Crowdfunding: Pulling Back The Curtain Pt. 2

Are some crowdfunding sites a shell game?

I will gladly give you pizza in a few months for a $1 today.

I will gladly give you pizza in a few months for a $1 today.

With less than a few hours to go. My very first crowdfunding campaign has come to a finish.  As I mentioned last week in Part 1, crowdfunding is just as competitive as finding a job on the internet. Actually finding a job may be easier. You have to promote yourself, the product your selling, the sites your on, the plan, the goals, everything. It’s not like you can just post and everyone will beat down your doors to have your item. If it was that simple everyone would do it. It also doesn’t help if it’s not balanced and fair.

What’s The Shell Game…?

Some crowdfunding sites claim to have certain algorithms that are designed to keep it balanced. For instance, if you don’t maintain certain amounts by certain dates they will remove you from the listings. While this can increase exposure for those getting a lot of attention and slower product falls by the wayside, it’s not fair to those who are trying to gather speed. You’re basically racing against the clock, but the clock is rigged.  While they don’t remove you entirely from the site, they remove you out of site from the casual browser of new stuff. The only way for someone to find you is search for your name in most cases. Unless you directed that person via Twitter or Facebook your really out of luck.  I interviewed many sites who wish to remain anonymous, or off the record.

“After 4 days, a campaign must have raised at least $10.00 to be found in the browse pages. After 7 days, they must have raised at least $100.00 to be found in the browse pages, After 2 weeks, they must have raised a minimum of $500.00 to be found in the browse pages.”

This ultimately discourages many from making it to the top with some really good ideas. has this discouraged anyone? No! For a chance to get your product out in front of prospects? Are you crazy? It’s sales people! You take that chance and you jump out there with both fists and you sale, sale, sale!! It’s like the lottery, and you don’t see ticket sales drying up there do you? I think not. What is going to surpass Investor shares? Whats going to be the latest craze in finance? Tell us we want to hear!

 

Goodbye Google?

page-cannot-be-displayedSo what would happen if Google failed? Has anyone given this any thought? Imagine a world without Google and you will see a starkly different Internet. The loss of YouTube alone would cause the lose of thousands of countless jobs, revenue, taxes for countries, and really great video like cats jumping into fish tanks and countless car chase videos. The ad revenue that is coming from those little pop-ups, insertion commercials for Tide, and the phrase “What’s in Your Wallet? from Capital One, is staggering. Who or what is causing Google to slide into oblivion? You guessed it, Apple. Now I know what you going to say, Android is ten times better than iOS. That’s not what the article is about. Its about castrating search technology. Like in that movie when the good guy is talking crap about how they cheated death and then WHAM!! that tail from the dragon swings around and spears him through the chest. Ensign Google is wearing a Red shirt on the Internet away team and doesn’t know what that means. What is causing this amazing backdoor move? a smoke screen. Exactly the technology integrated into the Safari Browsers. Apple has sold 351,345,000 phones worldwide since Q3 of 2007. That means that the population of the United States either has an iPhone, handed down an iPhone to a child or relative, sold it to someone on eBay or another auction site. Think about that for a second. The whole population of the United States. Wow. Of course these are worldwide numbers, and not everyone in the United States has a phone, but Apple has sold that many. With the number of repair shops and screen fix it sites, even Best Buy fixes glass screens and Radio Shack you can imagine the staying power of the first and latest iPhones that still exist having been fixed or never broke. Now thats not including iPads, iPad minis, iPod Touches, iMacs, MacBooks, and all the windows users that have converted to using the Safari browser to link up their favorites and bookmarks that they have on there iOS devices. The cohesive Apple Universe has grown to staggering proportions and in one technological update of iOS6, Apple threw the Ace of Spades on the proverbial poker table and called Internet autonomy. This one move is causing the lights to slowly, painfully, go out at Google. It’s so slow in fact, it’s giving others competitors with unique forms of data gathering and mining room to move in, and take some thunder away from the once almighty Google. Haters can hate, but data doesn’t lie. As a famous stats guy once said, “In god we trust, all else bring data.”

iPhones have been given a leg up in the battle for phone superiority since day one. Steve Jobs made sure the micro-footprint of the phone didn’t falter performance, or quality. Made with the best parts on the planet, strong frame, aluminum milled parts, the iPhone is considered a great looking albeit premium priced that is valued and retains that value for that matter. It’s the difference between getting a Lexus and a Nissan. Yes, Samsung makes a great phone, but it’s still plastic. The first iPhones were aluminum and ABS plastic. Plastic so strong its used underground for water pressure. Gorilla Glass that exceeds strength testing over any other glass is a mainstay. It was groundbreaking and truly something of a work of art from the minds of Jony and Jobs.

So where is Google going? Well the road signs say down. Apple has configured a way to ignore the revenue system that is at the heart of Google. The only reason Google makes a profit is people pay Google to show the world their ads. With out that revenue stream Google will lose marketshare. If anyone finds out about this, especially large advertisement firms, and companies, then the shift to mobile is clear. What if Apple used its Universe power not to tell you where to find something like Google does, but to actually show you in a way that is available right now on your phone. What would you pay for that? You’re near a restaurant, it’s 6PM, Siri arranged for reservations for your family with timers to hold spots nearby, then tells you. What would you pay for that ease? Not waiting for you to search, but it knows through patterns that you are driving home from work, the house heating warms the house, and preps the lighting for home. Oh that’s already here.

Partner traffic is going dark because Apple is blocking the revenue sharing system that allows clicks to add up. WIthout it, companies will stop investing in Google Ads. This will ripple, and without an intervention, something is going to change. This is also happening now. Brutal wars are on the horizon. Two modern Goliath’s are going to meet on the playground and it’s going to get interesting.

Something different…

I usually write about technology, but I felt compelled to share something I really enjoy and that is music. Anyone that knows me knows that I am infatuated with music. I collect vinyl records, by the hundreds,buying 20 at a time, when I visit some old record store. My favorite of course is Armadillo Records in Davis, CA. They always have a great selection. I just finished listening to the new Aerosmith CD titled, Music from Another Dimension, on Spotify. It is really good. It’s a mix of old and new styles with that ripping good rock-n-roll sound, Tyler and company are known for. My second favorite track on the album is called Another Last Goodbye. After so many decades of making great music, it always surprises me when an artist brings me back. They take you on a great trip through their current mind. I love listening to a CD or record, from track 1 to the end. Usually the artist arranged the songs in a particular order. It’s that artistic endeavor that I love to hear. I want to hear what the artist had in mind for me when I bought the record. They obviously wanted me to hear each song in a particular order. Usually this means listening to the good and the bad, but this CD is great from beginning to end. several good ballads and even a couple anthems are in-store for the listener. the last track, Sunny Side of Love, is about the most familiar song on the album. When you listen to it you will know what I am talking about. It’s a great tune and happens to be my favorite.

Windows 8 is just Windows…

Well with all the hoopla that Redmond would have us believe. All the hype, all the screenshots. I must admit they had me fooled. I thought my Windows was gone. Thank you Microsoft, for leaving the Window wide open!! It’s nice to be back home because the Metro

 Windows 8 System Settings

Windows 8 System Settings

(call it what you want) interface is not as productive for the buisness PC user, as it is for a Surface user. It’s certainly not as elegant a solution as OSX’s Launchpad. Microsoft should have given people a choice before forcing a default tablet interface in place of the start menu. I am sure many a CIO cursed Microsoft, but I am here to tell everyone it’s all for not. Yes, you can certainly have back the corporate desktop environment. It’s just being snarky and hidden. Behold! The goodness, pay no attention to the Window behind the mask… move along…move along…these are not the icons you are looking for! I was able to get to the desktop fairly simple because the basic mechanics of Aero’s interface from Windows 7 is still the same. You can access the programs from a start menu. You can install the same Windows enhancements such as Roboform, and browser add-ons. You can even stick your My Computer to your new Start (Metro) interface (see below).

Desktop and Start Menu without the button!

It’s interesting why they didn’t choose to replace all the underpinnings with a more secure model. All your files and command prompts are available for the buggering by viruses. It’s as secure than Windows x.x. My favorite options are adding the normal desktop options to the new Desktop Start page as seen in the screenshots. Now its not only cool that you can now customize your new Windows 8 experience, but you can still access the Control Panel, install IIS 8 maybe, access the Administrator Tools, some very wicked new tools in the Control Panel, and even the Task Manager is cooler. All in all its shaping up to be a great Friday! Take a look at some of the screenshots. To get to this interface, launch the desktop from your Start Page, Open Internet Explorer, In the address field, type C:\Windows\Explorer.exe hit enter, choose Run from the security prompt and you are back in the back office of windows. The corner hotspots still work. It’s all smoke and mirrors magic! Check out more images.

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Verizon wins for best iPhone construction…

I really need to spin this off in to its own business. I tore down an AT&T iPhone4 in about 10 minutes the other day. It was rather easy after about 5 times. I can fix any part that breaks in any iPhone. That’s pretty cool really. Inside the iPhones, for those that have never done this before, is a land of miniaturization that rivals the best computers on the planet. The design of the inside of the iPhone4 is an art form. I must admit I am impressed. I must also say that contrary to what has been written before about he differences between an AT&T iPhone4 and a Verizon iPhone4; it is indeed different. The Verizon iPhone4 is put together much better underneath the monozygotic exterior because inside it really is a dizygotic interior. The screw locations are arranged differently, more solid, and reinforced on the Verizon, and the vibration motor does not rely on the ancient “off-balance motor concept vibrator” so famously put in items such as pagers, used on remote cars, and are just smaller versions of their toothbrush and vibrator cousins. (I had to put that in there… its funny, but true.) The motherboards are different and constructed differently inside the phone. The camera is connected better, lots of tension springs to create a snug environment. The speaker has better acoustic sound ports, the circuit boards are actually braced. About twice as many screws are used in the Verizon iPhone4 as the AT&T iPhone. I have taken both of them apart to repair the glass screens, LCD’s, and replace batteries; side by side it was much easier to take apart the AT&T version, than the Verizon. So… there you have it, the Verizon iPhone4 is better built. I said it. I let the cat out of the bag! Now the glass is also different on the iPhone4 than on the 3G and 3GS, but I will save that for another posting.

With over 300mil iOS devices annually…

Doing something about it should be lucrative. Hmmm… Startup??

New iOS app coming soon and Holiday Cheer!

We are in the process of creating a simple interactive ABC book for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch platforms. Original artwork is being created by hand which will be imported into Photoshop to create the interactive pieces for publishing with Kwiksher a very good rapid development tool for App Store apps. I am hoping for a submission to Apple by March so let’s keep our fingers crossed. If this all goes well, we are going to followup with a Russian and Spanish version.

Keeping in with this creative theme topic, the holidays are just around the corner. I would like to share with you a favorite dish we have served in our household for many decades. My late aunt Carolyn passed this little recipe on to me one Thanskgiving at her house. It’s stuffed celery but with an added item that I have never found in most dishes.

  • Several Bushels of Celery (adjust for qty)
  • 3 Boxes of Philly Creme Cheese. (make sure its Philly, it tastes better)
  • 1 half a jar of sliced Spanish Olives (with or without pimientos(love em))
  • Christopher Ranch chopped garlic, or Garlic Powder(chopped adds more crunch and flavor)
  • and the magic ingredient!! 3 tablespoons (or dollops in our family) of butter (NOT MARGARINE, YUCK!)
  • Mix all this together and spread onto your 3 inch sliced pieces of celery. Then chill for about an hour in the fridge till ready to serve to your guests.

Make plenty of these gems. They are great before, during, and days after the holiday meals. We often end up eating these from extra mixture in the fridge. The mixture will keep for several weeks sealed just like butter and cream cheese would. My aunt would love it if you made them for your family, then gave them all the recipe. It’s a tradition in our world to hand down recipes and information to our youth and fellow earthlings. I know I remember many times getting to spend wonderful moments of time with aunts and uncles. I am thankful for that time we spent. I hope everyone this holiday season can spend time with their favorite family member and build lifelong memories that you will cherish forever.

Happy Thanksgiving

iTunes Match can’t Match Spotify…yet

Simply put Spotify so far is the winner of the streaming music wars. Although I give it that Apples new iTunes Match service is just about ready for prime time ,and usually Apple comes out smelling like roses. But… I have to add this small bit. I enabled iTune Match on my Apple TV. Wow.. it works great. So far so good. The desktop is working as well.

I love Spotify.  I’m Swedish and Spotify is Swedish.  I love Apple.  I currently own one of every product Apple currently sells.  I find it hard to recommend a product that only half works.  Let me explain.  Apple’s iTunes Match software is based around the premise that you purchase music from the Apple, you own any music that you have on your hard drive, or currently from the CDs that you’ve purchased, honestly or physically own, you can then store up to 25,000 songs in the iCloud(doesn’t count against storage).  All this excitement can be yours for a paltry $24.99 a year.  It sounds like a bargain because really its not unless you are some pirate, or a ripping, crazy person who legitimately has 25,000 songs or about 2800 CDs (avg. 9 songs a CD).  Although, I do know a guy who has over 5000 CDs, many of which are stored inside boxes in his garage.  He is selling them now on Discogs and making a grand fortune, but we’re not all that lucky to have seen the future 10 years ago and started purchasing CDs for .25 cents at AM-PM bargain bins.  Alas, here we are today uploading our music that iTunes Match cannot find 1600 songs out of 3654.  iTunes Match uploads the remaining artwork and remaining songs to music it cannot find in its online catalog.  So let’s shimmy over to the Facebook/ Zuckerberg/Sean Parker/ Spotify camp co-owned by Sean Zuckerberg (typo??).  That integration costs money…  Don’t be fooled Mark is making bucks on the deal. Spotify has been called a cloud-based Winamp (WTF?) or iTunes playlist (Vomit) please, people.. please.. pull your headphones off and listen.  Spotify is it!  It is the it that Apple should ban from the iTunes store. I can get any music now for $9.99 a month or $120 a year essentially. I don’t have to wait… it’s on it.  It’s the Netflix of music services and its hot!!. Today on iTunes, several new CDs were released and I listened to all of them for my $9.99. I didn’t have to wait to have them download, or sync, or for a transaction to purchase. I got Justin Bieber’s new Christmas album for my daughter, Wale’s Ambition, Miranda Lambert’s Four the Record, Megadeth, U2 Deluxe, all of them for $9.99 a month in my playlist.  If I was to get iTunes Match I would still have to purchase that music for the right to have it physically.  Who cares?  Life is finite and you can’t take it with you.  I take my music in my car via my iPhone, and listen at work, its streaming from my account there. It’s great!!  So where was I… oh yes the songs that iTunes Match couldn’t find.  I searched the iTunes store and found them listed there.. some of them (12) that I searched for. (i’m not going to do that because I have Spotify!)  What’s up with that Apple?  (posted later) Apple fix it… I must admit it works as promised. (posted later)

 

… its been awhile

dog with head out the window

Time flies when you enjoying the ride.

Wow, the past few months have been a rush of time. Like sticking your head out of the car and feeling the wind blow your worries away. Many things have happened since I last posted on my blog. I bought, then remodeled a home, and I lost weight (15lbs and counting). In the world, a new iPhone was released, Steve Jobs died, all in the same week. iOS 5 was also released.  9/11 was celebrated with the finished Memorial Park in New York, and today October 20, 2011, the Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed. It was with such fanfare that has been going on in the world, as the U.S has struggled along with Europe to contain a rather large financial crisis that seems to be so interlocked its causing a slid of titanic proportions that many are not aware of what is really going on. I will not bore you with Macroeconomics, but lets just say its very bad and the U.S. is unable to push it faster away from their shores. 

On the technology front, I saw today the amazing and sexy Lytro camera. This camera has taken digital cameras and turned it on its ear. The ability to capture an image and refocus any part of the image is an amazing feature not to mention the 11 mega rays of light it captures to create amazing low light photos instantly with no worry about shutter speed or hesitation. At $399 fo the 8GB version you can take approximately 350 images. Check out the amazing gallery of photos  to see for yourself.  I am trying to get my hands on one of these beauties to take it through its paces. This camera can only get bigger, badder, and better as time goes on. Soon, I am sure they will be making seriously long 250mm versions for sports photography.

Many more items are coming to a post soon such as the Squareup Device and what it means for small businesses, Tax time, and maybe a movie review or two… stay tuned… and sorry for being gone for so long…

IOS 5 beta for 1st gen iPad… er slow

When iOS 5 was released last week, I was eager to load up my trusting developer iPad and take it for a spin. It was beautiful. I will say that I got rid of it after a day and happily went back to version 4.33. I took iOS 5 beta off because it was slooow on my 1st gen iPad. I mean wow slow and after restarting a few times it kept crashing apps. A testing buddy also experienced the same slowwy-goodness, but still is enjoying it not wanting to take it off just yet. Apps Crash! For those of you who don’t understand what an app crash on the iPad involves its rather painless. The app just quits, or goes to the background. If you double click on the command button you can see it still running in the background, but it just shut down. I love my iPad and go everywhere with it so don’t accuse me of being a hater, but I am not a fan-boy either. I’m just an avid Apple user that expects a great product to work consistently.

I realize that iOS is a beta product and yes, I can confirm it is really a beta product. Very few applications ran well on my first gen iPad with this iOS. I have the 64GB 3G model. It normally runs great and I look forward to the next iteration of the iOS 5 versions, but this is a huge slowness that hampers the running of products. Certain websites that are intensive with HTML5 elements just drop like flies, whole pages don’t load in the new Safari. The greatest part of iOS5 that worked without fail was the new iMessenger and the Alert system. Wow, what a great upgrade of those to systems. I was able to add outside email addresses and after a rather long 30-50 sec pause it was able to verify the address otherwise it just kicks a red exclamation up saying something to the effect of “try again!”

The new alert system works great when the unit is in lock mode, then when you want to act on an alert the lock slider is at the alert line and requests you key then goes straight to the item that was sending the alert. This feature is very convenient. The new feature that is very invasive is the slowness. If Apple can fix that then, I will go back to beta testing this next gen gem, but until then I will watch on the sidelines. Wish I could test it with an iPad 2, now that would be fun. Wait for the next beta release or brave it now. It’s really great, but slow.

iCloud is really interesting, but will get very interesting after iTunes Match gets added for testing. I will write more soon with some screenshots of the iPad iOS5 and iPhone iOS5 installation and setup. I will also cover the new iMessenger, and some pitfalls for Apples new iTunes Match… can you cheat the system finally?