrementally, but nobody seemed to notice.

On March 12, knowing I was heading into very strong sales from the iPad 2’s launch, I pulled Free again, this time for a month. Again, nobody noticed, and sales increased (although it’s hard to say which portion of the increase, if any, is attributable to Free’s absence, since most of it is from the iPad 2’s launch).

This break went so well that I pushed the return date back by another month. I may keep it out indefinitely, effectively discontinuing Instapaper Free.

Here’s why: …read full blog post (recommended)

A couple of his insights

Customer reviews: Instapaper Free always had worse reviews in iTunes than the paid app. Part of this is that the paid app was better, of course, but a lot of the Free reviews were completely unreasonable…

Product design: If you have a free version of your app, that will be the only version many people will ever see. So, for the Free users, that app — that extremely limited app that lacks almost all of Instapaper’s best features — is what they think Instapaper is.…

Demand: Maybe you think there aren’t enough people willing to pay $5 for an app with no free version. I used to think that, too. But I was wrong.

Why Amazon Keeps Spending Billions On Amazon R&D

Posted in innovation, internet, Media, pioneers by aldorf on April 29, 2011

In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains why his company continues to re-invest in technology.

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.

Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches…Read full article.

All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.

Mirror – Beautiful Interactive Music Video Wins Gold

Posted in Animation, film, innovation, Media, music by aldorf on April 27, 2011

Mirror, an interactive follow up to Sour’s Award-winning “Hibi No Niero, has been awarded gold for media innovation and non-broadcast media at the Art Directors Club global awards in New York. The music video for Japanese band Sour‘s “Mirror” track, best viewed in Chrome or Safari, pulls in video from users’ webcam, Twitter and Facebook accounts. The song ‘Utsushi Kagami’ (Mirror) sings about the fact that everything and everyone around you is a mirror that reflects yourself. You can find who you are in the reflection of others. (via InspirationRoom).

Filming was produced by directors Masashi KawamuraQanta Shimizu andSaqoosha.

$5227 was raised through 63 backers at Kickstarter. Those who pledged $30 or more received a promotional flyer signed by the members of SOUR, and a first look at the video prior to the release. $50 or more earned an mp3 of the new track ‘Mirror’. $100 or more earned the right to a name on the music video credit list under Special Thanks. $200 or more earned entry as special guest to the SOUR album release concert in Tokyo on December 19. $500 or more was recognised with a special SOUR T shirt & Eco bag. $1000 or more earned free video concept work from Masashi Kawamura.

Wow – 1 in every 13 People on Earth are on Facebook. Great Stats Video

Posted in Animation, internet, Media by aldorf on March 2, 2011

Thanks Alex Trimpe for putting this video together. Brilliant work and a helpful source in terms of Facebook stats.

The world is obsessed with Facebook, but it’s hard to fathom just how obsessed until you’ve seen the numbers. Video wizard Alex Trimpe lays bare our collective Facebook-loving souls in a new video called, appropriately enough, “The World is Obsessed With Facebook.”

The stats are beautifully laid out and animated. 500 million active Facebook users. 750 million photos uploaded in one weekend. 48% of us checking Facebook right when we wake up. And if that’s not scary enough, check out Trimpe’s snapshot of the activity on the site every 20 minutes. It’s insane. (via urlesque.com)

2011: The Year Social Marketing Grows More Popular

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on February 7, 2011

Companies will continue to stress return on investment and the real value of the customer voice.

The report on Bazaarvoice also includes a number of fascinating insights in the industry. For instance:

  • 73 percent of CMOs report participating in customer reviews
  • 59 percent of CMOs reported seeing average or significant ROI
  • The two most popular places of interaction with customers were company blogs (87 percent) and brand communities (86 percent)

Inspiring : Amazing – “The Creative Internet” by Google Creative Labs

Posted in ideas, inspiration, web by aldorf on October 15, 2010

The Internet And How It Effects Our Brain

Posted in ideas, web by aldorf on August 27, 2010
Cover of "The Shallows: What the Internet...

Cover via Amazon

An experiment of UCLA professor Gary Small showed that web surfers brain activity is far more extensive. Particular in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem solving and decision-making.

Small concluded, “the current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

When we go online we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, distract thinking and superficial learning. The Internet is turning us into shallower thinkers and changing the structure of our brain.

In the 1980’s people thought the introduction of hyperlinks would strenghten critical thinking, enable us to switch easily between different viewpoints – a technology of liberation.

But because it disrupts concentration it weakens comprehension. A study from 1989 showed that readers tended just to click around and could not remember what they had and had not read.

People, who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read hyperlinked text. It took the hypertext readers longer to read the document and found it confusing.

Whenever a link appears, your brain has at least make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.

And more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.

In a study text-only viewers answered significantly more questions correctly. They found the presentation more interesting, more educational, more understandable, and more enjoyable.

It’s single-minded and we can transfer information into our long-term memory that is essential to the creation of knowledge and wisdom.

While reading the information is flowing into our working memory. When the load exceeds, we are unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories. We can’t translate the new material into conceptual knowledge.

Numerous studies show that we read faster as we go online.

Problem is that many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously.

Office workers often glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. And every time we shift our attention, the brain has to reorient itself. Increasing the likelihood that we’ll overlook or misinterpret important information.

But we want to be interrupted. Each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. The neverending stream of new information also plays to our natural tendency to overemphasize the immediate. we crave the new even when we know it’s trivial.

We accept the loss of concentration, focus, and fragmentation of our attention. We rarely stop to think that it might actually make more sense just to tune it all out.

Web browsing strengthens brain functions related to fast-paced problem-solving, particular when it requires spotting patterns in a welter of data. But it would be a serious mistake to conclude the Web is making us smarter.

Patricia Greenfield explains “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others. The development of visual-spatial skills is weakening deep processing.”

“By including the use of a new medium, we end up with a different brain. As we multitask online, we are training our brain to pay attention to the crap” (Michael Merzenich, pioneer of the field of neuroplasticity)

The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought.

In a metaphorical sense, we are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. We seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting.

———–

First thoughts after reading:

1) That’s what I like about the iPad. You are focused on one thing. There is no multitasking. That seems to me is a benefit and big advantage. It forces you to stick to one task.

2) Do not stop reading books!

3) Blogs and tweets repeat the same knowledge. Makes sense, so we have more chances to take the information in.

4) What is with people who will grow up just reading online sources and don’t know text without hyperlinks at all?

5) I will continue reading both, offline/ linear and online/ hyperlinked

6) Everyone has the choice, that skimming is not your dominant mode of thought.

———–

(adapted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, discussed in Wired 6/2010.)

The Hubble Innovations Daily is out

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on August 25, 2010

The Hubble Innovations Daily

Interesting Facts About Apps

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on July 24, 2010

Flipboard – best new app for my iPad.

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