Archive for March, 2015

MORE SXSW Interactive & Gaming Expo

by on March 26th, 2015

AuditoriumThe SXSW Interactive Gaming Expo is my favorite event (besides Auditorium Shores Concerts). It combines developers, manufacturers and fans of the gaming culture with its diverse range of events of geek culture with the cross-console video game world.  It’s held at Palmer auditorium in Austin (walking distance from my casa) and is kid friendly. The most adorable thing about this is to see little kids geek out on games like my little brothers and I use to back in the day.

There was allot to see and explore at the SXSW Gaming Expo so I am going to highlight what I found the most interesting.

Plotagon is the creative animation app that develops students’ skills in critical thinking, creatiphotovity and writing. The Plotagon character creator lets students create themselves, famous and notable people, or characters and then the creative writing takes off from there. When I wrote my first play (at 12) I wish I had this app (though in my day we had beepers…not smartphones). I’m so jealous yet excited of kid’s technology now a days! Definitely check out Plotagon especially if you are a teacher; I believe getting kids engaged with creative writing and technology is brilliant!

DelorianRoad’s? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!” That quote seems more relevant now than back then because during SXSW the AeroMobil flying car that transforms in seconds from an automobile to an airplane was introduced. AeroMobil is a flying car that perfectly makes use of existing infrastructure created for automobiles and planes, and opens doors to real door-to-door travel. As a car it fits into any standard parking space, uses regular gasoline, and can be used in road traffic just like any other car. As a plane it can use any airport in the world, but can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few hundred meters long.* Continue Reading…

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Press Release: Former NFL Star Releases New Social Media App at SXSW

by on March 19th, 2015

Former NFL Star Created New Technology/App that Connects Millions of social media users around a Shared #Hashtag Interest

Many are calling it the evolution of the #hashtag. The new GINX App allows social media users and brands the ability to now derive real tangible value out of using a #hashtag.

Las Vegas, NV – March 17, 2015 – Today the new GINX iOS and Android App announced its availability to the public. The App will officially launch during the Music portion of South By South West in Austin, TX (March 17-22) and the company will have a noticeable presence at this historic festival.  The new GINX App created a new patent pending technology around the utilization of  an ( * ) in front of #hashtag’d images (ex. *#SneakerHead) within Instagram, to allow millions of social media users the ability to now connect into real-time flash (i.e.expiring) photo-based communities around their #hashtag’d images. Social media users now have the ability to be visually social with larger communities of people using or interested in the same #hashtag during set time frames. Similar to a flashmob, but virtual and around #hashtag’d images. Participants in these #hashtag themed visual communities can then up-vote or down-vote images that other users have ‘Ginx’d’ (i.e. added the * to) to determine who best visually represented the #hashtag. When the time expires in these communities the user with the most community votes around their image is crowned “Star” of that #hashtag. Being voted “Star” of a #hashtag is similar to earning a MAYOR badge on Foursquare, only this social achievement is determined by a community vote and it revolves around a #hashtag. Brands/Events/Marketers can engage with and reward the “Stars” of their brand’s #hashtag. Continue Reading…

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Day 1 of SXSW Interactive

by on March 18th, 2015

IMG_7466   I’m a Texan; born in San Antonio (Go Spurs) and moved to Austin when I was a teenager in the 90’s when SXSW was not this huge. Now SXSW is a massive explosion of amazing tech innovations, new music and film in my own backyard.

This was my first year to have a free interactive badge (after applying for a press pass for years). If you have never been to SXSW Interactive the scene is not only comical but a great place to network and meet fellow tech geeks. I ran into guys dressed as Ninja Turtles, a dude with a blinking globe on his head for Simplify, and this random lady before entering the Austin Convention Center panel sessions. The first day at SXSW I spent a majority of my time at the Convention center and events around that vicinity. I also made random people do monster face with me throughout SXSW Interactive. IMG_7469

The only panel I attended was the panel with Jimmy Kimmel. I’ve been a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel live and the Man Show. I got distracted during the panel with the mention of the “I’m F*@#ing Ben Affleck” youtube video (after all these years it’s still hilarious). During the panel Jimmy Kimmel discussed his Obama interview, tweeting, and Kanye West (who will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live at SXSW on Friday). To view some of the videos from this panel click here and for the second one click here.

After the panel I went to the Pepsi booth who partnered with Fast Company on the SOUNDBOARD intiative. Pepsi is engaging the SXSW community to record inspiration that will help them design the #Futureofthefest. Each person would walk into a photo/video booth and submit what you want to see at the next festival (of course I submitted mine).

When I got into the show room I wasn’t that impressed. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I know it’s not that.

IMG_7406Next I attended the PayPal Event where I ran into an old buddy of mine from Edelman. This year they had the PayPal Duel which sent two entrepreneurs to Austin for the chance to pitch investor and star of ABC’s Shark Tank Daymond John on their small businesses. Peanut Butter Americano—offering the best in gourmet nut butters with a side of social justice—faced off against Earhoox—the ultimate cure for earbuds that just won’t stay put. In the end the winner of the first-ever PayPal Duel was Earhoox.*

The last event I attended was the Startup Oasis Party which had 10 start-ups on each floor. Unfortunately by the time I got there my brain had already hit capacity and I was on autopilot. I did run into my old friend Jeffery Powers from Geekazine (every tech event I attend I always run into him) and take a photo. Stay tuned for my recap of the SXSW Interactive Gaming Expo. Happy SXSW and you can follow me @nrpena for SXSW tweets.


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Nina’s SXSW Bound!

by on March 14th, 2015

SXSWI will be covering SXSW for cutegeek and SF examiner. In fact I have my badge and ready to tackle the SXSW Circus.

To follow me my twitter handle is @nrpena or follow posts I publish on cutegeek.

If you are attending DM me on my twitter @nrpena or  if interested in doing a product review with cutegeek.

Happy SXSW 2015 and let the games begin!

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Find the Best Mobile Payment Option for Your Smartphone

by on March 13th, 2015

Mobile payments will more than triple in 2016, from $8.71 billion to $27.05 billion, eMarketer predicts. By the end of the year, one in five smartphone users will make mobile payments. Several factors are driving this rapid growth, including the increasing number of merchants who accept mobile payments and the growing number of smartphones that feature mobile wallets.
If you’re looking for the best mobile payments options for your next smartphone, here are some of the best options available today:


Apple commanded a leading 44.2 percent share of the U.S. smartphone market last year, according to comScore. Not surprisingly, Apple Pay maintains the strongest momentum among mobile payment options for American consumers.

Apple Pay is supported by the iPhone 6 and higher and the Apple Watch. It enables you to pay at NFC-supported terminals by waving or tapping your iPhone over the terminal and then approving the payment with your fingerprint. You also can wave your Apple Watch over the terminal. Apple Pay is supported by more than 2,500 banks and credit card issuers and accepted by more than 700,000 retail locations, including Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Subway and Walgreens. It protects your financial information by using dynamic security codes for each transaction, and retailers and Apple cannot save your sensitive information.

Apple Pay’s biggest drawback is its limited acceptance. Only about 10 percent of point-of-sale terminals currently use NFC, and Walmart, Target and Best Buy are resisting adoption in favor of their own preferred payment solution called “CurrentC,” which works by reading a generated QR code.


If you’re a Samsung user, the mobile wallet of choice is Samsung Pay. It is supported by the Galaxy Note5 and higher and the Galaxy S6 devices and higher, including the new Galaxy S7. Samsung Pay uses a tap-to-pay feature that is similar to Apple Pay, but it also can work at magnetic stripe terminals. This means it works at a majority of credit card-accepting retailers, making it usable at over 30 million locations in contrast to Apple Pay’s 110,000 locations.

The most challenging part of using Samsung Pay is that the device needs to be positioned in a particular way for magnetic stripe machines to read it. Android Pay is a good alternate to Samsung Pay because it works on all Android-supported devices. Android Pay has a similar range to Apple Pay, but it lacks the magnetic stripe compatibility of Samsung Pay.

LG, Motorola and HTC

LG is delaying the release of LG Pay until the second quarter of 2016 when it will launch the G5, according to a DigitalDaily update. Details remain uncertain, but a leak from ETNews suggests that the new payment platform will use a payment card that combines the functions of credit and debit cards. An LCD display lets users select the credit card they want to use, and the card can also be used for ATM withdrawals. LG Pay is expected to have a range of acceptance similar to its competitors.

Its main drawbacks are that you have to carry the card and you need a special battery charger.

Meanwhile, Android Pay works on the LG G4 as well as the Motorola Moto X, Moto G, Moto E and HTC One M7.

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Press Release: SXSW & Eventbase – The Official SXSW GO App with iBeacon Technology

by on March 9th, 2015

AuditoriumIt’s SXSW week number one starting with Interactive on March 13th and I am in serious planning mode. This is my first year of getting my press badge approved (only for Interactive though) and I am stoked! Since I do not have a press badge for Film/ Music I got a guest pass which allows you to get into the free events for SXSW.

SXSW Gaming 2014

SXSW Gaming 2014

I was contacted by a SXSW and Eventbase rep to check out the SXSW Go App before I start attending events. Though I hate bogging my iPhone down with Apps, I found the SXSW Go App to be very useful.

The SXSW Go App allows you to check out the events lineup, create your personal schedule, and then log in to sync it with your other devices. The lineup is the feature I like most; no one wants to go into a venue with a lame band after waiting in SXSW lines to get in (especially if it rains like last year).

I have already downloaded the SXSW Go App and started creating my profile.  The ease of use was simple and I loved how it had all the music performers (instead of me googling different sites).

In true geek style I’m excited to go to the Gaming Expo and also Auditorium Shores Concert! Below is the official press release about the SXSW Go App. and to find out how to get your guest pass click here or check out my SXSW tips on Examiner here. Happy SXSW and may the force be with you as you battle the crowds! Continue Reading…

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by on March 9th, 2015

Rock Band 1 was one of my first PlayStation games and all can I say it’s addicting. It’s truly hilarious to see my friends and family play it as well.

Cambridge, Mass. – March 5th, 2015 – Harmonix is excited to announce that it is teaming up with Mad Catz to bring Rock Band™ 4, the next generation of the award-winning social and interactive music gaming platform, to PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft®.

Players can guarantee that they can be ready to rock with new hardware on release day by signing up to be alerted when pre-orders go live at Continue Reading…

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by on March 6th, 2015

10426590_10152783433674125_52071666369163548_nIt’s SPRING TIME! Time to purge or store those dull winter sweaters away and get colorful (well after this cold snap)!

I have friends who are shoe people, fashionistas, or label junkies (you know who you are) but I am an accessories girl. Nothing else makes an outfit pop in my opinion. I’m legally blind (no exaggeration- it says it on my driver’s license) and usually wear contacts but recently my vision changed for the better (.5 less) so I had to purchase new specs!

My latest fashion accessory addiction is getting fun glasses from which is a San Francisco based online retailer of prescription eyewear. was founded by scientists more than ten years ago to provide the most affordable eyeglasses to people all over the world, the highest-quality optical lenses, and make it easy to order eyeglasses online.Zenni G

Marco helped me find my first pair on and with the order logistics. Fortunately from my last eye exam we had all the details needed to order my first pair. We didn’t need to use the Measure Your Pupillary Distance tool though very handy for those who don’t have those measurements.

Normally I buy my glasses at the Optometrist so I was interested to see the difference of online versus in person. Imagine my surprise that my new specs were awesome! In fact I have another pair on the way with a different color (should arrive today!)!

Zenni.comGlasses Zenni offers allot of options ranging from kiddos to adults glasses along with style, shape and material for your future specs. They are running a spring promotion for all you guys wanting to switch up your glasses for spring; free shipping on orders over $75.

If you can’t see the promo it’s time to go back to the optometrist! Happy Spring and new specs!

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National Nutrition Month & Eating Disorder Awareness

by on March 6th, 2015

nina hsWhen I was a teenager pursuing a modeling career, I was not only excessively working out and stepping on the scale daily but I was also not paying attention to how the lack of nutrients impacted me. I witnessed girls around my age (15yrs) with eating disorders and it broke my heart seeing how ill they would become. It was then that I realized that the modeling industry was not for me. Now, as a lady in my 30’s, I realize the importance of nutrition and the dangerous repercussions of bad nutrition.

March is National Nutrition Month (NNM) which is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically based food and nutrition information.*NNM

I decided to check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics site (admittedly until this year I didn’t even know of National Nutrition Month). I created an account and began to explore the website. The three main tabs are:

The MOST resourceful tool on the site is Find an Expert. Recently I was asked to find a nutritionist from my doctor and this site has been helpful in finding a location that works with my daily schedule. Continue Reading…