Facebook pushing limits of privacy.

We’ve known Facebook has been struggling to figure out how to compete in the mobile market. Everyone knows that their mobile interface isn’t as good as it can be and a lot of investors are concerned that there are no ads on the mobile Facebook app. So it’s good to hear (or is it?) that Facebook is launching a new type of mobile advertising that targets customers based on the type of apps they use.

How are they doing this? Through their Facebook Connect feature, this lets users log into millions of websites and apps using their Facebook identity. By tracking use of customer’s visits to apps such as Amazon.com, LinkedIn, Pintrest, and Instagram, the company can display targeted ads based on that data. Facebook has also commented that they might track what people do on those apps, however, it has not been decided.

Privacy concern is definitely an issue whenever it comes to Facebook, just last month millions were upset over the “unannounced” Facebook email switch which caused a lot of headache. Now, with this feature that could potentially monitor your behavior to inundate you with targeted advertisement may create a bit of a fire with consumers.

Although tracking users’ mobile use is nothing new,as companies like Apple and Google track user apps all the time, however their approach to ad targeting is much different from how Facebook plans to target.

On the flip side this new business model for Facebook can be highly profitable for the company that is struggling to get back to their initial public offering price of $38 (currently at $31). It will also assuage investor concerns about Facebook’s lack of advertising on a medium where most of its users are spending their time.

Consumers will be able to view these ads as a news display on their Facebook news Feed. For example unlike before when you would get information about a brand because you “liked” the page and their news would show up on your feed, now when you play a game (i.e. Angry Birds), ads for other games similar to Angry Birds will show up on your news feed without your consent.

People who are concerned about privacy are hoping Facebook will provide ways for users to opt out of the mobile ad targeting. Facebook has declined to comment. I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on the subject. Facebook has been doing a lot lately and it has angered a bunch of people. Are you for or against what Facebook is turning into?

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Business Card Etiquette

I was at a networking event this past week and I was just handed business cards left and right without even a semblance of sincere contact. As such, I want to take this time to talk a little bit about business cards and the basic etiquette that I believe should be followed.

Business cards should be an extension of you. It should not only give out your contact information but also describe your business and personality. Nowadays there are so many ways to create a business card from standard rectangular shapes to circles or squares and with colors and pictures. It’s so easy to get free business cards and there is no reason that you shouldn’t have a business card.

HOWEVER! Having a business card doesn’t mean you get to throw it around to every person you meet. As I stated above, it is an extension of yourself, you wouldn’t want to seem desperate by giving your business card out to every single person you meet. I understand that you want to put yourself out there and help your business, but if you are trying to advertise your business, then advertise it through actual adverts—billboards, email campaigns etc. You should not be trying to advertise yourself when you are actually trying to network and build a relationship with someone. As such as a rule business cards should only be given out when asked.

When it is time to give out and receive business cards, follow these tips:

  1. Ensure the business card is clean and crisp. A well-presented business card implies a well presented business person.
  2. Receive the business card promptly and compliment the card on the design or the logo. The business card you received is like a gift and should be shown thanks.
  3. Place the business card in a business card holder. It is bad taste to just dump it in your purse or stick it in your wallet.

Now that you have properly exchanged business cards, make sure you don’t waste it. There are so many instances where business cards are exchanged and there is no follow-up. The whole purpose of networking and exchanging business cards is to maintain future contact and build a relationship.

If you have received a bunch of business cards and have no idea which person relates to which business card (I have been guilty of this), a great tip is to write a brief description on the back of the card about what the person was wearing or what was discussed. Please note that this memory aid should be done outside the view of the person who gave you the business card.

To summarise:

  1. Don’t give out your business cards to everyone you meet, wait until they ask for it
  2. Make sure your card is crisp and clean
  3. Compliment the business card
  4. Put the business card in a card holder
  5. Put a little note on the back of the card
  6. Follow up!

I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had when exchanging business cards or any other tips or suggestions.

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Leap Second – Did You Feel the Time Shift?

Technology sure did. This past weekend, when another second was added to the atomic clock to align with the rotation of the earth, havoc commenced all over the world. The last leap second to be introduced into the world was in December 31, 2008.

What is the Leap Second?

A leap second is a one second adjustment that is occasionally applied to the Coordinated Universal Time in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time. This usually happens either at the end of June or the end of December. Basically this addition prevents us from experiencing sunset in the morning.

However with this little second that was added, a lot of computer systems experienced crashes and slowdowns due to computer programing not accustomed to the additional time. Reminds you of Y2K doesn’t it?

One such computing issue that caused mayhem in Australia was the Amadeus Airline Reservation System which caused long lines and delays at airports across Australia.  I can only imagine Traveler’s frustration as more than 400 Qantas flights around Australia were delayed by at least two hours causing staff to switch to manual check-ins.

Other companies that were affected by this Leap were websites including LinkedIn, Reddit, Mozzilla, and The Pirate Bay.

Is the Leap Second Necessary?

There has been a lot of opposition with regards to this leap second because it is irregular and unpredictable. First introduced in 1972 the leap second is added very unevenly.  As stated above the last time the leap second was introduced was in 2008 and the time before that was in 2005 and then in 1998, 1997 and consistently from 1992-1995. Obviously there is no consistency which causes problems now in this technological age.  There have been propositions to eliminated the leap second and instead add a leap hour as an attempt to satisfy the alignment. However oppositions against this proposal include the unknown expense of such a major change and the fact that universal time will no longer correspond to mean solar time.

In January they met to discuss the fate of this troublesome little second but postponed the decision until 2015. I guess people should start preparing for another leap second like they were preparing for Y2K. As we become more and more connected to the internet and to computer systems who knows what might happen when the next leap second sneaks its way into our clocks.

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Twitter Against Bullying

In the technology age, where everyone is protected behind a computer, it becomes easier for hate speech to escalate and cause harm and destruction.  Dick Costolo, Twitter chief executive wants to protect freedom of speech, which is what Twitter is founded on, however the increase of bullying in the twitter sphere is prompting him to introduce measure to restrain the “hate speech” and trolling on its services.

Twitter is home to more than 340 million daily tweets. Known for its 140 characters enabling users to express their mind, Twitter has started revolutions and increased awareness; some of their notable works have been with the 2011 Egyptian Revolutions and Tunisian protests. Twitter has allowed a safe space for speech where other mediums would prohibit such displays. Twitter has been called a social media strategic weapon, but unfortunately it is now becoming a home to express racist comments and hate.

Some of Costolo’s plans for curbing this abuse are to include hiding replies from users who do not have any followers, biography or profile picture. He is calling this a pseudonym protection. His reason for allowing pseudonyms is because there are a lot of places where Twitter is the only place you can actually speak freely. However, this pseudonym only encourages this hate speech and trolling, so the question remains, how do you prevent hate speech while promote free speech?

In addition, amidst all this hate and attempts to curb the trolling, Twitter is trying to transform itself from a primarily text based service to a platform rich with media content. This is a difficult process as even though their platform is visited multiple times throughout the day, their application development is not as sophisticated as other applications like Facebook. However, these obstacles are not setbacks as they have introduced new ideas such as “expanded tweets” which show headlines and photos from a news story when a user shares the link via a tweet. Users are also able to view YouTube videos without having to go to another page, which was the case before. These are new additions and hopefully soon tweets can be more interactive with polls or quizzes.

There is a lot that twitter can do to improve not only the speech content that allows so many people to express their mind but also allow for a richer experience on their platform.

Do you think Twitter is capable of curbing hate while promoting free speech? What are your thoughts on the CEO’s proposal? Do you have a better proposal?

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Google – Driverless cars, Computer glasses, Oh My!

Google is testing the limits of technology with a working prototype of a driverless car and now with the development of computer glasses naming it Project Glass. Having unveiled the concept to programmers at Google’s 3 day I/O, people got to see first-hand what these glasses can really do.

What is Project Glass?

Project Glass basically is a research and development project that would allow hands free display for information that is usually found on computers and smartphones. Users will be able to interact on the internet through natural language voice commands. Think of the Apple iPhone Siri, but without the iPhone and replace Apple with Google.

How Does it Work?

You put it on like a regular pair of glasses (so yes your nerd factor increases) and you can view images, chat with friends, take videos and pictures by talking, and moving your head around naturally (up, down, etc). To demonstrate the awesomeness of Project Glass, Google hired skydivers to jump out of a blimp hovering 7,000 feet above downtown San Francisco. They wore the internet-connected glasses, to show how the product could allow people to share their most thrilling or boring moments. As the skydivers parachuted onto the roof of the building where the Google I/O conference was held, the crowd inside was able to watch the descent through the skydivers’ eyes as it happened. That’s pretty interesting if you asked me.

Based on what I’ve been reading about Project Glass it seems like it is a glorified version of twitter and facebook except with video and you can keep up on people’s lives post about your life without your hands. Google is stating that it is not meant to replace a smartphone or your computer but capture moments that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do or let’s say talk to your friends while walking to the bathroom.

During the Conference Google announced they will allow programmers to get first dibs on the explorer in early 2013 for a price tag of $1,500. Would you pay prime dollar to be one of the first to test out this new experience.

A part of me is extremely excited about this new technology and the breakthroughs we are making as a society. However, the other part of me is thinking, do we really need to be attached to another peripheral all day? Isn’t it bad enough we spend most of our time on our smartphone? How much more disconnected do you think we will become until we are living our lives like that badly done Bruce Willis movie Surrogates.

This picture made me laugh so I thought I’d share:

Posted in Cloud services, Converging Tech, Cool gadgets, Internet, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So You Wanna Build a Website?

So, you’ve decided to make yourself known on the web. A very wise choice as not being on the World Wide Web is associated with not existing at all (I jest, but there is some truth to that).

However, making the decision to have a website can be a very big undertaking a lot of time can go into questions like: “what is my website name? “ “Who do I host with?” “Should I hire a web designer or should I do it myself?” “How much should I spend?”

Choose a Website Name

If you already have a business then website name shouldn’t be a problem, however, you probably need to check if your name is available. Luckily, with the soon to be released new extensions that the ICANN is reviewing, you’ll have a lot more choices with possible extensions such as .florist, .apple, .design, etc.

Host a Website

Usually when you purchase a domain name from a company they offer hosting, but you have to ensure that the hosting is adequate to ensure that the allotted storage space is enough for your business features available, which is very important. If your website is just to display information and a couple of photos then you wouldn’t have a problem going for a hosting site that has limited storage space. However, if you plan on streaming videos and more heavy duty stuff, you’re going to want to look for hosting sites that give a lot of storage space.

Build a Website

Designing your website can be both fun and laborious. Your website is an extension of who you are and the presentation, images, and feel of your website can really invite or turn away visitors. You don’t want it to be too plain that visitors are bored, but you don’t want it to be too intricate that it becomes complicated for visitors to navigate and therefore causes them to leave. In addition, you want to have traffic on your website so you need to think about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) so that people will find your website easily. The decision you are faced with is to build it yourself or have someone else do it for you. Having someone else build it seems like a good choice, leave it for the experts, this usually costs anywhere around $1,000 to $7,000 (not including maintenance or updating). That’s a big investment but at least you know that it looks good and will yield results. If you don’t have that extra cash flow to get noticed on the web, there is also the option to do it yourself, you can buy special software MS Front Page, etc… but it can be difficult to learn and cost anywhere between $100-$300. It can seem very time consuming to learn how to build a website, however, it might be the right choice for you if you are savvy with a computer. Luckily, for the rest of us that don’t have time to spend learning a new technical skill, there are different services that offer something in the middle between having someone do it for you (saving you time but costing you money) and you having to do it yourself (saving you money but costing you time). These services offer website tools to help you build a website without the hardship of starting from scratch. Although you won’t get a completely unique website, you will be given with many templates and many different ways to customise your website to make it your own without having to learn the technical aspects of web design or spend $5,000 to have it created.

Whichever decision you make, the decision to build a website will be the best decision you made to showcase yourself on the internet, increase traffic to your business, and get your word out there.

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Surface Tablet to compete with iPads and laptops

Microsoft has recently unveiled the Surface Tablet, the first computer Microsoft has ever made. Known for their success in computer hardware and consoles, it is a revolutionary step for Microsoft, who usually relies on others to create PCs, to reveal a computer solely designed and manufactured by the company.

Microsoft hopes that this new hardware will allow users not only to replace Apple iPads but also their own Windows Laptops.

However, this bold move was met with different reactions. Some were impressed by the intricate detail and industrial design, but many wanted more information.

The Surface Tablet is set to launch in October and was stated to have made “no compromises” between tablet and PC capabilities. They are planning to roll out two versions. The first version will run on Windows RT and the other version will run on Windows 8. No price tag has been officially released but it has been rumored that the RT version will run around the same price point as other tablets. For reference, the basic iPad runs at around $499. The Full Windows 8 version will be comparatively priced as other ultrabooks of about $1,000.
Windows RT will be 9.3mm thick and will weigh 676g while the Windows 8 will be “the pro” version with a size of 13.5mm and a weight of 903g. The RT will offer either 32GB or 64GB of memory while the Windows 8 version will have 128GB of memory. Both will feature a 10.6” HD display.

Microsoft emphasized that the devices were just like any computer. They stated that this Surface tablet can be used for everything that a computer can offer. They even announced that the Surface will include a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the HD industry standard.

The Surface also brings some new innovations to the tablet. The device’s cover, flips down to become a full keyboard. It features a rigid case built from magnesium, a pen that clicks into the tablet and a built-in kickstand

What does this mean for the PC manufacturers that have used Window’s operating system? Microsoft has stated that will not be the exclusive manufacturer of the windows tablets, ensuring that these partnerships remain. In fact, they have mentioned that they don’t plan to actually manufacture the PC, they are looking to their PC partners to create the surface table

Check out the image and videos below and share your thoughts. Do you think that this tablet has the capacity to phase out netbooks, ultrabooks, and other tablets?  Do you think Surface Tablet a chance to rival the ever popular iPad in tablet dominance?



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