On Flipboard


EDIT: 2 days later and my readership has almost doubled!

So. I’ve got 28,000 51,000 readers of my online gaming magazine – a Flipboard titled On Gaming.

Holy Cow!!!! When I started my Flipboard I had never realized it would become this successful. I’m totally humbled and blown away.

What’s a FlipBoard?

If you follow me on Facebook (and if not, why not? 😀 )  you likely have seen that I’ve been posting or crossposting more articles to FlipBoard, a gorgeously laid out magazine format curation system for content.

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Whut?
Flipboard is, quite simply, an online magazine that lets you take content you find online and group it into one online ‘magazine’. Similar to what Pinterest lets you do with various image content. Flipboard originally launched on the iPhone and iPad, now is available for Android devices and Computers too. A very nifty platform. To quote the creators:

Millions of people use Flipboard to read and collect the news they care about, curating their favorite stories into their own magazines on any topic imaginable. Now magazines created by our readers, from Nepal to Sauce and spread, can be shared and enjoyed on the Web by anyone, anywhere.

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And why is it something you’d want to do?
Well, in my case, I love finding neat stuff and sharing it with others. And, having a successful Flipboard allows me to extend the reach of articles *I* write by simply including them in the appropriate Flipboard.

As well, having a popular Flipboard also enhances my ability to profile content I think is important.

So, if you’re so inclined, feel free to check out On Gaming, or any of the other magazines I curate, and let me know what you think! If you’ve got something you’d like me to share with my readers, just contact me. And if you start your own Flipboard magazine, then let me know too! I’d love to have a look!

Show your parents you care – tech style

It’s highly likely that many of you, like me, are responsible for technical support of your families’ computer systems and internet connection.

googfooter.pngEarlier today I found a great little microsite (by Google) that’ll help you support your parents with their online issues.

http://www.teachparentstech.org/ is the site that helps you build a friendly little email and bundles links to appropriate self-help videos.

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Obviously this won’t address every question they’ve got, but it does:

  • Get them using email (they’ll need to in order to view the message)
  • Get them watching online videos through a browser
  • Teach them how to do something to customize their computing experience
  • Give them a sense of accomplishment and independence as they use new tech.

Here’s what your outgoing email could look like:

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It’s not just simple issues either, here’s a video showing how to set up an email autoresponder in Gmail — though similar email apps work in much the same way.

And it’s a great little marketing and branding opportunity to get Google into their computing experience.

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Does one bad product taint the brand?

Yesterday I purchased a Blue Snowball Snowflake USB microphone. I was going to use it to record some voice-overs for an upcoming Empire Avenue overview video, but as you can guess by my use of the word ‘was’ in this sentence, it didn’t happen.

The Flaw
You see, the mic was bad. DOA. Toast.

This was a new mic, in a sealed box, not a reconditioned one (don’t get me started on my experience with reconditioned Apple and Microsoft hardware).

Maybe it was a driver issue, but I doubt that. I tested it on two different hardware platforms with 3 different OS versions. Heck, my Guitar Hero USB mic was recognized by these systems so this ‘quasi-pro’ mic should have been easily. No, it was a bad unit from the factory. Which is where my problem begins.

The Perception
In the 21st century, I have the expectation that when I buy something it should work. Modern manufacturing methods and quality assurance processes have kept me safe from many many dud hardware items over the years. Until now, it seems.

Sure, some things don’t always work as well as you expect, or need a lot of setup and configuring to get them to work optimally, but I do at least, expect something on the unit to work.

And when it doesn’t at least partially work out of the box, it instantly alters my perception of the brand. In this case, I was seriously disappointed. And, since I purposely bought this item for an immediate use, the brand let me down — Blue’s microphone couldn’t fulfill the brand promise at all.

My expectation, based on marketing material and online reviews, led me to believe that this mic was the solution best matched to my need. I needed a good mic. I needed it yesterday. And I needed it to work.

Not only that, but the failure in brand promise forced me to find another way to solve my immediate problem – laying down the voice-over track.

Failure in the brand promise actually caused me more work. Now I’m disappointed and frustrated.

The Trust
So the mic didn’t work. You may say; Get over it and get on with things. Well, it’s not that simple. You see, the next time I look at a Blue product, any Blue product, I’ll be thinking ‘Hey, that one mic didn’t work out of the box, will this thing?’

That one bad experience, because of an unfulfilled brand promise, has cause me to change my initial position of brand trust — that this item will work out of the box — to one of doubt; this item ‘may’ work out of the box. In my mind, the brand is tainted.

The Recovery
But is it permanently tainted? Frankly, in my case, I’m not sure what would cause me to reconsider my thinking about Blue mics, perhaps a good experience with another mic? I don’t want to spend money and take another chance.

How ’bout reading more positive reviews and buzz? Perhaps, but I’d come at them skeptically.

So what’s the answer? How would Blue rebuild my trust in their brand — having been burned in this instance? I can’t think of one off the top of my head…can you?

A few reasons why I’ll get an iPad before Christmas – perhaps. Maybe.

Over the last little while I’ve been following the news around Apple’s latest technological marvel, the iPad. Sure, at this time, only the Wi-Fi version is available (and only in the US), but there’re enough news and reviews out there that it’s quite easy formulate an early opinion — especially since I already have an iPod Touch and am used to it’s interface and way of doing things.

Why would I get an iPad?
There are many reasons, but here’s a few that are top of mind, mostly around use of media:

  • Reference Documents – I hate carrying around pages of stuff that is only used for reference. I love carrying around pages of stuff that’s only used for reference — if it’s in a digital format. I do this currently with my iPod Touch, once I figured out how easy it was to view pdf and doc files on my Touch, that is. I expect that the iPad will let me view my .pdf and doc files in much the same way.
  • eBooks – Similar to the reasoning for Reference Documents, but with this addition. I’m getting older and am realizing that reading on a larger screen is easier than the smaller display on my Touch.
  • Games – I’m enjoying the low-cost high-quality games that are coming out of the iPhone ecosystem. I’m thinking there are going to be more of the same for the iPad. With the larger form factor, it’ll be a new experience.

Why before Christmas?
Well, Apple released the iPad in April (May for rest-of-world). This gives enough time for the platform to stabilize, the operating system and hardware to be patched to fix obvious bugs and technical issues. Maybe.

I’m not into investing in first generation technology when I can avoid it, but perhaps I will have an iPad by Christmas, if all goes well. Maybe.

Finally. If it’s Friday then it’s time for a video.

Earlier this week OK Go parted ways with their record label in order to have more creative and publishing control over their music videos. Short version – EMI was not letting their videos be published through YouTube. Longer version and overview at FastCompany.

Since that relationship has ended, the following link to the YouTube video of OK Go’s awesome ‘This too shall pass’ video is my simple way of supporting their move. Well done.