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Coke Machine

Beginning in June, if you live in Japan and go up to an Apex vending machine, you will have the option of watching a 30 second ad instead of paying for your drink. We thought that MediCafe sounded too good to be true, and it turns out that while you are watching the spot, your drink is being poured into an ad-covered cup.

Apex currently maintains about 35,000 of the machines that are priced from 70 to 100 Yen (~.60 to $1.00). That’s a lot of advertising, but isn’t that what every large American fast food/drink company already does? Why don’t we all ask Starbucks or McDonalds to give us a freebie when we become walking billboards on our lunch hour?


Read More | Japan Probe

Gallery: Apex Trades Free Drinks for Commercials


Spidey 3You can’t go anywhere without running into those “free hours of AOL” discs that aren’t really free. If nothing else, they make good coasters. Yesterday, we were visiting our local camera shop and noticed giveaway DVDs, geared towards promoting “Spiderman 3.” Content is supposed to include “the story, movie clips (including behind-the-scenes,) challenge game preview, cheat codes, and a chance to win a 2007 Mitsubishi Spyder, downloads, and product information.” Alrighty, we thought, fun freebies, but deep in our heart of hearts, we thought it might be too good to be true.

Here’s what we really got:

  • A written synopsis of the movie.
  • A trailer and 2:30 minute promo of cast and crew telling us how great the movie “Spiderman 3” is. 
  • A Challenge Game that began April 2 and ended May 4, the premiere date. No challenge, no cheats.
  • Five non-exclusive wallpaper choices and 1 screensaver.
  • A blatant commercial for Sony’sVaio Series PC/Laptop, Cybershot Cameras, Alpha DSMR Camera, and Handycam Camcorders.

Thanks Sony, for the new cupholder.

(Thanks, Mike)

Read More | Spiderman 3 Challenge

Gallery: Cross-Branding At Its Finest?


It’s getting to the point that you cannot go into a site without at least one Zwinky banner. Although I thought i was the only one annoyed by it, last weekend I saw what appeared to be a parody of the grotesque virtual paper dolls on “Saturday Night Live.” It turns out that it was an actual commercial displaying the website and claiming millions of users. Created by the company that also features equally obnoxious “Smileys,” this begs the question: Are they trying to appeal to an older audience or are children really staying up that late to watch SNL?

Read More | Zwinky

Gallery: Zwinky Invades SNL


I remember reading an article last week that said that there was a definite decrease in the number of bees on the planet. It now turns out that there is a link between their deaths and cell phone usage, since the radiation emitted is apparently destroying the ecosystem of the bees. How honestly scary is this? Not only the obvious, possibly losing a whole species of insects that cross pollinate many of our food crops, but think of the effects on other insects as well. Let’s hope that researchers are working somewhere to correct the problem before bees make it to the endangered species list.


Read More | Trendhunter

Gallery: Bees Affected by Cell Phone Radiation

Halo 2 Vista

So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:

Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.

Continue Reading: Top Ten Halo 2 Vista Improvements…

Read More | Playfeed

Gallery: Top Ten: Halo 2 for Vista Improvements

VA Tech campus

While Gear Live’s condolences go out to the faculty, students, and staff at yesterday’s disaster at Virginia Tech, we cannot help but wonder how bizarre it was that many were not even aware of what was going on until they turned on their computers to check out online news after hearing gunshots from the second floor. Others became aware when they received an e-mail from the administration. The first sounds and sights of the incident were captured on a student’s cell phone.

Pupils at the University are currently posting details of the event and tributes to fallen friends on sites such as Friendster and MySpace. There is already a site erected which is dedicated to the incident. This surely shows just how quickly this generation can utilize technology and respond when a catastrophe occurs.

Gallery: Students React To VA Tech Massacre via Technology

I imagine that just about all our readers might be a bit puzzled at the headline, or why it is relevant. This post is more of a behind-the-scenes look at something we deal with on a daily basis here at Gear Live. You see, we get multiple inquiries, phone calls, and emails per day from marketing and PR firms who want our attention. The thing is, most don’t know how to approach us in a way that makes us want to give them our attention. Chris Aarons of is one of the people who “gets it.”

Click to continue reading Chris Aarons Leaving AMD, Starting Word of Mouth Marketing Firm

Gallery: Chris Aarons Leaving AMD, Starting Word of Mouth Marketing Firm

It seems that televised “Meet the Candidates” programs are getting a jump start on YouTube, which will be airing videos posted by the candidates on their News and Politics site. Others can watch the vlogs and add their own video opinions and comments.

“Interactivity is what really fuels the engine on YouTube and candidates and users were striving for ways to communicate with each other,” said Steve Grove, head of news and politics.

The idea comes from the site’s “You Choose ‘08” initiative that began in Febuary to allow the candidates to strut their stuff. First up is Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who yesterday responded to the issue “What do you believe is America’s single greatest challenge and what would you do to address it?” It seems to us that the candidate, in a typically political move, managed to turn the tables by responding to the question with another question.


Read More | YouTube

Gallery: YouTube Features Face-Off for Political Candidates

Kurt Vonnegut

If you didn’t grow up in the late 60’s, then perhaps you weren’t aware of the earliest foresight of Kurt Vonnegut. The genius of the man was that he could take the most inane concepts and turn them into science fiction that often became fact. He was the man who decided the meaning of life was a can opener and that the world would come to an end because of ice-nine, a sliver of which would turn any liquid, including bodily fluids, into a frozen disaster.

The novelist’s heroes, such as Kilgore Trout, were sometimes a reflection of himself; his plots concerned the way our society often fails us. His villains were those who could find a way to ruin the planet, just the way many of us are doing in real life. Gear Live will remember you fondly, Mr. Vonnegut, and we know that Bokonon is pointing his thumbed nose up at you in tribute. Also know that while you lived, he admired you for always being busy, busy, busy and for teaching us the same.

Gallery: An Ode to a Vonnegut

Helios Power Babies

After seeing bp’s latest commercial for its company, we can’t help remembering that sometimes even the supposedly best technology can go wrong, very wrong. On March 23, 2005, one of their refineries exploded killing 15 workers and injuring more than 100.  Out of more than 1,000 injury claims from this incident and others that happened previously, bp settled out of court with most of them.

To counter the remaining bad publicity, the company, which provides 3% the U.S. petroleum, has launched Helios Power commercials featuring engaging animated toddlers singing “Say Hey”and hanging out at bp stations. To make them really worry about their image, what say we stop buying their gas until their refineries are a lot safer?


Read More | bp

Gallery: bp Tries to Clean Up Its Act