Archive for January, 2013

Confessions of a Justin Timberlake Fanatic: Where Did All the Sexy Go?

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Yes, the rumors are true. I am a devout worshipper and long-lost admirer of the man who cried an entire river and still managed to make it look sexy. That’s right, I’m a Justin Timberlake groupie and I have the N*SYNC bobble head circa 2002 to prove it.

After 10+ years of blatant rejection, I made the executive decision to kick my JT habit and move forward with my life. Luckily, I wasn’t distracted by concert dates and song releases…because he kind of fell off the face of the planet for a while. Some will argue against the previous statement, claiming that his random appearances in mediocre films and SNL parodies (which I must admit, are all hilarious) kept his head above water in the proverbial sea of popular culture, but I tend to disagree.

Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that JT fans considered him MIA since the release of his last album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. And let’s also assume that, as loyal fans, our expectations were set especially high when news of his musical comeback hit the Twitterverse. We were ready to welcome back the too sexy for music love affair that had boyfriends and husbands eye-rolling all over the place.  Little did we know, the most anticipated song release of 2013 (I realize that we’re only a month in, but what else could top this?) seems to have fallen from the pedestal of sexy and wound up in a pile of corny.

That’s the thing about expectations—we’re not convinced they’ll fall short until they do. It kind of reminded me of the scene in 500 Days of Summer, when the split-screen effect separates Tom’s expectations from his reality. We all know what’s coming, even Tom knows what’s coming, but he refuses to believe otherwise because of his high expectations. It’s what all JT fans are guilty of. We were expecting soulful crooning paired with a Lovestoned-esque beat, but all we got was a post-wedding ode to the new and improved Jessica Biel Timberlake (I’m still adjusting).

Don’t get me wrong, the Tom Ford suit and Jay-Z collaboration work extremely well alongside that notorious falsetto of his, but something seemed to be missing. Was it a sheer lack of sexy, or do we all just like him better as the nomadic, always-available bachelor? Does Suit & Tie represent a new stage both in his career and love life, or will the old JT resurface after all? The only way to know for sure is to listen to the entire album, The 20/20 Experience, which will hit the airwaves later this year.

Justin Timberlake answered our schoolgirl prayers and returned to music; the least we can do is give him the benefit of the doubt. That, and forgive him for his recent nuptials.

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Where would you put 170 billion tweets?

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Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith

The Dewey Decimal system has been the bible of library organization for more than a century, but how are libraries adapting to the digital age? Case in point: Twitter.

While the Library of Congress has a large digital collection of websites, government databases and industry events, Twitter is new territory. Not even Twitter has created a searchable archive of tweets. The challenge is not only the quantity of tweets, but also the velocity.

The Library of Congress has been transferring more than 400 million tweets to magnetic tape each day, for a grand total of 170 billion tweets. Now it’s facing an even greater challenge: how to provide access to the archive they’ve built.

Poor ol’ Dewey has nothing on this.

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Written by Christopher Skinner
Christopher Skinner

January 28th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

New Orleans Rolls the Dice with Risky Rebrand

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The New Orleans Hornets have officially announced that they are changing their nickname to the New Orleans Pelicans. Yes, Pelicans. Try to envision it with me: The Timberwolves (arctic beasts with razor-sharp teeth and claws) vs. The Pelicans, (they enjoy a nice dip in the river from time to time).

In the world of sports, striking the balance between what’s marketable and honoring a city’s traditions can be extremely difficult, (and of course, the success of the brand ultimately hinges on the team’s ability to win games).

Obviously the pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, and an incredibly elegant creature, but when put up against the “Bulls”, “Hawks” and “Bobcats” of the NBA, its completely understandable why some find the name a bit underwhelming.

As we all know, the NBA’s ultimate goal is to sell jerseys, but are kids who love Anthony Davis going to feel cool sporting a gold-winged pelican across their chests? The Hornets (because they’re still The Hornets for a little while longer) must proceed with caution, and ensure that their attempt to appeal to their home crowd does not alienate potentially interested fans outside of New Orleans.

If the team’s new identity doesn’t appeal to the national market, it can have a huge ripple effect on the organization. Players won’t want to wear the uniform, the merchandise will sit on the shelves and hometown fans may even begin to lose interest in a team they no longer recognize or accept as their own.

Case in point, when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays unveiled their uniforms prior to their inaugural 1998 season, the Major League Baseball community, fans and media outlets alike collectively barfed at the sight of the team’s clownish, neon themed uniform. Add to that 10 years of last place finishes, and the end result was an embarrassingly empty stadium, dismal TV ratings and unappealing merchandise that you couldn’t get rid of at a garage sale.

When they finally rebranded themselves as the Tampa Bay Rays a decade later, and donned a classy, sleeker midnight blue motif, they found themselves in the World Series for the first time in team history. Coincidence? I have no idea.

I don’t know how talented the New Orleans Pelicans’ team will be. All I know is that if you’re proud of your name, and you like the way you look, you’ll go pretty far in life. But don’t take my word for it (Reading Rainbow, anyone?). Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays.

Written By: Andrew Canlon

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The Boy In Oz

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AustralianOpen1 Photo Credit:                                     Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

I have been laying in bed each night these past two weeks in January, staring bleary-eyed at the television, and trying to stay awake for just one more change over.  Although, I did get the treat of Novak Djokovic taking his fourth round match with Stanislas Wawrinka into a five-set war that lasted until the next morning when I got to watch the end.

I realize the Australian Open is tough for us Americans to watch, matches that go on in the middle of the night, Johnny Mac is nowhere to be seen, and who even gets the Tennis Channel anyway?

As a life-long fan of tennis, I do try and make the effort to watch as much of the Grand Slam events as I can (live).  Time zone and sleep pattern permitting, of course.

This year I am taking more of a notice on the shifting fashions, and where the players are pledging their endorsement allegiance.  In the sport of tennis, it always seems to be the same list of usual suspects: Nike (who can forget Agassi circa 1990?), Adidas, Sergio Tacchini, K-Swiss, etc.

Finally, there is something else afoot when it comes to apparel for our leading men.  I would like to take a minute and recognize the recent partnership (as of mid-2012) of Djokovic and the Japanese fashion retailer, UNIQLO.

You may have noticed since Roland Garros 2012, Djokovic has been sporting the big red-squared logo on his tennis kit.  The design of the shirt, shorts and warm-ups were laid out to pay homage to the Serbian flag (zdravo!).  A spokesperson from UNIQLO explained how Djokovic arrived at this junction in brand building: “We believe that tennis is a sport where the individual’s performance is combined with a personal sense of style and fashion, both on and off the court.”*

Although, this partnership is not about creating a whole new tennis or sports line, the distribution of Djokovic’s clothing line will be limited to only a handful of stores, and it only consists of 10 different pieces.  This relationship has a larger cause at hand.

In a program called “Clothes for Smiles,” UNIQLO and UNICEF will be making the dreams of children come true in China, Philippines, Serbia, and Bangladesh with more countries to follow in 2013.  Each country or region will be treated differently based on needs, which is why the phrasing of ‘Dreams’ was used.  Mr. Djokovic being the perfect Global Brand Ambassador as he speaks 4 languages, and his home country of Serbia will benefit from this program.

It seems like a perfect match for me, UNIQLO’s HEATTECH tights kept my legs toasty last winter, and I plan on keeping this fun brand within my retail travels.  Hats off to UNIQLO for translating the ‘Made for All’ brand messaging into my world of tennis.  And please, Novak, keep the ‘Djokes’ coming, we love your on-court antics.

*Raquet Sports Industry Magazine

For further reading: Golden Era of Tennis is Lost on Most American Fans

Written by: Alexandra Ricchi

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Written by Admin

January 25th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

How To Make Your New Year’s Resolution Last Past January

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With the candid splendor and revitalized spirits of a “New Year” also come unrealistic expectations to conquer all and become the Ultimate Master of Resolutions. But as a conglomerate, we seem to be reaching for unknown galaxies and constellations when we can’t even see past the paint on our doorframes. There are plenty of reasons why 95% of all New Year’s Resolutions don’t work out; and as a former NYR dropout, I’ve lived through the vicious cycle that is the month of January. There are approximately five phases that the average NY Resolutioner goes through:

Phase 1 (January 1 – January 7): Honeymoon

We veterans refer to this as the “Honeymoon” phase because it’s damn near identical to the wave of emotions that overcome us within the first 1-3 months of a new relationship. Think about it. We’re excited about all of the new and exciting changes that accompany the beginning of our resolutions. At first, our resolutions to lose 15 pounds are desirable. Think about how great I’ll look in that polka dot bikini I never have the nerve abs to wear. We’re obsessed with the finish line before we’ve even begun the race. I give you, the Honeymoon phase.

Phase 2 (January 8 – January 14): Ninja

This is when we believe, against all odds and obstacles, that we are ninjas we have the power to accomplish all. There is no task to big or mighty for us to handle. And because we’re thriving off of the adrenaline rush we get from meeting all of our goals, we add more to our already-occupied pile. Our eyes become bigger than our brains and we search for more to handle. I ran that 1/2 mile so easily; 1 mile will be cake. In order to feel like we are sticking to the terms of our New Year’s contract with ourselves, we throw so much on our plates that we can’t find the fork and knife.

Phase 3 (January 14 – January 21): Anxiety

We’re going 90 mph, head first, into a cement wall…and boy does it hurt. All of our hopes and aspirations to be “Conqueror of the Year” are drowned by the pressure we’ve placed on our now struggling shoulders. Initially, our logic was skewed because our eyes were fixated on that beautiful, shiny prize. But by adding more and more responsibility to our workload, we realized just how far the finish line really is. We become overwhelmed by our expectations; and in turn, altogether succumb to the nature of the NYR beast.

Phase 4 (January 21 – January 31): Regression

Was past me really so bad? This is when we are faced with a choice. On our shoulders sit two very different figures. On the left is the post-resolution version of ourselves; the image we dreamt of at the very beginning of the year. Ah, but then our minds play a fun little trick on us and create an entirely new figure to stand on our right shoulder; a representation of each of our weaknesses. We’re stuck deciding between the cons of a delicious veggie cream-cheesed bagel and the pros of that 4th of July bikini. And truthfully, what sounds better: a quick chocolate fix or a quick mile-run? Nine times out of ten, we side with the devil, give up on our NYR completely, and revert back to our old ways, claiming we’ll try it again in a few weeks (yeah…right).

Phase 5 (February 1 – December 31): Acceptance

Ladies and lads, we have officially reached the point of no return. We could care less about those fantasies of promotions and physical fitness. All we want is to be happy; and if sitting through a Law & Order: SVU marathon beside a sleeve of Oreos every Sunday makes you happy, then you don’t worry your pretty little head about squats and overtime for one more minute! The mind is the most powerful weapon of all. When we use it for good, the world is our oyster. But the minute we start to doubt ourselves or lose even the slightest bit of confidence, we’re right back where we started–the land of complacency and comfort. But at least we have chocolate.

This year, before you try to tackle the world, try tackling that pile of dirty clothes that have been sitting in the corner of your bedroom since November 2012. Use all of that energy and motivation that the allure of a new year creates, but limit yourself to reasonable goals. Never forget about your passions, never forget about the person you want to be in 2013; oh, and the chocolate. Never forget about chocolate.

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Written by kcappuccilli

January 16th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Washington Heights Gets MTV Makeover

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Oh, MTV…you’ve done it again. For a network that already boasts a plethora of in-your-face reality shows, “Music Television” (sorely in need of a name change,) broke the reality sound barrier with it’s mega-hit, “Jersey Shore”. This show about young, self proclaimed “guidos” of (supposedly) Italian decent partying and brawling in night clubs did not go over well with the Italian American community. The fallout? An endless amount of scandal and debate about the quality of television programs aimed at our youth.

Needless to say, MTV isn’t done ruffling feathers. This is made abundantly clear by its latest show, “Washington Heights“. The show follows local high school/college kids thru one of Manhattan’s last “real” neighborhoods as they pursue high profile dreams (a hip hop hopeful, an amateur baseball player aiming for the big leagues, a young lady who wants her own fashion company. Stop me if you’ve heard this before…). Of course, they’re all friends, they’re all romantically linked and (spoilers) eventually end up fighting each other outside of a nightclub.

Naturally, MTV, with its target aimed squarely at America’s teens, has chosen to ignore the artistic integrity, cultural reverence and rich history of this community and instead indulge us in more angsty, gossipy, scandalous and drama-filled adolescent theatre.

Ah yes, its the time honored recipe of MTV’s success, and they keep feeding it to us over…and over…and over again, until we’re all just a bit nauseous.

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Written by Andrew Canlon
Andrew Canlon

January 15th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Nike Yardline Takes Its Talents to South Beach

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NIKE_YardlinePhoto Credit: Chris Trotman

When most people think of Miami they conjure up images of bright lights, beautiful beaches and any one of a number of immortal Tony Montana quotes.  We took to the sunny streets of South Beach with one goal in mind: sell a ton of Nike gear.

Leading up to the big game MKTG INC and Nike teamed up to bring one of the sickest retail experiences ever dreamed up to South Beach–literally, on the beach.  The vehicle would be a pop-up version of Nike Yardline at Champs Sports, a brand-new concept store that specializes in all things Nike Football, from the field to the stands.  The 60′ x 40′ pop up was designed, built and prepped to open for business steps away from the ocean in just a matter weeks.  The team worked tirelessly to get everything in tip top shape before the grand opening on January 5.  From the moment the doors opened fans packed the area, looking to get their fill of Alabama, Notre Dame and BCS licensed product as well as a few Nike staples like custom-made Elite socks, Vapor Jet gloves and the brand new Zoom Revis training shoe.

As if kick-ass product wasn’t enough we blew fans’ minds with appearances hosted by local celeb DJ Irie and featured All-Pro Jets CB Darrelle Revis (1/5) and stud NFL rookies/former Alabama standouts Trent Richardson and Mark Barron (1/6).  Local Miami HS football players were our guests of honor and both appearances packed the space with fans eager to hear their heroes talk about their path to the NFL and offer insight on the big game.

By Monday night Alabama had won the Coaches’ Trophy in commanding fashion, but it was no secret who was behind Tide’s surge into South Beach.

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Sky High Wi-Fi In NYC

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Today Google (along with Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer) declared free Wi-Fi for allat least to those in Chelsea, the New York City neighborhood where Google’s local headquarters are (hey, neighbor!).  The free Wi-Fi will run between Gansevoort St. and 19th St. from 8th Ave. to the Westside Highway; only of our clients would create the biggest network in New York City.

This free Google Wi-Fi has speeds similar to a typical home Internet connection—and to a generation that treats smartphones as appendages, access becomes limitless. The free Wi-Fi is a secured network, available to use by business’ and extends to many residents and students living in New York City’s public housing development.

Although laying the infrastructure for this feat had its own bumps and hiccups, like the challenge of sending signals across a wide area with tall buildings, Google has continually shown its promise to connect the world to the web.

I’ll definitely use this to watch YouTube videos at The High Line (off office hours, of course).

Thanks, Google!

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Written by Alayne Luistro
Alayne Luistro

January 8th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Resolution Helper

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Google's interactive map for new year's resolutions

Google's interactive map for New Year's resolutions

It’s only a week into the new year and some of us have already completely forgotten our resolutions. Yes, I’m looking at you.

Never fear. Google is here to help, with an interactive map and other tools designed to keep you on track. You can post your own resolutions, as well as view resolutions from people all over the world.

Google has also pulled together apps for diet, finance and other common resolutions on the company blog. So if you feel your resolve slipping, Google your way through the new year.

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Written by Christopher Skinner
Christopher Skinner

January 7th, 2013 at 5:37 pm