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Green with Product Envy at Pepcom's EcoFocus

You wouldn't believe the green-fangled contraptions displayed at EcoFocus, the Pepcom technology expo that took place in downtown Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion on April 22, 2010. Even the jaded journos and industry insiders who eat and breathe high tech seemed impressed venturing around the floor and into the sustainable future. Models For Earth Day

Ecologically conscious only begins to describe the shared motif of these high tech gizmos that made you feel smarter and more virtuous just pronouncing their names. Other criteria for inclusion in the showcase were clearly wowee and kewl.

Pepcom follows up this event with three other "Focus" demo events in New York before the close of 2010: Digital Experience! (June 23); Holiday Spectacular! (September 15) and Wine, Dine & Demo! (November 18). Beyond New York, Pepcom also offers press gatherings in Los Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Some 200 media types sampled the refreshments and wares at this year's EcoFocus. At the SodaStream booth, they could accomplish both simultaneously.

By turning your tap water into Cola, Root Beer and Ginger Ale, this ultimate eco machine means to save the planet soda by soda. The list of flavors goes on – and for un-Cola kids, there are sparkling water essences such as Lemon-Lime and Berry – but whatever your imbibing pleasure, the real joy comes from SodaStream's reusable plastic bottles.

Just knowing that you're no longer contributing to America's annual consumption of 30 billion plastic water bottles should add some fizz to your day; eight out of every 10 of those non-biodegradable throwaways will plug a landfill for hundreds of years, not to mention the waste of fossil fuels and water that go into producing and distributing them in the first place.

Yet no amount of carbonated beverages could quench one's thirst for a new phone. So another sweet stop was the Sprint table, where the Samsung Restore was being shown. Like its predecessor, the Samsung Reclaim, the freshly designed Restore seeks to send an environToshiba's  Eco Friendly Netbookmentally friendly signal. Sheathed in a cover composed of completely recycled materials with a body made of 27 percent recycled stuff, it features an AC adapter stamped by Energy Star (the energy- and cost-efficiency program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy), and contains no toxic materials such as PVC. 

And once you move on to your next gadget, 77% of it can be recycled. The packaging is also green-minded, and its charger consumes less than the 30mW in standby. So even if the number keyboard on its front didn't slide sideways to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, the svelte (4.6 inches x 2.1 inches x 0.6 inch) Restore weighing 4.32-ounces would find a welcome home in my hand bag.

Next it was on to the laptop corral. Toshiba's newest Netbook, the mini NB305 especially caught my attention. As is the case with the rest of the Toshiba PC lineup, it's rated gold by green electronics agency Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), and meets the Energy Star 5.0 standard. Tweaking the assets of the Toshiba NB205, this successor has a 10.1-inch diagonal TruBrite LED backlit display and an Intel Atom N450 processor, making it a smarter, more power-efficient bear. And its battery life rating is up to 11 hours, meaning you could really get something done on your next flight to Istanbul.

Other features that make it a hardy travel companion are its 250GB hard drive, supported by a Hard Drive Impact Sensor that keeps data from being knocked about, and its USB port with Sleep-and-Charge that lets you charge your sundry gizmos whether the unit is switched on or off or has drifted into sleep mode.

Did I mention that it only weighs 2.6 pounds? That alone could be reason enough to make your wallet $349.99 to $399.99 lighter.

Also on display at EcoFocus were ecologically sound paint, alternative lighting and energy fixes.  But for this fan of easily portable writing devices, the laptop computer stations drew the loudest clucks of appreciation.

For the full skinny, look into:

Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street
New York, NY  10011




2nd annual EcoFocus! Preview

Pepcom Inc produces themed events where journalists and research analysts are given a first peek at the latest rollouts from participating manufacturers. Upcoming is their 2nd annual EcoFocus which takes place on April 22nd in New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street).

Dozens of innovation leaders as they demo the very latest in green technologies, at the largest green tech demo event of the year! While you're there -- sample our locally sourced gourmet fare, and enjoy the open bar.

Below is a full exhibitor preview, and what they will be showcasing:

B Green Innovations
• VibeAway and EcoPod pads pure "Green" products made from 100% recycled tires.

Benjamin Moore
• Natura zero-VOC premium performance interior paint available in thousands of hues and a wide range of sheens -- the greenest paint Benjamin Moore has ever made.

Brother International Corporation
• Eco-friendly fashions made on eco-friendly sewing machines such as the technologically advanced Quattro™ 6000D, whose InnovEye™ Technology is like having a built-in camera above the needle since it projects a magnified view of the sewing area on the HD LCD touch screen.

Dutch Boy
• Refresh® paint, its Zero V.O.C. and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® line of products.
• 3DBottles -- a three-dimensional hologram appears to spring to life out of this reusable water bottle.

• Ancient "green technology" rainwater harvesting that it installs in community gardens to save water and money.

• Smart grid -- the two hottest buzz words in energy savings and conservation into the home.

• Eco-friendly computing solutions to increase work efficiency and to communicate and collaborate while reducing the carbon footprint.

iolo Technologies
• System Mechanic, #1 best-selling PC tune-up software, that can fix, speed up and maintain your computer – and can also extend its life and minimize energy consumption; here are the green benefits of PC tune-up and share recycled circuit board coasters.

KOM Networks
• Junk-A-Juke Program will provide free computer storage and archiving upgrades in exchange for old storage hardware. The older equipment (80% of which end up in landfills) will be recycled and used to feed over one million hungry kids.

• The new ThinkPad L-Series consisting of 30% post-consumer recycled plastics.

• The latest in green LED lighting technology and enterprise solutions.

Philips Lighting Company
• A complete lineup of energy saving products including new, advanced LED technology.

PowerHouse Dynamics
• A total home energy management solution that enables home owners to manage all power uses and sources in their house, through a simple, customizable web interface.

Rain Bird
• Its line-up of next generation water-efficient smart irrigation products for the lawn and garden.

Recycling for Charities
• A recycling program, along with their eco-friendly Kodak Camera that is exclusively sold at SAMS Club and Walmart.

• Home soda maker machines and flavors which allow consumers to prepare great-tasting, fresh, fizzy beverages precisely to taste - with no bottles, cans, electricity or clean-up.

• Daylighting innovations that empower homeowners to brighten dark rooms without using electricity, and qualify for the 2010 Energy Efficiency Tax Credit.

• Eco-friendly notebooks including its recently announced VAIO W Series eco-friendly netbook.

• A portfolio of the latest eco-friendly devices and accessories meeting Sprint’s eco-criteria.

• IEco-friendly laptops including the mini NB305, Satellite T100 Series and Qosmio X505.

2nd annual EcoFocus
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
6-9 pm
Metropolitan Pavilion
New York City

Image Comics' Youngblood Goes Digital

Youngblood  fans may soon develop bulging muscles of their own: on their fingers. Owners of iPhone and iPod Touch can now get the Image Comics miniseries on Comics by comiXology, the plummy application for digital comics on Apple tablets.

Created by writer-artist Rob Liefeld — who also co-founded Image — Youngblood vol. 1, #1 follows the heroic feats of an elite government force comprised of former FBI agent and archer Shaft; teen-turned-to-live-stone Badrock; Russian fashion model Vogue; and government assassin Chapel. Rounding out this super-team that's tasked with the safety of an adoring populace are Sentinel, Photon, PSI-Fire and Cougar. Celebrity endorsements, shoe contracts, guarding the President — all in a day's work.

Self-taught illustrator Liefeld sicced comics writer and Ben 10 co-creator Joe Casey on a high-stakes mission to freshen the original Youngblood scripts for his remastered edition. Expanding the early readership to today's smartphone users is the latest step in an ongoing effort to update Youngblood''s fan base. More than a million copies sold upon its early-1990s launch.

Liefeld had already leapt to comicdom's nosebleed heights as an innovative artist on Marvel Comics' The New Mutants and the multimillion selling X-Force. The success of his hallmark characters, Cable and Deadpool (created with writer Fabian Nicieza), prompted him to mount the independent franchise with Youngblood when he and six other high-profile comics creators left the major companies to form their own, Image, in 1992. The publisher of Spawn, Witchblade, The Savage Dragon and other '90s hits evolved or devolved, depending on one's point of view. Liefield left Image in 1996 under acrimonious circumstances, but his 2007 return led to Youngblood 's makeover and redeployment.

Liefeld awarded comiXology exclusive rights to digitally distribute his company's maiden publication because of its "impressive track record in distributing classic print comics," he said in a statement. The nearly three-year-old ComiXology is considered the leading purveyor of comics to a broad range of iPhone and iPod readers.

Youngblood — together with Armegeddon Now! and the remainder of Liefeld's Awesome/Extreme catalog — shares the Comics by comiXology emporium with 1,000 or so other comics from more than 30 publishers. ( users can visit subscribing retailers to pre-order the dead-tree version of Youngblood.)

Will comics enthusiasts want to "Bag It" or "Burn It"? Stay tuned for the property's next hotly anticipated episode…


Make The Most Out of Search Engine Optimization

While technology and gadgets usually implies hardware that's held in hand or placed on a shelf, the software driving the technology is just as crucial as the hardware -- if not more so.

While sites bandy about this great digital tool or another few think about what drives the sites or makes them effective. All kinds of sites exist to provide information, processes, relationships and a total virtual life for some. But what makes the site effective.

Though I have written about lots of other subjects over the years and, by being re-born as a new media driven individual, I have tried to understand the best ways to use the internet both to reach an audience and "re-brand" myself. Scanning the web, reading the books, attending the conferences and workshops, I've accrued a resourceful layman's knoweldge of the best way to use the digital pathways for modern communications. Along the way, I have had to figure out the best way for websites to be built -- especially on the DIY level in advising others and making decisions for myself.

Though this checklist is fairly rudimentary, it maps out most of major areas of concern. Of course, as efforts shift from websites, to blog-like enviromments to various social netwroks, key decisions as to how the web is best will shift around but the main issues are outlined below.

 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved in order to make your web efforts effective not only as a tool for users directed to your site, but as a vehicle to gain eyeballs from the vast wilderness of the web. This is a set of techniques and strategies you can use to, in effect, game the system--or rather, best present your site to the eyes of the web--the algorithms called "crawlers" or "spiders" that troll the internet and its myriad websites for evidence of your site's existence.

The traffic your site generates (whether it occurs through organic, contextual, or paid search) and the rankings that come as a result, are determined by a set of rules or options you can exercise or manipulate in order to increase your search ranking and your traffic.

The key is to get Google or the other search engines to index your site and as many of its pages as possible. Once that is done, your site is in the vast directory of data run by Google, et al. that allows for your site to register in a search, for pages to be found, and, hopefully, to meet the needs of data seekers.

Here are several concepts to keep in mind to effectively optimize a site:

1) To get your pages indexed properly with the search engines, your web designer can do some things internally, such as making sure there are many inter-linked pages throughout the site. That means a lattice work of internal links; when someone's name is mentioned in one place or on one page, it should link to where that person is mentioned elsewhere. For example, you mention an actor's name in the plot outline; there's should be a link to that person's bio within the site.

2) Another thing you or your designer can do is place lots of photos that are properly named so that image searches can provide further traffic. Remember, your site can be found through your visuals as well; still images and videos are as keyword-friendly as text.

3) Make sure the URLs for every page of your site are effectively, efficiently, and succinctly written. Web sites are found by their address, a URL, or Uniform Resource Locator; every website and page within it is assigned a URL with a set of instructions that catalog the site, the pages and information on the pages according to a set of prioritized words. Why is the URL important? Sometimes CMS systems will create less-than-useful URLs, and you may have to have your webmaster/programmer manually modify your URLs to be effective.

4) Use well-conceived meta tags, meta descriptions or meta keywords. If you think of what you see as a website on the screen as the skin that covers blood vessels, muscles and other elements underneath, meta tags are the words that lie behind the text and images you see.

They are part of the stuff (text, images, layout, designs, databases, links to videos, etc., that's describe in HTML (the language that makes the internet run) what makes up your site; it can be seen through the programs that construct your site.

5) Most important are effectively written meta descriptions--those sets of word under the URLs found through a web search. You can actually go in and write or change the ones that appear when a search find your site or some subject that is related to it. Those descriptions not only define your site--they can direct people to look at your site over others that have related content.

6) Understand and exploit the best practices for keywords and key phrases. You need to think, "What 10 or 15 words or phrases is this page MOST about?" Consider that throughout your site--whether it be the page that lists the film's plot, the cast and crew bios, or business information.

7) Remember, your site doesn't only exist within the context of itself. Use the subject of your film to have as many links as possible between your site and other relevant sites; and by "relevant," that means everything possible! From what the film is about, who is involved, what influenced it, etc., you should forge links with everything related to your film in any way.

That not only mean you/your designer-programmer makes links out to external sites; these outward links also means you need them to establish links back to you--and sometimes you get those by simply e-mailing the other sites, their administrators, webmasters, designers or owners and ask them to create links back to your site. Though you want lots of links, you don't only want to do them favors and take eyeballs away from your but to make sure they reciprocate in kind and bring you eyeballs.

Make sure that when you post anything--whether it be a blog about the film; a fully realized press kit; the director's statement--you intelligently situate key words and key phrase that you want search engines to pick in the first paragraph or headline that accompanies the text. That goes for captions and the underlying names of photos or videos the are integrated into the site.

9) Of course the richer the content of your site, the greater chance search engines will find keywords in the range of subjects your site covers--so there is a balance between focus and breadth or range. If your film is about a certain subject include related articles or stories and images about that subject.

10) Though often overlooked, two other important elements can improve your ranking in searches. One is "duration"--how long do people stay on your site either by reading or watching it -- and the other is "click-thrus" -- much do users jump around the site. By getting a hit or, as the term has been updated, a click-thru demonstrates user activity.

When someone clicks on an article or image on the site and then clicks onward, that's a "hit" or "click-thru." The diversity of clicks is more important than just someone hitting the site because hits can be rigged. Most important is that someone is really moving through the site not just clicking at one point.

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