Draw Something – WOW

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.

Webman

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An Apple a Day……

…….has now been changed to An Apple per Household (Not there yet but well on our way)

According to a recent poll by CNBC, Apple products are present in 51%of US households. 55 million households own an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iTouch etc.) or a Mac computer.

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.

Webman

Shadoobie

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 – What?

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 and Minute Mouse was created by Bob Kane as a parody of his earlier works Batman and Robin and in many ways predict the more campy aspects of the later live action series.  The stars:

  • 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 – 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 🙂

Webman

R U Fru?

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.

Did you know that last year our government borrower $41,000 per second?  Or that we owe China and Japan more than $2 trillion dollars?

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:

Thanks to the great infographic contributors at www.visual.ly (www.fxfatcat.com and rmmojado)

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.

Webman

Gas Pain

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!

Webman

iPad vs Kindle Fire

New iPad vs. Kindle Fire: Which Tablet is Right for You?

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

Specs

A quick summary for you:

Chart

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.

Software and Apps
The Amazon Appstore is very good, with thousands of choices, but it can’t compare with the more than 170,000 native iPad apps in the Apple App Store.  

It’s hard to argue with the simplicity and elegance of Apple’s iOS. It is just better.

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.

Webman