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


Quick – Tweet Now! You Might Be the 10 Billionth Twitter!

Posted by J Powers at 11:30 PM on March 3, 2010

Well, the craze is on. 10 Billion Tweets will probably be hit by time you read this. 600 tweets a second (2.16 Million an hour). So in about 18 hours – Depending on how many people go Tweet crazy – The 10 Billionth Twitter will be posted.

The 5 billionth was held by Robin Sloan, who posted “Oh Lord”. It was a reply to another tweet.

I am guessing you won’t get a new car or $10,000 iTunes card. You will get some recognition as the Deccabillitweeter. I know that’s not a word, but maybe it will catch on….

If you want to catch all the madness – even have a Twitter countdown party – You can go to GigaTweet and watch the proverbial Twitter Ball drop. Wear a funny hat and a blow into a noisemaker. Maybe even drink some champagne. I think that is what Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone will be doing.

The Ultimate Yacht Race

Posted by Andrew at 4:01 AM on January 31, 2010

The 33rd America’s Cup yacht race gets under way in a week’s time from Valencia in Spain, pitting two of the most hi-tech yachts against in each other in a series of races.  The defender is Switzerland’s Alinghi catamaran and the challenger is the US’s BMW Oracle Racing, a stunning trimaran with the world’s largest single wing at over 68m – a 747′s wing is 31m.

There are some great videos on both websites and the cost, complexity and technology on these boats is simply stunning.  The winged keels, the composite hulls, everything is being pushed to the limit….and when they go past it, it’s going to be spectacular.

There’s been a fair bit of legal wrangling going on about the race but I’m glad it’s finally going to be settled on the water rather than in the courtroom.

Keep an eye on the action via Twitter and may the best team win.

IDC Predicts Big Change in IT and Telecoms

Posted by Andrew at 4:37 AM on December 8, 2009

The analysts over at IDC reckon that 2010 is going to be a year of “recovery and transformation”.  On the recovery side, they’re expecting global IT spending to increase by 3.2%, returning to 2008 levels but a large chunk of this spending is going to occur in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

But more interestingly, the transformation part is going to be increased adoption of  cloud services and the arrival of “enterprise-grade cloud services” and complementary application platforms.  IDC thinks this will be the most important development for the next 20 years particularly when linked in with the growth in mobile devices.

Regarding mobile, IDC sees these competing with PCs as user’s main devices, with over 1 billion mobile devices, fuelled by increasing adoption of smartphones and Apple’s iPad tablet.  They predict over 300,000 iPhone apps and 5x growth in Android apps.  Interestingly, they also predict “apps stores” for netbooks, which I think has already been evidenced by moves from Intel.

Other predictions include “socialytic” apps which mashup business apps with social networks, further reductions in CO2 through IT solutions and more mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

Personally, I think the cloud services linked to mobile devices is right on the money.  I’ve recently started using a Palm Pre and it links to several on-line services including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote.  Looking at just Google, there are connections to Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reader and I’m expecting Tasks, Documents and Notebook to be available before long.  So I’m already living in the cloud and I love it.

The whole press release is over at IDC.

Why I walked away from “TWO” 4 Figure Twitter Ad Deals

Posted by geeknews at 5:54 PM on November 26, 2009

twitter-advertisingI’ll be honest it was very difficult to walk away from two separate Twitter advertising deals that would have netted me over $10,000 over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am sure many people will tell me that I am nuts to have walked away from that kind of money. The companies involved were both great companies, and the products I would have been pitching would have lined up well with my twitter followers. The more I thought about it though the more I scratched my head and here is what went into my thought process.

My Audio Podcast audience has grown dramatically and is now north of 150,000 unique listeners per episode. That audience is used to hearing advertising in the show, and I can take the time during the show to talk about the products and services offered. The main advertisers for my show have stayed with me for nearly five years.  Now if you compare this to my 5000 followers on twitter the delta between the two audiences numbers is significant. Yet I was being offered nearly $2.00 a twitter follower which is simply an amazing amount of money across both deals to simply tweet about some products and services on sale over the Thanksgiving holiday.

What puzzled me is that they wanted to advertise on my twitter account  with 5000 followers yet had no interest in my 150,000  dedicated listeners via my podcast?  Lets break it down via Twitter each company was willing to pay $1000.00 per 1000 followers. On my podcast they could have reached 1000 listeners at our lowest advertising rates for $20.00  at our highest advertising rates of $65.00 per 1000 listeners it would have been a  bargain.

On my Podcast I could have given the companies a full 2-3 minutes of promotion and relationship building versus some  140 character messages over 5 days.  What campaign would have gained higher ROI?  Well let me talk about what I know. Today I know that 93% of my podcast audience of 150k listener listen to “97%” of my 75 minute program twice a week. I know that 60% + of my listeners annual salary is greater than $80,000 a year and that 70% an greater spend more than $5000.00 per year online. I could have stats them to death, broken down demographics, married versus single, and a host of other standard metrics and some not so standard via our podcast statistics service.

Now lets look at Twitter I probably miss about 95% of the tweets of people I follow, so what was their goal SEO or actually reaching my followers? I have no idea of the actual demographics or my twitter followers, I have no idea how many read my post, I have no idea if they are even using twitter anymore.  What that equates to me is a lot of risk for the companies that wanted to advertise and likely very little ROI.

So with rock solid podcast stats why would companies not advertise in my podcast verses to my twitter follow list? You would think that after 5 years of having the same advertisers on my show, and across our network of podcasters that other companies would have woken up by now and figured out that they know something that they don’t!  I have a challenge to some campaign manager out there, I would love to go head to head in a CPM campaign where we pitted Podcast versus Twitter pushing the same product. If I was allowed to deploy the campaign the way I wanted I would predict that a podcast campaign would have ROI 25-50x higher than what could ever be obtained in a twitter campaign.

So why did I walk away from 10 grand? It’s pretty simply if you have been following my show and this article. First my followers trust me and they expect me to provide info in my Twitter feed that is relevant to what I do. In my podcast they come for the same reason but they also know I have bills to pay. The difference is in my podcast they trust the products I put in front of them of which have been vetted by me in advance.  When I endorse a product and sponsor in my show it is because I have a relationship with the vendor. On a twitter campaign, there is no vetting of products, there is no time to develop a relationship with the company. The twitter campaign would have rang hollow to my followers as there was no time to build  a (Vendor+Host+Audience) relationship.

It is way overdue for advertisers to wake up and figure out that there is a better way to get ROI from a social advertising campaign. If advertisers want to know how we deliver the goods and put companies messages in front of 10′s of millions of listeners and viewers each month they can reach out to me over at RawVoice. My team will show them how we can drive sales and life long customers. We build relationships and no twitter, print, tv or radio campaign will “EVER” do that.

Meanwhile I wish the companies luck over the Thanksgiving holiday, and if my analysis is correct and the twitter campaign did not deliver what you expected maybe the same media buyers will reach out and we can do something really cool down the road.

Note: While I am sure many of you will be asking me who the companies are, I assure you I will never disclose that privately or publicly as I would love to do some deals with these companies in the future on a much bigger scale and show them what can be accomplished through advertising in podcasts.

Todd Cochrane

The Onion’s fake news is too close to real news

Posted by J Powers at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2009

O.K. – Check out this Onion article – Man’s Facebook Status Given Book Deal

Now check out this article on WSJ – S—mydadsays Lands TV Deal

Can someone say “Irony?” Little did the Onion know, they were reporting a “Close to news” story. And it happened in the same week.

I heard about this Twitter account a few weeks ago. An old codger saying things that just make you laugh. Here are a couple Twitters:

“You look just like Stephen Hawking…Relax, I meant like a non-paralyzed version of him. Feel better?… Fine. Forget I said it.”

“Son, no one gives a s— about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.”

“The baby will talk when he talks, relax. It ain’t like he knows the cure for cancer and he just ain’t spitting it out.”

“Just pay the parking ticket. Don’t be so outraged. You’re not a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement. You double parked.”

Of course, the Twitter profile is run by Justin, a 29 year old who lives with his 79 year old dad. The Twitter profile is full of profanities, so you might want to not show the kids. But you can get a chuckle out of it.Then check out the CBS schedule, because that is who gave Justin the sitcom.

Oh yeah, there is also talk of the Twitter having a book deal, too.

Why Social Media is Not a Replacement for News

Posted by susabelle at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2009

newsGreat article over on TechCrunch today (by Paul Carr) about how social networking-based reporting may mean well, but actually causes more harm than good. In this case, the incident was the shootings at Fort Hood on Thursday, and the social networking site was Twitter. The military and its official spokespeople were informing the press (and by definition, the public) with the information they could reliably release, while inside the fort itself, a soldier was twittering her account of the situation.

Turns out her account was pretty inaccurate, to the point of being deceiving. But the mainstream press, willing to grab at anything they could, took her Twitter posts as valid information and and worked those details into news stories that were circulating fast and furious around the country. Tearah Moore, a soldier from Michigan stationed at Fort Hood, spread more misinformation than honest information through her twittering, including telling people that there was more than one shooter (turns out there was only one, and only one weapon was used), that the shooter had died (he didn’t die and is in fact recovering), and that there were multiple shooting locations within the base including housing and medical areas (there was in fact only one building involved and it was not near housing). It is this kind of citizen journalism that gets mainstream journalists the most upset. No journalist wants to spread misinformation; that is why they are taught to have checks and balances on all stories before they are printed.

I can understand, and appreciate, that the public is clamoring for more information, and that journalists, especially mainstream journalists whose livelihood depends on ratings, want to have the latest information available. But when the line is crossed between accuracy and misinformation, and verification cannot be completed, journalists need to step back and do what they were taught, which is to verify verify verify. I took a lot of journalism classes as part of my public speaking degree, and one thing was made abundantly clear; if information coming from a non-verified source, then the information was suspect. In this case, all of the information from Soldier Moore was suspect; she was not an official spokesperson, her location was inside a hospital where some (not all) of the wounded were being transported, and she had a limited view of what was going on. What she touted as the “truth” was nothing more than her assumptions about what she was seeing. And she was dead wrong in her assumptions.

Social media is just that -social. Even those that are “experts” who may be posting in social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, are still posting on social networks where the spread of misinformation is the norm, and cooler heads are not likely to prevail. In my mind, it is important to always look behind that shimmering curtain and see what is really there, before forwarding that information anywhere else. I am not a journalist, and I am not an official spokesperson for anything other than my own thoughts and opinions, and to pretend to be or do otherwise could border on dangerous, and at the very least is irresponsible.

Soldier Moore will likely face disciplinary charges from the military for her twittering during the crisis, especially in the face of the false spread of information. The journalists who used the misinformation for publication/broadcast will also likely face some sort of disciplinary action as well. But how about the rest of us, who are just the people next door, talking about the car wreck we saw or reporting on the last thing the school board talked about, or snarking about our local businesses or constabulary? Let’s all remember that if it shows up on social media, that it is not anything more than someone’s opinion of something witnessed, and to be good at looking for verification of what we’ve heard before passing it on.

Web Reporting. Can doesn’t equal should.

Posted by GNC at 5:04 AM on November 8, 2009

1178168_54262801 2-250rdWatching the news has always been a necessary evil.  It seems filled with tragic and depressing stories.  On occasion I have doubted the wisdom in showing what is shown.  In an unofficial and unresearched opinion, it seems to me that the more murder suicide stories they show about a man and his family, the more that occur.  Sick people are not helped and deterred by seeing the stories.  Healthy people are no safer.  I’ve had the unfortunate task of going with the police to give news of a murder suicide to a family.  Should I Twitter, Facebook, or blog about it?
Paul Carr over at Tech Crunch has written a second time about the subject of unwise and foolish micro-bloggers.  My summary:  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  We have had storm chasers, now we have Twitter and blogging chasers?  It frightens me.  Many times I’ve heard Todd Cochrane, the host of GNC, say “I’m not ready to comment on this until I’ve thought it through.”  How can we pass on some of Todd’s common sense to the rest of the world?
Censorship and regulation frightens us.  Anarchy and absence of accountability  scares me much more.  I have friends who are citizens of countries other than the United States.  They know what it is like to live in a dictatorship or close to it.  As a matter of fact I am currently touring countries with much less freedom.  I am not speaking without a foreign awareness.  The same freedom of the press and freedom of speech that we hold dear, we could be using as a weapon of destruction upon ourselves.  We must act responsibly.  Hold our tongue.  Getting the news out is secondary to immediate concern for the people involved.
This week in Florida a missing baby was found alive.  Further news revealed that the mother was part of the disappearance.  That baby will forever be etched in the inter-webs and sought after for interviews when she is a teen.  “How does it feel to have had your mother fake your kidnapping when you were a child?”  Maybe it should be a live Twitter interview.
Well enough of the rant.  Next article I’ll give some of my opinions on responsible blogging and micro-blogging.  Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to think through it all before you react.

Twitter Lists, The New Measure of Influence?

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:47 PM on November 3, 2009

If you are using Twitter, you are aware that it released the ability to create lists as part of it’s core application. This has led many people to create lists on any subject you can think of. Of course with anything involving Twitter there is controversy. Especially among those who measure their importance by the number of followers they have. List have change this dynamic, and not everyone is please.

There are two ways to get a list, first you can create them from the followers you have, second you can use someone elses. There is a site called Listerous which is a good place to go if you are looking for some list. The great thing about using someone elses is that you don’t have to be following a person to see their post. Although you will only see their updates within that specific list and not your home stream. If you decide to create your own, which I recommend create them based on your needs and not what someone else tells you is right or wrong. Mashable has a good tutorial on how to create list. I do recommend a couple of things, first use specific titles, second go with your first thought. Don’t worry about offending someone, the lists are to help you, besides you can always add someone later.

As I said earlier many people think that the new measure of influence will be how many list someone is on, not their total number of followers. Number of followers has in my opinion always been a bad indicator of influence, it is just one indicator. Many people have huge numbers but are not influential. It will be interesting if now the race becomes the number of list people are on. Of course that is something only time will tell. If you want to see my list please go to List Browser and input klandwehr.

Do People Take On-line Criticism Too Hard?

Posted by Andrew at 12:55 AM on November 3, 2009

Over here in the UK, there have been two incidents in the past week of people taking drastic action because of criticism on-line.  The first is that of Stephen Fry, who threatened to leave Twitter after being called “boring”, and the second is of a village council who resigned en masse because of a blogger’s comments.

The link to the two stories on the BBC are here and here respectively but you’ll find both stories reported on most UK news sites (with varying degrees of journalistic rigour!)  I’ll not go into the detail of each story but what I find interesting is that in both cases there is over-reaction and the recipient simply decides that the “effort is no longer worth it”.

As children, we all learn the line, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”, but as adults most of us come to realise the power of words alone: “I now pronounce you man and wife” being possibly the most significant.  However, I find it amazing that a seasoned actor can take to heart comments from someone he’s never met.  Many of us do get vicarious pleasure following our celebrities, myself included, but even the most proficient of them does sometimes deteriorate into the humdrum.

Stephen’s medical condition probably had something to do with it but I find the actions of the district councillors even more astonishing.  Did these people go into local politics because they thought it would an easy or pleasant job?  Did they expect that arranging the Summer Fete would be the height of their work? None of the news stories that I read suggest that the blogger has done anything other than post inaccurate and offensive material and appears to be single individual.

So what’s going on here?  There’s no doubt that the Internet has allowed celebrities and politicians to interact more closely with their fans and constituents.   But have we reached a point where the closeness has become unhealthy, too personal, with the voice of the one outweighing the thousands of others who do not have complaint?

Perhaps the medium has to take some of the blame.  It’s much harder not to feel slighted when the text message comes in on your phone while you are at home.  I have to take complaints in work every now and then, but I’m sitting in the office at work.  As I walk out the door, I leave the complaint behind and return home.   It seems to me that the line between the public role and private has become too blurred, especially with Twitter.

As for the councillors, my advice would be not to read the blog.

Is Trust a big deal for you on Twitter?

Posted by geeknews at 2:27 AM on September 12, 2009

Here in Hawaii over the past couple of days a social media war been ongoing. According to a local blog post local Twitter celebrity, Arleen Anderson @alohaarleen with 80,000 followers has had some serious accusations made against her. A war is being waged against her from a lot of well known locals on multiple fronts, and she is fighting back instead of responding to the accusations.

Looking at this from a social media perspective the so called social media expert is not following the social media playbook. She should be setting the record straight because silence just fuels the fire. There have been multiple demands for her to explain the accusations, yet she has not done so which raises more suspicion in my mind.

To add to the drama, court documents from other states that if indeed are linked to her have also been revealed within the referenced blog post. If the documents are genuine then I predict her business and social relationships she has here in Hawaii will never recover.

Court documents, purportedly show she has had to make restitution on at least 2 court cases, and was lucky not to go to jail for 5 years for a conviction for stealing from Special Olympics. The accusations in Hawaii revolve around money as well.

It is obvious that some of the Twitter users that have 80,000 followers have used guerilla strategies by repeatedly following and unfollowing those that do not follow back to build huge follow list. I am not sure how she got 80,000 followers, rumor was she hired someone local to help her build the following. What I think is weird is that her Twitter posts appears to be a lot of back slapping going on. There is hardly any information of value in those tweets, each to his own but the content stream is pretty boring.

Before this story broke few days ago, I had heard some second hand information a month or more ago that concerned me enough to put me on guard.

Going back to December of 2008 I had @alohaarleen, in my studio for a segment on my 2nd annual 24hr Podcast. When youre doing a 24 hr show the content runs together but some of the advice she gave was not what I would expect from someone with 80,000 followers. Obviously there will not be an invite for the 2009 24hr podcast.

Here is where the rubber meets the road, when you endorse someone on Twitter, Linked In or any other social media site, you need to know you could be supporting someone with a questionable background. Some people take their presence on Twitter as a fun social activity, but I take my presence on Twitter, as serious, as my blog, and my business! This event has made me realize that while followfriday is a fun. I will be very careful in the future who I endorse and expose to my listeners of my podcast.

While it is impossible to know the history of people you follow, you can act when you are made aware of questionable character. I waited two days for an official statement, non has been forthcoming. From actions I see in her Twitter stream she has done her best to silence any critic by using @spam and having her followers help silence those speaking out against her.

So the question I ask all of you. Does trust play a major factor in whom you follow on Twitter, and do you follow people that you no longer trust?