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Why Apple Banned Flash

Posted by Grant Hansen on Apr 29, 2010 in Mobile

There’s been a lot of discussion of late over the “Apple doesn’t/won’t support Flash” topic. Thanks to my personal Buddha, Paul Eng, for alerting me to Steve Job’s explanation in Thoughts on Flash. I won’t summarize the article here, so read it for yourself. Jobs closes with his 2 cents for Adobe: “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

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Expectations of Apple’s iPhone 4G

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 23, 2010 in Mobile

Rumors surrounding the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 4G are spreading like wildfire all over the Internet. I’m sure tight-lipped Steve Jobs loves every minute of it. Who needs a multi-million dollar marketing campaign when people all over the Internet are talking about buying the phone before it or its specs have even been officially released?

If the rumors are true, according to phonesreview.co.uk’s article, New iPhone 4G: Release Date and 2010 Expectations, “The new iPhone 4G is expected to feature a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, which will help low-light picture-taking abilities, improved SGX545 graphics processor core, compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics API, OpenCL and OpenGL 3.2, improved battery and OLED screen, we also mentioned not so long ago about the new iPhone featuring 64GB NAND flash memory, and could there possibly be a front-facing camera.” There are also rumors of a built-in FM transmitter and a GPS, camera, compass and Google map combination that will identify a photograph’s location and provide information about the location to the user.  In addition, the external look is expected to have a comparatively sleeker design with a rubber-tread backing and a glowing Apple logo on the rear of the phone.

The biggest change, however, has to do with the Apple ambitions to expand to multiple carriers.  AT&T is allegedly losing exclusivity to the iPhone. As “iPhone is Apple’s biggest money maker,” according to Robert Holland, author of  iPhone 4G, Apple Still Has Secrets, opening the iPhone to multiple carriers will immediately expand their market and sales.  In fact, phonesreview.co.uk’s article revealed that, “Verizon wireless has already stated they have beefed up their network to cope with additional iPhone traffic which leads one to believe that they too believe they will eventually gain the iPhone, perhaps iPhone 4G 2010.”  While Apple has benefited from their exclusivity deal with AT&T, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to continue to limit iPhone profits by restricting them to one carrier. Many have tried to predict when Apple will put the iPhone 4G’s on the market. First the iPhone 4G was rumored to be released in April, then it was May, but really it will probably be mid-summer which is when Apple has traditionally released its previous iPhones.

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Social Media Empowers Citizens to Change Public Policy

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 22, 2010 in Social Media

The founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, recently wrote an article entitled, How Social Media Can Effect Real Social and Governmental Change, where he compared the historical policymakers to the bloggers of today.  Basically, his article was premised on the belief that social media has always been around but the vehicle through which we use it has changed. For example, Newmark writes, “Martin Luther brought church abuses to light and initiated the Protestant Reformation through his 95 updates (theses), and Thomas Paine spread his blog (printed pamphlets) about democracy to the masses in the ramp up to the American Revolution.”  While I understand his point, that people have always influenced government and reform, I think he glosses over the fact that today’s social media raises awareness like never before because it’s more accessible to larger audiences.

Newmark does, however, acknowledge the speed with which social media can effect change today as opposed to the times of Martin Luther King or Thomas Paine.  Newmark writes, “A great example of this is SeeClickFix, where you can use a smartphone to take a picture of a problem, geo-tag it, add a comment, and send it to the civic authorities who can fix it.” In the past, you would have to actually contact a person – if you could figure out who to contact – to have this problem fixed.  You would have had to explain the problem and someone probably would have had to visit the scene before repairs could even start.

Today’s social media has also created more government accountability and transparency than ever before.  In his interview with ourblook.com’s, Scott Burns, co-founder of GovDelivery said, “Agencies can now get instant feedback on outcomes and citizen satisfaction.“  Furthermore, “[w]ith accountability and visibility comes continuous improvement.” Consequently, lawmakers can no longer drag their feet and hide behind the bureaucracy. Social media creates a space where a diverse group of citizens, that may have never run in the same social or professional circles, to organize around a common purpose and use the power of a group rather than an individual to affect change; thereby forcing lawmakers to act promptly and efficiently.  Burns put it best when he said, “technology is the biggest opportunity we have to make citizens better citizens and government better government.”

Thus, while citizen have provoked change throughout history, the power citizens have today is unprecedented and will continue to grow as generation Y grows up.  The social media of today presents a new set of opportunities as it creates a forum for people to organize and fight for change effectively merely by clicking a button. Furthermore, transparency and accountability that comes as a result of social media demands lawmakers to respond and act quickly and efficiently.

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Smart Coupons

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 21, 2010 in Shopping

Coupon clipping has been around since 1887 when, according to The History of Coupons and Promotional Codes, one of the partners of Coca-Cola helped launch the company into the public eye by using the first coupon as an innovative advertising technique.   Since then, coupons have become a popular marketing tool and a vehicle through which millions of families save money.  Although paper coupons are still around today, the proliferation of the Internet and e-commerce has created a need for online printable coupons and promotion codes.  In her article, Web Coupons Know Lots About You, and They Tell, Stephanie Clifford, explains the emerging technology of coupons best when she says, “A new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, is packed with information about the customer who uses it.”

Today, innovative companies like RevTrax are making coupons work for retailers by providing information about the coupon holder. For example, the information contained in RevTrax’s smart coupons allows its retailers to learn about their demographic and how they shop.  Additionally, retailers can now test marketing strategies on a small customer base before spending thousands or millions of dollars on a huge advertising campaign. Then, once a full-fledge marketing plan is launched retailers can get direct feedback on how well their marketing plan is working. Finally, it allows retailers to connect with customers on a more personal level, by sending customer-specific follow-up offers or a simple thank-you note.

Loss of anonymity is a worry that many people have with these smart coupons.  However, the benefits can be great. Instead of receiving a lot of coupons to places you never shop, the goal of smart coupons is to deliver them only to people who will use them. Moreover, if a company sees that you love to buy a certain brand of shoes, they could send you a coupon when a shipment of that brand of shoes is comes in.  Not only will this drive traffic into the store, it benefits the customer with insider knowledge and a discount to boot.

As an avid shopper, I would gladly give up some information about myself and my shopping habits in order to get a great deal on a product I really want or need. What do you think about smart coupons?

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Adobe v. Apple Standoff

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 19, 2010 in Products

Has the long-running rivalry between Steven Jobs and Adobe Flash finally come to a head?  Although no law suit is currently pending, rumors of a possible law suit spread like wildfire after Apple changed its SDK language; thereby keeping Flash off iPhone and iPad platforms.   While neither party is commenting about the potential suit, the relationship between Apple and Adobe has been contentious for quite some time.  This is evidenced in Mel Martin’s article, Rumor: Adobe to sue Apple over SDK rules, where Jobs called Adobe “‘buggy,’ littered with security holes, and a ‘CPU hog.’”

Further evidence of their tumultuous relationship appears in Cade Metz’s article, Adobe to sue Apple ‘within weeks,’ says report, which quotes Adobe platform evangelist Lee Brimelow as telling Apple to “Go screw yourself.”

For now, only time will tell if anything will come of these rumors or even under what basis Adobe could sue Apple.   What we can be sure of is a law suit will take years before there is a final resolution.

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Facebook’s Safety Renovation

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 15, 2010 in Social Media

In the aftermath of the murder of Ashleigh Hall (a 17-year-old U.K. girl who was duped by a man who posed as a teenager on Facebook), and the suicide of Pheobe Prince after being subjected to relentless cyber-bullying, Facebook has overhauled its Safety Center.  The new Safety Center provides information for teens, parents, law enforcement officials, educators and general users to help protect themselves against sex offenders, scammers, bullies and other delinquents. Still some believe that Facebook needs to do more to keep its users safe.

This Monday, Jim Gamble, the head of Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) met with Facebook executives in Washington to convince them to embed a “panic button” on every page to enable users to report disturbing contacts with a single click. Currently, Facebook has a “report abuse” button at the bottom left corner of each profile.

However, according to Vicki Barker’s article, Child Safety Group Fights For Facebook ‘Panic Button’, “Facebook . . . says it has experimented with a panic button similar to what the British child protection agency advocates, and found that reports of abuse did not rise but fell.” In fact, “Facebook says its existing monitoring system is constantly reviewed;” and “Incidents of bullying or approaches by pedophiles are extremely rare.” While Facebook has agreed to place a panic button on a page it had already set up for reporting abuse, the CEOP believes it is only effective if it is on every page.

In contrast, Larry Magid, author of Facebook rejects suggested ‘Panic Button’ for pages, questions the necessity and usefulness of putting a panic button on every page. According to Magid, “The number of young people who have been harmed by a stranger they met online is extremely low and, even in those few tragic cases, the victim has always willingly met up with the abuser. The Hall case is evidence of this as she clearly never suspected she was in any danger and therefore would not have used the panic button.

But what about Phoebe Prince and others subjected to the same kind of cyber-bulling? Magid believes that most cases of Internet “abuse” have more to do with problems in relationships than with crimes and are not issues for law enforcement. I have to respectfully disagree. Maybe if Prince had the ability to push a panic button, Facebook could have at least stopped her abusers from bullying her online. Now we will never know.

However, it does seem clear that a “panic button” alone is not going to stop abusers from using the Internet for their own twisted pleasure. Rather, a panic button in conjunction with appropriate supervision and education that teaches children and adults how to protect themselves from online abusers is likely to be the most beneficial for all social media users.

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Consumer Reports Video: E-reader Showdown: iPad vs. Kindle

Posted by Grant Hansen on Apr 14, 2010 in Products

Keep in mind, Consumer Reports compares the iPad and Kindle as e-readers, which I think is how it should be! Paul Eng and Paul Reynolds have a nice back-and-forth debate. What’s your opinion?

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The WePad YouTube Video Channel

Posted by Grant Hansen on Apr 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

WePadStill lots of buzz about the WePad, and finally there’s a YouTube Channel so you can see it in action. Without any voice over instructions of what’s going on, you don’t get any in-depth insight into the functionality or interface, but the video does show it in action. I like you you can either use a mouse or touch screen thanks to the USB port, and I imagine the same goes for a keyboard. I also like the right-side thumbnail showing the entire canvas and where you are as you scroll.

And no, we still don’t have info on pricing or a launch date, although a “well-known reporter” is due to test run the WePad later this month. Stay tuned for more info.

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What Are Apps Worth?

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 13, 2010 in apps

Although five years ago there was no app industry, today the app economy is growing rapidly and could top $20 billion in just a couple of years, says Wendy Kaufman, author of Mobile Apps Market Scales Up From Zero To Billions. But if roughly 80% of all apps are free and most of the others cost 99 cents, how does the app industry make any money at all?  Read Kaufman’s article to learn more about it.

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Keep Your Children Safe from Online Stranger Danger

Posted by Julie Gottlieb on Apr 8, 2010 in Online Safety

In the past, parents did not have to worry about stranger danger in their homes.  Today, any semi-computer savvy strangers can virtually enter your home at anytime.  This is why it is so important to monitor our children when they are surfing the Internet.  That is why Daily Biz Site’s article, Online Safety For Kids: Here Are Some Great Tips is so important.  Read this  article to learn how to keep you children safe online.

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