Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Farewell to Portfolio

Covers2Portfolio Spread 2Portfolio Spread 1Portfolio Spread3

This past Monday, after many months of speculation and rumors, Portfolio - Condé Nast’s business magazine closed down. I was saddened by this news - of all the business magazines out there, (Forbes, BusinessWeek, Money, Fortune, Fast Company) I thought Portfolio magazine had the best editorial design for a business magazine and the articles were by far interesting as well as compelling. It was one of the few magazines that I could read cover to cover without falling asleep. I had really hoped they could make it through this economic downturn:(

My Daily Commute

My Daily Commute

A small glimpse of my commute from New Jersey to New York and back to New Jersey. All from my perspective, these are just the highlights. Some images are a bit blurred, that's because I was running or walking very fast to catch a train. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

FDIC Going For Broke

FDIC Going For Broke

I was wondering recently if the FDIC bailing out of banks would have an affect on my personal bank account. I foolishly believed that it wouldn't. But as I did some basic research on the matter I discovered that, Yes it will impact me. The FDIC's bailing out of banks is going to affect everyone who has a savings account or a loan through their bank. I quickly put together a simple information graphic (above) showing you the link from the U.S Treasury to the bank customer.

U.S. Treasury increases FDIC's line of credit from $30 billion to $100 billion. The FDIC wants an option to borrow another $500 billion in case of another banking emergency.

FDIC bails out 36 failed banks - that fail from September 1, 2008 to April 1, 2009. Because the FDIC steps in to pay for all the insured deposits, at all these failed banks, the FDIC Has to raise its bank premium fees.

Banks now have to pay higher premiums to the FDIC. To recoup the increased FDIC fees - banks will pass this cost onto their customers.

Families who are tightening their belts because of the economy with have to tighten it a little more. Bank customers deposit rates as well as loan rates will be affected by the raised FDIC premium fees.

Illustration Paulo Pereira

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tim Tsui + Li Ning + Milk Magazine - The Revolution of Green

Since today is Earth Day, I thought I’d post about a green initiative that took place in China earlier this month. It was created to bring green awareness to China. The project is called, The Revolution of Green
  - this is a collaboration between artist Tim Tsui (urban artist, who creates graffiti styled art), a Chinese sporting goods brand Li Ning and Hong Kong based Milk Magazine. Tim Tsui created the wooden sculptures that stand six feet tall. They are on display for two weeks, at Li Ning’s flagship store.

Monday, April 20, 2009

ISBRAVE - Ads for Diesel's new fragrance, Only the Brave

Walking to work today,  I saw these confusing posters. I had no idea what these posters were for - I could not make heads or tails out of the image that was used to create them - the brain, the heart (I didn't know it was supposed to be a heart, I found that out later) and the final image of the spine. 

When I got into work, I looked up the website and found a really confusing site that is set up like a blog. There is an "artsy" video and toward the bottom there is a Twitter looking application that states, What is Brave? - where you're supposed to post a comment telling Diesel - who or what is brave. Whatever you post, will then turn up as a statement under it. At this point I still didn't know what they were promoting. Only after I clicked on the news button was it revealed to me. This is a promotional site for Diesel's new fragrance - Only the Brave. They are also using the rapper Common to promote this new fragrance. Diesel states that, "Common embodies what it means to be brave and how to overcome adversity." You can find links on for their isbrave Flickr page, isbrave YouTube page and isbrave Twitter page. I'm sure there is a Facebook page for this product,  but I couldn't find the link to it on the site.

Now I'm sure Diesel intended these ads to peak your interest and purposely kept it vague so that you would go to their site. But I found the whole experience very annoying. There was no immediate payoff, you didn't know right away what you were looking at, they created links to all the newest social sites with no purpose - and really no content, no good navigational direction on their site and there is barely mention of the product they are promoting. 

What is brave? - comes across as though they are full of themselves, who cares what is brave? It sounds as though they are using this statement, "what is brave?" to promote some sort of charity or cause, but they're not. They are using it to promote their cologne instead. The name of the the cologne, Only the Brave and the question what is brave? is a play off of there indian head logo that Diesel uses. All this rubbed me the wrong way. There is no wit or clever idea, just brashness and artificialness to their campaign. Thumbs down for this promotional campaign. I expected better from Diesel.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Influencers -SVA MFA Lecture

Wednesday night I attended the School of Visual Art’s MFA lecture series, The Influencers. The four speakers Allegra Burnette - Creative Director Digital Media at Moma, Steven Heller - Design Author and Co-founder of MFA at SVA, (Mr.Heller has a long list of credits I’m sure you know about him if not look him up). Jason Santa Maria –web designer and consultant. Molly Wright Steenson – PhD student, Princeton University School of Architecture.

The point of this lecture was to discuss where each speakers influences come from - People, history, industry, or maybe even take a look into possible future trends.

Allegra Burnette discussed the redesign of Moma’s website, interactive displays and the creation of the Moma Flickr page. The driving force or influencer in this case is the visitor’s interaction with the museum (staff and budget was also listed as an influencer with these projects). Creating and easy to use website so that it gives the user the feel of the museum as well as creating a simple and sequential navigation throughout the site.

Steven Heller discussed the influence of Ladislav Sutnar whose influence can be felt even today. He was the pioneer of information design. He created his own systems or organization and information graphics, before there was such a thing.

Jason Santa Maria discussed the lack of influence of print on the web. In his discussion he juxtaposes a beautiful editorial designed article and then shows the webs “translation” of the same article, which is just a headline with a lot of type under it. He’s questioning the reasoning behind this, why does it have to be that way?

Molly Wright Steenson – discussed the influence of one man Christopher Alexander. In the end she stated, Love him or hate on you cannot deny his overall influence in architecture as well as computer science.

I felt that this was a very concise, informative lecture series that easily jump starts conversations and thoughts about the topics that were discussed. It was very good lecture, I will be attending more of them in the future. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Just Tweeted the Wrong Person

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

depeche mode-Sounds of the Universe

Walking home this week, the new poster for Depeche Mode's album, Sounds of the Universe, caught my eye. I have never been their biggest fan per se. But, there are certain songs/albums that I do have and really like. To tell you the truth, I haven't bought a Depeche Mode album since 1990's Violator cd - and that was more of a "best of" type of album rather than new music. This new album has peeked my interest though.

Back in February they released their new single with the video for the song, Wrong. The single has a very exposed, violent - hardened sound to it. The video's visuals are breathtaking, beautiful and amazing - The videos look directly connects to the song. I can not separate the song now without visualizing the eerie video. The video is directed by Patrick Daughters - who has directed other videos for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon, Beck, The Muse and Interpol.

I still have to listen to the other songs off their Sounds of the Universe cd before I decide to buy it, but if this single is any indication to what the rest of the songs will be like, this will be an easy decision for me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Drives Foreign Cars?

I meant to post this earlier this week - A little tidbit of information I caught on NPR last friday about the appointed Auto Task Force members. Only 6 out of 20 key members on the Auto Task Force drive American cars. You also find out foreign cars do well on the east & west coast's, with highly educated people. American cars do well in the midwest, with blue collar workers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Future of Home Phones

It looks like telephone companies are finally offering "the phones of the future." I have been waiting for a home phone like this, ever since the iPhone came out. I was sure telephone companies would try to mimic the iPhone's features sooner than later. Verizon, so far, is the first to advertise the Verizon Hub on TV. And it looks as though AT&T has started selling a similar version called Home Manager online, but has not really advertised it, (at least not here in the east coast).

Verizon Hub and AT&T Home Manager seem to have similar features - both include a 7 inch touch screen access. You can receive traffic updates, weather, news, sports, directions, watch movie trailers, order a pizza on both phones. Other phone features include - a phone contact list, calendar reminders, you can receive and send text messages, video messages and visual voice mail (this feature transcribes your voicemail to text so you can read it and don't have to listen to it, which makes it easier if you missed a phone number or address).

Now we just need the phone companies to figure out a way to sync-up home phones and cell phones. So when you're on the road and someone calls your home phone, your cell phone rings too. This way you'll never miss another important call again. All you can do right now with both Verizon's Hub and AT&T Home Manager is sync-up your calendar events, reminders and you can send text messages to cell phones. But the cell phone and the home phone have different numbers and are still considered separate entities. Phone companies should think about creating something similar to Google Voice, one number for both cell phones and home phones. Now that these new home phones can work seamlessly with the internet, this is the next logical step.  

All Images via Verizon and AT&T

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nine Inch Nails [NIN] iPhone 1.0 App

It seems Mr.Reznor has been listening to what his fans want. He's not guessing at what his fans want, he's not having executives telling him what his fans want but going to the source itself. This is truly the key to his current success. 

This new NIN App will be FREE and available through Apple's App store in a couple of days. It will let you access the Nine Inch Nails website ( The new App will let you read and respond to discussions through your iPhone. You can download music, photos, videos and locate other NIN fans with the built-in GPS locator. Mr.Reznor goes on to state that this App is another level for the fans to experience their live shows - fans can create live show feeds to other fans anywhere in the world. 

Overall a very good idea it gives the fans what they want and creates a tighter fan base that feels as though they are part of something. If you haven't seen the video about the new NIN 1.0 iPhone App click here to watch the video from Trent Reznor and friends explaining all the App's functions.

All Images via NIN and Wired

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Final Four Olympic Cities

I'm not sure if anyone has seen the final four candidate city logos for the 2016 Olympics yet? If not here they are - final cities are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. The Olympic committee won't be making the final decision until October 2009. 

The are all nice logos, but I'm partial to Madrid's logo. The hand forming the letter M is a nice touch. (And no, me choosing the Madrid logo does not have anything to do with me being married to a Spanish citizen.) Second choice would be Chicago's logo, very nice.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Zimbabwe Can it Get Any Worse?

The Zimbabwean Newspaper created an ad campaign to protest the current Zimbabwean currency, that is essentially worthless. The printed their message on the worthless Zimbabwean bank notes to get their point across to the public. It's a brilliant idea just sad and horrible circumstances. 

The country's in a dire situation right now, food shortages, cholera epidemic, economic melt down, human rights violations and so on! What's it going to take for someone to put a stop to the Mugabe regime? 

Here are some links to news sites that show you how bad it's getting -,, New York Times and The Zimbabwean Newspaper for updates.