Monday, November 15, 2010

RockMelt: The Social Browser

By Courtney Carey

RockMelt is the newest technology in the world of internet browsers, and has recently been introduced to the public. This Google Chromium-based browser is backed by Marc Andreessen who is best known as the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used internet browser, and the co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. RockMelt combines the greatness of Google Chrome, while heavily integrating social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

A review by Jim Rapoza of InformationWeek discusses some of the unique features of RockMelt:

“When you launch RockMelt, it asks for your Facebook login. Once it starts, it automatically logs into Facebook and integrates Facebook information directly into the browser interface. This includes a list of Facebook friends (shown with small image thumbnails) that runs down the lefthand side of the browser window. This listing could be customized to show favorites, which are selected by hitting a star next to the person's image. Clicking on a friend's thumbnail displayed that person's most recent status and provided the option to chat with or post on that person's wall.”

Besides the heavy social media integration, this review goes on to talk about the impressive search capabilities of the new browser.

“By far, one of the most powerful features of RockMelt is how it has improved the integrated search in Chromium. When entering a search term within the search field, RockMelt first looked to see if it matched a friend and then performed a full search, with results displayed in a drop-down box. The box made it easy to scan results with lots of information and offered a nice site preview, essentially loading the site into the main RockMelt browser window.”

Time will tell whether or not RockMelt will become the leading internet browser or if it will be used primarily by social media enthusiasts. Since social media is increasingly playing a larger role in business and general culture, I predict great success for RockMelt in the future.

Courtney Carey is Projects Manager. Contact her at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

By Matt Saler

Today is a day to honor for those who have served and continue to serve this country. We’re thankful to have brave people protecting the freedoms that many of us take for granted.

War is a very ugly and unfortunate part of life but it’s sadly unavoidable sometimes. When we’re forced to defend our freedom, we’re extremely lucky to have men and women who are willing to fight and serve this country, at times making the ultimate sacrifice.

So if you know someone who currently serves in the military, or a veteran who has served in the past, or even if you don’t know anyone, take a minute today and say thank you. Their courage makes us all proud.

Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marathon Fundraising Evolves

By Pete Deluca

Last weekend, thousands of runners took part in the 2010 ING NYC Marathon. With an estimated 46,000 people, the race is one of the largest and most popular running events in the world. Most participants endure months of grueling training and arrive at the starting line eager to begin their 26.2-mile trek. But one runner, selected to start dead last.

His name is Amani Toomer, former wide receiver for the New York Giants, and his run from Staten Island to Central Park took on special meaning thanks to a unique fundraising opportunity from Timex. For every person Toomer ran by, Timex agreed to donate $1 to New York Road Runner’s Club Youth program, a local charity that promotes distance running, health, and fitness. To pass as many people as possible, Toomer selected to start very last.

He finished the race in 4:13 – just outside his goal of under four hours, but still fast enough to break the record set by Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who previously held the mark for the fastest time in the NYC Marathon by a former NFL player at 4:23. Is it estimated that Toomer passed 20,000 people on his way to the finish line.

Raising money for charity is always a great idea. Sponsoring or donating to a particular runner is certainly not uncommon, but there is something refreshing about the way Timex went about this.

It’s interesting. It’s engaging. It makes for a great story before, during, and after the event.

My hat is off to Timex for recognizing an excellent opportunity to donate thousands of dollars to a local charity while tastefully promoting their company.

Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at

Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter to Erin Oliver

By Carolyn Maroon

Recently there was a disturbing story about animal cruelty. The only way these crimes start is when the punishment fits the crime. This is a chance for Florida to set the standard. Here in Baltimore, Mayer Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has recently passed legislation that enforces animal cruelty laws, which is a positive step in the right direction.

Below is a letter I’d write to Florida’s Assistant State Attorney regarding the case.


November 5, 2010

Ms. Erin Oliver
Assistant State Attorney
P.O. Box 590
Chipley, FL 32428

Dear Ms. Oliver,

This is a request to pursue the strongest penalties available under Fla. Stat.
§ 828.12 against greyhound trainer, Ronald “Ronnie” John Williams. The state anti-cruelty statute states that a person “who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree” which is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine per act.

So far 33 dogs that were in Mr. Williams care have died. Mr. Williams is being held on a $54,000 bond and has been charged on 37 felony counts for committing animal cruelty for starving nearly 40 greyhounds, and in some cases, suffocating them by duck taping their necks to cut off their air supply.

This man needs to be held accountable for his unconscionable actions and I respectfully implore you and your office to use the full power of the law to penalize Mr. Williams. By doing so, you will not only be protecting other dogs but people as well. If Mr. Williams is capable of doing such horrid things to a defenseless animal then he is also capable of doing the same to a person.

Too many times across the country and here in Maryland these acts are punished by a mere slap on the wrist. Florida has an opportunity to send a message and set a standard that other states could follow.

Thanks for your time and for fighting to protect life in all forms.

Carolyn and John Maroon
(owners’ of Connie & Gabe)

Carolyn Maroon is Office Manager of Maroon PR. Contact her at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Texting for a Cause

By Mitchell Schmale

Nonprofits are often looking for creative ways to share their message, advance their missions and also raise much needed funds to help support their organizations.

In good economic times and bad, nonprofits will continue to utilize traditional fundraising techniques including capital campaigns, corporate partnerships and direct outreach to donors, to name just a few. But more nonprofits of all sizes are now trying to emulate the success of recent text messaging campaigns as an additional fundraising tool to help reach younger donors and build a donor support base for the future.

The New York Times’ Stephanie Strom wrote an interesting article recently on the challenges of launching and maintaining successful text messaging campaigns for many nonprofits.

Following the amazing success of the American Red Cross texting campaign to support Haiti in January of this year, other nonprofits realized the immense potential power of the fundraising vehicle. The text Haiti campaign raised more than $30 million, which was almost as much as all other nonprofit text campaigns in 2009 combined.

However, as The New York Times piece points out, the American Red Cross example is difficult model to replicate. Not every nonprofit is able to share the same sense of urgency, have the ongoing support of global awareness from news coverage, or have the support from other national organizations and high-profile public figures. Additionally, the ongoing cost of creating and maintaining a text campaign can be a costly expense for smaller nonprofits.

Nonetheless, I believe texting campaigns will become yet another traditional mainstay for nonprofits of all sizes to use as a fundraising tool in the future. With the help of corporate partners underwriting campaigns and the costs of launching and maintaining campaigns with mobile phone companies possibly declining in the future, nonprofits will tap into the texting craze for the long haul – at least until the next best technology-based fundraising tool comes along.

Mitchell Schmale is the Vice President of Business. Contact him at

Monday, November 1, 2010

Whistle Blowers

By Tim Richardson

Two weeks ago, I read a story on Yahoo! Sports about dozens of high school football referees potentially being penalized by the Washington Officials Association (WOA) for using pinks whistles in a series of Thursday night games to raise awareness about breast cancer. The refs also donated their game checks to a nonprofit dedicated to breast cancer education and research.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society's (ACS) most recent estimates, there were over 207,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in the U.S. in 2010. Additionally, there were more than 50,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), a non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer.

Another article in USA Today cites WOA Commissioner Todd Stordahl as saying the refs “didn’t ask permission and disregarded official rules for appropriate uniforms.” He continued by adding that the refs actions “set a bad example for players.” The Commissioner also said the organization might keep these refs from officiating playoff games…which would result in them losing two game checks.

The ACS estimates that approximately 40,000 women lost their lives to breast cancer in 2010…and Mr. Stordahl is concerned about whistles not being black and the refs not getting “permission” to bring attention to an extremely noble cause? What type of example is that setting for players?

Look, I get it. We live in a world that has rules, policies, laws, etc. But sometimes, rules just don’t work. Now don’t be ridiculous and say I’m calling for a world with anarchy. I’m not saying that at all. The “rules” that I’m referring to are trivial things like…well, the color of a football referee’s whistle.

This story quickly reached the masses and the outcry of support for the referees grew, while the consternation toward the WOA swelled. This is a highly sensitive issue, so within hours Mr. Stordalh’s email address and contact information were being shared via sites such as Facebook. I certainly don’t agree with posting the man’s information all over the Internet, but it makes you wonder how much the public uproar and negative attention in the media factored into the WOA’s decision not to penalize the referees.

On October 25, posted a story in which Mr. Stordahl reiterated that the WOA's issue was that the officials “did not follow proper procedure in electing to change from the standard black whistles, considered part of the uniform.

To the WOA’s credit, they have allowed officials to use pink whistles at other sporting events, including volleyball, soccer and basketball. But their rationale for deciding against the use of pink whistles at football games was “to keep the focus on the players and games.” So they weren’t concerned about people being focused on the players at the volleyball, soccer and basketball games…huh?

The WOA did inform the referees that there were consequences for rules violations if they went ahead with their plans to use pink whistles. But the officials already had the whistles and pledged their game checks to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

I guessing the two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States, along with their families and friends, are thankful for people like these referees in Washington.

To me, the big picture is way more important…not to mention life altering.

Tim Richardson is Executive Vice President. Contact him at