Creativity Reloaded: Why You Should Try New Creative Activities

How do you build new creative muscles? I’m not talking about flexing the ones you already have, be they writing, graphic design, web development, or illustration. I’m talking instead of completely new creative activities. Why? They’ll help you be a stronger creative person. And that’s good for you and your day job.

Lessons Learned

For example, I’m a writer who just started sewing. It’s been a fascinating experience. Granted, some would say that following a pattern isn’t a hugely creative act. But it’s been the seed. I’m already thinking ahead of patterns I’d like to design, and different kinds of fabrics I’d like to try. I’ve also been exposed to a new group of creative people.

I’ve learned the value of being very precise, to prepare heavily in advance, and that continuous incremental work can pay off. These are all important lessons for a creative person. But, most importantly I’ve had tons of fun. Seguir leyendo “Creativity Reloaded: Why You Should Try New Creative Activities”

Team Coordination Is Key in Businesses

By: Dan Heath and Chip Heath

147-next-46-strategy-MadeToStick-1Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain why we tend to neglect coordination — and suggest how to fix it.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the American men’s 4×100 relay team was a strong medal contender. During the four previous Games, the American men had medaled every time. The qualifying heats in 2008 — the first step on the road to gold — should have been a cakewalk.

On the third leg of the race, the U.S.A.‘s Darvis Patton was running neck and neck with a runner from Trinidad and Tobago. Patton rounded the final turn, approaching anchorman Tyson Gay, who was picking up speed to match Patton. Patton extended the baton, Gay reached back, and the baton hit his palm.

Then, somehow, it fell. The team was disqualified. It was a humiliating early defeat. Stranger still, about a half-hour later, the U.S.A. women’s team was disqualified too — for a baton drop at the same point in the race. (Freaked out by the trend, the U.S.A.’s rhythmic gymnasts kept an extra-tight grip on their ribbons.) Seguir leyendo “Team Coordination Is Key in Businesses”

iFive: Google History, TV Tablet, Flickr Makeover, BP Progress, Tree Fight

BY Jenara Nerenberg

1. Google news dump! The search giant is letting all of us forgetful people now rely less on our memories to recall recently searched items and websites. “History” is the tab to look out for. Plus, Google’s keywords business opens up copyright restrictions to allow competitors’ results in searches. (Looking for Chevy info? Expect ads for Ford to pop up, too.) And finally, you can sign into multiple Google accounts at the same time in the same browser. Seguir leyendo “iFive: Google History, TV Tablet, Flickr Makeover, BP Progress, Tree Fight”

Social Network Game Can be Depressing Tree of Life

BY Austin Carr

Campus life at Sacramento‘s California State University may be somewhat lacking.

Today it was reported that the school reached a deal to make an online game available to its 28,000 students and staff. Developed by Mindbloom, a startup founded by Amazon veterans, the “Life Game” will help the faculty and student body manage a healthy lifestyle and keep off that Freshman 40. The game normally costs $39 a year; California State is Mindbloom’s first enterprise customer.

Mindbloom uses social networking and a metaphorical tree to keep members on top of their goals. When registering, users select a variety of lifestyle priorities (such as spirituality, relationships or career) which will then appear on the branches of their  tree.

Next, the site recommends small actions aimed at improving these areas (“Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator”). The more tasks you complete, the more your tree’s branches will grow and your leaves brighten. The more you ignore your action items, the more your tree will wither and die.

According to Mindbloom, it’s the competition that spurs you into achieving your goals. Members join a buddy system in which friends’ trees appear next to yours in the game, forever taunting you with their greener leaves and healthier lifestyles. After all, “you don’t want your tree to look bad,” explained Brent Poole, the company‘s CEO.

But aren’t college kids too busy drinking to look after a house plant, let alone a fictional tree? Miss enough scheduled actions, and pretty soon the leaves turn brown, the branches shrivel, and you’re an unemployed, overweight alcoholic. Weren’t social networks supposed to make us feel better? Where’s the restart button on this damn tree?


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Five Windows 7 security features that businesses need to know about

Windows 7 brings several security enhancements that don’t sacrifice usability

By Logan Kugler

Computerworld – The words Windows and security have not always been compatible. In the past, Microsoft‘s quest to make its operating system as easy to manage as possible for the “typical” user has often meant sacrificing adequate safeguards against intrusion and infection. Windows XP‘s notorious vulnerability to network worms stands as a recent example; Microsoft shipped the operating system with a firewall but initially left it turned off by default.

For all its flaws, real and perceived, Vista marked a huge step forward in Windows security. Windows 7 has continued that improvement, adding several new features and enhancing many others — most obviously the User Account Control system, which proved so obnoxious in Vista that many users turned it off, leaving their systems vulnerable to intrusion in exchange for a less annoying experience. UAC has been revamped in Windows 7 to be less intrusive and more discerning about what constitutes a true threat, and therefore more effective.

Other Windows 7 security features are less apparent, especially those intended for businesses concerned with protecting not just one computer but an entire network. Among the most important new features are DirectAccess, a VPN replacement for computers on Windows networks; the Windows Biometric Framework, which standardizes the way fingerprints are used by scanners and biometric applications; and AppLocker, which improves on previous Windows versions’ Software Restriction Policies to limit which software can be run on a machine.

Also key are BitLocker To Go, which extends the full-disk encryption of BitLocker to external hard drives, and a refined procedure for handling multiple firewall profiles so that the level of protection better matches the location from which a user connects to the Internet. Seguir leyendo “Five Windows 7 security features that businesses need to know about”

Building The Community: WordPress Community

thumbWith the recent release of WordPress 3.0 we’re entering a very exciting time.

For the first time in the history of the platform, nobody is working on the next version.

All development outside of essential bug fixing has been stopped… and 3.1 won’t even start development until the beginning of September.

The reason? Well, the core contributors aren’t taking a vacation to Hawaii, in fact they’re doing something much less relaxing: working on the WordPress community.

Introducing WordPress 3.0rg


Right now, all of the WordPress core contributors are working on building up and improving the WordPress community features. Removing an entire release cycle from 2010, the WordPress project sits cleverly between 3.0 and 3.1. So what does that mean for you?

Well, first and foremost, has just received a small face-lift. The main WordPress site hasn’t been redesigned for years so this facelift will be a welcome change and the base for almost everything else that will be going on. The new site sports a lighter interface to match the new lighter interface for WordPress 3.0 and again this should carry through to other changes and progressions in style throughout the community.

So what are all the other things which are going to be happening? Well, that’s what we’re going to get into now. Before we start though, an important disclaimer: The world of OpenSource development is in a constant state of flux and as a result these things are subject to change without notice. Some things may be added, some things may be removed, but here’s a general idea of where things are going: Seguir leyendo “Building The Community: WordPress Community”

New Media, Same Regulations According to California Political Campaign Watchdog

Posted by Lauren Dugan

political tweet Another political campaign watchdog group has joined the ranks of those calling for more regulations of online content published by politicians. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), a California-based group, released a report Monday detailing their recommendations for political messages transmitted via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their compatriots. The bulk of their recommendations boil down to one point: social media should be regulated in the same way as traditional media. This approach – lumping social media in with all other media – has been a popular one lately, but is it the right move? Read on for more details from this report and analysis.

The report proposes that all paid advertising – already regulated on TV, in the form of mailers, in newspapers and on the radio – be subject to the same regulations. And that this should now include Facebook status updates, tweets, emails and the like. The report reasons that if the same or similar political message is being paid for offline and must be regulated, so too should online political communications be regulated. Seguir leyendo “New Media, Same Regulations According to California Political Campaign Watchdog”

A Closer Look at Choosing Between Flash and jQuery

Whether HTML5 will beat Flash or not, it has been one of the most frequently discussed topics in the web design community lately. In the heat of this debate another popular opposition, Flash vs. JavaScript, was somewhat lost. It’s rather paradoxical, taking into account that HTML5 is still in the draft version (even though a working one) and JavaScript, particularly its most popular library jQuery, is a complete and active platform which is widely used in modern web construction.

A Closer Look at Choosing Between Flash and jQueryIn other words, while HTML5, with its innovative and potentially dangerous for Flash “video” and “canvas” elements, is a sleeping menace against Flash (in some areas), jQuery is its quite real and pushing competitor. In this article we would like to look at the current capabilities of both Flash and jQuery and define situations when each of these platforms should be used.

You might have seen lots of articles on web design blogs showing examples of how jQuery can actually replace Flash. However, we prefer to avoid the “vs” perspective as we believe it’s not the right angle to look at these platforms from. What would your reaction be if you saw an article on a random blog discussing 10 ways to replace a spoon with a fork? Exactly. Flash has no equals in making rich multimedia websites that involve a user into a whole interactive experience, just like a movie or a game does.

Instead of trying to replace Flash, it’s more effective, in our opinion, to use jQuery in a completely different niche, like creating web applications that are a balance of visual attractiveness and functionality. Seguir leyendo “A Closer Look at Choosing Between Flash and jQuery”

Gmail Now Lets You Save Attachments to the Desktop via Drag-and-Drop

Saving dozens of e-mail file attachments to your computer just became a hell of a lot easier.

Google (Google) has added a new feature to Gmail (Gmail): the ability to save file attachments by simply dragging-and-dropping them onto the desktop. If you hover over the file icon or the “Download” link for any attachment, you’ll notice the new text prompting you to drag the file to your desktop to save.

We just tried out the new feature, and we have to tell you: it’s really as simple as it sounds. There is one caveat to saving file attachments via drag-and-drop, though: the feature is only available in Google Chrome (Google Chrome). Seguir leyendo “Gmail Now Lets You Save Attachments to the Desktop via Drag-and-Drop”

Facebook Wins Facebook.Me Domain: New Product or Simple Redirect?

Facebook has just captured the domain from a United Arab Emirates-based squatter, and the domain is already pointing users to

But we recall another Facebook-based application created by a Facebook (Facebook) staffer that bore the same name; this product would turn your Facebook profile into a Tumblr (Tumblr)-esque mini-blog. Is it possible that Facebook’s sudden interest in this domain is a signal that this side project will become a larger, official part of Facebook’s offering? Or will the redirect remain just that for now?

AllFacebook reports that the domain was snagged by Amjad Abbas of the United Arab Emirates during a 2008 .me-TLD land grab for $5,115. He also allegedly grabbed, and other domains that were likely illegal and unethical for him to own. Seguir leyendo “Facebook Wins Facebook.Me Domain: New Product or Simple Redirect?”

WDL Premium: Portfolio WordPress Theme deLucide

Here’s another amazing premium WordPress theme from ThemeShift for our premium members. deLucide is a very sleek and elegant portfolio WordPress theme to showcase your photos or any other work in a professional and lucent design. Manage your porfolio without any programming skills.

If you’re not yet a WDL Premium member, you’re missing out on a great deal. Sign up here.

Also, be sure to check out the other great themes by ThemeShift Seguir leyendo “WDL Premium: Portfolio WordPress Theme deLucide”

Cantidades y Calidades de “amigos” en las Redes Sociales.

Todo en esta vida sigue una trayectoria, la famosa curva de la vida: nace, crece (ahora viene el “en ocasiones se reproduce o se declina”) y muere, y/o la curva y cadencia de las tendencias, conforme una tendencia nace y crece generalmente surge una contra-tendencia en dirección contraria y no siempre directamente proporcional.

Y con esas premisas claras, el fenómeno de las redes sociales no iba a ser menos.

A estas alturas todos estamos requeteenterados de todo lo que acontece en los mundos de Facebook, qué es, quien está, qué se hace por allí, cuántos amigos puedes tener…el crecimiento de Facebook en países como el nuestro, donde la cultura de “pon en común” por decirlo de una manera está ampliamente arraigado, ha sido abismal. Y no  tengo evidencias exactas para saber en qué punto del ciclo de vida de Facebook debemos estar, si en crecimiento o tocando la madurez, lo que si tengo evidencias es de que la contratendencia ya está muy en la calle, too fast:) Seguir leyendo “Cantidades y Calidades de “amigos” en las Redes Sociales.”

Payfone Rides The Mobile Commerce Wave With $11M in Series B Funding

Posted by Azam Khan

payfone2Payfone, a mobile payments operator, is well on its way to growth following a $11M Series B financing round from Opus Capital, BlackBerry Partners Fund and RRE Ventures. Payfone’s unique approach to mobile payments is in alignment with the future of mobile commerce, providing a secure and dynamic transactional infrastructure for merchants and one-click purchase options for consumers. Under the terms, Bob Borchers of Opus Capital and Kevin Talbot of BlackBerry Partners Fund will join as Payfone board members. Read more after the jump.

Seguir leyendo “Payfone Rides The Mobile Commerce Wave With $11M in Series B Funding”

MySpace Preparing to Go Beyond Friends in Your News Feed

Things aren’t looking up for MySpace these days, but the site remains one of the most popular online (50m people in the US visit it every month) and the people behind it are ready to experiment. Tonight we were sent a link to one experiment that looks great – a photo-heavy, curated celebrity and news portal to drive subscriptions to topic streams and liven up your MySpace news feed.

The project is clearly unfinished and it hasn’t been discussed anywhere we can find, but it’s publicly accessible at and it looks quite good. The code underneath says it’s powered by CrowdFusion, the dream-CMS (content management system) built by Brian Alvey, Jason Calacanis‘s co-founder of the Weblogs Inc. network bought by AOL.

Above: A partial screen capture of MySpace/Everything

Crowd Fusion offers a feature-rich and intelligent content curation back-end that we first wrote about just under two years ago. It was built by a dream-team of early successful bloggers who decided to build their own blogging engine just the way they thought it ought to be done.

The company raised $3 million from investors including Netscape co-founder Marc Andreeson and Ross Levinsohn, one of the key players in the old Fox acquisition of MySpace.

The way the feature appears to work is that a MySpace editorial team, along with algorithms and business partnerships with trusted 3rd party content sources, will curate a stream of photos, videos and highlighted quotes. MySpace users can vote those bits of content up or down, comment on them, click through to the destination site (after an annoying interstitial page) to see the full content or most importantly subscribe to news topics (like Britney Spears) and get future updates delivered into the same news stream that their friends’ updates appear in. Seguir leyendo “MySpace Preparing to Go Beyond Friends in Your News Feed”

Facebook Tabs Will Relegate 3rd Party Content to 2nd Class Citizen

Written by Richard MacManus

Earlier this week I complained that Facebook widgets are a mess. Widgets (a.k.a. “boxes”) enable Facebook users to display third party content on their profile pages. Examples include a list of the books you’re reading, the latest movies you’ve watched, tweets you’ve made. Alert readers pointed out that in fact Facebook plans to completely scrap boxes from a user’s profile.

This is a great shame, because it’s very relevant social content and boxes display it for longer on your Facebook profile. So essentially, with this move Facebook is relegating the importance of both third party content and persistent content.

Tabs & Boxes

Facebook quietly announced in November that it planned to deprecate boxes on a user’s profile. Last month the company noted on its Developer blog that “we are no longer supporting boxes on Profiles and Pages and encourage developers to use application tabs instead.” Facebook users began to report the removal of their profile boxes in July – and many weren’t happy about it.

The replacement, application tabs, are similar to tabs in your browser. They’re new pages specifically devoted to third-party content. The problem I have with this is that it removes the content off a user’s Facebook profile page. OK, the content may feature on a user’s profile for a day or two as part of their daily real-time stream of information. But soon it will scroll off the profile page. An example is this movie review I did of Inception, on the media aggregation site GetGlue. Seguir leyendo “Facebook Tabs Will Relegate 3rd Party Content to 2nd Class Citizen”