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The New Classical: YouTube Showcases New Music in Old Styles

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

This post was authored by Bailey Johnson of’s The Feed, for a YouTube Trends series exploring viral video phenomena.

YouTube has led the charge into this brave new world of online content. Video creators have invented new genres of entertainment, and in some cases completely changed what being an “entertainer” means. But what often gets overlooked is how YouTube can make the old new again. Take, for example, one of the oldest forms of culture: classical music. Musicians have been able to hone their craft into new and exciting forms using some of the oldest styles and instruments out there. What does this “new classical” music sound like? Take a look.

Violinist Lindsey Stirling used her classical violin training to create something on the cutting edge with this music video, “Crystalize.” The video calls it “dubstep violin” and it’s not far off. It can’t be easy taking a nearly 500-year-old instrument and using it to create a new style. But Stirling makes it look easy; almost as easy as finding an audience hungry for something unique. “Crystalize” has been viewed nearly five million times in the few weeks it’s been online. Of course, the awesome sweeping visuals didn’t hurt.

The Piano Guys are another group making the old new again. These classically trained musicians use a piano, some cellos, and expert editing to transform their centuries-old instruments into modern hits. David Guetta is about as cutting-edge as music gets these days, but The Piano Guys show us that there’s really nothing new under the sun. Even Beethoven could’ve made these beats. You know, if he had the ear for it.

Speaking of cellos, let’s take a look at the aptly named 2CELLOS. Using, yes, two cellos, Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic have become something like superstars in their field. They’ve made several television appearences, go on tour, and have a booming YouTube channel. “Smooth Criminal” above has been viewed over 5.5 million times.

The real catalyst for this article – besides all the awesome music – was this video we posted on The Feed last week. As my pal Will Goodman wrote, “You know you’re doing something right when a band posts your video up on their Facebook page with the simple word ‘whoah’ to describe it.” Transforming the Foo Fighters’ classic “Everlong” into a sweeping piano piece is an inspired work of art that perfectly captures the everything-old-is-new-again aesthetic of budding classical musicians worldwide.

Today’s Trend analysis provided by

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The Popular Trailers of 2012 So Far: Avengers, Hunger Games

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Now that the Academy Awards has taken place, it’s time to shift focus to what some might consider the other end of the spectrum: the 2012 slate of blockbuster movies. There are plenty of films to look forward to this year, but by trailer popularity there are two big-time adaptations fans are hotly anticipating…

In 2012, the two top searches associated with trailers on YouTube so far are for Hunger Games, out later this month, and Marvel’s The Avengers.

Searches for The Avengers hit their largest spike back in October, when the first trailer was released. It’s since been seen over 10 million times. There have been subsequent spikes when their Super Bowl trailer ran and this week when a new longer version was released. This new one has been seen over 4 million times in just two days.

The adaptation of the young-adult novel Hunger Games also saw its first spike in buzz this past fall, with initial trailer hitting the web in November. A new trailer was released in February that’s racked up over 6 million views.

The fastest rising “trailer” search so far has been Chronicle, which was released last month and also had a very popular first trailer.

We’re only two months in, so we’ll have to check back closer to the summer to see how things have changed.

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The latest reality of online safety: we’re all being watched

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Online Privacy

There are so many threats to online security and privacy that many have simply given up on the notion of being protected. Their best defense is simply not putting anything online that they wouldn’t want to share with the rest of the world and the nefarious types in particular.

For example, signing up for one of NBCs websites means that your username is shared with 7 other companies. For Home Depot signups, that number grows to 13 and includes your email address. We’ve all heard of how Google, Facebook, and other major companies are watching us when we aren’t aware. The list of security and privacy infractions by corporations is endless.

That doesn’t take into account the standard cyber criminals that are waiting at every turn on the internet for us to make a mistake.

Education. Smartphones. WiFi. Social networks. The list is endless.

The solution is simple, and unfortunately it’s the one we said already. If you don’t want something available to companies or individuals, don’t put it online. Anywhere. Period.

You Are Not Safe Online
Created by: Online Marketing Degree

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Mercedes invisible car campaign is relatively brilliant

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Mercedes Invisible Car

Some say less is more when it comes to marketing. Mercedes takes “less” to a new level in the marketing of their F-Cell vehicle line.

The concept is simple and brilliant. To demonstrate that a vehicle has no emissions, they made an “invisible” vehicle to represent its lack of a footprint on the environment. By covering one side of the vehicle in LEDs, they’re able to let people see through it via a camera mounted on the other side. The results of the publicity stunt will be seen over time but it highlights a creativity that has evaded the German luxury car manufacturer for a while.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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iPad 3 obsession is getting boring

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »


Every day, I look for the latest rumors or reports about the iPad 3. I never have to look too far – Techmeme features a story or two about it daily. Some new rumor, video, leaked photo, description, or speculated feature pops up from reliable sources who talk about the device as if it’s going to change the world.

Maybe it will. In many ways, it already has.

Today as I sorted through the latest barrage of buzz surrounding the mythical creature, I realized that it’s just not that important. In many ways, it’s an obsession that certain people (myself included) have turned into a part of our daily journalistic investigations. Officially with this article, I’m done.

No product, service, or tech innovation short of hoverboards or time machines should get this much speculative attention. Most people simply don’t care enough about it. They may or may not have heard that it’s coming and they may or may not buy one when it finally gets here, but the attention given to it by the tech media has gotten out of hand.

Here’s a video from the good folks over at MicGadget that shows everything we need to know for now. It’s the last thing I’ll write about the iPad 3 until it’s announced. Obsessions can be beaten. Some take a 12-step program. With others, it’s better to go cold turkey.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Connect With Your Creation Through a Real-Time Editor

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Inspired by Bret Victor's demo, Chris Granger's live editor helps connect you with what you're building.

Last month we pointed you to a video of Bret Victor’s talk, “Inventing on Principle.” Victor has worked on experimental UI concepts at Apple and also created the interactive data graphics for Al Gore’s book, Our Choice. In the talk Victor showed off a demo of a great real-time game editor that makes your existing coding tools look primitive at best.

Inspired by Victor’s presentation, developer Chris Granger has put together a similar live game editor in Clojurescript.

If you haven’t watched the video of Victor’s talk, you should start there, but the basic idea behind his real-time editor is to make your code more closely connected to what it creates, in this case a simple game. Granger’s take on the idea is similar — all changes you make to the code are reflected immediately in the running game. You change a line of code and the game immediately changes right with it. Here’s Granger’s video demonstrating the editor:

As Granger writes on his blog, “essentially I learned that Victor was right — there’s unquestionable value in connecting yourself with your creation.”

Granger’s demo code is available on GitHub and there’s a .jar file available for download if you’d just like to play with the demo.

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Users Expect Websites to Load in the Blink of an Eye

Posted March 4th, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Photo: tobias.munich/Flickr

Think your three-second page loads are “just fine”? Think again.

According to engineers at Google, even the blink of an eye — which takes around 400 milliseconds — is too long.

That’s the word from the New York Times, which makes an unusual foray into the world of web development with its article “For Impatient Web Users, an Eye Blink Is Just Too Long to Wait.”

Some web developers may remember the days of the two-second rule (and no, not the one that applies to dropping food on the floor). The established wisdom — well-tested at the time by usability experts like Jakob Nielsen and others — was that after two seconds the number of users willing to wait for your page to load dropped off significantly.

That rule still holds, it’s just the amount of time that’s changed. Nowadays, the Times claims, users drop off after a mere 400 milliseconds, and a difference in page load time of just 250 milliseconds is enough to convey a distinct advantage over your competitors.

It’s that last number that’s perhaps most interesting. Anyone who’s browsing the web via a 3G connection can tell you that if you’re only willing to wait 400 milliseconds for a page to load, you aren’t going to see much of the web. On mobile networks bandwidth constraints are even more of an issue than they were when the two-second maximum was popularized. Users seem to understand this, but they don’t see it as an excuse. Now, perhaps more than ever, slight differences in page load time can give your site a significant advantage over competitors, according to the Google and Microsoft engineers quoted in the Times piece.

In other words, users may still, in some circumstance, be willing a wait a second, but if your competitor’s page is even 250 milliseconds faster, you can kiss your users goodbye.

Don’t believe us? Head over to the Times article and see if Google’s engineers don’t convince you. When you’re done we’ve got a few tips on how to speed up your website and make sure that no one has the edge on you. Here are a few helpful articles from the Webmonkey archives:

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