PSP update

If you aren't yet convinced that PSP is the hottest device of the year, consider this - it was prominently featured in this week's South Park episode (as a device from God); and - check out this partial list of hacks, already available, as featured on Engadget:

How to use non-Duo memory sticks

How to browse the web with your PSP

How to get TivoToGo shows onto your PSP

How to get eBooks onto your PSP

How to read RSS feeds on your PSP

How to get videos and DVD's onto your PSP

oh how cute

Have you ever had to paste a web address into an email or instant message only to find that it’s about 500 characters long?

You know, it looks something like this:

Wouldn’t it be easier if it were a fraction of that length? Maybe something like this:

While not as cute as Darryl's new messenger bag, it's far more practical. Check out

and the winner is...

We just received advance notification of two awards for sites that we've designed!

The first is Celebrity Girl Fight, which allows users to beat the crap out of Paris Hilton and other celebrities, in the spirit of Brooke Valentine's new single Girlfight.

Our second award is for Mokai's official site. If you haven't already checked this out - please do - and not just for the design! This is one of the most unique and cool products that we've had the pleasure to work with. Imagine a jet propelled water craft that can take you anywhere!

We'll find out how these sites placed (either bronze, silver or gold) at the official Advertising Club of CT awards ceremony, May 12. We're fairly confident that they'll get gold awards, because I'm sure that everyone else's work sucks. And we're better looking than everyone else, too.

paper for you to poop on

Now, thanks to the invention of EDP, you too can help save Thai Elephants and trees everywhere!

So, what does EDP stand for? Elephant Dung Paper. Yes that's right, dung. According to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (where the paper is made), the paper is 100% bacteria free, 100% odor free, 100% recycled, and 100% handmade - with a little help from the elephants of course. Supposedly, a single Elephant can produce up to 115 sheets of paper per day. The paper is suitable for most printers (excluding laser printers) and can be ordered in several standard sizes.

As designers, we're always seeking out new, original papers. EDP would be great for a small, personal or promotional campaign.

The Thai Elephant Conservation Center uses proceeds from their handmade paper products, elephant art, and tourism to help provide care for injured and/or displaced domestic elephants in Lampang (Northern Thailand). If you're interested, there's a vendor in the U.S. where you can purchase these products.

Do your part to save the world — buy dung paper!

space renovations

We've just agreed to a new lease on our space - and as a part of the deal, we're going to build an addition onto our rooftop paradise. We're building a full-scale, VIA conference room. If you've been to our space, you know that our current meeting area, located in a former projectionist booth (our building used to be a theatre), is less than ideal for meetings.

The pic above, (without all the living room type furniture) and this pic, are our inspiration for the new conference room. Should be pretty cool when complete. We'll post updates and photos as work progresses. Construction is supposed to start during the first week in May.

super cool retail or trade show display

People from MIT are so smart. This is the heliodisplay, a device that projects an image into the air - like a hologram, kind of. But even more amazing - it's also interactive. Just like those screens in the Minority Report. Designed by an MIT grad, it's a little pricey at $18,600, but how cool would this be in a retail environment, or trade show?

David Byrne has grey hair

And, he's launched his own Internet radio station. Not sure which one is bigger news. In an effort to stay relevant, and be cool with his friends, the legendary Talking Head has launched his own radion station. Xeni from BoingBoing interviews David on file sharing, music tastes, and of course his radio station, which airs today on NPR.

PSP as a web browser

The fact that this has happened only a few days after the release, is an excellent indicator of how HUGE the PSP will be. Since it's got 802.11 wifi built in, everyone's been talking about the possibility of using the new PSP to surf the interweb.

Well, now it's been done - before Sony's even had a chance to release any official products to do the task. The hacked solution hit all the techie blogs over the weekend - just days after release of the PSP unit. Just a sign of how ginormous the PSP will be in our future.

what's next for apple?

Robert Brunner, Apple's chief designer from the late 80's to the mid 90's, recently led a project at Pentagram to develop product concepts for Business 2.0's photo essay "Apple Gear We Hope To See." Check out the product slideshow.

Definitely some Apple gear I'd like to see! Very cool.

UPDATE: The long-standing rumours of an iPod phone being close to release don't look to be immediately true - full details here.

teenage texas hold 'em

Marketers to young males - take notice. A new poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center shows that more young men are playing poker, and playing more than ever. According to the poll, 10.8% of boys in high school play cards for money at least once a week, which is up 5.7% from the previous year. Among those in college or post-secondary programs, 12.5% reported doing the same, versus 7.3% in 2003. For comparison, only 3.3% of high school girls are playing cards. And these are just the 2004 numbers. It's only getting bigger, folks. Adweek

On the more depressing side, the NY Times reports today that gambling addiction programs are also seeing an increase in teens playing poker - and not knowing when to stop. NY Times

projector hijinks

Just take a look at what you can do with some spare time, and some high powered projectors. Brand managers: this would be a great idea for free standing retail, field promotions, evening events or trade show spectacles. The world is your canvas. Note: when you go to the link, "weiter" means "next".

hangin' with my peeps

This is a great week. This is the only week out of the entire year that you can get Peeps. I've discovered that they taste best when left open on your desk for three days. Seriously. They harden just right - and they become something between marshmallow goodness and taffy.

You might also want to invest in a make your own peeps kit - so that you could keep yourself surrounded by your peeps over the next few weeks. And while you're at it, check out lord of the peeps.

And don't even get me started on chocolate covered marshmallow eggs. mmmmmm.

UPDATE: If you love Easter candy, then you have to check out:
Eating In: Easter Super-Fun Candy Balls

how to become a famous artist

Always wanted to be a fine artist? Dream of having your work displayed at MoMA? Why wait? Check out these pics of a guy who successfully hung his own art in several world famous NYC museums. One hung at MoMA for three days. Others are still there today! Hilarious.

loft envy

aka locations is a location service company representing properties available for film, video and photo shoots. Not only is this a great resource to scout locations for your next shoot - it's a great peak inside apartments, houses and more all across our great land. (Just in case you feel like being nosy.) Time to schedule a shoot in the Caribbean.

test your brand skills

If you're a brand manager, this one should be easy. It's the retail alphabet game. You have to identify the brand associated with the logo letter. There are 26 letters, each coming from a product or corporate logo. Complete the game, and prove once and for all that you're the brandmaster. From Mediabistro|unbeige.

turn back time

I was listening to Darryl brag about how his ten year old Nike’s were retro now, and it reminded me about a really cool site I used to go to: the wayback machine. For those not in the ‘know’ it’s a site where you can see how unhip some of the websites you know used to be. You type in any url and it will show you screen shots of what the site looked like years ago.

It’s a time machine for the internet!

Oh and David had the best response to Darryl’s shoes – "Put ‘em back in the closet for another ten years."

let's get it on

We just launched Celebrity Girl Fight, an online girl fighting game, to promote the newest single "Girlfight," by Brooke Valentine. You've seen Brooke just about everywhere recently, including BET, MTV, MTV2, and all over the radio.

Now you can listen to the new single, while punching Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Lil' Kim, and some other annoying celebrities right in the face. Beat the crap out of them - before they stomp you. (I know what you're thinking, but c'mon, it's not like they didn't have it coming to them.) This is a viral promotion, meant just for Brooke Valentine fans, so keep this between us!

ret's engrish together...

What's Engrish you ask? "Engrish can be simply defined as the humorous English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design." "Engrish can be found all over the world, but the vast majority of the really funny and creative Engrish is from Japan." -'s faq.

Check out, and see for yourself. Be warned — you may find it hard to control the laughter. I just wish I had known about this widespread Engrish phenomenon before I visited Japan back in 2000 — I would have been on the look out for some official Engrish souvenirs!

Oh yeah and by the way — English speaking countries severely butcher Japanese and Chinese characters too... and now there's a blog named Hanzis Matter, that is dedicated to showing us where we're going wrong! Check out this "hot" advertisement from Nike — even Darryl wouldn't want these shoes! is updated daily — bookmark it!

fries with that shake?

Everyone knows that if it’s not reality T.V. I probably don’t watch it. I rarely join in while the gang here recaps their favorite episodes of 24, CSI Miami, or in Kevin’s case, The Gilmore Girls. Well recently I was forced to watch (ok, maybe I was asked nicely) an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a show clearly “not” based on reality. Now I don’t for a moment even pretend to understand what the show is about but it seems to follow the hijinks of three human sized fast food items. According to their official bios you’ve got, “Master Shake, the self-proclaimed leader, Meatwad, the stupid but adorable uncooked meatball who is constantly abused by Master Shake, and Frylock, the only member of the group with any sense at all.”

This show is really weird but it takes place in New Jersey, which at least explains the existence of fast food items that can walk and talk. Check it out on Cartoon Network's Adult swim, or at the Aqua Teen Hunger Force website. Or, if Gilmore Girls is more your speed, check with Kevin for show times.

Thanks to T. J. & J.

when sneakers attack

The next phase of street art? Check out this 5 minute indie short, titled The Future Beautiful: Skewville, about a team of graffiti artists who throw silk-screened, wooden sneakers up on poles in NYC. From Gothamist.

you gotta know when to hold 'em.

This is pretty funny. About half of our staff knows how to play cards. I mean really play cards. The other half, let's just say might look a little out of place in a poker hall. Imagine what an art school basketball team might look like, and you'll get the picture. This was proven in a recent client meeting - when I made mention of the "11" card. Took me a while, but I finally realized there's no such thing.

So - for the poker impaired - we've started Texas Hold 'em lessons during lunch. While we're eating lunch, we're learning poker. And since Justus' business card says he's a "high roller", we figured he's the man to give the lessons. Stop by at lunch, and you could win some money. (I by the way, kicked ass at yesterday's game.)

you've got questions

Check out It's the latest buzz in search engines, and puts a new spin on searches. When you search, you get answers - with a more organized approach towards the delivery of information. It's also got a toolbar, where you can highlight any single word, in any application, and immediately get info on it. Pretty cool. Try it.

what's that song?

Did you ever find yourself singing some song you heard in a commercial, and had no way of finding out who it was? Check out adtunes, a site devoted to identifying music from TV ads, film trailers and more.

what to wear

This is one of my favorite blogs of all time. A blog entirely devoted to t-shirts. We're pretty much a t-shirt and jeans shop, so this can come in handy. Check it out for a daily dose of cool shirts.

what can't it do?

It plays games. It plays music. It plays videos. It's got 802.11 wifi. Blogs are already talking about PSPcasting. This is going to have soooo many more possibilities beyond gaming. We'd be wrong if we didn't say something about the hottest gadget release of the week. Or the month. Or whatever.

the pressure is on.

Imagine a game show where you answer questions while being attacked by dogs or are randomly stunned by a 300 lb. man armed with a taser. For the final round, your 5 prizes (an iBook, a vespa scooter, a plasma tv, a guitar/amp, and a box of rice-a-roni) are all rigged with explosives to five buttons that are placed in front of you. If you answer one of the five questions wrong, you have to pick a button and push it. And then one of your prizes goes up in smoke.

The game show is called Distraction, and it's on Comedy Central. Just one of the new favorite shows around our office. So if you're interested in seeing how everyday people answer questions under enormous amount of pressure, you gotta check out Distraction.

oi ! i've seen dead people.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone that called me about the fact that I still haven't watched Shaun of the Dead (See March 16 post). You've all motivated me to finally watch the movie. I've watched it. Please stop calling. If there is anyone else that has not yet seen this movie (eliza) you have got to check it out.

Great movie funny, gory, and emotional. If I'm ever put in a predicament like Shaun's, I'm making my way to the local pub for a pint!

lime green never looked so hot

Coming to a cooler near you - Vault. That's the alleged title of the new soft drink from Coca Cola, in their newest attempt at competing with Mountain Dew. I'm having flashbacks to their last try - Surge Cola, but we'll see. Meanwhile, the Mountain Dewds continue to freshen their brand. New packaging is dew (sorry) to hit shelves any day now, and a new site launched last week.

the ultimate in mid century modern.

If you were looking for an excuse to plan a trip to New York state anytime soon, here it is. Kate's Lazy Meadow - created by Kate Pierson, of B-52's fame, is the ultimate mid-century design motel. That's motel, with an "m". It's not far from Hunter Mountain, Howe Caverns, and Woodstock. But who cares - you'll be living in mid-century, modern splendor. If you love the B-52's, Pee Wee's Playhouse, or anything Eames, you'll want to live at Kate's Lazy Meadow.

incredible office

I'm trying not to fall for all the Pixar hype surrounding the DVD release of the Incredibles, but this is pretty cool. A peak inside the offices of Pixar. Over here, we're huge fans of unique and creative office space - and Pixar's kicks ass. Instead of cubicles, they work in huts!

gaming gets real

This was a part of Grand Theft Auto from even one of its earliest releases - but the NY Times reports that the latest gaming trend is "taking drugs" during gameplay. Not actually taking drugs - but having your character in the game take drugs. As a result, the game's action slows, your character is slower to respond, etc.

The good news - most games also show at least some of the consequences - difficult to control a car, become an easy target, and getting caught by the police. It's a pretty cool game programming feat, but who knows what this means for teens that are now hooked on virtual drugs. Virtual Betty Ford Clinic? From Gawker

bathroom beware

Did you ever find yourself on a long road trip, and after a few sodas, just gotta, gotta, gotta go? So you pull over at the only place for miles in the middle of some place like Ohio, at a cruddy old gas station. You wash your hands, and as soon as you hit the soap, it's like eeuuuw. It's not really soap - or perhaps it used to be - but now it's like this warm, watered down soap-like liquid.

Well the soap was just refilled in our bathroom. And I'm pretty sure we bought it from the same distributor as that gas station in Ohio. After everyone started complaining about it, we checked the 4 gallon bottle that it came delivered in. It's made by Sparco - the same people who make staplers. Something wrong with that picture?

Beware of our bathroom.

the next tony hawk?

The next big name in sports: BODE MILLER. Just as Tony Hawk brought skating to the forefront of youth sports consciousness, Bode Miller is poised to do the same thing with downhill skiing. That’s right! Snowboarding’s boring older brother has a hip new poster child.

In a NY Times article he says (talking about the International Ski Federation) "The F.I.S. needs a role model," Miller said, announcing he might quit to start a rival circuit. "If there's a time for it to happen, and a person to make it happen, it's probably now and me."

He's even got a decent website and a fansite as well.

Could be a good time to get in on the ground floor with some marketing ideas.

team via

Every few months or so, we try to take a good creative break - and close the office on a Friday, and do something fun. We call these days our "staff development days". Last month, we went to Mohawk Mountain in CT — Justus, Leigh and Dave went skiing — Darryl went snowboarding — and Kevin was off to the bunny slope.

At one point during our trip Justus met up with Kevin... next thing we knew Kevin was on the ground... Justus stood there trying to help him up... even got down on the ground to show him how to get up. Well it took a good 10-20 minutes — but eventually Kevin got off the ground — talk about team building!

The big question was — why did Kevin and Justus have the same jacket? Were they dating? Were they creating their own ski patrol?

So anyway its obvious Kevin's not a big fan of skiing, but the rest of us had a lot of fun, and regardless who can argue with a Friday spent on the slopes!?!

top o' the morning.

Have you really looked at your cofee this morning? Here's a really cool collection of latte art. To me it sounds like a great excuse for Starbucks to start charging $100/cup. "It's a numbered, limited edition latte." Reminds me of the time that I saw Abraham Lincoln's face in the foam of my root beer.

get ready for your closeup

Some cool stuff is happening in the cell world. For one, the CTIA show just completed (big show in the wireless telecommunications industry), and some really awesome phones and gadgets were previewed.

But one of the items that keeps getting tons of hype is video for cell phones. Cell phone makers are signing up deals left and right to deliver content to their users. Verizon is about to launch a 24 spinoff that was a hit in the UK. These are 60 second episodes. (Sounds like a commercial to me.) But users pay for it! And some of the phone companies are starting talks about cross-carrier compatability.

This will be a great opportunity for some of the stuff you find on viralmeister. Or something like that. A viral video clip - that you instantly want to send to all of your friend's phones. Someone's going to be first here - and create just the right clip that everyone has to have on their phone. Just a thought.

who me obsessed?

Okay so it's no mystery to anyone here that I'm obsessed with Paul Frank. What can I say... I just love the philosophy behind how Paul Frank Industries started — just a need for things that no one else had. Paul has collaborated with Oscar Meyer this Spring to release a whole line of "weinermobile" inspired gear — men's and women's shirts, a belt buckle, wallet and a bag. Oscar Meyer gear is definitely an interesting choice — and true to Paul Frank's philosophy I highly doubt anyone has sold it before! Here's your chance to rock the weinermobile!

If you stop by the office one of these days there's a pretty good chance I'll be wearing something Paul Frank (although... there's an even better chance Kevin will be wearing Hollister).

i see dead people

What’s the funniest movie you’ve never seen? Well if you ask Justus he’ll tell you it’s Shaun of the Dead. No not Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead. According to director and star Simon Pegg, “there comes a time in every mans life when he has to get off the couch and kill some zombies.” Joined by his immature roommate Ed Wood, Shaun (Pegg) is forced to fend off hordes of the un-dead as he makes his way to the one place he feels safe, the local pub. For fans of droll British humor, this is a must see!

We loaned Justus a copy of this movie 3 weeks ago, and everyday he says he's going to watch it. As of this morning, he still hasn't seen it. So do Justus a favor and call him at ext 207 and remind him to watch it tonight!

girl on the first floor: we're sorry

Imagine for a moment that you're the blonde girl that works on the first floor of our building. And by circumstance, you arrive to work every morning at around the same time as Kevin from our office. And then you witness the following activities:

day one
kevin's quickly pulling out of a spot, and the car next to him is damaged.

day two

you pull in, and kevin's blasting his horn at David.

day three
kevin's jumping into his car, as it rolls away, because he forgot to put the emergency brake on.

So - blonde girl, on the first floor - we're sorry. Kevin's not a maniac, serial killer or freak you need to fear. Just an idiot who can't park his car very well. btw - no cars, pets or humans were damaged as a result of his activities.

automakers as music moguls?

Toyota's Scion unit just created their own record label. It was introduced at the South by Southwest music and film festival this weekend. The label, titled ScionA/V, will feature two new artists - Dakah, a hip-hop orchestra, and New York's own Junk Science. This is an interesting way for an automaker to connect with it's audience on a whole new level.

attention high rollers

Want the addiction, without the messy broken kneecaps, or losing your home and family? Try ESPN and Degree deodorant’s Poker Challenge. Sit in with playa’s from all over the country and bluff them out with your hot pair of threes – you can do it.

Learn terms like ‘the flop’ ‘the turn’ ‘the river’ ‘the nuts’ ‘all in’ and ‘oh *&@#%!’ Impress your friends, or significant others with all the fake money you won, while explaining to your boss about all the real money you lost by not doing your work. (The one drawback – aside from the pink slip you’ll receive – only works on PC’s…c’mon ESPN and Degree – that’s just pure Craps.)

congrats howe!

Our friends at Howe were just featured in today's New York Times Style Magazine. That's the NEW YORK times. That's big time. The Howe "skinny puppy" jeans were written up as the some of the hottest gear. And we agree. We've been a fan of Howe since their launch - and now they're the it brand. That of course, makes us cool, since we knew about them before everyone else. (Just in case you were keeping track.)

Back in the day, VIA created a website about metrosexuality, for Howe - as America attempted to figure out what the fuss was all about.

posters that talk. or sing.

The marketing campaign for New Order's latest release features digital interactive posters - that can send song clips, ringtones and photos directly to your cell phone, using infared and Bluetooth technology. For now, the posters are only at HMV in the UK. Read the full story at engadget.

the ugliest design of all

Here's a fascinating and horrifying look at design and branding put to the most depressing use of all - propaganda and war. This is a collection of aerial leaflets dating as far back as the early 1900s, and as recent as last year. A great picture of history, that you don't see covered elsewhere.

powerpoint as art?

As a design firm, we always cringe when we've got to work with PowerPoint. When you're accustomed to working with professional design programs, it's frustrating trying to get a Microsoft program to do things that it's really not capable of.

But for a totally different perspective, check out David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame. He's been an outspoken proponent of PowerPoint for a while, now. And not just as a presentation tool - but as an artist or theatrical tool. Earlier this week, he gave a presentation at Berkeley, where he showcased the good, bad and ugly side of PowerPoint.

"I made a presentation recently that was just colored slides fading in and out, like a rainbow. I put this gospel music to it — it was this wonderful, uplifting celebration," said Byrne.

tag your friends

This is an AWESOME new viral marketing campaign by TAG, a new body spray aimed at younger men. This site allows you to send a semi-stalkerish email from an anonymous hottie, to your friend. You get to customize the email, and pepper it with personal items about your buddy - so it stands out, gets his attention, and doesn't feel like spam.

Your buddy gets this strange email, from a female stalker, with items that indicate it's obviously from someone who knows him. Or has been stalking him. When he responds, he gets an auto reply that lets him know the whole thing's a joke - and was sent to him by you. And of course, a link to the product promotional site. Try it on your friend. The work was done by Arnold, Boston.

we got the funk

If you've been to our studio, you know that we've got the entire office wired with speakers - all hooked up to a 50 disk changer. Every Monday, VIA staffers bring in their CDs (anything goes here!) and the player is switched to random for the week. We believe music is a very important part of the creative process - and sharing that through the office is a lot of fun. One problem....

This week, everyone (except me) forgot to bring in their disks. While I was fine with that, the rest of the crew voted that it wasn't appropriate to listen to Heart, Moby, and 8 of my other personal choices. You see, they just don't have the experienced taste of a renowned musicologist. But anyway....

Here's what we discovered in the process: WeFunk radio. A super cool radio show from our Canadian friends, totally devoted to FUNK. You can download the podcast version to your ipod, or listen online via iTunes. Get funky!

it's getting hot in here

Need your website re-designed and your leftovers reheated? There's only one design firm up to the task. We've added a convection oven to our staple of multimedia and design tools. This will be used to toast bagles, reheat chinese food, and most importantly, to bake fresh cookies for that 3:00 sugar rush. Stop buy in the afternoon for fresh toll-house.

bad design kills

We've all seen bad design. At VIA, we obviously take design seriously, so when I found the site bad design kills, I passed it around right away. Check out the "Not Included" poster (in the propaganda section) its my fave, because it sums up what we are always saying around the office - just because someone has the tools, doesn't mean they have the skills. For proof, you should see Kevin use a hammer. Just remember, always hire talented designers who create work that won't kill people!

big wheel keeps on turnin'

Looking for an unusual idea for attracting attention outside the exhibition hall, or at your next sampling event? How about a wheelsurf? Because Segways no longer have 'wow' factor, you need something to draw a crowd. This would do it - although I'd guess you'll need to find someone to drive it. Can't exactly see your brand manager riding this around. But then again, maybe that could draw a crowd too.

bikers unite

We were pretty stoked to get the new Velo News Buyer's Guide, today. Prominent features from two of our clients - Iron Horse Bikes (we designed their current website, and product catalog), and Topolino Technology (we designed their product catalog and print advertising). Congrats to both!


We recently designed and launched a new site to promote the soundtrack for Robots - the Movie. You can preview songs from Ricky Fante, and Fountains of Wayne. All in cool, robot style. check it out!

girlie bag

I got a new bag this week. Some of you might know that Kevin and I are the "bag sluts" of the office - always looking for a new messenger bag. So I got this new Dickies bag, which I thought was totally cool - and pretty much everyone thinks it's a girl's bag. Leigh says "it's not necessarily a girl's bag, but it's not entirely a straight guy's bag, either." Thanks Leigh. So look out if you've got a client meeting scheduled with me anytime soon - and let me know what you think.
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