Cari Ashkin

By: Maddie BrightmanGadgets

In our world of creativity and innovation, our bright lights rely on a number of gadgets to bring the ideas into reality. While some prefer the traditional tools, others show their love for unconventional and modern devices. We surveyed members of the A. Bright Idea team and present some of their favorite contraptions.


Teri Kranefeld, Senior Communications Specialist & Public Affairs Manager: The Purple A. Bright Idea Pen

Like her fellow marketing colleagues, Teri loves the simple, but necessary purple A. Bright Idea pen. You can find any A. Bright Idea team member with this trusty sidekick attached to a spiral notebook. Teri uses her purple pen for editing the old fashioned way and adding a little purple to everything!

Rob Jeffers, Interactive Programmer: Lava Lamp

It is no secret that we love lights, lamps and light bulbs! Rob has the opportunity to use some of A. Bright Idea’s most interesting gadgets, however he loves his desk’s lava lamp the most. Perfectly branded for A. Bright Idea, this lava lamp has purple water and a silver base and helps keep the creative juices flowing!

Eric Bach, Multimedia Specialist and Designer: Wacom Cintiq Tablet

This gadget is so loved, we have multiple! This tablet allows for a seamless transition from sketching to refinement. Eric finds this tool helpful with digital painting, storyboarding and photo manipulation. Perfect for adding a fine art touch to any project, our Graphics team uses it for custom type, hand lettering, exhibit-models and logo designs.

Wacom Cintiq Tablet

Lissa Tilley, Executive Assistant: The Master iPad

Lissa Tilley can often be found carrying the brain of the office, the master iPad. With this iPad Lissa is able to control all of the music and televisions in the office, and can even create welcome screens to greet clients. When we need a late afternoon pickup and change in the tunes, Lissa and the master iPad are our go-to!

T.J. Brightman, Vice President of Client Relations: Recording Studio

With a degree in broadcasting and history in radio, T.J. was the momentum behind developing our on-site recording studio. Customized with purple and silver soundproofing foam, it’s ideal for recording radio spots and various voiceover projects. You can often find Eric in the “bat cave,” otherwise known as the editing suite, working on video projects and perfecting our clients’ latest commercials.



Jura Capresso Coffee Maker:

It is no secret that our team enjoys a little caffeine boost. Our multiple Jura Capresso machines are responsible for keeping our team alert and ready for any creative challenge. You can often find staff hovering over the machine waiting for their turn to brew their perfect cup and praying that the “decalcify” alert doesn’t pop up. This gadget is easily used most frequently throughout the day!

Cameras, Cameras and more Cameras:

Whether it’s the trusty XLR, Cannon 7D DSLR or the Cannon XA10 video camera, we’re huge fans of photography and video equipment. Our offices house a variety of video and still-shot cameras that we use for client projects ranging from headshots to web videos, to television commercials and more.

Chad’s Gym:

Why join a gym when you can work out in one designed by our own CFO, Chad Mitchell? Our staff enjoys working out before, during and after work in our fully stocked gym with free weights, cardio equipment, a smith machine, large flat screen TV and full private shower.

Unlimited Ice Cream and Candy:

Technically, this isn’t a gadget, but it’s certainly one of the favorite perks of A. Bright Idea. Whether its coffee, ice cream or candy, we have enough sugar and caffeine to please all! The fully stocked (and custom branded) freezer satisfies a sweet tooth and serves as a great pick me up for the non-coffee lover. Who can turn down popsicles, Klondike bars, drumsticks, chocolate covered bananas and a wide array of fruity or chocolate candy from the candy bar? Staff, clients and visitors are always appreciative of this little treat!

With gadgets and perks like these, our unique work environment provides the right balance of fun and focus to keep our creative and innovative brains flowing for our clients!

AutoCorrect – not always correct.

The AutoCorrect feature, originally developed by Microsoft, gained additional popularity when introduced by Apple for the iPhone in 2007. It’s designed to automatically detect and correct typos, misspelled words and incorrect capitalization. Considered a feature of smartphones now, the AutoCorrect function has been known to produce strange (and sometimes inappropriate) results leaving it to users to “correct the auto-correct” changes made.

With the intention of making our lives easier and communicating faster, faster communications are not necessarily better, especially when a machine is doing the interpreting. In an article on, AutoCorrect was the source of panic when a retired couple decided to go on a month-long trek through Nepal, keeping their daughter and son-in-law up to date by checking in at local Internet cafés. The first message their daughter received read: “Help. Visa bad. Can you send money to water? Autopsy not working.”

Needless to say their daughter panicked and a 16-hour effort ensued to clarify the situation. What the couple meant was that they couldn’t use their VISA credit card to pay the water bill and AutoCorrect had changed the intended word “auto pay” to “autopsy.”

With more and more communications being conducted via text-based sources, technology has offered tools to make these interactions happen better, faster and more accurate – but nothing’s perfect. According to CNN, the United Nations International Telecommunication Union cited that approximately 200,000 text messages were sent every second in 2010, and more than 107 trillion emails are sent every year, which no doubt produced countless instances of miscommunication – many of which were human error, but also a good many prompted by technology.

According to a social strategist at, these kinds of mistakes are a natural part of learning a new communication technology. When you think about it, it’s true. We still encounter people not understanding the appropriate use of “Reply All” in email, which was highlighted in this 2011 Bridgestone Super Bowl commercial, and when Facebook first launched there were plenty of misdirected posts on users walls that were intended for a private message string. Now we are on to the horror stories of bad texts and emails due to AutoCorrect.

Reply All advertisement for Superbowl XLV

Because we reach more and more people via text-based communications and because they’re permanent (in writing) there’s more reason to ensure our language, words and phrases are accurate when communicating.

AutoCorrect has been the topic of several humor websites that allow users to upload images of funny text messages based on the inaccuracies of the spell check and AutoCorrect on the iPhone, iPod Touch, via email, Android and other smartphones. Taking a peek as some of these interactions may give you a chuckle, but it should also remind you to slow down the pace for a minute – or be ready, and hope the recipient of your message has a good sense of humor.

Sarah West
Sarah West serves as A. Bright Idea's Government Public Affairs Specialist.

“OK, at 9:00 tonight we have to stop what we’re doing and talk about the wedding,” I said to my fiancée last night, who was studying the muscles of the shoulder online, in between refreshing the Oriole’s game to check the score, while he played with the cat. Meanwhile, I was breading a pork chop according to the healthy recipe I had pulled up on my laptop, holding a highlighter in one hand, ready for the proposal I was reading, all the while taking breaks to listen to the evening news and keep up on email. As the clock approached 11 p.m., I said we’re going to have to reschedule wedding planning to tomorrow night – he grunted his acknowledgement.

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune “Researchers studied 1,100 workers at a British company and found that multitasking with electronic media caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking pot or losing a night’s sleep.”

Maybe that explains why I have completely expunged the process of long division from my brain?

In today’s media world, you have to multitask. There is no getting around it. According to a recent study by Ball State University,The average American spends more time using media devices —television, radio, iPods and cell phones — than any other activity while awake.”

I have found myself very annoyed lately by people who insist on vigorously thumbing through their Blackberry or iPhone while we wade through a lengthy conversation, peppered with “What was that you said?” or “Huh?”

Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy in our quest for constant information. Although the workload won’t change, our approach can. I felt refreshed today putting an actual pen to real paper to capture my “to do” list and stopped skimming my email to focus on a live conversation with a colleague and noticed not one “huh?” kept the conversation to a few minutes instead of several.

Although the mantra “one thing at a time” may be dead in today’s society, perhaps we can all at least try just two things at a time.

Now I’m going to go practice a few long division problems.