Wanted: A cradle that fits an iPhone *with* the cover on

Apple iPhone cradleApple iPhone cradleApple iPhone cradleApple iPhone cradleApple iPhone cradle

I’m looking for an iPhone cradle that will fit my iPhone with the cover on. I want to put one on my desk at work and one on my bedside table at home. There are all types of iPhone cradles available out there (as shown above) but everything I’ve come across appears to be fitted exactly to a bare, cover-less iPhone. The only thing that I think *might* work is this cradle from Incipio:

incipio iPhone case

But, as far as I can tell, this thing isn’t actually shipping (yet) and I haven’t gotten any response from emails sent to the company either.

Clever solutions (in the bathroom)

It’s a lot of fun to see clever solutions to problems in products that we use everyday. The fly in the urinal is a great example of such a clever solution:

fly-urinal.jpg

Problem? Guys without aim and the ensuing mess.

Solution? Give ’em something to point at. Fun (possibly) for the “user” and accomplishes an important goal (less mess in the bathroom).

Brilliant, I say.

The old model for TV development

Like Marc Andreessen, I think there are big changes coming with the way Hollywood works (read his post entitled rebuilding hollywood in silicon valley’s image). So on that topic, read this post by the co-creator of Ask a Ninja, Kent Nichols on the old way for creating a TV a show:

1. Graduate from Harvard (lesser Ivies are okay, but let’s be realistic), where you were a key member of the Lampoon staff
2. Arrive in Hollywood with a spec script of the hot sitcom or drama from last season (this year that would be 30 Rock or Ugly Betty)
3. If you’re lucky, get hired as a Writer’s Assistant, or Production Assistant on a series
4. Spend the next five years working up the chain to finally get to be an actual writer
5. Once you’re actually allowed to write on a show, then you work your way up the producing chain, which is the same thing as being a writer, but you also get paid a lot more money.
6. After 5-7 years of working your way up to being an executive producer level type, you’ll be allowed to pitch networks your ideas for shows.
7. If the networks like your show, you’ll be paid to write a script.
8. If they like the script, they’ll shoot it and make it into a pilot.
9. If they like the pilot, they’ll order 12 more episodes.
10. If those first 12 episodes get an audience, they order 12 more.
11. If the season did well enough in the rating, or it’s a critical darling, it’ll get another season.
12. Repeat steps 6-12 until you’re 45, when people stop calling you anymore.

And his guess at the new model that will emerge:

1. A few creative people decide to make a show
2. The show hopefully garners attention from the YouTubes of the world
3. A production company comes in and helps give the show consistency and makes some money through ad sales and merchandising
4. Network licenses the show once it proves that it’s gained an audience

Yup, that’s almost exactly what a friend of mine and I talked about earlier this month.

Soft spam & bad e-mail marketing

Jason Calacanis talks about a bad unsubscribe form at zagat.com — I call this “soft spam”. “Soft spam” are those pesky emails, like the one Jason’s referring to, that make it hard for the user to unsubscribe. In Jason’s example, Zagat wants him to login to his account again and it’s likely that he doesn’t remember the password anymore which means he has to go through a “forgot password” screen, reset or retrieve his password, get that from his email, go back to the site, login, find the screen where he can unsubscribe and then unsubscribe.

“Soft spam” like this sucks and I’ve started using Gmail’s newish “Filter messages like this” option to killfile stuff like this straight to the trash:

filter-messages-like-this1.jpg

I also happened to write about this earlier this week:

I’m a big fan of Gmail’s “filter messages like this” option that makes it quick and easy to kill what I call “soft spam” — the stuff that is unsolicited but loosely tied to something you did or signed up for and not something you can easily, authoritatively unsubscribe from. For example: you sign up the exhibit at a tradeshow, they sell your address to people that sell shipping services, pop-up booth displays, etc. You attend a tradeshow in Taiwan and subsequently every manufacturer in taiwan/china is “happy to is meeting you” and wants to sell you “high-quality hello kitty USB styrofoam missile launchers, only 10,000 MOQ!!!”. Unsubscribing from some of these is difficult so I just quickly create a filter that sends ‘em straight to the trash. 🙂 Ah sweet, sweet google mail filters.

ma.tt, roj.as, rake.sh

Matt Mullenweg, fellow Houstonian, recently switched his website to http://ma.tt/ (a domain name registered in Trinidad and Tobago). Join the club Matt! What club would that be? Why, people who have their names as domain names through a foreign country top-level domain of course.

I switched this blog to http://rake.sh/ about a year and a half ago, thanks to the country of St. Helena (they control the .sh domain name). But, I confess that I got the idea when I saw Pete Rojas’ personal website at http://roj.as. Anyways, I like my domain but it *is* a pain to spell it out to people because most people just don’t expect a domain name to end in anything but .com. The other thing I worry about is whether world politics could ever result in my domain name being taken away from me.

Here’s to hoping that the United States doesn’t declare war on St. Helena (or, for Matt’s sake, Trinidad and Tobago!) 🙂

Quick notes past midnight, January 2008 edition

– “How Facebook is Like Ikea – they get their customers to do the work and to enjoy doing it”… Whoa, hang on a second there. Are you nuts? No one enjoys assembling Ikea furniture.

– My blog is now ranked fifth on Google when you do a search on “Rakesh“. Rakesh Roshan, watch out — I’m gunning for you.

– Last week I wrote about the Plantronics Calisto Pro telephone I bought for my office. I’ve used it a lot now and it’s definitely a keeper. The only thing I have to get better at is quickly putting on the bluetooth headset when my phone is ringing. I’ll learn?

– Wow, my blog is really inundated with comment spam — I have to do something about that.

– Speaking of this blog, I still haven’t migrated away from Yahoo’s hosting to something better. Dave Zatz had two good recommendations though: MediaTemple (who he uses at Zatznotfunny) and Bluehost. It’s on my list of things to do.

– At this moment, I’m simultaneously bummed that 1) I didn’t mail off a photograph that I took earlier tonight on my phone and 2) that the iPhone doesn’t have some sort of a recycling bin for photographs that get deleted.

– Facebook isn’t shiny and new anymore. I’m just not as drawn anymore to the site, updating my status, emailing photos, etc.

– I’ve been experimenting as a twitter user in the past month and it’s kind of interesting. The thing that I find most interesting about the service is the frugality of the core service and the rich community of sites/apps that it has spawned. The most baffling thing, to me, is how people who constantly follow and post on twitter can ever get any work done.

– We discovered this morning that our Google Adwords account was hacked starting some time last week. The hacker in question managed to get into our account, delete all of our existing keywords and ads (1000s of them!) and create several campaigns focusing on, yes, you guessed it: online pornography. After five days and several thousand bucks in charges to our credit card, we found out about it this morning. Who knew the average cost per click for keywords related to online pornography is, in some cases >$14 / click!! Everything’s reverted to its previous state and we’re awaiting the findings from Google’s investigation, but… wow, what a mess!

– I run into smart people regularly that are unimpressed with and ultimately confused by Gmail’s interface for e-mail. It always surprises me but people just don’t universally “get” threaded email.

– I’m a big fan of Gmail’s “filter messages like this” option that makes it quick and easy to kill what I call “soft spam” — the stuff that is unsolicited but loosely tied to something you did or signed up for and not something you can easily, authoritatively unsubscribe from. For example: you sign up the exhibit at a tradeshow, they sell your address to people that sell shipping services, pop-up booth displays, etc. You attend a tradeshow in Taiwan and subsequently every manufacturer in taiwan/china is “happy to is meeting you” and wants to sell you “high-quality hello kitty USB styrofoam missile launchers, only 10,000 MOQ!!!”. Unsubscribing from some of these is difficult so I just quickly create a filter that sends ’em straight to the trash. 🙂 Ah sweet, sweet google mail filters.

Polaroid inkless printer

My friend Sumeet told me about this video of a Polaroid inkless printer demo’ed at CES. I love the idea.

For serious printing for albums and frames, I just use one of the many online photo printing services with local pick-up (wal-mart, sam’s club, pretty much any drugstore, etc.). But I’ve never had a good solution for quick printing at the house — when I want a print of a recent photograph to stick on the fridge or to put on the magnetic photo rope in my daughter’s room. Sure, I could get an inkjet to fill this void but most of them are too big to keep around for occasional use and I absolutely hate buying ink — or, more specifically, I hate running out of ink because it typically kills whatever impulse I had to pop out a quick print in the first place.

Solution? Stick the “ink” in the paper and deliver the printer in a small form factor. And as an added bonus, these photos have adhesive backs, multiplying their creative potential. This thing is due to ship from Polaroid later this year and the printer is supposed to cost about $150 and the per sheet paper cost is supposed to be <$0.50. A quick write-up on the product at MSNBC.

My new office phone: Plantronics Calisto Pro

So after returning the Plantronics CT11, I read a description of the Plantronics Calisto Pro in Continental’s in-flight magazine. I did some searching around the Internet and read reasonably good reviews of the phone so I ordered one in the middle of last week. It came in a few days ago and while I haven’t used it much yet, I’m pretty optimistic after the 10 minutes or so I spent testing it out. Apart from seeming to work well as just a cordless POTS telephone (good audio quality, easy to walk with it around the office), the Calisto has some things that are bonus for me:

1) the headset is a regular bluetooth headset so it can be paired with other devices. And it seems to pair well with my cell phone (Apple iPhone) so I can use it to take cell phone calls while in my office, and

2) the cordless handset (the bar of soap shaped thing) can sync contacts with Outlook (limit of 200), which means I should be able to save some commonly dialed numbers to my handset.

Here’s a review of the Calisto Pro at Web Worker Daily and here’s the official Plantronics page. And even though I ended up buying it directly from the Sharper Image, Amazon’s product page for the Calisto Pro had a few useful customer reviews on it.

My mini-review: Plantronics’ CT11 has one big flaw

For a very long time now (maybe 5 or 6 years), I’ve used the Plantronics CT10 as my primary telephone at work. I like the fact that I can walk around with this thing within my office or around the office, answer phone calls from it (it’s a regular POTS telephone and most of the handsets on our office PBX have a POTS connector on them), and dial out from it. But in the past couple of months the voice quality has been marred by a periodic clicking sound so last week, with some downtime because of the holidays, I set out in search of a replacement.

I came across the Plantronics CT11 and it looked like just what I wanted — an upgraded version of the CT10, 2.4Ghz instead of 900 Mhz, basically, a newer model of my old favorite. It came in yesterday (courtesy of Amazon Prime) and I love the new device except it has one fatal flaw: With my old Plantronics CT10, I could use the phone while it was on its base charging but with the newer CT11 you have to remove the cordless unit from the base in order to use the telephone. A small thing (and not something that really could have been captured in a bulleted list of features) but it kills the Plantronics CT12 for me. I’d say that 70% of the time, I use this thing sitting at my desk and if I have to perform the extra task of removing the thing from the base and then replacing it everytime I make and finish a phone call, that’s a big step backwards from what I had before. Bummer!

Back to my old phone until I find something else.