DASH - The Real-time Career Management Tool

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Twitter has been a revolution in many aspects. Not just a new mean of communication between friends, it is also a way to follow influential individuals or companies and stay up to date with industry news. As I've written in a past article, Twitter has somehow replaced RSS feeds in many ways for many people. One of these ways is to stay up to date with job opportunities matching your criteria of search. With the release of Twitter lists, people organise their contacts in different groups and online recruiters have widely benefited from this update.

Desktop clients such as Seesmic desktop or Tweetdeck let you organise the different feeds of updates from Twitter and Facebook in one single user friendly interface. However, there is a new player on the market, and it is called DASH. In this battle for status updates, it seems like Linkedin has stepped in a couple months ago letting everyone post a status easily to all of its professional network, including an option to "tweet" it. With DASH, you can easily stay up to date with all job related statuses on both Linkedin and Twitter. Using Adobe Air technology as well as the Linkedin API, DASH ressembles other Twitter desktop clients but focuses on career opportunities. You can use it to follow industry related news, recruiter twitter accounts, as well as a real-time Twitter job search (with filters). If you are looking for a job, especially in the digital industry, then you should definitely give it a try!

job dash
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Geico.com Caveman commercials

Geico, a US car insurance company, has been airing TV commercials since 2004 featuring cavemen. Not living in the United States, I had never seen them before. They have a whole bunch of these ads running but quite frankly, not all of them are funny.
I will still include a short compilation of several of these ads below, just for those of you who have never seen them before. This video made my day!

Apparently, these TV commercials had a big success, at first. In 2007, ABC decided to produce and air a short TV sitcom featuring the cavemen but the bad ratings led the channel to discreetly cancel the show. The next series of commercials apparently focused on spoofing the unsuccessful TV series! Interesting way to bounce back after a flop...

Wikipedia article about the Geico Cavemen
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The (never ending) Battle of Status Updates!

status updatesMSN Messenger and other chat programs probably didn't know at the time they would initiate such a massive trend when letting people add a short personal message next to their nickname. Yes, I do believe they're at the origins of this.
And now, it just seems like every major website is releasing an "Update your Status" option! The battle for the What's on your mind? between Facebook and Twitter has been going for a while now, but it has now expanded to nearly every social/networking site. Although I have been using several of them for different purposes, the concept remains the same: Telling something to people around you. Wow, what a revolution! I don't want to be critical. Mostly because I have been using them myself for a long time and find them very useful. I use Facebook updates to tell my (real) friends what's going on in my life. I used to do the same on Twitter but now I mostly use it to share interesting links with people (that I know in real life or not) with the same interests.
But beyond Twitter and Facebook, are other status updates really useful?

Facebook Status Updates
Facebook Status Updates

Twitter Status updates
Twitter Status updates

As far as I'm concerned, I rarely use the Linkedin updates service but I can still see why this could be a good thing. We're in 2009 and the way people approach each other, even professionally, has drastically changed. I see people update their status to tell their network they're looking for a job while others might be looking for someone. Yes, it does make it easier. (Linkedin also introduced the "Update Twitter at the same time" option as you can see on the screenshot below)

Linkedin Status updates
Linkedin Status updates

Another example, Google Latitude's status updates. There again, I can still see the concept of letting people around you know exactly where you are and what you are doing. But this is definitely too intrusive for me and I don't want people to know where I am all the time, especially if I forgot to switch off my Latitude automatic location updates. This definitely raises privacy and security issues. Moreover, I don't think I know A-N-Y-O-N-E who actually uses Latitude on a regular basis, if ever! If you are a regular user, let me know, I'd be interested!

Google Latitude Status updates
Google Latitude Status updates

Some of you might not even have heard about Yahoo! meme. The difference with Twitter is that you can easily post not only text, but audio, video and photo files. As much as I like Yahoo! and the simple/easy-to-use aspect of this website, I still think it is nothing more than a copy of Twitter and sadly, I don't like copycats! I therefore ask the same question, does any of you actually use Twitter memes or know anyone who does? I have tried once, wrote two updates, and never signed in again! I just don't know anyone and don't feel like building a 3,819th network.

Yahoo! Meme Status updates
Yahoo! Meme Status updates

In conclusion, I think Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter might stay for a while as they are the most popular and bring the most value to the online users. But I personally think Yahoo memes have no space in the new online world and will never take off, a bit like friendfeed which, to my eyes, won't succeed in the medium/long term. As for Google Latitude, I think this service might work, but in a couple of years from now. It is too soon and even though more and more people have smartphones with GPS antennas, they still represent a minority in the population.

I have only showed you a few examples and I am certain there are many more out there. But honestly, who has the time to manage all these different channels?
Do you think this is just a trend that has been going on for a couple of years now, but that will end within that same date range from now?
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"Assassin's Creed Lineage" series

Assassin's Creed 2 coverTomorrow is the Australian release date of the Assassin's Creed sequel on Xbox 360. I have played the first game and absolutely loved it. The graphics were impressive and the gameplay/storyline clearly different from what I had seen before. I was slightly disappointed by the repetitiveness of the missions but this did not stop me from wanting the much anticipated Assassin's Creed II.

In order to promote the new game, Ubisoft released 3 high definition episodes entitled "Assassin's Creed Lineage", setting up a synopsis probably close to the game's storyline. Although it is happening during the Italian Renaissance and not during the Crusades like the first one was, the atmosphere remains very loyal to the game. I am quite certain that this sequel will be a total success and I cannot wait to get my hands on it! The episodes below are also available in HD on Youtube. Enjoy!

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Do you know the SEO rapper?

chuck the seo rapperThe SEO rapper has been posting videos on his Youtube channel talking about SEO/PPC and other related topics. He has definitely reached a niche audience but went viral via a several now-famous videos, some of which are over 2 years old. If you don't know him, have a look at some of the videos below. I actually did learn quite a few things from his SEO tips :)

Paid Search 101

Social Media Addiction

Page Rank

Design coding

Link Building 101

Bonus: MSN versus Google rap battle (without the SEO rapper)
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Grooveshark and Internet Music Streaming Sites

grooveshark online streaming musicInternet radios and online music libraries have been at the center of my interests in the recent years. I have been using many services such as Pandora, Last.fm, We are Hunted and the French Deezer just to name a few. All with libraries containing millions of tracks, it is easy to find the streaming music you like and create your favorite playlists that you can listen to over and over again... Earlier this year, Spotify (which I sadly can't access from Australia yet) and moof have made a lot of buzz as the new trendy online radios.

However, I came across a new site several weeks ago called Grooveshark. Since then, I haven't been using any other online music streaming site. Their library of over 15 million songs gives you a wide variety of artists and styles to listen to. Although their service is probably not as complete as others (no smart radio per gender for example), I still find it to be one of the most easy to use and fastest ones out there. Moreover, building playlists has never been that simple with an easy drag and drop. Deezer already had this function but their site is rather slow. Then again, I'm talking from Australia, I know it is very fluid in France.

Another tool they offer are the widgets. They've set up an easy and very customisable way to display your playlists or one-off songs on your own site or blog. Below are two examples of what you can do with it.

Like several others, you will soon be able to download a Grooveshark app on the Android market (and probably on the iPhone too) as they've announced it on Twitter.

Two examples of widgets you can add to your site/blog.

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The Android Market gets a sister version for netbooks: Insyde

android logoAndroid, the now famous mobile phone operating system (OS) developed by Google is becoming increasingly successful for many reasons: It is open source, free, and can easily be adapted to many devices, screen sizes and uses. Moreover, the Android Market (where anyone can download free or paid applications) has now exceeded the threshold of 10,000 apps. This is even more impressive knowing that only 4,900 were available just 5 months ago in late May. This clearly shows that developers are paying more and more attention to this OS.

Many phone manufacturers are launching new devices running on the Google Android platform: HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson and even many unexpected computer firms such as Lenovo, Dell, IBM, Archos and Acer. The next 12 months will be the time of revelation for Android, and as more people use these phones, the more interesting it gets for developers! For your information, the iPhone currently holds little over 100,000 applications in its appstore but I am quite certain Android will catch up within 12 months from now.

Early July (2009), Google announced a new operating system named Chrome OS which I have talked about already in this article. This new OS will be running on netbooks because of its speed and "light" size, making it an ideal platform for devices like small computers. Strangely, some netbooks will also run on the same Google Android platform as mobile devices already do. In fact, the Aspire One from Acer is already available with the Android OS.

The purpose of this article, however, is to introduce something which is the first of its kind although the concept is the same as the markets mentioned above. We have seen the Apple appstore and the Google Android Market offering a nearly unlimited choice of applications to download, but why not having a similar market designed specifically for those netbooks running on Android?

insyde market logoThis is what a software company from Taiwan, Insyde Software Corp., has just done! Introducing the Insyde Market, the only known place that reviews and distributes netbook applications. Although only free applications are currently available, the site should open up to paid versions soon. If the netbook version of the Android OS encounters the same growing success as the mobile version (which I doubt at the moment), then perhaps this project will revolutionize the personal computer world.

Until more computers are released with Android, Insyde Market might remain a bit underground (developers are just beginning to focus on the mobile Android market).

If Chrome OS is meant to go on netbooks, why then having some using the Android platform?
I don't see the point of having two operating systems for the same type of devices.
Do you think the Insyde Market could work? Or it will have a difficult time to meet the same fate as its sister system?
Opinions are welcomed!
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Dunlop Volley Warehouse hilarious ads

dunlop volley shoesIt seems like some brands will do pretty much anything in order to attract the attention of the consumer and create some buzz around their product or service. The other day, I came across the brand Dunlop which decided to advertise their shoes in a very funky out-of-the-box strategy. It actually took me some time to understand they were selling shoes! Some people might not understand, others might not like it, but some like me on the other hand love this kind of advertising (Yes I am a victim of the buzz by sharing it!).

The videos below are quite funny and are placed as advertisements on websites in order to attract traffic to their own Dunlop Warehouse site. They even have a blog designed to interact with online visitors, who can submit their own WTF inventions. I won't describe you these videos so go ahead and have a look (and a laugh!).

Dish Jockey

The Gig Viewer

Close Call

All in one
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ICANN's decision to Internationalize Domain Names

internet translationThe ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is currently meeting in Seoul, Korea in order to decide on whether or not the domain names should be opened to other alphabets. So far, websites could be in any language but their domain name (URL) would remain latin alphabet based. The only "internationalization" of the domain names remained in the extension (.cn for China or .jp for Japan for example) which is quite limited.

As more and more developping countries gain access to the Internet and because the majority of the 1.6 billion web users worldwide speak a native language that uses a different alphabet, it became urgent to take a decision and open a new era of the Internet. This decision is set to be made this Friday (30/10/2009) and will allow domain names in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Hebrew and Cyrillic (Russian). This is a significant and crucial step forward as the World Wide Web will now be the WORLD Wide Web!

I couldn't agree more with the fact that there is no reason why one alphabet should remain the only one used in domain names. However, I am quite concerned about the consequences this could have for the following reasons:
  • Adding new languages to the domain names might divide the Internet. For example, if someone does not speak Hindi, it is very likely they won't visit a website whose domain is in Hindi (in fact, they won't even be able to do a task as easy as typing the URL of the website!). Therefore, the Internet might be divided into different subcategories of Internet where people speaking one language might not interact as much as they used to with people speaking another language. This thought may seem a bit extreme but who knows how it will evolve.

  • Most hacker attacks in the early 21st century are perpetrated from China and Russia, both at amateur and government levels. These two countries have been known to infiltrate other countries' military networks, governmental and embassy networks (Australia, Germany, India, UK, France, the list goes on...), national energy power systems, etc. With new domain names, it will become even more difficult to trace back to the origin of the attacks. I am certain thousands of new proxies sites will be created in the very first days. It is already a difficult task to trace them so imagine if the cyberpolice need to speak 7 new languages!

  • Online scams will become even more popular than they already are. Internet has a lot to offer but it also hosts many ways to get ripped-off. If you are surfing the web, then you are at risk, as simple as that. For example, most international brands will open a new domain name in the language they are targeting locally. But what happens if someone with bad intentions buys a domain name which is the exact translation in Chinese of a world famous bank, builds an exact replica of the official site and attracts thousands of visitors onto a page that could be requesting customer information or logins? There again, confusion, mess.

Of course, these are just some very early thoughts on the topic and I may have dramatized it a bit too much! I am certain the ICANN has already thought about all this and if the decision to open the domain world is taken, that probably means they have also weighted the pros and the cons and came to the conclusion that it was still a good idea to proceed with this historic change.

I unfortunately speak only Latin based languages (I wasn't too successful with my Mandarin classes!) and therefore won't be able to take advantage of that very last point:

New domain names = Gold rush!

Many people, I am sure, will each buy dozens, if not hundreds of new domain names of popular brands in other languages in the hope of reselling them to the official brands at a higher price. Generic keywords with high search volumes will also be a goldmine, either to be placed as parked domains for advertising revenue, either to sell them in the same case as the brands.

One thing is for sure, no one really knows at this stage how this will go. Let's just hope it will all roll out smoothly.

[30/10/2009 UPDATE: The decision has been taken, ICANN Allows Non-Latin Domain Names set to be opened for sale on November 16th. On top of other alphabets being used in domain names, the ICANN is going one step further by authorizing new generic top level domains (gTLDs)... This means that anyone can create their own extension and not remain blocked to a .com .net .org etc or any other classic extension.

I wasn't too enthusiastic about the previous decision but this one is even worst. Imagine, soon I'll be able to buy domains such as www.구글.com or www.goo.gle! I hope the ICANN has reviewed this closely and will submit some sort of guideline because this could be an infinite source of confusion.

What do you think of this?]

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The Google Story video

google story videoSoon after its 11th anniversary, the Google UK youtube channel has released this animation video retracing the story of Google from the time it was created. It lists mosts of its main innovations, achievements or purchases in a nice artistic way.

Not just a simple company presentation video, this clearly wants to show the importance of Google, the wide variety of its services and products, and its impact on our daily live. I'm not quite sure what the exact purpose of it is but I found it interesting to watch (although I had to pause the video a few times in order to read everything!).

I am usually in favor of competition because it is the only way to give the consumers a great range of options to choose from. Competition brings diversity and innovation, at cheaper prices. Although Google is now having a monopoly in many fields, the great majority of their products remain free and of very good quality. Therefore, I am finding it hard to complain about this company. What are your thoughts about their evolution and the giant they have become?

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Vodafone recreates a Tchaikovsky symphony using 1000 mobile ringtones!

Vodafone New Zealand has been very impressive with the following ad. They have recreated the 1812 Overture from Tchaikovsky using nothing but mobile phones and their ringtones. A lot of patience was needed to assemble the 1,000 mobile devices onto vertical panels in a precise order.

Triggered by an automated SMS-sending system, each and every mobile phone saw its screen switch on along with the ringtone, transforming what looked like an underground black market store into a light & sound masterpiece. Enjoy the advertisement below, as well as the making-of in two parts down under.

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Alan Sailer, High Speed Photographer

Most of you have probably seen this famous picture of an apple being shot and photographed with a high speed camera. I am not quite sure who is the actual author of that picture but there is someone else whose work is well worth looking at. Alan Sailer is an American photographer who made these type of shots his specialty. Shooting various objects with an air rifle, he has set up a system that lets him take a photograph at the exact moment the bullet pierces the object.

Knowing that the pellets shot by these rifles can reach speeds of up to 200 meters per second, an elaborate triggering system was needed. When the pellet is shot, it goes through a laser beam which itself triggers a 17,000 volts flash and the photography is taken during a microsecond (or 1 millionth of a second!).

Enjoy the shots below and do not hesitate to visit his flickr gallery gathering pictures of his work and details about his photography technique.

Alan Sailer bacon shot

Alan Sailer eye ball shot

Alan Sailer eye ball shot

Alan Sailer ice cream shot

Alan Sailer play dough shot

Alan Sailer red rose shot

Alan Sailer smiley shot

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Youtube reaches 1 Billion views per Day!

youtube 1 billion viewsThe video sharing website Youtube has just announced reaching the symbolic and impressive threshold of 1 billion video views per day! The Youtube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley has announced the (good?) news in a post on the website's blog entitled "Y,000,000,000uTube"! I am more than amazed by this massive number, even more when I know that back in January 2009 (so only 9 months ago), the website recorded six billion videos viewed during the whole month!

Macdonalds over 99 billion servedThis clearly reminds me of the now famous "Over xx billion served" catch phrase presented on most McDonalds restaurants!

Another funny thing, the new logo image file is named "logo_holy_crap_1bn_a_day-vfl124472.png"!
Congrats to the Youtube and Google teams, I'm going to watch some videos now!
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Facebook introduces the "Gross National Happiness Index"

facebook gnhThis week, Facebook introduced the "Gross National Happiness Index" or GNH. This index is meant to track the overall feelings and moods of the Facebook users.

Facebook has, obviously, access to all the status updates of its users. With over 300 million users worldwide, these private or public testimonials can be considered as a pretty accurate index of what people feel, as a whole.

You are probably wandering how this tool works? Facebook probably set up a list of positive and negative keywords. Positive keywords can be expressions such as happy, nice, great, sweet and so on while negative keywords could be sad, annoyed, disappointed or angry. Every day, this tool counts the number of status updates containing positive keywords, as well as the number of updates with negative keywords. The GNH index is the difference between the happy and "unhappy" counts.

Facebook Gross National Happiness Index GNH

This is represented in a timeline graph with a daily update of the index. Little labels can also show national holidays or other events that might explain why there is a positive or negative peak on a particular day. Unlike the Google Insights for Search tool, the Facebook GNH graph does not show news headlines that might affect people's news. For example, I remember when Michael Jackson's death was announced, a massive number of people posted sad comments on their Facebook status. But when I look at the graph on that particular day, I cannot observe any negative peak. I can only ask myself if this tool is very accurate.

However, the purpose and utility of this index can be quite interesting for sociodemographic studies. It is only limited to the United States at the moment but will hopefully be expanded to other regions in the future.
Perhaps in the future we will be able to play around with filters to see how that index evolves depending on the geographic region, the age, nationality, language, gender, etc of the users.

In conclusion, I would say that it was natural for Facebook to start publishing tools such as this one. With the amount of data collected by the company, there are so many things they can share with the world. Although this new tool is interesting, it is not a new concept. I strongly suggest that you have a look at the two videos from Jonathan Harris that I have embedded in this previous post. The first one dates back from 2007 but is exactly the same concept and shown in a MUCH better way and design!
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Fontcapture - Your own handwriting as a font!

Enough of the old outdated fonts such as Comic Sans MS! In fact, enough of pre-formatted fonts that come in the Microsoft Office pack! Downloading new fonts to further customize your paperwork, slideshows or website is an old trick. Sites such as 1001fonts or Urban Fonts offer a (very) wide choice of fonts, ranging from professional ones to free ones.

However, creating your own font was for a while only reserved to designers. Not that it was difficult, but the vast majority of people just couldn't be bothered!

Well now, there is a very simple way to create your own font. And what's more customizable than creating a font from your very own handwriting?

Fontcapture.com now offers this very useful and easy-to-use service in 3 steps! Basically, all you need is a printer and scanner:
  1. Download their PDF table
  2. Fill it in (see screenshot)
  3. Scan it and upload it
  4. Download your brand new customized font!

There you go, I hope this will let you design some great fonts! Don't hesitate to share some of your designs below! You can download mine here :)
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Collection of Australian Google logos

I arrived in Australia in March 2008. It now seems like ages ago and this post confirms this feeling! With time I have seen the google logo change in many diverse forms, often to represent a national holiday, some invention or famous person's anniversary.
What started as a little folder with 3 or 4 logos quickly grew bigger! Obviously, I haven't been on Google EVERY SINGLE day for over a year so it is likely that I have missed several of them! Also, I am not 100% sure of the description/date behind each and every logo (you are welcome to comment to rectify any mistakes I may have made!).

Anyway, this is my Friday afternoon post that will bring back some memories to some of you geeks :)

Sesame street birthday google logo10/11/2009
Sesame Street Birthday

Sesame street birthday google logo07/11/2009
Sesame Street Birthday

Sesame street birthday google logo05/11/2009
Sesame Street Birthday

google halloween logo31/10/2009
Halloween 2009

google logo barcode07/10/2009

google logo confuscius birthday27/09/2009
Confucius' Birthday

google 11 birthday logo28/09/2009
Google's 11th Birthday

H.G. Wells Birthday (Google blog post)

Google UFO Mystery

Google UFO Not quite sure of the reason behind this one

400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope

Hans Christian Ørsted discovers electromagnetism

Perseid Meteor Shower

Moon landing 40th Anniversary

Tesla Coil (anniversary?)

Marc Chagall's birthday

Mary Cassatt's birthday

Mother's Day in Australia

ANZAC Day 2009 Google logo25/04/2009
ANZAC Day 2009

Earth Day 2009

St Patrick's Day

Chinese New Year

12/02/2009 (?)
Charles Darwin



Google's 10th Birthday

Large Hadrien Hadron Collider

Father's Day

Beijing Olympics opening

Igor Stravinsky

Diego Velasquez birthday

First hot air balloon in 1783 (in France :)

First ascent of the Everest

Walter Gropius birthday

First laser birthday

Mother's Day

Design by Jeff Koons

Morse code anniversary

Anzac day

Earth day 2008

Graham Bell birthday

My Australia

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