Author Archives: Michelle Lentz

Yahoo! and Flickr have announced that if you’re new to Flickr, you can now test drive a Pro account for free for 3 months. Normally, a Flickr Pro account is only $25, but hey, if you’re fed up with Instagram for varying reasons, maybe you’ll want to try Flickr.

If you’re an existing Pro user, you’re daisy fuentes pokies not out of luck either. Your subscription will be extended for 3 mos from your renew date – but you do have to go click and participate in the promotion.

Just log into your Flickr account and click the banner at the top of the page.

You can also participate just by logging into the Flickr mobile app.

This morning I asked Santa to call a close friend and my little brother. I assume Santa did. Just to be sure, I also asked Santa to email me.

For the last few years, Google and NORAD have happily tracked Santa on Christmas Eve. This year, Microsoft wooed NORAD over to Bing, but Google is still in the game. On Christmas Eve, they’ll have their own Santa Tracker, using Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google what-have-you. Until then, you can go to google.com/santatracker to entertain yourself and your kids.

SantaTracker is a bright and fun HTML5 site (with an accompanying app). You can Pokies play mini games and poke around, waiting for the “developer elves” to launch the map once Santa gets on his way. You can also call Santa and leave him a voice mail. Finally, you can have Santa call a friend or send them an email. Of course, being on top of social media, Santa also sends Google+ messages 24 hours a day.

The messages can end up being slightly hilarious. The way Google has arranged it, you feel a bit as if you’re playing Christmas mad libs. Give it a try and send yourself or a friend a surprise message from Santa.

 

If you don’t live here, you probably don’t realize a lot of the extremes that exist in the Silicon Valley. In my last year (my first year), in the Bay area, it has been nothing if not a culture shock for me.

Regular people working for tech firms, just trying to get by. Students, grabbed right out of college, pulled into startups or excellent jobs at Google, and making the “big bucks” because they don’t yet have “real” expenses.

The uber-rich of local Valley neighborhoods (I live at the intersection between two of those neighborhoods and routinely follow Ferraris onto the highway ramp) who exist right along with the rest of us.

Then I go to the Stanford Shopping Centre and I see, as I wait to turn left, the homeless and homeless vets who are routinely on the corner of El Camino and Sand Hill Road (Sand Hill, where there is more venture capital money than you can imagine), and I wonder who is helping those people. When I actually have cash, I’ll often give it to these guys. Maybe I’m just a sucker, but the image in Pokies my mind, of these homeless people surrounded by all this excess in the Valley – well, it bothers me.

Because of that, I like to hear when something good and charitable happens around here. That it’s not just about sportscars and high-end fashion.  On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (who is only 28 years old) announced he would donate nearly $500 million in company stock to a local charity called Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The SVCF is a charity that works with donors and other charities to allocate their money, offer grants, and help charities with programs like marketing and fundraising. Zuckerberg’s donation is earmarked for health and education issues.

In recent years, Zuckerberg pledged $100 million in stock to Newark public schools and joined with Bill Gates in the Giving Pledge, which asks the wealthiest amongst us to donate most of their wealth. (Really, how many Teslas do you need anyway?)

You can read Zuckerberg’s Facebook pledge here. And really, it gives me a little faith to know that despite the extremes of wealth and poverty in the Valley, some people really are using their money to help.

I’m sure you’ve seen it on Facebook. I’ve seen it at least 30 times in my feed this morning.

“Oh no! Instagram changed their terms of service and they can now sell my photos!”

First off, I’m actually impressed that people are reading their Terms of Service. (Hey, you guys know Facebook pretty much owns all your stuff anyway, right?)

Here’s the new line in the TOS:

You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.

Here’s the thing – Facebook is already doing this to you. I can’t tell you how many times I look over in my right column and see that one of my friends has Liked a page or Purchased something, and it even shows their photo. The first time it happened it was jarring – did my friend give that company the right to use their profile photo? Well no. But we did give that right to Facebook to use in their sponsored posts.

That folks, is what Instagram can do. You’re not going to be seeing your cool photo on the side of a bus or denigrated at a bus stop beside a weeks-old movie poster. Instagram can’t change your photo, modify your photos, or drop their logo on it. In fact, as the Verge puts it:

Well, an advertiser can pay Instagram to display your photos in a way that doesn’t create anything new — so Budweiser can put up a box in the timeline that says “our favorite Instagram photos of this bar!” and put user photos in there.

Again, Facebook has already been doing this to you for months. Yet, we tend to eventually accept all that Facebook does to us because our worlds are often on Facebook.

Thanks to The Verge for clearing that up. Guess their news feed was overrun as well.

UPDATE: Instagram says “Thank you and we’re listening.” They’ll be re-wording their policy soon, so that the legalese is less confusing.

 

Sometimes we all need to lighten up a bit. Seriously. I was having one of those mornings when an email about a new Kickstarter campaign landed in my inbox.

Now, there’s been a weird amount of publicity about the Silicon Valley sock thing. Powerful men or regular guys who aren’t overly fashion forward, or who prefer t-shirts and jeans, wearing fun, printed socks. I know. Why write an article about this? It’s fashion and tech. Stay with me.

Socrates is a Kickstarter campaign that takes this sock trend one step further. Kevlar socks, people.

Yep, carbon threaded socks with kevlar (the bullet-proof stuff) carbon matrix threaded through the toes. What does that mean? It means you guys won’t get holes in your socks as often, if ever. Military grade socks that come in fun colors and stripes. Why not?