SEANFX

Media Rants, Podcasting, Filmmaking, Production, Design

Get Your Geek On Radio Shack

Let Your Geek Fly!

I have a bit of advice for Radio Shack and it’s current struggles.  Let’s be honest, I don’t think you can compete with the electronics stores of today and Amazon.  But you can go back to your roots and get your geek on.  Yes you will have to close some stores.  But you have to look at what made you, you.  All those little parts on the wall that the normal consumers would never know what to do with them.  Don’t you even remember where your name came from?  I do!  If you think you do put it in the comments.

Radio Shack you need to go back to your roots and help everyone’s inner nerd shine.  You still have all those same parts there but only the die hard users know that.  Even to me when I walk in all I see is a cell phone kiosk.  You used to be so much more than that.

  Here’s what I would do.

    1. Go FULL ON NERD!
    2. Hold tech clinics right in the store!  Help your customers build robots, electronics and computers from scratch. Nerds should know how to do that blindfolded. (hum that might be a good contest…)
    3. Put 3D printers and other rapid prototyping devices in your store for people to use and try out.  Maybe you become a real test lab before they buy.
    4. Hold invention contests.  Help them invent and create new stuff. Go all Apollo 13 on stuff. Sell grab boxes and say make something with this, promote the heck out of that!  There is a new nerd movement growing jump on and ride.
    5. Mentor programs.  You know how many older hackers go into stores or at least use too?  What a great way to put an older person to work giving advice and working with young people.  What if they could pass their knowledge down to new hackers?
    6. Partner with Life Hacker, How, DIY Networks and let them build shows around your parts and products.  You’ll be able to sell kits for things you’ve couldn’t have dreamed up on your own.  Then you can show them how it’s really done.  Don’t you see the new age of DIY?
    7. Connect!  I mean really go all out on video and audio connectors and adapters.
    8. Maybe even partner with a coffee or snack shop encourage people to come in and hang out, test, learn and build.

When I was a teen I loved Radio Shack. I loved it when the new catalogs came out, it was my “Sears” catalog.  Let me tell you I spent a lot of time there, so much time there they offered me a job right out of high school.  The manager figured I knew their products and I did!

Look at what I made when I was a teen.  Yes, I’ve kept it all these years.  I built this before I had access to anything like an internet and life hacking websites.  Luckily my Father is a Mechanical engineering and he was able to give me a lot of help and advice.  Every electronic part you see here I got at Radio Shack well other than a few parts I picked up at the local hardware store.

switchboard

This is a light board I build for when I was DJing and working with bands.  It was the low voltage lighting controller for the stage lighting system.  I even had LED indicators so I’d know which switch was on.

 

connection

This is where the telephone lines came in to the switch board.

 

pcboard

 This was the control board I made.  I know it’s not pretty or that complicated.  If I plugged it in right now it would still work.  You can still see the date I etched into the board when I made it.  1986.

 

relays

These are the relays I used to switch the lights on and off.  The great part was I only needed a few extension cords to power the lights.  The controls were near the lights and I ran the telephone line up to the control boxes.  So everything was a very light weight system.  Saving time setting up and carrying things around.

 Don’t forget the Audio and Video Connectors

Like I mentioned in option G. you (Radio Shack) has always been the best place to get connectors.  I could patch into anythings.  Play that up and expand that selection too.  You still can.  It’s my default place to go to get my gear connected up.  Here’s my tackle box full of connectors.  I guarantee every Film or video-maker, audio engineer has one of these.  I even have a mini bag for emergency audio/video patch jobs.  There some contests in there where you’d have people show off their boxes and try to connect things.

connectors

Radio Shack is for the REAL DIYer, it always has been and always SHOULD be.

I made stuff and not just kits I took the stuff off the walls of Radio Shack and I made new things out of it.  I learned a lot!  I learned how to make things, I learned how to make it look interesting and useful.  I learned how these part could work together and what they did. I learned how to use new tools.

I think you’re really missing an opportunity to double down and go real geek. Please don’t turn into a kiosk in the middle of a Mall selling iPhone cases and Bluetooth ear buds.  You’re better than that.  I learned so much when I was a kid.  Your stores made me feel like a mad scientist and it made me a better artist and product designer.

 

 

Rated R

Opportunity Lost

Brands are missing a massive opportunity at movie theaters.

The worst part about seeing a movie is the advertisements and electronic slide shows that barely entertain or inform. You’ve really got me for the next 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on how early my wife is willing to get to the theater.

It just so happens that most of the movies I see are PG or R and all the commercials I see before my show starts are G and they are all the same ads I can and do see on TV.

Stop showing me the the stuff I’ve already seen a million times on TV. Here’s your chance to change your message and do something daring.  Like actually make an R Rated commercial! I’m in a place where there shouldn’t be any kids but that’s a different post. It means your ad buyers might have to pay more attention than just the shotgun approach to where they are placing your next message to me. Brands, you keep having the same old generic message and it’s boring and is just a neucence while I’m waiting for the movie to start.

Here’s 3 things you should do.

  1. Entertain me. I mean really entertain me. I just paid 30 bucks to sit here you have my nearly undivided attention. GO!
  2. Talk to me. You have more time to show me something interesting than you do on TV way more time. Make the best of it.
  3. Do you want to play a Game? YES! Look spend the next 10 or 15 minutes making me and the whole theater particpate in something fun that earn points, win prizes or makes me bookmark your website. Now’s a good time for us to really use our phones before the movie starts.

If brands started doing something far more engaging I wonder if people would start showing up earlier?

Okay now sit back and enjoy the show but please turn your cell phones off.

Kinect Hacks and Crime Scenes

I think I’m looking at a future tool for Detectives. No this isn’t something new and these hack videos have been around since 2010 but I know when I first saw this video guess what came to mind besides building MODS for game engines? Crime scenes. Yeah crime scenes.

With a little more work this, or something like this could be a very useful tool in recording crime scenes.

Just think once a careful walk through had been done and a few key measurements made not only could your recreate the crime scene. You could then easily lay out the geometry of gun fights, mark evidence and leave interactive notes. Even years later after a building might have been destroyed, you could walk through scene again and again combing over evidence that might have once been over looked.

I hope someone is working on this…

Panic Button

Look I made a USB Stick! Big Deal right? Well let me explain. I’ve been thinking about this device for a while and while it might look like a simple USB stick it’s not. It’s really a panic switch.

I think about this panic switch every time I hear about something bad happening to a child or a woman. This panic switch is on my mind a lot because of the 8 year old that was murdered while he was walking home by himself for the first time.  My heart goes out to the family.

The idea here is this is a call for help. Sure you can give your kids a cell phone but I’m not sure they will always be able to use it plus it might be pretty obvious to anyone doing some harm to someone they are making a call for help.  Think of it as that secret button the banker pushes when the bad bank robbers burst in.

This looks like a harmless USB stick. But once the switch is pulled this device would call all the programmed phone numbers, start broadcasting it’s location, sniffing for wifi, and listen in on it’s surroundings.

Features:

  • Built in Mic
  • GPS
  • WiFi Sniffer
  • Auto-dialer
  • Average looking USB Stick

The Cradle:
The Panic Switch is married to the Cradle via Bluetooth and only that device can reprogram or disable it.  It’s not really a USB stick and can’t be connected to anything other than that cradle.

It’s a panic switch that you don’t even have to think about it’s just one action and you’ve let the world know you are in trouble.  I’ve thought about this device for a long time and the idea of how cool it could look, or what the shape would be.  The more I thought about it it the more I realized it shouldn’t be something that stands out.  It shouldn’t give itself away as a safety device or a panic switch.  If the bad guy knows you have it they might take it away from you.  I wish cell phone companies would offer a device like this to parents at a low price point of about 59 bucks.  Seems like something that could be done.  What do you think?

UPDATE:
I’ve been contacted by several people that are looking for such a device. Simon is currently working on a similar product you can find out more about his idea at Pretty Panic. It’s a great idea, help support it.

iQuarters my first app

My first app, nope not the first one I purchased the first one I worked on!  My iPod Touch is so full of apps I’m out of pages so I have to delete something so I can get the cool icon I made to show up!

Take a look at the demo below and if you have 2 bucks to spare please download it.  I designed the UI (user interface) for you none nerds out there.  I’ll write more about that in a later post, I just wanted to make a quick post because I’m proud of the game and the people I work with to create it.  It’s great to work at Incredible Technologies because we’re always looking for new ways to make games and media.

Anyway have fun playing the game and let me know what you think. You can find out more about what we do here and here.

This is where you can learn more or download iQuarters

The Future of Law Enforcement!

Pistol Cams are going to revolutionize crime fighting. Giving courts and the public a new perspective on law breakers.

Let’s do a quick mash-up.

Can you imagine the new types of TV shows? They’ll have 30 camera angles to choose from. All looking at the same thing! Cutting back and fourth. They’ll have to add an extra camera looking at the Police Officer so we can get a good reaction shot?

Lets toss in 3D image tracking software. Now that you have all these points of view trained on the same thing. You can use this tracking technologies to visually analyze the image data and extrapolate the scene in 3D. Imagine how useful that will be in a court of law?

Add BlueTooth and we could have something like “Twitter Vision” but say Pistol Vision. So every-time a gun is drawn around the world we could instantly see who is being fired upon.

I think this is a good thing and I hope it helps to keep everyone honest.

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