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Facebook time is tops abroad, with Singapore No. 1

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 9:23 pm

Here at the epicenter of social networking, birthplace of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much the rest of the world loves our homespun social-media creations.

As it turns out, social networking is enjoyed overseas even more than here at home in Silicon Valley. Underscoring this notion is a newly released international study from Experian Hitwise tracking the top eight countries spending the most time on Facebook and other social networks.

Here’s the lowdown: Singapore loves Facebook more than any other country. In August, people in Singapore spent the most time on Facebook 38 minutes and 46 seconds per session, while those in New Zealand spent 30 minutes and 31 seconds. Australians spent 26 minutes and 27 seconds; next, folks in the United Kingdom spent 25 minutes and 33 seconds; and the United States came in 5th place with 20 minutes 46 seconds, followed by France, India, and Brazil.

Not surprisingly, Facebook was the most visited social network in the United States in August, leading with 91 percent of all visits. Second place went to Twitter with 1.92 percent of all social-networking visits. San Francisco-based Tagged.com came in third place for the first time with 1.04 percent of all visits, overtaking MySpace.

In Brazil, most Internet visits (18.9 percent) went to social-networking sites, the most popular being Google’s Orkut; though Orkut is losing ground to Facebook, which increased 16 percent compared to a year ago. In the United States, 15.4 percent of all Internet visits were aimed at social networks.

Worldwide, Facebook is experiencing the fastest growth in India, where it has seen 88 percent year-on-year growth.

“Understanding how long people spend on Facebook in different countries is vital for any brand on the social network,” said Jim Hodgkins, executive vice president of global marketing services at Experian, in a statement. “With Facebook still finding its feet in the emerging markets of India and Brazil, lower session times are to be expected–users won’t have as many friends or groups that they have signed up to. However, that doesn’t mean brands should ignore Facebook in those countries–with market share for Facebook in India increasing by 88 percent year on year and 16 percent in Brazil year on year, its influence and dominance is only set to grow.”

Which Countries Use Social Networks The Most? [Study]

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 8:36 pm

hitwise_logo_apr10.jpgExperian Hitwise has released some new numbers about social network use around the world. It found that Brazil and Singapore are the top two countries for overall social networking use. But Facebook is not the network on which Brazilians are spending their time.

The study also measured the length of the average user’s Facebook session and found that Brazilians spent comparatively little time on Facebook. While Singapore users spend nearly nearly 39 minutes per Facebook session on average, Brazilian users spend less than half that, just over 18 minutes.

Explaining Cloud Computing to Your Pointy Haired Boss

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 3:22 pm

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  • Introduction to Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing is all the rage today. Each new day brings some announcement from yet another company desperately trying to get on the bandwagon. You see this every time there is a major movement in our industry. Remember Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)? Or how about Web Services or Business Process Modeling (BPM)? The list goes on and on. There will always be a new big movement, and companies will struggle to redefine themselves in terms that are relevant, and cloud computing is not an exception.

    Because of all of this, your pointy haired boss is likely to come up to you someday and expect you to know all about cloud computing and ask for you to look into it. In this article, I will try to lay down some groundwork on what the cloud is, and how you can explain it to your boss. With all of the noise about cloud computing it is hard to really figure out what it really is, what it can really do, and how it is relevant to you and your company. You can’t really rely on a vendor’s definition of cloud computing, primarily because their definition will likely highlight what their platform does best (full disclosure, I work for Microsoft) and downplay the strengths of their competitors.

    Defining Cloud Computing

    There are also several industry definitions, and these are good, but like all industry standards, there are many, and most are hard to understand. For example, you can download the draft definition of cloud computing from NIST. While it is complete and thorough, I have an issue with a definition that is nearly 800 words long. Of course you can always try the cloud computing definition on Wikipedia.org. It is much shorter, and a bit easier to understand. If you need a formal definition then maybe those are your best sources to go to first. But, I know that when I work with customers and their pointy haired boss’s, they don’t want to spend time reading long, boring standards documents, they want a quick elevator pitch. They want something that is boiled down to the essentials.

    To help you with this problem I am going to break it down into a simple definition. So Brian Prince’s official short hand definition for cloud computing is:

    “Cloud computing is just another place to run your applications. The cloud hides from you details of how your application is run. Different types of clouds hide different aspects of the environment from you. While losing some control and visibility into what is going on, you gain freedom from those details, and a lot of cost savings.”

    There is a spectrum of computing that you pick from when you decide where and how to deploy your applications. On the far left of this spectrum is the local experience, starting with a mobile device (like a Windows Phone or an iPad). This spectrum stretches to the right through the desktop, to the server room, to the hoster, and finally coming to s stop with the cloud on the right hand side.

    Generally speaking, the more you moving from the left to the right the less control over the environment you have, while gaining economies of scale. Think of it this way, when you have to buy, maintain, and support all of the servers you need you have full control over everything. The hardware you select, how often you maintain and patch it, as well as how well you manage security, disaster recovery, and high availability. As you move to the right, towards the cloud, you lose control over HOW these aspects are provided, but you gain economies of scale in the features the vendor provides.

    Many customers actually end up with a more secure and better managed platform when they move to the cloud because it is better than what they were able to previously afford (or not afford as the case may be). It is amazing how many companies I visit where their data center is a left over closet with the door propped open with a fan.

    The vendor will likely provide for security, availability, and lots of other features and you won’t necessarily know or care how that is achieved. That is ok, as long as it is documented in a contract, and an SLA, and you hold them to that SLA, that is all that matters. Ok, so the cloud is just another place to run my code. But why? Why do I want to use the cloud? The biggest reason is usually money. By moving systems to the cloud that you don’t need a lot of control over (a customer facing portal for example) then you save a lot of money by leveraging the vendor’s economy of scale.

    Why Use Cloud Computing?

    One of the key differentiators of the cloud is the dynamic allocation of resources from a shared pool to your application. When you site gets busy you can add servers, and as it becomes stagnant you can remove servers. This dialing up and down of resources makes it easier to save money. Cloud offerings are usually maintained like a utility. I can get as much as I want, when I want it, and pay for only what I use. These utility like aspects give your company a great degree of agility to respond to the demands on the system, and to the demands on the business.

    As all of the vendors keep trying to woo you, remember that not everything needs to or can run in the cloud. There are going to be pieces of your IT that make complete sense to run in the cloud, and other parts that really show stay where they are. Look for a vendor that can meet these needs, a vendor that won’t require you to completely rewrite your system in their language just to move a part to the cloud. Focus on a hybrid approach, picking the pieces that the cloud will provide the most value for, and moving those. Move the lowest hanging fruit first, that system that has the least risk to the business. Your vendor should have options for connecting your cloud components to your on premises components, and make them all work together.

    Looking Deeper into Cloud Computing

    This aritcle launches a new column that will be hosted on Codeguru.com. In this new column, you’ll learn about the different types of clouds, when you should use them, and when you shouldn’t. In the meantime, please leave any questions in the comments and we will do our best to get them answered!




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    iOS In-App Purchasing Experiences Outage

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 3:22 pm

    Recently, the open source OpenCL (Open Compute Language) has become much more popular. In fact, Evans Data Corp. says it now ranks as the second most popular HPC application development tool.

    In order to encourage the further growth of OpenCL, AMD is working on a number of related tools. They include gDEbugger, AMD Code Analyst, an LLVM extension, a kernel analyzer and an application profiler. In addition, the company is producing college course materials related to the language as well.

    View article

    Say What? The Top Five IT Quotes of the Week

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 3:22 pm

     

    “The primary means that people connect to the network is shifting from wired to wireless.”

    Alex Gray, senior vice president and general manager of Juniper’s campus and branch business unit, explaining his company’s new Simply Connected networking portfolio (EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet)

     

    “This is a really faster computer ladies and gentlemen.”

    Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle introducing the new T4-4 SPARC SuperCluster (ServerWatch)

     

    “Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been.”

    Imad Sousou Meego’s technical steering group co-leader explaining why Intel is moving away from Meego to the new Tizen mobile Linux (Datamation)

     

     “We have decided to limit motion data events to the currently-active tab to prevent the possibility of background tabs attempting to decipher keystrokes the user is entering into the foreground tab.”

    Mozilla warns about the dangers of moving your device around, which could lead to an exploit. (eSecurityPlanet)

     

    “The beauty of the design is it lets anyone leverage and showcase their own technology without OpenStack having to make a decision about which technology is supported,”

    Dan Wendlandt, Team Lead for Quantum Project at OpenStack explaining how the open source cloud computing stack is open for all (EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet).

     

     

    PemSean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at a
    href=”http://www.internetnews.com/“InternetNews.com/a, the news
    service of a href=”http://www.internet.com/“Internet.com/a, the
    network for technology professionals./em

     

    Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

    Firefox Aurora for Android likes big buttons and cannot lie

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 2:23 pm

    While some solid changes to JavaScript rendering and other under-the-hood code have landed in the latest
    Firefox developer’s build, the bulk of what’s new focuses on the second version of the recently-introduced Android version of Aurora. Aurora 9 for
    Android includes some big interface changes designed to improve its usability on
    tablets, support for native camera apps, faster start-up times, and broader language support.

    Firefox 9 Aurora for Android debuts a new way to interact with tabs, and ports the browser’s signature bigger Back button to the mobile operating system.

    (Credit:
    Mozilla)

    Firefox 9 Aurora can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux, and Android.

    Firefox 9 Aurora for Android debuts some sweeping interface improvements. The Back button is now attached to the location bar, so it looks similar to the desktop Firefox. The location bar has been stretched so that the Refresh and Bookmark buttons are farther to the right, and easier to reach on tablets. It puts Synced activity closer at hand, too. Mozilla anticipates this change will make it easier to use the browser on devices with larger screens, specifically tablets.

    Tab implementation has been changed, too. You can swipe and hide the tab bar without being forced to show the tab thumbnail preview. The bar itself can be completely hidden, too, for full-screen viewing. This shows up best in portrait mode, where tabs appear in a list on the top left and keep them out of the way until needed.

    Along with native camera app integration into the browser, developers will have an easier time validating certain types of input via new support for HTML5 automatic input validation. This feature makes validating certain types of input much simpler for developers.

    The changes that have been announced so far for the desktop versions of Firefox 9 Aurora are largely invisible, unless you’ve got a penchant for cracking open the browser and reading through miles of programming. There’s a new JavaScript engine optimization called Type Inference that makes the browser faster on benchmarks like Kraken and V8, although Mozilla didn’t say how much faster. JavaScript can also be used to detect a browser’s Do Not Track preference, the option that tells Web sites not to use cookies to track a person’s browsing behavior. Mac users on OS X 10.7 Lion finally get two-finger swipe, improved multi-monitor support, and updated icon and toolbar styles designed to fit in with the operating system’s changes.

    Changes made to Firefox 9 Aurora can be read here.

    Chrome Expected to Overtake Firefox as the #2 Browser by December

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 9:11 am

    Google’s Chrome Web browser could become the second most popular browser on the market before the end of the year, according to data from StatCounter, a Web analytics company. The three-year-old browser would knock Firefox from the second place slot behind Internet Explorer.

    The coup would be quite an achievement for Chrome, which was just released in 2008 and has been growing rapidly ever since. By comparison, Firefox was first launched in 2004 and took much longer to attract significant market share.

    Juniper Expands Virtual Chassis with New EX Switches

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 8:22 am

    Networking can be a complicated and messy business at times. In an effort to help reduce complexity, Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) is rolling out a new portfolio of networking gear under the branding ‘Simply Connected.’

    The new Simply Connected portfolio includes EX switches as well as wireless LAN controller and mobile security updates. The overall theme is to help enterprises to manage devices independent of whatever operating system that they might be using.

    “The primary means that people connect to the network is shifting from wired to wireless,” Alex Gray, senior vice president and general manager of Juniper’s campus and branch business unit, told InternetNews.com. “The lynchpin of our mobile is our Junos Pulse Mobile Security suite which is now at version 3.”

    Read the full story at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet:
    Juniper Aims to Simply Connect Networks

    Firefox 8 beta brings Twitter search, tab controls

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 3:02 am

    The beta version of Firefox 8 lets people try out built-in Twitter search.

    The beta version of Firefox 8 lets people try out built-in Twitter search.

    (Credit:
    Mozilla)

    As part of its rolling wave of updates, Mozilla today released a new beta version of
    Firefox that gives some new options for searching, controlling tabs, and managing add-ons.

    The Firefox 8 beta (download for Windows | Mac | Linux | Android) is the newest to be released with Mozilla’s six-week development cycle, in which the organization’s programmers update the browser with fewer but more frequent changes. That’s caused indigestion for some slower-moving Firefox users, but Mozilla believes it’s necessary to remain competitive and to bring new features to users in weeks, not months. Mozilla also has proposed a slower-moving Firefox.

    According to a blog post and release notes, new features include the following:

    ? Twitter is now an option for Firefox’s built-in search box, letting people more easily find results for particular usernames or hashtags.

    ? When people drag tabs into a new position or tear them off into a new window, the tabs are represented by an animated version of the tab rather than just a thin line.

    ? When Firefox restores tabs from a previous session, for example when the browser or computer is restarted, it can be set to load only the active tab initially. With this setting, other tabs reload only when they’re viewed.

    ? Add-ons such as toolbars that are installed by third-party software won’t run until the user grants permission.

    ? When users upgrade to the new version, they’ll see a dialog box one time that lets them disable add-ons. The dialog box will present an initial selection of only add-ons that were installed from within Firefox, though users can make their own choice.

    ? For the
    Android version of Firefox, people can set a master password “to encrypt usernames and passwords for extra security,” Mozilla said in mobile Firefox release notes..

    ? The Android version also lets people customize the home screen with their own bookmarks.

    ? Restartless add-ons, a technology that lets people install the customizations without restarting the browser, now work on mobile.

    Firefox logo

    Mozilla wants to make Firefox on Android load faster, a key problem with the current version especially when compared to the built-in browser from Google. To that end, Mozilla is investigating mobile Firefox with a native Android interface rather than the one built using Mozilla’s XUL technology. Such an approach speeds browser loading but sacrifices compatibility with add-ons built with XUL.

    “We will continue the existing XUL-based Fennec [Firefox mobile] project, and future Firefox on Mobile will still be based on the XUL front-end. The team will continue focusing on startup performance, memory usage, bugs fixes, and features,” said Mozilla’s Doug Turner of the plan. “The Native Android UI project is an investigation at this point.”

    With the faster release plan, Mozilla issues three versions of Firefox: the finished stable release, the beta, and the rawest version, called Aurora. Every six weeks, the nightly builds of the browser on Mozilla’s central code repository becomes the new Aurora, the older Aurora becomes the new beta, and the old beta becomes the new stable release.

    Mozilla released Firefox 7 earlier this week, but paused for a day for a quick update to 7.0.1 that fixed a problem with add-ons being hidden.

    Other developer-focused changes in Firefox 7 includes support for “cross-origin” options for mixing WebGL 3D graphics from different sites; a security restriction for the WebSocket technology for fast communications between browsers and Web servers; and the ability to add a lot of HTML5 video and audio elements without inflicting performance problems.

    A full list of changes that developers might want to read about is available, too, though Mozilla cautions it might change.

    Updated 12:24 a.m. PT September 30
    with information about Mozilla work on faster launch for Firefox for Android.

    KarmaGoat: Support Your Causes By Selling Your Stuff

    Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 30 September 2011 2:11 am

    Who Needs All This Stuff?

    Homes are full of excess stuff. Not everybody has excess stuff, of course. Not everybody has homes. But an economy driven by consumption generates, in the aggregate, lots of discarded stuff. Clothes, plates, CDs, books we’ll never read again, loose leaf paper, the wrong brand of something or other we bought by accident at the grocery store. All of this has resale value. We could just re-sell it ourselves and keep the money. But that would take work. Sometimes, it’s worth it. iPhones re-sell for lots of money. Other times, it’s too much trouble. In that case, it’s a sunk cost. But that’s wasteful, and consumers could put this waste to use.

    For RWW readers, gadgets are an easy example. We probably have more gadgets than the average bear, and even old gadgets are worth something. Not just in raw materials, recyclable things, spare parts. We have phones that would work. Somebody might need that restore disk. Classic iPods are the best. I’m sure somebody would pay good money for some of that. But it’s just sitting there, right? It’s no loss to you. It might only fetch $9.88, anyway. Why not donate the proceeds to a good cause?

    Building Karma

    When KarmaGoat is ready, it could help us do that on a grand scale.

    “KarmaGoat is an online marketplace where you transform your stuff into the stuff people really need in the world,” says founder and CEO Jonathan Lehmann, “like drinkable water, medical kits, school supplies, or a goat.” The Heifer Project – which donates livestock to people in poverty, providing them a living, breathing economic lifeline – is one of KarmaGoat’s founding partners, hence the name. KarmaGoat lists almost a thousand causes to which sellers can donate their proceeds, and users can submit their own.

    Meeting, Buying, Selling, Giving

    Sellers list items on KarmaGoat with a photo, description, location and price, as well as their chosen charity. The KarmaGoat marketplace operates on what Lehmann calls a “meet-and-buy system.” It’s a two-step purchasing process. On an item page, the button under the price says ‘Meet Buy.’ Clicking prompts the buyer to enter credit card information, but the card isn’t charged right away. Instead, the buyer receives a password – “like, ‘sillyrabbit,'” Lehmann suggests – and then arranges to meet with the seller. If the item meets the buyer’s expectations, the buyer gives the password to the seller, who then enters it on KarmaGoat to complete the transaction.

    Users are protected from fraud, and payments go straight to the seller’s chosen charity. KarmaGoat keeps 15% of the transaction for itself. It’s a for-profit enterprise. But 85% of a transaction made possible by KarmaGoat goes to the charity of the seller’s choice. Proceeds are paid to charities in one check on the 15th of every month.

    karmagoat_sell_page.png

    Once the company gets out of startup mode, KarmaGoat plans to draw up legal arrangements to make sellers’ donations tax deductible, but the necessary legal expertise is out of reach for now. KarmaGoat says that’s its “utmost priority” for the next phase.

    KarmaGoat accepts payments from all major credit cards using Authorize.net, a company owned by Visa. “We’re using all the industry-standard security measures to keep our users’ information secure,” says James Chung, head of technology and product. Chung worked for mobile retailer LetsTalk.com for six years, and he brings that experience with online payments and security to KarmaGoat.

    The service connects to Facebook’s Open Graph to pull profile pictures and info, as well as to share the social activity of buying and selling old stuff with friends. Hawking a used Xbox for charity on Facebook is also a great way to promote one’s cause of choice. On the KarmaGoat side, the Shop Now page lets users filter for items their friends are selling, as well as by category, cause, price and location. On the MyKarmaGoat page, users can view their friends on KarmaGoat and browse their causes.

    “The idea was to make this an experience among friends and other well intentioned, like-minded individuals,” Lehmann says.

    karmagoat_people.jpg

    The site lists over 900 causes, and it allows users to submit more for the KarmaGoat team to add. People affiliated with the organizations can also control the content on their KarmaGoat cause pages. The Causes page offers browsing by category and features a menu of the causes added by community members. It also displays 12 featured charities chosen by the team, including KarmaGoat’s three founding partner organizations.

    karmagoat_causes.png

    Meet The Partners

    In addition to the Heifer Project, KarmaGoat has two other founding partners. One is the United Way of Greater LA, which fights poverty in the Los Angeles area. It hosts an annual event called HomeWalk, which LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant is helping to sponsor this year. KarmaGoat and the United Way of LA are exploring the possibility of a drop-off donation system – as an alternative to meeting and selling – to support certain kinds of causes.

    The other founding partner is the Somaly Mam Foundation, which fights human trafficking and sexual slavery. Somaly Mam and KarmaGoat recently teamed up for a fundraiser in Los Angeles, and they’re working together on KarmaGoat’s first celebrity campaign, which is yet to be confirmed.

    United Way of Greater LA’s 2011 video

    The idea is to get celebrities to sell their regular old stuff on KarmaGoat for charity at a fixed price – rather than the typical practice of selling their collectibles at auction. This isn’t intended as a primary source of fundraising, but rather as an inspiration to get everyone to sell their stuff to benefit the same organization.

    With these key partners, KarmaGoat is brainstorming and getting some marketing advice. It’s also reaching out to their existing donors to encourage them to use KarmaGoat to support the causes they care about.

    Reaching Into Closets, Not Wallets

    KarmaGoat’s focus for now is developing the best practices for a local, in-person marketplace before expanding. There’s no formal process in place for shipping items and the refund hassles that might be involved, but that’s because the team is focused on building a good user experience and culture in a close-knit market first.

    KarmaGoat was founded on the UCLA campus, and university populations are its first target market. The site launched in beta on May 19, and UCLA students are its testers. Anyone anywhere can use the site now, but the active community of buyers and sellers is at UCLA, and that’s where the team is developing the service and its features for now.

    karmagoat_askseller.jpg

    “College students are passionate about causes,” says Chung. “They might not have cash to donate, but they have stuff. Instead of reaching into their pockets, into their wallets, they can reach under their beds or into their closets to find stuff to donate and raise money.”

    Students on campus are also a concentrated population. Lehmann adds that close proximity enables students to easily meet up and exchange the textbooks, furniture, gadgets and other stuff they’re already used to buying and selling all the time. The tight-knit campus environment helps KarmaGoat build a culture around donating excess stuff this way.

    Once KarmaGoat, along with its initial partners and student testers, figures out the model that can have the most impact, it plans to expand its marketing message to “be everywhere.” It can be used by anyone already, but the company is focused on developing local marketplaces to figure out how best to expand its formal presence.

    karmagoat_burningman.jpg

    Burning Man Values

    KarmaGoat was inspired by the gifting culture of Burning Man, which is a playground for a large and growing portion of Web workers. The desert festival is built upon ten core principles that serve as guidelines there, and the principles of gifting and decommodification underlie KarmaGoat’s values.

    “Burning Man is a theater that can represent many experiences in your life,” Lehmann says, “and one of the great wealths for me of the Burning Man experience is when you’re able to reproduce [its values] outside in the real world. I’ve always like giving gifts and getting gifts, but before Burning Man, I never gave a gift to a stranger. This is something I discovered there.”

    “KarmaGoat hopefully will be this experience adapted to our existing online world,” Lehmann says.

    karmagoat_baby.jpg

    Where’s My Goat?

    KarmaGoat has a knack for social media, and the team uses Facebook and Tumblr to spread its message. There’s a great photo album on the KarmaGoat Facebook page called “Where’s My Goat” that shows off the KarmaGoat SillyBandz all around the world. The KarmaGoat Tumblr shares new causes, beautiful photos, general nonprofit news and more. The goat also tweets as @karmagoat (baaaaaa).

    Be sure to follow KarmaGoat and stay tuned. This is the kind of Web startup that can change things on and offline. High technology is churning through our stuff every day. New devices replace old ones, or they replace dozens of paper books we don’t have to lug to our next apartment. CDs are becoming vintage. There’s all kinds of stuff we could give away that’s still valuable to someone. And donating old stuff to charity through KarmaGoat does give something in return: the gift of having less stuff.

    Burning Man photo credit: Josh Adler

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