Category Archives: Darren and Lily

The Caffeine Challenge

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Fall is coming. While most people are thinking of autumn leaves or starting school, I’m thinking of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.
For the second year in a row, Starbucks executed a notable social media campaign to generate buzz for their highly anticipated seasonal beverage. Rather than simply submitting a vote, users were invited to complete various online challenges and tasks to bring back the popular latte to their cities a week before the drink’s official release date.  Some of the challenges involved simple games like crossword puzzles or answering trivia questions based on Starbucks’ online videos.  In addition, including the “#PSLChallenge” hashtag to your wall posts or tweets on Facebook and Twitter would garner even more points for one’s city. The city with the most points by August 24, 2012, will be rewarded with the debut of the Pumpkin Spice Latte one week earlier than the rest of the country; Leavenworth, WA took the win.
For the most dedicated drinkers, this is a darn near perfect reward. An earlier debut adds a special element to this already popular product and gives the consumer an illusion of empowerment. By participating in the challenge, passionate fans were able to share their excitement with their online communities and generate additional hype for their beloved beverage.
For your average consumer, Starbucks’ promotion still served its purpose—it let us know the latte is back! Whether one was excited about the challenge or not, by seeing others participate, they were exposed to the product virally through tweets, news feeds, and word of mouth. This exposure undoubtedly helps maximize awareness for Starbucks’ other products and offers, which will likely result in a boost in overall sales this upcoming holiday season.
As for me, nothing welcomes the new season better than the flavors that come with it.

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Filed under Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, CPP Dining Services, Darren and Lily, Facebook, Social Media

OUR TOP 10 APPS – and they’re all free!

10. Word with Friends Free

Description:  This multiplayer word game allows players to take turns building words crossword puzzle style with an opponent similar to the classic board game Scrabble. Up to 20 games can be played simultaneously using push notifications to alert players when it is their turn.

Why We Love It:  Aside from the fact that Words with Friends is an easy game to understand and play, its also made our list for the way it’s revolutionized multiplayer gaming on a mobile platform by not requiring two players to be “logged on” at the same time to play.  It’s this concept that allows players to be engaged with one another over a longer timespan all while playing at their own convenience and leisure.

Available on Android and iOS.

 

 

9. Instagram

Description:  This photo app allows you to share photos in a simple photo stream for friends to see. You can pick from one of several filtered effects or tilt-shirt blur to breathe new life into your mobile photos.

Why We Love It:  With mobile devices now sporting some pretty high-tech cameras, we’re more inclined to snap a picture at any given moment. With an app like Instagram, sharing photos we take throughout the day can be done with much more expression and depth.  You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to create and share some really dynamic images. Not only does it allow you to express yourself, but looking through the thousands of photos submitted by other users and friends may trigger some visual creativity all in its own.

Available on Android and iOS.

 

 

8. ESPN ScoreCenter

Description: Never miss a game again! ESPN ScoreCenter brings your scores, news, and standings from hundreds of sports leagues around the world right into the palm of your hand.

Why We Love It: This is a great app for every sports enthusiast. There are always those few games throughout the season that we just aren’t able to tune-in for but now with the ScoreCenter app, users can set notifications to instantly alert your mobile device after every play, quarter, or game. Score!

Available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

7. ABC Player

Description:  The Official ABC Player App allows you to watch your favorite ABC shows for free. In addition, the app also provides the ABC television schedule and closed captioning on select shows.

Why We Love It: Where other television network apps are littered with ads, cluttered with an excessive number of features, and instable from bugs, ABC’s iPad app design outshines the competition by far. We love how the ABC Player interface is clean with your favorite ABC TV shows just a quick tap away. The list of episodes and shows are represented by captivating screen shots, which really “pop” over the app’s dark background.

Available on iOS.

  

6. Yelp

Description: Yelp is a search engine specialized to find nearby places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play. The mobile app also recognizes your location and offers user reviews and ratings.

Why We Love It: Yelp is like that cool friend that you want to take everywhere because they always know what’s good to eat. Other than being extremely helpful when you’re exploring a new city, it’s also a great platform to express your inner food critic.

Available on Android and iOS.

 

 

5. Target for iPad

Description:  The Target app allows shoppers to do more than just browse and purchase items on their iPad. Users can create and organize shopping lists, check prices and availability, check out the weekly ad, and more.

Why We Love It:  Other retail store apps optimize the database of their official website into a “mobile friendly” experience, while Target’s iPad app has embraced the gorgeous 10-inch screen in such a beautiful way. Upon opening the app, you’ll find a map, weekly ad, shopping lists, and even a bobble head of the Target Dog mascot sitting on a virtual table countertop. What does this do? It welcomes us into a much more colorful and visually pleasing shopping experience. Not to mention, the app also pinpoints the exact location of the items inside of the store.

Available on iOS. Other Variations available on Android.

 

 

4. Shazam

Description: Shazam is a lightning fast tagging app can recognize tunes in less than a minute, which allows users to discover new music and TV shows on the go.

Why We Love It: Don’t you hate when you’re out shopping and you can’t identify the song playing on the radio? Thankfully, with a touch of a button, Shazam let’s us know what’s playing! There’s also the option to purchase the song or share your findings to all your friends.

Available on Android, Blackberry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phone.

 

 

3. Newsstand

Description:  Built into any device with iOS 5, the Newsstand app offers a convenient place to shelve all the print publication you love to read– such as newspapers, magazines, and journals– in a digital interactive form.

Why We Love It:  Imagine picking up an issue of GQ magazine with a photo of Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose on the front cover. Tap on the headline and you’re automatically taken to the feature article. In addition, you’re even treated to an exclusive interview video alongside the article. Nylon and GQ are prime magazine examples, offering a unique interactive user interface, while featuring high-resolution photos and behind the scenes videos that your regular paper magazine is incapable of delivering.

Available as a part of iOS 5.

 

 

2. Pandora

Description: Pandora is a personalized Internet radio service that plays music based on your favorite song, artist, or composer. You can enjoy your music right from your mobile phone, tablet, or e-reader.

Why We Love It: What’s not to love? Free music (with limited ads) is always a win in our book. When logged into their account, users can create stations that are synced across multiple mobile devices and tablets – that means you can listen to your favorite music almost anywhere.

Available on Android, Blackberry, iOS, Palm Pre, Nook, Kindle Fire.

 

 

1. Flipboard

Description: Flipboard is a social magazine personalized to let you flip through your Facebook newsfeed, tweets from Twitter, photos from Instagram, and videos from YouTube – all in one place!

Why We Love It: Flipboard filters out all the nonsense and allows us to organize articles based on our interests. The beautifully designed interface and relevant feeds can keep you engaged for hours. Download Flipboard and say goodbye to your Sunday afternoon – in a good way!

  • Recommended Boards: Health, Style, Lifestyle, refinery29, Pick the Brain.

Available on Android and iOS.

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Filed under Apple, Darren and Lily, iPad, Social Media, Technology, Twitter, Uncategorized

iLost, iFound

A few months back, we wrote an article about how tablet devices, like an iPad, make up such an impactful part of our daily lives. We take meeting notes, play games, and communicate with loved ones from our iPads everyday.  The same can be said about our smart phones, which act as a communication portal to the world beyond what’s immediately in front of us. It’s this kind of technology that has been so welcomed into our lives that we never leave the house without it.  However, what happens when such an important piece of technology is taken from us?

Our coworker, Nora Fernandez, was at her son’s graduation. Amongst the celebration of the ceremony, the excitement, and proud, warm feelings she felt for her son’s accomplishment, tragedy struck. Her purse, which also contained her iPad, had been stolen. She frantically looked around but it was nowhere to be found and amongst the thousands of people there, all hope was lost of ever seeing it again.

“Just when I thought it was gone forever, a family friend told me that I can download a free app on my iPhone to locate it,” explained Nora.

That app was called Find My iPhone. It allows you to see the location of your Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac, on a map, which may help you in recovering it.

At first Nora didn’t think it would work. Let’s face it, when your iPad is stolen in a busy crowded place, it’s as good as gone. On top of that, Nora’s iPad carries more than its hefty price tag. It contains meeting notes, emails, personal contacts, and much more. Not to mention, the priceless photos she had just taken of her son’s graduation ceremony were considered forever lost.

Nora immediately took advantage of some of the app’s basic features. From her iPhone, she was able to remotely lock her iPad with a passcode, which protects all the information and data on it.  Additionally, she was able to send messages to her stolen iPad asking the culprits to return it. If they were nearby, she would know immediately because each time she sent messages, a two-minute chime would ring out from the iPad.

After several attempts, it was clear that the iPad and the culprits were no longer in the general vicinity. That’s when Nora decided to turn to the app’s main feature: locating the iPad on a map using its built-in GPS technology. Within a few short seconds, she discovered that the iPad was located 25 miles away at a small restaurant. With the help of local authorities, Nora was able to confront the culprits who then admitted to stealing the purse and iPad. While the iPad was damaged during the theft, she was able to get a replacement model after sharing her incredible story with Apple’s customer service.

“It’s so great to know that there’s technology capable of doing this,” said Nora. “I always knew this kind of technology existed but never imagined that it would directly benefit me on such a personal level.”

Oftentimes, we purchase devices like iPads or iPhones with only the specs in mind. Which one takes better pictures? Which is faster or has a bigger screen? The true value is only realized after owning one, which is based on how we use it and what we capture with it. In Nora’s case, Find My iPhone did more for her than locate her iPad. Years from now, she’ll be able to look back on the memory of her son’s graduation and not have it tainted with having lost her possessions.

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Filed under Apple, Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Darren and Lily, iPad, Technology

NBA – Where #BIG (Social Media) Things Happen

Fortunately, my favorite NBA team isn’t the Los Angeles Lakers – or the Los Angeles Clippers.

Unfortunately, as a resident of Southern California, this means I can’t cheer for my team from the stands or watch them dominate the league unless they’re being nationally televised.

Luckily, the NBA understands the global impact of the Internet and is devoted with their social media endeavors, which allows me to connect with my favorite team and fellow fans from anywhere in the world.

From a fan’s standpoint, the league’s social media efforts are highly beneficial and exceptionally entertaining. I am able to catch exclusive highlights on YouTube, humor myself by scrolling through fan arguments on Facebook, read about the latest rivalries on multiple blogs, and (my favorite part) interact with the league, teams, and individual players right on Twitter.  Receiving live play-by-play tweets is icing on the cake when a crucial game I desperately want to watch isn’t nationally televised.

From a marketer’s perspective, the NBA’s social media model is the ultimate prototype to strive for. Other sports leagues may have a presence on multiple social media platforms but with a ratings increase of 52 percent over the past year and merchandise sales up 30 percent, the NBA outplays every league by far.

Along with traditional social outreach campaigns, the global brand extends it’s reach by collaborating with broadcasting networks to actively encourage fans to send in tweets, which are then shown on-air. This generates buzz, increases likeability and ultimately allows the league to form a stronger relationship with their fans.

With these creative channels of interaction and communication for its viewers, the conversations and excitement between plays is now open to thousands of other fans beyond those sitting next to you on the couch.

Unfortunately, my favorite team was eliminated early on in this year’s NBA Playoffs but my hopes are still high and I’ll be staying up-to-date through the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds during off-season. Without naming any names, I’ll just have to continue to #SEERED and wait for next year.

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Filed under Darren and Lily, Random, Social Media

Making “This is Your Moment”

How do you convince someone to do something? An effective presentation of an idea can do the trick but if done incorrectly, you may end up coming off as annoying or even offensive. After all, you’re imposing your ideas on to someone else. It’s a tricky process because in order to really convince someone of an idea, you’d have to help that person realizeunderstand, and accept your idea as his or her own belief.

We realized that making a video directly promoting Grad Fair presented a couple of concerns due to the nature of the event and the people we’re targeting.

First, there are people who plan to walk at commencement, which holds a high chance that they’re already interested in attending Grad Fair. They don’t need any convincing. They’re already set on their attendance and any further attempt to push the importance Grad Fair on them may just come off as annoying.

Second there are people who won’t be attending Grad Fair because they don’t plan to walk.  That became our target audience for our video: This is Your Moment.

The trick in creating the concept for our video was not to talk about 20% off deals or $60 savings. Frankly those specials mean nothing to an audience of people who have no need for graduation merchandise. Instead, we took a different approach.

This is Your Moment doesn’t sell Grad Fair by telling the viewers about the exclusive cap & gown packages.  Rather, it delivers powerful messages from the experienced—those who’ve graduated themselves. It offers the soon-to-be Grads the opportunity to realize the importance of Graduation and the accomplishment they are about to achieve.

If the viewer can realize the importance of Graduation, understand that this is their moment, and accept the decision to walk at commencement, then they’re convinced.

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Filed under Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Darren and Lily, Social Media, YouTube

Grad Fair Games 2012

Why don’t students want to walk at commencement? It seems as though we’re always struggling to jump through the same hoop every year as we’re drawing together a campaign to increase sales for Bronco Bookstore’s Grad Fair.

Luckily, as recent graduates, we were able to quickly joggle our memories to identify a clear answer.

We enter that first year of college with our minds and spirits full of curiosity. Every new experience that college introduced brought that sensation of tingly butterflies. This feeling was then magnified by the spontaneity of second and third year.

However, by the fourth year, we were itching with a bad case of Senioritis and by the time we dragged ourselves to the end of our wonderful collegiate journey, we were ready to GTFO. Ahem, get out.

It was all getting stale and repetitive. The last thing on our minds was to sit through a tedious ceremony draped in an oversized gown.

A student’s bond with college starts to spiral downward as it progresses. Even after years of impactful experiences and accomplishments, college has become a dull, never ending chore. The excitement of walking has now been warped into an unnecessary task added to their dragging list.

Now back to the drawing board. We began to explore a wide range of ideas in hopes of sprouting enthusiasm for our upcoming graduates. We had to mold the chore of purchasing a cap and gown at Grad Fair into a memorable experience that they’d want to share with their friends and family.

Enter Grad Fair Games – a campaign that consists of a series of games and events designed to spark excitement and anticipation for the culmination of our students’ years of hard work and dedication: graduation.

Grad Fair Games is strategically coordinated to run throughout the month of April, with events taking place every week leading up to Grad Fair 2012. In this multi-day campaign, upcoming grads are invited to participate in two games: “Grad Pong” and “Grad Hoopla.”

In “Grad Pong,” students are given a chance to toss a ping-pong ball into a cup (yes, just like beer pong) that may reward them with a prize.  After sinking that shot, they can try their luck at “Grad Hoopla,” where the aim is to propel a flower-covered hula-hoop over a mannequin donned in commencement attire.

With our third activity, “Photo Booth with Billy Bronco,” students are invited to take a picture with Cal Poly Pomona’s mascot, who’s suited up in a traditional cap and gown.

As all this is happening, our “Grad Walkers,” fully dressed in graduation attire, mingle amongst crowds during the school’s peak hours to distribute flyers. This stunt sprouts curiosity and sparks questions about Grad Fair, which results in anticipation for commencement.

By engaging graduates in lively, hands-on activities, it entices them to share their experience with their social circle, which is why we top off Grad Fair Games by complimenting each activity with a social media aspect. Photos from each event will be tagged and uploaded onto Bronco Bookstore’s Facebook and Flickr. Videos will also be compiled for YouTube.

Grad Fair Games ultimately allows our graduates to unwind and live in the moment that they have worked endlessly for during the past few years. It reminds them that purchasing graduation merchandise and walking at commencement are not just additional chores to be checked off at the end of their list. It’s a celebration of the most important achievement of their lives.

For more information about Grad Fair Games and Grad Fair 2012: facebook.com/BroncoBookstore.

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Filed under Bronco Bookstore, Darren and Lily, Work Days

Our Modern Family

Using an iPad to be a part of the Social Age doesn’t require that you be tech-savvy, less than 35 years old, or speak fluent English. Many people stray away from new technology with the assumption that it’s too difficult to use.  There shouldn’t be stereotypes classifying who could benefit from a tablet. Just as the Social Age can open up anyone’s world, tablet technology can be utilized by anyone. Their simplistic designs and interfaces don’t require that you be part of the Geek Squad or have any experience with computers.

Let us share with you our stories with two individuals whose personal experiences have demonstrated to us the power and possibilities of new tablet technologies.

[LILY]

I can barely explain to my 58-year-old mother how to change the video input on our TV or how to increase the ringtone volume on her flip phone without having to repeat myself a good 4-5 times. Yet, she has absolutely no problem launching an Angry Bird towards a pile of strategically stacked pigs – on her iPad.

Late last October, I purchased an iPad as an early birthday surprise for my mom. As she was unveiling her gift, she exclaimed, “Wow, thank you … what is it?”

Ouch. I think my heart just cracked a little. I know my savings did.

I just spent a ridiculous amount on this tablet and I will make sure she knows exactly what it is. I tried to explain to her to the best of my ability in broken Vietnamese (she doesn’t speak much English) that it’s almost identical to her iPod Touch – but now she can actually see the screen!

After my many pauses and horribly butchered pronunciations, she understood. And thus, began my 58-year-older mother’s journey into the Social Age.

Prior to handing it to her, I adjusted her settings to display Vietnamese instead of

English, which made it less of a struggle for her to navigate. I also synced her previously created accounts, iTunes applications, and added her list of contacts.

Already familiar with games from her iPod, she had no problem adjusting to flinging those Angry Birds with the iPad’s much bigger screen. Her favorite games also include Fruit Ninja HD, Slots Free for iPad, and Coin Dozer – World Tour.

Not only does her iPad act as a form of entertainment, it serves as a convenient tool for her to communicate with her five adult children.

She frequently refreshes the Weather+ Free app to check the weather for several different areas. A swipe for where each of her five children reside and once for her work location.

I often see her composing an email or conversing on the phone with my sister from Chicago. Sure enough, she’s letting my sister know that it’ll be snowing there soon and to remember to dress my nieces warmly for school. Last Christmas, my sister was also able to give my parents a grand tour of her new home using Skype on the iPad.

My siblings are always teasing at how our mother is now more technologically advanced than they are. I’ll surely take credit for that feat.

Just less than six months ago, my mom had no idea what an iPad is and now her daily routine can’t go without one.

[DARREN]

My Grandma is 81 years old; definitely not the first person you’d think to enter the Social Age on her own. She knows the basic functions of her DVD/VCR combo player and does own a computer. However, it can be frustrating to hear that, “The computer broke,” when really it was just a program that needed an update, the Internet was being slow, or her mouse ran out of batteries. A computer can do so much, but with all of its capabilities comes a whole slew of complexities and issues that even I sometimes find confusing. Despite her age, she has always been open to new technology but it was time to take a simpler approach.

When she unwrapped her iPad last Christmas, she was intrigued. Something so simple, portable, and button-less left many questions. Where’s the keyboard? What’s a touchscreen? What does it do? She knew nothing of tablet devices, let alone ever hearing the term, “iPad” before. However, we would soon learn that her age wouldn’t act as a barrier when it came to embracing the device.

I started simple and downloaded a few games while showing her the basic features of the new device. Various apps including Angry Birds, Fishy Slots HD and an interactive, talking cat instantly became her favorites. She also enjoyed how easy it was to play Mah Jong by simply tapping the little app icon. On her computer, she had to open up the web browser, remember which username and password to use in order to log in into her Yahoo account, and then search the game servers for an open game. There was no buttons and no mouse—just the ease of touching and swiping.

Then came the ultimate test. I was sitting at home fiddling on my iPhone. That’s when I decided to see how well my Grandma would handle answering a FaceTime video chat call. I dialed her up and it rang a few times, so I imagined that she was staring at the incoming call and being utterly confused until it would stop ringing. Instead, the image of her smiling face showed up on my screen. A connection was made! The first thing she said was, “I’ve been trying to shoot these Angry Fish for almost an hour now!” I laughed and said, “They’re Angry Birds, Grandma. Not fish.” It was a much easier correction than dealing with driver updates or Internet popups. More importantly, for the first time ever, she was communicating with her grandson through her new iPad, and thus bringing her into the Social Age.

As we’ve said before—through working, playing and living, the Social Age is all around us. Yet, many people repel from the latest gadgets with the assumption that they won’t be able to adapt to the unfamiliarity of modern devices.

Let these two women be grand examples of how openness to new technology can truly transform and improve the way you connect with the things and people you care most about. As our stories have demonstrated, once you allow yourself to conquer the fear of the unknown, you too, can be a part of what’s current and new. It’s a lot easier than you think.

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Filed under Apple, Darren and Lily, iPad, Technology