Category : Just For Fun

World…Meet Snapchat. Snapchat…Meet the World.

The social media landscape is buzzing, yet again, over a new kid on the block that just may give Instagram a run for its money. Meet Snapchat, a social pic app designed to “make social media fun again”. Compatible for iOS and Android mobile operating systems, Snapchat enables users to capture images and send them to select recipients. Sounds like sending a picture message right? Not quite. The catch is, the recipient(s) can only view your image for up to 10 seconds and then it self-destructs in cyberspace, never to be seen again…. supposedly.

 For raunchy “sexters” and silly kids alike, this mobile app sounds like a cure all to erase any evidence that you don’t want the general public-mom, dad, your boyfriend, your office-to know about; however, there are a few loop holes that can shatter this false sense of security. Firstly, 10 seconds doesn’t seem like a long time to view a photo, but it may just be enough time for a recipient to take a screenshot. Although the app is enabled to alert the sender when a screenshot is captured, there’s not much that you can do to stop that person from saving the picture to their own device, and most seriously, sharing it with others. Secondly, that mere 10 seconds is also long enough for a different device to capture the photo while its still viewable through Snapchat.

With this said, its understandable why social media junkies and parents are buzzing over this new app. If you’re an innocent 7th grader, with a fresh smartphone, who just likes to take silly pics of you and your friends at lunchtime, this may be the perfect mobile application; however, if you’re a 10th grade girl, with a slew of boys who’ve been chasing you since you got your braces off, well, this app is a cause for concern for your parents. For us adults, this app can offer one of two things: a great escape from grown-up realities like bills, office work, and kids through silly pictures of our friends; or, a nightmare of embarrassment if you don’t practice discretion in what you send.

So, here’s my advice to you if you’d like to consider using this app:

If you don’t know how to act, don’t Snapchat 😉

Spotify Leads the Way in Digital Music, Increasing Revenues and Expanding Market

Leading the pack in digital music, Spotify has been making strides in the business world lately. Posting increased revenues for the first half of 2012, returns for the online music streaming service are expected to more than double as we ring in the New Year. With a money smart business model, and a customer-centric music service, Spotify is certainly providing a sense of hope to the much troubled music industry.

Established in 2006, the self-proclaimed, on-demand music site stepped onto the scene providing customers with the ability to generate custom playlists for their listening pleasure. Hailing from Sweden, the subscription-based service also enables users to share their music interests with friends via social media. Spotify has virtually captured every music lover, enticing everyone from hardcore punk rockers to easy-going reggae lovers.

Spotify’s broad appeal to the masses lends a hand to the company’s financial success and subsequent growth within the music industry. Since the Internet boom in the early 2000’s, the music industry has experienced a difficult time in regulating (and profiting from) online sharing of music. The likes of Apple’s iTunes software has certainly reinvented the process of gaining profits for music labels and artists alike; however, Spotify has created a lucrative deal structure with music labels, requiring them to pay either a $200 million annual fee or 75% of Spotify’s revenues in exchange for their artists’ presence on the site. This is not to mention their subscriber based business model where users have three options to either stream music for free with ads, pay $5/month for ad free streaming, or $10/month for streaming without ads and mobile access-which is an absolute must if you ask me.
So, exactly what are the implications of Spotify’s portended success? Well for starter’s, the company’s label deal structure and subscriber based business model are inherently profitable for the company. These two key factors have the potential to reap financial success for the company in 2013, something to the tune of $500 million. Secondly, the service’s customizable offerings are a total draw for new and existing users. From an editorial app that enhances your musical experience, to an app that locates local concerts, Spotify has created a new and improved portal that (legally) gives you everything that you could imagine where music is concerned. This is vital for the modern day music industry that was rocked by the likes of Napster and other illegal sharing sites.

The fundamental takeaway from Spotify’s success is to create a service or product that is equally beneficial for consumers, as it is profitable for your business. Not only must your product or service be beneficial, but it must also carry distinctive qualities in comparison to what is offered in the market. In a nutshell, draw you potential patrons in with a new and innovative product or service, and keep them engaged with relevant and valuable features. For Spotify, up next on the horizon is a web-based version of its desktop software that will enable users to access their custom library while away from their computer or mobile device. This is truly one step for music lovers, one giant leap for saving the music industry.

New Kid-Friendly Cell Phone Squeakin’ to a Store Near You!

Panicking over what to buy your little tot for the holidays? Check out the new Pipsqueak cell phone, offered by Yip Yap. Developed by an innovative husband and wife duo, the cell phone operates through mommy and daddy’s grown up Bluetooth connection, receiving rerouted incoming calls from select phone numbers. Lucky for mom and dad, there are no contracts or fees associated with owning the phone.

This inventive little toy was designed in the hopes of sparing parents the costly damage following their child’s mishap with their smartphones Although it may be hard for any little tike to let go of a cool touch screen, the Pipsqueak comes chock full of engaging features including a MP3 player, walkie-talkie capabilities, and a voice recorder. This is not to mention the variety of vibrant phone cases and a charging station that will have any three-year-old ready to start their own company.

Although the phone is not in stores as yet, you not only have the opportunity to buy the phone for your child, but also to invest in the future of the toy’s market success. Husband and wife team, Michael and Angela Smith debuted Pipsqueak on Kickstarter, a funding platform where patrons can invest money towards sending creative projects to market. If you’re interested in the product, you can donate at different dollar levels in exchange for bundle sets that include the phone, varied cases, a headset and charger. For example, at the $50 pledge level, you can obtain the phone, a limited edition faceplate, a wall/vehicle/USB charger, and fun stickers to decorate the phone. Donations currently stand at $11,419, with a goal of $187, 545 to reach by November 30th at 11PM.

Now there are probably some of you think that this product is asinine, giving your children an open chance to grow up faster than they should; however, I beg you to consider a different perspective. In our constantly evolving world, where technology becomes obsolete in a matter of months, you may be robbing your child of a head start in our hyper-connective society.  This is not to mention that your tot will surely develop their social and cognitive skills by using this product, whether they’re talking to their imaginary friend Henry or Nana Gabby out in California. If you’d like to take a gander at investing in your child’s development, I’d suggest that you check out the Pipsqueak Kickstarter page and pledge your support to giving another child that very same chance.

Election Day 2K12: A Look Into How Social Media Has Captured Our Votes This Political Season

On the dawn of Election Day 2012, we now stare into a political arena that has changed drastically over the last four years. From tweets, to likes, to stumbles, and shares, the art of connecting with voters is completely optimized to capture the attention of our now hyper-connective society. Simply put, when you’re 59-year-old mother can relay the most poignant tweets from any debate night, it is clear that social media has severely altered our political landscape.

The fact of the matter is that politics, as we know it, has changed due to the complete overhaul of our society through social media. We connect not only through town hall meetings, overzealous campaign rallies, or dramatized commercials, but also through meaningful virtual conversations. For example, both presidential candidates have posted images with a powerful message or fact, opening up the opportunity for a full-fledged forum of debate.  

With analysts dubbing 2012, “social media election”, there is no room to underscore the financial investment that has been dedicated to outreach efforts this political season. An estimated $1 billion has been spent on advertising, with nearly $54 million allotted to digital ad platforms including mobile media across the U.S. This is not to mention the voter registration app that has been developed for 13 different states in partnership with the state government, Facebook, and Microsoft Corp.

With decision time fast approaching, there are few who will sit down and reflect upon the role of social media in this election-except the social media gurus, of course. But at a time when our votes are so heavily influenced by our candidates’ social media mastery, it’s worth the thought. Once the winner is announced, and we wishfully prepare for continued economic growth and social change, we should begin to ponder the next great idea that’ll keep are society forever engaged and informed on our country’s politics. How about this: A mobile app for submitting your ballot votes? You decide.

Helpful Safety Tool or Aid to Overbearing Parents: The Inside Scoop on this Halloween’s Trick or Tracker

This Halloween, parents have a new and improved tool to help their children stay safe. The Trick or Tracker App was created to ease the minds of parents while traveling in the dark of night for trick-or-treating. Compatible with many smart phones on the market, the GPS enabled app works as a virtual compass between parents and children.

While parents can download the app regardless of what smart phone they own, their children must have an Android OS phone in order to be tracked. The app is easy to navigate for both parent and child, where simple buttons like “Locate my parent” or “Where’s my child?” keep each person informed of their surroundings. Additionally, the app enables parents to establish a geo-fence that their children are allowed to travel within- if they wander outside of that zone the GPS will sense their movement and send an alert to parents.

For parents, this tech savvy app is a savior to their worrisome thoughts on All Hallows Eve. From a notable spike in fall and winter crimes to managing your disobedient children, this app certainly utilizes every scare tactic in the book to reel parents in.

It can be argued, however, that this app also leaves parents solely reliant on technology to look after their children. What happened to the old fashioned days when parents would accompany their kids while trick-or-treating? Or maybe, just allowing them to trick-or-treat alone with a well-communicated curfew? Although technology and social media have changed our lives for the better in many instances, this app leans towards minimizing the effort in parenting, which can be argued to have negative or positive effects. What are your thoughts on the matter?

 

RapGenius.com Steps on the Virtual Scene Schoolin’ the World on the Word

Buzz is stirring across all forms of media over an innovative, Wikipedia like site that is making waves in the music and technology industries. RapGenius.com is an annotative-based site that allows patrons to decipher the hidden meanings behind popular music lyrics. For example, in a posting of singer Frank Ocean’s release, “Pyramids”, a user can click on the listed bars and find the meaning behind the lyrics, seen here:

In Rap Genius’ case, the title doesn’t say it all. The site offers commentary not only for music, but political speeches including Michelle Obama’s recent DNC speech, and historical works such as the Magna Carta. By offering such a diverse range of works, the site aims to create an ever-evolving virtual community that is constantly engaged and continuously contributing. Rap Genius would thus span far beyond the music scope into mainstream knowledge that can appeal to anyone from any discipline.

The site works simply by allowing registered users to offer their explanation of posted song lyrics, in addition to posting and interpreting songs that may not have already been added to the site. As a user, if you continuously offer sound explanations, you will earn RapIQ™ and soon be able to edit all posts on the site- a feature reminiscent of the virtual encyclopedia Wikipedia.

An added bonus to RapGenius.com is the “Verified Artist” feature, where real musical artists and experts are given the opportunity to explain their own lyrics and works to the masses. Anyone from Waka Flocka Flame to Intellectual Property lawyer Mark Lemley can verify their user account and contribute to the Rap Genius community. Not only does this feature serve as a source of credibility for the site, but something that the founders like to call “textual crack” for their loyal patrons. In having the real artist explain the meaning behind their lyrics, the site sustains a lifeline of engagement from users, keeping them looking for the next post and the next explanation.

With a recent $15 million investment from Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, RapGenius.com harbors potential that will surely captivate genres that reach far beyond rap music. In a recent interview, the founders also mentioned talks of iPhone and Android applications; in addition to browser extensions and Java plug ins for external annotation viewing on other sites.

Rap Genius’ loyal community is fostered in social media, leading an additional pathway for growth and expansion. Annotating is only the beginning for RapGenius.com; in a virtual landscape where knowledge can be acquired instantaneously, the site’s offerings have the potential to develop new cultural habits, while enhancing our understanding of the world around us. Take for instance Facebook; what was once a small start up firm that aimed to connect college students has now grown to global proportions, now connecting long lost friends and family, enhancing personal and professional reputations, and changing human interaction, as we know it. Rap Genius may be etching closer and closer to a similar destiny.

There’s a New Station in Town

Are you fatigued with mainstream radio and listening to the same playlist again and again? Last month, Boston.com launched RadioBDC, an Internet station that showcases the best of the alternative genre 24/7.

The station features DJs from the recently departed 101.7 FM WFNX Boston (the East Coast’s first alternative station,) which was sold to Clear Channel. The closure of 101.7 FM WFNX was the latest in a series of dramatic changes that the Boston radio landscape has undergone. Other significant developments have included:

• Contemporary adult station WBMX moving from 98.5 to 104.1, replacing legendary “The Rock of Boston” 104.1 WBCN and making room for 98.5 The Sports Hub
• ClearChannel’s launch of Matty’s Comedy 1200 AM in August
• A Top 40 station AMP 103.3 in lieu of Oldies 103.3 in June
• The introduction of new variety station 101.7 The Harbor in July
• An 93.7 FM outlet for Boston sports radio WEEI in lieu of adult hits station Mike 93.7 last year

Listen to RadioBDC at work and help support undiscovered talent! Best of all, it’s absolutely free! Now available at the iTunes Store.

Meme Madness

meme  (miːm)   — n an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, esp by imitation

You might not know what the original definition is, but you have undeniably seen them throughout the World Wide Web. Memes have become an inseparable part of our pop culture in the form of TV shows and movies.

Here are some of the best that the Internet has to offer:

“Nope, Chuck Testa”

The famous ads for this Californian taxidermy has caught the Internet by storm with its catchphrase and it’s GOTCHA moment. It has caught on with spoofs that have included deceased celebrities such as Mufasa, Dumbledore, and Tupac.

Chuck Testa

My Little Pony

Real men watch cartoons about ponies. #bronies

First World Problems

War, poverty, and disease…favorite shows aren’t in HD, waking up at 10am to get breakfast at McDonald’s, and more!

Mambo Number 5

College Freshman

We all knew or were “that kid” during our undergraduate years.

Nyan Cat

The flying 8-bit, cherry pop-tart wearing cat that sparked a media sensation. The Internet is truly made for cats.

Nyan Cat Cover

 

As funny and entertaining some memes have become, they have also generated a considerable amount of criticism. With the Internet becoming easily accessible, memes are now more prominent as they have become faster to upload and spread. However, such convenience has turned memes into a product of quantity instead of quality. With more user-generated memes comes an influx of unfunny memes and even offensive ones. In addition, with more memes comes an inability to find quality memes in a sea of mediocrity.

 Lame Meme

The comedy gold of Conspiracy Keanu and Good Guy Greg can be the highlight of any Internet user’s day. Nothing could taint a meme’s reputation more than a Reddit or Facebook user posting a weak meme and then spending hours defending it. Even too much of a good thing can be overkill.

I’m looking forward to Sh*t My Dad Says

If you live under a rock, here’s the scoop – –  CBS has picked up a new sitcom that is based upon the Twitter account @ShitMyDadSays. The show will star William Shatner and Ryan Devlin.

The ‘Shit My Dad Says ‘ account owner, Justin Halpern, started the Twitter account, which features lewd, hysterical comments and one liners said by his dad, after a bad breakup drove the then twenty-something to move back in to his dad’s house. CNN offers the run down and a few clips here (side note: Anyone who wants to comment on Phil Han’s horrible delivery can tweet me @pmaloney – my favorite line was that this was a “Reminder to us all that we never know who might be reading our Twitter page. So make sure it’s pretty good if you want a shot at your own show.”)

There are a ton of things I could bring up about this show:

1. How it makes me sad that they will have to verbalize the first word in the shows title as “Bleep”

2. That the Parents Television Council is condemning the show for curing in the title.

3. The historical significance of the first television show based upon a twitter account.

4. The fact that the only account that @ShitMyDadSays is following is that of LeVar Burton @levarburton

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGhfI_NwcA]

I felt that this show, pass or fail, is significant in enough ways that it’s mention on this blog was justified.

The premise itself is funny – and familiar. Last year I had to make the hard decision to move my family into my father’s house. I was not familiar with Halpern’s twitter account, but was very familiar with the hysterical ramblings of a loud, cantankerous older man – my dad.

Leading up to the move, I thought often about starting up a blog of the crazy things my dad would shout out – usually at the television – and sharing it with friends and family who knew him. I thought at the time, I’d keep it a secret from him – because I wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity of his ramblings.

To Mr. Halpern’s credit –  this is the stuff that makes social media so great. A real life version of what reality television strives for, honest entertainment.

For year’s he’d probably told and retold crazy musings from his dad. His friends that had bravely engaged the man in conversation probably told and retold, and are probably kicking themselves that they didn’t come up with the ShitJustinsDadSays Twitter account first.

Sadly, I did not start the ‘Quoting Mr. Davis blog’, and my dad passed away earlier this year. He would have thought the idea for this show was fantastic, though probably not as fantastic  as Jan Michael Vincent or Mega-Shark Vs. Giant Octopus.  (c’mon, the cgi megashark jumps out of the water and eats a cgi 747!)

by Pam Maloney