So What’s the Deal with Google Plus?

As you may already know, there’s a lot of online talk about Google’s latest entry into the world of social networking. It’s another attempt by the Internet search giant to gain leverage in the field after failing terribly with Google Buzz. I was just going to lie back and watch how it all plays out, but I was offered an invite and had to check it out.

If you already have a Google account, once you sign up to Google+ you’ll see a tab with your name connected to all the other Google products you may use (gmail, calender, documents, reader, etc.) It’s easiest to connect with the contacts you already have on Google. The integration between products is pretty cool.

I’m still checking it all out, but so far I can see how Google will finally be successful with Google Plus. I am cautious though because I thought Google Wave was incredible, but that too went down in flames.

So here’s the deal: A cool feature on Google+ is the ability to put contacts into various circles, like one for family, another for friends, one for co-workers, or any other group you’d like to create. This allows you to send certain info only to those various groups. Also, you can follow anyone and see their content without that person following you back. This is cool when following celebrities or thought leaders in a particular industry.

There is also a hangout section where you can conduct video chats with contacts and people who share your interests. I have not checked this feature out yet, but hear it’s pretty awesome.

So far Google Plus has received rave reviews and is growing incredibly fast. However some people may feel they don’t have the time to join another social network, which is understandable. Right now you can only use Google Plus if you’re invited to join by someone already using the network. But word has it that Google Plus will be open to all by the end of July, so you won’t have too wait to long.

I don’t think Facebook and Twitter have much to worry about right now, but you never know with the ever changing world of social networks. I need more time to really know how a feel about Google+, but I’m giving it a shot. If you feel comfortable feeling out another social network, I’d say give Google Plus a try and see how you like it.

Feel free to leave any comments below about your take on Google+.

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Puerto Ricans in the NBA

José Juan Barea

I’ve been following the NBA Finals closely and cheering for the Dallas Mavericks, even though most basketball experts predict the Miami Heat will win the championship. I’m rooting for the Mavericks mainly because of José Juan Barea.

JJ Barea is the seventh Puerto Rican-born player to be in the NBA and the third ever to play in the NBA Finals. As a proud Puerto Rican, I’m just in awe to see a Boricua in the NBA Finals. Barea was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, my mother’s hometown.

I’m relatively a new professional basketball fan, so I missed supporting Carlos Arroyo in the 2005 NBA Finals when he played for the runner-up Detroit Pistons (the San Antonio Spurs won that year.) Arroyo, who was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and now plays for the Boston Celtics, was a member of the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team that defeated the United States at the 2004 Olympic Basketball Tournament.

The first Puerto Rican-born NBA player and the first to win a championship ring is Butch Lee, who was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and was drafted by the NBA in 1978. He played for the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the 1980 championship winning L.A. Lakers.

The other four Puerto Rican-born NBA players include: Ramon Rivas, the second Puerto Rican-born NBA player; José Ortiz, also a member of the 2004 Olympic Puerto Rican Basketball Team; Peter Ramos, also on the 2004 Puerto Rican Basketball Team; and Guillermo Diaz, the fifth Puerto Rican-born player drafted by the NBA.

As we all know, you don’t have to be born in Puerto Rico to be Puerto Rican, so I have to give a shout out to New York Knick Carmelo Anthony, whose father is Puerto Rican. Go Melo! If I’m missing any other Puerto Rican NBA player, please comment below.

Last night the Mavericks tied the NBA Finals against the Heat forcing Game 6 in Miami this Sunday, which just happens to be the day of the National Puerto Rican Parade. I can’t wait to see Barea representing all Boricuas on Sunday!

Go JJ! Represent! Wepa!

(Please see the comments section for players I missed.)

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Kung Fu Panda 2 Opens Tomorrow

Jack Black was all over the morning shows yesterday promoting his new movie “Kung Fu Panda 2,” so I thought I’d help him out with a little blog post. The movie opens in theatres nationwide tomorrow, May 26th, in both 3D and 2D.

Jack Black returns as Po, the lovable Dragon Warrior Panda along with an all star cast as the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie); Monkey (Jackie Chan); Mantis (Seth Rogan); Viper (Lucy Liu); and Crane (David Cross).  Also returning is Dustin Hoffman as the kung fu guru and Po’s mentor, Master Shifu, and James Hong as Mr. Ping, Po’s father and owner of the most popular noodle shop in the village.

The sequel to the animated comedy and 2008 Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated blockbuster “Kung Fu Panda,” is bigger and funnier than ever with an all new action-packed adventure for Po as he leads the Furious Five to fight a formidable villain (Gary Oldman as Lord Shen the white peacock) bent on taking over China and destroying Kung Fu with a powerful weapon unlike anything ever seen before.

The film is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, produced by Melissa Cobb and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The music is by the great Hans Zimmer and John Powell.

A Huffington Post review called the movie “a terrific stand-alone film and a taking-off point for what could be a wonderful animated fable.” It should make lots of money this Memorial Day Weekend. So, if you want to catch a family-friendly film this weekend check out Kung Fu Panda 2.

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Latinos Voted in Record Numbers in 2010

Data from a study by the Pew Hispanic Center published Tuesday in an Associated Press article found that 6.6 million Latinos voted in 2010, up from the 5.6 million in 2006. Latinos made up 6.9 percent of the 96 million voters in 2010, up from 5.8 percent of the 96.1 million voters four years earlier.

Among those record voters were 600,000 Latinos who turned 18 each year between 2006 and 2010 as well as 1.4 million foreign-born adult Latinos who became U.S. citizens and therefore eligible to vote, the center said.

According to exit polls, Hispanic voters are a solid Democratic constituency, breaking for President Barack Obama by 36 percentage points in 2008 and for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district by 22 points in the 2010 contests.

Despite the impressive increase, voter turnout among Hispanics continues to lag far behind non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Almost half of eligible white voters, 48.6 percent, and 44 percent of eligible black voters said they cast ballots in the 2010 elections. That compares to less than a third—31.2 percent—of eligible Latino voters who said they voted.

Among Latinos who do go to the polls, college graduates had the highest turnout rate at 50.3 percent, while Latinos 18 to 29 had the lowest at 17.6 percent.

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Hispanic Professionals Networking Group

This Tuesday, the Hispanic Professionals Networking Group (HPNG) will be sponsoring an entrepreneurs event at the Lounge at the Elmo Restaurant in New York City. The guest speaker will be Robert W. Walsh, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. Registration cost for the networking event is $25.

The HPNG provides opportunities for Hispanic professionals to grow their networks and develop their careers. It hosts networking events and offers professional and personal development workshops that address Latino-specific issues. Workshop topics include career and leadership development, financial planning and investing, real estate matters, legal issues, and other topics.

Founded in 2003 in by Ali Curi in New York, HPNG produces monthly networking events and career management workshops in New York and Miami.

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East WillyB: A Latino Web Series

A talented and innovative group of Latinos and like-minded artists have joined forces to produce a web series showcasing the issue of the gentrification of Bushwick, Brooklyn. The series, East WillyB, presently airs two short segments online. The segments are less then three minutes long and future segments will be aired.

Creators Julia Ahamuda Grob and Yamin Segal aim to reach the “new generation of Latinos” who are wired and plugged in, educated, and tired of one-dimensional stereotypes in the media. With limited English language Latino programming on television and the challenges of getting such shows on the air, the pair decided to launch their series online.

The webisode earns its name from “East Williamsburg,” a name conceived by real estate agencies to reference Brooklyn’s popular Williamsburg area and entice renters to neighboring Bushwick. The name also refers to the main character, a second-generation Puerto Rican named Willie Reyes Jr. who is the owner of a neighborhood sports bar. With hipsters moving into el barrio and rents going up, Willy Jr. is faced with the possibility of going out of business.

The web series features April Hernandez (Dexter, Freedom Writers), Flaco Navaja (Fighting, Falling Awake), Raul Castillo (Nurse Jackie, IFC’s Cold Weather), Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz (Bamboozled, Down to the Bone), Danny Hoch (Black Hawk Down, American Splendor), and many of NYC’s top Latino actors.

If the series is successful more segments will be aired, so visit the East WillyB site, signup for segment notifications, join its Facebook and Twitter pages, and pass along this information to anyone you think would enjoy this incredible online effort.

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Social Networking for a Job

According to About.com, at least 60 percent – some report even higher statistics – of all jobs are found by networking. In a slow job market, finding employment via the traditional manner could be quite ineffective. I know firsthand. I have been looking for a mid-career communication position for quite a long time. Since January of this year I have been searching for an entry-level paralegal position. However both searches thus far have come up empty.

So, I have decided to finally use my social network to get the word out. If you know of any possible employment positions in my chosen fields or know people in the communication or legal industries, please pass along any leads. I can be found on LinkedIn or you can just forward the link to my professional blog, which also serves as my résumé online, to any potential employers.

I will continue to do my part and am confident the right job will come up eventually, but if you can help spread the word I would really appreciate the valued assistance. Thanks in advance for your effort.

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