It's Easter. Supeep Court's in Session.

I have a new tradition. Much like viewing light displays at Christmas, Easter is fast becoming my time of year to admire the handywork of artists such as Frank Salamone. Mr. Salamone’s medium is the sugar-encrusted marshmallows more commonly known as Peeps. His subject is the Supreme Court. Match made in heaven? You decide:

As explained by Mr. Salamone over at the ABA Journal site:

“I knew I wanted to do something to touch on the rock star status afforded Justice Sotomayor, and nothing screams ‘celebrity’ like a red carpet, a huge star and pipe-cleaner shades.”

Can you find Justice Scalia?

You really need to hit this link (here) and see the rest of the masterpieces. Before they get snarfed up.

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The Next Web's List of iPad Plusses & Minuses

Still on the fence about the iPad? Lists are so very, very helpful. How about this great list of iPad pros and cons compiled by Zee over at The Next Web (link here). These are initial, hands-on comments from early testers, so they are not based entirely on conjecture. For ease, I will requote Zee’s list here, but feel free to head over there for his thoughts:

Positives

  • Sleek, light, silver-and-black
  • As an e-book or digital periodical reader, it works brilliantly (better than the Amazon Kindle in Mossberg’s  opinion)
  • Runs all iPhone apps 150,000+ of them.
  • Large screen allows much more functionality than you initially imagine.
  • If you’re mainly a web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music—this is for you.
  • The iPad is thinner and lighter than any netbook or laptop Mossberg has seen.
  • It boasts a big, bright color 9.7-inch screen that occupies most of the front
  • It has a decent speaker, and even a tiny microphone.
  • iPad’s battery life great, Mossberg found it to be even longer than Apple’s ten-hour claim (He played movies, TV shows and other videos back-to-back until the iPad died). Lasted 11 hours and 28 minutes. “I was able to watch four feature-length movies, four TV episodes and a video of a 90-minute corporate presentation. All with wi-fi running and email downloading in background.”
  • Overall speed of the iPad, “wicked fast”
  • Typing accurately and quickly on the iPad’s wide on-screen keyboard was perectly comfortable and fast.
  • The Web browser also works beautifully.
  • Watching videos, viewing photos, listening to music, reading books and playing games was “satisfying and fun”.
  • Generally the iPad apps are much better than their iPhone equivalents, but more expensive, but some free.
  • The photo app is striking, and much more like the one on the Mac than the one on the iPhone. The device can even be used as a digital picture frame.
  • Reading the news on iPad was the “best implementation of the newspaper” (WSJ) Mossberg has ever seen.
  • iBooks is superior to the Kindle, and encountered no eye strain says Mossberg. (but heavier)
  • You can search text in iBooks and it will open to a specific page
  • The simple act of making the multitouch screen bigger changes the whole experience. Maps become real maps, like the paper ones.
  • there’s no contract. (By tapping a button in Settings, you can order up a month of unlimited cellular Internet service for $30)
  • It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money.
  • Apple expects more than 1,000 iPad-specific apps to be available at launch,

Negatives

  • The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch says Pogue.
  • No physical keyboard
  • no Webcam
  • no USB ports
  • no multitasking.
  • No headphones with the device
  • Not as good for writing or editing longer documents
  • Not good for anything that requires Flash.
  • battery is sealed in and nonreplaceable
  • Memory, also sealed in and nonexpandable (ranges from 16 gigabytes to 64 gigabyte)
  • no stand but $39 iPad case works well.
  • iWork works well, a “serious content creation app”, but exporting to Microsoft’s formats (which only Pages can do) doesn’t work so well.
  • No Weather, Clock and Stocks apps.
  • iPad heavier than Kindle
  • Most people need two hands to use iPad
  • The iBooks app also lacks any way to enter notes, and Apple’s catalog at launch will only be about 60,000 books versus more than 400,000 for Kindle.
  • email app lacks the ability to create local folders – email app doesn’t include rules for auto-sorting messages
  • email app doesn’t include group addressing
  • No tabs in Safari
  • Wifi only version lacks GPS.
  • Wide screen view can be awkward. Either you have black bars in wide screen view or you get some of your image cut off in fill screen view.
  • There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries says Pogue
  • At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces)
  • You can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.
  • When the very glossy 9.7-inch screen is off, every fingerprint is grossly apparent.
  • You can’t read well in direct sunlight
  • Pogue: “When the iPad is upright, typing on the on-screen keyboard is a horrible experience; when the iPad is turned 90 degrees, the keyboard is just barely usable (because it’s bigger). A $70 keyboard dock will be available in April, but then you’re carting around two pieces.”
  • Pogue: “The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works.”
  • The new iBooks e-reader app is filled with endearing grace notes.
  • Apple says that 150,000 existing iPhone apps run on the iPad but many appear or small and dead center on the screen — or, with a tap, doubled to fill the screen, a little blurry.
  • Skype (even voice calls, through its speaker and microphone). Just no video
  • Pogue: The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget.
  • Pogue: The iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff.
  • Pogue: It’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it — books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on.
  • You will have to buy into the iTunes ecosystem, of course, to watch movies, read e-books and sync up the apps.
  • You have to purchase a $29 iPad Camera Connection Kit, which lets you connect a USB camera or import photos via an SD card.
  • Baig: “Many people will still need a more traditional computer. You can’t edit video on an iPad. And the virtual onscreen keyboard that pops up when needed is fine for e-mails or scribbling notes, but I wouldn’t want to regularly write articles using it. “
  • No coverflow in iTunes

Hit the jump above to The Next Web for reviewers’ overall impressions and the link to a video review.

What do you think? Does this change your mind in one direction or the other?

Making Your Business Card Play Fetch

I admit I have a thing about business cards. Not sure why. I guess I have always loved the graphical representation of a person’s vitals  in two-dimensional format.

I also have a thing about modern iterations of the business card, and have discussed options in previous posts here in the Studio (link here).

Today I found another modern appliance for exchanging contact information: CloudContacts (link here).

CloudContacts is an application that takes your business cards, scans them, and exports them into your email application of choice or whatever system you use for maintaining your contacts.  They also are stored on the web (handy backup). You can see images of your cards on-line. CloudContacts will either return the cards to you or will recycle them (how green!). As stated on their site, CloudContacts accepts cards in the following ways:

  • Mail – shipped via postal mail, FedEx, UPS, DHL and other package carriers
  • CloudContacts Mailer – we can send you a postal mailer – U.S. only – small shipping charge applies
  • NYC Pickup – orders of 300 credits or more – we can pickup your cards at your home or office
  • Email Upload – cards can be emailed via scan or photo using your custom CloudContacts email address
  • Mobile Email – cards can be sent using your mobile phone
  • The really cool part, though, is that CloudContacts will then take that information, go forth out into the wilds of the Social web, collect that person’s social profile information, and bring it back to you. Takes the sleuthing out of your complete connection activity. Available networks included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Plaxo. Supported email and CRM services included Salesforce, Highrise, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Entourage, Thunderbird, Exchange, and Gmail. More are to be added.

    CloudContacts costs. One credit is good for one business card. $29.95 gives you 100 credits and economics scale in your favor as you ncrease the number of credits you purchase.

    But, if you depend heavily on securing cards and managing that information in a Web 2.0 way, CloudContacts seems a decent investment.