Archive for August, 2011
Steve Silberman suffered through a flight from Hell. Not only did United attendants ask him to switch seats when the woman next to him irrationally demanded so, but after forgetting his Kindle on the plane, the attendants refused to grab it.
As the story goes, moments after stepping of the plane, Silberman realized he had forgotten his Kindle, yet nobody could go and get it for him because of “policy.”
Then I remembered that my precious Kindle and the documents on it were still in the pocket of my old seat on the plane. I turned back to the gate and asked an agent if I could quickly reboard the plane to fetch it. That would be impossible, I was told. I was instructed to call United’s lost-and-found number to retrieve my Kindle.
Silberman was greeted by an automated phone service and never heard back from United. When he called to deactivate the account on his Kindle, he dishearteningly learned that someone had already done so, meaning that it wasn’t sitting in a lost and found bin somewhere.
And like he says, it’s only a $200 device, but it’s a device that was a Christmas gift from his wife. A gift with meaning and a story behind it. That’s a bummer. [NeuroTribes]
Google recently expanded the powers of the +1 button to include their new Google+ social networking service. Click on +1 button on a site, or in search results, and you’re Google+ +1 feed is updated with the site. It’s similar to Facebook’s Like button.
Of course, if you remember Digg in its heyday, you’ll know how quickly this sort of system can be “gamed” to push articles to the top of search results above more relevant content. Google reiterated to Wired that “There are more than 200 signals that we use to determine the rank of a website, and last year we made more than 500 improvements to the algorithm.”
Still that leaves Google in an odd situation. They want to capitalize on the +1 button to promote their new social networking service and fix search results, but they have to make sure they don’t piss off the justice Department with what could be construed as Google using its search engine to squash rival Facebook. Plus, the whole system could backfire on them and instead of fixing search spam, it could make it worse. [Wired]
Raspberry Pi. It’s really an amazing PC. Not only it’s really tiny, can run Quake III and play back Full HD video through HDMI, but it only costs $25 PC! Check out the video demonstrating Quake III at full speed.
And that’s still an alpha board. The $25 Raspeberry Pi has the following specs:
128MB or 256MB of SDRAM
OpenGL ES 2.0
1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
Composite and HDMI video output
SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller
Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
So far this year, two of the leading mobile phone makers have struck deals with tech giants to adapt to the change from feature phones to smartphones.
Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft in February and said that all future Nokia smartphones will be powered by Windows Phone. There were even rumors that Microsoft might acquire the Finnish company.
In a surprise move, Google bought Motorola this month.
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It’s been barely a year since Google acquired Slide for a cool $200 million, but today comes news that the Mountain View crew has decided to dissolve its social apps unit, and that renowned entrepreneur Max Levchin will be leaving the company to “pursue other opportunities.” Sources close to the matter told All Things D that the decision was announced at an internal staff meeting yesterday afternoon, and that most of Slide’s 100 employees will likely shift over to YouTube. A Google spokesperson later confirmed that the unit will in fact be shuttered, but didn’t reveal further details of where the displaced employees will land, saying only that the majority will remain onboard. Google didn’t offer a concrete explanation for the decision, though Slide had been acting as a largely autonomous and peripheral branch, and was never fully integrated into the company’s larger social team. Its apps, moreover, never really took off, and are due to be phased out over the course of the next few months — including tools like SuperPoke Pets, Disco and Photovine. And then, of course, there’s Levchin — the man who founded the company just a few years after co-founding PayPal, and who currently serves as Yelp’s chairman of the board. His immediate plans remain unclear, though we and the rest of the tech world will certainly be keeping a close eye on him, wherever he lands next.
Google shutters Slide, founder Max Lev! chin mov es to greener pastures originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Last fall, Google made its first attempt to take over your living room with the launch of Google TV — a platform that merged the web with television content to create an experience promising to usher in a new era of convenience and interactivity.
Unfortunately it’s been mostly a dud thus far. The platform’s overly-complex user interface and content issues (some major channels specifically block access to their websites from Google TV devices) has led to weak adoption. Google is reportedly working to give the platform a major revamp, and there’s at least one more bright light in its future: soon, Google TV will support Android applications.
Now, Google’s been promising that the platform would be receiving Android support ever since it was first announced, but up until now there hasn’t been a strong indication as to when that’d actually happen (the most specific Google’s gotten has been “summer”). Today, we’re one big step closer to seeing that promise come fruition: Google has just released a preview version of a Google TV plug-in for the Android SDK.
This doesn’t mean that you can install Android apps yet. Rather, it means developers can start to tweak their existing Android apps for the so-called ’10 foot experience’, so that their apps will be ready once the Google TV update does ship to users.
From the Android blog:
These are still early days for Google TV, and this release is another step in providing developer tools for the big screen. While the number of apps available on TV will initially be small, we expect that through this early release of the add-on you’ll be able to bring optimized TV apps into the ecosystem more quickly. To start doing this, download the Google TV add-on today. Also, please continue to reach out to us on the Google TV Android Developer Community forum. We look forward to your contributions!
A week ago, Fox changed its licensing rules so that non-paying users of Hulu would be unable to watch new episodes of their shows until eight days after their air date. Put on your analyst hat and think about what effect this might have on, say, piracy of those shows. Did you determine that it would increase piracy? Congratulations, you are a better judge of consequences than Fox. Because piracy of Fox shows went up by a huge amount during this last week.
Actually, it’s likely that Fox anticipated this increase in piracy and simply considered it worth the trade-off. With worse options for free users, more will watch the live broadcast, they suppose, and ad prices go up with these increased projections. Query: if these people could watch it on live TV, why would they be watching it on Hulu in the first place?
For busy and budget-conscious TV-watchers, expensive cable and a DVR aren’t an option. Hulu is. Hulu gets shows out there, allows for targeted, relatively unskippable advertising, and with a reasonable one-day delay, doesn’t add much inconvenience to the bargain for the user. This eight-day delay is punishing, and while “getting something for nothing” is a rather new entitlement we all seem to have, it does feel like a bait-and-switch for millions of viewers.
So what do they do? They google “download ______”, and halfway down the first page is a public, well-seeded torrent that downloads the whole episode — with no ads — in minutes, and allows them to use their favorite media player or take it with them anywhere. Wow! What a great way to watch your favorite shows!
TorrentFreak tracked the piracy of two Fox shows after the delay went into effect. Hell’s Kitchen downloads went up by 114%, and MasterChef went up a massive 189%. That number will only go up as more people discover the limitation.
Will Fox backpedal? Not likely. But Hulu is a work in progress, and the cards change hands rapidly in this business. What seems like a good deal to Fox now, improving their broadcast relationships, might turn out to be a ball and chain a year from now as the practicality of cord-cutting grows.
Sometimes companies have to do things that their customers don’t like. Raise rates, for instance. Ugly but inevitable. But making decisions plainly detrimental to your customer experience for mysterious reasons will have repercussions. In this case, they just lost thousands upon thousands of loyal viewers who enjoyed their products, many of whom consider themselves abused and will never return.
We all know CD sales have fallen like a drunken sorority girl in heels on an ice rink. But this infographic from Digital Music News, with 30 years of data shown in 30 seconds, really hammers the point home.
The data is looking at percentages of total sales. So, for example, although format [x] might have done more in annual sales in a given year, it could still be shown as having a smaller slice of the pie if its market share declined. Click through to see year-by-year stills. [digital music news via Cory O'Brien]
Tristan Louis is a colleague and insightful analyst. Over the weekend, he took a look at the top 20 sites according to Alexa and ran them through the W3C HTML validator to see who is playing by the rules and who still has some catching up to do.
Surprisingly, MSN.com was the sole site among the top 20 to completely pass, and Amazon had the most page errors – more than 500 of them with more than 100 particular warnings – “showing that disregard for standard compliance does not seem to have an impact on economic performance,” he says in his blog post.
Most of the top 20 sites have adopted the UTF-8 encoding type that supports multiple languages by default.
While the W3C validator isn’t the last word (or even the first word) when it comes to HTML5 accuracy (as we have covered before here), it is an interesting comparative metric.
Louis then went on to examine the code of many top Web 2.0 companies to see how they compared. All of them are using UTF-8, and all of them had errors with the validator. Only five out of the 11 sites have made the transition to HTML5, with the rest using XHTML or HTML v4. As he says, “It looks like there is still much room for improvement in the world of HTML validation.”
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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