Wait! What? 9/18: Facebook Finally Gives Us The Thumbs Up To Give A Thumbs-Down

“It’s Friday.” That is arguably one of the sweetest phrases in the world. From finally being able to ‘dislike’ your crazy uncle’s political views to giving tweens yet another way to take photos of themselves (hands free, anyone?), we’ve got the rundown on the top tech and industry stories of the week:

Credit: Thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock
  • To like or not to like – that is the question. This week Facebook announced a ‘dislike’ button is in the works, empowering grumpy users everywhere to share their distaste.
  • Are you kidding me right meow?! Apparently a Cisco employee accidentally sent an email to the entire staffing list of over 30,000 employees, and pictures of cats and memes were circulated to everyone for hours. Obviously, madness ensued.
  • Taking your selfies to new heights … forget having to carry around a stick or deal with that pesky arm of yours in the photo: Dronies can follow you around, taking in-action photos of you and your friends on command. Kind of like drones flying around at concerts and NFL games taking photos of everyone, except now it’s just you, doing your thing, looking cool. Right?
  • Social media has that wonderful ability to take a giant event (the Super Bowl, GOP Debates…) and pick out one tiny aspect and run with it. The second GOP Debate was on Wednesday night, and amongst the pressing issues discussed, we discovered the variety of faces Donald Trump can make and who the #HotDebateGuy really is. Thanks, Twitter.
  • Definitely swiping right. Oscar Meyer recently rolled out a dating app for bacon lovers called Sizzl. It even provides a variety of safe first date questions, including:
    • “How do you like your bacon cooked?”
    • “What kind of bacon do you like?”
    • “If there’s one strip of bacon left, you…?”

Those were our favorite stories of the week, share yours with us on Twitter @BlancAndOtus!

Wait? What! 8/28: Get Back Into the End-of-Summer Grind With Tips from Buzzfeed, CIO and Instagram

Credit: Thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock

TGIF! From a panel discussion with some of BuzzFeed’s top San Francisco writers to taking branding advice from Instagram it’s been a great week for us at B&O. Here’s a little recap of some of the top tech stories this week:

  • You’ve spent countless hours prepping for an interview, you know how to highlight your strengths and discuss your weaknesses, but do you know how to answer the oddball questions? CIO asks seven unusual questions to help you nail down that dream job.
  • Now that summer is coming to a close it’s time to get back into the grind of work. Are you ready to jump back in? Fast Company posted a video on how to tackle your work when you get back to the office after a long vacation.
  • Businesses are starting to change the way they brand through photography by taking some tips from Instagram on how to master the art of embracing the ‘perfectly imperfect.’
  • In this week’s offsite a few members of B&O traveled to Microsoft for an “Inside the Newsroom” event to have a panel discussion with a few noteworthy Buzzfeed writers and editors, Mat Honan, Jessica Misener and Nicole Nguyen. Want to craft an engaging pitch? Nicole suggests two brief sentences, a gif and a link to the product.
  • It’s time to bust three PR myths that could be hurting your career. Instead of focusing on landing that “it” piece in the Wall Street Journal, try focusing your efforts on getting a client’s story in a publication that target their audiences on a daily basis.

These were our favorite tidbits of the week. Share yours with us on Twitter @blancandotus!

Wait! What? 8/21: Target’s Vigilante Troll, Amazon’s Big Oops and an Airport Powered by the Sun

Credit: ThinkStock
Credit: ThinkStock

Greetings PR-aficionados! What’s that? Yes, it has been a while. Since we last spoke, a lot has happened, including the addition of our new General Manager, Annemiek Hamelinck, who’s been doing a truly stellar job of leading our troop of misfits. The tech scene has been crazy, and we’re going to catch you right the heck up.

It’s time for our latest installment of “Wait! What?”

  • You’re simply THE BEST!” is what Tina Turner might say about the hilarious vigilante that took to social media, posing as Target and defending the company’s decision to remove gender distinctions in some sections of its stores. We laughed ‘til we cried and really appreciated this moment of faux justice.
  • Holy company culture, Batman! If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you might not know that Amazon is having some issues – of the miserable employee variety. The New York Times published an expose looking at the company’s intense, and unforgiving culture. Amazon – you should probably take a look at our Instagram for some happy-employee inspiration.
  • On a more positive note, an airport in India has announced it will be completely powered by solar panels. Us clean tech geeks are excited to see solar tech being used on such a large scale and hope there is more to come! Yeah…no joke here. Sometimes we can be serious, OK?!
  • Now, I know my ABC’s… Although the announcement of Alphabet as Google’s parent company has been clogging up your browser for the past two weeks, we’re more interested in the smaller, mind-bogglingly futuristic companies that fall under the umbrella, like the forever young anti-aging biotech company Calico, and of course, the infinitely inventive Google X.
  • “Why does the GPS say that he’s driving away from us…?” is normally the first thing that comes to mind when the name “Uber” pops up. This time, however, it’s all about the rumored IPO, which was mentioned in a document leaked to Reuters. Of course, the company chose not to comment on the rumor, but the cat is out of the bag (which would be a terrible thing to happen in an Uber, by the way).

So now you’re all caught up on this week’s big tech stories and hopefully have something cool to bring up at brunch this weekend. Tweet us your fave stories of the week @blancandotus!

Wait! What? 7/10: Let’s Get Social!

Facebook...like...obviously. (Thinkstock Photos)
Facebook…like…obviously. (Thinkstock Photos)

This week we bring you the social (Facebook) edition of Wait! What?

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It’s all about Marky Mark and his band of merry followers.

  • Sorry Jay-Z, it looks like this may be the end of TIDAL for good. Facebook is getting into the music game – the social network is reportedly bringing music videos and perhaps a music streaming service to its platform.
  • And in other video developments, Facebook has added floating videos, so you can watch and scroll at the same time. Our attention spans needed this.
  • Furthermore, media institutions finding it increasingly difficult to compete in the digital world are now giving up their autonomy and working with Facebook to publish articles on the platform.
  • Meerkat is also turning to FB to drive growth after being snubbed by Twitter. Hopefully, the social juggernaut can save the struggling live streaming service.
  • And in case Facebook’s apparent world domination is making you a little anxious, now there is Joyable, a new app to curb anxiety, which we initially found out about via an ad on Facebook.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @BlancandOtus! Have a great weekend!

Wait! What? 6/26: T-Swift and Apple shake off dispute, #LoveWins for brands

This is really, really colorful. (Thinkstock Photos)
This is really, really colorful. (Thinkstock Photos)

While you were recovering from the season finale of Game of Thrones, we were scouring the web for our favorite tech stories of the week. Take a break from your “Jon Snow’s not dead” debate – because it’s time for this week’s Wait! What?

  • Seriously, Taylor, we’re going to let you finish. Taylor Swift stood up to “The Man” so to speak by threatening to withhold her 1989 album from Apple Music…and then giving it back almost immediately when they responded with a very neutral letter. Victorious PR stunt?
  • Safety first, then teamwork. We are fascinated with Samsung’s new safety truck that features a video feed of the road ahead. It’s lane change time, y’all!
  • Speaking of driving, Uber is well on its way to a PR meltdown in France.
  • Even though few people actually own them, media can’t stop talking about smartwatches, because they’re futuristic and cool. So, how can marketers handle the challenge of the smartwatch? Embrace push notifications, be adaptive and create an ownable experience for publishers.
  • And finally, on a serious note, we are absolutely thrilled that the Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states! Now check out these awesomely supportive tweets from brands that know what’s up.

That’s all – join us next week for a fresh new batch of news at the heart of PR and technology.

Wait! What? 6/19: Enter the taco emoji

Yum. (Thinkstock Photos)
Yum. (Thinkstock Photos)

With the exciting win from the Golden State Warriors you might have missed out on quite a bit of news. Here’s a little recap of some of the week’s top articles on tech and marketing:

  • What do the Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger and Mr. Clean all have in common? Brand awareness. Who would have thought that our favorite childhood mascots would teach us a thing or two about charming audiences?
  • Never fear, the taco emoji is finally here! Earlier this week the makers of Unicode Consortium released a new set of emojis complete with popcorn, a cheese wedge and of course, the taco.
  • Facebook engineered its algorithm to better detect and track user interaction on the news feed. The latest update can actually track how long users take to read a post.
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Like A Girl and Love Has No Labels topped the charts as some of the best marketing campaigns from this year’s Facebook Awards.
  • According to researchers, the perfect blog post contains social buttons, an average of 3.2 images and an average number of 9.96 links through out. Seems like overkill, but hey.

What were some of your favorite tidbits from this week? Send us a tweet @BlancandOtus.

Wait! What? 6/5: Swipe right for funding; Google’s magical ocean view

Thinkstock Photos
Thinkstock Photos

While you were busy gawking at #CaitlynJenner’s new following (2.3 million fans on Twitter — more than Obama), we were catching up on some crazy tech news you might have missed. Here it is:

  • Be prepared for excessive temptation to kick in: Instagram just launched a Shop Now button, allowing users to shop outside the app with a click. All of those #filtered photographs just got so much more enticing.
  • Ever wondered what lies in the deep, dark depths of the ocean? Thanks to Google Maps Street View Oceans, you can now see spinner dolphins, humpback whales, giant turtles… and gain access to 70% of the untapped territory on our planet.
  • Better Re: The solution to all panic caused by dead or dying phones. Just pop an old battery inside Better Re and it becomes a portable charger for anything that uses a USB cable.
  • Swipe right for…potential equity crowdfunding investment opportunities? Unusual matchmaking app Tendr launched in the U.K. on Wednesday. It allows investors to “star” investment opportunities, promising to remove friction and thereby increase efficiency in deal sourcing.
  • Finally, meet Huggable, the robotic teddy bear. He’s a high-tech puppet that lives in pediatric hospitals to help alleviate anxiety, pain and isolation. He can even talk and play with patients with the aid of a remote operator. Touching, but also further evidence robots will be taking over in the near future.

And that concludes this week’s news bites. Go out and celebrate the first weekend of June with some time on the beach. Or at least enjoy the ocean through the lens of Google Street View. See you next Friday!

Wait! What? 5/29: Justice for gifs, a robot cheetah

You can finally post this robot cheetah gif on Facebook. #progress #hope #change (Source: futurist-foresight.tumblr.com)
You can finally post this robot cheetah gif on Facebook. #progress #hope #change (Source: futurist-foresight.tumblr.com)

Hey there, Friday people! It’s been a short week, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some cool tech stories. Let’s get this weekend started off right:

  • Google held a big fancy party for itself this weekend and announced about 18 million new projects in development. Even still, that didn’t seem to be enough for some journalists. They must have been holding out for Google Glass 2.0.
  • Comcast, like the Houston Rockets, couldn’t seem to close the deal to buy Time Warner. But this week Charter announced that it had scooped up the company for a cool $55B.
  • Finally the pressure to actually type responses to friends and loved ones has been obliterated completely – gifs now work on Facebook; this is not a drill.  On the flip side this is totally a drill.
  • You ever get the feeling you’re being followed? Well according to recent reports it may be because Facebook Messenger tracks you by default – so you know, check your settings.
  • MIT has created a robot cheetah and they’ve taught it to jump without losing its pace. While it may terrify some of you, the video is insanely awesome.

Now that you’ve had your fill of tech news, go out there and rewatch the new Mad Max for the second, or third, or fourth time.

Wait! What? 5/22: A handy-dandy email helper, a rapping robot and so much more

Thinkstock
Thinkstock

Hey there, Friday people! Here are a few weird tech stories to start your holiday weekend:

  • Having trouble writing emails? Can’t figure out what to say? Crystal can help – the startup uses public online data about email recipients to help writers craft the perfect note. Finally, a purpose for obsessive Internet stalking.
  • It looks like the music industry could be facing another major setback. DeepBeat, the world’s first AI rapper is taking the stage. He may be crap now, but just wait for 2.0.
  • Has Periscope won? Looks like Meerkat is going to have to go through a major overhaul if it wants to stay relevant…but those critters are just so damn cute.
  • For any identical twins out there, your days of trading places are over. New DNA technology makes it easier for police to catch the right twin. Hopefully this will stem the recent tide of identical twin-related crimes we’ve been seeing.
  • Light Phone is the newest iteration of technology that mimics low-tech gadgets of yore. In this case, the mythical cell phone. While it’s only $100, you have to own a smartphone for it to work. So I suggest an alternative – revive your Sidekick and ditch dumb-smart tech forever. Be free!

That’s all for now; go enjoy the long weekend! And be sure to follow us on Twitter @BlancandOtus.

Wait! What? 5/15: Shape-shifting planes, secret agent desks, and Facebook’s controversial new feature

It's a bird, it's a plane! It's a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane! It’s a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)

Lots of big announcements this week in our beloved world of tech, but if you wanted to read about Verizon’s acquisition of AOL or the new Gmail login screen – you’ve come to the wrong place. As usual, we’re more interested in the weirder, more wackadoodle stories that you weren’t paying attention to over the past seven days. Buckle up – it’s time for this week’s roundup:

  • NASA successfully tested a plane with shape-changing wings. Will we ever get tired of futuristic space-stuff? No, we won’t – and before you say anything, ‘space-stuff’ is the term used by actual scientists.
  • Feeling less Ethan Hunt-y than usual? No problem. Introducing Sharetable, the desk that makes every other desk look like complete garbage. Its surface features a shareable screen connected to your desktop monitor, so that the person sitting across from you can see what you’re seeing. Although, he won’t be able to see the expression of total awe on his own face, since that view is reserved for you.
  • All the pretty girls love Samsung? Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea released the video for their song “Pretty Girls,” in which Iggy uses her space-alien super powers to transform Brit’s old school cell phone into a gigantic Samsung Galaxy something or other (marketing!). We don’t really have time to go through all of the problems with the video – but our main concern is that Iggy seems to think that robots and aliens are the same thing.
  • Media no-likey Facebook’s “Instant Articles.” Facebook announced “Instant Articles,” sparking controversy among media outlets. They’re concerned that the new feature will make it difficult for publishers to control their own content. They have a point, but we’re pretty sure that Facebook has been aggregating content for a while now, simply through its users. You know…because, like…cat videos.
  • If we use Waze, can we skip the rush-hour traffic out of King’s Landing? The answer is no, because you can’t just leave King’s Landing, and this totally awesome Google Map of Westeros isn’t connected to Waze.

Now you’re all caught up. Hopefully some of this will come up in your next round of bar trivia.