Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition is a lovely piece of self-contained 80s nostalgia

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Nintendo’s got a gift for repurposing. In the 30+ years since it was first released, the NES and its beloved range of intellectual properties have been repackaged in just about every way imaginable – and heck, even that system’s most beloved protagonist was on-loan from a platformer about a giant ape with a princess-stealing problem.

Mind, none of this is a criticism, really. The gaming company is exceptionally good at reinventing old goods. And say what you will about its traditionally tendencies, most of Nintendo’s foot dragging is a result of a company with too much invested in its own properties to license things out willy-nilly.

Pokemon Go is the ideal example. After years of calls from fans and board members alike to embrace the mobile platform, Nintendo finally went all in. The game succeeded in part because it wasn’t a simple port – it was a popular property tailored to the technological possibilities of its platform.

But the fact of the matter is that demand is still strong for those 30-year-old games. There’s a reason they do so well as downloads for systems like the Wii and Wii U. Nintendo’s devotion to gameplay is precisely why we likely won’t ever see them as straight ports for mobile devices while the company is still kicking – most just don’t work all that will with mobile hardware restraints.

Look at the NES Classic Edition as something of a compromise. Granted, it doesn’t afford the same portability as an iOS version of Super Mario 3, but it offers up a lot that mobile games don’t. Chief among them is presenting the games the way they were meant to be played, complete with a replica of the original NES controllers they were designed for.

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The other immediate benefit is the sheer number of titles the system ships with – 30 in all, and these aren’t just crappy third-tier games. You get all three Super Mario Bros. titles (plus original), Castlevania, Punch-Out, Final Fantasy, both Legends of Zelda.

There are a few weird choices – like the fact that only the second Mega Man is pre-loaded and that it has Super C but not original Contra. But still, if you owned the NES the first time around, there’s almost certainly something here for you.

And the titles play great. The controller feels like the original – not like those cheap plastic joysticks with preloaded Atari games that were all the rage a few years back. Within a few minutes, all of those wasted hours spent inside on sunny afternoons after school suddenly come flooding back like muscle memory.

The nostalgia factor is sped along by the fact that the system itself looks like a pint-sized version of the old NES, not all that much larger than the controller itself, complete with functioning Power and Reset buttons. There’s even a spot for the cartridge loader, though that doesn’t actually pop up.

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The software is built around a menu system that lets you scroll through the 30 different titles. All the while, a small insert of your current position in s paused hovers over. Once you’ve started playing, you can save the game anyway and can associate multiple accounts/save points with a single title, so up to four people can play concurrent games. The saved games can also be locked, so the kids can’t play over or erase your progress.

That’s really the sum total of the innovation here, and Nintendo’s not saying whether it will allow for additional games after purchase, which would be a big plus for those looking for those with a hankering for A Boy and His Blob or additional Mega Men. As it stands though, $60 seems like a pretty solid deal for a system with 30 games.

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The additional controller will cost extra, and from the looks of it, the system isn’t compatible with any old one you might have lying around. Of course, the original NES has the benefit of being cheap and plentiful second hands, along with offering a broader range of titles – all of which is worth factoring into the equation.

If you’ve got one lying around the house, just plug the thing in. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to relive the glory days of your parents’ wood paneled basement (or to expose a new generation to the feeling), the NES Classic is a quick and relatively inexpensive way in. It ships just in time for the holidays on November 11.

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Riding NYC: Three Days In America’s New ‘Bike City’

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A map, a bike messenger, and a goal to see the city while white-knuckling handlebars down crowded streets gave our editor a new perspective on the strange, thriving bike scene on New York’s renovated roads.

Squid the New York City bike messenger
‘Squid’ the New York City bike messenger

The airplane skids onto the tarmac. My bike, packed in a padded case, is in the underbelly soon to be sent with luggage to the baggage area at JFK. I have three days in New York and am determined to see the city on two wheels.

In a place dominated by cars, transportation by bicycle is experiencing a renaissance. Hundreds of miles of bike lanes were added in recent years, and organizations from the League of American Bicyclists to Bicycling Magazine laud New York as a top bike town.

In recent years, a citywide mind-shift, alongside municipal projects and community initiatives, has changed the face of biking. Car-free greenways, bicycle-specific traffic lights, and a massive bike-share program encourage locals and visitors alike to hop on for a ride.

Exploring NYC By Bike: The Outer Boroughs

My experience started at the airport. Traveling with a friend, I nabbed my bike from JFK’s dank baggage claim and got ready to roll.

As my friend jumped on a subway with the empty bike case, I gripped handlebars to ride west through Queens.

Bike lanes, highlighted in green, cut up and down (and across) Manhattan
Bike lanes, highlighted in green, cut up, down, and across Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs of NYC

It can be an hour by car or on mass transit to Manhattan. I banked more than that for the bike ride, planning a meandering route to see a few sights on the way.

My first observation: The bike renaissance has not hit the farther reaches of the boroughs.

Atlantic Avenue, an artery coursing west from the airport, is a pseudo-highway dominated by speeding cars. Potholes and tire-swallowing cracks are common.

Trash blew in little vortexes as I pedaled hard to get west and into Brooklyn where bike utopia is purported amid the brownstones and espresso joints.

Indeed, I found a bona fide bike lane over the Brooklyn border. The city got nicer, and I ducked into Prospect Park for my first car-free stretch. Here were wide, blank roads open to cyclists alone that climbed through an urban woods.

Back onto the street grid, I rolled downhill into the heart of Brooklyn. Over the Gowanus canal, skirting Red Hook, and to the water’s edge, a no-cars Greenway appeared heading to the north. A spiked wall of skyscrapers glinted across the river.

The Brooklyn Bridge, packed with dog-walkers and selfie-takers, gave elevated access via a segmented bike lane into Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge bike lane
Brooklyn Bridge bike lane

Riding Midtown, Central Park

Day two on the bike was dominated by Central Park and Manhattan’s Midtown grid. Our Airbnb, an apartment near Times Square, connected to the massive north-south Avenues, including 8th, which offered a segmented bike lane for miles under tall buildings and through crowds.

A reduced speed limit since 2014 across Manhattan has slowed cars down, with 25 mph the maximum on most roads. I am unsure what it’s done for density, though. In Midtown, the ubiquitous honk of taxis, rumbling buses, delivery vans, semis, and the occasional personal vehicle choke every lane.

Strange crossroads in Midtown Manhattan
Strange crossroads in Midtown Manhattan

Meanwhile, exhaust and sewer smoke choke your lungs. Pedestrians dart as lights change, causing huge impenetrable masses. Paint, curbs, and plastic barriers shield bikers and show you where to go.

This all exists under stories-high lights, signs, and video screens. Police are everywhere. Biking in New York, to me, was defined by sensory stimulation and the sheer attention to detail required to negotiate obstacles and distractions block by block.

Despite the craziness, it works. Bikers are out in big numbers, and even though the traffic is dense I found it manageable.

The bike lanes are generous on multiple avenues heading up and down the island. Getting east and west across the town, though, can be slow, requiring copious traffic lights and the crossing of multiple major north-south thoroughfares.

Central Park is an oasis in many ways, not least for bikers. The park has miles of (mostly) car-free roads. Cyclists get a middle lane, and runners use the road, too, creating a pedestrian paradise in a place where cars dominate all around.

Central Park offers miles of car-free biking
Central Park offers miles of car-free biking

I rode the big loop in Central Park, a counterclockwise route that twists and bobs, offering climbs and descents, a true road biking experience in the city. Hit it hard and rail to 25 mph. Just watch out for the horse-drawn carriages and the pedal-carts.

An hour in Central Park and I coasted south onto 5th Avenue. It was 5 p.m., and the traffic was curb-to-curb. I rode in a bus lane and kept hitting red lights, walls of people, vehicles squeezing in from all sides.

It was slow going in busy-town that time of day, so I shouldered my bike and walked a couple blocks to breathe. Next time in rush hour, I’d find a Greenway on the edge of the island or hop to an avenue again where the painted bike lanes flow with the cars.

Downtown: Messengers & Alleycats

My third day started with a text message. Kevin Bolger, aka “Squid,” is a 20+ year veteran of the bike messenger scene and the founder of one of the top companies in the city, Cyclehawk.

Before the trip, I was connected to Squid by a friend. He sent instructions to meet up in Midtown, texting: “I just dropped off at 227 W 42 and I’m going to put two jobs at 220 E 60 next, then looks like I have three for Midtown and one going downtown… I should be close to dropping at 133 E 39 around noon.”

Squid the bike messenger
Squid the bike messenger

Noon it was.

The next three hours were a completely different view. I shadowed as Squid delivered light bulbs, wine bottles, and other goods around the city.

Streetwise from years in the saddle, Squid pedaled in and through traffic; he, in fact, was traffic, a cog in the Manhattan machine just trying to get from point A to B. His daily puzzle is to nab packages, pick and drop deliveries, make deadlines, and stay upright (and move fast) among an endless swarm of automobiles.

Squid is friendly and upbeat, despite a punk look. He waves and signals with his hands, and he verbally “nudges” when traffic is dense.

At a tight spot where walkers streamed through on a red light: “Hey sweetheart, look out, OK?” he yelled, smiling and rolling through.

Walls of cars are mazes to Squid. He drifts into tight corridors and skinny lanes made by traffic stacked block after block, vehicles idling on either side. He swerves as the cars move, leaning occasionally on a hood, pushing off the side of a bus to get ahead.

It’s a trip to follow Squid and see his deft maneuvering. He’s at ease, despite ever-present dangers, noting “it used to be way worse riding around here.”

Racing Lower Manhattan

Before our afternoon was out, we managed one final objective: a street race.

Manifest cluesheet for alleycat race
Manifest cluesheet for alleycat race

The Lock Foot Posi alleycat, organized by its namesake group as a memorial event for friends who have died (many in bike accidents), attracted dozens of riders.

Squid and I squeezed in among the rough-looking crowd, a mix of messengers and urban riders. Jean jackets and single-speed bikes dominated, and cigarettes stood in for many riders as a pre-race fix.

We all packed into Thompkins Park, the meet-up point. “This is for our friends who have fallen,” one rider said.

As if on cue, in an only-in-New-York moment, a troupe of Scottish bagpipers came into view. The ad hoc parade, unrelated to our race, wailed a somber dirge.

For a few moments, this motley collection of speed-loving road rats all shared the silence — a pause in a city of electricity and mayhem.

Racers gather at the Lock Foot Posi alleycat
Racers gather at the Lock Foot Posi alleycat

The quiet was temporary, and as the parade moved on the park, and the riders, came back alive.

Then a shout. “GO!” the organizers yelled, shattering the stillness. Riders rushed to their bikes, sprinting in every direction to route a path.

I jumped onto my bike, following Squid. He swooped right and out of the park, blending back into traffic, back into the stream of craziness he loves.

The post Riding NYC: Three Days In America’s New ‘Bike City’ appeared first on GearJunkie.

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Watch Two Space Agencies Attempt a Daredevil Landing on Mars This Morning [Updated]

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Watch Two Space Agencies Attempt a Daredevil Landing on Mars This Morning [Updated]
Gif by Gizmodo via ESA

After a seven month journey, the ExoMars mission arrives in orbit around Mars today. Its first order of business? To attempt a historic, daredevil landing on the Red Planet.

A collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, ExoMars seeks to continue the search for biological and geologic activity on Mars, a planet often described as Earth’s little brother and which may have had a much warmer, wetter climate in the past. The first phase of the mission, which arrives today, consists of a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a Schiaparelli lander. On Sunday, these two craft broke free from each other, and today, they go their separate ways for good.

The big event for the TGO is the Mars Orbit Insertion, a 134 minute main engine burn beginning at 9:09am ET (1:09pm GMT) that’ll cause the craft to shed some 1,550 meters/second of velocity; enough to be captured into a highly eccentric orbit. If successful, it’ll be the second time the EU has placed a spacecraft in orbit around Mars. TGO will then spend the next year using aerobraking maneuvers to lower itself into a circular orbit some 250 miles (400 km) above the Red Planet’s surface. In December 2017, its main scientific mission, of sniffing out traces gases like methane in Mars’ atmosphere, will begin.

ESA fully expects the orbital insertion to go off without a hitch. Much less certain is the fate of the Schiaparelli lander, which will try to reach the surface in one piece in order to demonstrate entry, descent and landing technology the space agency will use to send a bigger, mobile rover to Mars in 2020. Schiaparelli’s only got one shot at this, and every step in a complex sequence of instructions has to go off perfectly to make it happen. Otherwise, the lander winds up a pile of rubble on the Red Planet, or a piece of wayward space junk in Mars’ backyard.

Watch Two Space Agencies Attempt a Daredevil Landing on Mars This Morning [Updated]
Schiaparelli lander descent sequence. Image: ESA/ATG medialab

At 10:42am EDT (2:42pm GMT), the lander is expected to make a ballistic entry into Mars’ atmosphere, at a speed of approximately 13,000 mph (21,000 kph). After a few minutes of fiery free-fall during which the lander’s precious instruments are protected by a slowly-vaporizing aeroshell, Schiaparelli will have slowed to around 1056 mph (1,700 kph) and be situated 6.8 miles (11 km) above the surface. At this point, a parachute deploys. The heat shield is released, and the craft’s Doppler radar is activated in order to determine distance to the ground and relative velocity, information that’ll later be used to activate the thrusters.

Finally, at an altitude of a little over 0.6 miles (1 km) and a speed of 155 mph (250 kph), Schiaparelli jettisons its parachute, ignites its three hydrazine thrusters, and descends to a height of 6.5 feet (2 meters) above the surface. The thrusters are then cut, and the lander drops, crunching into the ruddy soil at approximately the speed of an average runner. Start to finish, the entire sequence takes just under six minutes.

Watch Two Space Agencies Attempt a Daredevil Landing on Mars This Morning [Updated]
What Schiaparelli is expected to see as it falls to Mars. Images: NASA/JPL/MRO; simulation: ESA

Did I mention there’s zero margin for error? All ESA can do during these nail-biting moments is monitor the lander’s progress as closely as possible. To that end, the Mars Express orbiter will be listening for signals from Schiaparelli, as will scientists using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope located near Pune, India. During its main engine burn, the TGO will also be picking up radio signals from Schiaparelli, which will be stored aboard the spacecraft and analyzed later.

Watch Two Space Agencies Attempt a Daredevil Landing on Mars This Morning [Updated]
False color topographic map showing the Schiaparelli lander’s intended touchdown site in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars’ southern highlands. Image: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

If the lander is successful, it’ll be a historic moment for the ESA—the first time the space agency has made a controlled touchdown on the Red Planet. (Although it lost communication with the Earth before crashing, the Beagle 2 probe did make it to the surface in 2003.) And while Schiaparelli is mainly a technology demonstrator, it’s got enough battery juice to stay alive on the surface for a few days, collecting meteorological data and hopefully, beaming back some sweet footage of its harrowing descent.

Happily, those of us without direct access to a spacecraft or a radio telescope can still follow along via the interwebs, with live coverage provided by the ESA starting today at 9am EDT (1pm GMT). Text updates on the Schiaparelli lander and the TGO are being issued here, and via Twitter @esaoperations, @ESA_ExoMars, @ESA_TGO and @ESA_EDM. Tomorrow, a follow-up press conference beginning at (oof) 4am EDT (8am GMT) will give us a full status report on Schiaparelli, along with photos to prove the landing wasn’t faked.

The action starts pretty soon, so grab some coffee, settle in, and watch the ESA try to make history.

Update 11:14am ET: Well folks, the first signal from Mars Express that could have confirmed a successful touch-down apparently never came. According to ESA, a signal from Schiaparelli was traced to “near the arrival on the surface of Mars,” before mysteriously cutting out. However, we shouldn’t despair: a TGO telemetry transmission, due in less than an hour, could offer more information. Other sources of data are expected to trickle in throughout the day.

This doesn’t mean the lander failed, we simply don’t know its status yet. Let the nail biting wait continue.

Update 12:40pm ET: We just received word that the TGO signal is coming in loud and clear. The ESA has two satellites around Mars!

The status of the Schiaparelli lander remains uncertain as engineers continue to analyze data streaming in from Mars Express, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and elsewhere. “We have received some data,” ExoMars project manager Don McCoy said over the live stream moments ago, adding that engineers have seen “a series of indicators of the entry, parachute deployment, [and] release of the aeroshell.”

“We can’t conclude the real status of the [lander],” McCoy continued. “But indeed it did enter the atmosphere and operate mostly as we understood it.”

Guess we’ll just have to keep waiting.

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These Are The 10 Weirdest Sex Records You Won’t Believe Exist

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“You had me at ‘weirdest sex records’” – what you said to yourself before you clicked in to find out stunning facts like the age of the World’s oldest prostitute. It’s perfectly normal that you said that to yourself, I did too. If I hadn’t then this video would have never been posted. Sometimes we need to admit our flaws, even if those flaws let people know that deep down all we really want to know is how big the largest vagina ever on record is.

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Secrets of People Who Leave Work on Time, Every Day — The Art of Leaving

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Fact: Unless you truly live for work, few things feel more rewarding than leaving your office on time everyday. However, as liberating as breaking away from your desk can be, the art of actually getting out of your workplace can truthfully be tricky to master.

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Scientists just accidentally figured out how to turn CO2 into fuel in a breakthrough study

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co2 ethanol
YouTube/Oak Ridge
National Laboratory


In a serendipitous accident, scientists in Tennessee
claim
they have converted carbon dioxide into ethanol.

The researchers, who work at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, developed a process that adds “nano-spikes”
(essentially tiny bursts) of carbon and copper to CO2 to
transform it into ethanol, the type of alcohol found in hand
sanitizer and alcoholic drinks. 

Ethanol can also be turned into fuel (gasoline in Brazil already
contains more than 25% ethanol), which is why the
scientists are calling the discovery a “twist to waste-to-fuel
technology.” 


co2 ethanol
The carbon nanoparticles
(seen above as circles) combine with carbon nanospikes to turn
into ethanol.


YouTube/Oak Ridge
National Laboratory



We discovered somewhat by accident that this material
worked,” 
ORNL’s Adam Rondinone, lead author of
the team’s study,
said
 in a press release
. “We were trying to
study the first step of a proposed reaction when we realized that
the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own.”


The team’s experiment was meant to be one part of a
longer research project investigating how to turn CO2 into
ethanol; the researchers figured the process would require
multiple steps and complicated chemical reactions.
But

 it turned out to be a lot easier than they
thought: they only needed

a single catalyst (copper)
to transform the CO2.

The discovery is a major breakthrough, considering the
process turns 

carbon dioxide —
one of the leading air pollutants
 contributing
to climate change — into fuel, which in
turn generates
more CO2
 that could be turned back into more fuel.
(Burning a gallon of diesel fuel produces about
22
pounds
of CO2.) If
 the technology
becomes cost-efficient and widely available, it could
provide a new carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuel
production.

There’s no word yet on whether the discovery will
leave the lab, however.

Watch the scientists explain below:

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Eight hours of air traffic in one image

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A couple years back, a composite image showing seven hours of takeoffs at LAX airport went viral. The man behind that image, Mike Kelley, has spent the time since working on expanding his initial idea.

The result is Airportraits, a photo series that repeats the trick . From Tokyo’s Haneda to London’s Heathrow, Kelley sat, stood and occasionally danced while shooting hundreds and thousands of photos of aircraft taking off. He then stitched the images together to create a composite image (a single image comprised of elements from multiple photos) that represents his time at each location.

Kelley leaned on his experience as an architectural photographer to build the images. He often uses light painting, blending natural and artificial light to create composite images that cast buildings and interiors in an almost magical light.

Where the Airportraits differ from the original viral image is in composition. While the LAX image was impressive, there was no sense of place; it could’ve been any airport, anywhere. For the new series, Kelley shot from a range of vantage points — a Sydney shot from a beach, Tokyo from a boat out on the bay, Amsterdam over a meandering river and so on. There are also people, animals, cars and other elements that sell each image as a scene, or a story, more than before.

Perhaps my favorite from the series is the image atop this article, taken near Zurich, Switzerland. It depicts eight hours of takeoffs from a pair of runways. Speaking to Resource Magazine, Kelley explained what makes this image so special: "Due to a complicated noise abatement scheme, Zurich Airport actually uses runways oriented in different directions depending on how light or heavy the winds are. This made for a very interesting photo when combined with the idyllic Swiss countryside that surrounds the airport," he said.

You can view more of the series on Kelley’s site, read more about individual images at Resource Magazine or buy prints in various sizes from his store.

The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.

Via: Kottke

Source: Mike Kelley, (Store)

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Six Essential Tools to Streamline Your Social Media Marketing

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social media marketing

Most brands realize that they should be investing in social media. According to research from Ambassador, 71% of customers that have had a positive experience with a brand are much more likely to recommend it to their friends yet many brands don’t make any headway with their social media campaigns because they become very frustrated managing their social media profiles. These companies often have trouble maintaining multiple profiles, so they give up altogether. They also miss messages or fail to connect with their target customers which makes it very difficult for them to meet their branding goals.

You can significantly improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy by using the right platforms to automate your social media marketing strategy. Here are some great tools that you can use.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite has been one of the most popular social media management tools for years. It has a number of valuable features including:

  • Social profile monitoring
  • Geosearch tools to learn more about specific areas
  • Suggested content to share with your followers
  • Ability to schedule posts across multiple platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

Hootsuite is known for its versatility and you can purchase a plan for as little as $9.99 a month if you choose an annual subscription.

Vibbi

Instagram has become a powerful social media platform over the past couple of years. It’s particularly effective for brands that rely heavily on visual content, such as photographers, clothing companies, and other B2C companies that sell to women and web development agencies.

Despite the reach of Instagram, many brands have difficulty building their presence on it. The Instagram algorithm displays content more frequently after it has earned a lot of shares. This makes it difficult for new brands to penetrate the site. Fortunately, they can use Vibbi to build their presence. This platform has a number of amazing Instagram marketing options from which any brand can benefit. You can use the service to boost your follower base or get more Instagram shares.

TweetDeck

Facebook is still the world’s dominant social networking site, but Twitter comes in as a close second. Twitter currently has 310 million active users, so it should be a core part of your social media marketing strategy.

You should join TweetDeck to more effectively engage with your followers on Twitter. Ian Clearly of Razor Social created a spectacular overview of TweetDeck earlier this year. He points out that you can manage multiple Twitter accounts from your browser and take advantage of live streaming.

SocialOomph

SocialOomph is another great social media marketing platform that has a free subscription option. This service is similar to Tweetdeck, but has some additional functionality. Marketers can use SocialOomph to:

  • Schedule tweets
  • Track keywords
  • Create and edit drafts of social media posts (if you don’t want to post right away)
  • View follower activity, including retweets and mentions
  • Be able to access Twitter without using your password (don’t worry, SocialOomph keeps it safe)
  • Autofollow anyone that follows you

You can connect up to five Twitter accounts with a free subscription.

Buffer

Buffer is very similar to Hootsuite, but it has some additional features that Hootsuite lacks. The biggest benefit of Buffer is that you can use it to schedule posts on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram in addition to all social networking sites that you can manage from Hootsuite. You can also use Buffer to get browser extensions, RSS feeds, and mobile accessibility. Individual plans are free while company plans start at $10 a month.

Hubspot

Hubpot is an inbound marketing platform that offers a wide range of benefits. While it’s typically used for organic and paid search marketing, it has a number of features to improve your social media marketing strategy.

The biggest benefit of Hubspot is that it allows you to directly measure the ROI of your social media marketing campaigns. Most other social media management platforms only allow you to manage the activity on your profiles. Hubspot allows you to identify and terminate paid campaigns that aren’t paying off.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

The post Six Essential Tools to Streamline Your Social Media Marketing appeared first on Lifehack.

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4 Surefire Ways to Reduce Your Annoying Belly Fat

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fecf8436

Are you sick of your belly fat?

Excess belly fat can be annoying. It can cause your clothes to stick in all the wrong places, and make sitting in certain positions quite uncomfortable. If you’ve ever been frustrated with your shape, you aren’t alone.

The dangers of an apple shape

Belly fat isn’t just irritating. It is also linked with an increased risk of disease. Scientists refer to those who carry a lot of weight around their midsections as having an “apple” shape. It turns out that a large waistline is associated with an increased rate of disease. Specifically, carrying fat around your stomach elevates your risk for heart disease.

If you’ve tried and failed numerous times to make lasting changes to your shape, know that there is hope! The following four methods form a holistic approach that when combined will make blasting your annoying belly fat a breeze.

Step 1- Focus on aerobic exercise rather than abdominal training.

If you are trying to lose fat from your stomach, you might conclude that your focus should be on abdominal training exercises. However, research shows that aerobic exercise such as swimming and running is actually much more effective at reducing levels of belly fat. There is no evidence that training your abdominal muscles will, by itself, have any effect on waist measurement or levels of stomach fat.

Step 2- Eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

The saying “Great abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” has become well known in fitness circles for a good reason! If you want to reduce your belly fat, you will need to reduce your overall body weight by adopting a healthy diet coupled with a good exercise routine. One simple dietary adjustment you can make is to eat more protein and fewer carbs. Carbs are broken down more quickly relative to protein-rich foods, which means you will become hungry faster and less likely to make sensible food choices. Base your meals and snacks around lean proteins together with vegetables, with modest amounts of wholegrain carbohydrates as a side dish rather than the main component of a meal. For example, a good dinner option is a portion of lean fish, vegetables drizzled with olive oil, and a small portion of potatoes. Instead of carb-heavy snacks such as crackers, chips, or sandwiches, try fruit with a portion of protein. Apple and cheese slices are an appetizing option.

Step 3- Make sure you are not constipated.

Sometimes a distended belly is actually a sign of constipation rather than an excess of stomach fat. Follow these tips to prevent constipation and maintain great bowel health. Watch out for foods that encourage bloating in some people such as beans, lentils, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, and grains such as wheat and barley.

Step 4- Avoid drinks sweetened with sugar.

We all know that sugary drinks cause tooth decay but they also encourage the development of belly fat. Eating sugar in foods is bad enough, but ingesting it in the form of liquid is even worse. When you drink a sugary drink, your brain does not register the calories you have taken in, which means that you can consume hundreds of calories that do not fill you up yet still contribute to the development of excess fat. This means that you end up taking in a higher number of calories overall.

Take the four steps above and you can look forward to a flatter belly within weeks! It’s important to remember, however, that you will need to make these steps into ongoing practices if you want to keep your hard-earned changes. Commit to overhauling your lifestyle and you will soon see the benefits.

The post 4 Surefire Ways to Reduce Your Annoying Belly Fat appeared first on Lifehack.

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Twitter’s troll problem likely killed Disney’s bid

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The last few months have seen many reports about massive companies like Disney, Verizon, Google and Microsoft purchasing Twitter, which continues to struggle with questions about its value and utility. Disney ultimately pulled out, and a new report from Bloomberg claims its because of the company’s toxic image. That toxicity stems from ongoing concerns about online abuse taking place on Twitter, something the company has been working on but ultimately failed to change in any meaningful way thus far.

It sounds like Disney was pretty close to pulling the trigger on this deal, though. The media giant had hired two investment banks to evaluate potential deals and had meeting with Twitter, but ultimately the issues Twitter faces with online abuse as well as the cost put Disney off. Even though Twitter continues to lose money, it’s still valued at about $12 billion.

But the shadow of Twitter’s massive abuse problem appears to not have fit with Disney’s family-friendly image. High-profile and "regular" users alike can easily be targeted by swarms of anonymous trolls, and Twitter just hasn’t found the right features or policing methods to reduce that concern. A few months ago, it was reported that the company was working on a tool that lets users block certain keywords; it’s a feature that has been under construction for about a year, but it’s the kind of thing the company should have rolled out a long, long time ago. As long as the company continues dragging its feet on such obvious solutions, trolls will have a big voice on Twitter’s platform — something that’s a problem for both users and potential buyers.

Source: Bloomberg

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