Friday, July 30, 2010

Forget Brainstorming

What you think you know about fostering creativity is wrong. A look at what really works.

A Half Hour of Exercise Can Boost Creativity for Hours
Brainstorming in a group became popular in 1953 with the publication of a business book,Applied Imagination. But it’s been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team’s creative output: the same number of people generate more and better ideas separately than together. In fact, according to University of Oklahoma professor Michael Mumford, half of the commonly used techniques intended to spur creativity don’t work, or even have a negative impact. As for most commercially available creativity training, Mumford doesn’t mince words: it’s “garbage.” Whether for adults or kids, the worst of these programs focus solely on imagination exercises, expression of feelings, or imagery. They pander to an easy, unchallenging notion that all you have to do is let your natural creativity out of its shell. However, there are some techniques that do boost the creative process:

Dont tell someone to be creative.

Such an instruction may just cause people to freeze up. However, according to the University of Georgia’s Mark Runco, there is a suggestion that works: “Do something only you would come up with—that none of your friends or family would think of.” When Runco gives this advice in experiments, he sees the number of creative responses double.

Stargazing in Pittsburgh

via googleblog; Humans have always been fascinated by the night sky. And Googlers are no exception. Over the years, Google engineers have used their 20 percent time to create Google Sky, Moon, Mars and most recently Google Sky Map for Android. This handy app, built by engineers in our Pittsburgh office, turns your Android-powered phone into a live map of the night sky. You just point your phone to the sky and it gives you information about the stars and planets that you’re looking at. Since we introduced the app a year ago, Sky Map has been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Zuckerberg Gone Android, Will Facebook Get Better Mobile Apps?

Android users, rejoice! Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will now be forced to feel your pain.

The Android app for Facebook could be charitably described as less functional than the iPhone app. We’re sure there are good reasons for this, the greatest of which is likely market share. With iOS-running phones composing more than half of all smartphones, according to recent research, it’s in Facebook’s best interest to focus on this segment first.

Still, for the ever-growing number of Android device users who also would like a little Facebook mobile action, the pared-down feature set of Facebook for Android makes us feel neglected — the redheaded stepchildren of Facebook mobile users. But now that “Zuck” is one of us, all that’s about to change… right?

Historically, Facebook has made fairly few gestures toward the Android platform. It launched its official Android app last fall and rolled out an SDK for Android devs just a couple months ago.

Old Spice Sales Double With YouTube Campaign

Who says social media doesn't work... 

via mashable! You know those YouTube videos with that manly Old Spice guyand his hilarious responses to Twitter fans? Of course you do. So does everybody, it seems, because Old Spice body wash sales have increased 107% in the past month in part thanks to that social media marketing campaign.

read the whole article on mashable!

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Google Alarm Tells You If Google Is Watching You

Google reports:

Another rad browser plugin called Google Alarm hit the Internets this week, which alerts you every time your personal info is sent to Google's servers. How? Via notifications, a running tally of dangerous sites and, naturally, a super annoying, vuvuzela-like alarm.

Read the whole story:

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Global Temperature Anomalies, May 2010

Global Temperature Anomalies, May 2010

This color-coded map shows global surface temperature anomalies for May 2010 compared to average temperatures for the same time of year from 1951 to 1980. Above-normal temperatures appear in shades of red, and below-normal temperatures appear in shades of blue. Gray areas indicate areas of insufficient data.

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Using your GPS Nav on your is now Illegal in Mass


"people can still use a GPS while driving, but not if the GPS application is on a phone. People won't be allowed to use a phone to go on the Internet and search for m


"...bans texting while driving, prohibits drivers younger than 18 from using a cell phone, and orders more frequent eye exams for certain elderly drivers..."

Read the whole article here: 

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two New Facebook Scams Make the Rounds [WARNING]

Hot on the heels of the Coca-Cola Facebook scam, which promised to reveal the “truth” about Coca-Cola (but in reality simply aimed to get a hold of your personal info), are two more spreading via Facebook status updates.

The first one contains the message: “OMG!! Guys, you have to see this: This mother went to jail for taking this pic of her son,” with a link to a page that tricks you into sharing the story with your Facebook buddies. Once you’ve done that, the page will take you to a survey designed to take your personal info.

The other scam is also spreading through Facebook status updates. This time the message says, “OMG!! McDonalds might soon shut down because of this, you have to see this,” followed by a link that roughly duplicates the process above.

Our advice, as always, is not to click on links like these. If a Facebook page or any site insists that you share a piece of content or do a survey before reaching the promised destination, it’s likely a scam. Never give away your personal info. Finally, if you’ve fallen for these (or similar) scams, remove the message from your status, newsfeed, and your Likes and Interests in the “Edit my Profile” menu.

[via Sophos
[via Mashable!]

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Over 55 Percent of Android Devices Now Running Version 2.1

Let’s face it: Android will probably always be fragmented over three or four major versions. Some phone manufacturers are slow to adopt the newer versions of the platform, while some launch their phones with no updating in mind.

Still, as far as fragmentation goes, the recently updated Android distribution chart is looking better than ever, with 55.5% of devices running Android 2.1 and 22.1% are running Android 1.6.

Of course, an alarmingly high 18.9% of all Android devices are running the now quite obsolete version 1.5, while Android 2.2 is now showing up on 3.3% of devices, so an average user’s Android experience can still vary a lot, depending on what device/OS version he or she has.

What does this distribution mean for developers? Well, looking at the chart (above), if a developer wants everyone to be able to use their app, he’ll have to develop for Android 1.5 (all Android APIs are forward-compatible). If he or she wants to develop an app with all the latest bells and whistles of Android 2.1, then approximately half of Android users won’t be able to use the app at all. It’s a continuous race against the clock, but no one said that developing apps for smartphone platforms (especially if you want to develop a cross-platform app) would be easy.
via Mashable 

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Space Saving Furniture - Resource Furniture

For anyone who lives in a small space or is just looking to re-purpose a room. Here is a great company creating smart space saving furniture just for you. 

Founded in 2000 by Steve Spett and Ron Barth, Resource Furniture has gained a reputation for providing Interior Designers, Architects and Specifiers access to European Furniture not widely distributed in the US.

Our Mission at Resource Furniture has always been to provide our clients with the finest of European furnishings at competitive prices, with speedy delivery and a focus on unmatched customer service. 

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

What the Future Holds for the Checkin

Movie Theater Image

Kate Imbach currently leads marketing at Skyhook Wireless, and is a co-founder and organizer for Mobile Monday Boston, Silicon Valley and Brooklyn.

Location-based apps and checkin features are dominating interest in mobile. In the last year, apps like FoursquareFoursquare

 andGowallaGowalla exploded onto the scene and are still at the center of the conversation in the tech media community. Mobile users are starting to see the value in broadcasting their current location in order to earn points, gain mayorships and meet new people. But skeptics still ask how these apps will make moneyand what comes after the simple notion of a checkin. Is the checkin a feature, or the beginning of a whole new class of mobile experiences?

For early users of these apps, checkins and leaderboards were novelties. Until very recently, you would check in to a venue alone, or with just a handful of other users. Low mainstream adoption made spontaneous socializing hard within the app. Even if it persists as a behavior, the initial excitement of the checkin wears off over time.

But as applications like Foursquare and Gowalla gain traction beyond the early adopters, checkin numbers are just beginning to get interesting. Today, it is common to check into large events like conferences or baseball games with 50+ other people. These growing real-time checkin numbers are opening the door for a new set of features. So, what happens next?

In 2010, we’re likely to see verticals that don’t typically use location-awareness, like movies, music, and sports, add checkin features to their social software. These features will create exciting new “in-venue” user experiences that will change the way we use mobile applications. Here are a couple of examples of what might be possible.

At the Game

Baseball Field Image

Sports applications present some of the most interesting in-venue opportunities. Imagine the next time you go to a Red Sox game, you and hundreds of other fans might check in to Fenway Park via your favorite sports app.

Before the game starts, you could enter an InstaFantasy game by picking three players on either roster. During the game, the progress of your “team” is ranked against all the other InstaFantasy teams that have been picked by other fans in the ballpark that night. Between innings, the app shows a trivia question about players along with an in-game trivia leaderboard. Comment and trash talk about the game while there and connect viaFacebook with other season ticket holders who you play against every night. Using location, any sports app could add these types of in-venue features.

At the Movies

Movie apps will also get in on in-venue features. Moviegoers could check in to a theater on the opening night of a film with their favorite app. The venue could offer discounts on popcorn upon checkin, and users could vote on the movie previews shown before the feature. While the movie is playing, they could get trivia questions fromIMDB about the current movie and comment on the movie with other app users a la “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The theater could award that night’s trivia winner a discount on their next visit to the theater and could gather information based on answers about which type of movies each customer likes.

When movie apps start adding these experiences, going to the movies will turn into a much more social and interactive experience.


Users will soon be able to interact with a whole new set of features built around the checkin, making activities around a single event that much more social and interesting. There is a major opportunity here for apps and brands to own consumer engagement everywhere — from the couch to the stadium, from the bar to the office — and gather highly valuable targeting information about consumers. The apps that win will provide mobile experiences dedicated to every venue.

Article via Mashable:

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1 in 5 Android Apps Pose Potential Privacy Threat [REPORT]