A True “Pick Me Up”

If you know me, or any of the 6 lovely ladies I live with in “The Cottage,” we love our coffee. The seven of us probably consume 3 pots a day. No shame, gotta get by somehow. 

So, would you buy a “social” coffee mug? One that displayed a sweet picture or an inspirational quote each time you filled it with hot liquid? I know I would.

Well, this is no longer a dream, you can make this a reality

Introducing the Muki, a social coffee mug created by Paulig, a small Finnish coffee roaster, and TBWA\Helsinki, the Finnish arm of the international advertising agency.

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Source: http://mashable.com/2014/04/24/social-coffee-cup/

This mug adds an additional perk to your morning java, by giving you a sweet surprise with every cup. Each time it’s filled with hot liquid, an e-Ink image appears that can, from there, be uploaded to social media sites. Users control the mug through an app, and can choose whether they want their mug to show them inspirational quotes or fun pictures.

Of course, the Muki, being a new form of technology, has to go through beta testing before hitting stores. The cool thing is, though, you can be a part of the testing by applying at Pauling’s website. So far, about 2,500 people have applied to be a part of the tests.

If all goes well, this mug could hit shelves in Finland in 2015. I think this calls for a European trip next year.

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streeteasy.com Saves the Day!

Hello world, it’s me, Katherine, and I have officially begun my last week of college classes. Cue panic attack lol (but seriously where does the time go? FREAKING OUT). I am a basket case of emotions right now – scared, sad, sentimental and excited – but I really am grateful for technology, once again, for allowing me to finish out my senior year at UNC and for helping me get excited about my big move to NYC in July.

Yes, I have already thanked email for connecting me to my future employers, but today I’d like to thank the site streeteasy.com for allowing me to house hunt in NYC without leaving the comfort of my home (and pajamas) in North Carolina.

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I was alerted to the site by a colleague of mine (I am old enough/mature enough to have colleagues?!) who used the site to help him find an apartment rental when he moved to NYC last July. 

The site is unique in that in hones in on housing in New York. That is, as opposed to sites like Zillow.com or realtor.com, it is specific to the neighborhoods and boroughs of New York. This has been extremely helpful to me and my future roommate (hey Kelley!) as we try to search for housing in particular areas of NYC that will be close to our work. 

The site is really awesome, too, in that it knows New York housing and will allow you to search for apartments that don’t require you to pay a broker fee, as this is common in the NYC house hunting voyage (AKA I am going to be even more broke than I already am).

This site has made me all the more thrilled about my move to New York, though. It is exciting to know that I won’t be homeless, and although my rent payments will force me to have a lifestyle equivalent to a person without money, I am excited and grateful to know that I will have a place to call my own and to relax after work. 

So, if you are moving to NYC, I highly suggest giving streeteasy.com a whirl – you won’t regret it!

Overall, technology has connected me more than I could even imagine to my future home and it has made me excited to take on this new journey. I am looking forward to July and can’t wait to be a city gal!

Email, I Love You.

People can hate on email all they want, but I would just like to proudly proclaim how grateful I am for email. Sure, it hasn’t really seen much change since its birth and since the days of dial-up AOL accounts, but it still serves the same wonderful purpose it set out to – to allow instant communication.

Why am I announcing my love for email today? Well, I just had an overwhelming desire to thank the electronic mail for all it’s done for me as of late.

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Since accepting my full-time, post-graduate job with Comcast/NBCUniversal in August 2013, email has been my primary source of communication with my soon-to-be manager. It has allowed me to learn of my start date, my job description/responsibilities, my official location assignment and so much more. It has allowed me to get to know my manager better, before I start working with him in July. It has allowed me to get in touch with the man who is currently working in the position that I will be entering into. And, it has allowed me to do all this in a relatively short time frame.

I can quickly send detailed messages, much more detailed than I could via text message, to these individuals. I am able to be more verbose in my messages than I would be via text message.

Additionally, it is more convenient than say, talking on the phone, because each party on the end of the communication is able to reply to emails whenever they have the time. Rather than playing phone tag, we simply email when we can and wait patiently for replies.

Another convenience factor? Unlike a phone call, email keeps record of the messages sent, and easily allows you to search and sort through your messages to find the ones you are looking for. It is a permanent log of your conversations, which is so useful, specifically for business purposes.

In my opinion, email is not outdated and is still relevant. Sure, maybe someone will come along and make it a bit “cooler” or “sexier,” but I don’t think email will ever lose its purpose. We need email. We need to be able to communicate on the fly, and to have record of it. And while text messaging allows for quick communication, it doesn’t quite allow you to be as wordy as email, and it lacks the same professionalism that email has. It also is much harder to go back and wade through old texts as opposed to searching your inbox for old email messages.

So, email, thanks for allowing me to feel more settled and excited about moving to NYC in July where I’ll be working in the Financial Reporting Department at NBCUniversal. And thank you for your years of hard work, I feel we’ve only grown closer with time.

Think Before You Tweet Part Deux

People, people – have we already forgotten what I said about the Internet being forever?! I am afraid so, based on one 14-year-old Dutch girl’s tweets to American Airlines over the weekend.

Sarah A.K.A. @QueenDemetriax_ posted a fake terrorist threat against American Airlines on her Twitter account, tweeting the following at the airline:

@AmericanAir hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye

The airline promptly responded with the following:

@QueenDemetriax_ Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.

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Sarah then begins to freak out, while simultaneously being jubilant about her increase in Twitter followers (typical 14-year-old girl reaction I’d say). She even tweeted “Okay today was the highlight of my twitter days.” I mean, are you kidding me?!

Well, SHOCKER ALERT, turns out it is actually not smart to tweet fake terrorist threats! Who woulda thunk it? Sarah has since been arrested and her Twitter account has been suspended. But, luckily Storify has screenshots of all her tweets here.

I really don’t know what to say about this, but I’ll repeat myself once more. The Internet is forever. For.Ever. Even though Sarah deleted her tweets and even though her account is no longer in use, Storify captured her tweets and they will forever be available for people to search and for people to remember Sarah’s lack of judgment.

And, it’s a reminder that if the Internet finds something to be a big deal, the world is going to have to react. Even if her threat was fake, because there was so much attention surrounding it, it would’ve been a crime not to arrest her, for if such a threat had been dismissed as fake and had become real, there would’ve been a great deal of blame passed around.

So, like I said in talking about Stephen Colbert, think before you tweet. Think before you post anything on social media or online. While most of us would know not to make such a distasteful joke like Sarah, I am sure there are times when we have tweeted or posted questionable or risque things. Don’t do it. People can screenshot that in seconds and it can haunt you for eternity. So think before you post, and really, just don’t be dumb.

Style by Emoji

I feel a bit childish owning up to this, but I love emojis. Adding them to my texting conversation instantly makes the conversation’s mood lighter and more fun.

If you love emojis like I do, then you’ve secretly tried to look like them – whether it be closing one eye and sticking your tongue out (we’ve all done it) or attempting to make heart eyes (I’ve tried). Well, thanks to Vogue, you can now dress like your favorite emojis. Vogue, forever first in the fashion industry.

By following this link, you can see how to dress to impress with emoji style. 

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Whether it’s going on a run, catching some rays, heading to work or heading out for a night on the town, Vogue has your emoji-inspired style. To think that this seemingly simple form of media has infiltrated our lives so much so that we aspire to dress like emojis blows me away. Technology has come so far.

I don’t even think (I could be wrong) that emojis were even much of a “thing” about 5 years ago, and now we are looking to them as style icons. Amazing.

Google Glass: It Does the Dating for You

Yesterday in class, Professor Robinson showed us a video and I have not stopped thinking about it. The video features Google Glass, and a woman using it to immediately “size up” her potential dating pool.

While wearing her Google Glass, this woman is able to walk by men in a coffee shop and she is immediately linked to said man’s Facebook account. She’s given the man’s name, age and job title. In addition, she’s told how many mutual friends they have on the social media site. Then, her Google Glass tells her whether or not she’ll be compatible with said individual. I suggest you watch the video for yourself….

So, my question is, would you wear these glasses? Would you let Google Glass do a compatibility test for you (assuming it was 100% accurate) to take the guess work out of dating?

I’m scared that some people would.

In a world where face-to-face communication is already lacking, I worry when technology like this actually becomes available. I worry that the art of conversation will cease to exist, and that we will no longer be able to communicate on a natural level.

I worry about the loss of people’s lives. No, I don’t think this technology will kill people, but I do worry about the loss of people’s social lives. What will life become if we put all our faith in technology and no longer rely on ourselves to do anything?

It’s a scary thought, but with virtual reality becoming more readily available, I’m afraid this could happen sooner than we think. I, for one, will never trust a pair of glasses to find my soul mate, or even find me a best friend. That’s what socializing is for (and trust me, I could talk to a wall).

And while this video was just an April Fools Joke, I can’t help but shudder at the thought that this could be the future of dating…

An Ode to Technology

After reading a post by my classmate Jourdan in which she thanks technology for keeping her connected to those she loves, I can’t help but want to do the same. Technology has allowed me to maintain close relationships with loved ones, and it especially helped me when I was far from my (immediate) family and friends when I lived in Los Angeles this past summer.

I honestly can’t imagine my life without some of the technology that’s in it. What would I do without my smartphone? How would I ever make plans with people? How would I  call my mom 37 times a day? Our JOMC 240 class has had me thinking about this a lot – just what would I do without this constant communication?

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I had a conversation with the parents of the children I nanny for regarding this. They are younger than my parents (sorry mom and dad), but at 40, they didn’t have cell phones in college. They told me they’d have to make plans by stopping by someone’s dorm room and writing on a whiteboard that the person had on the door. They’d write letters to friends who were far away. They called home occasionally, using a landline phone. They didn’t live in this wired, digital age where connectivity seems so vital and without it, we feel lost. I can certainly tell you that I’d feel lost without it.

With all the stressors one faces in college, it’s no surprise that this Cornell study Jourdan found indicates that communication between college students and their parents is critical. The study discusses how important this communication is for the students on an emotional level, and how the support helps them in so many ways.

I truly can’t imagine if I weren’t able to reach in my pocket, grab my phone and text my family members when I needed some quick words of motivation. I can’t imagine not being able to FaceTime my parents (and my dog) on a regular basis. I can’t imagine not being able to send an email to a friend who’s studying abroad.

There is so much that technology allows me to do as far as maintaining, and even building, relationships. So, here’s to you technology, for keeping us connected to the things and people we love most.

7 Apps We All Wish Existed

Admittedly, I am socially awkward, but I am not in the slightest bit ashamed because, in a way, aren’t we all? (Just say yes to make me feel better). Thank God we all have our iPhones to save the day when we need to avoid said situations. However, there are times when no amount of Instagram stalking or email reading can save you from the self-induced awkwardness you’re experiencing. 

However, Alexis Kleinman at Huffington Post dreamed up 7 apps (that sadly don’t exist) that would save us from ourselves in these painfully uncomfortable situations.

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1. The “Of COURSE I Remember You” App

With this app, you’d never run into the problem of not remembering the name of the person who just excitedly waved at you on campus. The app would allow you to hold up your iPhone, which would match this person’s face to their Facebook profile, instantly giving you their name and maybe some weird photos of them at a costume party.

2. The “To Listen Or Not To Listen” App

Most of us hate voicemails. Sure, they’re super informative (are they?) but honestly most of the time we’d prefer for someone to just text us and tell us what they wanted. No annoying voicemail notification with a text. This app would rate your voicemails on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “don’t even bother listening” and 10 being “listen or you may die.” It needs to happen.

3. The “Delayed Text” Button

We’ve all been there, texting someone we are interested in and not wanting to look like an eager beaver with immediate replies. Yet, I know for myself, if I don’t type a response within 5 minutes of seeing a text, I’ll probably never reply because at that point I’ve already forgotten that I’ve received a text. Yay for shortened memory/attention spans! This “delayed text” button would tell your iPhone to wait 30 minutes before sending the text you’ve composed, making you look calm and collected all the time (even if that’s certainly not the case).

4. The “Eavesdropper” App

If I am wondering around campus alone, there’s a good chance I am rockin’ some earbuds listening to Songza to entertain myself. However, with my earbuds in place, there’s also a good chance that I could miss out on some hilariousness going on around me. Enter the “Eavesdropper” app. This app would immediately shut off your music when a funny conversation is going on around you (or even if something important is being said). The app would listen for key words in people’s conversations such as “break up” or “cupcakes” and bam, it would shut off your music. Genius!

5. The “Locked or Occupied?” App

This app would solve one of life’s longest mysteries – is the bathroom locked because someone is in it or because I need a key from the cash register to use it? Simply hold up your iPhone to the bathroom door and the answer will be given to you.

6. The “Automatic Slang Definer” App

Ok, I may be 21, but I am know little to nothing of what is going on in pop culture. Basically, if you throw a new slang term at me, I will assume you are speaking jibberish and ignore you. This “Automatic Slang Definer” app would solve all of my problems. It would alert me when someone says something hip and cool (with a little “ding”) and it would give me a definition. Think of it as an automatic Urban Dictionary.

And last, but certainly not least, my favorite of these made-up apps. Drumroll, please…

7. The “Trader Joe’s Pros” App

I am a Trader Joe’s fanatic. You can find me there more than once a week buying everything in sight from greeting cards to dark chocolate covered almonds. But, as it turns out, I am not the only Trader Joe’s addict, and every time I go there the store is PACKED. With this “Trader Joe’s Pros” app, your iPhone would connect you to a video camera located outside your Trader Joe’s store to show you whether or not the place is a zoo. The app would save you tons of time and lots of headaches. Also, if it were up to me, this app would give you inside scoop on the best Trader Joe’s products (because there are so, so many).

Now, if only I knew how to create an app…

 

Think Before You Tweet

As I browsed my Twitter feed last night, I noticed that #CancelColbert was trending. Now, I don’t routinely watch the show (or really watch it ever…) but I was surprised to see that such a popular show was receiving so much hate on social media. So, I investigated.

Turns out, the show’s Twitter account tweeted a racially insensitive joke that coincided with a portion of the show in which Stephen Colbert used Asian stereotypes to taunt Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. The tweet, which has since been deleted, received a great deal of backlash across the Internet (and rightfully so).

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Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/cancel-colbert-stephen-colbert/

The joke was completely insensitive, and in my opinion, deserving of the criticism it received. I mean, have social media reps not learned from previous Twitter flubs like that of Justine Sacco?! This is how people lose their jobs.

The show later tweeted an “explanation” for the tweet (using the word explanation very loosely) saying that Stephen Colbert does not run the show’s Twitter account.

Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/cancel-colbert-stephen-colbert/
Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/cancel-colbert-stephen-colbert/

So, is this the show’s way of apologizing? Not sure, but I am not convinced.

Stephen Colbert himself chimed in saying that he agrees that the tweet was offensive and that he, too, is angered. But, wasn’t it him who made the joke on the show? Just sayin’.

Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/cancel-colbert-stephen-colbert/
Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/cancel-colbert-stephen-colbert/

Now, I don’t know if this warrants a cancellation of the show, but it is a reminder to THINK before you tweet. Like we’ve all been told a million and one times, the Internet is forever. Also, the Internet is not very forgiving. Make one mistake, and you could be cut off.

So, take some time before you compose a tweet to remind yourself that anyone can access those 140-characters and put you in the center of a Twitter storm.

Twitter: Tag, You’re It

Is Twitter trying to reinvent itself and become the new Facebook? Based on the latest innovations in the app, the answer appears to be yes.

Twitter is now allowing its users to upload up to four photos in one tweet, allowing you to tag up to 10 friends in the photos, without using up any of your 140-characters.

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Source: http://mashable.com/2014/03/26/twitter-photos-social/

The four pictures you add will appear as a collage in your timeline, and when another user clicks on one of them, they’ll be able to see the picture in full.

However, this picture feature is currently only available for iPhone users, Twitter says it plans to roll out this four picture addition to Android and Twitter.com soon.

The friend tagging feature, though, is available to everyone and works just like tagging on Facebook. You tag your Twitter friends in the photo and then they get a notification. If they’re not pleased with the photo, they can delete their tag just like they can on Facebook.

The default setting on this picture tagging feature is a bit funky, though. It’s set so that anyone can tag people in your photos, which could lead to some false tagging. Could be interesting.

What do you think of these changes on Twitter? I must say, I like them. I like Twitter and, in general, my favorite aspect of social media is photo sharing, so combine the two and I am pleased.