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iPad's problems, friend of FLOTUS, security slogans

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THE APPLE IPAD HAS FACED SURPRISINGLY MIXED REVIEWS SINCE ITS HIGHLY anticipated release last month. Though some expected the device to set the benchmark for e-readers and be a savior for the publishing industry, many reviews in the blogosphere have instead focused on a laundry list of the device's perceived shortcomings. Those alleged deficiencies include: no phone, no camera, no Flash support and no USB ports. And the complaints don't end with the actual machine or its performance. Jokes about the name “iPad” were fair game on the Internet almost immediately. Take this one from the Jezebel.com, a blog that published an entire list of favorites: “It surfs the Web and stops the bleeding.” Many commentators noted that the feminine hygiene humor could have been avoided if Apple had named its tablet “iSlate” or one of the other, previously rumored names. Beyond blogs and message boards, several videos poking fun at the iPad's “problems” have gone viral. One features a dubbed-over scene from the German movie “Der Untergang” in which Hitler complains that “[the iPad] could have revolutionized the market! It could have been amazing! ... But what do we get instead? An oversized iPod Touch!” The video was approaching 2.6 million views on YouTube after only five days. Despite all the snarking, the iPad may prove to be a transformative gadget as it was initially hyped to be. It would then join a long list of computer platforms from Apple—let's not dwell on the Newton—that were unqualified successes. —Nathan Gannon WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOUR SMALL PR COMPANY GROWS WHILE OTHER businesses contract in the recession? If you're Trevor Yager, founder of advertising and PR agency TrendyMinds, you get invited to attend the State of the Union as the first lady's personal guest. While more than 63% of PR agencies reported losses last year, according to a recent article in PR Week, TrendyMinds bucked the trend and saw record growth. In 2009, the 15-year-old, Indianapolis-based agency grew by more than 200%, almost doubled its staff to seven employees and secured 15 new accounts. As a National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce-certified gay-owned business, TrendyMinds' name was submitted to the White House, which subsequently selected Yager as a guest. “We're representative of [President Obama's] message,” Yager said. “Our growth shows that small businesses today can flourish.” Obama has called on Congress to pass a $30 billion small-business lending program. During the President's address, Yager sat with Michelle Obama in an upper gallery above the House floor. The first lady's other guests included Ambassador Raymond Joseph of Haiti and police officers involved in last year's shooting at Fort Hood. Yager said the first lady made an extra effort to make all the guests feel welcome, even after the fourth security pat-down. “Everyone called me by name and knew who I was,” he said. “It was very warm and welcoming, like going home to see family.” —Nathan Gannon AMTRAK, IN ASSOCIATION WITH SECURITYPOINT MEDIA, HAS BEGUN A marketing campaign geared toward business and frequent fliers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Advertisements found at the bottom of the company's SecureTrays X-ray trays highlight the benefits of train travel as a worthwhile alternative to driving and flying. Among the quirky taglines: “Upgrade to coach” and “Wear mismatched socks—we'll never know.” “Adding Chicago [O'Hare and Midway airports] gives advertisers expanded options for national coverage,” said Joseph Ambrefe, CEO of SecurityPoint Media: “The SecurityPoint Media network now reaches over 17 million unique individuals every month in 21 airports and continues to grow.” SecureTrays belong to a three-part screening system wherein X-ray trays are individually numbered for quick and efficient referencing by the Transportation Safety Administration. Not just an ad medium, the SecureTray System has reportedly produced a 16% reduction in waiting in lines as well as an 80% increase in screening efficiency. —Tanya Meyer
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