Aluratek Blog

  • 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!

  • The Road to Ten - Part 1

    10 Year Anniversary logo Aluratek's 10 Year Anniversary logo.

    This year marks Aluratek's 10 Year anniversary! More specifically the month of March marks the start. I have been with the company from the very beginning - the companies first and longest tenured employee. I felt it necessary to reflect on the past ten years with a series of blog posts.

    I have been in the fortunate position to see this company grow from very humble beginnings as I started my time with Aluratek in a rented office through several other offices and buildings to our current most at home office. I wish I had some pics from that first office and all of us jammed in there. The office was no bigger than 100 square feet. I worked alone for the first six months (ok by me!) until our second employee arrived. My fondest memory of that office was the smell of strawberries that filled the room because a huge strawberry field was directly behind the office building. It was a nice time. Those quiet first months really helped me to build the Aluratek brand.

    The one thing that has stayed with me every single day at Aluratek is my prized Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner mug. I've actually had this mug since college - at least I started using it then. Not sure how old it is or where it came from. I took it from my father's cupboard and never put it back.

    My favorite mug My favorite mug. Been with me every step of the way.

    I remember being excited about the opportunity to be involved in a start-up. I was ready to move on to something bigger in my career. From a design perspective, I was excited about designed the logo and branding a new tech company - and that's something I realized later on that never stops. It's a constant growing thing. I'm always looking to improve and adapt and as we grew in employee numbers and sales accounts, the work grew and grew and it became clear I had to take on more challenges as my role evolved. The professional growth has been unmeasurable and I am thankful for that. Here are some snapshots from my sketchbook back in '05 when I started working on the Aluratek logo.

    Aluratek logo type compsLogotype comps experimenting with cyan and magenta.

    logomark-roughAttempting to add some type styling to the logotype.

    logo mark sketchesLogomark sketches.

    First Aluratek logo First Aluratek logo (with awesome reflection)

    Also had the opportunity to design our first website. First one for me as well, working with our developer at the time we came up with something that worked, but wow, the art of web design has really evolved in the past 10 years. Our first site was only informational and had no ability to purchase directly from the site. The site debuted sometime in 2006 and was up until 2009 when we made a big leap forward with our first CMS eCommerce solution. Here are some sketches and (shocking) web layouts I made back then.

    web sketchesWireframing sketches for the home page.

    web sketches and navigationNavigation planning and icon sketches.

    2006 website - home2006 home page

    2006 website - products2006 product categories page.

    2006 website - product category landing page2006 internet radio product landing page.

    2006 website - jukebox product page2006 product page of our very successful Jukebox USB Internet Radio.

    Our first big public exposure came at the hands of the TV show Deal Or No Deal. Remember that show? It was hosted by Howie Mandel where contestants choose numbered suitcases full of varying amounts of cash. Our 10 inch Digital Photo Frame was featured as a gift on the Christmas show. We were invited down to Warner Brothers' studios to attend the taping of the show and get a behind the scenes tour. It was very cool to be on set and see how the production of the show worked. Here are some pics of that day.

    Deal Or No DealBehind the scenes at the Deal Or No Deal show taping.

    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 2 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!

  • The Oscars And The Internet

    What a night! The 88th Academy Awards was an interesting one, for sure. The biggest A-List movie stars were all there hoping for a chance to win an award for their hard work. Lady Gaga gave a powerful performance and Chris Rock hosted the award show despite all the Oscars drama happening. However, a few unexpected wins and several awkward jokes later - the moment EVERYONE and their moms were waiting for was about to happen. As Julianna Moore read off the nominees for Best Actor, we all know the entire world was watching hoping and praying that our beloved Leonardo Dicaprio would win his first Oscar. And he did. I'm not surprised as he is one of the most talented actors of our time that has delivered some of the best performances to the big screen. Imagine if he didn't...the internet would've gone crazy. Probably a riot? Leo has been nominated for an Academy Award countless times but was never given a chance to go up on that glorious stage and give his acceptance speech.

    Social media and the internet EXPLODED. Not only did he win an Oscar but he won the most tweeted moment in Oscar history, beating Ellen DeGeneres's Oscar selfie couple years back. About 255,000 tweets a minute and after Leo's Oscar win? About 440,000 PER MINUTE. Whoo! The Oscars was really about Leonardo Dicaprio thanks to the internet and its awesome trending memes.

    BEFORE HIS FIRST OSCARS AWARD:

    Before1

    The Internet Really Wants Leonardo DiCaprio To Win An Oscar

    The Internet Really Wants Leonardo DiCaprio To Win An Oscar

    leonardo oscar comic

    leonardo oscar

    leonardo dicaprio oscar memes

    leonardo dicaprio oscar memes

    leonardo dicaprio oscar memes

    leonardo dicaprio oscar memes

    leonardo oscar bad luck

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AFTER LEONARDO DICAPRIO'S FIRST OSCARS WIN: (the internet moves fast)

    The Internet Really Wants Leonardo DiCaprio To Win An Oscar

    After3

    After1

    Congrats Leo! Well-deserved.

    Have any funny Leo memes? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

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