Friday, July 31, 2009

Wedding boogie boosts “Forever,” advertisers take notice—is Google’s YouTube acquisition about to pay off?

When Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for 1.65B in 2006, the plan was to tap YouTube’s millions of viewers and the content they were creating for the site. Persuading advertising partners that user-generated videos are as good if not better values than professionally produced footage for their online campaigns is one monetization strategy that thus far hasn’t seemed to gain traction within the industry.

With the latest video to go viral, “JK Wedding Entrance Video,” YouTube hopes to change advertiser’s minds and show that companies can use user-uploaded video—the kind that forms the backbone of the service—as effectively as slick productions on the web. The video was posted July 19, and since then has been viewed upwards of 12million times.

YouTube’s content fingerprinting system picked up on the song “Forever” by Chris Brown used in the performance and served up click-to-buy ads for the song. As a result “Forever,” a song released a year ago, climbed the iTunes chart to number 4 and number 3 on Amazon MP3’s list.

The click-through rates on ads served with “JK Wedding Entrance Video” surged 2.5 times the overall rate on other similar ads on the site. The official “Forever” video also saw collateral gains—its click-through rate experienced the same boost.

Schonfeld, Erick. “YouTube: Viral Wedding Videos Are Great For Advertising.” TechCrunch. Jul.30, 2009 <>

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Are you being lied to? 11 ways to find out

Man and woman holding hands, man's free hand has crossed index and middle fingers. If you’re a House fan you’ve heard this before: “Everybody lies.” From the outright scandalous lies foisted upon the unwary by the likes of  Bernie Madoff and Charles Ponzi, to the little fibs meant to prop up ones ego or keep the boat still, dissembling is an oft-used and experienced behavior.

Most of the time, people lie to avoid raising a fuss or for some personal benefit. Minor transgressions such as excusing your way out of a ticket or sidestepping the junk your wife is starting to pack in her trunk serves to keep the boat still. But there are moments when you need to know when you’re being lied to: anything financial for instance, or potential relationship-breakers.

Forbes’ “How To Sniff out a Liar” and its companion slideshow “11 Ways To Sniff Out A Liar” reveals things to look out for when you suspect you are being played. Body language, mannerisms, speech patterns are all potential clues that can indicate a con. Learn to recognize these red flags and you' just might avoid a lot of grief later.

Another benefit of knowing these signs is that it also comes in handy when the tables are turned. Not falling for tall stories are one thing, but when you next need to confabulate, knowing to avoid sending the wrong signals can help you sell your whopper to the unsuspecting. [Forbes via Lifehacker]

Ensha, Azadeh. “Catch Phrases That May Tip You Off to a Lie.” Lifehacker. Jul 29, 2009 <>

Lindner, Melanie. “How To Sniff Out A Liar.” May 13, 2009 Jul. 29, 2009 <>

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Better cocksure than correct, study finds

Man sitting at the head of a table with "EXPERT" written on a whiteboard behind him Have you ever needed to convince someone you’re giving sound advice? Be more self-confident even if you aren’t sure. A study conducted by Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania shows people “prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we are willing to forgive a poor track record.”

Does this finding have bearing outside of academia? Of course it does. People seek advice all the time; think financial planners, therapists, lawyers. This means we can’t take expert opinions  by face value because confidence does not always mean they’re right. Do research on a subject first, ask for a second opinion—in other words exercise due diligence when you ask for professional help and you’ll be less likely to find yourself up that-creek. [New Scientist via Daring Fireball]

Aldhous, Peter. “Humans prefer cockiness to expertise.” New Scientist on the Web. Reed Business Information, Inc. Jun 10, 2009 Jul 28, 2009 <>

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cutthroat savings: shave costs with a straight razor

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street With the constant (dubious?) improvements to razor technology it’s easy to forget that before the safety razor—with one blade, can you imagine—there was an even purer expression of the shaving ritual: the straight razor. Conceived as an easier, safer alternative to its more menacing cousin, the safety razor has since grown more and more complicated with blade-counts exceeding the number of fingers on one hand. Five blades must surely perform five times as well as single-bladed shaving?

By making the cutting edge a disposable quantity a multi-billion industry has sprung up around the daily ritual of shaving. But choosing convenience over tradition isn’t always a win-win. All those razor blades you’ve been chucking is money down the bin.

So what’s a frugal-minded guy to do? Learn how to use a straight razor like your forebears probably did. Depending on your morning routine you can end up shaving off more than a hundred dollars off your yearly budget. And don’t let Sweeney Todd scare you-used properly you are no more likely to cut yourself with a straight razor than with safeties.

Learn how to shave with a straight razor.

Michael, Paul. “Save Over $100 a Year by Shaving with a Cutthroat Razor.” Wise Bread. <>

“Straight Razor.” Wikipedia Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. July 27, 2009 <>

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

What’s for dinner? Go fresh, local with CSA

Clagett Farm CSA Week 11If you’ve been watching TV or movies at all lately, or read newspapers, magazines, and their ilk, or even hung around the water cooler on your lunch break, Causes seem to be the order of the day. Lifestyle changes like “greening” everything from your ride to your lights; eating organic to get healthy; and buying local to support local businesses are being touted as great ways to become conscientious consumers.

In this economy, buying local and buying cheap becomes an even more attractive spending habit to pick up. While not always going hand in hand, frugality and quality can be part of your experience when you choose to patronize Community-supported agriculture (CSA)  programs in your area. Community-supported agriculture is a food  production and distribution model mostly used in the USA where growers focus on providing for the local community, often using organic farming methods and consumers pay a fee to share in the harvest, usually on a regular schedule based on seasonal production.

Consumers who buy into their local CSA are able to get fresh produce at their peak in season. Savings from not needing to ship long-distance are usually passed along to members, with the added environmental benefit of minimizing pollution due to the short distances involved. If the benefits of going local pique your interest in community supported agriculture, Local harvest is a good resource for learning more about the program and finding CSAs in your area.

“Community-supported agriculture.” Wikipedia Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. July 25, 2009 <>

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Friday, July 24, 2009

No surprise: technology raises productivity, increases working hours, workers believe

"Mobile Office" by funkypancake Ever wonder how technology like laptops, mobile phones and PDAs impacted your productivity? According to  staffing firm Kelly Services more than three-quarters of surveyed workers believe they were more productive for having access to gadgetry in the modern workplace.

According to Kelly Services Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, George Corona, the prevailing view is that despite contributing to longer hours, “technology provides greater flexibility in working arrangements, and a better balance between work and personal life.” Workers seem to agree with Corona’s assessment: 35 percent of those surveyed say technology contributes to longer working hours and yet more than half are happy with the work-life balance they struck.

The “Kelly Global Workforce Index” obtained the views of 100,000 workers in 34 countries in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The survey included participants across three generations: Gen Y (18-29), Gen X (30-47) and baby boomers (48-65). Of the three, Gen Y workers led the pack in technology driven productivity gains.

Kelly Services, Inc. “Kelly Global Workforce Index.” Kelly Services. June 24, 2009. July 24, 2009 <>

Wauters, Robin. “Modern Technology Brings More Productivity, Longer Working Hours.” TechCrunch. July 24, 2009 <>

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get in on the action: Site for Beginner Business Twitters launches


The micro-blogging site Twitter has been all the rage lately, fueled by the service’s increasing popularity with influential users and an influx of both content creators and regular followers. Recent developments in Twitter usage such as the race to 1 million followers between Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey and the breaking news of Michael Jackson’s death served to introduce the service to a wider audience than technology enthusiasts and early adopters.

As with other social media experiments, businesses are looking to profit from the Twitter explosion. The flurry of activity on the site and its continued growth is attracting companies eager to take advantage of twitter’s ability to spread the word and spread it quickly. The problem: how best to use twitter as part of a social business strategy?

To help businesses determine how best to use the site, today Twitter is launching “Twitter 101,” a special guide designed to introduce the service to and show corporate users how they can integrate it into their online efforts. From defining terms and demonstrating usage to case studies showing how businesses have already been using Twitter, the site serves as a useful resource for tapping the burgeoning power of its online community.

The beauty of the site is that though ostensibly aimed at corporate users, it’s also a good primer for anyone new to Twitter. “Getting started,” “Learn the lingo,” and “Best practices” all contain tips and tricks that everyone can use to learn more about, and have fun using, Twitter.

Siegler, MG. “Twitter Launches ‘Twitter 101’, Step One of The Business Plan.” TechCrunch. July 23, 2009 <>

Twitter and Sarah Milstein. Twitter 101: A Special Guide. Twitter, Inc. <>

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remember those Augmented Reality subway/tube apps? One for people might not be far off

Wednesday last week I wrote about two Augmented Reality apps being developed by Acrossair catering to commuters on the New York Subway and London Tube systems. Though great news for people looking to start riding those people movers, I found both apps interesting more because they afforded consumers a glimpse into future applications of the tech than out of personal utility—here in Las Vegas, we lack a mass transit system to rival either railway.

Now it looks like we’re going to see another possible way to leverage Augmented Reality research. In this case, the marriage of facial recognition software and AR presentation techniques has given resulted in an interesting “people” program—one that exposes the social networking identities of the person on screen.

Called Augmented ID, the app is currently a concept being developed by TAT (The Astonishing Tribe), a Swedish design and technology company specializing in portable device software. While it’s not clear from the video how they plan to implement certain features of the product such as broadcasting user profiles, it offers one possible practical implementation of personal AR. [YouTube via Gizmodo via The Daily What]

“Two Augmented Reality Subway/Tube Apps for iPhone 3GS Indulge Your Anti-social Tendencies.” Firesaw. July 15, 2009 July 22, 2009 <>

“Meet the Tribe.” The Astonishing Tribe. July 22, 2009 <>

“TAT augmented ID.” YouTube YouTube, LLC July 9, 2009 July 22, 2009 <>