July 07, 2011

AC #69 Now Available.

The Thrity Rooms To Hide In Addition.

John and Tug talk with Master Jedi Luke Sullivan about his new book Thirty Rooms To Hide In, creativity and getting out of advertising. It's a great Sunday afternoon chat with almost no cursing and only minorly bothersome mouth sounds.

Give it a listen won't you?

And stay tuned. 'Coming in August 2011: The American Copywriter Reboot.


Click to preview book


May 12, 2011

Your parental guilt trip of the day.

Oh, how many times have I given my own children "the finger." Thanks for the find Sir Ernie.

November 12, 2010

Follow Friday

We at American Copywriter are totes addicted to dedicated users of Twitter. And while we don't understand why in the world over 6 million people follow Ashton Kutcher, there are definitely a few pretty popular tweeters that we enjoy. So here they are:


@LeeClowsBeard - All hail the beard. No other facial ornamentation shall come before him.

@Steffan1 - Official account of advertising badass Steffan Postaer

@PRSarahEvans - Making big waves in the PR and social media worlds.

@ChrisBrogan - Creator of the #2 ranked AdAge blog. Need we say more?

@AdFreak - Tweets courtesy of AdWeek's AdFreak blog.

@AdRants - The name is pretty self explanatory.

@AdContrarian - So full of snark, and we mean that in the best way possible.

@Mashable - if you don't know, you better ask somebody.

@TheNextWeb - Tech news you need to know.

@EbertChicago - He's not just writing about movies anymore. Awesomesauce.


Know any other Twitterers worth following? Post 'em in the comments.

November 12, 2010

Imagine presenting with this.

Me want.

September 20, 2010

A real revolution in social media.


You've probably seen this. I hadn't. This is right up my comedic alley. Best touch? "France likes this." 

April 13, 2010



This morning, as I sat down to have my morning cup o' joe, I opened this email, which is a response from the development team at Office2. I had emailed them a couple of days ago to ask about the (lack of) printing capabilities on their current app, and their plan to build that functionality in later. The response is all I could have hoped for. At last, a full, file-syncing, printing office suite is coming (hopefully very) soon! I can't wait. OK -- now that we've got that out of the way, I'd like to share my thoughts after a little over a week of trying out the iPad. Well, only one thought, really: 

I'm hooked. 

After only a few days of use, I don't use my laptop for anything other than hardcore word processing. The beautiful OS and the utter simplicity of use have impressed and at times even astounded me. The interface is the most streamlined I've ever experienced. I don't know how to explain the user experience, other than to say it "just feels natural." 

On the occasion that I do open up my MacBook Pro, it now feels to me almost like Windows did when I was using OSX. The keyboard and monitor setup are clunky and complicated and the Folder-based GUI feels harder to navigate. 

Now - none of this is to say that the iPad doesn't have it's limitations. The platform will only go as far as the development community takes it, and that community is rapidly fleeing for the open-source and more robust Android platform. I should probably say here that Google and HTC (the makers of the Nexus One) are rumored to be developing an Android-based Google Slate. I can't wait to see what that looks like. 

That said -- I'm thrilled with the possibilities the iPad presents. It's potential is off-the-charts. I may just be slipping into Jobsie's Reality Distortion Field here, but being a skeptic when this device was first announced, I kinda doubt it. I think the iPad is the real deal.

April 09, 2010

There's almost an app for that

Well, ol' Stevie didn't come through for me with iPhone 4.0, and I'm still in Limbo when it comes to printing and file syncing for my iPad. Sure, there are some decent printing solutions (PrintCentral, Print n Share, Airsharing), and even an office suite that supports VPN access (as opposed to the severely crippled Apple Pages, which can only access/save files through Mail, iWork.com and USB/iTunes).

But, as of now, there isn't any one app that combines the functionality of both -- which, for efficiency purposes, seems like the only acceptable solution for a heavy user like me. I mean, consider the time lost my doing this:

Open word processor > create document > save document to server > close word processor > open printing app > find file on server > print document

instead of this:

Open word processor > create document > save document to server > print document

I realize that it doesn't seem like much, but wasting 30-60 seconds switching apps and searching for a file every blessed time you want to print could add up pretty quickly. On a busy day, it's not unheard of for me to print 30 docs. That's up to a half an hour wasted -- on a busy day, mind you -- just trying to print. And let's not even talk about the pure, unadulterated rage that would build in my soul as a result of executing this seemingly redundant process over and over and over again.

But while Office2 won't currently qualify an everyday solution, it's certainly a step in the right direction. VPN access means I can edit and save files when I'm working remotely and don't need to print. That's a big step, and allows me to trade a device that's merely nomadic (a traditional laptop) for one that's truly mobile -- and that's great. It really is.

So great, in fact, that it's making me wonder: why, in 2010, do I even need a print-capable office suite? With all the virtual commenting and collaboration tools available, why are we still wasting time and money and trees by printing out every version of every copy doc for every job we work on? In an age where people file taxes and store entire lives' worth of photos online, why can't we do something as simple as route a word document?

April 07, 2010

App Search: Postponed (for now)


After spending a good hour yesterday searching for a quality printing/file sharing solution for the iPad - well, let's just say I didn't find much. In fact, let's also say that the dearth of apps left me utterly flabbergasted. I know that a narrow app selection is one of the prices us early adopters must pay for our lack of patience, but I was expecting to find SOMETHING useful. Instead, all I got was the mediocre-at-best PrintCentral (iTunes link) app that frankly just isn't cutting the mustard.

But alas, the good folks at Apple may come to the rescue! I've been informed by one of our office Mac whizzes that the upcoming iPhone OS4 update is rumored to include built-in printing and file sharing capabilities for both the iPhone and iPad. I'm excited to hear this news a) because, as I said, the current solutions are clunky and inefficient and b) because I have trouble believing that any software company could pull this off better than the boys in Cupertino. 

So stay tuned tomorrow at noon (Central Time, of course), folks. Mr. Jobs may be bringing us one step closer to making the iPad as magical and revolutionary as he claims it is.

April 06, 2010

AC is going iPad.


Steve jobs said at the latest of his infamous keynote speeches that a new device called the iPad is a "magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." For many, who use their PC or laptop to browse the web, answer emails, watch movies and view pictures, this may be true. The vibrant touchscreen and snappy A4 system-on-a-chip are perfect for consuming media. 

But, as the readers of this humble blog know, writers are not just consumers. We are creators. We create every day for work, for ourselves and for our friends. But many writers like us are also unabashed Apple fans, and the desire for the next magical and revolutionary device is just as strong as anybody else's. 

But, for us creators, does this latest device really suit us? Can we use a small touchscreen and a streamlined set of mobile apps to create and share our work as well as we could with a laptop? Well, we at American Copywriter don't rightly know.

But we're about to find out.

For the next month or so, contributing blogger and associate copywriter Nick Kinney (that's me) will be trying to ditch his laptop and live on a 16GB, Wi-Fi-enabled Apple iPad. With built-in software and 3rd-party apps that will be revealed as they're discovered, I'll be doing my professional and personal writing, blogging, surfing, music-listening and porn TV watching on this little and hopefully revolutionary device. 

Each week, I'll post here (from my iPad) about what it takes to turn a device made for consuming into a full-fledged creation machine, and how different aspect of my digital life change (or don't) as a result. I'm beginning that transformation in earnest today, but since I've had a long weekend to explore my new toy, here are some first impressions:

• The hardware is well-built, to say the least. I spent a few minutes after unboxing just admiring build quality.

• The touchscreen is every bit as responsive as the iPhone's, and it's size allows apps to be robust while keeping the hardware small enough to be very portable-feeling.

• Speaking of apps, they are NOT merely scaled up iPhone apps. The larger screen and faster hardware allow iPad apps to be so much more in-depth than their iPhone counterparts could ever be.

• Browsing experience is perfectly acceptable for everyday use. Seems like most of the major websites I visit (ESPN, CNN, various fantasy baseball sites) are free (or at least nearly-free) of Flash animation/video.

• Typing has been easier than expected on the touchscreen. In just a few days, I've developed a 3-4 finger per hand touch type method. Long (250 word) email was a snap.

• The Apple Bluetooth keyboard connected easily and reliably, making several-thousand-word writing sessions possible. 

• Battery life is as advertised. Hours and hours.

• Pricing is...confusing. Not sure why iPad apps are consistently 50-100% more expensive than their iPhone counterparts.

• Fave app so far: Netflix. Stream quality is awesome, and watching 30 Rock in bed was a much better experience without a 7 pound laptop on my lap. 

• Official Apple iPad case is highly ergonomic. Love how it props screen on my lap.

Alright, guys. That's it for now. I'm off to explore the App Store in search of something that will allow me to access a file server and our office printers. If you know of any good apps that might help me out (or just distract me with something fun for a few minutes), please let me know. See ya later on this week!

January 29, 2010

Do we really need the office?

It seems to be an often-asked question in the minds of agency people everywhere, and the answer seems to be that "there are just some things that have to be done face to face." One of those "some things" that comes up a lot in discussions I have about this very topic is brainstorming.

Sure, we could just call in or get on iChat, but it wouldn't be the same. There's just something about the creative momentum that forms when a few talented people get together in a physical room that can't be translated into 1s and 0s.

Shit. Maybe not. This bunch of obviously talented created people fired up their webcams, grabbed their instruments and made something that sings. No pun intended. 

Now, before you say anything, yes -- I know that making music isn't exactly the same as making advertising. But I would argue that much of the process is the same. Mountains of details have to be worked out. Tone and voice and everybody's roles have to be discussed. And most importantly, ideas have flow freely amongst colleagues in order to transform an idea into a Big Idea. 

These guys obviously did all that (quite well) without ever, at any time, being in the same room. Hell, most of them weren't even in the same COUNTRY. So why do we have to be? Why do we have to do in cubes what we could be doing from home or Rome or...wherever? 

It's a question that I, for one, am going to keep asking. I hope somebody can give me an answer that makes sense one of these days. If you think you have one, feel free to share it in the comments.

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