Reviews

The Nether – review

The Nether tries to answer a simple question – should people be able to enact their deepest, darkest desires online if this means they don’t do it in real life?

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‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ review

‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ was always going to be a difficult story to adapt. Hefty in emotion and in intricate description, the Pulitzer-winning non-fiction novel by Katherine Boo involves several complex characters and a plot tough to crush into just over two hours. Thanks to David Hare, the story has been brought to life on stage at the National Theatre (find out more about timings and tickets here).

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Social media and B2B: the reign of Twitter and the rise of Google+

Want to win in B2B marketing campaigns? Social media is the way to go, as an increasing number of businesses realize the importance of tweets, updates and videos as part of their selling strategy. Although social media platforms are potential minefields for businesses that put their foots in their mouth or fail to connect with who they are trying to talk to, it looks like companies have taken the leap towards the social media stratosphere for good.

This infographic by B2B Marketing shows that there is more awareness surrounding the impact of social media on B2B strategies: 61% of companies asked had a definite social media strategy for their B2B marketing campaigns. The importance of social media as a means to achieve greater impact in campaigns is now apparent to companies, who label social media marketing as part of a campaign as something ‘important’ or ‘very important’, a shift from the unconsciousness or ‘ignore it and it will go away’ attitude of previous years. Twitter is still by far the most popular platform for companies to spread their message, with 85% of businesses betting on that platform for promotion.

One change in the trend will become apparent in the immediate future. The rise of Google +, an unlikely competitor for Twitter, is imminent. By 2014, Google + will be three times as relevant as it is today to B2B strategies online, according to the data in B2B Marketing’s 2013 Social Media Benchmarking Report.

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Penguin and Random House merger gets the green light in Europe

booksThe war against Amazon and the dominance in the digital reading age continues. The internet giant had seemingly grown out of proportion in the past, setting up an Author Network that destroyed the filter set in place by more conventional publishing houses and growing in popularity because of price competitiveness.

After the decline of paper copies sold and the dependence on Amazon for e-book sales, Penguin and Random House have begun a united front to fight back the competition that they depended on.

Last year, the two companies proposed a merger, which has now been approved by a EU Regulator. “The new entity Penguin Random House will continue to face competition from several large and numerous small and medium sized publishers,”the commission said in a statement published by the Guardian. “The merged entity will furthermore face a concentrated retail base, such as supermarkets for print books and large online retailers for ebooks, like Amazon.”

This move was expected to be approved, as the green light had already been achieved in Australia and New Zealand last month, and the US in February. This year, Penguin launched Bookish, a new personalized service that would appeal to book lovers everywhere. With the possibility to access interviews, additional content, reviews and simple one-click Amazon style buying, the service hopes to capture those who are looking for extra quality rather than low prices.

Creative commons photo by jm3

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Welcome to the BlackBerry Q10

q10_black_leftangleThe BlackBerry Z10 was RIM’s last hope to recover lost customers and lost time against their competitor. The new device broke the silence and brought in a new crowdsourcing operating system, developing opportunities and a new and improved touchscreen. Although the flat, angular design looks like any other smartphone on the market, it looks like the newly named BlackBerry company has hit on a winner with users.

For those who have been wishing for less of a ‘touchscreen’ experience and a gadget more like those characteristic of the BlackBerry family, the company has just announced the upcoming release of the new BlackBerry Q10. The smartphone has the keyboard, look and feel of the BlackBerry smartphones many of us love, as well as all the benefits of the new operating system and technologies.

People in the UK can pre-order the BlackBerry Q10  on O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, EE and TalkMobile, according to BlackBerry Insider’s blog post. Plus, the handset will be available for purchase in Carphone Warehouse stores from the end of April.

The BlackBerry Q10, showcased originally on the 30th of January when the company officially launched the BlackBerry 10 platform, includes apps like BlackBerry HubBlackBerry Balance and BlackBerry Remember. The next video shows the best and brightest on the new gadget set to hit homes by the end of this month.

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Is street art … art?

HeideBlog

Is street art … art?

I’ve often asked myself this question as I’ve strolled the streets of Paris. And now, thanks to an exhibit at Paris’ Musée de La Poste, I can answer with a definitive “YES.”

The exhibit Au-delá du Street Art brought together the work of many well-known urban artists including Miss.Tic, Banksy, Dran, Invader, Swoon and Shepard Fairey.

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I loved Dran’s droll take on TinTin’s adventures in France. “Because of a strike, no trains will run today,” reads the sign.

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I also loved seeing Invader’s mosaics up close, along with a video of him working.

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I was stunned by the quality of some of the works …

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… amused by their subversive humor  …

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… and charmed or moved by a few others.

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I enjoyed seeing the next generation of street-artists-in-the-making, huddled here for a lecture about Dran’s methods and message.

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But most…

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Brace yourself: the Facebook Phone takeover is here

facebookOn Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally let everyone out of the dark. After months of speculation, rumors and heavy-handed hints about a possible Facebook Phone that would ‘rule them all’ (very Lord-of-the-Rings-like), he managed to leave everyone frustrated and slighty bemused.

The final unveiling, an app that would transform any Android OS phone into a ‘Facebook phone’, might have been a disappointment for many after the hype, but it might be the most intelligent move possible for Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

If they had tried to bring out a new gadget with the associated operating system, the production demands and the massive market competition might have sunk them before they even set foot in the stores. After the recent launch of Facebook Graph, a search engine that promises to compete with Google, the rumors of a new gadget sounded like Facebook was biting off more than it could chew.

Facebook might have noted their own dependence on operating systems with their mobile users (and that they would be making some powerful competitors by launching into mobile phone construction territory). An app to transform the operating system to their advantage made a lot more sense. Is it exciting? Not as much as a new smartphone, but the implications should send a shudder through Facebook-haters everywhere, because in strategy, they might have hit the jackpot.

How does ‘Facebook Phone’ work?

The social platform minds worked alongside HTC on this project that (unlike the unfortunate ‘Facebook shortcut buttons’ on handsets, which sold badly), looks set to reach many users in the Android operating system.

Facebook hasn’t come up with a new main home screen to take over devices upon installation; instead it created Facebook Home within the new HTC First, a 4.1 Android OS device which will be released this month in the US and later this year around the world. Although HTC’s new gadget is particularly similar to those of the HTC One and proves to be quite bland, it shows that the new application can adapt to different devices that use the Android OS without any issues. The device also has predetermined apps like Instagram and Chatheads, the new Facebook messaging IM system, at users’ disposal.

As soon as you kick-start the Facebook homepage, the social platform news feed is unveiled in an attractive and easy to use display. The convenience is that Facebook works in the background, notifying uses of news, messages and allowing you to share photos, your location and status updates directly.  It controls your lock screen and also has control over the phone system and WiFi settings, to avoid the need to switch between apps.

Divide and conquer

Facebook’s tactic has been to please everyone. For Facebook users, the convenience of a unified system and easy updates will make their connected lives easier. Advertisers will be delighted if they continue to please with mobile phone advertising, capable of reaching more phone users than ever. Mobile phone makers won’t have to choose sides (for or against Facebook). If their strategy works, it might be translated to other OS and makers might decide to transform their phones into predetermined Facebook-installed gadgets.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee

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Is there money in e-books?

ereaderThe rise of digital books means one important thing: an increase in demand for writers that can meet their needs. Is signing an e-book deal the same as signing a regular paper book deal? Can you live off the earnings of an e-book?

This infographic by NowNovel shows the rise in the economy of e-books, and whether authors are truly getting what they bargained for after investing in the world of digital reading. According to their data, e-books now rake in 30% of the market’s profit, making them the most popular form of reading after the traditional adult paperback. By 2016, it is expected that e-books will take over half the book market.

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Creative Commons Photo courtesy of paz.ca

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Diving into Windows Blue, the next big Microsoft project

Windows-blue-conceptThis is Microsoft’s next biggest product. Its code name is Windows Blue and it’s an update that will launch this summer under the Windows 8 umbrella; offering a plethora of new personalization options and intuitive tweaks to enhance user experience.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate Vice-President of Communications, unveiled the news on their blog. “We’ll tune everyday experiences as well as introduce bold, connected and exciting new scenarios. Our product groups are also taking a unified planning approach so people get what they want – all of their devices, apps and services working together wherever they are and for whatever they are doing,” he said.

The new software is expected to be free or very cheap for those who already have Windows 8, which is good news for those who just want to revamp their user experience. It isn’t, however, just another launch. It’s a change in the way software will be announced and released from now onwards at Microsoft. It looks like Microsoft might have taken a page out of Apple’s book; there’s no need to bet on a completely new OS, you just have to improve the one on offer and cash in on the updates. According to ZDNet, the new operating system will be called Windows 8.1 (rather than Windows 8.5), a strategy that fits in with previous Microsoft launches.

A leaked ‘working’ version of Windows Blue gave a glimpse of what the new operating system would be capable of. One of the biggest nags for users is the lack of display control of tiles in the main screens, which would be solved thanks to the new tile sizes available through the new update; allowing users to create ‘super-tiles’ or thumbnail sized ones depending on their preferences.

Users will be able to personalize the colours and layout of the screen backgrounds and the ‘Start’ menu, as well as having the option to snap app windows side by side (without having to sacrifice the width of one of them). The new Windows software will also have Internet Explorer 11 and it’s been hinted that users might have the possibility of synching their internet tabs within different devices.

Although the new updates are attractive for users that want more from their Windows 8 experience, the price tag will still be the most decisive factor for its success with cash-strapped tech lovers.

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The 40th anniversary of the first mobile phone call

nokia-retroThe third of April marks a historical anniversary for one of the most important gadgets of the present and the future: 40 years ago today, a Motorola executive picked up a mobile phone and made the first cellular call.

Although Martin Cooper (the man who made history) might not have known it at the time, the heavy brick-like gadget was the first step in the future of connectivity and communication. Dialing up a rival at AT&T, he wanted to know whether ‘the call sounded OK at their end’.

Recent data from the United Nations’ World Water Day showed that around the world, people have more access to mobile phones than working toilets. There are 6 billion mobile phones, according to the International Telecommunication Union, while 1.2 billion of the planet’s 7 billion people lack clean drinking water and 2.4 billion aren’t connected to wastewater systems.

This doesn’t just show technological advances surpassing geographical boundaries, it’s also a discouraging reality that in areas of India, China or various countries in Africa, the dependence on technology is superior to modern commodities. It’s shocking to find out that the average human has 2.5 gadgets on them at all times (open your bag and take a look!): smartphones, laptops, tablets, e-readers and Mp3 players are weighing down the lives of the ultra-connected.

Although we might use our mobile phones for browsing the internet, answering emails, social media, messaging and SMS more than ever before, phone calls are still an important part of communication. To celebrate the life of the mobile phone call, here’s an infographic by Blog Tactic which analyses the evolution of communication throughout history. Happy birthday mobile phone!

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Creative commons photo courtesy of acroamatic

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Fans Review the BlackBerry Z10 and Love the Latest BlackBerry Features [VIDEO]

Inside BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Z10 has been available in the United States for just over a week now, and we kicked off the U.S. availability with a bang in New York City. Melanie and I travelled there for a special launch event called the BlackBerry Experience. While there were some amazing performances and special guests, the true star of the show was the new BlackBerry Z10. Don’t take my word for it, watch the video below to see what fans were saying about the new BlackBerry smartphone features we showed off in NYC.

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The performances by Janelle Monae, Young the Giant and DJ Z-Trip with friends Questlove & Ludacris were amazing. And as you can see people were blown away by Time Shift Camera, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with BBM Video Chat, and of course the gorgeous hardware design. Does this video have your mouth…

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Job interviews 101

jobinterviewYou’re in whitewashed room with a glaring, fluorescent light shining on your head. You sweat slightly and fidget in the designer plastic seat, wondering who will walk thought the door and put you to the test. Fear not! You can’t do worse than the people in this Monty Python comedy sketch below:

However, for those who truly want to succeed in the interviewing world, there are some invaluable tips that will help you discover what sort of people tend to lead interviews and how to end up on top in every interview situation.

How can you stand out in the sea of applicants? How can you connect with your interviewer if you’ve never met the person before? In this infographic by Interview Sucess Formula, you can find out about the types of interviewees you’ll find across the recruitment table, and how to act accordingly to guarantee success.

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Creative commons photo courtesy of Pulpolux!

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Want to survive a zombie apocalypse? Here’s an app to run from the undead

zombieDo you need an extra nudge to start jogging? How about a zombie apocalypse? That’s the game plan in a new and adventurous iPhone app called Zombies, Run! You’re the main character in an exciting and gory post-apocalyptic scenario. Your helicopter crashes just outside a big city and you don’t remember what your mission was. The objective is to survive, avoiding the zombie attacks and the dangers along the way and discover why you are there and who has kickstarted the apocalypse. Along the way, you’ll burn thousands of calories and learn to fear the groans of the undead.

The game adds another dimension to an exercise routine. Whilst you’re on the go, the narrator will add new elements to the plot. A warning system will warn you that hoard of zombies are coming to attack you, and danger is around every corner.  Players can experience 23 missions and it takes between 22 and 25 hours depending on the speed at which the tasks are completed and provisions are accumulated.

This project got financial backing thanks to Kickstarter, one of the major online crowdfunding platforms. They knew that the idea was going to be good when they collected much more money than expected. The team is already planning a second season, which will follow on the same story line. Get fit (and prepare for the end of time!) with Zombies, Run!

Zombies Run! is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

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Creative commons photo courtesy of jamesrdoe

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Best SEO tips for WordPress

The WordPress.com Blog

We get a lot of questions about SEO here on WordPress.com, and no wonder — you work hard on your site and want to get the word out! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO recommendations are intended to help your site rank higher and more accurately in search engines, like Google. Say you write a blog about sailboats. When someone Googles “sailboats,” how many pages of results do they have to scroll through before they see a link to your blog? The goal behind having good SEO is to increase your website’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking.

Ideally, you want your link to be on the first page of results. The best ways to accomplish this are:

  • consistently publish useful, original posts about sailboats; and
  • promote your blog in intelligent ways to people who are looking for information about your topic.

The more traffic your blog receives for sailboat-related searches, the…

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Social media habits: What are yours?

file0002054526820Do you use social media platforms regularly? How many? As someone interested in the world of technology and news, it’s likely you’ve tried out a few, and might use some of them on a daily basis to update your statuses, share pictures or information with the world and catch up with a few internet friends. Whoever isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Linkedin are probably people not knowing, right? 

Wrong. You might be surprised to find out that in this survey conducted by usamp.com and shown in this infographic, 13.2% of respondents said that they don’t use social media sites at all.

For those who do use social media sites, there is no such thing as too much information. Nobody can be who they really are online: internet users try to be a cooler, wittier, more informed, on-the-ball version of themselves. Having the power on when you’re connected can also mean that what other people see, that better person that you’re showing, might be full of gaps (or an outright lie). Although many people use the internet to communicate things that they would never have said in person or over the phone, the lines are still blurred when it comes to what is acceptable sharing material and what should stay private.

It’s probably not a good idea to put your phone number online, as this following ‘wrong number’ conversation points out:

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Source: Stumbleupon

As the aforementioned ‘Mr Taco’ points out, one has to be a special kind of stupid to share their phone number on their public Facebook profile page. Even though privacy online is considered one of the top priorities for companies now, many individuals don’t follow suit and continue to share and not update their social media profiles regularly. One of the biggest issues that users had with platforms such as Facebook recently was that they thought that their content, likes and personal information could be found through Facebook Graph search (something that the company has since denied, sayingthat the privacy settings in the profile also apply to the new search engine feature).

What do people share on their social media profiles? In the social media infographic shown below, 77.3% of men surveyed and 56.7% would be opposed to sharing their phone numbers online, whereas 61.1% of men and 78.1% of women would be willing to share the companies that they like online (good news for marketers). More than half would be willing to share their education and their occupation online.

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Creative commons photo by giggs

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Audrey Hepburn, the latest celebrity back from the dead for a Galaxy advert

audreyhepburnIt’s amazing what a bit of CGI and some good makeup can do. For this feel good Galaxy chocolate advert, the legend comes back. What would Audrey Hepburn be doing right now? Why, she’d be on a bus in a picturesque 50s dress looking unbelievably stylish of course!

What seems like crossing the fine line between honouring the dead and not even allowing death to give icons a rest is becoming something of a trend in advertising. Although this advert is one of the more tasteful ones, it makes you wonder: if she’s dead, who has the rights to her image?

According to the law, it’s the families that own the rights to celebrities’ image and their legacy. So if you become really famous, it’s not ust your clothes, jewelery and fortune you’ll have to worry about – it’s promoting vaccum cleaners, turning up in perfume ads or singing in a car when you’re long gone.

“The idea of relatives profiting from a dead celebrity’s legacy began in the late 1970s”, said Roger Richman, a California-based attorney whose agency managed the estates of hundreds of deceased personalities, in an interview with ABC. “Prior to 1979, it was considered wide-open territory … anybody could use the image of a dead celebrity any way they wanted without any payment to the family,” Richman said.

Don’t fear: you don’t have to wait until you’re dead to start making an impact in advertising. Liquid Generation has a compilation of some of the most interesting  (and cringeworthy) adverts with current, iconic and long-gone celebrities. Thought everyone had forgotten you singing about a cool beverage, Bruce Willis? I don’t think so! With the power of the internet, these embarrasing moments – Cher, this is for you – will be around forever.

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Kindle Paperwhite Review

KC-slate-03-lg._V401625903_It’s big. It’s bad. And it’s all touchscreen. Despite all my misgivings, the new Kindle Paperwhite has won me over with its six inch display, intuitive menu buttons and personalization buttons.

It’s as if all the creative minds at Amazon got together and created the perfect product for lazy users: one where you don’t have to press too many buttons to get what you want, you can flick pages across with next to no effort and even read under the covers with the illuminate button on to maximum. The genius lies in the simplicity. Gone are the fiddly buttons on the sides, leaving a tablet-like sensation in black and white.

A whole life with Kindle Paperwhite (Till it gave up and died)

As a writer, books have always been my passion. The smell of a good book, the dampness of a novel that’s fallen in the bath or the earmarked favorite passages show abundant love and character (and clumsiness). When the first e-reader came out, I eyed them with something akin to hate and distrust, mumbling incoherently about doom and gloom and the end of books with ‘real meaning’ and ‘hard covers’. When they started becoming popular, I assumed the only benefit was that you had relative secrecy over what you were reading and that you could access a lot of books that you’d ‘only wanted to read once anyway and then give away to charity’.

Although I had tried out many e-readers before, this experience was the first time one had been in my hands (and been my responsability). During the time I tried out the Paperwhite, I put it to the test. Not only did I take it to work, to bed and tested it in extreme darkness, I also left it on all night, read a few books and generally tried to get it to blow a fuse or prove that it was in some way worse than a normal paperback penguin novel. Not only did it surpass my expectations, it finally gave up after a week and a half of constant use and no charging.

It’s true: nothing can replace a book so loved that the pages are worn and the bindings are falling apart completely. But this came very close. You don’t have to walk around with heavy books in your bag, you can find a lot of free books if you know where to look, and you can take it everywhere (except the bathroom). I grudgingly accept that it’s possibly the best e-reader I’ve ever handled.

What do you think? Leave your comments in the comment box below!

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How to predict the future of technology

futureThroughout the last few years, innovation and the advancement of technology on a global scale has shot forward. The Voyager has travelled outside our solar system, the Curiosity has discovered evidence of microbiotic life on Mars and scientists have allegedly found a cure for HIV. What’s next for the world of science and technology, when the boundaries between what is invisibly microscopic and unreachably far are now closer than ever?

Researchers at MIT and the Santa Fe Institute have found that some widely used formulas for predicting how rapidly technology will advance — notably, Moore’s Law (which is that everything will improve over time) and Wright’s Law (that progress increases with experience) — offer superior approximations of the pace of technological progress. The new research is the first to directly compare the different approaches in a quantitative way, using an extensive database of past performance from many different industries.

The MIT report is published in the online open-access journal PLOS ONE. The findings could help industries to assess where to focus their research efforts to more accurately predict the economic impacts of policy changes. 

To carry out the analysis, the researchers amassed an extensive set of data on actual costs and production levels over time for 62 different industry sectors; these ranged from commodities such as aluminum, manganese and beer to more advanced products like computers, communications systems, solar cells, aircraft and cars.

“There are lots of proposals out there,” Jessika Trancik says in a MIT press release, for predicting the rate of advances in technologies. “But the data to test the hypotheses is hard to come by.” Knowing which models work best in forecasting technological change can be very important for business leaders and policymakers. “It could be useful in things like climate-change mitigation,” Trancik says, “where you want to know what you’ll get out of your investment.”

The rates of change vary greatly among different technologies, the team found. “Information technologies improve the fastest,” Trancik says, “but you also see the sustained exponential improvement in many energy technologies. Photovoltaics improve very quickly. … One of our main interests is in examining the data to gain insight into how we can accelerate the improvement of technology.”

Creative commons photo courtesy of Josh Hudnall

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The most obnoxious tweeters on the internet

twitterTwitter has trolls. It’s true, although there are less of them compared to Facebook, the world of online social media can be terrifying. In the tech world, there are some people that use their twitter accounts to vent rage, to pick on other people, or even to use an ambiguous joke to get someone else fired. 

This is the cut-throat world of tweets and twats. Although you might not know it, you might be following some of the most obnoxious and repellent tweeters on the internet. In this infographic with cute birds by Conduit, you’ll find out the types of people that make up the odd bunch of online tech lovers. If you’re not careful, one of them might be you.

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Creative Commons photo courtesy of petesimon

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This is what Spotify’s first ad campaign looks like

IMG_5100Spotify has launched it’s first ad campaign today. The new advert, which features concerts, good times and speaks about the profoundness of ‘good music’ comes after some feature changes in the music platform and increased pressure from other music services like GrooveShark, Rdio and Deezer.

The worries never seem to end: according to an article by Mashable, other big companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google are thinking of launching their own music platforms (although Amazon already has a music store, Apple is famous for its iTunes and Google relies heavily on YouTube).

The other changes to Spotify

So, for european users that haven’t been in the Spotify platform lately, the layout and design has changed. When you search for an artist or look for a song, the engine brings up a different look and feel with mac-like bubbles and slick details that really improve on the most popular artists’ songs and albums. There is also a new button: Artist Radio, which allows you (much in the manner that Rdio, Jango, Deezer or the new MySpace does) to listen to songs from that artist and other music that you might be interested in.

What music platforms are you using? Do you pay for your music service? Let me know in the comments box below or vote in this poll:

Creative commons photo courtesy of marcy

 

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The Nokia Lumia 820 Review: Love it or Hate it?

nokia lumiaThe new Nokia Lumia 820 is the phone version of Marmite: you either love it, or you detest it. As one of the main phones on the market with Windows 8 OS, its main features revolve around what you can and can’t do with the operating system and the pre-installed Nokia applications that come with the smartphone.

I took a first look in this video that explored the display and explains how the phone works:

Possibly the greatest feature to within the new Lumia 820 is the fact that it integrates the possibility of cloud computing extremely well. Not only does the smartphone allow you to store all your information in SkyDrive, the Outlook cloud platform in just one click, it also backs up the contact information and mails so that you can access your information without restrictions.

I’ve also tried out some of the charging opportunities that come with the Nokia Lumia 820: some of the new accesories are wireless and have great potential. Although some of the designs (such as the Nokia ‘Fat Boy’ pillow or the wireless casing) seem sort of ludicrous, they do manage to get the job done quickly. The charging time, which for an older smartphone might be under an hour, can be achieved in about half an hour (without using it whilst plugged in like what I’m doing in the video) with any of those accesories, depending on how run down the battery is.

On the whole, I’d say that if you’re a fan of the functionality and design of this device, you’ll probably not be disappointed with the results. Although it’s not the easiest smartphone to handle (it’s rather slippery and takes some getting used to), it’s a good and solid Nokia bet.

Main image courtesy of Nokia Press

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Are you unfaithful? Here’s an app to keep it under wraps

file7981274955651A new mobile phone app which promises complete success to people with dirty secrets to hide has just launched in the US.

Whether you’re leading a double life or are just paranoid about someone looking through your phone whilst you’re in the bathroom, this app puts your phone on automatic lock-down.

The most ingenious thing about is that, through one simple password, the information will be kept away from prying eyes who won’t know that you’re hiding anything from them if they decide to look.

CATE (Call and Text Eraser) is advertised as a privacy tool, but could be used as the perfect infidelity tool to avoid awkward conversations and keep double lives secret. Those who are too lazy to get another phone for dirty deeds will no longer have any reason to think their partners will find out. In fact, users can select one or various contacts in their address book so that data sent or received from them can only be accessed through a password.

Is this the end of being ‘caught out’ by inopportune messages on mobile phones? Without the tell-tale evidence, jealous partners will have to find proof from other sources before making their accusations. Although the app creators are banking on their popularity with the unfaithful, the app can be useful for people who are afraid of losing their smartphones, those who hate their nosy coworkers or people who prefer their private conversations to stay private.

For now, the app is available to download for Android smartphones on the Google Play website for 4.99 dollars.

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5 Ways to Fail as an Author on Twitter

Whether you are an indie writer or a community manager just starting out, there are some rules that have to be followed right off the bat. If you don’t know how to navigate the murky waters of social media, your message can become confused, or even rejected by the people you want to listen to you the most. 

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Do you know this person? Social Media Fails

“New Friend Request: Athanasi Bengal, Network: Mexico.” As someone who hasn’t set foot in Mexico, this is something I find puzzling (and rude). In the past I have I have imagined a doppleganger with the same name, travelling to the dodgiest corners of the world and meeting interesting people with odd professions and a penchant for religiousness, shouting “look for me online” whilst speeding off into the sunset. The poor buggers then unwittingly waited for their friendship to be accepted online whilst I rejected them outright, putting an end to the fantasies of countless  lonely chaps around the world.

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StoryBox, The Educational App of the Year

Storybox, an online US magazine aimed at parents of children aged 3-6, launched their own App for iPads through the iTunes App Store. It features interactive stories with familiar character SamSam, a video and a comic. StoryBox is one of the many publications and companies that have banked on parents’ love of technology, and even more, their willingness to share their gadgets with their children. Data compiled by Bloomberg suggests that most iPad buyers have children, and that 29 per cent of iPad users, especially mothers, willingly lend the device to their children. Because of this profile, the need for child and family orientated content that can be both educational and entertaining is on the rise.

StoryBox App

“Kids just get it — they touch it and it moves,” said Jamie Pearson, founder of BestKidsApps.com, a review website with almost 300,000 monthly page views, 40 percent of which are for apps aimed at kids under 5. “It’s like any other natural language at that age; they just pick it up.”

StoryBox’s new app is a version of the children’s magazine, complete with  content and interactive material. BestKidsApps.com, a review website with almost 300,000 monthly page views, 40 percent of which are for apps aimed at kids under 5. “It’s like any other natural language at that age; they just pick it up.”

The StoryBox App was named App of 2011 because of the educational values and help that it provides during Foundation Stage (elementary school) stage.

The app does prompt parents to subscribe to the magazine, but there are no additional purchases once bought. The working app is very user friendly and is multi-facetical.

If you want to check out more kids apps, you can visit http://www.bestkidsapps.com, or you can recommend ones below!

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Reviews

Facebook’s Great Plans for 2012

Facebook is planning to be a Public Listing Company next Wednesday, according to BBC reports. The planned $10 billion share offering estimation  would make Facebook one of the biggest market capitalization companies in existence.(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16779779)

The company is enjoying profitable gains in spite of rising competition from other social media sites. In 2011, Facebook  introduced changes in the newsfeed, design and interface that is available to users online. Timelines  and design insideOver 50% of users are worried about the timeline @DigitalTrends the newsfeed changed so that people could see “highlighted news” in different order than what was posted. This was slightly confusing as you could see something that “Jessie” posted 3 hours ago next to something “Paul” posted 5 minutes ago.

Most of those changes (that met with great protest at the time) are now mainly forgotten. By the 5th of February, Zuckerberg’s team is planning to introduce a new design, this time within the profile, which will allow the user to make their own “banner” and create their own “timeline”.  Small boxes appear on either side of the screen and while you scroll, you can take a look at the different things that have been posted on your profile. Until the official launching, people can keep their “timeline” private and learn how to use it.

The new format will allow more apps to be developed for Facebook, in order to allow users to share news that they have read, photos that they have seen, locations and activity can be put onto their timeline. Facebook currently has gaming, music and news apps that allow you to share what you’re listening to or reading with your friends.

The company currently allows any organization or person make apps on facebook, saying “Your app can integrate with many aspects of Facebook.com, including the News Feed and Notifications. All of the core Facebook Platform technologies, such as Social Plugins, the Graph API and Platform Dialogs are available to Apps on Facebook.” (see link: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/canvas/). The apps themselves can target any demographic; age group, sex, interests, and will appeal to them through app buttons in their newsfeeds.

How protected will users be if their data makes them a target audience for apps that can be made by virtually anyone?

“In a clickjacking, users are presented with some kind of enticing material, such as a too-good-to-be-true promotion. The clickjackers add code to these links that hide the “like” button in the link itself. Once a user clicks the clickjacking link, it’s too late — the material’s already been “liked” and shared to the user’s entire social network.” says Alex Fitzpatrick on the subject.   (http://mashable.com/2012/01/28/facebook-clickjacking-spam/)

Clickjacking has proved to be such a problem for Facebook that the company has decided to install a Web of Trust (WOT) in order to guarantee the authenticity of the apps that are submitted to the site. If, by chance the user clicks on a link that could contain spam or malware, a pop-up notice will appear informing the user that the link might be dangerous. It is the users’ decision whether they want to continue on to the link or whether they prefer to go back to the previous page. This new security feature is dependent on safety information provided by users.

More information about  security on facebook click on the following link:  http://developers.facebook.com/docs/ApplicationSecurity/

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