Browsing articles from "December, 2011"

Google+ introduces new tweaks, features

Dec 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by Kev Hedges (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Google has added new features and improved the options on some of its existing features on its social networking site Google+.

Google+ has attempted to win customers over from Facebook since its launch in June 2011.

The improvements have come about following users requests, the company announced. Among the new features is “Volume Control”, but the feature has nothing to do with sound. It is a bar that will turn up or down the amount of feed you may get from a circle.

If you have a circle with people you don’t really know that well or acquaintances, you may want this feed turned down low rather than seeing every post. A circle containing your close friends or family may warrant you keeping the volume bar up on full.Google+ Photos have seen an upgrade too. A new “lightbox” has been added to allow improved navigation and photo tagging techniques.

Google+ Pages have updates too. Companies or brands using Pages feature can now delegate as many as 50 administrators for a Page. Those administrators or managers will now be kept updated of all the activity taking place within that Page. 

Mashable reports the Google+ Bar has seen a small facelift too. They have redesigned the notifications which appear as red icons (on the right-hand side of the Bar). Now it’s easier to see what’s happening on your Google+ profile along with all the recent shares you have received.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

RIM’s outlook for 2012 is gloomy, at best

Dec 19, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog, Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

If BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is going to rebound in 2012, it better forget all about an ugly 2011. Its tablet PlayBook never dented Apple’s huge market share, BlackBerry fans were frustrated by several worldwide blackouts and off-the-court incidents marred its image horribly. Essentially, any year can be better than 2011 for RIM.

But will it be? Look at RIM’s own projections, as outlined in its recent quarterly statement: its BlackBerry 10 phones won’t be available until the second half of 2012 because it is waiting on the manufacturing of dual-core LTE chipsets to power the smartphones. Also, “it expects the number of devices it ships in the quarter including Christmas will drop as much as 26 percent from a year ago,” as Fox reports. Ouch.

Analysts are equally bearish about RIM. Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts RIM’s share of the U.S. smartphone market to fall to 12 percent this year, a sharp drop from 2007, when RIM had a 44 per cent share, Toronto Star writes.

Other analysts believe RIM has to sell its handset business and focus on the super-secure data network it so highly prizes. Recently, Jaguar Financial wrote, “[we believe] that the road map to value restoration lies in a sale of RIM whether as a whole or in separate parts.” Jaguar also called for a change in leadership, saying Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie need to make way for new transformative talent.

“Clearly, something has got to change at RIM pretty quickly,” an analyst told AllThingsD. “They are eroding market share at a pretty rapid rate here.” That essentially sums up RIM’s mountainous challenge in 2012, and the Canadian company needs to do something drastic to change its fortunes. Otherwise, it may end up becoming another Nortel.

Photo courtesy of Official Blackberry Images

Will Verizon buy Netflix?

Dec 13, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Leigh Goessl (Guest Contributor/Digital Journalist)

A hot rumor surfaced online yesterday that telecommunications giant Verizon is seeking to acquire the struggling Netflix.

Last week Digital Journal reported buzz was that Verizon was looking to offer some regions an option to purchase a package that streams television shows and movies over the Web.

Initially the speculation was Verizon was going to compete with Netflix; however now it seems that the company may be, in fact, trying to buy Netflix rather than battle it in this market.

The rumors of Verizon acquiring Netflix first came from subscription-based financial reporting site DealReporter. Currently this rumor is unconfirmed, reports TheNextWeb, but it “has some steam behind it.”Bloomberg reported, Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital, cited “unnamed people within Verizon.”

“I am hearing rumblings from inside Verizon that they are very serious about either Netflix or something similar,” according to Bibb.

Recently CEO Lowell McAdam said Verizon was thinking about making a bid for Hulu stating,

“The jury’s out, but I do believe there’s a place for over-the-top” — jargon for a digital alternative to traditional pay TV — he said. “That model has yet to be determined and I hope we’ll be a player in that.”

In addition to Hulu, there are also rumors, as reported by TechCrunch, Verizon is planning to “team up” with Coinstar’s Redbox service, to the point where the project is already purported to have a code name of Project Zoetrope and has a tentative launch date set for spring 2012.

While Verizon’s intentions are not known for sure, one thing does seem certain: online TV and movie streaming is a niche the company wants to invest in. But why Netflix and would it even make sense? Some say no, according to Deadline, primarily because it would be a costly investment being Netflix currently has a market value of $4 billion and commitments to license TV shows and movies, which come to approximately $4.5 billion.“It would be far cheaper to buy Netflix’s subscribers than it would be to buy the service,” says Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible, who has a “sell” on Netflix shares, reported Deadline.

Over the past several months Netflix has been struggling after a change in service structure and pricing. The result of these changes was a mass exodus of customers and a dropped value in shares, which perhaps leaves the company vulnerable to takeover. After the Verizon/Netflix rumor hit the Web, reportedly Netflix saw a jump of about six percent.

Whatever direction Verizon decides to go, it appears certain the company is keeping everyone guessing and is, perhaps, gearing up for some sort of big change in the near future that will include online streaming of TV and movie content.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo by David Silverberg

Sushi lovers now have new smartphone app revealing mercury levels

Dec 8, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  29 Comments

by Lynn Herrmann (Guest Contributor/Digital Journalist)

Sushi lovers wondering about mercury levels in fish can now search for those levels with the new “Safe Sushi” smartphone app, thanks to the largest environmental advocacy group in the U.S.

The Sierra Club announced on Thursday its new Safe Sushi app for those “who love to eat sushi” yet want to be informed about the mercury levels found in fish, according to anews release.

The environmental group’s announcement comes as it celebrates Mercury Awareness Week, December 5 thru 11.

The new sushi app can be used two ways: sushi novices may search by mercury levels (high, moderate, low) and connoisseurs of sushi can search by fish name. Safe Sushi is a free download in the Android Market and will become available for free in the App Store beginning Dec. 16.

Especially threatening to young children and pregnant women, varying levels of mercury are found in most fish. The primary source of mercury is coal-fired power plants, annually producing massive amounts of mercury which enters rivers and streams, eventually making its way into the food web.

The Sierra Club notes

Safe Sushi is a practical tool for women of child-bearing age who want to educate themselves about the types of fish they should or should not consume.

The new app also includes a tutorial illustrating how the atmosphere absorbs mercury and moves throughout the food chain. The American Pregnancy Association notes fish is a nutritious source for omega-3’s, lean protein and B vitamins, but it cautions against consuming more than three 6-oz servings per month of “high” mercury fish.

On APA’s list of highest mercury are marlin, orange roughy, tilefish, shark, swordfish, mackeral, and bigeye and Ahi tuna. Its high mercury fish list includes Chilean sea bass, bluefish, grouper, Spanish and Gulf mackeral, yellowfin tuna, and canned white albacore. The Lower and Lowest mercury fish list includes striped and black bass, carp, cod, lobster, snapper, sea trout, catfish, crawfish, croaker, flounder, mullet, oysters and perch. The complete APA list can be found here.

The article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Flickr user lotusutol

Facebook bug exposes private photos, even Zuckerberg not immune

Dec 7, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

A new Facebook bug exposed private photos to public eyes, and it turns out not even company CEO Mark Zuckerberg is immune to the network’s glitches that impact user privacy.

The flaw was first exposed by a body building forum which included a post that provided details on the glitch. Users had discovered the anomaly through using Facebook’s report abuse tool, reported Zack Whittaker on ZDNet.

The ‘Report abuse’ tools in Facebook allowed any user to view personal, private and other hidden photos that users expected would be unseen to anyone except those designated in privacy settings. Facebook had recently released a feature that allowed users to select numerous photos to report, and this is where the flaw emerged.

According to ZDNet, here’s how the glitch worked:

“Users are able to report “inappropriate profile photos” on a user’s profile. By checking the box ”nudity or pornography,” the user is granted an opportunity to help Facebook “take action by selecting additional photos to include with your report.” Facebook will then display a number of additional photos that are not otherwise publicly available to the user.”

Basically, in order to exploit the glitch, a Facebook user would have to be in the midst of reporting another Facebook member’s photos for abuse. Additionally, the individuals affected would have no idea his or her photos were exposed for viewing.

Reportedly Facebook is on top of the bug and has removed the feature for now.

Facebook released a statement which said, “The bug allowed anyone to view a limited number of another user’s most recently uploaded photos irrespective of the privacy settings for these photos.” This was the result of one of our recent code pushes and was live for a limited period of time. Upon discovering the bug, we immediately disabled the system, and will only return functionality once we can confirm the bug has been fixed.”

Back in 2010 Zuckerberg said the age of privacy was over, and now even for the social network’s CEO that seems to be the case, now that it appears even Zuckerberg has become a victim of his own network’s glitches.

This flaw appeared to have affected all members, including Zuckerberg. After Facebook took action, private photos can no longer be exploited, however the feature wasn’t disabled in time to prevent Zuckerberg’s private photos from being seen; a whole slew of personal photos kept hidden from public view by Zuckerberg were posted online on a blog site.

This latest glitch is not the first time the private content of users has been exposed through a network glitch.Just last week Facebook settled charges with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy issues.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Bryan Thatcher