Monday, April 12, 2010

Rock Raizer Fashion Show & Concert benefiting Big Brothers/Big Sisters Austin

Rock Raizer and event founder, Julie Taylor are hosting the first of two annual fashion shows. This event will benefit some children participating in Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Austin and local foster children on Saturday April 17th at Encore Club ~ 611 Red River in downtown Austin. The fashion show will feature the designs of some of Central Texas' hottest new fashion designers, including 2009 Texas Next Top Designer, Megan Summerville .

In keeping with Austin music tradition there will also be an afternoon concert line-up of six kids bands. The fashion show will follow with swag bags for all paid guests. The show will conclude with a concert by Eleven-Fingered Charlie (EFC) and Sun Salutations. Here's EFC's Reverbnation bio:

"Eleven Fingered Charlie is an inventive genre-crossing rock/reggae project based out of Austin, TX. Since 2001, the band's status has been expanding with each passing year through word-of-mouth grass roots efforts. EFC's devotion to their musical career has opened the door to opportunities such as the Barack Obama Political Rally as well as many shows with major artists like The English Beat, Pepper, OAR, The Expendables, etc. Dedication and creativity remain paramount as EFC continues to push forward, writing new music, building new friends/fans and sharing their interpretation of what the future of rock and reggae music can sound like."

VIP tickets with preferred seating and bonus swag bags are available as well at


Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Store Product Demo: Does the iPad Live Up to the Hype?

After waking uncharacteristically early this morning and reading tweets about people waiting overnight in line to purchase a bright, shiny, iPad. On impulse, I got in the car and drove to my nearby Apple Store in part to witness the hubbub. The main reason was to play with a new iPad and see if the enormous hype is warranted.

My first impression was the iPad is a larger version on the iPod Touch. There are some discerning differences between the devices, mainly the 1 gigabyte of RAM on board the iPad, while the iPod Touch (2nd gen.) has only a quarter of that capacity at 256 megabytes. This means the iPad can do a lot of things iPod Touch cannot.

The dimensions of iPad fit it's intended function. It's weighs 1.5 lbs which is not too heavy. It felt pretty comfortable in my hands. Typing on the iPad was fine once the machine was oriented horizontally and the accelerometer flipped the screen view around. In order to be comfortable typing for an extended period of time, one needs a stand to tilt the display up toward the user. Typing while the iPad is laying on the table flat is just too awkward. My guess is portable soft cases that convert into makeshift iPad stands will sell well. It should be interesting to see how many proud new owners will be seen using their new toy in public. I suspect it'll become a status symbol the same way the iPhone did.

The video quality was astonishing as iPad allows for High-Definition video making the device excellent as entertainment tool. The next obvious question is will the device's battery last long enough to view an entire movie? A resounding yes according to Apple's listed iPad specifications the current wireless only model(3G released end of April), will last up to 10 hours. A road-warrior who spends a lot of time on airplanes will drool over this feature alone. If I did not have a Mophie for my iPhone I'd be even more jealous of today's new iPad owners than I already am.

Just like iPod, iPad has no camera. For an iPhone user, this was disappointing until a friend pointed out the specifications presented left room for a camera at some point. Let's hope. As a New Media Director for Build Texas Media, if I'm working on my iPad on Tweetdeck for example, I want the ability to take photos within the app like I can on my iPhone. After participating in a focus group for an iPad Twitter client app, I am convinced this is a feature users will demand from Apple.

Update: Quita Culpepper of Austin's KVUE News interviewed me:

Stanza is used on my iPhone occasionally,I was curious how iPad's reader performed. The presentation was gorgeous with most of the same features I enjoy about Stanza. The pages actually turn with a finger gesture. One touch moves the user from reading a novel to the library with cool animation turning the bookcase around to reveal the 'hidden' store behind it. Stanza gives users the option to download some classic titles free. According to Apple's description of the free app, there are many gratis titles just like Stanza. The book-sized iPad is a makes viewing the digital presentation even better than iPod or iPhone because the user no longer has a need to enlarge text. It's already novel sized.

The techie guy next to me was impressed with how Keynote functioned on the iPad. Due to my guilt over monopolizing one of seven demo models on the table, I did not delve into Keynote too much. My demo neighbor did remark that the stripped down Keynote for iPad was in some ways easier to navigate than the desktop version. He was excited about the possibilities for business presentations. I concur. Apple has usually been intelligent about developing applications that are inherently user friendly and simple. Keynote for iPad fits into this mold nicely.

The Photos App is great,more functional and attractive than iPod or iPhone. The way the pictures are presented in the album in stacks that can be picked up is cool. So is the display when looking at all the albums but it all reminds the user that the machine they are holding does not have a camera. No still pictures can be taken. No video shot. It seems like a large omission. As stated above, I believe users will ask for a still camera inside the iPad at minimum.

You may want me to  review more cool games, utility apps and other innovative features (Omar Gallga tech writer for the Statesman loved the Marvel Comics app) of the iPad, however, that is a bit inappropriate considering I'll be waiting for the second or third generation of Apple's new product just like when they introduced the iPhone.

The results speak for themselves. Less money was spent purchasing my first iPhone than others and the product has effectively been "field tested" by techno-zealots who have an insatiable need for new technology. Although I am puzzled by these consumers willingness to be guinea pigs, I'm thankful they're doing the beta testing.

What are your thoughts on the new iPad? Are you an early adopter or a skeptic about first generation products like me?