Texting and driving laws: overdue in Wisconsin

It’s my opinion that such a law in Wisconsin is long – very long – overdue.

I will admit to partaking in “texting and driving” a handful of times, and it is extremely dangerous. It is simply not possible to keep one’s full attention on the road when trying to text while driving.

We know that research in the last couple of years has found that people cannot successfully multitask: something we once thought was possible. Texting and driving is no exception: you can’t do both at the same time successfully. Either your texting is poor (God forbid) or your driving suffers (much more serious and potentially fatal). If you’re caught texting while driving – and yes, the cops can swipe your phone to verify their suspicions – expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $400 for a ticket. The average ticket will be about $188 the State Patrol said.

That all said, there are a few loopholes in this legislation that leave room for people to continue to drive inattentively. The law states that the typing and sending of messages is illegal. However, the reading of messages and surfing the internet while driving continues to be legal. I don’t agree with those important pieces being left out of the puzzle, but am happy that this legislation is a step in the right direction. Currently there are “inattentive driving” laws in place, so if you’re swerving and not paying attention to the road – even if you weren’t texting – you’ll most likely be paying a decent-sized fine.

David Collins, head of the Wisconsin State Patrol, recently stated in an interview, “No text message is worth a human life.” It’s a profoundly true statement. So people: pull over if you really have to text. It’s worth taking a minute of your time to leave the road and be safe on the road – both for yourself and for others who share the road.

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Angry Birds, happy girl

I feel like a giddy school girl today: I just conquered Angry Birds on my iPhone. Is anyone else as addicted to this game as I am?

When I first started playing the game, I would sit on the couch and promised myself to just play a couple of levels. I realized it was an addition one evening when I was playing and realized an hour had passed: it seemed like five minutes! My boyfriend was watching television on the couch right next to me, and I hadn’t spoken to him in over an hour. I realized then that I had a problem, but I didn’t do anything about it. I kept on playing because I wanted to win it all.

I must admit that there were several levels I just couldn’t get all three stars for. That’s where YouTube came in quite handy. I owe a big thanks to those who uploaded videos on how users could obtain three stars in every level of that game. I felt like I was cheating sometimes by doing that, but it was part of the game’s fun. I saw that tens of thousands of people were viewing these uploaded videos, doing the same thing I was. We were all in the quest to conquer together in some way.

I just read that Angry Birds will soon be coming to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. I do own a Wii and just may purchase.

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GPS units are life savers

I had an epiphany this week: I am 100% reliant on GPS units while I travel.

My job requires me to travel to the northeast about twice per month – something I thoroughly enjoy. Traveling to New York City is easy – I walk and cabs are everywhere if I’m visiting a location too far away to walk. It makes much more sense for me to rent a car in other areas I travel to frequently such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. So, I utilize a GPS and it’s a life saver. It makes my trips so efficient and it has yet to steer me in the wrong direction (knock on wood).

I visited with an older gentleman during my last trip to the Boston area. He suggested I visit the JFK Museum on my way back to the airport, as I had about an hour to kill. Kindly, he offered to search directions to the Museum and then to the airport via Google Maps. Even though I told him I had a GPS unit, he was personally more comfortable printing out directions for me so that the GPS didn’t lead me astray. It was very sweet.

So, I turned on the GPS, typed in the address for the Museum and watched it calculate directions within 20 seconds. I looked over to the passenger seat where the pile of directions (about six pages worth) sat. I kept the GPS on but tried to use the Google Maps printed directions.

I noticed immediately that my driving was inattentive. I was trying to read the directions and drive at the same time. The printed directions gave me two incorrect directions right from the get-go. It was frustrating. After 5 minutes, I went back to paying attention to my GPS.

The voices giving directions can sometimes get a bad rap, seemingly yelling at a person if he makes a wrong turn: “Turn around, NOW.” No one likes to be ridiculed by a machine. However, it’s incredibly helpful to have someone reciting directions to me out loud while I drive. I can pay attention to the road and get to my destination safely and efficiently. I take the units for granted, but they are truly an integral part of my job.

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Random Acts of Culture: Hallelujah!

Now THIS is incredible..

I am just loving this surge of flash-mobs/flash anything. Catching audiences and common groups of people off-guard with dancing and singing. I think it’s genius. I think this movement of sorts keeps life fun and keeps people on their toes. It encourages collaboration and creativity.

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In class last night, we spent the evening discussing how the iPad is and can be used. It was tough work, but someone had to do it!

We had a blast. Many of us tried downloading some of the apps we already have on our iPhones, just to test them on the big screen. I am not sure why I didn’t realize it until I was holding it in my hand, but the iPad really is just a giant iPhone 4. I could understand people’s infatuation with the device. It’s small, portable, and the pixalation is incredible.

I searched newspapers and magazines that had iPad apps. Those were neat. I had read recently that Virgin was creating an iPad-only magazine. I wonder how successful something like that would be. I assume that people would be charged in some way for a subscription, but I can see it doing well. Especially owned by such an incredibly dominating company as Virgin is. I will have to check it out if it comes to be.

The iPad is pretty cool. I couldn’t help but think how cool and useful they would be in classrooms around the world. I think kids would really enjoy learning via the iPad – it just may happen some day!

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I want that job.

I recently checked out Fortune’s 2010 “40 under 40 list,” which lists 40 individuals who have been both innovative and successful in their careers. I was inspired before I even began clicking through the list. An introductory line to the piece indicates that these young individuals aren’t thinking about the recession. They are plowing through a time many others are using as a scape goat for failure.

You’ll find the Facebook guy (Zuckerburg) at #2, the Twitter guys (Williams and Stone) at #3, and the Google guys  (Brin and Page) at #5. They’ve all been in charge of wildly successful products.

The first woman who popped up on the list was #15, Wendy Clark. Wendy is the Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Communications for Coca-Cola. How cool is that? Her bio begins with a stat that two years into the job, she coordinated the company’s sponsorship of the 2010 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. If you haven’t seen it, the Coca-Cola World Cup TV advertisement was terrific. Kudos to the Coca-Cola team and to Wendy Clark. I love to see a fellow woman achieve great success in her career, especially at such a young age – it’s so inspiring. Even more inspiring? The fact that she travels for business in jeans and flip-flops. I want that job.

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Tonise Paul speaks to our class

Last night, we had the pleasure of listening to a lecture from Tonise Paul, President and CEO of BBDO in Chicago.

Amog other things Tonise discussed was a presentation on her company’s work in reinvigorating and redefining the brand Canadian Club. This was one ad she showed us, and I loved it. The advertising campaign is a throwback to the 1960s, inviting current whiskey drinkers to choose Canadian Club, even though it may have been previously thought of as an old-man’s drink of choice.

One student in our class asked whether or not the campaign received bad press/feedback from audiences regarding a seemingly objectification of women. Tonise said she had heard things like that but didn’t feel personally insulted by any of the images or phrases. I didn’t either, and I consider myself to be tuned in to those types of things.

Do these ads offend you? If so, why? If not, why not? I think it’s creative and agressive. I love throwbacks to earlier decades – they are respectful of times gone by, and useful in a unique way to reinvigorating long-standing brans.

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iPhone 4: I’m in love

I had never before owned an iPhone before I purchased the iPhone 4 immediately after it was put on sale. I was up for a new phone and contract anyways, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Like many, I experienced a few dropped calls and spotty reception in many places. It was nothing that drove me too insane. It was nothing that frustrated me enough to get rid of the phone and AT&T as my provider. I love the phone.

Many of my friends own one of the 3G models, the previous iPhones. Side by side, the differences are really quite astonishing. The clarity of images, text, and color quality is enough to make your jaw drop.

I use it to take photos all the time. And when you have great light, the photos taken are top notch. Though there is a flash for shooting images in the dark, I have yet to utilize the flash and end up with a photo of great quality. So, I use my iPhone in good light, and my digital camera for photos in dimly lit areas. The HD video shooting is equally awesome.

Checking up on Facebook is a cinch with the app. And surfing the internet is both easy and enjoyable. I stil cannot believe how clear text is. I remember Steve Jobs, while announcing the features of the iPhone 4, stated that looking at an online newspaper from the phone would be as clear as looking at a real newspaper on your lap. It really is that great.

I have a lot left to learn and add to my phone, but for now, I am thoroughly enjoying it.

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Prada and social media

Our assignment this past week was to research the social media efforts of a brand cited as being a top user of social media. Vitrue compiles annually a list of the top 100 social brands. Their 2009 listing placed Prada, one of four luxury brands making the list, in the 88th spot.

My first steps in this project involved searching for Prada on Facebook and Twitter. It was apparent that Prada has no verified account with either site. After researching Prada’s website and presence on YouTube, I discovered first-hand that social media is much more than just Facebook and Twitter. It’s about projects that marry social interaction with technology: being creative in appealing to an audience and using stakeholders to market content.

Here’s what I discovered about Prada and social media..

prada.com/en – English (also a site in Japanese)

Prada’s S/S 2011 Womenswear show will take place tomorrow, September 23. Want to go but can’t make it to Milan? Can’t finagle tickets to the show, even if you’re there? You’re in luck. Currently, visitors to Prada’s website are immediately prompted with an invitation to watch the show live from their iPods, iPads, or the web tomorrow evening.

Prada’s website contains the following information

  • E-store (for those living in almost 20 countries)
  • Collection (newest collections, advertising campaigns)
  • Projects (social media, other promotional campaigns)
  • Fragrances
  • Events
  • Store locator
  • Prada book
  • Foundazione Prada (Prada Foundation)
  • Register (to receive additional information about the brand – address, telephone, email)

Projects were the focus of my research efforts.

1.)    Yo video!

  1. Eight short films  to promote Prada’s 2010 Yo-Yo bag

                  i.      “Following Prada’s tradition of promoting fresh creativity in innovative ways, total freedom was given to eight film students, aged 18 to 29, to interpret the F/W 2010 Yo-Yo Bag in the form of a short film.”

                  ii.      “A Worry” film

                  iii.      “Gravity” film

2.)    Production movies

  1. 18 brief videos
  2. Depict production stages of bags, RTW (ready-to-wear clothing), shoes, and perfume

3.)    The Iconoclasts

  1. Four leading fashion editors create their own vision of Prada stores in New York, Milan, Paris, and London

 The Yo-Yo videos and “The Iconoclasts” give others a “piece of the pie,” but not just anyone. Prada chose eight film students who demonstrated innovation and were at the very outset of their careers. “The Iconoclasts” featured design work of “four of the world’s leading fashion editors.”


Joined November 18, 2005
Almost 22,000 channel views
Almost 62,000 upload views

Have many of the videos also housed on Prada website also on YouTube site. Also includes videos of runway shows.

It is clear that videos are Prada’s chosen medium to market their brand, and I think they have done so quite well. Would a presence on Facebook and Twitter help? Do such sites always help a brand, or are they helpful only to some?

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Last week, we were given an assignment to organize our thoughts around emerging media by creating a mind map via MindMeister. For those who are not aware, as I was not just a week ago, MindMeister is a web-based mind-mapping tool for brainstorming and organizing content.

I’m a supporter of mind-mapping. I can see its benefits, especially for those who learn best visually. However, MindMeister is not my favorite web-based tool, to put it mildly. I am a pretty easy going person, but I got frustrated every time I clicked on a piece of my map and was taken to the random, upper lefthand blank corner. It didn’t just happen once or twice – it was a constant headache throughout the process. Formatting the map just the way I wanted it to look was also difficult. Mostly because essentially every place I clicked brought me to that upper lefthand blank corner. Why, MindMeister, why??

I’d like to say I plan to devote more time to mastering the tool, but I’m not convinced it’s helpful for me. I am a “list” freak. I brainstorm by creating lists. I start every work day by making a “to do” list on a piece of colored paper I have pre-cut to my favorite “list size.” I like and actually look forward to writing out grocery lists. I enjoy crossing out the things I’ve placed in my cart and projects I’ve accomplished, as well as circling the good ideas that emerged while brainstorming. Lists are my thing. 

So, unless MindMeister branches out to create “List Meister,” I don’t think I’ll be spending too much time on the site. It was useful, though, to get to know one of the tools many find useful in their daily lives. It’s just not for me.

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