Category Archives: Social Media

Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord

This is what I look like waiting for TV shows to be released on Netflix. Not really – this is what I look like all the time. Image Credit – BigStock

There’s a new report out this week (to be filed in the “Duh” folder…right next to “No Kidding”) showing that some 2.6 million cable television subscribers cancelled their service in favor of Internet-based streaming services between 2008 and 2011.

Reported by Slashdot, Yahoo and others this morning, Canadian research firm Convergence Consulting Group summarized the following from their…well, research:

“We estimate 112,000 TV subscribers were added in 2011, down from 272,000 in 2010, and forecast 185,000 TV sub additions for 2012. 2000-2009 annual TV sub additions averaged 2 million. Based on our TV Cord Cutting Model (takes into account economic conditions, annual subscriber additions, digital transition), we estimate 2.65 million (2.6%) US TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions 2008-11 to rely solely on Online, Netflix, OTA, etc, 1.05 million (1%) in 2011 alone. We forecast cord cutters will reach 3.58 million year end (3.6%) 2012.”

So, essentially, folks are fleeing traditional television for streaming services in decent numbers, but those numbers seem to be slowing. News reports on this are rounding up the typical line-up of culprits for this dialing-back on the rush to streaming – content limitations of streaming services (a.k.a. ‘ I can’t believe Netflix doesn’t have so-and-so) based on sluggish deals being struck by Netflix and others with studios and networks; and the ultimate price-tag of achieving a more robust catalogue of content will break the cost model for places like Netflix and their service will become prohibitively expensive. Continue reading Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord

What Social Media Really Deserves

Shitter Toilet RollHere at GNC, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our writing, but for one article only, it’s going to go down the pan….literally.

Much of the Internet is full of crap and Twitter is responsible for its fair share. Put the two together and you get Shitter, toilet paper printed with a Twitter feed of your choice. No, really.

It’s a bit pricey to clean up your number twos at $35 for four bog rolls but imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from wiping your arse with the musings of some Z-list celebrity. Alternatively you could view it as a post-modern critique of the “me” culture.

Perhaps “sheeting” will catch on as the verb of the year – remember you heard it here first!

Wave Goodbye to Google Wave

Google Wave was once the hot, new, exciting thing from Google. When it first came out, I remember hesitating before jumping into it because I was having difficultly understanding just what, exactly, Google Wave was supposed to be used for. Personally, I found the interface to be counterintuitive. I recall hearing people say “I’m on Google Wave. Now… what do I do with it?”.

It seems that I wasn’t the only one who was confused about what to do with Google Wave. Over a year ago, Google decided to stop developing Google Wave as a separate product. In November of 2011, Google sent an email to users of Google Wave that included specific dates that they had selected for ending the maintenance period for this product, as they worked towards shutting down Google Wave forever.

Right now, you can still access Google Wave, but it is in read-only mode, and cannot be added to. I got an email from Google today that was a reminder that they will turn off Google Wave, for good, on April 30, 2012. Wave goodbye as Google Wave rides off into the sunset.

As I said, I never managed to find much of a use for Google Wave. If you did, then you need to be aware that you can continue to export individual waves using the PDF export feature until Google Wave is turned off. Exporting it will allow you to keep that information, even after Google Wave is gone. It is recommended that you export your data from Google Wave before April 30, 2012.

Google also has some suggestions about other things that you can use in case you find yourself grieving the loss of Google Wave. Both of them are open source projects. One is Apache Wave, which has just entered its incubation period. When Google announced that they would stop developing Google Wave, it handed it over to the Apache Software Foundation.

The other is Walkaround, which is made by Google. There is an experimental feature in Walkaround that will let you import all of your waves from Google Wave. The feature has some limitations but, some users might find this option to be better for them than downloading their wave in a PDF format would be. If you cannot bear the thought of having the information you posted on Google Wave disappear, there are options that will allow you to keep it.

Image: Google by BigStock

Yahoo Sues Facebook Over Ten Separate Patents

Yahoo has filed a patent infringement suit against Facebook. The case has been filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

Yahoo says that it is suing over ten patents that are related to web-based advertising. Yahoo is also suing because the company says that Facebook is using a social networking model that is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.

In plain English, here are the things that this dispute is about:

US Patent 7454509 Online Playback system with community bias
This refers to a music station that selects what songs to play based on what you and your friends have indicated that you like to listen to.

US Patent 7599935 Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level
This one is basically talking about the News Feed page in Facebook. Everything you see is there because your friends decided to share that content with you.

US Patent 5983227 Dynamic Page Generator
The easiest way to describe this is to say that it is talking about an individualized homepage that you can modify and customize to better suit your own personal interests.

US Patent 7747648 World Modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities.
In short, this patent is talking about a system that allows you to send a private message to someone else that you have connected with within a particular social media system. It is talking about the “e-mail” that you get within Facebook.

US Patent 7406501 System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol
This patent refers to the instant messaging system that you can use to talk to other people who are also on Facebook. In other words, the chat function.

US Patent 6907566, US Patent 7100111, and US Patent 7373599 Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
These three patents are all referring to when Facebook places an ad on its website that is based on things you have done before. Those ads that sit on the side of your Facebook page are specifically targeted to your interests, based on what you clicked on or “liked” in Facebook.

US Patent 7668861 System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a networking
This patent refers to the system that Facebook uses to figure out if someone who joined Facebook is a real person. It uses the data posted by said user to make that determination.

US Patent 7269590 Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user.
Have you ever logged into Facebook and noticed that one of your friend’s current profile photos has been displayed? This patent refers to the system that is used to decide which friend’s photos you will see.

Image: Facebook Social Media by BigStock

SnapCuts Video Messages

The nuances of human interaction are so complex that even as adults we often misunderstand one another and at other times, we want to shout our message plainly from the rooftops. So to help us communicate more effectively, SnapCuts offers video messaging using prepared clips from film and TV to help pass on the message with clarity. Think “I’m sorry”, “Thanks for being my friend”, “I got the job!”


The SnapCuts website lets you create the message you want to convey from a fair selection of clips from film and TV. Some are definitely classics, others are unknowns (to me anyway), but there’s enough to get your message over, which is probably the main thing. There is tag search, so if you are looking for clips that have a particular theme, you can find them easily enough. The site has an easy-to-use editor – the snapper – that lets you set up a string of clips, if that’s what you need.

The site is free to use and all the clips are legally licensed too, so there’s no dodgy stuff here. The business model is to encourage rights owners to license the clips in return for a link from SnapCuts to where the full film or TV show can be purchased. Nice idea.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Andy Smith of Geocaching World.

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Peel Recommends TV Shows For You

Peel on iOS and AndroidIn the “old days” finding enjoyable TV programmes relied on three sources – in programme advertising for another show, flicking through the channels or your friends saying, “Did you watch xxxx last night? It’s brilliant!” At CES, Andy and Courtney discover Peel, a fourth way of discovering great new TV shows.

Peel is an iPhone and Android app which offers show recommendations based on your viewing habits and the shows that your friends and family are watching.

The app offers “Top picks” based on what you watch and you can rate shows as favourites or as “guilty pleasures” – I think we all know what that means! The app also gives “Friends’ favourites”, the shows that everyone else is watching, so you can catchup with what’s hot.

It’s not clear whether Peel is US-centric or not, but it’s a free app, so there’s nothing to lose.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Acoustic Research AirPlay Wireless Audio System

Jeremy from Vox International, representing Acoustic Research, dropped by the TPN studio at the Consumer Electronics Show to talk a little bit about the new AirPlay Wireless Audio System that they introduced at the show.  As the name implies, the system is based on iTunes and it allows you to free your iTunes library from you computer or mobile device and stream the audio anywhere in your house.

While there are a number of AirPlay devices on the market, Acoustic Research hopes to separate themselves from the group by, not only their famous name, but also with quality and pricing.  Users will be able to tether multiple players together so that they can have them in separate rooms, creating a whole-house audio system.

The box has 10w x 2 for audio power and will be available this April for $129.99.  You can learn more from Acoustic Research.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Careverge Takes A Social Approach To Health

Careverge logoThe fast pace of modern Western life doesn’t lend itself to a healthy lifestyle and many of us struggle to keep on top of the weight and exercise regularly, including myself. Careverge can help as a one-stop health and well-being site that brings together fitness, health and support in one place. Careverge’s Henry de Phillips talks to Jamie Davis of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show about what the site can offer.

Careverge’s approach is to create a social networking environment to encourage good health behaviours rather than to simply sell a product or a plan. The site brings networking, gaming and recommendations together so that within only a few moments of starting to use the site, the individual is given personalised suggestions on reading and possible activities. The focus of Careverge is to encourage people to health through fun while providing quality health information and support to reach their goals.

Careverge is free to use for consumers.

Interview by Jamie Davis of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

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Life In A Day

Life In A DayOk, so I’m really behind the curve here but the BBC screened “Life In A Day” over the Christmas holidays and I’m finally watching it. If you haven’t watched it already, you need to put this on your must-see list.

If you aren’t familiar with the film, it’s made up of footage from over 80,000 submissions of video that was all recorded on 24th July 2010 by people across the world. Created in partnership with YouTube, Ridley Scott produced the film with Kevin Macdonald directing. It’s been lovingly crafted into a documentary about the human condition.

And what a documentary it is. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion of taking you across the world to different places, peoples and societies. There’s every facet of human life and the juxtaposition of cultures makes it all the more poignant. One minute it’s a rich nation, the next a poor country. Some of the film is shocking and it doesn’t hide the sheer hard work of existence but throughout it all is the joy of life itself.

The film is available (legally) on YouTube. Warning: there are a couple of scenes that aren’t suitable for younger viewers.


Adobe Set to Launch SocialAnalytics October 20th

Social Networks have become big for individuals, but perhaps even bigger for businesses.  Almost every company today has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and if they don’t then they are looking at how to create one.  Many of those companies are also left wondering what all of it really means and what impact it’s having for them.  Web sites are old hat now – there are countless analytics programs to measure them, but social media can still be considered the wild west.

Today, word leaked out that Adobe will be showing off their new SocialAnalytics program for the first time tomorrow in Stockholm, Sweden at Munchen Bryggeriet.  SocialAnalytics is designed to let businesses know exactly what kind of impact their social media presence is having and what they can do to improve upon it.

“Adobe® SocialAnalytics is the first social media analytics solution to measure the impact of social media on business. It enables marketers to directly measure their social media efforts, and understand how conversations on social networks and online communities influence marketing performance. Using Adobe SocialAnalytics, marketers can manage their strategy and investments in social media based on measurable outcomes and in the context of broader, multichannel marketing efforts.”

This is very short notice, but Adobe’s Caroline Mildenborn provided this link to register for the event.  It’s a chance to see the software in-action for the first time and learn what it can really do and what kind of information it provides.