Sunday, December 23, 2012

Demand A Plan to End Gun Violence

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sarah Silverman has a Public Service Announcement

Sarah Silverman takes women's reproductive rights seriously. So seriously, in fact, that she's appealing to all of her bros out there to show a little support in the voting booths. She's calling it the Bro-Choice Movement, and we've gotta say, she makes some solid points.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why 2013 Is the Year of Responsive Web Design

You may have noticed that your favorite website got a new look recently. The design seems wider than usual, and when you shrink your browser, the content resizes to fit. The aim here isn't merely prettiness or technical trickery, however: Media companies like are seeing a major shift in the consumption habits of their audiences. Those organizations that don't act may find themselves behind the curve. Pete Cashmore of Mashable tells why READ ON

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why Microsoft's Anti-Google Marketing Campaign Blew Up In Its Face

This was obviously a bad idea. Microsoft decided to run a relentlessly negative twitter campaign called #droidrage, where people were supposed to complain about malware problems with their devices that run Google‘s Android OS. It may be a strange offshoot of #muslimrage from earlier this year. Whatever Microsoft thought was going to happen, it almost immediately backfired. A few retweets from the official Windows phone Twitter:

“Ever had your bank password hijacked by malware on your android phone? I have. #DroidRage”

“Bank details stolen once after android malware attacked my phone after downloading an app from Google play -.- #DroidRage”

“took hundreds of pics on fam. vacation. Downloaded an app to store them, wiped all of them out :( #droidrage”

Nobody wins when you pour hatred into the internet. Soon after #droidrage started up, the Twitter and Android communities responded with #windowsrage about how much they hated windows phones. Highlights:

“Bought a Windows Phone and there are a total of 6 apps #windowsrage.”

“I once thought about writing malware for a @windowsphone but then I thought, aren’t they suffering enough? #DroidRage #WindowsRage”

If you can’t advertise based on the strengths of your own product, there’s something amiss. I can only imagine that recently promoted Microsoft marketer made some speech about “disruption” to a room full of confused execs desperately trying to figure out why their brand was associated with boring stagnation. “It’s a new kind of marketing,” he probably told them. He may have used the word “edgy.” Maybe even “in your face.”

This campaign was doomed from the start. When you’re marketing with social media, there’s no possible way to actually control what gets said about your product. So the best you can do is use a real narrative that will spread on its own, or establish a tone for your conversation that makes attacks on your company look petulant. When you start out looking petulant, like Windows did here, it’s only going to get worse. When you fight with a pig, you both get dirty. But the pig likes it.

Dave Thier @mashable

Monday, November 19, 2012

NBC News' Mara Schiavocampo is not ashamed of her Twinkie affection. Now, she's stocked up for life

NBC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo shares why Twinkies have a special place in her heart, and why she bought herself a lifetime supply.

By Mara Schiavocampo, NBC News

In just a few days, a box of 100 Twinkies will arrive at my house. Given that I eat one Twinkie  — maybe two — each year, these should last at least 50 years. That's the point. I'm stocking up on a lifetime supply of Twinkies.

When I first heard that Hostess was filing for bankruptcy a few months back, I immediately dismissed the idea the company could actually close. "They'll work it out," I thought. I figured there was no way that the brand behind Twinkies, Ding Dongs and those cupcakes with the squiggly line, would cease to exist. It seemed impossible. Hostess is as American as Wonder Bread.

But when things started deteriorating in the last few weeks, I began to panic. Why? Because like so many people, I have a very deep emotional connection to Twinkies. I ate them when I was little. My mother kept the individually wrapped snacks around the house and every now and then I could have one. They were the ultimate treat.

I love everything about Twinkies. I love how soft and spongy the cake is. I love that second bite, when you really start to get into the filling. I love that they come in pairs. I love the way they look and smell. I even love the little cowboy Twinkie on the box. They are my single favorite junk food indulgence. If I had to order my last meal, I'd request a pair of Twinkies for desert (mashed up with ice cream, naturally).
As I look around and see how others are reacting to the news that Hostess is closing down, I realize I'm not alone. This isn't about snacks. This is about personal ties that often go back to childhood. This is about the ultimate comfort foods — treats that makes you feel like a kid again.

And even thought it's been reported that Twinkies may live on, just the possibility of it all disappearing makes me sad. It marks the end of an iconic American company, and for so many of us, our most valued treats. In life, when I've been really, really down, a Twinkie would always cheer me up. Good thing I have that lifetime supply coming. I'll need it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Social Video App Vodio Rolls Out Deeper Social Integration

Video discovery app Vodio has rolled out a new iOS design which turns any Facebook Page or Twitter profile into a video channel, and adds in more content from YouTube along the way.

The platform — which is like Flipboard for videos — now allows you to search for a friend, celebrity or brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and subscribe to those pages to see what page owners are watching.

The updated Vodio app is now available in the Apple App Store.

Instead of scouring the web looking for the hottest and most shared new videos, Vodio populates the app with videos it predicts users will be most interested in based on behavior and their social graph. This means it recommends videos based on your own social profiles, videos you’ve watched in the past and now your social connections. The recommendations are included in various categories including tech, comedy, style, sports and buzz.
Unlike other video aggregation apps, which typically pull content from a fixed source, the company has been tracking thousands across the web since its launch in January. It has since attracted more than 200,000 users — 5,000 of which are active each day.

“Our goal is to give our users the easiest entry point for video consumption with the most natural and intuitive video experience available on the iPad and iPhone,” said Jonathan Messika, CEO of Vodio Labs. “We wanted to take the experience of finding videos beyond the act of merely subscribing to a certain feed of content, and rather create a system that pulls together all the videos available out there on the web and create channels that would match the things you’re interested in.”

The app already has some high-profile fans, including Avril Lavigne who said she uses the service often to connect with fans.
“I’ve been using Vodio for months — it’s a great way to stay connected with fans and find out what’s popular on the Internet right now at the same time,” Lavigne told Mashable at her Abbey Dawn Fashion party in September, which was in part sponsored by Vodio.

Lavigne shared an assortment of exclusive videos during 2012 New York Fashion Week that were only available through her Vodio channel.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Watch A Swarm Of Robots Team Up With Flying Drones To Solve Real-World Problems

Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo are researchers from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa and they are leading us down the primrose path towards human extinction. More precisely, they’re using a method called specially-targetted communication. The flying robot “selects” ground robots and communicates with them by changing LED colors. Once the airborne robot sends the right signals to the ground robots, they can work together to move over and around obstacles that the ground robots cannot see.
Most important is that fact that no real “wireless” communication is necessary here, unless you count the LEDs as a form of electromagnetic signaling. Instead, the flying robots can tell the ground robots to do what they do best – self-assemble – and then guide them where they need to go.
You really have to see the video to understand it, but it’s some seriously wild robot interaction. The method requires no GPS, no maps, and no outside control. The flying robots just need to know what the environment looks like and the ground robots just have to follow orders. It’s amazing stuff.

The lights over your head are about to get smart

Thursday, October 11, 2012

#Unapologetic for how I do business. You have to #pay to #play. That's why it's called #business, fool.

Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit. I know this social media jazz inside and out. Capitalist voting for Obama. Yup.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

{why?} am I so good @AbsolutCreative when it comes to making videos

This video is a direct result of the simple fact that all the good ideas have been done. The great ideas cannibalized. At least they were on the day I shot this video. Better luck tomorrow. music: Nataly Dawn singing Book of Love, by The Magnetic Fields

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Lisa! And I hope that your Birthday is as Wonderful as You are, filled with love and happiness

Dear Lisa,
God gave a gift to the world when you were born; a person who loves and cares, who sees a person's need and fills it, who encourages and lifts people up, who spends energy on others rather than herself, who touches each life she enters & makes a difference in the world. I know the love you have shown to others will return to you multiplied. No one desrves a happier birthday than you. Happy Birthday!!

And just for kicks I've added this bootlegged Beatles video of Happy Birthday, which is really just a dub of the whole rooftop thing. Happy Birthday xoxoxo

Monday, August 27, 2012

The homie @King24George got crazy bounce. Just saw him reverse 360 b/t the legs windmill at the Nike FOS in Shanghai. No warmup #sick

It never fails — head out for a long weekend to be a groomsman in your college roommate's wedding, and you're sure to miss the unveiling of a 360-degree, through-the-legs windmill performed by a 6-foot-10-inch shooting guard in Shanghai. A tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme. Just watch the video up top, get the full story here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

YouTuber Partner: Learn about copyright basics

YouTube recently announced that its users upload 72 hours of video per minute. When you pair that number with the 4 billion hours of video we watch per month, it’s clear that entertaining and valuable content is in high demand. And now that the YouTube Partner Program is open to everyone, monetization is actually more feasible than ever.

For Brand Engagement, Visuals Rule [INFOGRAPHIC]

What was the last thing you shared on the web? There’s a good chance it was either a photo or a video. And increasingly, that shareable content is originating from brands.

Companies are quickly learning that visual media is one of the most effective ways to share their stories. In a study of the top 10 brands on Facebook, users liked photos twice as often as text updates. And they shared videos 12 times more than photo and text posts combined.


Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Create Location-Based Reminders on Your #iPhone

Reminders is a great iOS app to help keep things organized throughout the day. For example, location-based Reminders can help you remember to call someone or do the laundry when you get to a specific location. The basics of creating a location-based reminder can be found in the steps below, or you can watch the video above for an in-depth tutorial.

‘Wall Street Journal’ Offers Free #WiFi in NYC, San Francisco

From now until the end of September, The Wall Street Journal is offering free Wi-Fi to residents of New York City and San Francisco.

The Wi-Fi network is available through more than 1,300 hotspots labeled “The Wall Street Journal Wi-Fi.” You won’t need a Wall Street Journal subscription to access the network, but you will need to create a free account or log in with your existing credentials.

The paper says the network covers approximately two-thirds of Manhattan, including Times Square, Union Square and the West Village, as well as some areas in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. San Franciscans will be able to log in at Washington Square, Nob Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf, among other neighborhoods.

It’s an unusual marketing move for a media company, but not a digital one. Companies like Google and Skype have offered free Wi-Fi on flights and in airports as a way to bolster sign-ups and collect marketing data. The Journal‘s aims appear to be similar, though a company spokesperson would only say, “We’re always looking for ways to give people the opportunity to sample The Wall Street Journal. This is the latest in a long history of those efforts.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Night is Sold Out.

update tomorrow morning...

#Betterlate than #Never Flipboard Comes to Android at last

After months of anticipation, Flipboard has finally come on board to Android and will available on devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets.

The company released the Android version on Friday after launching in beta on May 30.

In addition, the confirmed to The New York Times that Flipboard will come pre-installed on Samsung’s Galaxy S III via AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile USA and Sprint. The move to Android comes after Apple named Flipboard one of its favorite apps of 2010. Evan Doll, a former Apple engineer who worked on iOS, told The Times that it was time to expand from just iOS.

“They would love for us to be iOS exclusive from now until the end of time,” said Doll, referring to Apple. “But we’re trying to reach as big an audience as we can.”

Flipboard first launched as an iPad app in July 2010, waiting a full year-and-a-half before releasing a version for iPhone devices. The former is formatted like a magazine; the latter displays a scrolling list of thumbnails designed for news consumption on the go.

Journalist Dodges Bullets to Live-Tweet Taliban Attack

Twenty people were killed on Friday when Taliban fighters carried out an 11-hour-long siege of a lakeside hotel near Kabul, Afghanistan. Mustafa Kazemi, a Kabul-based journalist who’s becoming well-known for usingTwitter to cover life and violence in the country, braved bullets and explosions to live-tweet the attack while it was unfolding. Get the Story on Mashable

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fill This Glass With Guinness, Get a QR Code

Can your beer glass do this?
Welcome to the next phase in on-premises beer marketing. Either that, or it’s just a cool thing to look at when you’re hoisting a few.
Either way, this glass, developed by ad agency BBDO in New York, is the most social beer glass we’ve seen. Activate that QR code and the glass checks you in to Foursquare, tweets about your pint and/or updates your Facebook status.
And in a nice branding twist, you have to use Guinness — or at least another very dark beer. If your beer is filled with an ordinary pilsner like Budweiser, you won’t be able to read the code.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Condom Company Asks Women What They Don't Want

When it comes to sex, everyone has their personal preferences; those things -- or people -- that they’re just not that into. Now condom maker Sir Richard’s is encouraging women everywhere to state their “Vagina Rules” loud and clear.

The campaign, which includes a hilarious video and posters plastered around New York City, is timed to coincide with National Women’s Health Week. According to the company’s YouTube page: Sir Richard's is calling upon women to share "rules about what they won't put in their vagina" to raise awareness for the lesser-known chemicals that are often found in condoms and lubricant, including spermicide, parabens, and glycerin.

And women have been sharing in droves. And after watching the video I now know there are a whole lot of things that women just don’t want near their vaginas.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman Wonders If Boehner, Other Republicans Are 'Manchurian Candidates'

Appearing on "Martin Bashir" Friday afternoon, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said that Republican leaders' economic policy is so destructive that "sometimes you do wonder if these guys are moles –Manchurian Candidates – for I don’t know who." (Watch above.)

Krugman also called lawmakers who think austerity programs will jumpstart the economy "completely deluded."

Throughout his appearance, the Nobel Prize-winning economist proffered a philosophy familiar to readers of his column: Governments should spend more, not less, during tough times. He called the austerity programs that have been put into place in Europe and the U.S. a "massive unethical human experiment," and argued that "even if you don't care at all about the people...cutting spending right now now is a way to make the budget, too."

Responding to a clip of Congressman Paul Ryan comparing American economic malaise to that of Greece, Krugman outlined the many differences between the two countries, then attacked the Republican rising star. "About Paul Ryan--you should really look at Paul Ryan's budget, and what's really in it, as opposed to the empty promises," Krugman said. "His budget would actually increase the budget deficit. He wants to slash taxes on the rich, cut benefits for the poor, but it adds up to an increased budget deficit, not a reduced one."

Bashir then asked what Krugman thought of John Boehner's recent assertion that he would once again force a showdown over the U.S. debt ceiling.

Krugman compared Boehner and his ilk to Manchurian Candidates, whose "real job is to bring down America." Republicans have become so extreme, he said that their strategy at the negotiating table is simply to "threaten to destroy the economy unless they get what they want."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, May 14, 2012

When Pinterest addiction goes a little too far

You thought Pinterest was a pink, fluffy wonderland filled with kitty-cats and cupcakes. You thought wrong. As this {hilarious} video from the good folks at Comediva shows, Pinterest can get scary. Really scary.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Trayvon Martin’s Mother Calls for End to ‘Shoot First’ Laws

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, released a YouTube video on Friday that encourages opposition to “stand your ground” laws.

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in February by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman was not immediately arrested due to an expansive self-defense law in Florida, and the shooting set off a nationwide debate over gun control laws and racial profiling.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder more than six weeks later.

“Just like me, 30,000 mothers lost their children this year to senseless gun violence,” Fulton says in the video. “Nobody can bring our children back, but it would bring us comfort if we can help spare other mothers the pain that we will feel on Mother’s day and every day. I’m asking you to join Florida in calling upon the governor of your state to reexamine similar ‘stand your ground’ laws throughout the nation.”

The video was posted by safe gun law advocacy organization Second Chance on Shoot First and The Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation, which Fulton founded.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oprah Could Rule the World if she wanted to #SuperKickAssFab

As usual, Oprah is on to something big again and yes it’s positive and yes I love it! She launched an app on Facebook {}  and she’s calling it The Thank You Game, where she wants people  across the world to play by saying  thank you to someone in their life.

What better day to start than on Mothers Day? To give thanks to the mothers and grandmothers and step mothers and all the other special women in your life who have been like a mother to you? Gratitude is a wonderful thing and an often overlooked sentiment.

I remember once, many years ago, Oprah said on one of her shows that if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, then that will be enough. That stayed with me.

So in that spirit I start with you, thank you for reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Big Jambox Pumps Out Awesome, Ear-Splitting Audio

Monday, April 30, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate, I'm just that good @soulhornet

How good am I at this social media game? My competitors spent their weekend sending me anonymous hate text. How cool is that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can President Obama Drive A Sphero Robotic Ball? Yes He Can! {Video}

The Sphero is a clever little gadget. It’s instantly addictive made possible by an incredibly intuitive control scheme. In short the little robotic ball is controlled by simply drawing on the connected smartphone’s screen. Users generally get the hang of it within seconds. Obama did. “…Excuse me, give me some space to drive my ball,” the POTUS said.

Yesterday, prior to an event at Boulder’s Coors Event Center, President Obama was greeting the gathered crowd when he ran into Boulder-based Orbotix. After a quick demonstration, Obama took the controls and had a bit of fun with the Orbotix’s Sphero before getting back to his presidential duties. As with most people who play with the Sphero, he seemed mighty impressed and found the whole concept “terrific.”

The Sphero is a $129 robotic ball that’s controlled by a smartphone or tablet. The company developed a large offering of games and apps around the device, making it a truly multifunction gadget rather than just an expensive cat toy. As shown in the video above with President Obama, it’s a whole lot of fun. Spike TV said it best, though, “It’s a new type of gaming system.”

Socialcam Just Added Millions Of New Users, So It Tweaked Its App To Make Them Stick Around

Sunday, April 15, 2012

An Open Letter To Those Not Employed At Instagram

Dear Non-Instagramers,

Sorry that you didn’t get bought out for $1 billion last week. That’s got to be a bummer. Kevin Systrom just made enough money to buy a boat big enough to make Larry Ellison jealous and you’re still living in a studio apartment.

Instagram is a one-off. A fluke. An anecdote that many entrepreneurs will mistake for data. Please don’t be one of them.

This happens about every half a decade. The first mover in a space gets taken out in record time with a ridiculous valuation and the founders look like epic geniuses. Do you remember YouTube? Sure you do. But what about Revver, Metacafe, Guba and Veoh? I didn’t think so.

I know you’re smart and could probably program Instagram yourself in less than a week. Because let’s face it, how hard could it be? It’s just a few filters put onto the iPhone’s camera with some sharing features skinned to appeal to hipsters. There’s just not that much technology involved. Instagram’s competitive advantage comes from being first.

First is important. It’s important in defining functionality, setting expectations and capturing mindshare. It’s important to corporate buyers. Now that Facebook has already made its acquisition it’s unlikely that your consumer tech product, if it’s in any way close to Instagram, will also be bought. It’s a classic winner-take-all scenario. Google doesn’t know what to do with the products it has. Yahoo just purged another 2,000 people. News Corp? Barry Diller? AOL? Please.

And that’s assuming that there even is a market for your consumer technology startup’s product or service. Let’s suppose that you do get Instagram-level breakout and collect 30 million users. That’s great, but only if you (or your potential acquirers) see a viable path to monetize those users. Users aren’t customers. The people who are pissed that Facebook now owns Instagram ultimately have one major concern: that Facebook will find a creepy way to make money off the service.

That’s the thing about consumer technology: it’s easy to rip off, hard to sell to strategic acquirers and monetization is often a mystery.

Compare that to the enterprise technology market, which is typically characterized by real intellectual property, obvious monetization and a plethora of cash-rich potential acquirers. It’s a place to build companies, not just products. Consider a single example. When Nand Mulchandani recruited me to ScaleXtreme his pitch was simple. “My cofounder spent five years building the technology to deliver cloud and server management functionality from the cloud. We’re attacking an $8-billion a year server management market. We’re providing functionality that BMC, CA, HP and IBM can’t at a price the incumbents won’t. You want in?”

Enterprise technology companies are consistent winners. As Quentin Hardy pointed out earlier this year, a bunch of enterprise tech companies have gone public recently and they’re pretty much all trading up from their offering prices. They’re regularly acquired too. It’s easy for corporate buyers to see value in a company that has customers. Success here goes to a wider number of winners.

The thing about customers is that once you’ve got ‘em, they tend to stay with you. That’s important. They’ve not just given you their money. They’ve invested their time considering the competitive landscape and chosen you. There’s real cost in switching.

The Instagramers were lucky. That’s not to diminish what they accomplished. Systrom found someone willing to put out serious money for his startup. It’s every founder’s dream, but the reality for too few in the consumer space.

Enterprise technology has minted many more millionaires. Instead of hoping to score with some new awkward digital tribadism—think Instagram meets Pintrest, optimized for Google Glass—try building a company to solve a real problem with real innovation and serious intellectual property. One that attracts customers, not just users. One that will employ people, make money and maybe even pay income taxes.

Yours truly,


Alexander Haislip is a marketing executive with cloud-based server automation startup ScaleXtreme and the author of Essentials of Venture Capital. Follow him on Twitter @ahaislip.

Instagram for Android Hands-on

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Facebook Sponsored Stories Boost Engagement

How Facebook Sponsored Stories Can Boost Engagement

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Goodbye Android Market, Hello Google Play

Google’s Android Market has undergone some tremendous changes over the last year or so. What started as just a standalone app store has quickly grown to encompass e-books, music, videos, and now Google feels like the “Android Market” moniker is getting to be too restrictive, too constraining for what they’re really trying to deliver to their users.

That’s why Google is officially putting the Android Market name to rest. Starting today, all of Google’s digital media services have been rebranded to fly under a brand new banner: Google Play. That’s right gadget buffs, despite some delectable new rumors Google Play isn’t a new tablet from the folks at Mountain View, but rather a unified brand that seeks to tie the company’s digital media services together.

According to Google Engineering Director Chris Yerga, the rebranding was something Google has been contemplating for quite some time, but the company felt that this was the “natural time” to pull the trigger.

Google has spent months and months building out the Android Market into a digital media hub, but constantly invoking the Android name seems to have led to a sense of exclusion for some users. There’s nothing about the process of renting movies, purchasing music, or skimming through e-books from Google that requires anyone interested to actually own an Android device. All of a user’s pertinent media is stored in Google’s considerable cloud and accessible from run-of-the-mill web browsers, and Google wants to drive that point home with the new Google Play brand.

Putting all the content under the same name should enable the company to showcase all of its offerings equally, and potentially bring in new customers in the process.

Promotional videos for Google Play drive home that the service is cloud-based, much like Apple’s iCloud can be used to view content on one of your devices, and then pick up where you left off on another. For instance, if you purchase a book to read on your Android phone, you can pick up where you left off on your tablet later on.

Movies can be downloaded and viewed on your computer, but also viewed on your tablet or phone while you’re traveling.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can We Fix Young America With Technology and Entrepreneurship?

With youth unemployment at a 60-year high and student-loan debt nearing the $1 trillion mark, can anything be done by the technology sector to help young Americans struggling to find work? Yes, says the #FixYoungAmerica campaign, launching Monday.

#FixYoungAmerica is seeking to address a single, nagging question in the U.S.: How do we overcome the twin epidemics of youth unemployment and underemployment?

To that end, #FixYoungAmerica campaign is releasing a book designed to help fix those problems. It’s chock full of ideas from some of the country’s top intellectuals, nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, educators, politicians and entrepreneurs.

Several of the ideas put forward involve technology: teaching kids how to code, requiring technology education in public schools and sparking innovation through entrepreneurial competitions.

The campaign is led by the Young Entrepreneur Council. The YEC has formed a coalition of partners to tackle youth unemployment, including Codecademy, MassChallenge, Venture for America and more.

#FixYoungAmerica is asking supporters to help fund the movement via a crowdfunding effort on IndieGoGo, a popular startup-funding platform. But according to YEC founder Scott Gerber, the campaign doesn’t want to try to solve youth employment by throwing money at the problem. Instead, it’s looking for “actual solutions” and to serve as the “beginning of a conversation” about the economic conditions facing American youth — and how to fix them.

A media campaign launching this week alongside events in 10 cities will spread the word about the campaign’s mission. For social outreach, #FixYoungAmerica asks supporters to “pass the baby” — an image of a tool-belt-carrying toddler meant to represent the idea of fixing the nation’s youth.

The #FixYoungAmerica book releases in May — just in time for graduation.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Canonical Announces Ubuntu for Android

Canonical’s Ubuntu TV, unveiled earlier this year, was the first in a series of announcements about “Ubuntu on devices”. The next device in Canonical’s multi-screen strategy for world domination is being unveiled next week at Mobile World Congress 2012, and it’s an Android-powered smartphone. It’s not entirely what you might think, though.

This is not an Ubuntu app running atop Android. Nor is it an all-Ubuntu device running an Android emulator. Rather, Ubuntu for Android it the full Ubuntu desktop running side-by-side with Android on a shared kernel that provides context appropriate access to all your content. When out and about, the phone operates as any other Android-powered phone; but when you slip the device into a dock connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse you get the familiar Ubuntu desktop experience.

I admit that I think this is pretty novel. It’s not an Asus Transformer trying to play both sides of the smartphone / laptop experience with a single OS. Instead, it’s something completely new that’s trying to leverage the right interface and experience for the right context. It’s a phone in most senses, but only activates the Ubuntu desktop when connected to peripherals that benefit from them.

What’s this good for? I asked Jane Silber, Canonical’s CEO, that question. The most immediate use case is enterprise users: people who carry a smartphone and a laptop. Ubuntu for Android would allow many mobile professionals to reduce to a single device. Average users would benefit from this convergence, too. According to Silber this allows “the right experience on the right form factor.”What are the benefits of this Android/Ubuntu hybrid? Data consolidation, for one. You don’t need to duplicate your address book, or even synchronize it: whether you’re looking for a number to call from the Android phone app, or looking for an email from the Ubuntu email app, both programs are interrogating the same single address book. The same holds true for documents, media, and any other content stored on the device.

Another neat trick: if you connect your Ubuntu for Android device to a television via HDMI you don’t get the Ubuntu desktop: you get the Ubuntu TV interface. You can browse media on your phone or access online content as you would with any Ubuntu TV appliance.

Ultimately, says Silber, this hybrid approach reduces the mental “context shifts” required by using multiple independent devices. When your Ubuntu for Android device is docked and you’re composing emails, you can still send and receive texts and phone calls — and, indeed, access and launch all the Android apps on your phone — meaning that you don’t need to move away from your laptop to pick up and use your phone. You simply mouse over to the incoming call indicator and select the action you desire: take the call, hang up, whatever. Efficiency, for the win!
When I asked Silber how long it would be until they kick Android to the curb and release an all-Ubuntu phone, she simply said “We’re not going to be announcing that at MWC 2012.”

As with the Ubuntu TV, Canonical won’t be unveiling a completed product ready for purchase next week. They’re showcasing the technology they’ve developed and are looking for hardware partners.

New Update Brings Collaborative Editing To Google Docs Android App

It’s safe to say we’ve all been in a situation where a few extra pairs of eyes could come in handy, and the folks at Google know just how that feels. In an effort to give people that backup when they need it, they’ve just pushed out a useful new update to the Google Docs Android app.

The update’s biggest draw is the addition of live, multi-user editing — after sharing the document with your closest confidantes, any changes made will carry over to each person’s device in real time. To help with the mobile editing process, Google has also added the ability to pinch-zoom between page and paragraph views, not to mention some much-needed formatting tweaks. Need to bold a particularly thoughtful passage, or point out a lousy turn of phrase with some red ink? Now you can.

Of course, there’s nothing like a human slant to make even the most utilitarian updates grab you by the heartstrings. Google’s demo video tells the charming story of a guy doing some last-minute prep on a speech, and I half-expected it to highlight the other side of the collaborative editing coin: that more voices involved doesn’t always lead to a better final product. It didn’t, of course, but I could definitely imagine a few of my friends clogging up a heartfelt speech with off-color jokes if I were in the same spot.

The moral of the story? Keep your friends close, and your collaborative editors even closer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Clear: Why This Simple To Do List App Has Everyone Talking

Clear the heavily-anticipated touch-based to-do list app, is launching in the iTunes App Store tonight. And by heavily anticipated, I mean this app was getting tech blog coverage based on demos, previews and teaser videos.

Why the big draw for what’s typically been a rather ho-hum app category, the lowly to-do list? Clear is pure eye candy, for starters. But it’s also representative of a major leap forward in smartphone app design, as it’s been built from the ground up for the touch interface. The app is based solely on the use of now-common gestures: swipes, pulls and pinches. There are no buttons with Clear, and yet, it’s surprisingly simple to use. In fact, that’s the point.

If your current to-do list app needs are complex, you may not be in the market for Clear. But if you’re regularly turning to a simple to-do list app, or even the iPhone’s built in notepad to make your lists, Clear is definitely going to wow you.

The app is unique in that it forgoes common navigational elements – like buttons positioned either at the bottom of the screen or towards the top – in favor of an all-gesture interface. If you don’t know how to swipe and pinch, you could be lost for a second upon first launch (err, mom). But Clear’s design is meant to tap into what’s already common knowledge among smartphone users: you can swipe, pinch and pull down on on-screen elements to interact. Who needs buttons?

Somewhere, Steve Jobs, no fan of buttons (obviously – look at the iPhone, there’s just the one) is smiling.

With Clear, there are only a few gestures you need to in order to use the app: pull down on a list to add an item, swipe to the right to complete an item or to the left to delete it, pinch apart two items to insert a new one in between, and pinch vertically to close the current list and see all the lists in the app. Lists are also color-coded with a heat map to show the most pressing tasks at a glance..

That’s it. It’s a quick learning curve, and what’s more, doing away with buttons can actually speed up the process of using to-do lists once you realize that’s how it’s done. Clear even pushes you to simplify here, too, by limiting to-do items to just 30 characters.

“There’s so much crap trying to get your attention in other to-do apps, you don’t even bother typing things in on the iPhone app version,”  proclaims the app’s co-creator Phill Ryu, “with Clear it’s so fast it’s sometimes even fun.”

But is the world ready for a buttonless app?

“Yes!” Ryu says, “Have you seen babies play with an iPad? They love swiping and manipulating things directly one-to-one on the screen. There’s nothing more natural than that on a touchscreen device.”

He’s got a point. This weekend, I watched in amazement as a one-and-a-half year old unlocked the iPad, tapped a folder, launched Netflix, browsed the queue and launched his favorite cartoon. Jaw-dropping, really. Clear is the kind of app that’s been designed for him, and for this new generation of smartphone users who grew up with gestures. Forget backward compatibility for those sad sacks who remember Windows and other things with archaic user interface concepts like “menus” and “buttons.” Design for the future. How can you not love the idea?

The app itself has an interesting background, too. It’s a joint project between Realmac Software, Milen Dzhumerov, founder of The Cosmic Machine and Clean Cut Code, and a new studio called Impending Inc. This is the first launch for Impending, which was founded by tap tap tap partner, the above-mentioned Phill Ryu and David Lanham of the Iconfactory. Prior to Impending, the team has been involved with a number of high-profile and popular apps, including Twitterific, MacHeist, Classics and more. Not a bad way to kick off your studio’s debut.

Impending has also been working on another project for the past year and a half, but isn’t talking about the details just yet. They’re working with a very talented team, however, including some of the “usual suspects.” And yes, we’ll probably be obsessed with that app, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYPD deploys TSA style Naked Body scanner to bypass 4th Amendment / Terahertz radiation blasters

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twitter does a Flashback