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Weekend Technology Roundup

Hey Zaarly community. For those of you who didn’t have a chance to catch recent headlines, here’s a roundup of some of the more exciting technology stories of the week:

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barnes and Noble will be announcing their new eReader on May 24, although the makers didn’t include what the new device would be called, cost, or look like. This will be an update to the two eReaders Barnes & Noble have already released, the Nook and the Nook color, which are competing with Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader.

Next, for all you car aficionados, Jaguar announced it is working with F1 Williams to develop C-X75, a $1.1 million dollar hybrid SUPERCAR. Imagine blowing passed a Prius in one of those babies.

According to Wired, Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s brand director said:

“The C-X75 received an incredible reception as a concept car. We’ve been building on that momentum and there is a clear business case for this exclusive halo model. No other vehicle will better signify Jaguar’s renewed confidence and excellence in technological innovation than this.”

Worried about the side effects of old age and the those endless days you spent tanning by the pool? Well, a new technology developed by the Fraunhofer Institute may help take some of the edge off. According to CNET, researchers in Germany have developed a sleek, flat microscope capable of imaging suspicious areas of skin for skin cancer.

The design uses multiple tiny optical sensors to scan and stitch together a bigger, clearer image of affected areas. According to Fraunhofer’s website:

Each slice is roughly 300 x 300 µm² in size and fits seamlessly alongside the neighboring slice; a computer program then assembles these to generate the overall picture. The difference between this technology and a scanner microscope: all of the image slices are recorded simultaneously.

The imaging system consists of three glass plates with the tiny lenses applied to them, both on top and beneath. These three glass plates are then stacked on top of one another. Each channel also contains two achromatic lenses, so the light passes through a total of eight lenses.

The company says it will take another couple of years before it reaches the market, and eventually, will be mass produced and available to everyone for relatively cheap.

Ever played Angry Birds? Think you’re pretty good? Well guess what, you actually suck at it compared to the robot OptoFidelity developed that can nail 3 stars on every level, no problem. Check out the video above to have your mind blown.

Lastly, Groupon and Live Nation announced that they will be partnering together to launch a new online ticketing deals channel, called GrouponLive.

GrouponLive, which will launch “in time for the summer concert season,” the companies said in a statement, will utilize Groupon’s local reach to market event tickets sold through Live Nation. This sounds like a match made in heaven for these two companies. To get details, those interested can sign up for the service at grouponlive.com.

With the Zaarly launch just around the corner, it looks like 2011 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year in tech.


There’s Always Something To Do On A Friday Night

It was one of those weeks. You know, a week where the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, your least favorite customer came in three times, and your boss just wouldn’t quit breathing down your neck. But at least it’s over; you finally made it to Friday. 

You’re supposed to go out on the town and blow off some steam with your buddies, but you get a text from Dave and find out your plans fell through. It’s already 8:00 PM. You begin staring blankly at your Facebook hoping for something to happen. 

Well, as usual, nothing happens except for a few pointless status updates and profile picture changes. 10:00 PM rolls around. You turn off the TV and decide to go to sleep, thinking about how you wasted another Friday night. 

Listen, I have good news. This never has to be you again. There are plenty of online avenues to help you make your night a memorable one — you just have to take the time to look.

First, try Yelp and see what’s in your area, especially if you already have some ideas as to what you’re looking for. You can search by area code and filter through various categories, such as: food, coffee, dinner, spa, night life etc. You can even filter through businesses and events that are accessible by metro, or within walking distance from your apartment. Best of all, each listing contains a 5-point rating system from real-life visitors so you can make sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Eventful has one of the most comprehensive selections to fulfill your local entertainment appetite — find out what’s happening in your area with ease. They list everything from movies, concerts, and sports to family fun and nightlife. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can even demand an event to come directly to your city.

If you’re looking for a good deal, be sure to check Groupon on the reg. Every day there are new “group coupons” available for the best stuff to do, see and eat. Grab some of your friends, save money and share great experiences. It’s like the Costco of event planning.

Another site, Goby, operates like a search engine focused on giving you fun things to do with your free time. Simply fill in what you’d like to do, where’d you’d like to do it, and when. You’re a few clicks away from creating this weekend’s adventure.

A similar website, A Day’s Outing, offers their services with a simple tagline: “get out and go.” Find fairs, events for family and children, parks, gardens, theatre, museums, antiques, farms and more. A Day’s Outing will help find events near you, whether you’re starting from home or on the road.

And with the addition of Zaarly, your options are pretty much unlimited. Pretend you wanted to go to a concert, basketball game, or movie but the tickets were completely sold out. No need to worry anymore. Post on Zaarly: “I’m willing to pay (X) amount of money for tickets to (Y)”. You  choose your price and people near you make it happen.

You never have to waste another Friday night again.

Make Your Job Search A Little Easier

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you were lucky enough to inherit an incredibly large sum of money, you’ve probably heard the United State’s economic climate has been somewhat of, well, a bummer. In fact, you’ve probably felt it yourself.

But things are looking up. Although many jobs have been lost, recent news reports say businesses are finally starting to get comfortable enough to begin hiring again.

According to the Associated Press:

The unemployment rate fell last month in more than 80 percent of the nation’s largest metro areas, adding to evidence that the recent pickup in hiring is widespread.

Google estimates the U.S. unemployment rate fell around 9.2%  during March — let’s hope for a steady decline over the few months.

However, despite the positive results, plenty of americans are still searching for work. There simply aren’t enough jobs available for those who are looking. But don’t get too discouraged, either. The internet provides a wealth of resources that may make your job search a little less daunting — you just have to know where to look.

First, cities typically have their own employment websites and employment centers to help you get started. A quick online search or visit to your local city hall should point you in the right direction.

There are also the typical job search sites:

Craigslist is a good place to start. Job listings are constantly updated throughout the day, and the Craigslist community often helps filter out those pesky scammers. Somewhat, at least. Employers can post ads at very low costs, so a broad variety of positions are available, both for full and part-time. Also, seekers don’t have to register or sign up to use the services, which makes the job search fast, free and easy for all.

Websites like Simply Hired and Indeed aggregate results from major job websites, company websites, associations and other online sources. This gives job seekers an expansive view of employment opportunities offered on all online platforms, while still providing the capability to filter through specific categories.

Since social networking is unarguably one of the most crucial factors in landing a job, LinkedIn becomes highly beneficial. LinkedIn acts a social networking arena for professionals in the online era. Users can upload resumes, include a bio, find employers hiring in specific fields, praise clients, and recommend potential employees.

There are niche sites out there that offer a more targeted approach to job hunting than general job sites do. One site, MediaBistro, is highly regarded in its ability to focus in on media professions, such as in journalism, on-line content, book publishing, TV, radio, PR, graphic design,  and photography.

Although online sources can seriously benefit your job hunt, I’ve also heard employers say they’ve received thousands of responses to a single job ad they posted. This means you’ll often get lost in crowd. Increase your chances by making an online portfolio to display your hard work and impress your future boss.

Another great way to get your foot in the door is through interning and volunteering. It’ll help you feel productive during periods of unemployment and it could open up new doors and opportunities that wouldn’t have presented themselves before.

Lastly, how can I not mention Zaarly? With Zaarly, sources for fast cash will pretty much come directly to the hands of the users. People will be able to request tasks they need done and negotiate prices through a local, buyer-generated market, creating the perfect way to get some extra dough while in-between jobs.

Go “Green” With Your Smartphone

photo: Waseem Sayegh

Gas premiums are at a high, the price and use of energy is consistently rising, food costs have been on an upward climb, all with no end in sight. The result of all these rising costs have pushed many out of their comfort zones, increased their stress levels, and have them asking, “how can I live a sustainable life and save money?” There is no one-way of doing it and a lot of it consists of disconnecting from many things you take for granted. But something that many people do not realize is that they have a major advantage on how to save money and energy, their smartphones.

With the ever growing use of technology and advancement, people who have a smartphone can easily access applications and information on the go to help them efficiently control their expenses and monitor energy usage to save money. Tracking bank statements and making to-do lists have never been more effortless, but another way many people have been cutting costs is by “going green”. Going green generally means consuming less, buying and using sustainable products while being actively conscious about the environment. For example, the use of smart cars or more compact cars that get better gas milage have saved drivers tons of money and release less emissions into the atmosphere. If you are like myself, a broke college student, and can’t afford one of those bad boys here are several apps that you can download on your phone that will actively help save you money, the environment, and energy.

How to Make Your Car An Eco-Friendly Vehicle:

Saving money on gas is on top of many commuters and travelers priority lists. With the nation’s average reaching nearly $4 per gallon, the cost of a weeks trip to work and back has become very troublesome. That is why it is very important to keep your car in the best running shape. Efficient cars equal great gas mileage, but who has time to cover every detail that goes into keeping a car in good shape? I would like to introduce the Gas Cubby app. It is the ultimate tool for tracking gas mileage and vehicle maintenance. Very easy to use interface that tracks multiple cars, syncs online, displays graphs, and gives you service reminders. Gas Cubby can easily become your favorite passenger seat partner.

Buying the Right Products:

photo: Royce Bair

Finding the right product that is not costly, but also eco-friendly is a struggle in itself. It can take up to hours for someone to find out what products are “green” and which aren’t. So why not go out and get the FREE app called GoodGuide. This app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while out shopping. GoodGuide allows you to browse, search or simply scan a barcode to see detailed ratings of environment, and social responsibilities for more that 70,000 products and companies. A smart pick up for those who are shoppers and need “green” info on the go.

Saving Green While Being Green:

Now how can you save money while simultaneously living a sustainable and environmentally friendly life? The best possible app for that would be Green Genie! The Green Genie is “your complete guide to a sustainable lifestyle”. The application, which is only $.99, features “over 100 projects and tips, each on telling you the environmental benefits and how much money it will save you”. There is lots of informative news in this app, as well as activities that are curbed to your lifestyle. I recently purchased this app.

Using Zaarly to Conserve:

photo: Sreenisreedharan (Flickr)

The anticipation is killing me. The Zaarly application can have an amazing impact on living a “green” life. With Zaarly you can browse through tons of listings and find ways to earn money, but also save a person from driving themselves somewhere to purchase a bagel, or a cup of coffee. You can call it “Social Network Carpooling;” it puts money in your pocket and you’re compressing the energy consumption of two individuals into one. Check out a previous Zaarly blog post on how Zaarly can end the use of taxis.

Clean Technology & Research News:

Greentech Media’s application “allows you to take news and research from the fast-paced green and clean technology world with you”. Get the latest in sustainable news and breakthroughs. There are tons of informative articles in this news application for you to eat up.

You do not have to make huge changes to your lifestyle in order to conserve; all it takes are small adjustments and that is the most important thing I learned while researching these superb green applications.

Joseph Aslam

Big Omaha is SOLD OUT! RT for a chance to win a ticket! #Zaarly4BigO

Photo by magerleagues

Big Omaha has steadily become a dominant force among national tech conferences, so it’s no surprise that this years event has SOLD OUT! 2011 promises to be one of Big Omaha’s best, playing host to such speakers as David Hauser from Grasshopper Group, Sarah Lacy from TechCrunch, returning speakers Gary Vaynerchuk of DailyGrape and Micah Baldwin of Graphic.ly, and Zaarly’s very own Bo Fishback.

How can you attend this star studded event and experience the incredible level of intimacy Big Omaha has become known for? You can’t… or at least you couldn’t, until now! Zaarly is giving you the opportunity to win one free ticket to Big Omaha and all we’re asking in return is that you spread the word. Tweet this post and you will be automatically entered in our drawing for a chance to win your free pass to this years phenomenal Big Omaha event.

We couldn’t have made it any easier.

Simply click the Tweet button below and submit to enter! Contest ends Friday, May 6th at 5:00PM CST.

The Beautiful Seattle. 5th stop on the Zaarly tour!

You’d think after 5 cities in 6 days that our team would start to get worn out; not at all.

The energy and diversity that each city brings keeps us all going. We are more excited than ever to turn Zaarly on in Seattle as one of our initial roll out cities!

A couple of our team members, including myself, are from Seattle so we are determined to make Zaarly a hit in our home city!

We kicked off the day with a meetup at FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square. At the time there was a Seattle Sounders soccer match going on across the street so the area was packed with fans and the energy was intense! This helped set the tone for our time in Seattle. Sports venues and events are a great way to use Zaarly and I’m sure it will be utilized in the near future at Sounders soccer matches.

When I think about the northwest, I think about food carts, great music and a local neighborhood feel. Needless to say, I think Zaarly is a compliment to the northwest vibe and it just gets me more excited than ever to make Seattle the best Zaarly city!

The only way to do that is with the rock star team we have on the ground in the city.

Our Seattle Marketing Coordinator, Briana, has done an amazing job building the Zaarly city organizer team. Our team captain, Otis Kimzey, has some killer ideas for getting Zaarly rolling and I think he is a great leader for the Seattle team!

After 2 hours of getting to know everyone and planning our attack strategy,we ended the meeting with high fives and we headed onto the next city, Washington D.C.

Seattle lives and breathes everything that Zaarly stands for and I personally hope it is the top Zaarly city in the country! I think we have the team to do it…

Social Networking Brings Us Together

According to the Facebook statistic page, there are currently more than 500 million active Facebook users. Simply by posting a picture and writing a bio, people create their viral “self,” and interact with “friends” behind a computerized screen through the tips of our fingers. They relay messages through comments, status updates, and chat box messages, totaling over 700 billion minutes per month.

Some argue that’s a lot of time spent without actual human contact, maybe too much time. They worry these actions could lead to a generation of isolation, where individuals who no longer value face-to-face communication; where individuals are no longer “connected” to each other.

I, however, beg to differ.

Although we may be interacting increasingly on an online platform, that doesn’t have to mean we are headed towards isolation. It goes without saying that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, give people the opportunity to instantly communicate with loved ones, and keep in touch with the high school buddies they thought they’d never see again. But it goes further than that.

As a generation, we now have the ability to instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the world. If time travel is the quickest way from point A to point B, then social networking users may be bending time and space without even knowing it. Add in Google Translate, and this opens up an endless amount of possibilities in terms of learning about other cultures and expanding our self-consciousness. Breaking down language barriers is unarguably a step towards global connectedness.

Social networking sites also give us the ability to let family members and loved ones know we are “OK” in the case of an emergency, especially if unreliable phone lines and methods of transportation aren’t accessible. In fact, in the case of the most recent Japan Tsunami, social networking is reported to have saved many lives.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Fukushima power plant left thousands of people dead and many more missing. The disaster demolished buildings and rail lines, left telephone networks congested, and caused electrical black outs, cutting off communication between those who needed it the most.

However, by utilizing web-based sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Mixi, people all around the world were able to get instant updates on the statuses of friends and family, as well as donate to those in need. Those involved in relief efforts even took to Twitter and posted information about emergency phone lines for non-Japanese speakers to tsunami alerts, altered train schedules and lists of shelters for those left homeless.

As technology advances, we will continue to realize the Internet’s potential as a way to connect humans and put power back in their hands.

This is especially the case with the new buyer and seller market-oriented website Zaarly. With Zaarly, users are able to find what they want in their area, say their price, and get it. There’s no waiting in line and no managers trying to sell you what you don’t need. Users utilize a Twilio powered  phone number to connect instantly, get what they ask for, and get on with their day. It’s that easy.

Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis, agrees. We are connected:

“While there are so many technologies at this time that isolate us from our fellow beings, social networking tools have shown their ability once again to unify us as human beings, and to bring out what is most altruistic and empathetic in our natures.”