Disclaimer: there is a disproportionate ratio of cat tweets vs. noncat tweets in this week's Tweets of the Week because, well, we just can't get enough Internet kitties. The Twitterverse was also humming over the amazing Red Bull Stratos space jump by Felix Baumgartner, the coming (and going) of the day Marty McFly travels back to the future, and more. The always handsome Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame, Revision3's Bonnie Burton, and Star Trek: TNG's Wil Wheaton are just some of our favorite featured geeks in this week's roundup of the top 10 tiny messages on Twitter.
Discover a new hobby this weekend without ever moving from your living room, thanks to the digital DIY boot camps offered in the Craftsy iPad app. While classes in your home can be prohibitively costly to attend or at inconvenient times, we love Craftsy for its world of convenience. Study a new craft like sewing, knitting, or felting with in-app purchases of whichever skill you're dying to learn at prices that average around $20 a session.
Even better for mastering your newfound skill is the option to watch the videos on repeat at no additional cost and even ask questions of the instructors. Our first stop? Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster — there are some holiday gifts to get a head start on!
The sparks that shoot across the heavens every mid- to late October aren't fireworks or orbiting satellites, it's the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks just before dawn this Sunday, Oct. 21. Earthlings will be able to see about 25 meteor sightings per hour, according to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Also on full display are Venus, Jupiter, and the Taurus, Gemini, and Orion constellations.
If you're stuck indoors, catch the celestial wonder on a live Ustream feed from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center between 11 p.m. Oct. 20 and 3 a.m. Oct. 21. A live Q & A with astronomer Mitzi Adams will appear alongside the meteor live stream.
If you're lucky enough to get outside, set your alarm for a few hours before sunrise the morning of Sunday, Oct. 21, and get as far away from city lights as possible. Check out this interactive sky map as a guide to the night skies in your area, and take it with you on your Orionid meteor shower watch to see how many constellations you can spot.
Experts attribute their creation to a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, who, in 1982, told his students that the class needed a way to label jokes online.
"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways," Scott Fahlman wrote on an online bulletin board (the precursor to what we call forums today).
But some point to a New York Times transcript of an 1862 speech by Abraham Lincoln, in which "applause and laughter" is followed by a winky smile ";)".
- Get ready for gaming with the Halo 4 trailer — Geekosystem
- Ugh. You can never use the Five Second Rule again — Newser
- Behold the saddest moment in Twitter history — FWD
- Types of people who tweet directly at candidates — Cracked
- Should the music industry thank illegal downloaders? — ReadWriteWeb
- Twitter cookies — yum! — GizmoDiva
- Make an Avengers cocktail this weekend — Neatorama
- Welcome to my closet, Chewbacca and R2-D2 hoodies — MTV Geek
Obviously, a new look means the playing field has changed for LinkedIn users. To find out how we can use the upgrade to our advantage, we talked to Krista Canfield, senior manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn, for some insider tips:
- Add a photo. It's important to add a picture to your profile as it is more of a focal point with the new design. Your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo, according to Canfield.
- Include your skills. The latest generation of LinkedIn makes your skills and other accomplishments more eye-catching and organized. Add skills that are relevant so you will stand out, says Canfield. "You can add up to 50 LinkedIn Skills, everything from classical ballet to bloodstain pattern analysis." Your peers can also now endorse you for specific skills.
- Share your thoughts. If you happen to come across an interesting article, share it with your contacts. The activity feed is now on the top of your profile, so it's more important than ever to share interesting status updates and links. In fact, those who share an article on LinkedIn at least once a week are "nearly 10 times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities" than those who don't. But remember to think "quality over quantity" when you're updating your status or sharing an article, because it will be a reflection of your professional self.
Welcome back, laptop! Despite reports that people use tablets more than laptops for everyday needs, this week, Samsung announced a new line of Chromebook computers that use Google's Chrome operating system and start at the bargain-basement price of $249.
Pushing users toward the cloud, Chromebooks are light on hardware. Similar in size (11-inch HD display, under three pounds, and ultra thin) and appearance (silver exterior, black chiclet keyboard, and touchpad mouse) to the MacBook Air, the Chromebook, however, relies on Google cloud products like Gmail, Drive, Google+ Hangouts, etc., rather than the desktop-based storage and software of typical laptops.
But if you opt for the $329 Samsung Chromebook 3G and download these five key Chrome apps (remember, your Google account is already linked to Drive's word processing and spreadsheets), Chromebook will have you working like a pro and finding your pricier software-based laptop a distant memory.
- PicMonkey — Free photo editing that gets results comparable to costly photo software? Yes, please! Do the basics like crop and rotate or get creative with effects — we're making lots of vampires with the Halloween filters.
Keep reading for more must-have Chromebook apps.
If you're using only the native camera app in your iPhone or iPad, you haven't unlocked the gadgets' full photographic potential. From photography tutorials to magic retouching tools, we've gathered 30 photo apps you need on your iOS device. Many of these apps can be downloaded for less than the cost of a morning coffee and will have you operating at a nearly professional level, even if you're just sharing the memories on Facebook.