Tag Archives: software

Indian Shares Rise On Banks, Software Developers

Indian Shares Rise On Banks, Software Developers

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Indian Shares Rise On Banks, Software Developers

Boxee Adds “Funny or Die” to Its Lineup

Boxee has added popular comedy site Funny or Die to the repository of video content offered on its cross-platform home theater software.

Boxee is a software application for home theater PCs (Apple TV, Mac, Linux or Windows) that brings web-hosted content to the TV screen and has a BitTorrent client for downloading videos to watch in the living room.

It also plans to offer a payment plan for premium content in the near future. The idea: challenge the traditional cable TV model with on-demand content downloaded and streamed from the Internet.

Funny or Die features sketch and stand-up comedy bits from both relative unknowns and stars like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis’ talk show Between Two Ferns has been nominated for multiple Streamy awards.

The most recent hit from the site is a a political sketch that brings together two decades of Saturday Night Live performers who’ve portrayed U.S. presidents including Fred Armisen (Barack Obama), Will Ferrell (George W. Bush), Darrell Hammond (Bill Clinton), Dana Carvey (George Bush Sr.), Jim Carrey (Ronald Reagan), Dan Akroyd (Jimmy Carter), and Chevy Chase (Gerald Ford). The site will also have its own show on HBO called Funny or Die Presents.

In case you’re wondering what kind of content you can access on your Boxee box now, the SNL presidents sketch is embedded below. Enjoy!

Tags: boxee, comedy, funny or die, gadgets, set-top box, software, television, tv, web series

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How Small Business Is Using Social Media [STATS]

The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business looked at the relationship between social media and small businesses and found that the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.

The data comes straight from the university’s third installment to its Small Business Success Index report and is based on a December 2009 telephone survey of 500 small business owners. Adoption rate calculations are compared against a baseline report conducted in December 2008.

The study concludes that one nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes — Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

As the graphic below details, the small business owners who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75%) and status updates (69%) on Facebook or LinkedIn. What’s especially intriguing is that a much smaller percentage of respondents — just 16% — are using Twitter as a customer service channel.

Another interesting notion is that small business owners now believe social media can help them on the lead generation front, and that is the primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels. So while half of surveyed respondents found the time it takes to use social media sites more daunting than expected, 61% are still putting in the hours and making active efforts to identify new customers.

Clearly social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses, but we’re especially curious to see how Twitter adoption rates fluctuate over the time. While we expect more small businesses to use Twitter as a customer service channel in the year ahead, as it stands, Facebook and LinkedIn have become the predominant platforms for small business owners.

[img credit: mfinelydesigns]

Tags: small business, social media, stats

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How Small Business Is Using Social Media [STATS]

YouTube Down for Many Users

The world’s most popular video destination is off to a shaky start today — many users are being greeted by a “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable” message upon arriving at the homepage.

We’ve also noticed that many videos embedded on third-party sites like Mashable appear to be failing to load, though both problems seem to resolve themselves after a number of browser refreshes.

Meanwhile, plenty of people are discussing the YouTube problems on Twitter. We’ll update when we know more.

Are you experiencing issues? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: youtube

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YouTube Down for Many Users

How Companies Are Using Your Social Media Data

computerCompanies are mining the social web to build dossiers on you. Information posted publicly on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums and other sites is fair game. It is yet another reminder that people need to be aware of what they are posting on social networking sites and to whom they’re connected.

Jules Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, said online users have no clue that a comment they made on a blog is being added to a database for some unknown use.

“I don’t think users expect that,” he said, and if consumers think idle chatter and casual conversation can be used against them by institutions, it’s almost certain to create a backlash, according to Polonetsky. He said the Federal Trade Commission is right now re-examining the current privacy structure in the U.S.

But at the same time, he said consumers are always very comfortable with Amazon using data to recommend books they might like. “When users are in control of it, it’s a win-win — if they feel empowered.”

How Data is Being Used

Polonetsky said aggregators like Rapleaf Inc. will collate information about individuals and sell it to companies that want to learn about those customers and what they do online.

Personal finance reporter Erica Sandberg, who covered the issue of social media datamining in a story for CreditCards.com, said that if a data mining company turns your chatter and network into a behavioral pattern, and if they can prove it has some worth, then it’s valuable to companies. Sandberg said this is just more information anyone can use to help them make a decision.

“I don’t think there’s anything scary about it,” she said. “Why wouldn’t they look at it? It’s public.” She said she is not aware of any specific examples of those who have been negatively impacted because of it.

Entities such as airlines, politicians, and even non-profits can use this data for finding new customers or targeting products to existing ones. Financial services companies such as banks and lenders are also using the same datamining services for marketing purposes and to make lending decisions. For instance, certain types of credit products, which fit your personality, could be marketed specifically to you.

“It’s a helpful tool to identify the right customers, the best customers,” Sandberg said.

She said the immediate fear is the misconception that it affects your credit report. She stressed that companies that do social media datamining do not have access to your credit report, and the act of collecting the publicly available data has no effect on your credit score.

However, she said, “it can affect the credit you’re offered, and the credit you receive.”

Social media contacts play a role in behavioral profiles as well. “I think what’s most interesting is how those in your network have an impact,” she said.

Do you know if your Facebook friends have good credit histories? Likely not, but if you associate with people who are a good credit risk, than you’ll probably be a good credit risk, according to Sandberg. “The whole idea [is] like follows like,” she said.

Learning About Customers to Tailor Experience

data chart imageAccording to a counter on their website, Rapleaf Inc. has mined social data about more than 389 million customers. They do that by crawling the Internet just like Google or Bing does, said CEO Auren Hoffman, but that they only crawl sites such as forums, social networks, review sites, newsgroups, and blogs — where information is publicly available.

He said clients they work with include car companies, airlines, hotels, banks, retailers, non-profits and politicians. If they can learn more about their customer, then they can personalize an experience for that customer, according to Hoffman. He said consumers are already expecting this high level of service, and that it’s all about the product, service, and experience that you would prefer.

“The power to personalize things is much greater,” he said.

Rapleaf’s blog links to a SmartMoney story about how banks and financial services firms limit their use of social media data to marketing departments, and not those “charged with making credit and lending decisions,” according to the post.

Sandberg said it’s up to businesses to use the information from datamining companies as they please. “This is public information. They can use it any way they want.”

Social Data Helps to Prevent Fraud

Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending service that matches borrowers with investors, has been using a variety of tools and software to help them gather social media information for six months, according to Rob Garcia, the company’s senior director.

He said Lending Club uses social media data for marketing and operational purposes and stressed that Lending Club does not use any social media data for credit decisions and that it does not affect whether an applicant can get a loan. “We use this information to benefit our customers — to prevent fraud,” he said.

For operational purposes, Lending Club makes sure the user’s information checks out to try to protect his or her identity, according to Garcia. So they will compare application information from a credit file against information that’s publicly available. He said that if there’s a mismatch, it gives them more reason to go to more strict identification procedures.

“We have found a way to use this information in a positive way,” he said.

Credit Card Companies Turn to Social Media

credit card image

Consumers might soon be seeing more credit card offers in their mailboxes. In the last quarter of 2009, the number of credit card offers mailed were up 46% from the third quarter of 2009, according to a news release on the direct mail tracking service Synovate Mail Monitor.

Anuj Shahani, director of competitive tracking services for Synovate’s Financial Services Group, told me that the number of credit card mailings is still down 40% from the fourth quarter of 2008. He said the CARD Act, which is a new federal law aimed at better disclosure and banning unfair rate hikes, and the economy were reasons for the decrease in mailings of credit card offers.

He said that because of the CARD Act, there are restrictions on spending for credit card companies. Credit card companies will have to come up with targeting models, and data companies can help them figure out those models, according to Shahani.

“Issuers will have to come up with smarter ways to target the right audience because it is so much more expensive to extend credit,” he said. “I think one of them will be social media.”

Credit card companies are alrady using social media to launch new products. Shahani pointed out that the CitiForward credit card launched in March 2009 on MySpace.  He said that in December 2009, American Express launched its new Zync card on social media sites.

Shahani said the credit card issuer’s goal is to find the right audience and go to the right people and that’s where he expects social media would come in.

Social Media Usage Tips

Here are some tips from Erica Sandberg on the types of content to avoid posting on the social web and handling network connections.

1. Determine whether you want to go public or private with your social media profiles. If the profiles are set to be public, then be consistent with information you are posting. “The caution lies in what you say. Be truthful,” she said. For example, don’t post a status update joking that you’re filing for bankruptcy when you’re not. “It’s the off-the-cuff remarks you’re going to want to be aware of,” she warned.

2. Eliminate people and sites from your social networks that you don’t need. “Make sure people who are around you are reflective of you as a wonderful person,” Sandberg said.

3. Pay attention to your friend, invite, and connection requests. “You don’t want random associations,” she said. Sandberg recommends first checking out that person’s profile before accepting it. “I get flooded with friend requests of people I don’t know,” she said. “You have no idea who these people are. It’s a risky thing to do.”

What if opting out of being on social media is not an option? Sandberg said she’s on there for business purposes and can’t really go private. In that case, be careful what you write. “It underscores the importance of being honest and projecting yourself in a positive way,” she said.

More social media resources from Mashable:

- The Science of Building Trust With Social Media
How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement
3 Ways Educators Are Embracing Social Technology
5 Ways Social Media Is Changing Our Daily Lives
How Social Media is Taking the News Local

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, shironosov, blackred

[Image Credit: Fosforix]

Tags: credit cards, data, data mining, facebook, finance, myspace, personal finance, privacy, social media, social networks, trending, twitter

How Companies Are Using Your Social Media Data

Apple Eyes HTC in Latest Patent Lawsuit

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather round for the latest round of: Patent Lawsuit Theater! The players in this round are Apple and HTC. Apple is alleging that HTC infringes on 20 of its patents related to the iPhone user interface.

As in the Nokia/Apple skirmish, Apple filed its lawsuit concurrently in both the U.S. District Court in Delaware and with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

The ITC, as fans of this ongoing mobile patent circus may recall, is investigating Apple’s alleged patent infringement at Nokia’s behest.

We haven’t been able to pull the full lawsuit from the U.S. District Court, so it’s unclear what exact patents or claims Apple is claiming that HTC violates — although we highly doubt that it has anything to do with the Sense UI, seeing as that pre-dated the iPhone — but we’ll update this post with a link as soon as that appears.

The most interesting aspect of this particular case (for now) is actually in the announcement. In it, Apple CEO Steve Jobs says:

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it… We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Seriously, this whole game is getting ridiculous. I know these are multibillion-dollar companies, but perhaps their resources could be better spent, I don’t know, innovating their products rather than trying to sue one another into oblivion?

Update: Engadget has been given a statement from HTC that basically says this entire thing comes as a shock. From Engadget:

We only learned of Apple’s actions based on your stories and Apple’s press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.

Furthermore, Engadget is working on pulling the files together, but the full suit isn’t in the court’s system yet. Additionally, Engadget says that Apple has submitted over 700 pages of exhibits to District Court. 700 pages and that the ITC complaints call out virtually every HTC product that’s been on the market in the last eighteen months.

Kudos to Engadget and Nilay Patel for finding all of this stuff out.

(Thanks @nikf for the heads-up!)

What do you think?

[img credit: Thomas Roche]

Tags: apple, htc, ITC, lawsuits, patent theater

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Apple Eyes HTC in Latest Patent Lawsuit

CoTweet Acquired By Email Marketing Firm ExactTarget

CoTweet, the Twitter CRM tool used by several massive brands including JetBlue and Ford, has been acquired by ExactTarget, an email marketing firm.

In a statement, ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey said, ”By combining the power of ExactTarget and CoTweet, we can provide businesses a complete solution to tie together all forms of interactive communications and drive deeper customer engagement online.”

While perhaps not a widely known name in the social media space, ExactTarget is a major player in email marketing, generating $114 million in revenue for 2009. The company has also raised a massive $140 million in venture capital, most recently securing $75 million this past December.

Meanwhile, CoTweet has made waves as one of the first enterprise players in the Twitter space. After starting out as a free beta, the company began charging $1500/mo for its tools late last year. Now, the company will join forces with a much larger outfit that can push its software to an existing base of customers.

And that might’ve been CoTweet’s best option. While they were early to the enterprise Twitter space, they’ve since attracted some large competition. For example, Salesforce.com, already a behemoth in the CRM space, now offers its own Twitter CRM features.

Certainly, the move can be seen as further validation of the role of marketing in social media. Twitter’s COO Dick Costolo said as much in the company’s announcement, declaring that, “this acquisition is strong validation that valuable, sustainable businesses are emerging from the Twitter ecosystem.”

Dorsey and CoTweet CEO Jesse Engle discuss the deal in the video below:

Tags: cotweet, crm, exacttarget, MARKETING, software

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CoTweet Acquired By Email Marketing Firm ExactTarget

Adobe Opens Up About Apple, HTML5 and Flash [VIDEO]

Adobe Flash has been in the spotlight recently, and not for the right reasons. Now the company has opened up on the the iPad, iPhone and HTML5 debate in an exclusive interview with Mashable.

Fewer than two months ago, Apple revealed the iPad to the world. And while the company’s highly anticipated device included a lot of features, Flash wasn’t one of them.

A war of words soon erupted over the the multimedia plugin, with Flash responding to Apple and Steve Jobs ranting about Flash, stating that “the world is moving to HTML5.”

What does Adobe think of all of this recent talk? Does Adobe see HTML5 as a potential rival to Flash? What about Apple’s animosity towards Flash? All of these questions needed answering.

Notes: Interview with Aaron Filner

To get Adobe’s side of the story, I traveled to Adobe System’s San Francisco office to speak with Aaron Filner, the group product manager for the Flash platform. I’m going to let the video below do the majority of the talking, but I did want to highlight some key notes and takeaways from our conversation:

– The “battle” between HTML5 and Flash is a “misperception.” They have co-existed for a while, Mr. Filner said, and Adobe has invested in helping extend HTML’s technology.

- Adobe thinks the mobile web has gone in two directions: the open web via the browser and the application store.

- On Apple: It’s Apple’s decision whether or not it wants to support Flash. For now, it is supporting developers creating Flash-based apps for the iPhone app store.

- There has been some discussion about the Flash user experience on computers vs. touchscreens due to the lack of a mouse, cursor and the “hover effect” that some Flash apps currently use. While Aaron didn’t specifically highlight how Adobe intends to tackle that problem, he did say that the company’s playing around with potential solutions and that Adobe believes most Flash apps and videos will still work just fine on touchscreen devices.

- Expect Flash 10.1 for Android to hit in the first half of this year. In fact, we got a full demo of Flash for the Android (Nexus One), which we will be posting in a follow-up article.

Video: Interview with Aaron Filner, Adobe Flash

Tags: adobe, adobe flash, android, apple, Flash, HTML5, iphone, Mobile 2.0, nexus one

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Adobe Opens Up About Apple, HTML5 and Flash [VIDEO]

Google Chrome Continues to Grow at Other Browsers’ Expense

Remember how Google Chrome’s market share grew last month, but Firefox and Internet Explorer’s shares slipped downward ever-so-slightly? That trend continued in February, according to web analytics company Net Applications. This time, however, Chrome was the only browser to grow at all (Safari moved up a little bit in January, but not so this time around).

Chrome grew from 5.22% to 5.61% (0.39%) over the course of February. Internet Explorer shrunk from 62.12% to 61.58% (0.54%), Firefox from 24.43% to 24.23% (0.2%), Safari from 4.53% to 4.45% (0.08%) and Opera from 2.38% to 2.35% (0.03%).

Here’s another tidbit: Chrome use grew among Mashable readers from 12.68% to 14.8% — 2.12%. From that you can deduce that Chrome’s adoption is (unsurprisingly) moving faster among web and tech enthusiasts.

While 14.8% among enthusiasts and 5.22% among the general population might not seem like much, it’s actually very impressive progress for a new browser. Chrome passed Safari to become the third most popular desktop browser in the world in December.

Net Applications also found that the archaic Internet Explorer 6 browser version declined another 0.24%. We’ve been saying “IE6 must die” for months now, and it looks like we’re slowly getting our wish. Expect the decline to speed up this month when YouTube drops its support.

[via ZDNet]

Tags: chrome, Firefox, google chrome, internet explorer, net applications, opera, safari, software, web browser

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Quicken Comes Back to Mac

When you think personal finance software, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Quicken. While Quicken has been a mainstay on Windows desktops for years, its Mac presence has been less than stellar. That changes today, with the release of Quicken Essentials for Mac. Re-built from the ground-up and integrating lots of features from Mint.com, Quicken Essentials is a great addition to the Mac software space.

Quicken has always treated the Mac platform as kind of an also-ran. Although new versions of the tool appeared yearly (at least until 2006) alongside the Windows variants, the Mac editions always lagged behind in features, stability and even pricing options. Quicken Essentials for Mac, previously known as Quicken Financial Life for Mac, has been promised since Macworld 2008. After two years, it’s finally here.

Rebuilding Quicken for the Mac

Quicken Essentials for Mac is a native Cocoa app. This in itself wouldn’t be that noteworthy, except that previous versions of Quicken for Mac have not been built on Cocoa (or even optimized for Intel Macs), which has meant that there were user interface quirks and behavioral differences that made Quicken feel like less of a real Mac app.

With Quicken Essentials for Mac, the interface and program have been designed to use Mac OS X’s core features and strengths. This is a really good thing, and it shows a commitment to the Mac platform. This is important because it has been nearly four years since a Quicken app was released for the Mac. QuickBooks has had more frequent updates, but for home users who want to manage their finances, this is a long time coming.

A Dose of Mint (.com)

In September, Intuit, the makers of Quicken, acquired the money management web app, Mint.com. The acquisition was controversial amongst some Mint users, out of fear that Intuit would end up changing Mint into something different.

It’s still too early to assess how the acquisition has affected both product groups (Mint.com continues as a separate product), but consumers did get something out of the deal: Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint.com, is now Intuit’s vice president and general manager of the company’s Personal Finance Group. That means that Aaron and the Mint team are now working on both Quicken and Mint.com.

I spoke with Aaron at the Future of Web Apps in Miami on Monday night, and he offered me some insight into his new role and the changes on the new Mac product.

Aaron described Quicken Essentials for Mac as “the closest thing to Mint on the desktop as you are going to get.” From a personal money management perspective, that’s really great, because it means that not only is it easier to visualize where money is going, but you can connect to more financial institutions through the program than ever before. More than 12,000 institutions are supported now and a total of more than 18,000 is expected by the end of the year.

Categorization is also much easier in Quicken Essentials for Mac, which is again, a hat-tip to Mint.com

A Few Notes For Users

Quicken Essentials for Mac is designed for home users and while it supports basic investment tracking, it isn’t as robust as the Quicken for Windows offerings or the old Quicken Mac 2007. Better support for investments is planned for future versions of Quicken Essentials for Mac, but for right now, this isn’t really designed for users with heavy portfolios.

Because only 6% of Quicken users used the built-in Bill Pay option in Quicken, this was removed from Quicken Essentials for Mac. You can still track your bills and make sure you have the money to pay them, but you can’t pay directly from the app unless you sign-up for Intuit’s Bill Pay service.

If you’re a TurboTax user, Quicken Essentials for Mac doesn’t integrate or export to TurboTax, although again, that type of support might be added to the future. If you rely on getting your Quicken info into TurboTax, you’ll need to use Quicken Mac 2007.

A Nice Start

This is a great rebirth of sorts for Quicken for Mac. After being virtually abandoned for such a long time, it’s nice that the most popular money management tool is finally back on the Mac and in style. Quicken Essentials for Mac is $69.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Mac users — what do you think about Intuit’s new commitment to Mac? What are your favorite Mac-based financial management apps? Let us know!

Reviews: Mac OS X, Mint, Windows

Tags: Financial, mac, mac apps, mint, mint.com, Quicken, quicken essentials for mac, software

Quicken Comes Back to Mac

Opera 10.5 Beta for Mac Adds Multi-Touch Gestures

Opera just released the 10.5 beta version of its web browser for Mac computers — the fifth most popular browser on the market. We previously covered the Pre-Alpha version of 10.5, but this beta release is likely far more stable.

There’s a complete change log online if you want to get into the nitty gritty of what’s included, but the biggest additions include multi-touch gestures, Growl notifications, support for Apple’s Cocoa application programming interface, and restored support for Macs running the old Mac OS 10.4 Tiger operating system.

There are still many older Macs out there running Tiger, so it’s good to have that back; just be warned that you’ll still need an Intel processor to run Opera. The older PowerPC processors aren’t supported no matter what operating system you’re running.

Now that Opera uses the extremely popular Growl notifications software, it can show quick, transparent updates on your screen when something important happens. Gestures for multi-touch screens sound like a sweet idea, but we haven’t had the chance to try them out to see if they’re actually useful — let us know what you think in the comments if you give them a spin.

Remember that this is the beta release, so it’s bound to have a few bugs to deal with. For example, there are some performance issues with Tiger that aren’t present in 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Java support is “minimal.” You can download the 10.5 Beta at the Opera website right now, but the 10.1 stable version is still available if you want a smoother experience.

Tags: apple, growl, mac, multi-touch, opera, software

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Opera 10.5 Beta for Mac Adds Multi-Touch Gestures

Webtrends Launches Analytics for Facebook Marketers

Webtrends, a company that offers marketers detailed web analytics, has rolled out new measurement capabilities for Facebook, including the ability to view Facebook data alongside data for other channels.

Tools like this are useful because Facebook’s own platform for this, Facebook Insights, runs three days behind, doesn’t measure custom tabs or apps, and doesn’t integrate with analytics for other digital marketing channels.

The tools work inside Facebook to provide detailed analytics data about applications, custom tabs, brand pages, contests and advertisements, among other things. This wasn’t easy to achieve because most of Facebook (Fan Pages included) doesn’t allow JavaScript, but Webtrends developed a custom API to get around that. Third-party applications built on the Facebook platform are easier because JavaScript is permitted.

The special features here are the ones related to comparing data between Facebook and other digital channels. For example, you can see how much traffic is being driven to your Facebook Fan Pages by Twitter updates, or you can overlay Facebook Fan Page activity with that on corporate blog posts.

Here are some images of Webtrends’ Facebook tools in action.

Tags: analytics, facebook, facebook insights, MARKETING, software, webtrends

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Webtrends Launches Analytics for Facebook Marketers

iPhone Users Still More Likely to Buy Apps than Android Users [STATS]

AdMob’s Mobile Metrics Report for January 2010 is out, highlighting several interesting facts based on an opt-in survey of consumers on iPhone, iPod touch, Android and webOS devices.

In August 2009 we wrote (also based on a report by AdMob) that iPhone and iPod touch users are more likely to purchase paid applications than Android users. Here’s what we wrote back then:

“Android (Android) users download, on average, 9.1 new apps a month. The ratio of paid to free applications is 1:8.1. iPhone users download a few more applications every month, 10.2 on average, but 2.6 out of that number are paid applications.”

Based on the latest report from AdMob, the situation has changed slightly, but not dramatically. iPhone users download, on average, 8.8 apps every month; Android users download 8.7 apps. However, out of those numbers, only 1.1 apps on Android are paid apps, while iPhone users download 1.8 paid apps every month.

Also included in the survey was iPod touch, whose users download the most apps: 12.1 every month. WebOS users, on the other hand, download significantly fewer apps, only 5.7 every month, and only 0.6 of those are paid apps. This comes as no surprise since Palm’s app catalog has an incomparably lower number of apps than iPhone and even Android’s app stores.

AdMob’s report highlights another very interesting number: 91% of iPhone users and 88% of iPod touch users would recommend their devices, compared to 84% of Android users and 69% of webOS users. webOS users are 3.4x more likely to not recommend their device relative to iPhone OS users.

Reviews: Android, iPhone

Tags: android, iphone, Mobile 2.0

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iPhone Users Still More Likely to Buy Apps than Android Users [STATS]

iMaxi: Finally, the iPad Gets the Protection it Deserves [FUNNY]

When it comes to branding their products, Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world. iPod has all but replaced the words “MP3 player”, and iPhone, MacBook, iMac and most of their other products are equally as successful.

The iPad, however, invokes an obvious joke, and that obvious joke just got very literal with the introduction of iMaxi, the protective case for the iPad that looks, well, like a completely different kind of pad.

Funny or not, this joke obviously isn’t going away, and when someone fashions it into a real, preorderable product, you have to admire the effort. The $40 price seems a little steep, though.

Tags: apple, iMaxi, ipad, Tablet

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iMaxi: Finally, the iPad Gets the Protection it Deserves [FUNNY]

Gmail Retires 5 and Graduates 6 Labs Features

Gmail Labs, the experimental Gmail playground in which every Google engineer can write a Gmail feature, sometimes retires features that aren’t used very much, and graduates commonly used features, turning them into regular Gmail features.

Today, Gmail has retired five features and graduated six others; over the next couple of days, you’ll see the retired features disappear from the Labs. I haven’t really used any of the retired features; if you’ve used any of them and are sorry to see them go, please share it in the comments.

The six Labs features that graduated are:

1. Search Autocomplete
2. Go To Label
3. Forgotten Attachment Detector
4. YouTube Previews
5. Custom Label Colors
6. Vacation Dates

The five features that were retired are:

1. Muzzle
2. Fixed Width Font
3. Email Addict
4. Location in Signature
5. Random Signature

The features that graduated from Labs are either no-brainers, such as autocomplete for Gmail’s search and previews of YouTube videos in emails, or nifty little details, like the Forgotten Attachment Detector which alerts you if you wrote “I’ve attached” in your message but haven’t actually attached a file to it.

Tags: gmail, labs

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Gmail Retires 5 and Graduates 6 Labs Features

CodeOrgan Translates Web Sites Into Music

File under “strange and delightful” — CodeOrgan is a Flash app that turns any web page into music.

It analyses the text in the body of the supplied URL and follows an algorithm to render that site into a musical composition. It chooses a drum pattern, synth style and key based on the contents of the page, and plays back the associated music via the “Play this website” button.

After analyzing your URL, you have the option of sharing your results on Facebook and Twitter. The creators, UK-based ad agency DLKW, also report being busy working on an embeddable version of CodeOrgan as well.

Mashable is sounding downright jazzy, according to CodeOrgan. What do your favorite sites sound like?

[via Make Use Of]

Tags: codeorgan, Flash, music, software, web sites

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CodeOrgan Translates Web Sites Into Music

Lobby Group Says Open-Source Threatens Capitalism

Does advocating the use of open-source software make one an enemy of capitalism? Yes, according to a U.S. intellectual property lobby group.

The Guardian reports that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a lobby group broadly representing the RIAA, MPAA and others, has requested that the U.S. government put countries including Indonesia, Brazil and India on the “Special 301 watchlist.” Special 301 is a report that concerns the “adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights” around the globe. Being put on the associated watchlist effectively puts those countries on a shortlist of governments considered “enemies of capitalism” who aren’t doing enough to protect intellectual property abroad.

The reason the IIPA is so concerned about the aforementioned countries? They apparently have the audacity to either use or advocate the use of open-source software either in government departments or in state-owned businesses. The lobby group has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to accord countries like Indonesia Special 301 status because it feels that encouraging the use of open-source threatens the software industry and devalues intellectual property rights. The IIPA’s recommendation to the USTR includes the following text:

“The Indonesian government’s policy… simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market.

Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations.

As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions.”

Countries apparently don’t even have to officially legislate the use of open-source software; Indonesia has drawn the ire of the IIPA for merely recommending open-source software in a circular to government departments.

We’re somewhat astonished at the implications of this. What do you think: Does open-source software somehow inherently threaten intellectual property? Should countries who make use of it in government departments be sanctioned for weakening the software industry?

[img credit: David Erickson]

[via Computer World UK]

Tags: Brazil, india, Indonesia, intellectual property, mpaa, open source, piracy, Political, riaa, software, special 301, trade, trending

Continued here:
Lobby Group Says Open-Source Threatens Capitalism

Lobby Group Says Open Source Threatens Capitalism

Does advocating the use of open source software make one an enemy of capitalism? Yes, according to a U.S. intellectual property lobby group.

The Guardian reports that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a lobby group broadly representing the RIAA, MPAA and others, has requested that the U.S. government put countries including Indonesia, Brazil, and India on the “Special 301 watchlist.” Special 301 is a report that concerns the “adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights” around the globe. Being put on the associated watchlist effectively puts those countries on a shortlist of governments considered “enemies of capitalism” who aren’t doing enough to protect intellectual property abroad.

The reason the IIPA is so concerned about the aforementioned countries? They apparently have the audacity to either use or advocate the use of open source software either in government departments or in state-owned businesses. The lobby group has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to accord countries like Indonesia Special 301 status because they feel that encouraging the use of open source threatens the software industry and devalues intellectual property rights. The IIPA’s recommendation to the USTR includes the following text:

“The Indonesian government’s policy… simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market.

Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations.

As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions.”

Countries apparently don’t even have to officially legislate the use of open source software; Indonesia has drawn the ire of the IIPA for merely recommending open source software in a circular to government departments.

We’re somewhat astonished at the implications of this. What do you think: does open source software somehow inherently threaten intellectual property? Should countries who make use of it in government departments be sanctioned for weakening the software industry?

[img credit: David Erickson]

[via Computer World UK]

Tags: Brazil, india, Indonesia, intellectual property, mpaa, open source, piracy, Political, riaa, software, special 301, trade

Continued here:
Lobby Group Says Open Source Threatens Capitalism

10 Essential Chrome Extensions for Web Developers

This series is supported by Rackspace, the better way to do hosting. Learn more about Rackspace’s hosting solutions here.

As a web developer, you’re probably among the earliest adopters of new browser technologies. Google’s relatively new Chrome browser is one of those products that developers jumped all over as soon as it became available, but its initial lack of extensions was a dealbreaker for many.

Now extensions are supported in Chrome and some of the tools you’re accustomed to using in Firefox have become available, plus a few unique to Chrome. We’ve compiled a list of ten of the most useful Chrome extensions for web developers right here; if you use these extensions, you might even be able to make Chrome your main workhorse. Maybe!

Look at the list and give it a try — and if there are any great ones that we missed, be sure and share them with us and the other readers in the comments.

1. Firebug Lite

Arguably the most popular Firefox extension for web developers, Firebug lets you look at and edit the HTML, CSS and JavaScript of any page on the fly without leaving your browser. Firebug Lite is a scaled-down version of Firebug made for Chrome. You can inspect a page for errors then quickly edit to fix them.

Though Firebug Lite doesn’t have all the same features as Firebug, it has most of the essentials, and there’s a console interface for power users.

2. IE Tab

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser is not at all popular with web developers, but it’s by far the most popular browser for the general population. With IE Tab you can open any website in a tab that’s actually running Internet Explorer instead of Chrome. You can make sure your website runs correctly for those millions of people who aren’t using Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Opera.

3. Eye Dropper

With EyeDropper, you can find useful information on any color on a website you’re viewing in Chrome. Click the extension button and a color wheel interface drops down. From there, you can click the color picker button, then click anywhere on the site to see where the color for that pixel falls in the wheel, what its RGB levels are, and what its HTML color code is.

4. Chrome SEO

Tapping the Chrome SEO button after the extension has been installed will give you website information that’s important for search engine optimization. You can check backlinks, traffic measures like the Alexa Rank and Google PageRank, popularity on social bookmarking sites like Delicious, and more.

5. Lorem Ipsum Generator

The Lorem Ipsum Generator extension will generate filler text for your websites so you can make sure your formatting works well without wasting time typing several paragraphs of text. This extension is lightweight and minimalistic, so it’s easy to use and it won’t take up a lot of memory. That means it’s easy to pop in and out of as needed.

6. Resolution Test

Resolution Test’s purpose is right there in the name — it re-sizes the browser window to show what your website will look like at various popular screen resolutions. As a web developer, you probably have a very high-resolution display. Good for you! But most of the visitors to your site don’t; this extension will help you make sure the site’s formatting looks ok to them.

7. Speed Tracer

Speed Tracer uses the browser’s built-in metrics tools to record how much time your web application is spending on various tasks so you can find out what the hang-up is if your site is running slowly. It can tell you how much time the browser is spending interpreting layout, Javascript, and other details.

The only downside to this useful tool is that for it to work, you have to run the browser with the command line flag “–enable-extension-timeline-api.” But if you’re a developer, that’s probably not a big issue, right?

8. MeasureIt!

MeasureIt! is pretty straightforward — it gives you the dimensions (pixel width and height) of any element present in a website you’re looking at. Like a lot of the other extensions on this list, it was previously available for Firefox.

9. Pendule

Pendule pops up an easy-to-use, well-laid-out control panel full of miscellaneous tasks helpful to developers. Examples include reloading or disabling CSS, viewing JavaScript scripts, hiding images, a color picker, a display ruler, viewing source, and several script validators. It works well as your basic, catch-all web developer’s extension.

10. BuiltWith

BuiltWith gives you a profile of the website you’re hanging out at, including a list of all the technologies it can find there. It will tell you what widgets the site is using, which analytics tracker the webmaster is using, which frameworks are present, which advertising platforms are in use, and so on.

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Tags: development, extensions, Google, google chrome, rackspace, web development series

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10 Essential Chrome Extensions for Web Developers

Bloom Unveils Its Game Changing Energy Box [PICS]

I’m here at eBay Headquarter in San Jose, CA for the launch of Bloom Energy’s Bloom Box, a fuel cell device that promises to power your whole house with a handheld-sized box. It made worldwide headlines after the Bloom Box’s appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

The room is packed with dozens of cameras, reporters, investors, and special guests. We have been told that both former Secretary of State Colin Powell (a Bloom Energy board member) and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are here for the launch. The tight security here at eBay HQ is definitely a sign that the heavyweights have rolled into town.

I’m going to provide a play-by-play of today’s launch below, along with pictures from the event.

The Bloom Box: The Live Details

First, here’s an image explaining how the Bloom Box works:

And here’s a pictures of the Bloom Boxes already in use at eBay HQ:

More Pics

Outside the eBay Town Hall, where the Bloom Box is launching:

Everybody grabs breakfast as they wait to be let in

Tags: bloom box, bloom energy, energy, trending

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Bloom Unveils Its Game Changing Energy Box [PICS]

This You????: Yet Another Phishing Attack Hits Twitter [WARNING]

In the last couple of weeks, Twitter users have been the target of several large-scale phishing attacks, and according to security experts over at Sophos, the latest one is no different.

The attack spreads via messages with the text “This you????” followed by a link that sends the user to a fake Twitter login page. Don’t fall for the trick. If you enter your credentials there, you’re not actually logging into Twitter, you’re just sending your username and password to the attacker.

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim of this attack, you should change your Twitter password immediately. Check out a video demonstration of the attack (created by Sophos) below.

Tags: phishing, trending, twitter

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This You????: Yet Another Phishing Attack Hits Twitter [WARNING]

Intel Leads $3.5 Billion Effort to Advance U.S. Tech and Innovation

Intel is leading 24 venture capital firms and 17 technology companies in an effort to bring 10,500 new jobs and $3.5 billion dollars into American technology companies.

The initiative, called the Invest in America Alliance, is a project being spearheaded by Intel. It was announced on Tuesday by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in Washington D.C.

The alliance has one overarching goal, two specific objectives, and 42 different firms. The goal of the initiative is to keep the U.S. competitive in technology in a world that is increasingly catching up. From Mr. Otellini’s speech:

“Unfortunately, long-term investments in education, research, digital technology, and human capital have been steadily declining in the U.S. So, too, has the commitment to policies that made us such an entrepreneurial powerhouse for more than a century.”

He continued on to say that the U.S. can no longer boast the best students in math, science, and engineering as other nations, primarily in Asia, have caught up and could even leave the U.S. behind if action isn’t taken.

The Objectives of the Invest in America Alliance

Intel’s Invest in America Alliance has two objectives: to invest $3.5 billion into technology startups over the next two years, specifically in clean technology, IT, and biotech. To this end, Intel has brought together 24 venture capital firms to commit to this goal.

The following is an excerpt from a transcript of his speech:

“I’m pleased to announce the inception of the “Invest in America Alliance”, a group of leading VC companies committed to steer investments into technologies that will drive economic growth and job creation in the US. The members of this alliance have committed to invest $3.5 billion in promising clean technology, information technology, and bio technology companies over approximately two years. As part of the alliance, Intel Capital will participate with its own $200 million commitment.

Intel has worked with 24 leading venture capital firms to join us with their own commitments in support of the alliance including: Advanced Technology Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Bridgescale Partners, Canaan Partners, DCM, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Flywheel Ventures, Good Energies, Institutional Venture Partners, Investcorp Technology Partners, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, New ENterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners, QuestMark Partners, Sevin Rosen Funds, Storm Ventures, Telesoft Partners, Updata Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock and Walden International.”

The second objective of the alliance is to create 10,500 new jobs for college graduates in the next year. 17 companies have joined Intel in this goal, including Accenture, Adobe, Autodesk, Broadcom, CDW, Cisco, Dell, eBay, EMC, GE, Google, HP, Liberty Mutual, Marvell Semiconductor, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

A Worthy Goal, But More Has to Be Done

The new alliance is a recognition of two things: that the U.S. is in fact losing its once-dominant technology edge, and that something has to be done to reverse that trend.

As the NYT points out, less than 10% of U.S. college graduates have engineering degrees, while more than 33% do in India and China. This is a serious problem that can only lead to America being beaten in science, technology, and innovation.

Intel’s initiative is a good step and commitment towards funding innovative ideas and giving them a chance to grow. It will promote more college students to become engineers as they see more job opportunities open in technology and science while creating even more jobs in the form of new startups. $3.5 billion dollars could help create the next Google, Facebook, or Oracle.

Still, it doesn’t solve the root problem, which is American students choosing not to study technology-related majors. That requires more than money and commitments — it requires a shift in perceptions and education that has to start at the grade school level and continue all the way through college.

Acknowledging the problem and taking steps to combat it are the first steps, though. We look forward to seeing what comes of this new alliance.

Videos: Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s Speech in D.C.

Reviews: Facebook, Google

Tags: accenture, adobe, Autodesk, Broadcom, CDW, cisco, dell, ebay, GE, Google, HP, intel, Invest in America Alliance, Liberty Mutual, Marvell, microsoft, vc, venture capital, Yahoo

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Intel Leads $3.5 Billion Effort to Advance U.S. Tech and Innovation

Details: The Yahoo-Twitter Partnership

An hour ago, we learned that Twitter and Yahoo struck a content-sharing deal. Now we have details on what that exactly entails.

We knew that the Yahoo-Twitter partnership would be comprehensive and more encompassing than Twitter’s search partnerships with Google and Bing, but now Yahoo tells us that the integration will focus on three primary areas:

- Access to your Twitter feed on Yahoo: On Yahoo Mail, Sports, the homepage, and other Yahoo properties, you will be able to check the most recent tweets of your friends.

- Ability to update status from Yahoo: Yahoo will become a Twitter client, allowing you to update your status from multiple locations on Yahoo. We’re not sure if this is going to be through widgets or another method.

- Yahoo Search and media integration: Public Twitter updates will be integrated throughout Yahoo Search, News, Finance, and Entertainment, among other properties.

Yahoo will have full access to the Twitter data firehose, so you can expect real-time updates in Yahoo Search, among other integrations. They will use tweets to improve relevancy, freshness, and search results, as well as “drive deeper user engagement.”

The first integration will be available “immediately,” and that is the real-time search integration. This brings Yahoo Search in line with its competitors in terms of real-time data. You can probably expect this to launch fully later tonight or early tomorrow.

As for the other integrations, they will launch later this year.

Reviews: Bing, Google, Twitter, news

Tags: trending, twitter, Yahoo

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Details: The Yahoo-Twitter Partnership

Apple: iPad to Be Sold at Best Buy

Today at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, Apple COO Tim Cook revealed that the iPad will be available at multiple retail locations soon after launch, including Best Buy.

In his Q&A at the conference, Mr. Cook revealed some interesting insights into the secretive Cupertino, CA company. The company considers itself (rightfully) a leader in mobile devices and, in fact, a mobile device company. It makes sense, if you consider that laptops, the iPhone and the iPod make up the vast majority of Apple’s revenue today.

His discussion of the iPad was more interesting, though. He was asked whether the iPad would be a replacement for netbooks or a new use case. To that, he isn’t sure since they haven’t sold any units yet, but he did trash netbooks, something that Steve Jobs also does on a consistent basis.

Also revealed: the iPad will first be sold in direct channels (aka online and in Apple retail stores), but will soon be sold in stores with assisted sales. He specifically mentioned Best Buy as a partner, although we’re sure eventually wherever iPhones are sold, iPads will be sold as well.

From his talk:

“Initially, it will be around places with really great assisted sales. Over time, it will expand. Where it goes and how fast it goes, we’ll see.”

Tim Cook also addressed Apple TV, a digital media receiver device that has not taken off like other Apple products. To that end, Mr. Cook described Apple TV as a “hobby” because it targets a “very small market,” although he did point to its 35% year-over-year growth.

[via Apple Insider and Business Insider]

Tags: apple, Apple Tablet, best buy, ipad

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Apple: iPad to Be Sold at Best Buy