Double tap: Instagram milestones throughout the years

Double tap: Instagram milestones throughout the years
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Through Instagram, users can share magnificent photos and at the same time engage followers and targeted audience. Instagram photos often tell so much about the person – their daily activities, moods and outlook. Their creative side is also revealed through Instagram.

As the number one photo social platform Instagram reached a milestone of 300 million monthly active users, it announced the introduction of verified badges for celebrities, athletes and popular brands.

The verified badge will allow users to easily find and connect with authentic accounts. Instagram is undoubtedly the most popular photo sharing app with more than 70 million photos posted daily.

instagramInstagram was launched on October 6, 2010 as an exclusive app available for iOS devices. After more than two months, its community has reached one million users. On March 2011, it sponsored the first worldwide Instameet, a real-life, offline gathering of Instagrammers or Instagram users in different parts of the globe. And on April 2012, Instagram joined the Facebook family.

Now, it boasts of 300 million monthly active users with more than 30 billion photos shared and 2.5 million daily likes. More than 70% of Instagram users are outside the U.S.

No need to be a professional photographer when using Instragram. Just use its filters and you’re good to go. If you think that Instagram’s settings and features are limited, make use of third-party apps like photo editor, red eye reduction, tilt shift, textured filters, add typography and more.

In the past months, Instagram introduced the following developments:

December 2013 – introduction of Instagram Direct

March 2014 – Unveiling of faster and sleeker Instagram for Android

June 2014 – Introduction of Creative Tools

August 2014 – Instagram Hyperlapse

November 2014 – Discovery and Caption Editing

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Pirate Bay down: Death of an era

Pirate Bay down: Death of an era
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This week, Sweden-based file-sharing and downloads site The Pirate Bay was shut down by authorities following a raid in one of its server rooms. and other mirror sites were immediately shut down after Stockholm police seized servers, computers and other equipment believed to be used by operators of the notorius file-sharing site.

The Pirate Bay was established in 2003 and reached a peak of 22 million users.

The site is known to offer links to torrents for file sharing. Owners of copyrighted digital content — movies, music, books and other multimedia content, assert that copyright infringement includes copying.

The Pirate Bay offers links to torrents for file sharing, Kramm stressed, and the rights owners state that copying is a copyright infringement – despite the internet being “a huge copying machine.”

film-162029_1280In 2009, its co-founders Carl Lundstroem, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg were convicted with copyright infringement.

When authorities first raided the site eight years ago in 2006, supporters went out to protest. Now, even its former founder seems happy that the site is now offline. In his blog, Copy Me Happy, former The Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sund said “the site was ugly, full of bugs, old code and old design.”

“It never changed except for one thing – the ads. More and more ads was filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful they somehow ended up even worse,” said Sunde who spent five months in jail this year due to copyright infringement.

Other mirror sites of the notorious downloads site were also vanished from the Internet. Whether The Pirate Bay could make a comeback or remain a history, we have yet to see.

To watch or stream movies and shows online on your iOS, Android devices and streaming boxes without violating copyright laws, try these:


Netflix is the most popular streaming video-on-demand and disc rental service in the U.S. It offers various subscription plans.


Hulu is an ad-supported online video service. Users can watch for free or avail of the Hulu Plus subscription service.


The site offers 10,000 free movies including popular titles, film noirs, documentaries and short films.


This multi-platform video entertainment network is available on a wide-range of devices. It offers movies and shows from Sony and other original content.

Popcorn Flicks

This site has over 1,500 documentaries, foreign films, unique original web series and free films.

Amazon Instant Video

Users can buy or rent movies, TV shows, documentaries from a wide selection of 40,000 titles. The site offers unlimited streaming with Prime Instant Videos

Youtube Movies

Buy and watch full-length movies from Youtube’s movie channel

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Protect yourself from hackers

Protect yourself from hackers
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The great ‘Sony hacking of 2014’ leaves us with important stuff to think about on how we handle our online security.

If hackers can breach the computer security of a corporate media giant like Sony, get hold of massive information and dump it online, then that leaves us – bloggers and netizens — all the more vulnerable to hacking.

We don’t want our personal information, photos and videos accessed by hackers. To lessen the risks of being a victim of online security breach, hacking or identity theft, here are a few tips:

Keep your anti-virus software up to date

Protect yourself from hackersHackers often use malicious software or malware to work around security firewalls and access information of targets. Always keep your desktop, laptop and smartphone clean and free from malware by keeping your anti-virus reliable and up-to-date.

Malware is generated by the hundreds on a daily basis. It won’t hurt you to subscribe to anti-virus and anti-malware softwares to block unwanted codes and scripts that can harm your computer system.

Use 2-step verification for online accounts

Passwords or passphrases are not enough to keep your online accounts safe and secure.

Two-step verification is an additional security to your accounts – Google, Yahoo, Apple ID, iCloud and social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.

Through this security step, a one-time code is sent to your mobile phone. You can use that code, together with your password to access your online accounts.

Using two-step verification takes more time and effort that your usual username and password combination. But if it can give you an added sense of security, why not give it a try.


Image credits for this weeks’ posts:

Christmas rush, Christmas ball from

Self Portrait ,sunset selfie from

Security, Old Close Hack from

Some rights reserved.

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What makes a good ‘selfie’

What makes a good ‘selfie’
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Everyone is taking ‘selfies’ and posting them online.

Remember that one star-studded ‘selfie’ that crashed Twitter and went viral for days on the Internet? Yes, the Oscars ‘selfie’ posted by Ellen De Generes last March still holds the record of the most shared ‘selfie’ – a total of 3.3 million shares and 2 million favorites.

‘Selfies’ are here to stay whether we like it or not. People have different reactions to ‘selfies.’ It’s either you love or hate ‘em.

A ‘selfie’ is defined as a picture with your face in it, you took the photo yourself and it is shared on the Internet — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media accounts for the entire world to see. Companies also use selfies for marketing campaigns. Depending on how you see it, posting and viewing ‘selfies’ can be fun. It can chronicle your activities. It can show your your mood and outlook on a particular day.

self portrait

But there are unwritten etiquettes when taking ‘selfies’. Here are a few reminders for a responsible ‘selfie’ journey.

Be responsible. Have fun when taking and posting ‘selfies’ and try not to share incriminating personal images. Be careful what you post online. Stuff you post on the Internet basically stays there forever. Even if at one point you delete your website, blog or social media account, words and images we put on the Internet remains eternal.

Be mindful where you take your ‘selfie.’ There are many selfies taken in unappropriate or sensitive locations or situations — wake or funeral, accident spots or scene of a crime. No matter how you look like or why you’d took them in the first place, those are considered as bad ‘selfies.’

Be considerate of the situation and other people when taking photographs in public places. Respect the privacy of other people and try not to offend anyone when taking a ‘selfie.’

Your safety comes first. Surely we don’t want any ‘selfie’ mishap. No good photograph, or selfie for that matter, is ever worth your life. Be practical and sensible when taking selfies. Think of your safety first and never attempt to take daredevil selfies. Case in point — don’t take a selfie in while you’re driving in a moving traffic and don’t attempt to take a selfie in dangerous locations. Never, ever put your life in danger for a photograph.

Moderate your selfies. One or two or three ‘selfies’ a day can be acceptable. But ‘selfies’ documenting every minute of your waking hour can be annoying to some. Keep your selfies to a minimum and resist the urge to share every little detail about your daily activities.

Don’t monopolize. There is actually a recommended ratio of ‘selfies’ and other photos that you can post on your social networks. It’s 1:8 or one ‘selfie’ for every eight regular photos. Flooding your timeline with ‘selfies’ is the best way to lose followers online.

Don’t look stupid. This is quite self-explanatory. If you can, avoid the duck face and the peace signs on your ‘selfies’. Just flash a sincere smile to look and feel your best on your ‘selfies.’

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Good ol’ tricks to beat the holiday rush

Good ol’ tricks to beat the holiday rush
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Christmas and New Year is just around the corner. Every one’s rushing to finish urgent tasks before the calender flips. And there’s so little time for so many things that needs to be done.

You still have two weeks. Don’t spend it rushing, running about and worrying. Get through the holidays with a breeze and don’t let the yearend blues get to you.

Christmas rush

Here are a few reminders on how to survive the holiday rush:

Prioritize and make a list. If it worked for Santa and his little elves in the North Pole, then it would work for you too. List the tasks that you need to accomplish before the year ends. Sort out your priorities.

Stick to the most important ones and make separate lists for work and personal stuff. Whether it’s a deal you have to close at work or a class reunion that you have to attend, be sure to mark it in your calendar and to-do lists.

Be realistic with your targets. The holidays sometimes give us an extra push, an adrenaline kick that keeps us going at whatever it is we’re doing until we’re almost exhausted and we’ve lost track of time and day.

To avoid this mad rush, follow the first tip – prioritize and make a list of to-dos. BUT don’t overachieve. Don’t try to accomplish in such a short time the tasks that you would normally do in a month or two. Keep your targets and expectations in check.

Beat the blues. Holidays are normally joyous season but it is also a time when people get so anxious, sad and frustrated. If you forgot the first two tips above and got too overwhelmed with the season and the stress that comes with it, you’re surely experience what they call as the ‘holiday blues’.

These sudden feeling of sadness are often caused by financial, mental, and physical stress, fatigue due to work, unrealistic expectations and so many demands of the season.

You can’t entirely avoid the stress but you can cope better if you keep a healthy work-life balance.

Give yourself time to relax and recover

Our mind and bodies need time to recover strength. After a full day or an entire week of work, be sure to have some time to yourself.

Give yourself a few hours or an entire day of ‘me time’ and put away your laptop and your smartphone. Don’t check your work email and your Twitter. Just cozy up in your bed, fix yourself a good cup of coffee and pick up that book you never got to finish. Go away for a weekend to bond with your spouse and kids. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Sleep a few hours more on a Sunday.

If you’ve been working too hard, stop for a while. Do a mental check of what you want to do for yourself. You’ll never run out of things to do. Take time to congratulate and reward yourself. You deserve it.

Take each day both as a challenge and a blessing.

Sometimes you wish you’re spending an easy day warming up on the beach instead of working in the office. If you feel and think like this at any given time of the day, take a minute or two and just breathe.

Situations at work and home sometimes get to us. Challenge yourself to get through the day. Try to stay still for a few minutes and just breathe your stress away. Breathe be thankful for what you have.

Share what you have

Being appreciated by others for what we do can do wonders to our self-confidence. But it is even more fulfilling to share what we have with others. If you’re getting holiday gifts in advance this time of the year, it might be good to share them.

We can also share our time, at least a few hours of it, to do volunteer work. Share a sincere smile with your boss, your office mate or a stranger on the street. It will warm up your day and it will feel good.

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Christmas 2014 Gift-Giving Guide

Christmas 2014 Gift-Giving Guide
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It’s Christmas season once more, and it’s time to start buying gifts for the ones you love. We’re excited to give you guidelines and ideas on what to stuff in your friends’ and family’s Christmas socks.

Christmas Giving Guidelines:

Christmas Gift Ideas

  • Go unique. Gifts showcase either how much you know the person, or what you believe the person would either want or need. Everyone would love something memorable, fun, or thoughtful. So if there’s something quirky about your friend or family member, that’s a great starting point for what to give them. If they are into crafts or hobbies, it’s a great touch to start with that.
  • Go creative. Do you bake? Knit? Crochet? Do cross stitch? Then you can start a project for a few select and special people and create your gifts from scratch. If you make fruitcakes and you know a few people who actually appreciate a great fruitcake, now is the right time to get one started! On the flip side, you may also get crafting, baking, cooking, or even barbecue equipment for the special people in your life.
  • Go useful. If you aren’t really the observant type, or if you’re giving to someone you’ve hung out with for just weeks or months, it’s best to go with something they’d be able to use. Universal ideas would be mugs, glasses, or even phone accessories.


Gadgets. Your gramma is the perfect person to experiment on. Sure, there’s a learning curve for learning how to use today’s newfangled technology, but certain toys like the iPad are perfect for people who are first-time gadget users. For family, the joy of tech could be the perfect gift to give this Christmas.

  • For family members who will have to deal with a learning curve in using a new gadget, choose a user-friendly device such as a Mac or an iPad. It’s perfect for your gramps, your mom, your dad, or other people who need tech handholding.
  • For family members who are notorious for their geekery and modding, try getting a more challenging machine, such as a Motorola Android, or even a Raspberry Pi kit.

Christmas Gifts CollageHousehold Gadgetry. Did you know that there’s such as thing as the “BBQ Briefcase”? If your dad fancies himself as the Big Kahuna of barbecue grilling, we’re thinking it’s the perfect thing to get him. If you’re giving a gift to a yuppie living the fast-paced apartment life, they might thank you for a breakfast gadget such as a sandwich maker. Or take the gift-giving a notch higher with a rotating pizza oven, and your pizza-loving friend may thank you for it.

Accessories. Yes, the economy is bad, and people will definitely excuse you for your belt-tightening measures. One way to be able to save on gift-giving is just getting a cool accessory for your friend or family member’s phone, tablet or laptop. Find out what their favorite color or pattern is, and choose that for the accessories you’ll get them.

Entertainment Items. Some people frown upon receiving iTunes gift cards or music subscriptions, while some would be happy to receive credits for that game they’ve been wanting to get. Find out if your intended recipient welcomes gifts like these, and if they have a particular service, website, membership or subscription that they prefer, and get credits for those. I know a few people who would totally love Big Fish Games credits!

Toys And Hobby Items. Like we mentioned in our suggestion to “Go creative,” gifts that encourage your gift receivers’ love for their particular craft or hobby is a great touch. If they don’t have crafting hobbies, a great idea would be to get their toys of choice. Nerf guns sound like a really great thing to get. For those who are into other things, such as, say, Lego, or doll collecting, toys in line with their passions would be a great idea.

Don’t get stuck trying to figure out what to get your friends and family this Christmas. With these ideas, you’ll be able to wrap up the gifts for the ones you love, right in the nick of time!

For more ideas, check out this list: — 100 Most Unique Christmas Gifts of 2014


Photo Credits: Christmas by George Hodan/, Bbq Briefcase/, Goods: Rotating Pizza Oven, Gray Sandwich Maker, Red Sandwich Maker, Griddler, Pixabay Pictures by: novelrobinson, pkorzenecki, Counselling, Big Fish Games photo: Canadian Free Stuff

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Social Media Trends For 2014

Social Media Trends For 2014
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Let’s face it: Social media is now an integral part of our marketing campaigns. It’s always good practice to keep abreast of the changes and the trends, as this part of the way things work in today’s world is growing at a rather fast pace, faster than other fields.

In a recent report released by the Global Web Index (GWI), these are the current growth rates of the social media networks for 2014:

  • Tumblr: 120%
  • Pinterest: 111%
  • Instagram: 64%
  • Facebook: 2%

These numbers are only about the new users and signups for 2014.

Here are the overall usage rates for social media:

GWI Social

  • YouTube has the highest visitation rates, enjoying 85%, while Facebook enjoys 76%.
  • Facebook still has the lion’s share of the market, 4 in 5 users globally, excluding China. In fact, 93% of Latin American online users use Facebook.
  • 91% of the users surveyed visited either YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ within the time frame of the study.
  • Even though Facebook still has the lion’s share of the social media market, at 83% of the sample size outside China, enjoying 47% of active usage, YouTube memberships are up at 63%, while Google+ is at 62%. Twitter is enjoying 55% of social media use across the globe.
  • The younger audiences, aged 16 to 34 are on Tumblr and Instagram, while Facebook enjoys the usage share of older users, with 25% of their active accounts being held by users aged 45+.

The study also emphasized the usage trend that’s shifting and leaning more heavily towards the mobile platforms.

Here are the stats for mobile messaging use:

  • Snapchat has grown 56% in 2014.
  • WhatsApp once overtook Facebook Messenger, but figures have stabilized with WhatsApp enjoying 25% of the market share, while FB Messenger holds 27%.

What do these figures mean?

  • It’s time to explore Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, especially if you’re targeting a younger market.
  • YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should still be integral components of your marketing campaigns.
  • If you’re targeting an older market, it would be best to concentrate your efforts on Facebook.
  • China is a wide-open market, but the government restrictions on internet usage may make it a very tricky market to explore or crack wide open.
  • It’s high time to consider using an ad service that puts your ads on the mobile platform, as a growing number of users are going online using their mobiles.

More of the facts and figures for social media are available on the Global Web Index report on Scribd: Globalwebindex’s Quarterly Report On The Latest Trends In Social Networking.


Leverage the trends for your marketing strategy!

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Flipboard Got It Right First: Flipboard Optimized The Mobile User Experience Back In 2010

Flipboard Got It Right First: Flipboard Optimized The Mobile User Experience Back In 2010
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FastCompany was quick to point out the move from traditional GUI’s for social media, news, and even email, to a more mobile-friendly layout that encourages flipping through details or scrolling through grouped and categorized items on your email. But years before everybody made that mad dash to this new format, Flipboard already understood the ergonomics, design, and principles that optimize a mobile user’s experience.

flipboard got it right first

Founded in 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll, Flipboard started out as a quest to “Transform how people discover and share content by combining the beauty and ease of print with the power of social media.” Mike McCue was the former CEO of Tellme, while Evan Doll was a former Senior iPhone Engineer at Apple. With this quest, they built a beautiful app that set the standard for how news should be aggregated, and even how social media should be formatted.

Way before the guys at Facebook figured out that Paper would be a better way to showcase stories on Facebook, Flipboard already figured it out and executed the app really well, too.

To make your experience really awesome, we suggest you create a Flipboard account, and configure your social networks with Flipboard, too. Enjoy flipping through your news!



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Eating Your Way To Better Productivity

Eating Your Way To Better Productivity
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Your health, especially the things you eat, affect your productivity. While most of us never think twice about the things we stuff in our mouths, the truth is that food is fuel. The quality of what we take in also determines what it does in our bodies. The manner by which we take them in also determines how they affect our bodies. So we give you tips on what food to take in, as well as how to take in food, in a way that helps it boost your productivity.

Sugar. According to several Productivity & Food articles, our bodies need around 25g of sugar to keep brain function at an optimum level. That’s the amount that one can find in one banana. The thing is, though, not all sugar sources have the same effect: Some foods dispense sugar at a faster rate, while others dispense sugar at a slower rate. The measure for that is called the “Glycemic Index.” The lower the glycemic index, the slower the release of the sugar into the bloodstream. Donuts, as well as other processed carbohydrate sources, tend to have a high GI. This is why, when you eat a donut, you’ll get a “sugar crash” immediately after you eat it, making you feel lousy, even confused.

A great thing to incorporate into your eating habits is checking the Glycemic Index values of the food you eat, so that you will be aware how the food gets ingested and how the sugar gets released into your bloodstream.


Eat Breakfast. Most of us skip breakfast because we’re in a hurry, or we’d rather have a few minutes more of sleep as opposed to being able to prepare breakfast. However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day: Skip it, and you cause your metabolism to go out of whack. Skipping breakfast causes your body to be alarmed, thinking that it is in fasting/starvation mode. So take that banana or fruit in the morning, or prepare a bowl of oatmeal the night before, and just take it to work and eat it there.

Things That Promote A Happy Brain: When you’re depressed, you note that you are less productive than usual. You’ll probably feel slow, and you would actually BE slow. This is a sign that your neurotransmitters are at a low. And this is your cue to replenish them. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals transmit signals across a synapse (the gap between neurons/nerve cells) from one neuron to another. They are responsible for sending signals across your brain. In short, they are responsible for helping you to think fast, to focus, or to stay happy. There are foods that promote the creation or release of neurotransmitters, and we will elaborate in a latter article.


As a clue, here are the brain-promoting foods that should be in your diet:


  • Tryptophan and tyrosine from complex carbs and dairy.
  • Amino acids from great protein sources, such as deep-sea fish.
  • Healthy and brain-promoting oils and fats, such as Omega-3 rich Fish Oils and oleic acid from avocado, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Chocolate (70% cacao, preferably) and coffee, which provide theobromine that makes your body release more neurotransmitters.
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries.

On the whole, eating your way to productivity is possible. We’ll give you a more comprehensive guide on which foods to eat to stimulate neurotransmitter production, how to release more neurotransmitters, and even how to protect your brain from oxidative stress or aging.

Happy eating your way to productivity!


Photo Credits: Banana Cherry Chocolate Dessert Food/, Breakfast Cereal Dessert Diet Food/, Beans Coffee Kitchen Morning Restaurant/

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Next-Generation Tools And Toys: Drones

Next-Generation Tools And Toys: Drones
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Drones: Like the SmartHome, they are the stuff that next-generation technology are made of. Drones are basically “unmanned aerial vehicles.” Like the term suggests, it is an aircraft that can be remotely controlled and tasked to do a range of things, from taking aerial pictures, to delivering packages, and down to launching attacks on enemy camps without risking human lives. Of late, drones are growing in popularity. This is why defining regulations surrounding private and commercial use of these gadgets is now a hot topic in tech circles and legislative bodies in countries where drone use is becoming more widespread.

If you wonder why legislation and regulations surrounding drones are fast becoming a need, here are some reasons:

While drone use could be very beneficial:

There is still an undeniable need to regulate possible abuse from unscrupulous drone owners. Like most things on earth, a neutral tool that falls into good hands becomes an instrument for good. When it falls into evil hands, go figure.

So, it is clear that drone use should have rules, regulations, and legal consequences to ensure that its use will remain harmless, and even positive and beneficial. On the other hand, we wholeheartedly disagree with the possibility that all drone use by private individuals would outlawed. The guidelines to curb the abuse of drones is crucial, and there should be a way to dispense licenses for drone use that’s similar to registering cars. With these structures in place, drone use could then continue to be a beneficial technological advancement.

 Meanwhile, while drones have yet to be regulated, here’s an item you might want Santa to deliver, possibly via drone: Parrot Bebop drone lands in December for $499


Photo Credits: Wikipedia/Quadcopter, Wikimedia Commons/Drone Flying Eye via CC Search

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