Interactive TV Is Finally Here 

It’s just an experiment now, but Netflix is going to allow your grandchildren to decide which way they want a story to unfold on their TV set.

Netflix has announced the first interactive tv programs today which gives young viewers the opportunity to direct their own stories. This technology has been in the making for years. 

In fact, I had a client 30 years ago, ACTV, who tried to do the same thing. The proper technology wasn’t available then but CEO Michael Freeman had the vision. A tech writer at the time, Otis Port, wrote up the concept in a huge story in Business Week.

Now, it’s 2017 and Netflix actually has the first interactive program, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.  The tv program gives children dozens of options to change the story over and over. Netflix hopes this kind of programming will give young viewers a chance to be totally creative in their thinking. 

To date. Netflix has 99 million subscribers. If young viewers like this new interactive storytelling, it could become permanent. 

I have a scoop.

Netflix would like to expand this service to adults. Are you ready to become Cecil B. DeMille? 
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 “WE’RE NOT BEHOLDEN TO TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION.”

That led the team to think about interactive storytelling — about whether it could offer a modern, televised version of the old Choose Your Own Adventure series, which sold 250 million copies in the 1980s and ‘90s. The multiple-choice approach to narrative was already the default for video games and educational software. And hit Hollywood movies had also played with branching narratives, from Clue to Sliding Doors to Memento. The fact that interactivity had not yet come to television came to look, from Netflix’s perspective, like a technical problem. And so it set about building.

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For adult Netflix viewers, it’s fun to imagine what an interactive episode of one of its most popular series might look like. A House of Cards where you guide Frank Underwood to power — or undermine him? An Orange Is the New Black where you navigate Piper through a prison break? Maybe they would be full of narrative inventions — or maybe they would feel like modern-day full-motion video games, which had a brief moment of popularity as PC games in the 1990s before giving way to animations.

Amazon’s “Try Before You Buy” Online Fashion Offer 

Amazon’s new offer to allow its Prime customers to order and try on clothes before buying is like winning a huge lottery to millions of hardcore online fashion shoppers. No one ever expected a bold move like this from Amazon but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. 

You try on clothes before buying them in a traditional store, so why shouldn’t you be allowed to do the same thing online. I was dumbfounded when I first heard about Amazon’s new shopping feature, but now it makes perfect sense to me. I also found out that other smaller stores are trying this concept too.

The Amazon service is in beta mode. That means they are testing it, but expect it to be rolled out soon across the country. Amazon just wants to make sure all of the parts of this new service are  working before allowing the masses to get involved. If you are going to make a mistake, do it on a small scale. Once Amazon feels its new concept is successfully engaged, the rest of us will be invited in.

The new service is called “Prime Wardrobe.” Each Prime customer will be able to order three to 15 items of clothing free of charge. Amazon claims shoppers “can keep the merchandise for seven days, returning unwanted pieces and paying only for the items they keep.”

Leave it to Amazon to figure out another way to wow us. We are all becoming Amazon addicts and Jeff Bezos likes it that way. The only clothes that are available under this new program are the ones with the “Amazon Fashion Prime Wardrobe” logo. Amazon claims that more than a million pieces of clothing and accessories are available.  “Customers who keep three or four items receive a 10% discount off their order. If they keep five or more items, the discount jumps to 20%.”

Retail reporters and analysts are predicting that Amazon will become the largest apparel retailer in the United States. It just proves that if you have the right concept, people will spend money. It’s difficult for me to watch all of my favorite clothing stores close, one by one. Amazon did it to books stores, and now the apparel stores. 

We have to get used to it. Our lives are changing drastically whether we like it or not. That is what  they call “progress.” Either you adapt, or you get left behind. 

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A New Shower Accessory 

If you love to sing in the shower then you need to know about the  XXL Shower Speaker. For the last several weeks, many tech publications have been writing about this new innovative unit because of its sound quality. Check out Mashable

The XXL features a very loud volume with a deeper bass and a strong treble. The Bluetooth 4.0 functionality is being touted for better, more reliable streaming fidelity. The tech reviewers love it. A bigger suction cup is perfect for mounting to the shower wall.

One other major advantage is that the speaker allows you to take calls in the shower. The speakerphone function lets you communicate while you’re soaping up. Maybe that’s why the speaker is called XXL.  Think about it. 

The speaker is normally $99.99. Keep checking Amazon. There are frequent $19.99 specials.

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I Am Looking For Butt Tales

My client, artist and inventor Allen Hirsch, told me his Butt phone cases are just about to be delivered. Allen owns HandL phone cases. 

Hirsch claims, “Touching the buttocks is one of the most pleasant tactile experiences I have known,”


This is not the final Butt, but it’s pretty close. I will be showing the real thing in a week or so. Meanwhile, I’m giving away 25 Butts to anyone who emails me their favorite Butt story. We are not looking for vulgar copy. We are interested in tales that tell us why Butts are so important. You can write a short essay, a poem, a song, or a joke (a clean one), 

Email me at loisw@hwhpr.com. We will giveaway 25 units. We would like to publish a collection of Butt stories. 

Here is the official press release. .
 

 The HandL Butt Phone Case Will Reunite You With The Power Of Touch

SoHo, NYC — As part of Allen Hirsch’s life-long desire to create paintings and sculptures that provoke thoughts and feelings about relationships, the artist has created the Butt phone case that is sure to set the comfort standard for all mobile devices in the future.

 The Butt by HandL will make its worldwide debut at CE Week NY 2017, July 12 -13, 2017 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

 Hirsch added, “The Butt case is a project I have been working on for years. Since the HandL technology uniquely supports one’s fingers effortlessly against the back of the cellphone, I wanted to explore that sensory aesthetic further. We all often just grab our phones and don’t think about the way we touch things.

 “As an artist I am acutely aware of the power of touch as this is the vehicle through which I project my thoughts and feelings on canvas. Touch is the most fundamental and honest form of communication. If you feel something and touch someone, they will get the message. One of HandL’s goals is to bring us back in touch with touch. Many of our relationships are now inside this little metal iPhone box. I want that touch experience to be meaningful.

“I spent many months passing my fingers over countless materials and surfaces: fur, leather, glass, etc. and tried different foams that cushioned the fingers. But my thoughts returned to the human figure and the idea of merging the body with the phone as HandL already does. A light went on: Touching the buttocks is one of the most pleasant tactile experiences I have known. It is ergonomic, soft and comfortable to rest one’s hand against. Merging the electronic screen and its ethereal digital non tactile world with the real world tactile goal of a buttock became an obsession. I began the search for the perfect material for this; scouring stores, and running my hands over every soft surface. Finally I found a foreign product that contained a particular mix of semi-liquid silicone, a material that is actually used in plastic surgery for buttocks. This was it!”

HandL Smartphone Cases are designed to be a natural extension of your hand. They feature a patented elastic and brace system that allows you to hold your device with just one or two fingers, freeing up your other hand and relieving the stress and discomfort of gripping. Many world famous athletes now prefer HandL to protect the precious use of their hands.

HandL gives you more flexibility to take longer range selfies and smoother panning videos and also converts into a hands-free portrait/landscape stand. HandL is simply the most comfortable way to enjoy content on your phone.

 The new HandL Butt Case for the iPhone 7 Plus is available for pre-order now for $69.99 at http://www.handliberation.com.

Thank you 
 

Cars, Ships and Submarines For Father’s Day 

We had the perfect Father’s Day. Whitney and Fredrick took us to one of their favorite Hell’s Kitchen restaurants for brunch. Friends Steve and Williams joined us. The t-shirts on the waiters said it all, “Heaven In Hell.”  The comfort food was absolutely delicious.


Next stop, a car wash on the westside highway with a donut shop. Eliot loves donuts and Whitney wanted him to have a fresh baked one. 



After donuts, we walked across the Westside Highway to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. A Miami friend, Kent Karosen, a museum trustee, arranged a VIP tour for us. It was a perfect activity for Father’s Day.  The legendary aircraft carrier houses the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets, and a guided missile submarine.  We were blessed with Gordon as our guide..

 

Our tour guide, Gordon.

After the Intrepid, the men in our group, went onboard The USS Growler submarine.

Last stop was Starbucks for some sweet drinks. The sugar made us silly.


Happy Father’s Day to all.

Baby Alexa

For those of you who were thinking about buying an Alexa, here is a more affordable option. It’s the new portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled speaker. It’s only $99.00, compared to $139 for the full size unit. The beauty of this new model is that it’s completely portable. Now you can carry Alexa from room to room in your home. 


Amazon describes the unit as a portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled speaker. All you have to do is tap the microphone button and  start gabbing  Alexa will respond even though she is still a baby. 

Seventh Amazon Book Store  

The seventh Amazon book store is located at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. If you think about it, the company that managed to put countless bookstores out of business across the country, is now building a bookstore chain.  

By the way, their bookstores are always busy. Curious folks want to see what Amazon is doing that is different from what the former bookstores did. You can tell right away. They laid out the book store just like the Amazon website.

It’s very exciting to see sections for: Goodreads picks, most read,  most wished for, if you liked that—you will like this, hotly-debated, and highly -rated children’s books. There were plenty other categories that I just didn’t take picture of. 

Check out is so much fun. If you are a Prime Member you get a deep discount. All transactions are done on the app. No more waiting in lines to buy a book. Just click and check out. You feel like you are stealing the book, but you’re not.

You heard Amazon bought Whole Foods today for $13 billion dollars. Now, this is going to get interesting.

That Awful Feeling When You Lost Something 

It doesn’t get any easier as we get older. I don’t know about you, but I go into an out-of-body, full panic zone when I misplace something. Just the other day, I couldn’t find a small jewelry pouch. I searched for it for about a half hour until I realized I put the bag in a safe drawer. 

I really don’t want to go through these panic periods again. It might happen more and more in the coming years. I’m going to buy Pixie this week and attach these little tags to all my important accessories: keys, calendars, meds, makeup, cell phone, glasses, etc.

Follow the pictorial essay to see how it works. I think it’s certainly worth a try. Do you have a better idea? 

Document The Story Of Your Life 

Eliot and I went to a tech trade show in Miami Beach today called eMerge. We came across a company many DigiDame readers could possibly be interested in.  Instead of someone else describing you at your funeral, why don’t you do it yourself.


Called The Story Of Your Life,  the company helps folks preserve memories for future generations. One of the co-founders of the company, told me the whole purpose of his firm  is to keep family histories alive. The press  material claims, “If you can listen to [their] stories and record them… your children can learn a lot about life and make a better life for themselves.”

TSOLife offers personal historian services to help make life story recordings as enjoyable as possible. They conduct in-person interview sessions to capture life stories. They record interviews, transcribe stories, then add audio narration, and supporting photos and videos.  All stories are approved by clients and new material can be added at any time,

Price, you ask? $1,500. This is very affordable. Have fun. 

Atomic Beam Lantern 

When it comes to the world of gadgets, there is always a solution to every problem.

Eliot and I tend to frequent hip hotels for younger guests. We love the energy and the vibes. The hotel rates are usually more affordable and the bar areas are fun meeting places. 

There is, however, one major drawback. The rooms are usually dark, and the bathrooms are even darker. I guess young folks don’t like too much light. I was okay with it for a few years, but lately the darkness is getting on my nerves.

Surprise, surprise. My pal, Steve Greenberg, the Innovation Insider, just featured the Atomic Beam Lantern on his TV gadget tour around the country. This is exactly the gadget I need to see what I am doing in the bathroom, especially for applying my makeup and brushing my hair.

All for $20. 

Memo to Steve: Can you spare one next week when we arrive at the Hudson Hotel? I would love to try it out.

The military-grade lantern is an ultra-bright 360-degree LED portable unit that is waterproof, provides 12 hours of light with 30 bright white LEDs on 3 AA batteries. Pull it up to turn it on. A great advantage is that it stands on a base or it hangs from a built-in handle

Watch Steve demonstrate the lantern on ABC TV in New York..