Amazon Cloud Drive Showers you with Free Storage for Your Music, Documents, Photos and Videos #clouddrive #cloudplayer

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Amazon has just launched “Amazon Cloud Player” (www.amazon.com/cloudplayer) which allows you to upload, store and play your favorite music tunes right from the new Amazon Cloud Drive service (www.amazon.com/clouddrive). Now, you can access and play your music right from the Amazon Cloud Player (web app) or on your Android phone (get free Android app here – requires Android version 1.6 or higher).

In a nutshell, Amazon has just deployed a FREE*, simple-to-use cloud storage solution for not only your music collection, but also your documents, photos and videos. The entry level Amazon Cloud Drive account gets you 5 GB of free* storage. Later in this post, I will tell you how you can get 20GB of free* storage.

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Personally, I love that I can now access my data, photos, videos and music all from the cloud via multiple devices that are located throughout our house, under the couch, our cars, our offices.; oh, and each is running different operating systems. Cloud Drive Here’s a screenshot below of my brand new Amazon Cloud Drive. Notice that there are pre-configured folders already there for you to start uploading and storing your Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos.  How cool is that? So this Cloud Drive is NOT just for music. You get Amazon’s free* Cloud Drive storage space for multiple kinds of content. For years, I’ve been using Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service S3) cloud storage for my own personal, offsite backup storage and love it. I use Jungle Disk desktop software to manage it all, which looks a lot like this new web app below. So this new Cloud Drive offering is a fantastic solution, very impressive and highly useful as it’s accessible via the web.

Cloud Player for Live Music Streaming on your Android device or Computer’s Web Browser So now that you know about the new Cloud Drive storage service, let’s look at the Cloud Player which is accessible via web browser: http://www.amazon.com/cloudplayer or via your Android device (smartphone or tablet). Now, you can easily access your Cloud Drive music from multiple devices at the same time (except I’m hearing that it does not work on the Safari browser, per MG Siegler’s TechCrunch post).

amazon cloud 20GB

Via web browser on my Dell Laptop

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The Android ecosystem just got a lot bigger. Amazon just put a huge stake down in the ground and established itself as the first personal cloud storage service that provides you with 24/7 live streaming of your stored music from the web or your Android phone. Oh, and it’s free*. And it’s not stuck in a proprietary desktop application.

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Cables vs. Cloud We all know the drill: you get super excited about some cool new music you just heard *live* at SXSW, you quickly Google the band/song info, then go download the new music onto your computer’s music player; wait… where’s that stupid sync cable?! …ok, you finally found the cable under the couch just before your cat chewed off the plug (phew!). Then you then run back to your computer to attempt a ‘sync’ of the music to your smartphone and also go copy that 1 song across all your other computers and mobile devices all so you can be sure to find it later when you want to hear it (yea right) … what a mess.

This conundrum of managing music across multiple devices has been vexing the mobile generation for some time now. There are a number of rumors circulating on the ‘net about supposed, futuristic music storage services, music “lockers”, MobileX personal cloud/sync services, etc. that all promise this type of seamless and easy-to-use cloud storage solution, but none have yet come to life. That’s why last  year I finally gave up on buying, storing, organizing, syncing, copying and managing my own music (not to mention the DRM issues on multiple devices!).  To simplify things and save my sanity, I just went with Pandora for live streaming of music on demand, which I love –don’t get me wrong– however, this really wasn’t an ideal solution since I don’t have *my* own music collection on Pandora. So, my music collection was pretty much forgotten and only collecting dust.

So Amazon’s new Cloud Drive and matching Cloud Player solution, which integrates nicely with the accompanying Android app, now allows you to put your music in the cloud (yay!) and play it whenever and wherever you want; whether that be on your work laptop, your personal laptop, your Android tablet on the coffee table, or your new brand new Android smartphone… you get the idea.  Finally, no more stupid sync’ing and endless copying of files and trying to manage all those cumbersome music collections, chewed-up cables and lost devices!  Now, you can just upload music right to Amazon Cloud Player (or buy MP3s on Amazon for even faster access) and that’s it… just start enjoying the freedom of YOUR music, on demand from the cloud, wherever you want… nice!  Of course, this cloud service probably won’t work in Antarctica as you’ll need to have internet access to access the cloud. Sorry polar bears, no cloud drive or cloud player for you! Go get your piece of the Cloud So, now it’s your turn. Go get your piece of the cloud! Amazon’s Cloud Drive makes this whole process dead simple and super easy to use. I think this will convert a lot of folks to the “cloud” once and for all.

When you first get started on Amazon’s new Cloud Drive service, you can immediately access the 5 GB of free* storage. However, if you’ve got mounds of music to upload, like I do, then go for the promotional deal and get the 20GB account for free* when you purchase an album on Amazon’s MP3 store site* (there’s a bunch of $5 albums they have for you to choose from). Of course, there’s always more storage and pricing options* you can choose instead to store even more stuff in the cloud; you know, for all of your music that’s currently stuck on your computer’s hard drive, that pen drive rolling around under your car seat for two years, your old cracked MP3 player and your bright, shiny new smartphone.

Remember, this isn’t JUST for music. You can also upload photos, videos and documents. I think some well known music and photo sharing sites will be noticing Amazon’s bold moves today. Personally, I applaud Amazon’s swift, bold move and thank them for being the first to market with this highly useful, cloud-based solution.

Here’s a video from Amazon introducing their new Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services. See Amazon’s full press release.

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Thanks Amazon for liberating music from the shackles of proprietary desktop music software!

So what do you think of this new service from Amazon? Will this get more people interested in the cloud for personal data storage and retrieval? I think this just might do it. Not to mention, the impact this announcement will have on the Android mobile ecosystem, which just got a lot bigger! *See Amazon’s web site for the full details and legal disclaimers regarding their new cloud offerings, mentioned above.

Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park

unnamed twxiqvmk8q Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park Korean designer jinsu park designed a con­cept pen that adopts the eye­drop­per tool of pho­to­shop for real life. The color picker pen enables col­ors in the envi­ron­ment to be scanned and instantly used for draw­ing. The sen­sor detects the color and matches it to the color dis­play, then the RGB car­tridge located within the pen mixes the inks together to cre­ate the color that has been scanned. unnamed 6w07qh2dyr Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park unnamed 28urf4ur0s Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park unnamed dcjgqx9d35 Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park unnamed jw50ayxrkd Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park

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#SXSW 2011 - my attempt to avoid zombies, stay awake and BLOG!

SXSW Chaos Management Central SXSW is a one crazy puppy of a conference. This is my irrational attempt to bring order to the insidious onslaught of chaos coming my way. Well any way… here’s my calendar of possible events I’ll be attempting run around and attend.

I will be doing a blog post soon with some tips on how I am planning to keep my sanity, avoid crazed zombies, find and attend the most awesome and *relevant* events/panels/parties; also, do some good ol’ fashioned networking to solidify connections with all kinds of “smarties”. Throughout this marathon conference, I will do my best to blog with photos/video content in real-time so I can share all this SXSW goodness with you guys.

#RIT48 Web Business Startup Competition - Final Pitches & Judging @RIT48 [Ustream VIDEO] #RIT University #ROC

The first ever RIT48 competition kicked off this weekend at RIT University where students from various majors came together and were challenged to do the following:  form a team, plan, design, develop and launch a new web startup in less than 48 hours!  There were 10 teams competing for cash prizes, awards and recognition for their efforts. I was honored to be selected as a Judge and Mentor throughout the weekend of March 19-20, 2010 for the first ever RIT48 event.  The teams all did a fantastic job of preparing Business Plans and Demoing their websites.  This was quite a treat for  me as I love to mentor and provide assistance to young startups.

"RIT48 aims to bring together RIT students from various disciplines to pitch, plan, develop and launch a startup in one weekend — or, as the name suggests, 48 hours."   - RIT48

I will be uploading more event pictures later, but in the meanwhile I thought I'd provide a link to the Ustream live feed Video that was taped during our final judging of the RIT48 competition.

See next page for video...

At the Judges' table (seated left to right):  Aaron Newman, Liz Lawley, Susan Beebe, Lee Drake and Jon Schull.

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Twitter's new RT Feature: What it means for News Industry and Influencers

As I am sure you've all seen the fairly new "retweet" (RT) feature released by Twitter, it has not been fully understood to date.  Influence on twitter was previously quite easy to track, but now with the new RT feature, it's becoming less clear who's influencing who.  For example, prior to the new RT feature a user would "RT" a tweet by simply copy/pasting the content like so: "RT @username: original content" (sometimes a comment was added too).  Then, the RT would be published out to the RTer's followers.  Some of those followers would then RT the RT, thus establishing a clear line of influence, stemming from the originating tweet and RTs (to a point, of course).

What the old RT model showed was a path of influence on twitter (and how information travels - interesting stuff for sure!).  Now comes the new RT feature and this "influence" model is completely disrupted.  No longer can we track who's RT'ing what.  It's been completely flattened out. So, folks who RT can no longer see who is RTing a post after them.  So we lose the whole influencer in the middle (middle man influencers).  Now it's all flat - just the original post and a lateral line to the RTs.  Whereas, previously we had the original post and a plethora of tangential RTs, with some fairly obvious track-backs, so to speak.

Why would twitter do this?  Two good reasons are potentially driving this decision.  First, data management and data storage optimization.  Second, establishment of twitter as an authentic news source (more on this in a bit).

Data management is a tricky proposition when a web startup takes off and begins to manage millions of records in their database(s).  The new RT feature is a smarter implementation at the database level.  Now with the new RT feature, the database could store just 1 original tweet plus a bunch of variable flags turned on/off (1 or 0) for the RT usernames versus the old RT model of originating tweet plus copies (e.g. 72 copies of that same tweet +/- variations thereof).  Thus, this is a very smart approach to shrinking the data footprint of RT content.

The whole "News industry" is currently undergoing a rapid change much akin to the industrial revolution.  Companies and jobs are folding every day as the old model of journalism is eclipsed by the new real-time web and emergent citizen-journalism model.  Twitter is a major component of this new version of "news."  Thus, it is in twitter's best interest to develop a trusted system for delivery of real-time news that is timely, reliable, authentic and trackable.  Since, the new RT feature preserves the originating author's name and content, this perfectly fits with the news model.  Now we can see who tweeted what without alteration.  That is a huge move towards authenticity on the web - a must for reliable and trusted news content.  Twitter is positioning itself to be the most trusted news source on the web and this new RT feature goes a long way to provide just that.

Originators of news on the web will feel this impact in a number of ways.  Specifically, if they are RT'ed, then their tweets will show "Retweeted by x and x others " (shows amount of RTs by users - think "reach" on the web).  For what I call the "middle man" influencers - the RTers out there - they will feel a negative impact as they no longer are associated with the originating content (and downstream RTs) as in times past.  Now, when a user sees a RT it just shows a pile of #s, so the middle man no longer benefits, i.e. their name is not associated with the originating post as it used to be (middle man influencers will see a drop in engagement levels based on RTs).

Overall, I think this is a fabulous move by twitter and applaude them for making the switch.  It's smart and disruptive.  I like it.  It shows twitter has smart folks at the helm who understand the web and the future of it very well.

For me, I will definitely  use the new RT feature anytime I want to preserve the original tweet author/content.  If I need to add something (and there's char space!) then I will add my 2 cents and RT that.  What's your take? Do you like or dislike the new RT feature?  Think of other reasons why twitter would implement this new RT feature and let me know what you see.  I'd love to hear all your feedback and ideas on this!

40 must-have Google Chrome Browser Power Extensions

Earlier today, I was inspired by Tris Hussey to provide a comprehensive list of Google Chrome "power extensions."  So, here is my exhaustive list of forty "must have" Extensions for the Google Chrome browser.  But first, to get started you'll need to download the Dev version of Chrome (it works great on my new Windows 7 PC laptop).  Mac users can get the mac Dev version here.   Google Chrome is by far the best performing browser ever released to the web.  It will liberate you from the frustration so common with other browsers.

There are hundreds of Google's extensions, so if you're looking for something not on my list, then go here and search for it!  Please do let me know if have any feedback to share.  Feel free to recommend different extensions, or perhaps you know of a better version, than I have listed here:

AdBlock Aviary Screen Capture Better Gmail

Facebook for Google Chrome

Feedly

FriendFeed OpenID AutoFill

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) FlashBlock Fittr Flickr Google Apps Shortcuts

Google Tasks

Google Voice Notifier (by Google)

Ok, phew you installed all these great extensions!  Ok, now go tweak the "Options" for each extension here --> chrome://extensions/ You can also disable or uninstall extensions.  (I had to disable the "Cool Iris" one as it was crashing too much).

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CHART OF THE DAY: Microsofts Decade Of Dominance MSFT, IBM, CSCO, AAPL, GOOG /by @AlleyInsider

Microsoft will close the decade the same as it started, as the worlds biggest tech company, as measured by market capitalization.Will Microsoft still be on top come December 2019? It doesnt look likely. Its a whole different world for Redmond. At the start of the decade, Microsoft seemed invincible. Now, its just trying to catch up as Google and Apple blow past it with search and mobile. Top5TechCompanies-decadecomparison

via CHART OF THE DAY: Microsofts Decade Of Dominance MSFT, IBM, CSCO, AAPL, GOOG.

The Ultimate Gift for the iPhone Developer in Your Life: Notepods /via @rww #moleskine

We've discovered an adorable yet highly useful little product that could significantly ease some pain and lead to greater levels of productivity for smartphone developers.

It's ridiculously simple as a concept, yet it allows for more creativity, freedom, and portability than any other tool we've seen for mobile developers, hands down. The product of a design shop and a web development lab, both based in Australia, these nifty and inexpensive toys have been popping up in offices all over Silicon Valley. Read on to learn the secret behind your favorite mobile dev's favorite Christmas present.

It's made of paper.

Yes, the Notepod is the Moleskine of the digerati, an ingenious little sketchpad shaped like an iPhone. The front of each sheet features "52mm by 77mm of blank space floating in darkness," and the back of each piece is a blank grid of graph paper, perfect, as the site says, "perfect for notes or jotting down the phone number of a hot geek."

Notepods each contain 100 pages, and you can snag a 3-pack for around $18USD. Shipping will take between 7 and 12 business days, unless you're lucky enough to live in Australia or New Zealand.

As we all know, the best ideas often hit you at inappropriate or inconvenient times. As Inventive Labs posted, "It's incredibly fun to come up with an idea in the pub over a few beers;" however, how fun is it to decipher those indecipherable, scrawled-on and soggy cocktail napkins the next morning? Keep one in your bag, one on the nightstand - wherever inspiration strikes. It might be made of paper, but we think smartphone developers will find it a fun and simple productivity tool.

via @rww The Ultimate Gift for the iPhone Developer in Your Life: Notepods.

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Bullet Time Scene From The Matrix - Lego style! [VIDEO]

Bullet Time Scene From The MatrixRecreated as Lego Stop-Motion Animation

Produced in honor 10th anniversary of The Maxtrix, LegoMatrix is a frame-accurate, stop-motion animated recreation of the famous bullet time scene using legos. The video features 900 frames from the film and took 440 hours to create.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison between the film and lego recreation.

via i09 and laughingsquid