Category Archives: Tech

The Jetsons

The Jetsons The Jetsons

Just when you thought Facebook was on stage four of the five-stages of the social network life cyle (RIP Blackplanet, College Club, and Myspace), ol’ Zuck had a trick up his sleeve to further delay the inevitable.  *Recently it was announced that Skype will be integrated into Facebook, allowing users to make video calls to their friends.

*This move by Facebook was a direct move to counter the announcement of Google Plus.  Google Plus is Google’s new social networking product, which has been getting pretty good reviews even though it hasn’t been officially released yet.

What does this mean?  Video calls and chats will become more common than voice calls.  We’re officially in the age of The Jetsons.  Now that we’ve arrived, what are some ways that video chatting can contribute to the greater good (or evil)?

1)     Long distance relationships – People have already been using Skype, but Facebook has 750 million users.  With the ability to video chat on a whim, an extra 6 months to a year can easily be added to the expiration date of a long distance relationship.

2)     Online dating – It’s no secret that people use Facebook to hook up.  Now, you can actually talk to someone face-to-face before ever deciding to meet up.  By next year, the term, “virtual first date,” will be heard and used everywhere.

3)     Cheating – There is a dark side to the force.  Nuclear energy can be used for a lot of good things.  It can also be used to annihilate entire cities in the form of a missile.  With that said, please believe that people are going to use video chatting to cheat and creep around on their significant others.

4)     Employment – More and more companies are using social networking to market, recruit, and hire new employees.  Looking to relocate to a job in another state?  No problem.  We can interview you via video and still have the same experience as sitting face-to-face.  Just don’t stand up and let us know you’ve been sitting in your draws the whole time.

5)     Fan Interactions – Celebs could hold contests where the lucky fan could win the opportunity to chat face-to-face with their favorite celebs.  This could definitely be a good marketing tool to promote a movie, album, single, book, etc.

What are some other ways that video chatting on Facebook could help or hurt?

Cool Things: Five Sites to Make Your Web Experience More Nerdy…

cover11 247x300 Cool Things: Five Sites to Make Your Web Experience More Nerdy...

Nowadays, we want the internet to do everything for us.  Personally, I want the internet to educate, humor, entertain, inform, engage, enlighten, and, possibly, feed me.  When I go to Google, I want it to solve my problems before I hit, “Enter.”  In fact, I want Google to read my mind and solve my problems as soon as I type the first two characters.  With that said, here are five cool sites that will make your web experience a bit more informative, entertaining, and worthwhile.  Be sure to add them to your Google Reader:

Sports & Pop Culture

Grantland.com – Bill Simmons is one of the greatest sportswriters of this generation.  His intertwining of sportswriting with pop culture and wit is the appeal of what makes his columns so popular and entertaining.  The ESPN columnist recently launched his new website which includes columns from Simmons (and other great writers) on sports and pop culture.

Political

Politico.com – If the Huffington Post is too liberal for you, and Fox News is simply out of the question, then Politico serves as a decent happy medium for all things politics and all things Washington.

Lifestyle

Lifehacker.com – It is as advertised:  The guide to working smarter, faster, and better.

Funny

Funnyordie.com – It’s the Youtube of comedy.  Will Ferrell is one of the site’s co-founders.  Nuff said.

Money & Finances

Wisebread.com – Great site for personal finance and frugal living.

Tackling the Jobs Issue…

job seeker button 300x300 Tackling the Jobs Issue...

The economy is, and has been, the most important issue in America for the past 3 years.  In 2008, jobs were being cut left and right.  No one seemed to be hiring.  Things looked dire.  In 2011, one could argue that companies are hiring.  Yet, unemployment numbers haven’t improved as they should.  Some employers argue that taxes, revenues, and losses are contributing to lack of vacancies.  Contrarily, some employers argue that there are indeed openings.  The problem is that there aren’t enough skilled applicants out there to fill vacancies.

Somebody is lying.

Considering the latter, how do we approach this problem?  Americans are more educated than ever before.  In 2002, it was reported that 80% of Americans are graduates of high school or higher, compared to 75% in 1990 (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2002-06-05-education-census.htm).  Here’s a newsflash:  It’s 2011, and more folks are getting degrees.  Colleges are reporting more incoming freshmen than ever.  Tuition costs are skyrocketing.  Getting a degree is sexy now.

So where are the jobs?  The cost of living isn’t going down anytime soon… or ever.  What’s the solution?

There is saying about Harvard:  Colleges train students to look for jobs.  Harvard trains students to create jobs.  Personally, I believe there are two solutions to the problem: Jobs training and Innovation.

Considering innovation, we need more entrepreneurs.  Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the heads of some of America’s biggest, most successful companies are college dropouts.  Does this mean we need more college dropouts?  Certainly not.  But if there are more people in college than ever before, being groomed to look for jobs, then that means there are less people looking to create jobs.

Considering jobs training, colleges need to look at preparing students to enter successful careers in the workforce.  This means equipping students with skills that hiring managers are looking for in potential employees.  Here’s a hint:  Knowing how to use Microsoft Word is not a skill that sets you apart from other applicants.  For most hiring managers, it’s an assumed skill.

What skills, then, would be considered crucial for someone to land at least an entry level job in today’s market?  Here are a couple:

Computer Literacy – We’re in the technology age.  Most employers are no longer even taking paper job applications or resumes anymore.  Everything is moving online.  If you have trouble creating a Google account, then you might have trouble filling out a job application online nowadays.  Computer literacy, at the least today, involves fundamental competencies in using a computer for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and navigating websites.

Soft Skills – Employers are looking for people who work well on their own as well as in groups.  Can you give a presentation to a small group if need be?  Do you have good verbal and written communication skills?  Do you have a positive attitude?  Employers aren’t just looking for good workers, but also good people.

What other skills would you say are crucial to the workforce?  Though needs vary from job to job, what are some skills that are mandatory, yet transferable, across the board?

Does Facebook = Autotune? Maybe…

facebook death 300x221 Does Facebook = Autotune?  Maybe...

 

Thinking that Facebook is forever is like thinking that AOL was the be-all-end-all of the Internet.  Eventually, everyone will use something else.” – Entrepreneur Max Salzberg (via Cnn.com)

Myspace… Friendster… College Club… Blackplanet…

These are just a few of used-to-be-popular social networking sites that have gone by the waste side.  If history tells us anything, it’s that Death has a Google account.  It looks like Facebook is next on his list.

But why do social media sites become less popular over time?  Are they “played out?”  Are they any less innovative? Do they fail to change with the times?  Twitter allowed us the ability to microblog and send updates in 140 characters or less.  Facebook then introduced the “Status Update.”  When you actually look at both sites, Facebook actually has way more features.

The real question is perhaps this: Is it simply that we eventually become bored with what social media sites have to offer?

Looking at this question, it would appear that in today’s society we are slowly, but subtly being conditioned to upgrade.  A new iPhone comes out every 1-2 years.  Windows XP is the equivalent of Windows 95.  Pentium III processors, ten years ago, could get you by just fine.  Today, they could barely let you use Photoshop, watch a movie, and pay a bill online.  Do you still go to Yahoo to search for something?  How long do you think it will be before Xbox 2 or PS4 are on the shelves?

Perhaps that’s what is going on with Facebook.  Despite privacy concerns, Facebook has as many features and users as ever.  But maybe we don’t care about new features.  Maybe my Gmail suits me just fine, and I don’t care for Facebook email.  Maybe I’m tired of being tagged in photos for Jordans, Jordan heels, and fake red-bottoms.  Maybe relationship statuses only matter to 19 year olds and not 29 year olds.  Maybe I can control all of these things, but I’m just tired of the service that allows me to control all of these things.  Maybe, just maybe, I want something new presented in a newer format… even if that something new is something that I already have.

And all of that could mean, just maybe, that I have conformed… Jumping through hoops not to be part of the status quo, so that I can be part of the newest-latest.

Maybe, just maybe, we should choose what works best for us, and stick with that.

Microsoft to Buy Skype

skype logo large 650x287 300x132 Microsoft to Buy Skype

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/10/yes-microsoft-is-buying-skype/?hpt=T2

Microsoft is about to buy Skype for $8.5 billion.  What changes could we see?

– Skype incorporated into the Kinect, Xbox 360, and future gaming consoles

– Windows phones will have the potential advantage in mobile video chat

– MS products such as Office & Lync will have better options for video chatting and conferencing

Cool Things: Pandora Adds Comedy

Pandora RadioLarge 300x300 Cool Things: Pandora Adds Comedy

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/05/04/pandora.comedy.mashable/index.html

“Pandora has expanded from music to jokes with the addition of 10,000 comedy clips from more than 700 comedians to its Internet radio service.”

If you have the Pandora app on your smartphone, then I recommend Chris Rock, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, Donald Glover, and of course Kevin Hart.

3D-isaster

26289 6e0066 320 3801 3D isaster

Avatar a*k*a Space Dances With Wolves has caused a frenzy of  3D movies to hit the silver screen.

I liked Avatar, but I can understand why people weren’t in love with the movie.  Although visually different, it is a movie that has been done before…

Which brings me to the newest 3D(isaster) to hit the screens:   Drive Angry starring Nick Cage.  I was watching the preview the other day and thinking, “This movie is going to be terrible.”  Then all of sudden the announcer says, “In 3D!”  Then I say, “You mean in WTH?”  I guess the movie being in 3D somehow negated all the nonsense that I just saw.

Basically the announcer said, “Get ready for the worst movie of the year… In 3D.”

<sarcasm>Well of course I want to watch it now.</sarcasm>

The problem with the new 3D technology is that it makes people think that they can make a terrible movie, throw some 3D technology on it, and then it becomes good.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  (See: The Last Airbender).

It’s kind of like a lot of rap music.  Throwing a good beat on a wack song doesn’t always make it better.  (See:  Soulja Boy and Lil B)

Oh, it doesn’t stop there.  Then you get weirdos that make crap like this.

<sarcasm>Finally, I’ve been waiting on this!</sarcasm>

Call me crazy, but watching T.V. looking like I’m having a seizure doesn’t really appeal to me.

What do you guys think?  What is up with people thinking technology make bad things good?

*Also comment if you believe Nick Cage should stop acting.  I think he’s has proven he is not to be trusted to make good movies.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it…Old coot invents something that already exist!

wpid 1296681492624 Extra! Extra! Read all about it...Old coot invents something that already exist!

The daily is the new app exclusively created for the iPad that delivers news directly to your iPad for only $.99 a week. It’s being pushed by Rupert Murdoch of Fox Fame.

See, this is why old people shouldn’t be allowed to use or come up with technology.  I mean really.  With Cnn.com, google reader, and blogs like this one.  Is this really needed?

Cool Things: PSP2

psp21 620x465 300x225 Cool Things: PSP2

For the gaming heads, Sony has just unveiled the PSP2.  It’s being touted as being, “as powerful as the PS3.”  Some cool things about it:

-Supports wi-fi and 3G… which is a first for a portable gaming system.

-No more UMD’s (mini-discs).  The storage will be new mini flash memory cards.

-It has a touchscreen.

-It comes with front and rear cameras.

It’s reportedly set to be released later this year, which we all know means Christmas time.  With Sony rumored to be coming out with a Playstation phone, I wonder how long the PSP2 will last.  I don’t see a need for portable gaming systems anymore now that mobile gaming on smartphones is undoubtedly the future of portable gaming.

Skype on TV…

skype logo Skype on TV...

So apparently Skype will be coming to a flat-screen near you:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/02/skype.on.tv.videophone/index.html

From the article:

“The common use of videophones could happen through three technologies that separately aren’t exactly considered bleeding edge today: high-speed Internet, a television, and Skype. Samsung says it will put the VoIP calling service Skype as an application on its televisions, allowing phone calls to be made on camera right from a couch, just like Jane Jetson talking into her TV set. The Samsung Skype-enabled TV follows similar announcements from Panasonic and LG at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The models will range from to $1,200 to $2,000 for Panasonic’s set. Samsung and LG have not yet announced how much they will charge.

The Skype on TV application should work similarly on all three models, which in turn should closely mimic the version of the application that many people use to make free PC to PC calls, or for a fee, PC to landline.”

The same consulting team that worked with the Geek Squad/Best Buy on the idea of coming to your home to “install” your PS3 or Xbox360 and “set up your wi-fi” must have came up with this bull…

Why?

If you have a flat screen TV and a laptop, you can make video calls on your TV with an HDMI cable and an internet connection. 

I suppose there really is a market out there for idiots, posers who buy the latest thing b/c it’s the latest thing, and lazy people.