An Honest Truck…

My esteemed coauthor, Jeff LaMarche, made his way to New York City today to give a short iPhone development class at the SoHo Apple Store. He’ll be there starting at 6p Thursday night, so if you do read this on time, please do stop in and say hello.

Anyway, on the way over to the Apple Store, he snapped this picture:


For folks who don’t know, Deneen and I were fortunate enough to invest in Honest Tea back when it was very tiny. And now the company has a fleet of custom trucks. How cool is that? What I find the most amazing about the company is that even though they’ve gotten so large, their commitment to social responsibility remains unabated. Great group of people who continue to do everything they can to make the world a better place. You can read about them here. Be sure to check out the community link in the menu at the top.

Proud? You bet! :)

– Dave

Make Sure Your ID Matches Your Ticket…

The Transportation and Safety Administration is starting a program requiring the name on your government issued ID and the name on your airline ticket to match exactly. That means if your middle name is on your drivers license, it has to be on your ticket.

The program is known as Secure Flight. Here’s a link to the TSA website that discusses the program.

Here’s an article that discusses the program.

If you plan on flying, read both. Best to know about this stuff before you miss a flight because you didn’t follow the rules…

– Dave

The Everchanging Mall…

This article in the LA Times discusses the trend of pop-up stores. They’ve always been there during the holiday season, from calendar shops to ornament and decoration shops that have a lifespan of a few weeks to a month.

More and more retailers are trying this concept as a safe way to launch new concepts. They get large space for a fraction of the rent due to chain store closures and the desire of mall owners to keep their space full while they look for new anchor tenants. Rather than depend on a few large concepts for their revenues, the recession is driving large retailers to fractionalize their revenue generation, basically doing whatever it takes to bring in the money.

I’ve not take a hard look at the numbers, but seems to me there’s room for a small mall, anchored by restaurants, with a steadily rotating cast of pop-up shops. The pop-ups help keep the restaurants fresh, and the restaurants provide foot traffic for the pop-ups. Obviously, this concept really works during hard times and in locations with cheaper rents.

Just thinking out loud… :)

– Dave

What They Did Before They Became Big Companies…

Fascinating article lists 14 well known companies and tells what these companies did before they entered the business that made them household names. My favorite? Remember Coleco, then now-defunct makers of the ColecoVision video game system? They were originally a leather goods company and started out as the “Connecticut Leather Company”, later shortening that to CoLeCo. Cool, right?

What? You’ve never heard of ColecoVision? Here ya go

– Dave

Brilliant Beatles: Rock Band Article…

Dennis Maille sent me this link to a terrific piece in the August 11th New York Times about the making of The Beatles: Rock Band.

There’s just so much richness in this article. Stories about Giles Martin, son of George Martin, who brought the project together, albeit skeptically at first. Be sure to click on the multimedia links as well.

Thanks, Dennis!

– Dave

Author’s Guild vs. Google, Deadline Approaching…

Are you a published author? If so, you may have received a notice regarding the landmark lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google (famous for adopting the Hippocratic Rule, “First, do no harm” as their motto – I’ve always liked that).

In a nutshell, Google contracted with a number of universities, including the University Library of the University of Michigan, to digitally scan and create a searchable index of a subset of the books in their collection. Sounds cool, right?

The problem is, suppose you are an author of books in that collection. If Google makes the entire collection available on-line, your ability to make money from those books is gone. Thus, the lawsuit.

If you are a published author and are affected by this, you should have received received a rightsholders notice describing the lawsuit and giving you a chance to opt out so you could pursue your own claim against the company. The original notices were mailed out on January 5th, 2009.

The deadline for opting out is coming up fast. The last opt-out day os September 4th, 2009.

Me, I’ve got a number of books in the settlement and I’m staying in. First, I am a fan of Google and I believe in what they are doing. I generally don’t write for the money, and the books in question are old books that I am more than happy to share with the universe.

That said, there are plenty of folks who feel differently. Plenty. If you are on the fence, or just plain interested, here are some things to look at.

Here’s a link to the Author’s Guild resource page, a collection of links relevant to this lawsuit.

Here’s a link to the settlement agreement.

And, finally, here’s a link to Roy Blount, Jr.’s message to the Author’s Guild membership. Roy is the president of the Author’s Guild.

Interesting, no?

– Dave

Microsoft to Give Away Web-based Office 2010 For Free…

From my buddy, David Sobsey. Yes, you heard that right, Microsoft is putting out a free version of Office 2010, designed to go head-to-head against the free doc-editing web-based suites put out by folks like Google, Zoho and SlideShare.

Lest you think this is total insanity, Microsoft is not abandoning the dollar or their $20 billion Office biz. The web version of Office 2010 is free, the locally installable version is not. Very interesting strategy.

Article here.

– Dave