‘Blind Film Critic’ Surfs Social Media with iPhone 4s

Tommy Edison, perhaps best known as the “Blind Film Critic”, demonstrates how he uses the iPhone 4s to access popular social media sites in this video. After Tommy turns on the iPhone’s visual accessibility feature, he jumps from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube with the assistance of Siri.

Siri is the iPhone’s built-in “intelligent assistant” that enable users to operate their smartphone with voice commands. What distinguishes “her” from other talk to touch apps is that “she” talks back to the users, often asking a user to clarify what they are asking for. People seem to either love or hate her. Note to sighted users: if you aren’t a Siri fan, you can turn her off. Just sayin’ … Continue reading ‘Blind Film Critic’ Surfs Social Media with iPhone4s’

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Online Marketing Shows Up at Local Parade

Simple poster directs parade watchers to online informationCloseup of Twitter & Facebook icons on posterboard

Even though I am constantly reminded as an online marketer that conversions are what count, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that promotions don’t have to be high-tech to be effective. This hit home for me at last week’s Marade for MLK, Jr. Day here in Denver.

I didn’t see a lot of QR codes or any flashy technology being used to get the word out about the many important causes being spotlighted at this event. What I did see was a high school student (pictured above) directing parade watchers to online information about Colorado ASSET with a simple poster. She kept her message on-target with [click to continue…]

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Rogue QR code recently spotted in my hood.While strolling through my hood the other day, I was excited to see a couple different realtors incorporating QR codes into their street-level marketing campaigns. Until I realized that they were just posting them without directions, like QR codes are things everyday folk know what to do with when they stumble upon.

News Flash: Although QR codes are becoming more commonplace in everyday life, we just aren’t there yet, Denver realtors. Sorry.

But the day is coming. Soon! Before you know it, Jane Doe will know what to do when she bumps into a QR code in her hood — just like she innately knows what to do when she encounters a lost puppy or $50 bill on the sidewalk.

Until then, please remember to include operating instructions for QR codes, or don’t use them at all.

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Team Wanderlust - Maria Novatschkova - Mongol Rally

A pair of London-based adventurists with big hearts are giving new meaning to the phrase “summer road trip.”

Nick Harvey, 29, and Maria Novatschkova, 31, will embark on their 10,000-mile adventure from London to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, to raise money for Mongolia’s homeless children on July 24. ”Team Wanderlust” will join some 350 other teams from around the globe in the 2010 Mongol Rally to raise money for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. Funds raised will support the Blue Skies Ger Village in Mongolia, which houses abandoned or homeless children and provides them with a safe place to live, education, and the support of a family.

When it is all said and done, they will have crossed 18 countries, five mountain ranges, three deserts and the second highest road in the world in a tiny  847cc, 72hp Malaysian Perodua Nippa they affectionally call “Polly.” In case you aren’t impressed yet, I will add that Maria and Nick will be living out of the pint-sized vehicle for the duration of their five-week trip. Without A/C. Read more.

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Google Explains the Caffeine Update

Google’s Matt Cutts explains the Caffeine Update (which has FINALLY and COMPLETELY live) in this interview with Danny Sullivan at SMX Advanced. A synopsis of how Google indexes documents via Caffeine is also posted on Google’s official blog.

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Professional Video Gamers' Bodies

University of Essex Throws Away Undisclosed Amount of Research Dollars in Attempt to Determine if Top Gamers are as Fit as Pro Athletes

A recent study conducted by the University of Essex compared top gamers’ psychological and physical health to that of professional athletes. It concluded that while the “mental sharpness and psychological health of the “cyber-sportsmen” was similar to that of the “real” athletes, their fitness levels were shockingly low. The study cites the example of a leading gamer in his twenties who had a slim, athletic physique yet had the lung function and aerobic fitness of a heavy smoker in his sixties.

Dr. Micklewright, who authored the study, blamed the gamer’s poor physical health on the gaming lifestyle of spending 10 hours a day in front of a computer.

”Someone of this age should be much fitter, but perhaps this is the occupational hazard of the professional gamer who can spend around 10 hours a day in front of a screen,” Micklewright said. ”It is always difficult to say how these things will develop, but it could have long term health implications such as an increased risk of heart disease. [click to continue…]

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Cover bands are typically lame, but Pomplamoose is different. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is the first cover band I have ever liked. Ever. And now they are one of my favorite musical duos of all time.

Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn formed this Indie duo almost two years ago in San Francisco, showcasing their work almost exclusively on YouTube through a medium they have dubbed VideoSongs. They are, in fact, the reason I now have a personal YouTube account.

“There’s no hidden sounds, there’s no lip-synching, there’s no overdubbing. What you see is what you hear,” is how Conte described VideoSongs in a recent interview with NPR about how Pomplamoose is making a living on YouTube. “Sometimes, there might be two or three Natalys harmonizing with herself, and then you’ll see those three videos juxtaposed together on the screen.” Read more.

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The next time you need to turn that frown upside down, consider visiting these sites. If at least one of them doesn’t bring a smile to your mug, well, there’s just something wrong with you.

The Daily Puppy – Bookmark this site now so that the next time you are about to have a meltdown at work, you can get an instant warm and fuzzy feeling. There’s just something about looking into a puppy’s little face that puts everything in perspective. I bet this site has saved several computer screens from being thrown through office windows. Yes, it is that awesome. Check it out.

INCREDIBOX – This site lets you direct your own beatbox or  a capella band. ‘Nuff said. [click to continue…]

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Why I Couldn’t Resist Adding SEO Site Tools to Chrome

I have a confession. Early this month I blogged about how I had cleaned up my Firefox  toolbar, insinuating that I only needed three primary browser extensions in my SEO tool kit. At the time I wrote this, this was true. I swear.

Less than a week after publishing “Is your SEO tool kit getting a little heavy?”, however, I discovered a forth power tool that I simply cannot live work without: SEO Site Tools. Developed by Carter Cole, this is a killer SEO extension for Chrome, not Firefox. That’s right – I have completely broken my personal rule of keeping all of my SEO, dev, and design tool extensions exclusively in Firefox. Up until this point, this has worked exceptionally well. When working, I do my heavy lifting over in Firefox and then pop over to Chrome when I need a huge browser window not impeded by a tricked-out tool bar. Keeping SEO plugins out of my Chrome installations has also kept this super-fast browser running well, super-fast.

When I stumbled across SEO Site Tools, however, I knew things had to change. Take a look at what it does (in a single extension) and you’ll see why I caved:

SEO Site Tools - Tool Bar CloseupFirst of all, you do not have to sacrifice one pixel of space in my browser window in order to install this extension. As you can see from the screen shot, you can select SEO Site Tools from a drop-down list. The icon in the drop-down list also displays either PageRank, mozRank or mozAuthority of the current page you are viewing, depending on how you configure this extension to suit your preferences. Read more.

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Do you know what Africa’s biggest killer is? Nope, it’s not HIV. Until last night, that’s what I thought. It’s malaria.

Yeah, malaria, that disease that no longer exists in the Western world. However, if you have the bad fortune to be born in sub-Saharan Africa, you are well-acquainted with what is one of the world’s oldest diseases. Because it has likely killed people you love. Like your four-year-old siter. Your baby. Or both of your parents.

This disease is transmitted to humans by mosquitos bites. When a mosquito infected with malaria bites a human, the parasite carried by the mosquito enters the bloodstream and causes fever, headaches and other nasty flu-like symptoms. If caught early, a 10 cent pill can stop malaria in its tracts. If left untreated, it can lead first coma and then death.

Despite the fact that malaria is very preventable and treatable, more than 400 million people are infected with it each year. About a quarter of those infections result in fatalities, with 90% of malaria deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. 75% of deaths resulting from malaria are children.

I could go on and on reciting the horrifying statistics I learned last night at a screening of When the Night Comes, Invisible Children founder Bobby Bailey’s documentary about malaria’s deadly impact on African, including his personal friends in Uganda. However, I think I’ve given you enough information to realize what an absurdity it is that a disease that is preventable and treatable is causing so much misery. Can we agree on that?

Good. Now let’s talk about some organizations that are actually doing something about this unnecessary tragedy. Like Ten Thousand Nets, the organization that organized the screening I saw last night. Ten Thousand Nets is a Denver-based campaign focused on putting malaria firmly where it belongs: in the history books. As their name implies, they are trying to raise enough funds to send 10,000 bed nets to Africa. Because one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of malaria is a $10 bed net that has been treated with insecticide. One bed net can protect up to four children sleeping under it.

Only two weeks ago into the campaign, Ten Thousand Nets has raised enough money for 2,000 nets, which means 2,000 to 8,000 people will be able to sleep better at night knowing that they are not going to wake up with a mosquito bite that ends up killing them. So they are doing a pretty good job I’d say. At the very least, they’ve knocked me out of my fog! They also have some pretty awesome partners, including Bono’s ONE Campaign, Malaria No More, and The Church in Denver. I definitely recommending following all of these organizations, it being Follow Friday and all.

If you would like to purchase a mosquito net for Ten Thousand Nets, text “DENVER” to 85944 and $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill. You don’t have to live in Denver to donate via text, either.

Other “do-follow” organizations fighting malaria

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