Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Five Questions About Moolala

Last week I started hearing all over the Internet about a promising new social media startup, Moolala. I was seeing it pop up on pretty much every channel – blogs, Tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, and via several friends in my Inbox. And then – small world the Web is – it turns out that one of my friends, Jon Dale, is a co-founder! Jon’s a brilliant guy, consultant extraordinaire, Alt.MBA apprentice of Seth Godin, so I figured I’d better pay attention. Jon took some time away from managing the gangbusters-like growth Moolala’s experiencing to fill in the blanks for me. Here’s what we talked about…

So. Moolala…what on earth is it?

It’s daily deals meets Facebook plus a rewards system.

How does it work?

On one hand we’re just like the big daily deals sites out there.  We offer people phenomenal deals on things they love to buy.  But that’s just the beginning, we also offer rewards on every purchase you make, your friends make, your friends friends make…and on for a total of 5 levels. This handy video pretty much sums it up:
So I can get paid to use & refer Moolala? Like, cold hard cash? From ‘pay matrixes’? That sounds like some kinda ponzi scheme. Can’t you get locked up for that sort of thing?
Ponzi schemes are clearly illegal.  The important thing to understand is that it’s completely free to sign up and you don’t have to buy anything.  But we think when people see the deals we’ll be offering they’ll grab them really fast.  And when people buy the deals we pay out rewards.  We’re taking the same money that most companies spend on marketing and sharing it with the people who help us build our membership.
That makes sense. What kind of daily deals can I expect to get?
We’ll be running both national and local deals.  Restaurants, salons, spas, entertainment options, clothing stores, we’re talking to lots of companies that your readers know and love.
Delightful. What inspired y’all to create this?
I wrote a blog post about that.  You should check it out.
# # #
I did check it out, and I’m giving Moolala a try. Jasmin has saved us a pretty penny from Groupon and Living Social daily deals in the past year, so if I can support a similar service that actually shares its profits with the people, I’m all for it. Plus, being in the word-of-mouth publicity business myself, I can really appreciate their business model. Rather than spending dough on advertising, they create a service with integrity and ask people like us to share it with our social networks. Makes sense to me. I signed up for free; if you’d like to join me in trying this out, click here – and don’t forget to invite your friends. : )
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Video Month!

Today is August 1st! My mother’s birthday, and The Beginning of the End of the Year, how I reckon the calendar. (I can’t believe 2009 has gone by this fast!) I’ll be starting a brand-new semester at the end of this month; in the meantime, I’m declaring August to be Awesome Video Month at zoecarnate. I’ll be highlighting videos from TheOOZE.tv. Then toward the end of the month I’ll be participating in an innovative meme with Frank Spencer, Kevin Beck, Brittian Bullock and hopefully others. As always, I’ll keep on ROMming.

Stay tuned!

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

TheOOZE.tv has launched

Behold:

https://i0.wp.com/theooze.tv/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/shane_poster.jpg

More to come at TheOOZE.tv

Dear Facebook: Please Lift 5,000 Friend Limit (A Modest Proposal)

https://i1.wp.com/i64.photobucket.com/albums/h189/simplychrislike/LiveRiot/n_1186439527_logo_facebook-rgb-7inc.jpg

Well it happened today: A. Jason Jones added me, and became Facebook friend number 4800. I have 200 friends to go before Facebook caps me out. In case you didn’t know, Facebook has a 5,000 friend limit. Their reasoning is that, unlike Myspace, they want to limit your contacts to actual friends, and curtail commercial abuses and that sort of thing. I get that. And yet, it feels a bit paternalistic that they get to decide who consenting adults add or accept as ‘friends.’ It’s true, I accept & request people on the basis of shared affinity – people interested in comic books, futures studies, house church & emerging church, fellow authors, et cetera, et cetera…not just my high school & college buddies, co-workers, and flesh-and-blood friends. But so what? I enjoy my e-quaintences, and to some degree they must enjoy me too, or else I’d be pruned from their lists by now. Sometimes I meet a Facebook acquaintances who’s in town over coffee, and we become friends of the more flesh-and-blood sort. Sometimes powerful business partnerships result, or new activist initiatives. Or conferences or meetups or…

Continue reading ‘Dear Facebook: Please Lift 5,000 Friend Limit (A Modest Proposal)’

Obama’s Public Works & The New Secretary of Agriculture: Your Voice Matters!

As everyone not living under a rock knows, President-elect Obama has pledged a massive public works program to reinvigorate both US economy and national infrastructure. I am mostly all for this initiative, though my inner childhood libertarian still wonders where all the money will come from. There are some good suggestions out there for funding though, so we’ll save such a ponderances for another blog post.

For now, I’d like to look at the kinds of projects deemed ‘public’ and worthy of such sweeping systemic updating. We all know that roads, bridges, and schools are vitally important. And we’ve heard the administration’s support for the creation of ‘green jobs.’ It’s the latter I’d like to expound upon, suggesting two areas of public works support that ought to receive a lot of attention and funds.

Greenways

When I first traveled to Europe in 2003, I was struck by how many of my new friends, grown adults, did not have drivers licenses. Then I was struck by how many restaurants and businesses were not connected by roads and parking, but rather, massive walking spaces. The atmosphere in these vehicle-free zones was intoxicating; I had never experienced a Commons space without cars and traffic. One of the inadvertent consequences of our first public works program in the U.S. was the creation of the Interstate Highway System, both a blessing and a curse. On the curse side, it further nationalized our food systems (more on that in a sec), and it made business dependent on proximity to highway exits. In the 21st century, we’re now looking at the relative value of this differently, recognizing what Bill McKibben calls a deep economy with ‘multiple bottom-lines.’

Enter the Greenway. When last in Atlanta, Jasmin and I had dinner with Jannan Thomas, director of DOOR Atlanta, and her husband Jay. We learned about something I should’ve known about our once-and-future city, but didn’t: The BeltLine project. The idea is simple: Take 22 miles of old, unused railroad track connecting Atlanta’s oldest cities (some now affluent, some in serious disintegration) and turn this derelict space into greenspace for joggers, walkers, and bikers. Further, develop park space and sustainable business along this space, and maybe, some nice public transportation – something the Southeast has never, ever had. The BeltLine project already has some steam and it looks like they’ll be doing it…over the next 25 years. Now I’m all for the long view; long-term projects used to be the norm and not the exception (Cathedrals used to take centuries to complete!). All the same, I think that a project of this urgent importance shouldn’t have to wait decades to complete when for-profit builders can erect a massive new condominium complex in 8 months.

Whadaya say, Obama administration? Would the BeltLine project (and others like it) merit some of our Public Works apportionment?

Local Food Infrastructure

Department of AgricultureEqually critical as where we can walk is what we eat. For health reasons, of course, but also ecological reasons. Did you know that most of our food is fertilized by petroleum and that, combined with transporting it all over the country (and world), food is the second-largest guzzler of gas behind cars? And accessibility reasons: Why is it that in the poorest sections of towns across America, the only ‘food’ available is truly awful pre-packaged faux food from gas stations and ‘convenience’ stores? Well it’s partially because of how corn and soybeam subsidies were developed during the Nixon administration, laws that are allowing mega-corporations like Monsanto to patent food itself…but I’m getting ahead of myself. : )  If this is a whole new world to you, you’re not alone. While I’ve never really mentioned it in print, for several years now I’ve been working on a book on the intersection of God, meal-sharing, and mystical spirituality. While in the process of finishing this book, I came across – only in this past year – a trio of truly mind-blowing books: The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Katz; The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan; and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. (Two of these are widely available at libraries and all three of them can be purchased quite affordably, under $35 total; get yourself a paradigm-altering Christmas present!) My education was further deepened by attending a Bread for the World Hunger Justice Leaders training this past July in Washington DC and joining Slow Food USA, recommended by my friend (and Foresight@Regent program director) Jay Gary.

What have I been learning? A ton. A distillation: At present, our food system is broken and in need of healing in order to offer healthy, affordable, and ecologically-sustainable nourishment for all people. Further, food done right can build community and help people grow in compassion, ethics, and spirituality.

The aforementioned Pollan penned – just prior the election – An Open Letter to the Next Farmer-in-Chief. An excellent distillation of the needed food renaissance. His opening:

It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food. Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration — the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda. But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.

I repeat: Pollan’s Open Letter is well-worth reading in its entirety. So go for it. I’ll wait for you.

Back? Okay. There’s some good news: Local food initiatives are springing up like new growth all across North America; famers’ markets are the fastest-growing segement of eating options out there these days. But there are ways government can help, just like they’ve presently favoring Big Agribusiness that’s responsible for a lot of this mess. A shift in sensibilities could reverse the damage, and bring food back home. It’s already happening in Canada: Nova Scotia’s government has just pledged a quite-affordable amount to support development of “local food” systems. In their own words:

The province will provide $2.3 million over three years to fund “strategic infrastructure” and development initiatives that “enhance industry competitiveness, market access and direct marketing methods.”

“This funding will develop the roots between rural and urban food systems, and support marketing initiatives,” Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor said in a release Friday.

The province said its investment “will make it easier and more convenient to buy local foods” and will “complement” its current food marketing programs, Select Nova Scotia and Taste of Nova Scotia.

Fortunately for all of us, there’s a really huge actionable step right on our horizon in the U.S. Here’s an email I recieved today from Slow Food Triangle:

In these final days before President Elect Obama makes his selection for Secretary of Agriculture, we urge you to spread the word to your members about a petition they can sign to express their support for dynamic and sustainable choices for the post.

The petition lists six suggestions, including Gus Schumacher, Former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Slow Food leader Neil Hamilton, the Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University.

You can find the petition here.

Even if the new administration doesn’t pick one of the listed candidates, signing the petition sends a strong message that we want a good, clean and fair food system and that we expect our new administration to make choices that support that vision. More information is available here and here.

We stand at a crossroads, and our next decisions matter a great deal. There are a few things we can do, right now, to make the world a safer, nourished, more abundant place: it’s going to happen through agribusiness reform.

For my friends on the left, realize this: Agriculture is a key ecological and humanitarian matter. Agriculture done right helps the earth in her innate, life-giving rhythms; it conserves and even produces energy. Intelligent agriculture policy feeds hungry people so no one will have to go without.

Friends on the right, some things to consider: Just as much as Homeland Security, this cabinet-level position will help determine our future strength as a nation and our vulnerability to terrorist attack. Smaller, localized food systems are grassroots capitalism and small business at their best. They create jobs and bring important jobs back to America. They restore the farmer to a place of respect in our society.

For my Christian friends, let’s consider: Jesus lived and died by way of his food habits. (And was resurrected as an eikon of Living Food & Drink) The way he chose to eat, and with whom he chose to eat opened up new vistas of the Kingdom of God on earth. And it was large part of what got him executed by the powers-that-be. I personally feel Jesus’ spirit stirring in this day and age to look at how food and food systems need to be approached in the 21st century. And while I feel churches should never wait for government initiatives to make a difference locally, I think we’re at a golden moment to speak truth to power – power that, it seems, is open to hearing from us.

I’m Asking You to Please Do Three Things:

Call to action time!

  • One, read Michael Pollan’s Open Letter. It’s really, really long – no matter, do it now. Interrupt your regularly-scheduled web surfing and focus for the next few minutes. Your attention span is precious and the information in this letter is vital. It’s that important. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Two, sign this petition.
  • Finally, if you don’t mind, forward this post to others you think would care about these matters – email, Digg, Stumble, Facebook message and re-post on your own blog, that’s fine by me. Thanks for caring!

I’m Getting a ROM!!

Because you demanded it…a review ROM should be arriving at my house this week!!

https://i2.wp.com/www.vanityfair.com/images/culture/2008/09/cuar02_hitchens0809.jpgIt’s hard to believe that a scant three weeks ago I wrote about this intriguing (if super-pricey) workout machine that builder Alf Temme feels would “Solve 2/3 of the illness-care (commonly misnamed health care) around the globe.” It’s a $14,615 machine that promises a complete 4-minute workout. I asked you, dear readers, if you would like to see my get ahold of a ROM somehow and blog/video through a year’s worth of progress, seeing just how fit and healthy I could become.

Well, you spoke – loud and clear. And the ROM company listened! I started talking to Mr. Temme, the man behind the machine here in the U.S. The short version is, after some wonderful email correspondence, they are shipping me the ROM this week – all I had to do was cover shipping. – which, for such a large machine, isn’t cheap. (And before any of my other nu-media entrepreneurial friends get any ideas, I’m pretty sure they’ll be holding off before just passing these things out gratis like candy. In my dealings so far, they’ve been a good company, but a no-nonsense company.) But quite generous over all.

And I must say, after watching the ROM demonstration DVD (which you can have shipped to you free here), I’m already inclined to believe this will really work. There are peer-reviewed university studies backing up its effectiveness, and Mr. Temme is unequivocal in his confidence.

Said to me in an email: “You need not feel in any way obligated to say nice things about the ROM. The truth will work very nicely for us. ”

The truth it is then. Which is all I intended to offer anyway; not only is it good ethics for this sort of thing, it really is the best policy. Over the next year, you’re going to get the unvarnished truth from me – the good, bad, and ugly about the ROM. (My guess is the latter will mostly be me, panting and wheezing in the weekly four-minute update videos…)

This Brings Me to Some Important Questions for You:

  • Where can I find some 1970s and 80s-style men’s short-shorts? The more garish the colors, the better.
  • What are some of the wackiest songs I could work out to? Chariots of Fire, YMCA..? Preferably songs that clock in around 4 minutes. iTunes is gonna love me.

It’s going to take a village, people. (No pun intended – honest!) I need your brilliance to help this oddysey work. So please…share your leads!

Looking for Work? Director of Social Network Development

This came across my desk today from a friend…a job offering from Western Governor’s University.

Director of Social Network Development

WGU is seeking a Director of Social Network Development whose task it will be to advance WGU’s utilization of online social networking and online communities in general, for the benefit of WGU’s student population. He or she will be responsible for:

  • Building and maintaining WGU’s relationships with social network providers, including Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, and others
  • Enhancing student-to-student and staff/student interaction through active blogs and online communities, both in WGU’s online offerings and in those of social network providers
  • Facilitating effective WGU senior staff involvement and engagement in online communities
  • Advising the CTO with regard to technology initiatives which will create new Web 2.0 and Web 3.0-driven opportunities for student success

As an evangelist and guide to social networks, the individual in this role will also provide advice and instruction, both personally and via suitable online media, to all WGU students and staff. This individual must have demonstrated electronic social networking skills, an understanding of the relevant technologies (platforms and tools leveraged by current social network systems), and demonstrated ability to develop and manage business partnerships. This position also requires exceptional communication skills including creative teaching and instruction. Experience in online education and/or online community building will differentiate great candidates from good ones.To apply, send your resume to employment@wgu.edu. Please specify “Director of Social Network Development” in the e-mail subject line.


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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