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Technology

‘Knowledge Engine’ Mediander Connects Readers and Publishers

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In case you’ve ever dreamed of a content aggregator focused on the higher end of the cultural ladder, last month’s BookExpo saw the launch of Mediander, a “knowledge engine” and ecommerce site described as your “one-stop destination for all different kinds of content including information, books, and videos.”

Mediander isn’t just a blog or knowledge base; it could serve as the connection between publishers and the literary set that forms their core demographic. As a recent Publishing Perspectives post put it, Mediander “promises an answer for Internet information overload.”

We recently spoke to Michael J. Fine, Founder and CEO, and Kaethe Fine, Creative Director, to learn more.

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Google Rules the Lobbying Roost in D.C.

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We all know that Google is powerful–but a new Politico story goes into a bit more detail about how powerful. As for the why behind the company’s new D.C. office, located “within walking distance of Capitol Hill”:

“The company has hired an army of lobbyists from coast to coast as it seeks to protect its self-driving cars, computer-mounted glasses and other emerging technologies from new rules and restrictions”

It’s not all Washington for Google, though: the company’s aim is to use congressmen and other representatives to help fight various regulations in locales around the country.

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#PRFail: Microsoft Offers To Pay TechCrunch Founder To Promote Internet Explorer

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Today in not-exactly-breaking news: Microsoft Internet Explorer lags well behind both Chrome and Firefox when it comes to overall browser usage (though they’re still ahead of Safari and Opera, whatever that is).

This week, the company “accidentally” committed a big PR no-no in its latest attempt to promote the browser; a “vendor” offered to pay TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington to write a post hyping the “reworked” version of the product.

Arrington responded with a post on UnCrunched expressing his disbelief: “do people still do this?”

Apparently so.

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Google Now Ready to Begin ‘Forgetting’ Europeans

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Last month, several of our favorite PR experts weighed in on a European Union court’s decision to force Google to consider “forgetting” individual Europeans when their search results include unflattering links. The general consensus held that, while this decision could greatly affect European clients, it would almost certainly not spread to the U.S.

Yesterday, however, Google announced that it was ready to begin the process of forgetting. Details after the jump.

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App Gets Far Too Much Press Coverage for Saying ‘Yo’

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Yo, we’ve never been able to resist a passing bandwagon, so we’ll mention the app that everyone’s covering today.

What does it do? It allows users to set up accounts and send a single-word message to fellow users: “Yo.

It’s like an independent version of Facebook’s super-creepy Poke–and it has led to some serious queries among the journalistic community this afternoon…

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THIS JUST IN: Canadian Supreme Court Hearts Internet Trolls

THIS JUST IN 2Discussions about offering the full slate of human rights to certain undesirables began with prisoners. Then, the debate extended to deadbeat dads. A small group of people began using that argument for reality stars.

And now, that heated discussion has Internet trolls in its cross hairs. They create a fake profile, use a fake email, keep the egg head avatar, develop a catchy name like “YourMom” and proceed to hurl hate bombs in your direction.

Today, even the worst trolls have a home. If you want to travel north of the border, don’t get those Canucks miffed because the Canadian Supreme Court could care less about your feelers or their anonymity.

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Aaron Paul TV Ad Accidentally Turns On Xbox Ones, Annoys the Hell Out of People

One of the coolest things about the Xbox One is arguably its Kinect voice command feature, so of course Microsoft would want to highlight this capability in its new ads — but apparently the demonstration is working a little too well.

The new spot features Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” using his Xbox One in all its voice command glory, but when Paul tells his console to turn itself on, he’s accidentally turning on consoles in living rooms everywhere. Xbox One owners have taken to Twitter to share their surprise, amusement, and, at times, sputtering frustration.

 

Intentional? Probably not. Interesting? Definitely. Mike Cannon of Tech Times brings up an eerie thought: if an ad can do this by mistake, how long until marketers start doing it on purpose? Read more

Coming Film She Started It Highlights Female Tech Entrepreneurs

You don’t have to be a big “Silicon Valley” fan to realize that the tech world currently suffers from a dearth of female stars. Many women within the industry–not to mention the PR firms that represent its biggest names–have addressed the issue: Rachel Sklar started the Change the Ratio group in 2010 and Nitasha Tiku of Valleywag recent published a New York Times op-ed hitting at the heart of the matter: encouraging girls to learn code.

Today, via Fast Company’s “Strong Female Lead”, we discovered that two journalists want to take the matter to the masses with their documentary film She Started It, which follows four female tech founders over a yearlong period.

The full piece is well worth a read. While we can’t imagine that a single documentary can bring dramatic change to an industry established in its ways despite its own love of “disruption”, She Started It will, at the very least, bring some much-needed attention to women following their own path in tech.

It could also be a powerful investor relations tool.

The Indiegogo campaign closed one year ago after raising nearly double its $10,000 goal total, and the trailer debuted online last month; the film is set for release in October.

Gamification Livens Up Events

LiveCube LogoGamification has cast a wide net and has been applied to many parts of our personal and business lives. We tuned in remotely to the GSummit in San Francisco this week–and while we didn’t see anyone tackled on the conference stage as in a recent episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, we did hear about the broad inroads gamification has made and the ways in which it’s used for events.

Gamification now enables motivation to be delivered digitally, said analyst Brian Burke of Gartner Group. “All the elements of gamification have been around for years”, he added, like sponsors, contests, points and prizes. The difference now is digital, which offers an improved model to incentivize people. Now with greater connectivity you can scale to an audience of any size, at any location and it takes far less time to reach one’s business or personal goals.

Events are an area where gamification comes in quite handy, especially with event hashtags. Aaron Price, co-founder of LiveCube, acknowledged what those in attendance are familiar with – there are so many distractions that event organizers need to keep the crowd focused. Price’s solution is LiveCube, accessible via website or app, that clients like TEDx have used.

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Starbucks Partners with Duracell to Introduce Wireless Charging Stations

I1402518899000-XXX-San-Jose-2f you’re accustomed to working on your tablet for hours on end at your local Starbucks, but hate crawling surreptitiously underneath strangers’ chairs to access one of the few electrical outlets when your battery dies, the coffee chain’s new partnership with Duracell Powermat was made with you in mind.

Thanks to the scheduled rollout of wireless charging stations, it will soon be even easier for you to stick around and buy that second cup of overpriced coffee without worrying that your device will crap out on you and you’ll actually have to read a book or make conversation (heaven forbid).

The rollout will begin with stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, where customers will be able to simply set their devices down on certain parts of their tabletops to charge them. The company plans to install more that 100,000 such charging stations at Starbucks locations nationwide over the course of the next three years (that’s roughly a dozen per store). Read more

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