Staff picks for the week of Oct. 5, 2015

 In News, Staff Picks

Technology is constantly pushing limits and today’s Staff Picks show how far, from apps for your cat to a potential mushroom-powered smartphone. Read on for our take on these stories and more.

Staff Picks General

Why your cat needs an iPad (read by Camillia S.)

Nothing is safe from the digital era. We wear technology and give our toddlers iPads to play with while we take on the rest of the duties of the day. So it’s only right that pets are the next marketing target for tech toys and gadgets. Technically, pet parents are the targets, but pets are the beneficiaries of all the new animal-friendly apps and gadgetry. Friskies, a popular brand of cat food, has been creating digital cat games since 2011. Who knew? Instead of sitting on your couch and having your cat chase a laser beam, now there’s an app for that. I always thought that we looked forward to spending time with our pets, but with the introduction of apps and tech toys I’m starting to think we may see them as more of a nuisance.

Microsoft thinks you need ‘likes’ and @mentions in Outlook (read by Camillia S.)

What’s missing from your Microsoft Outlook experience? I’ve been using the application regularly since I started at SHI three years ago. While I’m sure there are a slew of functions that I don’t know about or know how to use, I would say that it does an excellent job of organizing and sending emails and meeting invites. However, developers at Microsoft seem to disagree and are rolling out new features that will allow users to ‘like’ emails and mention your coworkers in an email thread. In an effort to increase productivity, it seems as if Microsoft is ramping up for the surge of “millennials” that now dominates the workforce. I don’t blame them and applaud them for attempting to get ahead of the game.

Portobello mushrooms could be the perfect ingredient to power your next device (read by Heidi B.)

What if instead of just being a pizza topping, mushrooms also powered the smartphone you used to order your pie in the first place? In an attempt to replace a costly battery component called synthetic graphite, researchers at the University of California at Riverside have created a new type of lithium ion battery made of heat-treated portobello mushroom skins. The mushrooms are an ideal battery candidate for many reasons: They’re cheap, environmentally friendly, and can store and transfer more energy than traditional batteries. And because of their high concentration of potassium salt, mushroom-based batteries could actually improve, instead of degrade, with age. Sign me up!

UnMarketing PodCast #89 – “The Most Positive Episode Ever” Understands What SHI is All About (read by Ed M.)

Selecting this as my Staff Pick for the week is going to seem like blatant self-promotion. Guilty as charged! But after 18 years of explaining to industry outsiders “exactly what your company does, again,” I’m very happy to hear UnMarketing’s Scott Stratten completely gets the value SHI provides our customers. For about eight minutes (starting at 2:28), I loved hearing someone else’s take on Thai (our CEO), our company culture, and why it’s actually SMART that many people still have not heard about SHI. Very happy we were included as a part of this great podcast!

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