A Video-less Music Video

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Radiohead is awfully good at doing things differently.

In just the latest of Radiohead’s groundbreaking-itude, they’ve partnered with Google to shoot a music video without traditional cameras. Instead, they used data to create the atmosphere you see in the video. There are no real video shots, just 1′s and 0′s.

I’m sure it’s not that simple, but it’s close. This is a cool idea from Radiohead, changing the way music videos are done. It’s a very out-there thing, the video’s pretty trippy.

Radiohead seems to be committed to the model of changing the model of music. Whether it’s paying what you want for their album, or now this, Radiohead wants to shake the music world upside down, and is putting themselves in solid position to do so.

Plus, it’s a cool video. Check it out.

Update: Google has made the data visualization for the video available online. It’s trippy, cool stuff. Check it out here.

One-Minute Marketing

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If you had one minute to describe yourself or your product, how would you do it?

The idea behind this is an “elevator pitch.” If you get on an elevator with somebody, let’s say you have 60 seconds together. Even that is being pretty generous, if you ask me, but 60′s fine. You have to sell yourself, your product, or what have you, in 60 seconds. Go!

I like this thought, because it makes you think: get rid of all the filler, all the needless content, get down to the real meat of someone needs to know, and why they need to know it. What makes me laugh, though, is that most of the pitches I’ve seen and heard are far better than the 10 minute long version.

People are, by nature, long-winded. Everyone, myself included, loves to talk. It makes us feel relevant, important, and superior to know that people are listening to what we have to say. Only trouble is, though, most people really aren’t listening.

Whether you’re selling yourself or your product, most people make their decision about what you’re saying very quickly. Make that short attention span work in your favor by perfecting one of these pitches.

TechCrunch started a site for these, located here. As some of these prove, you can sell a product in two sentences, if you pick them carefully. A very worthwhile skill.

Here are two of my favorites, ones that actually made me use the product, and (GASP) spend money on them!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKjm9O4mcM8&hl=en&fs=1]

A Couple New Ones

Listen

For those of you who don’t know this about me, and haven’t surmised it from the inordinate number of posts devoted to them, I like C0ldplay.

If you do too, there’s good news- they’re releasing another song! In honor of the beginning of their tour, they’re releasing a song called “Death Will Never Conquer.” It’s a B-Side, but a darn good one. It’s short, too, with a bit of a rolling, down-home, guy sitting on the porch feeling to it.


Go to their website, here, and download it (thanks to the Music Slut for the heads up).

Also, Goo Goo Dolls are on the verge of releasing a new album, which is coming out this fall. There’s a download of their first single, “Real,” here. It’s a good song- nothing groundbreaking, but what Goo Goo Dolls does, they do very well.

You can download the song here (thanks to Vicki at MusicIsTheHeartofOurSoul for the link.)

Enjoy!

It's All About the Benjamins

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I don’t know about any of you all, but I like saving money.

Now, for those of you who just went, “psh. I hate saving money. I’m going to go dance in a shower of $100 bills,” email me, I’ll give you my bank account number. We’ll make it work for everyone.

Sorry, I digress. I’m a student, making negative dollars every week, so I need to find lots of little ways to spend less money. Most people, except the aforementioned ones who are already gone showering in their money anyway, are looking for similar things: simple ways to save a bit of money.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m terrible at doing things to save money. What I mean is, if it requires more action to save a little money, I often won’t do it. This puts me in a bit of an awkward situation, wanting to spend less money without changing anything whatsoever.

Beautifully enough, though, there are ways to do just that, and I’ve compiled a few of them for you. As a disclaimer, these don’t come from me, and are simply the result of wading through hundreds of articles to narrow it down to the best few. Here you go:

Save Money with Minimal Effort

When You’re Out

1. Do Expensive Things Quickly
The longer you spend in a place like a drugstore, or a grocery store, or for me an electronics store, the more you’re going to buy. Go in, do what you went for, and get out. You’ll have more time, and not buy random trinkets because they were looking longingly at you.

2. Shop With a List
Most people do this anyway, but having a list of things you want, and more importantly, sticking to that list, is important. Literally think of EVERYTHING you will buy, and buy only that. Not “cookies.” “1 Bag Double Stuf Oreos.” Mmm. Oreos.

3. Buy More at the Grocery Store, Less Frequently
A Marketing Science Institute study showed that those people who make a “quick trip” to the supermaket buy 54% more than they meant to. Go once a week, and buy a lot, and you could save as much as $80/month, or $960/year.

4. Buy in Bulk (Smartly)
The unit price on things is important, and it’s worth looking at. If you can, as Kiplinger uses, buy 40 diapers at 33 cents per or 144 diapers at 24 cents per, the choice is easy. Make sure you’ll use it all, but don’t be afraid to buy into the future.

5. Buy Generic Groceries
With some major exceptions (cereal), generic-brand food is exactly the same as other brands, but the picture’s not as appealing. You can save a TON of money buying store-brands of certain things, up to multiple dollars per item. It truly is the same, unless it’s cereal. Then it’s worth it.

6. Bag Your Lunch
From Kiplinger- “Bring your lunch and snacks to work. Considering that the average meal at McDonald’s costs $5 and Dunkin’ Donuts charges $2 for a large cup of coffee, the brown-bag windfall can be substantial.”

7. Eat Out For Lunch, Not Dinner
Most places, particularly nicer, more-expensive restaurants, have lunch menus. The food tends to be the same, it’s just a lot less expensive. You can go to lunch, have a great meal, and without losing any quality of food, keep that wallet fat.

When You’re Home

8. Unplug
Even when electronic devices are turned off, they still use a pretty good deal of power. The easiest thing to do is simply unplug them. Put everything in a power strip, and unplug the strip at night. It saves more than you might think: Studies showed that 40% of power used for electronics is used while they’re “off.”

9. Wash cold.
This one blew me away: Cold water in the washing machine uses 50% less energy than warm water. That’s crazy.

10. Dump your landline.
Who uses a home phone anymore? It’s more of a hassle, it seems, than anything else. Even if you need to get more cell minutes, do it- it’ll pay for itself, and then some. Landlines be gone!

When You’re Having fun

11. Buy tickets at the last second
whether it’s Broadway, sports, or a concert, cheap tickets are easy to come by right before the show. A friend of mine bought a Dave Matthews Band, $65 for the show, for $15, because the show was starting, and the guy was going to be stuck. You run a risk here of just not getting in, but you’ll save a TON.

12. Go to Matinees
Other that the weirdness of walking out of a movie theater in broad daylight, matinee movies are awesome. They’re normally almost half the price, and usually not crowded. Definitely worth it- $6 for a movie is much easier to stomach than $11.

13. Netflix
Leaving the house is SO overrated. Use Netflix, and for the price of renting one movie, you can watch to your heart’s content, and have your mailman be your movie-delivery man. You’ll watch more movies, from a bigger selection, for less.

Always

14. Drink More Water
Water is cheap, healthy, and pretty much always available. Ditch the soda, or coffee, for water. You’ll save money, feel better, and generally be awesome-er.

15. Change the Oil on Your Car Less
This is a good one, because it actually requires LESS effort than the other way. Yahoo ran an article a little while ago that said most auto manufacturers recommend oil changes at 5,000 miles, or some even more. This really only applies on newer cars, but the point is a good one- 3,000 miles is an arbitrary, mostly meaningless number that does nothing but sap money from you.

16. Keep Your Car Maintained
Keep your car’s engine tuned and tires inflated to the proper air pressure. Those minor improvements can save you up to $100 on gas each year.

17. Don’t Idle.
Despite the common belief, idling is horrendous for gas mileage- you get 0 miles to the gallon. If you’re sitting for more than a red light, turn the car off. You’ll get a lot more out of your gas.

The Triumph of the Human…BB Gun?

Lighter Side

This weekend, I think we should all try and go do something adventurous. Something you’ve never done, or maybe tried and failed before.

This
, though, may not be the best idea of choices. It worked for Kent Couch, but I’m not sure you should try and replicate it.

Kent Couch flew in a lawn chair, with filled balloons, 200+ miles into a field in Idaho. He used a BB gun to bring himself down, and apparently everything went well. Though I do wonder- you shoot a BB, break a balloon, you’re bound to fall sorta fast…


Here’s my favorite line of the article about it- “When ever Kent couch went up over 30,000 feet he would shoot a balloon and come down to a more breathable level.” I mean, I do that when I get up that high too. It’s not a big deal.

The article about the whole thing is pretty great. It’s here, and definitely not the brightest thing in the world. But hey, it worked for him. Have a great weekend!

It's Math, and Funny? Woah.

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One of the things I dislike about the Internet is that it’s really easy to find 800 million of exactly the same thing. Though I’m as guilty of this as anyone, it’s incredibly to get by without an original thought, just by regurgitating information already out there.

That’s why, to me, it’s so refreshing when there’s something or someone that does it differently. Jessica Hagy, over at the “indexed” blog, is one of those people.

Jessica has a blog based around graphs. Before your brain explodes prematurely, it’s not those kinds of graphs. She takes several different topics, and relates them on a graph. For instance:


The things she writes are poignant, sometimes controversial, and always funny. She writes them early in the morning, and it’s such a great way to think about life.She says that ” I use it to think a little more relationally without resorting to doing actual math.” She sees things, clearly, like a mathematician, but it helps her break things down.

I think it’s worth taking note when someone out there among all the monotony looks at things in a unique way, and wants to share them with the world.

Plus, it’s a funny way to start my workdays.

“indexed” is here. Enjoy!

P.S. This one, from last week, is one of my favorites. Truer words have never been spoken (or, in this case, scribbled on an index card and scanned.)

So Many Blogs, So Little Time

Explore

I just recently got the chance to participate in the private beta of a new application called Regator. Though I can’t offer any invites (go to www.regator.com, try ajaxian as the invite code- worked for some), I’ll tell you a bit about it, and what’s up ahead.

Regator is a feed reader in the same sense as some of the other things I’ve mentioned- most notably Google Reader- but it does things differently enough that it’s going to do awfully well.

Instead of focusing on sites like CNN.com, or whatever, it’s almost entirely blog-driven. Regator’s goal is to bring together all the blogs out there, millions upon millions, and deliver the best of them to you. It’s no small task, and Regator does it admirably.

When you sign up, the first thing to do is go to the channels listing, and pick some things that interest you. You can manually add blogs you like to your feed, but Regator’s real appeal is in discovering new content.

Say you choose “Gadgets” as a channel of interest. First of all, we should be friends. Second of all, Regator will show you posts and blogs that you, as a gadget fan and my new best friend, might be interested in. You can vote for posts good and bad (a way to hopefully eliminate bad stuff), save posts, and consider blogs your favorites.

You can browse through blogs that you’ve saved, blogs similar to the ones you’ve saved, and any thing you can imagine.

My favorite feature of Regator is their “What’s Hot” list. It is a list of things the blogosphere is talking about, and all the different tags showing up frequently on the Internet. At the top of the list right now: iPhone (shocker), Barack Obama (wonder why… Jesse Jackson is number 5) and Yahoo (actually weird.)

The sheer amount of information can be a bit overwhelming, particularly at first, but it is a great repository for all the blogs, mostly good and few bad, out there.

There are a couple of things I’m not a fan of, too. The in-line bits are just summary of the posts, and there’s no way I’ve found to get the whole article without opening a new window or tab, or leaving the Regator site. I also don’t like the fact that the votes of other people play such a huge role in determining what I see. TechCrunch pointed out that that feature leads to a Digg-clone, which I don’t need. Other than those two, though, I like the app a lot- it has some serious promise.

Here are a couple of screenshots, from my own browser:



If I get any invites, I’ll let you guys know. Otherwise, I’ll keep you posted about updates and releases! Get excited.

A New Game Every Day

Play

One of the sites I visit absolutely every day is Giveawayoftheday (here), a site that is exactly what it sounds like: A news blog.

I’m kidding. It’s a site where they give away normally for-fee applications, for free, for a 24-hour period. I’m not sure how they pull it off, but they do, and it works really well.

I’ve found some great software there, but only recently discovered the best part: the Game Giveaway of the Day site.

Every day, there’s a different game available to you, for free. It’s only available from 3am EST to 3am EST (12 to 12 Pacific, which makes more sense). You don’t get upgrades, but you get the game, no strings attached, absolutely free.

Today’s game, for instance, is “Kingmania: Play a quick action strategy game, different from any you have seen before! Kingmania is a fast and simple, yet challenging, game that will test your ability to make quick tactical decisions. You control different buildings, using their power and the power of hordes of your lieges to defeat your opponents. And if you like online challenges, you can play with your friends in multiplayer mode!” It’s normally $20, but is free today.

The games range from first-person shooters to world conquering quests to word games- a little bit of everything. I’ve downloaded a few, kept a couple. It’s some good stuff, and at least keeps you busy for a few minutes looking.

Also, there are rumors of their greatest hit games coming back, tomorrow, for free again. Go check that out, it should have some great games.

The site is here. Enjoy!

An AIDS Cure?

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For as long as I can remember, genetic manipulation has been a hugely controversial topic. There’s one application, though, that I find awfully hard to argue against.

Wired Magazine is reporting that there has been found a gene that people have that makes them nearly immune to contracting the AIDS virus. Not only that, scientists believe they’ve found a way to replicate it, and keep you from producing the right kind of protein that allows the HIV virus to take hold in the human body.


This, though obviously still very new and indefinite, has enormous promise, and could do absolutely incredible things. Though gene splicing, for many, has been an issue, I don’t see how you can argue about this. Things like this get me really excited, because it shows that even if nothing definitive has been done yet, there are major steps being taken in the right direction.

Read the whole article here. You can also read Bryn Mawr research, discussing CCR5 protein and its issues, here.