“I just met you, but I love you already!”

Do you still remember the cute dog in Disney-Pixar’s movie “Up”, which had an automated collar that could translate his thoughts into human languages? When he first met the little boy in the movie, he looked at him with a waving tail and happy tongue, saying: “I just met you, but I love you already!”

That was the cutest scene I remember from that movie, and now with the help of a new piece of technology designed by toy company Mattel, your doggie can “tweet” to you.

Here is an excerpt from “Mattel taps into social media craze with Puppy Tweets from the L.A. Times:

“Tapping into the social media craze, toy giant Mattel Inc. is preparing to release Puppy Tweets, a high-tech toy that will allow dogs to publicize their everyday activities on Twitter via a sound and motion sensor.

Attached to a dog’s collar, the plastic tag randomly generates one of 500 canned tweets when it detects barking or movement and automatically posts an update to Fido’s own Twitter page.

A round of woofing could lead to a tweet of “I bark because I miss you. There, I said it. Now hurry home.” A frenzied run through the backyard might garner “I finally caught that tail I’ve been chasing, and . . . OOUUUCHH!” “

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww, dog lovers, how cute would that be? Real-time conversations with your doggie, even when you are apart!

Another bit of light-hearted news I came across earlier today (well, considering the nature of the news, maybe light-hearted is not the right word, so please take a moment for a silent tribute and farewell if necessary…after you’ve brushed off the amusement you get from the news) was about people’s response to the imminent death of Internet Explorer 6.

In a report by Techcrunch, a funeral for IE6 will be held by Aten Design Group on March 4. Of all the news I heard recently about the leaving of IE6, this one conferred the most dignity to the departure of this internet veteran that has been with us for almost a decade. Techcrunch cited the following text from the site IE6funeral.com:

“Internet Explorer Six, resident of the interwebs for over 8 years, died the morning of March 1, 2010 in Mountain View, California, as a result of a workplace injury sustained at the headquarters of Google, Inc Internet Explorer Six, known to friends and family as β€œIE6,” is survived by son Internet Explorer Seven, and grand-daughter Internet Explorer Eight.”

IE6, please rest in peace.


From TV to Internet: Commercials at Super Bowl 2010!

Hurray for the New Orleans Saints! Their first Super Bowl trophy in their franchise history! They really pulled out a fantastic show starting from the unexpected twist at the beginning of the second half, that was a real momentum builder, and from that point they just rocked! Cheers also for the four Trojan alumni on the two teams that played tonight! Fight on, Trojans!

Twitter went out of capacity during the Super Bowl Game!

Besides the football game itself, the excessive TV commercials have also become another star in the 4 hour long Super Bowl game! Before the Super Bowl started, Pepsi’s decision to withdraw from airing Super Bowl TV commercial and instead invest in social media has attracted so much attention. To some extent, it also helped show how expensive commercial advertisements for these Super Bowl are! After all, this is the most-watched TV event in America, and every second on TV is worths tens of thousands dollars! Advertisers, watch out for how you spend these seconds!

When I was watching the Super Bowl, I was also tweeting, and I noticed on Twitter that the Twitter trend in Los Angeles area showed “super bowl commercials” and “bowl commercials” as among the top ten tweeted key words, which reveals how talked about these TV commercials are! At one point during the game, Twitter was out of capacity! Too many people were tweeting! Here is the picture I captured to record this historical moment:

Fail Whale! Yay!

Three trends from Super Bowl TV Commercials:

Among all these million-dollar commercials, there are definitely many “awww” ones and many “what a waste of the money” ones, and also some pant-less ones out there. One trend I observed is that today so many brands are using TV commercials to direct their viewers to their website for more information, at the end of most brands’ TV commercials there is usually a link to their websites. Among brands advertising their website were Lexus, NFL, Doritos, Kmart, and companies ranging from every industry. It almost feels like these 30 second commercials are like movie trailers saying, “Wanna watch the whole show? Go to our websites!”

Another trend is that more and more websites and online services are using TV commercials to tap into the mass audience of traditional media, such as Google.com (first ever Super Bowl commercial!), Monster.com, GoDaddy.com, Homeaway.com, Carmax.com, Etrade.com. I especially felt Etrade.com (I have to say their commercial using talking babies are kinda freaky though) and Carmax.com were the two biggest online players with Super Bowl TV Commercials, and the number of their ads almost tied with the number of automobile commercials! Who says that New Media has to always be at war with Traditional Media like TV? They could totally help each other out in some circumstances, just like tonight!

Another interesting trend about the Super Bowl Commercials is that some brands do not just use their TV commercials to direct the viewers to their official webpage, but to their social media webpage like Facebook.com. Honda’s TV commercial served as an intro to their Facebook campaign: Everbody knows somebody who loves a Honda! Most of my friends and family drive Toyota, and I really do not know anyone around me who loves a Honda, but after I participated in their Facebook connection, I did find a friend on the Facebook page who does love Honda, ha, I guess their theory proves true with me! Good job, Honda!

Here is my list for Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials:

The Best: My heart went to the well-crafted, little romantic love story told by the Google commercial, very succinct, very neat, very Google:

Thumbs up: Coca-cola, Honda, Monster.com, Teleflora, Intel, Motorola, KIA

Thumbs down:

Most of those Bud and Bud-light beer commercials were just really silly (in a bad way) and made people who drink Bud Light look really bad!

The worst of the worst:

Vizio Forge: it is sooooo dark, and sooooo scary!

Chrysler’s Dodge Charger: you don’t need to make life feel so dull and miserable just to contrast the joy men may get from driving your car, very depressing!

For people who missed these commercial, you can go to Hulu adzone to review the commercials and vote for your favorite ones! Hulu scores this one! yay!

Twitter: My New Playground

Since I opened my Twitter account last September, I have not been playing around on it until recently. Even though I have not linked my mobile phone to my Twitter account (in order to avoid constant twitter message bombardment), and as a result am missing out on one of Twitter’s most charming features, I have become more and more addicted to Twitter. I have also grown to appreciate Twitter’s usefulness in delivering fast news bites, connecting people in real -time, promoting business brands in creative ways and supporting arts projects and civic movements. Twitter is becoming more and more essential in many social dimensions.

I think one the biggest advantage of Twitter is that it is an open-source platform. With a clear interface and simple functions, it has encouraged many talented people to design thousands of programs to facilitate and enrich other people’s Twitter experience.

Here are some of the serendipities I discovered in this open-source Twitter treasure land:

Their self introduction: “Portwiture grabs photography from Flickr that matches the content of your most recent Twitter updates. The result is a serendipitous visual representation of your Twitter profile.”

Here is my Twitter status in pictures generated by Portwiture:

(Seems my mind stream is quite flowery, but I do not quite understand where these cute frogs came from…)

TweetDeck, Twitterfeed, Socialoomph are the main third-party Twitter tools I use to manage my Twitter account. And no matter what you want to do with your Twitter account, from a simple task like adding a “Follow me on Twitter” button on your blog, to complex tasks like finding out which specific tweet made people follow you or unfollow you, there is always a Twitter tool out there for you. That is the beauty of an open source platform. Just like Paul Graham wrote in his visionary work, The Other Road Ahead, many years ago about the advantages of up-to-date released web applications and server software, the disadvantage of these third party tools are also quite obvious: they are usually launched without enough trial and error, so they are less stable and usually contain many holes and bugs. While enjoying the convenience brought by Twitter tools, you may have to also pay your share by reporting the bugs you encountered to help improve the overall user experience, and expect some malfunctions along the road.

Another interesting tool I just found out is called Trendrr. On its site, it introduces itself , “Trendrr allows you to track the popularity and awareness of trends across a variety of inputs, ranging from social networks, to blog buzz and video views downloads, all in real time. You can even compare trends to one another, monitoring and evaluating this comparison across a variety of sources.” Mashable just did a very interesting report about how it captured the trend of Lady Gaga on many social media platforms and co-related the discussions about Gaga on these platforms with the growing trend of people who actually listen to Gaga’s songs. A clear relationship could be drawn from the comparison, which shows that the buzz from social media can actually bring real business potential.

Some questions regarding the usage of Twitter: in delivering a message campaign, how do we prevent messages sent out to followers from being buried quickly? For the average user who has a huge amount of messages to read or who can update very quickly, a tweet passing onto their display board is just like a shooting star flying across the sky…I know there is a scheduled time-release tweet function, but that does not seem to improve the duration of each tweet that much. I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section!

P.S. I just thought of the other day when I was at Barnes & Noble at the Grove. In the popular business books section, I saw two or three big books selling tips on how to succeed on Twitter. I am really curious how many people would actually dive into these big non-real-time print publications to find the keys to the fast-paced Twitter world?

Hair Is A New Way To Charge Your Cellphone

This piece of news from Engadget.com, “Stanford University shows that clothes make good batteries too“, talks about how a Stanford science group has invented a kind of cloth that can store electricity in it. This reminded me of a recent episode of ABC’s “Modern Family”, where a young girl, Alex, tricked her sister Haley into rubbing her hair to charge her cellphone. Maybe one day this act will not be considered a prank anymore, but instead something everybody does for a legitimate reason, and this day might come very soon! But for now? This episode of “Modern Family” is still funny and really makes me laugh.