An iPad in every…

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iPad Ship

We tend to deal more with hotels than cruise ships, and we’ve had more than one discussion about iPads in every guest room, but here’s a ship that will have iPads in every stateroom.

Royal Caribbean’s 2,074-passenger Splendour of the Seas is currently in dry dock being refurbished, and one of the new additions to the ship will be an iPad for every stateroom. The idea is to give guests a new way to get information. The daily Cruise Compass newsletter will be accessible from the iPad, providing a list of events and activities, personal daily itineraries, and shore excursions. Guests can also watch movies or surf the Internet. Want to look at a restaurant menu or check your ever-growing bar tab? There’s an iPad for that.

I’m a fan of the iPad and if they do it right, I can see it being a great interface to all of the information you may need on a cruise.

(Disclaimer: I’ve never been on a cruise, though I do own a canoe. And no, I’ve never taken the iPad with me on any canoe trips.)

November 28, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

Kickstart Your Ideas

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sensu brush

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a pretty amazing thing. It’s basically a web site that allows creatives to pitch their ideas, and for people to support those ideas with monetary pledges.

This is just a little bit revolutionary. Years ago if you wanted to record an album, or produce a film, you had to raise enough money up front to rent studio time and equipment, and pay for any expenses like a crew or consumables out of your own pocket. Now you can pitch your idea, and if enough people believe in it, they become stakeholders in making it happen. As the artist, you get the money only if you have enough backers to reach the goal. What is the goal? It’s the dollar amount that you set. And that’s the tricky part… determining what to ask for. Ask for too much, and if you don’t get enough backers to reach the goal, you get nothing. Ask for too little, and if you didn’t properly estimate the cost of your project, you may end up funding a good chunk of it yourself. (There are fees taken out of the total by Kickstarter, transaction agents, etc.)

There are also rewards. If you back the Sensu Brush at the $25 level, you actually get one of them, with the knowledge that the final product will probably cost $5 to $10 more. This is a great way to get people to back your project. Determining rewards at the various levels is another way to convince people to back your project, and the folks behind the Sensu Brush have done a good job. They were hoping to get $7,500 and are currently at $37,412. So well over 1,000 people thought this would make an awesome product and were willing to put down some money to make it happen.


But as we in the marketing world know, having a great idea is only part of the battle. You also need to tell people about your great idea, and then execute your great idea. That “tell people” part is called marketing. I’ve seen a lot of projects on Kickstarter, and one of the things I like to see is a good video that clearly explains things. Add to that a good title, descriptive text, images/photos, and any relevant links, and you’ve come much closer to getting my money.

Maybe it’s not surprising that designers on Kickstarter are doing pretty good. They tend to get the marketing part of it. Take a look at the design category and see if you find something you’d be willing to back…

October 10, 2011 · Posted by in art, design, marketing, web  


Our own Milwaukee County Zoo is in the news, for a unique program involving iPads and orangutans. See the story: These Orangutans Play with iPads

Sure, there’s still the hurdle of finding an orangutan-proof iPad case, but I wouldn’t worry… with all the iPad accessories on the market, it’ll probably be just a matter of time before someone comes out with one.

August 16, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

iPad 2

What’s that? The iPad 2 is coming? Hold on one second while I throw my original iPad into the nearest trash can…

I’m just kidding…

But sometimes, technology feels like it moves at warp speed, and for people (and companies!) that spend their hard earned dollars on hardware, it can be frustrating at times. But it should also be exciting. We should be happy that technology continues to improve while the price for said technology continues to decrease.

Here’s the thing… if you have an original iPad, it still does everything it did before the iPad 2 was announced. It still does everything it did when you bought it. The fact that a year after it was first available, there is a new one that is available, which is better, faster, stronger, lighter, prettier, has whiter teeth, and a camera, and another camera, shouldn’t bother you that much. If it does, then run out and buy an iPad 2, and either sell, give away, or find another use for your original iPad.

If you’ve got an iPad (and most of us at Z2 do) it’s still one of the best tablets out there! Almost every tablet computer released so far in 2011 are from companies who are trying to copy Apple’s success with the original iPad… Of course in the last year, Apple has improving on the iPad, and now the second revision is available, and those other companies have to start all over again.

Even if Apple puts out a new iPad every year that is dramatically better than the last one, you shouldn’t feel the need to consider the “old” one obsolete or useless. I’ve been working with computers for over 30 years, and I still find uses for “older” computers that aren’t up to the task of running the latest software. I usually consider it being “environmentally friendly” by way of recycling and trying not to just dump technology because something better, faster, stronger becomes available. It’s tough, because everyone wants the latest and greatest, but we also don’t want to overload the landfills with old computers because a “new one” came out. For any “old” technology you wish to get rid of, there’s someone who could really appreciate it… so consider donating it to someone in need.

What do you think? Has the technology treadmill got you down? How do you deal with it?

March 10, 2011 · Posted by in misc  


I’m a Make Magazine subscriber, and I enjoy getting each issue delivered to my doorstep, but one of the advantages of being a subscriber is also getting the digital edition, which is available online as well as a downloadable PDF file. I’ve viewed the PDF on my desktop, and my laptop, but the experience of reading it on the iPad is really good. Since I find myself doing so much reading on the iPad, having my favorite magazine there (the most recent issue, as well as back issues) is convenient, and provides a great user experience.

The experience of getting the digital edition of Make Magazine though, is nothing short of painful… Make (like many other magazines) provides it’s digital edition through a service called Coverleaf. The Coverleaf web site lets you read the magazines you subscribe to, including past issues-which is great-but I continually experience problems with the web site. For instance, I’ve tried reading an older issue of Make, only to be asked to login or verify my account every time I clicked to the next page (which doesn’t happen every time, but has happened more than once.) I’ve also tried to download files only to be greeted by a “The document you are looking for cannot be found” dialog box, and even though I’ve never sent a “clipping” to a friend, I get a repeated warning that says “Send to A Friend Limit Exceeded. You are only allowed to share access to an issue with 10 friends. You have reached the limit for this issue.”

So while we’re moving forward in making digital editions better, Coverleaf still has a long way to go in providing a good user experience. I’m thankful for the service they offer, but also know it could be so much better…

January 27, 2011 · Posted by in print