October 2007



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ZipSkinny.com tells all about New York's 10001 zip code

Are you into data? Here’s a funny story, Techlife covered Nick Douglas’s Look Shiny and his first show. Then we covered Taylor McKnight and Chirag Mehta’s awesome mashup Chime.TV. (We have our own channel, Techlife TV – check it out sometime.) So why are these two things related? Good question. In a recent post Nick posted about really cool site, ZipSkinny, a site that provides extensive demographic information by zipcode compiled form the US Census from 2000. Nick in his usual humor filled manner, was commenting at how poor some of the neighborhoods he knows happen to be. And to make this a small world, he mentions Taylor. So in reading all of this I learned about ZipSkinny (thanks Nick) and I learned Taylor and Nick are friends (thanks both of you.)

While ZipSkinny.com has the typical disclaimer that the site should not be used for serious decision making, such as moving or opening a business, and how some data is incomplete or has such a small sample size it can not be considered reliable, this site is a goldmine. It really has taken data exploration to new levels. If you are in real estate, a realtor, or looking to buy a home it is at least a place to start.

ZipSkinny has maps and pretty charts
With data points such as:

  • Population
  • Density
  • Educational Achievement
  • Marital Status
  • Household Income with brackets
  • Occupation
  • Unemployment/Poverty
  • Age
  • Racial Diversity
  • Male/Female with age brackets
  • Map of the zip code

And features such as:

  • Zip code to US comparison
  • Zip code to nearyb Zip code comparison
  • Zip code to state to US comparison
  • Top 100 zip codes in the state or US by any of the data points
  • Ability to compare up to 20 codes side by side data

I think the most interesting thing about ZipSkinny, the lack of credit. Who built it? Anyone know?


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Reading by Christine RondeauOn a cold November day, the Yeti sits patiently at his computer, the Skye darkens as he Googles and his results return — 60 seconds later he has an answer.  Ok, you didn’t just land in the middle of a new Hollywood movie pitch.  Techlife had an exciting month.

First we got some great attention from Google.  Then we played Yeti Baseball.  We also learned how to take some great photos in just 60 seconds.   Finally we had an Interview with Skye Boyes.

(the lead-in for the November column)

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)


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Business Notepad 2 by Steve WoodsGaming?  How serious can this be?  Business owners take note – Microsoft made more with the release of Halo3 then any movie EVER.   What can you do for your company? Hit me via email at: techlife [ at ] dkworldwide [dot] com. Do you subscribe to the RSS feed for Techlife? Visit the TechLife weblog where all you need to do is point and click.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)


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Thanksgiving means saying thanks.  Thanks to all the wonderful readers, business owners and referals.  I have met so many interesting people. This month alone a a few include a Judge, an Inventor, and  a Startup owner.   You listened and referred and I thank you all.  As a marketing and technology proven “venture strategist” I want to meet businesses and organizations, all it takes is an invitation. Contact me, it’s easy: techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)


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Ballistick with new weapons - Flamethrower and a Plasma Cannon?
Everyone has their favorite games. Techlife recently has been addicted to Casual Collective’s Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense (invites available here). Good games have that effect. WoW or World of Warcraft fans take their addiction to new levels.

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But one of the best games of all time is XGen Studio’s Stick Arena. Skye Boyes, friend of Techlife, is one of the creator’s XGen’s popular 4 person flash game. We interviewed Skye to talk about gaming, Stick Arena and Ballistick their newest game, that has been a long time coming. Skye was kind of enough to provide us three exclusive game images of Ballistick. Nearly a year ago XGen posted this trailer of Ballistick to wet the appetites of Stick Arena fans. So the real question is: When is Ballistick coming? Read on to find out.

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Prospecting the Perspective from idigitalphoto.com - Zoom in

Taking good pictures is hard work. The best digital camera is still just a tool for capturing the world the way you see it. In my consulting firm we often work with client’s photos, and I can’t tell you how many times they send 100 or more photos and there isn’t a single good shot among them.

We often suggest a few various photography tips to taking better pictures, but the recent article from Tom Ang and Markus Urban titled, “Improve your Photos 60 seconds at a Time” is probably the perfect Techlife article for our readers and our clients. As the title suggests it is fast, easy reading that really hits home the point, we all can improve our photos. I knew a few of the many great things they covered, but they hit upon many more I didn’t know. They break down 6 lessons into small, easy to read 60 second chunks and of course have great example photos for each lesson. I liked the nice zoom tool they used for their photos.

Their lessons cover: Light Landscaping People Color Composition Being Ready

Mastering the Flash - from idigitalphoto.com

As they are focused on more on taking great photos, I would add the simplest but most effective way to change a photo is to crop it. Today’s digital cameras take such high resolutions that cropping the photo will still end up providing a great image. Think about taking a bad shot and applying their rules during the crop. Simple tools like Picasa, free from Google, offer powerful, easy to use crop tools that let you preview what it might look like.

Tom and Markus have written a great lesson in photography basics and any person who owns a digital camera should read this article. Your relatives will thank you, because your photos will be interesting and fun.


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Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade Sidekick 3Google Docs and Spreadsheets new main interfaceiPhone image courtesy of WiredTechlife readers know I am big fan of Google Docs. Even Google knows. It is a great tool for collaboration. I also use a Sidekick from Tmobile, and today those worlds collide with the introduction of Google Docs Mobile. Google Docs for your mobile device, also works on such smart phone platforms as iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile but as this reviewer says it is really Google Docs Mobile Viewer.

On the Sidekick you need to enable Javascript, which is common enough. The main page where all my recent docs reside is a great adaptation for the mobile device. It really lets me see the important things quite easily. That is where the goodness ends. The only somewhat manageable document type is a word processor to view mobile. The spreadsheet gives such a small view that it is really unusable and their brand new presentation tool does not work.

Now we all know that Google will evolve this toolset, as they are prone to do. And with the recent announcement of the gPhone being produced, it is clear their next area of growth is mobile. This offering could have been in the labs a few more weeks because my initial excitement was quickly replaced with disappointment at only having “real” access to my word processing documents and here’s the biggest surprise. No edits!

They opted to leave out the capability to edit in this early alpha beta release, which is a big disappointment. What mobile have you tried it out with?

Thanks to Lifehacker for the post.

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Yeti goes Yard - Penguin Flash GameOur readers are really the best. Where else would we get Penguin Baseball? A reader sent in this flash game gem, where you take batting practice, except replace Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez or Prince Fielder with your favorite abominable snowman, the Yeti. Cute lovable penguins jump from a cliff (pitch themselves) and you take aim.

From what I can see there are two types of power hits. The moon shot gets you at most 490. The more line drive takes the svelte penguin aerodynamics and really can increase your score. Our reader said, “It took awhile and I think I am still missing something, but beat 593!” My best was 587. What can you do?

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