Amazon Fire Phone: For People Who Like to Buy Things (From Amazon)

After months of speculation, at yesterday’s special event in Seattle, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos took to the stage and unveiled their Fire phone.

It’s got 4 cameras that track your head at all times to offer an immersive 3D experience. It’s got 24-7 support from live human beings you can get to in under 10 seconds by hitting the “Mayday” button. And it makes it really, really easy to scan a real-world object and then immediately buy it from Amazon.

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5 Reasons why Apple (Finally!) Decided to Buy Beats

It’s official says Brian X. Chen, reporting for the NY Times: Apple, ending weeks-long speculation on the deal, says today that they’re buying Beats for $3 billion. While a little bit less than the $3.2 billion I reported back on May 8th, this is still a huge deal for both companies, and Apple’s largest acquisition since they bought NeXT computer, bringing Steve Jobs back to the company he founded, for $400 million in 1997.

With all the speculation coming to an end, it’s time to examine the question many are still asking: Why did Apple buy Beats anyway? Here are my top 5 reasons I think this acquisition makes sense for both companies.

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Is Apple about to buy Beats in $3.2 billion deal?

We often hear about all the little purchases Apple makes. A mapping company here. An LED manufacturer there. A lot of little stuff but nothing touching their $100+ billion in they’ve got in reserve. Now it sounds like things are about to change in a BIG way.

According to a report by Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw in the Financial Times, things are about to change and Apple is going to buy Beats. All of it: the music streaming, the headphones, the brand… this is a big deal!

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5 Things You Need to Know About Amazon Fire TV

In Seattle today, Amazon launched their streaming TV solution, called Fire TV. Going head-to-head with Apple, Google and Roku for control of your living room, Amazon is promising a future about more than just streaming TV and movies!

Because the Fire TV runs a modified version of Android (just like Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets) you’ll be able to use apps, get voice recognition through the remote, and even play games on the big screen.

Before you rush over to Amazon and hand over $99 to get one, here’s 5 things you need to know about the Fire TV.

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Comparing the music streaming services, and my own history with music

I’m not just a DJ, I come from a family of musicians! My grandmother, Margaret Armstrong, taught piano for Baltimore City kids and eventually ran educational programs and then most famously founded the Baltimore School of the Arts. My brother Sean is a triple-threat musician! He’s a DJ, Producer, Writer & Artist. He’s the most musically talented out of all of us Armstrongs! His new album and video are bringing real hip-hop to the forefront.

A and D record labelThen you’ve got my Dad, who started a record label when I was 5 years old  with his best friend Ernie. Called “Armstrong & Donaldson” they had incredible groups like the Softones and First Class. They wanted to do for Baltimore what Motown did for Detroit (and they almost made it, too!)

They saw the world through touring and I saw the power of making music from hanging with Dad for hours every weekend at the Sheffleids music studio. Every time the band took a break, I’d run in to play the drums!

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Celebrating 30 Years of TED Talks: My, How Things Have Changed!

This is a guest post contributed by Shy Mukerjee, the Managing and Online Editor of Mario Armstrong Media

Starting in 1984, the first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference was originally meant to be a one-off event. In fact, the second TED didn’t happen until 1990. But the TED we know today, mostly from their supremely high-quality talks that often went viral in the early days of YouTube, has grown to become one of the most prestigious and influential speaking series in world.

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SXSW 2014 in Review: the Numbers, the Hottest Trends, and More!

South by Southwest is getting big. Really, really big. In 2013, the the Austin Business Journal reported that more than 155,000 people attended at least one event at SXSW. Few doubt that 2014’s SXSW, which is just now coming to a close, will be even bigger than that.

While for years it was primarily thought of as a music festival, SXSW has seen big changes in recent year. In good news for app lovers and gearheads, ever since 2010 the SXSW Interactive conference has become the biggest component of the festival. Described by its hosts as “[a]n incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity” Interactive is the place to be if you’re making a play in the digital space and has been considered the launching pad for many top apps, including Twitter (2007), Foursquare (2009, and again in 2010), and Storify (2011).

If you didn’t make it to Austin this year, you probably want to know: what was all the hype about? In this post, I break down some of the highlights.

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Join Ellen’s Oscars selfie with the Urturn app!

urturn app how it worksHere’s a fun new app and site for you to try out: Urturn is all about helping you photoshop yourself into famous photographs, without having to actually learn photoshop!

You can even use the site to create your own images that other people can put themselves in, which is what one user did with his new image, My Best Celebrity Selfie Ever. Load up that link, and then join the fun by putting yourself into last night’s Oscars selfie. You’ll become a part of history by joining the most retweeted item in Twitter’s history!

Ellen smashes Obama’s records, gets 2.7+ million retweets with Oscars #selfie

The bar was set pretty high: President Obama’s 2012 victory tweet smashed all records on it’s way to more than three quarters of a million retweets!

And then Ellen put Samsung’s sponsorship dollars and her Galaxy Note 3 to the test, and took a selfie live during the Oscars, roping in a who’s who of ‘A list’ celebs: Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Jared Leto and more!

2.7 million retweets and still counting! Who thought it was possible?