Monthly Archives: April 2007

Annals of a Road Trip–Denver

We leave tomorrow for our WTT adventure.  Our plan is to travel approximately 4,500 miles from Denver to the New England region and back over the next three weeks. 

I’m looking forward to the trip although am, admittedly, a bit nervous about some of the adventures that await us.  I’m also anxious about driving a 30 foot rig that is, according to the people we rented the RV from, “tricky to drive in residential and other crowded streets.”  I’ve pasted a couple pics of the ride below.

This will be a great experience though and T-Dubs, Uncle Leo and I are looking forward to the journey that awaits. 

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San Fran is hoppin’

I’m in San Francisco for a couple days this week and the activity level is sweet here right now.  As one person described it to me today, “San Fran’s tech space is so hot right now, it’s rare to hear someone talking about the dot-com burst anymore these days.” 

One company that’s making some noise here is a cool avatar play called Meez.  You can check them out at www.meez.com.  A user basically creates a 3D avatar and then can combine that effort with export features that allow them to integrate it with MySpace, blog sites, email programs, etc.   My initial effort at creating one of these guys is below.  Meez announced a deal today with high-flying Photobucket and has also done a great job thus far at affiliating their efforts  with entertainment industry and attire brands including several Univeral Music artists.    Definitely a company worth watching in the coming months.

 

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Timeless

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The “Hear Music” project in conjunction with Starbucks continues to be an innovative and powerful source of music.  In the typical Starbucks fashion, Hear Music productions are often large-scale and commercialized yet the creations are unique, hip, memorable and creative. 

I must admit that, as a music fan, I am a bit embarrassed that until recently obtaining Sergio Mendes’ compilation album, “Timeless,” I didn’t really know much about him.  As the album describes it, “Sergio was the doorway into samba and bossa nova music.”  Here, with this compilation, he teamed up with Will.I.Am from the “Black Eyed Peas” to create a modernized, progressive and stylistic version of his music. 

If you haven’t checked out this album yet, I highly encourage doing so.  There are 15 songs total which mix the sounds of Sergio Mendes with accomplished modern day artists including the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Jill Scott, India.Arie, John Legend, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip (from the ever-classic “Tribe Called Quest”) and others.  Most of the songs are upbeat and edgy, mixing fresh hip-hop style sound with the Sergio flavor.  Others are slightly mellower.  Virtually all of them are smooth as humus and sexy as Fergie.  Will.I.Am is featured on many of the songs, teaming up with Erykah Badu and others in some cases, to create his own hot, smooth and sexy blends. 

One of the keys to a great album, or playlist, for me is the versatility of that collection.  In the case of “Timeless,”  a diversified flavor is clearly on display such that this album works well for many situations.  Its great in the gym, on a plane flight, as ambience tunes for a house party and certainly for jamming out or dancing.   Clearly, the name of the album is a reference to Sergio Mendes and the influence he’s had on Brazil and latin-style music for nearly 50 years.  Yet, at the same time, I would also say Hear Music and Will.I.Am have produced an album strong and unique enough here to achieve its own “timeless” impact.

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On Mendoza, Argentina

There is an article in the Denver Post today about Mendoza, Argentina which I visited approximately one month ago.  I was highly impressed by Mendoza and this article provides a nice, comprehensive summary:

 http://www.denverpost.com/travel/ci_5704818

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No More Crya

 

The hunger strikes can now end, Simon Cowell can feel confident he’ll have a job next year and normalcy can resume.  As of tonight, American Idol bode farewell to the untalented Sanjaya.    

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Avoiding Jerk Bosses…

Courtesy of a recent blog posting from Guy Kawasaki…good perspectives and also another articulated benefit of the LinkedIn network.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/04/linkedin_and_th.html

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It’s Time for “Toothin'” to be Cool

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I first noticed the advent of the Bluetooth wireless headpiece for cell phones approximately four years ago.  A few business colleagues were starting to show off their new technological garb and then I’d also spot the occasional, high class athlete “toothin’” (as I’ve recently heard it referred to by my buddy, Tank.)   My initial reaction to the devices tetered between disdain at the look and style of a blue flashing strobe light in one’s ear to curiousity about how and if a trend would emerge from this technology.  As I often am with tech gadgets, I took a bit of a “wait and see” approach to these devices before making the plunge myself.  Further,  without a smartphone in place, I didn’t find it altogether necessary given that the size and compatibility of my last phone worked sufficiently without the earpiece.   

Approximately one year ago I made the move in conjunction with the transition to a Windows Mobile Verizon smartphone device.  And, thus, I started toothin’ with the best of them—I typically restrain myself from keeping the gadget in my ear while in a live conversation with someone in front of me but conduct the majority of my phone conversations with it and feel almost inadequate without the piece in my ear while driving or walking around on a phone conversation.

During my transition to a “toothed” state though, I’ve increasingly noticed that the rest of the world doesn’t appear to be heading in the same direction and I can’t help but wonder why.  Blue tooth earpieces are lightweight, comfortable, more convenient than wired headsets, relatively small, safer (when it comes to driving especially) and, in my opinion, fairly cool.  They are also pretty stylish from a design perspective especially many of the Jabra and Motorola models. Yet, still, I would surmise that no more than 1 in 25 people are ‘toothin'” these days on any regular basis.

Over time, I anticipate the devices will also be able to transmit more than just voice signal including music and audio from digital media on one’s phone.  Will that be the inflection point in these device’s popularity?  My guess is doubtful.  So, is it an expense thing?  Perhaps.  On www.blueshop.com, a website wholly devoted to the resale of such devices, the lowest priced models run at approximately $40 with others going over $90 or $100.  For a device that is still sometimes buggy and not yet fully adopted by the mainstream, the expense may be problematic here.  Are they too “futuristic” looking?  That’s also a possibility.  While I personally find many of the designs to be slick, others may be finding them to be too “Minority Report”ish, one of the more underrated Speilberg/Cruise flics BTW.

But, still, even with contemplated price and stylistic components being the potential culprit, why is the frequency of blue tooths so rare?  It’s not like we’re contemplating the “murse”, an abbreviated term for male’s carrying purse like contraptions also referred to as a “man bag.”  The “murse,” while generally more popular in Europe, derives its origin from the “purse” a historically and exclusively female-only item.  It also teters too close to comfort to the notorious “fanny pack,” an item which appears to have officially jumped-the-shark circa 1992.

I, simply, don’t get it.  It’s clearly a bit uncouth to “tooth” in certain social settings where being so “wired or “on” would just be “off.”  But, other than those obvious environments, it’s rare to see such a practical and stylish technology continue to struggle reaching the mainstream six or seven years after its introduction.  Until I figure this one out, I will continue to be a proponent of “toothin'” in most situations and just hope this gadget doesn’t jump its own shark anytime soon.        

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