Friday, October 23, 2009

Funny Haircuts

Warning! Some of the images you're about to see are disturbing and are not suitable for children (for fear of copying).

Here are some funny haircuts ...

Funny Friday - Hat Hair

Here's a video of that one:


Here are more ...

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

My favorites, however, are these:

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

I wanted today's Funny Friday post to be about weird haircuts. I was thinking about head haircuts and not body ones. Hey! They are haircuts. Disturbing, but very funny.

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

Funny Friday - Funny Haircuts

If you have photos of weird haircuts, please share them with us in the comments.  ▣

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homeless: A Technological Approach

One of the misconceptions surrounding the homeless is that they are also jobless. In fact many of the homeless have full time jobs, albeit low paying ones. Here's an interesting article on this subject.

Although the below image may come across as weird, and in a way it is (otherwise, it wouldn't have made Weird Wednesday), but it is very realistic. A not so uncommon observation is that the homeless need and seek things that are small and portable. Everything needs to be easily moved around, and needs to fit into a backpack. Not surprising, the prime need is devices for information and communication. Things like prepaid cellphones, USB sticks, etc. are likely to be found with some of the homeless.

Technology & The Homeless

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports about "Lisa Stringer, who runs a program that teaches job and computer skills to homeless and low-income residents, says some students who can't even read or write save money to buy computers at Goodwill. 'It's really a symbol in today's society of being OK and connected,' she says. She sometimes urges homeless students to put off buying laptops until their living situations stabilize."

Having an internet-connected computer means you don't need the media (TV, radio, or even newspapers). It's all there, online. I have no doubt that being homeless is scary, hard, lonely and very profiling; which more often than not means you're being discriminated against. When you're online and connected to the World, you're simply like everyone else. It brings hope during a time in one's life when that's scarce.

And while today's image may come across initially as weird and a bit humorous, a closer look into the issue makes it all seem very normal and natural. What's your take on the topic?  ▣

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Call Your Friends Without Knowing Their Phone Numbers

In today's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Morgan Stanley's Mary Meeker presented some internet trends. Amongst them is
  1. Mobile Internet Usage Is and Will Be Bigger than Most Think.
  2. Apple Mobile Share Should Surprise on Upside Near-Term.
  3. Next Generation Platforms (Social Networking + Mobile) Driving Unprecedented Change in Communications + Commerce.
Also that AT&T’s mobile data traffic has increased by 4,932% over the last three years; and there will be over 1 billion "heavy mobile data users" by 2013. Most of her 68 page presentation shows that social networking + mobile are driving big changes in communication and commerce.

OrganIP Logo
Enter OrganIP. The name initially lead me to believe it had medical or musical applications; but I think that perhaps it's supposed to be a play on the word "organize." Who knows. What matters is that the service talks to Meeker's trend analysis and may help make phone numbers a thing of the past. OrganIP makes it possible to speak anyone’s name and call them using voice over IP (VoIP) technology. A company called Digitrad developed the service by combining its unified identity technology and its messaging services — just as Digitrad says it wants to destroy the business card with, it now says you may never have to remember a phone number again.

The idea is compelling: if tens or hundreds of millions of people make calls to their social network "friends," someone will be able make a lot of money from it. So far, though, no one has had much success in appealing to such users. That is, until France-based Digitrad presented at last month's DEMO conference trying to turn social networks into giant phone books.

Here's a video of the presentation from youTube:


"OrganIP solves two problems I have. I can't remember anyone's phone number and there are too many ways people can connect with me," said Chris Shipley, Executive Producer of the DEMO Conferences. "With OrganIP I have a single, easy to remember way for people to connect with me. What makes this great is that OrganIP finds me - whether I am in a social network, surfing the net or on my mobile phone, and connects with me in the way that makes the most sense for me. Simply type my name and OrganIP will find me."

Basically, OrganIP requires users only to know the name of the person they're trying to call. Once they type it into the OrganIP Web interface, the service will look the person up in Facebook and other places. If the person is logged into Facebook at the time, it will pop up a screen. Clicking will let recipients accept the calls via headsets or computer speakers and microphones, or send it to voice mail. They can also choose to have voice mail messages transcribed and sent to them as text. OrganIP uses Flash technology, which is built into almost every browser in the world, to deliver the audio streams. Calls can also reach recipients on landline or mobile phones through PSTN gateways.

Users can initiate OrganIP calls in one of two ways. The first is by accessing the service's Website through their own browsers. The second is through mobile client software running on smart phones. The software is currently available for Android, with BlackBerry, iPhone, PalmPre, Symbian and Windows Mobile versions to come. If the user is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, OrganIP provides a SIP URI for them to access. Otherwise, it gives them a temporary local phone number to ring to make the connection.

Besides Facebook, OrganIP currently looks up names in Google contacts, as well as via the open .tel directory system. Unsurprisingly, OrganIP parent Digitrad is in the business of issuing .tel addresses. The service will soon search LinkedIn, Plaxo and MSN as well. The goal is to provide instant access to over 700 million social network users. If it succeeds in reaching only a fraction of those, it will be well on the way to replacing phone numbers with names.

Based on their press release, OrganIP's service was suppose to become available in open beta yesterday. Unfortunately, their site says nothing about it, the delay or any other info. that I've found.

Jajah logo
It's worth mentioning that other newcomers are sure to follow suit. Although I personally fail to see its usefulness, another socio-mobile (if I can call it that) service is JAJAH. The service, a month or so ago, launched in beta its @Call feature. The calling service works when a member tweets “@call @twittername.” The tweet will cause both phones to ring, and the Twitterers will be connected without the service sharing either telephone number.

JAJAH@Call also works independent of the platform you use, so whether you use the web, a destkop client, or a mobile application when tweeting, the tweet-to-call service should work without hiccup.

Though pretty unique, JAJAH@Call has some interesting conditions associated with the service, none more interesting than the 2 minute talk time limitation, which the company considers the verbal equivalent of a tweet. Also, in order to work, both parties — caller and recipient — need to be members of the JAJAH@Call service.

I'm curious, are you likely to use either or both services? Let us know in the comments.  ▣

Click here to see Tuesday-only posts.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Quote on Communication

Amongst many others, a company's culture can be measured by observing its inner communication. And in my opinion, to overcome most communication issues requires no more than some common courtesy, respect and consideration.

Given some of the horrendous communication I've observed most recently, I found the following quote very inspirational:

A team is two or more people w/ two things in common: a shared goal and good communication. ~Chuck Bowman

How can you tell if you have good communication within a group? The following, taken from Dyepot Teapot, is really essential within any kind of structure, hierarchical or not:

Good Communication

People bring up questions and problems before they become crises.

Everyone involved is in agreement about each others’ roles and responsibilities.

People readily admit fault and take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

If a person doesn’t immediately have the answer to something, they state this and offer assistance finding the information (as appropriate to their role within the group).

When a person does have answers or information, they share it readily, and don’t use that knowledge to gain more power or control.

Bad Communication

People seem to be withholding concerns or questions, and others who observe this don’t attempt to engage them in the discussion.

Discussions quickly turn into arguments, which may or may not seem relevant to the original topic. (Think of a married couple’s fight on a sitcom.)

Group members often avoid talking to particular people when gathering information or making decisions (going around them).

Outsiders get the sense that there’s an elephant in the room (something on everyone’s minds that no one wants to talk about).

One of my colleagues often talks about how people’s personal and professional lives are linked, particularly when it comes to communication. Most of us enter the adult world with only the (sometimes dysfunctional) patterns we learned at home. It can really kill all of your interactions with other people to not pay attention to the quality of communication you have in each of the parts of your life.  ▣

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