10 sites to check out this week and pass on

Wow, it finally it might be warming up in the Northeast. And we’re only mid way through April! With that being said, you’re still going to have some down time here and there since you might be bumming a little that Kristy Lee Cook finally got the ax on American Idol.  So as you peruse all the info that you can get your hands on regarding American  Idol, here are 10 other websites you might want to check out that may deliver more a bit more than Idol updates.

Shout Out to Google

First off let me throw some major props out to Google.  If there is one thing that I will not stand for, it is the exploitation of children in any way, shape, and form, and child pornography would have to be #1 on my list. The fight against child pornography is getting an assist from technology designed by Google to help identify copyright-protected clips on its YouTube video-sharing site.

Four Google employees used their “20% time” — during which the company encourages them to pursue unofficial, out-of-the-box projects — to customize the copyright software for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s program for identifying children in sexually explicit photos and video.

Software already has been used to match known images, but when new ones are submitted by law enforcement and service providers, analysts generally make identifications manually, often based on recollections. The center has recently employed facial-recognition technology to make those IDs easier, but with limited success.With the new Google tools, analysts can also seek matches based on other attributes, such as the color and shape of a couch or the wallpaper pattern in the background of a photo.

Anything to stop this in it’s tracks, I’m all for, so right on Google.

Next up is an Ad agency in Pittsburgh Called Smith Brothers I personally know these guys and they are a good bunch. They just received some major recognition out at the Adtech 11th Annual Awards Ceremony in San Francisco, The Brothers received top honors for Best Integrated Campaign for the Heinz Top This TV Challenge campaign – beating out hundreds of entrants from top advertising and interactive agencies worldwide Smith Brothers’ campaign featured the innovative use of messaging on the labels of millions of Heinz ketchup bottles and ketchup packets – combined with integrated support from print, TV and interactive advertising. The campaign invited consumers to visit TopThisTv  where they could create, upload, view and vote on the best consumer-generated Heinz TV commercial. To further promote and facilitate consumer participation, Smith Brothers formed a strategic partnership with Google and YouTube – and the response was unprecedented. The campaign received over 10 million views, 8,000 consumer-generated commercials and visitors to the site spent over 127,000 hours interacting with the brand while viewing and voting on the consumer-submitted videos Good job fellas.

You Guys Rock

 

 

On a side note that has nothing to do with Heinz or Smith Brothers, but plenty to do with branding, check out John Mayer and his ever evolving sleeve!

John Mayer\'s sleeve

 

I came across this site the other day, though I’m not sure how. It’s called the experience project  It seems rather cool and unlike “most” social network sites. Here’s the description”

Experience Project is the first social experience website where you can anonymously share the experiences and personal stories that matter most to you. Quickly build a network of supportive new friends who understand your life, while exploring over one million life experiences told first-hand by people just like you. You can be yourself here.

 

The experience project

Awhile back, I had thrown a question out my Linkedin Network which asked whether social media sites were doing enough for the poor and underprivledged. The responses were interesting, but one of the sites that I was made privy to was a site called Kiva whose tag line is,”loans that change lives”. Essentially it is a social networking site that helps to put donors of cash in touch with 3rd world or developing nation entrepreneurs. A cool concept if you ask me. And it’s a way to give back through the power of a social network!

Kiva

Another site that caught my eye is called Friendfeed FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends. Hey anyway that I can keep the chaos that takes place on my desktop in some sort of order works for me, check it out and let me know what you think.

Ok, the spring time means lots of things in lots of places. In New Orleans, where I grew up it means 2 things to me. One is the Jazz Fest and the other is Crawfish. If you have never been to NO then you need to go to the JazzFest, generally the weather is awsome though there might be the occasional sprinkle, and the combination of music and food over a 2 week period is ridiculously fun.  Check out this small snapshot of a line-up:The Neville Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, Santana, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, Sheryl Crow, Widespread Panic, Dr. John, Al Green, Diana Krall, Keyshia Cole, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss….Woooowheeee… Ok.. So if you can’t make it, then the next best thing might be a few pounds of crawfish. The above link will ship them right to your door. Live. You do know how to prepare them right?

I saw this sight Rollyo and all I could think of…well never mind what I thought, but it has a pretty cool app when it comes to search. And remember folks, just because Google is the big dog, doesn’t mean that the other breeds of dogs are bad…So Check out Rollyo 

This last site you will def have to bookmark. It’s called Workhappy. Hey, any website titled “work happy” is going to grab my attention. It’s sorta entrepreneurial based but I’m sure you know someone who could benefit from it.

I came across this other day to and it seemed sorta interesting, let me know if you had any opinion of it, good or bad. It’s called Loladex and the tag line is, “Local picks from people you trust…” What if you trust no one?

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Who are we?

We get to choose Be prepared to think about things a bit differently once you see this video. Remarkable, thought provoking and may even bring a tear to your eye.

Randy Pausch- Profiles in courage

 I know, I’m usually all over the latest in tech. But todays post will be a bit different.

Awhile back I came across an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about a Carnegie Mellon University professor named Randy Pausch,  who has incurable pancreatic cancer. What struck me about the story was that he was very cognizant of his ordeal. He articulated and shared his ordeal with his students.

Dr. Pausch’s ordeal began a year ago, when he began to feel bloated and his bowel movements changed, he said in an e-mail interview. When doctors did a CT scan to see if he had gallstones, they spotted a tumor.

“I got the news from my GP,” he wrote, “who said ‘There’s a mass on your pancreas, and it’s not fair.’

“As I later told him, it’s unfortunate, and it’s unlucky, but it’s not unfair.  This atttitude struck me throughout the post gazette article as I read daily about people who cheat death, who don’t cheat death and of others who go through the pains of trying to deal with someone who hasn’t much time left.

The article located here

He is concentrating now on creating videos for his children. With his oldest son, 5-year-old Dylan, Dr. Pausch went on a recent trip to Disney World and to swim with dolphins, thinking Dylan may be the only child who will have strong direct memories of him.

His wife and children, he said, “mean everything to me. They give a purpose to life and a depth of joy that no job [and I’ve had some of the most awesome jobs in the world] can begin to provide.

“I hope my wife is able to remarry down the line. And I hope they will remember me as a man who loved them, and did everything he could for them.”

I have been following this story intently, hoping for good news everytime I read his blog posts and as of this writing, things are ok. they are not good, nor bad, but they are stable for the moment. I want him to know that even someone that does not know him, is thinking of him. As I am sure others feel the same way, I will speak for you as well.  I pray for things all the time and sometimes I get angry when people only pray to their god, only when they need something; but here is a chance to thank our god and ask our god that this remarkable person be given a little bit longer. For that I will not be angry, merely appreciative and hopeful that their could be power and energy in collective prayer.

What’s not to like about Google?

You know there are always going to be people out there who will despise anything and everything that Google does and stands for. Of course we all know that they secretly use Google and if they were approached to work for Google, they would pause for about a split second before they accepted. 

Further enhancing it’s reputation as a company concerned with more than just search, Google recently announced that they were going to to use their incredible power as it relates to information and technology to help people better their lives. Google is rolling out five core initiatives that will be the focus of its philanthropic efforts over the next five to ten years. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, will collaborate with experienced partners working in each of these fields, investing its resources and tapping the strengths of Google’s employees and global operations to advance its core initiatives.  

Today’s announcement includes more than $25 million in new grants and investments to initial partners. The resources come from a commitment by Google’s founders to devote approximately 1 percent of the company’s equity plus 1 percent of annual profits to philanthropy, as well as employee time.   Below is a listing of how the money is going to be disbursed:

$5 million to InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) to improve early detection, preparedness, and response capabilities for global health threats and humanitarian crises. InSTEDD will work with the community of relief and response organizations, governments, academia and top scientists around the world to address gaps in information flow with software and other technology-based tools and services.

$2.5 million to the Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI), established by the Nuclear Threat Initiative to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.

More than $600,000 to Clark University, with equal funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, for Clark Labs to develop a system to improve monitoring, analysis and prediction of the impacts of climate variability and change on ecosystems, food and health in Africa and the Amazon.

$2 million to Pratham, a non-governmental organization in India, to create an independent institute that will conduct the Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) as well as large scale assessments in the education sector.

$765,000 to the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, a Bangalore-based analysis group, to create a Budget Information Service for local governments to facilitate better district- and municipal-level level planning in India

$660,000 to the Center for Policy Research, an action oriented think tank based in India, to increase the debate and discourse on issues of urban local governance and urban service delivery.

$4.7 million grant to TechnoServe to provide general support to expand Technoserve’s efforts to support enterprises, spur job creation, and strengthen poverty alleviation programs globally, and to develop and implement a business plan competition to support entrepreneurs in Ghana and Tanzania

$10 million to eSolar, a Pasadena, CA-based company specializing in solar thermal power which replaces the fuel in a traditional power plant with heat produced from solar energy

RechargeIT is a Google.org initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. Google.org launched a $10 million request for investment proposals this Fall, and will invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million in selected for-profit companies whose innovative approach, team and technologies will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and/or vehicle-to-grid solutions.

Granted that $25 million is not a lot of money initially when looking at what Google makes every day, but is certainly a step in the right direction and sets an examples for other like minded tech companies to either fall in step or raise the bar in regards to philanthropic endeavors.

The Top 20 search terms for the week

It’s a new year and thus the searches have a “turning over a new leaf” type of feel to them. But not for long, as our beloved searchers show their age when they give us WWE and Dragonball.  But fear not, we are still a nation/ world obsessed with absolutely anything that Britney does as well as Jessica Simpson and Lindsey Lohan. mnay thanks to the Lycos 50.

1 Poker
Full House, and you thought all that SPAM was worthless?
2 Golf
Fore! and it’s still winter people! 
3 Fashion
2008 trends.
4 Britney Spears
Dating and running from the paparazzo
5 Disney
“National Treasure 2” a must see.
6 Clay Aiken
“Spamalot”, Who said AI Stars have no traction?
7 Paris Hilton
Buddy Nicole gives birth. She’s slipping.
8 YouTube
Videos, we are a nation obsessed with videos
9 South Beach Diet
Low carb. Oh and we are obsessed with losing weight as well
10 Naruto
Manga
11 Pamela Anderson
Not pregnant and still looking, er uh.. like Pam Anderson
12 Kim Kardashian
Socialite taking advantage of her 20 minutes
13 Apple
Macworld, Check out the new Air Mac or mac Air
14 WWE
SmackDown. Who said anything about roids?
15 Lindsay Lohan
Dating Adrian Grenier? and still clean?
16 Pokemon
Battle Revolution
17 Jessica Simpson
Not at Cowboys game and they still lose.
18 Weight Watchers
Weight loss. In 2008, I will lose…
19 MySpace
Profiles
20 NFL
Playoffs? Did someone say playoffs?

Disaboom, One of the most socially relevant social networks today

I’ve preached for the past 6 months about how social networks need to become more focused in order for them to sustain any type of growth and visibility, let alone profits. It’s at this point that I must point you in the direction of a website called Disaboom.  I’m going to quote from their site a bit so here goes:

Disaboom.com was founded by Dr. J. Glen House, a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation who is also a quadriplegic. His firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and those whose lives they touch has driven the Disaboom.com mission: to create the first comprehensive, evolving source of information, insight, and personal engagement for the disability community.
In essence, he created a social networking site for individuals with disabilities. Truly a niche based and even more needed network for people who need to find other like-minded individuals or services or programs that are geared towards them, their families and friends and their particular disability
Disaboom.com is based on the following core beliefs:
Expertise comes in many forms. Often the best advice comes not just from medical experts but also from “peers” – others who’ve walked the path you’re on. That’s why in addition to providing solid medical expertise, we’ve also put together the largest online network of individuals to share their personal experiences with you, providing honest, practical answers to hard questions.
Knowledge is power – and so is community. Disaboom.com strives to provide you the tools and guidance you need to live active, engaged lives. But when it comes to sharing stories and personal insights, there’s nothing stronger than the power of community – which is why we’re connecting the millions touched by disability to both information and each other.
You don’t have to be disabled to be touched by disability. The Disaboom.com community is as diverse as the communities we live in, made up of mothers and models, surfers and surgeons, babies and baby boomers. Our network of 180 million and growing includes not just individuals with disabilities, but also medical practitioners, caregivers, employers, family members, teachers, and others. In so many important ways, people with disabilities may be anyone – and everyone.
The word “disability” may apply to us – but will never define us. We decide who we are, and what lives we will create. The goal of Disaboom.com is to provide the information, community, and connection you need to define who you are, and what life you will lead.
Launched in the fall of 2007, Disaboom truly is a niched based social network that serves the greater good of it participants rather than the greater good of advertisers and angels.

Social Networks continue to evolve with myfamily.com

 If you’re thinking of creating your own social network, you better hurry. Myfamily.com,  today announced a new release of myfamily.com 2.0 beta available at http://www.myfamily.com. The new release lets families connect online to share news, recipes, family history, photos and video in a safe, private and media-rich environment. Myfamily.com 2.0 beta offers several new features and services, including the ability to leave voice messages directly on the site or narrate photo slideshows using a phone.

   

Since its launch in 1998, myfamily.com has enjoyed a subscriberbase of nearly two million members. Originally a free service, myfamily.com moved to a subscription-only service in 2001, and now with the new 2.0 beta is introducing a free option once again.    Families are using myfamily.com to build private spaces where invited members and guests can participate in sharing photos, news, videos, slideshows, recipes, files, family-trees and events. Many are also creating sites reflecting the social groups their family interacts with, including sports teams, schools, hobbies, or other groups. The new 2.0 site is currently available at http://www.myfamily.com andis in open beta for anyone to try out. One feature called‘SnapGenie’ allows members to select and sort photos into a slideshow andthen add voice narration by calling a toll-free number and clicking throughthe photos on their computer screen. These multimedia stories are viewable by family members on the site and can also be shared via email invitation to others, or embedded in web pages or on a blog.    For times when you want to contact the family and just can’t get to acomputer, the new myfamily.com site provides a phone number and PIN that you can call from anywhere to leave an instant voice message on your site.    Any member of a myfamily.com 2.0 site can create additional password protected sites and invite the people they want to share in the new experience. So you can have a ‘cousins-only’ site, or a ‘Family ReunionPlanning’ site, or a ‘Mrs. Johnson’s 5th Grade Class’ site to communicate,share photos, art, and upcoming events with other families at your child’sschool. Individuals can be a part of as many family or group sites as theywant and easily switch between them. Myfamily.com 2.0 can also deliver reminders to your extended family forall the important events in life including birthdays, anniversaries,reunions, or other special events. And, if you need a unique gift forsomeone, the integrated shopping features let you order prints, t-shirts,mugs and other photo creations using the photos shared on the site. Myfamily.com 2.0 free sites will be supported by advertising andcommerce. Members who prefer an ad-free environment will be able topurchase a reasonably priced annual subscription, much like the originalservice. Details of the subscription service have not yet been announced. As myfamily.com transitions to the new 2.0 version, members of theoriginal 1.0 version will still be able to use their existing family sitesduring the beta period. Many of these loyal members are also contributingto the development of the beta site by participating in member surveys,advisory groups, and the 2.0 blog at http://blog.myfamily.com.