Doing business online is much bigger than any one website. You have to be where the people are, integrate your business hub with all the key sites out there, and make sure that everything integrates effectively with your back-end systems that you use day in and day out to get things done within your company.
Affino 7 integrates with over 100 systems, and of those 60 are out-of-the box integrations that you can simply enter your settings and connect to Affino. Affino also has a great API for connecting to any compatible system out there.
It’s impossible to select any seven key integrations. Below are some of the best known and most used ones. It all depends on what kind of online business you’re running:
Affino is integrated with a dozen Google services. Google’s Analytics and Maps are still the world’s benchmark, and the Google Merchant Centre continues to grow in influence. We do a great deal to optimise Affino for Google Webmaster Tools and to deliver great SEO.
Paypal is integrated directly into Affino’s store checkout. Affino’s PayPal integration supports direct / indirect, credit card / debit card / PayPal payments, single-page / offsite payment, one-off and renewable payments all just with PayPal. It is one of a dozen different payment systems supported.
You can drop any YouTube video anywhere into Affino by simply posting the URL. It doesn’t matter where you use it whether it is blogs, media library, articles, chat, comments, wherever. Same goes for all the other top video and other media sites.
I’m an avid follower of the world’s leading music festivals - specifically how they are broadcast and ’packaged’ for the digital audience. I’ve kept tabs on the BBC’s and YouTube’s coverage of music festivals over the last few years, and reported back on how each has evolved their offering - benchmark events have been Glastonbury in the UK and Coachella in the US. In this Olympic year, there is no Glastonbury, so we will use BBC 1’s Big Weekend extravaganza - the 2012 Hackney Weekend Music Festival as the UK benchmark.
Where the BBC always excels is in the depth and breadth of its broadcast coverage, and in its archiving. For this year’s Coachella there was really just a smattering of play-back videos from the 3 days of live music, and no full sets. The BBC though has video highlights for pretty much every featured artist, including full sets for the festival headliners.
Watching live though was a different story, as YouTube’s Coachella coverage had better broadcast quality and a much superior interface - with full interaction! For Coachella, fans were able to connect via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and do comments and shout-outs during the performances - on a live update feed - obviously comments are enabled for most content on YouTube. YouTube also cleverly includes the hashtag #coachellalive on all the updates posted - for maximum exposure. Moreover YouTube’s Coachella screen had a really clever rolling ’What’s On’ panel with dynamic thumbnails - which allowed you to mouse-over for live previews of each stage!
The BBC interface did not really makes the most of social media, and it was noway near as easy to organise your viewing schedule. I also noted that for last year’s Carlisle Big Weekend, the BBC was much better at posting up setlists on the artist overviews. Currently the write-ups are mostly sans setlists, which is something we kind of expected after last year!
It’s a tale of two very different approaches - as for live and direct coverage, YouTube’s system was most obviously superior, but in terms of being able to really ’catch’ the music - in terms of ’on demand access’ - then the BBC comes up trumps, as you can view after the fact - most of what you missed, which was not the case for
Last year I blogged about catching the year’s first big music festival courtesy of YouTube - who broadcast live form the 5 stages over the 3 days. I raved about the really clever interface - how they included hashtags into their live updates - and how slickly the whole thing worked, including the uninterrupted streaming broadcast itself.
This year the layout of the interface was even better - with the current and upcoming bands listed in the centre, and the updates off to the right. It was interesting to see the addition of the ’Login with Google+’ option - although I never saw a Google+ originated post - they were about 70% Twitter Updates, with 30% Facebook - I even logged on myself to post updates during the Azealia Banks and Miike Snow sets.
I did not really start watching properly until the Saturday - and thus caught a mix of highlights and full live gigs by the following artists:
The Big Pink
Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg + Eminem, Fiddy, Warren G, Wiz Khalifa et al.
Florence & The Machine
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Swedish House Mafia
I would have loved to have seen, but missed these:
I always compare YouTube’s coverage of this with the BBC’s coverage of its main music festivals. I think the actual live streaming and the social experience is better by YouTube, but overall the BBC still leads - as they provide so much better supporting materials - and actually post up much more of the video highlights - only 76 Videos are listed on YouTube’s Coachella Page - and these are individual tracks, whilst for the BBC there is normally an extended highlights (circa 30 mins.) plus a couple of individual great moments from nearly all the featured performers - a number of the videos on Coachella Live are not even the best moments from those sets.
On my somewhat dodgy Talk Talk connection, I was astounded to get a totally seamless experience over the whole event - did not drop out once - and switching between the 3 live feed options was butter smooth!
We people want to be involved in everything today - we want our say, we want our opinions to be heard and shared, and we want to be able to express ourselves artistically through clever parodies, skits and remixes of popular social media.
There’s a brilliant, brief TED talk (below) by YouTube’s Trends Manager - Kevin Allocca - where he tries to identify how out of millions of hours of video - phenomena ’Nyan Cats’, ’Double Rainbow’ and ’Rebecca Black’s Friday’ managed to stand out. Of course there are a myriad of causal factors there, but the obvious one is that of a shared experience and the ease of interaction and parody. Universally, we now live in the age of parody - as best exemplified by long-running animated shows ’The Simpsons’ and ’South Park’ where nothing is holy any more - everyhing is deconstructed, ridiculed and parodied - and the people love it!
A great part of the success of the aforementioned trio is the ease with which people could relate to them and parody them. Pretty much every decent pop song gets ’covered’ in a million different ways within weeks of hitting the tops of the charts - punk versions, skiffle band folk versions, multi-tracked-acapellas, 2Cellos version, the ubiquitous dubstep remix etc. etc.
Twitter and Facebook’s ubiquity in the ease of commenting, liking, re-tweeting and sharing is what makes them work, and what looks like a sound basis for new site Pinterest. Yet there are still forces out there that think that they can totally ’tailor’ a user’s experience - limit the amount of input, interaction and participation, and still create a successful marketplace - I’m not so sure any more.
By nature we humans are usually highly suspicious, increasingly cynical and often lonely and lacking in confidence in various aspects of our lives - we need regular interaction, recognition, support and approval - much as Abrahm Maslow identified all the way back in 1943. Much has been written about key influencers in human motivations, and one thing is for sure - and that is that complex communities of personal interactions are what best influence behaviour. Everything has to happen within a context and within the subjectivity of a person’s activities, interests and tastes - yet the undeniable truth is that we are all
Creative minds now have a ’Twitter’-like format of their own in the superb Moodboards / Pinboards utility which is ’Pinterest’. At the very top level it has similarities to Twitter - but instead of posting 140 character monologues and updates - or largely retweeting everyone else’s content. For Pinterest you ’Pin’ images to Topic-designated ’Boards’ by way of a Bookmarking button which you enable on your browser. Obviously a minority pin all the fantastic images, and the majority re-purpose and re-appropriate them via ’Repinning’. You can subscribe to the various Pinterest Users and their boards, much like you would ’Follow’ a Twitter account, although there is a little more granularity here on the topic level.
It’s not just pictures though, but videos also which can be ’Pinned’ to boards. You simply navigate to a web page, hit your browser ’Pin It’ button and select which image you wish to ’harvest’. Pinterest then does some very clever embedding to slot said image or video reference onto one of your ’Boards’.
When you start up your account - you are presented with 5 empty generic boards which you can start to fill up with original or repinned content - you can of course change the Topic / Subject matter for your Boards at any time, and you can even allow collaborations with colleagues, family members and friends - so you can pin collectively.
The uses of Pinterest are manifold - back in my Advertising days, we would have killed for this - for use as a Creative Moodboard. But it is so much more - a visual swatch or shopping list, a kind of ideas mindmap in purely picture form - oh yes - you can ’Like’ and ’Comment’ on each others ’Pins’ too. There is also a retail solution of sorts called ’Gifts’ which lists Pins (Pictures) with Prices - and then obviously links through to the relevant source eCommerce Catalogue Items.
Wikipedia and Reddit were blacked out today in an attempt to highlight to Internet Users - the serious likely impact of this legislation on the basic rights of freedom of the typical netizen.
These 2 new bills - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) - are in the process of passing through the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. They would end up giving Copyright Owners way too much power in shutting down and commercially crippling any site/s they choose to target - fairly or unfairly. Copyright Owners already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to effect similar actions - in enforcing take-down notices, and there are already numerous cases where the DMCA legislation has been abused - even though it does require a degree of due process.
SOPA and PIPA are far too broad and far reaching in their applications, and would end up a weapon of censorship and restriction - closing down and curtailing the open and organic nature of the Internet. The legislation requires no court order to force a take-down notice, and can be so broadly applied that any vague 3rd party reference to another allegdly suspect site can result in an injunction against the referring party.
The problem with the Internet at large is that so many of the daily services we use are based / legislated from the USA - Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia - what with Social Content Contribution - any one of these could easily end up with potentially disputed copyrighted material and be forced to shut down.
UK citizens should be far more worried than most, as has been seen by the recent extradition case of Richard O’Dwyer - a UK citizen who has actually broken no UK or European laws with his UK-based links website - but is still being extradited to the US for summary judgment and punishment.
I’m certainly not a fan of piracy, but totally understand why it happens, and this draconionan legislation will not be the cure. The vast majority of media companies are overly greedy and totally out of touch with reality - and are almost as much a part of the problem as the pirates.
I can buy a pretty decent gaming app on the Apple App Store for just 69 pence - a venture which has taken several months to produce and contains sound and vision, and creative flare, and typically involves a significantly sized project team. Yet for a new sound file - ’single&
We’ve heard it several times now - that with the growth of Social Messaging - email is on its way out! However, for me if anything - email is on the way up! I have various Social Media subscriptions which all come to my inbox - from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. - all my receipts, including those from the various Apple stores - as well as all my key bills and statements, these are all now notified electronically via email!
I really don’t understand what these Social Media types propose is going to happen to all that content! As far as I’m concerned, there are lots of different kinds of communications platforms - each for very specific purposes. If you need to send smallish attachments, then email is still a decent format, if you need to send something larger, then any kind of message with a Dropbox URL in it will do. There’s lots of clever ’Messenger’ type services now, like Apple’s ’iMessage’ - which provides free Blackberry style text messages to its customers.
On a daily basis, I make use of iMessage / SMS, Forums, Message Boards, Group Chat, Comments and Ratings, Skype and Google Talk. For me the biggest significance has been in the Disqus-type comments systems, very much like Affino’s Comments and Ratings - this means that the discussion element is very much aligned to the content, whereas with Forums - they are usually divorced from the content, and very quick to go off-topic.
As far as the statistics go, the number of email messages being sent is still on the way up globally. Messaging / iMessaging / SMS is simply just replacing other forms of communication - like the more traditional phone call, as they are more cost effective and more expedient. You don’t expect the person on the end of the line to available 24/7 - so sending an SMS is far better than leaving a voicemail - that said, many people do both!
A lot of people used to do proper blogs, then they got bored / lazy and switched to tweets, now they’re even lazier and just do comments and re-tweets. It would be interesting to know the proportion of original to recycled / regurgitated content in the twittersphere.
Of course people like Mark Zuckerberg have vested interests in their platforms, and will make broad sweeping statement to push home a point, much like Steve Jobs used to do in his heyday. For sake of
I followed the riots live across multiple resources for 3 of the 4 main days of rioting. I caught pretty much all the reportage and interviews, updates, aftermaths and expositions; and the following is my own personal POV roundup:
Welfare Dependence - The mix of people involved in the riots does not really underline this - rich kid brats, postmen, teaching assistants, Olympic ambassdors and real estate agents were all arrested and charged. Also, the age of arrested ranged from 11 to 50 and included several walks of life - many of them quite unexpected, and outside the presumed criminal / social underbelly
Social Exclusion - Talk of a social underclass / criminal underclass was not entirely justified as perpetrators came from a much wider social demographic; there was though a high proportion from low / no-income council estates
Lack of Parenting - Presiding judges noted that very few minors (under 18s) had their parent/s in tow for court hearings. Scandinavian studies have shown that single parent families can be equally competent in raising high achieving children, so it’s not necessarily lack of fathers as many say, just a lack of parenting full stop
Spending Cuts - The current government’s cutbacks, in order to tackle the mounting national debt / deficit, cannot really be substantiated as yet, as the spending cuts have not fully set in - largely opposition party politiciking
Weak Policing - I actually agree with a lot of commentators on this; I have watched a number of interviews with the perpetrators and almost all stated that they participated after they witnessed the non-action of the Tottenham Police ("The Police just stood by and did nothing!"). Had the Police weighed in heavier from the start, it is unlikely that the riots would have spread in the way that they did. Also, the lax / slow / poor response from the IPCC to the initial incident was the cause of the first flare-up
Racism - The original Mark Duggan shooting was not necessarily what sparked the initial Tottenham riots, it was how the Police and the IPCC in particular dealt with the family of the deceased and the initial peaceful gathering of demonstrators - had this been handled properly, it is far less likely that violence would have
As with any Chart-based data, it’s the underlying algorithms and qualitative decision-making which is usually key. In terms of public ’Hype-Meters’, I doubt there’s many that have not at least heard the name Lady Gaga - her contemporary influence is pretty pervasive, as this accolade attests to.
For us Brits, the #10 ranked - basketball player LeBron James of the Miami Heat is not quite yet a household name on this side of the water; #14 Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers is possibly better known here, but otherwise there are no real surprises in the top 20, although the listing does seem to be heavily skewed towards American media, as one would expect.
I Have a feeling that Oprah’s Star is waning, and it’s nice to have two youngsters in the top 10 - in the form of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift; it will be interesting to see if these two can hold out on their placings and popularity. I expect Lady Gaga to have a very strong 2011, along with Simon Cowell. It will be most interesting to come back next year and compare the relative placings then.
Both Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber owe a lot of their sucess to their mastery over the Internet and Social Media in particular. Being a successful celebrity today is totally changed from the model even a few years ago. If you want to be successful today, you must take advantage of and master the Internet - there is no alternative to this now.
As I often do, I caught the odd snippet of live coverage of the first of the big summer festivals - BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, this time from Carlisle. I made sure I ’tuned-in’ online for the main headline act - Gaga, and I was not disappointed as she played most of her hits, plus a smattering of new material, some jazzy numbers, a couple of ballads and a latin track - Lady Gaga entered in heavily pregnant guise inside a gold coffin, nice touches included dedication of ’Orange Colored Sky’ to Will and Kate; highlight was current personal favourite Gaga track ’Judas’ right at the end.
01. Swedish House Mafia vs. Tinie Tempah - Miami 2 Ibiza (Swedish House Mafia Intro Edit) 02. Ting Tings - Hands (Edit) 03. Style of Eye - We Are Boys 04. Arty - Around The World 05. Swedish House Mafia - One w/ Rune RK - Calabria 06. 2000 And One - Spanish Fly (Butch Remix) w/ Calvin Harris - Flashback w/ Calvin Harris - Awooga 07. Axwell vs. R.E.M - Heart Is My Religeon (Blake Jarell Mash-Up) 08. Pendulum - The Island (AN21, Max Vangeli & Steve Angello Remix) 09. Steve Angello pres. Who’s Who - Yeah 10. Hard Rock Sofa & St. Brothers - Blow Up (Thomas Gold vs. Axwell Remix) w/ Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Acapella) 11. Axwell - Nothing But Love (Remode) 12. Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix) 13. Steve Angello & Alex Metric - Open Your Eyes (Tim Mason Festival Dub) w/ Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Acapella) 14. Alesso - Dynamite w/ Daft Punk - Around The World (Acapella) w/ Sebastian Ingrosso - Kidsos 15. Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin - Save The World [John Martin Live]
This really was one of the best club sets I have heard in a long time, quite brilliant from start to finish.
As far at the live coverage goes, BBC are still best with providing in-depth content, in and around the live performances with off-stage antics, interviews and accoustic performances all featured - as well as archived videos from most of the artists featured. YouTube’s coverage of Coachella, had a couple of great innvovations which would have been nice to have seen on the BBC
I always thought the BBC were the masters of live music coverage, and in many ways they still are - in terms of all the behind the scenes footage, biographies, interviews, escapades and impromptu live accoustic sets. For this year though, YouTube has done a sterling job in letting non-attendees witness the live spectacle of Coachella , America’s Glastonbury of sorts, at least a little brother to Glastonbury in most ways.
I’m not going to split hairs on the lineup, I have watched a number of bands now, and I’m really impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the YouTube Coachella Festival interface, and the cleverness of the Twitter and Facebook connects. For Twitter , YouTube are automatically embedding the "#CoachellaLive’ hash tag for superb Twitter trending performance. Via integration with Twitter and Facebook they allow Fans to easily post ’Shout Outs’, at the same time promoting the festival and YouTube itself.
The interface has a simple Programme Guide and What’s on Now / Coming Up listing - everything you really need for live music coverage. BBC goes a little further with Artist Biographies, Videos and backgrounds - linking into the enormous archives that make up the complete BBC experience. I don’t expect YouTube do to this, but it would be nice to have some king of tag-indexed library of officially related videos for each of the featured artists, and a means to access the elements of the live stream individually post gig also.
I can really see YouTube becoming a forerunner in this, and can foresee a two-stream concert ticketing system where a lower priced tariff allows you to experience the concert from the comfort of your home sofa - allowing to to neatly forego the pleasures of stinky chemical toilets, endless queues and the potential of rain and mud.
With the rapid development of Internet Television services - connecting with a variety of home streaming devices - Apple TV , Google TV etc. I see this as a big potential money earner for YouTube . Mainstream cinemas are already on the bandwagon - providing streamed access to live events - operas, pop concerts and sporting events - giving global access, as well as more convenient access in some ways - to a much larger audience. This is certainly an object lesson in how to do things well. The sound and video - were great for the whole of my viewi...
I believe this great diagramatic explanation of Social Media first appeared on French Blog site ’Vanished Omen ’. I spotted it on ’Gizmodo ’, obviously the graphics were a bit ropey - so I did my own version.
I would have liked to have included ’Flickr ’ in there as well, as I believe this is still a significant Social Media resource, but the original’s simplicity and symmetry bore out.
I’m sure many of you have heard of the Social Commerce definition of placing tills next to water coolers and water coolers next to tills. This is how the vast majority of Social Commerce is implemented - as a bolt-on or add-on, not necessarily central to the main consumer experience.
The purpose of Social Commerce - is to integrate social interactions with commercial transactions, so that when someone buys something - they can get advice, influence and a second opinion on their purchases - at the point of purchase. To truly do Social Commerce properly, the social element has to be fully ingrained within the retail experience - which is what Affino does. Affino is an all-in-one, seamless Social Commerce Hub - where all consumer interactions and transactions are handled simultaneously by the same system. Here the social commerce analogy is having water coolers within vending machines and vice versa - not as an aside or adjunt, but as a key element of the central experience.
Some years ago we worked with the designer jeans label Diesel on a number of website projects - at the time, we recommended having a webcam and monitor next to a communal store mirror - where shoppers could canvas opinions from users browsing the Diesel website. At that time there was no Facebook , and the technology was not up to much more than a one-way exchange of opinions. Just recently, Diesel put a similar idea into practice using a touchscreen monitor - where shoppers could login on their Facebook account, take snaps of their outfits and upload directly to their own User Profile. Such is the state of Internet technology today, that we can achieve all kinds of clever integrated interactions within the consumer experience - incorporating dynamic, intelligent recommendations, fully immersive media and multiple interactions.
In the visual above I have combined the latest in Acure touchscreen vending machine technology with Microsoft’s Kinect and Skype’s video call and text messaging - in order to illustrate point-of-sale social commerce. This is what Affino does on the web; our latest release will have the revived and updated ’Affino Messenger’ which gives you largely the Skype type interactive experience - with text messaging, video calling and file sharing functionality. Affino has several other types of clever in-built functionality; our Comme...
Lots of websites have icons with ’Facebook Connect’, ’Connect with Twitter’ or ’Connect to LinkedIn’ and the like. In most cases, these are simply just links to company or brand-specific pages on those Social Networking Sites - nothing dynamic or revolutionary happening there.
On some sites you see ’Login with Facebook’ or ’Login with Twitter’, this is more along the lines of what the Affino Proto Account offers, but not quite the whole shebang!
For a while now, Affino Users have been able to sync in two-directions with Facebook and Twitter - to share Tweets, Updates and Posts both ways. We recently added LinkedIn to this; LinkedIn is much more rarely synced, and particularly in the way Affino does it.
With LinkedIn , Affino can pull in CV and Biography details - suitable for professional career sites, job applications and recruitment.
This is the 3rd phase of Affino’s Social Networking integration, and there is plenty more to come, including deep-level integration with the Facebook Marketplace , as well as adding the OpenId option for User Account connection.
For those who have been following the recent developments on MySpace - particularly with a view to the Facebook Mashup, this is exactly the kind of functionality that Comrz constantly works at bringing to Affino - enabling Affino owners to have a powerful Social Commerce Hub which pulls in and distributes all manner of value-added content and commercial output.
Please feel free to explore the new functionality by registering, logging-in or updating your existing account using your Facebook , Twitter or LinkedIn credentials...
I have updated my MySpace profile now for the first time in about 3 years or more. I rarely use my MySpace Profile, although I use MySpace a whole lot for checking out the latest releases from my many favourite bands.
MySpace has just recently gone through one amazing upheaval - I love the brand evolution, the - my [_____] - ident / motif is genius. The new look and feel is fantastic, and the new Facebook Mashup feature is equally inspired. As MySpace CEO Mike Jones explains:
“We are thrilled to further our collaboration with Facebook through Mashup with Facebook . This new feature is a great illustration of our strategy around social entertainment and enabling the real-time stream. The stream is one of our most popular features on Myspace , and it is now delivering an even richer entertainment experience of relevant content for our users to enjoy. I’m particularly excited because so many people will be able to have the immediate satisfaction of enjoying their own entertainment program that they have customized themselves as well as connecting to all their passions and to the Myspace community at large.”
MySpace’s customisation / templating wizard is also much better, and all in all the User experience is about 100% improved.
I’m still not convinced how much ’action’ it will take away from Facebook , as I still believe Facebook has a myriad of advantages over MySpace . I will of course continue to utilise the ’Music’ space on MySpace - I don’t believe I will really be doing much with my own Profile area though.
This of course raises the larger questions about syncing information between different profiles - and how you decide on how to store said information and prioritise different categories and likes, and which information you actually copy / sync across - do you every override preferences?
At Comrz , we are about to introduce our new Affino ’Proto Accounts’ functionality which allows users to connect / utilise login / registration details from Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter - with OpenID to follow in the next release. Affino really pushes the envelope for what information is captured on a User Profile basis; we will be following up that exercise with the ’Content Streaming’ -type features found on Facebook , and w...
We’re heavily into R & D at the moment in the Comrz Virtual Research and Development Labs. Three projects in particular are going to have a big impact over the coming year.
Affino Messenger v2
One of the things we get asked about the most is "when will the next generation of Affino Messenger come out so that we can re-enable instant messaging on our site". The good news is that it is now well under-way and we are looking to release a Beta version with the next Affino release.
The nature of the Instant Messaging hosting setup is that this will only be offered as a premium service. Not just that, but there will be different levels of service depending on whether it’s just text chat or you want voice and video as well.
You can see from the screen cap above that we’re at the very early discovery phase with a lot of the technology but have got working prototypes for text and voice chat.
We’ve already tried (and discarded) a number of approaches and have ended up deciding to write the core messaging client and server ourselves. We tried hard to work with existing standards such as XMPP, but the problem is that nothing we tried came close to doing what we want to achieve.
The tech we’re going to be using is Adobe Flex 4 and Adobe Air 2.x. We’re also writing our own Java Sockets server; with ColdFusion based webservices which will link together each Affino site and community with our new centralised Affino Messaging Service; which in turn we’ll be hosting on the Amazon EC2 cloud.
Our twin goal priorities are reliability and security, so everything we do will only be released when we have confidence it will perform effectively. The key feature priorities we have are:
Peer to Peer Instant Messaging
Group Instant Messaging
Chat / Conference Room Messaging
Peer to Peer Voice Chat
Peer to Peer File Transfer
Peer to Peer Video Chat
Status Updates sync with the site, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Since the App Store was officially launched on July 10th 2008, it has had a profound impact on Internet and Mobile Phone Usage. It is arguable as to whether the iPhone was truly the first smartphone, but its combination of messaging, telephony, email access, web browsing - plus its myriad of useful utilities and applications, really blazed the trail for all others to follow. Where Apple and Google now lead, Microsoft , Nokia and the other former leaders of the mobile phone sector are desperately scrabbling to catch up.
Wired Magazine went as far as to proclaim ’The Internet is Dead!’ based on the now increasing dominance of smartphone and tablet devices - which rely increasingly on custom applications to deliver their content and services. What Wired failed to mention, is that most of the service applications still rely on Internet Hubs to provide them with their content. Two of the most used - Facebook and Twitter push everything through their respective websites. Twitter is an interesting service, as increasingly users of its services typically totally bypass Twitter when posting to it or receiving updates from it. This is in part what led to Wired’s headline, as well as recent efforts by Twitter to introduce its own Dashboard style interface on its own website.
The smartphone really is about a series of convergences and consolidations - it’s not that long since I left the house with 4 items in my pocket - phone, iPod , wallet and keys. My iPhone now serves the 2 first functions, and as you may have read on other blogs on this site, I am pretty sure that before long, smartphones will contain electronic wallets, and control keyless access to domiciles and other buildings. My brother Markus’s preferred reading device is his iPhone - he though that the iPad might supplant his affections in this area, but that has not been the case. Recent announcements from Samsung concerning its Galaxy Tab and its use in Home Automation, lead me to believe that such applications - alongside home security, personal ID - even passports and contactless payment systems - these will all find their way onto smartphones within the next year or two.
The App Store has grown to 253,934 applications in a little over 2 years, and has seen 6,500,000,000+ downloads of said applications. Latest category breakdown are as follows:
I have serious reservations about any geo-located web-based activity; this includes new geographically-aware social media sites FourSquare and Gowalla , several iPhone apps, and even several more Facebook apps.
When trawling through gadget sites Engadget and Gizmodo , I’m always surprised by the volume of user comments demanding geo-tagging services, particularly with a view to geo-tagging all photography, so that when you post it online, it already carries the location data of where the picture was taken.
You may have caught a Facebook -related story a couple of years ago - about an American blogger who posted numerous photographs of his new flat - which had amazing views out of every window. Soon after he moved in, he decided to take a month long vacation in Hawaii, all the while blogging on his activities and present location. When he returned home, he was in for rather a major shock... Enterprising burglars had triangulated the location of his flat from the photographs posted, and proceeded to clean-out the flat when the owner was reliably absent for an extended period. This is not an isolated incident, there are all kinds of activity-related opportunistic crimes which take place. Another example of this in the UK is the spate of burglaries at the villas and mansions of leading Premiership football players - whilst they are absent at away games.
In this modern digital age, Identity theft is rife, and criminals are ever more switched on to the Internet - taking advantage of any information and data they might glean. It follows therefore that it is in your best interests not to make it easy for said suspect parties to be able to discover your exact wherabouts.
For me, personal privacy is paramount, and an increasingly important part of privacy is where you’re at! Why would anyone go about advertising that they are absent from their main domicile? - Yet thousands do.
FourSquare and Gowalla claim all kinds of security measures, as does Facebook - about maintaining privacy data, and not sharing location information with anyone unauthorised. On my iPhone however, every other app I activate wants my permission to grab my location data. Of course certain recommendations services cannot work without this information. I am very mindful though of who and what I give access to and notice of my current location. ...
On Sky Sports News today there was an article about Leicester Tigers Rugby Player Jordan Crane - who had tweeted about the possible extended lay-off he would suffer following an ankle injury. Coach Richard Cockerill was quick to comdemn his player’s actions and issue a blanket ban on all Twitter and Facebook activities mentioning anything related to the Tigers Club or its team members’ activities.
In a discussion with my Rugby player colleague Chris, I voiced my opinion how this was surely all a bit of a storm in a teacup. He however quickly countered with the argument that the Tigers ’ opponents could use this information to gain advantage in team selection, training and strategy, knowing that the Tigers would be fielding a less tried and most likely less capable player in the number 8 position for an extended period.
This then got me thinking about the reality of Social Media and Twitter and Facebook , and how commonplace it is these days to tweet or post updates about anything and everything. It thus stands to reason that somewhere in amongst all these tweets, some people will be inadvertently giving away significant company and team secrects and strategies which competitors could and would use against them.
We all know that many employers check a prospective employee’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as part of the original interview and vetting process, but how many companies regularly check on their employees ongoing activities?
Now that the Tigers players have received an offical gagging order from the club, where they are specifically prohibited from tweeting anything club-related, how soon is it before companies en masse start introducing specific clauses into their employment contracts to ban employees from mentioning any of their employer’s activities.
Twitter really is a two-edged sword, as its great promotional ability has been proven again and again; yet, if every time you tweet about your company’s activities your competitors take note of your actions - how soon before they will have something seemingly innocuous that they can twist and spin to use against you.
Never forget how quickly the fortunes of companies can be reversed by one inadvertent statement - all you need to do is think ’Gerald Ratner’!
NMAP.org has generated an interesting dynamic Web Infograph showing the relative size of the Web’s largest websites, rendered in relative Favicon terms. Of course the Favicons are simply 16 x 16 pixel - browser website identifiers, so there is some degree of distortion at larger sizes.
The dynamic favicon diagram is simply called ’Favicon ’ and is based on a large-scale scan of the top million websites, in accordance with Alexa traffic data .
A static JPG can be found [Here] with a legend of the 70 largest websites - which are really domains if you read the fineprint. All the usual suspects feature, the top 10 or so including:
You really need some kind of Augmented Reality 3D app to be able to navigate into the full dynamic infograph, which contains some 328,427 properties. The smallest icons, those corresponding to sites with approximately 0.0001% reach, are scaled to 16 x 16 pixels. The largest icon (Google ) is 11,936 x 11,936 pixels, and the whole diagram is 37,440 x 37,440 pixels in total!