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Facebook ‘experiment’ lets select users pay to have messages routed directly to a stranger’s inbox

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/20/facebook-experiment-pay-messages-routing-email/

Facebook 'experiment' lets select users pay to have messages routed directly to a stranger's inbox

Get ready to have your preconceived notions of email destroyed. In a Facebook blog post today, the company has gone to great lengths to bury the lede — which, essentially, says that it’s experimenting with the idea of letting non-connected users pay in order to have a message routed to one’s inbox instead of that ill-fated “Other” folder. According to the company, it’s being dubbed a “small experiment” to “test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance.” As an excuse, Facebook has evidently consulted with “several commentators and researchers,” which “have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”

Bitterness aside, there is some value in being able to directly ping a stranger you heard speak at an event, or you want to really show your interest in a job opportunity, but it still destroys the level playing field that we’ve all come to know and respect as it relates to digital communication. This message routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals in the United States, and if there’s a silver lining to be found, we’re told that the number of messages a person can have routed from their Other folder to their Inbox will be limited to a maximum of one per week. It’s unclear how the service will evolve once the testing ends, but perhaps it depends on how much blowback occurs compared to the whole Instagate thi! ng.< /p>

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Thursday, December 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Netflix Encodes Every Movie 120 Different Ways

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5969677/netflix-encodes-every-movie-120-different-ways

The problem with streaming video to different devices—computers, tablets, phones, and whatever else—is that they all demand subtly different streams if they’re to look their best. If you’re Netflix, which streams to 900 different types of device, that leaves you with some work to do.

According to Netflix, it has to encode each and every movie it offers in 120 different ways. Add to that the crowd sourcing of subtitles, global variation in titles and formats, and an armful of other problems, and the work Netflix has to go to makes $8 a month seem even better value. The video above was used at a Netflix recruitment fair—but gives a decent insight into how its video wends its way from Hollywood to your tablet. [GigaOm]

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 news No Comments

How Are Dead People Liking Stuff on Facebook?

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5967716/how-are-dead-people-liking-stuff-on-facebook

How Are Dead People Liking Stuff on Facebook?Have you noticed your friends liking stuff on Facebook that you know they don’t like? Yes? No? Well, have you seen some people like stuff on Facebook even though they’re… dead? It’s happening. And it’s because of a weird underworld of fake Facebook Likes.

Read Write took a look at the odd phenomenon of fake or accidental likes, showing countless examples of people claiming they’ve never liked a company or brand even though Facebook showed them as ‘Liking’ it. Facebook says these fake Likes aren’t fake at all but rather “accidental” mistakes, possibly done by “inadvertently pressing a button, perhaps on the mobile app.” I guess. Maybe it’s a good time to audit all your Facebook Likes to see if any rogue Likes happened to you.

How Are Dead People Liking Stuff on Facebook? But how does that explain people who’ve passed away still liking things after they’ve been, well, dead? The picture above shows a zombie Like.

A Facebook spokesman says the “likes” from dead people can happen if an account doesn’t get “memorialized” (meaning someone informs Facebook that the account-holder has died). If nobody tells Facebook that the account-holder is dead, Facebook just keeps operating on the assumption the person is alive.

And the way Facebook operates is that it keeps on recycling and re-using a user’s Like. So if you Like something from a long time ago, it could pop up again as if it was a bradn new Like. Read more about this weird Facebook phenomenon at Read Write. [Read Writer]

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 news No Comments

The Reason Larry Page Doesn’t Want Googlers Thinking About The Competition Is Pretty Inspiring (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-reason-larry-page-doesnt-want-googlers-thinking-about-the-competition-is-pretty-inspiring-2012-12

larry page

During an interview with Fortune’s Miguel Helft, Google CEO Larry Page is transparently reluctant to talk about who he thinks is Google’s competition.

Helft asks him: “Is it Siri? Is it Amazon or commercial queries?”

Page tries to dodge the question, saying: “I don’t really think about it that way.”

Helf presses: “Because you don’t think about competition?”

And then Page drops this doozy, which is pretty inspirational for people in the tech industry:

“Obviously we think about competition to some extent.”

“But I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there’s a tendency for people to think about the things that exist. Our job is to think of the thing you haven’t thought of yet that you really need. And by definition, if our competitors knew that thing, they wouldn’t tell it to us or anybody else. I think just our strengths, our weaknesses, our opportunities are different than any other company.”

(Of course the truth is that lots of Googlers do think about the competition, and when they do, it’s mostly about Amazon lately. The reason: Google makes its money from commercial web searches, and increasingly people are just going straight to Amazon.com for that.)

SEE ALSO: 12 Quotes That Reveal How Larry Page Built Google Into The World’s Most Important Internet Company

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Source: CNET UK

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Friday, December 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

How Much Physical Space Does the Internet Take Up?

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5965798/how-much-physical-space-does-the-internet-take-up

How Much Physical Space Does the Internet Take Up?The internet is one of the most ethereal concepts in tech: it’s nowhere and everywhere, all at once. But if you could measure the thing, how much physical space would it take up?

Fortunately Randall Munroe of XKCD fame has answered the question in a fun way over on his What If? site. He explains:

There are a lot of ways to estimate the amount of information stored on the internet, but we can put an interesting upper bound on the number just by looking at how much storage space we (as a species) have purchased.

The storage industry produces in the neighborhood of 650 million hard drives per year. If most of them are 3.5″ drives, then that’s eight liters (two gallons) of hard drive per second.

This means the last few years of hard drive production-which, thanks to increasing size, represent a large chunk of global storage capacity-would just about fill an oil tanker. So, by that measure, the internet is smaller than an oil tanker.

In fact, this answer is just a snippet from a series of short “What if?” questions answered in a single post on his site. Go read the rest. [What If?]

Image by nrkbeta under Creative Commons license

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 news No Comments

How Public Policy Polling Hilariously Proved That People Lie To Pollsters

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/panetta-burns-plan-ppp-poll-simpson-bowles-question-public-policy-polling-2012-12

CIA Director Leon Panetta

Public Policy Polling, the firm that consistently asks the quirkiest and most provocative questions, offered in its latest national survey a revealing way to prove that, well, people will lie to make themselves seem more knowledgeable. 

PPP tested people’s reaction to the Simpson-Bowles plan to reduce the national deficit. It found that overall, respondents had a positive view of the plan, despite an overwhelming 60 percent that did not offer an opinion. 

To compare, the firm also gau ged the reaction to the so-called “Panetta-Burns plan,” which isn’t a real plan. It’s based on a mythical combination of Leon Panetta, the current Secretary of Defense and former chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and Conrad Burns, a former Republican Senator from Montana.

Despite the fact that there is no such thing as the “Panetta-Burns” plan, 25 percent of respondents offered an opinion on it. Eight percent said they view it favorably, while 17 percent said they do not have a favorable opinion of the “plan.”

This has led to a snarky Twitter hashtag, in which users speculate on the mythical proposals in “Panetta-Burns.”

Panetta Burns

Panetta Burns

Panetta Burns

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