Boys Take Your Shirts Off

October 18, 2007

Improv Everywhere is almost as brilliant as The Yes Men and their latest mission doesnt disappoint. Abercrombie and Fitch, the bastion of retail Aryan purity, was the target of Improv Everywhere’s mission (I challenge you to find a non-white face on their site). What would happen if you introduced commercial miscegenation, the bane of Abercrombie and Fitch’s brand image, into the companies flagship store on 5th Ave in Manhattan? Thanks to Improv Everywhere we can now have an answer to that question. Check out their site for more videos, pictures and the full story from the mission.

IFPI Taken over by The Pirate Bay!

October 16, 2007

IFPI via The Pirate Bay

The good folks at Mashable have picked-up the story on what has to be the best set-up for a prank ever. It appears that the domain has fallen into the hands of the merry swashbuckling crew at The Pirate Bay. The domain still goes to the older IFPI site, belonging to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. However now the domain takes you to the International Federation of Pirates Interest. Now that sounds like an interesting organization. I wonder what their membership dues are. For those that dont know, the IFPI is the international version of the RIAA and has been trying to shutdown the Pirate Bay for years.

The original story came from Ernesto over TorrentFreak.

Google Backdoors the Telco’s

October 16, 2007

That damned Google! No matter how much I try to avoid getting sucked into the Googleplex by their absurdly useful and free services, I cant seem to avoid it. Today I was compelled to give Google two permanent slots in my mobile phonebook. The first for the infinity useful Google SMS, which I use all the time but hadnt given its own place on my phone. The second slot was allocated to the new Goog 411 service, which I havent played with as long or used as much but seems worthy of a spot based solely on the voice commands and being able to connect with the businesses for free. If you havent tried Google SMS or Goog 411 yet give them a shot and you too will soon be sucked into world of convenience and utility.

Greenpeace Wags Its Finger at Apple’s iPhone

October 16, 2007


I should have known by the tepid headline that there really was no story here but I got sucked in nonetheless. The headline screamed “Scientific tests reveal iPhone contains hazardous chemicals and materials“. Not exactly what I want to hear about such a beautiful product, but I bet the phones radiation kills me before its toxins. The release, put out yesterday by Greenpeace, is accompanied by a PDF report which actually has a slightly different conclusion then the release.

Here is the conclusion from the report:
“Of the 18 different internal and external components and materials tested from an Apple iPhone purchased in the USA in June 2007, all would appear to be compliant with the requirements of the EU’s Directive on use of certain hazardous substances in electronics and electrical goods (the RoHS Directive).”

Here is the opener from the release:
“An independent scientific laboratory tested 18 internal and external components of the iPhone and confirmed the presence of brominated compounds in half the samples, including in the phone’s antenna, in which they (1) made up 10 per cent of the total weight of the flexible circuit board. A mixture of toxic phthalate esters (2) was found to make up 1.5 per cent of the plastic (PVC) coating of the headphone cables.”

While I agree with Greenpeace on the need for Steve and his team at Apple, to make their products more earth friendly this release was the wrong way to do it. First, it assumes that no one will bother to read the full report and note that the emphasis in the release is a bit over-reaching. There is a time for the carrot and a time for the stick, this was an opportunity to use the carrot with Apple and the good folks at Greenpeace blew it.

My Career as a Series of dog eared cards.

October 15, 2007

There is one card missing from somewhere between VIBE and MP3 Impact I had a card from a Company called ElectricVillage. I for the life of me cant find any of those cards but this is more or less a complete listing of every company I’ve worked for in my adult life.


New Products GroupThe sheer intellectual horse power of the New Products Group was scary. The way its squandered even more so. The trick to innovation and new products is to push down responsibility as far into the organization as possible and then get out of the way! Corporate managers, the really smart former consultants brought in to keep the lights on and iterate on what someone else created, are poorly suited to giving up control or getting out of the way.

MP3 ImpactAfter a couple of years trying to figure out my consulting niche (I worked on projects from financial services to rap websites) I decided I was better at thinking about how to use technology, then I was building it myself. Through the editorial voice of the newsletter I could (and often did) talk to, and about, anything or anyone in the industry. It was also one of the few times I could openly call major music company executives “clueless” and get quoted rather then fired.

Addictive MediaWhen I left VIBE to do independent consulting in NYC people thought I was crazy. Turns out they were partially correct. I actually thought I would work less being on my own then working for someone else. The business treated me well enough to do it relatively seriously for 6 years. If you want to do anything urban and Internet related let me know I’ve probably got the business plans for all the urban music sites, conceived prior to 2003, on CD somewhere.

VIBE Magazine This was a dream job. Before I got the gig I knew nothing about VIBE Magazine but my sister convinced me to talk to them. Chan Suh, of fame, gave me a gig and Keith Clinkscales got me started building online businesses. Worked with a bunch of Internet old timers like Omar Waso, Bo Kemp, E. David Ellington, Kyle Shannon and a gang of others. This is back in the Pathfinder, go-go Internet, days when I was too young to get the import of being the money making Internet guy in weekly meetings with Walter Isaacson and Jim Kinsella.

Multiple Media Marketing GroupRonald David Jackson was running a print marketing business and doing pretty well when he saw change coming. I wanted to do more on Internet related work and convinced (perhaps begged?) him to hire me to help fashion a Internet strategy for his clients. I was young and had a lot to learn.

Princeton ReviewAfter college I had a degree and little else. I worked for TPR to make some cash while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Besides doing general layout and other graphic design work I taught SAT and GRE courses. The most important thing I learned while working here was Jimi Hendrix was not just for rebellious prep school kids. I had never listened to a Jimi album and I gotta tell ya that it was a life changing experience.

tsdcard.jpg Right before starting college I spent the summer as a Kirby salesman in NYC. That basically means I went door-to-door in New York City selling a $1,300 vacuum cleaner. I did alright and stuck with it for the whole summer, until I started college. This was my next job after that. I started while still in school and basically did any tech related project my fellow students were willing to pay me for.

Death notices via IM

October 11, 2007

I never met him. Our relationship was conducted totally via email and IM. Everything I knew about him and his life i learned through a little white box with a blue border made by the good folks at Cerulean Studios. He built one of the earliest prototype’s for SSP #1 and gave me guidance on where it would have issues in future development. Last night, when I IM’ed him to say hello and ask about his future availability, it was a shock when I got this IM back: “Hello, this is Ragu’s wife, Ragu died on 8th September.”

What do you say? There is nothing you can type that “sounds” even remotely kind and caring enough.  So I typed nothing, said nothing, just quietly slithered off-line…

The social parts of interacting online are so very limited and limiting. This reminded me that true social interaction could never occur over a network. Feelings, interaction, context and experience cant be computer mediated.

Boondocks: MPAA Be Damned, Stealing Movies is In!

October 10, 2007

BOondocks food sign

“Stealing movies is a felony. It’s just like robbing the elderly. Or murder!”

I took a break from my busy schedule of fretting, reading and lounging, to watch the Boondocks premier on Monday and it was a bit of a disappointment. The much delayed season opener didnt have the same venom of last year. There were no gay rappers cavorting on screen, no re-animated martyrs using the N-word and no pedophiliac crooners peeing on underaged and overdeveloped fans.

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Pandora and the Future of Advertising

October 6, 2007

This morning while listening to my Feist radio station on Pandora something unusual caught my eye. Like everyone else, I’m fairly ad-blind and tend to ignore everything on the right edge of the screen but for some reason this ad caught my attention. It could have been the sultry looking brunette, but I like to think I’m a bit more evolved then that.

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