Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Put the Google +1 Button on your Website

Posted by Alan at 5:08 PM on June 2, 2011

If you have a website then you are almost certainly interested in drumming up visitors and generating interest – what’s usually referred to as SEO.  Many sites use buttons on the home page and on individual posts to prompt readers to “like” the article on Facebook, “tweet” it on Twitter, or share it is some other way such as Digg or Reddit.

Now there’s a new player on the viral sharing block – the Google +1 button.  Google announced this several months ago and webmasters have been waiting for the opportunity to add it to their sites.  Given that Google is THE top player in the SEO game, this one has been very highly anticipated because of the potential traffic that may come along with it.

The wait ended yesterday when Google sent out the following email to everyone who signed up for the notification list.

Hi there,

You asked to be notified when the +1 button code was available, and today’s the day!

The +1 button makes it easy for visitors to recommend your pages to friends and contacts exactly when their advice is most useful — on Google search. As a result, you could get more and better qualified site traffic.

You’ll need to add a small snippet of code on the pages where you want a +1 button to appear. Ready to get started?

***CODE INSERTED HERE***

To stay current on updates to the +1 button large and small, please sign up for the Google Publisher Button Announce Group.

If you have questions when adding the code, check out the Google Webmasters Help Center. Thanks for your interest!

Sincerely,
The Google Webmaster Central & +1 button teams

Already I have seen the button popping up on various websites.  This could be a huge traffic boon for many sites, since clicks on the +1 button seem to lead directly to better Google search rankings.

New Infographic – The Demographics of Social Media

Posted by Alan at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2011

The website Advertising Age released a cool new infographic comparing various social media – namely Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There are some interesting facts revealed here.  For instance the Social Media space is lead by the 35-54 age group, the leading country for Facebook is the US, but the second is Indonesia, the leading country for LinkedIn is also the US, but it’s followed by India, and females outpace males as Twitter users.

While some of this strikes me as common sense (like Twitter being dominated by the 35-54 age group), some of it amazes me (like there are significantly more female users and visitors to Twitter).  For anyone who runs a web site this is pretty good information to have.  It can provide a lot of aim to your marketing and SEO efforts.  For those who don’t run a site it’s still a bit of pretty interesting information to parse over.

demographics of social media

Casio Hybrid GPS Camera

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 3:20 PM on January 30, 2011

One thing that everybody wants when they take a picture today is to have the camera save the GPS information of where it was taken. Most new cameras have GPS tracking installed, which works great when you are outside. However once you go inside there is no way to keep track of your location by GPS. This is the problem that the Casio Hybrid-GPS Camera attempts to solve. The Casio Hybrid-GPS Camera figures out your last GPS point and then tracks how far you are from it and the direction you are going. Using this equation it can keep track of where you are even inside. It is set up to enable precise positioning with out the lag of other cameras with GPS installed. It also has a world atlas preloaded which can show you pictures of landmarks near by and how far away are they.

The Casio Hybrid GPS Camera has a 10x optical zoom with a 3.0 inch monitor. The auto mode can quickly determine whether its night or day, whether the background is a blue sky or a forest of trees. It also is aware if there are faces in the frame. It optimizes every setting need to take a great picture simultaneously. There is also a setting which allows you to capture panoramic images simply by keeping the shutter button pressed. The camera runs around $349.99 and was a CES Innovation Award Winner

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Mobeo iMovee Brings Mobile TV to Smart Phones & Tablets

Posted by tomwiles at 1:41 AM on January 28, 2011

iMovee Mobeo (www.i-movee.com/mobeo1.html) brings mobile TV to smart phones and tablets. iMovee Corporation launches the entire range of Mobile TV products including SKY TV (USB Dongle), Mobidik (WiFi Dongle for Iphone, Ipod, Blackberry, PC, MAC etc), Telly MOBO (7″/9″ Portable DVD & TV), Touch Telly Series (Media Player & Portable TV 4.3″ ,4.7″, 7″), Telly NAV (portable Navigation Device with ATSC MH) and CAR Telly (Automotive Set top box). iMovee is also launching various ATSC MH & T DMB modules for manufacturers to readily integrate to their consumer devices and thus reducing the time to market.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of Slash Dot Review News and RV News Network — RVNN.TV

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Smartphones As The New Facebook

Posted by tomwiles at 2:40 PM on November 19, 2010

Facebook hit critical mass and managed to move into the mainstream and is now sucking in mass numbers of new users. Much of the value of a many goods and services revolves around mass adoption – it becomes beneificial for people to use Facebook simply because so many friends and family are already on it.

We keep hearing statistics about smartphone adoption rates. No doubt about it, smartphones are increasingly popular devices and are quickly moving into the mainstream.

How does this translate into the real world?

I came across a guy a few days ago that had recently gotten an iPhone 4.0 specifically so he could do Facetime chats with his brother. This guy was in his 50’s and had never owned a computer or dealt with the Internet in any way. I was surprised at how well he had learned to run his phone. He was clearly thrilled with the smartphone and what it was capable of. Even though this fellow had somehow managed to resist getting a computer and the Internet, the smartphone managed to pull him in. Furthermore, this guy was using a lot of data above and beyond WiFi and Facetime. Even as a novice user, he had already purchased a few iphone apps. Additionally he expressed a lot of interest when I was describing Audible.Com audio books.

There’s a segment of the population I run into personally that doesn’t like the idea of or see the need for or perceive any benefit from paying for mobile data connections. These are the people that are hanging onto more basic phone models. I suspect that these same people likely resisted the idea of getting a cell phone in the first place – in other words, they are late adopters when it comes to cell phone technologies and services.

We are now entering the phase of smartphone adoption of where mass numbers of people will get smartphones simply because everyone else has them. I believe smartphones are poised to outstrip even a service like Facebook with the total number of smartphone users.

These new smartphone users are likely to use mass amounts of data. Cell phone companies wanted people to have data plans because of the extra revenue from larger data-enabled bills – now they’d better be prepared to deliver on the promise.

Extreme Social Networking

Posted by J Powers at 9:36 PM on October 29, 2010

Want to Facebook on Mount Everest? Maybe Foursquare at the Antarctic? Twitter from 50,000 leagues under the sea?

Wherever we go, we will be able to connect and communicate.

The most recent news – Mount Everest gets an Ncell  tower so you have signal on your climb up. It makes sense – if you get in trouble, you can contact someone to get you. I am guessing Ncell will have a special rental plan for your journey up and down.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of a connection in an extreme place. Remember Parker Liautaud? The 15 year old who was the first to foursquare the North Pole? He used social media to record his journey. YouTube, Twitter and of course, Foursquare.

It’s a long cry from the days of Gilligan’s Island. No longer will the crew be able to worry about contacting the authorities. Just pull out a cell phone and dial 911.

How many have connected to the Airplane’s WiFi? Tweeting from 35,000 feet is not the mile high club, but it is pretty cool. At least you can watch some Netflix during the flight if you have to suffer through “Confessions of a Shopaholic” again.

Back in CES 2009, we interviewed Spot GPS – a device for extreme travelers to be located if something happens. Not exactly something you will be able to tweet with, but if you are suffering in an extreme situation, you won’t have to be like Aron Ralston and cut off your arm with a Swiss Army Knife to survive.

Even on extreme road trips, you can stay connected. Ford’s SYNC system allows you to jump in a Ford Fiesta and you can have the car tweet your whole trip.

So with all these new places to connect, it begs the question – when will we be able to connect on the Moon? Mars? Maybe just at Grandma’s house?

The Long Tail

Posted by tomwiles at 8:06 PM on August 13, 2010

In the world of blogging, podcasting and social networking, much has been said about the so-called “long tail.” The concept of the “long tail” revolves around the idea that available content living on the Internet gets a lot of extra audience over a long period of time, as opposed to traditional print and broadcast content which has a much more limited lifespan.

As services such as Netflix gain popularity, yet another form of content is experiencing the benefits of the long tail – movies and TV shows that are available for long-term streaming. An excellent example of how the “long tail” benefits movies in particular are obscure documentaries that in the old pre-streaming days would have a limited initial audience and then end up on a shelf somewhere or be sold in consumer video release one at a time.

Now more obscure movies and TV shows that had a limited lifespan and limited impact are able to take a new lease-on life that used to simply not exist.

I am particularly enjoying streaming documentaries on Netflix. There are some real gems out there. One documentary I really enjoyed in particular that I’d never heard of before I found it on Netflix is called “Cowboy Del Amor.” It’s about a Texas matchmaker who specializes in matching up American men with Mexican women. If you haven’t seen this gem, I highly recommend it. “Cowboy Del Amor” is but one example of movies that have a very limited promotion budgets and therefore are unable to make much of a publicity splash when they are released, yet they can be absolutely fantastic movies to not only watch yourself but to share later with friends and family.

I dropped my Dish Network account in July 2010 and have not looked back. Streaming videos via services such as Netflix forces me to take a much more active role in selecting something good to watch. Having literally tens of thousands of movies and videos available for instant streaming on demand is a far superior way to find and consume commercial content.

Custom Apps

Posted by tomwiles at 8:16 PM on August 11, 2010

The smartphone’s in many consumer hands today are as powerful as the desktop computers we were using five years ago. They may be as powerful from a hardware standpoint, yet the smaller interface demands different methods of interaction. The smaller interface also places different demands on the software that runs on it.

Smartphone software apps typically need to be smaller and very narrowly focused in order to be maximally useful. Smartphones have turned out to be convergence devices, with the functionality of traditional desktop and laptop computers concentrated into a handheld phone.

The best smartphone apps tend to be apps that present a finely honed slice of functionality.

Many podcasters are coming up with their own smartphone apps. One I recently installed is called “Survive!” for Android. It is an Android app for “The Survival Podcast” available at http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com, hosted by Jack Spirko. It’s a great example of simple, functional design that places the web presence of The Survival Podcast in a neat little Android app package.

“Survive!” has a simple home screen that simply lists Survival Podcast Episodes, Videos (YouTube), Twitter, a link to the main website, and recent website forum posts. The single configuration option decides whether or not to download new Survival Podcast episodes automatically or not.

The inclusion of both Twitter and recent forum posts is a great way for the community that Survival Podcast host Jack Spirko has built up around the podcast and it’s website to keep up to date with the latest posts. Additionally the app includes instant access to all of the latest audio and video media.

“Survive!” is an excellent example of a well-crafted smartphone app that presents all of the main podcast and web-based elements in a simple, extremely easy-to-use package. “Survive!” can be found in the Android Marketplace by searching the term “survival podcast.”

Code of Practice for Privacy Protection

Posted by Andrew at 3:18 AM on July 21, 2010

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has published a pair of  guides about holding personal information online.  The first guide is a Code of Practice aimed at organisations, particularly, those that sell goods and services over the web and is to help them understand the data protection law and develop good practice.  The second is for individuals and is Protecting Your Personal Information Online.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent body setup to promote and police the UK’s information legislation including the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

The new Code of Practice has several sections including how the law applies, how to operate internationally, individuals’ rights and pitfalls to avoid.  It also includes a number of special cases, e.g. when dealing with children.

The personal guide provides information on protecting your personal info and identity, online scams, cookies, browser settings and social networks.  Definitely worth a read, even if you are not UK-based.  It’s all good sensible stuff.

What’s been stirring the media is that for the first time the ICO has commented on “behavioural marketing”, i.e. adverts are tailored to your browsing activity.  There had been some debate about the legality of this but as long as its clear what is going on and the person can opt out, there’s no problem.  There’s more information on behavioural marketing here.

Regardless of whether you are in the UK or elsewhere or whether you are a supplier or a customer, it’s worth giving both guides a browse.

Waxing Nostalgic

Posted by tomwiles at 10:45 PM on July 17, 2010

The year was 2005. The month was November. The setting was the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California. The event was the first podcast media expo. The phenomenon of podcasting, brought to life by Adam Curry and Dave Winer, was a bit over a year old. At least a couple of thousand podcasters as well as many podcast listeners showed up from around the world to meet each other face to face for the fist time.

Looking back in my own mind and the minds of many others who attended, it was as if there was a special magic that happened at Ontario. This first event brought a bunch of strangers together, yet it had the happy feel of a family reunion. Soon enough it would be over and time for us all to go our separate ways.

The Ontario Convention Center turned out to work especially well for in-person social networking for people who were heavily involved in this brand new form of social media. It was very easy to identify other attendees because of the convention badges. Most people were staying in the nearby hotels, particularly at the Marriot across the street from the Ontario Convention Center. People ended up milling back and forth between the convention center and the Marriot. Many people ended up meeting each other and striking up conversations at random as they accidentally met each other while walking around or just hanging out.

I was always up front about the reason I attended these podcast expos. I was there to meet people and hang out with podcaster friends. I did not sign up for or pay money to attend any of the expo’s sessions. I was there to socialize. I don’t believe I was the only podcaster who thought this way. From a social standpoint, the podcast expos held in Ontario were a tremendous success. Sadly, from an expo-promoting business standpoint, perhaps they weren’t so successful.

There would be a total of three of these expos held at the Ontario Convention Center before the gathering was moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada starting in 2008. The 2008 expo ended up being sort of lost in the middle of a mega-building probably most well known for housing the annual (and gargantuan) Consumer Electronics Show every January.

With literally thousands of Las Vegas tourists, combined with other conventions going on at the same time, meeting and socializing with the reduced number of podcasters that did make the effort to show up in Las Vegas in 2008 and later in 2009 became difficult. Gone were the happy accidental meetings. Pretty much gone was the accidental social networking aspect that had happened every year at the convention center in Ontario.

Those three magical expos at the Ontario Convention Center will never be repeated. Many of those early podcasters have moved on to other interests, as well as many of the early podcast listeners that also made a point of showing up. The social aspect of podcasting has seemed to wane a bit as larger commercial and educational organizations expanded into the space.

Podcasting is alive and well in 2010, and is taking its place in this new and continually evolving world of Internet-distributed digital media production and distribution. There are more podcasts available for download than ever before. Priorities change, and people move on.

Those first three podcast expos at Ontario, California were exceptional social networking events where many exceptional friendships were formed.