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Photo

Los Angeles at Sunset

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Los Angeles, from the Griffith Observatory.

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Technology Video

Product Placement in Syndication

I have always been a proponent of product placement. It doesn’t interrupt a show like commercials do, and if done tastefully, it serves to further ground the story in reality. What’s more real to you, a lead character drinking a Coke or a “Cola,” or a family a stopping for food at a Subway or “Sandwiches?” Real products make shows real, and they provide real money to the content creators who then either increase production or consider running fewer commercials.

The problem with product placement is that it’s not viable for syndication. Ford isn’t going to pay for your lead character to drive a car that’s four years out of date, and Subway isn’t going to pay for the camera to swing by a billboard for a sandwich they stopped making three years ago. What if the car and the billboard could be changed?

A company called Mirriad is seeking to do just that, and if the technology takes off like it rightfully should, we could be seeing a future filled with commercials replaced by a future of constantly updating product placement. We deserve a future with uninterrupted shows on regular TV, and content creators deserve to be compensation for their work’s on-air lifetime. Product placement with something like Mirriad’s technology could make both happen, and that’s pretty cool.

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Photo

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

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An Aldabra Giant Tortoise at the Los Angeles Zoo.

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Technology Video

Cloudup: Free File Sharing from Automattic

cloudupLast year, Automattic made two amazing acquisitions, and one of those was Cloudup, an incredible file sharing solution with a variety of unique features that really let it step out and shine as a must-have tool.

At its most basic, Cloudup allows you to quickly upload files and provide a simple URL to view them, but it’s much more than that. Cloudup allows you to organize files into “streams,” like folders on your desktop, where you can share the whole stream via one URL without having to share multiple file URLs. Cloudup also provides a URL for your file or stream as soon as you start, so you can share the URL immediately if you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for the upload to complete. If the upload is still going when the recipient views the URL, they will simply see the same realtime progress indicator that you see. Plus, if you’re handy with the command line, Cloudup even has its own command line tool.

I use Cloudup for a variety of things every single day. Usually, I’m either using Cloudup to share a screenshot with someone who wrote in for WordAds support, or I’m sending along a single Cloudup stream URL in an email instead of attaching multiple files. Cloudup’s app and mobile-friendly site make file uploads and sharing so easy that I sometimes use it to quickly share a screenshot or screencast in Automattic’s internal communication platforms. Speaking of which, did you know that you can embed any Cloudup file or even an entire stream in a WordPress.com blog by just pasting the URL into your post? Well, now you do, and if you have a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, you can use Jetpack to add the same functionality.

Cloudup changed the way I work and the way I email, it’s just that good. Cloudup is 100% free, though it is currently invite-only, but I really want it to make a difference in your lives too, so here’s a magical link which will automatically fill in a code allowing you to sign up without a direct invitation. Hurry, this code is only good for 50 uses!

Update: As of September 2017, Cloudup is closed and no longer accepting new accounts.

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Technology

2013: A Year in Review

2013 was a huge year for WordPress.com, so let’s plan on an even bigger 2014! 🙂