the wii revolution

Nintendo has revolutionized the way that video games are played on home consoles with Wii. Using Wii accessories like the Wii Remote, Nunchuk, and Wii Balance Board, the games are played in a whole new way instead of with a directional pad and buttons exclusively.

Some Wii games require players to actual use more than just their thumbs to play. Wii Fit, the fifth bestselling video game in history, utilizes the Wii Balance Board where the player stands on the board shifting his weight and positioning his feet to send commands to the game. Wii has separated itself from the competition by focusing on interactivity using a player’s whole body instead of super detailed graphics and over-the-top gameplay.

the betta named sue

A Betta Named Sue, the first crowntail betta added to the Betta Babies™ family, died recently. He was the fifth betta to pass away this year.

He was named after a play on the popular Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue. When he first came home from the pet store, he swam around in a small plastic tank on Maribell’s desk but later moved into Ivory’s former hurricane vase next to the rest of the bettas.

He lived through a couple winters but did not make it through this scorching summer. The only crowntail betta left in the group is Sid.

the western digital terabyte external hard drive deal (1TB)

Western Digital is one of the most trusted brands in the hard drive industry. Disk storage must be dependable, since data is important to its users and corruption or loss can result in financial consequences or hours/days/months/years of work gone forever.

Internal SATA hard drives that hold a terabyte (1TB) of data are listed on many online shops for around a hundred bucks. External hard drives may cost a little more since you are paying for the extra hardware. Right now, a sale on the Western Digital 1TB USB 2.0 external hard drive for $99.99 plus free shipping is available at Buy.com. This external hard drive has a sleek black metal case and features the ease of Plug and Play. Just hook up the USB cable to the drive and your computer and it’s ready to go.

Don’t settle for off-brands, because they cost less. The hardware may not be dependable. It may work for the first couple years of ownership but can fail later on down the road. If your data is valuable to you, then you should invest in a quality storage solution from Western Digital. A terabyte of disk space is standard in today’s storage needs. If you have anything less, then it’s time to upgrade.

the 1tb hard drive for under $80

Why worry about freeing up disk space when storage is more affordable than ever? If you don’t already own at least a terabyte (1TB = ~1000GB) of disk storage, then you don’t have enough for all of the media files that you’ll probably eventually collect over time whether it’s months or years.

The Fantom 1TB GreenDrive is an ideal external hard drive solution for any home user looking to expand their disk storage. The drive is part of the green initiative equipped with power saving technology and manufactured with materials that are ROHS-compliant. This hard drive consumes less power compared to standard hard drives and is features a durable aluminum case. It comes with a two-year warranty and performs just as well as hard drives that use more power.

Internal terabyte hard drives currently hover around the $100 range. Hard drive enclosures sold separately are an additional cost if one is to put together an external hard drive to attempt to save. This particular GreenDrive is being sold on Amazon Marketplace right now for $109, but you can get it for only $99.99 on Buy.com. You save almost ten bucks right off the bat going through Buy.com. You’ll also get free shipping from Buy.com which Amazon may be offering but probably not. That’s not all. On top of being sold at a price that rivals the price of internal hard drives of the same capacity, it also comes with a $20 rebate. Yes, you can own a terabyte external hard drive with both USB 2.0 and eSATA connections for less than $80.

This is a drive that will go out of stock relatively quick since the price is very competitive. A sale like this doesn’t come around all the time, and it’s limit 5 per customer so that’s a sure sign that the item at this price is in demand and will sell out quick. If you’re battling low disk space issues, then now is the time to invest in one of these puppies.

the verbatim nano wireless mouse

As mobile technology advances, some devices just keep getting more and more compact. Most notebook computer users prefer an optical mouse over a touchpad, since moving a cursor and scrolling is easier with a mouse.

The Verbatim Nano wireless optical mouse takes the mighty mouse to the next level. Along with the compact mouse with scroll wheel, the Nano receiver is the most compact USB receiver around right now. The device is so small that it can just be left in the port without worry of it breaking off like most USB wireless mouse receivers.

The receiver for the Nano notebook mouse can be conveniently stored in its slot underneath the mouse to fit into when it’s not attached to a notebook. It also performs with 2.4GHz wireless reliability like most receivers despite its size. The mouse has a rubberized grip for comfort and is available in six colors to choose from.

This wireless mouse retails at $39 but is currently on sale for $26.49 with free shipping. It also comes with a $15 rebate, so total cost to you for this advanced notebook mouse is only $14.49. Most quality wireless mice cost much more than this and don’t have the amazingly small receiver like the Nano receiver. You won’t find a similar deal on this mouse at your local electronics store.

Don’t embarrass yourself at your favorite coffee shop with a USB receiver sticking out of the side of your dusty notebook. It’ll be like using a wireless network card instead of having a laptop with the chipset built in. It’s 2009! Lose the wires, lose the clunky wireless receivers, and compute in style with a Nano wireless optical mouse.

the swissgear laptop backpack

The fall semester is only a few months away, and shopping for school supplies will be a task to be tackled. When the kids go off to college, all kinds of expenses will accrue. Books are not cheap. They want to sport the latest and greatest notebook computer on the market. They’ll need an MP3 listening device to null the white noise and make a fashion statement. Along with the writing utensils, spiral notebooks, index cards, and the rest of the school supplies, they’ll need something to contain all of their essentials.

SwissGear, maker of the genuine Swiss army knife, has a line of quality backpacks made to withstand everyday use and last a lifetime. The Julien laptop backpack has a stable platform to sit upright and a padded computer pocket to protect a laptop which fits most 15.4″ widescreens. The backpack straps have a convenient pocket with a headphone port that holds an MP3 player. A mesh pocket is stitched into the side to hold a water bottle to help students stay hydrated when they walk around campus.

For an irresistible sale price of $30 plus free shipping, this backpack is a great deal for students searching for a backpack to hold their laptop, books, binders, notes, water bottle, and iPod. Investing in a backpack made by a trusted brand means that it will probably last a college career or longer. Resist wasting time shopping for a backpack at a picked over shop when just order this one online and have it delivered to your door at no additional cost.

the 10 ways to support charity through social media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

summerofsocialgoodnew

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links

Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.

You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf

Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition

There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code “SOSG”to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there’s no risk.

About the “10 Ways” Series

The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable’s Josh Catone.