Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

A Wonder Day for Pumpkins

Recently the Q team participated in an internal, no-holds-barred, pumpkin carving contest. It seems simple enough, right?

I’m sure you can all guess which team I was on: the Technical Tyrannosaurus’.

A few months back, Paul had brought in an Arduino for the tech team. It turned out to be a really fun combination of my old Electrical Engineering training and my Software Development profession. I put together a simple device which would monitor twitter for mentions of agencyQ and play the Super Mario Bros. theme song. It would also light up some LED’s, though they weren’t visible due to keeping the Arduino hidden in a little box.

So how does that relate to a pumpkin carving contest? Matt was on my team and envisioned a pixilated Q with the twitter-monitoring Arduino software. Leave it to techies to over-complicate a simple pumpkin carving contest. Of course, it was also somewhat expected of us. The problem was: it only had 2 songs, neither of them Halloween-themed.

It was also written using the deprecated Twitter 1.0 API. (Hey, who ordered the OAuth?!)

After putting together a new (secret) song, there were now 3; which further inspired me to create a queue-able playlist allowing any of the 3 songs to be played upon the hash tag being used. The options are as follows:

  • #mario – The Super Mario Bros. theme
  • #victory – The victory song from Final Fantasy
  • #monster – The Monster Mash

As well as playing the song, the Q-O-Lantern blinks a different color for every note to the intensity of the pitch, cast against a range of pitches.

Matt unveiled the idea with the following tenants: code re-use is great, marketing is important, and never let developers do visual design. And so it was presented, to the tune of many synthesized songs.

Tweet @agencyQ one of these hash tags and the Q-O-Lantern will play a little song and flash joyfully.

Here are some classes that were developed to accomplish this task and a video of the Q-O-Lantern in action:

class Note {
    unsigned int _value;
    float _duration;
    bool _rhythm;

    Note(unsigned int value, float duration);
    Note(unsigned int value, float duration, bool rhythm);

    unsigned int getValue();
    float getDuration();
    bool isLegato();

class Song {
    Note *_notes;
    unsigned int _len;
    unsigned int _whole;
    unsigned int _pause;
    int _pin;
    void (*_callback)(Note*);

    void execCallback(Note *note);

    Song(Note *notes, unsigned int noteSize, int pin);
    Song(Note *notes, unsigned int noteSize, int pin, unsigned int whole);
    Song(Note *notes, unsigned int noteSize, int pin, unsigned int whole, unsigned int pause);

    void play();
    void setCallback(void (*callback)(Note*));

class PlayQueue {
    Song** _queue;
    unsigned int _growth;
    unsigned int _pause;
    unsigned int _size;
    unsigned int _ptr;

    void resize();

    PlayQueue(unsigned int pause);
    PlayQueue(unsigned int pause, unsigned int growth);

    void clearAll();
    void add(Song* song);
    void play();
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A Capital 4th with agencyQ

July 4 fever has hit Washington and that can only mean one thing…fireworks! Whether you’re a native Washingtonian or simply here for the day, Washington DC in conjunction with the Capital Park Police put on an amazing show.  Starting at dusk, usually 9:15, the sky over the Capital is lit up in a dazzling display of patriotism.  Looking for the best way to view the show? Check out the agencyQ Google Map below for 10 of our favorite locations!

View Top 10 Places to Watch The Fourth Of July Fireworks in a larger map

Steve Marino- Chief Operating Officer

1. Nationals Park- Nats Park offers a great view of the fireworks from an alternate angle.  While most people will be crowding the South side of the mall, viewers can get an equally impressive view from the North side.

Graham Gunn- SVP, Strategy & Creative

2. New Carrolton, MD- Try driving the beltway between New York Avenue and 295 for an amazing show.  From here you get to see the full scope of the fireworks and do not have to worry about wading through gridlock.

Lauren Turner- VP, Agency Director

3. The W- Why not enjoy watching the fireworks from the posh P.O.V. Roof Terrace at the W Hotel and then wait out the rush at a late dinner downstairs?

Jeremy Hilts- Technical Director

4. Union Station- The area directly in front of Union Station makes for the perfect vantage point.  Not only are you right under the fireworks, but you’re feet away from a quick getaway once it concludes.

Lindsey George- Director, Consulting

5. Key Bridge- I like to watch them from the key bridge because they close the bridge for pedestrians so you can stand in the middle and look down the Potomac River!

Kourtney Wong- Digital Producer

6. Adams Morgan- Because Adams Morgan sits on top of a hill and you get panoramic views of the Mall and all the firework displays in MD/VA.  Also, if you live by the metro, it takes 2 seconds to get home.

Desmond Tighe- Digital Producer

7. Brixton- It’s at 9th and U, right in the center of the city looking down on the monuments.  It’s also a nice middle ground that allows you to be up close yet far enough away where you avoid the traffic jam that inevitably follows.

Andrew Dawson- Digital Strategist

8. The Field School of Washington- Located in the old Cafritz Mansion, the Field School offers impressive overlooks of DC, the monuments, and especially the fireworks.

Marie Lestina- Quality Control Analyst

9. Georgetown University Village Apartments Rooftop- These apartments have open access to its rooftop, which offers some of the best views of the Potomac and Downtown DC. It’s quiet and relatively unknown, and right in the heart of Georgetown for some awesome shopping and dining beforehand.

Christine Mitchell- Graphic Designer

10. Iwo Jima Memorial- For an unobstructed view of the fireworks less all the hassle of driving into Washington, I love the Iwo Jima.  Also it’s an amazing spot to frame up a great shot on Instagram!


Do you have any viewing suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below!


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Friday Tech Link Round Up

Microsoft Swallows Their Pride: Remember the days when Microsoft was a tyrannical dictator with such monumental flops as the Zune? Those times have certainly come to an end.  Reacting to outcry over the Digital Rights Management terms outlined for the release of Xbox One, Microsoft has taken major steps to appease the gaming community.  This move to immediate product innovation could mark the advent of a new Microsoft.  Has social media and community management ushered in a golden age of customer service? Only time will tell.

To read more about Microsoft’s response click HERE.

Q Team Knocks It Out Of The Park With NCARB: This week agencyQ launched a new interactive site for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.  The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects.

Click HERE to check out the great site by our Q team!

Instagram’s Line In The Sand: This week tech giant Facebook introduced an update to Instagram drawing a line in the sand for content creators around the world.  Their introduction of video may be an app killer for Vine as the world now has a choice, 6 seconds or 15.  Opponents from both sides are now waging war for mpeg supremacy.  Which side are you on?

To read more about Instagram’s roll out of video click HERE.

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Friday Tech Link Round Up

Welcome to this edition of on Q with Q!  Below are links to this week’s top news in tech and social:

Apple announces the introduction of two new operating systems- MACWORLD

Facebook enters the hashtag game- FACEBOOK NEWSROOM

Twitter gives strategists a taste of an analytics dashboard- MASHABLE

Justin Timberlake tries to bring sexy back with new MySpace- WIRED


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Vine Offers New Value Add to Brands

A few months have passed since Twitter began its great experiment into “in-feed video” and brands have embraced it with open arms.  But more than simply creating content for engagements sake, some brands are using the platform as a value add.  They are creatively thinking outside the box and using the 6 second window to give users a reason to follow.

1.  Lowes - Making projects more manageable 6 seconds at a time

2.  Malibu Rum – Creating e-cocktails with island inspiration

3. Kate Spade – Embracing a brand’s lifestyle

Do you have other favorite brands on Vine? Leave them in the comment section below!

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