Author Archives: Michelle Lentz

The other day, Trulia released some stats based on their past surveys and real estate data letting you know where the other singles are, and what gender. Basically, if you’re a guy, you’ll find more single ladies in NYC and Washington, DC.

If you’re looking for the perfect guy, try someplace warm, like Las live online blackjack Vegas, Miami and Honolulu. (I think the guys have the right idea here.)

You can also look at their visual maps, such as this one for the Bay area:

Check out the Trulia post for all the details and maybe figure out where you should visit – or move – to find your next Valentine.

Big news this week in the area of watching TV on your mobile device.

The first announcement is that HBOGo, the app that streams HBO programming to your iPhone and iPad, is finally compatible with AirPlay. This means you can take that HBO show with you to a friend’s house and, from your iDevice, watch it on your large TV screen via an Apple TV. Boardwalk Empire just got a lot more accessible to those without HBO. Support for Airplay is also now available for Cinemax’s MAX Go app.

According to All Things D, HBO’s Eric Kessler said they also intend to “get on Apple TV” directly jennifer anniston pokies, although a timeline for that is unknown.

Lifetime, A&E and History Channel have updated apps.

Additionally, A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime have all updated their iOS apps (iPhone and iPad) to stream their top programming to iDevices for free. The apps include syncing with iCloud, allowing you to pick up where you left off as you move from device to device.

The apps and content are free, although if you sign in using a Comcast Xfinity account, you’ll receive more behind-the-scenes footage.

The new apps do not yet support AirPlay, but 9TO5 Mac reports that feature is in the works.

 

Guest post by Matt Polsky, social media director for Veterans United Home Loans.

Those new to Google Plus have a tendency to carry the misconception that it is just another Facebook. What naysayers don’t realize is that Google Plus is a groundbreaking platform that has the ability to become a huge success – even though some contributors at Mashable, Huffington Post, Forbes and Social Media Today may disagree.

A predominant factor that inspires this confidence generates from the organic search potential; however, through the unique applications of this social product, people, companies and brands can do more than bolster their search results, but provide a channel to build relationships, contacts and connect on a completely personalized level – no matter their location.

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece for Brian Solis on why a business would want to be on Google Plus, focusing on search implications and the latest feature at the time known as Direct Connect.

At this point, Google Plus was relatively new, making it difficult to see the entire picture or direction of the social network. Fourteen months later, a few unique features emerged that are in the process of mapping a steady course and strong user-base.

For starters, Google Plus’ Hangout feature provides users an easy and effective way to engage with multiple viewers through face-to-face interaction, as well as a free broadcasting tower if you decide to use it this way.

Hangouts take mere seconds to set up. After a quick plugin download you’re ready to start broadcasting live. Google also gives users access to a free production suite and a live stream that can be viewed on Google Plus, YouTube or any website or blog that copies the YouTube embed code.

Hangouts have many possibilities, especially for creative minds. Webinars, live music, company meetings, live customer service and even job interviews are all possible. But, to take it a step further, Veterans United has found multiple uses for Hangouts, including the first Virtual Career Fair – allowing active military, veterans and interested job seekers an inside look at the company.

If video isn’t quite your forte, consider one of the most recent Google Plus features – Google Plus Communities.

Communities provide a fit for every person, company or brand, brought together by their tailored interests. With Communities, businesses and consumers alike can meet, share information, personal tips, how-to’s and communicate on a personal level.

And if there isn’t a community for your niche, then congratulations on the ability to build barriers to entry, since anyone can start a community and invite members to join.

Communities can be configured in many ways. For starters, users can set them to be public for anyone to join, publicly seen and can join with moderator approval, or private – opening great possibilities for internal communication. If that isn’t enough, categories can be created for filtering topics outside of general discussion.

For example, a fitness community could have topics resembling “Chest Exercises”, “Leg Exercises”, “Nutrition and Health” and more, allowing for greater targeting and control.

Lastly, let’s take a quick look into the future. Google’s philosophy says that “It’s best to do one thing really, really well.” And they directly follow that statement with, “We do search.”

Google is dedicated to bringing search to unexplored areas, and Google Plus falls right in this category with authorship markup.

Currently, thousands of search terms in Google’s results are accompanied by a mugshot of the content’s author, only if their work is linked to their Google Plus profile with the rel=”author” tag – the beginning stages of a principle known as “AuthorRank”.

There is currently no proof that AuthorRank is active; however, the premise rests in providing authors with an individual ranking for the topics they write most about. Basically imagine having a personal tag cloud, combining keywords, links, titles and headings that indicate the subjects that determine where your authority rests.

In short, this could signify the demise of the anonymous content writer, building many subject matter experts in the process.

An estimated 625,000 users join Google Plus each day, opening a multitude of opportunities for people, brands and organizations that are willing to spend the time on building a successful, engaging channel or community. Add this to the possibilities of author markup and you can’t deny having a Google Plus strategy for yourself or business.

Matt Polsky specializes in producing creative, scalable and adaptive marketing strategies for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA Home Loans. In his spare time, Matt guest lectures on search marketing, social media and conversion optimization. Connect with Matt on Twitter @mattpolsky or on Google+.

I’m quite frequently angry with Comcast Xfinity. I pay a small fortune for my measly 30 mbps Internet speeds and I’m lucky if I get that for longer than a second.

The idea of ubiquitous wifi appeals to me. I think it should be regulated, to a degree, by those who maintain it. But being able to always be online, eliminating ridiculous fees I pay each month to both Verizon and Comcast? Well, let’s just say I support the idea of free public wifi as a right (right to pursue happiness perhaps?).

Much to my surprise, the FCC agrees. The FCC wants a free, public WiFi net, nationwide. If approved, it would take a few years to put together and launch, but their plan is extensive and far-reaching.

“We want our policy to be more end-user-centric and not carrier-centric. That’s where there is a difference in opinion” with carriers and their partners, said a senior FCC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposal is still being considered by the five-member panel.”

Of course, the carriers – everyone from Verizon and AT&T  to Qualcomm – have issues. This would put their current business models at risk.

But according to this Washington Post article, this planned WiFi net would make it possible for heart monitors to communicate with hospitals over a mile a way, and would make things easier for emergency response teams in times of crisis. That’s a large and strong network they’ve got in mind.

The new plan has the backing of both Microsoft and Google, who see ubiquitous wifi as a way for everything from more tablets to robots and self-driving cars to access the Internet. These two companies see the FCC’s plan as viable and a step forward, paving the way for things to come. Ubiquitous wifi, clearing away the monetary broadband gap between upper and lower classes, could bring an explosion of new innovation.

Like anything coming out the government, this has to go through countless committees for approval. With the lobbying power of companies like AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, and Intel, this could be stopped dead in its tracks. For now, at least, I’m a bit comforted that the FCC is on the same page as me.

I am admittedly immersed in the Apple ecosystem. Everytime I try to climb out (buying Win 8 products or a Chromebook), I still get sucked back in. One of the things I can’t stand about Apple’s current GUI on their OS and iOS is the use of skeumorphism.

In a nutshell, skeumorphism is taking something digital and making it look like paper. For instance, the Notes app is designed to look like a yellow legal pad written upon with a black marker. The iCal app has “leather-bound” edges. Apple’s Address Book looks like, well, an old-fashioned address book.

Image from apple.com

Wired.com points out today that Apple is on a hiring spree. With Steve Jobs gone and Scott Forstall ousted, we’re entering a new era of design under Jony Ives.

“The early days of the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad perhaps necessitated skeumorphic design to acclimate users to new apps and programs that accomplished tasks in new ways. But it’s no longer needed. The concept of the desktop and the graphical user interface isn’t foreign anymore. We’re grown comfortable with the swipes, double taps and myriad other gestures that can dismiss applications or open up shortcuts in the blink of an eye.”

Apple is hiring senior software engineers to help re-imagine the graphical user interface, someone to develop new APIs and frameworks (iOS) and even someone to help give Siri a personality.

Brilliant design doesn’t happen overnight but here’s hoping, infused with new ideas and creative energy, Apple can eventually move away from the skeumorphism that looks to the past and moves into the clean lines and gesture-based design of the future.