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Tell a friend Macworld 2010: free Expo pass

Macworld Expo 2010

In San Francisco during February 9-13, 2010? Attend the Macworld Expo for free! (The Expo pass is a $25 value. Offer expires August 30, 2009.)

2010 will be the first year in which Apple, Inc. itself is not officially a part of Macworld Conference and Expo. This comes after a noticeable slowdown after last year’s Macworld, during which Steve Jobs was conspicuously absent due to serious illness, and Apple marketer Phil Schiller adequately — but unglamorously — filled in as keynote presenter. It’s up to David Pogue, tech pundit and pianist beloved and admired by much of the Apple community, to step in for next year’s keynote — (Pogue calls it the "The Anti-Keynote") — which, if nothing else, will probably be entertaining for geeks and music lovers.

Posted August 12, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, community, innovations, social, technology, travel

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Tell a friend The Point: leveraging tipping points to achieve Big Goals

The Point

Got vision? Ready to inspire others to do something big? If you’ve got an idea, what you need to do next is build a powerful network of like-minded enthusiasts to achieve a common goal. Yeah, you could create yet another Facebook group or Twitter hash tag — or you could try The Point, which has developed software technology that allows organizers to leverage tipping points. Specifically, you can use The Point to start a campaign to raise money (minus five percent for The Point — if the campaign successfully reaches a minimum threshold that you decide) or to enlist volunteers for a cause, such as eliminating high fructose corn syrup from soda or developing wind farms. Once you’ve launched your campaign, you can embed a widget on your site to publicize it.

Current campaigns are organized into channels, like Education, Music, Politics, Technology, and so on. The "Social Experiments" channel hosts some interesting and amusing campaigns, and compelling public dares and calls to action are filed under "Challenges". You’ll find the best organized campaigns in the "Popular" section, along with many Groupon deals (because Groupon, a successful commercial project, is The Point’s biggest and most successful "campaign").

Posted August 11, 2009 by Mariva in community, deals, innovations, media, resources, shopping, social, technology

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Tell a friend Groupon: a mini revolution in deal shopping

Groupon collective deals

Groupon is a refreshingly unique concept in deal-seeking, utilizing the power of collective interest. (Groupon is a successful commercial project of The Point, which has developed software technology to leverage tipping points.) The way it works is, every day Groupon offers a new deal on something you might want to purchase locally — entertainment, dining, recreation, fashion, products, health and beauty services, and other services — and if enough people commit to buying it at the discounted rate, then everyone in that lucky group gets the same discount. There are three catches: you have a 24-hour window in which to make the commitment, the offer could sell out, and if the number of interested consumers fails to meet the minimum threshold, the deal is off. So you must decide quickly, and it helps to get your local friends and associates interested in the same bargain you’re going for.

Posted August 10, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, deals, innovations, shopping, technology

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Tell a friend Dear Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki book signing poster in Microsoft Booth at Macworld 2009

To: Mr. Guy Kawasaki
c/o Garage Technology Ventures

Dear Mr. Kawasaki,

The manager of the Microsoft booth at Macworld was going to throw this away after you were finished with your book signing for Reality Check, and I couldn’t bear to see it go into the garbage, so I rescued it.

Then, at the GTD Summit, David Allen inspired me to go through my Inbox (a big pile of random papers) and do a Mind Wipe or a Mind Sweep or whatever he calls it, and I realized that as much as I enjoy looking at a photo of you — (who doesn’t?) — I simply have no use for this.

Again, though, I hate to see it thrown into the trash, so I’m sending it to you care of Garage. Perhaps you can add it to your souvenir collection of professional engagements.

Posted March 23, 2009 by Mariva in audio, books, business, celebrities, media, social, technology

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Tell a friend collapsible, theft-resistant commuter bicycle

If you’re in the market for a commuter bicycle, be on the lookout for the collapsible, theft-deterrent Biomega Boston. The Biomega Boston features a cable that locks into place as a structural part of the frame. In order for the bicycle to function, a key is inserted into a lock that keeps the cable taut and firm; without the key, the cable is slack and the frame collapses. The bike, once the cable is slack, can be folded for easy storage in the office or at home. (If a would-be thief cuts the cable, the bicycle is rendered unrideable via collapsing frame. For the owner of the bicycle, though, the cable can be replaced to restore function — although the ease of repair and theftproofness is debatable.)

Posted October 17, 2008 by Mariva in city, fitness, gadgets, innovations, technology, travel

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Tell a friend U2 3D

U2 3D

I accidentally invited bleeding-edge tech journalist Robert Scoble to a private Kyte party. How it unfolded is a little embarrassing, but suffice it to say that the moral of the story is, don’t be Twittering first thing in the morning when you should be busy getting some work done anyway.

After drinks and deep-fried snacks at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Kyte team, along with Scoble and his Fast Company podcast producer Rocky Barbanica (a disarmingly affable fellow, despite looking like someone who drives a Harley and could be menacing in a dark alley), headed over to the Metreon to see U2 3D in the IMAX movie theatre.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and, to be honest, I probably would have been more excited at the outset by a presentation of Aliens of the Deep or Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. With a movie of a U2 concert, I assumed I’d get bored and space out, wishing I could be Twittering from my mobile phone without being rude to my fellow attendees who’d prefer to sit in pitch-darkness. (I was wrong about the movie; read on.)

It’s not that I dislike U2. In fact, in the ’80s I used to listen incessantly to War on vinyl, lifting the needle at the end of "Seconds" and setting it down at the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over and over again, sometimes taking a break from this two-set to listen to "Drowning Man" or "40." When I lived in "Oblique House," a small temporary co-op in Oberlin, Ohio during the summer of 1989, a friend who was a studio musician tuned his guitar to The Joshua Tree and played impeccable renditions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," and "In God’s Country." He emulated The Edge’s signature textural style (although neither of us remembers if he’d used delay taps to mimic the "shimmer" effect). Better even than listening to the album on a top-of-the-line sound system, it sounded like a private U2 concert in our house. Later, when I traveled through the southwest, I couldn’t look at any of the ubiquitous Joshua trees without thinking of the eponymous album. Tangentially, Boo owns an original Negativland’s U2 EP (rereleased under another title), purchased just before U2′s former label Island Records sued Negativland, a controversial lawsuit that the U2 members themselves thought was "very heavy."

But I stopped buying albums after Achtung Baby and years later realized that I’d quit listening to U2′s newer stuff altogether — with the possible exception of "Beautiful Day" from All That You Can’t Leave Behind (simply because it was unavoidable in the media and the public sphere). It wasn’t intentional on my part; perhaps it was because the anger and intensity of War (still my favorite U2 album) appealed to me more than the sweeter, feel-good material of later years. (It’s analogous to — though not as extreme as — my erstwhile enthrallment with Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy in the early ’90s before Michael Franti turned into a hippie peacenik; his sound mellowed out and got boring, at least compared to his previous musical incarnations. If I wanted tepid, unchallenging music, I’d listen to smooth jazz.)

Nevertheless, it’s fairly easy to get in the mood for a U2 concert, virtual or live. U2 is like The Beatles, comprising a solid, talented quartet of British Isles musicians with names memorized by millions around the globe, known for their iconic radio hits as much as for their social activism. At this point, U2 is classic — and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like their music.

Posted January 30, 2008 by Mariva in entertainment, innovations, media, movies, music, technology

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Tell a friend Leo Laporte’s podcasting tips

Only days after my initial careless omission of TWiT (this WEEK in TECH) in the list of the best free tech industry podcasts, I was fortunate enough to see Leo Laporte — who has a background in media, including radio and television — give an insider’s talk about podcasting at last week’s MacWorld. Here are some professional tips I picked up for current or would-be podcasters:

  • Bring passion. When developing a subject idea for a new podcast program, don’t try to game the media market — find what you love or care about and talk about it. If you focus your show on what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, you’re much more likely to generate interest and be successful.
  • Specialize in a niche. There are thousands of audio shows available, and, for every topic you can think of, there’s at least one podcast for it. So instead of starting a new program about old cars, for example, start out by focusing on old Corvettes. Interview Corvette owners, dealers, and restorers. You can always expand your focus later. Also, don’t worry about getting a huge audience right away. If you have an audience of 1,000 dedicated listeners, you’re doing well. One thousand is a lot of people; if you were speaking to that many in person, it’d be an impressive crowd.

Posted January 24, 2008 by Mariva in audio, business, career, media, resources, technology

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Tell a friend best free audio podcasts

best free audio podcasts

Over the years I’ve developed a pathological fear of boredom, and subsequently a fear of mundane activities that lead to boredom, like waiting at the airport (especially at night), exercising (if it’s routine and not, say, a hike in an unfamiliar area), or cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. I like to keep my mind occupied; sometimes my own thoughts are enough, and sometimes they’re just not. For when my thoughts aren’t enough, and there’s nothing good on the radio, I listen to my favorite podcasts.

The irony? Alas, there is simply not enough time — even counting the stretches of boring time during aforementioned mundane activities — to listen to everything I want to, so the podcasts not yet listened to stack up in a sometimes overwhelming queue. I’ve realized that podcasts are like books or recorded TV shows: I probably won’t get to everything, but it comforts me to know they’re there, promising a rich intellectual landscape in which to escape from a wasteland of ennui.

Posted January 5, 2008 by Mariva in education, entertainment, news, resources, technology

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Tell a friend 1980 nostalgia

Rubik's Cube: 1980 nostalgia

VH1 used to be the second-rate music video channel, targeting an audience about a decade older than MTV’s. But now VH1′s programming generally comprises time-wasting, guilty-pleasure filler shows, like I Love Toys. The show’s pointless exercise in conjuring nostalgia inspired me to dredge up my own memories of the not-too-distant past.

 

Posted April 3, 2006 by Mariva in fashion, fun, gadgets, games, innovations

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Tell a friend do it yourself

Make magazine

Remember "The Future"? When our environment was supposed to have become so technologically advanced that machines would do virtually everything for us, leaving us with many hours of free time to pursue various leisure activities? It turns out that the exact opposite happened, and so we’re left with less time for accomplishing the basic tasks of maintaining our lives, let alone for leisure.

Paradoxically, those with free time often use it to cram more work into their lives, inspired by the growing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement. (Granted, it’s work that’s taken on by choice — as opposed to the DIY work we’ll supposedly be doing after the post-peak oil crash — but still work nevertheless.)

Posted March 21, 2006 by Mariva in arts, crafts, education, fun, gadgets, innovations, resources, social

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