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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Introducing the +1 Button...


You click on stuff that your friends like. It's a simple enough fact, but it's tremendously important. It's the insight behind the Facebook "like" button, wherein you can share with your social network what links interest you. And it's the insight behind a new feature launched by Google today, something it's calling +1.
In a blog post today, Google explained how it was building on its recent decision to include information in your searches about whether your friends liked a given link (shared it on Twitter, for example). With +1, which Google's Rob Spiro calls "the digital shorthand for 'this is pretty cool,'" anyone with a Google account can now opt in to publicly endorsing websites they like.
Google introduced the new feature with a video. The web is a big place, it explains, and we could all use some friendly pointers to help us navigate it.
+1, of course, continues a longstanding tradition of the social web: the desecration of the English language. Now, on top of "friending" people and @mentioning them, we will now "plus one" things, as in, "Hey, did you see that great article on Fast Company?" "Oh yeah, I plus one'd that yesterday."
If you want to get on board with plus-one'ing things ASAP, go to Google Experimental Labs,here. Be aware that anything you click is public--shared with everyone in your social circle, as determined by Google (essentially, for now, your Google Contacts--people you chat and email with--though Google has suggested it may add Twitter contacts and others soon).
+1's aren't broadcast across Twitter or Facebook, it seems--rather, they'll pop up when your friends conduct Google searches. They'll also appear next to ads, and soon, on other Google-affiliated pages. Says Google: "Initially, +1’s will appear alongside search results and ads, but in the weeks ahead they’ll appear in many more places (including other Google products and sites across the web)."



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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Djay Launches on iPhone, Upgrades on iPad


Djay, the groundbreaking Mac app from Algoriddim featured in a recent iPad commercial, just became available on both sides of the iOS platform — and also got a significant update to its iPad version.
The $9.99 app turns your iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS into a pair of mixing decks. Load up songs from your iTunes music library, and you can beat sync, scratch and transition between songs like a pro. You can also record your genius mix and export it as a high-quality AIFF file.
Both the iPhone and the iPad versions of djay are surprisingly similar to the $49.99 desktop version of the software, used by professional and amateur DJs alike, and awarded Macworld’s highest rating.
One important feature that both iOS versions lack, however: the ability to lock in the key of a song. Match the BPMs of songs at vastly different tempos, and the one you’re queuing up will start to sound either warbly or a bit baritone.
When djay for the Mac automatically beat-matches songs, it is able to do so without changing the key of either tune. It’s a magical feature that can, in this writer’s experience, make DJ-ing a party almost scarily easy.
Algoriddim’s head of product development, Frederik Seiffert, says that key-locked beat matching is almost impossible on the current iPhone and first-generation iPad’s hardware. “But we might consider doing it for the iPad 2 when we see one,” says Seiffert.
Algoriddim is headquartered in Munich, Germany, where the iPad 2 will not be available until the end of the month.
In the meantime, the company has been no slouch on the iPad front. At the same time as it launched its iPhone app, it also released a free upgrade to the $20 iPad app, with enough new features that it might as well be labeled djay 1.5.
Scratch the spinning disk with two fingers rather than one, and djay will make sure your scratch lasts for a precise number of beats. And at the tap of a few fingers, the app will loop a single measure of the track over and over. Again, it understands the rhythm and will make sure the loop is precise, so you don’t have to (unless you want to). Call it the T-Pain app for DJs.
Gone are the “low memory” messages that plagued the iPad app in its original iteration. I’ve been testing it on the iPad 2, where it runs faster than ever and gives the Mac version a serious run for its money. You can even pre-cue, ie. listen to your next song without disturbing the party, with the help of a couple of connectors from Radio Shack.
Once it adds the ability to lock in keys for songs, there’ll be little that the iPad version lacks. Same goes for the iPhone version — though we’ll probably have to wait until iPhone 5 or 6 for the hardware to allow it.
Still, the iPhone app is best in its class, even without those new iPad features. In short, there’s no excuse for road trips to be badly DJ’d ever again.

Courtesy of Mashable

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New Twitter Stats: 140M Tweets Sent Per Day, 460K Accounts Created Per Day


Twitter is celebrating its fifth birthday and to commemorate the occasion, is revealing a number of stats showing its growth over the past five years.
It took 3 years, 2 months and 1 day from the first Tweet to get to the billionth Tweet. In a given week, users send a billion Tweets. Users are now sending 140 million Tweets, on average, per day, up from 50 million Tweets sent per day, a year ago. The all-time high in terms of Tweets sent per day was 177 million sent on March 11, 2011.
In terms of Tweets per second, the all time high was 6,939 Tweets per second after midnight in Japan on New Year’s Day. This compares to the previous record of 456 Tweets per second when Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009.
Twitter says that 572,000 accounts were created on March 12, 2011, with 460,000 new accounts per day over the last month on average. Mobile users are up 182 percent over the past year. And Twitter currently has 400 employees, up from 8 in January 2008.



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In Preparation For Its “Social Buying” Launch, ‘Facebook Deals’ Get A New Landing Page


On the tail of the news that Facebook will be testing a new deals service, Facebook has removed its old Deals locator landing page and put up a new Facebook Deals subscription page which allows interested users to subscribe for its coupon-like checkin deals. Subscribers will eventually get updates via email.
“We will test a new feature for our Deals product that allows people to buy deals on Facebook and share them with their friends. Local businesses will be able to sign up to use this feature soon and people will be able to find Deals in the coming weeks,” Facebook told PC World in a statement. More details on the product have not yet been posted.
The new feature will center around social buying and this new feature will focus on people who want to sign up for activities with their friends, like a dinner or Pilates class. Facebook tells me that businesses will be able to sign up for the deals soon and that Facebook users will be able to buy deals in the next few weeks.
The new deals landing page supports San Francisco, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego with “more cities coming soon.” The in-stream updates are not yet live.

Courtesy of TechCrunch

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San Francisco Doing Everything It Can To Drive Zynga And Twitter Away


San Francisco, unlike most other cities in Silicon Valley, has a 1.5% payroll tax. And even more stunning is that they consider gains on stock options part of payroll, meaning that any San Francisco based company going public or being acquired could get hit with a massive tax bill in the tens of millions of dollars.
They’ve got Twitter jumping through hoops to avoid the tax. The company will be forced to move to a new location in order to get a six year payroll tax break. But only if the Board of Supervisors votes to approve the legislation on Wednesday. The upside is that Twitter employees will have immediate physical access to prostitutes, drugs and weapons – the qualifying area isn’t exactly an up and coming neighborhood.
The city isn’t thanking Twitter for bringing all these high paying jobs to San Francisco, either. Rather, some supervisors don’t want the tax break at all, and seem quite willing to see Twitter bail to tax-free Brisbane. Says Supervisor John Avalos: “Who are the [Twitter] investors? Probably some of the wealthiest people in this country. And we are giving them more wealth.”
The stupidity of that statement is self evident.
But the city has another potential disaster on its hands – Zynga. The company is already moving into its new 270,000 square foot headquarters on Townsend Street, which is outside of the proposed tax free/hooker area.
We heard Mayor Edwin Lee and Board of Supervisors President David Chu met with Zynga at their offices today to negotiate the issue. I contacted Zynga to ask about the meeting. They confirmed it happened, said it was “positive and productive,” and “they appreciated the city’s interest in Zynga’s future growth.” They wouldn’t comment further.
We have heard, however, that Zynga is already looking to expand beyond the city into other areas in Silicon Valley. They already have offices in Sunnyvale and Los Gatos, for example. Our sources say Zynga is prepared to drive future employee growth outside of San Francisco. They’ll always keep some presence in San Francisco, say our sources, but may even consider moving the corporate headquarters south.
Whatever happens specifically with Zynga and Twitter, the city needs to do a very big reality check and soon. Tech startups aren’t just driving some job growth in the city, they’re driving absolutely all of it. Zynga hired 800 people in 2010, and they’re hiring another 1,500 in the next year, most of which would be in San Francisco. Twitter has a similar story. Those two companies, plus Salesforce, account for most of the technology job growth in the city.
Even if they cut specific deals for those companies, other startups understand that San Francisco wants a big payoff from tech startups. And the venture capitalists see absolutely ridiculous statements like the one from Supervisor Avalos above. If the city wants venture capitalists to steer clear of San Francisco startups, and for startups in general to not even consider the city as a place to do their business, they should keep doing exactly what they’re doing.
On the other hand, if the city wants to attract lots of high paying, high growth jobs, they need to reverse their policies and their messaging. Because right now they look like a pack of fecking eejits. Particularly Supervisor Avalos. They can have all the taxes they want, but if there aren’t any companies there to pay them, it isn’t going to be very helpful.
Courtesy of Techcrunch

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Have You Changed Your Facebook URL Yet?

How many of you know that your Facebook profile can have a custom personal URL? Yes, it is possible. Just like in Twitter, your Facebook profile can have your own personal URL into which you can easily direct your friends.
Usually, the link to your profile is long and confusingly full of symbols and weird text. This is very hard to remember. To avoid this, you can change the URL to your Facebook profile into www.facebook.com/whateveryouwant!
This is a great feature and there is a simple way to activate it. First, go to this page.
The page will display few suggestions for your username which will make the part of the URL. You can either choose from them or give your own username yourself. To do this, click More.
Some more suggestions will appear. The last option will have a textbox, which lets you type in the username of your own. Enter the desired username in it and click check availability.
A confirmation message will appear. This is very important. This message tells you that you can change your username only once and asks you to confirm it. So, please make sure your username is good enough and that you like it before clicking confirm.
The above mentioned message will appear to let you know that you have successfully modified your username, thereby creating yourself your own personalized URL. You can now use this URL to let people visit your profile. This is very useful if you want to let people who are not in your friends list yet, find you as it can be sent through your email, as a signature.
Think of a cool and unique username so that people know its as soon as they see it. What is your Facebook user name? Do you think people like it?


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Apple Launch Section In Itunes To Help Japan Earthquake


Apple today launched a a new section in iTunes that will take donations for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund. Users who would like to donate to the fund can choose between $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. All money that will be donated to the fund will go directly to the Red Cross to support efforts in Japan. If you’d like to donate, click here.



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