Competition: Will you be one of the Top Creatives of 2015?

Posted in Volunteer Opportunities on 20 November 2014

It is possible to change things for the better. And there are few more powerful instruments for positive change than the transformational power of creative thinking.

The Power of Ten is a new initiative whereby soon-to-be graduates from relevant third level courses in Ireland will apply their creativity to a communications brief. At the heart of the brief will be this desire for positive change.

10 of the most creative responses will be selected, and their work exhibited to creative industry leaders.

All winners will also receive an iPad.

The brief is available immediately and entries must be received before Friday 27 February 2015. To register your interest, and to receive the creative brief, email

Best of luck!

PR/Events Internship

Posted in Jobs on 20 November 2014

Smartstar are delighted to offer four intern positions, which will kick off Dec 1st and will run right through to April 2015. Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to gain experience working directly with the development of our bands/artists , Including EP launch, photo shoots, image, rehearsals, social media and a number of upcoming showcases and events that we have in place.

All applicants must email a updated CV and cover note to on or before Wednesday Nov 26th , Where they will receive a confirmation response with full internship details.


Twitter Now Allows Users to Search for Any Public Tweet Ever Posted

Posted in News on 20 November 2014

Thanks to the engineers at Twitter, it is now possible for users of the social network to search for every tweet ever sent since the site’s launch in 2006.

Twitter is now indexing every public tweet for the past eight years in a bid to offer full and complete access to its users — a longtime goal for the company.

“Since that first simple Tweet over eight years ago, hundreds of billions of Tweets have captured everyday human experiences and major historical events,” project lead Yi Zhuang wrote in a blog post.

“Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency. But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.”

The new feature, which is rolling out this week, enables many uses such as documenting entire TV and sports seasons, conferences, industry discussions and long-running hashtag conversations.

In a long and technical blog post, Zhuang explains the complexities of making Twitter’s goal a reality, which includes building a full index.

Twitter has always had a real-time index — an index of tweets in server RAM for speed. This is what allows users to search recent tweets, usually up to a week old.

A full index, however, is more than 100 times larger than the real-time index and grows by several billion tweets a week. Due to the magnitude of search capabilities needed, however, RAM “would have been prohibitively expensive.”

Twitter’s engineers were tasked with the redesign of a processing pipeline that would produce the real-time RAM index, but operate on a slower much larger SSD storage.

Complete results from the full index will appear in the ‘All’ tab of search results on the Twitter Web client and Twitter for iOS and Android apps.


Yahoo to Become New Default Search Engine for Firefox in U.S.

Posted in News on 20 November 2014

Yahoo will become the default search engine on Firefox in the U.S. beginning next month, ending Google’s decade-long partnership with Mozilla.

The companies have struck a five-year partnership in which a new Yahoo Search experience will be introduced to Firefox users in the U.S. It will feature a modern new interface and will also support Do Not Track (DNT).

“Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options,” Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said in a blog post.

“Today we are announcing a change to our strategy for Firefox search partnerships. We are ending our practice of having a single global default search provider. We are adopting a more local and flexible approach to increase choice and innovation on the Web, with new and expanded search partnerships by country.”

In Russia, for instance, Yandex will become the new default search engine, while in China, Baidu will continue in its current role as the default.

Yahoo’s deal with Mozilla is a major coup for CEO Marissa Mayer who has been seeking ways to build traffic for the search engine.

“This is the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years and we’re so proud that Mozilla has chosen us as their long-term partner in search,” Mayer said in a blog post.

“At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search – it’s an area of investment and opportunity for us. This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and gives us an opportunity to work even more closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate in search, communications, and digital content. I’m also excited about the long-term framework we developed with Mozilla for future product integrations and expansion into international markets.”

Mayer said Yahoo has worked with Mozilla to build “a clean, modern, and immersive search experience” that will be debuted first to Firefox’s U.S. users in December and then to all Yahoo users in early 2015.

Although Yahoo will be the default search engine, Firefox will continue to offer built-in as alternate search options including Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia.


IBM’s New Email Service ‘Verse’ Learns and Predicts User Behaviour

Posted in News on 20 November 2014

IBM may be traditionally known as a hardware company, but the tech giant has been steadily making a shift into the enterprise software business. On Tuesday, the company announced its latest entry into the software game, IBM Verse.

IBM is characterizes the new client, a hybrid email/social media/file sharing service, as "mail that understands you." Verse can learn and predict user behaviour, even drafting email responses based on similar previous interactions, and it includes a personal assistant that recognizes your most frequently contacted co-workers.

The service also includes options for muting email chains and viewing attachments without sorting through entire email chains, all in an effort to make the experience of email feel less cluttered.

With Verse, IBM joins a growing a race to take over office communications, a lucrative but somewhat stagnant business currently dominated by stalwarts Microsoft's Outlook and Google's Gmail, both of which have remained largely unchanged for years. For communicators constantly looking to boost their value, getting their messages and/or branding into "work flow" situations is shaping up to be a massive destination. Expect the scramble to accelerate in the coming months and years. What's your pitch?


Database Admin

Posted in Jobs on 19 November 2014

Excellent Dublin City Centre based client is currently looking for an in house SQL Database Administrator.
Principal Duties & Responsibilities
•Advanced SQL Architecture / Design
•SQL Performance Tuning
•SQL Health and Risk ReviewSQL Discovery
•SQL Consolidation Planning
•SQL Upgrades
•High Availability
•Installation / Configuration
•Load Testing
•Day to day troubleshooting / support
•Setup and maintain documentation
Skills, Experience and Qualifications
•Third level qualification in computer science, information systems, engineering, business or a related field (or an equivalent combination of education and experience).
•4 + years’ experience working in this area
•Experience working in environments of a large corporate
•The potential candidate should be self motivated with an ability to survive in a progressive IT environment, along with the flexibility to adapt to new technologies
•Have a good understanding of Microsoft technologies
•Excellent customer service, interpersonal, communication and organisational skills and the ability to multi-task are essential
•The successful candidate must demonstrate an ability to learn and grow within this role
•Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment
•Ability to work under pressure and meet critical deadlines
Please apply to if you are interested in this role.

IT Helpdesk Support - Internship

Posted in Jobs on 19 November 2014

The intern will gain practical experience in hands on IT troubleshooting and assisting end-users with IT-related queries. The intern will receive formal/informal training in the following: Microsoft Office; Active Directory; administration of online legal databases; printers. On completion the intern will have attained skills in problem-solving under pressure. Requirements

Honesty / flexibility / integrity / courtesy. Capacity to work on own initiative on discrete tasks. Willingness to work to tight deadlines. Discretion and willingness to observe strict confidentiality around student and personnel information. From time to time the candidate may be required to carry out some PA duties for the Under Treasurer. Would suit a candidate with a recent qualification in an IT-related discipline.

How to apply

Submit your CV and Cover Letter to


Fitting Room Robots and Smart Mirrors: Can Retail Tech Save Stores?

Posted in News on 19 November 2014

It’s no surprise retailers are pulling out the stops to get shoppers into stores. E-commerce has been eating into brick-and-mortar sales for years, and the pace is only accelerating. Online sales will account for $291 billion, or eight percent of all U.S. retail sales, by the end of this year, and that number will rise to $370 billion, or 10 percent of all retail sales, by 2017, says Forrester Research. Real-world retailers are poised to capture some of those billions on their websites, but they are increasingly losing out sales to “pure play” ecommerce companies that can offer lower prices or unique product selections.

With websites and mobile apps making it so easy to buy from the comfort of your couch, shoppers are drastically reducing visits to stores.

“Consumer tastes are changing. Instead of wandering through stores and making impulse purchases, shoppers use their mobile phones and computers to research prices and cherry-pick promotions, sticking to their shopping lists rather than splurging on unneeded items,” said a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Such words strike fear into the heart of big-box retailers and Main Street stores, whose revenues depend on customers purchasing items they didn’t even know they needed. Retailers as diverse as Target, Walgreens, Best Buy, and Macy’s have seen steep drops in in-store sales.

“Retail guys are going to go out of business and ecommerce will become the place everyone buys,” unequivocally said venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, whose firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested in many eCommerce companies.

Not all real-world retailers are quaking in their boots just yet. Instead, they’re deploying cutting-edge interactive technologies in their stores to entice more people to come in and browse.

For the smartest retailers “websites and mobile apps are not just e-commerce ordering vehicles, they are front doors to the stores,” said Darrell Rigby, a partner at management consulting firm Bain & Co. “Stores are not just showrooms, they are digitally-enabled inspiration sites, testing labs, purchase points, instantaneous pickup places, help desks, shipping centers, and return locations.”

What are some of the coolest in-store technologies retailers are using to turn their stores into “digitally-enabled inspiration sites?” Retailers certainly can’t be faulted for lack of creativity. There are Smart mirrors controlled through body gestures that let shoppers see themselves in different outfits and share these images with friends via a mobile app. There are shop windows that critique your current outfit and suggest new looks, interactive kiosks that let you try on virtual watches on a video screen, and robots that deliver your items to you in the fitting room.

Many stores have had success with opt-in geo-fencing apps that provide shoppers with immediate mobile coupons based on which aisles they visit and past purchase data. Shopkick, which counts dozens of real-world retailers as customers, rewards shoppers with discounts and offers “just for walking in the door” of stores. More than six million consumers have downloaded the app so far.

Some of the in-store retail technologies being tested feel a bit more sinister than fun, such as facial scanning technology that can determine a shopper’s gender, age, and mood to determine their “propensity to buy,” or digital signs that recognize you based on personal information stored on your smartphone.

Many of in-store technologies are only in the testing phase. But with the ubiquity of mobile devices, embedded Internet of Everything” (IoE) sensors, and the ability to collect, crunch, and analyze petabytes of shopper, CRM, purchase, and trend data, several of these “far-out” technologies will soon be commonplace. Cisco’s own research shows that retailers will use IoE technologies to generate $1.6 trillion via untapped revenue and savings over the next decade.

However, whether tech-driven experiences will bring shoppers back into stores in droves remains to be seen.

“Glaring success stories with in-store digital initiatives today are few and far between,” said Forrester Research analyst Adam Silverman in an October 2014 report titled The Emerging Technologies of the Digital Store. “While these digital enhancements hold the promise of meaningful improvement in customer experience, operations, and revenue growth, retailers are still looking for iron-clad success stories, backed by clear evidence of uplifts in incremental revenue.”’

Silverman says interactive technologies that make in-store shopping easier or cheaper – such as touch screens that interact with barcodes to give more information on products, or geo-fencing apps that deliver opt-in mobile coupons – are the most promising. Interactive mirrors and facial scanning will become mainstream, but not for several years, while robots and 3D printing won’t appear in stores anytime soon.

“Only technologies that improve the customer value proposition by breaking down existing friction points or increasing consistency online, offline, and via mobile will stand a chance of surviving the evolution of the retail store,” Silverman said.

Whether stores become ghost towns before eventually shutting down, or whether we’ll see resurgence in bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers flock back to malls to “experience” cool in-store technologies, is still up in the air. But retailers with high real estate overhead aren’t about to give up without a fight. They’re using IoE, big data, and mobile technologies to turn their stores into assets instead of albatrosses.


New App Whitens Teeth With Phone

Posted in News on 19 November 2014

Yoko Ono once said, “Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.”

But what if your smile isn’t at its best due to stained teeth?

Simple, just sit in front of your cellphone for 10, 15 or 20 minutes.

It may sound a bit bizarre but that’s exactly what tooth whitening company Pearly Whites Express is encouraging people to do with its new tooth-whitening app.

“The ‘White Tooth’ app… relies on a new technology for Android devices to make teeth whiter and brighter. The app uses AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode), a display technology used in mobile devices that emits a blue light. The blue light can be used to accelerate the tooth-whitening process,” the company explained in a press release.

While there are many apps available that will allow users to touch up photos and give themselves whiter teeth, Pearly Whites Express could be setting a new trend with its app that uses the light emitted from devices to, they claim, actually whiten teeth.

“We are very excited to release this groundbreaking technology to the public,” stated Justin McFadden, founder and chief operations officer for Pearly Whites Express. “When combined with our professional lip retractor and whitening gel pen, the app produces amazing results.”

The app’s main features include a blue accelerator light, a built-in timer for light allowing users to whiten for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, the ability to record each session for later viewing and professional tooth shade check. If they desire, clients can also send pictures of their teeth to one of Pearly Whites Express’ smile technicians or ask questions via text.

The company is also offering the app as a free download and whitening pen with retractor as an optional purchase for only $12, plus access to access to free gel pens for life.


Eight Best Practices for SEO Internal Link Structure

Posted in Tips on 19 November 2014

Any competitive website is constantly updating, understanding and enforcing its SEO. With billions of websites to compete with, ensuring that your website is appealing to your target audience as well as the search engines is absolutely essential. One of the most useful methods of improving content marketing SEO is using internal linking.

Why Use Internal Linking?

Internal links, unlike external links, provide instantaneous access to another page or section within the same website. External links, in contrast, point to information within external domains and other websites. Using internal links vastly improves the SEO of a website by providing clear paths to authoritative and relevant information for both Internet users and search engines. By pointing to specific pieces of interesting and useful information, internal links demonstrate the value and importance of your website, and highlight why search engines should display your website within their search results.

How do I Use and Create Internal Links?

Understanding the importance of internal links is one thing. Creating and using them effectively, is another thing entirely.

Here are some tips for structuring your internal links so that they benefit your website and improve your SEO.

Make Your Homepage Useful

With navigation tabs as a prominent feature of any website, the homepage is typically one of the easiest pages to link to. Most Internet users will visit your homepage whenever they visit your website. As a result, the homepage is often the highest ranking page of your website, and is the one with the most authority. So, use this wisely.

Optimizing your homepage to make it a source of internal links to relevant and useful information is one of the best ways to link to other webpages within your website. Linking to specific pages will highlight important information throughout your site, creating paths that are appealing to both Internet users and search engines. There are back link tools you can use, but you want to be cognizant of how they are used. Too much back link building, too quickly can backfire.

Use Appealing and Relevant Anchor Text Within Hyperlinks

Anchor text is the clickable text within a hyperlink, and allows users to move immediately to another relevant webpage. Anchor text is used as the link title – the words used within the anchor text should ideally be specific to the information you’re linking to. Accessories such as the WordPress plugin, SEO Smart Internal Links, helps you do this by automatically hyper-linking to keywords within other pages of your website.

Provide a Clear Route to Your Information

One of the most well-known tips for website design is to ensure that the Internet user does not have to visit more than three of your webpages to find their target information. The importance of this tip should not be underestimated; according to a KPMG web branding study, over 90 percent of online hotel reservation websites conform to this process. In addition, the UK government’s business advice site, Business Link, states that this tip is one of the best practices of web design.

Use Breadcrumb Navigation Features

This navigation feature typically appears at the top of any webpage and displays the precise location of the webpage within your website. This tells the reader where they are, and what section of your website they are in. While this does not provide internal links embedded within the text of each webpage, it still acts as an incredibly useful method of internal linking. Downloads such as WordPress’s SEO Plugin will help you use this feature and optimize your navigation tools within your website.

Display Useful Sidebars, Widgets and Navigational Links

Adding different widgets and navigational links to each webpage will help Internet users find relevant information on your website. Customizing and optimizing your widgets and sidebars will ensure that readers see something that will interest them. Link building tools such as the Widget Context plugin can help you do this by ensuring that specific widgets and links are displayed depending on what type of content the Internet user has selected to read. In addition, understanding which links and content will be commonly searched for will allow you to select useful links and add them to your sidebars and footers .

Consider the Positioning of Your Internal Links Within Your Text

This is a particularly useful tip: readers can stop reading your article whenever they want. Consequently, ensuring that internal links are positioned within the top section of your webpage will make these links more likely to be clicked on. As a result, search engines will rank these links more importantly. Placing keywords and links within the first few sections of text on each webpage will make them more visible, rather than leaving them right at the bottom of your article.

Internal linking is a vital method of improving your website’s SEO and rankings. When used efficiently and carefully, these links provide useful paths for Internet users and help them find the information they’ve been looking for. The more user-friendly and useful your website is, (with good use of article writing) the more likely search engines will display your website within their search results.


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