The 5 Best Annual Technology Conventions

From the creation of cars, to ergonomic couches, to prosthetic joints, technological advancements lay down the path for a brighter future. As everyone at Box and Dice knows all too well, it’s essential that we foster our excitement for technological development and learn as much as we can about its possibilities. Here are some top class technology conventions to keep you informed and enthused… and they couldn’t be in better locations!

International Consumer Electronics Show – Las Vegas, USA

The international ICA is one of the largest consumer technology conventions in the world, so a pilgrimage to Las Vegas is a must for all die-hard techies. Occurring in early January each year, the event showcases revolutionary gadgets from high-tech headphones to automotive electronics, and never fails to gain the support of high-profile technology stakeholders. Between the concerts, competitions and celebrity appearances, it promises to be an eventful four days.

CeBIT – Hannover, Germany

CeBIT is a showcase of digital IT and telecommunications technologies for both work and play. Over the 5 days, Hannover swarms with It enthusiasts who are passionate about the future of the industry.  The convention most specifically targets sectors such as retail, finance, government, science and hobby groups. Go along to compare notes with fellow tech heads or simply take in the spectacle.

iWorld – San Francisco, USA

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of this one before, it may be because it was previously known as MacWorld. The convention constructs a Mac world where almost everything is virtual and interactive. If that doesn’t do it for you, I’m sure a sneak peak at new apps and devices will!

GSMA Mobile World Congress – Barcelona, Spain

Mobile World Capital Barcelona hosts the world’s largest convention on mobile technology. Take a moment to listen to the range of keynote speakers and discussion panels conversing about the future of mobile devices or play around with the hot new products on the market. Just as you think that mobile innovation has just about reached saturation point, check out some of the concept designs and realise that there is a whole new level of creativity that is yet to be tapped in to.  A good excuse to book a flight to Spain!

LeWeb – Paris, France

Industry leaders from around the world gather in Paris every year to discuss the opportunity that presents itself in the form of the World Wide Web. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a major corporation or an interested individual, you are likely to walk out of this convention with new insight into the future of business practices in the age of digital convergence. Word on the street is that the December 2012’s guest speakers will be unmissable, given that 2011’s speakers included Karl Lagerfeld and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Paige is a freelance writer who loves any and all kinds of tech conventions because of all the random things she learns from watching plastic moulding demonstrations, to hearing speeches on the future of the internet. Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahpaige or connect to her on Google+ here.

The Value of Video: For Education and Self-Promotion

Video is a great learning tool. YouTube ranks #3 behind Alexa ranked #1 Google as the place to look up ‘how to’ information. But there is another value to video that had not occurred to me until I had the opportunity to participate in the making of a Web TV series, Marketing Made Simple.

This opportunity arose thanks to my Digital Brand Marketing colleague, Jeff Ogden, owner of Find New Customers, the host-interviewer of this weekly Web TV show. I am not even sure exactly how it all came about. But it was decided that a ‘real person’ would make a much more pleasing Intro and Closing for this new show than the kind of graphics and music used on a previous show.

Alison Gilbert introduces Marketing Made Simple in front of Main Street.

Alison Gilbert introduces the ‘Marketing Made Simple’ Web TV show in front of ‘Main Street’.

So there I was, with several outfits in hand along with the general idea for a script, off to the green screen-shooting studio to make the Intro and Closing. I am no newcomer to media or public speaking. I have appeared on TV, both nationally and locally. I have been interviewed dozens of times on the radio. I’ve spent time in the voice-acting studio  and am the ‘star’ in my own business videos. I have taught courses and lectured in-person more times than I can remember. But this was different.

I was representing something other than my own craft and myself. I was there to be the ‘real person’ introducing and closing for a Web TV show on behalf of the host, Jeff Ogden and for each of his weekly professional marketing guests. I had a responsibility to the show itself and to everyone else involved to maintain a standard of professionalism and excellence.

That made me a little bit nervous. But as many people know, I adore being in front of the camera. The videographer, Robert Kothe, was terrific. He recorded me on ‘green screen’ in a variety of outfits and semi-impromptu monologue. I had the ‘bones’ of a script to use. Certain key word phrases were placed on the teleprompter but  beyond that, I was able to add my own distinct personality to the job.

Within a two-hour period, we had done sufficient takes in three different sets of clothes and a variety of Intros and Closing to call it a day. Then the fun really began. The videographer had a template to use for the background. But the beauty of ‘green screen’ is that one can do just about anything behind the performer. I could have been flying in the clouds, standing in front of a great battle, or anything one could imagine.

Fortunately, my husband, Phil Jacobs, who is both a professional illustrator and photographer, had some great scenes that fit perfectly behind my ‘performance’. I was so excited to see not only how my acting had turned out but also what outfit and background would be used together. It was truly a media adventure.


The rest is history. The first show aired this past Thursday at noon, with host Jeff Ogden, his guest, Mitch Joel and me, the Marketing Bytes Maven, doing the ‘Intro’ and ‘Closing’ in front of the illustration of Main Street that has come to be synonymous with my Marketing Main Street services for marketing local business.

As Mitch pointed out in his interview, in-person speaking requires some very special skills. While everyone else probably took note of his marketing expertise, I listened intently to every point he made about speaking before an audience rehearsing in my mind for my next opportunity to use my acting skills to help educate others and promote myself as well.


Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Journalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBMEi, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz  located on Long Island, New York.
This boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by combining the best of traditional advertising with the latest online marketing technology. Contact Alison Gilbert at or call 516-665-9034 EDT/NY/US. MARKETING BYTES serves local/small businesses virtually everywhere.


Can Social Media Change Education Paradigms?

Sir Ken Robinson; author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was Director of The Arts in Schools Project (1985–89), Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001) and was knighted in 2003 for services to education.  You can view the RSA animate video “Changing paradigms in Education”


I watched the video of Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Paradigms in Education” talk given at the Royal Society on the Arts on YouTube.  I don’t remember how I came across it but I was in awe.  I watched 4 or 5 times over. I wasn’t surprised to hear someone else talking about how current public education is failing our students.  Sir Ken Robinson’s simplistic approach to making small changes that can have significant impact on our children’s education was inspiring. I can see why it went viral.  Sir Ken’s key points hit many of the core issues I believe our evolving education system is now facing.

His views are not new.  The Montessori Method from the 1890’s involves the teacher in viewing the student as having an inner natural guidance for his or her own perfect self-directed development. The Reggio Emilia philosophy founded after World War II is based upon the following set of principles.  Students must have some control over the direction of their learning; must be able to learn

Image c/o

through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing; have a relationship with other students and with material items in the world that students must be allowed to explore and must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

So what has changed? Sir Ken Robinson talks about how education reform can work.  The current US education system was established during an Era of Cultural Enlightenment and the Industrial Economic Revolution.  That education model worked for a while. We were automating and building our communities.  People worked in factories or offices.  Technology was changing American society. Health and medicine evolved due to research technologies.  Many of our teaching programs developed over time met the variety of skill needs for our society.  As we move forward in the technological revolution factory like school settings and un-stimulating classroom learning are becoming obsolete, so we find ourselves asking “What’s Next?”

According to Robinson, We are changing education to prepare our future generations but we don’t know what that future will hold since there is such rapid change.  We are also trying to reform education to adapt to cultural changes while maintaining cultural identity, as the world’s cultures connect.

The System Requires Change

So how do we change the system without totally starting from scratch?  Our education infrastructure is expensive so we can’t build a new one. Many people are hesitant to scrap the current system fearing unknown outcomes.  There are ways Social Media could bridge the gap.   Technology has enabled society to catch up with Montessori’s revolutionary methods of teaching.  Collaborative learning and divergent thinking can take place in classrooms leveraging many of the Social Media tools we have today.

Image c/o

Preparing today’s students for the unknown and quickly changing cultural and economic climates, must include the new ways we are communicating.  Creating stimulating learning environments, allowing students to express knowledge through their creative means can be achieved by integrating Social Media technologies.  Communication modalities are changing our lives, and we must adapt our teaching methods to work with emerging technologies.

We must raise standards to compete in the changing world economy. What should the standards be?  Some tests can designate a person genius and others label them special needs.  Who will set the standards?

Sir Ken says to change the Education Paradigms we need to think differently about human capacity and get over the old conception of Academic, non-Academic, Abstract, Theoretical…etc. Most great learning happens in groups- Collaboration is the stuff of growth.  The current education system is crucially due to the culture of our institution: the Habits of our institution and the habitats they occupy.

I believe there are opportunities to make great strides with small changes if we introduce methods for implementing Social Media at different levels throughout the education spectrum.

Marilyn Zayfert is a passionate digital strategist implementing online and mobile applications. She is a results-driven sales and marketing strategist with a proven track record of achievement and demonstrated success.  Marilyn founded illumiNET Creative Media in 2009. illumiNET Creative builds and implements online marketing strategies for local businesses. Twitter @mzayfert  / Website / Facebook: Mzayfert / Google+ Marilyn Zayfert


Brand Development


Those of us who have been fortunate enough to become authors for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog know intimately the four pillars that comprise the edifice of the DBME blog. We know their interrelatedness, their synergy and we continually learn more as the skyrocketing technology raises the roof on the other three pillars.

The charrette apple with white helvetica type and the white compass

Charrette Took on the 'Big Apple' Design Scene @ Charrette Corporation


A piece of writing can illustrate the interrelatedness between digital technology, branding, marketing and their value as educational tools if seamlessly crafted by a seasoned professional. Basil Puglisi, the founder of DBMEi, expertly summarizes the process, in less a minute, in the above video.

This blog post, Brand Development, will focus primarily on two of the pillars, branding and marketing. Ironically, the emphasis on digital technology is antithetical because the story is about a company that primarily pre-dates the transition from the analog to digital world. Nonetheless, this exploration of branding is a study worth anyone’s attention, those who are ensconced in the digital world and those who know nothing about it.


The charrette 1969 catalog

The Charrette 1969 Catalog @ Charrette Corporation

A brand ultimately needs to become that ‘entity’ by which a company or organization is known and recognized. It can be comprised of visual, verbal, audial and other sensory components. It can start out simple and grow to become more complex. It can start out complex and be simplified. It can also start simple and stay simple, start complex and stay complex. In my opinion, one way is not superior to any other. All that matters is that the end result works.


My favorite pre-digital brand is an extraordinary example of simple stays simple. And it did work. For our present day digital technology purposes, there is much to observe and learn from this masterful example. This brand was for a company that existed in the last quarter of the 20th century. It business and products were predominantly pre-digital. The shift to digital did not represent the true spirit of the company or its brand.

charrette bag, stickers etc all showing the brand

The Proof Is In The Brand @ Johanna Bohoy for Charrette Corp.


The basic element was a single color, red. It then grew to include one word of type, charrette. The style was Helvetica and the color was white. The Charrette Corporation was the largest distributor and retailer of design tools in the industries of architecture, graphics, landscaping, interiors, engineering and fashion during its time. Its reach was from New England, south on the East Coast, and west into the Heartland.

The primary source of income from the corporation was the commercial side accounts. The commercial accounts included even various branches of the US government. But the retail side was where Charrette really showed what its brand was made of. The retail side consisted of such an exclusive group of famous clientele, designer, actors, writers, etc. that this ‘sought after’ list is still safely guarded and unpublished to keep the anonymity of this extraordinary group of customers.

The charrette van

The Charrette Van @ Charrette Corporation


The brand was so powerful that even when some of the elements were changes over its decades of existence, the integrity was always maintained. One could identify a Charrette store, vehicle, product, and packaging. The impeccable job creating and permeating their brand which embodied an attention to detail and clean, simple lines  reflected its corporate culture and philosophy, spilled over into its marketing and its very soul. This was so well done that I believe customers (myself included) would buy their products not only because of their superior quality but also to own a piece of that brand and to be a part of that amazing culture, its spirit and soul.


The Charrette Corporation is gone in body but the memories and memorabilia of this brand live on. Charrette was easily able to do extraordinary marketing because of the impeccable attention to detail both in their products and the branding of everything they produced.

The charrette building now

A deserted Charrette building now @ Charrette Corporation

The Charrette culture, their religious approach to quality and attention to detail live on as an extraordinary lesson for all of us who have an interest in brand development and marketing. Digital technology can spread the words (and images) faster than we ever could before. Charrette did not have that advantage. But what they had was something remarkable to share. For the time that Charrette was at the top of its game, it did a job that set the standard for many other industries that I believe has not been surpassed today.


A Fond Farewell to the Charrette Corporation

Brand Development

Finding Your Brand Voice

The Case of Crystal Cox: the Issue of Bloggers as Journalists, Continued

This post started as a comment to a comment on another blog that sited my post on the DBME Blog, dated December 10, 2011, in its ‘Related Articles’. As I wrote my comment, I began to feel that it contributed enough new insight into this issue that I started to consider publishing it as another blog post on this issue. I have made some minor changes to my ‘responding comment’ for this post since I’ve done additional research since commenting.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the commenter (on the article on who used my post as part of his/her ‘Related Articles‘, (Posted on December 14, 2011 by zandocomm). This commenter’s feedback and insights inspired me to research this issue further and  put my thoughts to post on this issue once again.

legal Guide for Blogger ©

Legal Guide for Blogger ©

I appreciate the expansion upon the blog post I wrote initially, The Daring Digital Decision: Bloggers Are NOT Journalists, that is listed in the ‘Related Articles‘ from a comment on the blog post, The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists. It clarifies what I feel are some of the more germain issues to this case. There are some very valid points made by the commenter and everyone else in my follow up research.

In particular, what I find most important are the fact that, (from the commenter) “Two important things appear to be going on in this case. First, courts occasionally identify a reluctance to extend journalistic protections to non-traditional “media” sources such as bloggers because of a perceived lack of a limiting principle. How can everyone potentially be a journalist? courts seemingly ask. This sentiment is frequently echoed by mainstream journalists who, rightly or wrongly, balk at the perceived threat of dilution of legal protections for traditional journalists posed when (as here) self-proclaimed journalists might go too far and risk protections for established media. As EFF and many others have pointed out, the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.

“Second, and lost in much of the discussion about this case over the past week, Cox’s case seems to have much to do with an underlying discomfort and concern about how information is distributed online, whether or not it is actionable. David Carr’s recent article in the New York Times illustrates the phenomenon well. In it, Carr quotes plaintiff Kevin Padrick as lamenting the effect of Cox’s “long-running series of hyperbolic posts” and telling Carr that “his business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites.”

Both points lead to what I feel is the bigger issue. Traditional media journalism does not, per se, have the viral affect that blogged information can. Therefore, veracity of information or the lack of it can be magnified exponentially. As a result, the information posted can spread like wild fire and have a previously unseen impact on the parties involved. As we have already seen, social media has outdated the need for traditional war as the medium for a national revolution. The implications of what blogging can do, as a part of ‘journalistic’ media, reach beyond our imagination.

I totally agree that there seems to be something askew in this case. The issue of shield law has to do with protection of confidentiality of sources. The judges ruling skirts the real issue. This is about the Internet and whether or not to deal with it as part of the present  definition of journalism (which is confined to traditional media) rather than focusing on the journalist, Crystal Cox in particular as the Supreme Court case decision did.

The commenter continues, ” . . . the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.”

We have not heard the end of this issue. In fact, we have only seen the beginning. Blogging as a form of ‘journalism’ is NOT going away. More and more individuals will increasingly use this form of new media to voice their opinion and report what they consider newsworhty. In my opinion, the standards required for traditional journalists need more than ever to be upheld, (education, credentials, and ethics). But it will become increasingly difficult to monitor and distinguish truth from fiction when so many individuals blog and posted information can go viral before a retraction of error or slander can possibly undo the damage.


The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists

Crystal Cox and Bloggers as Journalists

Kevin Padrick

Related Articles

When Truth Survives Free Speech

Legal Guide for Bloggers

Are All Bloggers Journalists?

The Problem with Pre-Internet Laws

Should We Rethink Shield Law?

According to the Law

A Broader Definition of ‘Journalism’

The facebook page, Room for Debate

The Daring Digital Decision: Bloggers Are NOT Journalists

Picture of Crystal Cox © Crystal Cox

Picture of Crystal Cox © Crystal Cox


In a daring digital decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Oregon, a blogger is not automatically a journalist. Crystal Cox, self proclaimed investigative journalist wrote a blog, Obsidian Financial Sucks, defaming the Oregon company. Her article resulted in a $2.5 million suit being brought against her by the company. She lost in spite of her proclamation:

“Yes I am a Self-Proclaimed Investigative Blogger and under Supreme Court Decisions, under the law as making a living as an Investigative Blogger, Gathering News, Taking Interviews, and Reporting on these Stories I am Media [sic]. I am an Independent News Media. I am a Public Forum, my blogs do go out in news feeds and I am Legally Media [sic]”.

“But the judge disagreed. Judge Marco Hernandez wrote that due to Cox’s lack of education in journalism, any credentials or proof of affiliation with any recognized news entity, plus her failure to contact the other side to get both sides of the story, Cox is not a member of the media, so journalistic shield laws do not apply to the alleged defamation statements Cox wrote on her blog. She has been ordered to pay Obsidian $2.5 million in damages.”


This brings up a critical digital journalistic issue by posing the question, “What makes a blogger a journalist?”

According to the court, a blogger who considers him or herself an investigative journalist, expecting to be protected legally by traditional journalistic codes or ‘shield laws’, must be held to the same standards as a traditional media journalist.

The blogger is planning to appeal the decision because she believes that bloggers need to be recognized as journalists and protected as such. In her own defense, she said, “A blogger is a journalist, or a reporting [sic] in my opinion, when they take interviews, get tips emailed, get and research documents, study cases and depositions, talk to those personally involved, and post their story just as a traditional reporter.”

There are several crucial pieces missing from Cox’s self-defense quoted above and cited in the judges ruling. They are education, credentials and ethics. According to Judge Marco Hernandez, she possesses none of these. She has no journalistic education. She has no credentials as a journalist as she has no affliction with any journalistic organization. And lastly, because she did not get both sides of the story, her writing lacks ethics.


As an author for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I personally consider this a landmark case that needs to stay on the books to set precedent. ‘New media’ offers endless opportunities for self-expression of ideas with the addition that these ideas can catch on like wildfire and go ‘viral’ as we say in the ‘new media’ speak.

This is what makes this case all the more important. Anyone can say anything. Anyone can write anything. But it is crucial that in order to be protected under ‘journalistic shield law’ that the same rules apply in ‘new media’ that are expected to be upheld in traditional media journalism.

I am certain that this ruling will be tested repeatedly. Other states will most likely have to follow suit. It is to the benefit of news bloggers, who abide by the rules, that this ruling was made. Without the traditional guidelines, education, credentials, and ethics being upheld on the Internet, a blogger’s misinformation can become like a dangerous wildfire gone completely out of control.

The Internet provides ample opportunity  for creative writers to publish fiction. A writer can only be considered a journalist by following the technical rules described in this post and based on the decision made by the Supreme Court of Oregon. Otherwise the writing can be a figment of the author’s imagination rather than his or her search for the truth.


Crystal Cox ordered to pay $2.5 million for defamation; bloggers not journalists

The Meaning of [sic]

Blogger Crystal Cox is No Journalist, Must Pay $2.5M in Damages, Says Judge

Obsidian Finance Sucks

Crystal Cox Website Blog


Bloggers versus Journalists

Obsidian Finance Group Website

Judge Marco Hernandez

The Twisted Psychology of Bloggers vs. Journalists: My Talk at South By Southwest

Express Yourself with

One of the biggest problems public speakers and businessmen face is how to make their presentation sharp, concise and informative without making is dull and uninspiring.

There is a tool that can help do just that. It is called and it enables a speaker to make video presentations that are unique, informative and entertaining.

Developed by the Hungarian architect, Adam Somali-Fischer, in 2001 as a visual aid in presenting architectural designs, the interface enabled zooming in and out of elements on the screen. Since there was no zooming interface at the time, each presentation had to be coded individually.

In 2007, a Budapest University professor managed to convince Mr. Somali-Fischer to develop a publicly available ZUI (zooming user interface) and in 2009 was launched.

Using cloud based presentation software, any text, video or image can be put together into frames. The designer then decides what is important in this image and how close he wants to get to it. For instance; zooming into the dot above the letter “i” will reveal an image that can grow larger and larger, filling the screen. Designers can pan and zoom between images, add music and sound effects.

Unlike PowerPoint, another presentation interface, Prezi allows map layout and nonlinear navigation. It can show complex systems in a cognitive and mind mapping kind of way. Although the interface is cloud based it allows subscribers to work offline and save the presentation to their computer on Windows, Mac and Linux.

The designer can pan and zoom, can import media from other sources: videos from YouTube, PDFs and images and create a storyline that will engage the audiences. The presentation can be displayed online and offline and he can collaborate with others, in real time, with Prezi Meeting.

Prezi is a ‘freemium’, meaning customers can use it for free, but they must publish their work on the Prezi site. The Prezi Pro which is the paid option allows subscribers to work offline and they can make their presentations private. Plans start at $59.

The World Economic Forum is using Prezi as part of their media strategy. TED Conferences curator, Chris Anderson, used the interface in his presentation in 2010, as did the British newspaper The Guardian in their new World Map graphics on their site.

Prezi is now available as an iPad app. Now you can create, collaborate and present on the go. There are also publications to help navigate the program.


Lessons I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs was an icon of the personal computer industry. In my opinion, there is only one other living human being who could equal or rival his celebrity status. That person is Bill Gates.

Their lives had many similarities and some differences. They both were brilliant. They both started their businesses several years after leaving college. They did not consider a college education tantamount to their success. They both grew up on the West Coast. Jobs took a class in calligraphy at Reed College that he said inspired him later as the multiple fonts and word spacing (kerning) manifested themselves in the Macintosh.

Steve and Bill © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates © Wikipedia


But there were also the differences between them. As extraordinary as they both were as showmen and business titans, Steve was all about perfection and aesthetics never compromising for profit. Bill Gates was very focused on profit and simplicity of code. He has since been able to relinquished his throne to go on to global-community service. He last wrote his last lines of code in 1989. Steve battled through a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer while holding aloft the mantle of the brand for his firm, relinquishing the stewardship of it only when his health failed him. It was no more than a matter of six weeks between his resignation and passing.

Because I am an author with the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I would like to focus my lessons learned from Steve Jobs on these four topics, Digital, Branding, Marketing, and Education.

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Before the invention of the personal computer that Steve Jobs presented in his usual fanfare, pulling it by the handle out of a gym bag, mainframe computers took up entire rooms. The idea of a personal computer on every desk and in every home was viewed as preposterous if not impossible.

Apple I © Wikipedia

Apple I © Wikipedia

Steve acquired the original mouse technology from Xerox who could not commercialize on it but in an agreement let their engineers work with Apple in return for IPO offerings when it became commercial. The “GUI” (graphical user interface) allowed the development of graphics, images, and multiple fonts. It was the essential element that allowed the transition from a totally code and programmer based system to a user-friendly system. His team created the initial software and then other companies jumped on the bandwagon.

His leadership fostered a creative environment that let the team negotiate, innovate and create with a high standard.

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

Bill Gates was primarily a software man learning early on that he preferred more pedestrian, affordable PCs in contrast to the ‘elegant’ devices of Apple and then Macintosh. Bill’s goal was to mass-market software and for a while Microsoft was the proprietary software on all PCs. In contrast, Steve Jobs computers were and are geared to the connoisseurs in the industry.

Over time, the two companies did become more similar. With Windows, Microsoft adopted the more obvious mechanisms of the Mac, the mouse, and the programs in PC version and now Macs use the Intel processor. But Steve was the master of the brand. His mantra was perfection.

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

He would not let a product emerge from his laboratory into the public domain until he felt it had reached absolute perfection. The quality control with parts suppliers is one example. Perhaps this was a drain on his health compared to his, at least seemingly more laid back adversary, Mr. Gates. His interest was quantity over the level of quality that Jobs demanded without compromise. One wonders where Apple will be headed without Jobs. Microsoft seems unfettered by the resignation of Gates.

Jobs was a master at marketing. Just the mere rumor and then word of the emergence of a new or newer model of a product sent the Mac devotees to the stores where they would often camp out over night to be the first ‘kid on the block’ to have the latest version of whatever it was.

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

The presentations of his latest products were also impeccable examples of marketing and promotion. One year Ridley Scott, now a famed film and TV producer, was brought on board to create a memorable, even shocking Macintosh Super Bowl commercial. No one who has ever seen it will forget it.

When generations of the various Macs were born in irresistible, candy colored variations, potential consumers were tempted to not only purchase these mechanical wonders but agonized over which day-glow color to buy. That would be a major problem for me. I would want one in each color. Jobs combined perfection of design, streamlined elegance and hot colors.

1984, Superbowl XVIII Commercial  © Wikipedia

'1984' Superbowl XVIII Commercial © Wikipedia

Have you ever wondered why school systems buy and use Macs? If one is a student, there are special reduced price versions of the programs available and discounts on the computers themselves. What does that say about the quality of a Mac over a PC? I feel there is no more evidence necessary that ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Educational systems throughout the country chose to have their students learn on Macs, not PCs. They may have had to settle for PCs when their families both them their own. But the educational system provided only the best and most reliable quality control.

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on the world of technology and design. Much has been written about him before and since his passing. This post is but a peek at one small part of the universe he occupied. For me, his example showed there are some valuable lessons to be learned in Digital Brand Marketing Education.


What I learned from Steve Jobs by Guy Kawasaki

This Week’s Issue Of Time Magazine Has Steve Jobs On The Cover And The Story Behind His Upcoming Bio

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on Wikipedia

Apple Computer on Wikipedia

Macintosh Computer on Wikipedia

Bill Gates on Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

How is Social Media Changing Higher Education?

Many teachers have adopted an everyday practice of incorporating digital technologies in the classroom and extending learning beyond the traditional boundaries of the Institution.

Distance education is high on the agenda of most higher education institutes and a great deal of effort and time has been invested into staff development to ensure that teachers are up to date and aware of how to teach remotely using new technologies.

It’s not only the role of the teacher that has changed. The embedding of digital technology into everyday study has also changed the way students learn. Now students can assume more responsibility for their own learning and design their own study trajectories. They are able to access a vast pool of knowledge through access to the World Wide Web. They can learn anywhere, anytime.

Since the web has become more social, students today share experiences and knowledge; they can communicate with their teachers after hours, they communicate with peers and enhance their learning experience.

Today’s students are multi-tasking, possessing the ability to access and decipher information. Students are more at ease with changing technologies. Social media enables them to be heard and provide feedback. Studying is no longer a one way street from teacher to student but a two way collaborative effort. Social media gave the students a voice in their learning process.

In many higher learning institutions blogs, wikis and social media tools ease the way to create collaboration between students. Social media tools support sharing and building of knowledge.  Projects given to students as a group are now easier to perform since the geographical restrictions have been removed. Blogs are used for learning another language, projects can be posted on Youtube for the whole class (and the world) to see and project descriptions are posted online with due dates. Social bookmarking is used by professors to list the reading requirements of the course and giving students the key to resources online.

Experts in any field are more accessible today through social media. An expert’s tweets about his experiences can provide a learning experience and insight into the professional world never possible before. A question can be posted for an expert on his social page or his blog and a dialogue started that would have taken weeks to arrange in the pre-social media world.

And it starts even before the learning begins. Some institutions, for example, use Facebook pages to reach out to student before they first arrive on campus. With many of them leaving home for the first time, knowing some of their classmates before they arrive can support them in this time of transition.

Social media and Skype enable face-time with a teacher for a one on one session. When there’s no time during school hours, it can be done during evening hours and across time zones. . Schools today use cloud storage that enables their students the use of an expensive program from home, for a limited time. They provide space for storage of group projects where all the group members can enter and make changes.

As part of Walden University’s Doctorate in Education program I was amazed and shocked at the learning process. While it was exciting to be able to work at a unique pace and have access to classmates and instructors at different times of the day, from the comfort of my home. I also found that the use of such technology was lead by those who struggle to understand it. Having academics try to lead topics citing the internet and multiple intelligence theory was horrifying because most could not relate or lacked an understanding of the base.

One of the most foolish policies I ever heard started from Michigan State University, repeated at Stony Brook University and then echoed in the Walden University’s DC residency, “Wikipedia is not a source and should never be used”.  

The shock and awe was outstanding, it was as if the professors just repeated something that they were told and never actually took the time to do any research for themselves. While you might not directly cite Wikipedia as a source, this collaborative site for knowledge has been found by research to be more accurate then the Encyclopedia Britannica. In research, a process that requires a starting point and is benefited by diverse experiences and information, it is hard to truly argue that there is a better source then Wikipedia.

Other uses for the new technology include text messaging and social media alerts are a relatively new ways for schools in the US to alert the whole student body to an emergency situation.

What new challenges does this pose?

Keeping teachers ahead of the curve with continued education regarding technological possibilities and with so much information, educating the students to know what is credible and what not, what is important and what not, and be able to figure out the source of the information they come in contact with.

Students were given the virtual key to the library and a group study doesn’t have to be done in one physical location or with just classmates. The digital era and social media revolution is in full swing, all they need now is guidance.


TED – Ideas Worth Spreading

One of the great things the internet has to offer is the ability to facilitate sharing of knowledge and ideas. The different Wiki’s (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikileaks) are proof positive that people want to share what they know for the benefit of all.

Another great thing the internet has spawned is TED – Ideas Worth Spreading.

It all started in 1984 in a conference of experts from three fields: Technology, Entertainment and Design. They gathered to share ideas, delivered in short speeches, at a conference. It was so innovative and successful that it continues strongly today with two Annual TED conferences. One in Long Beach/Palm springs in the spring and TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, UK in the summer.

The goal of TED, which is owned by a private nonprofit foundation and curated by Chris Anderson, is to foster the spread of great ideas. It aims to enable the great thinkers, the greatest visionaries and most inspiring teachers of the world, spread their ideas by providing them with a platform.

In the desire to create a better future, today’s TED invites the most interesting speakers, no matter what their field, to present the “Talk of Their Life” in 18 minutes or less. Those talks are photographed and released free online so millions of people around the world would be able to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the world.

Whether it is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson, who spoke about education in 2006 and said that schools are killing creativity,  (and 300 million people viewed it online), or Shai Agassi, the driving force behind a bold plan for an electric car, or Randy Pausch’s last speech at Carnegie Mellon University, when he knew he has only 3-6 months to live. The speakers are always fascinating. TEDTalks proved so popular that a new website had to be constructed in 2007 to accommodate all the traffic.

Over the years, speakers have included Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Frank Gehry, Bill Gates, Bono, Annie Lennox, Quincy Jones and many more interesting people. All that information is available on their website for free viewing.

TED has also established TEDPrize which grants the winner $100,000 and “One Wish to Change the World” using TED’s powerful network. Past winner include Bill Clinton, Bono and Jamie Oliver.


Digital Media Monthly

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