YourExtraLife adds game-like achievements to real life

YourExtraLife is part social network/experiment with a touch of video game, incorporated into one app. Recently released earlier this month on iOS, YourExtraLife is the creation of four indie developers out of Quebec, Canada. Their ambition is to create an app that can help people enjoy new experiences and emotions, and learn new skills through a variety of challenges. The end goal is to have users slowly move out of their comfort zone by trying things they otherwise might not.

After creating an account via Facebook or e-mail, you'll see a list of five category trees: Gourmet, Nightlife, … Read more

Tech wizards behind movie magic honored by Oscars

Most movie fans won't be thinking of the Oscars for two more weeks, but the Academy has already honored some of the innovators who have made significant behind-the-scenes contributions over the years to movie making, including the computer graphics behind "Shrek."

Unlike the Academy Awards ceremony that will be held February 24, which honors only movie achievements of 2012, last night's Scientific and Technical Awards recognized those who demonstrated a "proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures" but is not limited to the previous year's achievements.

The … Read more

Use Lean Six Sigma in Excel

Maybe you've heard the phrase "Lean Six Sigma" in the news or at work. This management strategy was developed by Motorola in the 1980s to reduce manufacturing defects, but it's applicable to a wide range of business models. The "sigma" refers to defect rates; "six sigma" is the very low rate Motorola set as its goal, and it's also shorthand for the lean processes that achieved it. Lean6 from Leanmap is a set of free Excel worksheets for implementing Six Sigma techniques. While you might think it's geared strictly toward … Read more

My Xbox Live now available for iOS

My Xbox Live, released today, is a universal iOS app that connects you with Microsoft's gaming service for Xbox 360. With this free app, you'll now be able to connect with your personal account on Xbox Live.

With My Xbox Live, you'll now be able to connect with friends, customize your avatar, track achievements, and more, all from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can then view your friends' gamer cards, compare your achievements on games, and view recently played games.

In addition to being able to connect with your account and view friends' info, you'… Read more

Steve Jobs bests Zuckerberg on teens' fave list

Steve Jobs is a hit with teens--even bigger than Oprah or the Olsen twins.

The Apple co-founder and CEO is the most admired entrepreneur among teenagers, according to the results of a survey released Tuesday by Junior Achievement, an organization that educates students on matters related to future employment.

Of 1,000 teens queried, Jobs garnered 35 percent of the vote, beating out a list of celebrities that included Oprah Winfrey (25 percent), skateboarder Tony Hawk (16 percent), and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (10 percent). Rounding out the list were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen with 7 percent and … Read more

Mint makes your finances fun is launching a new tool on Tuesday that's makes tracking personal finances more fun. The service now rewards you for things you're doing to keep your "financial fitness" in check in the same way gamers get achievements in Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.

Each time you save more money than you spend, avoid bank fees, or come in under budget, it nets you a certain number of Mint points that go toward your total financial score. The goal is to realize the things you're doing right or wrong, and use that information … Read more

Sony releases minor updates for PS3, PSP

PlayStation 3 owners will find an update available for their console's firmware today. According to Sony, version 2.36 will offer increased "system stability when playing select PlayStation format software titles." It's not the most specific description we've ever heard, but we'll take any upgrades we can get.

What we're really looking forward to is the recently confirmed 2.40 upgrade that will allow for in-game utilization of the XMB (cross-media bar)--something Xbox 360 owners have been able to take for granted since the system's launch. Also available in the next … Read more

Web achievements 101: Things to do before you die

While the Internet might be a soulless place that's mostly devoid of any real human warmth or compassion, there are certain things that make it better. While there might be a YouTube, we're still very much the me generation when it comes to defining a personal identity online. Some of these "Web achievements" people pick up over the years require some serious talent. Others can be had with a little luck. We've compiled a list of some of the more prominent ones--consider it a list of things to do on the Internet before you die.

Skill. Achievements that require talent, skill, or personality

Get on Flickr's interesting picture wall. Flickr's interestingness algorithm is based on several qualities of user interaction with a photo. Flickr lists them as "where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing." In short, it's about how popular your photo is on an aggregate scale.

Chances of it actually happening: Depends on skill. It could be one of the best pictures on earth, but if nobody's looking at it, you're out of luck. That being said, the photos you tend to see on Flickr's explore page (the listing of interesting photos) tend to be great-looking, but even the occasional bad shot of something amazing makes the cut.

Make the YouTube featured videos list. This elusive honor puts your video on the front page of Many unknown artists have gotten huge view counts and channel subscriptions out of a front page spot, which gets millions of eyeballs each day.

Chances of it actually happening: Slim. The smattering of videos in the featured videos section on the front page is picked out by a team of YouTube editors. These folks are in charge of cool hunting, and given the amount of content that's uploaded to the site each day, the best way to get noticed might be to get picked up on some other social sites for visibility first. Mark Glaser from PBS' MediaShift has a great post on the editorial process here.

Get your post on The Best of Craigslist. This elusive honor is reserved for some of the best-written, or just plain obscure postings on the popular classifieds site. There's no real science to it beside the fact that your post must be nominated by a certain amount of users before it's picked out from the crowd.

Chances of it actually happening: Slim. Getting on Best of Craigslist is incredibly tough. Nationwide only a handful of posts are picked out each week, and you're relying on Craigslist users to not only read what you've written, but nominate it.

Making the front page of social news site like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Slashdot, and Newsvine.

Chances of it actually happening: Reasonable. The beauty of getting on these sites is that you don't have to write an article you're submitting. In most cases, the only responsibility is to write title and description. Adding a little style and flair to the original title and description can do wonders. On the other hand, writing a story, taking a picture or video that makes the front page of any of these sites is a far greater achievement than simply adding the link.

Continue reading to learn about repetitive and ego-stroking achievements galore...

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