Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

Curating CMJ Like a Culturazzi

The countdown to CMJ is on: One more month until music marathon time and I’m prepping to go the distance; I’m going for speed. To get through CMJ’s four days of nonstop shows, from afternoon showcases to late-night lineups, you do have to pace and plot a course, if you don’t want to burn out before day four. For the uninitiated, the sheer volume of bands—and sound—can be overwhelming, but the payoff can also be off-the-charts.

To get ready, I start by fine-tuning my Culturazzi radar: I check out what showcases my favorite music labels are hosting and what my top music blogs are getting behind. One of the best parts about CMJ is having packed lineups with like 10 bands, so while some of the under-the-radar ones might only get 15 minutes on stage, there’s still a lot of good stuff that can happen in those 15 minutes (you know, like saving 15 percent on car insurance).

For music lovers, it’s an absolute adrenaline rush. There’s the promise of seeing bands that will soon be selling out stadiums in small venues and tweeting about a hot new band before everyone else is. A shortlist of CMJ alum that have gone on to the Grammys includes, Gotye, Janelle Monae, and Mumford and Sons. Do your research, make your list, and rock on!

Make sure to check back each month through November. Just follow #GEICOGecko3D to find out more about my WIRED Insider adventures, as I step into the shoes of each of my friends, and get printed in 3D to memorialize the experience.

—The Geico Gecko

#CMJ  
#Music  
|  September 3rd, 2013

FUELING GREAT IDEAS

Walk into nearly any café these days, and along with people decompressing with a crossword puzzle or book, you’ll find individuals writing screenplays, designing websites, and even launching start-up companies. The coffee house has become a new kind of office space in our increasingly mobile society, providing a convenient meeting place to fuel new ideas. When I’m in Smarter Upstarter mode, a café table is where I start my day.

It’s easily one of the best parts of my day and I appreciate the extra effort today’s master blenders are putting into their craft. After all, a tea break fits neatly into 15 minutes, but there are hours of research distilled into that single cup. In the time it takes for me to order and enjoy a chai latte, I could help someone save 15 percent or more on car insurance. With that in mind, I choose my cafés carefully: I look for great ambiance and a great ethos. 

I also like that you can meet up with a collaborator and then catch up with a friend. It’s a location as versatile as our lifestyles; one that can shift between business and leisure, from “to-stay” to “to-go,” without stalling. To that point, the 3D Systems team met me at  the shop to discuss all things buzz-worthy—and design this new 3D print.

Make sure you keep up with all of my WIRED Insider adventures. Just follow #GEICOGecko3D to find out more. 

|  August 6th, 2013

BEING AN “IT” GUY

I’ve always liked the double entendre of being called an IT Guy. Yes, I’m the one who could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance, but I also wanted to expand my expertise and become the ultimate techie. I set out to hone my skills and prepare for whatever sticky computer problems waited ahead, from smartphone issues to finicky wireless printers. (If you’ve ever tried setting up the latter, then you know exactly what I mean.)

To begin my adventure into the wild and wonderful world of information technology, I decided to start at, the very beginning, and build my own computer. It’s a daunting task, for sure, but one of the most rewarding rites of passage for modern techies. It’s what separates the computer boys from the IT Guys. Now, in the past, I had installed parts like new hard drives, but this would be a new level of challenging. For starters, I created a workspace and compiled all of my equipment.

A few years back, Ars Technica created a handy guide for newbie computer builders, breaking it down into a Budget Box, Hot Rod, or God Box. My end goal was somewhere between a Budget Box and a Hot Rod. It took several hours, but I knew it wouldn’t be a 15-minute undertaking. Once it was done, however, and I could finally attach the keyboard and mouse and turn it on, the sense of achievement was off the charts. 

I wanted a trophy of sorts to celebrate my achievement—and commemorate my induction as an IT Guy. To further my education, the guys at 3D Systems not only helped me print this awesome replica, but they also explained the process of developing MAYA files for 3D printers. 

So, please feel free to call me the IT Guy.

|  July 2nd, 2013

ADVENTURE SEEKING IN 3D

There’s a lot you can learn in 15 minutes these days: how to save 15% or more on car insurance, how to get your pet to ride on a skateboard, even how to make a quick meal. I recently discovered you could teach someone how to surf in 15 minutes. It might look easy, but catching a wave is all about having the right judgment and knowing when to go after an opportunity and ride its momentum.

To take advantage of the season, I decided to spend some time hanging 10 with my fellow Adventure Capitalists in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Taking its name from the word for “corner,” this destination’s angular geography has earned it a rep as the Caribbean’s Hawaii for its unobstructed swell and big waves. I found a hefty percentage of the surfers out in the waves were all about enjoying life’s opportunities on the beach—or the boardroom.

I had to capture living the life of an Adventure Capitalist, and the team at 3DS Cubify was ready to help. Check out how they captured me riding the wave!

Make sure to check back each month through November. Just follow #GEICOGecko3D to find out more about my WIRED Insider adventures as I step into the shoes of each of my friends and get printed in 3D to memorialize the experience.  

—The GEICO Gecko

|  June 4th, 2013

LISTEN UP LIKE A DIGITAL GENTLEMAN

The way we listen to music has come a long way in the last two decades. Technology has provided some serious gear for taking at-home acoustics to the next level—from surround sound to noise-canceling headphones. Whether I’m having my tea in a café with my computer or soaking up some sun in the park, headphones are the one gadget I can’t do without. But my current pair was seriously lacking. I decided it was time to find a serious pair to help me become a serious Digital Gentleman.

Like with all good decisions, it’s all about doing your research, whether it’s 15 minutes that helps you save 15% or more finding the company that can save you the moston your car insurance or finding the very best pair of headphones. I started by narrowing down what I was looking for. These days, you can even get a really great pair of ultra-stashable earbuds that do the job. But, what I really wanted: a stylish pair with pro quality that you can only get from the classics.

I did some poking around online and then decided to head to a small DJ shop in my neighborhood. I knew I could trust them about sound—and style. After about a half hour of testing out different models with their turntable setups—and several of my favorite records—I found a pair that had the perfect balance. I really started to appreciate the leather accents and chrome as well as the unbelievably sharp sound and noise-cancelling features. It was music to my Digital Gentleman ears. Take a look at how the folks at 3DS Cubify recreated the scene with my latest 3D replica.

Make sure to check back each month through November. Just follow #GEICOGecko3D to find out more about my WIRED Insider adventures as I step into the shoes of each of my friends and get printed in 3D to memorialize the experience.  

—The GEICO Gecko

|  May 2nd, 2013

TAPPING INTO MY INNER MAKER

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These days, technology has improved the way we work and play, from insurance to 3D printing. With spring on its way, I always find my creativity kicking into high gear. So, I decided it was the ideal season to foster my inner Maker. I’ve been hearing a lot about 3D printing for the last year and I decided to check out a leader in 3D: 3DS Cubify in Union Square.  

Even though 3D printing feels really new, it’s actually been around for some 30 years. However, what is new is that now you can get a machine that fits on your desktop. Putting 3D printing within reach has provided a brand new building block for everyone from dentists to architects. However, my goal was to create actual building blocks.

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I met up with the team at 3DS Cubify who showed me the basics and helped take my concept from the drawing board in my head to a printout. They walked me through the process from screen to 3D rendering—and within a few hours I had the foundations for my new desk toys. They even created this awesome 3D print of me by which I can remember the day. Talk about adding dimension!

Make sure to check back each month through November. Just follow #GEICOGecko3D to find out more about my WIRED Insider adventures, as I step into the shoes of each of my friends, and get printed in 3D to memorialize the experience.

—The GEICO Gecko

|  April 2nd, 2013

PRINTING WITH A CUBIFY ZPRINTER

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The geckos were printed using a 3D Systems ZPrinter 650, which is a powder-based 3D print process where gypsum powder - what drywall is made of - is bonded with glue layer by layer following a 3D geometry. The geometry is loaded into the printer as a WRML file. As the material binds ink is jetted out and essentially paints the model layer by layer as it prints. ZPrinters are the only technology that offers full color 3D printing.

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|  April 2nd, 2013