This blog has been moved to igotablog.com →

Low cost solution to clearing landmines

Why the iPhone 5 is not called The New iPhone

A few months ago I stated that the iPhone 5 won't be called the iPhone 5, but that it will follow the same naming convention that The New iPad will follow and simply be called, "The New iPhone."

In retrospect, I was wrong, and I understand why. 

Revisiting this topic, it makes plenty of sense to release the iPhone as iPhone 5 and the new iPad as The New iPad. You see, each time they release a new iPhone, they keep older versions lying around to hit different market segments. There's a free version, a half-way-there version, and the latest and greatest. They need something that distinguishes devices between the market segments. However, they don't do this when a new iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod, or any other devices are released. 

When a new iPad comes out, it's The New iPad. It's the only one you can buy in their stores. Same with an iMac or iPod. If there are different models, there's something to distinguish the differences such as screen sizes or storage, but they aren't selling older models. 

Many people have suggested that they aren't calling it "The New iPhone" because people didn't like calling the iPad, "The New iPad." It's somewhat confusing and ambiguous. While it may become difficult to reference "The New iPad" when a newer version comes out (maybe they'll call it, "The Newer iPad"), I don't think it's entirely correct for stating this as the reason for calling the new iPhone the iPhone 5.

If they were only selling one iPhone, I'd still bet on it being called, "The New iPhone," however, they are selling multiple generations for different market segments.

Touché past self.

iPod Nano is in the Design Sandbox

Nearly 7 years ago, the iPod Nano was originally launched. Up until a few months ago, I had one in my possession (the first model was recalled, so Apple kindly swapped it for the newer clip on model). 

The first two generations fit right in as they lined up next to the other iPods being their smaller counterpart. Then the iPod went short and stubby, then tall, then with a taller display, then short with a clip, and now tall. What?

It's clear that Apple has no idea what they want to do with this thing. Just look at the picture below:



And today, they release this one:


I don't think it's a bad thing. Sometimes you need to experiment. It's just interesting.

These images were taken from the wonderful live blog that The Verge put on.

GoDaddy is Down taking millions of sites offline, including some of our own. →

GoDaddy went down today. Here's an email that I sent out to a bunch of my clients:

Today, GoDaddy suffered one of the biggest outages in internet history. Millions of people who have hosting, domains, or other products with GoDaddy have suffered as a result of this downtime. We're not excluded either. 

A member of Anonymous, a relatively large headless hacking organization, has claimed responsibility for taking down GoDaddy. Perhaps because of the PIPA or SOPA support that GoDaddy has pledged allegiance towards (they're both bad for the internet, if you want to know why ask me and I'll be glad to discuss). 

In any case, millions of domains are down, sites are unreachable, and the internet has a giant hole in it as GoDaddy accounts for over 225 million domains. Basically, every site and email address hosted with or through GoDaddy (including domains pointed elsewhere) crashed today.


So what's next? Well, GoDaddy will remain a large target for hackers. They stand against what the internet stands for (free and open information that is unrestricted). That being said, I don't see the threat of GoDaddy being hacked decreasing anytime soon. My advice? Switch to a new host and domain provider. 

So why am I writing this email? 

  1. To let you know what's going on (information is important).
  2. I can help with that transition.

There are plenty of other alternatives out there. While I'd love to toot my own horn and suggest using my small personalized hosting service, it may not be right for you. I think it's time to take action and migrate away from GoDaddy – entirely – if you're using it. 

I'd love to help you out. Send me an email (reply to this message, call my cell, whatever is easiest for you) and we'll figure out the best and most cost effective solution for you.

It's unfortunate that this has happened, but part of me believes that it was inevitable. 


Matt Gardner
CEO
410-858-4706


What it's like working from home

Writing Invoices Sucks. Let's Make Better Invoices. →

There are a lot of steps required to send an invoice to someone. In most current invoicing systems, you have to add their company and the person that you want to invoice. Then you you fill out the invoice, save it, then send it.

I could use a word document I could rearrange the design, edit the format, change fonts, but before I actually begin writing the invoice I've spent the past 30 minutes trying to make it look nice.

Instead of doing all of that, I've decided to build a simple website that allows you to create and send invoices to anyone with an email address. 

If you've ever wanted to create an invoice this is for you. You can create an invoice here.

Liked this post? You should follow me on twitter here.

The key to hosting a successful startup competition

RIT48 is a startup competition where students have 48 hours to pitch plan and launch a web or mobile startup. 

For the past three years I've been involved with RIT48. Each year we've successfully grown the competition by doubling the number of participants, funding, and exposure each and every year. The 2012 edition of RIT48 was the most successful yet.

Like many other startup events, this is a competition. Each team is competing to be the best and to place first, second or third. The aspect of competition helps drive productivity and creativity. 

Unlike other startup competitions, teams cannot come in with previous work. That is, they cannot bring in existing code or an existing project. This prevents a team from having a more than 48 hour advantage and levels the playing field. While both methods have their pros and cons, I prefer the start from scratch method almost every time1.

Eliminate all distractions and there's more to it than just keeping a room quiet. At RIT48 I had the advantage of reserving tons of classrooms and was able to place each team in their own classroom equipped with desks and whiteboards. This was a huge advantage and kept intimacy between team members. It also allowed each team to have a headquarters, which is very important for judges walking around providing feedback (more on that later). Finally, it also gives the opportunity for the team to behave however they'd like. They aren't able to walk into other team's rooms and see what the competition is doing, and therefore forces them to be more creative and focus on building a really great product.

Get good sponsors! Sponsors not only donate money, food, prizes, or other support, they help validate the event. In the past RIT48 has been sponsored by mediatemple, Rockadoo, Microsoft, Mozilla, github, and several other established brands. 

Our history of RIT48 has been that everything is free and our sponsors are the only reason this is even possible. This helps a lot but requires a lot more work up front. The food is free, admission is free, t-shirts are free, and the coffee is free. The only thing they have to pay for is anything that they want to use such as domains or hosting. 

Work with great people. This is the key to running a successful startup competition. The people that you work with are incredibly valuable. You cannot do it all alone, there is simply too much to do. Try doing it all alone is striving for mediocrity – don't do it. 

Find a great venue. RIT48, as its name implies, was hosted at RIT. RIT is a tier one university with a lot of talented and smart people. It's also a fairly diverse university consisting of art students, photo students, computer geeks, and the business types. This creates a great mix and a variety in thinking.

Finally, get support from the community. RIT has a very strong emphasis and liking for entrepreneurial related programs. It has the number one rated incubator in the country. President Destler thoroughly enjoys and encourages the competition. Each year he helps kick off the opening ceremony with a few words of wisdom and a few startup ideas of his own. University News gives us great coverage, the local papers and television stations do too. 

If you build it, they may come – you still have to spread the word, and reaching out to the community has given RIT48 a lot of success and exposure.

Running a startup competition takes a lot of work and requires a lot of motivation and energy. Setting a specific format, judging requirements, eliminating distractions, having good sponsors, making everything free, having a great venue, getting support of the community and most importantly working with great people are keys to hosting a successful startup competition. 

Thanks Greg Koberger for reading a draft of this.

You should follow me on twitter.


     

    Honeybaked Ham Store Closes: Breaking News Report

    Who doesn't like ham? People, as it turns out. My good friend Brian Firenzi investigates further.