Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If it's Christmas* . . .

... it must be cuff links.
I seem to have found the "it" gift of the season: people are mad for cuff links. Skull cuff links, record insert cuff links, punk cuff links, stone cuff links. You name it, they are going like hotcakes (just how fast do hotcakes go?).

The downside? Since each pair is handcrafted to order, I've been spending every free moment sawing, filing, sanding and polishing for weeks. I could use some elves.


* substitute any seasonal holiday you like in the title. I am not bound to one more than another.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wii

Say it with me: Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!
You feel better don't you?

Saying I am not a video game person is a hyperbolic understatement. I have never played Pacman, Frogger, Tetris, Mario Brothers, or any number of other arcade favorites. I don't mean that I played these games rarely -- I literally mean I have NEVER played any of them. Apparently, I was deeply scarred by an early game of Pong or Space Invaders and never went back for more.

About a year ago I caught an episode of South Park where Cartman is obsessed with getting a Nintendo Wii. At that point, I had never heard of the Wii, but Cartman's hilariously affected delivery of the word "Wii" was enough to pique my curiosity. I went online and poked around. This thing looked great!

Fast forward a year; I had decided to track one down. No easy feat -- just ask anyone who has tried. With a friend's help, I was able to find one and quickly snatched it up.

What a fun toy! I love that it gets one up off the couch and moving around. (The tetherball, bowling and tennis are fabulous!) I also appreciate that I don't find it fun by myself -- only with other people playing with me. What a great excuse to have people over for some simple, silly (and inexpensive) fun!

In addition to the Wii Sports that comes with the game, I picked up Wii Play and Playground. I highly recommend each of those. I also got Cooking Mama, which is a bit grating. (grating. get it!?)

And yes, I insist on pronouncing it Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! every time.

iPhone, uPhone, We all Phone

"My name is Paige, and I am a gadget-aholic."
I'm not sure when I became a gadget freak -- it kind of sneaked up on me. An early PDA or two, and before you know it I fell in love with pocket-sized technology.

I'd been needing to replace my aging smartphone, but I was so in love with it that I didn't want to give it up. The phone I had for the past four years was one of the first smartphones running Windows Mobile. This phone allowed me to play movies and MP3s on my phone, get email, run windows apps, access a calendar and to-do lists, surf the web, etc. -- all four years ago, long before the current crop of iPhones and blackberries.

But, the phone has been discontinued, and as its battery began to die, I knew it was time to let it go. After looking at several options, I decided to splurge and get an iPhone.

My first reaction, strangely enough, was that this phone doesn't offer much my old phone didn't have. For some reason I expected to be more "wowed" by the technology -- but the capabilities are similar.

That said, there are some remarkable features. It is gorgeous. The interface is beautiful and easy to use, the display is stunning, and I love the large screen. I wanted something that would allow me to carry a gallery of images with me, and this is perfect.

I'm also in love with the maps function that allows you to see traffic congestion. I'm about to start a new job with a long commute, and this tool will allow me to quickly check routes and road congestion before starting my drive.

The battery life is remarkable - I read somewhere that it can play video for 7- 9 hours on one charge. The chat (SMS) interface is appealing - showing conversations in alternating columns of speech balloons.

The iPOD functionality is a "nice-to-have", but I can't see myself leaving behind my regular iPOD . I am very attached to my 60 GB ipod with 4000+ songs, books, tv shows and movies that would far exceed the 8 GB capacity of the phone.

Now for the less than ideal features. The email functionality leaves A LOT to be desired. I won't go into all the things I dislike about it - you can easily find any review that will touch on this. But, I'm banking on these deficits being software issues that can be upgraded along the way. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why does FedEx suck so much?

I have a friend and neighbor who has conceded that if something has been shipped to him via FedEx he knows he's just not going to receive it. He can just write it off before it ever leaves the original warehouse. He's not alone in those thoughts.

I recently placed an order and the only shipping option was FedEx. "Here we go again", I thought. Because of problems with previous FedEx deliveries, I was following my package progress closely online.

I saw it scheduled for delivery on Monday, and checked the status throughout the day. I was home, waiting for it, eagerly awaiting its arrival. Then I saw its status change online to "Delivery Exception." I picked up the phone and called FedEx immediately. They asked of there was an apartment number or suite number. Ah, I thought, that has happened before, the shipper must have just left off my apartment number. I gave the woman the number, and she told me the delivery would be delayed until the next day.

The next morning I got a call from some sort of FedEx service center in Pennsylvania. This (very nice) guy told me that another person would be calling me from the service center here, and sure enough she called an hour later. She again confirmed the apartment number -- which I had already given them the day before. I asked if the package would be delivered that day. She said, "oh, no. It appears the package is here in our warehouse. You can come get it if you'd like it today, otherwise it will go out tomorrow." I had already had two friends make disastrous trips to the local FedEx facility to pick up packages. They both left empty-handed after they were denied their packages, after driving all the way there. I was in no mood for that, plus I had paid for delivery.

The next day there is a knock at the door. My package finally arrived!! The driver kept telling me something about our security gate being an issue and how he couldn't get in to find my apartment. Now mind you, there is a call box (clearly marked) by this gate, and my name can be looked up easily. Calls from that box go right to my cellphone, where I can open the gate. No one had ever tried to reach me. After the driver left, I thought to look at the address label.
Sure enough, the apartment number had been on the original shipping label -- there was no reason for my four phone calls with FedEx, or any reason my delivery was delayed for three days.
UPS, DHL, and the US Mail all seem to have no problem getting deliveries to me, but FedEx is consistently a disaster.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My own ikea hack

I'm a huge fan of the ikea hacker blog. I love what seeing what handy people are able to create when using ikea products as their building blocks. Check it out -- you'll be impressed!

On that site, I had seen several treatments of the fira mini storage chests. Mine were beginning to get a little grubby with jewelry polish smudged on the drawer fronts, so I was inspired to spruce them up a bit as well.

I had some beautiful Chiyogami paper that I had picked up in Santa Fe. I used it as the basis for my color combination -- covering most of the drawers and the skimra lampshade. I got two sheets of coordinating paper to cover the remainder of the drawers, and trimmed everything to size.

These little drawers are just perfect to organize all the little tools and findings for jewelry making. The larger drawers are roomy enough to contain patterned brass sheets, wire and sheet metal supplies. I print small labels with a label maker and affix them to the top ledge of each drawer front. When fully-loaded the drawers get quite heavy, so I opted to move mine to my sturdy maple desk for support instead of the particleboard bookcases that had been their home.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Recent Projects - Rings, Rings, Rings

I've been taking classes each quarter at a local arts center for several years. So many years, in fact, that I no longer know when I started! Each quarter we tend to focus on a single type of piece, and this quarter it has been rings. Rings are my favorite jewelry project. Despite being tough to size for sales to a wide audience (obviously, not every person can wear every ring), I enjoy working on rings because they are compact and fairly fast projects. They are also the piece of jewelry I enjoy wearing the most.

I completed four rings this quarter. First there is the simple spinning band ring. This may have been the quickest project I ever completed. It is simply a narrow band that goes around a taller band. The edges of the taller band are then flared to keep the narrow band in place. Because that narrow band doesn't fit snuggly, it spins on the taller band. I patterned the silver on the wide band and kept the narrow band at high polish. What a fun little project!

The second ring has a pierced shoulder on a cigar band-type shank. It has a flat top that sits on a small platform. The ring top is decorated with fine silver and copper balls. It like its industrial, ball bearing-like look. I'm making earrings and a pendant in the same design.

The third ring is a hollow ring with a freeform shape. Flat wire was bent into shape to form the sides, and then soldered to patterned silver sheet. The ring is set with four chrysoprase stones -- three that are on the edge parallel to the hand, and one larger stone that sits perpendicular to the hand (and facing toward other people). The ring was designed to extend over the neighboring finger. It is an interesting, one-of-a-kind piece, finished in a dark patina.

The fourth ring, you ask? Where is it? It was a simple set of intertwined Russian wedding bands that found a home on one of my friend's fingers.

Recent Projects - Reliquary Locket

First off, if my sister happens upon this, stop reading. Now. Really. You'll spoil the surprise.

For the rest of you, this entry is a about a project I've been referring to as my reliquary locket. A misnomer since it doesn't hold any sacred items, but it does hold a photo of my dad - and that's close enough for me.

My dad passed away last year and I wanted to memorialize him with a special memento for my mom, sister and me. Over the past 6 -8 months, I created a series of lockets that feature similar design features, but each differs slightly.

These photos capture the front, back and inside of mine. For the surface decoration, I created original etched brass plates that were then used to pattern the silver. The front of the locket features a sequoia (the last word my father spoke before passing away) and a simple dotted border. The Chinese characters pierced into the lid of the locket are meant to say "rest in peace". (let's hope the source I used was correct!)

The back features handwriting from a birthday card that my dad had sent to me. His notes always were so special to me, and I still react so strongly to his handwriting when I come across scattered notes and cards. Because of that emotional connection, I wanted to make certain I included some of his hand in the pieces.

Inside is a sepia-toned photo set into resin. Surrounding the photo are scattered fine silver balls that have been patinated to a similar sepia. They remind me of river pebbles and I liked their organic look.

The lockets open by the use of a simple hinge on the left, and a small tooth on the inside of the lid keeps the lockets closed. The chains are handmade, fused loop-in-loop made from fine silver. The chains have end caps made from sterling tubing, and the clasps are simple hand wrought hooks that connect into rings.

Recent Projects - Spiral Earrings for Multiple Piercings

Like many of us, I have multiple piercings in my ears but had tired of the look of the standard captured bead earrings. I wanted to create some earrings that would allow me use all those extra holes in my ears. I made two pairs: one has three straight posts on each earring, the other is the spiral pair shown here. They feed in just like a corkscrew, and look great on. My ears happen to be pierced with 16 gauge wire, so that allowed me to use silver with a bit more heft than standard ear posts. The thicker wire holds its shape, and has not distorted at all, even with regular use. The blue topaz stones are set in a simple bezel.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Recent Projects - 45 Insert Cuff Links

As I complete new pieces, it's my goal to post a snapshot and quick description of the projects. I often don't take the time to photograph each piece, so perhaps this process will lead me to capture & share a bit more of more work.

The first entry is this pair of cuff links that feature those little inserts that fit in your 45 RPM records (or a smaller version of them, anyway).

The design is individually cut out from a sheet of sterling, soldered to a solid silver sheet and then roughly trimmed. Next, the cuff link backs are soldered on, and then the finishing is done. I've been selling rings like this for several years, but I had never made a version as cuff links before. Several other folks have expressed interest in a pair of these -- I look forward to making more!

High Illumination Light Fixture

I finally broke down and bought more appropriate lighting for my work area. My previous solution consisted of 4 or 5 Ikea desk lamps that took up valuable bench space, and still didn't provide enough light. I live in a rather cavernous space, and lighting it has always been tricky -- there isn't much for the light to bounce off of, so the light seems to disappear.

Years ago I had purchased an OTT-LITE® TrueColor Floor Lamp, and while I love the type of light it provides, the 18 watt bulb didn't provide enough brightness for my bench. (It is a perfect light for knitting or reading, however.)

In search of a better solution, I picked up this High Illumination Light Fixture from Contenti. It has made a world of difference. It is equipped with one 55 Watt twin-tube Philips daylight fluorescent lamp that supplies almost 2 times the illumination of the most popular desk lamps. The 24-1/2” shade has an integral light-diffusing shield that spreads light evenly to reduce eyestrain. The adjustable arm has a 33” reach. I used the included C-clamp to attach it to the bench, but it can also be attached with screws.

Unfortunately, good lighting is expensive (both of the above fixtures are in the $100 range), and buying a lamp isn't the most exciting way to spend one's money. That said, however, I'm pretty darn enthusiastic about my new lamp! But, of course, now all the pesky fire scale that had been hidden in the darkness will now be readily apparent . . .

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sudden Loss of Wireless Radio

About two weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk working away on my laptop when my wireless card appeared to suddenly stop working. One moment all is fine, the next, no access to the network. My computer no longer recognized ANY wireless networks, not just mine, so I knew the problem was not with my wireless router.

All diagnostics on the wireless card showed that it was working correctly, however, so I was stumped where the failure was occurring.

Lo and behold after hunting around online I discovered that on some Dell laptops, pressing Fn and F2 (simultaneously) will either enable or disable the wireless radio. Even though the dialog boxes showed that the wireless radio was enabled, it was in fact actually turned off by these key commands.

It seems my cat who enjoys draping over (and occasionally trampling) my keyboard as I attempt to type had inadvertently disabled my wireless access. A simple press of Fn and F2 resolved the issue.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week -- celebrate your right to read.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the annual American Library Association event that reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Banned Books Week "celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them." After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

Calling all "Rationalists"

I'm quite fond of Bill Maher. While it is easy to generalize and deem him a liberal on all subjects, he frequently surprises me. His views span the political continuum, and I enjoy being occasionally startled by his opinion. He is stunningly intelligent and well-informed, which of course makes for good discourse -- and good tv.

But most of the time, I find Mr. Maher in my comfort zone on the left. The following excerpt is from the close of a recent show. I thought it was so spot on, I wanted to share:

Just because the Constitution doesn’t have a religious test for office, doesn’t mean I can’t. This past Monday was Constitution Day in the U.S. And while I was going over the Constitution with my two adopted kids—[laughter]—Zack Ono and Mogadishu—[laughter]—I’m home schooling them—[laughter]—I was struck again by Article 6, Section 3. It says, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.” And I agree. No one should ever be disqualified for their religion. Even the funny ones. [laughter] Like all of them. [applause] [cheers]

But, the problem is that there is a religious test in this country. According to a recent poll, seven in ten say it’s important to have a president with strong religious beliefs. The other three couldn’t take the poll because it was Friday night and Yahweh wouldn’t let them answer the phone. [laughter]

But, fair is fair. So, for myself and the other 15-20% of American who the majority call “non-believers,” but who I call “rationalists,” [applause] here is our religious test for office: if you believe in Judgment Day, I have to seriously question your judgment. [laughter]

If you believe you’re in a long-term relationship with an all-powerful space-daddy—[laughter]—who will, after you die, party with your ghost forever—[laughter]—you can’t have my vote, even for Miss Hawaiian Tropic. [laughter] [applause]

I can’t trust you at the levers of government because there’s an electrical fire going on in your head. [laughter]

Maybe a president who didn’t believe our soldiers were going to Heaven might be a little less willing to get them killed. [applause] [cheers]

Candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, believes in spiritually-blessed underwear that can protect him. [laughter] He seemed like a nice man, and so do his sons, Wally and the Beav. [laughter] But, I’m sorry, their religion is bat-shit. [laughter] It’s like Scientology without the celebrities. [laughter] [applause] And he has every right to run for president while believing in magic underwear, and believing that Jesus survived his own death and will return during an Osmonds’ concert in Branson. [laughter] And I have every right to take that into consideration in the voting booth.

And at the end of the day, is magic underwear really that much crazier than giant arks or virgin births or talking bushes? You’re either a rationalist or you’re not. And the good news is, a recent poll found 20% of adults under 30 say they are rationalists and have figured out that Santa Claus and Jesus are really the same guy. [laughter] [applause]

Now, 20% is hardly a majority, but it’s a bigger minority than blacks, Jews, homosexuals, NRA members, teachers or seniors. And it’s certainly enough to stop being shy about expressing the opinion that WE’RE NOT THE CRAZY ONES! [applause] [cheers]

Just because the vote is 4-to-1, it doesn’t mean the minority is wrong. People who were against this war from the start were a minority. The majority used to believe the world was flat. But if you believe that today, you’d either be packed off to Bellevue or asked to co-host “The View.” [laughter] [applause] [cheers]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Skull Cuff Links

My most recent completed project was this fun pair of skull cuff links ordered by a gentleman in St. Louis. The sterling cuff links have a brushed finish on the face, and sterling fittings on the back. They are incredibly cute -- should skulls be cute? I had been making rings in this design for a couple years, but this was the first pair of skull cuff links.

Cuff links are a great accessory for men because anyone can pull them off (provided they have French cuffs, of course), whereas only a handfull can wear necklaces or bracelets and wear them well. I have made five or six different types of cuff links, and they seem to find a welcoming audience. Most people just can't seem to keep from smiling when they see some of the slightly 'subversive' designs, like these meat cuff links.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wolf Belt Sander Review

Tools I can't live without
The idea behind this blog was to share tips and tricks that I have come across -- perhaps saving others from having to learn the same lessons I did the hard way. I have not done the best job staying on topic, but today I thought I would share my favorite bench tool.

I don't have a bench grinder or large belt sander in my studio. I wanted to find a simple solution that would allow me to speed through sanding tasks, and remove a lot of metal quickly when needed. The small Wolf Belt Sander is just such a tool. This fabulous device includes its own bench clamp, and takes up little space on my work surface. It uses sanding belts that are 1" wide, and the unit is less than 5" deep. The tool can be adjusted to a variety of angles, and is driven by your flexshaft, which easy inserts in the side.

The Wolf Belt Sander also includes an attachment for hooking up to a dust collector or vacuum, to help reduce dust particles. This is a great little tool, well-suited to jewelry-making applications. The time consuming sanding and grinding that I used to accomplish with a variety of other tools, can now be easily completed with this belt sander. It has become my indispensable "go to" tool. [Leveling the "saddle" on this ring was accomplished quickly with the Wolf Belt Sander.]

Obviously, the tool will generate some heat. The (mostly useless) instructions suggest holding flat pieces under an eraser to keep your fingers cool. In my experience, this just facilitates shooting the piece into the wall at a high rate of speed. I would recommend running the tool at a slower speed to reduce the heat build up, and hold on to the pieces with your fingers.

The cost is approximately $159, and replacement 3M belts are available in a variety of finishes. I believe I purchased mine through Rio Grande, but the sanders are available from several suppliers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shimmy/Timmy Revealed!

What on earth am I talking about?! There was a mysterious blog post in August about old Hollywood that I wrote about below. Today, the site's author revealed the details behind the riddle.

You can read all about it here -- be certain to read from the bottom of the page up so you don't spoil the surprise!

The East Atlanta STRUT 2007

"Are you local?"
It was a question I would be asked dozens of times that day. Saturday, September 15th, my friend Robin and I participated in a local neighborhood juried art festival in Atlanta. This was my first foray into art shows of any kind and I was fortunate to be able to get my "feet wet" in this relaxed festival about two miles from my front door. I was astonished how important it was to most shoppers to know that they were purchasing from a local artist. It was refreshing (and surprising) to witness such a focused support of the local art scene.

Leading up to the show, we had both been concerned about numerous details that could have made for a challenging day. What would the weather be like? (September in Atlanta is often oppressively toasty.) Is the tent waterproof or merely water resistant? Would we struggle with wind? How many of us would it take holding on to the tent to keep it from becoming airborne? Would we be stuck in a less than desirable location, down an alley next to a Celtic flute vendor?

Fortunately, the day provided amazingly perfect weather, a record-breaking crowd and a prime location in the heart of the Artist Market, just outside of the Earl (the neighborhood's popular watering hole).

I kept telling myself I was doing this festival for two reasons: to learn more about doing shows, and to have fun. However, I don't know that I really had myself convinced on the fun part. But it was!! We met so many nice and interesting folks. I was able to gather fantastic feedback on which pieces resonated with people, and which still need some work.

Friends came by throughout the day, including my wonderfully overachieving friend Maria who provided a lunch of assorted (homemade) gourmet finger sandwiches and caprese salads. And there was beer. Did I mention the beer?

The festival was well run by a team of volunteers who really seemed eager to help, and happy to be there. I can't wait to participate again next year.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Accessory Crack

Have you ever received a catalog in which every item seems to scream your name? Page after page, each and every product is so well chosen that you find the catalog pages sticking a little because you have been inadvertently drooling as you page through? I feel that way about Levenger. Even their tagline of "tools for serious readers" pushes my buttons -- and I rarely find time to read any more. Their assortment of leather portfolios, organizers, card cases, and sumptuous (but still somewhat practical) bags is stunning. It is a material obsession that I simply refer to as my "accessory crack addiction".

But that's old news. I'm rehashing my accessory crack addition because I have recently discovered the website equivalent. I have a newfound addiction to a web site that is stealing more hours of productivity than I care to admit. It all started with a link from USA Today's Pop Candy blog: "Gossipy talk of the week: Was a former award-winning actress really a man?"

The site listing this blind item was Crazy Days and Nights -- a gossipy blog anonymously helmed by an entertainment lawyer in L.A . Here is an abbreviated version of the original post:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Life And Times Of Timmy

...All I will say about these events are they happened within the past 50 years and only about ten people know the whole story.

Timmy was a gay man at a time when gay men were treated miserably, not only in Hollywood but in the rest of the country as well. Timmy's homosexuality was compounded by the fact that he was very slightly built, had very pale features and a skin condition that prevented much hair growth on his body....

Timmy grew up in the Northeast in a small town where he really and truly didn't fit in. At some point he knew he wanted to be an actor and began performing in theatres across the country. He would stick in a city long enough to work in some plays and shows and then move on when he heard of another opportunity in a bigger town or for more money somewhere else. Each of these moves pushed him further and further west to his ultimate destination in Hollywood....

Timmy worked often, but nothing more than a few lines here or there and spent a great deal of time in the "chorus" sections of musicals which were still fairly popular. To supplement his income Timmy began performing in local theatre productions. One night the lead actress was unable to perform and there was no understudy. A sold out audience was going to be sent home unless something was done.

Enter Timmy. With the audience none the wiser, Timmy performed the entire two hour show as the lead actress and received a standing ovation. He was brilliant and there was even a review in the paper which talked about this understudy who was even better than the regular actress.

As good as Timmy was, it was only for one night, and he went back to his regular role the next night. Timmy was excited about the possibilities the night before had held though and the response he received was never far from his mind.
After another year working at the studio without getting much further than bit parts, Timmy decided to do something which would put him in the spotlight. When his studio contract ended he basically reversed his original trek to LA and began performing in small town theatres again, but this time as a woman.

Timmy traveled and did the theatre route for almost two years while building up a resume and a background for his new persona. When he finally felt as if he had it down, Timmy returned to Hollywood. This time as a woman.

Over the next two years, Timmy worked steadily as a woman and kept getting better and better roles. He was very rarely the lead, but in memorable role he was cast as the lead opposite a very closeted A list at the time actor who also remained single for his entire life. The two began a relationship which was always kept quiet but lasted for many years.

Shortly after Timmy was cast as the lead, he was cast in another role which is the subject of the blind. Timmy was incredible in this role and whether his acting was as a result of his new found love or as a result of just the right part at the right time, Hollywood took notice and so did the critics. During award season, Timmy began winning regularly for his role. I want to make it perfectly clear that none of these organizations knew Timmy was actually a man when they were honoring him with awards as an actress...
[Read full post]
This item clearly captured the imagination of hoards of visitors. Each web post gathered hundreds and hundreds of comments, with extensive research going into the quest to find Timmy. Films were watched and analyzed, books were combed for clues. Old photos were closely examined, gravestones were read. Now (literally) several thousand comments later we are all awaiting the reveal on Wednesday.

I am not a person who reads the tabloids, or even magazines like People or US Weekly. Why on earth I am finding this particular site so addictive is a bit of a mystery to me -- but I just can't seem to stop reading . . .

Tiny Art

My friend Stewart has been conducting a year-long project called "A Painted Flower a Day". Each and every day in 2007 he has been giving someone a miniature canvas with a hand-painted flower on it. Each gift is then memorialized on his blog where he describes the circumstances under which the flower was presented and the reaction of the often surprised recipient. As you can imagine, most of us are conditioned that one "can't get something for nothing," so many of his gifts are met with wary suspicion. It is an entertaining read to explore the entries.

Saturday it was my turn! Stew brought me a delightful little painted flower while Robin and I were participating in the East Atlanta Strut, a local craft fair. I so love my flower! Now, I just need to find it a little tiny gilded frame . . .

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcome to Web 2.0

I just read an article on Fast Company.com about "Web 2.0 and Personal Branding." This article's focus on web 2.0 is not as much about 'web as platform', but instead a distributed, free-flowing tool for collaboration and sharing among users. The web has provided each one of us with the ability to familiarize "gazillions" of people with our brand, and our products. We have a user-friendly set of tools at our fingertips that can not only engage our customers 24 hours a day, but give them a much deeper view into our brand, process and products than traditional marketing ever could.

But interestingly, most of us appear to be neglecting these gizmos. The article points out that U.S. companies, on average, are spending 6.6% of their marketing budgets online. Even though I happen to be spending 100% of my marketing budget online, I am certainly neglecting this rich, interactive, user-friendly toolset. There is a world of opportunity for blogs, podcasts, videos - and a potential audience of over a billion people just a click away.

So, embracing this opportunity: Welcome to my blog.