Monthly Archives: March 2012
There is an app for that! Well we have heard that many times. In the Apple app store there are now over 500,000 apps. Enter the App Store and you will find apps in many categories such as games, lifestyle, social networking, productivity, education and many, many more. Many of the apps are free, but these apps come with the ever present advertising, which I find annoying. If you have the $0.99 or the $1.99 pony it up to eliminate this clutter. For those of you with Android phones, there are now over 415,000 apps in that store as well.
The app market is big and getting bigger everyday. The market size now exceeds $10 billion and is growing at 100+% per year. Nice.
And games like Angry Birds are just amazing with regard to the shear number of downloads and people playing. Angry Birds has been downloaded 600,000,000 times. Hey Mario, we hardly knew ya.
When it comes to growing really fast though, we are watching a new app called Draw Something growing at a rate that may be unprecedented. If you do not know what Draw Something is, ask your kids because they are likely playing it. Draw Something is a highly addictive social drawing game available for Apple iOS and Android Devices. You draw and guess words, play cooperatively with friends or competitively with rivals. How fast is this growing? Draw Something launched in February. Here are the statistics in 6 weeks:
- Number 1 app in 80 countries
- Downloaded more than 20,000,000 times
- Generates $100,000+ in revenue per day
- Has 12+ million users per day
Now for some staggering statistics about Draw Something:
- AOL – 9 years to get to 1 million users
- Facebook – 9 months to get to 1 million users
- Draw Something – 9 days
Check out the video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rCoRZbyLWE
Download the app and have some fun!
Enjoy the weekend.
…….has now been changed to An Apple per Household (Not there yet but well on our way)
The average US household owns some 1.6 Apple devices. How many are in your home?
The Webman’s household has 8 Apple devices. I get the feeling that this chart will soon look much different
Enjoy the day.
Don't you know the utility rate is going up, up, up, up, up (Crime changed to utility) To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough! You got rats on the west side Bed bugs uptown What a mess this town's in tatters I've been shattered My brain's been battered, splattered all over Manhattan Uh-huh, this town's full of money grabbers Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots, huh Shadoobie, my brain's been battered My friends they come around they Flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter Pile it up, pile it high on the platter Shattered - The Rolling Stones As with all costs in our lives, today's blog will focus on the rising costs of our utility bills. The Department of Energy reports that electricity usage is 13x what is was in 1950. Our consumption is also expected to rise meteorically over the next two decades as our lives become more connected to smartphones, electric cars and the like. Oh and by the way the cost of electricity is also on the rise. These days, in developed countries like the United States, the average household has about 35 electrical appliances and the average annual cost of using these appliances is about $1,100. If you live in a state where electricity is expensive, that annual price tag goes up to about $1,600 a year. In five years, you'll pay somewhere between $1,300 and $1,900 a year to use your fleet of devices, and that's only if you don't buy anything new to plug in between now and then, including a car. Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate, a USA TODAY analysis of government data found. The jump has added about $300 a year to what households pay for electricity. That's the largest sustained increase since a run-up in electricity prices during the 1970s. Electricity is consuming a greater share of Americans' after-tax income than at any time since 1996 — about $1.50 of every $100 in income at a time when income growth has stagnated, a USA TODAY analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data found. More information at: http://www.electricchoice.com/electricity-prices-by-state.php So what are some things you can do to reduce your costs: 1. Turn off your appliances when not in use. Especially all those computers and entertainment products 2. Use power strips 3. Turn out the lights 4. Take shorter showers 5. Use dishwasher only when full Enjoy the day. Webman
Catstalgia huh? What is that Webman? New word created just for you. It means a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to Saturday morning cartoons, to awesome cats before YouTube cats, to our family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the catiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his or her days with cool cartoon cats.
Where did this come from? One of those inspirations that just takes over I say. Watching the NCAA basketball tournament and I see a commercial with many of the classic cartoon characters that many of us grew up with. I am talking the classics here – Bugs, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Speed Racer, The Roadrunner and Colonel Bleep. Who remembers Colonel Bleep? Here is a little Bleep trivia for you – Colonel Bleep was the first color cartoon ever made for television.
Enough about the colonel as this blog is about Catstalgia. Here are 2 of my favorite cartoon cats:
- Courageous Cat – The protector of Empire City. When fighting bad guys, Courageous Cat would use all-purpose Cat Gun or a vast variety of different deus ex machina “trick guns” he pulls out of his cape that, like Green Arrow‘s trick arrows, fire whatever the situation requires like a rope, some water, a parachute, cages, boxing gloves, lightning-like magnetic rays, or even more bizarre ammunition and even the occasional actual bullet (in case of emergency Courageous also has extra pre-James Bond secret gadgets hidden in his belt buckle and the star emblem on his chest).
- Minute Mouse – Courageous Cat’s rodent sidekick.
- The Chief – Canine chief of police who calls in the “furry foes of felony” via the Cat Signal.
- Marilyn Mouse – Minute’s movie star girlfriend.
- Sassy Bones – A blond mouse who is a chanteuse at nightclub called The Pad who Rodney Rodent is enamored with
- Periscope Pete – A living, breathing periscope with a bush for a body.
- Top Cat - Top Cat (or TC) is the yellow furred, greedy, somewhat lazy and clever main character. He wears a purple hat and vest. He often rips off and/or tricks his gang and Officer Dibble.
- Benny – Benny is TC’s right-hand man. He is short, innocent, chubby, naive and cute. A blue-coloured cat with a white sweater that fastens with a single button at his neck.
- Choo Choo – Choo-Choo, nicknamed Chooch to TC and the gang, is enthusiastic and devoted to TC even when he’s clueless as to what he’s doing. He is a pink cat with a white long-sleeve turtle-neck shirt, he is the tallest of the alley gang cats and often is depicted with the eyes of a Siamese cat.
- Brain – Brain appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. Contrary to his name (which appears to have been given in jest or sarcasm), Brain is the dim-witted member of the alley gang, an orange cat with a violet T-Shirt with a black line.
- Fancy Fancy – Fancy-Fancy also appears to be a common henchman to Top Cat. He is laid-back, sweet-talking and is regularly seen chatting up the ladies before leaving them when hearing the ‘dustbin lid call’.
- Spook – Spook is one of the most streetwise members of the gang. When he talks, a torrent of “like”‘s are used. He is similar to Fancy-Fancy in demeanor and appearance, a sweet talking cat whose vernacular is based on that of a beatnik.
- Officer Dibble – Officer Dibble is an NYPD Policeman whose beat includes the alley. His full name is discovered in the episode “Dibble Breaks The Record” which is Officer Charlie Dibble.
A few more that we will cover in follow-up blogs soon. If you have any favorite cartoon cats or other characters to remember send them along. Wikopedia is very helpful for this type of research
Are You Frugal? Have you changed your behavior?
The recession changed us. So much of what we built financially over the previous decade was erased in just a couple of weeks. IRA’s values were cut in half. Jobs were lost. Housing values were pummeled and continue to struggle mightily. Banks stopped lending and getting credit has become difficult to obtain. Our global economy continues to pose significant challenges and our nations debt now exceeds $15 trillion dollars. A huge number.
Even though our government continues to pile on the debt, the American consumer has modified their behavior considerably. Here are some awesome stats:
- In 2010, we redeemed 3.3 billion coupons and saved $3.7 billion
- Coupon usage has increase by 20% over the last 5 years
- 30,000 daily deals are available on over 650 sites everyday
- 1 in 6 Americans use daily deal sites regularly
- Groupon and Living Social have 125MM subscribers
- We drove over 3 trillion miles in 2010, less than we did in 2006
- 44% more Americans shop at bulk grocery stores
- 75% of grocery shoppers now use grocery lists to keep track of spending versus 45% in 2008
- Savings rates are 4 times higher than 2005
- Even if they won the lottery, 96% of people questioned would still use coupons
The infographics that include these statistics can be found at:
Americans have modified their behavior considerably based on the reality of our times. Maybe our government will learn something from the people that elect them.
R U Fru? BFRU?
Enjoy the weekend.
Certainly feels like summer here in the Boston area. Thermometer topped 80 degrees yesterday and the forecast for today is for temperatures to be in the 85 degree range. We will definitely set a record. Buds are on the trees and I saw a number of tulip trees blooming yesterday. A bit early for that.
With summer either here or just around the corner on the calendar, today’s blog is about gasoline pricing and the impact it has across our country. Trips for the summer are being planned and the cost of gasoline might just influence how many miles people travel from home this summer. With prices creeping up into the $4 range, and the potential for even more increases, here is a look at how gas prices impact everyone in the US. Thanks to folks at Mint.com and API for the awesome graphics.
Here are the average gas prices this month across the US, the percent of state income that gasoline purchases represent over the course of a year and the taxes per gallon per state.
Get your bicycles out!
I have written about the iPad a number of times. One of my followers, Michael, is considering taking the plunge and buying a tablet. He wanted to know the differences between an iPad and a Kindle. So here we go Michael. Not that I am trying to influence you in any way but Apple sold about a gagillion new iPads since the new one launched. Not that I am trying to pressure you in any way or influence your decision
Headline – Two completely different products. The new iPad with it’s coolness factor, new retina display, apps, and overall capabilities including as a reading device, etc. is a game changer but not as friendly to your budget while the Kindle Fire is more budget-friendly and primarily serves as a reading device. So let’s take a look at the various factors to consider when you’re looking for your next tablet:
Media Content and Reading Experience
Both the new iPad and the Kindle Fire offer awesome content.
Amazon offers more than 100,000 movies and TV shows to rent or buy, and Amazon Prime users can access unlimited free streaming for over 10,000 titles; Apple offers no such program. The iTunes store has more than 15,000 movies and 90,000 TV episodes. Both Amazon and Apple tout music collections nearing 20 million songs. Impressive.
When it comes to the music, Apple has the benefit of iTunes, with special features like Genius and iTunes Match. Amazon allows a little more breathing room for playback on other devices; from phones to other tablets to internet-enabled TVs. Apple is more restrictive, limiting media to its own devices.
Then there are books, newspapers, and magazines. Amazon’s selection is superior, but since you can get the Kindle App for your iPad, there really is no advantage there. The iPad retina display, with its 264 pixels per inch, game changer and not on the Fire
A quick summary for you:
The iPad offers 4G LTE connectivity. Both access all wireless hot spots of course so you need to decide if you want the data plan on the iPad as this will add additional costs
If you want your new tablet to replace your digital camera, then the iPad’s new 5-megapixel camera will be a big factor. No camera on The Kindle Fire. Battery life will likely be longer on the iPad too, but that’s because it’s a bigger tablet that can house a bigger battery.
Pricing and Value
The Kindle Fire costs $199, while the entry level 16GB iPad will cost $499. If your intentions are purely casual, like light Web browsing, email, and Angry Birds, then the Kindle Fire will likely suffice. But if you want your tablet to replace your laptop, or at least come close, the iPad is more powerful, feature rich, and offers a superior, tablet-optimized app selection.
Both great products. Time to decide which one is right for you.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation. Sabermetrics is defined as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”
The central premise of Moneyball is that the collected wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managers, coaches, scouts, and the front office) over the past century is subjective and often flawed. Statistics such as stolen bases, runs batted in, and batting average, typically used to gauge players, are relics of a 19th century view of the game and the statistics that were available at the time. The Oakland A’s’ front office took advantage of more analytical gauges of player performance to field a team that could compete successfully against richer competitors in Major League Baseball. Big city teams such as the NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the NY Mets have consistently outspent small market teams over the years. Oakland has been quite successful with this new strategy and many other teams have now adopted this analytical approach to measuring the impact a player can have on the team.
Major League Baseball (MLB) measures the average cost of attending a game as something called FCI, the Family Cost Index. The Fan Cost Index™ comprises the prices of four (4) adult average-price tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular-size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
It is quite expensive for a family of 4 to attend a game. The MLB average Family Cost Index in 2011 was $197.35. The most expensive FCI’s in the league are the Boston Red Sox at $339.01, the NY Yankees at $338.32 and the Chicago Cubs at $305.60. The least expensive FCI’s are the Arizona Diamondbacks at $120.96, the San Diego Padres at $125.81 and the Pittsburgh Pirates at $127.71.
With the exception of the Boston Red Sox, all other teams have plenty of seat supply that they are trying to sell. The Red Sox have a major league record of 712 consecutive sellouts, with no empty seats dating back to May 15, 2003. Red Sox Nation is alive and well. Today the ticket prices are essentially the same for all games with the exception of promotional programs run by the teams. But this is about to change.
I have recently been doing some analysis of sports marketing and came across a trend that will forever change how a ticket is priced for a major league game. New technology enables MLB teams to offer “demand based pricing” for available tickets. We have seen this approach for many years with airline tickets and hotel rooms but now it is coming to a stadium near you. Two companies are leading this revolution for sporting events – Qcue – www.qcue.net and Digonex – www.digonex.com.
The Oakland A’s applied advanced analytic capabilities to find the “diamonds in the rough” and out maneuver other teams for lower priced talent, enabling them to be more competitive with the big market teams. Qcue and Digonex provide very sophisticated algorithms to analyze real-time sales data and other external factors to generate sales and revenue forecasts based on various pricing strategies. Once approved, price changes are pushed to ticketing systems which process the changes at the point of sale and across all channels.
How does this impact you? For example, seats for the Milwaukee Brewers three-day stand against the Kansas City Royals in mid-June are all selling for about the same price right now — $12 to $51 apiece. But as those games draw near, the Royals will bump prices up for the contest that will feature Brewers ace pitcher Zack Greinke, who won a Cy Young Award while hurling for Kansas City in 2009. As you can imagine their will be many “attributes” that will impact ticket pricing, either up or down. These include former players returning to face their former teams, think Albert Pujols playing in St. Louis again, or a marquee pitching match-up, such as Roy Halladay against Tim Lincecum in San Francisco or a game that is critical to winning a division or wild card late in the season. The flip side of this is that pricing for games without this type of hype will be priced more cost effectively.
Here are just a few of the MLB teams that will be utilizing Qcue’s service this season:
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Chicago White Sox
- New York Mets
- Oakland A’s
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Seattle Mariners
- St. Louis Cardinals
Get your tickets early baseball fans – Play Ball!
That cloud thing is becoming really important really quickly. For consumers and businesses. We have covered a number of emerging business opportunities recently but we are really at the tip of the iceberg.
Cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access their daily life in the cloud. The new iPad may be the most impressive piece of computing hardware ever seen. Yet its true power is held back by large enterprise software corporations that cannot keep pace with the new devices designed with cloud computing in mind…. It’s as if they’ve completely ignored one of the most successful computing platforms ever built, outselling the total number of PCs its closest competitor sold last quarter.
With the new iPad sold out, it seems only a matter of time that those not on board with the cloud — and with their wares available on any device — will face an existential question.
Here are the headlines for you:
- Users are more technologically-savvy and have very different expectations of technology.
- The internet and social media have empowered and emboldened users.
- The rise of powerful, affordable mobile devices changes the equation for users.
- Users are innovators.
- All users have similar technology available to them.
- People are visual – Sounds like an iPad to me
- Apps rock – they are great, they are pervasive and they are awesome
- Why have a lot of stuff on your hard drive when you can access your stuff in the cloud when you need it
- Mobile rocks and will be the primary way we interact with the web – desktop dead – being tethered dead, Niedermeyer dead
OK, I digress. But the headline is, no more big hard drives, you will just put it in the cloud, so wherever you are you can access it. Only portability you need now is your access device. Take a look at what is coming soon.
Hey it is now in the cloud and easy to find. As my friend Johnny says, “Are you kidding me?”
And here we go again. Not resting on their already dominant position in the tablet market, Apple has released the next version of their iPad. No fancy name for this one, just iPad. I think we should just call this the MyPad.
Why the MyPad? Because soon you will not need a laptop, desktop, GPS device, calculator, alarm clock, wallet, credit cards, camera, video recorder, paint brush, flashlight, book, CD, DVD, in-store customer service, translator, map, blood pressure machine, glucose monitor or any any device that assists you with your life. If there is not an app built right now, it will soon be available for you to use to do and monitor just about everything you need in your life. You will still need tools such as a hammer and screwdriver but apparently not much else.
Whatever you call it, I am confident that the new MyPad will extend Apple’s lead over the competition. It is because the MyPad package, hardware, software, applications and price, represents the absolute best tablet you can buy — and it shows no sign of losing that distinction anytime soon.
The most significant new feature of the new MyPad is the awesome new retina display. The Retina display on the new iPad features a 2048-by-1536 resolution, 44 percent greater color saturation, and an astounding 3.1 million pixels — in the same 9.7-inch space. That’s four times the number of pixels in iPad 2 and a million more than an HDTV. Those pixels are so close together, your eyes can’t discern individual ones at a normal viewing distance. The same holds true for the new iPad’s speedier A5X chip. Much faster. Also supports 4G. Nice!
The situation is the same for the other new features of the new iPad. The 5 Megapixel iSight backside camera is a big improvement over the inferior camera in the iPad 2. The 5-megapixel iSight camera features a backside illumination sensor that captures great-looking pictures whether by sunlight or candlelight. Autofocus, tap to focus, and tap to set exposure functions mean every photo you take instantly becomes a classic.
The new iPad wasn’t given the power of Siri. But is was given a new dictation capability. Write an email. Send a text. Search the web. Or create a note. And do it all with only your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and just like that, your spoken words become written words. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can do things like update your Facebook status or share a thought on your Twitter feed.
It’s the software………..
Apple also upgraded its iWork and iLife for iOS suites to coincide with the new iPad announcement. Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie and GarageBand all have new features that make them better. The best new feature is the new iPhoto for iOS. It leapfrogs beyond the Mac version in almost every area. It takes full advantage a touchscreen as a canvas. The cropping tools, the brushes for spot repairs and enhancements, the new Journals features, so well done and only $4.99 at the app store. Be a painter
No other competitor has anything close. Apple strikes again. Mr. Jobs would be proud. By the way, already sold out so you will have to wait a little longer.