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The New Creative Meeting Room

The ‘Cantina’, ‘Coruscant’, ‘Corellia’ or simply ‘Conference Room C’…it goes by many names so far, but it’s clevermethod’s new Creative Meeting Room (Facebook Photo Album).


click to see the full album on Facebook

It’s a beautiful sunlit space where we can have our brainstorming sessions, meetings & lunches (and a couple drinks from the beverage cooler).

  • The East facing wall is built from reclaimed wood paneling from Buffalo ReUse.
  • Creative work can be shared wirelessly with the team on the Apple-TV connected screen on the West wall.
  • Collaborative notes and ideas can be written on the large dry-erase surface on the North wall
  • Through the South wall we can enjoy the great view through the garage door converted into a glass panel wall.

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Where Generating Site Traffic & Business Cards Meet.

Sometimes generating site traffic is not about your blog posts, how much you post to social media or how much you pay for search ads – it’s about leaving a lasting impression that makes people curious, and gets them talking about your brand.

Read more below…

07 - Yoga Mat Business Card

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Interview with WGRZ Buffalo: “Heartbleed” Virus

Our interview last night with @WGRZ lets you know what steps to take to protect yourself from the #HeartbleedVirus:



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Automated Social Media Management vs. Manual – Which is Better?

Social Media Management is crucial part to generating site traffic and interacting with current and potential customers online. Everyone can agree to that. What everyone might not agree to though, is how it is done.

Some businesses see it as essential, but are comfortable with someone posting topics, links or announcements on the fly. Others would rather hire a devoted social media manager internally or contract out an agency for the job and not think about it at all. Others are some other combination. Regardless of who does it, there’s a plethora of options out there as to how to do it.

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Using Tumblr, GoDaddy & Subdomain Redirects: A Non-Techy Guide.

Forewarning: I’m not a developer or programmer…but I can troubleshoot my way through most issues.

I’m a business/marketing guy by my background and I’ve done a couple years of tech-support help desk – but that pretty much means Jack of All Trades, Master of None (or Few).

So, in trying some experiments with my own personal Tumblr blog, I came across some very annoying issues in setting up sub-domains, using Tumblr and…GoDaddy.

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New Domain Extensions are becoming Available Soon! You should ‘’…

Every business owner with an online presence should be aware of the coming Gold-Rush of “gTLD’s” or Generic Top Level Domains. These domains make websites even more personalized, focusing on highly specific names, products or services. Plus, they’re a lot more fun.



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Mobile Wars – ‘The New Niche’ | Emerging Diversity in Touch Screen Mobile Devices

A continuing blog series exploring portable & mobile tech, app development & how it all ties in with your smartphone, tablet, phablet, TV and more.


The New Niche.

Lenovo is one of the big electronics manufacturers working on ‘tabletop tablets’.
Tabletop Tablet makers are placing bets on these large to mid scale tablet concepts for what they see as the future mainly in gaming and business applications.

One feature that I think they’re missing (or at least that they haven’t showed us yet) is the value added benefit of having a larger screen, with all the bells & whistles of a handheld tablet – one that isn’t practical for carrying around, but one for keeping in the home and moving from room to room relatively easily to watch TV with. Having a large tablet that can do everything an iPad or Nexus 7 can do (but bigger) is only worth paying for with extra benefits – like being a fully-operational television.


Big Tablets & Small Black Boxes

Now, in all likelihood - don’t expect to see Apple releasing a 24” iPad TV anytime soon. However, it is interesting to think about in terms of application development possibilities and the industry opportunities that could follow. Roku is quickly becoming the go-to box for “cord-cutters” and that should have Apple’s attention – especially with the lack of real seriousness they’ve given to their own Apple TV line, referring to it as a “hobby” device.

Roku now has 700 channels available and are in talks with Time Warner to offer even more content. Roku also just upped the ante with the release of the newest set-top-box, the Roku 3. Additionally, Roku offers an open development environment which right now sort of feels like the ‘Wild-West’ – a somewhat disorganized and chaotic application environment that demands a lot of interest and know how from the end-user but allows for early adoption innovations from app developers for home theater. See Plex & VideoBuzz.



Roku: The Internet’s David to Big Cable’s Goliath?

This Just In…

Netflix just announced today ways to make it your own with Profiles! Netflix subscribers can now add up to 5 separate user profiles to each account. Not only does this further improve a widely used alternative-to-cable content delivery model – but it also opens up possibilities for multi-room or mobile options.

These options for viewing in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or even garage and backyards open up possibilities for tablets with different screen sized and possible increased sales of lightweight, highly portable flat screen televisions with ‘smart’ capabilities.

Possibilities seem endless, and this is just the beginning. Let us know what you think.

by ed santiago.


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Mobile Wars – The Phantom Cable Box: What Gigabit Internet Could Mean for App Development, TV & Mobile Tech


 A continuing blog series exploring portable & mobile tech, app development & how it all ties in with your smartphone, tablet, phablet, TV & more.


10,000 TV Channels and Nothing to Watch.

One thing preventing networks like AMC, History, etc. from publishing customized content, and really good quality content is the restrictive contracts they have with providers like Time Warner and Dish Network. If they want their programming played on millions of TV’s nationwide, they have to play by their rules. So, we end up with cable bundles with the option of 1,000 channels when we watch maybe only 20, and the other option for 10,000 channels (Note: Exaggeration).

Don’t worry though, there’s ‘Smart TV’ options that have become more common with brands like Vizio Internet Apps and Roku, but these options remain somewhat limited and fragmented with UI/UX experiences that are less that superb (Though, Roku just rolled out their new user interface). Even so, the Cable TV experience is still bundled and these ‘smart’ TV options are a separate entity. As the technology in bringing web-content to TV’s and TV content to mobile devices evolve, the merging of the worlds between mobile, TV and internet-only will eventually become indistinguishable.

Google Fiber has made it a point to go head to head with Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and Comcast mainly to disrupt the market. The ISP oligopoly tends to gouge consumers with some of the slowest broadband internet in the developed world at far too high of prices. Google Fiber intends to disrupt that status quo with a better product and better customer service. The below image provided by Engadget shows ISP Rankings:

Google Fiber tops list at fastest Netflix streaming.

It becomes very easy to see by now why US consumers put up with such low quality customer service and ISP standards – there are just not many options out there. Broadband internet and Cable television run on an outdated infrastructure. These corporate giants sit on profits, claim to be innovative, while agreeing to not compete with each other by assigning ‘territories’ – stagnating true technological innovation overall.

If the entire country had access to gigabit speed internet – what technological advancements would we have seen by now?

What the Gigabit?

So, now that we have so-called ‘smart TV’ options through Roku, Vizio, Boxee – the list goes on, and we now have Google Fiber leading the charge to make gigabit home networking a reality. There’s even gigabit internet competitors sprouting up around the country; Greenlight Networks is looking to setup in Rochester, NY. Vermont Telephone Company is setting up their own Fiber network. Both of these competitors claim to cost less than what Google Fiber is charging.

Alternative content delivery systems like Roku will be among the first to take advantage of the expanded capabilities because of their currently skyrocketing popularity and potentially mult-room use (Buying multiple Roku’s is relatively cheap compared to cable TV boxes – but each one streaming Netflix on one standard home WIFI network might slow things down quite a bit).

Internet sourced TV is a heavy focus in this blog series because of this reason. Companies like Boxee and Roku will be opening the door for bigger companies like Intel, Google and eventually Time Warner or Comcast to begin offering ala carte channel plans and more television based applications.

Why does this matter?

This is all great news. Why? A few reasons:

  • Jobs: these companies are creating new, high-tech jobs setting up these fiber optic networks
  • Competition: these companies are taking the risk that establish gigantic telcom’s won’t take, creating options for the consumer (looking at you Comcast and Time Warner Cable)
  • Innovation: more widespread gigabit networking means faster apps, more access to better content, and improved content delivery systems to any device connected

I’m sure there’s many more reasons why this is all great news, but one thing is for certain – gigabit internet is coming, and it will be expanding existing tech and possibly generating new tech, along with the application development opportunities that come with it all.

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Mobile Wars – Return of the….Pirates?

Mobile tech ‘Wars’ are ramping up and it is beginning to look like Size is the new weapon of choice. But as sizes increase and features vary – What new niche’s for innovation are out there? Also how will the networks all of these devices run on effect that innovation?

Let’s start the speculation in a series of posts that will explore the varying sizes of Smartphones, Tablets, TV’s, their uses and applications and the Internet capabilities and technologies that pump out seemingly infinite images of cats-in-boxes to all of those screens. Read on!

Piracy Problems

One of the most contentious and perhaps nonsensical practices of the past content providers and ISP’s cling onto is holding onto their content and ‘walled-gardens’ closely and colluding with complicit government agencies to punish copyright infringers in absurdly severe ways. In a very recent case, the US Supreme Court has denied a hearing for Jammie Thomas-Rasset (The Verge), a pretty much average suburban Mom who unwittingly shared only 24 songs on the now mega-obsolete Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network. This ‘win’ for the RIAA sets a frightening precedent, allowing them to hand over a bill to Rasset for the ridiculous amount of $222,000 – an amount which she says she will never afford to pay off, and will likely have to file bankruptcy over.

To contrast, Investors on Wall Street responsible for collapsing the US economy (Huffington Post) haven’t even been faced with penalties this severe (proportionally speaking). Why this case matters is because it not only sets a precedent for predatory copyright infringement lawsuits against people who would have to work multiple lifetimes to pay off, but it also stunts innovative growth and development.

Here’s how: Technology is evolving at a pace that current law may never be able to catch up to, and these laws are what the established industries operate on. The established ‘order of things’ is falling apart, in the digital sense – and their only recourse is to sue, rather than innovate.

Does Piracy Hurt Business?

Producers of the hit-television series “Game of Thrones” have acknowledged reports from TorrentFreak that the show is ‘the most pirated television show of 2012(TorrentFreak). Of course they’re not happy about this news, but they’ve also accepted it and moved on. Ultimately the show’s producers believe it helps to expand their viewer base. Interviewed by Game of Thrones Director, David Petrarca shrugged (SMH) off the news about the show’s high Piracy rate. He explains that shows like Game of Thrones only thrive because of the “cultural buzz”.

Which is likely true due to the fact that HBO has become notorious for closing off all sensible means of accessing their content, relying only on outdated (to most pirating viewers, obviously) form of content subscription: Get a TV, buy Cable, and buy the bundled package with HBO on it.

These are not the Pirates you’re looking for. SO MANY PUNS.

Even then, you won’t even be able to view it on mobile devices because that’s blocked off too. Fortunately for both viewers and HBO, they’ve loosened the grip a little bit and it wasn’t even until February of 2013 that HBO GO content became available on Apple TV (WebProNews)- however, there is yet to be an app that competes with Netflix or Amazon Video. Some progress is better than none.

At the end of the day, Game of Thrones’ high piracy rate is due to the fact that the show only airs on HBO – and the network has not granted anyone else the right to stream it, including competitor Netflix – and that is exactly how both HBO and David Petrarca want to keep it.

Piracy Solutions

The issue with that strategy is as I’ve mentioned: Not everyone owns a TV and not everyone that owns a TV buys Cable, and not everyone that buys Cable subscribes to HBO. The current subscription model is so fragmented and convoluted that to even watch Game of Thrones (along with other similar content), consumers have to buy a TV, buy a Cable or Dish service and then subscribe to HBO (if it is not already included in their plan).

Expecting millions of viewers to go through that many barriers of entry just to watch a popular TV show may work for Game of Thrones, but it won’t for every other show or movie out there, despite their popularity. This is why the show was the most pirated show of 2012 in all of the internet. 

The solutions begin to be as obvious as the problems with the current system, and major players in the industries are in fact working hard to make access more widely and cheaply available to paying customers. These efforts to improve the market will not only improve revenue and push innovation, but also reduce piracy.The ‘internet-famous’ Internet Entrepreneur and Developer behind the now shut down Megaupload and the new file-storage site Mega, “Kim Dotcom” popularly summed up this philosophy in one short & sweet message over Twitter:

[blackbirdpie url=""]

Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 7, 2013

In the very same week this article is being written, Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would end cable bundling and repeal blackout restrictions (CNET) for local sports teams using publicly funded stadiums. My guess is that his interests in doing this are more about getting to see his blacked out sports events and less about the best interest of the consumer. One of the perks of being a Senator?

Despite the motives of introducing this Bill, it means better choices for consumers which is good all together. More choices, and easier access to content lead to less Piracy. It’s as simple as that. Legislators and Corporations are starting to jump on board with the concept. If one other thing is for certain besides the consumer advantages, it’s the fact that this increasingly accessible content is more and more likely to be consumed on mobile devices.

To Be Continued… 

Next week, in our next installment of this series of posts exploring mobile tech, tablets, TV’s and the many variations of screens and how they can be used, we’ll discuss both the single greatest opportunity and obstacle in exploring these possibilities in full depth: Internet Service Providers. Stay tuned!

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Mobile Wars: The Internet Strikes Back

Mobile tech ‘Wars’ are ramping up and it is beginning to look like Size is the new weapon of choice. But as sizes increase and features vary – What new niche’s for innovation are out there? Also how will the networks all of these devices run on effect that innovation?

Let’s start the speculation in a series of posts that will explore the varying sizes of Smartphones, Tablets, TV’s, their uses and applications and the Internet capabilities and technologies that pump out seemingly infinite images of cats-in-boxes to all of those screens. Read on!

The Internet Strikes Back

Right now, the Roku Channel Store feels like a more organized version of what was available before the early versions of peer-to-peer sharing networks like Napster.  Napster was shut down around July, 2001 by the RIAA and other organizations due to rampant ‘copyright infringement’ while users defended their actions as just innocuous file sharing. Two years later in April 2003, the iTunes Store was born with great success mainly due to the demand for easily accessible, online music downloads for a low-price – a la carte. Eventually, iPod and app development were also swooped up and standardized by the Apple App Store launched in July 2008, forever changing the online download industry.

Everyone saw what the iTunes Store did for consumers with the introduction of a legal and easy way to purchase digital music; the illegal file sharing ‘rebellion’ became organized and legitimatized. Influences and presence can now be found in every mall and teenagers hands – what was once techy and nerdy are now easily accessible and profitable. Say what you will about the effect the Apple Store had on innovation but everyone can agree that it created an entirely new industry where almost anyone with the desire and capacity to learn could become the next business success story out of an app they developed on their spare time. It is easier and more likely than ever to develop an application independently and publish it to the App Store, and make bundles of cash – if you’re good enough at it.

iTunes TV?

A next logical step would be to shift this App Store model into the television universe. Even Apple’s own services for TV and Movie within the iTunes Store is sporadic, fractured and worst of all expensive – yet it is there and people continue to spend piles of casg in there.

Apple has made an art form out of universalizing and streamlining these ‘Wild West’ categories of innovation and technology and for better or worse it’s entirely realistic to envision a new development environment where Apps co-exist with content providers: Channels become Apps, Apps become Channels. They’re all available seamlessly on every mobile screen from your desktop or laptop, iPhone 5, to your iPad to your yet-to-exist 20” iPad TV or more likely 42” iTV’s.

Apple reaches 40 Billion App Store Downloads

At least a billion downloads are probably Angry Birds or Words With Friends.

Sure there are plenty of options out there besides Apple & Roku like Google TV, Android, Boxee, or the entirely custom & open source XBMC. The problem is, the average user looking for an alternative to traditional Cable or Satellite just don’t know anything about app development, coding or any of the other nerdy stuff required to use some of these products. Not to mention, the built-in services in so-called “Smart TV’s” are half-baked and not very intuitive for content streaming.

Right now Roku is the likeliest contender to cater to this mass-market, while something like XBMC is about the equivalent of strapping Mom & Dad into a Space X rocket and telling them to dock with the International Space Station – not going to happen. The easier these streaming boxes are to use, the more they will sell – and the greater the gains for application development and content providers for those widely available platforms.

People are looking for ways to save every dollar they can and ditching traditional Cable or Satellite television in favor of consolidated, on-demand streaming content (like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus for starters) looks better and better every day. Right now Roku is running full-sprint and doesn’t look like they’re going to get winded any time soon.

Easy wins are possible for everyone.

Ask almost anyone out there that subscribes to Cable from Time Warner or satellite TV from Dish Network if they’d prefer to pick & choose what channels they wanted only over a lumped-together package for 300 channels of which they only watch about 10. I’d bet lunch that most people would want the pay-per-channel model at a rate cheaper than what they’re paying for now. Business Insider reports that Intel is even about to unveil a pay-per-channel model that will supposedly ‘destroy’ the traditional cable model with much more affordable options from customized channel selection.

Intel Smart TV takes on Big Cable

The pay per channel model lets you pick & choose what you want to watch – filtering out all the other noise.

Even as this post is being written, Samsung is announcing what they call TV Discovery:

“The service, which can be used on Samsung’s mobile devices and smart TVs, searches for programming from various sources, including traditional live television, video-on-demand or online sites such as YouTube, according to a release.”

- Anita Li, Mashable

The added benefit of this model is content providers can create entirely new ‘Second-Screen’ viewing experiences – a concept which is quickly getting a lot of attention from both content providers and advertisers. The History Channel is a great example of how this can begin to happen: The History Channel app acts as a companion to traditional on-the-air scheduled content. This has the potential to go very far, especially for on demand content that Roku and Apple TV currently provide. This concept has become so popular by content providers, that the popular blog Mashable has a breadth of articles covering the topic. ‘Second Screen’ application development is becoming especially popular because of advertisers seeing another potentially fantastic space to place ads. As content providers and advertisers find new channels and modes to push their brands – so opens up the opportunities for strategists, software developers and more.

More to Come…

Next time, I’ll be continuing this discussion focusing on the issues of online content Piracy and user Privacy, how they’re related and how they affect the content you consume – and ways to get around content hurdles and piracy itself.

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