It's a good day when I discover some cool, geeky, technology before my 23 year old son, Taylor. Part of the reason I moved from California to Chicago was to gain a 2-hour time zone advantage. I know, Taylor has a 2-hour advantage too, but his comes at the end of the day and being a 23 year old male, his evenings and nights are reserved for other interests.
Well, today's a good day. I found a site called Meez, that helps create a personalized avatar (tiny self-portrait or graphic symbol used to establish identity on chat boards and instant-messaging sessions). The good news is that I discovered and built my Meez avatar before Taylor got out of bed to start his left-coast Sunday.
Sean Ryan, who formerly ran Rhapsody the online music subscription service, launched Donnerwood Media, the company that developed Meez. Meez is a bucket of fun and lets you create personalized avatars representing yourself. You can then link or download the avatars wherever you want.
Ryan raised more than $4.3 million in venture funding, based on the Gen-Y personalization trend that has racked-up more than $900 million in ringtones and wallpapers sales in 2005.
Currently Meez is still in beta testing and the resulting avatars are free, so get 'em while you can. I built the above avatar in about 20 minutes. Click on it to enlarge it and view it's Those who know my recognize my preferred attire, cowboy hat, Hawaiian shirt, blue jeans, and cowboy boots. You'll also notice I was able to select blond hair, blue eyes, wire-rimmed glasses, and my mustache and goatee (without the gray, thank you!). Finally, I picked the Grand Canyon backdrop in honor of one of my current projects with the National Forest Service and a companion dog (no Samoyeds were available).
You can send Meez postcards to your friends, link to your Meez avatar, or download it. I've included it has my personal IM icon and incorporated it in one of my Outlook e-mail signatures. I could upload it as wallpaper to my cell phone ($1.99 cost), but I prefer my current wallpaper showing Sam & Bucca, my two Samoyed dogs.
Well, it's time for Taylor to awake and time for me to search for the next bright shiny object that he's not yet discovered. If you haven't guessed, there is no end to this game.