Aluratek Blog

  • The Power Of NBA Social Media

    Who watched last night's epic battle between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors?! What a game, right?

    CAVSWARRIORS

     

    Thousands of fans, non-Cleveland/Golden State fans, and even non-sports fans tuned in to watch Game 7. Whether you were at home watching on your big-screen TV or at a sports bar with your friends it's pretty hard to not catch the game. Even 5 years ago, we didn't have easy access to sports like we do today. 10 years ago, social media platforms were just making its debut (Remember MySpace?) but today social media has literally taken over the world. With the help of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, sport apps, etc - we are automatically updated with every play, home run, touchdown, highlight.

    However, sometimes social media can be used for good and the bad...

    Let's start with the bad - social media isn't just a tool to update us on game highlights, but it can also inform us of what is going on outside of the sports world. A recent story that went viral was a bitter tweet that Golden State Warrior's Stephen Curry's wife, Ayesha Curry, sent out before quickly deleting it soon after. The Warriors lost a game, and there were of course a lot of emotions running through and we all say things without thinking when we are highly emotional, and that's what happened when Ayesha Curry tweeted that the games were rigged.

    Twitter made out to make her look whiny and into a sore loser. After Cleveland's victory last night, Ayesha Curry tweeted out a positive and encouraging tweet celebrating the Warriors' hard work and amazing season they had, but still many Twitter users were mocking her and even claiming that her tweet ruined the great regular season the Warriors had :(

    Let's move on to the good! One of the biggest highlights of sports in 2016 was Kobe Bryant's final game.

    Celebrating his 20 year career, not only did Bryant play an excellent game where he scored 60 incredible points, but 1.13 billion impressions all over social media were posted through popular brands, teams, celebrities, and fans that wanted to honor Kobe. The hashtag #MambaDay generated globally. Even if you didn't watch the game, even if you have absolutely no interest in basketball, even if you have no idea who Kobe Bryant is (what?) - on April 13, social media platforms made sure he was the most important human being on earth.

    Last night, social media reaction focused mainly on LeBron James carrying the team with an incredible comeback to win the title. Celebrities including Dwayne Wade, Rihanna, Kobe Bryant, Mark Cuban and even President Barack Obama himself congratulated LeBron and Co. for their achievements and the end of their title drought. Twitter went crazy throughout the entire game and tweeting about every single significant earth-shattering block, shot, foul that happened. How can you not know what's going on?! 

    Ultimately I think social media has allowed us to feel like we are a part of the team. I follow every Dodgers and 49ers account on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I just love being updated about the latest news and I especially enjoy the behind-the-scenes moments they bring to us fans!

    I just want to conclude saying that social media has become a powerful tool to connect, inform, find, engage with, and develop a close bond and community with sports fans.

    - Aluratek out.

    Did you watch Game 7 last night or were you updated through social media? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to share with us, or leave a comment below!

  • Drive-In.

    On this day in 1933, automobiles park their vehicles at Park-In Theaters, the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey.

     

    Also known as "Drive-In", it was widely popular as the mastermind, Richard Hollingshead, came up with the idea when he noticed his mother struggled to sit up comfortably in a conventional movie theater seat.

    Hollingshead tested in his home's driveway with several projectors as well as experimenting with different sound techniques. He placed a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, hung a screen to some tree branches, and mounted a radio behind the screen for audio. He even tested how to keep the rain away and planned out arrangements for the number of cars that can be placed to have a good view of the screen.

    On May 1933, he received a patent and opened Park-In Theatre in June! Everything happened so fast. His idea caught on so quick that it eventually created a problem for Hollingshead as his patent was overturned in 1949. Drive-In theaters began appearing all over the country - in the thousands! One of the largest Drive-In was in Copiague, New York that was able to fit 2,500 vehicles on a 28-acre lot and also featured a playground for children as well as a full service restaurant.

    Technology has improved since Hollingshead's original idea such as sound quality. Hollingshead had three RCA Victor speakers mounted near the screen but later technology made it possible for each vehicle to play the audio through a FM radio.

    Drive-Ins have definitely become a thing of the past, but it's so iconic in American culture including American films - Danny and Sandra going on a date at a Drive-In in the classic Broadway show and film, Grease.

    However, with the real estate increasing for all that land and the growth of walk-in theaters and also the rise of video rentals unfortunately became the demise of Drive-Ins. Only several hundred Drive-Ins exist in the United States today and who knows how long they will last with our current, convenient technology that is making it easier for viewers to watch movies at home (Netflix, Hulu..etc). But still, Drive-In theaters really is a cool idea and I bet it was a lot of fun on a Friday night with friends and family. I have never been to one, but I would love to go before it's too late!

    Have you ever watched a movie at a Drive-In Theater? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to share with us, or leave a comment below!

  • Memorial Day Jams

    In addition to honoring all the brave soldiers who have served our great U.S. nation, Memorial Day is a day where we love to barbecue out in the backyard, soak up the sun at the beach, and have relaxing picnics at the park with family and friends! Music is always a great addition to these parties so I have come up with a playlist containing some patriotic songs and today's biggest hits that everyone can enjoy on May 30th! Yeah, America!

    MemorialPlaylist

    Enjoy this playlist with our Bluetooth Portable Speakers or stream your music directly from your mobile devices to your speakers with our Bluetooth Audio Receiver!

    Do you have a playlist for Memorial Day? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to share with us, or leave a comment below!

  • The Road to Ten - Part 2

    I am happy to bring you The Road to Ten - Part 2. In writing the Part 1 post I forgot a few items I thought would be cool to include. This was my first take on the Aluratek business cards. Here are two different designs from 2006 / 2007 trying to use spot varnishes and corner radius which proved to be not worth the trouble.

    Aluratek business card layouts Aluratek business card layouts.

    The first product we launched was a Bluetooth Headset and a Bluetooth Adapter. This seems like yesterday when these products arrived on my desk and the clamshell di-lines appeared in my inbox. Here is a photo of my product silkscreen illustration for the headset that I found taped in my sketchbook.

    Bluetooth Headset (ABD202F) product silkscreenBluetooth Headset (ABD202F) product silkscreen.

    Here are some clamshell layouts for the headset and adapter. At first I was using the "A" logomark as a design feature. The "dial" as I call it being used for callouts. Initially I really liked this approach but the coming different clam sizes, product cavity placement and the addition of French for our Canadian customers made this design unworkable and inconsistent.

    First clamshell insert layoutsFirst clamshell insert layouts.

    Every product package includes a quick start guide or manual. Here is a look at how I used to illustrate products for the qsg's.

    First version quick start guidesFirst version quick start guides.

    KVM quick start guideKVM quick start guide.

    I redesigned the clamshell packaging hoping to improve consistency. The clam insert on the right was an early design. I was really trying to make this "dial" work with the logo inside this time. The halftone pattern was used just to fill space (which really isn't a good reason). I can tell the version on the left was updated with different halftone and refinements to the dial. We used this design for a while on clams, blisters and boxes. But like the first design, this design was also fazed out because I couldn't find consistency across the board. It worked on some packages but not for all. I was limiting my "real estate" by having this dial and stripe take up a third of the space. Some boxes and clams were too small for this design so scale was also an issue.

    Second version clamshell insert layoutsSecond version clamshell insert layouts.

    Before I scraped this design I made other improvements to the dial and stripe. You can see version 3 on the left and version 4 on the right. I really had fun working on this mark. We used this through 2008 and into 2009.

    Logo treatment for packagingLogo treatment for packaging.

    Had to throw these in there - illustrations I used to create in this style. These were for a product that was never launched, the Game W.A.V.E. (wireless audio / video entertainer). Ha, that guy in the second illustration, sitting on the couch closest to the TV is me!

    Game W.A.V.E. package illustrations

    Game W.A.V.E. package illustrationsGame W.A.V.E. package illustrations.

    In 2007 we moved to our own offices down the street from our leased office. This was a big step for us and a great feeling to have our own facilities. It was a good size for us at the time. Reception area with a conference room and one large room where everyone worked. The building we moved into was a mess at first. The floors were linoleum so winter mornings were sooo cold (even in SoCal). We eventually got carpet so that helped.

    I found the farthest corner I could to get away from all the ringing phones and conversations but really there was no escape. I found a pair of headphones worked well to drown out the noise. I remember how cool it was that the office had motion sensor lights. Here are some pics from those early days. Top left: John assembling hard drives. Top right: Dave and Andrew doing the same. We all must have assembled hundreds of these during this time. Bottom left: First coffee maker resting on our trash can coffee table - very important. Bottom right: Our first server propped up on a roll of paper towels, nice!

    12A Mauchly building12A Mauchly building.

    We have a front door! I had a vinyl logo produced and installed on the window. Now we are going places!!!

    Front door signageFront door signage.

    The warehouse space was on the small size. We quickly realized we needed more space. For a while we had to store our pallets in the middle of our workspace, bathroom hallway, conference room, kitchen and lobby. We even stored product in row after row in the parking lot. It was another milestone when we had the warehouse racks installed and purchased our first forklift.

    Front door signageBoxes, boxes, boxes!

    During our time at Mauchly, we all chipped in where we could. We all wore several hats. We spent hours and hours in the warehouse unloading containers and labeling product for shipping. I spent uncountable hours in there hand making signage for retail displays with tape, staples, cardboard and spray mount. Top left: Here's Andrew among a pile of Cinecam boxes. Top right: Our National Sales Director, John Messenger, visiting us from our Ohio office. Bottom left and middle: Andrew assembling our Libre eReader point of purchase displays. Bottom right: New gondola shelving on castors showcasing digital frames, hard drives, and internet radios. This is the first time we had enough skus that I can show package identity across multiple product families. I remember this gondola system because of how heavy and cumbersome it was to transport. We dragged this thing to CES in 2008 and displayed our product in a hotel suite. We finally made it to the show floor in 2010 although we would drag it back for the 2011 show.

    Work, work, work!Work, work, work!

    In late 2007 I produced our first official product guide: 08' Aluratek: Digital Technology Made Fun." Simple accordion fold design focusing on our two largest product categories at the time - digital photo frame and storage. Up to this point I was only creating quarterly line cards. It turned out to be nice printed piece. I followed up with yearly product guides up to 2011 which would be our last physical guide. We still produce them but in digital form only. That's the trend. Thanks internet! Good for the company, not so good for print shops and designers. A funny sidenote - you may notice that the studio shots of our products have a reflection. This is easily achieved by photographing the products on glass and cleaning up the image in Photoshop. I can still remember shooting our first half dozen skus on a hand held mirror!

    Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, CanadaAluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.

    One perk for me early on was the opportunity to travel with the sales guys and help out at vendor shows. My first "sales" trip was in August, 2008 when John took me to The Source show in Toronto. I wrote in my sketchbook "spoke more words in three days at the show than three weeks in the office." A bit out of my comfort zone and challenging talking about the products to potential customers. It's one thing to know and understand the technology and another to explain it. One afternoon after the show we drove to Niagara to see the falls. To be there in person to witness it was unbelievable.

    Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, CanadaAluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.

    Who are these young fellas?Who are these young fellas?.

    In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are offering 10 items for $10! These deals will stick around for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon.

    Have you been a long time customer of Aluratek's for the past 10 years? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • Politics & Technology

    40 years ago today, Rick Monday saves the American flag. In 1976, the Chicago Cubs played a normal baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Dodger Stadium. Bottom of the fourth inning, out of nowhere, a man and his 11-year old son raced towards outfield, kneeled on the grass, spread out an American flag and was ready to ignite it on fire in front of the entire stadium. In the meantime, Cubs center fielder Rick Monday, former U.S. Marine, saw the situation unraveling and bolted towards the 2 protesters. As he put his glove into his left hand, Rick Monday approached the flag and snatched it up with his other hand and continued to run toward the Dodger's dugout. In that moment, the entire stadium united not as baseball fans, but as proud Americans as they cheered and thanked Rick Monday for his heroic act making it the best non-baseball play ever. Rick Monday saved the American flag that day and for that Rick Monday's heroic act became one of the most memorable events in the sport's history, making a unification between patriotism and America's pastime.

    If something like this happened today, imagine watching that clip being replayed over and over and over again on ESPN Sportscenter, FOX, CNN, etc. It's definitely a great thing! A patriotic act happened at Dodger Stadium 40 years ago and went "viral" without the use of internet, smartphones, social media. So again, imagine how much more "viral" it be if it happened today!

    The influence of technology on sports, politics, celeb plays a huge role today. The staggering distribution numbers through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, podcasts, indicate that technology has pretty much consumed our daily lives. As we all should know, the elections are among us and technology could be a ultimate deciding factor in the 2016 Presidential elections. Look how many clips of Republican/Democratic debates, rallies, speeches have already gone viral in 2016 alone! Have you scrolled through Donald Trump's Twitter page?! Candidates are influencing Americans with a simple tweet. Technology and social media have taken over this country, this world.

    Just a random thought I had this morning.

    Do you follow politics on social media? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • April: Spotlight Of The Month

    Hello! Happy Tuesday!

    It's that time again! Spotlight of the month! Woohoo!

    Today's featured product provides both security AND convenience. It's sturdy, flexible, and stylish.

     

    AUTCP10FB_front angle

    So without further ado, today's highlighted product is the Universal Folio Travel Case with Built-in USB 2.1A Charging Station! Pretty nice, right?! Let me explain what makes our tablet cases stand out among others out there -

    The Universal Folio Travel Case allows for easy installation of your tablet and access to all your tablet's ports and features a built-in charging station to quickly and conveniently charger your tablet, smartphone, and other USB powered devices while you work!

    AUTCP10FB_multi viewing Multi-Viewing Angle - The foldable flip cover converts easily to a stand for multi-angle viewing so you can view, browse and read your tablet hands-free.

     

    AUTCP10FB_side Slim Profile - Light weight and slim design makes our Universal Tablet Case the perfect travel companion. The universal case can accommodate a wide range of tablets including the iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina Display, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, Samsung Galaxy TAB 3 8.0, Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, LG G Pad 8.3 (V500), Asus MeMo Pad 8 and Acer Iconia W4-820 and other tablets up to 10 inches!
    AUTCP10FB_mounting Reliable Protection - A magnetic clasp ensures that the case stays closed. Soft microfiber lining gives your device reliable protection from scratches, finger marks and dust and provides added protection against drops, bumps and shock. The universal folio case provides a mounting system that loops around the tablet's four corners, holding it securely in place.
    AUTCP10FB_lifestyle_charge phone Built-in Battery Charger - The Univeral Tablet stand offers one standard USB charging port to rapidly charge virtually any USB powered device such as smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, mp3 players, bluetooth speakers, bluetooth headsets, ebook readers and more (original charging cable required). Micro USB charging cable for the case is included.

     

    Which features do you like the most about our Universal Tablet Cases? Visit our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • Spring Break Necessities

    Woohoo, Spring break baby!

    Whether you're a student with whole week off to do who knows what or a full-time employee that's taking a mini vacation to get away from the grind of life - it's Spring break and I encourage you to take full advantage of it!

    We have a huge variety of different products from Bluetooth speakers to outdoor flashlights so here are 5 that you can utilize during your Spring break!

    1. 4000 mAh Portable Battery Charger - This product is currently $10.00 on our 10 For $10 Anniversary Special Deal page!

    APB11F_front angle

     

    APB11F_charging Last thing you want is for you to be out and about and your phone dies. Our 4000 mAh Portable Battery Charger is a great solution to quickly charge your portable devices while traveling. It's small enough to fit in your pocket making it the perfect travel companion. Whether you need more talk time, web browsing, audio play or video playback you will be comforted in knowing that rapid power charging is within reach!

     

    2. BUMP 3.5mm Portable Mini Speaker - This product is currently $10.00 on our 10 For $10 Anniversary Special Deal page!

    APS01F_front

    APS01F_angle with cable What's Spring break without music?! Our BUMP 3.5mm Portable Mini Speaker packs quite a punch for a little guy. It's designed to add high quality audio. Start "bumping" to your favorite jams on your vacation!

     

    3. PowerLight Multipurpose Rechargeable Flashlight

    SpringBreak1jpg If you are planning to go on a road trip, I would take this guy with me! The PowerLight is durable, waterproof, fireproof and extremely portable making for the perfect multipurpose device for the house, car, toolbox, camping, hiking, rafting or any outdoor adventure. It is an ideal solution to provide a long lasting light source wherever you need it the most. Depending on which flashlight you have (5,000 mAh or 10,400 mAh) the PowerLight guarantees that you will never be left in the dark. Also utilizing the latest in lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology, the PowerLight is perfect for on-the-go charging anywhere, anytime. The flashlight also has a built-in steel hammer to break your car window and a blade to cut seatbelts down for life-threatening situations.

     

    4. Wireless, Wired Pan - Tilt IP Surveillance Camera 

    SpringBreak2 If you're as paranoid as I am about leaving your home for a few days, then I would look into this product. The Wireless, Wired Pan - Tilt IP Surveillance Camera is designed to deliver live audio and video right to your smartphone or tablet. Have confidence in knowing that your home is protected! You can have full mobile control anytime and anywhere in monitoring your property with the IP Camera's 2 way real time audio communication, motion detection and integrated night vision. So while you're away from home during Spring Break, at least you know you can see what's happening at home if there are any break-ins or other emergencies!

     

    5. Universal Car Windshield Mount Holder for Smartphones / iPhone

    AUCH01F_angle with iPhone

    AUCH01F_mounted Not only does the Universal Car Windshield Mount Holder for smartphones / iPhone provide convenience but it also keeps you safe. My husband used to yell at me all the time for holding my phone in my hand while driving to use the GPS. I understand how it is extremely dangerous not only for yourself and your passengers but also other drivers to constantly looking down at your phone and looking at the road! I now have the Universal Car Mount attached on my dashboard and I feel much safer. This is a MUST if you're driving long hours to your Spring break destination. Let's be safe out there!

     

    Which one of these 5 products do you see accompanying you on your Spring break? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • On The Hunt Easter Giveaway

    on-the-hunt
    For the week leading up to Easter, Aluratek would like to invite you to participate in our On The Hunt Easter Giveaway. Beginning March 21st through March 25th, you can enter our raffle to win fun prizes.

    Check out our Twitter feed to see our tweets on this promotion. Simply RETWEET any promotional tweet that contains the #OnTheHunt hashtag and FOLLOW @Aluratek to be entered into the grandprize raffle. The raffle will be held on the afternoon of March 25th where the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Winner will be able to choose between three of our 10 for $10 (10 Year Anniversary Specials) items.

    PLUS, each day we will also feature a new Easter game you can participate in. The winner of each day's game can choose one item from our 10 for $10 (10 Year Anniversary Specials) items. The first game will debut on Tuesday, March 22nd with a new game everyday through the 25th. Don't forget to RETWEET these daily games for an additional chance to win. The more you RETWEET - the better chances you have to win!

    Good luck and Happy Easter!

    -Aluratek

  • Happy Pi Day!

    What is Pi Day and why do we celebrate it? If you remember anything from math class, you'll probably at least remember the little number that goes on forever. Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference divided by its diameter.

    An approximation for pi is 3.14 or March 14, today, using the U.S. date system!

    Math nerds likely have already circled today on the calendar! People go crazy for Pi. DId you know the world record according to Guinness for reciting the decimal places of pi is 70,000??? It took Rajveer Meena 10 hours. TEN. However Akira Haraguchi has the "unofficial" record of 100,000 decimal places. Geez Louise. A way math lovers and "pie" lovers like to celebrate today is by baking or purchasing a delicious pie and grub. Sounds good to me! Many restaurants have Pi Day specials as well to celebrate this nerdy day! Pizza joints such as Pizza Hut will have deals with their pizza pies!

    Here are some geeky, funny memes you need to see for Pi Day -

    By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY 137th ALBERT EINSTEIN!!!!

    hhahahahahahahah ok. Happy Pi Day, ya'll!! Eat lots of pie...like Homer :)

    How are you celebrating Pi Day? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • Happy National Land Line Telephone Day!

    Happy National What? What's that now? Land Line telephones! Remember those?

    Today is National Land Line Telephone Day....Yep, can you believe people still use these things? With over a billion people globally using smartphones today, it's no wonder these old school telephones are slowly and surely fading out of existence. Actually, there MAY be some use for these phones...for example, if you want to keep your land line for telemarketers.....or as a cool, retro decoration for a hipster, cold-brewing cafe? Just kidding - I shouldn't be hating! After all, I grew up with land line phones and have great memories having conversations with family / friends and being able to hear their voices instead of reading it off a text message. There's some sentimental value in these devices and if you grew up using them as well, you probably have an idea of what I'm feeling.

    Here's a short timeline of the telephone from the land line days to the now -

    MARCH 10, 1876 - The first landline...EVER! Alexander Graham Bell and his partner Thomas Watson were experimenting and finally produced a device capable of transmitting human speech using wire. History was made and soon after, the Bell Telephone Company was founded. It wasn't until after 1878 when domestic telephones were introduced to the public. It took a while for the telephone to enter into homes.
    1889 - PAYPHONES! In 1889, the first ever PUBLIC telephone was introduced and installed. They were installed at a local bank in Connecticut and worked when a payment was made after the call was connected.
    Around 10 years later a modernized version of the payphone was introduced. The public were able to make calls on a pre-pay method before a call can even be made.
    1994 - DIGITAL HOME PHONES : The telephone made an incredible innovation for both commercial and residential users when the wireless digital telephone was introduced.
    1980 - MOBILE PHONES: In 1980, after years of design and experimentation, digital cellular telephones were introduced to the public, with the ability to carry better sound quality, and significantly lower costs compared to the landlines.
    Present Day - SMARTPHONES: With much faster and reliable Internet speeds available, the traditional way of using phones has changed drastically. The smartphone allows users to be able surf through the web, download apps, navigate while driving using GPS, communicate on social media and much, much more! It's pretty much a computer in a small phone. I don't need to explain any further because you're probably reading this on your smartphone, right?!

    Do you still own a Land Line telephone? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

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