Archive for the ‘Online’ Category

Port Authority TDP Banners

May 11, 2010
Second change banner

TDP Banner 2

This is the banner for the second roll-out of changes for the TDP (Transit Development Plan) by the Port Authority.  Something about it was bugging me,

and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure it out.  Then it finally hit me.  The banners, especially the first iteration, remind me a lot of the artwork used in the card game “Beer Money.”

Beer Money

Beery Money boxart

The first round of changes was ushered in by a purple banner, which matched the Beer Money cards and box (shown below).

But I do like them a lot.  The movement, although more understated, matches the banner at the top of their website and I do love the choice of bus that they used (one in good repair, with their name all over it), but I digress.

These are seen on the side of buses, as well as inside (think ads in the NYC Subway, above everyone) as well as online.  I’m still trying to locate the first banner, and if I can find it, I’ll put it up here.

And now for a shameless plug: want to read more about PAT?  Check out my (almost regular) weekly column, PATransit Tuesdays, over at Pittsburgh Metblogs.

Second thoughts – Seton Hill: iPad

April 2, 2010

A few follow up thoughts to my article about Seton Hill’s iPad:

One of the things that I think works against Seton Hill in their ads, especially those that I see all the time on the buses, are that they look remarkably like the ads for CCAC.  If I didn’t pay as much attention to not only the ads on buses, but also ads in general, I think that I would easily get the two campaigns confused with each other.

I didn’t discuss the eBooks that will be available through iTunes now.  From what I have heard, the interface is very well put together (although it is inside iTunes, which is a memory hog, hence my switch away from it).  What still bugs me is a criticism of Apple in general, and that is their proprietary file formats and generally closed-off nature of their devices and applications.

I’m very much a fan of open source technology and the power of crowdsourcing, so when an eBook is only available on one device, I get worried.  Granted, that is a part of the new digital age I think, but it is not good for consumers, who find themselves in a position where their library (be it books, music, video, games or anything else) is trapped on one devices, or one set of devises.  That of course, comes back to bite the company in the ass: consumers are more reluctant to move on to the next generation/new model if they can’t bring their libraries with them.

At the moment though, that has not been a problem.  But the elephant in the room currently are the game consoles.  New generations of consoles come out every five or six years (on average, the 360 came out sooner, and Sony had said they expect the PS3 to be theirs for 10 years), and then a large chunk of hardcore consumers upgrade.  At least with the Wii, while it can be tied to your account at Nintendo, it does not have to be, instead, downloaded games are tied to the physical console.

A small bit of code would fix that, and hopefully, responsible companies are looking into that, and of course, I do realize that this has become more of a tangent than looking at Seton Hill’s iPad marketing, but interesting thoughts nonetheless (at least I think so).

So back to Apple’s proprietary file formats.  Presumably the iPad that students will be getting (and from what I have found out from a recent SHU alumni, students will also be getting desktop Macs as well) will be for use in the classroom.  Imagine (and I hope that Carnegie Mellon is working on things like this) a professor walks into the room, with his or her tablet.  He has that day’s handouts digitally and with a flick of his finger, sends the handouts from his tablet to every other one in the room (maybe this would have to be done from some sort of educational kiosk at the lectern, but you get the idea).  He can instantly pass out slides from that day’s discussion, including notes taken on the smart board in the room.  Exams could be sent out, done by students and then flicked back to the professor for grading.  Blue books would be a thing of the past, if each student has a word processor in their fingertips.

Granted, things like safeguards against cheating would have to be worked out, and all that kind of stuff, but even in just the more mundane classes, this not only would be a huge savings in term of paper and printing, but students would be able to keep notes filed and organized on one device that could then sync with their desktops/laptops in their rooms.  And in the more creative and scientific fields, tablets could be a great way for design students to take projects with them to work on where they find inspiration, to view their projects on different operating systems, and even provide  new type of gallery opening, one in which projects are scattered and maybe even travelling to different screens, but each artist has the power to have a gallery with them at all times.  Those in the sciences could store data, in numbers, video, images and their own thoughts, recording as they walk through their experiments, giving them unfeathered access to their own work as it is created and examined.

Anyway, it’s all projection.  And a ways off.  I hope that textbooks are able to be shared between students and their iPads, to allow for joint note taking (some textbooks are more like workbooks after all), and that was how I saved a bunch of money in college, sharing books on subjects I knew I wasn’t going to keep after they were done (sorry Fr.  Simon!).

Okay, so I had more thoughts than I imagined I was going to, and I did get off on some tangents, but who knows, it’s a discussion, right?  We’ll see what develops.  For now though, I’m going to leave the Seton Hill iPad alone, I think I’ll be moving on to a couple other things that have caught my eye recently.

Seton Hill: iPad

April 1, 2010
Seton Hill iPad

This wasn’t what I had originally wanted to write about for the first post, but I’ll get to that at a later date.  For now, I’m going to jump in and discuss the news and marketing that Seton Hill will be providing all of their students with an iPad.  One of the strange things I noticed, is that there is no mention of that fact anywhere on their homepage.

My guess is that details are still being worked out, and probably language is being written (if it hasn’t already) to break the news that (presumably) current students are ineligible to receive an iPad.  Yes, the ad says that it will go to all full-time students in 2010, but I kind of think it won’t happen.  I guess I’m a bit more of a cynic than I thought, but really, it’s not that relevant to this post I suppose.  This whole paragraph has been speculation, just so you know.

I actually first read the news on a Seattle-based news blog, which has since followed up with an interesting story that points out that many students retain more knowledge from words on a printed page, versus a screen.  This fact is one we discussed many times in web design courses, and one that makes the advent of ebooks tough on publishing houses I think.

Think about it, the easiest thing to do is to just take the manuscript of a book, put it into ebook format and release it.  If it is hard to read, well then that is the fault of the hardware the user has invested in.  Eink is slated to make reading on a screen much easier on the eyes, although I have yet to be really impressed with any e-reader or tablet (but I’m expecting that to change in the next five to ten years).

And of course, the limitations of the iPad are widely known (one proprietary input jack, lock-down of software), but those are actually more suited to discussion in The Great and Secret Show, so I’ll leave them be for now.

The striking similarity however, and one that I’m sure others noticed, is this is the same deal, just updated, that Grove City College ran (I could not find information on whether or not their program was still going on): all incoming freshmen were welcomed to campus by a new laptop and printer (and strict rules to not walk on the grass, rules which have since been relaxed from what I can gather).  It’s the same idea, just updated for 2010.

Grove City College is a whole different beast, although I don’t think the free laptop was high on the list for enrolling students.  Will this have a measurable affect on applications and incoming class size?  We won’t know until next year, and even then, only if Seton Hill decides to divulge that information (and even then, we’ll have to look through the spin).

But I do like the Web page (pictured above), it’s clean, simple, much like Mac.  It could do a better job driving prospective students to apply, and it looks as though it was used as a splash page, maybe on the day it was officially announced, thankfully that is not the case at the moment (very annoying, even if it is providing a way to geek out).  I am surprised the logo in the lower right is for Mac, and not Apple, seems a bit of a wavering of Steve Job’s branding of everything Apple and i-related.  And again I wonder why there is no news story, or even mention on Seton Hill’s home page, at best it seems inconsistent, or even ashamed.  But I will be interested to see if other schools, especially schools in the area pick up the same kind of promotion.