Coloring Books For Adults 

   

       

Illustrations from Barnes and Noble and Amazon 

As a youngster, my happiest days was when I was coloring in a coloring book. I would go into a zone that was peaceful, full of hope, and very mysterious. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, as senior adults, if we could experience some of that same euphoria? Apparently, I’m not the only senior who wants an hour or two every few days to participate in this glorious non-digital exercise. 

According to a salesman at Book Soup, West Hollywood, CA,  there has been a significant run on coloring books for adults. I first read about the idea in the New York Times on Sunday when they ran a major feature on Johanna Basford’s coloring book for adults called “Secret Garden.” It’s a 96-page collection of elaborate black-and-white ink drawings of flowers, leaves, trees and birds. 

   

Images: Digitalartsonline.uk


I was in LA at the time so I rushed over to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. to buy whatever copies I could get my hands on. I was so disappointed to learn that the coloring books were already sold out. I was told that Basford and her publisher, Laurence King Publishing, had no idea that the New York Times article was going to run on that day. They had no extra time to issue additional copies so everything in stock sold out.

“Secret Garden” has sold 1.4 million copies in 22 languages.  Basford’s newest coloring book, “Enchanted Forest,”‘ has already sold 226,000 copies. Basford is 31 year old illustrator from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 

The Book Soup salesman told me that fans buy several books at a time. I can understand why.  If you make s mistake, you can start all over again. He also said there are a few other publishers that have coloring books for adults but I decided to wait for Basford’s illustrations.  

Tomorrow, I search for colored pencils.
 
   

 


Barbie Goes Digital 

Six months from now, you will be able to buy a Barbie for the really young ones in your life that will be able to have a conversation with them. We are entering the era of a whole new world of digital toys. I’m not sure many of you are going to like, it but you don’t have much choice. Most toys in the future will be digitally-enabled. 

Mattel plans to introduce Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi enabled version of their iconic doll, right after the summer. Barbie will be using ToyTalk’s technology system “to analyze a child’s speech and produce relevant responses,” according to the company’s press releases.

ToyTalk of San Francisco creates conversational characters for children. Founded in 2011, ToyTalk is known for its animated conversational apps, Winston Show and SpeakaZoo. The apps help young children “engage in complex dialogue with a menagerie of make-believe characters.” 

Read about what the toy industry and early childhood educators think about Mattel’s new Barbie. The New York Times had a great piece on this development. 

Apple – iOS 8 – Health

     

If you upgraded to Apple iOS 8 on your iPhone, you should be taking advantage of the Health app that was provided free of charge. I believe Android folks have had a similar app for quite sometime.

I didn’t even know it was there until my friend told me about it. I saw it but never paid attention to it.  Then I noticed that my friend wasn’t wearing a Fitbit of any kind anymore. I asked him why and, at first, he was coy about it. 

Annoying me, wouldn’t let up, until one day he said that he uses the iPhone health app now because it offers many of the features found in the all of the fitness gadgets.

I really didn’t believe him until I started using it myself. The apple health app gives you heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol, all in one place. There is also a place to store all of your important health information: blood type, allergies, etc. 

There is so much more to read about the Apple health app. Click here.


Instagram’s New Photo App

    

 

The one kind of art that I loved the most over the years is the collage. There is something about a collage that makes me want to stop and study the composition for long periods of time. I think it is the mystery that a collage presents. The more you look, the more you see.

Good news for everyone with an iPhone. Instagram just introduced a new collage app called Layout. An Android version will be coming soon. 

Layout let’s you create photo collages from images you have stored on your camera roll. Once you create a collage, you can save it to your camera roll as well.

Look at the collages I created just before I wrote this post. There are 10 different layouts to choose from. One of the layouts lets you choose up to nine photos.

Instagram has 300 million users. The company said 20 per cent of their overall users already use a third party collage app to post photos. Instagram is always looking for new ways to keep their clientele happy. This is going to be a lot of fun. 

The Layout app also has a photo booth feature that takes four pictures in rapid fire. You can also mirror images. This really let’s you get creative.

Your imagination is going to run wild. I hope you will send me some of the collages you create. 

When You Want Something Bad Enough 

 

 

Images from Kengurucars.com and Grist.org

This is a blog post about a remarkable young woman who, through sheer determination, is bringing a new kind of independence to people who use wheelchairs. 

Stacy Zoern is the reason why the Kenguru automobile, which has been designed for manual wheelchairs, is being manufactured. Another model, designed for motorized wheelchairs, is now on the drawing board.  

You have to watch the video interview with Stacy to completely understand the power of ambition. It has no limits. Many of us have to be reminded of this every time a new challenges appears. I certainly do.

Stacy Zoern was born with muscular atrophy. She always had to depend on very expensive “clunky vans” or friends for transportation. Then she found the startup Kenguru. The perfect car to be completely independent. 

When Stacy went to order it, she found out that the company didn’t have the funds for manufacturing. Since Stacy is used to huge challenges everyday of her life, she helped Kenguru get to the finish line.

The Kenguru sells for $25,000.

 

Post Modern Skateboard 

   

 

It’s always interesting to see a new version of an old thing. In this case, we are talking about the skateboard. I had to come all the way out to Los Angeles to learn about the Post Modern Skateboard. 

This new invention features two 10-inch round wheels with foot platforms inside. If you want to go forward you lean side-to-side. An extendable rod is included to connect the two skates together for easier learning. 

I don’t think anyone over 50 is going to buy the Post Modern Skateboard. However your children or grandchildren may love it. Hammacher Schlemmer, $99.00. 


Going Viral

  

Jonathan Cheban and Kim Kardashian 

There isn’t a week that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “How do I make something go viral?” What that question really means is “How do I attract millions of eyeballs to something that I posted online?” 

There is no easy answer to that question but I can tell you what happened to me today that captured millions of young folks to see a product that my PR agency has been promoting for months. Kim Kardashian’s best friend, Jonathan Cheban, decided to feature  the Waterpik Water Flosser, on his new website called The Dishh.com.

He also featured it on his Facebook page. His entertainment website attracts millions of viewers per month. His Facebook page gathered 20,000 “likes” in one hour after posting the Waterpik Waterflosser. Loyal followers then shared his Facebook posting on their news feed or tweeted his comments on their respective Twitter accounts. 

That’s what you call “going viral,” someone posts something and then thousands or millions of other people copy it to their social media accounts. I know this sounds pretty simple but it’s not.

You can’t force something to “go viral.” What works one day, doesn’t the next. It certainly helps if the original post is something many folks would be interested in or someone with tons of fans reposts what your original post. There are times when even this doesn’t work. It all depends on other news being posted at that time and if people think your comment is worth repeating. 

The reason why Jonathan Cheban featured the Waterpik Water Flosser was because our PR agency sent him a unit to use many weeks ago. Timing is everything. He decided to do an Internet product roundup on bathroom gadgets and whala, we were on his radar screen. Thank you Jonathan. 

Feel free to call me if you need something to go viral. I can discuss stategy with you. Ultimately, it’s a lot of luck.

 Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime? 

Image from Nerdwallet.com
 
I’m curious what you all think about Facebook getting into the money business? I’m not sure I totally understand why Facebook friends would want to send money to each other. 
 
Facebook announced earlier this week that users of its messenger app would be able to attach their debit cards to the service. That means that Facebook friends would be able to transfer money to each other with a simple click. 
 
I know that Facebook has grander plans than just providing a friendly money exchange program. Speculation is that Facebook wants to be a big player in the e-commerce business. Analysts would love to see Facebook users buy products directly from advertisers. 
 
Despite my less than enthusiastic feelings about Facebook’s new program, I’m sure it will be successful. Facebook’s Messenger app is one of the largest platforms in the world. They have more than 500 million monthly users.

Red Light Patrol




The expression, “There’s an app for that” certainly applies to a new mobile app that helps you locate the red-light cameras that are monitoring your driving habits in 130 cities around the county.  I’m not sure I like this app. 

I like the idea that if someone is running a red light, he or she gets caught. I am always concerned that aggressive drivers are going to jump the light when perpendicular to me. Now they are going to temporarily behave when they know the authorities are watching them.

RedflexLocator is free. Future versions will feature audio alerts and GPS capabilities. As strange as this may sound, Redflex Traffic Systems created the app as well as installed the cameras. The company feels the cameras are there to enforce safety and the app is to remind you to slow down.

Am I the only one who sees a conflict? Perhaps not,  if the cameras and app saves lives.