Android Users Gain Social Homepage, Study Distraction with *Spark

*Spark Screenshot

*Spark proves that a silly product name can still lead to massive success. A screenshot of the *Spark homepage.

If you have a smart phone running Android or Symbian, you may want to check out *Spark from HipLogic, which recently launched in beta. The app allows you to transform your phone’s launch screen into a one stop shop for your Twitter feed, Facebook, the weather report, and news headlines.

The aim of the app is to give Android and Symbian users a way to access all the constantly updated data that they’re interested in without having to go to separate apps for each individual service. It has the potential to make non-iPhone smart phones more attractive to potential users, and it plays on Android’s multitasking strengths in a way that lets the OS shine.

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Swag Review: Windows 7 Asus Eee 1008P PC

Today I received a 10″ Asus Eee PC 1008P in the mail from Microsoft. As part of their loaner program, I’ll be using it for the next year before I ship it back. The video above shows my initial impressions (and my deathly pallor).

So far it seems like the pros are the long battery life (6 hours!), good keyboard, and sensitive trackpad; the cons are the silly casing on it and the poor mic quality. The rest of the HackCollege staff agreed that I sounded like I was eating mud while talking during our weekly conference call, so take that as you will in regards to mic quality.

What are some things you’d like to see us try on the machine? So far I intend to use it for basic notetaking, and clearly I’m able to record video on it, but that’s the extent of my ideas for now. Please, give suggestions in the comments or on Twitter!

More photos on HackCollege.

Take Advantage of Government Apps

Screenshot of the US government's mobile app page.

Yes we can enter the web 2.0 marketplace. A screenshot of the apps.usa.gov site shows a few of the apps the US government offers.

Yes we can enter the web 2.0 marketplace. A screenshot of the apps.usa.gov site shows a few of the apps the US government offers.There are plenty of things that come to mind when one thinks of the US Government–but “web-savvy institution” probably isn’t one of them, no matter your political leanings. However, that may change with the government apps website. There are six pages of government-sponsored apps to do with national security, BMI measurement, and what’s currently being recalled. For people who need quick an easy access to that information without having to search through government websites, these apps and mobile web pages have the potential to be quite useful. Here are a few of the most interesting offerings.

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Give Killer Public Presentations With These Public Speaking Tips

There's no reason to fear public speaking, even if you're talking to the future droids in this lecture hall.

Public speaking can be terrifying–an estimated 95% of people experience some anxiety when speaking in front of groups. Unfortunately for everyone except that lone 5%, college is full of public speaking requirements: speaking up as a member of a club, for example, or having to give the first of many class presentations. However, with these tips you can hopefully reduce your public-speaking stress and give killer presentations.

Be Prepared – Part of the terror of public speaking comes from a fear of screwing up publicly. You can reduce this chance (and as a result, the fear) by preparing beforehand: make a bullet-pointed outline for your speech, for instance. If you’re doing a powerpoint presentation in class, be sure not to have everything on the powerpoint–instead, put bullet-pointed cues on the slides and expand upon them while speaking (it’s okay to have personal notecards with the expanded information on them). This way you’ll look like you know what you’re talking about by giving the audience information that only comes from you, rather than your visual aids. In addition to looking competent, an outline or notecards will give you something to go back to should you get completely flustered.

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