Android’s Take on the Terrible Towel

03 February 2011

Want a pro-Steelers accessory, but don’t want to go to all the trouble of storing and occasionally washing it? Well look no further – the Terrible Towel Android app is here! Yes, you can now get the sensation of waving a towel this Sunday from your mobile phone while watching this Sunday’s Super Bowl. While Steelers fans like our very own Evan Lapiska might find it difficult to wave their mobile towel while texting fellow Pittsburgh natives during the big game, this reflects a growing trend of sports mobile apps (a topic Andy Cuneo covered in this space in October). Developers have certainly gotten a bit more creative on the sports front – simple score updates are so 2010!

The towel app sets a high standard, but has anybody out there downloaded a similarly unique mobile sports app recently?

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DAILY FIVE (2/3)

03 February 2011

1. Just How Clean is Cleantech? Cleaner than IT, Green Biz, Matthew Wheeland

State of Green Business30 years after this pollution spurred the creation of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, they are still working on cleaning up more than 20 of those sites, largely suffering from water pollution released by those electronics manufacturers.

2. The 10 hottest tablets coming in 2011, ZDNet, Jason Hiner

Here is my list of the 10 most significant tablets to watch for, at least until someone else announces another new one next week.

3. Google to Dominate Apple By 2015, Tech Week

According to a recent prediction by technology industry watchers; Apple’s iPad dominance of the tablet computers is expected to be overturned by the search engine giant Google within four years.

4. The Hill’s Geek-in-Chief, Politico, Patrick Gavin

Some politicians strut into a room confidently with their rock star looks, like, say Sen. Scott Brown. Others carry enough gravitas and know-how that it can be downright intimidating (see: Rep. Barney Frank). Owning a different type of territory — call it the Computer Corner — is John Culberson, a five-term Republican congressman from Texas and an unabashed geek.

5. Egypt’s Internet Blackout Cost More Than OECD Estimates, Forbes, Parmy Olson

Researchers at the OECD have done some back-of-the-envelope calculations to figure out how much a clampdown on the Internet cost Egypt’s economy. Their estimate? About $90 million, or $18 million a day. But a closer look at the numbers shows that the real answer is probably much higher.

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TheDaily Launches Today!

02 February 2011

TheDaily, the first iPad only newspaper launched by News Corp., is set to hit stands the Apple app store today at noon ET.

 When looking for reporters that would be sure to make this new outlet a true hit, they plucked some of the finest journalists from well-known publications to help build this new paper. Some of the A-list reporters now contributing to TheDaily include:

  • Jesse Angelo –executive editor (formerly from The New York Post)
  • Elizabeth Eaves – op-ed editor (former Forbes columnist and editor)
  • Sasha Frere-Jones – culture editor (formerly The New Yorker’s pop music columnist)
  • Peter Ha – technology editor (formerly at TIME)
  • Bill Bradley – reporter (formerly a contributor to Vanity Fair)
  • Heather Havrilesky – staff critic (formerly at Salon.com)

 Rumor has it, the content pushed out will target a younger, tech-savvy demographic looking to get their fill of news during their morning commute. Content will include robust 360* pictures, interactive graphics and other features which no print publication would be able to accommodate.

As someone in their target demographic, I’m thrilled about this new outlet and can’t wait to see what kind of stories they will produce. The tablet generation offers a great outlet for this news brand. As Rupert Murdoch said himself, “New times demand new journalism.”

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DAILY FIVE (2/2)

02 February 2011

1. Bill Gates Talks Technology, Egypt And Revolution With CBS’ Couric, Forbes, Steven Bertoni

Bill Gates–Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist– sat down with CBS’s Katie Couric to discuss philanthropy, Egypt and the Internet.

2. Murdoch Readies The Daily for Grand Unveiling, New York Times, Jeremy Peters and Brian Stelter

This morning, Rupert Murdoch will finally unveil The Daily, a news app that he hopes will put his News Corporation front and center in the digital newsstand of the near future.

3. Down To Business: Why The Tech Industry Needs Founder-CEOs, InformationWeek, Rob Preston

Conventional wisdom has it that company founders don’t usually make great CEOs, even if the IT industry has more than its fair share of them. They’re gifted at conceiving and creating products and setting a vision, we’re told, but most founders don’t have the management chops or operational patience to steward their companies much past the start-up stage.

4. Tech CEOs Meet With President, National Journal, Josh Smith

Several members of the Technology CEO Council met with President Obama Tuesday to discuss some of the proposals announced in his State of the Union address, as well as how to streamline government with new technology.

5. Eric Schmidt, Google’s outgoing CEO, close to landing a book deal, Los Angeles Times, Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Google’s outgoing chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is courting offers from several New York-based book publishers for a book about Technology and how it’s used under authoritarian governments, a report says.

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DAILY FIVE (1/27)

27 January 2011

1. Judiciary Committee Postpones Action On Patent Bill, National Journal, Josh Smith

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday delayed consideration of Chairman Patrick Leahy’s patent overhaul legislation until next week.

2. YouTube: A State of the Union Tradition, New York Times, Verne Kopytoff

Add one more to the list of State of the Union traditions — YouTube. For the second year in row, President Obama will give a live post-State of the Union interview on YouTube, in which he will answer questions submitted by the video site’s users. The interview, to be streamed at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, is intended to add a more personal touch to the usual discussion of health care, war and unemployment.

3. WikiLeaks alternative OpenLeaks goes live, Ars Technica, Jacqui Cheng

OpenLeaks, the alternative whistleblower site created by WikiLeaks defectors, has officially gone live, though it’s not yet fully operational. The organization confirmed that it doesn’t plan to publish information itself, but rather help third parties (such as nonprofits and news orgs) get access to leaked documents in order to convey them to the public.

4. 4 Social Trends Impacting the Future of Online Fundraising, Mashable, Geoff Livingston

Social fundraising is becoming a buzzword within the cause space. The growing trend allows citizens to create their own fundraising campaigns independent of, but still benefitting non-profits. These efforts use a middle platform or set of tools to create grassroots communications across traditional social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

5. The Daily digital paper for iPad launches Wednesday, USA Today, Edward Baig

Extra extra–The Daily digital newspaper for the iPad launches Wednesday. A launch invitation arrived in my email inbox from News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who will share the stage with Apple’s vice president of Internet Services Eddy Cue. Cue is the Apple executive responsible for iTunes.

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Communication is Key to Successful Pitching – No Joke

26 January 2011

I made it through roughly 45 minutes of last night’s State of the Union (SOTU). It wasn’t the content of the address, the annual crowd shots of childish behavior as adults decide to clap or not clap based on the capital letter next to their name, or this year’s mingling of high school cliques to show unity – it was a joke that led me to the remote control.

“Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car,” President Obama said. “For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down.”

When it comes to political speeches, that’s gold. And yet, it received only mild applause and laughter? Come on! There is no harm in responding to a joke about an over-sensationalized news story with genuine laughter, which would have provided a rare, public opportunity for politicians to show an unguarded emotion.

The instinctive – and let’s face it, irritated – response I had is something that is not unique to me, and frankly something we in the PR industry should be conscious of at all times. In short, reporters are people. In our line of work, we call and e-mail reporters daily, generally wanting something from them in response to something a client has going on or an issue they would like heard. Often we will even have something similar to a script of what we want to make sure we tell them, but it is important to avoid reading to the reporter like a recording with no human qualities.

Say hello, ask how they are doing. If you’ve spoken to a reporter before and they mentioned an article they were working on or a vacation they had coming up, ask about it. You don’t need to over-do the small talk, reporters have deadlines, but it is vital that we all make an effort to connect with them on a personal level so your call feels like a conversation to the reporter rather than them feeling like they are being spoken to.

Who knows, they may be more receptive to your pitch or at least give you critical feedback for why they are not interested. Or it could pay dividends down the road when the reporter remembers your name and client when you call, or vice versa when they remember you have a client in a particular space and call you.

Regardless, by attempting to connect, it increases your chances that they won’t tune you out.

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DAILY FIVE (1/25)

25 January 2011

1. Patent Reform Debate Returns to Congress, IDG, Grant Gross

Coming efforts to revamp U.S. patent law could lead to less innovation and a loss in value for the companies that own patents, an executive at Qualcomm said Friday.

2. Commerce eases export rules to boost hi-tech trade with India, The Hill, Gautham Nagesh

The Commerce Department began a series of change to its export rules on Monday that should pave the way for Indian firms to purchase more defense and nuclear technology from American firms.

3. Google’s Schmidt expects another 10 years at Google, Reuters, Georgina Prodhan

Outgoing Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday he expected to spend another 10 years at Google, after announcing his surprise handover last week to co-founder Larry Page.

4. Google Chrome, Firefox add ‘Do Not Track’ features, Fast Company, Austin Carr

Following increased pressure from the FTC, Google and Mozilla are introducing opt-out features to their Chrome and Firefox browsers.

5. Verizon first in line to sue FCC, Network World, Joanie Wexler

Verizon didn’t let any grass grow under its feet. Last week, less than a month after the FCC passed its controversial net neutrality order, Verizon filed suit against the agency, challenging the FCC’s authority to create formal rules aimed at preserving an open, equal-access Internet.

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DAILY FIVE (1/21)

21 January 2011

1. What the departures of Apple, Google CEOs mean for Microsoft, TechFlash, Todd Bishop

It has been a week of major executive departures in the tech industry, with news of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ leave of absence followed by Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s announcement yesterday that he’s handing over the reins to co-founder Larry Page.

2. Strategy Analytics: 15% of smartphones sold in 2011 will have multi core processors [45% in 2015], IntoMobile, Stefan Constantinescu

The bean counters at Strategy Analytics have whipped out their abacuses and tabulated that 15% of the smartphones sold this year will have multi core processors and that by 2015 that figure is likely to sky rocket to 45%. They go on to say that this year Samsung and Qualcomm will be shipping the most multi core processors, in this case dual core, followed by NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments. We’ve been saying this for a while now, that just because NVIDIA was first to the market with their dual core Tegra 2 processor, Qualcomm’s more attractive offering that also bundles a slew of wireless radios will be more attractive in the long term.

3. Verizon releases first iPhone ad, Washington Post, Hayley Tsukayama

Verizon released its first, extremely dramatic, ad for the iPhone 4 to YouTube, thanking all the Verizon faithful for waiting so patiently.

4. Verizon Files Early Challenge to Latest ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules, Wall Street Journal, Ashby Jones

What, you ask, is that clickety-clackety noise you hear off in the distance, emanating from office buildings everywhere? Here’s the answer: It’s the sound of lawyers (and their assistants), typing up legal challenges to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent rules on “net neutrality.”

5. A Patent Legislative Agenda, What Congress Should Do in 2011, IP Watchdog, Gene Quinn

The 111th Congress once again left patent reform efforts on the table without any resolution or even a vote. That might be just as well given that in the minds of most the patent reform efforts were not truly “reform,” but rather were merely changes that would not have made for a stronger Patent Office or otherwise addressed some of the pressing issues that require Congressional attention.

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DAILY FIVE (1/18)

18 January 2011

1. Rep. Blackburn says both parties have failed on tech, The Hill,  Sara Jerome

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) decried the failure of her own party to create a national agenda for technology policy during remarks at the State of the Net conference in Washington on Tuesday.

2. Mobile World Congress: What To Expect, Channel News, Matthew Lentini

The MWC is the CES of the mobile world, with all the big players in telecommunications and mobile technology like Cisco, Google, Intel and HTC stepping up to weigh in on their stance for the year. The latest trends and products will be on display, from upcoming smartphones to the latest behind-the-scenes chips and processors.

3. Will Jobs’ Departure Take A Bite Out Of Apple?, NPR,  Joshua Brockman

Can you imagine a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly? It’s a tough sell for two ingredients that have been wedded for so long.

4. Want a Verizon iPhone, but stuck with something else? Here’s $200, Christian Science Monitor

So here’s a scenario for you: Late last month, you purchased a brand new Verizon smartphone – perhaps the nifty Droid X – along with a 2-year service contract. So far, so good. But a couple of weeks later, the news of the Verizon iPhone broke, and now you’re stuck with a Droid X, when what you really want is a Verizon iPhone 4.

5. Economic Growth a Highlight of the Technology Industry, TMC Net, Mae Kowalke

Sometimes it seems that news about the economy continues to be only dark. But, in some industries, glimmers of light are beginning to show more and more brightly. It might not be a stretch to say that these positive signs have been around throughout the recession and were just glossed over.

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DAILY FIVE (1/12)

12 January 2011

1. Patent Reform Will Return, But Congressional Staffers Say Comprehensive Bill May Not Be Ideal, National Journal, Josh Smith

Key Capitol Hill staffers say patent reform will come up in a big way in the 112th Congress, although what shape that reform takes remains to be seen.

2. Microsoft Fights Apple’s Attempt To Trademark ‘App Store’, PC Magazine, Sara Yin

Can an “app store” refer to any brand other than Apple? Microsoft thinks so.

3. Global CIO: Microsoft Launching Cloud Attack On Enterprise Stack, InformationWeek, Bob Evans

In a striking move with huge implications, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this week jettisoned long-time senior executive Bob Muglia from atop the company’s core enterprise-products business.

4. Google to eject H.264 video from Chrome browser, Washington Post, Rob Pegoraro

Finding a more open, mobile-friendly replacement for Flash video on the Web was never going to be easy. But it’s looking even more difficult after Google’s surprise announcement yesterday that it will yank support for the most widely used Flash replacement from its Chrome browser.

5. Formspring Springs Into Fresh Cash, New York Times, Jenna Wortham

Formspring, the fast-growing social network that lets people ask each other personal questions and then has others answer them, has hit another major milestone.

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