Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Starbucks to offer free Wi-Fi at all stores nationwide

(Mashable) -- Starting July 1, Starbucks will offer free Wi-Fi nationwide, with no registration or account required. Even better, Wi-Fi will not be time limited.
Starbucks joins an increasing list of brands and chains to offer free Wi-Fi in its stores. For example, last December, McDonald's rolled out free Wi-Fi to nearly all of its restaurants across the country. Panera Bread also offers a similar program.
McDonald's and Starbucks both have partnerships with AT&T, which, while often criticized for the quality of its wireless data network, is one of the largest Wi-Fi hotspot providers in the United States.
Starbucks was one of the first chains to offer Wi-Fi access to its patrons, first via an agreement with T-Mobile and then with AT&T. Starbucks visitors have been able to enjoy up to two hours of free Wi-Fi from their favorite coffee house, provided they are either an AT&T customer or they use a Starbucks Card to login.
The new program will do away with any sort of registration, which will make those of us who always forget either our AT&T account information or can't find our Starbucks cards extremely happy.
In addition to the new free Wi-Fi program, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told Wired's Chris Anderson that the company is also planning on rolling out a new Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo later this fall.
This network, which will only be accessible in U.S. company-operated stores, will offer customers free and unrestricted access to paid sites and services like WSJ.com and other content providers on their phones, tablets or laptops.
Bringing the Starbucks Experience Online
We spoke with Stephen Gillett, CIO, EVP and GM of Digital Ventures at Starbucks about the new plan for free Wi-Fi and the Starbucks Digital Network. According to Gillett, the goal is to bring the overall Starbucks in-store experience online.
The first step is in providing an overall better online experience. This is where one-click logon comes into play, as well as the ability to connect with your device, be it a laptop or phone or iPad. The second part is the branded Starbucks online experience.
Rather than just trying to create an aggregated portal of sources, Starbucks will be bringing quality content that is usually behind a pay wall to customers to access for free while in Starbucks stores. Different categories, like business news, lifestyle, music, entertainment, etc. will provide access to different content.
This means that you can visit the Wall Street Journal uninhibited, as well as Zagat and also get local content from services like Foursquare pulled into your default Starbucks page.
Furthermore, stuff like the Starbucks "Pick of the Week" iTunes promotion can now be integrated online, meaning that you can download the free weekly track from your iPhone or iPad or laptop, instead of having to use the cards with the redeem codes. The physical cards will still be available but for connected visitors, this is an easier way to access free content.
The opportunity for premium service providers is that by offering free content to users while they are at Starbucks, they are potentially gaining new customers. A user might find they really enjoy some of the pay Wall Street Journal content and look at subscribing at home, for example.
More and more providers will be announced as the launch date gets closer and Starbucks is committed to finding the best pay wall content it can bring to its audience.
What do you think of Starbucks new free Wi-Fi plan and the content deals? Let us know in the comments.
© 2010 MASHABLE.com. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Its finally Unveiled!!!!

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
At War
Notes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other areas of conflict in the post-9/11 era.

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The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.
American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.
So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.
Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.
The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.
Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.
“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.
At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.
Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”
With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”
The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.
By: James Risen        New York Times

Saturday, June 5, 2010

South Korea refers North to UN over ship sinking

South Korea has referred North Korea to the United Nations over the sinking of its warship in March.
An international investigation found that North Korea was responsible, an accusation the North denies.
South Korea has not spelled out what action it wants the UN to take, although it has not asked for sanctions against the North.
Tensions between the two Koreas have increased since the sinking in which 46 sailors were killed.
In a speech to an Asian security conference in Singapore, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said: "North Korea must admit its wrongdoing."
Robert Gates in Singapore on 4 June 2010Mr Gates said joint US-South Korea military exercises could be postponed
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who is attending the conference, said planned joint US-South Korean military exercises may be delayed until the UN decides what action it will take.
"It is not clear exactly what path the Republic of Korea intends to pursue in the UN, whether it's a resolution or a president's letter," Mr Gates said.
Earlier he had said that Washington and Seoul were looking into holding additional military manoeuvres in response to the sinking, to reassure Seoul.
But he said North Korea was "more unpredictable than usual".
This is the first time that South Korea has taken North Korea to the UN Security Council for an inter-Korean dispute.
However, the UN is unlikely to back sanctions: North Korea's closest ally, China, has a veto on the Security Council.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How do You Use Body Language to Read Minds?

Human Resources, Military, CIA, FBI, Police and just your average person use it, why can't you?..

How do You Use Body Language to Read Minds?
Body language is used every day by human resources professionals, law enforcement officers, teachers, and other people in positions of authority who need to make quick assessments about people they encounter. Those who can read body language know that:
  • 55% of communication is nonverbal
  • The human body can produce 700,000 different signs
  • The fastest way to build a rapport with another person is to mirror their actions
  • 7% of communication is nonverbal
'Mentalists' are people who have become experts at reading body language and use it to make appear that they are reading minds. 'The Mentalist', a popular TV series on CBS, is reviving the art of the mentalist.
What is a mentalist?
A mentalist is someone who uses observations of behavior to determine what a person may be thinking or feeling.
What are some physical cues used by mentalists?
Crossed arms, pupil dilation, leaning into someone, crossing the legs and the involuntary touching of the neck can all be used by a mentalist to interpret someone's thoughts.
What are some forms of mentalism?
Fortune tellers, psychics, professional interviewers and police interrogators all use some form of mentalism.
  • Cold reading: Takes cues from a person's body language, clothes, speech and ethnicity to make assumptions about a person and convince them that they know what they are thinking
  • Hot reading: Requires some previous knowledge of the subject, either first-hand or through an assistant. The subject does not know that the mentalist has such previous knowledge.
  • Forer effect: Psychologist Bertram R. Forer developed this technique in 1948. The mentalist makes vague statements that could apply to anyone and leads the subject to think they are tailored specifically to them.
Who are some famous Mentalists?
Some of the most famous mentalists are Erik Jan Hanussen, Grigori Rasputin, Wolf Messing, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro.
Do people notice your body language when you're talking to them?
Most don't notice at all. They may observe it subconsciously and react, though. So, if you know how body language works, you might be able to communicate more effectively.
If my wife crosses her arms when I tell her something, what does it mean?
It may mean that she does not like what you have to say or does not believe you.
If I cross my arms, will people think I don't want to listen to them?
It might. Try and keep an open, relaxed stance and you may seem more approachable.
I have an itchy neck. Will people believe anything I say?
Many of these visual cues are not consciously picked up, so someone might not believe you, but not understand why. Get some ointment!
Will my pupils always dilate if I see someone I find attractive?
Most of the time they will. Be careful when looking at the pool boy around your husband!
Will I seem nervous if I cross my arms, lean forward and scratch my neck?
Yes, you might. Try crossing your legs while leaning back.
Do the police use these techniques?
Frequently. There are experts in law enforcement whose job it is to 'read' people. It can be very effective in determining someone's honesty.
Why did people believe Rasputin?
He was famous for his ability to 'read' people's minds. As this is not possible, he must have been an amazing mentalist.
Can anyone be fooled by mentalists?
Of course. Many so-called fortune tellers use these techniques all the time to read people's reactions and give them a fortune that seems to fit the person.
How can I communicate more effectively?
Try to copy the mannerisms of the person you are speaking with. React the way they do and you might find them more willing to communicate.
If 55% of communication is non-verbal and 7% is verbal, what is the other 38% of communication?
Maybe that part involves bribery; donuts and cookies are a perfect form of communication!
Are these techniques the same ones used in the show 'The Mentalist'?
Some of them. The titular character in the show uses these same visual cues and studies people's mannerisms to figure out what they are thinking.
My horoscope always seems to be right about me. Am I being tricked?
Horoscopes are general and vague in their predictions, so they might fit anyone. Try reading horoscopes for other astrological signs other than yours, and you may find that they fit you as well.
If you think that not talking will stop you from communicating you are dead wrong. There are so many visual cues that give away your thoughts that you may be revealing far more than you think. You may even be picking up on much more of what others are thinking. You may find yourself disliking another person for an unknown reason or you might feel like someone is trustworthy and kind, without their saying a word to you. These can all be due to things that you sense, but may not be conscious of.
Magicians have used mentalism for centuries to fool others. From generalized statements about the future, to reading people's reactions when they 'perform', these showmen (and women) can be very effective in making it seem like they have some hidden knowledge or power.
Mentalists are acutely aware of behavior and body language and observe them to try and determine what you are thinking or feeling. From magicians to detectives, the study of mentalism can be used to produce some amazing results. So next time a 'psychic' seems to know your life story or the FBI agent looks like he doesn't believe you, think about how you are acting. It may surprise you how much you give away!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Really Like Coffee? Here is how to "How To Order Starbucks Drinks With Confidence"

  Ordering Starbucks drinks can be a little nerve racking and confusing. If you're a new to the lingo, or you feel like the help behind the counter gives you a blank stare trying to figure out what you're asking for, then all you need is a little simple explanation. This how-to guide should come in handy.
Whether it's a deliberate Starbucks ploy, or it just simply evolved over time, there's actually a legitimate reason for the Starbucks drinks ordering lingo. In the spirit of efficient customer service, the drink order naming convention helps keep the line at the order counter moving, and helps insure you get the drink you're after.
First, the person behind the counter has to be sure they understand your order. Customer satisfaction starts with making sure you get the drink you want. There are enough variations and options ordering drinks, and its easy for the person taking your order to get it wrong.
Second, the person taking your order usually has to hand it off to someone else who will prepare your drink. Its harder and leaves more chance for error if the order person has to translate your request into something the drink maker will understand. Behind the counter, Starbucks employees need an efficient system to call out drinks consistently and accurately as they fill your order.
And be sure to check out our latest "Discount Starbucks Gift Cards" service. This is a perfect way to save money on your Starbucks drink budget.
OK, that's enough background and explanation. Here's how the lingo works.

Step 1. Hot or Iced Drink?
The default is hot. If you want a cold or iced drink, the first word in your drink order should be "iced".

Step 2. Coffee drinks come in four sizes.
  • Short: 8 oz.
  • Tall: 12 oz.
  • Grande: 16 oz.
  • Venti: 20 oz. The iced drinks are actually 24 oz. in the venti size. The hot drinks are 20 oz. in the venti size. In Italian, the word "venti" means 20.

Step 3. Choose your drink beverage
  • Coffee - brewed coffee, featured coffee of the day, usually have several choices that include at least one stronger, darker roast, and a milder roast.
  • Latte - espresso and steamed milk. This is the base for several other coffee beverages when you add different syrups and vary the milk, including a mocha, white mocha.
  • Americano - espresso and hot water. This is a diluted version of espresso coffee, made popular in the US.
  • Espresso Con Panna - espresso with whipped cream. "con panna" means "with cream" in Italian. The "whipped" style of using "whipped cream" is a Starbucks offering that seems to meet with definite customer approval. This drink is ordered by the number of shots (see step #6) rather than the drink size.
  • Espresso Machiatto - espresso with a small spoon of foamed milk on the top. The Starbucks baristas usually get the machiatto wrong with much too much foamed milk on top. Machiatto means "marked" in Italian, and the properly prepared drink should have just a touch of foam.
  • Caramel Machiatto - very little similarity to a machiatto, this drink is better described as a "vanilla latte" with caramel sauce drizzled on the top. The caramel doesn't dissolve that easily, so you may need to stir and mix it up a bit when you receive the drink.
  • Cafe Au Lait or Misto - this is a brewed coffee with steamed milk. "Misto" is the Starbucks name for the more generic "cafe au lait" name.
  • Cappuccino - one of the most popular espresso drinks done in three layers. 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk on the top. Its actually a tricky drink to prepare well. Powdered cinnamon or cocoa can be sprinkled on the top as a garnish.
  • Frappuccino - a popular Starbucks original, this is a blended iced beverage with a creme and coffee base. The added flavors and toppings vary.
  • Mocha - espresso and steamed milk with some chocolate syrup added, served with spritz of whipped cream on the top.
  • White Mocha - Same as a "Mocha" but with white chocolate syrup. White chocolate syrup is a but sweeter than regular chocolate syrup.
  • Mocha Valencia - Same as a "Mocha" but with orange syrup instead of chocolate syrup. You probably won't see this on the Starbucks menu any longer, and some of the newer baristas may not be familiar with the drink, but you can still order a Mocha Valencia.
  • Other drinks include Tea, Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, Lemonade, etc. but this guide is about ordering the coffee drinks.

Step 4. Wet or Dry
For coffee drinks that include milk and foam, "dry" means more foam and less milk and "wet"means more milk and less foam. For even more dry, say "extra dry".

Step 5. How strong do you like your drink? Specify the number of espresso shots
  • Single - one shot of espresso, the standard or normal amount for "tall" sized drinks (except Mocha Valencias and Americanos)
  • Double - two shots of espresso, the standard amount for "grande" sized drinks, and hot "venti" sized drinks. For Mocha Valencias and Americanos, two shots is the standard for the "tall" size.
  • Triple - three shots of espresso, the standard amount for "grande" and "venti" sized Mocha Valencias and Americanos. And the standard amount for iced or cold "venti" sized drinks.
  • Quad - four shots of espresso. Go for the max caffeine blast!

Step 6. Choose the type of milk or creamer
  • Default - 2% milk.
  • Skinny - non-fat milk if you're trying to cut down on calories.
  • Whole milk - if the store provides
  • Organic milk - if the store provides
  • Soy - silk soymilk if you prefer a milk substitute

Step 7. Extra directions
  • Extra hot - if the coffee drinks aren't quite hot enough in temperature, you can request extra hot. But be careful not to burn your tongue, these drinks can be over 170 Degrees (F).
  • No foam - without any foam
  • No Whip - without any whipped cream
  • Room for cream - leave some extra room to add cream, or milk
  • Extra ice - more ice in your iced drink
  • Light ice - less ice in your iced drink
  • Sweet 'n' Low, Equal, Splenda - you can ask the barista to use a sugar free sweetener when your drink is prepared.

OK, let's put it all together with a few Starbucks Drinks examples.
Let's say you would like an the biggest 20oz sized iced mocha, with only one shot of espresso (instead of the standard three shots for drink that size) and without any whipped cream. Say "Iced Single Venti Mocha, No Whip".
You would like a Cappuccino in a 12 oz size, but would like an extra shot of espresso instead of the standard single shot for a hot drink that size. And you would like considerably more foam than steamed milk. Ask for a "Double Tall Cappuccino, Extra Dry".
OK, you should get the hang of it. This guide should help you with the Starbucks Drinks ordering basics. It can get a bit more complicated, but this should have you ordering the most popular Starbucks drinks with confidence.
For a helpful pictorial view, see our "Espresso Drinks Visual Guide"
Be sure to check out our new "Discount Starbucks Gift Cards" service. This is a great way to save money on your Starbucks drink budget.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do People Really Click Those Google Ads?

It’s a crazy world, this one we live in, isn’t it? “Why yes it is, Josh,” you say, “but what makes you say so on this very day?” You’re in luck, because I feel like elaborating.
You’d have to be living in a cave if you hadn’t heard about Google’s astronomical rise to the top of the business world over the last few years. The company’s stock price hovers between 1 and 2 zillion dollars per share, giving it a market cap of (roughly speaking) several hundred jillion dollars. To put that in layman’s terms, Google is worth more than Germany, New York City, Saturn, Brad Pitt, Lindsay Lohan and the Church of Scientology combined. But enough with the hard-and-fast numbers. My point is: Google is phenomenally successful. They are doing something very, very right.
Even more remarkable than Google’s success is the fact that all of that money comes from essentially one source: those little blue (or sometimes white, and recently even yellow) ads that appear every time you do a search. The ones that say “sponsored links”. That’s right: Google is a one-trick pony. All of those jillions come from people around the globe doing Google searches, seeing one of those sponsored links and then clicking on it. That’s all there is to Google’s business right now (yes, they have several hundred pet projects/irons in the fire, but when I say “business,” I mean “something that makes actual money.”)
And still, despite all that… it’s very common for us to be in discussions with potential clients who just aren’t quite convinced that Google is somewhere they can dig up new customers. “I’m just not sure if anyone clicks those paid links,” say the doubters. “I don’t click them. I never click them. I just don’t see why anyone would click those, knowing they’re paid ads.”
Now, just to recap two important points: 1) Google makes over $1 billion in profitevery quarter from people clicking those paid links, and 2) Legions of people still are not sure whether people click those paid links.
This, ladies and gents, is why I began this post by declaring this world to be crazy. Now, I am not in the habit of making sport of potential customers, especially in a public forum; instead, consider this post a simple gesture of kindness to disspell whatever doubt may be remaining out there about whether people are clicking those paid Google ads. I’ve put together this easy, five-point guide to cover the subject. Remember these five points about those paid Google ads:
  1. People are clicking those paid Google ads.
  2. People are clicking those paid Google ads.
  3. People are clicking those paid Google ads.
  4. The Yankees are finally going to have a losing season, which delights me. (Thought I’d slip that one in there).
  5. People are clicking those paid ads.
Now, does that mean that doing pay-per-click advertising is definitely going to be a profitable endeavor for you? Whoa there, my friend…you’re getting ahead of yourself. That’s another topic for another day. Until then, keep checking back for my next post, and here’s hoping the Yankees keep stinking it up on the field.


By Josh Barsch

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Great Movies

Robin Hood

The number one movie in the world.  One of those great movies that will inspire.  Who does not know the story, I guess that is why its number one.  Russell Crowe does a great job.  Here is a clip.

The Karate Kid

    with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith (Wil Smiths' son) looks pretty good also. I can't wait actually my kids can't wait to see it. Jackie Chan in the clip looks like he is outstanding.

Google Chrome

Chrome Brings Stability, Syncing and HTML5 Across All Platforms

Written by Chris Cameron
chrome_stable_may10.jpgSince Google Chrome's release in September of 2008, Mac and Linux users have been playing catch-up with Windows users for features and stable releases. As of today, all three versions of Chrome are now officially stable as the Mac and Linux versions have shed their beta labels to become faster versions with new features. According to the official Google Chrome blog, the new universally stable release also includes a handful of new HTML5 and syncing features.
Previously, only bookmarks could be synced across various machines, but with this latest release, users will now be able to port their preferences - including zoom defaults, themes and homepage settings - to the various computers they browse from. By associating browser settings with a Google account, users can quickly sync the settings on their various installations of Chrome.
Additionally, this newest version of Chrome now supports some fancy new HTML5 features, including geolocation APIs and drag-and-drop functionality. Beta release testers of Chrome may have already spotted the ability to use Google Maps' location functions, as well as drag-and-drop of attachments from within Gmail.
According to Google, today's release of Chrome is the fastest ever, improving "by 213 percent and 305 percent in Javascript performance by the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks" since its initial beta release. Google is also working with Adobe to fully integrate Flash into the browser with new plug-in APIs, but this will not be available until the next full release of Flash Player, which is slated to happen in the near future.
Image by Christoph Niemann.