Rumoured new iPhone –>

I am not a huge fan of the rumor mill when it comes to Apples new products.  There was a time when I was more I admit.  But now the level of speculation, I think is out of control.  With all the hype also usually brings a lot of people disappointment depending on where they stand with the rumors.  

If the rumors are correct, then when product “X” comes out people are often let down because it has been in the news cycle for a long time that it does not seem like a big deal.  If the sites are wrong people also can be disappointed because Apple did not do this thing or that thing.  Its feels a lot like opening your presents under the Christmas tree before you are supposed to.  

The other day “new” images leaked of the reported new iPhone 5 (or the new new iPhone depending on what Apple calls it).  

All I have to say is that if this ends up being the new iPhone I would enjoy it.  It appears to be a little larger, a little thinner, smaller connector and headphone jack on the bottom.  I think one of the things I like the most is the apparent material looks as is it has a magnesium finish on it. 

Running on Air: Steve Kamb

Can you name a person whose hometown is Sandwich Massachusetts, runs a business from all around the world, and has recently given aTedX speech? If you guessed Steve Kamb you would be correct. I stubbled across his site when a friend of mine referred me toNerdFitness.com.

Steve talks about leveling up your life, and if you are not a gamer you may not be familiar with the term. That’s ok because Steve recently gave a speech at TedX Emory that explains it all. I highly recommend you check it out here.

1. Who are you? What type of business are you in?

My name is Steve Kamb, and I run NerdFitness.com. Nerd Fitness is a community of thousands of nerds, desk jockeys, and average joes all over the globe who are helping each other level up in the game of life. I sell information products, online courses, and fitness plans for people looking for specific direction on getting healthy in a fun, nerdy way. There aren’t many places online you can learn about getting healthy with references from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Transformers!

2. Which model MacBook Air are you using?

I’m currently using a 2011 13″ MacBook Air, purchased in late July 2011: 4GB of RAM, 256GB hard drive, and the 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor.

 Steve on the move
Steve on the move

3. Why did you choose the MacBook Air over other Mac models?

I spend a LOT of time traveling. In fact, I’ve technically been “homeless” since January of 2011; since then, I’ve visited 15 countries across six continents, living out of a backpack and running my business from my laptop. Because I travel so frequently, I knew I needed a laptop that had incredible portability without sacrificing power and performance. After using an old MacBook pro (2007 model) for the first half of 2011 (bouncing around Australia, New Zealand, and southeast Asia), I knew that picking up a MacBook air would make my travel easier and my business run more efficiently! Since then, I’ve traveled to 15 states in the United States, Ireland, Spain, France, South Africa, Ecuador, and I’m currently planning a trip to Brazil.

Even though it’s incredibly portable, I’ve had no issues using the Air as my primary computer. In fact, I’ve stored, edited, and published all of my videos from traveling with my Air, including my Exercising Around the Globe video.

4. How are you using your MacBook Air to run your business ?

I use my MacBook Air for everything – I use iPhoto and iMovie to keep track and manage my photos and videos from travel, I use garage band to edit any audio content for my site, and I use the webcam to do live webinars and Q&A for my site. I’ve recently given presentations at Facebook, Google, Google Dublin, and TEDxEmory, using Keynote along with keynote remote on my iPhone to create those presentations. Recently I’ve put a huge focus on increased productivity, utilizing free apps like Think and Self-Control to help keep me focused on the road when I need to create content or get projects done in a timely manner.

5. Which has been the biggest advantage about using your air to run your business?

The portability and battery life. I’m actually typing this interview while on an airplane flying cross-country! I often have small pockets of time that I need to get a lot done, and having access to a laptop that’s incredibly portable and powerful makes that far easier than ever before. Thanks to the long battery life, working out of a coffee shop isn’t an issue as I can still get hours of work done even if I can’t find an outlet.

To say the MacBook Air has revolutionized how I’ve been able to run my business is an understatement!

To learn more about Steve you can find his website twitter and Facebook information below:
Website: NerdFitness.com
Twitter:@SteveKamb
Facebook:Facebook.com/NerdFitness

Thank you Steve for inspiring so many !

If you know someone who is running a business or using an Air to do something cool please have them send me an email or contact me on twitter.

“Net Income Decreased 96%”

MG Siegler reports on a story from Business Wire about Amazons latest numbers.  The numbers are truly staggering:  

Net income decreased 96% to $7 million in the second quarter, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared with net income of $191 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in second quarter 2011.

In an effort to continue to grow and create new customers I think what we are seeing is a race to the bottom.  

Making the move

I have been using SquareSpace for some time now. I was part of the beta to test V6. The changes are very nice in terms of functionality with more coming. I think the full support of Markdown and the Link post options are welcome editions. As a result I took this opportunity to clean up and stream line my site a little more. I will be tweaking it over the next week or so. Let me know what you think.?

Ideas are easy

Step 1: The idea

Ideas are easy. Executing on an idea and turning into reality is much harder. I have been trying to come up with a side project that will allow me to create a side business for many years. In this series of posts I am going to try and document the process I am going through in the hope that it will help someone else in the same situation.

The first question I get is why create a side business? Why bother ? Why add on the extra work? You have a good job and like it a lot. This will vary from person to person. Some people will want extra income, others will want to use it as a launch pad to be independent but in my case it is to prove that I can do it. Anything else that comes after that is a bonus.

Everyone assumes creating a business is easy. Generally it is. Todays technology and services allow you to do an amazing amount of things with a laptop that you may not have been able to do 5 years ago. I am starting and creating this business on an 11″ MacBook Air. Purely to allow me to be mobile and work on the project where ever I am.

The hard part is the Idea. I come up with lots of ideas. Just because you have an idea does not mean it will work or is good. My typical process is write the idea down and think about it. Research the topic, look at the market, see if anyone else is doing it already (just because someone is already doing it does not mean you can’t make it better) and decide is there is an opportunity. Most of the time I am able to quickly kill the idea or decide that it is not the right one for me. If I had $1 for every idea I killed off I would not need to create a side business, I would be retired ! Sometimes I felt like I was trying to force an idea and I found that frustrating.

I found that many great products have been developed by people who have a problem and then solve it. I have heard it many call it the scratch your own itch syndrome. This is fairly typical in the software development world.

What I started doing is looking at things in my everyday life and started to ask myself questions:

  • What could be done better?
  • What bothers me about X?
  • Could it be improved on?
  • Why does this annoy me so much?

After I started asking myself these type of questions I was able to see a wide range of problems right before me that were not being addressed. Look at things in this manor instead of trying to find the force and idea was liberating.

I followed my same process and after a short period of time I had an idea. Next step to see if I could design it. More to come.

The Architect Is In: A Tiny Live/Work Loft Made Large

I have mentioned several times how I am intrigued with well designed spaces.  I prefer smaller ones.  If done well you do not get the feeling of being closed in at all.  Below is a series of photographs of a loft that is 650 sq feet.  My last apartment was 550 and did not feel at all like this space.  I did not have the storage nor the flexibility in room configuration.  Glad I did not see this while I was in the apartment or I might have cried.

 

The Architect Is In: A Tiny Live/Work Loft Made Large:

Is it possible for a couple to live and work together harmoniously in 650 square feet? This week Robert Garneau of Studio Garneau (the firm is a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) takes us through intelligent urban living in his design of a small apartment in New York’s neighborhood of Chelsea. For the next 48 hours, Garneau is available to answer your queries; leave your questions in the comments section below.

Whatever the budget, every urbanite grapples with not having enough space. With a few sleights of hand and some hard-working hardware, Garneau plays magician, seeming to pull living and storage space out of nowhere effortlessly, transforming a 650-square-foot studio into a one-bedroom live/work apartment for a couple who run their office from home. Beware—when you’re not looking, he may just transform it back again.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-green-carpet

Above: A sliding wall hides the bedroom beyond and reveals built-in storage and bookshelves (instantly transforming the studio apartment into a one-bedroom apartment).

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-green-carpet

Above: Once the sliding wall is pulled back, the bookshelf is hidden and the one-bedroom apartment becomes an open studio space.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-green-carpet

Above: Another view of the loft with the sliding walls pulled back, revealing an open reading of the space.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-green-carpet-sofa-open-drawer

Above: Every opportunity for storage has been used, including drawers under the couch.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-kitchen-hydraulic-table

Above: In the kitchen area, Garneau designed a table which can be adjusted to three heights for three functions; kitchen island (shown above), dining table, and work surface.

Above: The table has been adjusted to work surface height. All office equipment is stored in the white cabinet to the side of the table.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-murphy-bed

Above: A Murphy bed pulls down to reveal a niche lined in walnut veneer that acts as a headboard.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-green-carpet-murphy-bed

Above: Night stands have been built into the headboard niche. The walnut veneer on the door is an aesthetically unifying detail.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls

Above: The sliding wall is pulled back and the Murphy bed has been stored away. Beyond the wall with the painting is the dressing area and bathroom.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-bathroom-cobalt-blue-mosaic-tiles

Above: A floor-to-ceiling closet is located on one side of the dressing area.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-bathroom-cobalt-blue-mosaic-tiles-drawers

Above L. Garneau creates a shallow dresser for storing folded clothes. Above R: Storage niches are carved into the bathroom walls.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-wood-floors-white-walls-bathroom-cobalt-blue-mosaic-tiles-dressing-area

Above: The factory-style windows are typical of the industrial buildings in the neighborhood.

Transformer-Apartment-Studio-Garneau-bathroom-cobalt-blue-mosaic-tiles-storage

Above: Every inch of available space has been turned over to storage in the bathroom.

Robert-Garneau-portrait

Above: The architect as magician.

N.B. Looking for more small apartment inspiration? See 244 images of Small Apartments in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.

(Via Remodelista)

Running on Air: Lynn Rosskamp

Do you think crafting handmade items and technology go hand and hand?  If you answered no you would be wrong as I learned from Lynn. You might be surprised to learn that many items produced by these craftsman and women are created by taking advantage of the technology available today.  This was one of the reasons I wanted to create this series.  I found about Lynn on the Pikes Place Producers web site and asked her for an interview.

Who are you? What type of business are you in?

My name is Lynn Rosskamp and my companies are PingiHats and Shop Cascadia. I’ve been making fleece animal hats and hoodies with ears under the PingiHats brand since 2008 and I’m now in the middle of branching out with a partner into a second business, Shop Cascadia, that centers on clothing and housewares made in the Pacific Northwest, both produced in-house and from other small businesses in the area.  I sell both online and at Pike Place Market in Seattle.

 Which MacBook Air are you using?

I am using the 13″ MacBook Air from mid 2011  

Why did you select that MacBook Air over other models?

Because it is light and portable but has all the features and usability that I want.  This is the second generation of MacBook Air we’ve used so clearly it’s been working well.  My current physical shop is a small daystall at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, which is the oldest continuous covered farmer’s market in the US.  We make our products and do fabric design, accounting, and website building and maintenance in another small studio space across town. With the MacBook Air being so light and portable, it’s really easy to transfer it from place to place.  I use a portable hub or my cell phone to provide internet access as the Market does not have wifi available for its daystall area tenants.

How are you using your MacBook Air to run your business?

I use Photoshop and Illustrator a lot for fabric and t-shirt and hoodie design and hook the MacBook Air up to my Wacom tablet for drawing. We use an all-in-one webservice, Shopify, to host our website and provide our shopping cart, so we use their interface online quite a lot. 

Which has been the biggest advantageabout using your air to run your business?

I would say it’s the fact that you don’t sacrifice any features for the portability.  My businesses are very small and has to be adaptable and agile to survive and I think the MacBook Air nicely mirrors that.

 

Why I didn’t buy the MacBook Pro Retina

Pietro and Michael wrote blog posts for their rationale to why they didn’t buy a retina MacBook Pro.

Pietro goes into depth about each of these reasons that it prevented him from making the purchase.

* Revision A product

* Hardware pushed to the limits

* Cost

Michael simplified part of his rational to:

* Weight

* Size

All of these arguments are excellent and I agree with all of them. Those factored into my decision. But there was one point that was left out was huge for me that I wanted to touch on. Most applications have not retina-fied. I know the software developers are working hard now to update their graphic assets but it will still take some time. When I went to the Apple Store to check out the machine I was impressed. How could you not be? All the programs I was using for the most part were Apple based and had the opportunity to have been updated. I did come across a few Apple programs that had yet to be updated, and while the text looked great – the images and icons in many cases looked worse. What if the one application I use everyday looks worse for the next X months.

Also I found the web did not look great either. Text renderered fine but overall I think the visual expereince was worse. Not necessarily which web browser you choose, but other peoples web sites. For years 72dpi has been the standard for graphics. The standard came about to optimize speed of image download to the browsers. The new iPad (third generation) was the first “large” screen retina display. After the release people were trying to come up with ways to update their sites to make them look better via CSS or JavaScript hacks. This is an ongoing update. But there is no agreed upon “best” to do this yet. While I think the desktop applications will be updated sooner I think it will be some time before the web looks better. This was the kicker for me which held me back for the first version.

Running on Air: Bill Barnes

I came across Bill Barnes web site called Not Invented Here and a post he wrote more than a year ago about using his MacBook Air for work.  I reached out to him to see if he was still using it and he generously offered to respond to my questions.  

According to his bio on his about page “Bill spent two decades in the software industry working a variety of jobs from coding to speechwriting before becoming a professional cartoonist.”

I personally think one of the more interesting things is that Bill uses his Air for both the creative side (creating the comics) as well as the business side (coding and general business management) of things.  

  
1. Who are you? What type of business are you in, what do you do?
 
I’m Bill Barnes, co-creator of the comic strips Not Invented Here and Unshelved. I also do a little coding for my businesses and that of a friend.
 
2. Which model MacBook Air are you using?
 
I have a fully loaded (1.8ghz/4GB/256GB) mid-2011 11″ MBA
 
3. Why did you select the MacBook Air over other Mac models? 
 
I moved to the MBA from my mid-2009 13″ MBP because I travel every 3 weeks or so and wanted a lighter load. The only thing I regretted about returning to Mac from the PC world was the lack of ultraportable options. The original MBA was too limited, and the revised MBA was close but not quite there. I briefly considered the 13″ MBA, but then I sat down in an economy section seat and realized that for me the 11″ was the way to go.
 
4. How are you using your MacBook Air to run your business ? 
 
Aside from my iPad it’s my only computer. I draw my comics with Photoshop, design my books with InDesign, code in Rails using Sublime Text 2, and in ASP.NET MVC on Windows 7 using VMWare Fusion. I run my businesses on iWork and QuickBooks, and deliver keynotes at conferences around the country using, well, Keynote.
 
5. Which has been the best thing about using your air to run your business?
 
That I don’t hesitate to take it with me on every trip, and as a result I have fought a number of business fires that would otherwise have gone on raging for days. The cherry on top is that, while on the road, I use my iPad as a second screen using AirDisplay, and the combination of the two is still smaller and lighter than my previous computer.
If you are not familiar with the comics it is well worth it to go over and check them out. Thanks Bill !

Writers business models

Q. I want to get paid for the blog I write, what is the best way?

A. Easy! There is no best way.
Fortunately for you there are more and more models being created everyday as people try to figure out this question. As with every model there are pros and cons. I may not have gotten the model names correct – but I wanted to name them based on how I think of them and then give some information about the differences. Here are a few business models to consider.

  1. Ads/RSS sponsorships: I think this is probably the most common model you see on blogs. There are several strong ad networks you can look into if this is your choice. The problem is generally if you want to add these type of advertisements you need to have significant traffic in order to make money. Google Ads are an option but I think they clutter up your site and distract the reader from your writing.
    Membership cost: Free

  2. “Direct support” membership model: ShawnBlanc.net: Shawn is a full time writer now and he has a membership to support his work. Some may refer to this as the freemium model but I am not fond of that word and I think this is more than that. Shawn’s site is open to the public. All content on the site is free. [1] Membership gives you access to a private podcast that is created several times a week called Shawn Today. There is also an optional Members Journal email that you can sign up for.
    Membership is $3 a month.

  3. Full text RSS Model: The Loop : The loop insights model is similar. If you go to the site directly all the content is free. If you are accessing theloop via an RSS reader you will get the excerpt view but you can access the full site by clicking on the link and going to the site.

    As a member of The Loop, you will get a full text RSS feed, allowing you to read all of the stories in your favorite RSS reader. An email with the members-only feed will be sent once your payment has been made.

    Membership cost: $3 a month

  4. Newsletter Subscription: This is one of the methods Patrick Rhone uses. Patrick sends out a newsletter called Reflection. It is a combination of his thoughts, research and essays. Occasionally he will offer members giveaways or sneak peeks into what he is working on or books.
    Newsletter cost: $5 a month

  5. “Modified Paywall”: brooksreview.net: Ben’s model is the newest model I am aware of. Ben was tired of selling ads. He did not want them cluttering up the site. He created what I think could be called a “modified paywall”. Signing up to become a member allows you access to the site and get all the content in real time. The modified part is that non-members still get access to all the information but there is a seven day delay. As Ben mentions on the post that describes the changes is “I am not a news site. And since my opinions should stand the test of time, I do not need to move at the speed of light”.
    Membership cost: $4 a month

None of the models work if you don’t have a readership. Readers expect high quality writing. At this point there is no wrong model. Whichever you choose will depend on your site, your traffic and how you want to engage with your readers.

Update: I finished writing this piece and turned on the B&B podcast for my commute home and Shawn and Ben covered this in more detail.


  1. 52 Tiger has a similar setup.  ↩