Philly Phorum ’14 Panel: Mobility as an Engagement Enabler

philly Phorum '14 keynoteOn April 10, digital strategists gathered at the World Café Live in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to explore the next wave of customer engagement using emerging digital technologies.

Fiberlink, an IBM company, was honored to host the first panel, “Mobility as an Engagement Enabler.” During this hour-long discussion, digital strategists from four diverse industry sectors shared their current mobile strategies and plans for future prosperity with mobile personalization driven by big data.

Moderator Joseph N. DiStefano, Business Reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, kicked off the panel by discussing his years watching mobility evolve from a second to first-screen experience. Joe then introduced

  • Scott Snyder Ph.D. – President and Chief Strategy Officer, Mobiquity
  • Michael Kinzly – Director of Business Solutions, WaWa
  • Joe Portale – Chief Technologist, Mobility Solutions, Lockheed Martin
  • Roy Rosin – Chief Innovation Officer, Penn Medicine

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come (or stay long)

The panel started with a serious and sobering fact: 70% of apps are deleted after sixty days. The chief culprits of this massive “app”bandonment are lack of clear long-term benefit to the consumer and failure to embrace emerging technologies. One new software update to a mobile OS can turn today’s darling into tomorrow’s frustrating and glitchy mess.

Snyder of Mobiquity delivered another revelation—the building of an actual app is only 20-30% of the work. Meaning, most organizations are still only at the beginning of their mobility journey. The next leg of this adventure will involve true personalization of apps powered by disparate systems feeding in a multitude of data sources.

The Convergence of BIG Data on Mobile

So, just how are these digital pioneers tethering BIG data and mobile?

WaWa: This all-in-one convenience store for everything from gas to grilled chicken salads has aggregated mountains of data from its customer purchases over the years, but only in the aggregate sense. Since the company prides itself on the consumer coming first, they have respected buyer privacy by never tracking purchases at the individual level. In the age of personalization though, there comes a time when consumers must share some information about themselves for a finely tailored shopping experience. To that end, WaWa is currently developing an app that will let customers choose whether the want to share their favorite items back with the organization.

Lockheed Martin: A company known on first blush for aeronautics, Lockheed actually serves a multitude of markets with mobility on their minds. Portale shared a scenario of battlefield logistics, where data and devices can become the Patton of the new millennium providing real-time field positions of troops and enemy combatants.

Penn MedicineThe focus of apps and mobility in medicine is being forged on two fronts. On one side, healthcare providers like Penn are using apps as community builders amongst patients to share their thoughts on treatment practices, connect with other patients, and offer a direct conduit to caregivers. Moving into the bleeding edge and integrating big data, technologies from companies like Proteus Data Health are enabling smart pills that give off signals to smarter devices so dosages and frequency are all meticulously monitored.

Protecting Privacy and Securing Endpoints

The conversation concluded with some words of caution regarding privacy and protecting data leaks.

Privacy has been an online concern since the first cookie was placed during a browsing session. Unfortunately, though the volumes of data being collected have increased over the years, privacy practices have remained fairly static. According to Snyder, privacy policies will need to be more fluid in our mobile future. A trust relationship will have to be built over time with users willing to relinquish more information as providers show true value to end users for the use of this precious information.

The security of mobile data is another crucial concern. For years the conversation around protecting mobility has been relegated to IT control of devices. As wearable and even consumable data collection points become the norm, we will need to think beyond device protection and even app safeguarding. The answer is a complete enterprise mobility management strategy that considers device end points, apps and data as one ecosystem that can all be monitored, managed and secured.

ALL NEW 52 DC COMICS: A COMPLETE (ish) LIST AND REVIEW

NEW 52 LOGOThere’s a nice young twenty-something lad at my local WaWa who will chat geek with me while I await my Barista Bar flavored coffee treat. The other day he said he was finally ready to get back into comics, specifically the New 52. “So, what’s your first trade going to be,” I asked, fearing I already knew the answer. “Justice League,” he retorted.

“Fuuuuuccccckkkkkk why does this happen every time,” resonated through my headspace.

Of course I know the answer. That first JUSTICE LEAGUE arc was the big news item. It’s the book that was covered by CNN and all of those credible media outlets with behemoth marketing budgets behind them. The book that had reach.

However, quantity of units sold is rarely the sign of quality. Every one-hit wonder and earwig we end up loathing after its 2 months half-life is indelible proof of this theorem.

“Dude, you having a stroke?” Obviously my face was more reflective of my mental yawp than I thought. “Why JUSTICE LEAGUE,” I murmured through pursed lips of rage. “I don’t know, seemed the central point.”

Hard to deny the logic here, but after 3 years into the New 52 experiment. That original JUSTICE LEAGUE story with the five years behind continuity and a team-up wonder team that just didn’t seem to gel on page, was the tarnished crown, not the crown jewel of the New 52.

In an effort to serve this nice young man and any others who might have missed the boat, but now want to jump on I give you the Rob Patey (Optimous Douche) complete New 52 frank talk. I’ve read multiple issues of every mother lovin one of them, and reviewed a high percentage of each title. Here though, the shall now live in one consolidated list.

The Stratums of a Universe- EMBRACE THEM 

Scott-Snyder-Rob-Patey

Comics CAN make you happy

There is much to love about the New 52, there really is. Fanboys to Fangeezers love to dwell on the car wrecks, but many books have shone brightly. One smart move given the cacophony of chaos leading up to the New 52 was to create a universe of different themes. So all books live in one of the following buckets: Justice League, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Young Justice, The Edge, The Dark and Other.

There was never an edict that we must buy every book on the shelf. Fanmen like myself, those of us weaned into DC from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS became used to buying every book because it was an affordable endeavor. Also, it was years before the rise of the powerful indie. We would have to wait until the early 90s until we got to a time average comic shops carried something other than Marvel and DC. Ahhhh early Image.

With this presentation in place fans could really go wherever they chose based upon their particular comic appetites. This was a good call, even if the plan has somewhat imploded on itself during this new age of infinite cross overs and events.

The New 52 A Complete (ish) Breakdown

 justice-league-new-52JUSTICE LEAGUE UNIVERSE

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Set five years before the events of all other books in the New 52, this was supposed to give our favorite heroes of Batman, Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg a back-story and context for their doings elsewhere. It was also supposed to be a nuclear explosion of action and impending danger. What we got were a bunch of petulant children inside big splash pages and yet another appearance of Darkseid, well, sorta. Darkseid appeared for about 2 pages. The rest of the time we watched our heroes act far too young for merely a five year trip back in time and act contradictory – personality wise, not maturity wise – from who they were in other books. I love Geoff Johns. I love Jim Lee. I do not love them together. Jim is too bombastic and Geoff is too intimate. What it left was a hollowness in the title until we got to Thrones of Atlantis. Forever Evil has caused a bit of the hollowness again, but the other books in the crossover make up for the loss. JUSTICE LEAGUE can be a rand read, it simply wasn’t until it was tied to a crossover or given a great back up story with Johns and Frank giving a new birth to Shazam.

AQUAMAN: The fish jokes have never been forced and I love a good reluctant King story as Arthur struggles between the love of his Father’s world and the underwater world of his Mother. Also, his relationship with Mara is one of the best love stories DC ha sever seen. Despite the fantastic elemnst of the book, this bond is very authentic.

THE FLASH: I hate Barry Allen, Wally West is my Flash. Book never stood a chance. I have dabbled in a few issues here and there and quite frankly it’s only when Barry acts in a smart ass fashion like Wally do I find myself interested.

GREEN ARROW: Here’s another one where I will show my image. My Ollie Queen is best buds with Hal Jordan and looks like Errol Flynn. This new guy is just sort of there. There’s no relationship between GA and Black Canary either, and this I truly can’t abide.

WONDER WOMAN: AMAZING! Azarello has created a story for the ages as Dinah battles her sisters and brothers of Olympus to keep Zeus’ latest bastard safe and sound. The mixing of mortals (the baby’s mother) and those that have fallen to mortality has kept one of the creepier titles of the New 52 a first read for me each month it drops.

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: I loves me some Amanda Waller, even this ultra skinny one who is more evil than pure Machiavellian. This is, I got enough of her SUICIDE SQUAD. I applaud a team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters, but this ain’t the crew. Baz versus Hal…please. Catwoman against Batman, I bet on the Bat. Martian Manhunter versus Superman, sure as long as Supes gets his eyes gouged out. Vibe versus Flash…WTF?????? Also, this title was born for a crossover and has lived tere since. It has had no time to set its own pace.

EARTH 2 AND WORLD’S FINEST: I’m a parallel universe whore so take this recommend with a grain of salt. Objectively I can say these books are most reflective of the time before New 52. It’s a more adult universe with a more realistic bend on how the globe would operate were it overrun with Gods. Power Girl and Huntresses’ “fish out of water” tale in WORLD’S FINEST has been an almost in-universe catharsis as they complain how young and inept the New 52 holy trinity is compared to their now deceased family members Reality Deux.

VIBE & KATANA: See JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA review for why these two members never should have had their own titles. Both were well written, they just simply couldn’t compete even within their universe for prominent shelf space.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: The first team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters were too laughable to live up to the mission, but not laughable in the Bwahahahaha sense. More awwwww. They couldn’t do the job and had no gravitas to balance the funny. It was a still born resurrection of the old title from the 80s.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000: This hot mess of resurrected JUSTICE LEAGUE members in the year 3000 is hilarious, fun and just introduced a stellar story element with forgotten “garbage earth.” Finally a JUSTICE LEAGUE and future book that got it right, right out of the gate.

CAPTAIN ATOM: He’s a man of the atom. I only read the first issue. Nowhere near as impactful as the miniseries a few years prior.

FIRESTORM: Another one issue and done read for me. Sorry, just didn’t grab me.

HAWKMAN: Ditto.

MISTER TERRIFIC: This was a tragic case of too many rich smart dudes in one universe syndrome. No one knew what to do with this guy. So they basically cast him off to EARTH 2, which no one except me was reading before Taylor took over. Great character and well done dialog along with future pay off continuity integration when Power Girl appeared. Sad sad sad waste of potential.

Batman_and_Robin_Vol_2-16_Cover

 BATMAN UNIVERSE

5 years before truly rocked these titles. Even though DC tried to ignore it from a story perspective, comic fans could not be mind wiped enough to do the math on the four Robins bounding about. I love Damian Wayne, so I wouldn’t have supported any decision that would have wiped him or any of the Robins clean off the map. However, each Robin being Bruce Wayne’s ward for about 6 months felt like a bit of a slap in the face to those of who watched Batman and his Robins build years long relationships.

Still hasn’t really been course corrected even with the fugazi of Tim Drake’s Red Robin ruse.

BATMAN: Snyder has done some bang up work in Bats, first introducing to the court of Owls and then rebuilding a bunch of other new mythologies for Gotham’s most famous families. I enjoyed Death of the Family, but I also understand the rage of some fans since there were no real deaths – simply betrayals and separations. In the beginning BATMAN required a balls deep commitment to Batman Universe books to get the full effect, but f you’ve been thirsting for an open story without the extra work I highly recommend joining the fun with Zero Year.

BATMAN INC. AND BATMAN & ROBIN: A true yin and yang relationship. BATMAN INC. delivered the atrocity of Damian’s life while BATMAN & ROBIN showcased the joy of a loving Father and Son relationship. These books also gave us Bat-Cow and Titus, two gifts I will forever be grateful for having read.

BATWING: every fiber of my being wanted to like this book, Winick and team have created a quality book here month after month. It was wise of DC not to squash this one even though it doesn’t bring the thunder and the noise. I stopped reading it solely for ideological reasons. I thought the Incorporating of Batman opened the Kimono too wide and squashed any willing suspension of disbelief. Don’t be a purist like I am kids, you are only cutting off your own nose.

BATWOMAN: Some of the most gorgeous art to grace a comic page. I wish I gave two shits about Batwoman.

BIRDS OF PREY: This one sadly annoyed me after the joy I had with the old book. I’m pissed Black Canary is no longer with Oliver Queen and I just couldn’t let that nagging sensation go enough to enjoy this book.

batgirl 16 coverBATGIRL: I’m fine with walkie Babs and absolutely dig her psycho Brother, James. Gail Simone has once again delivered the goods issue after issue. Babs is the heart of the Bat Family and that heart once again beats within enthusiasm as opposed to her somewhat maudlin existence as wheelie Babs Pre 52.

CATWOMAN: I loved this book under Winnick. The crazy hot passion between her and Bats, her cavalier attitude towards….everything, and some really well thought out heists and capers. Then Nicola Scott took over with some shit about Eclipso. Haven’t been back since that hot mess dark pall shrouded the fun.

DETECTIVE: A great Bat book for dabblers. If continuity gets you blue and you don’t have the resources to read everything on the shelves look no further than DETECTIVE. My favorite story to date was the Emperor Penguin takeover of Oswald Cobblepot’s empire.

NIGHTWING: I’m bugged by what the “five years before” have done to the ages of the Robins. I shun because I care.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS: Sadly, this has been a very good book that was mired in ridiculous controversy spurred by assed up mommy bloggers. Yes, Starfire is a wee bit more liberal with her orange ta-tas, but I say who the hell knows what an alien libido is like? Also, there are a ton of people who can’t abide the return of Jason Todd. Personally, I read the book for the camaraderie. Since we no longer have Ollie, Hal and Dinah these three are some very intriguing intergalactic wanderers.

HARLEY QUINN: A new entry that remains to be seen on staying power. The 4th wall breaking 0 issue left many wanting since we’re not all comic insiders. Follow-up issues have been a sadistic fairytale. The literal will walk. My advice is to just pretend that you are viewing the world through Harley’s eschewed lens and you will find a new level of joy in the adorable mayhem.

TALON: No, just no. Court of Owls were much more interesting as an entity than a personal tale of vengeance.

Superman_Unchained_1_

SUPERMAN UNIVERSE

Another five year before that just did not fly. ACTION was Ok, but the rest of the books not mired in the past barely skimmed the surface of who Superman truly is beyond the cape. The course has corrected over the past 6 months, but there are still some tall buildings Superman needs to traverse to get back on top.

ACTION: I love Grant Morrison, but I did not love ACTION. It had nothing to do with jeans and t-shirt Superman and much more to do with the plot that felt like Johns’ SECRET ORIGINS and the fact Clark never felt like a corn fed kid from Kansas. Oh, then he became a fireman or some shit. This book didn’t hit its stride until Pak took over with the issue 25 ZERO YEAR.

SUPERBOY: I honestly read the first issue and never came back. Kids in fluid tubes just don’t do it for me.

SUPERGIRL: This little lady course corrects every other thing wrong with the SUPERMAN UNIVERSE books. We feel her pain as she struggles to understand a world that fears her. We truly see a fawn on new legs. She has also been on some great intergalactic travels and quite recently became a Red Lantern. A plot line that helped give her book a goose and actually got me interested in RED LANTERN for the first time.

SUPERMAN: If you’re into the talks of mergers and the politics of media, you found your book for the first arc of Superman’s new life. If you like villains that don’t mean shit to anyone akin to the mutants of the week from Smallville, then stay for the next couple of arcs. If you like a good comic book where Superman must balancer his hero life and the world of Clark Kent, start reading SUPERMAN when Lobdell takes over.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED: I love how Snyder once again tried to inject real history into a title. I was on board for Sam Lane running a covert ops group compete with their own Superman. As we watched this Darkseid looking chap try to espouse the virtues of duty to country while Kal talks of saving humanity, you begin to realize why the New 52 was so necessary. The world is much bigger than it was in 1938; we need a hero that fights for truth, justice and that’s it really.

batmansuperman1BATMAN/SUPERMAN: Quite simply this is the book for everyone who hates the New 52. The interchange between our New 52 versions of B&S with their older and wiser counterparts on Earth 2 satiates fans new and old. This was also a great read for EARTH 2 and WORLD’S FINEST fans. Love seeing worlds that recognize God’s walk among them and where the Gods get off their asses for some proactive world management. The second arc of BATMAN/SUPERMAN finally gave Huntress and Power Girl to out themselves to their Earth Prime family members, making everyone’s lives a little less lonely.

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN: I’m pro on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship if for no other reason than it makes Batman more nervous than the Joker having a map of the cave. Soule is doing a bang up job showing the dichotomy between these two despite being similarly powerful. WW’s being raised as a goddess and Clark’s humble bringing will ultimately be their undoing in my opinion rather than the obvious return to Lois. In the mean time it’s nice to see some real relationship turmoil permeate the fantastical.

green_lantern_16_cover

GREEN LANTERN UNIVERSE

While there were no time travel shenanigans shoved into Gl, this was a book that remained virtually untouched from its pre Flashpoint happenings. Pretty much if it was written by Johns or Snyder the book was storyline saved from a reset. In this case it worked though as the universe course corrected around the Lanterns instead of the other way around. Lately, I have loved the fact the GLs are now the scourge of the universe since their mentors went batty. I’m also intrigued to see how long the corps can stop the other light spectrums from draining the universe’s emotional well. Sort of like being an arms control specialist in Compton.

GREEN LANTERN: Because we never skipped a beat from the old universe it’s safe to say the New 52 versions will sit just fine with lapsed readers. Johns continued to play with the light spectrum in the new universe as he dethroned the Guardians for a new universal order. Today, Hal is back in charge and Mogo takes the place of OA as the corps tries to get the rest of the light spectrum to conserve the finite well of power.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: John Stewart is one of the most tragic heroes in the DC Universe. Guy Gardner one of the most hilarious. Put them together and you noy only get a great buddy book, but one with consequence. Stewart continues to make tough choice after tough choice as guy finds a new home within the emotional spectrum. The road to getting to these destinations is well worth the read.

GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS: I won’t lie, it took this book a long time to get to the point – basically making Kyle Rayner the White Lantern and introducing to more humane set of Guardians who were locked away by the originals. Not necessary reading, but if you dig Kyle this was the only place to get him. What’s also been interesting is the friendship that formed between Kyle and Carol Ferris. A Carol with options beyond Hal causes some serious strife for our favorite hot headed pilot.

RED LANTERNS: I hated this book when it was released. The one note rage of the Red Lanterns was fine and dandy in a supporting world, but made for very two -dimensional focal points in their own title. Fortunately Guy Gardner came in to take over and kept some of his pre blood ingesting wits about him. The latest crossover with SUPERGIRL has been sensational.

LARFLEEZE: More like Larplease. Same issue I had with the red lanterns at the outset, the embodiment of one emotion is a very flat experience.

teen-titans-11 YOUNG JUSTICE UNIVERSE

This will be the biggest gaping hole in my review. For one, most of the books have been cancelled. Secondly, none of the kids have captured my imagination.

TEEN TITANS: No T tower, no Nightwing and no Marv Wolfman. No thanks.

BLUE BEETLE: I was done with BB the day Maxwell Lord put a bullet in his head. I like my Beetle as a fun nerdy science guy, not a mystical alien. Apparently the market agreed with me.

HAWK & DOVE: Bad art and a worse story. A trade you can skip. To be fair I never really cared about these characters. The only time Hawk was interesting was back when he took over the future during ARMAGEDDON 2001.

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES & LEGION LOST: I was never a big LoS guy, more a L.E.G.I.O.N. chap. Still, I went into these series with open eyes and mind. All we got was confusion and cross pollination between books performed by retarded bees. Not good, and a huge blow to the year 3000. Fortunately JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 has been able to save the future.

STATIC SHOCK: A title that never stood a chance. The editorial meddling is well documented and unfortunately there are still too many myopic white kids buying books for a black superhero to truly take hold.

THE RAVAGERS: This short lived title didn’t make a lick of sense, not a lick.

all star western cover THE EDGE UNIVERSE

Probably the most original and under appreciated corner of the New 52. Here is where Sci-Fi, westerns and more eclectic titles come to live and sadly die. The biggest problem with the The Edge, that like The Dark, many of these titles are set-ups for events rather than their own beasts.

ALL STAR WESTERN: The best Jonah Hex has ever been. His first few adventures in old time Gotham are great ole’ time tales and fish out of water stories. This series became even better by placing Dr. Arkham as Jonah’s dandy sidekick.

STORMWATCH: A tragedy and travesty from how good this book once was. I reiterate the point I made at the outset; you can’t place a pastiche of the JUSTICE LEAGUE in-continuity with the JUSTICE LEAGUE. I was right, as exhibited by the reboot around issue 20 when Jim Starlin came on. Now, I have no idea what the hell this book is trying to accomplish.

suicide squad 20 coverSUICIDE SQUAD: It kills me to see what happened to this book. A black ops group of criminals that was tons of fun until it had to go serve its crossover masters. This was also where Amanda Waller was at her best.

THE MOVEMENT & THE GREEN TEAM: Meant to be an analogy for our current economic class imbalances, one was mildly interesting and one was simply atrocious. Ever wonder what the world would be like if rich kids had even more in this world they didn’t have to work for? Neither did anyone else, which made GREEN TEAM wither on the vine. THE MOVEMENT was decent about poor kids with powers in New Orleans, but even Gail Simone couldn’t save it from the chopping block next month.

O.M.A.C, GRIFTER, VOODOO, TEAM 7, THRESHOLD, BLACKHAWKS, MEN OF WAR: Some of these were decent, but again they lived to simply serve cross overs, the need to integrate Wild Storm universe events, or were kept so separate from the rest of the new 52 there was really no reason to care. My favorite of the bunch was MEN OF WAR, but it also made one realize how unnecessary mere mortals are when capes are around. Not a great message about the armed services in a time when our country jumps from one war to the next.

justice league dark 23 cover THE DARK UNIVERSE

An original world of magic, might and cynicism. I love this corner of the DCU even if I am beyond pissed about its perpetual implosion of titles.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: A fine book when once again it is allowed to breathe. DC needs this book as desperately as Marvel needs to bring back Dr. Strange. Magic has a place in the superhero world. This team is a fine departure from straight fist-to-cuffs.

SWAMP THING: I never liked the character, yet I am still pissed I shunned the title. I heard it’s good. Any thoughts?

TRINITY OF SIN: PHANTOM STRANGER & PANDORA: Basically vehicles for the Forever Evil crossover. Vehicles more unnecessary than the Pacer.

CONSTANTINE 1 COVERCONSTANTINE: A fine attempt at making the main DCU a little darker. WARNING – this ain’t Vertigo. If that’s what you are looking for you will find this Constantine less than edgy. When placed against other books though he is absolutely bawdy. Decide what you want from your JC.


ANIMAL MAN:
I am livid about the end of this book. I could care less about Buddy Baker’s ability to mimic animals, but I loved the fact we had a superhero with a real family and real family problems. This adoration grew even more with the complexity of Buddy trying t manage a budding acting career. This is the best book to ever get cancelled.

DEMON KNIGHTS: Another original title about the team that would one day become STORMWATCH assuming they could escape the middle ages. Very adult and very good. Also, very cancelled.

FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E: DC’s successful swing at a BPRD league of weird powered super heroes. Fish chick, wolf man and an immortal leader in the body of a small girl this book had weird counterbalanced by Frank’s huge bleeding heart. The issue where he had to kill his child was probably one of the best moments of the New 52 that only I and handful of others ever saw.

I, VAMPIRE: Mary was made a vampire by John. John felt pretty bad about this and spent eternity repenting. He also had to spend it fighting Mary since she kind of dug the ultra violence. One of the most messed up and bloody love stories in comics that just never took hold with fans.

END ANALYSIS

I really feel the New 52 is just coming into its own finally after three years. The rough spots have been smoothed and the books that will work are here to stay while the experiments become fewer and fewer. DC is not Image, they need to realize they are managing icons inside an equally iconic universe. DC main is not just stories – frankly that’s what Vertigo is for.

I still hold to the fact only two books should have been released at reset time: DETECTIVE and ACTION. From there, let new ancillary characters build who are reflective of now instead of then. I know this doesn’t work from a cash and licensing standpoint, but universes like EARTH 1 have ben critically and revenue proven to be the right choice.

Also, I’m dumbfounded by the dogmatic adherence to 52 titles. It was a cute nod to FINAL CRISIS and the multiverse, which hasn’t truly been explored since. It’s an albatross keeping great books either obscured from sight or weighed down carrying the lesser titles, and bad books getting the green light simply to fill an artificial quota.

I wouldn’t write 4,000 plus words about a topic unless I vehemently believe it is worth the time and can be improved. Also, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t care. Take stock and heed of this DC and realize you have great stories in you as long as you can kick the fucking suits and money-men out of the bullpen.

MY LITTLE PHONY 1 REVIEW – BITING SATIRE AGAINST THE BRONY PLIGHT

my little phony cover MY LITTLE PHONY: FANDOM IS TRAGIC: ONE SHOT
Writers: Mike Moreci & Steve Seeley”
Artists: Ken Haeser & Kewbar Baal
Publisher: Dynamite
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche, Ain’t It Cool News) 

It took Clydesdale size balls to write and publish this book, so to all involved I applaud you.

Simply based off the title I gleefully tore into this book to watch a Brony Bashing. The old man in me honestly found the Brony phenomenon endearing in its inception. It was a few men that earnestly wanted to connect to the little ladies in their lives who loved My Little Pony. I was also enamored with the fact anothe 80s staple had captured the next generation (take that shit Starwberry Shortcake).

Then, like all good things, fandom found a way to cheapen this sweet outreach of a few good men to every fucking pervert who was never loved by their parents. Now we live in a world with everything from Brony Hair Braid Extensions to Brony Buttplugs. Bravo, humanity you always fail to disappointment.

MY LITTLE PHONY s not just an indictment of the Brony phenomenon though, it’s an indictment of anyone who has let fandom of anything become an all consuming affair.

To avoid copyright entanglement, while still keeping things in the realm of believability (at least in the beginning of the book), we have replaced My Little Pony with My Little Horsey. Not the most imaginative fix, but it works. Our setting is SDCC, where the new modernized version of this 80s staple is about to be premiered.

bronies2

Enjoy the eternal solitude boys(ish)

This new CG version is both revered and reviled. The naysayers are typical 40 something fangeezer who can’t let go of yesterday. On the pro side are the 2 something hipsters, who think just because you mash a bunch of old shit together you have created something new and soooooo original.

While the two sides clashed, it was clear you could take the noun Horsey and slap it on to almost any area of geekdom: Transformers, Smurfs, Jem…hell even New 52 or Marvel Now. There’s a fine line between reverence and aping, just as there is an even fine line between updating and change so monumental there is nothing left of the original.

Sadly, there’s no answer here, merely opinions. As my Father always told me, “opinions are like assholes and 99% of them stink, yours included.” As we all know though, these mere words can incite feuds both online and IRL that can last decades.

In MY LITTLE PHONY the boys take the ire of fandom straight to the worst-case scenario – Armageddon. How they get there is hilarious and I refuse to ruin it. I’ll just say, that in order to be the alpha and omega of Horsey cosplay hipster and fangeezer alike end up inadvertently making famed verse of revelations finally come to fruition. It was during these grafts and alterations the art talent in this book had their chance to shine.

I’m not sure if other Dynamite parody titles exist or are in the works. If not, I’ll write them. This is a damn good idea that when done well like MY LITTLE PHONY delvers laughs and a morality lesson none of us should ignore.

SANDMAN OVERTURE 2 REVIEW: 1 Sandman, 2 Sandman, Feldspar Sandman, Disembodied Trout Sandman

sandman overture 2 coverSANDMAN OVERTURE 2
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: JH Williams III
Publisher: Vertigo
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka  Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

All right, let’s shoot the white melting elephant in the corner first: this book was hella delayed. I’m sure the industry line will be it was on a quarterly schedule, but sorry that doesn’t satiate the ADD world of comics. If it’s a floppy…it better drop monthly.

However, if the glorious Escher intricacy doesn’t beg enough forgiveness, I think the Eisner style home Williams crafted on the first splash page will quell a bit of your fanman ire. If those two things don’t work, you don’t know how difficult art is to create, especially well thought out and paced art with a million Easter eggs of intricacy hidden throughout the book’s panel. NO ONE is dialing this in. If it takes 3 months for this uber quality, I’ll reset my expectations.

Now, for the story. First a mea culpa to Gaiman and all of you true Sandfanatics out there. The gathering of Sandmen from across the universe is merely metaphorical so wee humans can ride with this mystical being.  From Sandfauan, to Sandrobot to Sandcat, they are all the same Sandman, just in a multitude of forms. Is he talking to himself then? You betcha, sorta…but one would expect the embodiment of dreams to be a few standard deviations off center. So, all of you who caught this continuity gaffe, deserve the wettest of dreams for keeping the faith.

Basically this issue drives forward the great mystery of how a facet of dream could be negated from existence. The answer as in any ecosystem is of course a higher power. After some dandying about again in the way back past, in a lovely interlude with a homeless woman who remembers when dream was entrapped so many years ago in SANDMAN 1, we go back to the void in space where the Sandmen…man gathered last issue.

Only this time there is an alpha among them and it’s not our Sandman. Well, it is our Sandman, but the earliest incarnation, the one that guided the dreams of Gods. Next metaphysical jump and we are presented with the embodiment of Glory (and please help me here fans if I miss details or past references as I am still making my way through the first series). This very British version of Teddy Roosevelt tells of a star that has gone mad and shaken the foundations of reality out of their ever watching complacency.

Next jump, Sandman is off to meet God. Well, his Father, who I assume is God. Again, if someone knows better, please share your knowledge with the group. Or, better yet, don’t. New readers as well as those of us who have dabbled with the sincerest intent to one day go deeper, will enjoy the unveiling of abstracts come to form by Gaiman’s pragmatic insanity. The man is still able to surprise while at the same time inducing smack yourself on forehead for missing the most obvious embodiments of everything. Of course Glory would be a British stuffed shirt. Yeah, Death would these days be goth versus monk.

Gorgeous art and an amazing universe to return to (or step into for the first time). Yes, delays are troubling, but in a time when all books are destined or trade no one will remember drop dates, but everyone will remember a story so elevated Williams had to create new panel schemes simply to make SANDMAN OVERTURE palatable for our myopic views of the universe.

Marketing for Morons: Why I Dislike Your Likes on FaceBook

Facebook likes suckOK Facebookers, here’s your first lesson on why you can take your thumbs up likes and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

Likes suck. They are the equivalent of getting a handshake at the end of a date. Sure, you get to touch some skin, but let’s face it, it isn’t the skin you want to be touching.

Like kissing your sister or taking your mom to prom, likes are a hollow platitude that do nothing for your writer/marketing friends.

Shares are where marketers and any writers get any kind of reach for their work. And if you share correctly, you might just make your marketing or writing friend a superstar. 

No One Reads Likes

Social Media has exponentially increased the amount of content on the Web and the amount of information a person needs to distill each day. How often do you read in full the stuff YOU actually like on Facebook? Be honest? Maybe 3 out of 10 articles or posts. I know that’s my average.

Now, how often fro you read your friends and families likes? Never? That’s what I thought. FaceBook likes are the equivalent of mastubatory marketing. You can say you did it. You can say it happened often, but ultimately you should be ashamed for this go-absolutely-nowhere metric.

Likes Go Nowhere

Let me expand on that last sentence. Scientists and countless camwhores have proven that pictures and prominence garner clicks. Because they hold such a subdue spot on your FaceBook page, your friends never see them and  thus never share them.

“I’m Stupid and Have No Idea How to Share”

It’s OK, you’re like 2 or 3 other people in the world. Here’s your steps:

  1. Read something awesome
  2. Hit share
  3. ADD A MESSAGE: Was that clear? Shares that come with a personal message like “check this out” reach far more people
  4. Ensure the pic comes through: Pics matter, you must have pics for clicks. If the original article didn’t have one, shame on the writer. They are not worth sharing. Like them and move on.
  5. #’s Matter: Adding hashtags of the original keywords in the article is important for search. Vital actually if you post on Google +. If unsure on hashtags to add, simply boost the keywords at the bottom of the article or post. Or use relevant keywords from the title or URL of the piece.

Thank you from every writer and marketer in the world.

Mobility Management 101: Talking Tech to Teachers & Staff

As schools and universities across the globe trade their textbooks for tablets and slide rules for smartphones, the IT staff of these institutions must rise to the challenge of protecting and managing these new endpoints of burgeoning knowledge.

To aid in this vital endeavor, Fiberlink, an IBM company, hosted a 1-hour Webinar to help translate common mobility management terms into staff and teacher speak . According to webinar hosts Frank Gentile and Tyler Hoy, education mobility specialists with Fiberlink, the toughest challenge facing IT in education is evangelizing the virtues of mobile device management, mobile app management and mobile content management to budget approvers and teachers within the school district.

Unlike other industries, educational organizations often rely on bootstrap resources to manage smartphones and tablets. There are even scenarios where there are no IT resources within a district, leaving teachers with the burden of managing a technology landscape that is still misunderstood even within the most erudite IT circles.

To find out just how many schools are currently contemplating mobility, the Webinar opened with a simple poll to determine the audience’s timeframe for mobile enablement. 40% of attendees were already in a pilot program for implementing mobile devices. Another 40% had plans to initiate a pilot program before the close of this school year, while the final 20% were ready to launch a program before the end of the current calendar year.

Mobile Policies Prevent “Running in the Halls”

School is as much about learning societal rules as it is about facts and formulas. With the proliferation of mobile communication and productivity applications, students would be wise to learn the mobile rules of conduct they will be expected to follow when they enter the workforce. Policies within a mobility management platform are those first lines of defense, just as a hall monitor stops kids from pushing and shoving their way to class.

According to the second Webinar poll, over 50% of attendees were not enforcing basic policy protection (like passcodes) or remediation for lost or stolen devices (like blocking or wiping a device).  To take the severity of the situation another step, policies also quickly enable access to WiFi, apps and school content. Some participants said they were relying on Apple Configurator to meet some of these needs, but the need to physically tether devices to a management console leaves little to no room for scalability. Also, this approach only addresses one OS, Apple. In a world where Android dominates the consumer market and schools look to cut costs by relying on Bring Your Own Device Programs, the Configurator model breaks down rapidly.

With mobility management solutions like MaaS360, all devices are enrolled into the system and configured over the air. This means with the push of one button, IT (or a teacher) can easily push a notification to students via SMS or email. Once a student hits “accept”(or whatever custom End-user Licence Agreement, or EULA, the school wishes to enforce), the device is enrolled and policies are enforced.

Now, not only are devices connected to network resources, but also the administrator now has a clear view of the school’s digital footprint. Device types, installed apps, OS types and versions are all easily accessible from the front-page watchlist. If a student tries to jailbreak or root the device, policies spring into action to place the mobile rapscallion in digital detention until they are back in compliance. Digital detention can also be used when passcode entries reach their limit or for devices not on the latest and greatest operating system version (or to keep devices on older OS versions until all the bugs are worked out in the latest and greatest).

Learning: There’s an App for That!

school-lockersIn actuality there are thousands of apps that can harness the power of young minds and further foster the teacher student relationship in the digital age. However, IT has struggled with the best way to distribute the apps they want on phones and control time wasters like Flappy Bird or Candy Crush.

Enter Mobile App Management. With this tool in place IT can blacklist (ban) or whitelist (allow) both public and custom developed apps. Another popular control model is Kiosk mode, while often used in retail environments for point of sale or inventory lookup, this mode can be customized to turn school owned devices into running just the apps set by IT.

Mobile Container: The School’s Cleanest Locker

For enterprising schools that want to reap the cost savings of Bring Your Own Device, a mobile container would be the wisest choice for true security.

The container acts as a partition keeping school email, documents, apps and even web browsing in a separate passcode protected space. Even school-owned devices can benefit from these controls especially from the perspectives of web access and content distribution. A safe internet playground is not only the norm these days for students at home it also allows schools to meet Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements with robust filters based on categories or specific URL blocking.

Also of security note: within the containerized document sharing environment schools can abandon free cloud collaboration tools like Dropbox and Google Docs for a private cloud alternative. This low-cost, but infinitely more secure, alternative facilitates permission controls, sharing and even editing of the most popular file types being used today.

For the final poll of the Webinar, Fiberlink asked attendees what part of mobility management was most pressing for their district. App management was the clear winner taking 50% of the votes, while over-the-air configuration, digital detention, content control and secure browser shared the rest of the votes.

Educating (and Monitoring) the Educators

While much of the webinar and following Q&A focused on the needs of students, Frank and Tyler were quick to mention the ability to bring teachers and staff into the mobility management fold. Since MaaS360 policies can be customized into groups, the rules for adults on campus can be more flexible than the rules placed on students while ensuring their devices that are carrying sensitive student records can be located, blocked or even wiped in an adverse event.

Savvy school budget and IT leaders are rapidly learning that mobile is a first, not second screen experience, requiring the same controls and safety measures as more archaic endpoints like laptops and desktops.  Mobile device management, mobile app management and mobile content management are questions of when, not if.

TABATHA 1-4 COMIC BOOK REVIEW: A F$#@ Doll By Any Other Name

Tabatha_1_largeTABATHA 1-4
Writer: Neil Gibson
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Publisher: TPUB
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

I “met” Neil Gibson about three or four years ago. By met, I mean Neil basically flooded my email box asking me to take a look at an anthology graphic novel he was working on called TWISTED DARK. I lost some of Neil’s emails and then I ignored a few others since my indie plate was already full. What a fool I was. TWISTED DARK was the modern evolution of the Twilight Zone concept, great stories and characters with a twist at the end. Only unlike Twilight Zone, Neil had taken the concept of less than happy ending to hyperbole – kind of like going to an Asian massage parlor and getting the chick with two prosthetic claws. Neil doesn’t deal in sunshine and flowers, he dosen’t even deal in reality where sometimes things actually do work out for the best – Neil is a shit who will doom us all and his first sequential four issue comic, TABATHA, is the epitome of his hatred for a brighter tomorrow.

TABATHA tells the tale of four twenty somethings living in Los Angeles. There’s Luke the mail carrier, his big brother and protector Fin, Fin’s girlfriend Baily and her Brother and Fin’s best friend Ty. It’s important to understand the intricate lattice of these relationships because it is the driving force of the story. While the plot consists of these four being undone by their dirty deeds, Neil needed to establish the kinship of the four to understand why each would continually enter the gaping maw of insanity for one another.

The four start the story in a bit of a Robin Hood adventure to get money to pay for Baily and Ty’s terminally ill Mother’s medical treatment. Luke basically cases empty houses while on his postal route and later that night the four swoop in. A fine and dandy plan until they one day stumble into the wrong house of an SFX maestro in the Hollywood Hills.

Luke is the first to fall once he discovers the SFX Troll, Gustav, has coveted a plastic fuck doll named Tabatha who he is trying to imbue with the life essence of real (kidnapped) women.

Sound incredible, almost ridiculous? Of course it does, and in the hands of another writer I would have walked from the premise alone. However, in knowing Gibson, I also know he has a way of making the seemingly trite rife with depth and emotion. For every ounce of twist in Gibson’s writing soul, live three greater parts of spotless and engaging character development. As each member of the gang falls, they are undone essentially by their own unique personality quirks. Luke falls because he is an asshat who goofs around on the job and does some unspeakable things to Tabatha as Gustav leeringly looked on. Fin’s Achilles heel is his natural predilection to protect Luke.  Baily and Ty have different motivators, but their love for the other two certainly don’t help in avoiding Gustav’s evil machinations.

Gustav is naturally insane, however that’s not to say he is completely crazy. After much bloodshed and a surprisingly low lack of body count, Gibson gives the appearance that for once, he might actually let his protagonists live in peace. I won’t ruin the end, but it is certainly an indictment on the general male predisposition to treat real ladies like fuck dolls and a stark warning of the old saying, be careful what you wish for.”

Wijngaard is a tougher nail for me to hammer with review insight. Some panels are splendid and glorious with detail. Others feel a little too loose, almost like he had to sacrifice some painstaking detail so the book could meet deadlines. I don’t fault Wingaard because usually Gibson’s lofty ambitions are handled by several artists like in the TWISTED DARK short stories (now up to the sick and twisted Vol.4).

I usually wish all of my favorite creators the platitude of bigger characters with bigger houses so they don’t fester in indie obscurity. I won’t give that to Gibson and it’s purely my own selfishness want to hold him back. Some guys are simply meant for indies, crafting originality instead of trying to infuse a sense of originality into tired brands and product placement tent poles. I guess  I could wish him luck in universes like Image, Dark Horse or Vertigo, but that would be it. I want more TABATHA and TWISTED DARK from Neil versus a bat emblem or a mutant massacre.