Having just returned from New York City, I wonder whether I find it so intense because that's just how it is or because I tend to overbook my schedule, trying to squeeze in an ambitious number of meetings, rushing back and forth between midtown and downtown. In almost every cab ride I took on this trip, I noticed that many cabs now have a touch screen infotainment system that lets you pay with a credit card, watch TV, or access local city info (including a GPS tracker). I like the credit card option and the GPS but had mixed … Read more
If you're a Google Docs user you're probably used to keeping a separate window or set of tabs open for your document source list. What if you could kill that extra tab or open window and manage everything from the sidebar of your browser instead?
Interaction designer Sandosh Vasudevan has come up with gDocsBar (download), a solution that rolls up all the functionality you'd find on the home screen of Google Docs and puts it the side bar of your browser, meaning it can be summoned and dismissed in an instant.
The sidebar features a search-as-you-type box … Read more
Microsoft and Dell very much want the world to know about their new line of (Product) Red PCs, benefiting the Global Fund, which provides AIDS treatment in Africa.
The rich and famous will get to hear about the product at this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, but the two companies also want the computer-buying masses to know what they are doing.
In the coming days, the new Dell XPS systems and a "red-ified" printer will start showing up at Best Buy, which will be the exclusive U.S. retailer of Dell's products, according to … Read more
Microsoft and Dell are seeing Red.
The two companies planned to announce on Friday that they were teaming up to offer three (Product) Red PCs, supporting the charitable effort that benefits women and children affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa. However, their news dribbled out early, after the New York Times' John Markoff mentioned the plans on the paper's Davos blog.
Dell plans to slather its all-in-one desktop PC, the XPS One, in red. The two are also teaming up on Red versions of the XPS M1330 and XPS 1530 notebooks, which, should be noted, were already available … Read more
Wonderful things can happen when you are open to unexpected possibilities. That's one lesson I take from the story that starts with a software program called Singing Coach. Carlo Franzblau had wanted to learn to sing since he was an off-key teenager with musical theater aspirations. In 2000 he developed Singing Coach, software with an American-Idol-in-training vibe. Users sing karaoke-style into a microphone and the software tells them whether their pitch is too high, too low, or in tune.
While performing quality-control tests on Singing Coach, Franzblau received some unexpected feedback: one of the first testers was a middle school student named Ashleigh who happened to be a struggling reader, and her mother reported that the singing software was improving her daughter's reading.
Franzblau pursued this unexpected finding with gusto. He teamed up with literacy professor Dr. Susan Homan at the University of South Florida to conduct a research study to see if Ashleigh's finding represented a genuine effect. Dr. Homan found that struggling readers benefited greatly from the program, raising their test scores by more than a whole grade level after nine weeks of training with the singing program, which has been redeveloped specifically as a reading intervention called "Tune In to Reading." The kids who used Tune In To Reading sustained their gain, continuing to make progress six months later even when they were not using the program.… Read more
Is Apple's PR wearing thin?
Sure, there was the MacBook Air and the buzz around "thinnovation." But wasn't that--pun intended--too "thin" for a big media splash, especially compared with past years? Now that MacWorld is over, pundits are reviewing Apple's PR efforts, and when the expectations are so high (and a company is so good at it), it is not too surprising that some are disappointed with what they've seen this year. Frank Shaw, a PR professional at Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft's lead PR agency, is one of them, and you have … Read more
The topic of sustainable or green design is of increasing urgency to companies involved in product development. Last year, it reached a tipping point in public interest and concern over global climate change, fueled by massive media interest.
Companies that fail to address it risk legislative punishment, as well as negative brand and sales consequences. But green also provides a huge market opportunity: recent surveys have indicated that key customer segments are willing to pay more for greener products.
...or just a workaholic?
In a poignant post, Seth Godin explains the difference:
"A workaholic lives on fear. It's fear that drives him to show up all the time. The best defense, apparently, is a good attendance record.
A new class of jobs (and workers) is creating a different sort of worker, though. This is the person who works out of passion and curiosity, not fear.
The passionate worker doesn't show up because she's afraid of getting in trouble, she shows up because it's a hobby that pays. The passionate worker is busy blogging on … Read more
I wrote about the benefits of using multiple monitors in 2004 (see Secrets to My Excess), and I haven't wavered from my position: If you use a single monitor--unless it's a giant 30-inch model--you are missing out on one of the easiest ways to increase your productivity. Yes, I know this isn't really a Webware story, but the tools I'm about to describe have made using Web apps (all apps, really) much easier for me.
It's dead easy to add a second monitor to either a desktop or a laptop computer. The operating systems handle … Read more