Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, You’re Really A TV

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I have stayed at the best hotels in the world, and some of the worst. I think I have seen it all, At least I thought I did until I walked in to our guest room at the Mondrian Hotel, in West Hollywood, earlier today.

There was an object in the room that looked like a mirror but doubled as a TV, It is totally bizarre but I love it, Eliot thinks it’s stupid, He would rather have a larger flat screen TV.

The TV inside the mirror is a Sony 42-inch unit, It took us a while to figure out how the TV got inside the mirror. We discovered that it was the brainchild of Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, the interior designer responsible for the new look at the hotel. It was very clever to take an ordinary TV and turn it into an art piece.

I guess you have to be a lover of contemporary installations to appreciate it, At the very least, it shows great energy and positive thinking.

Sleep Tight

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I have senior friends who are always tired. They walk around yawning and have big dark circles under their eyes. They are a mystery to me. They sleep eight hours a night and they still look like they are ready to nod out.

I think they may be bored. They left fast-paced jobs, spent most of their life multi-tasking, and had rigorous and challenging schedules. Now that they are retired, they have lost all of their energy. I call it post-work blues. It may mean that when you are finally done with a career, or a project for that matter, your body and mind relaxes to a point that exhaustion sets in.

There is an app called Sleep Better, from Runtastic, that claims to help folks achieve a good night’s rest. It simply analyzes sleep. It tracks sleep duration, cycles and efficiency. All you have to do is put your smartphone next to your bed just before you fall asleep. It relies on your phone’s sensors to determine how much you toss and turn.

You can use the app for free or pay $1.99 for more features. One of the bonuses is that it can determine which moon phase gives you the best rest. Laugh all you want. It works.

The Future Of Carry-Ons


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Dedicated to my long-time friend, Jennifer Zorek-Pressman, who introduced me to the Bluesmart carry-on suitcase that you can control with an app. You can lock and unlock it, weigh it, track its location, be notified if you are leaving it behind and find out more about your travel habits. You can also charge your phone six times over with a built-in battery.

Thank you Jennifer, this is a real find. It’s a little pricey at $235, but it really does a lot. The Bluesmart carry-on is currently raising money on Indiegogo for development. I will be one of the first to buy this luggage.

Click here if you want a shortcut to see the Indiegogo campaign.

Anonymous

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Admit it, every once in a while you want to make a phony phone call. I get the urge every time I see an injustice. I recently wanted to call my neighbor in New York and pretend to be a member of the police force.

“Is it true that you just walked your dog and didn’t pick up after him? We just got a call from someone who saw you on the street. You have exactly five minutes to clean up the mess you left, or you will be arrested.”

i would make that call but I don’t want my phone number traced. I loved when we had phone booths so we could make anonymous calls if we had to. Tonight a friend told me about something called the Burner App, a service that provides multiple disposable numbers. Re/code, a tech site, recently profiled the app as well.

Burner is an app that lets people get one or more temporary numbers. The app is free, but you pay for multiple burner phone numbers. It must be very popular because the app ranks big time in the Apple Store. Word has it that you’ll also be able send video and text messages through the Burner app as well.

Now that you know about this app, I bet you come up with many different reasons to try it. Life gets more interesting.

Trouble In Uber Land

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Image: Tech.com

I don’t know why this happened, but I have seen more companies implode due to situations that really have nothing to do with their business model. In the last few days, Uber has found itself in a situation that could literally close the company down.

I will try to detail what has happened but I have also included links to other stories that may tell the story better. See Business Insider.

Like many other companies, Uber has received its share of criticism as the service grew and became available in 45 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide. It is now valued at $18.2 billion.

Most companies grin and bear critiques from journalists, but apparently Uber wanted to fight back. At a recent industry event that included journalists, one of Uber’s senior executives admitted that the company was gathering information to discredit certain writers.

Uber has also been under fire by Sarah Lacy, of PandoDaily, for outrageous sexism woven deeply into the culture of the company. “We’ve seen it in the company’s PR team discrediting female passengers who accuse drivers of attacking them by whispering that they were ‘drunk’ or ‘dressed’ provocatively.”

Lacy and a host of other tech writers are calling for the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick who has been quoted calling his company “boober” because of all the tail he gets since running it.”

It’s All About The “Likes”

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I’m in the thick of things when it comes to social media. I handle a lot of the content that gets posted for clients. Yet it took me by surprise when a music agent recently told me that young artists are just not taken seriously if they don’t have a big following on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. That means record companies, movie studios and casting agents are more concerned about how popular an individual is, than the talent he or she possesses.

Unlike when we were in the prime of our careers, most young adults are expected to have a fan club if they want to get ahead in life. It doesn’t matter what business they are in. Handlers and/or superiors want to know that, if needed, the talent or employee, can send out a tweet and engage personal support.

In our day, we were judged for our capabilities. We would focus on improving our skills. Today, people in the workforce have to worry about improving their talent as well as building a loyal following. I can’t even imagine the pressure for anyone in the job market who needs to prove he or she has the power and impact.

A recruiter friend also told me that those who have a sizable fan club on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, should immediately list it on top of their resumes. Where, once we would describe our “experience,” the show offs post their high ranking numbers. They are immediately perceived as industry personalities.

I know it’s difficult for people of our age to believe that this is the way business is done today. It may be sad, but it’s true.

For The Picasso In You

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For years now I have wanted to learn how to make a collage. My cousin Hanna tried teaching me. I got the hang of it, but I still need a qualified instructor leading the way.

I really love living in the virtual world. I don’t feel like racing out to some institution to work on an arts and crafts project. I want to do it in the comfort of my home. When I explained this to an art aficionado the other night, she quickly told me about Craftsy.

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Gal to the left, Jayda Knight, told me about Craftsy.

Crafty’s website says

“Our hundreds of classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, cooking and many more categories, bring the world’s best instructors to you. Learn at your pace with easy-to-follow HD video lessons you can access on your computer and mobile device anytime, anytime, anywhere, forever. You can even bookmark your favorite techniques to return to as often as you’d like with just a click. Plus, ask your expert instructor questions for all the personalized guidance you need to succeed!”

Craftsy is located in Denver. Entrepreneur magazine just announced a fourth funding round of $50 million for Craftsy bringing the company’s total to $106 million. Five hundred additional courses will reportedly be added next year.

The company is four years old. Craftsy has 5 million (predominately female) users from 180 countries, generating $12 million in revenue in 2012 and $24 million in 2013.

The most important part of Craftsy is that it provides continuous hours of fun.

Transfering Photos and Videos From Your Smartphone

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You are going to love this. The new iXpand SanDisk USB flash drive has been specifically designed to help you transfer photos and videos from your smartphone or tablets to your laptop in a few easy steps. You don’t need cables or other Internet connections.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to do.

Where was this flash drive when I needed it a few months ago? I was walking around with 4000 photos on my iPhone. Then my phone stopped functioning until I downloaded all of my photos and freed up space. If I owned the iXpand flash drive at the time, I would have transferred my photos and videos to my laptop more frequently. Now I will.

All you have to do is download the iXpand app and tap it so it accesses your photos and videos. Then plug the iXpand Flash Drive in to your smartphone and, presto it grabs your photos and videos. It’s extremely simple.

The 16GB drive will sell for $59.99 and the 64GB drive for $119.99.

Shower Power

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i wish I owned the iShower2 this past Tuesday. I was in New York and Eliot was in Miami. I was taking a shower around 8:30am when all of a sudden, my iPhone started ringing. While I brought my iPhone into the bathroom with me, there was no way I was going to answer it. I was in the middle of shampooing my hair. No chance of suds getting into my new iPhone 6 Plus.

I decided to ignore the call. Then I heard my landline ring followed by my iPhone again. If that wasn’t disturbing enough, I heard someone banging on my front door. I also received a series of texts. It turns out that my housekeeper was in the lobby because she thought it was the day to clean my apartment. Yuri has been my housekeeper for more than a decade, My coop staff knows her well. When she couldn’t reach me, the doorman and my superintendent, assisted her. I was getting bombarded with calls.

If I had the iShower2 Bluetooth speaker, I could have answered the call right in the shower. The iShower2, with a price tag of $100, has a speakerphone so mobile calls can be answered. The device uses two AA batteries and claims to have a 200-foot range so the phone doesn’t have to be in the same room.

Woohoo. The reviews on this product are not that great on Amazon. That doesn’t scare me. It’s worth a try.

Jack Wayman, 1922 to 2014

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Photo from Variety

I wonder if Jack would have liked his Memorial? The Consumer Electronics Association, producers of CES, gave Jack an emotional send off today at the Grand Hyatt New York. Jack started CES in 1967 and was the force behind CES becoming the largest trade show in the United States. Jack died at 92 years old. He had an amazing life.

He reportedly had five wives, (one of his wives confided that number to me), five children, 13 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. While he adored his family, the greatest love of his life was his girlfriend, Katrine Barth, a PR agency owner who competed against me for many years. I’m not going to get into how unfair the competition was for my company during their affair, I’m saving that for the book I may write someday.

After the romance was over (scandal galore), Jack liked to pretend that his relationship with Katrine had no impact on me. The fact that she got to meet all of the new exhibitors first and received his nod of approval to anyone looking for a PR program, could have easily put me out-of-business. It did the opposite, it made me stronger.

I saw Katrine at the Memorial service today. We kissed, we hugged. I knew her for many years before she hooked up with Jack so there was a history of many good times. She accompanied the 30-year old daughter she and Jack had together. To his dying day, Jack was still in love with Katrine. Call me if you want more details. Jack would have approved my gossiping about him. He loved the attention, dead or alive.

Jack was one of the most gregarious, personable, handsome, smart, accomplished, and dedicated businessmen I have ever met. He was all business. That was one of the reasons he loved Katrine so much. He could share CES with her.

Jack was also a decorated U.S. veteran. He served in Europe during WWII as a combat infantry company commander and fought at the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, earning multiple awards including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Cluster and two Presidential Citations. .

We learned during the Memorial that he was a great athlete and a terrible driver. His eldest daughter gave a moving speech about his last days on Earth that I want to share with you. I will tell you more about it tomorrow. I never heard of anyone dying the way she said he did. He was in control to his last dying moment.