Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Soars to Social Media Superstardom Sep30

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Soars to Social Media Superstardom...

It’s about that time of year when blade signs on sidewalks outside Starbucks coffee shops drive customers inside to purchase the company’s limited-time Pumpkin Spice Latte. But street signs aren’t the only way that Starbucks is pulling in its customers this year. The Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL as it’s colloquially known, is entering its 11th year at Starbucks. Over 200 million PSLs have been sold since the drink’s inception, making it the company’s most popular seasonal beverage. There are several imitators, most notably Dunkin’ Donuts, which is going into this fall with over half a dozen pumpkin-flavored items on their menu. But few of these imitations have been met with the same craze as Starbucks’ creation. What exactly makes people so loyal to this autumn-exclusive beverage? Maybe it’s the drink itself, a flavorful blend of nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin, which seems like the perfect way to herald in the arrival of the season. Or maybe Starbucks is better at making their lattes. But it’s likely that the PSL’s success relies on Starbucks’ carefully crafted brand loyalty campaign. Starbucks opened its Pumpkin Spice Latte season strong this year by creating a Twitter page for the fan-favorite beverage (@therealPSL) which engages with customers by referencing popular internet memes and posting quirky “selfies.” Starbucks chose its market well. According to the company, there are an average of 3,000 tweets per day in the fall that use the #PSL hashtag. The Twitter account already has almost 94,000 followers. Along with humorous updates, the page also features several interactive functions, like a “secret word” puzzle that followers could solve to win an early Pumpkin Spice Latte. The first customer to correctly guess at each location received a PSL and got their picture on a store sign. Another game...

UPS to Start Offering 3-D Printing Services...

Students looking to print papers, businesses that want to print mailers, pet owners who need to make “LOST” fliers, and more all use UPS to cheaply get work done. After all, original printer manufacturers’ ink cartridges can be pretty expensive, with alternatives not being much cheaper. But thanks to a new offer, people looking to print more than just paper documents will start heading there, soon. On September 22, UPS announced plans to become the first national retailer to offer 3-D printing services, saying that it would bring in-store 3-D printers to nearly 100 locations across the United States. “We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs,” said the UPS Store’s vice president of marketing and sales, Michelle Van Slyke. UPS’s new system will allow customers to submit their own designs for objects, which will then be printed on a professional-quality, Stratasys 3-D printer. The new program will allow customers to make product prototypes and engineering parts, as well as architectural models. Prices will vary depending on the products’ complexities. An iPhone case might cost about $60 to print, while a replica femur could cost about $325. Although UPS won’t be able to write the design files needed to print a specific, custom object (like a prototype, for example), the company can put customers in contact with third-party professionals who can do so for an hourly rate. Simple objects generally take about four or five hours to print. Naturally, the more complex an item is, the longer it can take. Some objects may even take several days to print. The pilot program first began last year at six different locations. UPS reported that those stores “saw demand for 3-D print continuing to...

New Concerns About Child Internet Usage...

We are living in a digital age, and it’s putting our children at risk in more ways than we may suspect. There’s the much-publicized risk of Internet predators and cyber-bullying, but Internet and smartphone addiction is a new concern parents should be on the lookout for. Our own electronics addiction is no secret, as we live in an age of instant gratification. If you have a question, you can simply Google it, and find your answer immediately. If you want to order food, there’s an app for that, and your meal will be hot and ready when you pick it up. Approximately 67% of Internet users say they shop online because a wider variety of options are available. Our growing love for the Internet and smartphones is rubbing off on the younger generation, as kids are getting online and getting smartphones at a younger and younger age. But their addiction can have an even more serious effect. In recent news, a 15-year-old boy tried to stab his mother because she tried to stop his Internet access, turned off his computer, and took away his smartphone. When he was taken in for treatment, he stripped to protest the fact that he was not given unhindered Internet access. While this is an extreme example, a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics points out that Internet addiction maay hit much closer to home than you may realize. Here are some of the statistics: Fully 75% of 12-to-17-year-olds own cell phones, and nearly all teenagers use text messaging. The average child eight to 10 years old spends nearly eight hours a day with different media, and older children and teens spend more than 11 hours per day. Kids who have a TV in their bedroom spend...

In a Move to Attract Start-Ups to its Cloud Platform, Google Offers $100,000 in Cloud Credits...

Cloud computing has certainly come a long way since its earliest days, when the U.S. government first pursued widespread implementation of the technological platform with 2009’s Cloud First Policy. These days, most large tech-focused companies and smartphone apps have embraced the cloud as a secure, space- and cost-efficient way to store data. In an effort to encourage more small businesses and start-ups to move data to their cloud computing servers, Google is now offering $100,000 in cloud computing credits to start-ups that join its Google Cloud Platform. According to the New York Times, Google’s incentive is intended to make its cloud computing services more competitive with Amazon Web Services, which is currently the largest cloud computing provider. To take advantage of Google’s incentive, a company must be less than five years old and must generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue, the New York Times reports. Google is hoping that these small companies will take advantage of the free cloud space, then stick with the Google Cloud Platform as they continue to grow, allowing Google to recoup its initial investment. It remains to be seen if Google’s gamble on its cloud computing platform will help it surpass Amazon, as Amazon’s pioneering of the cloud allowed it to become the first choice among start-ups for cloud computing options. Some of the companies that made their first forays into cloud computing with Amazon Web Services, like Dropbox and Netflix, have seen significant success, another factor that may still lure start-ups to Amazon instead of Google, the New York Times reports. However, there’s still something to be said about the appeal of free cloud space for a new company that might not be able to afford to move to the cloud until it...

Mild Virus Causing Serious Symptoms in Children Across the United States Sep21

Mild Virus Causing Serious Symptoms in Children Across the United States...

As the fall season gradually begins to move towards winter, many parents are taking steps to prepare their kids for the cold months ahead. This includes bringing out warmer clothes, insisting on jackets and hats, and of course, preparing for the dreaded flu season. With the CDC estimating that as many as 20% of people in the United States contract this illness every year, some parents are taking no chances and ensuring that their children are vaccinated against the virus. However, the flu isn’t the only worrying sickness affecting children: a rare and typically mild virus is sending children in a number of cities in the U.S. to hospitals and urgent care centers for treatment. Called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, the illness first emerged in 1962 in a child with pneumonia. While the virus is unusual, some children do contract it. Adults are usually, but not always, immune. However, doctors and the CDC agree that EV-D68 is currently stronger and more common. Some viruses mutate into new strains, but the CDC’s laboratory staff have reportedly verified that the current outbreak was not caused by a new version. EV-D68 has been reported in 12 states, including New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Missouri. The rising number of cases has some worrying that this might only be the beginning. Unfortunately, because viruses often resemble each other, medical clinics rarely test to determine what specific type a patient has, making it impossible to accurately determine the true number of cases. But while the CDC has not ruled the outbreak an epidemic, many of the new cases of EV-D68 have developed unusually severe symptoms, such as respiratory illness. Many viruses increase and decrease in intensity over time, and such waxing and waning is most likely responsible for the...