Sunday, August 29, 2010

7 things think about when writing a SXSWi panel proposal

Now that voting is over for the proposed panels in the 2011 SXSW, I thought I would give some tips for those pitching panels for SXSW 2012. There are so many choices it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Please avoid these fatal mistakes to give your panel a fighting chance.


  1. Don't start off with a rant - Starting off with a rant makes you seem angry and defensive. You don't have to have an enemy to have a great topic. Try to stand on your own merits. If it's good, it will get picked.

  3. Stay away from social media 101 - Expect that most SXSW attendees are fairly social media savvy. Talking about why they should join the "social media movement" is preaching to the choir. The basics are boring and belittling. Rehashing what is already known does not advance the conversation.

  5. Don't tell me something is dead, or everything I know is wrong - What, Facebook is dead and I didn't notice? Really, I was just on it and it seemed like it was still working. AOL, Myspace and even Friendster is still around long after people declared they were dead. Also if you mean to say that I could be doing something better, just say that. don't say that I am doing it all wrong. Be clear and strait to the point.

  7. I'm from company x and I want to show you how my proprietary system can help you - Please don't pitch your product. No one want to go through a real life infomercial.

  9. Don't talk about the future unless you're on the planning team - If you are from the future and you reporting back, then by all means share your wisdom. If you have a theory on what may happen because of trends, then fine, phrase it as such. Passing on gut feeling as fact is a real turn off, and undermines the truth of any argument. The future of PayPal, and you work for PayPal = Good. The future of Twitter, and you don't work for Twitter = Bad.
  10. Privacy is important - This is nothing new. We know that sharing is cool, as long as it's the stuff you want to share. I think we are past the point where we need to be educated that our accounts can be hacked, or that everyone is not who they say they are on the internet. This ties into point #2 from above.

  12. Doing it solo when you need a team - There are panels that can present some really big ideas. Ideas that are too big and broad for one person to present. Just having other objective parties on a panel can inherently give legitimacy to a topic. A talk about the difficulties of search with the head of Google engineering is awesome. Having panelist there that also represent Yahoo and Bing makes it better. Google and search alone may be a good panel without other parties, because Google is seen as a leader. If you are giving a talk on a difficult subject, and you are not the leader, you better bring backup.

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Las Vegas woman missing for four months found dead under pile of junk in her house

The home of Billie Jean James (below) was cluttered with junk and rotting food, police say.
The home of Billie Jean James (below) was cluttered with junk and rotting food, police say.

A woman who lived her life as a pack rat was so good at hoarding her dead body remained hidden in her home four months after she died.

The woman's husband, Bill James, claims he had no idea his wife Billie Jean's corpse was under a ceiling-high pile of junk in their Las Vegas home.

Area cops scoured the house and even used dogs that were deployed to find bodies at Ground Zero, but never found Billie Jean's body.

It wasn't until this week that Bill James noticed his 67-year-old wife's feet sticking out from under a pile that the search came to an end.

"For our dogs to go through that house and not find something should be indicative of the tremendous environmental challenges they faced," police spokesman Bill Cassell told The Associated Press.

It may take months for an exact cause of death to be found, the police said.

The woman was last seen in April, police said, and a massive search of the desert ensued.

Cassell said the James' home was jam-packed with rotting food, clothes and reeked with horrible odors. Small paths for walking were carved out of the mess, he said.

Bill James defended his wife Friday, saying people shouldn't criticize their lifestyle.

"Yes there was clutter in the house and yes we found Billie underneath some stuff," he told KTNV in Las Vegas.

"This is really hard. I really don't need all the sensationalism," said.

"I'm really sick of it."

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Remove what from where? Orifice surgeries expand -

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Image: Connie Harris
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Connie Harris, 60, of Carlsbad, Calif., says she was up and around within days of undergoing unusual natural orifice surgery.

A California woman who says she’s has been dieting for 50 years believes she’s finally found the solution to her weight-loss woes: A doctor removed most of her stomach — through her mouth.

Connie Harris, 60, of Carlsbad, this month became the first patient in the U.S. to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy, a surgery that eliminates 80 percent of the stomach, using a new technique that removes organs and tissues not in the traditional way, but through natural bodily openings.

“I was expecting the worst, at least a sore throat, but my mouth was just dry,” Harris told while recuperating from home. “I’m feeling good.”

While weight loss was her main goal, Harris said she was happy to join about 150 other patients across the country who have had the unusual operations known as NOTES — natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery — aimed at reducing scarring, pain, infection and recovery time. In fact, it’s the main reason she chose her surgeon, Dr. Santiago Horgan, director of minimally invasive surgery at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center.

“This guy has done gallbladders out of your mouth, an appendix out of your mouth, and this very operation vaginally,” said Harris. “He pulls things out of everywhere and he has some serious skills.”

Orifice operations now more common
Once regarded as “highly experimental,” NOTES operations are now becoming more common, at least in the few centers that specialize. Harris and other patients who undergo the procedures agree to part be part of clinical trials to test the operations’ safety and effectiveness.

Horgan has performed two-thirds of the NOTES surgeries in the U.S., becoming a pioneer in a fledging field that began here with surgeries in animals, mostly pigs, in 2004.

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On the other side of the country, Dr. Marc Bessler, a surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, performed the first U.S. NOTES procedure on a human in 2007 by removing a woman’s gallbladder through her vagina.

Since then, the field has expanded, albeit slowly. Put simply: “It’s surgical procedures through different ports,” said Dr. Michael Kochman, co-chairman of the research committee for NOSCAR, the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research. NOTES and NOSCAR are trademarked terms.

The idea is to use a direct route to reach the organ, tumor or other tissue, make a small incision and then remove it through the same pathway. To remove a gallbladder through the mouth, for instance, a doctor would insert a tube down the esophagus, make a cut in the stomach or digestive tract, and then retract the organ and seal the wound. Other sites such as the vagina, rectum, urethra or bladder are also used.

Deciding the best way to remove an organ or tissue depends on the situation, Horgan said.

“From the gallbladder to the vagina, you have a straight shot,” he said. “I think the gastric sleeve surgery is better through the mouth.”

Less pain, faster recovery
The surgeries allow patients to avoid large external scars and reduce the pain and recovery time of surgery, he said. Patients in traditional operations can take six weeks to resume normal activities; with NOTES procedures they can be back to work in a week, Horgan said.

NOTES surgeries improve on laparoscopy by using no external incisions at all, experts said. In the meantime, some operations are done as hybrid procedures that use laparoscopy in conjunction with natural orifice removal.

Getting back to normal quickly was important to Harris, a retired real estate broker who says she was about 70 pounds overweight before the surgery. After yo-yo dieting since she was a teenager, she was willing to put the $21,000 bill on her credit card and go for it.

“The big thing was, I don’t have an incision in my stomach and I didn’t have to have my muscles cut,” she said. “Six days after the surgery, I went to the follow-up appointment and then we went to the mall.”

So far, NOTES operations have been tightly controlled and supervised, Horgan and Kochman stressed. Only about a dozen sites across the U.S. perform them, even though they’ve been widely done internationally. Clinical trials in humans comparing NOTES gallbladder surgeries with ordinary laparoscopic surgeries have begun, with the first of about 180 patients enrolled.

Early studies indicate that NOTES procedures cause less pain in patients and little infection or complications, said Dr. Daniel Scott, associate professor and director of the Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

More studies are needed, however, to confirm safety and efficacy, he added. In addition, expansion has been hampered by the slow development and approval of equipment specifically designed for NOTES surgeries. Traditional endoscopic devices work fine, but can be too flexible and not versatile enough for the trickiest surgeries.

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Perhaps hundreds of devices specifically designed for NOTES surgeries are in the works, but none has yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Kochman noted. 

In addition, doctors have to make sure to perfect techniques for sealing internal wounds to ensure that they are routinely secure and safe.

Idea still shocks many patients
But an even bigger hurdle may be the ick factor. For some patients, the notion of extracting an organ from their mouth or elsewhere is still shocking.

“Many times, when I tell a patient, ‘I want to operate through your vagina,’ they say ‘NO!’” Horgan said.

Gradually, though, some patients are getting used to the idea, and even asking for it. Horgan said he’s had people from as far away as Chicago want to come to San Diego after researching the operation on the internet. In the future, patients may be able to have kidneys, spleens and parts of the colon removed using NOTES procedures.

Right now, the only way to schedule a NOTES surgery is to go through a hospital where the procedure has been vetted by an institutional review board and a patient can join a clinical trial. But as many as 15 sites across the U.S. are ramping up to perform NOTES surgeries as soon as equipment, research and demand allows.

Experts say the caution around NOTES procedures mirror the concerns about laparoscopy when it was first introduced. But as far as patients like Connie Harris are concerned, it’s the way to go.

“When I tell people, they are just, you know, very surprised,” she said. “I can’t wait to get a copy of the video. It’s cool.”

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Digg add (please ignore)



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Cricket Launches First Android Handset, the Sanyo Zio

Pre-paid network operator Cricket has announced the immediate release of its first Android handset, the 3G-capable Sanyo Zio -- which also happens to be the first Android device from Kyocera/Sanyo as well.

Specs on this one are pretty middle-of-the-road. On the one hand, you're getting a 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen, 512MB ROM / 256MB RAM, and all the radios and sensors you could want, but then there's that 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 processor, 3.2-megapixel camera, and minor inconvenience of Android 1.6 Donut.

The 12.2 millimeter thin Zio, with its 1130mAh battery and promise of 6.9-hour talk time, retails for $250.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Intuit Squares Off In Mobile Credit, With A Little Help From Apple | Epicenter |

Look out, Square — you have a new competitor, and it should go on sale in Apple stores before month’s end.

Intuit and mophie have teamed on a credit card-swiping iPhone accessory called Complete Credit Card Solution that will allow any approved iPhone owner to walk out of an Apple store in as little as 15 minutes with the ability to accept credit card payments.

Unlike other solutions, this one comes with the attachment, the payment app, and a merchant account, also operated by Intuit. All you need to accept credit and debit cards is this product and a 3G or 3GS iPhone.

Intuit introduced a mobile payment product 18 months ago to help mobile professionals like plumbers accept payments on the go, but quickly realized that without that familiar credit card swipe, customers weren’t ready to use the app. In addition, feedback from Intuit customers and the buzz around new companies like the delayed Square, from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, demonstrated to Intuit that there was untapped demand to help local businesses swipe credit cards with iPhones in both stationary and mobile settings.

Intuit announced a partnership on Thursday with Apple accessory manufacturer mophie, which makes the one-million-plus-selling JuicePack battery supplement for the iphone, to create hardware for the $180 Create Credit Card Solution. Its card-swiping hardware fits onto the bottom of the iPhone, while the Intuit GoPayment app (also available separately) sends the money to an Intuit merchant account, also included. By the end of the month, Apple will sell the complete package in its retail outlets and on, according to Intuit.

The hardware attachment only works with the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Due to Apple’s policy not to alert accessory manufacturers about upcoming design changes (with one notable exception), Intuit and mophie have not yet been able to manufacture a version that works with the new iPhone 4 design, but they say they’re working on that. And for the iPhone 3G and GS, set-up is a snap, and does not require a long-term contract.

Customers at establishments using Intuit's GoPay app can now swipe credit cards rather than filling their information out manually.

“Something that’s important to Apple, because this is going to be sold in their stores, is they wanted it to be incredibly easy to communicate what it’s going to cost, and how quickly you’ll be up and running — and that you’re up and running before you leave the store,” said Ross Howe, mophie’s vice president of marketing and new business development.

“And also the fact that there’s no contract. Most merchant service providers require hefty contracts and incredible termination fees, and the fact that you can turn this on if you’re in a farmers’ market for the summer and then just call and cancel your account until next summer, for really reasonable rates — and there’s something to be said for that.”

About those rates: Complete Credit Card Solution from Intuit and mophie costs $12.95 per month regardless of how much or how little you use it. It also costs 1.7 to 3.7 percent of each transaction plus $.30 to $.40 per transaction. Those fees are competitive. (Assuming you can get your hands on the hardware, Square charges 2.75 percent plus 15 cents.)

But the big payoff here is that there are no long-term contracts, and $13/month isn’t a lot to pay for the ability to accept credit cards and a merchant account. Up to 50 sellers can funnel money into a single account, for the same price, and sellers can create preset buttons for certain items, just like at McDonalds.

Intuit is best known for its Quicken line of financial management software, but the company has also offered merchant accounts since 2001, so it has experience acting as the bank in a credit card-payment scenario.

In addition, said to Mary Lunneborg, Intuit’s GoPayment senior product manager, some customers who paid using the manual-card-number-entry test run trusted it more because they had heard of Intuit before. Both of these advantages are crucial, because people need to trust a product before they’re going to swipe their credit card into an iPhone and sign it with their fingers.

Mophie’s Howe said the system encrypts credit card information at the hardware level before it passes through the phone, through the app and its data connection, and stays encrypted all the way to Intuit’s cloud-based merchant account, providing end-to-end security even if a virus or hacker has compromised the phone itself.

“[The credit card and user information] is basically data that the hardware has encrypted, so the iPhone sees it as just an encrypted packet of data,” Howe told “It’s NSA-level DUKPT technology. The key is created at the time of manufacture and impossible to decrypt without that key, which is kept in two unique locations — on both sides. The credit card is not a secret, because it’s on the card, but it was important to Apple and for mophie and Intuit to have that security, so that if somebody did have a jailbroken phone, they’re still not going to be able to just use this as a card scanner.”

Go Payment app integrates tightly with Intuit Quickbooks, as one would expect, Complete Credit Card Solution users can access all of their sales data through the website and aren’t forced to use Intuit’s other software in order to use this package. And while users don’t need a merchant account, they will need another account for accepting cash and personal checks.

Customers sign with their fingers directly onto the iPhone's touchscreen.

Intuit’s Lunneborg said the Intuit/mophie offering beats Square because it includes a merchant account and requires no minimums, whereas Square pays out $1,000 per week into an account at an outside bank, increasing that limit “as it gets to know you.” And this system beats non-hardware apps such as PayPal’s because it can swipe credit card information securely rather than relying on people typing it in. And while Verifone has a hardware solution, Howe points out that it does not include a merchant account for actually accepting the payments.

Meanwhile, the advantage over a traditional credit card set-up is that it’s mobile and handheld, and allows retailers, service-people, and other salespeople to take normal credit cards without a standard terminal, and without relying on the customer to have certain hardware, the way Visa’s payment system will.

Follow us for disruptive tech news: Eliot Van Buskirk and Epicenter on Twitter.

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Mozilla launches Firefox 4 beta 4, rolls in Sync, Panorama tab manager | Software News - Betanews

Mozilla Tuesday updated Firefox 4 to its fourth beta release, adding two major new features: Firefox Sync and Panorama.

Firefox Sync lets users access browser history, password keychain, bookmarks, and open tabs across their different desktop computers, iOS, or Maemo-based mobile devices. Sync is available as an add-in for Firefox 3.5 and 3.6, but in Firefox 4, it is a built-in feature.

Firefox Panorama was formerly known as Tab Candy, and it debuted in alpha several months ago to critical acclaim. To solve the problem of too many browser tabs being open at once, and turning into a cluttered mess; the feature lets the user arrange their tabs into groups. The result is similar to HTC and Samsung's Android UI layers that let the user zoom out and see all the homescreens at once.

Firefox Panorama: How To from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Mozilla's Aza Raskin Tuesday said, "While there are many directions still left to explore...there is a strong set of design principles that have and will continue to guide development. We've already seen activity from extension authors to extend the capabilities of Panorama, which makes now a perfect time to discuss Panorama's design principles."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Woman Placed In Police Protection After Thousands Protest Against Her On Facebook

A security video uploaded to YouTube, featuring a woman stopping to pet a cat before throwing it in a garbage bin, has caused an outcry on Facebook, which has led to the woman being placed under police protection this week.

The video footage, taken outside of a school in England, has over 112,000 YouTube views and led to a Facebook group called ‘Help Find The Woman Who Put My Cat In The Bin’, with over 13,000 “likes” so far. Cat lovers will be happy to learn that Lola, the victim, is okay. However, the reputation of the British woman who tried to throw Lola in the bin is likely to be scarred for some time.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Lola’s owners, Stephanie and Darryl Mann, found their cat fifteen hours after she was unjustly shoved in the bin when they heard distressed meowing. The footage was captured by their home security system and when they discovered it they posted it to YouTube in order to find the woman who committed this ridiculous act of animal cruelty.

The video was uploaded with the following description:


The woman who shoved the cat in the bin was caught. The Telegraph said that, “According to Sky News, the RSPCA said that the woman was being offered police protection because of the ‘backlash against her.’ The animal charity has refused to name the woman.” They said that although the police denied having offered the woman “official” protection, community officers have been stationed outside of her house as a precaution.

It should be noted that I don’t think all of the people who have “liked” the Facebook page are really so anti-animal cruelty directed at cats. Many of the pictures added to the page are a bit cruel themselves. But I think, all in all, that most of us can agree that what this woman did was not very nice.

If you haven’t seen the video yet you can check it out below, and join the Facebook group if you don’t support this woman’s cruel actions. Why would someone throw a cute, innocent cat in a trash bin? And if they did, don’t you think they deserve to be condemned by thousands of Facebook users and other animal lovers across the web?

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Driver survives 100mph horror crash (Video) - Odd News |

A shocking crash which saw a driver launched into the air and smash into a bridge has been caught on police camera.

19-year-old driver Brendan Eden had been speeding along the Ohio highway when he hit the protective barrier in the middle of the road.

Footage from a police car shows how this launched his 1995 Pontiac Firebird high into the air and it smashed into a bridge.

The car then broke into three pieces and the driver was thrown from the wreckage.

A police spokesperson said "He is very lucky to still be alive" -- and it's only after watching the footage you realise what an understatement that is.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stop scapegoating "social media experts"!

I am going through the SXSW PanelPicker for interactive. There are a lot of descriptions talking about "so called social media experts". Some talk about how social media experts tell you to engage, but not what to do after that. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a social media expert. Social media experts don't talk about measurement.

Can we stop it already? Do we talk about the so called computer sales people at Best Buy? No we don't, and the reason we don't is because we know that there are fakers in every industry. How many of us in our work history have had bosses that had no clue what they were doing? I know I have had my fair share. I am begging everyone, please stop calling crappy practitioners social media experts.

There are plenty of naysayers out there that still don't buy into the practical benefits that social media can bring. Why reinforce those beliefs by highlighting the worst of us and giving them more exposure. Let's not criticize our peers, but instead concentrate on educating our clients, and hopefully it will rub off on everyone. In social media there is no us and them, there is only us and us. Bringing down our peers, perceived or actual, brings us all down.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dave Chappelle at Cupcake Smackdown 2.0

I was at Cupcake Smackdown 2.0, but I didn't see him. Too bad. Here is a link to the event: Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-alt:"Arial Rounded MT Bold"; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-520092929 1073786111 9 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; mso-themecolor:hyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} span.EmailStyle16 {mso-style-type:personal; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-unhide:no; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Arial; mso-hansi-font-family:Arial; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} -->

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Intel to Acquire McAfee for $7.68 Billion - CNBC

Chip maker Intel said it would buy security technology firm McAfee for $7.68 billion in an effort to make security technology a strategic focus.

Paul Sakuma / AP

Intel [INTC  19.0601    -0.5299  (-2.7%)   ] said it would pay $48 per share in cash for McAfee [MFE  47.15    17.22  (+57.53%)   ] in its biggest acquisition ever. The price is a 60 percent premium to McAfee's Wednesday closing price. McAfee would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel's software and services group.

Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said he was surprised by the size of the premium but added that the deal showed Intel's willingness to move from hardware to software and services.

"I think people were probably (expecting) some smaller acquisitions from Intel. It's definitely—even by Intel's standards—a pretty big acquisition for them." said Rakesh.

Intel said the boards of both companies had approved the deal and it expects it to close once it gains McAfee shareholder approval and regulatory clearance. It did not provide a specific timeframe.

The chip maker has made several software acquisitions in the last few years, including the purchase in June 2009 of Wind River, a company focused on mobile software.

Intel said it expects the deal will slightly reduce its net earnings in the first year, although on a non-GAAP basis it is expected to help profit slightly.

McAfee, which was founded in 1987 and had $2 billion in revenue in 2009, has been working with Intel on a variety of projects for the last 18 months.

Through that partnership, Intel "decided a combination could be very powerful for bringing enhanced security to consumers," Renee James, who runs Intel's software and services group, said in an interview.

"We have lots of activities going on in growing connected devices ... from connected television to mobile devices," she said. "As we look at the businesses we're in, we see that security is the number one purchase consideration. We believe that we can enhance security with hardware and come up with a better solution."

Shares of Intel dipped slightly while McAfee soared almost 60 percent Thursday. Get real-time quotes for Intel and McAfee here.

Copyright 2010 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

See this related story - "Cameron Diaz tops list of riskiest celeb searches"

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Improved Bump iPhone app makes it easy to gain a new contact - iPhone app review - Kyle Ripley

Blurring the lines between the physical and the digital, Bump, by Bump Technologies, which is available for free in the iTunes App Store, has released their new, amped-up version of the free iPhone app. Transfer pictures, contacts, calendar events, and even connect through social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as easily as bumping fists with your friends. This app clocks in at around 15 million downloads, and the only downside that I can see is that every person on the planet does not own an iPhone.

The new presentation layer of this app is extremely Web 2.0. It looks great, moves great, and is about five times faster than the previous version of Bump. This app is about as simple as they come, complete with a visual demonstration of how to “bump” with your iPhone-toting counterpart. Launch the app, select the media that you would like to transfer, and simply mimic the digital hands at the top of the screen. While clutching your iPhone, bump your fist with your friend and using the Wi-Fi or 3G connection, your media will be transferred to the adjacent device. Nothing could be easier, eh?

This app is even branching out to the Android market. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Bump traffic is still predominantly via iPhone devices, it is great to see this type of physical world rule-bending technology begin to spread. I love the idea of being able to easily pass my contact information to someone with something as easy as a bump. I don’t want to keep track of business cards. They are heading to my address book anyway. This app skips that step and puts the info at it’s destination from the initial conversation.

I’m looking forward to the day when everyone will have “Bump”-capable devices on hand (ideally iPhones). Happy bumping -- download and check it out.

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Linux Pad Implications: Canonical to add multitouch gestures in Ubuntu Linux 10.10 | Betanews

Citing manufacturer demand, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said Monday that Ubuntu 10.10 would include the beginnings of the company's UTouch multitouch framework.

"Rather than single, magic gestures, we're making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated 'sentences,'" he said in a blog post. "The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions."

Work on adding multitouch functionality to Ubuntu began with 10.04, and testing was done on Dell XT2, HP tx2 tablets and the Lenovo T410s laptops. That work helped Canonical develop a framework that could be used across a broader range of devices.

"Our aim is to bring the natural, tactile experience of the world to the desktop, window manager, and applications you value," the company wrote in announcing UTouch.

While the move puts Ubuntu Linux on a level playing field with Mac OS X in terms of multitouch, it may take a while before users see such features due to the disparate way Linux is developed. For example, the GNOME desktop environment would likely need the most work to support multitouch. In fact, one of the developers behind that platform was on the development team.

How fast it spreads to other platforms and applications entirely depends on the developers themselves, so it's hard to say how soon multitouch will become commonplace in Linux. Canonical will do what it can to speed up that process - UTouch 1.0 has been released as an API and gesture-recognition engine, under the GPLv3 and LGPLv3.

Multitouch would probably see its tightest integration in Ubuntu Unity, which is the operating systems's solution for netbook computers. Shuttleworth said that Canonical hopes to bring better compatibility for multitouch with Ubuntu 11.04, which is due next April.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Indonesia, Brazil and Venezuela Lead Global Surge in Twitter Usage - comScore, Inc

Reston, VA, August 11, 2010 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released a report on growth worldwide. The study found that in June, nearly 93 million Internet users visited, an increase of 109 percent from the previous year, as the social networking site achieved strong gains across all global regions. Indonesia reported the highest penetration, with 20.8 percent of Internet users in the country visiting that month, followed by Brazil and Venezuela, with Venezuela’s growth fueled in large part by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s decision to join Twitter in late April.

“ has experienced an explosion in global traffic over the past year, establishing itself as one of the most-visited social networking sites across each of the five worldwide regions,” said Graham Mudd, comScore vice president, search & media. “Today nearly 3 out of 4 global Internet users access social networking sites each month, making it one of the most ubiquitous activities across the web. As more users around the world have become acquainted with connecting and expressing themselves through social media, it has created an environment where new media like Twitter can emerge globally in a relatively short period of time.”

Triple-Digit Visitation Growth Witnessed Across Most Global Regions

In June 2010, nearly 93 million unique global users age 15 and older visited from a home or work location, an increase of 109 percent from the previous year. This excludes usage of Twitter-based applications such as TweetDeck. An analysis of the five major global regions revealed that Latin America experienced the strongest audience growth, surging 305 percent to 15.4 million users. Asia Pacific ranked as the second-fastest growing region, climbing 243 percent to 25.1 million visitors. The Middle-East Africa jumped 142 percent to 5 million visitors, while Europe soared 106 percent to 22.5 million visitors. North America, where Twitter has reached a higher maturity level than other regions, saw a growth of 22 percent to nearly 25 million visitors in June.

Visitation to by Global Regions
June 2010 vs. June 2009
Total Audience, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations*
Source: comScore Media Metrix
  Unique Visitors (000)
Jun-09 Jun-10 % Change
Worldwide 44,520 92,874 109
Latin America 3,792 15,377 305
Asia Pacific 7,324 25,121 243
Middle East - Africa 2,058 4,987 142
Europe 10,956 22,519 106
North America 20,390 24,870 22

*Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Indonesia, Brazil and Venezuela Boast Highest Twitter Penetration in the World

Across the 41 individual countries currently reported by comScore, Indonesia at 20.8 percent had the highest proportion of its home and work Internet audience visiting Brazil ranked second with 20.5 percent penetration, followed by Venezuela at 19.0 percent. With Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez joining Twitter in late April, penetration in the country spiked 4.8 percentage points in a few short months. The Netherlands (17.7 percent) and Japan (16.8 percent) rounded out the top five, while countries in Latin America and Asia Pacific represented many of the remaining top markets, including the Philippines (14.8 percent), Mexico (13.4 percent) and Singapore (13.3 percent).

Top 20 Markets by Twitter Penetration
June 2010
Total Audience, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations*
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Location % Reach
Worldwide 7.4
Indonesia 20.8
Brazil 20.5
Venezuela 19.0
Netherlands 17.7
Japan 16.8
Philippines 14.8
Canada 13.5
Mexico 13.4
Singapore 13.3
Chile 13.2
United States 11.9
Turkey 11.0
United Kingdom 10.9
Argentina 10.5
Colombia 9.6
South Korea 9.3
Ireland 8.4
India 8.0
Malaysia 7.7
New Zealand 7.5

*Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Smartphones Drive Mobile Twitter Adoption in U.S. and Europe

An analysis of Twitter usage via mobile for the six mobile markets currently reported by comScore (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy) revealed that Twitter is gaining adoption among smartphone users. In the U.S., 8.3 percent of smartphone users (4.2 million people) accessed in a month via the browser on their mobile devices, outpacing each of the European markets. In Europe, 2.8 percent of smartphone users overall accessed (1.7 million users), with the U.K. experiencing the strongest penetration in the region at 5.8 percent, followed by Germany with 3.1 percent and France with 2.1 percent.

Twitter Penetration Among Mobile Smartphone Users*
3 Month Avg. Ending June 2010
Total Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Twitter Audience (000) % Reach of Smartphone Users
United States 4,246 8.3
Europe 1,681 2.8
United Kingdom 793 5.8
Germany 322 3.1
France 173 2.1
Spain 165 1.5
Italy 227 1.4

*Includes only mobile browser access to Twitter and does not include other Twitter-based mobile applications

“For applications such as Twitter that function as an instantaneous broadcast medium, the mobile device represents the ideal platform to engage with this content anytime and anyplace,” added Mr. Mudd. “The advanced web browsing features of smartphones enable this behavior, making it likely to accelerate as these devices gain continued adoption. While desktop-based Internet usage is still king, mobile web usage is surging on a global scale placing applications like Twitter at the forefront of that paradigm shift.”

About comScore

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and the preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Sarah Radwanick
Senior Analyst
comScore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6538

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TRON GIRL! Key of Awesome #25

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Camera+ pulled from App Store for 'volume button as camera shutter' workaround

From the "It Was Only a Matter of Time Department" comes news that Camera+, the top-rated photography app from developer tap tap tap, has been pulled from the App Store, most likely for violating Apple's developer agreement. Apple previously rejected an update to the Camera+ app which would have allowed users to use one of the iPhone's volume buttons as a mechanical shutter button while using Camera+. This is a feature many iPhone photographers have wished for -- tapping the screen to take a picture is far less stable than pressing a physical button -- but Apple cited "user confusion" in rejecting the Camera+ update which included the feature.

tap tap tap posted (and later deleted) instructions on Twitter that allowed users to enable the "volume button as shutter" functionality via a back door workaround. This is most likely what got Camera+ kicked off the App Store; other apps with "hidden features" or "easter eggs" like this have been banished from the App Store before, like a flashlight app that allowed users to stealthily enable internet tethering.

Apple's well within its rights to react in this manner when developers put "hidden" features in their apps. On the other side of the mobile pond, Android users are currently getting hit by a trojan posing as a media player app which then sends unauthorized SMS messages to premium-rate numbers. While Apple's "user confusion" excuse for not letting Camera+ use the volume buttons as a shutter doesn't necessarily fly (how often are you going to mess with the iPhone's volume while taking a picture?), tap tap tap's "workaround" was out of line, at least in principle -- if Apple's not going to let a flashlight app secretly enable internet tethering or allow apps with blatant malware on the App Store, then it shouldn't come as a surprise that "hidden" functionality, however innocuous, will get your app banished.

Hopefully this ban is only temporary until Camera+ gets updated without the "workaround" in place -- or, better still, Apple could recognize that many users have triple-digit IQs and stop citing "user confusion" as an excuse for denying useful functionality. Either way, I hope Camera+ comes back eventually.

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Official Google Blog: Just speak it: introducing Voice Actions for Android

Our mobile phones have become modern-day Swiss Army knives. An Android phone is a handheld computer, a music player, a notepad, a GPS navigation unit and more, all rolled into one sleek device that fits in your pocket. Today’s phones do so many things for us that sometimes we don’t even think about how we do them.

Even though our phones do all these new things, the most natural way of interacting with a phone remains what it always has been: speaking. And to that end, we’re pleased to introduce Voice Actions for Android. Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice. Call businesses and contacts, send texts and email, listen to music, browse the web, and complete common tasks, all just by speaking into your phone.

To use Voice Actions, tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen, or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the “Speak Now” screen. Let Mike LeBeau, the lead engineer for Voice Actions, show you in this video.

Speak any of these commands to perform a Voice Action on your phone:
  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • listen to [artist/song/album]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • send email to [contact] [message]
  • go to [website]
  • note to self [note]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]
And of course, you can still conduct a Google search using your voice.

While we’re at it, we’re also releasing an updated version of the Google search widget for Android. When you type a local search query, like [italian restaurants] you’ll see suggested restaurants with addresses and ratings. Also, as you type queries, you can refine them further by tapping the pencil icon that appears to the right of search suggestions.

Both Voice Actions and the new Google search widget require Android 2.2 (Froyo), and will be pre-installed with the new Droid 2 phone from Motorola and Verizon. Voice Actions are currently available for U.S. English speakers.

If you have another phone with Android 2.2 (like the Nexus One, HTC Evo or the original Droid), you’ll need to download several app updates from Android Market to get all the latest goodness:
  • Voice Search (this app includes Voice Actions)
  • Google Search widget
  • music apps (e.g. Pandora,, Rdio, mSpot)
To get started fast, scan the QR codes for these apps below.

We think Voice Actions help you get things done on your phone faster and easier. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Voice SearchSearch widget

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Twitter Blog: Pushing Our (Tweet) Button - Integrate Twitter on your blog or site.

Twitter is great for sharing interesting things you find on the web. In fact, close to a quarter of all Tweets include a link in them. Despite the high volume of sharing, there is plenty of room to make it easier. Copying and pasting, link shortening, and bouncing between browser tabs just to share a link in a Tweet is too much work.

Today we’re launching the Tweet Button to make sharing simple. It lets you share links directly from the page you’re on. When you click on the Tweet Button, a Tweet box will appear -- pre-populated with a shortened link that points to the item that you’re sharing.

After you post to Twitter, you may see suggestions for accounts to follow. These accounts are suggested by the web site you visited and may include, for example, the news outlet and reporter of the article you shared.

Check out our video, and try out the button at the bottom of this post!

The Tweet Button is not only simple for users, but for publishers of all sizes, too. Recreational bloggers to large media companies can quickly and easily add the Tweet Button to their sites. It only takes a few lines of code. The Tweet Button will help publishers grow traffic and increase their Twitter following.

You may have seen similar buttons on blogs, news sites and other places that let you share content on Twitter. These have been created by third parties. Most notably, a company called TweetMeme created a popular “retweet button” for publishers. They’ve already made it easier to share links on Twitter and have helped a tremendous number of publishers get their content into Twitter. We’re pleased to be working closely with the good folks at TweetMeme and, from here on out, they will be pointing to the Twitter Tweet Button. Check out TweetMeme’s blog to learn more about what they’re up to next.

Starting today, the following sites will use the Tweet Button. All of them integrated this in less than one week.

Arizona Republic/
CBS Interactive
Detroit Free Press
Gawker Media
Sky News
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Des Moines Register
The Indianapolis Star
The Onion
The Tennessean
TV Guide

Our guess is that more than a few sites will join the above in the hours to come. Get the Tweet Button for your website today and let the sharing begin.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MTV's Ridiculous $100,000 Tweets |

MTV made 23-year-old blogger Gabi Gregg its first "Twitter jockey" following a widely publicized contest. Gregg is getting a six-figure salary as part of her new gig, but what is MTV getting from Gregg? Today was her first day on the job, and so far, it's hard to see what, if any, contribution Gregg will make to the network.

In one of her first Tweets on the job, Gregg said her duties would be to "tweet abt mtv events, news, interviews, everyday life, etc !" Sadly, her spelling and grammar didn't get better from there and none of her subsequent Tweets actually provide much info about anything going on at the network. 

Gregg has two different Twitter accounts-- @gabifresh and @MTVTJ. Since getting the job Sunday night, she has sent a total of 104 Tweets from her two accounts. About 75 percent of those Tweets involved Gregg thanking followers who congratulated her on the new gig. Gregg also spent a lot of time Tweeting about how busy she was. 

It's unclear exactly how or why Gregg is so busy. Though she tweeted multiple times about how she's supposed to serve as, "the liason between the mtv audience/fans & the network!" Gregg didn't exactly provide readers with any useful information in her first  day on the job. 

Gregg's inaugural Tweets contained the following information about her and her network:

-Today she was wearing skinny jeans, a "sequins top" and a blazer.

-Gregg needs a manicure.

-MTV employees all work in cubicles that are contained in an office building

-Gregg doesn't have any time for her "haters."

Gregg had at least one opportunity to actually do something useful for her followers, but she completely dropped the ball. Two readers sent her Twitter messages asking if MTV is currently hiring. In both cases, Gregg responded to these readers with variations of "lol i have NO idea" and a link to the MTV careers web site. You'd think someone being paid $100,000 to be a link to the network and its audience would ask one of her superiors for the right answer rather than sending out an uninformed, giggly Tweet. 

Twitter is at it's best when it allows an interactive, real-time flow of useful information. It's at it's worst when it's used for poorly-spelled overshares about the minutiae of someone's daily life. It's only Gregg's first day on the job, so perhaps there's room for improvement, but so far, it looks like MTV's effort to build its brand on Twitter has a lot more to do with the worst aspects of the site than its potential. 

In other words, Gabi Gregg is shaping up to be a digital age version of Jesse Camp.  

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Double Rainbow Soundboard for Android | xda-developers

Double Rainbow Soundboard for Android

Those of you who are familiar with the hilarities and oddities of YouTube will surely be familiar with the infamous Double Rainbow video – in which the spectator to this mildly interesting event massively overreacts to our amusement.

Having gained over ten million views on YouTube, it seems only right that someone should make a soundboard application of the video so that we can enjoy the ridiculously over-the-top appreciation of nature wherever we are. Recently, XDA member manifest3r has done just that.

So, if you have an Android phone, what are you waiting for? Head to the original thread to annoy friends and family with awkwardly timed outbursts of ‘double rainbow all the way’ now!

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Can't Tweet This (Valley Girl's Parody of "Can't Touch This")

The geek in me is forcing me to point out that you can't DM someone that isn't following you. (time stamp 1:16)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

girl quits job on dry erase board exposes farmville boss called her hopa theCHIVE

We received the following photos last night from a person who works with this girl. Her name is Jenny (not confirmed) - we're working our contact for Jenny's last name. Yesterday morning, Jenny quit her job with a (flash)bang by emailing these photos to the entire office, about 20 employees we're told. Awesome doesn't begin to describe this office heroine. Check back as we will be updating if we get more details.

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