DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in Apple (5)


Why I miss my iPad

I left my iPad on CalTrain car #138 at 11:07 am PDT on June 27, 2013 at the Menlo Park station. If you’re the bastard that has it, please give it back.

#@argh!! I’m stupid. They’re stupid. I hate everyone. I hate myself.

I decided, after the requisite stages of grief over my loss, to go without. I mean, I’ve only had one since 2010: I survived just fine before, right? And maybe, just maybe, the friendly folks at CalTrain lost-and-found might find it, right?

Well, I can tell you, my iPad-less two weeks have convinced me: Somehow, I’ve organized my life around that damned device, and I’ll be going over to the Apple store this weekend to remedy the situation.

Why? Let me count the ways.

First off, there’s my book-reading. I’m a voracious reader in general, but really, I break into a cold sweat if there isn’t a stack of mystery novels in reach. Ironically, I recently talked all my friends into giving me Kindle downloads this year instead of physical booooks. Now have more than 20 unread digital books in my cloud, just waiting.

So by Tuesday, I had a new Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader, and quickly began reading the next selection for my bookclub: "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. I'm almost done with the book, and so far, I'd give the device a 6 out of 10 for reading. I can read out in the sun, there's no glare. It's small, fits into my pocket. But that's about it. The UX in general is awful, kind of like a cable TV settop box from 10 years ago, only in BW. The lag time is very noticeable, certainly compared to the quick snap of the iPad, and this really makes a difference over time. And don't get me started on Kindle's "Experimental Browser" that allows you to sort of surf the web. Badddd.

So for “mobile browsing” I went back to my iPhone. Snappier, for sure, than the Amazon device, but after 15 minutes, my eyes start to hurt. And forget about typing messages any longer than a tweet. I do have access to many, though not all apps I use on the iPad. But it's just too small for a media consumption experience.

Certainly the iPad has spoiled me for video, as well. That awesome screen and semi-decent sound allow me to dive into the content. Not immersive like the big flat screen with surround sound, but better than an airline or a small TV. And portable. And connected. 

Back in the day, of course, I felt that way about my laptop. It was portable, connected and a great video player, along with everything else it does. When I try it now as an iPad replacement, my trusty 13" MacBook Pro seems so heavy, so awkward, and well, it doesn't have a touch-screen!

Plus, I now use it as my primary computer, so it’s a hassle to unplug it from my 30” monitor and speakers in the home office and bring it to the media room. Why would I need to do that? Well, duh, because the iPad lives on my couch. It's my 'second' screen, and I feel incomplete without it while watching TV.  Sometimes I’m accessing content related to a show I’m watching, either thru a second-screen app, or Twitter, or maybe IMDB. But more often, I’m just picking up the iPad and checking email, Facebook, or adding a note to my to-do list on Evernote. I may also be cruising the news on an app like Zite which isn’t on my laptop and other unmentionable sites out there on the interwebs. 

So, here I go again, back to the Apple store where I’ll drop some sawbucks and get my digital life back in order. It’s not really the money, it's a lifestyle thing. It's the way I do what I do now.  

But I confess, it's kind of the money too. Another wealth transfer from my bank to Apple's, putting me in mind of a great tool built in 2010 computer science geek Kyle Conroy who wanted to calculate the difference in dollars if he had spent his money on Apple stock instead of buying Apple product. For example, if you had invested $299 in April 2003 instead of buying that iPod, its value would be $11,000 in the then-ascendant 2010 Apple share price.

Can't get that at the Genius bar.




If you follow my Twitter feed (@nickdemartino), you will have seen a distinct tilt towards news and stories that explore new fundraising models for start-up businesses and creative projects. How do we stimulate innovation? It's a question I am obsessed with, and so with fair warning, I'll be taking a dive into the topic over the coming months. 

But First: Speakers (including me) were announced this week for two upcoming conferences. : Henry Jenkins' Transmedia Hollywood 3 on April 6 at USC in Los Angeles and WyrdCon, June 21-24 in Costa Mesa CA.


See why serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis calls AngelList and Kickstarter "the two most important startups in the world." This is a manifesto on disruptive fundraising models, and, notwithstanding the author's posturing, is a really interesting dive into why the "wisdom" of the crowds should justify risk by all, not just a select circle of "investors." 

Just this week, AngelList launched a tool that could lead to the standardization of pitch decks for startups. Why? "Most investors (and journalists) receive hundreds of pitches every month, so finding (as he says) crisp yet complete ways to express your startup’s vision, impact, traction, and so on can be the difference between going on to success or finding yourself in irrelevance."

Of course, the Kickstarter model is itself an innovation -- donors do not get equity like traditional investors, and yet, millions of dollars have been raised for a dizzying array of projects. And, indeed, for-profit businesses may turn to the crowd-funding model. For instance, here's a post that urges start-up businesses to consider crowd-funding their capital needs.

And recently CrowdBackers launched to bring Kickstarter-style crowd sourced financing to the world of early-stage start-ups. 

Meanwhile, with three $M-plus projects in just the past month, Kickstarter is on a roll, entering its growth stage that success brings. More projects need to understand how the modle works. Here's a useful tip sheet on how to launch campaigns in Kickstarter (and smaller crowd funding site IndieGogo)

Even more interesting is this post that analyzes the performance of different Kickstarter "perks" in raising money.

A completely different model for stimulating innovation or novel solutions is the cash-driven competition or prize, examined in some depth in a NY Times piece just this week..

The Knight Foundation has been running its "News Challenge" online for several years, a variation of the competition model for innovation in news and journalism in the digital era.  This year the foundation has restructured, with the first of three cycles launching now through March 17. Even if you are not working on an eligible project, the model for stimulating solutions through competition is fascinating.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes will benefit from the launch of, a video-based learning site comprised entirely of talks from investors and founders. The site is a passion project by Rony El-Nashar, a VC at SeedStartup, according to this post at Arabnet. 

Finally: These models argue for the democratization of innovation, but Jon Gertner's piece in the NY Times reminds us that the centralized corporate research model, as epitomized by Bell Labs, produced an astonishing volume and range of innovation during much of the 20th Century, much of it forming the foundation for innovations that we see today.


The battle of prognosticators over whether cable TV is collapsing or thriving continues with posts that flat-out contradict each other. You decide. My friend Seth Shapiro debunks five theories on the death of cable TV on Media Shift. "Goodbye Cable TV" is Business Insider's story, occasioned by 2.3 million cancelled subscribers since 2010. Which of course is contradicted by Paid Content's post entitled "Cord Cutting Can Wait," triggered by a surge of nearly 350,000 new subs in Q4. You decide!

Meanwhile, the future of cable TV, as I've written, is better use of data. Check out Mark Phillip's app, called "Are You Watching This?" or RUWT, which points to a future that leverages viewing and channel data in service to nice audiences, in this case, sports as a bellweather category that could impact all of TV

All you ever wanted to know about Twitter (perhaps), in this exhaustive profile from Business Week. One of our smarter digerati, Brian Solis, offers his thoughts on the "state of the Twitterverse," c. 2012.

All Things D interviews YouTube chief Salar Kamangar. 

The Guardian offers a very nice overview of "how apps have taken over the world" since Apple created the platform in 2007. 

Henry Blodget deconstructs Apple's financials to see what it would take for Apple to go to $1,000 per share.

"Why Are Harvard Graduates in the Mailroom?" asks Adam Davidson, as he explores the "lottery system" of labor economics, and worries that the whole economy is shifting to this cutthroat model with no Plan B.

Broadcasters sued Aereo, the start-up that brings over-the-air TV to the Internet. It took less than 2 weeks.


Congrats to Moonbot, the Louisiana based animation startup that won the Oscar for best animated short film, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," a form of which also debuted as an engaging iPad app. Venture Beat interviewed Brandon Oldenburg, a partner (and Oscar winner). I met Brandon at the Dallas Video Fest and have been so impressed with Moonbot's strategy for sustaining creativity in the new digital marketplace.

If you're a Godard freak (me), you won't want to miss these remixes of his classic Alphaville. Thanks to Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck), whose commentary is a lovely lecture in itself. 

ZED.To is an 8-month immersive narrative adventure chronicling the end of the world in Toronto, currently raising money on IndieGoGo.

Transmedia LA members have launched the "Miracle Mile" ARG, which will roll out this spring and summer. The first draft of a storyline has been posted on FB here, though the group is by invitation only. 

Meghan Gargan discusses "what Facebook's Timeline means for Transmedia"

Graphicly is a publishing platform born to support the needs of graphic novels. With the tools and especially analytics it has developed, the company is now expanding to other types of books. Take a look at the value proposition.


This is the Week that Was, in both tech and content. Wow!

This was a very busy week for news in both the blogosphere and the content world, so this post will probably be newsier than most. Dig in, and I promise, there'll be some long reads popped in as well.

But first: on Monday I gave a lecture on the emerging market for transmedia this week which I call "Transmedia Sorting Hat." Check out the presentation slides and notes if you missed that post. I incorporated some wonderful new discoveries and content, including an info graphic from Steve Peters and a look at the work of Jan Libby.  Related links: Musician and protogeek Thomas Dolby is interviewed by Steve Peters (audio) about his big project, The Map of the Floating City, on ARGNetcast. Transmedia and ARG producer Jan Libby is interviewed (in text) by a Berlin site.


Certainly the biggest news from the digisphere this week was the astonishing collapse of the effort to pass restrictive bills targeting internet piracy. Both the House and Senate versions were dead by Friday, victim of an amazing run of events this week, starting with a cautionary announcement from the Obama White House (which may cost him campaign contributions from some studios and other Hollywood types) and capped by a day-long protest online, as many sites went dark or urged their audience to call or email their legislators. The MPAA, which dominated the coalition that pushed the bills, has cried Uncle, with its President and former Senator Chris Dodd admitting as much

Related, of course, was the Justice Department shutdown of  file-sharing site MegaUpload, and, in retaliation, some of the most widespread hacker attacks, with responsibility claimed by Anonymous.

And perhaps coincidentally, the Supreme Court decided to rule this week that Congress should be able to "re-copyright" public domain works. Wow. 


Analyst Will Richmond posits that we're entering a virtuous circle for "online-only original" production (what GigaOm this week calls the "golden age of content"), taking on Marc Cuban who is the biggest cheerleader for conventional broadcasting one can find. Cuban himself was in the news with the announcement of AXS, a reformulation of his HDNet channel with heavyweight partners AEG, CAA and Ryan Seacrest. Andy Wallenstein at Variety focuses on the channel's innovative business model. Cuban's partner AEG is front and center in a well-researched New Yorker profile called "The Man Who Owns L.A.," namely AEG's Tim Leiweke (and his boss, Phil Anschutz).

Sundance 2012 launched this week with a flood of reviews, gossip and all the rest. I found the opening remarksfrom Redford and his Sundance colleagues on alternative forms of distribution pretty interesting

YouTube announced its own short film festival this week, as well, called "Your Film Festival"  in conjunction with Ridley Scott, the Venice Film Festival and Emirates airline. Big prize is half a million bucks for production.

Speaking of new forms of distribution, Marc Schiller and Mike Lee of Bond Strategy posted a smart piece on Tribeca's site about film marketing and the social graph. 

Speaking of YouTube, the New Yorker's John Seabrook baked a nice slice about the pending shift of the video site towards professional channelization. Nothing really new, but it's mainstreaming the obvious. 

Nature, the UK-based science journal, ran an interesting story about how scientists are now beginning to use crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter to fund their research. Fascinating. 

Also, the LATimes' "Hero Complex" blog digs into the "making of" the new STAR WARS: OLD REPUBLIC video game, calling it 'a galactic gamble.'


Apple made a big announcement this week focusing upon the educational and e-textbook markets, with predictable mega-coverage. Some analysts decried the move as greedy and evil. Or Apple at its Absolute Worst, shouts Business Insider. Other coverage compared Apple's strategy to Amazon's failed bid to capture the textbook market three years ago. The Atlantic offers a longer read, namely a brief history of textbooks, calling Apple's announcement "actually revolutionary." Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab offered four lessons for news organizations, though I found them useful and I'm neither. 

Twitter bought news delivery platform Summify this week, evidently with the goal of ingesting the Vancouver-based team that built it, as TechCrunch reports, noting that some of its features are being disabled.  Web designer Mike Davidson offers insight into why: as does WIRED. I'm a daily Summify user, and I find its daily email summaries quite useful as a filtering device, along with Zite and Pulse on my iPad. I hope Twitter doesn't screw it up.


  • Kodak files for bankruptcy. 
  • Jerry Yang resigns from Yahoo.
  • Google misses its numbers Lots of controversy over a move by Google to emphasize its own social network (Plus) in search results. Here's an especially pointed post by John Battelle, suggesting that Google may succeed in forcing brands (and people) to use its social network in order to show up in search results.

• What Did You Learn This Week? Sharing favorite posts & links

As Christmas approaches I'm getting a head-start on my weekly round-up of favorite posts and links with this contribution to your mental lifestream. 

Best-of Lists

The lists, they just keep on coming, don’t they: reviews of 2011, predictions for 2012 and beyond. Among the posts that caught my eye this week were:

  • Walter Mossberg’s roundup of best 2011 gadgets.
  • Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write/Web discusses the “Top 10 Feed & RSS Technologies of 2011."   Yes this sounds geekier than hell, but it's really more of a rundown of how one excellent observer uses web technologies to learn more about the world. I'll be making my own such effort in my year-end list of favorite apps, coming soon to this space. 
  • Innovative consultants and curators par excellence offered a slightly askew 2012 trend roundup from ten innovators. (As it happens Fortune Mag published a glowing review of PSFK, the consultancy of tomorrow --whew!)
  • The great Storify tool offers a step-by-step guide on how to turn your Facebook photos into the story of your own personal 2011, should you need a way to compensate for all those cards coming into your mailbox from people you didn’t send cards to (even e-cards).


Who are they trying to fool, anyway, those list-makers: we are in the midst of the High Holy Days of film, and it all leads up to the Oscars. The Academy has published its list of the 265 productions eligible for 84th Academy Awards.  

I’ve seen 56 and counting. How about you? BTW, I will publish my own year-end top movie list after Christmas (still have more to see), but if you cannot wait to read reviews of the movies I already reviewed, check out this link on Flixster.

Film Comment published its annual year-end survey of film critics and editors, naming Tree of Life as Best Picture. Secret sauce is the list of best unreleased films. Enough to keep you going through the summer months of comic book movies!


Tribeca’s Future of Film picked their Top 10 Transmedia posts of 2011, including two of mine!

Georgia Tech has posted videos from the Future Media Fest Conference, including the panel on the Future of Television in which I paraticipated. There are some good talks here. 


One of my very first and favorite Twitter discoveries was “Very Short Story” or VSS – inventive proof that one could say something “fictional” in 140 characters. Now you can read 300 of them in book form: Very Short Stories 300 Bite-size Works of Fiction.

Keep up with Apple’s plot to assault television as we know it, courtesy of some good reporting from the Wall St. Journal.

The Wrap profiles YouTube sensation Freddie Wong, one of the many young creatives whose popularity on the video sharing site have pioneered another method beyond conventional Hollywood.

Inc. Magazine names Evernote as Company of the Year. (Note: Evernote is one of my favorite apps, to be detailed in yet another forthcoming year-end post).


• Nick's Great Information Friday for 11/25/11

Pardon my turkey, but I guess I'll blame Thanksgiving for a tardy edition of my Friday summary of the best tweets, posts, and quotes from the past week.

THE FUTURE WAS YESTERDAY. This prescient piece in the NY Times looks at web-based predictive software: “The Web has come to reflect the world,” says Christopher Ahlberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Recorded Future. “We can use that to predict things.”

DIGITAL DARWIN: Brilliant biz strategist Brian Solis nails it in this Washington Post post: “Digital Darwinsim and why brands die.” Key quote: “ If organizations cannot recognize opportunities to further compete for attention and relevance, they cannot, by default, create meaningful connections, a desirable brand or drive shareable experiences. The brand, as a result, will lose preference in the face of consumer choice, which may one day lead to its succumbing to digital Darwinism.” 

E-TEXTS: Textbooks aren’t just any books, says Christopher Scheutze in the NY Times, and then explains why  “Textbooks Finally Take a Big Leap to Digital”

900 POUND APPLE: Fear of Apple iTV has manufacturers ‘scrambling’ says the LA Times. “Could any company other than Apple could be leaving its competitors in the dust in an industry it hasn't even entered yet?”

BUNDLE UP: Everyone knows that the cable bundle is a business model that is bound to collapse sooner or later – consumers hate It. Biz observers watch closely for signs of the chinks in cable’s armour, and this rundown on Starz’ options after it exits its Netflix deal may be one.

MPAA VS. TORRENT, AGAIN: The battle lines over piracy have been drawn for many years, with the studios on one side and “information wants to be free” team on the other. This post on TorrentFreak does something different: analyze the potential cost of copyrighted movies using Netflix as value. Not scientific, but interesting.

FUTURE OF TV: I summarized my opening remarks for a Future of Television Panel at Georgia Tech’s Future Media Fest.

WEB SERIES: Bill Robinson urges viewers to take a seat “in the Booth at the End” in a post on HuffPo about the much-loved made-for-broadband series.

DANISH MODERN: The Guardian reports that UK TV is getting more non-English series from other countries, due to the phenom success of Denmark’s THE KILLING, which returns for a second season. I watched season one, thanks to a secret friend, and am jonesing for season two of this most-brilliant police procedural, better than the American adaptation.

ONLINE REPUTATION – can’t live with it, can’t live without, evidently, given the heat and light around social reputation site Klout, like this scorcher from self-described geek Pam Moore, who tells why she has deleted her account. Check out this new reputation site with an even better name: Flout. How about Flaunt? Or Pander?

STATS: YouTube is now serving 3.5 billion videos per day, and that’s 1.5 million more per day than just a year ago. Jeez! A new study reports that one-third of online consumers will use a tablet by 2014.

SOFTWARE WARS: The headline says it all in this CNET post by Rafe Needleman further analyzing mobile content development in the post-Flash era: “HTML5 will kill mobile apps. No, it won’t!” 

SOFTWARE LOVE: You don’t see love-letters to software applications like this one every day, in which web designer Paul Boag sings the praises of Evernote. Since I happen to agree, I gave this tweet a star! Seriously, if you don’t know about Evernote, read this.

TWITTER LOVE: I learned much from this Business Insider post: “Twitter is Quietly Building a Huge Business” – fave quote: “Twitter is the new TV.”

TRANSMEDIA. My coverage of StoryWorld conference – What Transmedia Has to Teach (and to Learn) was published on The Wrap, an online showbiz trade, in case U missed it. Jen Begeal’s coverage of the same event has a decidedly feminist approach, due to the pronounced impact of females on stage and in the audience. Check out: “Where the Transmedia Girls Are”