Eric Knight Inventor. Entrepreneur. Author. Futurist. Business & Internet Pioneer.
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Eric Knight — cranking out rock tunes (on guitar and harmonica) — helps raise $1,500 for local food pantry.

July 27

You know what they say about all work and no play.  So I took a little time out from business to play some classic rock with my ol’ buddy Arnold “Arnie” Aranci and his sons.  The goal:  Raise money for our hometown’s food pantry at the inaugural “Hamstock” event.  We way exceed our goal, raising $1,500.

Enjoy the following HD YouTube videos:

Last Dance With Mary Jane (Tom Petty).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

Takin’ Care Of Business (Bachman Turner Overdrive).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry).  Arnold “Arnie” Aranci, Eric Knight, Christopher Aranci, Anthony Aranci:  

Would you like to fly to Mars? Here’s the next best thing…

January 19

time_capsule_to_mars_spacecraft_rendering_for_online_distributionMy company is a proud supporter of the international student team that’s planning to build and fly a small spacecraft to Mars. On board would be a two-inch-diameter titanium “time capsule of humanity” containing perhaps millions of digital photos, videos, audio files, and text messages from people all over the world — including you.

Your digital creations would be stored on new “quartz” media that, by some estimates, will survive on the surface of Mars for up to 300 million years.

This would be the world’s first interplanetary space mission led by a non-government team. Other key mission supporters include MIT and Explore Mars, Inc. Details of the mission can be viewed at this link.

While the students are working on the essential science, they are also looking for creative names for both the spacecraft and the Mars “time capsule” lander. The goal is to unleash the world’s creativity in every aspect of the program. The individuals who submit the chosen names will get special digital allocations in the time capsule’s quartz memory, as well as other unique tributes. To submit your name ideas, visit www.TimeCapuleToMars.com.

How to stop Google from using your identity in ads. How to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads.

October 11

google-personal-endorsement-in-adsStarting November 11th, your reviews of restaurants, hotels, shops, songs, and products — and your image — could show up in ads when searched on Google.  It’s called Google’s Shared Endorsements.  The image in this post is an example.

If you are uncomfortable with this exposure, there’s an easy way to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements:

Log into your Google account (for most people, your Gmail account).  Then come back to this post and click on http://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements.  In the page that comes up, scroll to the bottom and UNCHECK the box next to the phrase:  “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.”   Then press the SAVE button.  That’s it!

For more information regarding Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads, click here for some more information from ABC News / The Associated Press.

Google acquires smartwatch maker WIMM — to compete with Apple and Samsung

August 30

smartwatch-google(Bloomberg)  Google Inc., which develops the Android software used on mobile devices, has purchased smartwatch designer WIMM Labs, stepping up efforts against competitors in the wearable-computing market.

Google, which didn’t provide details on the acquisition, completed the deal in 2012, the company said in an e-mailed statement. WIMM Labs, based in Los Altos, California, had unveiled a smartwatch design in 2011 that included a full-color touch screen, Internet access and sensors for tracking the owner’s motions, the company said.

Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, is ramping up in wearable computing to woo consumers in the emerging industry. The purchase comes as new smartwatch devices are on tap from rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, a wristwatch-like device with features of a smartphone, will be introduced Sept. 4, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

For the complete article, click here.

TECH BREAKTHROUGH: High-tech marriage combines 3-D printers with 3-D scanners — lets anyone print in 3-D without design software

March 8

(CNN)  “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes.  Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.”  For the complete report, visit this linkImage courtesy MakerBot

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat

September 14

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeatSteve Case, founder of AOL, venture capitalist, and current chairman of Startup America Partnership, says entrepreneurs are the true American heroes.

“Entrepreneurship is how America became great,” Case said.  “The good news is that we’re still the most entrepreneurial nation in the world. The bad news is that all the other countries are trying to catch us.”

Case was speaking in Detroit at Techonomy on Entrepreneurship and American Relevance.There are two types of founders, Case said:  those who create an interesting product or service but have modest ambitions…and those who are trying to change the world, who are swinging for the fences.

Those who are swinging for the fences are continuing the grand American tradition of entrepreneurship, he suggested, continuing the legacy of legendary Detroit founders and leaders such as Henry Ford.

Case sees what’s happening now as the next revolution in technology. After the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the initial stages of the digital revolution, we’re now seeing perhaps the most important part of the digital revolution: the impact of digital technology on all aspects of the economy.

Even heroes, of course, need loyal sidekicks. That’s why Case accepted the role of chairman of the Startup America Partnership, which is focused on building up all the regions of the U.S.

Not just social media companies — not just Facebooks and Instagrams — but also companies that use technology intelligently in transportation, in manufacturing, in all aspects of the economy.

“In some ways, every company is now a technology company,” Case said. The most important thing for entrepreneurial heroes, according to Case?“They really have to have passion.”

Image credits: Blastr, John Koetsier

via Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat.

With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com

September 4

In data prepared for USA TODAY, Vonage, an Internet phone company, says the number of voice-mail messages left on user accounts was down 8% in July from a year ago.

Checking one’s voice mail seems to be considered an even a bigger chore than leaving a voice message. Retrieved voice mail fell 14% among Vonage users in the same period.

“They hate the whole voice-mail introduction, prompts, having to listen to them in chronological order,” says Michael Tempora, senior vice president of product management at Vonage. One response by the company to the trend is a new voice-mail transcription service that converts voice messages for delivery as e-mail or text.

The service also e-mails a direct link to the voice-mail audio file, letting users bypass several steps to listen to it. “Voice transcription isn’t perfect,” Tempora says. “But they understand who called and what the message is about.”

The transcription tools make skimming through messages easier for on-the-go users such as Dmitri Leonov, an executive at SaneBox, a maker of e-mail inbox management software. “E-mail (etiquette) says to respect your friends’ time,” says Leonov, who rarely listens to messages. “And I should stop leaving voice mail, as well. Practice what you preach.”

via With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com.

Raise up to $2 million for your business (BIG NEWS for entrepreneurs)

December 12

How would you like to raise up to $2 million for your startup business?  And do it by letting investors “point-n-click” the cash your way via the Web?  It may soon be nearly that simple, thanks to the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act” (more commonly known as the “Crowdfunding Act”) that passed the House in an overwhelming (and bi-partisan!) 407 to 17 vote.  President Obama is another driving force behind the legislation, which is designed to dramatically streamline fund-raising for entrepreneurs.

After the bill passes the Senate (and all indications are that it will), and President Obama signs the legislation into law, entrepreneurs will be able to turn on a grassroots method to raise capital — equity sales online — with greatly reduced SEC restrictions.  The freer flow of money would be rocket fuel for startups, which are an essential engine for a robust economy and job creation.

“Crowdfunding” — a way for masses of people (“the crowd”) to feed ventures with capital via the Web — has blossomed in recent years thanks to sites like Kickstarter.com.  But SEC “red tape” (primarily the Securities Act of 1933) has prohibited these sites from directly offering investment shares in the enterprises.  The new Crowdfunding Act will remove this barrier.  No longer will equity sales be restricted to accredited investors.  And the power of public-supported funding will be unleashed.

Entrepreneurial endeavors will be able to sell up to $2 million in ownership shares to an unlimited number of investors.  And individuals will be able to invest up to $10,000 or up to 10% of his or her annual income, whichever is less.

If a company seeks the maximum $2 million in funding, it must supply “the crowd” with audited financial statements.  A company can choose to bypass the audited-financial-statement requirement — but then the maximum capital it can raise is $1 million.  (That’s nothing to sneeze at!)

When the President signs the legislation into law, it will be a great day for all entrepreneurs.  Just as important for America, the ensuing new businesses will provide a shot of adrenaline for the economy and help rev up the job-creation engine.  Everyone will win.

Carrier IQ: Your cell phone’s secret recording device (CNNMoney)

December 3

“Carrier IQ is a piece of software installed on millions of mobile phones that logs everything their users do, from what websites they browse to what their text messages say.

“No, it’s not part of some great Orwellian plot; it’s a diagnostic tool that carriers say plays a crucial role in helping them assess and troubleshoot their networks. But the recording app, which flew under the radar for years until security researchers drew attention to it recently, is setting off red-alert privacy and security alarms.

“It’s also spotlighting how little customers — and, sometimes, the carriers and manufacturers themselves — know about what goes on under the hood of their data-stuffed mobile devices.”

For the full article, including a link to an insightful YouTube video, visit http://cnnmon.ie/ruPxSh

Image courtesy John F. Coughlin / CNNMoney

Cha-ching! Chime.in — new social media site — pays you to post.

October 23

Chime.in, a just-launched social-media site, claims it will pay all content posters 50% of the advertising revenue generated on their profile pages.  This in stark contrast to Facebook, which has built a $65 billion empire by leveraging members’ content to attract advertisers and amass revenue.

To provide a first-hand report, I created Chime.in account (very simple to do), and explored the site.  Although the site is still in beta, I must say the user interface is well thought out.  Since the site has just turned on, you probably have a good shot to get your personal name as your user name.  Hey, it’s free.  Go for it.  www.Chime.in

The following is a snippet of a Huffington Post article about Chime.In:

“While Facebook has earned billions of dollars selling ads next to the content uploaded by their 800 million members, users haven’t seen a dime from their posts.

Share with Chime.in and Chime.in will share with you. The site, which allows individuals to post photos, links, videos and text in two thousand character ‘chimes,’ will give users 50 percent of the revenue it earns from selling advertising on their profile pages.

‘This is a firing shot in social media,’ [Bill Gross, the founder] told The Huffington Post. ‘Finally, the interests of the content creators are aligned with the interests of the publisher because they get something for their hard work.”

For the complete article, visit http://huff.to/ogyFGi

Image courtesy The Huffington Post and Getty Images.

The secret to revitalizing America’s business? You. And your creativity. (Watch this inspiring two-minute video — and share.)

October 19

I came across this inspiring two-minute video on YouTube about entrepreneurs.  They formed the fabric of our country — and could (and should) be our engine to the future.  Start your day off with this video.  It will lift your spirits.  Then take that rush of adrenaline and dose free spirit — and go for it.  Change the world.

How to fix Facebook’s News Feed — and put it back the way it was. Easy as 1-2-3.

October 18

Facebook has really messed up its News Feed.  Overwhelmingly, people want the Facebook News Feed to function the way it was.  Here’s a simple 1-2-3 to do just that:

(1)  In the left-hand column, click on LISTS.

(2)  Click on the “Create a List” button and type “Most Recent” as the name.

(3)  Select all of the friends you’d like to follow by clicking on their pictures.

That’s it!  Now when you want to see a “normal” most-recent list of the activities of your friends, just click on the “Most Recent” link in the left-hand column.

Bonus option #1:  If you’d like the “Most Recent” link to conveniently appear in your “Favorites” at top of the left-hand column, simply mouse-over the “Most Recent” list name, click on the pencil icon that pops up, and then click on “Add to Favorites.”

Bonus option #2:  If you’d really like to tweak the position of the “Most Recent” link, say to put it at the very top of your “Favorites,” that’s easy too.  All you have to do (once it is in your “Favorites”) is mouse over the “Most Recent” link again, click on the pencil icon again, and select the “Rearrange” option.  Now click and drag the “Most Recent” link to the position you’d like.

Amazon’s Kindle Tablet PC: Category-killer Android tablet ready for prime time

September 3

Amazon’s Android-based Kindle tablet is about to send shock waves through the tablet PC marketplace.  The device is still so top secret, no photos have yet leaked out (but you can bet they will over the next few days).  Here’s what we do know:

*  Full-color 7″ screen
*  Two-finger multi-touch screen interface
*  Runs a specially customized version of Android 2.2
*  $250 — about half the cost of Apple’s base iPad

Amazon has a huge, loyal customer base and almost unlimited content. Its release of what will be an impressive full-color tablet PC, running the popular Android operating system, will be a game changer.  No, it won’t knock Apple off its roll with the iPad.  But it will make a serious dent.  As for the other tablet makers?  They’re in deep doo-doo.

Google acquires 1,000 IBM patents

July 30

According to InformationWeek: “Google has purchased more than 1,000 patents from IBM in an effort to build up its intellectual property portfolio, possibly with an eye to fending off the increasing number of IP lawsuits the search giant faces from competitors such as Microsoft.  The 1,030 patents cover a wide range of technologies, including ‘the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips.'”

It will be interesting to see what Google really has up its sleeves.

For additional information from the InformationWeek report, visit http://bit.ly/ppz9ca

War of the Worlds = 1st mass-media manipulation?

July 5

I caught a short piece the other day by Dr. Michael Welner, forensic psychologist.  He said (paraphrasing) that the 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” could be considered the first mass-media manipulation of the public.  Interesting perspective.

As is etched in history, on October 30, 1938 (the night before Halloween), Orson Welles aired his radio play of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.  A frightened public truly believed that the world was under attack by Martians.

Never before had the media portrayed a fictitious event as if it was actual news.  The news-bulletin format of the radio broadcast only amplified the realism.

Fast-forward 73 years.  Look at the way some elements of the media manipulate public opinion under the thinly veiled cover of “the news.”  Flashing graphics, endless replays, “breaking news” bulletins.  They all seem eerily familiar — nearly three-quarters-of-a-century later.

You would think with all of the sources of information today, from traditional media to new media, it would be easy to cobble together an accurate assessment of the news.  However, on some days, separating fact from fiction — or even science fiction — is easier said than done.  We live in an interesting time, to say the least.

Image:  New York Times headline from October 31, 1938

IMPORTANT INTERNET NEWS: ICANN announces dramatic change to domain name system: virtually unlimited variations of domain names

June 21

Beginning on January 12, 2012, the door will open to essentially unlimited variations of domain names.  The current suite of 22 gTLDs (generic top-level domains, such as .com, .org, .net, .edu) will blossom to almost anything you can imagine.

According to the ICANN press release:

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.

New gTLDs will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Virtually every organization with an online presence could be affected in some way.

Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.

“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

For the full press release, please visit http://www.icann.org/en/news/releases/release-20jun11-en.pdf

Image courtesy of CBS News and iStockPhoto.

88.2 million U.S. adults will redeem an online coupon this year

June 3

(eMarketer) A digital revolution in couponing coupled with the belt-tightening of the recession have combined to make coupons cool among more than just those clipping the Sunday circular. Digital coupon usage is now firmly a part of the online shopping experience of millions of U.S. consumers.

eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2011, nearly half of U.S. adult Internet users, or 88.2 million people, will have redeemed an online coupon or code for use either online or offline in the past year. By 2013, 96.8 million adults will redeem an online coupon.

For the full report, visit http://bit.ly/lZfDE1

For the first time, more people get news online than from newspapers

May 13

(Mashable) As of the end of 2010, more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers – and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too.

In surveys conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, 34% of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31% who favored newspapers); and a full 41% said they get most of their news online, 10% more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper.  

Also, online news media was the only medium that saw growth year-over-year; from radio to television to newspapers and magazines, every other medium saw a decline in audience.

In general, it can be said that text-based news audiences are dwindling. Only 40% of people in the study said they read the news in an online or print newspaper, a 12% drop from five years ago.

For the complete article and data, visit http://on.mash.to/icLvBP

MUST SEE: The revolution in publishing

May 10

If you’re in marketing, advertising, publishing, or media services — this is critical knowledge if you want to stay ahead of the curve.  Two years from now, don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up….

The world is on the verge of a startling transformation in publishing.  E-readers, like Kindle, only present existing content in a digital form.  That’s blah.  Child’s play.  The true revolution in publishing is about to unfold before our eyes…and, in fact, all of our senses.

The future of publishing is an immersive, multi-media platform that allows users to interact with the content.  Not just display it.  But actually create an experience that’s unique to each and every reader (or, more appropriate, each participant).

Software platforms to develop such immersive content are becoming available.  I encourage you to view the following four-minute video:  http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_matas.htmlIt will blow you away.

From a marketing standpoint, the possibilities and opportunities are boundless….

For instance, imagine creating interactive “product placements” that are unique to not only the content of the material — but also tailored to the reader’s / participant’s unique purchasing habits.  The information cloud — and now the publishing technology — will start making this very possible.  And very soon.

Very funny! Young entrepreneur proposes to bottle air from around the world and sell it for up to $10,000 per sniff

April 24

(Lirpa Sloof) Check out this…um…quite imaginative business presentation.  Oh, and yes:  She’s looking for $500,000 to get her venture off the ground.  Hmmm…

Provocative “It’s Better on Springs” TV spot by Sealy

March 25

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Sealy’s eye-catching TV spot “After Glow” shows couples in bed & blissfully smiling — just moments after morning activities.  The soundtrack is from the classic “Just a little lovin'” — with the female vocalist singing “Just a little lovin’, early mornin’.  Just a little lovin’, for starting off the day….”  The spot ends with the tagline “It’s Better on Springs.”  Spring-mattress companies have been losing market share to memory-foam competitors.  Interesting to see how Sealy is fighting back, focusing on…shall we say…product performance.  If the embedded video doesn’t show, here’s the direct link on YouTube http://bit.ly/dZMjor

 

“Trends for new products in 2011: Wacky, simple, cheap”

January 24

Check out USA TODAY’s predictions that include super-foaming toothpaste, spray-on shampoo, and other oddities.  For the full article, click here.

“Defying conventional wisdom to sell eyeglasses online”

January 16

In its first year of business, the company Warby Parker sold 20,000 pairs of glasses online.  Check out this interesting business model at this link.

You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us.  Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired.  I encourage spirited debate.

This is a specially crafted multi-pronged conduit.  Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my e-mail broadcast system.  It’s a global tightrope without a net.  Oh, my.

No topic is off limits.  If you’re looking for a site that is “politically correct,” you’ve come to the wrong place.  Hit the back button on your browser now.

Lots and lots of new features are coming online.  They’re all in various stages of development.  You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.

This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.

Hang on tight.  We may achieve orbit.  Or we may sail off a cliff.  But the ride will be exhilarating.

— Eric

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