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TJM

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Social media apps, like any other product or service, can drop with a bang or end with an aw dang.   Just ask Vine or Google+.  While the world of social media is ever-expanding and ever more connected, with the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter at the forefront, we should take a quick look back at two apps that came in hot, then fizzled.

Vine dropped in 2013 and was later bought by Twitter. Upon release, it was pretty hilarious and the first of its kind. Edit 6 second videos in different pieces to make something funny. What an idea. Vine was a hit. But then Snapchat added a story, Instagram added a story, and the limited 6-second video became a negative. Still, love to those who rocked the Vine platform. The creativity and comedy by Viners was a pre-curser to the meme world of today.

Then there’s the story of Google+ and why it even existed. Why did it exist? Few could figure out its value. Was it for kids? Was it an alternative to LinkedIn?  It lasted for 8 years be virtue of Google’s deeeep pockets and still, few had a clue. RIP to that platform – no sweat off Google’s back, they run the world anyway. Finally, let’s take a moment to remember all of the other failed social media platforms that are no longer with us and let us thank them for their service.

Hobbs & Shaw is a $200 million, star-studded, summer blockbuster that is some distance from its origins in the first Fast & Furious movie, a somewhat innocent version of cops vs robbers vs corruption featuring cool street cars straight out of a Need for Speed video game.  What started with Paul Walker (RIP) and Vin Diesel, second level stars at the time, has morphed into countless films featuring current first tier stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Eva Mendes and Kurt Russell.  F & F has evolved into a mighty movie franchise. 

In Hobbs & Shaw, The Rock and Statham team up to take on bad guys much to their chagrin. They try to save Shaw’s (Statham) sister (Vanessa Kirby) who is a M16 agent. The franchise may be bigger, but is it better?  Has it devolved into typical action movie with fighting, guns, good guys vs. bad guys, cars, and other wild and crazy vehicular scenes; aerial, on the ground or by the sea?  To insure its appeal, the film throws in Ryan Reynolds, Idris Elba, Rob Delaney, and Kevin Hart.

Question: How far can $200 million take you?

Facebook is set to launch a new service this fall codenamed ‘Catalina’, which will serve as a larger version of their current Facebook Portal. Portal is like an iPad that primarily serves for making video calls and listening to music.

Catalina will essentially be a bigger version of Portal. It will connect with your television, enabling video calls on a massive scale. The device will come with a remote and will steam to other boxes within the household much like Apple TV.

Facebook has approached some of the big names in tech and entertainment – Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO – to discuss the prospect of having their services streamed across Catalina. Imagine video chatting with your friends while you are all watching the same movie.  FB is apparently not looking to create content, they seem happy to leave it to others in hopes that major streaming services sign on.  One notable exception is Google’s YouTube, which has apparently not been asked to join the party.  More specifics are expected as we approach this fall’s release date

Nintendo is close to delivering on last year’s promise to put Mario Kart on mobile devices.  The game is already being played on PCs, but it’s time for Nintendo to follow its audience to the phone where they increasingly live and breathe. Just how they adapt this well known game to the mobile medium will be interesting…what elements will they keep and what will they drop as they live within the phone’s restrictions.  The fun will be playing the new versions of Rainbow Road or Koopa Troopa Beach on your phone.

The beta version is said to be close to release, but in a break from the past, it will be available on Android devices first, which puts iOS users at the back of the line.  While nothing quite beats the classic N64 version of Mario Kart, having the ability to compete with this timeless title on your phone will be a fresh experience. Check back in for more updates on Mario Kart as the beta release unfolds.

Netflix is bringing some classic flicks to their platform for the month of August. The complete list can be found below.  We take a closer look at a couple that are for sure worth checking out.

  • Are We Done Yet?
  • Boyka: Undisputed
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Groundhog Day
  • Horns
  • Jackie Brown
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Now and Then
  • Panic Room
  • Rocky I – V
  • Sex and the City: The Movie
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • The Bank Job
  • The House Bunny
  • The Sinner: Julian
  • To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
  • Why Do Fools Fall in Love

A Closer Look

Jackie Brown – The release of Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in July is likely to trigger a Tarantino binge for many, and while Jackie Brown is one of his older movies; it is still one of his best. Not for the weak-hearted, this movie of betrayal, schemes and deception will have viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. It is timeless Tarantino.

The Rocky Series – If you haven’t seen any of the Rocky movies, we’re not sure where you’ve been. If you have, there’s nothing like going back for a little refresher.  Personally, we believe the early Rocky¹s are the best of the bunch, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can crank up all five in one sitting, just don¹t forget to bring snacks. Cue the theme song.

Something’s Gotta Give – Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton should be enough to get you to watch this movie, aside from the fact that it is very well done. Perhaps more for the older crowd as a comedy / drama / romance movie, but we think it’s got something for everyone and recommend checking it out. Plus, a crazy Jack Nicholson face really never gets old.

Happy binging this August everybody!

According to an Elon Musk tweet a few days ago, Tesla’s high tech sport cars is about to get the “ability to stream YouTube and Netflix when car is stopped coming to your Tesla soon!” The car already has a massive LCD display screen and top-of-the-line audio. Sounds like a perfect way to watch a movie!

Tesla owners can already play select games while the car is stopped and now they’ll be the first with Netflix, YouTube and possibly Hulu among other streaming services.  They’ll never need to leave the car. What’s next? Perhaps a built in popcorn machine or espresso maker are on the horizon! Jokes aside, the whole drive in movie feeling can be taken to a new level with these additions. Imagine driving your Tesla (assuming you can afford one) to a quiet remote location, maybe with a view overlooking a city or mountains or beaches, and watching one of your favorite movies with a loved one. Pretty cool stuff. Musk hopes to one day have streaming available while the car’s in motion, but that’s in the future.

Double Pops .. so fun they gave you more than one. Split it with a friend, or just crush em both in the same serving. A classic and versatile summertime snack for kids of the 90’s and early 2000’s, Popsicle’s Double Pops have taken a hiatus, but they’re back baby, and it’s all thanks to a bit of Bieber Fever.

Back in May, assuming he had some sort of a craving working, Justin Bieber tweeted at Popsicle asking them to bring back the famous sugar sticks. With over 100 million followers on twitter, Popsicle saw this as a great opportunity for some free marketing and market analysis. In response to Bieber’s tweet, Popsicle brought back a limited batch, but pledged that if their tweet got 100,000 retweets by July 23rd, they’d bring the product back indefinitely.

Twitter did its thing, and by July 21st, the benchmark had been hit. Ironically, July 21st was National Ice Cream Day in the U.S. as well. The publicity really couldn’t have gone any better for Popsicle. As a result of the successful promo, they’re #BringingBackTheDouble, and they’re letting you decide which flavors they should re-release. Orange, cherry, grape, or banana were the choices in their twitter poll, and if you were wondering which one Justin Bieber aka the Double Pop Savior wants, the answer is banana.

Have you ever had a Double Pop Popsicle from Popsicle?

Tell us!

The trend for Disney producing old content into modern live action content continues. They’ve done it now with the release and production of several classic movies (Aladdin, Lion King, Mulan), and now they’re bringing back ‘Recess’. That’s right, the 3rd Street Elementary School crew is back, but now, they’re live and in living color.

Here’s a look at the cast list

  • Benjamin Wadsworth as TJ
  • Sean Depner as Mikey
  • Louriza Tronco as Spinelli
  • Lillian Doucet Roche as Gretchen
  • Fritzy Klevans Destine as Vince
  • Clive Holloway as Gus
  • Adam DiMarco as everyone’s favorite snitch, Randall

What makes this project so great outside of the nostalgia factor is the fact that it will be released online for free. A smaller lower budget project for Disney, who will turn around any proceeds and earnings through donations and advertisements back into paying for the project. Get ready for ‘Recess’ again, coming this August!

Facebook created “Kids Messenger” back in 2017 pledging a “safe space” for kids to chat and connect with one another, with approval settings set by the parents. The main draw to the app was the fact that parents could protect their kids from talking to strangers and ensure that their children were chatting among approved friends. The app is for children under the age of 13.

Despite this being a good idea to the core, Facebook has misstepped again. Recently a bug was brought to light that enables unapproved members to join into group chats with children. Facebook is aware of the issue and has claimed it is only in a select number of cases. They have since fixed the bug so there should be no further issues.

What is concerning is the thought that this has gone on for quite some time. How long has Facebook known about it? Were there adults posing as children popping into these group chats? There are a clear lack of regulations in the children’s chat space.

Companies like Facebook that operate in this market must be more strictly regulated to ensure the safety they pledge, as well as incentivized to fix any problems such as that with the Kids Messenger with haste. This bug could have been going on for a significant amount of time, with Facebook taking their sweet time to fix it. That must change if children’s safety in online communication is truly the goal.

The natural step in Uber’s evolution was to add in ride features for passengers and incentivize drivers to promote them. Just like alcoholic beverages, food, or premium movie/internet service on an airplane, Uber and Cargo (an in-car commerce platform) have launched their own venture to add value to the riders and drivers experience.

Cargo is an app that operates on its own, separate from Uber, but with this new venture, drivers can now link their Cargo app with the Uber driver’s scan code to activate in app purchases. Cargo offers purchases such as Nintendo Switch, Apple hardware, Away luggage, Glossier cosmetics and more. Those items if purchases on the ride will be shipped directly to the riders home within 2-5 business days. Additionally, Cargo will offer “in ride entertainment” with movies available for purchase from Universal Studios ranging from $5-$10, and riders will have permanent access to those movies in the Movies Anywhere app.

Why utilize this feature? Well for starters, every purchase by a rider earns 10% of their purchase value back in Uber Cash to use on future rides. So those who frequent Uber are now incentivized to use this service saving them money down the line. For drivers, the incentive to promote the platform is certainly high, as they earn 25% of the value of items purchased in the Cargo app, as well as $1 for every first purchase by a new customer.

In theory this seems like a great idea and a great partnership between the two companies. The question remains, what will stop consumers from just ordering items they may need through Amazon while on the ride, or using their available entertainment options such as movies, Apple Music, or Netflix streaming services? Time will tell, but we think Uber and Cargo are on the right path here for providing more value to ride-sharers nationwide.