Category Archives: Buzz

Hi-tech Augmented Reality goes low-tech with ‘Cardboard’

In May this year I previewed Augmented Reality glasses – the Google ‘Cardboard’ variety. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that Palmer Luckey, who came up with the clunky but amazing viewfinder called Oculus, is featured on the cover of the upcoming issue of TIME.

The plan this year is to feature Google Cardboard in a ‘STEM Talk’ in my class. As the TIME feature puts it content will be coming up soon that will enable us to learn in immersive environments. Using special or tricked out cameras that could record in panoramic view, students may soon be able to experience life on the Space Station, or that of otherwise inaccessible nomadic tribes.

Partnerships and competitors will soon bring this AR world into the mainstream. As would some GoPro hacks. I’m betting on Google cardboard, though it’s not as good as Oculus, (I could see schools more amenable to partnering with the Google folk, rather than Facebook, which now owns Oculus Rift).

It goes from this

to this







And it’s coming your way! Perhaps soon in my class!


Tags: , , ,

Chat Republic – Galley Proofs today!

The metaphors for describing what one goes through when writing a book are inadequate.

Suffice to say it’s been a breathtaking learning process.

Chat Republic (Cover)_APR252013

But it’s finally coming down to the moment of truth. Here’s what the cover looks like. I wanted it to be minimalistic, but communicate in an instant what it’s about.

Chat Republic, though a crowded place, is also about a call for more space – space between the noise, space between the rapid, vapid statements we send out and are inundated by.

Some see this is as a ‘country’ –a map– populated by loud mouths. I see it as this giant speech bubble, we could all be sucked into (if we don’t make some sensible choices).

Let me know what you think of the cover!

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Book, Buzz, Chat Republic


Tags: , ,

Are magazines this desperate in tablet era?

I had meant to publish this last week. The topic been on my mind as the print vs digital tension grows every day.

Every time I travel I do an unscientific check of the readers on the plane. I always find that newspapers and magazines beat digital platforms. Twice I’ve sat next to someone with a digital device – a Kindle and an iPad — and one of them showed me how the magazine reading experience with the ads, photos and all was awesome. The features, too!

This kerfuffle over GQ’s photo spread seems to suggest something I typically refuse to believe –magazine junkie that I am –that magazines will try anything to stay alive.

The photos that have angered many, are part of a story on Glee, the TV show. Why? They a dangerously seem to promote pedophilia. The Parent’s Television Council (PTC) has come out strongly against the issue.

Are magazines that desperate? Or is being borderline something, anything the only way to stay relevant? This is not the stuff of controversial magazine covers, a common technique since George Lois’ time, and before.

Maybe some magazines are engaging this kind of  risky business as they find their footing in the myriad of digital platforms available. Two clues as to where this is headed:

  • New Niches: See this interview by  Tom Wallace, the Conde Nast editorial director. He talks about using digital to reach audiences that magazines have been unable to reach. Maybe next year this time my in-flight survey will have different results…
  • Rich Platforms: Apple may be offering struggling pubs a lifeline with their  ‘rich-media wrappers for e-books and e-magazines.’ The iPad is obviously a precursor to the new home of –and reading experience –for magazines.

So indeed, magazines need not be so desperate. For now, some of them are just borderline …obnoxious.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Buzz, Marketing, Media


Tags: , ,

A formula for going viral? Picking Everett’s and Brown’s brain

I had a great conversation with Brown Russell, former Chairman of Gum Tech (GUMM:NASDAQ), last evening on our radio show.

Brown was behind (and by this I mean he led) the launch of Zicam –the cold remedy, medicine. I didn’t know this but Zicam was one of the fastest growing new cold treatments in recent history.

The reason I thought he would be a great guest was because of a book I noticed on his desk one day. It was one of those thick books on communication that communicators who have just graduated may have not even heard about: The Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers, first published in 1962. (By the way Rogers published 30 books in 15 languages.)

To put this in perspective this was before the Internet was ‘discovered.’ And some of the concepts Rogers analyzed presaged  viral marketing by what, 40 years, maybe?

How do ideas spread and products take off, I asked? Is the diffusion of innovations across networks (the unwired kind) dependent on a marketing and PR push? Derrick brought us a good point –that demand, could possibly be influenced by planned scarcity (as in Apple’s play); by game mechanics (as in earning rewards), and filling the need that nobody has quite recognized (as in Facebook).

Here’s the podcast, if you’re interested.

By the way, if you occasionally use terms such as ‘early adopters,’ ‘late majority’ or ‘laggards’ you’ve been borrowing from Roger’s theory!


Tags: , , , , ,

Imagine John Lennon in 140 characters

Interesting statement from Yoko, on John Lennon’s anniversary:

“He would have been writing statements and sending them out to the world as a blogger and a tweeter.”

Of course working with word limitation forces the mind to pack meaning into powerful images. Consider how Lennon’s Imagine curtailed to 140 characters would have been just short of hitting the spot:

“Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today Imagine there’s no”

The famous refrain, however just takes 109 characters: “You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will be as one”

On a related note, this tribute was nicely done by Google:

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Buzz, Search, Twitter


Tags: ,

Are you more social today than you were two years ago?

Questions like this come to my mind as I walk into any office, and see people slouched over their iPhones, BBs and laptops. I get a passing nod and try to not butt into what’s apparently some very exciting Twitter chat.

Or when you watch teenagers in a room chatting while multi-tasking, infatuated by each other’s screens.

I advice people on how best to balance digital and analog, so I come across these complaints and concerns a lot. Which is why I am anxious to see how Social Media Day, today pans out.

We are meeting  up -um, tweeting up — in Tempe this evening, at Madcap Theater.

I highly recommend this contrarian idea about today, if only to help you think about what the social part of social media is really about.


How ‘passive’ networks will make use hyper-active citizens

The explosion of sharing networks and apps are being primed for the mobile experience, anticipating a time when many of us will slip in and out of our roles as employees, Friends (yes, upper-case kind!) and corporate citizens.

These ‘social mapping’ services may seem more like games in their early iterations, rewarding users for certain tasks. But just as how Twitter looked like a status update service in its early days, these mobile-based services will soon let us do more than vainly record our location.

GoWalla, a location mapping app for the Android, iPhone and Blackberry, lets us check-in’ to locations, as does FourSquare., awarding badges and mayor-ships etc.

A term I have come across in some of these networks is that they “are only acting as a passive conduit for online distribution and publication” of user content. In other words, the intent of the application is to tether people and content.

We may be transitioning to that time soon. But we are still toggling between active, in-your-face social networks such as Facebook, and the passive ones. Someday these could be rich social spaces, albeit passive and invisible. Also reward-based.

Like to see where all this is going? Check out these four services:



Tags: , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,729 other followers