Gadgets & Games & Innovation Changing Our Lives
Tech Evolves At The Speed of Light
Nobel Prize For Economics Winners 2011: Americans Thomas Sargent And Christopher Sims Win For Macroeconomic Research
Google To Offer AdWords Business Credit Card
WordPress Now Powers More Than 50 Million Sites
Open source blogging platform WordPress has reached an important milestone: It powers more than 50 million websites, about half of which are hosted on WordPress.com.Also, more than 287 million people view more than 2.5 billion pages on WordPress.com each month and, on an average day, WordPress.com users create about 500,000 new posts and 400,000 new comments, according to WordPress’ official stats.
Recently, WordPress competitor Tumblr surpassed 20 million blogs, passing WordPress.com in terms of the number of blogs hosted on the platform.
However, unlike Tumblr, WordPress lets users install and use the platform on their own web host. Due to the simplicity and versatility of the platform, WordPress isn’t only used to power blogs, it can also be used for running various types of personal, business and community websites.
Food trucks experienced a boom just as the economy started to tank. Social media has played a huge role in making the trucks more accessible, but also developing a loyal community.
- Post Weinergate: 10 More People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media Mistakes
Nintendo Crashes The Tablet World With A Game-Changing Entrance
Living room entertainment just got one step closer to having a true three-dimensional virtual environment: Nintendo’s new Wii U tablet remote control scans a virtual world in 360 degrees as the user moves it in orbit around his or her body. The brand new technology opens exciting possibilities for not just gaming, but for the exploding tablet market.
By Doug Aamoth on June 1, 2011
The modern trader is playing the most sophisticated, dynamic, immersive game in the world. Here’s how it works.
App Sees Faces & Tags Friends in Photos
Viewdle is a computer vision company that has been quietly working on science and technology that enable machines to “see.” The startup’s first consumer release comes in the form of an Android application that can see faces and will surely make it more conspicuous.
SocialCamera, being released for Android Wednesday, is a camera application that recognizes faces and tags friends in photos. Users can then easily share the photo with a tagged friend via MMS or email or post it to Facebook and Flickr with associated people tags attached.
“We want to take the tagging out of sharing photos and make it as automatic as possible,” says Jason Mitura,Viewdle‘s chief product officer.
SocialCamera users will need to create “faceprints” — for example, teach the application that a particular face is your friend Joe — for friends in photos. Once a face has been tagged, the faceprint is saved and the app user will no longer need to tag that friend again. Eventually, faceprints will be able to be carried over to future Viewdle applications or shared with friends, which should eliminate redundant tagging.
The SocialCamera application is only for photos. Mitura, however, says that the startup already has the same tagging features for video capture working, so users can expect video support to be included in a future release.
“SocialCamera is the first in a series of applications that leverage true computer vision to build new social experiences and gaming experiences,” Mitura says.
Lest you confuse Viewdle as just another facial recognition company — an easy mistake considering SocialCamera’s faceprint features — Mitura describes the company as working on “computer vision-powered augmented reality.”
“The first object that we’re doing is faces,” he says, “but we’re not limited to just doing faces.”
Viewdle’s technology is capable of identifying any object as seen through a computer or mobile lens, so long as it builds accompanying object detectors and recognizers, Mitura says. The company will be adding edge detection and plane detection to its SDK, for instance. The technology would enable users to rotate and augment real-world objects.
Viewdle’s raised $12.7 million in funding. Investors include Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund, Qualcomm and Anthem Venture Partners.
Playstation Network suspended for weeks
Millions of gamers are unable to play online as the Playstation Network remains unavailable.
Users are seeing error messages stating the network is “undergoing maintenance” or is “suspended”.
In a blog post, makers Sony thanked users for their patience but warned the downtime – which has so far lasted more than 20 hours – could continue for “a day or two”.
In recent weeks, Playstation has been targeted by hackers group Anonymous.
The group appeared to deny being responsible for the attack, releasing a message stating “for once we didn’t do it”.
The network has more than 70 million users worldwide, but Sony were unable to clarify how many players had been affected.
However, Twitter messages and blog posts have been posted from all over the world.
After Wednesday’s revelation that iPhones have been storing location data since iOS 4.0, now it’s time for the fallout. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., was concerned enough about it to send Apple a letter, asking how and why this happened.
In the letter (full text here), Franken wants to know why Apple collected and compiled this data, why it wasn’t encrypted, whether it’s compiled on laptops, how it’s generated, how frequently the location data is recorded, how precise it is, who’s using the data and why consumers weren’t told about it.
Adding to this congressional inquiry was Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is co-chairman of the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus. He wrote his own letter to Apple, asking “Is it an iPhone or an iTrack? Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information to ensure that an iPhone doesn’t become an iTrack.”
Why did Apple do this? Respected Apple watcher John Gruber writes in his Daring Fireball blog that he doesn’t have a definitive answer, but says he has some insider information about the location tracking on the iPhone, calling it “an oversight” on the part of Apple:
“…my little-birdie-informed understanding is that consolidated.db acts as a cache for location data, and that historical data should be getting culled but isn’t, either due to a bug or, more likely, an oversight. I.e. someone wrote the code to cache location data but never wrote code to cull non-recent entries from the cache, so that a database that’s meant to serve as a cache of your recent location data is instead a persistent log of your location history. I’d wager this gets fixed in the next iOS update.”
Apple still hasn’t commented about that location-tracking consolidated.db file.
There is a fix for the problem now, but only if you’ve jailbroken your iPhone. An app called Untrackerd made a surprisingly quick appearance on Cydia, the app store for jailbroken iPhones, and according to 9 to 5 Mac, will remove that location data and prevent more from being recorded.
Meanwhile, tech guru Andy Ihnatko downplayed the damage done by the tracking file, pointing out that it’s not storing GPS data, but less-precise cellphone tower triangulation data that only reveals “that you were in a certain vicinity.” He adds that the consolidated.db file is inaccessible unless someone possess both your iPhone and your computer. Finally, he says it’s “a non-issue if you’ve clicked the ‘Encrypt iPhone Backup’ option in iTunes.”
We’re expecting to see a response from Apple soon, and we’re hoping for a fix (that doesn’t require jailbreaking) that will give users the ability to turn off this tracking and delete its data.
- Carolyn Giardina
Their new company, Cameron-Pace Group, aims to develop, sell and lease 3-D production technology to filmmakers, broadcasters and game manufacturers. Read more
nder the hood is what Apple calls a “dramatically faster” processor, Apple’s custom-designed dual-core A5 chip that uses the same amount of power as its predecessor, the A4, but it’s twice as fast, and Apple says its graphics processing is “up to nine times faster.” Job says that despite that new power, battery life will be the same at 10 hours.Jobs said the iPad 2 is 33% thinner than the first iPad, and a mere 8.8mm thick (down from 13.4mm of the original iPad) — thinner even than the iPhone 4. It’s also lighter, 1.3 lb as opposed to the 1.5 lb weight of its predecessor. There will be both of front and rear facing cameras on board, with the back camera capable of video recording at 720p at 30 frames per second, and the front camera is a VGA quality camera for videoconferencing.
Along with the new hardware, Apple will offer a $39 HDMI adapter that will allow users to output 1080p video in a mirrored configuration. That will allow users to watch iPad content on an HDTV while still viewing that same content on the iPad’s screen (which is the same as its predecessor at 1024 x 768 pixels).
Ordering starts for the iPad 2 in both white and black on March 11 in the U.S. (March 25 in 26 more countries). It’ll be offered in 16GB, 32GB of 64GB models, either with Wi-Fi or both Wi-Fi and 3G, all for the same prices of the original iPad:
many questioned the long-term success of the product — could Apple, a newcomer to the mobile space, make a name for itself. The answer, unequivocally, is yes.Last month, Verizon became the second U.S. carrier to sell the iPhone and some analysts have posited that Big Red has already moved 1 million units. Apple didn’t break out any carrier-specific numbers, however, by pointing out that 100 million iPhones — the company is pointing out its success in the market.
Other interesting numbers from the event:
- More than 200 million iTunes Store accounts exist — Apple believes that they may have the most accounts with credit cards anywhere online.
- $2 billion cumulative has been paid to developers in the App Store.
- 100 million books have been downloaded from iBooks
- 15 million iPads were sold in the first 9 months of release
Today’s event is all about iPad 2 and Mashable will be reporting more about the new device throughout the day.
turned violent and fatal for some and unrest continues in beleaguered Libya.
As pro-democracy protests spread like a virus through many parts of the Middle East and North Africa, social media is still providing both a tool for organizers and a valuable window for the outside world into the volatile and intricate political situations in many countries.
Unrest in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain and elsewhere has taken center stage in world news for the past several weeks. In many of these countries, the government has completely or partially cut off Internet access during protests, especially since protesters have been using sites such as Twitter and Facebook to organize and gather support.
But the situation in Morocco, a constitutional monarchy with a notably pro-democracy king, is quite different from what we’ve seen in countries where decades-long dictatorships have predictably brewed strong and angry dissent.
The Kingdom of Morocco’s current ruler, King Mohammed VI, has reigned since July 1999. The dual-house parliament is led by Prime Minister Abbas el-Fassi, who came into office in September 2007.
Protesters are asking the king to relinquish some of his powers and dismiss the current government, in addition to other constitutional reform demands. Before the weekend, a government spokesperson noted that the administration was not too worried about the protests, saying the country “for a long time has been engaged in an irreversible process towards democracy and widening public liberties.”
The protests were not expected to escalate into lootings and arson, but that’s exactly what happened yesterday. While most protesters were peaceful at the outset, some youth and “troublemakers” began committing acts of vandalism and theft, accorrding to Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui, who spoke in a press conference today.
Currently, approximately 128 people, mostly security officers, are reported injured, 120 people have been arrested, and five are reported dead, the latter specifically due to a bank that was set on fire. It is estimated that more than 37,000 Moroccans showed up to protest in dozens of cities around the country.
Historically, Morocco has been known to censor websites that might allow for certain freedoms of expression or that facilitate or encourage negative portrayals of the government. The usual roster of social networks have been used to coordinate protests in thr country over the weekend; in particular, several Facebook groups have been formed, and Twitter users are employing the hashtag #feb20. However, we are not aware that any censorship is currently occurring in Morocco.
More peaceful protests are slated to continue today in Morocco.
Meanwhile, in Libya, the Internet was shut down for six hours during violent protests against longtime dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi. When the country’s Internet access was returned, users immediately began turning to Twitter and Google maps to spread news and alert the world of known fatalities.
Yesterday, Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam made a video statement, even as violence continued in the troubled country and foreign governments called for the end of the use of lethal force by the Libyan government.
Google has launched major updates to Social Search, integrating information from Twitter, Flickr and Quora throughout its search engine.
The search giant launched Social Search in 2009; the feature integrates search results from your friends at the bottom of the search page. It utilizes social profiles connected to your Google Account to deliver items like photo or blog results that come from your friends.
Google’s now making some prominent changes to Google Social Search, and it is announcing three new websites that will appear prominently in social search results. We had a chance to speak with Mike Cassidy, product management director for search, about the changes.
The first major change is that Google Social Search results will no longer appear only at the bottom of the page, but will instead be “blended” throughout the page. This is done through an annotation system that lets you know when a friend has shared a specific link or search result. If your friend writes a blog about how to create honey, that result will have an annotation that your friend has “shared this,” either via Google or through one of Google’s three major social integrations.
Speed Test Top 4 SmartPhones, you might be surprised !
Is Facebook a good place for kids? U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t seem to think so. She says she’s happy her daughters aren’t using the popular social networking service.
Obama’s daughters, Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, aren’t allowed to use Facebook for security purposes. However, the first lady isn’t too concerned about her daughters missing out. Facebook is “not something they need,” she said.
“I’m not a big fan of young kids having Facebook,” Obama said on NBC’s Today Show Wednesday.
President Obama is also aware of the perils of social networking. Speaking to students in a Virginia high school, Obama also warned the kids about Facebook, telling them to be “careful about what (they) post on Facebook” as it will be “pulled up again later somewhere in (their) life”.
Facebook restricts user sign up to 13 years of age or older, but at what age should parents start allowing their children to use online social networking services? Please, share your opinions in the comments.
Internet Telecommunication Union estimated that at the end of 2010 there were 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide and that a full 90% of the world population now has access to a mobile network. In contrast, only about 2 billion people have Internet access.The high prevalence of mobile phones (even in developing countries, penetration rates were expected to reach 68% by the end of 2010) has led many non-profits to choose mobile networks as tools for positive change. Mobile banking in Kenya has helped farmers increase their incomes, 300,000 people in Bangladesh signed up to learn English through their phones, and many consider mobile phones the key to developing nations.
But Bratt, now the CEO of The World Wide Web Foundation, came up with a different hypothesis when he looked at the 3.3 billion-person gap between mobile phone users and Internet users. Theoretically, he thinks that the two numbers could one day even out as people use their phones to log onto the Internet.
The problem is that for a person in a developing country, the current Internet is nearly useless.
“Maybe they can look at scores from the playoffs, but if they want to find a local doctor, if they want to understand which crops to plant or how much money they can get for their crops, if they want to be able to teach their kids a language other than English or French or Chinese, there’s just nothing for them there,” Bratt says.
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Mobile After more than four years, AT&T’s exclusivity on iPhone in the U.S. is set to come to an end on Tuesday, with Verizon expected to announce the launch of the device on its network at an event in New York City.
The move has been a long time coming; rumors of a Verizon iPhone have intensified significantly in the past year, while frustration with AT&T’s network reliability has continued to mount. At the same time, rival carriers have launched dozens of Android devices,
Entertainment Can you go wrong combining Legos and ninjas?
Probably not, which is why Lego is making a big production out of a new property called Ninjago. Think “production” as in movie production.
Business Hotels.com is the latest brand to jump on the avatar customization trend with “Clay Yourself,” an app that lets consumers make clay likenesses.
Well, sort of. Unlike Office Max’s holiday campaign Elf Yourself, which lets you import your headshot
Business Groupon has acquired three local competitors in three countries – SoSasta, Groupoer and Twangoo – and subsequently announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa.
Groupon has raised $950 million in a recent round of financing
Verizon Wireless is inviting the press to a special event on Tuesday morning in New York, hosted by president and COO Lowell McAdam. Could this be the long-awaited announcement of the Verizon iPhone?
That looks to be the case, at least according to All Things D’s sources. A Verizon iPhone announcement would be the culmination of years of speculation and anticipation.
In recent months, we’ve been privy to clues of the phone’s imminent arrival, and earlier this morning Boy Genius Report…
Web Video CES 2011 is drawing to a close, friends, and as we take stock of all the glimmering new technological goodies glinting on the horizon, one thought springs to mind: When will this stuff finally become self-aware and kill us all?…
Those who have always dreamed of getting their hands on some Angry Birds — literally — are in luck. Sort of. Mattel will be adapting the immensely popular Angry Birds mobile game into a board game.
The Motorola Xoom is the first tablet to run the Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” OS. Revealed at CES earlier this week, the device sports a 1GHz dual core processor, a 10-inch screen and 4G connectivity.
Sharp installed a remarkable video cube at its CES 2011 booth. There are screens on the ceiling, walls and floor — sixty-four 60-inch LCD panels in all — fashioning an immersive video environment that seems downright real.…
Intel has a gorgeous installation at its CES booth, and our own Christina Warren is there to guide you through the graphical techno-thrills.
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There’s nothing wrong with being one of the 42 million people who have enjoyed launching virtual birds at virtual pigs when few other options for entertainment presented themselves.
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Tech Yury Lifshits is working on algorithms and prototypes of new services at Yahoo! Research. Before that he was teaching university courses in the U.S., Germany, Russia and Estonia. He blogs at yurylifshits.com and publishes his teaching materials at yury.name/teaching.
Happy (Almost) New Year, Googlers! To celebrate the dawn of 2011, Google () is out with a brand-new Doodle, a festive little number (pun intended) featuring fireworks and the roman numerals signifying “2011.”
Social Media The past year was an eventful one for the world of social networking. Facebook went on an acquisition spree. Twitter startedgrowing up. And MySpace? Well it’s the same old story over there.
In 2010, we predicted that Facebook would conquer the web. We just didn’t know the social network would do it so convincingly. We’re not oracles, though, and we did miss on some of our acquisition picks. Well, time for round two.
Startups How we engage with the people, places and things around us is ever-changing thanks to rapid improvements in mobile and web technologies. The speed at which this evolution takes place will only continue to accelerate in 2011 with the help…
Business AT&T has agreed to pay $1.93 billion for wireless spectrum from Qualcomm Inc. The spectrum, which should cover approximately 300 million people, is part of AT&T’s plan to upgrade its current network, while continuing to build its next generation LTE…
Business Smartphone-toting consumers are increasingly using the devices to scout out better deals when shopping in-store, a new survey reveals.
Thirty percent of consumers with smartphones said while at a store looking for a product, they scout out better deals
Business Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting China, and one of his first stops was the Beijing headquarters of China’s largest search engine Baidu.
Photos of Zuckerberg in Baidu quickly appeared online, said Baidu’s director of international communications
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Social Good Twitter is getting ready to auction of signed bottles of its own Fledgling wine — along with some face time with co-founder Biz Stone — just in time for some holiday charitable giving.
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A couple weeks ago, Google made a proposal to the Apache Software Foundation to take the reins on Wave. Wave, which only launched to the public in 2009, saw lackluster adoption; Google
Tech Welcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. We’re keeping our eyes on four particular stories of interest today.
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Social Media Facebook has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the trademark on the word “face” when used in the context of online chat rooms or bulletin boards.
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Web Video So cometh that day of thanks, when we all ruminate on the events of the year past, and then lapse into the inevitable food coma.
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Business Location-based social network Foursquare announced Monday that it has registered more than 4.5 million users. To complement its growth, the startup has also opened an office in San Francisco.
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Social Good Charity work and non-profits are getting a shot of reality-TV inspired, crowdsourced, social gaming goodness just in time for the holidays. Yoxi, pronounced “YO-see,” is a new website that challenges teams of everyday people to create solutions for pressing social…
Startups Blake Scholl and Jason Crawford are two Amazon alumni transferring their e-commerce background and social product discovery experience to mobile in the form of Barcode Hero, an iPhone application that is receiving a massive update today.
Social Media Facebook’s putting up some big numbers in terms of U.S. web traffic. Right now, the site accounts for one out of every four pageviews in the United States — that’s 10% of all Internet visits.
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Facebook Makes Signing Into Mobile Apps Incredibly Easy
Already quickly becoming a login standard across the web, Facebook is now making moves to do the same in the mobile world.
At a press conference today in Palo Alto:
The company revealed a new platform feature than enables developers to add single click Facebook sign-in to their mobile applications. A number of major partners have already implemented or are planning to add the option, including Groupon, Yelp, Loopt and social gaming giant Zynga.Previously, Facebook offered Facebook Connect for iPhone and Android. Single sign-on, it would appear, offers a somewhat simpler experience that, much like the Open Graph API on the web, enables users to be persistently logged in via their mobile device and simply click a Facebook branded “login” button on apps that implement the option.
From there, apps and mobile sites would conceivably be able to add similar functionality to that we see in web apps, like the ability to “like” stories or interact with friends. We’re still live at the Facebook press event and will update when we know a bit more about the specifics.
Social Media The Future of Social Media Series is supported by Gist. Gist provides a full view of the contacts in your professional network by creating a rich business profile for each one that includes the most news, status updates, and work details. See how it works here.
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Business PayPal has announced the launch of PayPal for Digital Goods, a checkout solution that lets users manage payments online with just two clicks. The company also announced a major partner: Facebook.
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How iPad Magazine Sales Stack Up [REPORT]
Ad Age has taken an in-depth look at the first six months of iPad magazine sales. The verdict? Depending on the genre and the type of engagement, iPad sales represent a sliver or a sizable chunk of newsstand results.
The data, which didn’t include Hearst’s new Esquire app for iPad, unsurprisingly showed that Conde Nast’s Wired is the most successful magazine on the iPad.
The first issue of Wired on the iPad sold 105,000 copies, according to Ad Age. That was significantly higher than the print sales for the same issue. Since then, Wired for iPad has sold an average of 30,000 copies per month, or about 37% of the newsstand sales.
The fact that the core Wired audience aligns well with many iPad owners (raise of hands – how many of you hadn’t purchased a copy of Wired in years before it hit the iPad? I know I hadn’t), not to mention its marketing campaign, is likely responsible for the continued success of the magazine on the new medium. Likewise, the fact that sales of Popular Science for iPad are equivalent of about 12% of newsstand sales is probably indicative of a tech/science connection with early adopters.
In comparison, lifestyle magazines like Glamour and Men’s Health are pulling in less than 1% of iPad sales when compared to their newsstand counterparts. People magazine for iPad is averaging 10,800 copies a week. However, the People app is unique in that it is free for print subscribers. Time Inc. declined to breakdown how many of its downloads were from print subscribers. Regardless, like Glamour and Men’s Health, iPad downloads only equal about 1% of People’s single-copy newsstand sales.
Magazines like GQ and Vanity Fair, which like Esquire, go for more in-depth articles and longer sustained reading experiences, are doing better than the lifestyle magazines but not as well as tech. GQ for iPad is averaging about 7% of its newwstand counterparts while Vanity Fair is doing about 2%.
Just Getting Started
As Ad Age notes, most advertisers that are embracing the iPad as a platform recognize that the digital magazine world is in its infancy. As impressive as iPad sales continue to be, they still only represent about 5.2 million US owners and the device is only six months old.
It’s also important to note that where digital magazines are really poised to take off is with subscriptions. Apple and major publishers continue to hash away at terms that will bring subscription pricing to the iPad. We agree with Ad Age and with publishers, once subscriptions become an option, the iPad magazine game will get a lot bigger.
Don’t Forget to Offer Value
When looking at what magazine titles are succeeding on the iPad and what titles are faltering, we can’t help but draw some direct correlations between those titles that have invested the most in the technology and those that are simply just putting a glorified PDF in an iPad-app wrapper.
Esquire and Wired are two examples of magazines that are really designed to make the most of the iPad as a medium. As Josh Koppel of Scroll Motion, the company responsible for Esquire for iPad, expressed to us, “it’s about being additive, not reductive.” In other words, it’s not going to be enough to just offer a digital copy of text on a screen. Readers want a better experience.
At least right now, providing that experience takes time. However, in the future, more tools and solutions for creating more robust experiences on the iPad will be available to publishers.
It will be interesting to re-evaluate the state of the magazine industry on tablet devices in another six to 12 months. We think this is an area that is only going to get bigger over time.
Business Beginning Wednesday, Starbucks customers who use the free Wi-Fi at more than 6,800 U.S. company-operated stores will be greeted with the Starbucks Digital Network (SDN) — an exclusive content network curated by the company and designed to enhance the customer’s in-store experience.
Starbucks has been teasing SDN for months, but now that the network is about to go live we have a much clearer idea about the type of content provided and the purpose behind the digital endeavor.