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Verizon Wants to Watch and Listen to Your Life While You Watch TV

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5965843/verizon-wants-to-watch-and-listen-to-your-life-while-you-watch-tv

Verizon Wants to Watch and Listen to Your Life While You Watch TVLast week, Verizon filed a patent for a set-top box that detects what you’re doing while you watch TV, and serves you advertising accordingly. Ew, weird, companies watching what I do while I consume content. Big brother! Chill, son.

“Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User” describes a system by which a device captures information about what you’re doing while enjoying TV, movies, etc, and uses it to target advertising to you. Using a “a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor, and a thermal sensor” the system would be able to detect whether you’re fiddling with your phone, interacting with another person, as well as performing any of:

eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument.

Now, this might seem kind of creepy, but there’s a few important points to remember before you freak out and sound the privacy alarm. First, companies like Facebook, Google, etc, are capturing all sorts of information about what you’re consuming online and using it to serve you targeted advertising. Second, any system like this would almost certainly require you to opt-in before peeking into your life. Besides, how many of these patents actually turn into products, anyway? [USPTO via Ars Technica via Betabeat]

Image by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Live Map Shows Every Foursquare User Who’s Voting Today, Where and When

Source: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-11/live-map-shows-every-foursquare-user-whos-voting-today-where-and-when

Happy election day! Surely you’re not already tired of social media updates about politics, or the self-congratulatory Twitter messages from your friends who got up earlier than you did to stand in line. Now you can also see a map of everyone who used Foursquare to get an I Voted badge.

It’s kind of interesting because it includes user info like gender, and where and when votes were concentrated. Check it out.

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Friday, November 9th, 2012 news No Comments

What’s New in Android 4.2

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5955831/whats-new-in-android-42-updating

Along with the Nexus 4, and the Nexus 10 tablet, Google has just announced Android 4.2, a new flavor of Jellybean. While it doesn’t merit a new name of its own, it does add quite a few neat new features. Here’s a rundown.

Gesture Typing

The new version of Android will include a new keyboard feature that allows for swipey-style typing, much like Swype, and the upcoming Flow for SwiftKey.

Miracast Wireless Display Support

4.2 will support Miracast, an AirPlay-like service. This means you’ll be able to stream YouTube videos, movies, TV, and anything that’s on your tablet screen to an HDTV if you have a wireless display adapter. Who needs a Nexus Q, right?

Multi-User Support

Just like your laptop—and Microsoft Surface—Android 4.2 devices will now be able to support multiple user logins. Each user can have their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps, and games. It even keeps things like game-save progress and high-scores separate. The update will also use multi-tasking to keep programs running in the background to make swapping users snappy.

Photo Sphere Camera

Like a beefed up panaromic camera, Photo Sphere will let users do exactly what the name implies: take spherical photos. You can even add these spheres to Google Maps, which could make for some pretty cool crowdsourcing.

Daydream

Daydream is a screensaver-esque feature that will let your device show off useful (or amusing) information when idle or docked. It seems that it’ll operating in a smart, Google Now-ish sort of way, and can show things like photo albums, news from Google Currents, and more.

Actionable Notifications

Certain Android 4.2 notifications will now let you take appropriate actions directly from the notifications pane. We don’t know exactly what notifications will support this yet, but the example Google gives is returning a missed call directly from the notification.

Improved Accessibility Options

Jelly Bean now supports a triple-tap to zoom in on small text, or anything else you need a closer look at. After you’re zoomed in, you can pan around with a two-fingered touch. There’s also Gesture mode for blind users, which uses touch and swipe gestures along speech output to make it possible to navigate the UI without having to see it.

Google Now Improvements

Google Now can now pull from Gmail to get ideas for new cards. It can also help you track packages, scout out movie information, and even help you find great spots for photo-ops based on your location. [Google]

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Monday, October 29th, 2012 news No Comments

This Awesome Image Shows Every Hurricane And Tropical Storm Since 1851

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/kIQl9efBox4/this-awesome-image-shows-every-hurricane-and-tropical-storm-since-1851-2012-8

Hurricanes since 1851

Data-master John Neslon created this bottoms-up view (looking at the Earth from Antarctica) of every single tropical storm and hurricane we know about, dating back to 1851. It’s based on data from NOAA’s archives, which include wind speed, storm name, date, and other information. The color of the path is tied to intensity. See the highest resolution on Flickr.

From Nelson’s blog, called IDV User Experience:

A couple of things stood out to me about this data…

1) Structure.
Hurricanes clearly abhor the equator and fling themselves away from the warm waters of their birth as quickly as they can.  Paging Dr. Freud.
The void circling the image is the equator.  Hurricanes can never ever cross it.

2) Detection.
Detection has skyrocketed since satellite technology but mostly since we started logging storms in the eastern hemisphere.  Also the proportionality of storm severity looks to be getting more consistent year to year with the benefit of more data.

(Via i09)

See some more of John’s work: Maps Show Every Major Fire In America Since 2001 >

Please follow Science on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story &! #187;

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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

Twitter Has A Big Problem With Fake User Accounts

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-has-a-big-problem-with-fake-user-accounts-2012-8

using twitter

Everyone knows there’s a sordid industry around selling Twitter followers.

But on Friday, Jason Ding, a researcher from security vendor Barracuda Networks, quantified how bad the problem is for Twitter and how these guys fly under the radar. 

For 75 days, Ding investigated the fake Twitter account business. He and his team fired up three Twitter accounts and then bought 20,000 or 70,000 Twitter followers for each.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • 20 eBay sellers and 58 websites sell Twitter followers, mostly fake accounts.
  • On average, these accounts follow 1,799 other Twitter accounts.
  • It costs about $18 per 1,000 followers.
  • Those selling the fake accounts can earn as much as $800/day.
  • They sell retweets, too. They charge between $2.50 and $55 per 1,000 retweets.
  • Those who buy fake Twitter followers had on average 48,885 followers.

Twitter suspends accounts it knows to be fake. But it’s pretty easy to fool Twitter, Ding’s research shows.

We asked Twitter to comment on the fake account problem in general and this research in particularly and will update the story when we here back.

Please follow SAI on Twitter and Facebook.

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Monday, August 6th, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon settling into new steady state – lower users but more usage per user

Groupon Unique Visitors February 2012 – 14.5 million
Inline image 1
Groupon Pageviews February 2012 – 124.6 million
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Groupon Visits per Person – 2.4 per month
Inline image 4
 
Groupon Pages per Visit – 3.6 per month
Inline image 3

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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 news No Comments

For Advertisers And Investors, Social Network User Numbers Often Don’t Add Up

Source: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/can_advertisers_and_investors_trust_social_network.php

 

When does 845 million not equal 845 million?

When it’s the number of active users Facebook claims in its initial public offering filing. Last week the social networking giant amended that filing and conceded it may not be so giant. While still massive, Facebook said as many as 6% of those accounts may be fakes and another 5% may be from people who downloaded Facebook’s mobile app and have it running in the background of their device even though they no longer use the site.

Click here to continue reading >

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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5885321/how-iphone-apps-steal-your-contact-data-and-why-you-cant-stop-it

How iPhone Apps Steal Your Contact Data and Why You Can't Stop ItThe internet is starting to realize something unsettling: our iPhones send information about the people we know to private servers, often without our permission. Some offending apps are fixing themselves. Some aren’t. But the underlying problem is much bigger.

Apple allows any app to access your address book at any time—it’s built into the iPhone’s core software. The idea is to make using these apps more seamless and magical, in that you won’t have dialog boxes popping up in your face all the time, the way Apple zealously guards your location permissions at an OS level—because fewer clicks mean a more graceful experience, right? Maybe, but the consequence is privacy shivved and consent nullified. Your phone makes decisions about what’s okay to share with a company, whose motivation is, ultimately, making money, without consulting you first.

Once you peel back that pretty skin of your phone and observe the software at work—we used a proxy application called Charles—watching the data that jumps between your phone and a remote server is plain. A little too plain. What can we see?

As Paul Haddad, the developer behind the popular Twitter client TapBot pointed out to me, some of App Store’s shiniest celebrities are among those that beam away your contact list in order to make hooking up with other friends who use the app smoother. From Haddad’s own findings:

Foursquare (Email, Phone Numbers no warning)
Path (Pretty much everything after warning)
Instagram (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Facebook (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Twitter for iOS (Email, Phone Numbers, warning)
Voxer (Email, First, Last, Phone numbers, warning)

Foursquare and Instagram have both recently updated to provide a much clearer warning of what you’re about to share. Which every single app should follow, providing clear warnings before they touch your contacts. But plenty of apps aren’t so generous. “A lot of other popular social networking apps send some data,” says Haddad, “mostly names, emails, phone numbers.” Instapaper, for example, transmits your address book’s email listings when you ask it to “search contacts” to connect with other friends using the app. The app never makes it clear that my data (shown up top) is leaving the phone—and once it’s out of your hands and in Instagram’s, all you can do is trust that it’ll be handled responsibly. You know, like not be stored permanently without your knowledge.

Trust is all we’ve got, and that’s not good. “Once the data is out of your device there’s no way to tell what happens to it,” explains Haddad. Companies might do the decent thing and delete your data immediately. Like Foursquare, which says it doesn’t store your data at all after matching your friends, and never has. Twitter keeps your address book data for 18 months “to make it easy for you and your contacts to discover each other on Twitter after you’ve signed up,” but can delete the data at any time with a link at the bottom of this page. Or a company might do the Path thing, storing that information indefinitely until they’re publicly shamed into doing otherwise. Or worse.

We need a solution, and goodwill on the part of app devs is going to cut it. All the ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? dialog boxes in the world won’t absolve Apple’s decision to hand out our address books on a pearly platter. iOS is the biggest threat to iOS—and nothing short of a major revision to the way Apple allows apps to run through your contacts should be acceptable. But is that even enough? Maybe not.

Jay Freeman, developer behind the massively popular jailbroken-iPhone program Cydia, doesn’t think Apple’s hand is enough to definitively state who gets your address book, and when:

“Neither Apple nor the application developer is in a good position to decide that ahead of time, and due to this neither Apple’s model of ‘any app can access the address book, no app can access your recent calls’, nor Google’s method of ‘developer claims they need X, take it or leave it’ is sufficient.”

Freeman’s solution? Cydia’s “one-off modifications to the underlying operating system” that we deal in, nicely transfers this control back to the user.” In other words, we can’t trust Apple or the people that make apps—so let’s just trust ourselves to control how iOS works.

Freeman left us with one, final, disquieting note. Shrewd devs and others with the knowhow have been able to dig through app traffic to find out of they’re shoveling around your address book. But there’s no easy way to do this—and if a dev really wants to sneak your data through the door, there’s technically nothing we can do to stop him: “There are tons of complex tricks that can be used to smuggle both information in network traffic and computation itself.” It’s a problem fundamental to computer science—once the data’s in a dev’s hands, he can conjure it away, too small to be noticed by App Store oversight in churning sea of other apps.

Unless Apple keeps him from getting that information in the first place by letting us all make informed decisions with our phone and the private life poured into it. Your move, iOS.

Photo: Motorolka/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

How One Twitter User Broke The News Of Whitney Houston’s Death An Entire Hour Before The Press

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-one-twitter-user-broke-the-news-of-whitney-houstons-death-an-entire-hour-before-the-press-2012-2


When news spread Saturday night of Whitney Houston‘s passing, it was the AP who had the first official statement from Houston’s publicist confirming the singer’s death.

But an entire hour before that, Twitter user Brittany J. Pullard (aka @BarBeeBrit) was the first person to tweet the news, according to the below graph posted by Twitter, courtesy of @isaach.

Twitter Chart Whitney

@BarBeeBritt, who resides in Los Angeles and enjoys the Hollywood club scene, as evident by her Twitter feed, tweeted at 4:02pm PST to her then-799 followers:

WHitney Tweet

The tweet only received three retweets and @BarBreeBritt never revealed how exactly she heard the news, but Twitter user @AjaDiorNavy quickly had specific details of Houston’s passing at 4:15pm PST that weren’t released to the public until nearly 24 hours after the initial incident.

Twitter

Once the AP tweeted the official statement from Houston’s publicist at 4:57pm PST, rapper Lil Wayne quickly expressed his condolences and received 29,000 retweets, according to Mediabistro.

Other celebrities voiced their sympathies as well, but after Lil Wayne, the top tweets went to:

Justin Bieber (15,000 retweets): “just heard the news. so crazy. One of the GREATEST VOICES EVER just passed. RIP Whitney Houston. My prayers go out to her friends and family.”

Nicki Minaj (9,000 retweets): “Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston. Greatest of all time,” as well as tweeting a vintage photo of the late singer alongside Michael Jackson.

Katy Perry (8,000 retweets): “So devastating. We will always love you Whitney, R.I.P.”

As if there were any doubt, it appears Twitter truly is the fastest news source. Sorry, TMZ, solid effort.

Please follow The Wire on Twitter and Facebook.

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 news No Comments

Pinterest Followed 274 of My Friends And Notified Them

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/pinterest-monthly-uniques/

According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spend 98 minutes per month on the site, compared to 2.5 hours on Tumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook. If you don’t count sites like Google+ or new Yahoo channels that have built in user bases, comScore’s data shows Pinterest would be the fastest site of any kind to hit 10 million monthly uniques in the U.S.

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 analytics, statistics No Comments

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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