Aesthetic Digital Picture Frame for Visualization

Walking from Sharper Image to zGallerie at the mall made me connect the Phillips Digital Picture frame with a large white frame with a small 8×5 phto area at zGallerie. Given visualization is one of our focus points this year, it quickly turned into a project to combine the two elements into a Primal Brand story.

This was a quick project, no plans, just sawdust and scraps from the get-go. Pretty much what happens when a geek has tools.

The end result is pictured at left. Of course the photos rotate. The active photo of the word "ELVIS" was taken at the Elvis car museum in Memphis last year.

The build process is illustrated in pictures as follows. I would like to issue a disclaimer on the drill visible in some of the photos. It is NOT my primarly drill. Like all good geeks I have a Dewalt professional.Zgalleriepictureframe40bucks But of course I leave it at work, so what you see is my antique hand me down Black and Decker with the old-world drill bit chuck. The death of an american brand….

The main point is onward to the project pictures!

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RSS to text (SMS) notifications on your cell phone

So you are an overworked public relations pro, programmer, dog walker, whatever. You need to know the latest NOW! You can do that if you have a cell phone.

From this article by  in mobileactive, by using a combination of RSS feeds and a service that sends a text message to your phone when things change. In geek parlance this is an RSS to SMS service like zaptxt. Zaptxt screenshot top right.

To surfers it means to take the current wave height and text me when I need to load up the van and head down to the surf. And RSS is not just human written data looking at the interesting new non-human sources of rss feeds coming online.

To Tendenci clients (disclaimerTendenci is our association software) it means you can filter the RSS feed of upcoming events looking for just your specific interests. Filter the PRSA Richmond RSS feed for the words "crisis communication" through the zaptxt zaptask interface. You would literally be the first to know of any related development through your cell phone with a brief text message.

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“We Suck” vs “We Suck! We Suck!”

Who gets to say we suck. Or we suck twice as bad. That is the question.

1) You get to say it if you have little risk of "we suck exposure" (WSE)

  1. web companies delivering software as a service
  2. software companies with EULAs that indemnify them against…well.. everything.
  3. companies low subscription rates or ad supported model
  4. companies selling low dollar stuff
  5. companies that don’t make a big juicy target for class action lawsuits
  6. people below the radar to the point that nobody listens anyway
  7. people with really good errors and omissions coverage
  8. small businesses
  9. anyone with a CEO about to retire
  10. Apple (at least after the protests start)
  11. … and plenty of others that generally fly below the big guns

People who do NOT get to say we suck, or those with high WSE (danger!)

  1. big companies
  2. anyone with deep pockets

The biggest challenge with We Suck is that IT IS GOOD PR! Americans love a stand up guy who apologizes. Although it is usually a past tense as in "I previously sucked but have changed my ways." Martha Stewart vs Ken Lay. It is the low WSE companies that go against good PR tractics and do not admit wrongdoing and liability because of exposure.

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Flickr Tag Visualization Over Time

This visualization from Yahoo research is very interesting. I attended a talk at eTech where the speaker diss’ed the famous Minard’s Napoleon’s advance graph saying "but it didn’t help Napoleon make a single decision." The audience of course vehemently protested, echoing Tufte in a manner like Trekkies quote Spoc, "but it wasn’t designed for that! It was a antiwar protest poster!"

My vote? The Yahoo flickr tag visual is data as art and not designed for decision making.

Reading the comments on the digg story, the best part is the link to the paper explaining the technique used. Data mining such a large time sensitive data set is not easy. I like the fact they explained how they did it.

Via some guy via digg.