tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:/posts Digital Bits | Steve Lomas 2023-03-23T23:14:39Z tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/855495 2015-05-11T17:00:00Z 2022-11-05T06:42:43Z Presentation Matters

Not So Obvious

When I say, "Presentation matters", you might scoff, believing this to be so obvious, it doesn't bear mentioning. But, in fact, it does.

As design professionals we grow accustomed to developing ideas and reviewing work in progress. We “see” the comp or the rough idea in our mind’s eye for the finished work it will become. And at times we mistakenly project our comfort level onto others, assuming they can also see through the reality of work in progress to envision the finished product as we “see” it.

The truth is, no matter how carefully you position the work as “not finished”, “in-progress”, etc., people form opinions based on what you show them; not what you tell them it will be.

Presentation matters.

This is not to say that everything we share must be work complete or for that matter that good design and elaborate presentations will elevate bad ideas. Neither are true. I am suggesting, however, that we must consider the sophistication of the audience and that a hasty or ill-prepared presentation can absolutely hurt a good idea, obscure real talent and undermine credibility.

A Case In Point

One of the most vivid examples of this principle came about while I was leading a team designing a set-top box application. The lead developer had just completed some core functionality and was pretty excited to share it with the rest of the team. He called us all together for an ad hoc demo at his workstation. The application interface consisted of what we affectionately refer to as “programmer art”, a euphemism for stand-in graphics which rarely resemble “art”.

The demo went smoothly and it definitely represented technical progress, but it was clear to me the developer was disappointed with the understated response he received. After the team dispersed, I asked the developer if we could drop in the UI assets the graphics team had been designing. He shared that he thought it was a bit early, so but could easily do so if I insisted. I did.

The next morning, we all gathered around the developer's workstation once again and he walked us through the same demo from the day before, but this time with the ready-for-prime-time user interface assets.

After the demo the team was literally squealing with delight. “Awesome, dude! You rock!” High fives all around. When everyone got back to work, my lead developer seemed even more befuddled than he was the day before.

When I enquired, he said, “I don’t get it. This is the exact same demo I shared yesterday to a lukewarm response.” I smiled and said, “Actually, it’s not.”

Challenged by my comment, he raised his voice a bit, saying, "Yes, it is. All I changed were the graphics.”

To which I responded. "And, that’s why it was a different demo."

In other words, Presentation matters.


Steve Lomas is a digital media and marketing consultant specializing in developing new products and services from concept to launch.

For more articles, visit Digital Bits at blog.stevelomas.me

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/855482 2015-04-29T17:00:00Z 2022-10-26T04:46:36Z The Race to Own the Mobile In-Box

A Three Legged Race

This is a little different post for me. It started with a personal encounter that peaked my curiosity and caused me to do some digging and pondering... 

I don’t know if you have noticed, but over the past 24 months, competition has been heating up among some major players hoping to own your mobile in-box. To date, those players include Dropbox, a relative newcomer to the email client business, and arch rivals, Google and Microsoft. More about their motives and what prompted me to write this article after a brief history of the race being run.


First out of the blocks was Dropbox, in February of 2013, with their innovative email client, Mailbox. The promise of Mailbox was to help users quickly manage email in order to attain empty in-box nirvana via swipe-based email sorting and filtering:

  • a quick swipe to the right and the email is archived
  • a full swipe to the left and you can file the email
  • a half swipe to the left and you are presented options for snoozing the email, such as later today, tomorrow, next week, etc.

This UI innovation, truly allows users to burn through vast quantities of email quickly and efficiently, clearing their inbox in minutes.

Unfortunately, Mailbox only works with Google mail, so if you are an Exchange user, you are out of luck.


In October of 2014, Google responded with Inbox. Google was careful to state that Inbox is not a replacement for Gmail or the Gmail mobile app; just an alternative. Much like they had done with the roll-out of Gmail in 2004, the Inbox app was introduced by invitation only, and that is still the case as of this writing. The invitation also grants you access to a desktop version of Inbox accessible at inbox.google.com.

There are many things to like about Google’s Inbox app. Inbox is colorful and modern, leveraging user avatars and attachment previews to really bring your inbox to life. It incorporates the best of Mailbox such as swipe-based email sorting and filtering, but it leap-frogs Mailbox by adding some new concepts like reminders, collections and pins. Not surprisingly, its search capabilities are excellent.

As an avid Mailbox user, I quickly adapted to Inbox and it soon became my default email browser -- for Google mail. That’s right; just like MailboxInbox only supports Gmail. ;-(


The most recent contender to join the race is Microsoft, releasing its Outlook for iOS and Android this past January. This is a surprisingly good app, providing a robust bundle of useful features. The new Outlook app integrates, email, file management, contacts and calendaring into a single app.

It goes without saying that a mobile version of Outlook better provide robust support for exchange users -- and this app doesn’t disappoint. What you may not expect, which this app also provides, is robust support for other email platforms including Google.

One of the most useful mobile features in the Outlook app, is the ability to attach files from multiple cloud sources including OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.net, as well as local files. Its the only app of the three that can do that.

Outlook for iOS and Android also incorporates a version swipe-based email sorting and filtering, although it doesn’t seem to be quite as responsive as the competition.

Microsoft has clearly thrown down the gauntlet by offering cross platform functionality that surpasses both Dropbox and Google; but don't count either company down and out just yet. I suspect we will see updated functionality from both in the future.

Corporate Motivation

So all of this this begs the question: why are these companies competing rigorously to provide the best FREE email client?

Premise: Perhaps it has something to do with advertising dollars? Ya think? ;-)

A Personal Anecdote...

Consider this personal story recounting my wife’s experience last week.

We have an 18 month granddaughter; cute as a bug. Our daughter emailed my wife a picture of her little girl sporting some new OshKosh overalls. All our kids wore Oshkosh when they were little, so my daughter’s message was something like, “Does this outfit bring back memories?”

Within an hour of receiving that email, which did not mention Oshkosh by name, only a photograph of a little girl wearing Oshkosh and a vague mention of her outfit, my wife started seeing Oshkosh ads in her Gmail!

She brought this to my attention, saying, “Certainly this must have been a coincidence, right?” Not necessarily. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise.

The Digging...

We know that Google has been data-mining Gmail for years in order to present user-targeted advertising in Gmail. In fact they have a patent for the technology (Read: The Natural History of Gmail Data Mining and Google does scan all emails...).

Given the computational horsepower of the Google data centers and Google’s cutting edge advancements in AI and its purchase of Deep Mind, it is easy to believe that Google is data mining our images for information. A bit unnerving, but plausible and highly likely. In fact, there is an annual global image recognition competition called ImageNet, which Google won in 2014. We are seeing similar technology being used by Facebook to identify our friends by face recognition, why not branded overalls?

Dropbox is reported to have a “Deep Learning” team which is another way of saying “Data mining” team. I can only presume that Microsoft has or is developing similar technologies.

The Pondering...

The aggregated user data and anonymous matchmaking between advertisers and users made possible by mining our email in-boxes is clearly valuable to advertisers, and thus potentially lucrative to the company that corners the “free email app” market.

The only way to do that is to provide the best user experience. So good for users on one level, but at what cost? If you don’t like the concept of Big Brother holding hands with Big Data, you can always choose to stop using these email apps, but that isn't a very attractive option for most of us.

In the case of Google, the company at least provides users the opportunity to monitor and manage personal Google privacy settings via Google Dashboard.

I am not aware of anything similar to this dashboard from Dropbox or Microsoft. If I am mistaken, please correct me. Of course all these companies have asked for and received our permission to do these things -- when we hastily click accept when presented with their verbose policy and privacy agreements.

To my mind, at some level, agreeing to allow these companies to mine our data in exchange for free and ever improving tools and services is somewhat analogous to concept of commercial television -- it's the cost of admission -- but potentially far more consequential than having to sit through the soap ads.

What do you think? Does any of this bother you or is it simply the cost of our digital society?

Share your thoughts.

Steve Lomas
Idea Mechanic
Product Design & Development Consultant
For more articles, visit Digital Bits at blog.stevelomas.me

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/839579 2015-04-12T06:18:00Z 2022-10-26T04:46:56Z Tools of the Trade - Part 3, The Best of the Rest


In Part Two of this series, I outlined five, broad categories that pretty much sum up all the project management tools required by a professional services group:

  1. Collaboration Tools
  2. Artifact Creation Tools
  3. Resource Management Tools
  4. IT Management Tools
  5. Accounting Tools

Supplementing Google

While Agilix Professional Services was established as a Google Apps for Work shop, we needed to supplement the Google suite with other tools or various purposed. Using the above list as a structural construct, let’s discuss how we supplemented Google Apps.

1) Collaboration Tools

Meeting Software

Our primary meeting tool at Agilix is Citrix GoToMeeting (GTM). From my experience, GTM is by far, the most stable and reliable of all the major meeting tools, including WebX, Adobe Connect, Bluejeans, Skype and Google Hangouts. This is especially true of long meetings. We have frequently kept a bridge open throughout the day and sometimes into the evening -- jamming to meet a deadline or resolve a production issue -- six, eight even ten hours without any degradation of audio or video clarity!

As good as GTM is, it may not be the right choice for certain certain corporate IT environments, due to GTM’s requirement for frequent automated updates. Many corporate users do not have local admin rights and therefore, cannot approve the installation of software updates, leaving them frustrated and locked out of the interactive aspects of the meeting.

For this reason, we also maintain a few shared licenses to WebX, in support of certain customers that can not use GoToMeeting. WebX does not share this quirk and therefore seems to play better in the corporate IT world, but its VOIP quality is not as good as GoToMeeting.

Internally, team members also use SkypeGoogle Hangouts and Google Chat for ad hoc collaboration between two or three peers.

Phone Communication

In this day and age, telephone communication doesn’t necessarily mean a phone is involved and your telephone number doesn’t have to relate to your location. I use skype for my desktop telephone calls. Both Skype and Google Voice offer virtual telephone numbers for VOIP communication.

2) Artifact Creation Tools

Areas where we typically supplement Google Apps for artifact creation include:

Document Interoperability

MS Office
There's no getting around it, you have to be prepared to read, write and add comments to the MS Office docs. This is especially true of contracts where the use of track changes is universally accepted as S.O.P.

As I mentioned in the last installment of this series, Google does a pretty good job reading and converting MS Office documents as well as publishing in the MS Office formats.

Adobe Acrobat - PDF Format
PDF has long since become the publish standard format for business world-wide. Acrobat, Adobe's PDF authoring and reader application is such an important tool and yet seemingly underrated and often overlooked. I use it pretty much daily for a variety of reasons leveraging its rich feature set.


MyBalsamiqthe cloud-based version of Balsamiq was the original group standard, but lately we have been moving toward Axure more and more.


We use a little known gem, Diagram Creator, created by Chipp Walters. Diagram Creator offers a natural language interface for quickly building logical diagrams. Diagram Creator is not hard to use, but like most software, it takes practice to master its subtleties. For that reason, some members of the team rely on Gliffy, an Industry standard charting program, fashioned after Microsoft Visio. Gliffy offers plug-ins for GoogleDocs and Jira. For simple workflows, used in presentations, we often use the Google drawing tools available in Google Slides.

Ui Graphics and Image Editing

Adobe Creative Suite is still the standard for serious professionals.

Sales and Marketing Presentations

Early on, we adopted Apple Keynote for authoring sales and marketing presentations. Keynote offers much more powerful and more elegant authoring capabilities compared PowerPoint or Google Slides and robust publishing options including Powerpoint, PDF, HTML, JPEGS, and Video output with direct sharing to many social media sites such as Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube.

3) Resource Management Tools

For the purposes of this article, I am lumping resource planningtask management and tracking work completed together as sub components of Resource Management. To manage these functions we used a combination of Google SpreadsheetsWrike, and Jira Agile.

Google Spreadsheets

Of the three applications mentioned for resource management, Google Spreadsheets is probably the most widely known and understood. Using a series of related Google Spreadsheets and Google Script we created a project management platform that allowed our internal Producers to lookup, cost and allocate resources to their various projects and rollup actuals in realtime to an executive dashboard.


Wrike is a relative new and evolving tool. Wrike bills itself as a project management platform, but I feel it is more accurate to describe it as a task management platform. Wrike is is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you master its metaphor, it can highly effective.

Wrike is built on a tasks and folders construct. Folders may contain a combination of tasks and sub-folders. Tasks may include sub-tasks and interdependencies with other tasks. The real power of Wrike is the ease with which you can create complicated folder/task structures to create process templates that can be quickly and easily cloned at the start of a new preserving interdependencies and even individual task assignments,

Key factors for our choosing Wrike included its native support for both Google Docs and Microsoft Office Documents, tight integration with both Gmail and Outlook, threaded discussions around any task, robust reporting, personalized dashboards, watch lists and notification management.

Common Uses For Wrike:

  • Preliminary Planning
    • Tasks
    • Timelines
    • Dependencies
  • Non-development Tasks
  • Financial Pipelines
    • Contracts
    • AP Invoices
    • AR Invoices

Jira Agile

Jira Agile is an agile methodology project management extension for the popular Jira issue/bug tracking system from Atlassian. Since it was designed for agile development, Jira Agile provides many useful management tools including:

    • User-story Backlog Repository
    • Backlog Grooming (prioritization)
    • Sprint Planning
    • Developer Assignments
    • Sprint Management and Developer Progress
    • Burn-down Charts
    • Unit Testing and Bug Management
    • Developer Collaboration

4) IT Management Tools

As previously mentioned, we Agilix Professional Services standardized on Google Drive for shared storage and file sharing. It comes with Google Apps and the cost of storage is hard to beat.

Code Repositories

For code repositories, we have used XP-Dev and Beanstalk (cloud instances of Reversion) but recently standardized on a self hosted Git Hub server.

Password Management

Most of us are familiar with the concept of password vaults to a manage our personal passwords. IT organizations have similar needs; in fact, even more so. From my experience, this is rarely managed well at most small to medium sized companies. LastPass offers an enterprise version of their popular personal password management software, that is powerful, but spendy. Ironically, for $12/year, the personal professional version of LastPass works great for group password management. One of the coolest features of LastPass is you can share credentials with another LastPass user without ever exposing the username or password. If that individual leaves or no longer needs access, you can simply delete access with a click of a mouse -- without having to update credentials or notify anyone. Likewise, if you decide to update credentials you can do so without impacting anyone's virtual access! Very slick.

5) Accounting

As noted, the most obvious area where Google Apps comes up short, is accounting. Spreadsheets are useful for budgeting and tracking actuals, but they are no replacement for a dedicated accounting system. At Agilix we used a combination of  Google SpreadsheetsFreshbooks and Quickbooks.

Google Spreadsheets 

As mentioned above, Agilix uses Google Spreadsheets for budgeting, tracking actuals and forecasting.


Agilix uses Freshbooks for timekeeping, team timesheet reporting and to quickly calculate T&M invoice for clients. If you are wondering why we didn’t use the timekeeping capabilities of Jira Tempo, Wrike or Quickbooks. In the case of the latter, Freshbooks is simply superior in every aspect of collecting time sheets from a distributed team. As for Jira and Wrike, both offer decent timekeeping capabilities but neither program was used by the entire staff. Jira was exclusively the dev teams and Wrike was more, design, PMO and management. This we settled on Freshbooks for ubiquitous timekeeping, company-wide.


Agilix uses Quickbooks for its corporate accounting and for generating invoices to its professional services invoices to clients.

In Conclusion

As you may rightly surmise from the patchwork quilt that comprises this toolbox, in my opinion there really isn’t a unified, end-to-end enterprise project management tool suite suitable for small and medium sized businesses; and by suitable, I mean affordable.

If I am wrong about this, I'd love to learn otherwise. Please share a comment, or contact me directly, with your thoughts.

Useful Links:

Steve Lomas
Idea Mechanic
Professional Services Consultant
For more articles, visit Digital Bits at blog.stevelomas.me

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/837460 2015-04-07T21:11:51Z 2022-10-26T04:47:03Z Tools of the Trade - Part 2, Professional Services Toolbox


In this installment, starting with the basics, I will discuss the collection of tools we employed to manage Agilix Professional Services.

About Agilix

Agilix is an ed-tech company based out of Orem, UT, and the professional services team is essentially a product team for hire, creating custom solutions for large educational publishers in the ed-tech industry. As the company name implies, Agilix prides itself on being, “agile”; as in fleet of foot. So, nimble process, flat hierarchies, and lean UX are all important to Agilix -- and that meant choosing a flexible toolset. Since we created the group from scratch, we had the luxury of starting with a clean slate. We were essentially a startup within Agilix, with our own infrastructure and culture. And like all startups, we were cash conscious. Our toolset decisions were driven by these realities.

5 Buckets

Agilix specifics aside, the requirements of enterprise project management are pretty similar across industries and the toolsets can be organized into five, broad categories:

  1. Collaboration Tools
  2. Artifact Creation Tools
  3. Resource Management Tools
  4. IT Management Tools
  5. Accounting Tools

The Basics: Startup? Google Up!

Call us religious zealots, or fanboys, I really don’t care. Agilix Professional Services was established as a Google Apps shop. Given the selection criteria I shared in Part One of this Series on Tools of the Trade, it isn’t hard to understand how we landed on this decision.

For $5 a user per month, consider the value proposition of Google Apps for Work:

  • User Management
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Docs (docs, sheets, slides)
  • Drawing & Charting Tools
  • Google Chat
  • Google Tasks (personal todo’s)
  • Google Hangouts (video chat and file sharing)
  • Google Sites & Forms
  • Google Drive (shared storage)
  • File Management (robust file sharing)
  • Cloud Storage (5 gigs/user included)
  • Backups and Disaster Recovery
  • Extensibility (Google Script and Extensions)
  • Robust Publishing Options
  • Free Hosting
  • Zero hardware and maintenance costs

Taken together, the Google feature set addresses most all of the functionality outlined in the five major categories above: collaboration, artifact creation, resource management, IT management and accounting -- okay, accounting is a bit of a stretch, but spreadsheets do have a role. ;-)

In other words, you can practically run an entire enterprise on Google Apps alone!

Not to be left out...

If you are a Microsoft shop, you can still integrate Google Apps into your Exchange environment to reap the benefits of both platforms. Google offers various articles about how to implement this.

A Few Google Highlights

Let me highlight a few areas where Google Apps shine.

Google Docs Collaboration
Before Google Docs, few people, if any, considered the notion of real time, multi-author collaboration in a single computer document. Google Docs collaboration is brilliant! Once you experience the productivity boost of working together in real time, it is painful to even consider reverting to the old school practice of circulating documents for input, one author at a time, each adding their initials to the filename. So 2006!

Authoring vs. Publishing
One of the great things about Google Docs is its ability to read other formats for preview or conversion to native Google documents. Likewise, Google Docs offers a wide variety of publishing formats, including Microsoft Formats (.docx, .xlsx and pptx), Open Document Format (.odt), Rich Text Format (.rtf), PDF Document (.pdf), Plain Text (.txt) and Web Page (.html).

My standard process is to author in Google Docs and publish in whatever format the client needs. If a publishing format isn’t specified, PDF is our default publishing format. Once a document is published, especially if it is an editable format, be sure to communicate clearly to your team where any updates are to be authored; typically, I recommend maintaining the original authoring source doc, to prevent later confusion.

SSO User Management
It's not surprising that Google user management offers SSO (single sign-on) across the Google suite, but many 3rd party systems, including Wrike and Jira, also offer SSO integration with Google Apps. What this means is if you create a user in Google, they are also created in Jira and Wrike, for example. We chose not to employ this feature at Agilix, in order to have more control over user licensing management.

Shared Storage
When Google Drive first came out it seemed buggy and unreliable; especially on the iOS platform. For this reason we experimented with Dropbox and Box.net, but ultimately, we standardized on Google Drive. One thing than many people overlook is the the native reversion capabilities of Google Drive. If you want to update a file on Google Drive without losing its version history, right click on the file to be updated and you will see a dialog that allows you to upload a new version.

Hassle-Free IT
One huge benefit of any cloud-based solution, is hassle-free IT.

  • No servers to buy
  • No growing Pains
  • No hosting to manage
  • No backups to manage

24 x 7 Phone Support - Included
No provider can promise there won’t be glitches, from time to time, and Google was no exception. The difference is the quality of support, and in this department, Google was best of breed: quick access, short hold times, excellent CSRs and over the top follow-up, both email and by telephone!

These are just a few highlight. If you want to learn more, you can visit the Google Apps for Work homepage.

Beyond Google

Having made the case for the power and excellent value of Google Apps as a foundational toolset, we still found the need to supplement the Google suite in various ways for various reasons, which I will share in the next installment of this series.

If you have any comments about this series or your experience using Google Apps or other project management tools, please share them below or with me directly.

Next post: Part Three - A Professional Services Toolbox, The Rest of the Chest

Steve Lomas
Idea Mechanic
For more articles, visit Digital Bits at blog.stevelomas.me

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/834931 2015-04-02T19:57:05Z 2015-04-02T22:58:45Z Webinar: "2015 Guide to Using Linkedin"

Sat in on a great webinar today, "2015 Guide to Using Linkedin", presented by Dave Delaney and Brad Farris. Definitely worth while if they present it again. Shout out to Dave Delaney -- Thanks for the invite.

Steve Lomas

Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
Founder and CEO, MojoMediaPros, Inc.

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/829967 2015-03-26T14:32:55Z 2015-04-12T06:30:41Z Tools of the Trade - Part 1, Selection Criteria


Over the coming weeks I'm will be posting a series of articles sharing my experience with various popular project management tools and my quest to identify and unify the best toolset for enterprise software management.

I have spent much of my career managing distributed teams to create software products. In fact, I started an interactive company in 1995 called CyberIsland Studios, which was established on a literal island in the Pacific Northwest. The World Wide Web was in its infancy, and online collaboration was was still a twinkle in the mind's eye. Managing distributed teams was relegated to phone, fax, FedEx and email. From that time forward, I have been an early adopter of pretty much every promising emerging collaboration and project management technology. Along the way, I have also created a lot of glueware to meet the needs of my teams when commercially available technologies fell short.

My most recent experience as Vice President of Professional Services at Agilix Labs has led me to realize that the perfect PM stack doesn't exist, at least not out of the box, and the many applications that market themselves as project management solutions are partial solutions at best; pieces of the pie.

Part One - Selection Criteria

To set the context for this series on enterprise project management toolsets and to round out this first post, here's my selection criteria for considering new software solutions:

  • Cloud-based - This is a must for distributed teams.

  • UX/UI Design - Is it thoughtfully designed? Easy to use? Elegant?

  • Interoperability - Does it play with other solutions? Is there a public API for custom integrations?

  • Mobile Friendly - Also a must, these days. More and more work is being done on mobile devices.

  • Data Ownership - Who owns the data? Can you export and/or migrate your data, if you choose?

  • Business Continuity - Are they running on a solid infrastructure? What is the up-time promise? How often do they back up? What is their disaster recovery window?

  • Financial Stability - Company Size? Years in business? Is there a user community? What do the forums tell you about the company and products?

  • Support - How good is their sales support? Ask a question via their website or email. The responsiveness of the sales support team likely reflects the best you can expect from customer support.

  • Privacy and Security Policies - It's important to know what's lurking in the birdseed. You can reserve this tedium for serious contenders only, but don’t forget to do this.

  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - The acquisition cost is only part of the TCO picture. What about adoption cost? Is the software easy learn? Or, at least easy to use, once you learn it? What will it take to train your team on this software? What about on-boarding new team members? What is the ongoing cost of support? All of these areas need to be considered and quantified up front.

    If the software you are considering passes this checklist, there is one last critical hurdle I strongly recommend:

  • Pilot Program - Run a test pilot with a small internal group, before purchasing. This step alone, can and will save your bacon over and over. Sometimes it is only through practical application that you can tell if the software candidate is a good fit for your team. What’s more, by piloting the software first, you can establish internal expertise to help drive adoption for those applications you do choose.
Next post: Part Two - A Professional Services Toolbox; what we piloted, ultimately chose, and why.

Steve Lomas
Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
Founder and CEO, MojoMediaPros, Inc.]]>
tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/832568 2015-03-25T14:29:00Z 2015-03-29T15:39:36Z 5 Reasons why Guy Kawasaki was easily my favorite session at SXSW-EDU

  1. Guy was humorous
  2. Guy is a storyteller
  3. Guy made it personal
  4. Guy shared relevant, actionable information
  5. Guy is not an educator

My Notes from Guy Kawasaki’s SXSW-edu talk:

"If I knew Then What I Know Now"

Guy's Top 10 things he wished kids were taught and his kids believed

1) How to continue to learn

  • It's not a sprint, its a marathon.
  • The goal is to become self-reliant. Learn to learn.
2) How to separate correlation from causation
  • Steve Jobs traded in his Mercedes every 6 months; never registered a car -- ever; he believed he could drive solo in the carpool lane, park in the handicap spot, wore blue jeans, black mock turtlenecks and new balance shoes...
  • If you do all these things, you will not be Steve Jobs.
3) How to pitch
  • Life is a constant pitch
    • Pitching for capital
    • Pitching for talent
    • Pitching for distribution
  • The idea is the easy part, buy-in is the hard part ( previously believed opposite)
  • Guy’s 10/20/30 rule for presentations
    • 10 slides
    • 20 minutes
    • 30 pt font ideal size (Age of oldest person in the audience / 2 = minimum font size)
4) How To Write Software
  • Everyone should learn the basics
  • Useful as a BS filter, if nothing else
5) How To Be Brief
  • Learn to write a one-pager
    • One sentence
    • One paragraph (elevator pitch)
    • One page
  • Mantra not Mission statement
    • Guy: empower people
    • Apple: democratized computing
    • Google: democratized data
    • Canva: democratized graphics
  • Emails: ideally 5 sentences; win or lose with subject line
6) Learn to use Graphics
  • Adding graphics double engagement (2x)
  • Canva allows you to quickly pick graphics
7) How to Make Video
  • An AV pitch is more persuasive
8) How to "work" Social Media
  • Market-driven approach to social media guidance
  • If I told you recruiters are going to reference your social media, might that govern what you post?
  • Use Social Media to market yourself
  • Repeat tweets 3x, 8 hours apart (to reach entire audience) and include a graphic for a 6x bump
  • Do you have a great avatar?
  • Do you have a great profile?
9) How to reciprocate in advance
  • Help people before they can help you
  • Default to "Yes"
  • There are two types of people: Bakers and Eaters
  • Book: Influence - Bob Childeny
  • When someone says, "Thank you", the correct response is not, "You're welcome", but, "I know you'd do the same for me." The implication is very different.
  • When someone owes you, the optimal response is to tell them how they can pay you back or return the favor.
10 Learn how to Suck it up

Steve Lomas
Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
Founder and CEO, MojoMediaPros, Inc.

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/829961 2015-03-25T04:38:53Z 2017-02-07T18:09:57Z The 5D's of Enterprise Agile-Fall

At Agilix Labs Professional Services we consolidated the typical 10-step SDLC methodology into a process called the 5D's:  1) Define, 2) Discover, 3) Design, 4) Develop and 5) Deploy.

While the first two phases are typically linear and somewhat waterfall-ish due to the nature of professional services — clients always want to know what, when and how much — the later three phases are iterative and agile. This hybrid methodology is sometime referred to as agile-fall.

Below is the presentation we created to explain the process.

Steve Lomas
Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
Founder and CEO, MojoMediaPros, Inc.

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/815277 2015-02-25T07:51:47Z 2023-03-23T23:14:39Z Follow the Bouncing Ball

Recently, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. If one can't support a personal memory or experience with a link to Wikipedia or some other online reference, that memory is simply suspect, no matter how factual. Forget about the fact that you lived it firsthand, if it's not documented on the Internet, it might as well not have happened. So the story below is one such memory and my attempt to document what little I know about one forgotten individual in the history of animation, hopefully giving credit where credit is due... 

Wikipedia states, "The bouncing ball is a device used in video recordings to visually indicate the rhythm of a song, helping audiences to sing along with live or prerecorded music. As the song's lyrics are displayed on the screen, an animated ball bounces across the top of the words, landing on each syllable when it is to be sung."

It goes on to say that "The bouncing ball was invented at Fleischer Studios for the Song Car-Tunes series of animated cartoons (both Max and Dave Fleischer later claimed to have devised the idea). It was introduced in September 1925 with the film My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."

This would all be good if it were not for my personal acquaintance with an all but forgotten, pioneering cartoonist, animator, and cinematographer whom I believe to be the inventor of this particular effect and many more.

In 1977 I was newly married and a student at Art Center College of Design. I had been contracted to produce an animated surf parody of Star Wars called "Surf Wars,"; a short subject that would play before Gary Capo's surf movie, "Many Classic Moments."

I accepted this gig thinking I could shoot the entire film on Art Center's animation camera stand, but it soon became apparent that the school was unwilling to let me monopolize their animation department, so I needed to find an inexpensive animation camera stand to complete this epic. After asking around Hollywood, I was introduced to a retired animation cameraman named, Sid Glenar. 

At 74, Sid was thin and spry with shocking white hair. He had long since shut down his production company when I met him. He wore two hearing aids that would occasionally feedback on each other causing an unbearably loud squelching sound. Words cannot adequately describe just how alarming this was to experience.

Sid was a long-established resident of Burbank and had set up one of his smaller (and older) animation cameras in his garage. Carl Vidnic, who shot much of Surf Wars with me, used to refer to Sid's garage as the "sweatshop" because there was no air conditioning and it really heated up once the movie lights kicked on. 

One day, Sid asked if he could visit me for lunch at the Art Center campus. Even at his age, he was curious to visit the school's new campus, which had only relocated to Pasadena the year before. I will never forget that lunch because it turned out to be an amazing history lesson about the early days of the animation industry.

I learned that among other accomplishments, Sid was a charter member of IATSE, the Hollywood cameraman's union, and the senior cameraman for Fleischer Studios. 

Fleischer Studios produced many animated classics, including the original feature-length animated version of Gulliver's Travels, the Popeye cartoons, and the immensely popular Out of the Inkwell series featuring Betty Boop and Koko the Clown.

In fact, it was Sid's hand that drew Koko the clown onscreen to start each episode of Out of the Inkwell. This was a novel gag at the time. Sid's hand would quickly draw Koko and then the little clown would spring to life and run around the drawing table.

He went onto explain exactly how the effect was created.
  • Using a large-format view camera, he photographed his hand holding an ink pen, laying across his animation table. He also photographed the same scene, from the same angle, without his arm -- just his animation table with a blank sheet of drawing paper. This became the background for the famous opening. 
  • The image of his hand holding the pen and a section of his forearm was printed as a life-size photo and mounted onto thin cardboard. Next, the image was meticulously cut out using a Xacto knife. Lastly, a vertical slit was cut in the arm's upper part.
  • To shoot the effect, animation cells of the Koko drawing sequence were placed onto the animation stand, under the arm cut-out, and shot frame-by-frame — each cell photographed with the tip of the pen carefully placed at the leading edge of the advancing ink line. 
  • When played back at 24fps, the illusion was that the hand was actually drawing Koko.
  • What made the gag work was genius. Sid anchored a pushpin through the slit in the offscreen portion of the photographed arm, allowing it to pivot and slide freely so the point of the pen could easily be on the advancing line, so it looked like the arm and hand were working together to draw the character.
Another thing I learned was that Sid was a contemporary to a young Walt Disney. Not only did the two men know each other, they apparently looked quite similar. Sid told me that around the union hall, they used to say, "Here comes 'Disney', There goes 'Sidney'."

I left that lunch with a napkin drawing of Koko the Clown, which Sid drew effortlessly - as if he had done so a thousand times before.

One of my animation teachers at Art Center was Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, Pepe Le Pew, Road Runner & Coyote). During one class, Chuck said, "I have never met a creative animation cameraman."

I found this intriguing since I was working with Sid at the time. After class, I asked Chuck if he had ever met Sid Glenar. Chuck looked dumbfounded as he explained, "As those words came out of my mouth, I thought to myself, ' ...with the exception of Sid Glenar, but none of these kids will know the difference.'"

Then Chuck asked me, "How do you know about Sid?" "I'm working with him." Chuck knew about Surf Wars, and I went on to explain how Sid was helping me to shoot the film on his animation stand.

Chuck was amazed to learn that Sid was still in the land of the living, sharing, "I haven't seen Sid in decades. One of the true pioneering geniuses of animation!" Then he asked, with a glint in his eye, "Does he still wear those Gawd awful hearing aids that you can hear from a mile away?"

I smiled and said, "Yup!" We both had a good laugh over that.

So, what does all this have to do with following the bouncing ball? 

During our lunch, Sid told me that he created the concept of following the bouncing ball in 1914 while working on a movie for King Vidor. The movie was called "Kelly With A Green Necktie." If true, this predates the movie noted in Wikipedia by a decade. 

I've tried Googling that movie and have so far come up empty. But here is what I have learned: King Vidor moved to Los Angeles early in life to pursue a career in Hollywood. Wikipedia states that his career as a writer-director began in 1913. His filmography on IMDb lists two movies in 1913, nothing in 1914, and numerous short films in 1915.

I have no evidence to support this, but as someone who started my career working in and around Hollywood, I have no trouble believing that both Vidor and Glenar were involved in various spec projects and could easily have worked together — two young creative guys trying to make something happen. It is very likely that Kelly With A Green Necktie was never completed or released. I further suppose, years later, working for the Fleischers, that Sid might have dusted off an old gag for a new project, Song Car-Tunes, as reported in Wikipedia above.

Given Sid's other credits and reputation for innovation, confirmed by Chuck Jones, I have no trouble believing Sid's claim that he was the true author of this landmark special effect, just as he claimed.

I'd love to hear from you if anyone can offer further details supporting or refuting these claims.

Update 03/23/2023

With further research, I have determined that there was no way that Sid and King Vidor worked together in 1914. Sid would have only been 11 years old, living on the east coast, and Vidor was working in Texas. By the time they were both in Los Angeles in 1928, Vidor was a well-established A-list Hollywood director.

Sid was in his seventies at the end of a fantastic career when I met and worked with him. Did he muddle up the facts and timelines as he relayed his story? Perhaps. But it seems just as likely, maybe more so, that I conflated the facts, missing some critical context when Sid relayed his story. We may never know the circumstances of exactly how, when, or if Sid worked with King Vidor, but I did solve the mystery about Kelly with a Green Necktie, thanks to Marianne's comment below and some dumb luck.

All of this is explained in the updated and amplified version of this article, "Following up the Bouncing Ball: In Search of 'Kelly with the Green Necktie.'"

Related links:










tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525202 2013-02-22T17:52:00Z 2015-02-25T16:11:34Z It's only happened twice to me in 30 years...

Deep sleep.
Bzzz... Bzzz... Bzzz... "What is that sound?"  
Bzzz...  Bzzz...  "Oh, it's my phone.... But why is it ringing at 4:30a?"
Bzzz..."Wait... Something is wrong.... Where am I? Think. San Francisco.That's right, I'm flying home today."  

Suddenly it dawned on me: "I over slept! My cab is outside!!!"

Reenacting the scene from the movie, Home Alone, I sprang into ACTION. 

By the time I managed to answer my phone, the cabbie just hung up. "Don't leave. Don't leave.... Please, LORD!" I fumbled to return the call. The cabbie answered, "Hello?" 

"I can't believe I over slept. I can be down in 10 minutes -- OR less. I promise!" Dead silence.

"I will wait 10 minutes." He said, in an ominous tone. "Thank you," was my obvious response.

Much to my surprise and a total praise to God, I was dressed, packed and out the door in 7 minutes -- I will spare you the hygiene details, or lack there of.

As I approached my cab, the driver was unimpressed. He'd seen it before.

Driving to SFO airport, I realized managed to avoid disaster by doing a lot of things right the night before that enabled my quick escape -- years of ritual, had actually paid off. 

Perhaps these 10 TRAVEL TIPS will one day save you?

Before turning in, the night before traveling, I always:

     1) Pre-pack as much as possible
     2) Consolidate and stage all my belongings into one area 
     3) Lay out my clothes before turning in
     4) Research any ground transportation in advance, looking for positive reviews
     5) Book* my cab or ground transportation in advance
     6) Review my travel itinerary
     7) Launch my alarm clock app and set the alarm
     8) Position my charging phone so I can easily read the clock app
     9) Fall asleep saying my prayers...

What I failed to do, was number ten: Turn in early and get a good night sleep

Our business meetings went late. By the time I said goodbye to my colleagues, tidied up the meeting suite and completed items 1-9 above, it was past midnight.

Imagine, however, if I had decided to skip the above?  I would have been toast.

Winging my way home as I write this, I am THANKFUL for happy endings.



* A note about booking any reservation over a phone: Remember to smile. Smiles can be heard over the phone and sometimes just being pleasant can make the difference between getting the reservation you want, or not.  :-)
tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525204 2012-09-01T03:16:41Z 2015-02-25T03:41:53Z Check out iTunes Festival London

Here's a heads up... 

If you are into contemporary music, iTunes Festival Live from the Roundhouse in London begins tomorrow: 30 days of FREE music; 60 artists!

If you have AppleTV, it shows up as a new service, like Netflix or Podcasts. If not there is an iOS app. Check it out on the App Store:

Cover Art

iTunes Festival London


Category: Music

Updated: Aug 31, 2012

87 Ratings

iOS Applications
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2012 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

Steve Lomas 
Founder, CEO, Idea Mechanic 
MojoMediaPros, Inc.

Interested in digital media? 
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MojoMediaPros
Subscribe to my blog: blog.stevelomas.me
tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525206 2012-02-13T04:32:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Important vs. Urgent... A simple concept and yet a discipline not easily mastered...

URGENT is the thing you are eager and anxious to do next.

IMPORTANT is that which you know needs to be done next!

Nurture that which is important... Urgent will fend for herself! :-)

Steve Lomas
Founder, CEO, Idea Mechanic
MojoMediaPros, Inc.]]>
tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525208 2012-01-02T05:48:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Meeting Burner - Hot Tip!

I had the chance to host a meeting today, using MeetingBurner. My buddy Chipp Walters had mentioned it to me. It was free to sign up, so I thought I would give it a try. I must say, I was VERY impressed! 

As a consultant, I've become a bit of a digital road warrior using at one time or another, most of the major online meeting services: Go To Meeting, Adobe ConnectWebEx, FreeConferenceCall.com, Fuse, Mighty Meeting, Google Hangouts, and of course Skype...Without a doubt, MeetingBurner, blows 'em all away in terms of audio quality, stability and ease of ease of use.

The decision to try this software was made on the spur of the moment this afternoon, 5-10 minutes before our meeting. I hastily sent an updated invite, and hoped for the best. Within a few minutes everyone found their way into the meeting -- without a hitch! Try that with any of the other solutions.

After our meeting, I couldn't understand why such a quality service is FREE!  So I did a little nosing around the site, and I discovered the service is in beta testing, and will not be free much longer. But get this -- All registered beta users will receive FREE SERVICE FOR LIFE! 

Here is an excerpt from a statement by the company's president, Jerry Rydel:

We're launching a paid service model soon!
We're excited to announce that in early 2012, we will be launching our paid service model. But don't worry - we are going to continue offering a free account level for new users. More importantly, we are going to grandfather all of our beta users (that's you) into a free package for life, to thank you all for your support during our testing.

So, here's your heads up. Don't miss out on this deal. Sign up before it's too late!


Steve Lomas
Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
Founder and CEO, MojoMediaPros, Inc

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525210 2011-11-13T04:57:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Photogene² for iPhone

If you haven't already discovered this on your own, the new 

Photogene² is off the hook! A complete rewrite/redesign -- loaded with new functionality and well worth the small upgrade cost ($0.99). 

 Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

Photogene² for iPhone

Omer Shoor

Category: Photo & Video

Updated: Nov 04, 2011

63 Ratings

iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

Steve Lomas 
Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic 
Subscribe to my blog: blog.stevelomas.me
tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525212 2011-11-08T00:19:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Digital Road Warrior’s iOS Ditty Bag


I do a fair amount of travel as a consultant; 75,000 miles give or take in the past 18 months. Working on the road, comfortably and efficiently, takes a bit of practice. Inevitably I'm traveling to make a presentation, and that presentation is rarely complete before my trip begins. So that means completing it, 'on the fly'; literally. Over time, I have adopted a “whatever can go wrong, may go wrong” mentality, when it comes to packing.
It’s a bit of a running joke with my friends that I am “high-maintenance”. It may be my BSA training -- “Be prepared, prepared, prepared, the motto of a true scout” -- or maybe I’m just a little too organized, but for better or for worse, when anybody I’m traveling with suddenly needs something, guess who they ask? And more often than not, I have what they’re looking for.
So with this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share with my fellow digital sojourners, a checklist list for my iOS Ditty bag, which in my case is a black mesh, two compartment zipper job that came with my Wenger (Swiss Army) backpack.

I’ve even done the shopping for you!

iOS Ditty Bag Contents

1.  Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic - $79  from Apple. Frankly, for similar money, there are many alternative earbud solutions available online. What I appreciate most about my earbuds, is not the sound quality, which is excellent, but rather, the nifty case. Unfortunately, I believe Apple has discontinued this product. If you hurry, you may still be able to order these on close out, somewhere.
2.  Back-up Earbuds - Standard Apple issue here, included with every iPhone.
3.  Apple SD Card Reader for iPad - This item is sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on Amazon.com.

4.  Apple USB Adapter for iPad - This item is also sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on Amazon.com.

5.  Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter with Data Cable - $29 from Apple and as low as $15 on Amazon.com. If you standardize on the 10w adapters you can use for charging iPhones and iPads alike, and your iPhone will actually charge faster than it would using the standard iPhone power adapter.

6.  Apple Dock Connector to USB Cables - $19 each from Apple and $5.18 on Amazon.com. You need at least one for every iOS devices you have, plus an extra to be safe.

7.  Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset - $39.06 on Amazon.com. These have really come down in price. I’m pretty sure I spent in excess of $100 for mine. Jawbone has done a super job with the Noise Assassin technology, but the headset itself is poorly engineered from the standpoint of attaching to your ear. Jawbone has tried several different approaches from wire hoops (terrible) to plastic inserts they call “ear gels” (slightly better). IMHO, there is only one viable solution that equals the elegance of this headset technology. (see item #9, below).

8.  Jawbone Power Adapter (included with Jawbone headset), this also doubles as an extra iPhone power adapter, if need be.

9.  Jawbone Prime Custom Molded Earpiece - $69 from AverySound.com. If you understand the Jawbone technology, you know that it is critically important for the Jawbone to maintain contact with your jaw -- or it doesn’t work. None of the earpiece apparatus that Jawbone sells with the device manage to do this reliably. It’s maddening! You can hear your party, but they can’t hear you. I was actually in the process of returning my Jawbone Prime to the local Apple Store, when another customer mentioned Avery Sound Labs to me. Once you place your order, they send you a kit and detailed instructions for how to create an impression of your ear using quick set molding compound. You then send this impression to their labs, and they manufacture your earpiece. The whole thing is a bit of an arts and crafts project, but the results are stellar. You can literally go jogging with your earpiece on and it will stay in place while you run and talk.You can order your earpiece in a variety of colors. I chose clear, but I might rethink that if I were to reorder, as the clear tends to discolor over time.

10. Jawbone Charging Cable (included with Jawbone headset)

11. Japanese-style 1:3 AC Adapter - This compact gem turns one outlet into three. Unfortunately, these adapters cannot be purchased in the US because their compact design requires bypassing the third prong ground found on most electronics plugs.

12. Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter for MacBook Pro - $49 from Apple vs. $44.80 on Amazon.com. This cable is designed to power your laptop in-flight, and it works great, assuming your airline offers AC outlets throughout the cabin, and the outlets are actually in working order. The latter is surprisingly not always the case. By the way - this cable will not charge your laptop, simply power it.

13. Mophie External Battery - Mophie makes various battery packs, but I chose this one because it can actually recharge an iPad! I also wanted a model that I could keep in my pocket and tether to either my iPhone or iPad via a data cable, rather than having to attach the battery directly to the iOS device. Two other great features about the Mophie products are their LED power-level indicator lights and an on/off switch which prevents the battery from losing it’s charge over-time. The new version of my battery, will also work with DROID, HTC and Blackberry.

14. Generic Compact Camera Case - Another way to stay organized is to package certain items together in their own case or bag. It makes packing and “grabbing” the items much easier. I use this case to carry my external battery and the two pictured cables. It is made by Case Logic. Case Logic manufactures various sizes and styles.

15. USB Charging cable (included with external battery).

16. Griffin USB to Dock Connector Cable (Coiled) - $14.20 on Amazon.com. This compact cable is not only handy for use with my external battery, it doubles as my extra iPhone/iPad dock connector cable, as mentioned in # 6, above.

17. Belkin Velcro Cable Ties - These velcro straps are a great way to keep your cables organized and tangle-free. Several types are pictured, but I prefer the Belkin Velcro Cable Ties; $2.99 for a set of 6.

18. LED Flashlight - Always handy to throw in any ditty bag. The flashlight pictured is actually a trade-show trinket I picked up somewhere, but there are plenty of similar flashlights available from Amazon.com.

19. Carabiner-style Key-ring - Many uses for these; another handy item for the well-equipped ditty bag. I found this exact style and many other alternatives at Amazon.com.

20. Apple iPad VGA Adapter - $29 from Apple vs. $22.99 on Amazon.com.

21. Apple Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter  - $29 from Apple and $27.55 on Amazon.com.

22. Apple iPad HDMI Adapter - $39 from Apple vs. $30.62 on Amazon.com.

23. Apple Mini Display Port to DVI Adapter - $29 from Apple and as low as $13.99, new, on Amazon.com.

24. MINI 1/8 Stereo Female to 1/4 Stereo Male Cable Adapter - Many options available. Here is a list from Amazon.com.

25. Mini 1/8 Stereo Splitter - This handy little item allows you to share your iPod, iPhone and iPad media with a friend; perhaps on a long plane ride or while waiting for a delayed flight. There are many similar products to the one pictured in the $2-$3 range on Amazon.com.

26. Monster 3.5-mm Headphone Adapter for iPhone - $2.52 on Amazon.com. This adapter is an interesting legacy from the original iPhone which had a recessed headset receptacle that would not accept many third party headsets -- coincidence, Apple? I have since used this adapter several times to get me out of a few jams with certain 3rd-party iPhone and iPad covers obstructing a proper connection with 3rd party headsets.

27. Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone - $56 on Amazon.com. I love this device. The sound quality is great, plenty of volume, and it seems to run forever on a single charge! It is very lightweight and it doubles as a desktop speaker phone if I am working from a hotel room, etc.

28. BoxWave Capacitive iPad Styra (Jet Black) - $17 on Amazon.com. I’ve tried several other stylus manufactures and for my money, BoxWave is not only the best, but this model of their's also doubles as a conventional writing pen -- another ditty bag essential!

29. Targus 4 Port Ultra Mini USB 2.0 Hub - Very handy to have. I use mine on nearly every trip. Targus is definitely the leader for these mini USB hubs. The styles change often, but they all pretty much to the same thing. Here’s a link to a comparable model; $9.99 on Amazon.com.

30. Sandisk USB Memory Keys - Always smart to throw one or more of these into the ol’ ditty bag. I like SandDisk; they are reliable, and again the cost has come way down; starting as low as $4.03 for 8GB on Amazon.com.

31. Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset - $77 on Amazon.com. By now you may have noticed my inclination toward redundancy. Unlike the Jawbone and Jabra solutions above, this headset can be paired with both my MacBook Pro laptop and my iPhone, simultaneously; making it a great solution to handle both Skype and iPhone conversations.

32. USB to Micro-USB Cable - $1.95 on Amazon.com. This cable doubles a charging cable for both my Jabra speakerphone and my Plantronics headset. FYI - If you are ever in a pinch, I believe this is the same cable Blackberry and some Droids use for a data-cable. Good to know. ;-)

33. Wired USB Mouse - Why a “wired” mouse? Because you cannot use wireless mice in-flight; although, I did so for years before getting caught one day by a flight attendant. It never occurred to me that I was breaking the rules. What’s pictured is an old Macally clear USB mouse, that I have had for years. I still think the clear housing is pretty slick looking. There are lots of similar wired mice for under $10 on Amazon.com.

34. Logitech Wireless Mouse - $19.99 on Amazon.com. In-flight work sessions aside, I prefer a wireless mouse while working on my laptop. The Logitech mice have a great weight and balance, which make them my preferred choice.

35. Microfiber Cleaning Cloth - Package of 5, $3.99 on Amazon.com. Keep your screens clean and smudge free with a microfiber cleaning cloth. Needless to say, NEVER use tissues or paper towels to clean your screens, as you run the risk of scratching.

36. Jewelers Screwdriver Set - I’ve had my kit for years, but I recently found an updated alternative: the Silverhill 20 Piece Tool Kit for Apple Products for $12.99.

Please leave a comment to let me know if you found this article helpful, and/or if you think of something that I should have included. Happy trails!

Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros.



tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525213 2011-10-10T04:10:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Photo App Tip: Taming Hipstamatic

One of my favorite things about the iPhone is the quality of the camera, and it's about to get even better with the iPhone 4s. I love experimenting with the various photography apps available from the App store. As you can see in Figure 1, I have a number of them. 

One app that I have found to be a bit frustrating, is Hipstamatic (Figure 2). Don't get me wrong, it's plenty cool, with its many interchangeable lenses, film types, colored strobes and filters. But that's just it: There are so many options it's pretty much impossible to remember what settings to use to repeat your favorite results. Or, at least, so I thought. 

Turns out Hipstamatic has a built in feature that, when combined with the strategy I'm about to share, can help you reference and manage your favorite settings, so you can get predictable results, every time


First, The Strategy...

You need to create a set of Reference images. Pick a simple subject matter (a still life is ideal), and shoot multiple images usint the Hipstamatic app. Each image should have a unique combination of lens, film type, strobe and filter pack.

Don't worry about keeping track of the photo settings; Hipstamatic automatically records all these settings as metadata. As for the number of reference images, the more the merrier!

Once you have a set of reference images, it's time to put these images to work for you...

From the camera back screen, (Figure 3) locate the picture icon in the lower left corner of the screen. 

Clicking this icon (Figure 4), will open a gallery of "Recent Prints"; i.e., photos previously shot from within the Hipstamatic app.

Locate your series of reference images. You can see mine in Figure 5.

Clicking on any of your reference images will open an information screen for that image (Figure 6).

Scroll down towards the bottom of the list, until you see the menu item, "Match Settings" (Figure 7). Click "Match Settings" to instantly restore all the required settings to match the look of your chosen reference image.

Once I discovered this feature, Hipstamatic went from being a little used "novelty" photo app, to a serious tool in my image creation arsenal.

Let me know if you find this tip helpful.

Happy image making!



Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros.

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525214 2011-10-06T15:25:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Steve Jobs | 1955-2011

So, yesterday was the the day... The day I referenced back in March...The day the Apple faithful have dreaded for some time...

Steve Jobs died yesterday, October 5, 2011.

1955-2011... I can't help thinking it could be me. We were the same age.

I haven't felt this way, since the murder of John Lennon. A feeling of tremendous loss. And while Jobs wasn't shot by a crazed gunman, that is little consolation. Ironically, both men were linked by the name, "Apple"...

Much has been said about Jobs' passion and all the cool technology he created. I have nothing to add, except to say, "Thank you!"

I had the good fortune of being present, onsite for many Steve Jobs keynotes. He always made it fun.

I also had the opportunity to meet him once. I was introduced by a mutual acquaintance, a former Apple employee. We had stopped at a little Palo Alto coffee shop, to grab some breakfast on our way to a meeting. Turns out, it was Steve's favorite morning spot, just blocks from his house. The guy I was with, said, "Oh, there's Steve. Would you like to meet him?" (This was shortly after Pixar's IPO -- it was Pixar, not Apple, that first made Jobs a billionaire.) And there he was, sitting at a little table by a window, minding his own business, reading the paper, and enjoying his coffee. What I remember most, was how Steve greeted my associate: warmly asking about his wife and children by name. It had been years since they had worked together.

Jobs was infamous for guarding his privacy; rarely speaking about himself and his personal life.That's why I think this video link to his 2005 Stanford University commencement address is a fitting memorial. He titled it, "How to Live Before You Die".

In it, he speaks of embracing mortality as a springboard to life.

Rest in peace, Steve.

tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525215 2011-09-02T17:19:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z RE: A Letter from Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz
Time to Stand Up...
I applaud Howard Schultz for his political activism (see his broadcast email, below). Not since Lee Iacocca, do I remember a Corporate CEO, addressing the public with such candor and concern.

Schultz is right. Washington is a mess! And not only our country; the entire world is in crises!

While it may be convenient for us Americans to blame Washington, let's remember that everyone in our government has been elected -- by a majority. They were elected by us, the collective, "we are all Americans", us, and as such, our government is a refection of America. The fact is, we all share responsibility for this mess, and therefore I think it is appropriate for us all to look inward. Greed and arrogance, have caused America to fall from favor. Nothing else. 

In Deuteronomy 28, the Bible speaks of blessings for obedience and curses for dis-obedience. Modern man thinks that there is no connection between honoring God, and receiving favor. Until this last century, the connection was more or less universally understood by all cultures and faiths. Do we really think we can remove spirituality, faith, honor and obedience to God from our culture, and succeed?

Read Deuteronomy 28, and ask yourself if we are not reaping the harvest of disobedience listed as curses.

As I've learned through the teachings of Gwen Shamblin and the Remnant Fellowship Church, one person can make a difference. Each of us can make a difference, with a personal decision to take responsibility for our lives and to make a positive change, putting God and others first; recommitting to serve our families, friends, employers and communities. This teaching has changed my life.

I don't make a habit of preaching; but like Mr. Schultz, I too am concerned. America is in decline, and unless we turn to God and seek his favor, it's hard to imagine a positive outcome.

Steve Lomas

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tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525216 2011-08-18T18:48:00Z 2017-03-19T12:31:51Z IOS Folder Management Tips

This post is for anyone with lots of apps on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. who is having a hard time keeping track of them...

Recently a friend of mine mentioned how he hates Apple's IOS navigation model of flipping through page after page of icons. I replied that I didn't have any trouble finding apps on my IOS devices. I have most of my apps organized into folders and everything is on one of two two pages. So, my friend, decided to put me to the test. "Do you have a webpage screen grabbing app on your iPad?", he asked. "I don't recall," I replied, "Let's see..." One swipe, one click, and three seconds later, "Yes: Webshot. It's in my utilities folder." 

"Wow! That's impressive", says my friend. He then went on to share that the real problem, was getting his head around the task of organizing hundreds of apps into folders. It just seemed like an endless time sink...

Sound familiar? Well I have a strategy for performing this task that makes it easy to organize your IOS screen life.

Get Organized!
Step by Step Folder Management

1) On your iPhone or iPad, navigate to your last page of icons. Click and hold on any icon, to enter edit mode (wiggling icons).

2) Drag all your apps off the lower tool bar and onto the last page, including the apple apps. If your last page is full, go to the next page.

3) With and empty tool bar navigate back to the first page (Home) -- pressing the round physical button will take you there directly.

4) Now reviewing the icons on your home page, drag any two similar icons onto each other; this will create a folder. For example: if your home page included Facebook, a Twitter client and the LinkedIn app, you could drag the Twitter app onto the Facebook app, which will create a folder called "Social". You can rename it if you like. Then drag the LinkedIn app onto the Social folder. This will result in three icons inthe single folder named, "Social". Repeat this process, creating folders for any other like categories, on the page.

5) Drag the folders you created from your home screen onto the empty tool bar. The iPhone will accommodate four; the iPad, six.

6) Now, with folders in tow, navigate to all the other pages (screens) of application icons, dragging appropriate apps into the folders on the toolbar.

7) When you get to the last page, and you have grabbed all the apps that fit the folders on your tool bar, drag these folders off the toolbar, and repeat the process.

This is a really easy way to organize your apps. The big idea here, is bringing the folders to the apps, instead of trying to drag the apps from screen to screen in search of folders -- you'll likely go mad, doing that!

Once you have everything organized by folder, you can use the toolbar to relocate your folders to whatever screen you desire. Most people prefer certain, "heavy use apps", to be free standing. My home page is a mixture of both icons and folders, and as I have already shared, all my apps fit on two screens!

IOS Folder Capacity
On the iPhone, you are allowed a maximum of eight screens; each screen can accommodate 16 folders or icons, plus the ubiquitous toolbar which can hold a combination of four icons or folders.Each folder can house a maximum of 12 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPhone has a maximum capacity of 1584 apps, or until you run out of memory.

8 pages x 16 folders x 12 apps/folder + 4 potential toolbar folders x 12 apps each = 1584 apps

    On the iPad, you are allowed a maximum of 11 screens; each screen can accommodate 20 folders or icons, plus the toolbar which can hold a combination of six additiional icons or folders. Each folder can house a maximum of 20 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPad has a  maximum capacity of 4520 apps, or until you run out of memory.

    11 pages x 20 folders x 20 apps/folder + 6 potential toolbar folders x 20 apps each = 4520 apps

    Folder Names 
    Obviously, you can name your folders any way you chose, but here is a list of potential folder names that may be useful:

    • Apple Apps
    • Social
    • Business
    • Productivity
    • Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • News
    • Travel
    • Reference
    • Graphics
    • Drawing Apps
    • Paint Apps
    • Photography
    • Note-takers
    • Utilities
    • Bookmarks
    • Games
    • Kids

    One last tip, to find an app gone AWOL...
    Navigate to the the home screen and enter the find mode, by either swiping to the right or by pressing the round physical button at the bottom of your screen. Once on the find screen, type in the name of the app you are looking for. It won't take you to the app, but it will confirm it's presence and you can launch it, which is probably why you were looking for it in the first place. :-)

    Now go forth and organize! 


    Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros, and CyberIsland Studios.




    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525217 2011-07-11T16:19:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Amusedom - Are you a subscriber?
    Reinventing the Publishing Model One Artist at a Time

    Amusedom is the brain child of legendary fantasy and comic book artist, Pepe Moreno. In 1990, Pepe led the way for comic book artists to move into the digital domain with the release of of his ground breaking graphic novel, Batman Digital Justice. As an early adopter of digital media, myself, and a fellow member of the Mac revolution, I met Pepe just as this book was being released, (I have two autographed copies in hardback). We have been professional acquaintances, ever since.

    Pepe is a fabulous artist, but even more, he is a visionary -- a visionary who wants every artist to have a profitable publishing avenue, free from the artificial barriers imposed by a handful of big publishers.

    Enter Amusedom: Pepe created Amusedom to be a democratic online publishing model, that returns the lion-share of the revenues back to the creators of the work being sold. What a concept! He refers to it as, " the emancipation of artists and the arts". Pure Pepe! ;-)

    Amusedom has attracted some amazing talent: Syd Mead, Michael Kaluta, Paco Roca, Tim Bradstreet, Javier Trujillo, Richard Starkings, Cris Ortega, Dave Johnson, Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Rosanna Walls, Alvaro Pons, Bruce Jones, Michael Netzer, Thomas Jane, J. F. Lawton, Tanino Liberatore, Jim Starling, Joe Jusko, Skott Harben, Rafa Garres, Juan José Ryp, Sergio Bleda, Tony Harris, Doug Wheatley, Sean Galloway, Neil Vokes, Larry Hama and hundreds more...

    If content is truly king, then Amusedom is online royalty!

    Amusedom is FREE to subscribe to, and it is FREE to publish. If you are an artist, or an art lover, or if you simply want to support a GREAT NOTION, I encourage you to SUBSCRIBE to Amusedom.

    In the meantime, check out a sample issue of Amusdeom's latest newsletter, below...

    Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros, and CyberIsland Studios.



    WORLD-WIDE DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE. Desperado Publishing in tandem with Amusedom, is proud to present a retrospective volume devoted to the entire career of one of today's most popular artists, Tim Bradstreet. At over 300 pages, this book offers readers and fans a chance to witness his immense and phenomenal career from the early days to the present, offering glimpses of previously never-before-seen material from his files and sketchbooks, his enormously popular comic work, art from his career in movie design and posters, his gaming illustrations, as well as beautifully reproduced images of his personal favorites with insights into his life and creative process.

    Eisner Award nominated illustrator ,Tim Bradstreet, was born February 16, 1967 in Cheverly, Maryland. Primarily a self-taught illustrator, he has been working professionally since graduating from high school in 1985. Forgoing institutional art instruction, Tim joined Fantasmagraphics in 1986, where he worked for two years with fellow illustrator Steve Venters. Under the guidance of Venters, Tim began illustrating role-playing games, honing his skills while pursuing his lifelong ambition to draw comics. In 1990 he hit the ground running with industry legend Tim Truman on Dragon Chiang, and never looked back.



    Other great books by Timothy Bradstreet and others:




    From: Pepe Moreno

    Dear friends, colleagues and fans, as a small personal favor, can you please join us at AMUSEDOM and help with the emancipation of artists and the arts (just click the facebook link bellow to join).

    AMUSEDOM is a SELF-PUBLISHING ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK. It's nonexclusive, you keep the rights to your own work and 85% of the revenue. It is secure, there are no set up fees and it's free to join.


    Many of your favorite artists are already on board: Tim Bradstreet, Syd Mead, Michael Kaluta, Paco Roca, Javier Trujillo, Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Richard Starkings, Cris Ortega, Dave Johnson, Rosanna Walls, Alvaro Pons, Bruce Jones, Tanino Liberatore, Jim Starling, Joe Jusko, Michael Netzer, Thomas Jane, J. F. Lawton, Skott Harben, Rafa Garres, Juan José Ryp, Sergio Bleda, Tony Harris, Doug Wheatley, Sean Galloway, Neil Vokes, Larry Hama and hundreds more...

    There's power in numbers and it's free to join. We're not a corporate site but a professional and social network of fans, independent artists, publishers and people like you. Please join... and thanks so much for your support. Pepe Moreno

    If you do not have a Facebook account (or do not wish to connect through Facebook), go directly to the site, take a look around and register from there. click here to go to the AMUSEDOM site


    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525218 2011-06-20T16:06:33Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Chromebook: First Impressions Great review, Chipp. Thanks!

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
    615.830.6451 cell

    On Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 1:55 AM, Chipp Walters <chipp@chipp.com> wrote:
    Recently, I purchased a Samsung Series 5 Arctic White 3G Model Chromebook. For those of you who don't know, Chromebook is a notebook computer which runs Google's Chrome OS and is for the most part just a Chrome browser in a notebook. I know, it sounds rather simple and not very exciting. But, knowing how much I depend on Google for business and after doing a bit of research, I became interested enough in it to purchase one and try it out. Here's what I now think of it after using it for three days.


    First off, if you want to know more specifically about the Chromebook and it's features, there's an explanation HERE.

    Many of you know I already own and use an iPad-- so much so, it's taken over as the computer I use most daily. It replaces my laptop for many tasks including email and web browsing. Plus, it allows me to sketch ideas and diagrams, something not easily done on a notebook. Still, I have to say there are quite a few things I really like about my Chromebook.

    Early impressions are extremely positive. It has many of the features I really like of the iPad while also retaining much of the functionality I like in netbooks. I should mention, the Shafer Walters Group is a virtual company and we pretty much run on Google Apps, including accessing email in Gmail, creating and editing documentation in Google Docs, and with most spreadsheet work done using Google Spreadsheet. We aso like Google Presentations as a collaborative tool for creating slide presentations. We use many online tools, including Basecamp, Freshbooks, Quicken Online, Dropbox, FogBugz among others. So, it's fair to say, just like my friend Jerry Daniels, we do a whole lot of computing already 'in the cloud.' In fact, Jerry is an excellent source of new cloud apps and talks about them frequently on his blog. A cloud only device suits many of our needs well.

    The implementation of the Chrome browser is great. It looks and behaves exactly the same on Windows and MacOS, which was a bit of a surprise to me seeing how it's based on a Linux kernel. When I first logged in, the Chrome browser already had all my bookmarks and personal preferences setup as I had on my other Chrome installs (PC and Mac), which was a nice surprise. In fact, install was a snap and I was up and using it after a quick OS update. 

    The Samsung Chromebook is a bit larger than netbook computers, but smaller than most notebooks. The keyboard is easy to use. It's fairly light for a notebook but still weighs twice the iPad2. The Chromebook display is much higher resolution at 1280 x 800  vs the iPad's 1024 x 768 and the Chromebook has a whopping 2GB of memory versus the iPad2's wimpy 512MB (iPad 1 is only 256MB). Both iPad and Chromebook use solid state drives, with the iPad having three configurations to choose from: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. This Chromebook only has 16GB, but does have an SSD slot along with a couple of USB ports where you can add more memory. Because the Chromebook focusses on connecting to the Internet and storage in the cloud, I don't see lack of local storage as a significant detractor.

    Chromebooks can be purchased from $349 to $499 (mine), the topend being a bit more expensive than one might expect. I think this price may come down as more of them are sold, still they are quite competitive when priced against current tablet models including iPad.

    The Positives

    Extremely long battery life. No kidding. Reportedly it can run continuously for 8 hours. I've not had to recharge any more than once per day-- just like my cell phone and iPad. I also have Sony Vaio and MacBook Air laptops, and neither get even close to iPad or Chromebook in battery life.

    Instant on. And instant connection to wireless. My Chromebook takes 8 seconds to boot-- from a cold start. Closing the lid puts it to sleep and it resumes from sleep instantaneously, much like my AirBook. But unlike my AirBook and more like the iPad, the wireless connection seems to be instantly connected. I've set mine to force a password login from sleep mode, something I would encourage anyone to do who owns a Chromebook or iPad.

    3G so I can connect anywhere. Combined with extreme battery life, this is one of the most valuable features of this particular model. Furthermore, Verizon gives away free 100MB of transfer per month for the first two years of ownership. I used to think having a wifi hotspot was just as good, and I do have one of those as well, but my good friend Steve Lomas, convinced me otherwise after seeing him pull out his 3G iPad, check his email and put it away in 30 seconds. The darn wifi hotspot takes over two minutes just to boot, not to mention having to connect it to a laptop, iPad or iPhone. As such, I'd never use it to quickly check an email or Google an address.

    No auto-correction, it's replaced by good spellchecking. I find when I send emails on the iPad, I have to constantly check to see what iOS has automatically corrected and changed. I know I can turn it off, but sometimes it does come in handy, just not always. It's SO MUCH EASIER TO TYPE emails on a Chromebook than on an iPad-- and this is one of the reasons folks like my business partner, Dan Shafer, may prefer a Chromebook over iPad as an Everday Portable Computing Device (EPCD). 

    Large trackpad with MacOS type functionality. I do admit, I mostly prefer Apple's implementation of trackpads. Two-finger scrolling and a physical click directly on the trackpad help make it easy to use. Still, dragging and dropping is somewhat difficult, just like on my MacBook Air, which IMO is better done with two fingers on opposite hands. The feel of the trackpad is very smooth and works as well as on Mac devices.

    Keyboard modifications make it actually easier to use. There's no caps lock key, which surprisingly to me, is not missed at all-- in fact, it's better because I don't accidently hit it when typing. It is replaced by a search key which opens a new browser tab and highlights the URL field. If you really want CAPS LOCK back, you can choose to do so in Chromebook settings. Also, the mostly useless function keys on other keyboards are replaced by much more useful keys like: forward, backward, refresh, full screen, show next window, brightness and audio volume buttons. Much better.

    Printing is easy to setup and just works. I was able to easily setup my Epson wired and HP wireless printers to work with the wireless Google Cloud Printing. I was a bit concerned this would be an issue, but it turns out it just worked-- not as seamlessly as Apple's AirPrint, but easy nonetheless.

    Multi-user accounts make this a family computer. As I mentioned before, I'm all setup on Google Apps, and so is my wife and daughter. Because I don't need to worry about viruses on the Chromebook, or any files getting damaged or lost as they're stored in the cloud, I can easily lend my Chromebook to my wife and daughter for them to use. They each use their existing Gmail account sign on and then they're good to go. So, if Christi goes out of town, she can take the Chromebook with her to check emails, bank balances, etc. and it's more secure because of the 3G access (We all know those wireless access points are not always very trustworthy!). 

    Lost or damaged Chromebooks aren't as expensive as one might first imagine. The first thing I think about after spilling Red Bull on my notebook keyboard and watching the screen fritz is "what data have I lost?" When all the data is stored in the cloud, that question pretty much goes away. Furthermore, the Chromebook is not as expensive as my MacBook Air or Vaio, so if something does happen to it, no data is lost and it's less expensive to replace with a new one which is up and running in no time at all. This is huge, and one reason I'd like to talk my Dad into using one, as sometimes he forgets which file he left on which computer or he downloads new Windows apps which 'promise' to speed up his computer, but instead install viruses, which I later have to remove.

    Economic model is great for small businesses. You can 'rent' a Chromebook for between $20-30 per month for employees, and Google will take over all help desk responsibilities. This is huge, and IMO, a real gamechanger. The business administrators can configure all employees Chromebooks from one central interface. And, if your Chromebook breaks it is immediately replaced free of cost. This is huge for small businesses who can now spend less on IT and more on productivity-- assuming you have no need for standard business apps like MS Office, which many, like us, have given up in favor of Google Apps. For those diehards who absolutely need to run MS Office, there is an HTML5 remote desktop computing solution which allows Chromebooks to run remote virtual instances of Windows7 running Office and other Windows apps, but it seems counterproductive to the ease-of-use premise of Chromebook.

    Chromebook runs Flash with no problems-- along with several other web application frameworks. There are many web applications which try to replace desktop applications using Flash and Flex, including our very own CIGLive.com which runs flawlessly on Chromebook. For instance, Aviary.com has a bunch of really cool apps including their Phoenix image editor which mirrors much of what Photoshop can do-- and they all run in a browser using Flash. I've had no problems using these products including HTML5 apps which allow me to FTP into WordPress sites, and even edit directly the php and CSS files directly. Certainly, there are many more on the way. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for either iPad or Android.

    The Negatives

    A few keyboard issues. There is no delete key. There is a backspace key. For Mac users, this is probably no big problem as the Mac doesn't have one either. But for many of us Windows users the delete key is critical to our workflow. Hope this is fixed in newer versions. But Mac users will be disappointed with the undo,cut, copy and paste keyboard shortcuts. There is no Apple command key so you have to use the CTRL key as a modifier, which is quite a finger stretch for those trained on the easy Command-Z,X,C and V workflow.

    There is no Netflix. Yet. For those of you hooked on Netflix, it's rumored to be in the works, but currently there is no way to play Netflix. I suspect this is because the OS is based on Linux and for some reason, Netflix has some specific requirements which only run on MacOS and Windows and iOS.

    There are many applications which have no online counterparts. No decent 3D apps are available as web apps. And of course neither support for the real Photoshop and MS Office or my favorite programming language, LiveCode. We all have our 'gotta have' applications, and many of mine are just not available.

    No GoToMeeting or Skype. For me, these both are two of the biggest detractors right now for Chromebook. I depend on both these apps during the day, and both are supported on the iPad. Though, frankly, GTM on iPad is pretty bad-- you can't initiate a meeting nor can you do any sort of screen sharing. Google Voice does work on the Chromebook. While there are plenty of rumors, there's no word yet on when or if there will be an HTML5 or Flash version of Skype. There are some pretty decent chat clients. One is https://imo.im/

    No Network, No work. This is a common complaint for most reviewers of Chromebook. But, for me, it's not such a big deal. I only want to use my Chromebook when I need web access, so I purchased it with 3G built in. So, unless I'm flying somewhere, or way out in the country, web access shouldn't be much a problem-- and if I can't have Internet access, I doubt there's much I really want to do. Also, I don't think of my Chromebook as my only machine, only as possibly the one I may end up using the most.

    Final thoughts

    First of all, I hope others see the value in owning a Google Chromebook. Because as more users buy them, more companies will have to take note and begin support for them.

    As products and operating systems become more and more complex, the simplicity of accessing and storing data on the cloud using only a browser is appealing to those who crave for a simpler and easier way to do things. This is an important step in lessening our collective dependency on older and more antiquated OS'es, which are providing less and less value to us as they become more and more complicated. Fact is, modern OS'es have been looking like the same animals, doing the same things, offering the same features. Apple's new OS named Lion now has many similar features as Windows 7, including the much needed ability to resize a window from any edge. But also, looking forward, Lion also adds some very interesting iOS features, such as implementation of fullscreen mode which does away with windows-- and acts more like a fullscreen BROWSER-- just like Chromebook already does! I expect if ChromeOS is successful, it will start to implement Android type features much like Lion has adopted iOS capabilities.

    I personally think Chromebook is excellent family based computer as well as perfect for many small businesses. And for myself, someone who owns a desktop PC, Mac and Windows laptop, and iPad, the Chromebook will be an interesting fit. It will be telling to see how much time I spend using it-- my guess is it will take over much of the space my iPad used to use. I enjoy the iPad because of it's instant on, super long battery life, and super fast and capable connectivity to the web-- all things make it a superb Everday Portable Computing Device. The Samsung Chromebook has all of this PLUS I can now view Flash, type emails without looking at the keys (instead of hunt-and-peck on iPad), and have an overall better browsing experience. We'll see.

    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525219 2011-04-19T20:02:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Why do I use Gmail?

    In June of 2009, I blogged about a series of articles I wrote documenting how and why I was using Gmail as the central hub of my e-mail universe -- even for my business domains.

    The Ultimate E-mail Hook-up!

    I was reminded of this article today when I happened to spill open my Gmail SPAM folder, for the first time in months...


    Oh, man, am I ever glad I that made the switch!
    And this was just a few hours worth of deflected SPAM.

    Fortunately for me, SPAM is virtually a thing of the past. So much so,  I haven't given it much thought in over a year. But for most, however, SPAM still a huge problem, clogging our networks and MANY personal email in-boxes.

    In the spirit of perhaps freeing a few more souls from the burden of SPAM, I am reposting my original article.

    Please let me know if it's helpful.

    Here's to a SPAM-free tomorrow! 

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic

    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525220 2011-04-15T19:27:10Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Charlie Chaplin Google Doodle Check out Google's tribute to Charlie Chaplin...

    It's amazing what time, creativity and endlessly buckets of money can generate! ;-)

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic

    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525221 2011-03-03T05:33:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Homage to Steve Jobs...

    Forgive me if this offends anyone, but I'm gonna miss Steve Jobs if God calls him home anytime soon. Great to see him today leading Apple's iPad 2 shout out. Greatest marketer and inventor of our age...

    I'm praying for you, Steve!

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic

    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525222 2011-03-03T04:12:14Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z Duly noted... "The iPad will be game changing..."
    --Chipp Walters to SL
    MAY 2010

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic
    Subscribe to my blog: blog.stevelomas.me]]>
    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525223 2011-01-14T22:52:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z My iPhone Search & Rescue Saga...

    With all the travel I've been doing, sooner or later, it was bound to happen. I lost my iPhone.

    I was returning from Monterey, CA, and I set it on the seat beside me (black phone case, black vinyl seat -- I know better). When they announced boarding, I dutifully stood up, grabbed my rolling bag, and marched onto the plane. We hadn't even pulled away from the gate when I realized what I had done. I left my phone on the seat in the waiting area!

    If you have ever wondered how it would feel to lose your iPhone, and what it takes to retrieve it, I'm here to tell you... 

    First of all, it feels TERRIBLE... Your first reaction is shock and if I'm honest, PANIC -- that's the adrenalin kicking in -- followed by an almost instant nausea, as you say to yourself, "GEEZE... way to go Einstein!!" 

    I knew better than to wallow in self-pity, (thank you, Gwen Shamblin). I needed to press into action:

    • First a quick arrow prayer: "Oh Lord, please help me find my iPhone"
    • Next, since I was sitting in the front row, I leaned forward and informed the pilots
    • They alerted the gate crew and asked them to please check the seating area
    • The gate crew radioed back, "The phone was nowhere to be found." Pinched!

    Then I remembered I had installed the Find My iPhone app on both my iPhone and iPad. I asked the flight attendant if I could please access my stowed carry-on, to retrieve my iPad. She agreed and asked the flight crew if they could please wait one more minute...

    I flipped open my iPad and fired it up with Ninja skill, determined to catch a thief, when I realized the app was missing! 

    That's right. When I upgraded my iPad to the new OS, weeks earlier, lots of apps mysteriously disappeared from both my iPad and iTunes (don't get me started, about the whole iTunes sync process). I thought I had reinstalled everything, but obviously, I had missed the Find My iPhone app... No time to futz around, so the pilots politely told me they had to push back.  I would have to resume my search from LAX.

    I spent the next hour praying and planning my counter attack. I pre-wrote the following text message, and copied it into my iPad's memory, so it would be readily available to paste into the Find My iPhone alert message:

    Please RETURN this iPhone to Steve Lomas. Call 866-346-1105 and leave message or email info-at-MojoMediaPros.com.

    I then navigated to the iPad settings screen, and waited for our plane to land...

    The thought crossed my mind that my phone could easily have been picked up by another passenger on my flight. If I could download the Find My iPhone app and install it quickly enough, and trigger the audible alarm feature, I might be able to catch the culprit red handed! After all, EVERYONE on the plane had to pass by me, to exit! "Oh, this ought to be interesting!". 

    As the first wheel of our plane hit the Tarmac, I flipped on the iPad and turned off Airplane Mode; ready to pounce the instant I had a connection. Several minutes later I was still staring at the word "Searching..." Asd most AT&T subscribers already know, getting a 3G connection at a busy hub, like LAX can be hit or miss

    So as I waited, the flight attendant brought me my bag. Thje finally, as everyone prepared to exit, my iPad found the network. Tap, tap tap and I was downloading the app -- or so I thought. The progress bar said, "Waiting..."

    Meanwhile, moments later, with carry-on in one hand and my iPad in the other, I led a parade of passengers off the plane. "Drat!!! The crook is going to escape, before I can expose them!"

    The flight between Monterey and LAX is a commuter flight, which means my rolling bag was gate-checked in Monterey, and I had to pick it up on the Tarmac at LAX. As I waited for my bag, I monitored the progress of the downloading app: slowly, but surely. 

    As the baggage cart rolled up, the app finished installing.

    I grabbed my bag and stepped out of traffic. Launching the app, I caught a break: All my settings had been remembered! I only needed to log in. As the app started searching, I prayed...

    Suddenly, there on the screen, was the location of my iPhone was. It was still in the Monterey, in the airport boarding are, but some distance from where I left it. I made a bee-line to the American Airlines Admirals Club, where I am a member. The Admiral's Club desk agents are top notch, and I knew they could help me. Within seconds of my arriving at the front desk and explaining my dilemma to the agent, she had Monterey Airport Operations on the line -- I couldn't have done that. Could you?

    The operations person in Monterey told us they had already looked everywhere, and couldn't find it. My AA desk agent said, "It's not there."  I responded, "Yes, it is," and I showed her my iPad. She told operations, "He has the Mobile Me, Find My iPhone app on his iPhone. We're looking on his iPad. We can see that it's still at the Airport." I was impressed. Then she whispered to me, "My kids have that app on their iPhones and iPods." Smart!

    The person in airport operations, again said, "It's not there. We looked." the agent shared this with me and I said, "Please tell them there is an audible alarm, which I will trigger again right now!" I did and then an amazing thing happened... The phone icon jumped on the map back to the original proximity where I left it. The desk agent shouted into the phone, "It's moving! We can see it moving!" We begged, the operations person, "Please send someone to the gate area! You should be able to hear it. It's beeping!!" the message came back, "Security is on it's way."

    At that moment I hastily modified the alert message and resent the alarm trigger one more time, with this message:

    Please turn into American Airlines!!! We are monitoring. RETURN this iPhone to Steve Lomas. Call 866-346-1105 and leave message or email info-at-MojoMediaPros.com.

    Moments later, the operations person reported, "We found it beeping in the snack bar!" By this time, several folks were following along at the Admiral's Club front desk, and a cheer went out as we heard the news! One might have guessed we had just talked a non-pilot through their first airplane landing! My first words were, "Praise God!"  I'm pretty sure I caught a smile and a wink from the desk agent...

    She handed me the phone and the airport operations person said she would hold my iPhone for pick up. The desk agent, asked if I needed a phone, to make arrangements, and I told her, "No". It seemed only fitting to me, that I wrap this up on my iPad, which had saved the day... I placed a quick call, via Skype, from my iPad, to my friend and co-worker, who I had just left in Monterey, asking him if he could please pick up my phone and FedEx to me. (Thanks, Chipp!)

    Well that's my story. I'm writing this from 35,000 feet on my way home to Nashville. At this moment, I don't know for sure if my phone was retrieved, by my friend. I sure hope so, because one of the last images I saw from the Find My iPhone app, clearly showed my iPhone located in the Airport parking lot. So I re-sent the above message, and minutes later, it was back in the airport. Hmmm... Maybe that was a GPS glitch, maybe not... I guess I will know soon... 

    ---- Thirty minutes later ---

    Happy days! Chipp grabbed my phone and it's on it's way!! Yay, God!  :-)

    Steve Lomas
    Web Consultant, Idea Mechanic

    Sent from my iPad...


    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525224 2010-12-19T21:16:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z The New Workflow


    The way we do business is changing...

    I have been reflecting lately on just how dramatically my day-to-day workflow has changed. The tools I rely on today, are completely different from the tools I was using, even a year ago.

    It used used to be...

    • If you wanted to make a phone call you used a "phone", and your phone number indicated where you were calling from. 
    • If you wanted to schedule a meeting, the trickiest aspect was scheduling a conference room. 
    • Notes were mostly taken on paper, even though we all had laptops. 
    • Most people had four phone numbers: work, fax, home and cell, and typically two email addresses: work and personal
    • Applications ran on your primary computer workstation, which is where your all documents were stored. 
    • Working remotely was uncommon, and travel was required if teams really wanted to collaborate. 
    • Conference calls were expensive and video conferencing was too expensive and and much too complicated for daily use. 
    • TV shows were watched on televisions and surfing the Internet required a networked computer.
    Get where I'm going with all this?

    In the last year I have integrated the following tools to my workflow...


    Cloud Services: Okay, I will admit it. Larry Ellison was right! I didn't get it at first, but it is so much better to have your documents and even applications up in the cloud. From a data protection and accessibility perspective, you can't beat it -- as long as you can access the internet! That's where DropBox comes i ...

    DropBox: This is a bit of software you install on your computer that allows you to share the contents of a folder on your desktop with anybody you chose, via the Internet. Files are seamlessly uploaded to the cloud where you can access them from other computers, and mobile devices. Both the iPhone and iPad support DropBox, as do other mobile devices. Very impressive when a client mentions something you had worked on together months before, and you say, "Here it is..." as you pass them your iPad! The great thing about DropBox, is you maintain local copies of your files as well a the cloud copies, and DropBox does all the heavy lifting, in the background, to everything in sync.

    Google Docs:  More and more of my docs are stored in the cloud on Google servers, and the all the Google applications are browser-based. Google has knock-offs of Word, Excel and PowerPoint online, complete with the ability to read and save in these Microsoft file formats. Any Google Doc documents can be shared with teammates for review or editing. Documents can actually be edited simultaneously by multiple individuals.In one creative session earlier this year, eight of us were editing the same document at the same time! And it wasn't as chaotic as it may sound, because we could all see in real time what was being edited and by whom. Pretty cool!!  If you need a local copy, perhaps for an in-flight work session, you can export a local copy to your DropBox.

    Skype: I realize that Skype has been around for a while, but I only woke up to it, this year. It happened when I was talking to a co-worker at lynda.com, After several phone conversations, I learned that she was not based in California, but New Zealand! I was confused, because her incoming phone number was a CA number. She explained explained that she was using Skype, and the cost of the service, with a dedicated CA phone number was under $10 a month. I said, "Thank you, very much", hung up the phone, and signed up for Skype on the spot! Ever since, Skype has been my preferred telecommunications service. The audio quality is crisp and the video video teleconferencing and screen-casting are immensely helpful for remote collaboration!

    Gmail: I was reluctant to abandon Outlook as my primary email client and the whole notion locally archived email, but I finally made the leap earlier this year, and I must admit, it's very convenient. I can search all my email in seconds (who better than Google to handle search?) and my email is readily available across all devices! I had already figured out how to manage multiple email accounts in Gmail (see previous post: The Ultimate Email Hook-up), so migrating wasn't too difficult.It has taken a while to get used to the Gmail, web client, but now that I have, I like it.

    iPad: My friend and co-worker, Chipp Walters said of the iPad before it was released, "The iPad will be game changing". He was right. We use our iPads all the time. In fact, I created the attached info graphic on my iPad, using Notes Plus. You can read my initial thoughts about the iPad, in this post, "iPad Not Perfect, But Very Cool". And if you are really stuck for how to be productive with your iPad, check this out, "New Favorite iPad App".

    iPhone 4: Multi-tasking, folders, Reina display, and a rocking' great camera made this a must-have upgrade, given how I rely on my iPhone (see "It's an iPhone Life").

    GoToMeeting: This is a virtual meeting and collaboration service which allows you to screen-cast to multiple people and pass the screen-cast baton at any time during the meeting, to anyone connected to the meeting. This feature is great. G2M also provides both private and public chat rooms, a participant list, a who's speaking indicator, and the ability to screen capture an entire meeting. GoToMeeting's VOIP (Voice Over IP) capabilities can be a little finicky, so thankfully, participants can also call into a meeting via telephone.

    PogoPlug: This is a nifty little device that allows you to create your own cloud service, out of any external USB hard drive, so may can access these files from anywhere over the Internet. Files can any file format, including photos, videos and music. PogoPlug does all the trans-coding so you may access and play these files remotely from mobile devices, like the iPhone and iPad.

    Drobo: Dobo is a a very smart storage robot, that employs a unique RAID technology that is drop-dead simple to deploy and maintain. Unlike other RAD technologies, the Drobo does not care about drive size parity. When you run out of storage, you simply remove the smallest drive in the array, and replace it with the largest hard drive that is currently available, and Drobo does the rest -- no files are lost in the process. It works GREAT!

    BaseCamp: This is another cloud service, designed specifically for Project Management. It is easy to set up projects, and virtual teams. BaseCamp provides file sharing with regression, threaded discussions, tasks, milestones, calendars, and an odd shared document format called "Write Boards". BaseCamp is not the end-all, be-all PM tool that it could be, but it is certainly useful, and we use it often in conjunction with the other tools, mentioned.

    MacBook Pro & Parallels: I love my little 13" MacBook Pro. It is well-sized for travel, but don't let its small stature deceive you. With 8GB of RAM, two video processors and a 500GB hard drive, this machine is a true work-horse! If you have followed my previous posts, you may know that I run a split Mac OS | Windows XP environment, using Parallels. This allows me to run whatever software is required, and test our web-apps cross-platform from the same compact workstation.When I'm at my desk I connect to a Dell 27" Ultrasharp monitor. My windows environment is dedicated to this monitor, but my Mac OS environment spans both the laptop screen and the Dell Ultrasharp. You can read more about my Parallels experience, here: Magellan's Guide To A Parallels Universe - Part 1. Parallels has its mysteries and foibles, but all-in-all, it works well for me and I am satisfied with its performance -- I never really think about fact that I'm doing the lion-share of my work on a virtual machine!

    Closing Thoughts...

    This new way to work and collaborate is great, but it is not without its drawbacks. As you can see, from my graphic, it is a highly distributed model.The old axiom, of "Ultimate information needs to exist ultimately in one place" is definitely being challenged in this sort of work environment. "Where did I create that?" and "Where did I save that?" are not uncommon questions. We have some clients who don't mind reviewing a DRAFTs in Google Docs, while others prefer a PDF to mark-up, and others still insist on MS documents. This, of course, pains me, because it means redundant effort, migrating text edits and comments, back and forth. Therefore,  I find myself having to really think, before I begin a document, or project, to determine the best tool, the intended audience and where and in what format it will be published. 

    The other thing I've noticed, is just how much time seems to be sacrificed to maintaining of this complex environment. There seems to be a constant barrage of software updates to manage. None of it is that hard to do, or fraught with much risk, but each update, takes a small bite out of your day -- maybe that is the hidden meaning of the Apple logo ;-)

    But before I all throw in the towel, and pine for the "good ol' days", I remind myself that it is still very early in this business/productivity revolution. Tools will get better. The best will float tot he top, and the rest will disappear, and in the not too distant future, much of this will all seem commonplace.

    • You can "telephone" people without the use of a"phone", using Skype, and similar Voice Over IP technologies. I've made calls from my iPad when I left my cell at home.
    •  Services like Google Voice and Skype allow you to establish a local phone number, anywhere, regardless of where you actually rest your head at night...
    • You can create a virtual conference room in 60 seconds or less, using GoToMeeting and similar online services, like Adobe Connect and Web-X.
    • You can screen capture, or other record the meeting notes in a variety of ways, such as Sound Notes for the iPad or the Pulse digital pen.
    • Most people have abandoned their land-lines at home, in favor of cell phones. And when was the last time you actually sent a FAX? If you have, it was likely not your first choice.
    • Instead of two email addresses, I have too many! ;-)
    • My workflow integrates dozens of apps which run on either my iPhone or my iPad; generally both. 
    • Remote collaboration across virtual teams is becoming more and more common as businesses embrace the cost savings and the potential for increased productivity.
    • Conference calls are simple and inexpensive --  even FREE, with services like FreeConferenceCall.com -- and video conferencing is a snap with Skype or iChat
    • YouTube, Netflix and Apple TV are blurring the lines between Internet and television.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject, and how you manage your workflow... Please leave a comment.

    Steve Lomas is an Idea Mechanic and the founder of MojoMediaPros.
    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525225 2010-12-09T21:23:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z New Favorite iPad App!

    Just in time for the HoLiDaYs... meet the iTray !  :-)

    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525227 2010-12-07T14:12:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:37Z iPhone, therefore iArt!

    Holiday Flowers - Copyright &copy; 2010 Steve Lomas. All rights reserved.

    Owning an iPhone and later the iPad has reinvigorated my interest in drawing, painting and fine arts photography. Apparently I'm in good company...

    I found this story on the NPR iPhone App:

    In Paris, A Display From Hockney's Pixelated Period
    by Susan Stamberg

    - December 7, 2010

    David Hockney thinks his current exhibition may be the first one that's ever been 100 percent e-mailed to a gallery. The 73-year-old artist is standing in the space in question -- the Pierre Berge-Yves St. Laurent Foundation in Paris -- trying to talk about the works, when his iPhone rings.

    "I'm right in the middle of an interview," he says, laughing. "I'm sorry -- wait a minute -- I am, actually." Then, to the reporter: "I'll turn it off."

    And he does, though it might have been more fun if he hadn't: He might have made us a new artwork right on the phone -- a little vase of flowers, or a face, or a landscape.

    When Hockney first got the device about two years ago, he immediately realized it was a new medium for creativity.

    "Incredible little thing, really, because it was like a sketchbook and a paintbox all in one," the artist says. Better, even: "No cleaning up. No mess."

    Fresh Flowers, Davide Hockney

    That's because he's painting with an app called Brushes -- a small virtual paintbox on the phone's screen, into which Hockney dips a finger -- or 10 -- and makes pictures.

    "He started out sending out these images -- little images that he would make on his iPhone -- to his friends," says installation designer Ali Tayar. "You wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning, and you're trying to go back to sleep, but on your computer is one of his images," Tayar says. "That is a treat -- a 'Hi,' a little flower."

    Capturing The Morning, With Light Instead Of Inks

    Hockney started making these vibrant digital "paintings" early in the morning at his home in Yorkshire, England.

    "From about late April to July, the sunrise would hit me in bed," he explains. But "if I'd [only] had a pencil and paper by the bed, I wouldn't have drawn a sunrise."

    Black lead, white paper; not that much to get up for, really. But Hockney had his iPhone by the bed, so he could draw the sunrise on the phone, in color.

    Then the sun hit a vase of flowers near the bed. Hockney painted that, too. More mornings, more paintings, until he'd made hundreds and hundreds.

    "Some were drawn quite quickly," he says, "Some were drawn over two or three mornings, meaning I'd go back to them. And I sent them out -- lovely thing was, I could send them out to my friends. ... Often they were getting the sunrise that they'd missed."

    As you might guess, the people on his list -- a couple of dozen or so -- said they loved receiving those early-morning e-mails.

    For A Few Weeks, 'Fresh Flowers,' And Then A Sudden Fade

    Then Hockney heard about the larger iPad. The artist has always carried a small sketchbook with him. Now he carries the electronic equivalent. The creative experience is different on the bigger device, he says.

    "On the iPhone I tended to draw with my thumb," he says. "Whereas the moment I got to the iPad, I found myself using every finger."

    And he really gets into it, reports curator Charlie Scheips.

    "He says he sometimes gets so obsessed that when he's going, he rubs his finger on his clothes to, like, clean his finger -- as if he was using real paint."

    Scheips coordinated the Paris show, a riot of non-paint paintings on luminous digital screens. One wall at the gallery is hung with 20 iPhones; a second wall carries 20 iPads. (The Berge-St. Laurent Foundation paid for all the devices -- it's not an Apple-backed effort, it says.)

    All the gadgets are turned on 24 hours a day, and from time to time Hockney e-mails a new work to one of them -- a kind of artistic status update.

    The show, called "Fresh Flowers," closes at the end of January. And then, installation designer Ali Tayar says, all the art will disappear.

    "It's not the traditional painting," he muses. "It really doesn't exist. It's just light on a screen."

    You could print a Hockney e-mail, if you were lucky enough to get one, but it would lose something in translation without that brilliant backlighting. The work only lives on these gadgets.

    There's another hurdle, of course.

    "We haven't figured out how to get paid," Hockney says. "At the moment it doesn't matter, but I will have to figure it out like everybody else."

    Meantime, he's having fun making art with this newfangled but basically old-fashioned instrument. So are loads of other artists who are bringing back drawing this way, making works on digital devices.

    Curator Scheips says Hockney has always been forward-looking -- years ago he made collages with Polaroid pictures, and used home copying machines for other works. This new phase, Scheips thinks, is just the logical next step.

    But it's a big step, artistically.

    "These things are all about surfaces," Scheips says. "It's all about mark-making. ... These drawings -- they may be small physically, but they're big and important in terms of his total oeuvre. And he thinks that this medium is gonna change the world." [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

    To learn more about the NPR iPhone app, go to http://iphone.npr.org/recommendnprnews

    Sent from my iPhone
    tag:blog.stevelomas.me,2013:Post/525196 2010-08-22T07:25:00Z 2015-05-14T05:31:28Z Best Malware Campaigns of 2010

    Call For Entries | DECEPTICON 2010 MALLIES

    Attached are my picks for 2010's Best Email Malware Campaigns, followed by the stream of consciousness that led me to propose these awards... Enjoy!

    E-mail Exploitation on the Rise

    Maybe it's just me, or perhaps my personal collection of email in-boxes, but  I've been noticing a marked increase in fraudulent email campaigns crossing my threshold. Really creative campaigns, designed by professional con arrtists hoping to coax me into opening their malicious e-mail attachments.

    Creative or not, don't under estimate the threat. Malware can take many forms. Some is designed to mess with your system; some is designed to rob you of CPU cycles;  but the most sinister lurks in the background scanning and exporting your personal information, to who knows who.

    Who Are These Guys?

    These outlaws (and that's exactly what they are), are so industrious and seemingly good at what they do, it makes me wonder, why they don't have real jobs? Maybe they do... Or did? Maybe they're former Marketing and Advertising folks. Certainly, thousands have been laid off since the down-turn in 2008, so it's a plausible theory, but not one that captures the imagination... No, if I'm going out on a limb, I've got to do better than that! 

    Then it occurred to me... Postal workers! And not just postal workers... POSTAL CARRIERS!

    Think about it. What better career to observe, learn and master the best marketing ploys, than delivering junk mail? AND who better than mail carriers, to track the effectiveness these campaigns? After all, they deliver a lot of the purchases that result from the most successful campaigns. And don't think for a moment, they aren't paying attention to what the FedEx and UPS drviers are delivering, as well. Heck, they're probably all in cahoots!

    Booming Industry

    Of course, that's it! That's why they're  willing to walk our neighborhoods in shorts, posing as Federal employees:  working these campaigns MUST BE PROFITABLE!

    And given the increasing number of these email deceptions, I'm of the opinion that their industry is BOOMING!!  I think there is even evidence that certain entrepreneurs are selling franchises, because I often get the same message from a dozen different email addresses on the same day!

    I'm thankful for this redundancy, because it makes it easier to spot the hoax.

    Opportunity Knocking...

    As with all booming industries, I imagine it won't be long before they form a trade association (E-Ployers Union?), followed by trade shows (DECEPTICON 2010?) and industry awards (The Mallies?) That's the REAL opportunity! If you really want to make money in an industry, scramble to create a conference and give away some acrylic chotchkies!

    Whimsy Aside

    So the point of all this is to heighten awareness to the endless stream of email threats, and to perhaps train your eyes and mind to recognize these ploys quickly, so you don't inadvertently invite the bads guys onto your computer. Remember, when it comes to attachments, "If in doubt, don't open it!"  And, just because it looks like it came from a friend, doesn't necessarily mean that it did. If you are suspect, write them, in a separate email, and ask. Better safe than sorry.


    There is no shortage of bad guys are out there. They are hard working, relentless and they are counting on us to drop our guard.

    Don't make their day!

    Sent from my iPad