Tag Archives: iphone

Kippa Man: Making Me the First Custom Apple Logo Kippa in Israel

Skullcaps, lids, yarlmakes, or kippas, whatever you call the head covering we observant Jews wear, one thing is for certain: if custom, knitted ones (“sroogies”) are your thing there is no better place than Kippa Man to get yours made. Located conveniently in the Shuk in Jerusalem, they have tons of pre-made designs to choose from including sports teams, cartoon characters, and company logos like Nike, Coke, and Pepsi. But as I walked into the shop today I noticed something was missing.

The iPhone hit Israel in December of 2009, and we have been experiencing the slow yet enthusiastic adoption typical of Apple launches. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am an Apple nut, a customer evangelist if you will, who takes pride in his affiliation. What better way to display that pride than with a custom kippa made by the best?

The lady at Kippa Man (didn’t catch her name today) was pretty excited about this one. “Do you think other people will want it?” she asked in a light Israeli accent. I told her that people would go crazy over it, and she’d be able to say she was the first to do it in Israel because I had looked and not found it anywhere else. I also told her that I’d proudly wear it at Legal Tech in two weeks, a major technology conference in NYC for legal professionals. This made her more excited an she promised to have it ready by next week.  What happened next was interesting.

She quoted a price which I thought was high for a custom kippa.  “You wear big ones,” she said.  “The are more expensive than the little ones.”  She was right.  I do like my kippas on the big side.  They are more comfortable, stay on your head better, don’t require clips, and cover my disappearing hair.  Knowing that Wonder Woman would kill me if I paid that much for a kippa the inner business man in me came out.  “Tell you what,” I said, “I’m so excited about this kippa that I want to blog about it.  I want to show it to everyone I know who loves Apple and have them come to you for one.  With the iPhone blowing up in Israel there is sure to be interest.  We brand this as a Kippa Man original and I think you’ve got a winner.”  Through my entire speech I could feel her excitement, and it was true; I meant every word.  It surprised me not to see more kippas with logos from passion brands like Apple, Windows, Nokia (Israelis LOVE their Nokias), and others.

In any case we came to an acceptable price range (she couldn’t give me exact b/c she won’t know until they make it), and I walked outside the store.  I posted a check in at Kippa Man on Gowalla (location based service) citing my forthcoming kippa, snapped a shot of the store front (see above), and headed home to start work.  Not sure how the kippa will come out, but if it looks anything like the other work I’ve seen Kippa Man do I’m sure it will be awesome.  Look for me at Legal Tech.


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Do You Buy From Social Brands?

Take a look at Mashable’s 100 most social brands.  See any logic here?  Among the top ten were: “iPhone, Disney, CNN, MTV, NBA, iTunes, Wii, Apple, Xbox and Nike rounded out the top 10 in 2009, respectively.”  On lower rungs we saw premium fashion brands and food, but the take away here for business is that tech, news, and entertainment have taken the biggest lead in becoming “social.”  The payoff will be converting social to profitable.  What correlation have we seen that a more social brand is a more profitable brand?  Is it just that the more profitable brands tend to be more social?  Chicken and the Egg … online.

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How to Listen on the Web

Social media makes everybody …

A NEWS STUDIO – sites like Daily Me allow republishing of personalized news

A MOVIE STUDIO – “You Tube Video Lands $30 Million Movie Deal

A PUBLISHING COMPANY – social publishing

A GOSSIP COLUMN Perez Hilton became one of the most read columnists in Hollywood.

With everyone contributing something on the web, attention becomes our most sought after commodity.  How is anyone supposed to listen with all this chatter?  The way I do it is pretty simple.  Between Google Reader and Alerts, my iPhone, and Twitter I can keep a pretty good tabs on all the things I want to hear.  This is my abbreviated step-by-step guide to filtering out the noise.

Get a Google Reader account.

This will allow you to aggregate subscription content from webistes through RSS feeds usually by clicking the little icon that looks like this:

You will then get updates whenever the site content changes.  The best way to use your RSS Reader is to scan the headlines for anything that looks like something you want to digest.  Star items that you want to come back to or email them to yourself (there are other applications for reading RSS items later, such as Readitlater or Instapaper, but I want everything in one place).  Google Reader keeps starred items in a separate folder for you.  Using this method will allow you to get through your RSS inbox rather quickly, keeping it from piling up.  If you’re anything like me you get about 400 updates per day – reading everything is not an option and stopping to read while you are doing your sorting will only result in more pile up.

Get a Google Alerts account.

RSS subscriptions are great for keeping up with the sites you know about, but what about those sites you don’t know about?  To listen on the web you need to be able to customize what content gets fed to you.  Enter Google Alerts, step 2 of setting up your listening post.  Simply type in the term you want to receive alerts about, change the preferences to receive updates in your Google Reader, and you are done.  Anytime that term or terms hit Google’s index you will be sent an RSS alert.  You can customize alerts for immediate delivery or daily digest.

NOOB quick tip: put terms like “social media” or other multiple word searches in “quotation marks” so that Alerts look for the full term.

Get an iPhone

We are not going into the details of getting an iPhone, but the takeaway here is that having a mobile device to read your feeds makes filtering, maintaining, and digesting the information much easier.  I will check and filter feeds while walking the dog, waiting in line, and sitting on the bus.  The app I use to read my feeds is called MobileRSS, a totally free reader that has a lot of functionality.  My favorite feature is the ability to send feed items to Twitter, Email, or other places with 1-click.  This allows me and my network to follow up on items of interest that I find.  For example, after seeing and scanning Martin Reed’s post Online Community Metrics: numbers you need to pay attention to, I emailed the item to my team from MobileRSS.  While I filtered the rest of my RSS list and then came back to the post to read it in depth, other team members had set up a meeting to discuss metrics in our community, drafted an agenda, and looked forward to discussing the issue.  We recently had a productive meeting and figured out some new strategies based on this golden nugget from my listening post.

A Word About Twitter

Besides Google alerts, I also use Tweetdeck to listen.  Tweetdeck is a 3rd party application that lets you maintain columns which monitor Twitter.  The columns can watch your network’s activity, mentions about you, direct messages, Twitter trends, or any topic you specify in search.  The usefulness here is when I’m working on Twitter related items and don’t want to keep checking my Google Reader.  Since I have Tweetdeck open anyway to send messages for the company, I can simultaneously monitor Twitter for chatter about our company or any subject I am interested in.  We will have to see how Google Real-time Search changes the usefulness of Tweetdeck, but for now I find it to be a good tool in the box.

So there you have it: the ways I listen on the web.  What are your methods?  Do you use any of these tools or something different (ex/ Net Vibes)?  Does your company use a service like Radian6 to professionally monitor?

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    Filed under Productivity, social media, Uncategorized

    What to Do When Your iPhone Only Works on Speakerphone?!?!?

    So at first I thought it might be pocket lint.  You know, a nice good ball of blue and white lint that got stuck in the earphone jack, but after troubleshooting with the help of many websites and YouTube videos (like the one below), I realized we had a bigger problem here than I thought.  What am I talking about you ask?  My wife’s iPhone, that wonderful little device that we love for so many reasons (many of them having nothing to do with the phone part) stopped working properly a couple of months ago.  Her earpiece went dead and she could only hear people talking if she put her phone on speakerphone.

    After a little research I found out that this problem is quite common.  The phone gets stuck in “earphone mode” and thinks that earphones are plugged into it, hence it sends no sound to the earpiece.  Here are the few solutions that I came across in my attempts to fix this annoying issue:

    1. Plug and unplug your iPhone headphones (repeat 7 or 8 times as needed)

    2. Clean your iPhone headphone jack with the stick part of a Qtip (cut with a scissor) and dipped in Windex

    3. Adjust your proximity sensor settings

    4. Turn your phone of and on; make sure Bluetooth is off; restore factory settings

    5. Restore firmware and reboot the phone (most drastic)

    Even after trying all of these “solutions” my wife’s phone is still stuck in earphone mode.  Even #5 didn’t work (I thought maybe b/c the phone is jail broken/unlocked that restoring the IPSW would help – nope).  Is the speaker just broken?  Do I need to return the phone to Apple (that means a trip to the US b/c the two Apple stores here in Israel don’t even have iPhones yet)?  Does anyone have any other suggestions?


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    The iDoEveryThingButWorkWellAsAPhone Phone (my little rant)

    Is it me or does the iPhone do everything else extremely well except … well, phone?

    Before purchasing this wonderful device and entering the world of the mobile, I had a $10 Go Phone from AT&T.  It was tiny, plastic, did text only, but always worked.  Ever since I got an  iPhone, I have experienced 3 to 5 dropped calls per day (and I don’t even use the phone that much).  What accounts for the iPhone’s lack of phoneliness?  The AppleInsider blog posted a bunch of theories last summer when the 3G premiered.

    Love the apps, (can’t imagine life without Kindle apps!), email, and other functionality, but the whole point of buying this device and taking out the two-year contract which I’ll be breaking in a week (look for a post on that when it is all said and done), was to have a device that made calls anywhere.

    If I wanted a device that had so much trouble making calls, I could have saved myself the headache of locking into a new contract, just bought an iPod touch at Costco for $225, downloaded the Skype app, and paid only $9.95 per month for phone service, the only limitation being that I would have to use it when I got wi-Fi.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m still an iPhone and Apple promotor, but seeing as the device works well with everything else, why not it’s primary function.

    What’s your experience with this?

    Check out this guy’s solution (after 3:35 of this video you don’t really need to keep watching, b/c he’s already told you the solution):

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    Filed under Commentary and Critiques, Technology

    Addicted to iPhone Apps

    Two weeks into my iPhone oddessey and I’m already hooked on apps. The ability to choose from over 100,000 add ons for my phone was so overwhelming at first that I didn’t download anything for the first week. Rather I sat back, did some research, and tried to choose useful apps that I would actually use.

    Deciding that the most important thing to me was productivity, I searched out the best apps in this category and found many to close from. Another criteria was cost: I didn’t want my foray into Apple’s app world to drive up my mobile bills either, so most of what I ultimately decided on were free apps.

    Here is what is on my phone currently and my reasons for putting them there:

    1. Toodledo – I tried many different list makers, being married to a productivity maven, including plain old Apple notes, Done, Reqall and Evernote (useful for brainstorming and writing, but not GTD lists), but none of them compared to Toodledo. This paid app ($3.99) allows flexible list making, synching with email and online, foldering, and more. To me, what makes the app great is it doesn’t waste functionality on gimmicky features you don’t need.
    2. Siddur (Ashkenaz) – this is your basic Jewish prayer book in Heberew, but on your iPhone.  Very dumbed down version with not a lot of features.  The navigation is clunky and I sometimes loose my place completely while in the middle of afternoon or evening prayers (not recommended for the longer morning prayers unless absolutely necessary).  Despite it’s flaws, you can’t beat the price: cheap as free, and I use it every day.
    3. Evernote – as I said above, the Evernote app is great for note taking that doesn’t involve to do lists.  The voice notes work well and the synching is okay.  Don’t use the app all that much, but can see where it is useful.
    4. TweetDeck – love this on my desktop and laptop.  Not crazy about it on the iPhone though.  Something about working with all the columns and trying to manage the rich features of this program on the iPhone does not translate.  Still, another free app so what the heck (if you don’t like it you can always just delete it).
    5. Done – this was my GTD app of choice until I shelled the $3.99 for Toodledo.  It makes simple lists and has some fun features like shaking the iPhone to reorder the list based on priorities, and tilting the phone to it’s side, hitting the check mark, and hearing a laser beam zap sound effect wipe checked off items off of your list.
    6. WordPress – if you blog on WP and have an iPhone I don’t know how this app is not on it.  You can type local drafts (slowly … if you are like me and still stumble through the soft keyboard) and then upload them to the real WP as drafts or published posts (this post started on the iPhone).  Also free.
    7. Honorable mentions (still on the phone, free apps, but not really being used much): Multiconvert (see how any measurement lines up against the same measurement in a different scale – will be helpful in Israel), Keeper (password keeper; still don’t know how this works; having to type in all my passwords may be worth it if I ever get to it), RulePhone (this is supposed to be able to give you an accurate measurement for anything you take a photo of; sounded cool, downloaded to measure some furniture, told me a 5 and half foot buffet was only 3 and half feet, and now I want my $2.99 back), Israel Money (cool way to track how the shekel is keeping up with the dollar, but I am not sure how accurately this refreshes from day to day – the dollar to the shekel has been 3.90 for the past 6-days), and ContactSynch (works well, downloaded for free, puts all Gmail, Outlook, and phone contacts in your phone address book)

    What apps are you downloading?

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    Why Apple Gets the Best Net Promoter Scores (50th Post!)

    For my 50th post on Mintz’s Words, I wanted to talk about net promoter scores and my experience with Apple.

    That one simple question drives business today. It is the reason for the proliferation of social networking among companies and has MBA toting business leaders obsessed with landing in the 9-10 point range. At that point the customer practically sells your product for you. The companies with the highest NPS are likely some of the best. These are your Googles, your VWs, your Snapples and Kashis. These are more than jus companies: they are cultures.

    Whether you belong to the PC society or the Nike new world order, you brand loyalty says something about you. There us a lingo, a logo, and a love for these products, which that one simple question, (would you recommend our product to a friend?) reveals. Will you promote that company’s product and in essence, do their marketing work for them?

    This is how I feel about Apple: despite the high price point, close systemness ( anti- Linux), and Starbuckian trendiness of their products, I love this company. They are my business influencer (what would apple do or wwad?).

    These are the reasons I promote Apple:

    1. Innovation – whenever I think about doing something new in business simply to be the first one in the pool, I remember that to be a game changer doesn’t always mean being the first one to suit up. There were plenty of MP3 players on the market before Apple changed the world forever with a little thing called the iPod.

    2. Simplicity – when I bought my first Macbook, Wonder Woman was still PC user and worried that the switch would confuse her.  Nearly three years later when it became time to buy our next computer we didn’t even consider looking at anything that didn’t come from our favorite “fruit company.”

    3. Attention to Detail – there are just little things that make Apple products superior.  For example, in the default PDF viewing program, there is a little feature called “Quartz Fileter,” which allows you to compress the PDF to minimal file size without losing much quality (I recently reduced a 15MB file needed to complete my application for the August 18th Nefesh B’Nefesh Charter Flight to 216KB using this method).  This obviates the need for $30 PDF compression programs that many in the legal field are so fond of like PDF Shrink.  Also, many of these features are intuitive, fill a user-need (not just extraneous add-ons), and like #2 are simple to use.

    4. Product Design – the iPhone just feels right in my hand.  Even when I’m walking the dog, with a double stroller packed with my two kids, I can use one hand to scroll through email.  Reading on this compact device has changed my world (as the name of this blog implies, I am a word junky and read at every opportunity).  Now, I don’t have to lug multiple books around on trips, I just download to the iPhone and enjoy holding my little e-reader (why anyone would want a Kindle is beyond me).

    5. Relavance – Apple is never content to just sit around and wait for the next thing to happen.  While the record and movie industry battled Napster they built iTunes.  As court battles raged on over whether cable providers could store content in a cloud accessible to subscribers at anytime via their cable service, they came out with Apple TV.  There is always something cooking in the Apple labs and it ain’t strudel or turnover.

    All-in-all you can say we are a happy Apple family.  Our latest acquisitions, a 24-inch iMac and an Airport extreme are just the latest in our ongoing relationship with this company.  The iMac we got as a certified refurbish from the Apple Store, was cheaper than anywhere else I have looked, and came with a 1-year warranty.  The Airport extreme wireless router we got from an EXCELLENT site for Apple products: MacMall.com for almost 40% off the retail price, brand new (sealed in box).  While the high price point of Apple products can be off putting for the uninitiated, those of us loyal customers who put Apple in the 9 to 10 NPS range will always tell you, it is worth the extra money.  I’d rather save for another year and buy an older Apple product than rush out to get the latest PC, (although I must admit that Windows XP 2007 on my work computer is a fantastic step up from previous MS attempts).


    Filed under Technology