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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.


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
@josephLOUDREAMS
LOUDreams.com


Helpful Apps to Get You Through College

photo: Elliot Margolies

I am 22 years young and still leisurely making my way through college, I mean what is the rush? The economy is still recovering from its post recession hangover. Few employers are hiring or paying a decent amount for me to survive somewhat comfortably. Gas costs me a finger and a half every time I go to pump. So I choose to enjoy my time in college with my friends, rather than having to struggle out in the real world.

My college life consists of attending classes more often than ditching them, finding a free meal as much as possible, studying to the brim of exhaustion and working part-time here and there to cover the costs of going out on the weekends. Every week there are new challenges to conquer and obstacles to surpass. A majority of students do agree that with all the fun that a college lifestyle brings, it also brings an ample amount of struggle. Struggle that makes you wish there were thirty hours in a day and four-day weekends every other week. Since that scenario is nearly impossible to attain, us college students rely on something else to help us get through those grueling weeks of deadlines and tests. That “something” is actually our smartphones and laptops.

With the emergence of applications for phones and computers, a lot of daily hassles have become minimized and very organized for students like me who are usually discombobulated. Described below are several different types of apps that have helped me through hours of classes, studying, and student life.

USEFUL STUDENT APPLICATIONS:

There were a few months in my freshman year where I relied on the basic cooking necessities to get me through the day, which consisted of only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, there were those special days where I would make eggs in the morning and a turkey sandwich to keep me happy for the rest of the day, but that was very rare. So obviously I am thankful that I stumbled upon the Easy Recipe application. The app includes over 150,000 recipes for dishes and drinks. Any common dummy can make most of the food dishes and drinks in this simple to operate app. For $.99, it is a great buy!

photo: Oren Levine

I am appreciative for those hip-hop artists who made wearing sunglasses indoors a common fashion trend in today’s society. I agree that it is very foolish, but it did allow me to take power naps through those three-hour lectures. As soon as professors caught on to the new “fashion trend”, I had to find something else to keep my mind awake. Words With Friends Free does the trick. It is a simple word building, Scrabble-like, board game on your phone where you can compete with your friends or random opponents to make words that score points. Not only did it help me get through those tiresome days, it kept me connected to my friends, and also sharpened up my diction.

It is an accurate assumption to say that most students’ days are very hectic and unorganized; too many things going on at a million miles per hour for our brains to compute. I am one of those dislocated students, so I had to find someway to keep track of all the programs, classes, practices, and meetings that I have to attend on a weekly basis. I found my organization savior in the app called Droplist ToDo. It is very simple to use; you start typing your activities and the app creates a task for you. Set the time for a certain task to be completed and you are prepared to go for the day.

I recently downloaded the newly released app Tweetbot for my daily Twitter usage. In my opinion it is the best Twitter client application with the most streamline and simple interface. Tweetbot keeps me updated on what all the friends are doing around campus, as well as sports updates, and news. I suggest you try it out.

How about a little tutoring for some of your classes? I had a major that only requires one semester of college algebra and once I finished that, my brain decided to mass erase all my knowledge of numbers. So when I switched my major to business and I found out that it required me to take calculus and stats classes, I was a deer caught in headlights. No need to fear though, a friend suggested that I should check out the educational apps from Wolfram Alpha. Their apps help you get through algebra, calculus, even music classes, and each app is fairly inexpensive.

photo: Lucas Richarz

Zaarly is an app that I am eagerly looking forward to using. Do you need something and do you need it quick, “Zaarly” it. This video gives you a brief demonstration on how Zaarly can be utilized. I can imagine myself rushing to class for my biology midterm only to forget to pick up a scantron at the little college market all the way across my enormous campus. I would probably offer $10 for someone to get me a scantron and to deliver it in the next 10 minutes. They would be making enough money to buy lunch and I would have a scantron without missing the test. I could also imagine using Zaarly if I was having a late night study session in the library and starving for a burger. It’s as simple as naming a request and what I’m willing to pay for it and someone will bring it to me!  There  possibilities are endless when you have such an application on your phone.

I hope that theses applications can make your college life a little less stressful than normal. There are plenty more out there to help you out, but part of the fun is discovering them for yourself.

If you want to see an extensive list of useful phone applications for your phone check out this post by BestUniversities.com

Joseph Aslam
@josephLOUDreams
LOUDreams.com