File back up solutions for your marketing and design projects

April 13, 2010 by

Dropbox Online Storage versus Apple’s MobileMe iDisk

In the office we each have an Apple MobileMe account to help sync our calendars, passwords, browser bookmarks etc., but the one service that I haven’t been able to use efficiently that comes part of the yearly subscription is the iDisk. Apple gives you 10gb of space which is great for any marketing or design professional who wants to back up large files that are easily accessible from other computers. The problem with iDisk is the transfer speed from my computer to iDisk server is extremely slow. And when you are working with large Graphic Design project files it’s just painful to see how long it takes to back up a file from your local computer drive to iDisk.

So, I’ve been using Dropbox and it’s free 2gb account for the past 6 months and love how simple and smooth the program is. I use it all the time to transfer files from my work computer to home computer and also have my laptop connected. Files immediately move into the Dropbox “folder” and sync up into the dropbox cloud in the background. It’s been a great addition for doing quick backups of my design project files at work when I know I will need to access them at home or via the free iphone app. The other great thing is it automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected.

Dropbox is great for anyone in the Marketing or Advertising industry (really anyone) who is looking for another back up option of files from work so you don’t need to carry an external harddrive or thumbdrive back and forth from the office. Dropbox also allows for easy file sharing features so you can share your files with others.

I highly suggest taking a look a the Dropbox features from the link below and at the very least signing up for a free account to give it a try. https://www.dropbox.com/features

Helvetica: The Movie

March 26, 2010 by

At first I was very hesitant to see the movie. I thought it would be another boring, teacher wasting their students time kind of documentary. I was wrong. I enjoyed every second of it and yes, I am a design nerd. Though there are varying opinions of the font, the documentary does a great job getting insight from both sides of the debate (I wonder what side this guy is on?). Not only does it reintroduce us to some familiar faces in the design world, but it gives us a history of the font and the reasoning behind it’s creation. If you haven’t seen it I would highly recommend watching it. This may be my inner nerd talking again,but I think it’s kind of cool to learn a little something about a font that we use/see everyday. I guarantee after you watch this movie you will start spotting Helvetica everywhere. Even if you would like Helvetica to fall off the face of the earth, it’s worth the rental. ( http://www.helveticafilm.com/ )

When is social sharing too much?

March 5, 2010 by

If one of your friends asked you to send them your latest credit card statement for the purposes of posting it online for all of your friends and family to see, would you do it?

I certainly wouldn’t – and I love and trust my friends dearly!

As much as I’m all for social networking and information sharing, this is definitely something I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. The immediate red-flags that pop into my head are:

  1. It’s none of your business what I purchased
  2. From a personal and financial security stand point, why would I make that information public
  3. I’m setting myself up for a social engineering scam (Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information, rather than by breaking in or using technical hacking techniques. Source: Wikipedia)

The opening scenario isn’t too far fetched. With the introduction of blippy.com (which launched in January 2010) web users are publicly sharing the transactions and purchases they make – including ATM transactions! (see screen capture below)

Blippy.com

Here’s a summary of what Blippy is (according to crunchbase.com):

“Blippy is a service that allows you to automatically share your credit card transactions as you make them. This includes the place you made the purchase, the amount, and in some cases, the item. This is all placed in a social stream where other Blippy users can comment on and “like” the various items.”

I’m trying to be open-minded about this service but am really struggling to figure out why someone would want their friends (and hackers) to know virtually everything they purchase. If you have some examples of why this is a good idea, please leave a comment below.

Addressing some of the “red-flags” I mention above, specifically the social engineering scam, we make it so easy for hackers and attackers (both online and offline) to compromise our personal and financial security. For example, if an attacker knows I just purchased a book at Amazon.com for $24, what’s to stop them from creating a fake email that looks like it’s coming from Amazon?

It would be easy to trust that the email is really from Amazon because they’d have the name of the book you purchased and the price – so, at first glance, why wouldn’t you believe it? The email could be offering you a “cash back reward” by simply “clicking this link” – which could take you to a site that downloads malware and infects your computer or compromises your browser sessions, social profiles, etc.

Addressing the offline personal security issues, blippy also lets people know where and when you hang out – and how much you spend – which makes it easy for someone to monitor your patterns of behavior. More specifically, I can find out what ATM you like to get cash from and can tell that you usually take out large sums of money. In the example above, it shows a withdrawal of “$460 from the Bank of America”

I could ramble on and on about this, but for your sake, I won’t. I just question some of the habits of social sharing. Transparency and open communication is great, but when is it taken too far and how much privacy are people willing to give up for the sake of “being connected?” Please let me know your thoughts below.

Using foursquare for a purpose

February 26, 2010 by

If you’re on twitter and you’ve seen a tweet like this: (@Walgreens) http://4sq.com/87bMtr, you know what it is. It’s someone checking in at their current location through foursquare. It’s becoming more common and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon as users and businesses are taking full advantage of this new media.

Foursquare is providing the perfect opportunity for businesses to connect with their customers on a new level. It’s creating a new quid pro quo, if you will. Customers “check in” at a location and in turn the business rewards them with a coupon or special deal. Especially if you become the “Mayor” of that location.

The Mayor is the person who has visited or checked in at a specific location more than anyone else.

This not only creates a friendly game between foursquare users, but creates incentive for recurring customers. A couple great examples of this practice are two local Milwaukee establishments who seem to have it down to a science.

AJ Bombers is  a burger joint downtown Milwaukee that thrives on using twitter and Four Square as a promotional tool. For example: If you “dethrone” the Mayor of AJ Bombers your burger is on the house. Not only does this entice customers to keep coming back, but it gives them a reason or incentive to return. Plus a little friendly competition.

Another business that is great at using foursquare is Stack’d Burger Bar. Their promotional offers are built specifically to bring people back and reward them every time they visit. If you show the servers that you have checked in using foursquare you get rewarded with a Buy 1 Get 1 deal. If you’re the Mayor of Stack’d  you receive a free nostalgic stack (three beverages stacked on top of each other) for free… every time you return. That’s pretty sweet if you ask me.

Have any interesting stories from using foursquare?
Please leave a comment and share.

Here are some links covering the buzz around AJ Bomber:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703787304575076001164243926.html?KEYWORDS=AJ+Bombers

http://www.pitchengine.com/ajbombers/how-social-media-powers-business/44916/

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/how-social-media-can-power-your-business/

AJ Bombers foursquare page: http://foursquare.com/venue/136399

Stack’d Burger Bar foursquare page: http://foursquare.com/venue/206293

Upcoming Social Media Events In Milwaukee Area

February 19, 2010 by

In the coming months there are a few interesting social media events/meet ups in the area that we thought you should be aware of. Take a look and let me know if we missed any in the comment section.

February 23, 2010
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Country Springs Hotel, Waukesha, WI

PR + Social Media Summit 2010
April 8, 2010
8:00 am – 4:45 pm
Marquette University, Alumni Memorial Union

Social Media University
SMUM semester 2 Coming in March

What is Google Buzz?

February 10, 2010 by

Google just released it’s new social media product called Google Buzz this Tuesday for most Gmail users. We just started looking into our Stream Profile with google Buzz today and just like everyone else have questions on what are it’s capabilities and how to get started. Here’s a list of some interesting articles that seem to give a good overview for both what it is and how to use it. Please leave a comment if you have any other good resources about it and if you think you are going to give it a try, we’d love to follow you.

Introducing Google Buzz
Google Blog

If Google Wave Is The Future, Google Buzz Is The Present
http://www.techcrunch.com | by MG Siegler

The Buzz About Google Buzz
http://www.pcworld.com | by Ian Paul

Marketing Tips for Using Google Buzz
http://www.blog.hubspot.com | by Mike Volpe

Google’s e-mail gets social in Facebook face-off
wwww.excite.com | By MICHAEL LIEDTKE

Google Turns Evil for Facebook and Twitter with Google Buzz
http://www.savedelete.com | By Yogesh Mankani

The Location Implications of Google Buzz
http://www.mashable.com | by Jennifer Van Grove

Mac Troubleshooting – Hard Drive Not Mounting

February 8, 2010 by

Having proper backups of our data is an important part of our workflow.  In additon to the redundant file backup in our studio, we carry external hard drives home with us each night to a) protect our data against fire, theft, etc. and b) allows access to our files at home (vpn doesn’t really work all that great for us because of file size). Each night I run Super Duper! to make a cloned backup of my work files.

Last week when I was getting ready to leave for the weekend I unplugged my external drive without hitting eject.  I wasn’t in the middle of copying anything to the drive, so I wasn’t too concerned about compromising my data.  When I got into the office today, the external drive wouldn’t mount.  It worked fine on other workstations, so something must have gotten messed up when I unplugged it last week.  Here are some steps I took which allowed me to get up and running again.

1. Swapped out a new cable.  I have seen this work in the past, but no luck this time.

2. Reset the PRAM.  I restarted the computer, and then hit Command+Option+P+R during restart.  Once it chimed, I let go.  This didn’t do the trick either, but it often fixes a lot common problems.

3. Factory Reset.  I unplugged all cables from the back of the computer including the power cable.  Then I held down the power button for at least 20 seconds.  Plugged all cables back in and started the computer.  Once I logged in, I was greeted with a message asking me if I would like to use my external drive as a Time Machine backup.  I simply clicked no and went about my business.  This magical factory reset has also worked for us in the past when the internal fans weren’t sounding right.

Hopefully if your having the same problem you will find this post helpful.  My advise is if the problem comes up often consider replacing the drive and/or getting your computer checked out by the professionals.

Disney Encourages Customers To Do Good

February 5, 2010 by

One of the things that draws us to social media is the concept of transparency. We feel that social media has held companies more accountable and makes them more customer-focused. A few years ago, a company could run a marketing campaign, claiming to be the best at this or that. They could also claim to be solely focused on their customers needs – even if they weren’t – and it was difficult for customers to prove them wrong (at least at a global level).

Social media gives customers a huge voice to set the record straight – and companies are aware of this. Again, we feel this encourages businesses to, plain and simply, be better businesses (which is a good thing, right?)

So, enough with the soapbox rant!

In the spirit of companies doing good, I saw a commercial the other night from Disney that encouraged their customers to get involved in volunteering and community service. Their “Give a day. Get a day” campaign allows customers to give of their time in exchange for a free ticket to one of their theme parks. You can find out all about it at their site. But in a nutshell, here is the offer (as taken from their site):

Give a day. Get a day from Disney.

“We want to inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service to a participating organization in their communities. So we’re celebrating these volunteers’ good works by giving each of them a 1-day, 1-theme park ticket to the Disneyland® Resort or Walt Disney World® Resort, free. There’s no better time to make a dream come true for others and let us make a few come true for you.”

A big fat kudos to Disney for using their influence to try to make the world a better place – even if the motive behind it is to create more business for themselves. We’re all in business to make money, so I’m not going to fault them for that. Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses tried to make money by encouraging customers to do good?

Let me know what you think of the Disney-Do-Gooders. Do you feel this is a good thing or a company trying to make a buck by hiding under the blanket of charitable acts?

Slow Leopard

February 2, 2010 by

Here at Stream Creative we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of adapting new technologies.  I love testing the latest software, downloading new iPhone apps, etc.  Upgrading to Snow Leopard seemed like a no brainer.  My understanding was Snow Leopard was supposed to just improve performance and stability over OS 10.5 Leopard.  Well, having used it for 2 weeks now on one Mac in our studio I have to say I am not happy with the results. In general, the OS seems snappier and some of the new features are nice, but I instantly noticed my web browsers and Mail seem slower.

Today I did some simple testing to see if my perceptions were accurate.  Here are the results.  Please note, I’m not an IT professional, just a guy that works on Macs everyday in our workplace.

Here is a Speed Test running Snow Leopard (v 10.6.2) – iMac 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo:

For comparison, here is a different Mac in our studio.  Leopard (v 10.5.8) – iMac 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo:

As you can see, it will take me a approx a full minute longer to download a 35mb video clip.  Here is one more test that I found particularly interesting.  I ran the speed test one more time using the Snow Leopard machine, but using Windows 7 in Parallels:

The results from Windows 7 in Parallels were comparable to my colleague running Leopard.

My advice…if you haven’t done so already, hold off upgrading to Snow Leopard.  I will continue to research the issue and report back if I can fix the problem or if I see any improvement through software updates.  Please feel free to comment on this blog if you have any insights you would like to share on this issue.  Thanks.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.