Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

To Mitt: Here’s Your Digital Etch A Sketch

A remark made by one of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s advisers has sent online shoppers — and investors — into an Etch A Sketch frenzy.

In case you’ve missed the sandstorm, Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Romney adviser, said on Wednesday that if Romney wins the GOP nomination, the campaign will “hit a reset button” to take on President Obama in the fall.

Fehrnstrom then added, “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

While Romney’s rivals have pounced on the comment — Newt Gingrich’s camp has even created a SketchyRomney app — Etch A Sketch fans have pounced on the venerable toy, buying it in droves on

Politico reports that sales of the 1950’s relic shot up more than 2,000 percent on the e-commerce site, while Ohio Art Company, the maker of Etch A Sketch, saw its stock hit a 52-week high yesterday, before closing at $9.65, more than double its Wednesday closing price of $4.

Here at AllThingsD, we say: Why go for the plastic version, when you can play with a digital Etch A Sketch on your mobile appendages?

That’s right: Campaign platforms, errant Twitpics, awkward remarks — all erased with the shake of an iPad.

It’s a politician’s best friend.

For iPhone, there’s Etch A Sketch Premium, from Freeze Tag, Inc., a company that makes casual games for mobile devices and personal computers. It costs just 99 cents (or about 0.000001309367724577594 percent of the $75,609,012 Romney has raised to date).

Unlike the physical Etch A Sketch, users of this app can change the color of the toy’s frame, choose from a color palette when drawing, use predrawn shapes or a background (like Hangman), and share their drawings with friends via email, Facebook or a photo album. As with the original Etch A Sketch, you simply shake it to erase it.

But a smartphone screen is just too small for this kind of app, and the knobs of the Etch A Sketch appear to be cut off at the bottom. You can use your finger to draw, but that seems like Etch A Sketch sacrilege.

Fortunately, there’s an iPad app from the same company. This one costs $2.99, and is the real deal.

The Draw Something addicts out there can share their Etch A Sketch iPad drawings with friends over Wi-Fi. Or, users can draw alone, add photos from a photo album, use colorful stamps, share through Facebook and even access an iPod song library to set sketches to a soundtrack … like, maybe a campaign soundtrack?

For Android devices, there’s a free version of Freeze Tag’s Etch A Sketch with ads; and a 99-cent version without. There’s also the 99-cent Etch-a-Doodle app, which replicates the Etch A Sketch experience.

Those who would rather pay a more visible homage to Etch a Sketch can check out these retro red covers for mobile devices.

And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can attempt to make a Kinect-a-Sketch, as these guys did, as seen in the video below:

(Photo courtesy of Flickr/The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald