Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of social media, and I’m reminded of where we were in the mid-90s with the advent of the web. I lived through Web 1.0, and am feeling a sense of déjà vu as we play out the same routines with Web 2.0.
The New York Times reported yesterday that entertainment super giant Disney (s dis) is planning to reboot its entire chain of global retail stores as part of a major new strategy and vision inspired and guided by Apple CEO Steve Jobs (s aapl).
In the current economic climate, most retailers are looking for ways to cut down on spending and holding-back on investment and growth initiatives. But according to the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes, Disney is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and using the economy’s downtime to reinvent its own retail stores.
Disney is… getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones.
This mirrors Apple’s own aggressive efforts in the last 18 months to refurbish existing stores and open whole new outlets. It’s a strategy that’s paying off. In August, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s retail stores were performing consistently well, despite the economic downturn.
Apple… increased revenue at its stores by 2.5 percent in the first six months of the year to $3 billion as the rest of the retail industry suffered. During the same period, sales at all U.S. retailers fell 9.2 percent compared with the first half of 2008, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
So the investment and growth strategy is working well for Apple, and clearly Disney is hoping that some of Steve’s retail magic might rub off on it. Read More about Disney Stores Get the Apple Magic
Yesterday may have been when Apple (s aapl) hosted its quarterly earnings conference call, but the company’s financial performance was somewhat overshadowed by the tragic death of a worker at an iPhone manufacturing facility. The factory, run by supplier Foxconn, is located in the Chinese city of Shenzen. Apple has previously come under fire for the labor practices of its Asian suppliers, most recently Wintek, which makes displays for the computing company.
The worker, 25-year-old Sun Danyong, was responsible for the final packing of a sample shipment of 16 iPhones. When one of said iPhones went missing, suspicion fell on Sun, and Foxconn management launched an investigation into the matter. Reports also indicate that a security officer, Gu Qinming, physically struck him during a confrontation regarding the theft. Sun denies the allegations. Read More about Apple, Foxconn Comment on Worker’s Death
[show=tonyhale size=large]Every once in a while, a girl deserves an Arrested Development renaissance, and I am deep into mine right now. Which means that I have been reminded of how solid the show’s cast was, especially overlooked players like Tony Hale, whose work as youngest sibling Buster Bluth was staggeringly funny. (“Unlimited juice? This party’s gonna be OFF THE HOOK!”) But while since the end of Arrested, he’s had yet to score a high-profile role in film or TV, recently Hale’s become a bit of a patron saint to the web series cause, rocking two different shows with his deadpan genius.
I mean, he’s not the only high-profile actor in the L.A.-based dating series MERRIme, which premiered this month, with new episodes running on TheFrisky.com starting July 21st. Tom Arnold (no stranger to the web series format himself) and Tia and Tamara Mowry also appear. But Hale’s guest appearance as the first date of Merri (Kaily Smith), a trust fund baby desperate to find a boyfriend to escape the gruesome fate of getting a job, is so funny that it spills over into a second episode.
Not that he’s the best thing about it. The show is well-written, with fantastic production values and a charming cast. Read More about Breaking: Buster Bluth Got His Hand Back (Oh, and He’s in a Bunch of Web Series)
We’ve been interested in the MiFi 3G router ever since Novatel first announced it, and we were impressed when we saw it in person at the CTIA this year. There’s something about a Wi-Fi router the size of a credit card that has EV-DO integrated for connecting almost anywhere and sharing the connection with up to five devices. Verizon (s vz) was obviously impressed, too, and have commissioned a model of the Novatel MiFi for their 3G network that will be available on May 17.
The Verizon MiFi 2200 will be available with a couple of monthly data plan options: a $40 plan for 250 MB ($0.10/MB overage) and a $60 plan for 5 GB ($0.05/MB overage). Those who travel infrequently will be able to get an unsubsidized MiFi and use a 24-hour day pass for $15 as needed. The MiFi will run you $100 after a $50 rebate at Verizon on May 17. I have to admit I am seriously considering replacing my USB Verizon modem with one of these for the ease of use it provides.
The newest Nintendo handheld game system has only been out for a few days, but our intrepid friend Matt Miller ran right out and picked one up. He has already given a comprehensive review of the Nintendo DSi ,which includes a 19-minute video overview — so if there is anything, and I mean anything, you want to know about the DSi, check out his review.
Matt shows off Opera on that baby, which is a great browser for the DSi. It’s really cool how well Opera uses the dual screens of the DSi to show whole web pages in the top screen and a zoomed version in the bottom.
Gear addicts usually end up with just as big a fetish for gear bags as for the gadgets themselves. The search for the perfect gear bag is eternal, and finding a new source for them makes for a banner day that we just have to share. Today I heard from a new source of gear bags I have never seen, and that makes for a good day indeed. The brand of the day is be.ez (be easy) and they have a line of notebook sleeves, urban bags and backpacks that are really cool. Check out this backpack for the ladies:
This urban bag is really sweet too: