Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Preparing for Wave Beta

I am fired up for Google Wave so when I read this article on I was very excited to see that some companies are getting into the Wave closed Beta as early as this fall! When Google first showed their demostration of Wave this summer the company said customers might get invites to Beta by the end of September. I signed up in late July and I must admit that this month I will be anxiously checking my email looking for my invite, c'mon Google let me in! questions the relevance of Wave when they say, "We know that Google is excited about it, and developers seem enthusiastic. Now we just need to find out if real people understand it and want it." With the succes of other social media sites and the recognizability of Google I find it hard to believe that the general public is not going to jump all over Wave and fall in love with it. Of course the popularity of Wave will somewhat be determide by how well it runs at release but from what we have seen in the Wave demonstration it looks very user friendly and will be second nature for those who already use Google applications like Blogger and Gmail.

For now I am keeping my fingers crossed for my invite to the Wave Beta, If I get in I will have tons to talk about! Here is the demonstration in case you missed it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Groundwork for District 9

I just came across this short film which was the groundwork for District 9, currently in theatres. This is so compelling to me because this is the first time I have ever seen alliens in a film represented as being "stuck" on earth. Usually the alliens have a plan to strip earth of its resources and take over the world only to be stopped when the world unites to fight back. This film is so bizzare because the alliens aren't in a major city and their violence seems to be provoked out of frustration from not being treated as equal to humans.

I haven't seen District 9 but I plan on renting it this winter. I hope the film is about social issues and not too much action. This was a really cool find, enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Talk About Reinventing Yourself

Two years ago when the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal broke loose I was very upset to say the least. I am a huge animal lover and a proud owner of cat which I adopted from the Humane society. To learn that Vick was not only running the dog fighting operation but actually participated in the killing of dogs made me sick to my stomach.

Last night 60 minutes aired their interview with Vick where the former football star opened up about his long nights crying in prison and his new role as an ambassador for the Humane Society. Yes it is true, Michael Vick is currently holding public conferences and appearing on television to speak out against animal cruelty.

I want to give Vick credit for at least owning up to what he did and taking full responsibility for his actions. It's still unclear whether or not Vick's involvement with the Humane Society is genuine or if it is purely a way to help reshape his image, we will have to wait to see how involved he is in few years.

The most intriguing part about all of this is that if we as a society accept Vick's apologie and end up viewing him as a crusador for animal rights it will be one of the biggest personal reinventions in media history. Genuine remorse or a great marketing team supporting Vick? We might never know, either way he is doing the right thing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Same Food Network Star

Last night was the season finale of The Next Food Network Star and the winner would receive a shot at culinary fame by having their own series on Food Network. In the finale challenge contestants Melissa D'Arabian and Jeffery Saad shot pilots for their potential show. Melissa is a stay at home mom who used "kitchen survival tips" as her culinary point of view while Jeffery, a former restaurant owner used "ingredient smuggler" as his pilot theme.

Both contestants performed well throughout the competition and were worthy of their own series, but isn't the winner controversial just by the title of the show? The show is called "The Next Food Network Star" but isn't Melissa "The Same Food Network Star" we have seen for several years now? Melissa is not a trained chef and she focuses on quick easy tips to help you create your meal. She also has the typical "nice mom look". Does this sound like any one else on Food Network?

I really think this is a bad, lazy move by Food Network. It feels like they decided to pick someone who can step right in and shoot a series based on their other successful programs like Semi Home Made (Sandra Lee) or 30-Minute Meals (Rachel Ray). Not to take anything away from the stay at home mom who comes up with inventive ideas on how to make easy meals, but there are plenty of viewers who would like to see something new.

Jeffery wanted to show us how to take one ingredient that most American's aren't familiar with and incorporate it into some of our favorite foods. Nothing fancy, nothing difficult, just something new and exciting. Isn't that what The Next Food Network Star is about? Finding the person who is forward thinking and brings something new to Food Network?

I do wish Melissa luck and I'm sure I will end up watching her show, I'm just not very excited for it. Even if Jeffery Saad never gets a show on the Food Network I hope they follow through with some version of his "Ingredient Smuggler" because I would love to learn how to incorporate something new and exciting into my meals.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fight For Your Animal Rights!

Seriously, I love animals and I especially love when the media covers ridiculous animal stories. I'm amazed by Mr. Clucky, the famous South Beach rooster who has just been ordered to leave the town. This poor little guy was rescued by local Mark Buckley and then went on to become an icon of South Beach street life. Now Mr.Clucky is getting kicked out of his home because he is classified as "poultry". Mr. Clucky is not poultry, poultry does not ride around on the handlebars of a bicycle!

This court footage is insanity, Mr Clucky's owner tries to claim Mr. Clucky as his witness, the judge is clearly not going to be having that!

Mr. Clucky's has his own business card!

Mr. Clucky's everyday routine, what a life!

I live for this kind of story, a bicycle riding rooster with his own business cards in court fighting for his right to stay in Miami! You can't make this stuff up. The judge ruled against Mr. Clucky and said he had to leave the town. Last I saw Mr. Clucky's owner will try to go back to court and fight for the rooster. If they don't win you might soon be getting a new animal celebrity in your home town.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sorry Bing

I'm sorry Bing, yesterday I kind of bashed you saying you were nothing more than "Google with a his res image in the background". And I was wrong about how your are marketing yourself, you are claiming to be a "decision engine" which I think is a good concept.

This morning I went to go look up some information on the government trade in program CARS, so I fired up the Google (my home page) and searched away. In one of those "ah ha" moments I realized that for more than any other reason I go to Google out of habit. If there is information on the internet that Google does not pick up (or isn't in the first five search results) I'm never going to see it, and that's not good!

As I'm writing this post I'm on Bing searching for information on CARS and I'm really enjoying some of Bing's features. Check out the search history on the left side of the page which shows I searched for the terms honda fit and cash for clunkers .

Bin'g search history feature is convenient and it was effortless to discover. Google's search history is the weird thing that populates words when you type something in the search bar. It's much easier to just click your previous searches and get the results, no typing involved.

I was really feeling bad about my comments regarding Bing's homepage and I wanted to show something I left out of my previous post. The image in the background on Bing changes (at least every day) and when you move your cursor over certain parts of the image you get little windows which display facts related to the picture and there are links to learn more about the facts.

This little window has a fact about the defeat of Napolean in 1815 and has a link to videos about the battle of Waterloo. At first I thought this was really cheesy and didn't click the link, but the more I scrolled over this the more I realized that I totally wanted to watch a video about an epic historic battle. This feature did not dissapoint, there were tons of interesting videos and articles, and it was a nice way to break up the boring internet search. I can almost see myself getting excited for what tomorrow's picture might be and what I can learn from it. I'm going to give Bing a second chance, I might even make it my home page for a while and hopefully find some new things that Google doesn't offer.

Again I am sorry Bing, I was wrong, you are different from Google and whether you succed or not I should give you credit for trying to do something different.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bing to take on Google?

It has been unofficially announced that Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces in online search and advertising to try and compete with Google. The AllThingsDigital blog and Advertising Age broke this story on Tuesday and there is expected to be an official announcement within 24 hours. It looks like Microsoft's new search engine Bing be powering the Yahoo search engine.

I have used Bing a couple of times since it was released and kind of like it. It's intuitive in the way it offers you related topics to what you search for. I think that Bing has a chance to be successful.................until Google Wave comes along, and then you can forget about anyone using anything besides Google.

Bing's slogan is "Bing and Decide", which implies that Bing will offer tools to help you make decisions while searching online. I agree with Microsoft that thie best part about Bing is the travel and local information it provides, the problem is that this information is not located on the homepage and people might be gone to Google before they even find it. The search engine is not star of Bing, so why even try and take on Google search? Microsoft should be pushing Bing as a decision engine, not a search engine.

Take a look at these screen shots of the Bing homepage and then what I call the "decision page".

Bing's current homepage

Bing "descision page"

Let's face it, the current Bing homepage is Google with a Hi-Res image in the background instead of a whimsicle cartoon. But the Bing "decision page" is it's own unique portal to information about Travel, Shopping, Health and Local information. This has everyything from "How many calories do you burn reading this" to traffic updates on your freeways. The best part is you can still search the web from the "decision page". Bing needs to scrap the homepage and market the product as a Descision Engine..........really they should take on that phrase and not even mess with trying to out search enginge Google.

I hope I'm wrong about Bing because competition is good, but once Google Wave comes along there won't be any reason to go anywhere besides Google when you want to do an online search or communicate with others. Social sites like Twitter will still be fine but trying to present yourself as a rival search engine to Google is going to be hard. Really though I am pulling for sites like Bing to at least present a reason to go somewhere besides Google, untill then we will all still be Googling for a long time.