Chile’s Calbuco Volcano

On Wednesday, Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted twice, blasting smoke plumes and ash, 6 miles into the sky. It’s been 4 years since the last eruption and it triggered concerns that the volcanic ash could contaminate water, trigger respiratory illnesses and halt more flights. Most of the 1,500 residents had evacuated, but some refused to leave their homes and animals. So far no injuries have been reported. Just extraordinary photographs.


via The Weather Channel

Steve Jobs Knew How to Run a Meeting

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

He was one of the greatest minds to ever walk this earth. We can only dream to create the level of success he achieved and to inspire others as well as he did, and continues to inspire even after death. YouTube account EverySteveJobsVideo posted a mash up of clips from a NeXt company retreat that Steve had organized and showcases some of his amazing anecdotes on how to run a an amazing company. Watch. Learn. Apply.

Casey’s Vlog

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.38.03 PM

I’ve written about Casey Neistat before on the blog, he’s a great film maker and better storyteller. Worth while and must see videos, and usually short which works great with peoples schedules. He’s recently started a new “fix” for people who fiend for more of his videos, a vlog. It’s just whats happening in his life… outside of his Snapchat… and Instagram. Anyway, check out the first episode and then binge watch to catch up. He’s on to 27 or 28 now and I’ve embedded the first one. So get going!

Happy Belated RSD/This Is Not A Camera

rsd1

Who could have expected Record Store Day to be so divisive among record collectors? The idea of encouraging people to buy vinyl and support indie record shops seems like it would be universally loved among hardcore music fans. If you like shiny new records, good for you. Make some friends in line and hopefully share coffee and donuts with them. If you don’t want to mix with freaks and flippers, don’t go. Visit a thrift shop while the sweaty mobs pack the record stores.

Me? I walked around the corner to visit Rockaway Records late in the afternoon and filled some gaps in my collection with already fairly priced Motörhead and Angry Samoans compilations that were marked down even more for the occasion, and skipped the overpriced, pseudo-rare, made-for-collectors stuff which recalls the deluxe-but-super-expensive trading cards or comic books that predicated the fall of their respective industries’ straight-to-collectors schemes. A few days later, I went to Amoeba and grabbed the OFF! 10″–without any lines and with a coupon. Happy Record Store Day to me.

RSD is absolutely a fake holiday, just like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and many would say Christmas. And, sure, some of the major labels are squeezing out the indies on the production side just like a lot of EBay parasites are ruining it for the fans who like to sleep in. But it’s as real and as fun as you want it to be. Man, I wish I could have attended the Mike Watt & The Secondmen show across from Amoeba Hollywood, Dengue Fever at Rhino Claremont, John Doe and Exene at Permanent Records, or any of the other awesome free shows that day… I totally would have bought something to support the musicians and shops, too.

rsd2

Just how punk the new OFF! record (or even a Ramones-themed portable record player) can be if it is branded with the RSD sticker as well as the accompanying price-tag is debatable (and not even the point). But the straight-up honesty, no-bullshit writing, and bulletproof grammar in Jim Ruland’s This Is Not A Camera are impeachable.

Saddle stitched half letter size on econo-but-tasteful newsprint, Ruland’s collected essays about working at an Indian casino are terse, insightful, and page turning. Originally serialized under a pseudonym on the McSweeney’s website, what begins as hyper observant notes on an atypical workplace widens to include keen observations on gamblers before turning the spotlight on his own foibles. The 17 installments are gripping and dark and funny, and never stoop to pass judgment on the Native Americans who own the casinos or the visitors who are addicted to gambling. After all, Ruland readily admits that he too is a recovering addict. It is philosophical not sad, and subtly unifying in its message. Oh, and a great read.

I received my copy of This Is Not A Camera from my friends at RazorCake. It was made to give away at readings of Ruland’s debut novel, the Indian casino noir titled Forest of Fortune, and other street-level literary events. Yet another gap on my packed shelf that I look forward to stuffing and another punk I look forward to following and supporting–with or without a phony holiday.

Catch up with Jim Ruland, who happens to be collaborating with Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and OFF! singer Keith Morris on his autobiography, at jimruland.net. And thanks for reading and following Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

8 Questions with: MTX Connect

Data. Data. Data. The way we consume our information has drastically shifted towards mobile over the last several years. As a result the mobile providers have transitioned from a pay-per-minute model to a pay-per-MB model, charging us for every second of videos, images, music, or emails that we absorb on a daily basis. And if you’re like some folks I know who don’t even own a computer these days the costs can add up before you even know it, especially when traveling overseas.

Enter MTX Connect, a data-only mobile SIM card provider for travelers to Europe. Just like the other Founders who we have interviewed, co-founder and Managing Director, Michael Kornev, decided to one day take action and fix the exorbitant roaming costs himself as he was all too familiar with the difficulties of staying connected when traveling. In addition to being the former CTO of MTX Connect, Michael has also previously worked for an IT consultancy as a system architect where he serviced companies such as Cisco and Chevron Energy.

prev3

1) What is MTX Connect and how did you get involved?
As a frequent traveler, I was too familiar with the problem of staying connected while traveling and eventually I decided to do something about it.

MTX Connect is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which provides mobile Internet in Europe for travelers and their connected devices. We are an enabler for three verticals: products for travelers, connectivity technology for IoT (Internet of Things) devices with heavy data usage, and white label mobile data solutions.

Our product for travelers is a pre-paid SIM card which provides a convenient, cost competitive way to avoid expensive roaming charges. Travelers get unlimited 3G data at a flat rate per day in more than 30 European countries. Our IoT technology provides connectivity for devices that need to be connected within Europe and can be integrated with different software and hardware solutions. Our white label platform allows us to build tailor-made mobile data solutions for MVNOs, IoT integrators and travel-related businesses.

2) Aside from the cost savings, what is the main benefit or difference between roaming with your existing carrier vs. using MTX Connect?
Aside from price, the main benefit MTX Connect offers is convenience. For people who travel frequently, they want to have constant connectivity and a lack of roaming charges. With MTX Connect’s 3-in-1 solution, travelers can easily use the SIM card in their tablets, smartphones and modems for notebooks, and they won’t get any surprise charges from their trip. We want to encourage travelers to use as much data as they do while staying within their home network because there should be no compromises while traveling abroad.

3) Where do you see the next wave of mobile communication and data usage heading?
The volume of data will dramatically increase during the next three to five years. We have observed a steady rise in the data usage trend in the last two years and we expect it to boom in the near future. There are a few reasons for this new wave of mobile communication: a) growth of the volume of data consumption devices per user – according to some researchers there will be as many as five devices per a single user by 2017; b) shift of communication and soft development to online field as OTT (over-the-top content) services will win the battle.

MTX_3d

4) What’s next for MTX Connect?
We will extend our coverage area, adding more countries in Europe and expanding to Asia as we continue to provide a simple and user-friendly service to our customers – in keeping with our product vision. There will be a mobile app which will streamline the user experience, adding some features like information about your trip, destinations, etc. As an IoT MVNO we will help new market entrants to connect the unconnected, offering low cost options and ease of integration.

5) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid I always wanted to build rockets.

6) Can you tell us a bit about your transition from CTO to Managing Director and what your biggest challenges were?
Actually the greatest challenge was to change my mentality while switching from a career in a big company to a small-team startup (the MTX Connect team has less than 20 employees). However even in a big company with all kinds of resources at your disposal you have to handpick the best talent for a specific project. You encounter a similar situation at a startup company, except if there’s a gap in expertise, you cannot just stand around pointing at the gap. You fill the gap.

prev2

7) What’s your favorite post-­work destination?
Actually my “work” doesn’t really stop. It takes a specific effort to pause it. I’d like to go to a park and spend some time with myself, sorting through all the stuff that went on during the day.

8) If you could give some advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
Watch and learn. And remember that the time is the only resource that cannot be replenished.