Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pizza really is a vegetable. Who knew?

I met with the people behind Growums today. A great company with great ideas looking for enthusiastic kids and parents who like the idea of growing what they eat. Plus, they have this great fundraiser for schools and other organizations. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


If you don't have Vooza, you're Radimparency impaired. That's just common sense.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Romney photo circulating Web just another fake

There's a photograph circulating the Web showing Presidential candidate Mitt Romney lining up his kids on a stage in t-shirts with large letters on them that are supposed to spell ROMNEY, but they're in the wrong order so they spell RMONEY.

People are having a good laugh circulating it around as the all-time worst Freudian slip. Another awkward moment for the clueless Republican candidate. How dumb can you be, to let something like that happen? What an epic fail!

The problem is that this photo is a photoshopped fake that was created by someone at the Democratic Underground Web site, which has been circulating spoof images that contain R-Money for a while now.

Of course, this is not the first time thousands of people shared a fake shot on their social networks believing, and asserting, that it was real. In 2008, I wrote about the same phenomenon when a photo was being circulated of Sarah Palin standing by a backyard pool in a stars and stripes bikini getting ready to fire off a shotgun.

So much for the self-editing, self-policing potential of social media. Sure, I'm writing this now, and it will be circulated among my friends. Fat lot of good that will do when I'm outnumbered a million to one by people who clearly left their bullshit detectors at home, or who may be aware it's a fake and would rather the truth fit their worldview.

As a cartoonist, I love a good spoof as much as anyone, but it should be cleared identified as one. Otherwise we all lose, and miss professional journalism all the more as it becomes increasingly irrelevant.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mass Media is Dead, What Now?

This is all I've been thinking about over the last few months: how to be the brightest wishing star in a universe where a new galaxy of content is spawned every day. Listen to what Gary Vaynerchuk has to say about it:

Actually, I think a cartoonist's skill set might be a real advantage; creating brief, concise, fearless statements that are saturated with irony and aimed at pushing emotional buttons.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The art of graphic seduction: logo design

In this day and age of $25 clip art and the ubiquitous sweep graphic, it pays to revisit what a logo is and does. This is a short, pretty basic but rather comprehensive piece on the subject.

To see some of my logo designs go here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Roberson takes artificial intelligence Further.

Further: Beyond the ThresholdFurther: Beyond the Threshold by Chris Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Found this book at a book sale, and it had a cover note from John Scalzi saying he'd been "reading Chris Roberson for years ... Welcome. Enjoy."

Well, I couldn't pass that up. And it turned out to be a great book.

I particularly liked Roberson's concept of the Human Entelechy that exists 12 thousand years in the future. Not only do AI's coexist with humans but so do uplifted apes, lions, killer whales and just about anything else, because sentience can inhabit any form — and for any of them not to be considered "human" would be discriminatory. This provides for some wild speculative fiction with interesting character interactions and fantastical imagery. Very fun reading. All the more so with Roberson's wit.

As the book progresses, it becomes more familiar. The plot and scenarios take on a Star Trek-like quality. Roberson's wit and some edgy villains are the only things that keep it fresh. Still, all in all, I liked it to the end, and agree with Scalzi. I'll read Roberson again; probably for years, and enjoy.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Wild West just got a little bit tamer.

California lawsuit changes Facebook's Like button policy and hamstrings the company's Sponsored Story advertising strategy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jonathan Ive: Thank you Steve Jobs

Jonathan Ive spoke of working with Steve Jobs during the Steve Jobs Celebration at Apple in October, 2011. Jobs once called Ives his spiritual partner, and it's easy to see why. There are some wonderful sentiments in this speech about the fragility of ideas, and making products that seem simple and inevitable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gary Vayner-chuks Common Business Sense Out the Window

Anyone who is trying to market a small or regional business and is not familiar with Gary Vaynerchuck's hour long, wildly profane, humorous and disconcerting keynote speech at the Inc. 500 5000 conference last December, should be. It's not for the faint of heart, closed of mind or delicate of ear, but it may just be key to you figuring out how to compete against overwhelming big box corporatism in an increasingly Attention Deficit Disorder afflicted world.

That's right. I said it's an hour long. Bookmark it. Find the time and watch the whole thing, because even the Q&A at the end is a wake-up call, and a clear indication of just how set in our ways we are.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Artist's Run-over Cat Drones On

This Dutch artist found his cat flat in the middle of the road and decided to save him for posterity ... as a helicopter. Now, not only is it dead, but it's viral.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Salesforce.com, Buddy Media deal has a lot of heart

The $800 million acquisition deal of Buddy Media by Salesforce.com is big any way you look at it; big in financial terms and big when you consider the implications of these two companies core marketing competencies combined into a single discipline. But arguably, the most compelling aspect of this event can be found in one personal story ... that of Buddy Media's CEO Mike Lazerow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy BoxsetThe Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My 27-year-old daughter passed The Hunger Games trilogy on to me and told me she thought I'd like them. I had seen some of the marketing for the film, so I was familiar with the title, but little else. By the time I was half way through the first chapter, I realized I was reading a YA book written for teenage girls. It didn't matter, I was already hooked by the story.

Suzanne Collins is a good writer. Real good. In fact, I'd go so far as to say she's a proper heir to Anne McCaffrey or André Norton. Her spare and straightforward sentence and paragraph construction is packed with subtle meaning, emotion and action.

Aside from simplicity of vocabulary the only other clue that these are YA books is the propensity by Katniss Everdeen, the 16-year-old girl protagonist, to be overwhelmed by emotion and want to shoulder the blame for everything that goes wrong. These scenes are awash with teen hormones but, instead of being a cliché, they ring very true.

I thoroughly enjoyed these books, perhaps volume one and three a bit more than two, and would recommend them to anyone of any age. In fact, if you are a local friend, I have three volumes I'll lend you.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Best Candidate You Never Heard Of

He's a character? The kind of character I'd like to see in the White House.

Saving The California Dream: Buddy Roemer: MyFoxLA.com

Learn more about Buddy Roemer on his Web site

If you like his positions, you can help make him the first Web nominated independent bi-partisan candidate for president at AmericansElect.org

Frankly, considering the mood of the country, I think somebody like him has a chance of winning, or at least pushing a reform mandate that will effect Congress in the following years — like Ross Perot did.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Friend Dahmer, seminal work for Backderf

A chronicle of Dahmer's slow descent
into madness

Somehow, I missed meeting John "Derf" Backderf when he worked for "a crappy daily rag" here in south Florida. But my editor at the Palm Beach Daily News (not the crappy rag) knew him at the time and thought we'd have a lot in common, so I became a facebook friend.

Looking at the disparity in practically every aspect of our editorial cartooning work, you'd be hard pressed to find something in common between us. He tends to be left of center politically, me right. By his own description, he's an "anti-social, post-punk dweeb." I predate punk and am not anti-social. The dweeb part, maybe. His "cranky scribblings" are stylistically opposite to my softer Mr. Bignose style. Frankly, I'm probably a better draftsman, but his work has more power, which means he's probably a better conceptualizer.

I get Backderf's work and I like it. The thing we have in common is that we are both preoccupied with exploring human nature above all else in our work. That's odd in the editorial cartooning world. Usually editorial cartoonists pick a political soap box and stay glued to it.

Now, this highly conceptual and powerful cartoonist who is a student of human nature has gone back to the well of his childhood and created a graphic novel about his high school friend Jeffrey Dahmer (true story). Based on the reviews he's getting, it's going to be a huge success.

I just ran across an interview with Derf, on comicbookresources.com. It's a good look inside the mind of an anti-social, post-punk dweeb cartoonist and also offers a great back story to the graphic novel, not to mention some interesting observations about Jeffrey Dahmer.

The interview can be found here.

Visit Backderf's Derf City Website for Derf City comics and other treats, including a preview of My Friend Dahmer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is a Network Effect Rocketing Apple to the Stratosphere?

One of the big goals of any social networking site is to create an environment that engenders a "network effect," where all the right design elements come into play to attract the attention of a diverse audience and leverage the global scale of the Internet to create exponential growth.

Example: Facebook's uncluttered design and sharing applications created a network effect that sent it racing past MySpace to become a virtual vortex for all social media.

I think we might be witnessing something tantamount to a network effect in business with Apple the last several months. Six weeks after a holiday season in which Apple racked up all time highs in iPhone and iPad sales, the company is seeing a continued surge in sales as friends and relatives come in contact with these devices and are seduced by Apple's form and fun factors.

My wife got her first iPhone (a 4S) over the holidays and she has fallen in love with it. Siri is like a new friend. A recent dinner party we went to turned into an iPhone seminar when all the women began comparing features and apps. She later felt like she needed to apologize to the host for waylaying the evening.

My daughter, who has been using Android phones for years looks at her mother's phone and says, "Wow."

Because the seemingly limitless functionality of the iOS was somewhat overwhelming, my wife decided to take a user's class at the local Apple store. The class began early in the morning, before the store opened to regular customers. When they opened the doors for regular business, she was there to witness a mob scene. There were no new product announcements, it was just a regular day of business.

Apple stores generate more sales per square foot than any other store in the world, and the company is building new ones around the world at an unprecedented rate. According to some data, average transactions at the Apple store have risen to between $280 and $380 dollars when new products are released. Their most profitable product is the iPad, which doubled in sales over the holidays.

Of course, that's just the result of Apple retail stores. Apple's online web store is the third largest behind Amazon and Staples according to a Forbes survey. Most iPhone sales take place through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. And the iPhone, iPad and iPods are also available in other retail outlets such as Best Buy and Target.

Apple computers are becoming a smaller and smaller slice of the Apple pie, yet Apple profits doubled in its latest report — iPhone 4S and iPad accounted for 72 percent of those profits.

Siri is obviously a game-changer. The artificially intelligent personal assistant software is both liberating and entertaining. It's the main ingredient driving iPhone 4S sales. Fifty percent of iPhone 4S buyers were upgrading from another iPhone. By including functionality like Siri in the iOS, Apple has created unprecedented brand loyalty in the cell phone market, where typically owners will upgrade to any phone that gives them the best bang for the buck with a new contract agreement.

Holiday sales weren't hurt by Blackberry's network flameout either. Blackberry users accounted for 25 percent of the iPhone 4S sales. Today, it was reported that Apple passed Samsung Electronics Co. in the fourth quarter to become the world’s biggest smartphone vendor.

The iPad is expected to get Siri when the next version is announced in March. So you can expect another stampede at Apple Stores.

But there's more. The death of Steve Jobs has brought worldwide attention to Apple's unique corporate culture. Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs has remained at or near the top of the New York Times best sellers list since its debut in late October 2011.

In the book, Isaacson clearly outlines how Job's philosophy created a design-predicated company culture that puts the goal of building absolutely perfect people-products ahead of profit motivations. This mandate for craftsmanship stands in revolutionary contrast to most corporate business practices, but it's becoming clear which philosophy customers respond to better.

The book raised some questions about how well Apple will be able to continue the magic with Jobs gone, but dispels any notion that Apple's industry-shaking success is a fluke. Even more so, the book makes it clear that Jobs focused the waning years of his life on leaving Apple with the right governance and a clear blueprint so that its unique business methodology would be his legacy to the world.

It's beginning to look like the convergence of all these elements might propel Apple into the business stratosphere at a jaw-dropping rate. Millions of shares of the stock were sold and bought at all time high prices within a few hours morning. The stock streaked past $525, gaining three percent and pulling the entire tech sector along with it.

Maybe a vision of Apple's future was what Steve Jobs saw on his deathbed, when his sister reported that his last words were, "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!"