It’s Not The Devices, It’s How You Use Them

information overload

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Between push notifications, text messages, and the occasional actual phone call, most users’ mobile devices are literally buzzing with activity. Unlike most “traditional” computing devices, whose applications and platforms primarily rely on visual (pop up windows, progress bars, number tallies, and interface animations) and audio cues (think the equally iconic and passé “you’ve got mail”) the majority of mobile devices also offer a tactile notification option, such as a patterned vibration. As much as someone can differentiate their alerts by selecting different tones, colors, etc, when a power user is simultaneously using a laptop and a mobile device, the attention economy becomes more competitive as the complexity of the system increases. At a certain point, this can affect the way that a user processes information and can ultimately lead to information loss.

This One’s For The Kids

Social Networking: This One’s for the Kids

With cyber-security and digital safety making a splash over the past few weeks, it’s no wonder Facebook and other social media platforms are being put under the microscope with regards to underage use. The fact that kids are experiencing digital content while interacting with friends of the same age should be celebrated amongst adults and educators; but in the age of cyber-bullying, not to mention fierce digital marketing, the younger population needs a separate, more controlled environment in which they can interact.

Why Tech Cocktail is my drink (er, I mean blog) of choice

Have you heard of Tech Cocktail? If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is definitely a blog worth adding to your daily reads. As the company describes itself, “Tech Cocktail is a literal ‘cocktail’ of emerging technology news, people, startups, products, and innovations for the true tech enthusiast.” The company, founded by former AOL product strategist and avid tech blogger Frank Gruber, started as a simple community building event in 2006 and has since grown into a full-blown media company and tech blog with thousands of fans, followers, and supporters across the globe. Not only does the site educate us on the latest tech trends, but Tech Cocktail also helps startups across the country find employees and investors, and helps them network with professionals in the industry by hosting local mixers, conferences, breakfasts, and festivals in cities across the U.S.

Game Over for Groupon? Not Yet.

Groupon IPOWhat exactly is the deal with daily deals lately? A year ago it felt like it was hard not to be impressed with how huge Groupon, the biggest ‘deal of the day’ service, was becoming and how strong their word-of-mouth reputation had become. Everyone and their hip online friends were raving about Groupon, and if you weren’t buying your foie gras sushi at the same time as 200 others in your city for half-off, you clearly didn’t know how to eat right. The combination of “act-now” urgency,  flashmob approach, and an attitude of cool made Groupon the fastest growing company ever. Yes, EVER. That’s some pretty hard buzz to beat.

Google Badges: A First Look

We don’t need no stinkin’ badges. No, wait, don’t touch that one! I earned it!

Yes my friends, Google Badges have arrived!

What are the Google Badges?  The basis is simple for the reader:  The more Google News articles a Google user reads, the more badges they receive.

Why in the world would Google want to give me a badge for doing something I do anyway, read the news?

My Newest Delight: Google+ iPhone App

It’s here, it’s here! After weeks of experiencing a slight twinge of Android envy (for once), I was happy to finally load the new Google+ iPhone app onto my already overworked mobile device. Here’s my list of reasons you should do the same.

  1. For those juggling multiple Google accounts, the app isolates your Google+ account within Google+ so you can freely switch between accounts on Safari and the Google iPhone app without signing out of Google+.
  2. Can you say pretty? The app is buggy for sure, but it is one of the better looking ones I’ve seen. The interface alone makes this a must-download for me.

Mind Your Smartphone Manners

Summer in New York is when people are out and about, dining on sidewalks, lazing in the park, and scheming of ways to escape the city. It’s also a time when we’re anxious to fill our calendars with social plans and travel. Thanks to smartphones, our lives are more serendipitous than ever: on a whim, we can research bars, democratically decide on which one to visit, and look up directions to it in just a few taps of our thumbs. We’re glued to our phones’ glowing screens, as they feed us constant information and stimulation. And we try to fill voids to “kill time”— by playing games, holding text conversations, checking social networks, and so on.

American Express Partners With Facebook

After recently announcing their partnership with foursquare, American Express is back at it, this time teaming up with Facebook to offer special deals to customers who link their Facebook and AmEx account.  American Express card holders who link their account through the “Link, Like, Love” app  on AmEx’s Facebook page will receive discounts and special offers based on their Facebook interests and ‘Likes,’ as well as the interests and ‘Likes’ of their Facebook friends. There is no coupon printing or clipping necessary. Just sync your AmEx account and the rewards will be credited after a purchase is made using the linked AmEx card. American Express currently has over 2 million fans and on Facebook and this is sure to drive that number up.

Startup We Love: Hoot.Me

Facebook was developed by students for students. It has since been taken over by your parents, advertisers, and old high school friends showing off their new baby. It has also turned into one of the biggest time wasters the web has ever seen. According to a KSU study, one student reported checking his Facebook page over thirty times per day. While Facebook isn’t the cause of this procrastination, it certainly is a leading symptom. There are productivity apps and even software that schools and parents employ to block Facebook for a set amount of time, but as we all know, kids are extremely resourceful and often find workarounds.

Learning A Language With Tech

When I decided that I wanted to learn Japanese, I had two options: self-study or paid classes. While a classroom environment sounds like the way to go, actually getting them to fit into my after work schedule proved to be a challenge. I opted for self-study and began researching potential resources. Books and flashcards were a given. They provided a solid foundation for learning kana and basic sentence structure. However it is 2011 and there are MANY other ways to learn a language. Being the interactive geek that I am, I turned to technology, and all sorts of it. For auditory learning, I turned to MP3 language courses that I could listen to on the way to work. I started to watch quite a bit of Japanese television via YouTube. For speaking practice, I turned to services like Skype so I could chat with friends who are also studying Japanese. I also began following others studying independently on Twitter. It’s like having a daily reading comprehension and vocabulary quiz in 140 characters or less!

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