Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Vibram has come up with a new word: barefooting.  From their site:

barefooting (bare•foot•n)
n. 1. The exhilarating joy of going barefoot without leaving yourself
exposed; 2. any activity requiring unconventional footwear offering the
protection of a thin, flexible Vibram skin; 3. an intelligent way to
deepen your connection with your natural surroundings.

The new word goes along with this new product:


I do actually want to go try a pair on just to see what they are like.

It's pretty amazing that just a few years ago it was about maximizing absorption, inserting air and gels, and doing all kinds of things to divorce our feet from the ground and now the manufacturers have gone the opposite direction, endeavoring to get our feet as married to the ground as possible with very little stuff in between.


The death of Amp'd mobile and the MVNO business model


Amp'd was a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that resold airtime on Verizon's network -- Amp'd is in bankruptcy and will soon be shuttering its doors.  There's been a lot of speculation around the sustainability of MVNOs like Amp'd, and some of the figures reported by Fresh Inc. are disturbing:

As a part of a bankruptcy filing, Amp'd recently announced that it had
some 80,000 non-paying customers . . . this comes from a
company that, by the end of the first quarter of 2007, had just about
200,000 subscribers.

Ok, so doing the quick math, approximately 40% of Amp'd subscribers were delinquent -- I certainly wouldn't try to start a business with a delinquency rate that high.  Fresh Inc. points out that Amp'd targeted a demographic segment that is traditionally pretty challenging and the vast majority of its contracts were pre-pay: essentially Amp'd went after a demographic with a pricing model that the big carriers weren't willing to cater to, and, no having the data from Amp'd, probably are not likely to target with this business model in the future.

I wonder what would have happened if Amp'd would have fired the 40% of its customers that weren't paying and focused on making the experience more remarkable for the customers that were not delinquent. 

Link -- Fresh Inc. 

Friday, July 13, 2007

You can add custom ringtones to your iPhone, but it's not super-easy


If you can't wait for a software update, you can follow the 25-step guide in the link below to load a custom ringtone on your iPhone.  Be aware that this requires you to use Terminal and as with all of these types of things I post, you do this at your own risk (i.e., if you brick your iPhone, it's not my fault).


My new gig -- Chief Operating Officer of Argus Event Staffing, LLC

argus logo I am now the Chief Operating Office of Argus Event Staffing, LLC based in Denver.  Argus provides security, ushers, ticket takers, and other services to venues and special events in the Denver area such as Pepsi Center (home of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets), Dick's Sporting Goods Park (home of the Colorado Rapids), Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Coliseum, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Coors Amphitheatre, the Paramount Theatre, Broomfield Event Center University of Colorado at Boulder football, basketball, hockey, and soccer games, Denver University's Magness Arena and Newman Center, the Boulder County Fair, the Douglas County Fair, the Colorado Convention Center, the National Western Stock Show, and whole bunch of other venues and special events.

I'm focusing not only on the operations of the business that we currently have, but also on expanding the business both inside the state of Colorado and outside the state -- things should be pretty exciting and it's a great move forward for my career.

If you are looking to reach me for any reason, you can call me at the Argus offices: (303) 799-1140.  And hey, if you happened upon this post because you were looking to work for us at any of the venues or events that I mentioned, call the same phone number -- we're always looking for great people!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Solution for the iPhone sync issue with iCal

Ok, this totally resolves my iPhone sync issue with iCal and I can certify that it is the solution for Plaxo Preview users:

Reset your truth database by launching iSync (yes, iSync) and
opening the Preferences… dialog. Press the Reset Sync History… button
and synchronize again.

This will leave your clients registered and your data intact, but
force a first-time slow synchronization of all of your sync clients,
and should result in the transfer of your iCal data to the iPhone. You
should back up your iCal data using the built-in option to do so
labeled Back up Database… under the File menu of iCal before performing
the reset.

There's no way I would have come up with this myself, so all of the credit goes to Geeks R Us -- you can find a link to their solution page below.


iPhone initial thoughts

Form factor is a big deal to me, so when I held my Pearl up to the iPhone and found the iPhone to be barely bigger, I went ahead and pulled the trigger.

Ok, let me back up before I strictly attribute form factor to being my only decision factor: I own Apple stock, I love Apple products, I use Apple computers, and I think the iPhone is just a cool device.  Further, I did a lot of research and reading about the iPhone and especially took into consideration Shawn Conahan's post about it because he's a generally pretty exacting guy and he's very entrenched in the mobile space.

The AT&T store just down the street had a few of each type of iPhone in-stock and they've now got a pretty cool are of the store with 3 activated iPhones that I was able to play with.   While I was in the store, 3 other people came in and purchased iPhones, which makes me all kinds of happy about my stock price.

A few things about the activation process:

  • Activation was very easy on my MacBook Pro -- took about 5 minutes

  • AT&T does not let me use my corporate service discount on the iPhone -- kind of a bummer, but I'm saving money monthly vs. my Blackberry, so not too big of a deal

  • It takes about 5 minutes from the time iTunes says the device is active for the device to actually show the activation message (might have been faster if I had remembered to turn off my Blackberry sooner)

One issue that's been floating around, but that I didn't consider is the fact that the iCal sync does not work with calendars based on subscriptions -- this is problematic for me as I use Plaxo to keep all of my calendars in sync, and the iCal calendar is subscription-based.  Hopefully they'll fix this soon.

EDGE data speed leaves a little bit to be desired, but I'm used to using my laptop and Nokia 770 to connect to the internet via my Cingular phone, so I'm not too surprised -- hey, anyone want to buy a Nokia 770?  I'll sell mine to you cheap.

Custom wallpapers are pretty easy: screen size is 480 high x 320 wide, so you can take just about anything into Photoshop and crop and size it.  Then just save it as a JPG, add it to an album in iPhoto, and sync the album to the iPhone.  Once the sync is complete, go into "Settings" on the iPhone, and select what you want to use.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the device, but stay tuned for further updates. 

Monday, July 09, 2007

Google's snapping up Postini


I think Postini is one of the best anti-virus and anit-spam solutions for corporate e-mail -- essentially all e-mail filters through Postini's servers and anything that is caught in the Postini filter stays on the Postini server until the user logs onto the Postini site and decides what to do with the e-mail; all viruses are deleted/fixed by Postini.  Postini has a bunch of other features for IM, mobile e-mail access, e-mail retention and storage, and other online communication control tools.

Google announced today on the Google blog that they have purchased Postini, which adds much more strength to the Google Mail and IM products.  Further, as I point out above and the Google blog points out, Postini is a hosted solution, making it very similar to all of the Google offerings.

Pretty cool -- I'll be interested to see if many of the Postini services become free.

Link -- Google Blog about Postini 

Link -- Postini 

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Nokia N800 gets signficantly more useful

Tablet OS2007 is now available for download for the Nokia N800 -- big feature upgrades include:

  • Support for Skype (this is probably the biggest improvement)

  • Adobe Flash browser plugin (hello Web 2.0)

  • Support for up to 8gb memory cards (remember that there is a SD slot and a MMC slot, so this takes total potential memory up to 16gb if you slam 8gb into each slot)


Check out the Maemo link below for more details, download locations, and instructions on how to update the N800 with OSX or Linux.


Taser's new "killer" product

Taser, maker of the now-ubiquitous non-lethal taser gun, is poised to release their latest innovation on July 9: non-lethal, wireless shotgun shells called "Taser XREP".


There are not too many details on the site, but I'm sure that more will be available on July 9.  Presumably this technology will initially only be available for law enforcement use only, but it's not unrealistic to expect a non-militarized version after a year or so -- similar to the original Taser pistol product.

Non-lethal is a growing market and allowing agencies to turn lethal weapons into dual-use non-lethal weapons seems like a pretty smart play.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Too funny: send snail mail for "free"


Here's the pitch:

Q. What is eSnailer?

A. Start by addressing the envelope below then write a letter to a friend or relative.

We will print, envelope, stamp, and send your letter via regular U.S. postal mail 100% free of charge. You pay nothing!

Here's the catch:

Q. How can it be free?

A. eSnailer
is supported by ads, after you write your letter you will be asked to
accept one of our free offers. This is at no cost or hassle to you and
takes truly no time. Enjoy.

Services like this that don't have a posted privacy policy, terms of service, etc. are concerning, but if you're not sending anything that you care about someone else reading, then you don't have anything to worry about.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Plaxo 3.0


Ok, Plaxo has just gotten perfect with the 3.0 version of their product.  Now I can use Google Calendar and Gmail as endpoints along with Thunderbird and iCal, Address Book, and Mail.  This means that 2-way syncing between Google Calendar and my other calendar sources is automatic through the Plaxo conduit -- works the same for Outlook, I'm sure.

I really like the new Plaxo web interface as well -- once I turned off all of the Flickr stuff and changed it to a black skin, I've got an amazingly cool web interface that is a single source for all of my calendar items, tasks, and contacts.

I've been a Plaxo user since the service started and the continuing improvements like those found in 3.0 keep my a loyal user.  There's actually been enough of an improvement in the service that I'm trying the premium service for 30 days -- the big hook for me is that they do secure back-ups of all of my information with version control for restorations.  I'm also going to play around with the LinkedIn integration to see how that works.