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We changed our name! After 14 years of creating award-winning digital products & services, it’s time for a new identity that better reflects the human insights-driven, digital customer experiences we create.
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AIAIO: Our Blog

AIAIO: Our Blog

The pulse and reviews of Alexander Interactive

Archive for the ‘Funny Stuff’ Category

High Tech Valentine’s Day Gifts for Everyone!

Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a holiday you love or hate, it is right around the corner. Sticking with candy and flowers may be tradition, but there is no better time than now to upgrade your gift giving skills to include some of today’s latest in greatest in tech. Here are some awesome ideas perfectly tailored to match your special someone’s interests.

For the hobbyist. If your significant other is always tinkering around and building, the perfect gift might be an arduino board. Whether it’s programming robotics or other projects, this gadget is a great place to start. ($24.95)

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For the sweet tooth. Candy hearts and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates have always reigned supreme on February 14th. If your
tech lover is also a sweet tooth, why not step outside of the box this year?  Who needs heart shaped chocolates when you can get your special someone iPhone shaped chocolate! ($19.90) Double points if you make it yourself!

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For the person who can’t put down their phone. Nothing says “I love you and I accept you (and your phone addiction)” like a snazzy new phone case. What better time than now and what better choice than this perfect Marc Jacobs  option that is covered in hearts? It comes in red, pink or white. ($55)

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For the fashion forward fella. What man does’t look dapper in a suit? Dress him up more in a way that is stylish and functional with stainless steel cufflinks from Adafruit. While both look similar, one opens to reveal a USB with 4 GB of storage. ($29)

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For the music lover. Remember a time when people used to make mixed tapes or CDs for the person they were crushing on? While it might seem like music streaming killed the mixed tape, this gift proves that it is not true! With Sharetapes, you can take your love back to a simpler time. Make a playlist on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, etc and download it onto the credit-card sized tapes. Your special someone will be able to use the card to play the music. ($9.99 for 5 tapes + cost of music)

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For the person who is always snapping pictures. Does the special person in your life constantly snap pics whether the moment being captured is big or small? The Polaroid Instant Snap Digital Camera might be the perfect gift! This 10 megapixel camera has the technology you are used to from a digital camera while also printing out a cute 2×3 polaroid of the shot. ($99.99)

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For the health conscious couple. Unless a person has been living under a rock, it’s impossible to have NOT heard about FitBit. There is no better way to show someone they have your heart than looking after theirs. The FitBit Charge HR goes above and beyond to measure sleep and heart rate while also allowing food and water to be recorded. Like some other wearable trackers, it allows you to connect with other users and challenge them. How’s that for some friendly competition!

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For the consummate host. Your special someone is the person who loves throwing a party or hosting a dinner. Enter the Bartesian. This gadget allows people to make their own premium cocktails using pods filled with mixer ingredients and adding alcohol. Bottoms up! ($299 on preorder)

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Still looking for a valentine? No worries! Enter The League, a free dating app (iOS) that connects smart, ambitious professionals. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, The League has partnered with BloomThat and Minibar to deliver your potential matches booze and flowers. (NYC and San Fran areas only)

Funny Stuff

Ai’s Annual Halloween Costume Exchange

One of Ai’s most well-known times of year comes in October when we hold our annual Halloween costume exchange.  The workday will be as typical as any Friday, but with a holiday twist…

Candy everywhere? Check.
Office Decorations?  Check.
All things black and orange?  Check.
Costumes?  Check.  But, not your own – your “victim’s”!

Here’s how things go down leading up to October 31st at the Ai office:

Early October:

  • Everyone’s name goes into a bowl
  • Each person picks a name from the bowl
  • The name you pick is your secret victim

Mid October:

  • You ponder ideas of what you can come up with for a costume for your victim (the costume must be in good taste and keep your victim’s personality in mind)
  • You try not to slip and tell anyone who you chose, but we all know the word gets out to a few
  • You choose a costume for your victim (hand made or store bought)

Early during the week of Halloween:

  • We gather as a company at the Sofaplex to exchange costumes
  • One person starts us off and reveals who their victim is, the costume that has been chosen for said victim, and the rationale behind the costume choice
  • The victim then continues the process by sharing who they chose, and so on…

The day of Halloween:

Ai Halloween Collage

  • The day usually starts out with people walking into the office in costume and therefore tons of laughs and photo-ops
  • Scheduled meetings and calls happen as planned, but there’s never a giggle too distant
  • At lunch time we have a pizza party
  • Once we’ve digested we finish off the afternoon with a parade in Madison Square Park to share our costumes with the rest of the Flatiron District
  • An hour before the work day comes to a close, we end the day with a Halloween-themed office happy hour
  • Finally, once we power down our machines and call it a day, we stay in costume and head out for a night on the town in costume

To get a feel for what Halloween has been like for someone who has participated in this Ai tradition over the past seven years, check out the images below.

2006: ANGEL

Angel

2007: POCAHONTAS

Pocahontas

2008: HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY MASCOT

Mascot

2009: WAS OOO THIS YEAR.  

2010: PINK LADY FROM GREASE

Pink Lady

2011: RICHARD SIMMONS

Richard Simmons

2012: MORTICIA ADDAMS 

Morticia Addams

Why do we all find this so fun?  Because I absolutely never would have been any of the characters above for Halloween unless someone else picked out the costumes for me.  Richard Simmons?  I mean, come on.

Ai

Mayor Jack Reynolds featured in Time Out New York’s special feature “Cool NYC Companies”

This month’s Careers issue of Time Out New York includes a special feature titled “Cool NYC Companies: Behind the scenes at New York’s best companies”. Ai is pleased to announce that the Immaculate one, Mayor Jack Reynolds, was invited to be included un the TONY gallery of New York City’s cutest and hardest working office dogs.

For our Careers issue, we asked our friends at various digital and media companies to send us photos of their four-legged colleagues, many of whom hold important positions at some of the city’s top publications and agencies. Click through our slide show to meet some of New York hardest-working pups and find out what they do.

Once news of the slide show broke, the Mayor’s public responded immediately.

“This is great,” says Alex Schmelkin, President and co-founder of Ai. “It really is.”

“He’s kind of a big deal,” I said.

David Ow, Director of Project Management, really put it all in perspective:   “The feature is referred to as “Cute Office Dogs”. Look, this is fantastic and all but lets call it like it is, kids with ice cream on their face are ‘cute’. The Mayor is exquisite… magnificent.”

Much thanks to Time Out for including Jack in the slide show. He is honored to be included in such an accomplished and hard-working group.

Ai's very own Mayor Jack Reynolds selected to be included in the "most popular Office Dogs in NYC"  within Time Out New York's feature, "Coolest Companies in NY"

"Who the hell is that red headed kid?" commented Brad Borman, VP of New Business Development.

Ai - Alexander Interactive's very own Mayor Jack Reynolds selected as one NYC's cutest and best office dogs

Ai

Ai’s Operation Backpack (Ai does some more good)

Thousands of children live in homeless and domestic violence shelters throughout New York City. One of the devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on a child’s education. We wanted to help. For most of July we hosted a backpack and school supplies drive in partnership with Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack.

The drive started slow. But the IT Director stepped it up when he ordered 10 backpacks (!!) for his team to fill with supplies. Once the ball was rolling, we had some contributions from the creative and tech teams. However, it was the account services team that took the lead with only a few days left. These 6 people (including our summer Project Management intern) generously each donated a bag stuffed to its brim with the recommended supplies.

Backpacks were labeled by gender and grade and many of our contributions were coincidentally geared towards elementary school-aged kids (our inner 3rd graders peaked their heads when purchasing Spiderman or neon colored bags). Suggested school supplies to fill the backpack included loose-leaf paper, pencils, pens, markers, pencil bag or box, rulers, glue sticks, folders, three-ring binders, notebooks…and the list went on.

These backpacks and supplies mean a lot to the children, helping them go back to school with all of the material they need and a boost of confidence! We are proud to have made a small contribution to Operation Backpack, especially since we know it will make a big difference to the individual families and children who receive our bags.

GO ACCOUNT SERVICES TEAM!

Ai

Hamster Time Relay

Our tradition of Hamster Time lives on at Ai.  Last Friday’s theme took a more physically active twist.

In honor of the Crossfit Regionals and a Ragnar Relay that took place last weekend (and our fond memories of American Gladiators and Battle Dome), we decided to host Ai’s first ever Hamster Time Relay.

With teams of three or four, Ai’s finest took on the following challenges:

Challenges

  1. Ride scooter from corner of office, into Wilbur*, around the table, out of Wilbur, to the front door entrance
  2. Take Developer book off of front desk and balance on head as you walk to Piglet*
  3. Solve word jumble puzzle on Piglet whiteboard
  4. Balance an egg on a spoon and walk from Piglet, around the spaceship couches, as you step over obstacles on the ground
  5. Place egg and spoon in bowl on file cabinet by the printer and pick up a cut-out mustache and put on the blindfold
  6. Pin the mustache on Ron Swanson
  7. At the pool table, shoot the eight ball into any pocket
  8. Go to Boat Drinks* and write Alexander Interactive on the whiteboard
  9. Limbo out of Boat Drinks under a pool cue
  10. Pick up a blown up balloon from the café table and keep tapping it in the air until you travel back to cross the finish line
Hamster Time Relay Map

Highlights

  • David Ow, Director of Project Management, did try to become another obstacle by positioning himself on the ground as another thing to step over while balancing the egg on the spoon.
  • The toughest part of the whole thing was the word jumble (the words ended up being: Mayor Jack, Canopy and Schmelkin).
  • Terran, a Back-End Developer at Canopy Commerce blew the competition away by solving the word jumble in record time.

Results

The team that completed all activities the fastest won.  Times were not revealed until the last team was finished.

Six teams competed, but there was one clear winner – Team Canopy, comprised of Terran, April (Producer), and Jesse (Visual Designer) took home the 2012 Ai Hamster Relay title with a time of three minutes and 15 seconds (3:15).  Almost four minutes separated first place and sixth place.

Video, including interviews with the winning team, to come.

* Our conference rooms are named as follows – (Wilbur, Piglet, Burt Reynolds, Charles Bronson, Boat Drinks, Lamb Chop) – because why shouldn’t they be?

Funny Stuff

It’s that time of year again…(Ai does some more good)

April means a lot of things both good, start of major league baseball, and not-so-much, rain showers and tax deadlines. But for us at Ai it also means supporting of March of Dimes, March for Babies.

Each year Team Levine, Chief Experience Officer and cofounder Josh Levine, his wife Paulina and their two (adorable!) children, raise astronomical numbers towards preventing premature births and finding solutions to the problems that threaten our babies. This year is no different, and Ai is there to join the fight.

This past Friday’s Hamster Time was March for Babies themed including strawberry milk baby bottle contests and a variety of baby foods. For any contest winners (and even those activities which there was no clear winner), Josh donated $50 to the March of Dimes, raising $350 for the cause.

The fight doesn’t stop there- many Ai-ers will attend the Team Levine Annual Fundraiser, Thursday, April 26th at 6pm at Traffic bar & Restaurant, 986 2nd Ave. This weekend Ai will take the campaign to the streets as we proudly stroll beside Josh and his family at the walk on Sunday, April 29th at Lincoln Center.

For more information about the cause, fundraiser or walk, or to make a donation check out the Team Levine website:  http://www.goteamlevine.com/.

 

Ai