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design

Rethinking your digital experience strategy. Is it irrational enough?

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Rethinking your digital experience strategy. Is it irrational enough?

Amy holds a block. She joins it to another block. And then another, and another. But she’s not playing with blocks. She’s building a castle. And she’s building a kingdom. Her kingdom. She and her friends are connecting one kingdom to another, bridged by train tracks split in two by a magical redwood tree. Two sheep wait in the tree’s branches. One schemes to prevent visitors from proceeding to the other side. The other waits to hear the secret password – a message hidden back along the tracks can help them figure it out. Someone is piling sheep wool underneath the tracks because once visitors say the right thing, the good sheep will tell them to jump. A soft landing and more instructions await.

Amy and her friends are playing in the imaginary world of Minecraft.

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Kiwi-Crate Rocks

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Kiwi-Crate Rocks

As you well know by now I way in to all kinds of innovation when it comes to kids education and entertainment. So I was pretty stoked to find KiwiCrate recently. For $19.95 a month (includes shipping), KiwiCrate will send you an age-appropriate craft project for your child complete with all the materials and detailed instructions. The crafts are developed by a panel of experts in child development, science, art, and education and tested by the ultimate experts: real kids.

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shameless self-promotion: Tegu is LIVE!

 

Hey! Thought I’d take a quick moment to introduce you to a pet project of mine.

Meet Tegu. A startup Toy Company that I have been involved with since 2010. Tegu “the blocks that click” are green, sustainable, beautifully design pieces of art - loaded up with magnets inside. They are unassumingly cool and once you pick them up you can’t put them down. Tegu LIVE is the first outcome of our journey together as business partners.

Think of it as an online playmate and owner’s manual. Full of ideas and instruction to inspire you to create with Tegu. Having given the block to my boys, I can attest to their quality and beauty. But I can also attest to how challenging they can be! Tegu LIVE aims at helping people through the learning and creation process by making the entire think interactive.

Would love your thoughts. There’s quite an operation behind the scenes at POKE making it all happen. Stop by sometime and we’ll show you!

- Tom

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mercedes gets it: simple smart and social service augmentation

Mercedes-Benz just announced a new app that connects its in-car navigation systems with its customers’ iPhones. Mbrace version 2.0 still lets drivers unlock their vehicles and, more importantly, find it in a crowded parking lot while adding location-based personal assistance ranging from entertainment, restaurant, directions, and traffic updates via Mercedes-Benz’s Concierge service — assuming you’re are an mbrace PLUS customer. Destination information is then fired off directly to your in-vehicle navigation system to get you there. The updated app also includes enhanced Roadside Assistance that transmits the driver’s location whenever a call is initiated.

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Ideas are easy. Realizing one isn't.

Looks like someone shares our philosophy. Honored that its Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame.) :D

“You’d be hard pressed to come up with an idea so bad that it couldn’t succeed with the right execution. And it would be even harder to imagine a great idea that couldn’t fail if the execution were left to morons.


Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything.”

— Scott Adams

Amen Scott. Amen.

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the stats behind the interweb's number 1 business

Hokay folks. This time we’re looking at the internet’s biggest business: Pornography. Special thanks to these guys for passing it along.


There’s an old anecdote about the most interesting technological advances and creative ideas happen in online pornography first. There’s a reason for that - the numbers are staggering! It has been traded online since the 1980’s, even in the form of ASCII art, and then, with the rise of the world wide web in the 1990’s, adult webistes began springing up everywhere.

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the coolest thing you have ever seen in your entire life. period.

OK, bold headline. But holy shit balls this is awesome. Meet “A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter (2009) - Caleb Larsen”.

What is it you ask? A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter by Caleb Larsen is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself on eBay. Here is the ebay auction, the current bid is $4,250. Yep.

Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.

Rad, right? If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.

I’m seriously going to be thinking about how awesome this is all day. And now you are too.

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if I can dream (big)

Yay! The folks at Mashable covered If I Can Dream again today. Pretty sweet since we’re so close to launch. (It’s set to premiere on March 2 on Hulu and IfICanDream.com.) See the latest teaser video below. 

For those that haven’t gotten the low-down yet, If I Can Dream is a live, made-for-web TV experiment — that will use Hulu as the “Television Network”, will be broadast live 24/7 at IfICanDream.com, and follow the lives of five young people – a musician, an actor, two actresses and a model – as they leave their hometowns and live together high up in Hollywood Hills – and go on their journey to stardom as their journey is documented across the Internet via Twitter, MySpace Hulu, etc.

Full disclosure this little labor of love is the baby of my little nerd tank POKE.

some great comments from mashable below

The show — with new episodes released every week — will take a reality-esque look at the lives of five aspiring artists who are trying to make it in Hollywood. A sneak peek of the episode can be seen below.

What’s especially interesting about If I Can Dream is not just the fact that it sprung from Hulu (a website) and Simon Fuller (of traditional TV fame), but that the content and format seem much more broadcast-like than typical web/TV shows.

Essentially the series has all the ingredients of a network television show, but an entirely different and experimental distribution model. It appears as if the basic premise being tested is whether or not the web as a platform can syndicate and distribute highly produced content and churn out a hit show without broadcast as a medium. Although we’ve seen web TV shows make their marks in the entertainment industry — The Guild comes to mind — we’ve yet to see this exact formula tested online. So the real question is: Can this formula pump out a hit show on the same level as a hit TV show?

Good question Jennifer. I confidently say from everyone back at POKE, we sure hope so. In a world where Hulu and Boxee are about to explode…it seems like a great wager to make. Wouldn’t you say? 

Readers, what say you?

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everything you (don't) want(ed) to know about the academy awards in one tidy infographic

Those of you who have been follwing for a while know I have a penchant for beautiful infographics. I post them here. Tweet about them. There is nary a subject that can’t be celebrated, made fun of, or demystified with a great infographic. Apparently, even The Red Carpet cant escape the keen eye of the designer.

Thanks to this guy for posting it.

The Academy Awards are one of the most celebrated awards shows in the world. From red carpets to the latest fashion, the Oscars are about so much more than movies. But what does it really mean to put on a show like the Academy Awards? What kind of money goes into them, and what really happens to stars’ careers after they win an Oscar? Here’s a numerical look at how much the Academy Awards cost, who wins, and what winning might mean for an actor’s career.

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muji + legos = Bob The Sculptor

Is your kid more like more like Paul Teutul than Bob the Builder? Then peep this.

From Today and Tomorrow: The Japanese retail brand MUJI and LEGO teamed up to develop a set of 4 different boxes. Inside those boxes you’ll find the classic LEGO bricks but also a few sheets of paper. No big deal. But when you also have the right punch hole tool, you can combine both to create something new. I really like this concept. You can order a set here (when you speak sone Japanese).

Flippin’ sweet.

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boxee in the man cave!


I got a bit tired of my Apple TV last year and decided to hack the Boxee Beta onto it (among other things). The promise of a Boxee set-top box was amazing. I had played with the app on my computer for some time, and it worked fairly well when I installed it on my laptop. I figured the jump to Apple TV would be just as good an experience. Nope. Well, maybe that’s too harsh. It worked pretty well at first. But over time it became sluggish, unresponsive, and would crash more than actually do what it was supposed to. Par for the course for Beta stuff, I suppose.

All in all, though it was a great conversation piece in the home, and really demonstrated for me how close we really are to completely transitioning from clips on your ‘puter to clips wherever you want them. Then YESTERDAY I got fed up enough with it crashing, etc I decided to reset my Apple TV and updated it to the latest Apple firmware. I gotta say - I love it all over again. It’s not quite Boxee, but I seriously love my Apple TV. Good news!

better news

Holy shit balls, look at this little gift from our friends at Boxee. A clever, handsome, useful piece of hardware that promises to work just like the Boxee app (and then some).

Getting the awesome web-to-TV software, set up in your living room used to be a headache if not disfunctional. Not anymore thanks to the Boxee Box (around $200; Q1 2010). This angled wonder lets you consume all the free movies, TV shows and music from the internet, all from your couch — and hooks it up to your system with just a single HDMI cable. Like the standard Boxee software, it also sucks in your own videos, music and photos, playing just about any media format that still resides on your broken down laptop. I’m in. Santa, you listening?

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High-Definition, redefined.

This made me feel like I was in Kindergarten all over again. It’s simply incredible how a familiar sight, sound, or even smell can throw you back to a place you haven’t been for 30 years.

The infamous original PBS logo (circa October 1971 - June 1984) could be one of the scariest logo/bumpers in the history of television. This was one of the major symbols of my childhood. I remember its startlingly primitive animation and frightening moog synthesizer tones slightly unnerving me whenever I saw it. I can recall wanting to “hang on” and force myslef to last all of 5-10 seconds longer because something great like 3-2-1 Contact / “The Bloodhound Gang” or “The Great Space Coaster” was just around the corner. Even now I still have a visceral reaction to it. Those sounds stimulate brain cells that have been dormant for many years. Amazing.

(For those of you guys who ran to the closet whenever this logo came on as a child, please watch at your own risk.) Enjoi. :D

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