Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

G.I. Joe (Monkeybar TV)

Thursday, 8 February 2007; 10:03

This one is not only for boys still in their childhood, but also grown men who have never outgrown their G.I. Joe action figures. (Girls, you had Barbie and it was a doll.) And, it is a counterpoint to the ever-popular EverythingGirls.com also found here at The Distillery.

The G.I. Joe site is quite impressive. There are games and online cartoons. Also found are comic books, wallpapers, and the now oft’seen TV commercials placed online. However, the latter are not used as the site’s primary content as is seen all too frequently. Kudos to Hasbro’s Monkeybar TV and G.I. Joe for a site well done. (Okay little and big boys alike, let’s play!)

Home page:  G.I. Joe
Cartoons:  G.I. Joe
Home page:  Monkeybar TV

Quite the big gun you have there, Joe.

Litespeed

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 20:19

Few know it, but before Trek came along seven-times Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, rode a Litespeed titanium bicycle. In fact, he liked the company’s bikes so much that he paid for his own custom-built Litespeeds instead of riding the standard team issue bikes supplied for free by another manufacturer. For those few hardcore cyclists out there, let us have a look at this interview and what Litespeed is up to these days.

Home page:  Litespeed

Approximately $10,000 and it’s yours!

NotForNoobs.com (unwrapped)

Wednesday, 23 August 2006; 15:08

Microsoft and Razer have taken the wraps off over at NotForNoobs.com. And what was the suspense about? And, how did The Distillery know beforehand, which is evidenced by the picture of a mouse used in the first posting?

Answer: After much deliberation, reading chicken entrails, and consulting broken crystal balls, The Distillery merely guessed at what would be one of the most boring things in the world about which Microsoft would make a big deal. (Please do not try this at home. Reading chicken entrails is not for noobs.)

Home page: NotForNoobs.com

Microsoft-Razer Habu laser mouse graphic

Davison Design

Thursday, 3 August 2006; 15:06

We have all had a great invention idea, right? In fact, each of us has likely had a couple of good ideas for inventions. However, bringing that idea of an invention to actual fruition is not easy. That’s where you need an established firm like Davison Design on your side. Davison Design has been featured in BusinessWeek magazine and has won two BusinessWeek-sponsored design contests. That’s a lot, but The Distillery will let Davison Design President and CEO G. M. Davison tell you more in this video.

Davison Design licenses inventions from ordinary people like me and you and helps make them available to major corporations as additions to their present product lines or as entirely new products. From research, design, packaging, prototyping, and even making samples available, Davison Design has the experience, personnel, resources, and track record. (Important note: Davison Designs cannot and does not promise your idea will generate revenue, cash, income, money, etc.)

Davison Design uses their own unique and systematic Inventegration® process. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It is. Inventegration is a breakthrough concept developed and implemented only by Davison Design and for its inventory of inventors, possibly including you and your invention. So, why now are you waiting? You have the great idea; Davison Design may well have the wherewithal. It sounds like a match made in heaven.

Home page: Davison Designs

Davison Designs BikeBoard graphic

Davison Designs graphic

EverythingGirl.com

Thursday, 27 July 2006; 14:10

PixelChix? Polly Pocket? Barbie? Yes, all those famous young ladies and more at EverythingGirl.com. This site is part of the Mattel empire, but is clearly for girls only. (So what am I doing there? Miss Scarlett, I dunno nuthin’ ’bout little girls!)

The site is blatantly commercial, and if you have read other postings here, you likely have an idea about where The Distillery stands on advertising directly to children. It is most definitely frowned upon. Children simply are not capable of exercising good consumer judgment or making somewhat sound purchasing decisions until they are in their lower- to mid-teen years. And with parents today seeming to pay little attention to what their kids are paying attention, I have to wonder about my own field — marketing. Are we really that bad? I’m afraid so.

That noted, it is refreshing to see a Parents Section at Barbie.com. And, some very good advice is offered parents. The Distillery strongly suggests that parents read and follow the guidelines to keep their little girl(s) safe online.

However, do you sit down with your little girl(s) the entire time they are allowed to surf the internet? Have you installed parental control software? Do you use the content control features of your browser? If you can answer “No” to any of those questions, you might pause a moment and give the issue — and your daughter’s safety — a bit more thought.

Let me now put aside my self-righteous marketing cap and look at the site as might a little girl. (Once again I remind you that I don’t know anything about little girls. I’ve never even been around them!) The sites are very well designed for their target audience. Each is loaded with lots of pink and pastel colors. The soundtracks are certainly loud enough. There are plenty of bright and sparkly things, several games and activities, and lots of places to click and explore.

In other words, EverythingGirl.com and its “sister sites” probably will hold a child’s attention for a decent amount of time. Beyond that, and now that you’ve been pointed to the sites, I’ll let you think and act as you feel best regarding blatant online promotions targeting little girls, your daughters, and their internet access and activities. But as was always said at the beginning of Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

Home page: EverythingGirl.com

What a minute here! Blatant sexism is running rampant! There’s no EverythingBoy.com! Bummer. What’s up with that, Mattel?

Parental Internet Safety graphic

Can-Am

Friday, 7 July 2006; 14:31

Somebody got this one right. Who cares if you’re really not doing anything?* It’s like that air guitar you have over there in the corner. (If you can honestly say that you don’t have one in a corner somewhere, you might wish to check in with reality.) And, it’s Friday. Take a ride on Can-Am’s Bombardier ATV. When you finish, download yourself a video. Now, go home.

* For some truly inane and silly fun, and if you have a fast computer and a fast hand, click back and forth between Film, Return To Glory, and Historical Timeline for a weird and slightly trippy ride.

Can-Am vehicle

Tony Hawk Foundation

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:37

Here’s da man! Tony Hawk! (If you are finding yourself unaware of this name, you’re getting old.) This guy has almost single-handedly brought skateboarding into the big money. His skateboarding video game is great and has sold millions of copies. And, he has started the Tony Hawk Foundation which:

Since 2002, the Tony Hawk Foundation has awarded 291 skatepark grants, worth more than $1.3-million. The Foundation’s Board of Directors meets twice annually to review grant applications from municipalities and community groups pursuing public skateparks. The Board favors projects that demonstrate the greatest need, significant involvement of skaters at every step of the skatepark process, and a commitment to hiring experienced skatepark specialists to ensure a quality park.

Is there a skatepark in your community? If not, then your kids very likely need one. It may not even cost as much to build as one might think, given grants specifically for such skateparks are available from the Tony Hawk Foundation. And you wonder why this guy, if you’ve heard of him, is a hero to skateboys and skategirls everywhere?

Tony Hawk Foundation logo

Ollie Pop Bubble Gum Co.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:05

Yea, I like rap. So what’s it to you? To Ollie Pop Bubble Gum, it’s a great background beat with several different songs selected by D J Pain for a very cool skateboarding-oriented web site. (Yea, I’m an ol’skool skateboarder. As I tell the kids, they weren’t invented just yesterday. And as I tell too many adults, remember to never grow up.)

If the site played through the entire playlist instead of endlessly repeating whichever beat/song picked, it would be more engaging and likely to hold its intended audience’s short attention spans. The repetition eventually wears thin if one stays at the site to see all, albeit relatively little that is dynamical, that is there. However, different music is only a mouse click away. If I were still a “skateboarding-is-my-life” kid (vs. occasionally as an adult), I’d definitely have the Ollie Pop Bubble Gum among my favorites/bookmarks.

A few relevant excerpts from the Ollie Pop site:

Ollie Pop infuses the confectionary [sic] industry with new life with its cool skater image. Also, our sponsored riders are influential icons to today’s young consumers. Yesterdays [sic] role models were athletes like Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, and Eric Dickerson, while the youth of today emulate Sports Action figures like: Tony Hawk (upcoming at The Distillery), Eric Koston, Todd Richards, and Kelly Slater. Numbers don’t lie, over 10 million kids now participating in boardsports globally.

Ollie Pop’s mission is to encourage the expansion of board sports as a positive outlet for today’s youth, represent skateboarding in a truthful manner, and provide exposure for core companies that have fostered the growth of board sports. Building customer loyalty by providing top quality bubblegum and connecting the consumer with the world of Action Sports is our number one priority.

One last thing: I very much like Ollie Pop’s wallpapers featuring their cartoon spokesperson, Johnny Pop. The advertising does not leap out and bite you. As advertising to kids goes, it pretty much passes muster until one clicks on Free Stuff —> Giveaways. Tucked elsewhere and not at the registration point, Ollie Pop’s privacy statement reveals:

We sometimes share the personal information you provide with companies not owned or affiliated with Ollie Pop who want to market products or services to you. If you want us to stop using the personal information you provided in this way, please contact us at sales@olliepop.com.

Tell me. What kid, even if restricted to those over thirteen years old, will bother to read that–if they see it at all–before quickly giving up their e-mail address in hopes of winning an undisclosed prize? Parents, are you paying attention?

Ollie Pop logo 01

Chris Lambert, 5-0 backside grind image

Giggles.net

Tuesday, 30 May 2006; 15:19

Giggles.net is home to Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby. But first, a confession (paraphrased): “Miss Scarlett, I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!” That is, I know very little about children and whatever they truly enjoy. That said, Giggles.net appears to offer an excellent product that allows babies to do what I have observed babies do best–bang on things, specifically in this case your computer’s keyboard without the danger of losing or harming your applications and data.

I have just one quibble with the site. If you click on View Demos on the home page, a new window opens that begins a new audio-visual presentation, but the home page presentation does not stop. You therefore are barraged by competing sales spiels. To avoid that one needs merely to wait for the home page audio to cease before viewing the demos.

Giggles graphic Giggles graphic 02

Walkman (SONY Europe)

Sunday, 28 May 2006; 16:57

One kind reader of The Distillery seemed to take slight exception with my calling iPods nothing more than glorified Walkmans. However, from the company that can very easily lay claim to the notion of personal portable music we [again] have the SONY Walkman (in MP3 form).

Two decades ago when the first Walkman became popular, no one cared about the music (a.k.a. “playlists” in the 21st century) to which others might be listening as earbuds began appearing on subways and in listeners’ ears. So why now does it make the news? I can only surmise that our current fascination with any particular individual’s playlist (e.g., Hillary Clinton, George “What the…?!” Bush) is a harbinger of the apocalypse.

SONY MP3 Walkman NW-A3000 (20 GB) WalkmanWalkman

WickedLasers.com

Friday, 5 May 2006; 8:32

Almost full week later than promised by Time-Warner, The Distillery is back online! (BTW, would that qualify as a DOS attack? Hmmm….)The only good thing I can say about the horrific experience is that I at least received two months free service for their incompetence. Oops, I almost forgot to thank Jamie King (Tech 90), the superb Time-Warner technician and gentleman who worked overtime to get things rolling again. And now, on with the business at hand.

Today, I bring you Wicked Lasers. No, not exactly the toy-like lasers one can buy off a store’s convenience rack, but real honest-to-goodness burn-through-things lasers.

Have a look at the light show revealed by pointing a laser at a diamond. And, what happens when one points a Wicked Laser at a water-filled balloon? Wicked Lasers have been used in commercial for a beer unknown to me, a Heineken commercial, and on the hit TV program, CSI.

Wicked Lasers logo

Spyder model laser

CASIO G’zOne TYPE-R

Monday, 24 April 2006; 15:48

CASIO G’zOne TYPE-R. Quite a mouthful, eh? Well, it’s a name worth speaking. This has to be one of the coolest looking phones/compasses/PDAs/cameras/clocks/kitchen sinks I have seen. And why is it that the very best Japanese gadgets never make it across the Pacific? (But yes, this site is entirely in Japanese. Should someone out there wish to help with a little translation, the assistance will not be turned away.) Even so, this is one very slick web site.

One other thing: Note the excellent 3-D effects obtained even when adhering to de facto standards (i.e., Macromedia Flash). CASIO’s message gets out even if one does not speak the language. The same cannot be said for Maserati’s attempt at 3-D.

G'zOne logo