Streaming Flourishes, but Cable Still Handcuffs Consumers
Nov11

Streaming Flourishes, but Cable Still Handcuffs Consumers

As the teeter totter of streaming and cable begins to even out, more and more devices are breaking through to make streaming easier for your television. Recently Apple just released the fourth generation Apple TV, with features everyone is talking about. The big one is the integration of siri functionality. Such as allowing Netflix users to search for movies and control features easier than ever before. Also, Apple TV introduces some new gaming features that incorporate the remote, doubling as a party-style game console. The games will run on a new operating system titled tvOS, the first time Apple TV will have native games. But it hasn’t been all positive reaction for Apple. Big criticism has come around for the manual search function on the Apple TV which is simply just a single, alphabetic bar at the top. Possibly a method to prong users to use Siri? If so, a bold strategy. Also, the new Apple TV isn’t just changing how users experience it, but app developers too. The new product makes it so designers must rely on retrieving data from iCloud for use. Polygon goes into much more detail, including the breakdown of app “slicing.” What really sets Apple TV apart from its competition is the way it is making TV dependent on Apps the same way our phones have become. It’s made others take notice. In fact, Amazon is now no longer carrying Apple TV or Google Chromecast on their store. Apple TV is just one of the many options that consumers have to stream on their TV. Roku, and “streaming sticks” like Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick make it easy. But what about options that cut out the middle man and integrate the technology within the TV? SmartTVs. Samsung, Vizio and TCL are among just a few companies that provide an interface that allows you to stream without any other services, aside from an internet connection. Most of the Internet-ready TVs hover around the affordable range of $200 to $500. With TVs themselves making it this easy to stream, is the very device that was once two peas in a pod with cable contributing to its imminent extinction? Huge prices, unnecessary packages and commercials are just a few of the reasons viewers are ditching traditional TV viewing. But what about live TV? Without cable authentication, it can still be a challenge. WatchESPN requires a cable or Sling TV subscription. And CNN viewers who wish to watch coverage on an Apple TV also need a cable commitment. It’s the awkward middle ground many media find themselves, the struggle of not falling behind with streaming technology but not...

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Sitting down with Midtown Crossing
Aug05

Sitting down with Midtown Crossing

  It was a cool evening, no wind, rain or heat. Jazz music playing in the background, while chilling at a beautiful park around a friendly, diverse community. My first night at Jazz on the Green, for people like me who are new to Omaha, we look for comforting venues and forms of entertainment to relieve our stage of newcomers status. Midtown Crossing holds community events that will appeal to just about anyone. If you are new to Omaha, have yet to attend an event or just flat out love Midtown Crossing already, listen in as we sit down with a member of Midtown Crossing who goes in a little more depth to it’s successful events and what they have been able to do in just 5 short years. Will you tell us who you are, your role at Midtown Crossing and how long have you been there? My name is Suzanne Diefenbaugh, I am the graphic designer for Midtown Crossing and I have been with Midtown Crossing for 5 years – since the grand opening in 2010. Can you elaborate on a few events that are going on currently? Absolutely, summer is our busiest time of year for events – of course. Some of our staple summer events are listed below: Yoga Rocks in the Park This is a free weekly yoga class held in Turner Park every Sunday, usually starting in May and lasting about 6 to 8 weeks. The community is invited to come do yoga in the park while a live band plays music, vendors set up booths, who sell yoga related gear. Kids are welcome to attend, either doing yoga as well or going to Camp Yoga Rocks while their parents do yoga. Thursday in the Park This is our live music series that spans the whole summer starting in June. It starts with our Summer Kickoff Concert series followed by Playing with Fire, Jazz on the Green and coming up in less than 2 weeks – the End of Summer Concert Series. The concerts are held every Thursday in Turner Park.  Our retailers / restaurants set up booths, sell delicious drinks and food for concert goers to enjoy. Attendees are also allowed to bring in their own food and refreshments (just no hard alcohol). Big O Bocce We host bocce ball leagues every Tuesday in Turner Park. There is a spring and summer session, we are currently mid-way through the summer session. Monday Night at the Movies This is our weekly outdoor movie series that begins in June, usually running for about 9 weeks. We just wrapped up our 2015 series. Each Monday at Turner Park we inflate a...

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Why Snapchat Should Be Part of Your Brand
Jul29

Why Snapchat Should Be Part of Your Brand

  By now just about everyone has seen someone take an awkward photo of themselves in public and think, “Why?” Social media and millennials are the perfect mixture. Businesses probably already utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to either promote or provide newsworthy updates to their following, however, a majority probably haven’t had the time to take advantage of Snapchat. Snapchat provides its own hidden gems that other social networks cannot do, which is why it should definitely be considered when expanding your brand image.   What is Snapchat?   Snapchat is undoubtedly one of the most popular used apps right now, with its unprecedented amount of funding it receives, Snapchat is constantly being updated and improving its craft. At the moment it sets itself apart from other social media platforms in several unique ways: Snapchat provides raw, exclusive content. Nothing can be archived Able to have time elapsed video and photo sharing Allows for creativity to blossom. For example, Geo Filters and doodling. Secret QR Code feature for adding friends (Also, allows selfies to be the “Snapchat Ghost” in the QR Code. Use your logo if you are a business) Here is mine featuring me drinking coffee this morning. Imagine how many users are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram right now, people seem to ignore the fact that Snapchat is right up there with them in the ranks of not only popularity but amount of users as well. Companies unknowingly have a huge amount of potential to reach their following and promote their image with Snapchat.   Reach the Younger Demographic   Without a doubt Snapchat is dominated by millennials. In fact, according to an article by CNET, research firm ComScore discovered that 18-24 aged users make up 45% of all Snapchat users. Almost doubling the percentage for any other social network, for that age group. There is no question if the younger market is in your business niche, definitely have a swipe at utilizing Snapchat. Think about this, there really hasn’t been a concrete way to market yourself with Snapchat, the opportunities are endless. Considering Snapchat has not been around for not even half a decade, it still is viewed as trendy by many. Businesses who have Snapchat, will appeal much more with the younger generation. Today’s youth perceive those who have the app as cool. TIP: Take a screenshot of your QR Code and promote it on other social media platforms to gain your following. Your loyal followers will definitely add the account.   Special Sales and Discounts   Probably the most popular way to use Snapchat from a business perspective is to offer discounts to your customers. Since the app only...

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Airbnb is Changing the Travel Industry in 4 Big Ways
Jul24

Airbnb is Changing the Travel Industry in 4 Big Ways

Airbnb was founded in 2008 in San Francisco with a mission to give people a sense of belonging. Since then, the website and app have taken off and have become a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. As the name states, it’s a website that allows anyone to become a host to their own B & B, or bed and breakfast. It has become especially popular for college students and young adults due to its low prices and local venues. Hosts and guests alike have fallen in love with Airbnb, giving other travel sites such as Expedia or HostelWorld a run for their money. Airbnb.com is more than just a reservation site. When you go to airbnb.com, you are instantly welcomed with a slideshow of warm videos and the phrase “Belong Anywhere.” The search bar for a destination keeps a low profile, allowing you to immerse yourself into what airbnb has to offer. You have easy access to videos of hosts, company culture, and featured locations, allowing you to get to know what this company is about and who is representing it. When you are done checking out their owned content, you can go to your own personal profile and see where you have stayed, where you’re going, and where you wish to go in the future. They do a really great job of integrating your information with what the site has to offer, instead of keeping a very dry profile page. Side note: They even have a video dedicated to intern life at airbnb. I guarantee Expedia does NOT have that. Airbnb’s brand represents more than just a company’s trademark. Although the video above does an incredible job of explaining airbnb’s symbol, I will quickly recap. The bélo represents a pinpoint on a map, the letter ‘A’ for airbnb, a traveler, and a heart. Those four things together, in airbnb’s mind, is all you need to travel, and they’re right. Airbnb goes a step further to establish their brand with their consumers by asking travelers to create their own symbol at Create Airbnb and take it with them on trips, or if they’re hosts, have it in their windows. It’s good when a consumer an identify a brand or simple, but it’s even better when they can relate to it, and that’s nearly impossible to do. Airbnb’s app is almost too user-friendly. I first discovered airbnb through the app. I got an email from a friend that had used it before and told me to check it out. I did, and instantly fell in love. I spent hours going through cities I want to go...

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DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine that Can…And Will!
Jul13

DuckDuckGo: The Little Search Engine that Can…And Will!

Competitors of Google (Yahoo!, Bing, Ask.com, etc.) have never been able to rival the search volume of the tech giant. These big name companies have tried to imitate Google and have not met much success in winning over users from Google. But DuckDuckGo is trying something different – and already getting some impressive results. DuckDuckGo’s Secret DuckDuckGo offers something for its users that Google cannot – hardcore privacy. Among other features of DuckDuckGo, its radical privacy is perhaps most appealing to users. The search engine does not log your IP address, doesn’t track you with cookies, and websites cannot even tell when search terms you used that brought you to their site. Weinberg’s start-up is banking the on the fact that Google’s lifeblood is it ability to sell user (albeit anonymized) information to marketers, and that users are not OK with that. When the company started out in September of 2008, privacy wasn’t a key concern of search engine users. But since the Edward Snowden NSA Revelations of 2013, business for DuckDuckGo has skyrocketed.     Other Features Weinberg did not start DuckDuckGo with the intention of becoming a safe haven of search privacy. That came through Reddit and HackerNews user requests. Other features of the DuckDuckGo include: !bangs – this feature allows you to search for a specific site and be taken straight there. Instant recipes – A partnership with Yummly allows you to easily find any recipe without having to sort through endless confusing cooking blogs. Custom design – you can change the look and feel of the site for your own browser. DuckDuckGo’s Humble Beginnings Gabriel Weinberg first started DuckDuckGo with the idea of proving ‘instant answers’ instead of simply a list of different sites. Anyone who’s been on Google in the last year knows that Google is now using this idea as well. Fortunately DuckDuckGo had other legs to stand on.   Just Getting Started Though DuckDuckGo’s searches increase 100-500% each year, the company is still only performing a teeny-tiny fraction of the queries Google completes each day, which is nearly 4 billion. Can DuckDuckGo be David to the Google Goliath? Only time will tell, but keep your eyes on the this post-Snowden era spectacle....

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Room.me aims to help you avoid terrible roommates
Jul10

Room.me aims to help you avoid terrible roommates

In August 2012, I was starting my freshman year of college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. However, I didn’t know I would be going there until May, just three months before the first day of class. I handled the transition pretty well,  the only problem was that roommates were slim pick-ins. All of my friends that were going there had already picked roommates so I was stuck with, cue the horror music, a random roommate, and thus began the worst 9 months of my life. I would wake up to all of the lights on and Playhouse Disney would be blasting from the TV. I would receive threatening texts if one of my friends entered our room, saying they couldn’t be trusted. The room was literally divided, all we needed was the tape to go down the middle. It was a pretty miserable experience, at best. Now, three years later, I have come across a new company called room.me, a start-up that started last August based out of Berlin and San Francisco. It is essentially Tinder for finding a roommate, and it could have saved me three years ago. This July it introduced its services to the bay area of San Francisco, and there has been a lot of talk and speculation about this new company. Room.me’s mission is pretty simple: we’ll help you avoid horrible roommates by matching you with like-minded people. In order to find out who you’re compatible you must go to room.me and begin the process. Sign up through Facebook or Twitter, create a profile, and answer nine questions. The questions are pretty traditional: early bird or night owl, smoker or a non-smoker, and your preference on noise. Once you finish this quick survey, you are taken back to the homepage and you can choose if you’re looking for a roomie or a room to stay in. If you click roomie, people’s images pop up and it gives you a percentage of how compatible you are with them. If you choose rooms, you can see how much each space is, what they are asking for, and how well you would mesh with the other roommates living inside. The process is quick and the website is very user-friendly. There’s no app, but I’m sure there will be if this start-up takes off, and I believe that it will. According to a recent Zillow study adults are relying more than ever on roommate living situations to save on expenses and doubled-up households account for more than 76 percent of all living situations nationally. Furthermore, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in, and young adults simply cannot make enough money to afford a living...

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