The Curator’s News Feed: December 21, 2012

Since we all survived the end of the world, it’s time for our final round of links for 2012! This week we’re sharing our favorite news picks from this week and last, including yearend trends, 2013 forecasts and some of the most memorable moments of the year. Happy Holidays!

Why Legos Are so Expensive and so Popular, NPR. When a 9-year old — as you'll see in this piece — talks with clarity about the quality of your product and the power of your brand,  you can charge a premium.  Brands matter.  And constantly improving and innovating your product or offering matters.  When you apply focused discipline on quality and an equal focus on building your brand, you get Legos.  Or Kleenex.  Or Apple.  Brands matter. – Scott

Apocalypse by the Numbers, CNN. Given today’s impending doom this seemed appropriate to share. – Dan

DayQuil, Wikipedia. This is my link this week. Nuff said. – Dan (who was one of the handful of Curators that caught a nasty bug last week and survived on this stuff)

Download Google Maps for iOS Right Now and Get Turn by Turn Navigation, Public Transit Directions and Street View, Gizmodo. Like a white horse galloping through the App Store, Google Maps has returned to iPhones in a blaze of glory. Seriously, re-read that headline: This is not the Google Maps of the iPhone 3G. The interface is re-imagined (if inconsistent with Google's look on other platforms) and looks brilliant. If you feel hassled by switching maps apps again after tracking a new one down for iOS 6, don't. I was getting pretty used to Waze, and demoted it after about five minutes of using the new Google Maps. If you travel to unfamiliar locations as often as I do, this is one of the apps you want in your dock. – Paul

The Most Memorable Photos of 2012, ABC News. Hard to believe we’re already nearing the end of 2012. Over the coming days, I know we’ll begin to see articles in almost every news outlet highlighting the moments of this past year. But, my favorite recaps are always those that capture these highlights in photographs, which is exactly what ABC News did this week by selecting its pick of the top 25 most memorable images from the past 12 months. This does an amazing job of raising awareness of events we never knew even happened, moments that we had forgotten and ones that we’ll never forget. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words! In the case of many of these images, they’re probably worth quite a bit more. – Annie

The Uberconference app. Probably the best thing since Uberconference. Tech Crunch. I signed up with UC back in their beta days, and have continually been impressed with the functionality. It’s great to actually be able to see who is talking, who is causing all the background noise, and who drops off or joins on a conference call. What could make it even better, you ask? How about an app that lets you call everyone to the conference with a few swipes and taps on your smart phone, and gives you all the same functionality of the desktop version? Done. Thanks Uberconference. – Matthew

A two faced phone, finally. TechRadar. Years ago, before the proliferation of smart phones, I owned a dual-screen cell that had a basic calculator sized screen on the button side for calls and a large, color display on the back for the camera and mp3 player. The concept was solid for the time – a cell phone plus, if you will. In practice, though, it was the worst phone I’ve ever owned. Ever since, I’ve been deeply skeptical of the dual screen concept. A new phone in development from Yota Devices, however, has me rethinking my position on the concept. The Yota Phone will feature an e-ink display on the reverse side of the phone that can be used for nearly all of the basic phone functions. As someone who reads the news on his phone every day, (and who refuses to drag an extra device around) this is an exciting idea. Plus, consider the battery saving implications of a device that only burns power when you change the page or open a new email. As much as I love my iPhone, this might actually tip the scales for me. – Matthew

YouTube 2012 Rewind, YouTube. I am a pop culture junkie, and nothing feeds my habit quite like YouTube. I love this silly montage of the biggest YouTube trends of the past year. From Walk Off the Earth to the Red Bull Stratos Jump to Psy, this over-the-top video tribute is simple, stupid fun.  – Ann Marie

J Brand, Facebook. Here at Curator’s retail practice, AKA gift guide central, we see and create a lot of gift guides! Breaking through the noise during the holiday season is hard when there are so many flying around. One that caught my eye is J Brand’s “Unwrapped” guide curated by relevant and interesting celebs that make sense with the brand. It’s not a particularly earth-shattering concept, I just think it was really well done and great, well-thought out compilations of pieces from J Brand along with complementary pieces from other brands.

Also, I’d like to share this, as a shout out to Lisa. – Julia

Greatest VC Holiday Greeting Combines Gangnam Style and call Me Maybe, Geekwire. It’s almost the holidays, and what better way to spread cheer than this “Call Me Maybe meets Gangnam Style” holiday card created by an NYC VC firm. “Call Me Maybe” holds a special place in our hearts here at Curator, and this video just about sums up 2012. – Julia

Twitter to Offer Photo Filters by End of This Year, Mashable. The Twitter vs. Instagram battle continues, as Twitter plans to add photo filers to its cell phone application. These filters would allow application users to enhance any photos they upload onto the site and would put Twitter in direct competition with Instagram. Will Twitter's new filters be the downfall of Instagram? I'm curious to find out! – Johanna 

Why 2013 Is the Year of Responsive Web Design, Mashable. A creative way of introducing the news site’s latest online experience, but they have a good point here. Just in the month of November, Mashable was accessed on over 2,500 devices. That’s a lot of different interfaces to keep up with! This is where the responsive web design comes into play. We’re no longer living in a one-device-world, with everything from smartphones to tablets becoming commonplace in our everyday lives. Media companies will need to react to this by creating a web design that’s easily accessible across multiple devices. Just one of the many trends I’m sure we’ll see emerge as we enter into the New Year. – Annie

America's Friendliest Towns, Forbes. I always like to read lists like this, you know the ones that tell you the best places to live in if you’re in your 20’s, or the most affluent cities, etc. But this particular list caught my attention because it lists the number one friendliest town in America as Sammamish, Washington. Lots of people I’m sure read this and thought maybe it was a made up place with a name like that, but to me (and Annie) that is where we grew up! So, cheers to my hometown for being so darn nice! – Chelsey