Knoxville is on the verge of something fantastic and I’m excited I was able to witness the start of it. I was invited to attend the announcement of the new Variable Technologies office in Knoxville on Wednesday 12/12/12 at 1 PM.
George Yu, PhD, CEO and Founder of Variable Technologies based out of Chattanooga.
Alex Lavidge of Variable Technologies and Syner-G explains the NODE to WBIR.
This was also a presentation of their product NODE that was held at the offices of Syner-G. Greg Compton and Alex Lavidge were on hand to represent Variable Technologies and field questions about NODE. Media in attendance consisted of WBIR and the Knox News Sentinel, so I was honored to be in the room given my lack of press credentials.
When I arrived I already had the NODE and the newly released THERMA iOS apps installed on my iPhone 4S because I had been reading quite a bit over the past few months about NODE.
iPhone 4S screen shot of the NODE Therma app that allows you to view with your iPhone camera.
George told me to turn on my Bluetooth so I could sync my iPhone 4S to THERMA that was attached to one of the many KORE units on the table before me. I picked up the KORE unit with THERMA and started pointing it around at an assortment of things to take different temperatures in the conference room. I was impressed by the quality of the KORE unit and the durable materials it was constructed out of. The THERMA sensor is held onto the KORE with two tiny screws. The THERMA iOS app was beautiful and well done. It’s quite intuitive and very easy to navigate so anyone thinking about purchasing a KORE and the THERMA sensor don’t be intimidated because it’s easy to figure out.
iPhone 4S screen shot of the NODE app
George said to try the CLIMA sensor next to let me get a feel of the amount of data you’ll have at your fingertips when you purchase the KORE and CLIMA. With the CLIMA sensor I was able to pickup the barometric pressure, ambient light, humidity, and temperature of the conference room. For a weather nerd and National Weather Service certified SKYWARN storm spotter like me this was too much! I was absolutely amazed at the fact that I could so easily pickup everything. George told me about the record feature so I tapped it and let the data flow and eventually I decided to stop it. George said I now had the option to E-mail, Delete, or Cancel. I decided to e-mail the data sets to my Gmail account.
When you tap to stop recording data from the NODE you’re prompted to Email, Delete, or Cancel.
The default file type is .csv that can be read by Excel or Google Sheets and there was one for each data type.
Screen shot taken from Google Sheets on my MacBook Air displaying the temperature .csv
During the presentation I connected to one of the KORE units on the conference table that had the OXA sensor attached to it. I ran through the app and I was fascinated that I had the ability to measure Carbon Monoxide. The poor air quality in Knoxville during the summer justifies the purchase of OXA. The Variable Technologies website states the OXA is an industrial grade Carbon Monoxide sensor. I had a limited amount of time to play around with OXA so I wasn’t able to unlock the full potential of the sensor.
I went to my iPhone’s Bluetooth display and synced to another KORE unit but this time I was unsure of the sensor I was connected to. I didn’t have this KORE unit in my hand while I was connected because it was one of the many the conference table. I monitored the temperature as it rose and declined only to spike again as I disconnected from it.
Greg Compton demonstrated how you can use the CHROMA sensor to accurately read and color match multiple paints and have the exact paint code that you or your painter will need to get that last gallon of paint. The broad scope of uses for CHROMA by interior decorators, painters, and contractors are endless. I’m a new home owner and I was thinking of how I could use CHROMA to help with a few remodeling projects I have in mind. I was unable to get a hands on trial with CHROMA but the demo Greg gave us was excellent and showed off the power of CHROMA.
Variable Technologies has a very bright future ahead of it and the NODE has already caught the attention of the tech world. George confirmed that Variable Technologies will take NODE to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 8-11. I can’t wait to see how big of splash NODE will make on the largest stage in the tech world.
If you are interested in learning more about NODE, KORE, CHROMA, CLIMA, LUMA, and OXA then head over to Variable Tech.
(Disclaimer: I don’t work for Variable Technologies and I did not receive any compensation for this blog entry.)
App.net first caught my attention when it presented an app showcase at SXSW.
I frequent Google + and already followed Dalton Caldwell so on July 25th he posted about joining App.net and even had a campaign hashtag on Twitter #joinus because he was trying to raise $500,000 to fund the site which is billed as the ad-free social network. The entry fee for a yearly membership at the time was $50 and $1000 for devs. On October 1, it was announced the yearly membership fee would drop to $36 and they introduced a monthly membership of $5 for those unsure if they want to commit to a full year.
Tuesday night I took my daughter to her ballet lesson. The lobby has WiFi so I fired up my MacBook Air and was checking my regular channels for news. I ran across the announcement that the yearly membership had dropped so I decided to take the plunge and ponied up my $36 bucks making me App.net User #20,482.
When Dalton had first announced his 500k fundraising I went on and checked to see if jason or jason_ was available and they were. Fast forward to Oct 2, I was surprised that I was still able to snag jason_ which is the same as my personal Twitter handle along with a slew of assorted account across the interwebs.
I consider myself somewhat of an early mainstream adopter of Twitter because I first signed up back in March of 2008 after seeing it featured on G4’s Attack of the Show. Twitter back in the first quarter of 2008 was quiet and was mostly frequented by tech savvy types. Once Twitter had their Oprah moment and the Arab summer Twitter jumped the shark and the downhill slide began. Twitter has gone on to cut off a lot of their ties to the third-party devs that basically helped Twitter get to the point where they are today.
That’s where App.net comes into play. ADN is all about third-party development and ADN is working on the first payout of 200k to devs very soon. First off the similarities to Twitter are undeniable, it’s a parallel universe of sorts. App.net reminds me a lot the feeling of Twitter when I initially signed up in 2008. It’s not clogged up with people, celebs, and companies making a lot of noise.
The reason I didn’t sign up for App.net when it was in the 500k fundraising stage, I was saving up for our family summer vacation. I even posted the other day about my hesitation on becoming a member and Founder/CEO Dalton saw my post and replied.
There’s already an impressive offering of third-party apps such as Felix for iOS and Netbot that was released a few days ago also for iOS which made a huge splash and it seemed membership boomed that day as a direct result of the app’s release. I’m using the OS X app Wedge on my MacBook Air and it rocks! I’m excited to see what the coming months and the third-party devs have in store for App.net so if you have $36 bucks to spend annually I suggest you head over to App.net and join the conversation minus the spam bots and noisy chatter that clogs up Twitter.
Here’s a screen grab of my user profile on App.net
Twitter recently released an update to their web site and for mobile devices so you can add an image to your Twitter profile. On the web site this is found in Settings.
After you click on Settings you’ll want to click on Design
Then you’ll want to click Change header as shown in the screenshot below.
Make sure the image you use meets the Twitter requirements of 1200 x 600 & a max file size of 5 MB
Once you have your image you can grab it and position it and use the slider bar to enlarge it and make it smaller if you need to.
Once you click Save your Twitter profile will look similar to this…
Be sure to check it out on your mobile device too!
If done right the new profile image will also appear on your mobile device.
(iPhone, iPad, Android etc.)
It has all come down to this - (NASDAQ: FB) - the ticker symbol for Facebook that made its debut this morning. Today marks the initial public offering (IPO) for Facebook that was started by Mark Zuckerberg back in February 4, 2004, with his Harvard buddies Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. At first, only Harvard students could access Facebook. Eventually, colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University gained access. Facebook was not open to the general public until September 26, 2006, to everyone of age 13 and older with a valid address.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a fan of Facebook. However, I’m not a hater, I do have an account but I only created it to keep in touch with my family that I don’t very often. Facebook allows me to share moments of my life that otherwise my family would never know about. They’ve been able to watch my five year old daughter grow and see pictures of our first home.
The biggest downside to Facebook would have to be the privacy concerns. My account is pretty locked down and I intend to keep it that way. I don’t play Farmville or any of the crazy time consuming games that I used to get invites to. I’m one of those people that post in their timeline to not send me anything game related. Anything third party related that requests access to any part of your account is only trying to data mine you. Simple and plain, I don’t allow anything access to my account outside of say the iPhone Facebook app access, which by the way sucks terribly and their designers need to take design cues from the newly updated Google + app. Facebook settled FTC charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises which occurred on November 29, 2011. Mashable just announced that Facebook was hit With $15 Billion user tracking lawsuit. That’s not a good way to start life as a publicly traded company.
Facebook seriously needs to work hard on improving their stance on privacy concerns or it could tarnish the company for years to come. I’d be quite nervous if I was one of the people who was buying Facebook stocks today. The social connectivity comes with a price and that seems to be our individual privacy. Mark Zuckerberg was famously quoted as saying “The Age of Privacy is Over” which didn’t sit well with many. I don’t feel like we should have to trade our anonymity on the internet to be tracking by the likes of Facebook or Twitter. At the end of the day it’s big business for them to data mine all of us to know our shopping habits and how to target advertising which is the primary source of income for their sites. I’d honestly pay to use Twitter as long as they promised me 100% that my activities weren’t being tracked. I could never see Facebook owning up to such a promise.
I’m curious to what direction Facebook will take now that they’re a publicly traded company. They now have to answer to shareholders and don’t have as much rope to hang themselves with as they did before. The overall public internet view of Facebook has seemed to shift a great deal to a more negative stance. With competitors such as Google + hanging around and gaining traction, Facebook should tread lightly with the public because all it takes is one big blow up on the internet and the next thing Facebook will be Myspace.
Over the past few years I’ve observed more usage of social media to enhance Super Bowl commercials. This year it seems like every commercial had it’s own #hashtag. I saw a tweet from someone who noticed the lack of Facebook links as a whole. I believe this is happening because hashtags are far easier to remember than a url to a Facebook page. A lot of people watched the Super Bowl this year mainly for the commercials. Mashable.com for instance did a live blog to document all of the commercials. Overall I felt this year’s batch of commercials lacked the comedy and punch of those of years past. The Doritos spot with the guy and the dog was hands down my favorite commercial this year. The ownership of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets has seen quite a lot of growth. This makes internet apps such as Twitter and Facebook much easily accessible while you’re watching tv so people are more likely to visit the company’s site right after the $3.5 million commercial airs.
I’d like to see stats of how many people actually scanned the QR code on the Go Daddy.com commercial, I bet it was hardly anyone. I honestly think using a QR code in a commercial is a terrible idea. It makes about as much sense as using a QR code on a billboard that you see while you’re driving down the street. QR codes take some time to focus and scan properly so this is why I say this. Depending on the smart phone you own the scanner requires the user to accurately fit the QR code within the screen to scan. I previously had a Blackberry 9650 and it was quite difficult to scan a QR code. My iPhone 4S scans within five seconds or less.
It seemed Anheuser-Busch was more focused on the Kanye West “Runaway” backed commercial for it’s “new” 6.0% ABV Bud Light Platinum than to run more funny commercials for regular Bud Light that have been so hilarious in years past. I read tweets regarding Anheuser-Busch’s weak commercial showing from people in PR / social media who were watching each commercial closely to critique and analyze it.
The smartest marketing strategy award goes to Coca-Cola and their multiple tie in using the lovable polar bears. If you visited CokePolarBowl.com (which now redirect to their official You Tube page) throughout the game you could observe the real-time reactions of the polar bears to the events as they unfolded. The three commercial spots for Coca-Cola of course featured the polar bears that even worked in tandem with the Coke Polar Bowl live online steam. On Twitter, you could follow the comments of polar bears labeled NY_Bear and NE_Bear from the official Coca-Cola Twitter account. Ad agencies need to take notice of the Coca-Cola campaign and see how they executed flawlessly. This shows that Super Bowl commercials will continue to push people from their tv ad to the internet in order to get the most bang for their advertising buck. This makes it easier to get potential customers to go ahead and make that impulse buy.
LinkedIn was launched way back in 2003 by Reid Hoffman and a group of talented people who were from PayPal and Socialnet.com. LinkedIn’s main office is located in Mountain View, California, which is the same location as Google. LinkedIn boasts offices across America and two locations in Europe. LinkedIn’s initial public offering (IPO) back in May of this year created quite a buzz in the market since the stock performed better than expected in its first day. LinkedIn claims it has 116 million users signed up and leads the way for corporate people to make social media connections. I’ve had my LinkedIn account for a few years now and I’ve made some great connections with people in business. LinkedIn allows you to build your profile that can double as a resume or a business card. I only have the basic free account so I’m able to see a few people who view my profile and I get seen by some interesting folks in the business world. For a monthly / yearly fee, LinkedIn offers an upgrade to your profile for three categories. Their subscription plans are as follows: Business, Business Plus, and Executive. They range in price and access that each comes with.
LinkedIn allows you to edit and view your profile. You can establish a public profile with a vanity url that you can include on your resume. LinkedIn allows you to receive and give recommendations for , and the paid option of a profile organizer. We’ve all heard of the six degrees of separation. LinkedIn provides you with network statistics that branch off from your primary first degree connections. For instance I have 82 1st connections, and LinkedIn tells me that I have 45,400+ connections two degrees away that can be reached via Friends of friends; each connected to one of your connections. LinkedIn goes on to inform me that I have 3,930,800+ possible connections in which I can reach these users through a friend and one of their friends. If you upgrade your LinkedIn account they offer InMail in which LinkedIn claims that I can directly contact 135,000,000 LinkedIn users if I go this route.
LinkedIn provides the user to join groups created by LinkedIn users that share a similar trait such as a position at a job or an organization such as local LinkedIn users. I happen to belong to quite a few groups and I enjoy scanning them for information and occasionally I’ll drop a comment here or there whenever I feel it’s necessary. If you join a LinkedIn group, it’s an excellent way to network in your local community. I just so happen to know a guy who is the head of a local organization that meets once a week with entrepreneurs from the surrounding area. I highly suggest you checkout LinkedIn groups the next time you sign in. LinkedIn has a tab where the user can search for jobs that are typically posted directly by hiring managers. I’ve seen quite a few recruiters on LinkedIn for various large corporations around the country. LinkedIn now features something they deemed Career Explorer that attempts to help the LinkedIn user map out their career path and zero in on the ideal job titles they should be applying for based on the LinkedIn user’s background. LinkedIn has a standard inbox where the LinkedIn user can send and receive internal messages to their primary 1st degree connections. I utilize the LinkedIn inbox frequently when conversing with my 1st degree connections. The inbox is an excellent way to handle business without having to provide your email to your connections. One of my favorite features of LinkedIn has to be the company follow function. It allows the LinkedIn user to follow companies all across the country Below are just a few of the companies that I currently follow via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Today provides the LinkedIn user with current news from around the world which is powered by Twitter. You can opt to follow an assortment of nationally recognized media sources to custom tailor your LinkedIn news feed with.
Lastly, LinkedIn offers a variety of items available to the LinkedIn user under the more tab.
To date LinkedIn is the most powerful and respected social media network for professionals.
The microblogging site tumblr allows you to post text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video..
Tumblr was founded back in 2007 in New York City by David Karp. I’ve been on tumblr for about a year now. At first I mainly lurked and didn’t post much. When I joined talklaunch I started posting my weekly column as a mirror. I slowly started to post more content and now I’ve totally hooked on tumblr. I joined tumblr because I read an article on Mashable able how great the content was and they were right. tumblr is my laugh factory each day and night. My daily dashboard view is absolutely hilarious because there are some very talented people on tumblr with animated gifs.
Tumblr is also a great way to express your creativity and a great alternative to Twitter. In your dashboard view you can search tags that are applied to posts on tumblr.
I searched a particular tag and I was given the option to track the tag.
I love how for anything that you post you are able to select from when or how the content you’re sharing will be published such as publish now, add to queue, publish on…, save as draft, and private. Tumblr allows you to modify the post date to whatever date or time you want to enter. If you happen to be “borrowing” content from another source and you want to give thanks and give the original source their proper credit then you can enter the URL to the website in the content source field on your dashboard. For the budding SEO in you, feel free to add tags that way they’re completely searchable. Lastly tumblr allows you to even set a custom post URL and let people photo reply.
If you head over to http://www.tumblr.com/themes/ you can select from an assortment of fully customizable themes that are available for tumblr. Some of the themes are free to use and some require payment for you to be able to access.
Tumblr allows you to edit the html and adjust your blog’s appearance. As you see, I prefer to keep my tumblr in a minimalist theme that’s easy on the eyes.
Tumblr also allows the user to edit their posts in a rich text editor, plain text/html editor, or a markdown editor. I like that I can link my tumblr to other apps I enjoy such as GetGlue and SoundCloud. I’m a brand new iPhone 4S owner so I just linked it up to Instagr.am and the mobile app for iPhone. I look forward to putting both of them to use in the future. Recently President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign took up residence on tumblr. This just signifies how bright the future for tumblr is at this point. I just hope that the folks who run tumblr don’t mess up the format and formula that made tumblr the best blog site on the web.
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ for example. You can provide the generator with a URL, text, a phone number, and even an SMS to be made into a QR-Code. To be able to decipher the QR-Code your smart phone will need a QR-Code reader installed on it. The Kaywa offers a reader but I prefer the reader from i-nigma. Once the reader is installed on your smart phone you can open the app and start scanning.
If you are successful in properly scanning the QR-Code you’ll be able to access the content embedded in the QR-Code, such as a URL, text, phone number, or SMS message. About a year ago I won a t-shirt from a local IT group through a promotion they were doing on Facebook. Each time I wear the t-shirt I get at least one person who will stop me and ask one of two questions. Does it scan and who is it for? Lucky for me they screen printed a small company logo near to neck on the back of the t-shirt so nine times out of ten I’ll turn and point and the person will see the logo. I’ve not had anyone actually scan my t-shirt (yet) but I’m sure it will happen. The attention I have received so far from the t-shirt tells me that QR-Codes are obviously a great way to market because a person’s curiosity will get the best of them and before you know it your website has a unique hit. QR-Codes can be a used to store a maximum of 4,296 alphanumeric characters. You can also embed QR-Codes with numeric, binary, and even Kanji, full-width Kana characters. QR-Codes take up only one tenth of the space that a traditional bar code does. QR-Codes have the capability of error correction where the data can be read if it is dirty or damaged. Recently the emergence of companies such as Dynotag offer QR-Code creation so you apply QR-Codes on everything you own. Dynotag offers a QR-Code for the following uses such as personal, pets, home, car, websites, text, clone tags, and event dates. If you get far enough into the site they will create five QR-Codes for $19.95. Now if you are a novice user and unsure how to generate your own QR-Code this is probably the way to go. Otherwise you can go to any number of sites and generate your own QR-Codes for free.
Microsoft has its own version of the 2D barcode called tag. I saw a tag code in the local newspaper and I downloaded the tag reader and tried to about fifteen times to scan it and had no luck so I gave up. If you have a Microsoft Live account you can log in and start creating your own tag codes for an assortment of uses. I tinkered around with one for my column just to see how it would turn out.
I haven’t tried to scan with the Microsoft tag reader since my first experience with it. I was curious if Android and iPhone users are successful in reading the tag because the tag reader on my Blackberry failed miserably. I can easily see how the colorful tag codes are more appealing in the world of marketing because it will get your attention a lot easier than the plain black and white QR-Code will. It appears that QR-Codes are starting to catch on more and more stateside as they penetrate mainstream media. The number of smart phone owners continues to skyrocket and the mobile platform is the current battleground for a lot of marketing campaigns because the companies know we like to stay glued to our smart phones more than our laptops now a days.
January 9, 2007, was the day the technology world was turned upside down. Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone to the public and the cell phone business was never the same afterwards. The original iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 to rave reviews and a huge amount of media attention. Apple was found April 1, 1976 and incorporated on January 3, 1977. Up until January 9, 2007, Apple was known as Apple Computer, Inc., for thirty years. The announcement of the iPhone prompted this change and told the world that Apple was now into more than the Mac computers that carried the company from it’s humble beginnings. The iPhone forever revolutionized the way people and the cell phone companies use, design, and think about their cell phones. The iPhone is way more than a cell phone, it has a camera, an iPod, mobile email client, Safari web browser, and more applications (apps) than you could ever download and actually use in your lifetime.
Apple released the iPhone 3G July 11, 2008, with the choice of 8GB or 16GB capacity. The 16GB iPhone 3G was available in black or white. Apple decided to stop sending software updates to the iPhone 3G. The version of iOS was 4.2.1, that was released November 22, 2010. This essentially made the iPhone 3G obsolete which I’m sure has helped push users to purchase either an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. On June 19, 2009, much to the surprise of a lot of iPhone 3G owners, Apple cranked out yet another release that was billed as the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 3GS was initially available in 16 GB or 32 GB capacity and 8 GB iPhone 3GS came along a little while later.
The iPhone 4 was announced on June 7, 2010, and released on June 24, 2010. The iPhone 4 was a complete re-design of the iPhone 3GS and included the nifty capability of Apple’s FaceTime that was ported over from MacBook. The iPhone 4’s launch stumbled when antenna gate started. Early adopters of the iPhone 4 reported signal strength would drop off when they touched the lower left edge of the iPhone 4. Apple simply issued a statement telling users to “avoid gripping (the phone) in the lower left corner.” After public outcry Apple decided to issue the iPhone 4 plastic bumper that fit around the edge of the iPhone 4 to help with the antenna issue. Speculation of the newest incarnation of the iPhone so far billed the iPhone 5, has reached a fever pitch. Apple plans to make the official announcement for the new iPhone tomorrow at its Cupertino, California headquarters. Many wonder if the newest iPhone will actually be the iPhone 5 or simply the iPhone 4 re-branded with subtle upgrades as the iPhone 4GS. I guess only time will tell what the actual release will be so we’ll all just have to wait and see. Regardless of which version is released it seems that early adopters are already lining up to get their hands on the newest iPhone. Mashable.com just reported the iPhone 5 Expected to “Shatter” Sales Records.
This was originally posted on 10/3/2011
Google released their web browser Chrome as a beta for Windows on September 2, 2008. Initially, I downloaded the installer and checked it out and it seemed to be a decent browser. At the time I was a heavy Mozilla Firefox user so I had little use for a secondary web browser so at first Google Chrome got no love from me. Thanks to Microsoft’s dominance majority desktops and laptops with Windows operating systems come pre-installed with Internet Explorer, so unfortunately for a while it was the web browser of choice for many. Gone for me were the days of Microsoft’s horrible offerings of Internet Explorer with exception of using it at work which I’m still totally reluctant to do. A little while passed after the launch of Google Chrome and my wonderful Mozilla Firefox started to quickly fall apart. Over and over the browser crashes occurred only to continue with more frequency and frustration. Then Mozilla Firefox started to have constant issues with Adobe Flash and after sometime fighting this I grew tired of it and decided to revisit Google Chrome. It only took me a little while to take a look around and get used to things and unlearn my habits from Mozilla Firefox and apply them to Google Chrome. After about a week of continuous use I eventually got the feel and hang of Google Chrome and I loved it. It felt a lot more lightweight than Mozilla Firefox did at the time so I never looked back. Page load time is a major item that I could tell a big difference in from Mozilla Firefox. I was quite happy to ditch Mozilla Firefox and it’s constant crashing. Now please understand this was with the 3.0 versions of Mozilla Firefox and they’ve appeared to resolve the issue in the newer releases and I still feel that Mozilla Firefox is a much more solid web browser than Microsoft Internet Explorer ever will be.
Screenshot of the last version of Chrome to display the original Chrome logo.
Google decided to simplify the Chrome logo and here’s why they said they did it. Many of you who currently use Chromium or the Chrome early Channels have probably noticed that the logo is getting a makeover. Today, Google is talking about the change in an effort to “make the web quicker, lighter, and easier for all”. That’s evident in the new-look logo that you can see is more simplified than the previous version.
Currently, I’m running the 14.0.835.186.beta-m of Chrome for Windows.
After seeing this post http://goo.gl/9jilu by Louis Gray who is the Product Marketing Manager on Google+ I had to grab the 16.0.887.0.canary build for Chrome and run it along side the beta.
Here’s a screen shot of the 16.0.887.0.canary build of Chrome.
With the Google Chrome canary build I’ve learned that Twitter experiences a few problems and likes to freeze and then lead the page. Other than that bug it’s been quite useful to have a second flavor of Google Chrome to run alongside of the Google Chrome beta I use as my day to day web browser. I run the Google Chrome beta because I enjoy staying on the bleeding edge of improvements and adjustments that are made to Google Chrome.
Above is a screenshot for the download page for the regular Google Chrome release.
If you’re looking to improve your experience on the internet then I suggest you head over to http://www.google.com/chrome and try it for yourself today!
Be sure to checkout the Chrome Web Store in order to grab a whole bunch of goodies for your browser. Here’s a list of some of the extensions I utilize… 1-Click Weather for Chrome by The Weather Channel, Adblock Plus for Google Chrome (Beta), Amazon Cloud Player, AVG Safe Search, Clock - Version 1.5, Google Calendar Checker (by Google), Klout (beta), Screen Capture (by Google), and TweetDeck.
You can hack the target for the shortcut where you launch Google Chrome from to automatically launch Chrome as an Incognito window each time you open it like shown in the example below. C:\Users\Profile\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe -incognito Simply add -incognito to the end of the executable you can launch an incognito window every time. I only use Google Chrome as incognito mode once I found out about this. If you need a rock solid web browser that can do just about anything you can think of, strongly consider Google Chrome because I can promise you will not regret your decision.
On March 11, 2009 @dens and @naveen launched Foursquare.
My Foursquare badge list a.k.a trophy list. I recall it was only available in large market cities at first then it eventually launched in the smaller markets. When I signed up https://foursquare.com/jason_ I was User ID: 161,321. In 2010, the Foursquare user base grew at an exponential rate of 3,400% and they had a total of six million users signed up! The number of users has greatly increased since that blog post.
My first Foursquare check-in. 2,495 check-ins, and 170 badges later, Foursquare has become an integral part of my social media interaction with the world. On my recent vacation at the end of June first part of July, I shared the highlights of my vacation with those who follow me. Foursquare has allowed me to discover different places in cities I would have never seen had it not been for a user’s tip or suggestion. If you frequent a location enough you can eventually become the “mayor” of the venue. Some businesses offer discounts and specials for the mayor. I went to a barbershop this past Saturday and the special there was on your first check-in you receive a t-shirt. I thought it was pretty cool promo, one of the best I’ve seen so far.
Typically your initial check-in at a business location can earn you something like 15% off, or something similar. Usually when I go to check-in I generally see anywhere 29 to 30 specials available in the immediate surrounding vicinity. More and more businesses are seeing the value of having a presence on Foursquare. Previously, a business page had to be created by the Foursquare staff. Recently they started to allow end users to create their own business page on Foursquare. I’ve established a business page for my father’s company on Foursquare and I must say setup was quite easy and user friendly. If you submit at least five tips then your business page will be shuffled in the mix with the featured business pages on Foursquare. I bet they have the algorithm tweaked to look for the businesses who offer the most tips so I’d put as much as possible. In a short amount of time, Foursquare has established itself as the dominate location based check-in application.
Other options such as Gowalla, Google Latitude, and the now defunct Facebook Places have not fared as well as some had projected they would. Gowalla for example, actually chose to join forces with Foursquare and are currently in the middle of making big changes to shift their focus from location based check-in to re-focus on travel with guides, and stories. As it stands now, the future of location based check-in appears to solely be in the hands of Foursquare. Businesses always mention Facebook and Twitter as their social media outlets of choice. What they don’t realize, Foursquare can offer them just as much if not more customer interaction and traffic to their brick and mortar store front or even their domain.
At 8:49 a.m. on a Sept. 11, 2001, CNN got the first report of a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers. - On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was at my father’s house seeing my grandparents off as they headed back home to Florida. At that time I worked part time for my father’s company so we were waiting word back from a supplier. As we sat in my father’s living room, my step-mother came into the room to tell us to change the channel to CNN because something had just happened at the World Trade Center. My father switched channels and CNN was already on the first tower fully engulfed in flames at the impact zone. I remember staring at the screen in awe and I wondered what had happened. We were going back and forth to what we thought could have been the cause of the first plane to strike the North Tower.
I’ll never forget seeing the second plane come into view from the right of the screen and strike the South Tower and watched the huge fireball explode as the 767 made impact.
This image was quite unsettling because I knew the number of causalities would be high due to the amount of people that worked in the towers. Back in May 2001 I had briefly visited New York City for the first time. While I was there I used the Twin Towers as the South landmarks as I navigated my way through the streets of Manhattan. I never made it all the way down to the World Trade Center complex, the closest I came was Houston St. To now see both towers with planes crashed into them and on fire was something I could have never imagined.
CNN broke in on the coverage of the World Trade Center and showed a camera view of Washington, DC with a scene of smoke billowing but we couldn’t really tell what exactly they were trying to show us. When the CNN anchor announced that a third hijacked plane had just crashed in the Pentagon I immediately figured this all to be a large scale terrorist attack. United States citizens had not seen events like this on U.S. since Pearl Harbor in 1941. Being the news junkie I am, I recalled the World Trade Center attack of 1993 and I wondered if in some way it was all related. This group of terrorists were obviously coordinating the attacks in concert and it had us all wondering what was going to happen next and where it would happen?
It didn’t take much longer for us to learn the answer to that question. CNN informed the world that fourth hijacked plane had crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and 150 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The next few weeks that followed I kept up with the continuing coverage of the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. I felt a deep sense of sorrow for the people who perished and the families who were having to deal with losing their loved ones to such a horrific event. At the time I didn’t quite understand what motive Al Qaeda had to inflict such damage to the citizens of the United States but now I can clearly see why. I honestly can attribute a lot of the problems the United States is currently dealing with can be attributed to the September 11th attacks in some way shape or form. In closing, I really hope our political leaders of government can put aside the partisan politics to finally get America back on the course to recovery.
April 1, 2004 marked the end of email dominance for AOL and Yahoo. That is the date when Gmail was launched as an invitation-only Beta. Like many others I had a Yahoo and Hotmail email account at the time and I was quite curious to find out what the all chatter was in regards to Google’s entry into the email race.
I eventually scored an invite and set up my Gmail acct on July 1st 2004. The first email I sent was to all my friends and family telling them all that I had switched over to Gmail from my Hotmail/Yahoo accounts and this change was for good. Here we are seven years later and I’m still using the same account and I don’t regret the change one bit. I was sick to death of all the spam emails that I was receiving through my Hotmail/Yahoo accounts and Gmail’s ability to screen out all the spam garbage won me over immediately.
Classic view in Gmail The ease of sign up and use, 1 GB of space (at that time), and the lack of spam made Gmail a runaway success. I’m amazed at how Gmail how grown in storage space (7GB +) and functionality due in part to the Google Labs and are tested and sometimes they eventually graduate into a full fledged new feature for Gmail. If you’ve not done this, go into your Gmail account settings and click on Labs and checkout all the available experimental stuff that Gmail can do. One feature I was extremely happy to see integration of was pictures in the body of Gmail because for the longest time you had to attached all of your images. The undo send feature is a lifesaver sometimes if you happen to click send by accident and it allows you the ability to stop the email from sending. Signature tweaks was another great addition because like Outlook, it allowed you to create an email signature so you didn’t have to type out this information for each email you sent.
With the additions of Google Documents, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Buzz, Google +, Gmail has grown to become even more useful on a daily basis and began to gently nudge users towards for integration to running everything they do on their laptops in the cloud. Already Google has completely redesigned the Gmail, Google Documents, Google Calendar interfaces in an attempt to get them to match up to the newly launched Google + interface. Preview (Dense) view in Gmail
I enjoy the mobile versions of Gmail on my iPod touch and iPad. I’ve used the iPod touch version of Gmail mobile since November of 2007 and I love it. I bought my iPad December 2010 and I’ve used it an enormous amount on it as well. I’m really looking forward to using Gmail when I upgrade to my new iPhone sometime next year. I didn’t realize at the time when I signed up for my Gmail account that I was also establishing my Google account that would unlock the door to everything else that Google would eventually have to offer, all for free. If you are looking for a stable email with 7 GB of storage you should seriously consider switching over to Gmail. Google also offers Gmail to businesses and universities for a fee. The next ten years should be quite interesting to see the direction that Google takes Gmail.
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How influential are you on the internet? That is the question Klout is trying to answer. I joined Klout when I was invited to their Beta after discovering their site through a start up list blog I read. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the site at first since you could only link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to it. I’m not a big fan of Facebook so I hardly use my account. On the other hand, Twitter is where it’s at for me. I’ve been a heavy user of Twitter since 2008 under various handles but jason_ finally stuck. I’ve watched Klout grow and the media attention increase as the months go by. As your Klout score increases you unlock perks made available through certain advertisers. So far I’ve grabbed the perk for the TNT show Falling Skies, where I received a cool survival package of a army compass, army canteen, army field nap satchel, and army style cap and this stuff isn’t cheaply made either. The other perk I snagged was an invite to the U.S. release of Spotify. I’ve enjoyed this perk quite a bit and I was even able to earn a full month of the premium service when I got five people to sign up under my referral link.
Klout now allows you to link your Klout account to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, You Tube, Instagram, tumblr., Blogger, Last.fm, and Flickr accounts. I’ve seen where connections to Google +, Quora, yelp, posterous, and Wordpress are coming soon. Each connection you make to your Klout account will increase your influence therefore increasing your overall Klout score. As you see I’ve got each one tied to my Klout account with the exception of Instagram because I don’t own an iPhone yet, which will change soon. Recently, I’ve read where Klout is being used by hiring managers to find talent to gauge the applicant’s social media influence.
Your Klout account is broken down into the following: Score Analysis - Your Score - The Klout Score measures influence on a scale of 1 to 100. Network Influence - Network indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach. Amplification Probability - Amplification indicates how much you influence people. True Reach - True Reach is the number of people you influence.
Klout also provides the user with the following information:
Topics - these are the topics that Klout feels you’re influential about to your connections.
Influencers - shows who you influence and who influences you. Lists - You can build a list of people on Klout - for example I have http://klout.com/#/JoeFernandez - who is the CEO and Cofounder of Klout on my list that I just started yesterday, Klout Style - You are a Specialist - You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience. Achievements - So far I’ve managed to earn the Klout OG - “You’ve been around the block with us and then some. Thanks for being there in the early days and sticking it out. Just kick it a while longer and see how far we go. Or else…” and Summer of Klout - “Way to go! Your Klout Score braved the dog days of summer and still came out on top! Maybe it’s time for a vacation?”
If you wish to display your Klout score on your blog or website you can grab a widget from here http://widgets.klout.com/
Currently my Klout style is…
Your Klout style will vary as your Klout score goes up or in some cases down. I use a handy Klout extension for Google Chrome that displays the Klout score for each person / company in your Twitter feed as shown in the screen shot below.
I can see how companies can easily utilize Klout to market new products via Klout perks to those who are more influential across the internet. It’s quite entertaining to see just how much what you say and do on the internet can determine your Klout score in either direction. Klout has made me think much more about the content I post and how I go about doing it as well. I suppose only time will tell if Klout will continue to be a benchmark for social media influence.