Monday, July 25, 2011

Back it up! Even on your phone

I see it everyday, someone's phone dies and there's no way to get back the pictures they have taken. It's sad especially when some really important pictures are gone forever. That's why it's important to back up everything, even your cell phone.

There many services that back up your phone's information wirelessly. Verizon Wireless now provides Backup Assistant for free but it only backs up your contact list. For Android, iPhone and Blackberry, users can turn to an app or platform specific software to backup all of their phone's data.

For your average flip phone though it take a little more work to make sure your data is safely backed up. You should make yourself aware of your phone's features, such as if it has a place for a memory card or not.
As you're setting up a process to back up your phone's it will be necessary to know it's limitations.

A good rule of thumb to follow in backing up data is "3, 2, 1." There should be 3 total copies and that includes the original. 2 of those copies need to be on different forms of media and 1 copy should be off site (ie a wireless backup service).

Due to the limitations of your phone you may not be able to complete all aspects of these strategies. But the closer you can get to it the better.

If your camera phone does not have a place for a microSD memory card you can send your pictures to your email address through text messaging. Double check your cell phone plan as certain charges apply.

Most carriers offer data transfer and you can have your contacts and pictures saved to a USB thumb drive. They may charge for the service but it's a quick and simple process.

Data backup is important, especially now that phones take place of our address books and photo albums. Don't think backing up, do it before it's too late.

How Android can save Blackberry

It has come to the point that even Blackberry enthusiasts can't deny the trouble that RIM is in. Originally losing ground to the iPhone, the loss of market share has increased with the Android onslaught. The flop of the PlayBook, a quarter filled with poor results, and now the cutting of 2,000 jobs makes the future of Blackberry look even more grim.

Take a look at a Blackberry today and it's almost exactly the same as it was three years ago. In that time they've released Blackberry OS 5.0, and 6.0 with 7.0 on the way. But the user interface hasn't changed that much and Blackberry App World feels sparce compared to the Apple Store and Android Market.

There's such a mixed bag of news coming out of Waterloo, I won't make any predictions about the future of RIM. There are signs pointing to the possibility of change but there are also omens of a lingering head-in-sand mentality. RIM has plenty of cash to keep them on life-support for a while but they do need to turn things around fast before it turns into an unstoppable avalanche.

Recently an annonymous high-level RIM employee sent an open letter to the founders, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. In it he/ she addresses the problem causing the pain at RIM, much attributed to a lack of concern for the end-user experience. The anonymous writer cites plenty of other issues that need to fixed, such as creating a brand people can relate to and not allowing carriers and lawyers to make all the decisions.

While the official response to the letter was vague at best, there are other things coming out of RIM that give me hope for their future. The PlayBook didn't have a fighting since RIM foolishly released it without native email support but the QNX PlayBook OS shows promise. It's in the new OS's developer centric benfits that points towards a new shift in strategies at RIM.

There are two key points that suggest that Blackberry will someday be more appealing to developers. The first made a big splash when originally announced, the PlayBook will support Android application compatibility. The other, which was a little more obscure, is a soon to be released native development kit that allows developers to take advantage of C and C++ to write performance-sensitive parts of the QNX applications.

Enticing developers to be excited about their platform is a huge step in the right direction. If they are then willing to improve upon the user experience then Blackberry has a shot of being market competitor again.

But is this too little, too late? That's where Android steps in. The "app player" gives thrid-part Android apps the ability to run on the QNX OS. If that system can be put in place on the new touch-screen capable phones coming from Blackberry then the instant increase in apps would make consumers rethink the Blackberry platform.

Being able to run Android apps on the BB OS isn't going to guarantee a successful future for RIM but what it would do is prevent the snowball effect that's threatening RIM. There a dangerously dismissive attitude towards Blackberry these days. They need to quickly show that they're making the right decisions for the future.

The move to quickly add to it's app base would be similar to the strategy Google employed with Android in the early days. Google's focus was to make the platform open and foster a community of developers. Blackberry needs to do the same to keep from running out of steam for good, instantly benefitting from making more apps available via Android.

These days I don't know many people opting for Blackberry. I still have a nostalgic love for the platform therefore I hope it makes a comeback. If Android apps were made available on the handheld I would be intrigued enough to give it a try.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Google+ will soon suck

I absolutely love Google+, in fact I'm starting to devote an unhealthy amount of time to it. Google's incorporation of Circles, Huddle and Hangouts has made for an awesome social experience. I also love the people on there, we all have common interests such as our love for Google, tech industry experience, and understanding of social. Above all else, what I love about Google+ is that it's not Facebook.

That last point may lose it's validity as Google+ is set to copy one of the most annoying aspects of Facebook, social games. Before I go on I want to say I understand it's a cash cow and that users spend inordinate amounts of time on Facebook because of it. Since I'm not into the gaming side though the hundreds of game requests I receive is just annoying spam.

But that's just part of the inevitable. The new social network is rapidly growing, just passing the 20 million mark. As it grows the noise is going to get louder, filled with spammers and trolls. My disappointment with Google though is it's apparent hurriedness to monetize the site.

The move to usher in a gaming platform that fosters spam seems so uncharacteristic of Google. The passion of Google comes from the founder's obsessive search of data. Larry and Sergey have said they want to connect everybody to all the world's knowledge. How does adding a gaming platform to it's social site work towards bringing together the world's data?

It's like moving into a new neighborhood that's in the early stages of being built. There's not a lot of people around so it's a nice and quiet area. You had to be invited so you do have a feeling of achievement getting accepted. You understand that it won't stay that way forever though because it is developing at a fast pace but you decide to just enjoy the laid back feel while you have it. But then instead of building the school down the street as planned, the developers put in a nightclub. Your peaceful neighborhood Has been ruined by the undesirable crowd that pours in. You now wake in the mornings to trash lining the streets from the night before.

Last month, Kara Swisher from All Things D reported that a games network was likely coming next on Google+.

At the time, a spokesperson issued this statement: “It’s important to keep in mind this is an ongoing project and this is just the beginning. We plan to add a lot of features and functionality to Google+ over time. We’re just excited to get started.”

I would like to say that if Google ends up realizing that it's a horrible mistake they can just take it away. But once it's implemented the damage will be done. The spamming crowd will be ushered in and our news feed will be graffitied by inordinate amounts of game invites.

The one saving grace is that grouping has been done right through Google Circles. Those that I follow that think it's ok to ask me ten times a day to milk their cow will be put in the circle that's ignored.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Google now checks your computer for malware.

Head to Google and you may be greeted with a warning stating that your computer is infected by malware. 

The move from Google to start notifying it's users malware began when it's engineers noticed unusual activity coming in while doing routine maintenance at one of it's data centers. Damian Menscher, a security engineer at Google, wrote in a blog post, "After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or 'malware,'" 

The nature of the malware sends traffic to Google from infected computers through multiple proxies. "We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their antivirus software and remove the infections," says Menscher.

If you don't see the alert from Google, it doesn't mean that your computer is completely clean. Google is currently targeting this specific piece of malware. If you do get the notice though, Google does provide a link instructing how to remove it.

Google already announced plans to start notifying users of it's Chrome browser with warnings about malicious downloads.

Google states that they make money when people use the internet, therefore they have a vested interest in the health of the net. Providing "healthcare" to the online community ensures it's continuing success.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Got a question? Is Quora and Yahoo Answers the best resource?

Everyday I'm asked questions and depending on the question I may not readily have it available. For the most part I am able to answer them all without much delay. The reason is, as Leo Laporte puts it, I've outsourced my brain. Where as on his radio and netcast shows he utilizes a chatroom full of knowledgeable listeners, I ask the all knowing Google.

It's not that Google itself is the source for answers but a directory of where to find what I'm looking for. And since Google focuses on relevance and speed, I normally find what I need without spending much time resubmitting a search query or searching via alternate methods. So do I need a specialized site of questions & answers?

Picture from Digital Trends
There was a lot of buzz (no that's not a Google pun), around when it first launched. The site boasts itself as a crowd-sourced Q&A community. The debate from it's launch was how could it be different than Yahoo Answers. Yahoo Answers allowed you to post a question and have a community answer it for you. The problem however was a lack of a community so questions could go without being answered or answers weren't properly being crowd-sourced.

Quora was suppose to be different. He was being hyped up by the tech community and the site looked promising. Today was the first time in two months that I had logged in. I had been highly active in the beginning answering questions multiple times a day and even asking a few myself. It's not that anything turned me off to the site but it started being neglected as I prioritized it less and less.

I didn't have a shortage of questions though. However when I needed a question answered I would turn my browser to Google and type the question into the search box, question mark and all. Most of the time I get the answer instantaneously. So why is there a need for specialized Q&A sites?

The answer for Quora at least may not be to grow a huge community to hit critical mass but rather create a platform to be integrated into other sites and organizations. On July 19th, three reporters from the New York Times answered questions on Quora by it's members. The Quora platform is great for a forum like this because even if you don't have a question to ask you can still watch the conversation unfold from Quora's real-time commenting ability.

This may be the next big thing to hit the social world. With Facebook, Google+, and Twitter essentially becoming large silos hording users it's going to be extremely difficult if not flat out impossible to dethrone any of them. Even at the latest Facebook announcement, Zuckerberg stated that their focus was less on gaining subscribers and more on increasing content shared and being a platform for developers to create on top of.

Where Facebook wants to be a new the next platform people develop for what if a site like Quora focused on being a specific Q&A platform to be integrated into blogs, sites, and other web applications. To clarify having users and members join the site is still important but Facebook is so big that it's growth will naturally slow down and a site like Quora isn't going to "steal" users from anywhere.

But if Quora changed it's focus to being a full Q&A solution that could be easily integrated on a site then it would have a different business strategy that would be easier to succeed at. As Facebook's subscriber growth slows, the social behemoth has diversified itself. Now sites can integrate Facebook to handle comments and posts by readers, all they need to do is enter in their Facebook login.

In a web environment where communities and social networks are easily reached to find help, a niche Q&A site like Quora may not gain momentum for it's intended purpose. Most startups though do go through quite a bit of change as they grow and I believe that Quora shows much promise, just not in the Q&A world.

I made some pretty bold predictions with this posting, please let me know if you agree or disagree! And for the record, I love Quora. I just think it needs to be adaptive to be truly successful. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Invites to Spotify, Google+, music beta, and the list goes on...

It seems here lately that we are  being bombarded by beta invites. New services are launching left and right from not only startups but established tech giants as well. Even Pandora is preparing for the launch of their new HTML5 site beginning with a slow rollout to it's users.

The highlight for me was just two short weeks ago when I set up my profile on Google+ just a day after it launched. I felt like I was part of the tech industry elite. There was hardly anyone on there when you compared it to Facebook's 750 million users. When I posted on very well known tech celeb's page I would sometimes get a response, good luck that happening on Twitter or Facebook!

But just like a trendy new club it filled up fast and suddenly I found it harder to virtually rub elbows with the likes of Brian Brushwood and Iyaz Akhtar. What had happened? Now on their profiles there were upwards of fifty to a hundred comments! They'll never here me now! It was Google offering more and more invites and the lack of access had made the service even more in demand.

As the luster of Google+ wore off a new service was coming in to take it's place in the technology headlines. Spotify, the popular UK based music streaming service, was coming to the US. Where my social streams were once filled with good internet samaritans displaying offers of Google invites, now they're filled with ways of signing up for Spotify without signing up for an invite.

I have to wonder with so many services offering invites, it it because they truly need beta testers or is it because slowly offering a service drives up demand? For the larger companies there could be the need to do a slow rollout to make sure their servers can handle the traffic. Google is after all notorious for keeping their services in beta for extremely long periods.

Maybe I'm just looking at this with a cynical point of view. There has been a recent internet boom that has ushered in a new wave of great products, which statistically would increase the amount of services giving out beta invites (Google+ and Spotify are not in beta).

There is a rush that comes with getting in on a service that isn't open to everybody. It's human nature to get such a response from exclusivity regardless of which side you're own. Those on the inside feel great about being part of the "in-crowd" and those left out are still staring in. I'm guilty of this myself but if every company adopts this strategy then it could quickly lose it's effectiveness.

After signing up for four invites (and quickly receiving) in the past month, I 'm starting to lose the rush from getting in. If invites are given out for technical reasons then there's a good reason to do so. But if companies plan on using invites as a strategy to drum up excitement then their customers may start feeling invite fatigue.

In case you still need a Spotify invite head over to Giga Om and fill out the form.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More devices than people on the net

This is an interesting infographic created by Cisco Systems and recently posted on Giga Om. In 2008 more devices than people were connected to the internet. This is a trend that is only going to grow, as displayed in the infographic.

Recently one of my contacts in corporate Verizon Wireless was describing their plan. Currently in the area I live Verizon Wireless has over 60% penetration rate and I asked how can they expect to grow past that. His answer was that they expect to someday be at 500% penetration.

Instead of just connecting phones to your wireless service Big Red wants to connect everything such as your home's thermostat so that you can control the temperature in your house remotely. Forgot to out the lights? No problem, just pull out your phone and hit the switch.

He also went into describing how Verizon Wireless will be switching to family share data. Instead of data being billed on each individual line it will be billed on the account level as a whole. Account level billing is expected to take effect at the end of 2011 and this may usher in the data share ability. This all ties together with Verizon Wireless hoping to someday bill you $80 for 10gbs of data and have 5 appliances on your wireless account sending/ receiveing data.

Friday, July 15, 2011

If you break the rules on Google+, you may lose all Google services

Google requires it's users to be at 13 years of age to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. In the Netherlands last week, a 10 year old boy who already uses Gmail, signed up for Google+. Alex, the young Google user, was kicked off all Google services for breaching the Terms and Services (TOS). Not only was he kicked off but he is required to show proof of age within 29 days to prevent all of his Google accounts from being deleted. Of course he can't.

My gut reaction to this is disgust with Google and it's for a couple of reasons. I'm not a fan any site restricting access to anyone, except in cases of adult content; but even that can sometimes be misconstrued into something it's not such as in the early days of adult content blocking when information on breast cancer was being restricted.

The other aspect that caught me off guard was how did they find out? Normal TOS asks you your age as you are signing up for the service. Even if it doesn't ask that question where did the information come from that said Alex was under 13? The algorithm at Google looks at everything but what human eyes are also looking at everything?

Again these were gut reactions but why is Google, in my opinion, overreacting? Lately the Plex has been under intense scrutiny from the Government. Therefore I can understand them wanting to make sure that the TOS is being followed, especially the part of it that pertains to young children.

Just because I understand though doesn't mean that I agree. The problem is that entities who have no business policing the net are trying to do just that. The reason our government is unqualified to police the net is because they don't understand it and show no signs of ever making an effort to embrace it. In this situation it should be left up to the parents to decide whether or not allow their child on Google+.

I still have a problem with all services and accounts under Alex's profile being deleted. Unfortunately though that has to happen if Google shines the light on him at all. It's a simple all-or-none call in a program like policy process. Google's TOS applies to all Google services therefore it has to carry out all aspects of their terms in all areas that it refers to.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Please, I would love to hear your take on this. Leave your response in the comment fields below.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Amazon, Kindle and a new love for ads!?!?

Amazon is now offering an ad supported Kindle 3G for $139 and a WiFi version for only $114. The device which comes with a corporate sponsorship from AT&T prompted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to thank the wireless carrier.

“A big thank you to AT&T for helping to make the new $139 price possible.” -Jeff Bezos

One form of the device's ads comes as sponsored screensavers. Early sponsors include Buick, Chase, Olay, and Visa. Amazon which normally stays silent on specific numbers hasn't released any information on sales of the new device. Looking at the best seller list where the device is now showing up suggests that consumers are willing to tolerate ads in favor of lower prices.

This may be an indication of where other industries are headed. As middle men are removed from the content creator to consumer chain it will be more of a direct benefit to the creator to include ads and sponsorships. As long as it's helping to reduce the price for the consumer then the inclusion of ads may be welcomed. It's still can be a narrow road to traverse. Include ads in an annoying spot or feature them in an intrusive way and your product may be tarnished.

The new way to present commercials is best shown by today's netcasters, especially by Leo Laporte and his netcast, This Week in Tech (TWiT). The shows include the traditional ad spots but it's done in a unique fashion. Advertisers are always relevant to the audience and the spot is always spoken by Leo or the host of the program. Not only is relevant but it's very conversational and is almost always transitioned to by a well played segue. As an avid listener I hear about Square Space everyday but it has yet to get old since it just feels like part of the conversation.

The video game industry has been using in game ads for a while in the mobile realm but it's starting to take hold in the console market. It's been around in terms of product placement just as the movie industry has done but now TV style commercials are showing up during load times. This doesn't bother me too bad except that load screens are annoying in the first place and generally breaks the feeling of immersion.

One example though of how not to do it is in the game Wipeout HD for PS3 which plays a current Honda Civic commercial during load screens. I downloaded the game for free as an apology from Sony for getting hacked and not having their network up for almost a month. It may not have been planned by Sony, or it may have, but having ads to pay for a product that was suppose to be a loss for the company is frustrating. If it wasn't a "gift" and I was thinking about buying the game I would choose a $4.99 ad supported version of a $14.99 non ad supported game.

As technology gives us the ability to include new features such as this new business models will form and prices will come down. During these new economically driven tech revolutions we will feel the pain of trial and error. Some companies will get it right while others will horrifically get it wrong. I'm all about using ads to lower the price of goods, that is until it feels like the old days of broadcast TV.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sorry Mark, I shouldn't have killed the messenger

I will admit that I have been over critical of Mark Zuckerberg. There have been times that he has messed, such as changing privacy settings on everyone's Facebook account. But this mistake has left a sour taste in my mouth and every new Facebook feature has felt like an attack on privacy.

It hasn't even been a month since I wrote the post blasting Facebook for their newest feature that uses facial recognition software to add tags of people you know in pictures. There was definitely a sensation of fear that went through me that made me worry about my online privacy.

What has changed in the past month? I was one of the lucky few that got into Google+, the new Google property that has been called a Facebook clone. I've been a fan since day one. It's easy to share things that I want to share and it has a very open feel. Right from the start I had no preconceived notion that I had an privacy on the site and I was fine with that!

Once I came to the realization that I was fine with Google not trying to protect privacy it hit me that I should be fine with Facebook not respecting it either. I don't mean that as a backhanded compliment. Facebook started before we even new what social meant so there has been changes and there has been growing pains. We have been hurt by Facebook but then again it would be naive to think any company or platform could be perfect.

The biggest thing that is hurting Facebook from a perception standpoint is that most people joined with an expectation to privacy. Social isn't about privacy but about being open.

The thing that everyone needs to remember is that you shouldn't put anything on the internet that you don't want everyone to see. The internet never forgets and once some thing is on the net it can never truly be removed.

I'm not saying that Facebook doesn't have transgressions against it's users, far from it. Part of the reason I've been so critical of Facebook in the past comes from it's mishandling of user's trust and information. At the same time though we can't expect any entity on the net to be the protector of our privacy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Apple wants you to think you're missing something

Apple's latest TV spots are a continuation on "if you don't have an iPhone then you don't have an iPhone." This time however they would like you to believe that Facetime and Airplay are two features you can't live without or even find replacements for.

Facetime is the service embedded in iOS devices that allow you to video call with another Facetime user. I was very excited about this when I first saw it but then the luster quickly went away when I felt the constraints of being tied to WiFi to use the service.

Fortunately a friend of mine pointed out Tango. Tango is a similar service that not only lets you make video calls on cellular data but it's also available on multiple platforms. Now I can make video calls from my iPhone to my Android friends. The service works so well that I prefer it over Facetime on iPhone to iPhone calls.

The Airplay ad showcases streaming music to your stereo and video to your TV. It's not until the very end that you see the fine print that both WiFi and Airplay enabled devices are required in addition to your iPhone to utilize this feature.

Both Blackberry and Android users have products and apps available to them to stream content as well. Most Android devices include a mini-HDMI out port on them that allows you to not only stream HD video to your TV but gives you the ability to play games on a bigger screen as well. I also have a small BlueTooth adapter that allows me  to stream audio to any stereo that has a 3.5mm input port, no WiFi required. I can also easily hook my Android up to friend's TV or stereo, I don't think it would be practical to do the same with Airplay.

I have both Android and iPhone so I don't want to sound like I'm just dogging Apple. I think the iPhone is a great piece of hardware but I really prefer the openess of Android. Unfortunately the only thing Apple's willing to be open about is their arrogance.

It's not that these features are sub-par, by no means is that what I'm trying to point out. What I can't stand is this elitist attitude around Apple products. Of course if you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone! Come on Apple, tone down your ads.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Surprisingly Barnes & Noble gets it

Currently there is a change happening in our paradigms towards brick and mortar shops and online retailers. The best way of viewing a tangible expression of this change is by looking at the relationship between the physical Barnes & Noble and the online version.

Most understand the gist of roles that brick and mortar and online fill. Brick and mortar has a building, electricity, employees and physical goods that it has to pay for. Online has no physical space and very little employees; what it sells can have an inventory cost of nothing therefore the online channel can charge much less for it's goods. In the past this has caused tension between the physical retail channel and the online channel as they compete for the same customers.

The decision a customer has to make is do I want it now at a higher price or can I wait a few days to have it shipped and save money. A change in tide has happened and now the online channel can provide these same goods instantaneously in certain markets such as the publishing industry. Now that we can get books instantly from online at a much lower cost then two aspects of eBooks will be the only downside of going online. The first is resistance to adopting new technology, the eReaders are very simple to operate but there will still be those that will not want to pick up something that's different. The second is personal preference, which some people just love the feel and nostalgia of a physical book.

While there are still stores out there battling internal civil wars between online and retail, Barnes & Noble seems to have embraced the whole concept of marrying the two channels. Walk into any B&N store and you will be greeted by a Nook eReader demo station, normally manned by someone more than willing to show how the device operates. Take a look at the best seller list and now you will also be shown what the eReader price is.

Is any one channel cannibalizing the other? There may come a time when the retail channel is sending more profits towards the way of online but both channels will be needed to ensure the success of the company as a whole. Even though I have almost completely switch to reading eBooks I still prefer going to the store, browsing the shelves to find my next read. I'll buy one of their ridiculously priced coffees and spend an hour in the store shifting through the assortment of books. There is a lot of money being spent on me to visit a physical space but it is required for B&N to secure their brand as my eBook reading platform.

I am an anomaly and you may be one too if you're reading a blog about IT. You know that there are multiple places to purchase eBooks and can quickly do a simple price check between B&N's eBook store and Amazon's Kindle store but a majority of new eBook adopters may not know of all of the options out there. That's where B&N's retail locations are giving them an upper-hand  in the online battle. Joe Schmoe who is in a B&N retail location sees that the eBook price is $7 cheaper than the physical edition. With interest piqued he heads over to the eReader display and an associate then sells him a Nook. From now on Mr. Schmoe will be purchasing eBooks from B&N's online bookstore rather than the Kindle store.

The retail landscape is changing drastically but at the same time it's not becoming completely irrelevant. What if decided to open up a retail space? There would be a significant amount of buzz around it but the real focu would to be getting the potential eBook customer in and finding a way of putting a Kindle in their hands.

Most of the tech community probably favors Amazon since it's been so prominent in our online lives. But the retail focus is what will make B&N online a sleeper competitior.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Droid 3 released today from Verizon Wireless

The summer is upon us and while Christmas is the big release season for the wireless industry we do have a few summer blockbusters arriving.

The Motorola Droid 3 comes out today and will be in stores July 14th. The device sports a larger screen than the two previous iterations coming in at 4" which is the same as the Incredible 2. Now there is an extra row of keys on the keyboard much like a desktop qwerty keyboard with the numbers on a dedicated row. The screen is a qHD with a resolution of 960x540, that's 26% more pixels than the Droid 2. Other features include a front facing camera and an HDMI out port. An 8mp camera on the back will be able to record 1080p.

The most talked about feature is that the processor which is not the Dual-Core Tegra 2 but instead  Texas Instruments OMAP 4 dual-core processor still clocked in at 1gh. This is a very fast processor that has many fans. The Tegra2 was marketed well but this may be a better processor. (Tell us what you think about it in the comments)

There's only a few issues that I have with the device. When I first saw the spec sheet I noticed that it didn't include a microSD card. No big deal, I have a ton. But then I saw the device and the truth comes out, there is no longer a place for expandable memory! Android is following the lead of it's creator which is pushing the cloud. With services like Netflix, Google Music and such I can see why they would make this decision. However Android has a very geeky community and this may upset it's most loyal base.

Most customers are now expecting all of the new high-end Android phones to be LTE. This personally doesn't bother me, to be fair though I do get to play with all of the phones whenever I want. I'm also not lucky enough to live in an area that LTE. Sure I may go into an LTE area once a month but that's not enough to outweigh the current disadvantages. The main one being that battery life is almost non-existent on the LTE devices.

Now that Verizon no longer offers an annual upgrade this may be a tough decision for those on the fence. Verizon does have a very aggressive roll-out planned for LTE but that plan still goes through late 2013. For me I would wait on LTE.

Don't forget if you already have the unlimited data package you can stay on it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Facebook's Awesome New Announcement

At 1 pm EST Facebook will be announcing a new product. Stay tuned for updates.

There's lots of speculation around Facebook copying some sort of Google+ service such as video chat in a Hangout like service.

Google+ has caused a tsunami of buzz, no pun intended, in the social media world. The Google platform is not being being called a closed beta but rather a project. Invites to the service have been given sporadically and currently you cannot join even if you have an invite code.

The closing of invites has come from Google needing to deploy more servers to handle traffic to the service.

Watch the feed of the announcement at

Mark Zuckerberg has mentioned Season 2.7
Projects that have taken 6 months of development will be rolling out soon.

Mark Zuckerburg is giving narrative of social networking from the past 5 years.

Social will be everywhere. It's only a matter of time until it's billions of people on social whether its Facebook or someone else that they're using.

The next five years isn't about wiring up the world but what type of apps and services can you build out on top the existing network.

Social apps are going to be the focus of future development. The internet has hit its maturitys and now social is at that pivot.

What metrics do you use? It's not just about active users. Although they are looking forward to the billion mark.

You measure it by the value users are getting, how much time they spend and so forth.

The rate at which they're sharing is growing at an exponential rate. The amount of stuff they share today is twice as much as they did a year previously. In a year they will be sharing twice as more as they did today.

Humans are really bad at understanding exponential growth. Think of folding a napkin 50 times, how tall will it be? Most people say a few feet but it actually reaches the moon and back.

The amount of sharing per person is growing at a much faster rate than the 750 million users they have.

There wasn't that much to do on Facebook in 2004. As the site went on more features allowed more sharing such as photo albums and news feed.

Skype and Facebook are teaming up! Reported from a link inside | Not from Zuckerberg speech

Group chat, new design and video calling are the three announced services today.

Mark is stating that groups has been very important to Facebook. Now you can do ad hoc chat which is important to its users.

Group Chat, New Design, and Video Calling are pictured on a slide behind Mark.

Video calling is with Skype!!! Mark just said it.

Even if user you're calling hasn't downloaded a skype plug in they can still see that you're calling and then given the option to install plugin.

Mark says that independent developers are best in class in designing apps on top of social networks. This is better than one company doing everything.

Mark has said that they want to be the new ecosystem.

Mark has just walked off stage.

Go to to try the service now!

Video calling is currently unavailable with the Chrome browser.

The most exciting part is over. Now the developers are now demoing each product. Later I will post an in depth review about the services.

Group video chat is currently unavailable but don't count it out. The one to one aspect is the most important for of a relationship standpoint.

Mark is commenting on Google+. There are lots of imitators but now that Facebook is the social ecosystem your're going to start seeing apps built on top of the Facebook platform.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LinkedIn, my favorite place for tech news

It has been a few months since I originally noticed that LinkedIn Today appeared above my news feed. For a while I was completely ignoring it but then I started noticing that there were some news stories there that I hadn't seen any where else.

What's really cool about LinkedIn Today is that it's tailored to you based on your connections. It's what your "industry peers" are reading and sharing the most. Since I most of my connections are in the tech field most of my news feed is infused with tech related stories. It's also rarely repetitive, some of my other feeds I will see the same story multiple times just from different channels rehashing the story from the same source.

LinkedIn is often referred to as the site you go to when looking for either a new job or new employee. Here I have to say that they have done a surprisingly good job of making themselves more relevant.