TED Obsession

Continuing on with my TED obsession I saw this little video of small robots dancing.  After reading the description I was not sure what to expect.  But this is very cute as well as technically really cool how they did this.  In fact I could see many of these robots replacing backup dancers from pop singers now!


Creating with Wood

The other day I had a blocs customer ask me for a source of high quality wood covers for Apple TV.  I quickly pointed them to Lazerwood Industires.  They make a beautiful walnut and a black cherry stained cover to dress up an Apple TV.

But the folks over there have taken working with wood to another level.  Using traditional materials and working high tech tools they have been able to create some amazing products with intricate detail.

The thing I love most is how, like blocs, they have blended the organic with the high tech to add warmth to our beloved toys.

Beauty and craftsmanship, check them out!

    Artist series Peony in maple by  Anne Marie Jackso n   Artist series Peony in maple by  Anne Marie Jackso n 

    Lazerwood Keys for Apple wireless keyboard in Cherry   Lazerwood Keys for Apple wireless keyboard in Cherry 

    Beats covers in Walnut   Beats covers in Walnut 

    Walnut cover for Apple TV   Walnut cover for Apple TV

The Art of Asking: Amanda Palmer

A few weeks ago I finished reading Seth Godin’sThe Icarus Deception“. I truly loved the message behind this book. One of the examples in the books was a woman by the name of Amanda Palmer and her amazing suceess with her Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new album. The goal was $100,000 and she ended up raising $1.2 million dollars. I was aware of her musical work with one of her previous bands called the Dresdan Dolls but I did not know a lot about her.

Recently she gave a talk at TED 2013 on the Art of Asking. If you have 15 minutes please watch this. Its truly a great talk.


A craftsman extreme

Jim Dalrymple pointed out the artist who was responsible for creating the artwork behind the cover of John Mayer’s album “Born and Raised“. I had not had a chance to watch the video until today.  It is a fascinating look at a very talented artist working with old and new technolgies to create these amazing works on glass.

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.  ↩

Andrew Kim Rebrands Microsoft

Matt Alexander at One37.net points out this brilliant Microsoft rebranding idea from art student Andrew Kim.  This article is a must read. There are some great ideas and all of the works was created and executed over a 3 day self created project.  If nothing else Microsoft should hire Andrew to help with the overall branding.

Andrew Kim Rebrands Microsoft:

Next Microsoft

Andrew Kim has produced an extensive, thoughtful, and thoroughly impressive rebranding of Microsoft. Although obviously unofficial, the expression of minimalistic tendencies, the simplification of product names, and the liberal use of color each make me woefully wish this project were real.

Today, the unification of Microsoft’s product-line is sorely needed. Regardless of the promise of any one of Microsoft’s products or the increasing aesthetic seamlessness across the board, there is a distinct lack of a cohesive narrative across the company’s outward facade. Further, as is highlighted by Andrew, Microsoft’s misplaced efforts toward endearing the customer through lighthearted and colorful imagery is utterly ill-conceived.

Combining a modern — borderline science-fiction-esque — tone with a contemporary naming scheme, I cannot help but think Andrew has latched onto a fantastic concept for the entirety of Microsoft’s brand.

I highly recommend you peruse the entirety of Andrew’s ‘Next Microsoft’ concept. It’s fantastic.

(Via ONE37)