Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

Archive for the ‘Geekstuff’ Category

Go Green and More With Instructables

Posted by telecommatt on August 9, 2007

I posted briefly about super handy credit card earbud wrapper. I put mine together yesterday and it’s slick! (Actually, it’s more about taking stuff apart then putting stuff together…) Even my bus driver was impressed! Aside from how well it works and how east it is to make, I just feel better about not having to toss my plastic credit cards into some landfill.

And if you check out the comments on my 8/6 post, Billy, from Instructables left a few links to check out. Instructables is having a Go Green contest with some cool stuff posted. There’s a presentation how saving electricity with your computer that is just great. I’ve talked to people about this before, but this entry is down to earth (!!), friendly, and very understandable.

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Posted in Energy, Environment, Geekstuff, Lifehacks | Leave a Comment »

Is Facebook Leading the Informality Charge?

Posted by telecommatt on July 22, 2007

We went to dinner with some friends last night. It was one of those things where we knew the girl organizing the evening, and a few others, and were introduced to others we’d never met before. My wife and had been there a few minutes when another girl walked in the door. As soon as my wife looked up, everything in the room stopped momentarily in the wake of one of those it’s-a-small-world-after-all moments. Turns out that the two had played high school volleyball together, but hadn’t seen each other in years. These sorts of moments can turn ugly rather quickly, but this one did not. We all had an awesome evening together and these two had a great time catching up on life, the universe, and everything.

Being a geek, what I found most interesting about the exchange was totally different. My (wonderful) wife understands the whole web 2.0 thing. She’s not tech-shy by any means. However, it doesn’t make her shiver with excitement like it does me. The other girl, it turns out, is much the same. Yet, during the first conversation these two had in almost a decade, the discussion turned to Facebook! Has Facebook really become so pervasive in our daily lives?

Aside from the fact that I’m getting rather tired of the whole Facebook thing, I’m completely amazed at the speed at which Facebook. along with other microblogging services like Twitter, have become mainstream. How long was it before Google became a verb? Suddenly, we don’t think twice when someone says they’ll tweet and Facebook someone. The adoption rate here is pretty much unprecedented. Facebook has entered the common vocabulary in what has to be near record time, if not faster. So, what does that mean for us?

The trends are pretty clear. Shorter communicae and shorter attentions spans. I can guarantee that there are people who won’t read past the first three lines of this post before their minds begin to wander. Some of this is good. Word efficiency is a valuable skill. I love the idea of the five line email. On the other hand, and my wife and I have discussed this a good deal, there is a culture of informality forming around applications like Facebook, IM, and SMS messenging. What will happen when this culture of informality bleeds into the formal world, aka the “real” world? College recruiters are already seeing evidence of this in entrance essays. The business world is seeing changes in what people are wearing to their interviews. Even my wife has noticed changes in the way clients interact with her on the phone. You have to wonder, where will it all end? And, perhaps more importantly, where do we want it to end?

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Posted in Geekstuff, Our World, Twitter | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft, Facebook, and the iPhone in a Blender

Posted by telecommatt on July 20, 2007

 

Actually, someone already did the iPhone in a blender thing. Pretty cool stuff! Anyone else getting tired of Facebook-this and Facebook-that? And rumor has it (Per episode 519 from dear old Buzz Out Loud) that Apple will be releasing something in September. My prediction:

The iFacebookphone!!!

Could Facebook Become The Next Microsoft?

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Posted in Geekstuff, OMG! | Leave a Comment »

Matt’s Cuppa Interviews Reactee

Posted by telecommatt on July 18, 2007

I’m sitting outside right now blogging in the sun, and, of course, wearing my Reactee. I love my WiFi, I love summer, and I love it when I get to review a product that I believe in. I first came across Reactee in a post from the MoMB website with a rather minimalist description: “Shirts that text you back.” I mentioned the Reactee website back in June and was super excited by what I saw. Now, after I’ve had a chance to see their product, try things out for a bit, and talk to some people, I can honestly say that Reactee is doing some great things.

Reactee Home

The concept behind Reactee is pretty straightforward. You go to their site and design a shirt with your message and a customized keyword. You type up a few sentences that you want someone to see when the text your keyword to 41411. I chose “I geek for you” with the keyword “egeek”. (Want to see how it works? Go ahead and give it a try by sending an SMS with the word egeek to 41411.) You can change this text as often as you like, and when someone texts your keyword you get a nice little SMS letting you know. You can check out what other users have come up with at the Reactee Gallery.

Just being out and about with my Reactee on has gotten some great responses. People come up and ask about it. If you’re using it to spread some sort of message, you really get responses on two levels. People see the shirt and text you, but they also come up and ask about it face to face. And the shirts look cool, too. I’m definitely not embarrassed to be seen in public wearing my Reactee. The shirts themselves are rather thin, but mine has survived my washing machine so I’m happy. The print has that stylish I’ve-had-this-forever faded look. (I love that! It’s carefully crafted to make it look like all you did to look this cool is throw on the first thing you found, when you know you picked your outfit the night before!) I was really impressed that the website has a handy little chart that helps you figure out what size to order, a killer feature since clothing sizes vary so much from vendor to vendor.

Being an environmentally concerned netizen, there are a few things Reactee is doing that I definitely applaud. Their shirts are manufactured in the United States, reducing the amount of carbon required to get the shirts from the manufacturer. (Reactee is a US-based company.) Their “natural” colored shirts are made from organic materials. The shirts are also printed using water-based inks. I think that every company has a responsibility to my children minimize the impact that they have on the planet, and I’m am very pleased that Reactee is stepping up.

Reacteeism

As I’ve said, the concept behind Reactee is straightforward. What excites me, however, is much broader in scope. SMS activism is changing the political and social landscape across the globe. From elections in Nigeria to chemical plants in China, we see the true power of SMS communication. Closer to home, we see something like Live Earth and wonder, “What do I do next?” Reactee encourages you to take your message to the streets and put a face to your cause. Sure, you’re just one person, but armed with a Reactee, just imagine what you could do!

I contacted Reactee asking if they had any interest in an article or an interview, and Ariel emailed me the very same day. After wearing my Reactee around for a while, and seeing the reactions it got, I couldn’t wait to hear Ariel’s thoughts on the questions I sent. As you can see, he got back to me with some great responses:

# I understand that Reactee is a partnership between TextMarks, Inc. and Revel Industries. Can you talk a little about this? How did it all begin? There always seems to be a great story behind a successful startup. What’s the Reactee story?

The initial idea was to offer shirts to TextMarks users as a way of promoting their keywords. The idea for focusing on the shirts as a standalone product came in a meeting I had with my friend Joe Greenstein (CEO of Flixster). We thought: why limit this product to people who already had a TextMark? Why not make an “interactive shirt” that anyone can use? As to the connection with Revel, I sent an email to the alumni list at Stanford Business School asking for suggestions on people familiar with the t-shirt industry – as I had little experience in it. Someone suggested Chris Gorog, the CEO of Revel Industries and a Stanford alum. We got together at hit it off.

# What about competition? Do you feel that there is competition in your market, or has Reactee created their own market niche? What’s in store for the future of your market space?

So far, we are the only ones offering interactive t-shirts. It is actually not that easy to make this product well. You have the text messaging infrastructure on one side, designing a shirt that balances aesthetics with functionality, making the shirts on demand with good quality, and then integrating the whole thing. As to the future, we are working on a number of features to make the shirts even more interactive and fun, we are also getting lots of requests from abroad, so we are looking into that.

# Define your audience. Who is the average person who will be wearing a Reactee? Do you see a future in individuals or groups? Or will you continue to cater to both? Is there a corporate interest in your product?

We are seeing interest (and orders) from several types of customers:

– Individuals with shirts such as “Think I Am Hot” or “Love Movies”

– Lots of small business, e.g., “Need a Realtor”, “French Lessons”, “Fitness Max”, “I Design Websites”

– Non profits, e.g., “Peace Now”, “Santa Barbara Symphony”, “Change the World with Tech”

– Corporations: we’ve gotten a number of large orders from corporations for promotions, internal events, and as gifts for employees.

# In the wake of financial scandals and more recent concerns over climate change, corporate values are becoming more and more of a deciding factor for today’s consumer. Are there any values that Reactee holds dear? Does Reactee find a way to give back to the community?

Lots of non-profit organizations are using Reactee to promote great causes. In addition to helping them with promotion, we share our revenues with them, helping them financially. And we donate free shirts to some small organizations. All of us involved with Reactee care deeply about our communities and individually each one is involved with more than one project. We are a very socially responsible company. For example, we use shirts that are made in the USA and print with environmentally friendly water-based ink.

# What’s the best thing about being a part of Reactee? What is it that makes you shiver with excitement when you’re telling someone about Reactee? Is there anything in particular that makes you get out of bed in the mornings?

The most fun aspect of Reactee is seeing the creative uses that our customers find for the shirts. I love going to ourgallery to see the latest shirts that our customers have built. I also love the fact that we are producing a physical good. While it sure is a LOT more work than when you are just selling “bits”, it is also a lot more satisfying when our customers receive their shirts and send us emails telling us how much they love them and how much their friends liked them.

I really want to thank Ariel for the thoughtful and thought-provoking answers, and also the Reactee team for putting together a great product. I love what you guys are doing, I love the fact that you’re environmentally conscious, and I’m totally excited by all the possibilities that are out there for anyone with a message and a mobile phone.

Posted in Fashion, Geekstuff, Green, Interviews, Social Web, web-based services, web2.0 | 5 Comments »

Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 04/01/2007

Posted by telecommatt on April 1, 2007

Workspace Launches Web-based Access to FTP

    Mashable is Hiring Writers

      Free CSS Editors : lxpages.com blog  Annotated

        We’ve come up with a list of FREE CSS Editors that you can work with to improve your website design with with CSS by wasting the least amount of time.

          tweako: digg-like tech site: etc: quick links to good stuff  Annotated

            tweako is a brand new, digg-like, user-powered site, and social network “serving guides, tutorials, and more in all categories of computing, technology, and the Internet.”

            Categories include gadgets, graphics, hacks, hardware, internet, linux, Mac/Apple, multimedia, networking, programming, software and windows , all in a digg-like

              Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), Geekstuff, web-based services, Webdev, Websites | Leave a Comment »

              Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 03/25/2007

              Posted by telecommatt on March 25, 2007

              Make your computer react when you leave and arrive – Lifehacker

              • You know you’re a geek when you think this is a cool as I do…
                – post by telecommatt

              ThinkingRock

              • This looks like a pretty sweet app for organizing your GTD self. I hate to limit myself to one location by dumping all my thoughts into one app, but I think that I am going to try this one out. The tutorials look pretty smooth too.
                – post by telecommatt

              Zoho Meeting – Web Conferencing

              Daily Cup of Tech » DCoT Helps Find Lost Child Annotated

              • This is a really cool story, if you’re a geek. Even if you’re not, it’s rather touching. Lost child + USB drive + security desk + computer = happy ending. Although it’s a bit troublesome to put together, I actually think that this little parenting hack is pretty cool!
                – post by telecommatt

              This little program saved my wife and I a lot of of grief and emotional trauma while on vacation. Read on.

              101 Shareware and Freeware Programs Every Nerd Needs | The Free Geek Annotated

              • Another list of software alternatives to expensive commercial products. There’s some pretty good stuff here. I’m starting to lean toward webapps rather than install something else on my PC’s harddrive, but I have to admit there’s some pretty good stuff here.
                – post by telecommatt

              101 Shareware and Freeware Programs Every Nerd Needs

              Gmail Craze: 30 + Tools and Hacks for Gmail » MakeUseOf.com

              Posted in Free/Open Source, Geekstuff, Google, GTD, Software, web-based services, Websites | 2 Comments »

              Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 03/22/2007

              Posted by telecommatt on March 22, 2007

              lyro your online business card

              Tutorz – Search of 9000+ tutors

              GigaOM » Will Skype save Nokia Internet Tablets?

              http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/careerist/27020

              http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2007/03/10/double-your-reading-rate

              Query Language Understood by SQLite

              PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts

              Practical PostgreSQL

              http://www.postgresql.org/files/documentation/books/aw_pgsql/aw_pgsql_book.sql

              PostgreSQL: Documentation: Manuals: PostgreSQL 8.2: PostgreSQL 8.2.3 Documentation

              Catalog of free database systems

              Oracle releases free database – Enterprise Java Software Developer Station – IndicThreads.com Annotated

              Oracle seems to have finally responded to the growing presence of free and open source databases in the small and mid-size segment. The Oracle site is now offering Oracle Database 10g Express Edition Beta Release for download on Windows and Linux.

              Posted in Finance, Free/Open Source, Geekstuff, Nokia770, Programming, Software, SQL, web-based services | Leave a Comment »

              Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 03/06/2007

              Posted by telecommatt on March 6, 2007

              http://ebookspyder.net/index.php/2007/03/03/ubuntu-linux-bible.html

              The Geek’s Guide to Getting Free Stuff | The Free Geek

              Posted in Ebooks, Finance, Geekstuff, Websites | Leave a Comment »