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September 4, 2009 Posted by | Architecture, Art, Articles, Cars, Concept, Design, Eco, Events, Film, Furniture, Gadgets, Girls, Mobile, Music, News, Products, Science, Shoes, Software, Sports, StartUps, Technology, Video, Watches | | Leave a comment

What to Expect From Apple’s September iPod Event

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Let’s be frank: We all know Apple’s hosting a September event, as it has for the past several years. But this year’s keynote is shaping up to be a bit more interesting than usual, thanks to the frenzy of iPod, iTunes and tablet rumors. Plus, of course, the return of Steve Jobs.

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True to form, Apple hasn’t confirmed a thing — not even the existence of an event on Sept. 9 — leaving us to assess the rumors based on the best evidence we can find.

Of all the predictions, which are likely to come true? Let’s take a hard look at everything you can realistically expect from this event, which will reportedly take place Sept. 9 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center.

New iPods With Cameras, Microphones

Apple’s September events have traditionally revolved around iPods and iTunes, so it’s obvious this will be the theme of the event. But what, exactly, about the iPod? There’s a pile of evidence suggesting Apple will release new iPod Touch and iPod Nanos with cameras.

Wired.com in July received an inside tip from a well-connected source claiming Apple would soon add a camera and a microphone to the iPod Touch, which would bring it closer in line with the iPhone. Additionally, several other publications reported similar rumors about the Touch and the Nano getting cameras. And the latest iPod-related rumor comes from Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, which claims that not only will the Nano and Touch receive cameras, the iPod Classic will, too.

We’re confident the Nano and Touch will be upgraded with cameras (and, of course, increased storage). Cult of Mac’s Leander Kahney had us convinced when he published a gallery of third-party Touch and Nano cases, which feature holes presumably meant for cameras. (See photo above)

However, we’re doubting the iPod Classic will gain a camera. It’s unlikely Apple would want to invest much more in this product, because its sales have shrunk considerably, thanks to the success of the iPhone. Last quarter, the iPod accounted for 18 percent of Apple’s overall revenue, compared to 55.5 percent in 2006. Also, the iPod Classic is the only hard-drive-based iPod remaining in the iPod family, and flash-memory prices are plummeting. Would a camera really boost this device’s appeal and make it worth the investment? We don’t think so.

One more thing: Because the iPod Touch is basically a phoneless iPhone that many use as a gaming device, the next logical step would be for the iPod Touch to get a performance boost to bring it up to speed with the new iPhone 3GS. We’re so confident in this prediction that we’re willing to bet a Chevy Chevelle on it.

iTunes 9

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The current version of iTunes, iTunes 8, is nearing its one-year anniversary, and an update to version 9 is likely. The Boy Genius Report published a rumor report claiming iTunes 9 would sport new visual organization features to arrange iPhone apps. The blog also received screenshots (see right) purporting to reveal iTunes 9 would feature Facebook integration to share playlists with friends using the social-networking site.

A visual-organization tool would definitely make sense — it would mimic the ability to move around the iPhone’s icons on its springboard. We find Facebook integration probable as well. The latest versions of QuickTime, iPhoto and iMovie each have features that enable sharing media with social networks (i.e., YouTube and Flickr). And in general, an automatic playlist creator integrated in Facebook just sounds like a pretty clever idea.

More foggy is a rumor reported by Financial Times that Apple is working with four major record labels to boost music sales by reinventing digital album art. The collaborative effort is codenamed Project Cocktail, and the idea is to entice music fans with a compelling digital package that will get them to gather around notebooks to listen to music together. How exactly would album art do that? It’s unclear. However, Financial Times is a credible publication with solid music sources. Expect this part of the keynote to deliver the biggest surprise.

No Apple Tablet

Though the release of an Apple touchscreen tablet now seems inevitable, it’s unlikely this will be announced in September. Some publications cite anonymous sources saying an Apple tablet will be announced this fall, while others claim it will launch early 2010. We’re betting early 2010 is more realistic.

That’s because Apple is no longer participating in the Macworld Expo trade show to launch new products, and the company would be wise to save its biggest news to compete with other companies announcing new products at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Why fire all the ammo in September?

Apple’s rumored tablet, which has been described by tipsters as a larger-screen iPod, is shaping up to be the most anticipated gadget since the iPhone. It could make 2010 a very exciting year. We’ve speculated it will be the “year of the tablet,” citing sources claiming Dell, Intel, HTC and other tech companies are preparing tablets to compete with Apple.

The Return of Steve Jobs

We all miss Steve Jobs, even though his employees might not. Nobody can deliver a keynote quite like ol’ Steve. CNBC’s Jim Goldman said on Twitter that Jobs is “very likely” to appear at the Apple event. That’s good news, and if true, his return would make this a very momentous event.

Excited? We are, too, and we’ll keep you plugged in. Keep reading Gadget Lab, or follow @gadgetlab and @bxchen for updates on the upcoming event.

VIA: Wired

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Articles, Technology | Leave a comment

12 Words You Can Never Say in the Office

by Carolyn Duffy Marsan

If you’re old enough to understand the reference in this headline — George Carlin, anyone? — then you’re old enough to need a refresher course when it comes to talking about technology.

We’ve put together a list of outdated tech terms, phrases that you shouldn’t be using at work anymore because they will make you seem old. This is especially true if you’re looking for a new job. For example, on an interview, you should be talking about “cloud computing,” not “ASPs” even though they are basically the same thing.

This list is useful for 20-somethings, too. Now when the senior person in the office uses one of these terms, you’ll know what he’s talking about.

1. Intranet

Popular in the mid-90s, the term “intranet” referred to a private network running the Internet Protocol and other Internet standards such as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It was also used to describe an internal Web site that was hosted behind a firewall and was accessible only to employees. Today, every private network runs IP. So you can just use the term virtual private network or VPN to describe a private IP-based network.

2. Extranet

An “extranet” referred to private network connections based on Internet standards such as IP and HTTP that extended outside an organization, such as between business partners. Extranets often replaced point-to-point electronic data interchange (EDI) connections that used standards such as X12. Today, companies provide suppliers, resellers and other members of their supply chain with access to their VPNs.

3. Web Surfing

When is the last time you heard someone talk about surfing the Web? You know the term is out of date when your kids don’t know what it means. To teens and tweens, the Internet and the World Wide Web are one and the same thing. So it’s better to use the term “browsing” the Web if you want to be understood.

4. Push Technology

The debate over the merits of “push” versus “pull” technology came to a head in 1996 with the release of the PointCast Network, a Web service that sent a steady stream of news to subscribers. However, PointCast and other push technology services required too much network bandwidth. Eventually, push technology evolved into RSS feeds, which remain the preferred method for publishing information to subscribers of the Internet. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

5. Application Service Provider (ASP)

During this decade, the term “Application Service Provider” evolved into “Software-as-a-Service.” Both terms refer to a vendor hosting a software application and providing access to it over the Web. Customers buy the software on a subscription basis, rather than having to own and operate it themselves. ASP was a hot term prior to the dot-com bust. Then it was replaced by “SaaS.” Now it’s cool to talk about “cloud computing.”

6. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

Coined by former Apple CEO John Sculley back in 1992 when he unveiled the Apple Newton, the term “personal digital assistant” referred to a handheld computer. PDA was still in use in 1996, when the Palm Pilot was the hottest handheld in corporate America. Today, the preferred generic term for a handheld like a Blackberry or an iPhone is a “smartphone”.

7. Internet Telephony

You need to purge the term “Internet telephony” from your vocabulary and switch to VoIP, for Voice over IP. Even the term VoIP is getting old-fashioned because pretty soon all telephone calls will be routed over the Internet rather than the Public Switched Telephone Network. It’s probably time to stop referring to the PSTN, too, because it is headed for the history books as all voice, data and video traffic is carried on the Internet.

8. Weblog

A blog is a shortened version of “Weblog,” a term that emerged in the late 1990s to describe commentary that an individual publishes online. It spawned many words still in use such as “blogger” and “blogosphere.” Nowadays, few people have time to blog so they are “microblogging,” which is another word that’s heading out the door as people turn Twitter into a generic term for blasting out 140-character observations or opinions.

9. Thin Client

You have to give Larry Ellison credit for seeing many of the flaws in the client/server computing architecture and for popularizing the term “thin client” to refer to Oracle’s alternative terminal-like approach. In 1993, Ellison was touting thin clients as a way for large organizations to improve network security and manageability. Although thin clients never replaced PCs, the concept is similar to “virtual desktops” that are gaining popularity today as a way of supporting mobile workers.

10. Rboc

In 1984, the U.S. government forced AT&T to split up into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies [RBOCs] also known as Baby Bells. Customers bought local service from RBOCs and long-distance service from carriers such as AT&T. Telecom industry mergers over the last 15 years have formed integrated local- and long-distance carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Qwest. This makes not only the term RBOC obsolete, but also the terms ILEC for Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier [i.e., GTE] and CLEC for Competitive Local Exchange Carrier [i.e., MFS].

11. Long-Distance Call

Thanks to flat-rate calling plans available from carriers for at least five years, nobody needs to distinguish between local and long-distance calls anymore. Similarly, you don’t need to distinguish between terrestrial and wireless calls because so many people use only wireless services. Like pay phones, long-distance calls — and their premium prices — are relics of a past without national and unlimited calling plans.

12. World Wide Web

Nobody talks about the “World Wide Web” anymore, or the “Information Superhighway,” for that matter. It’s just the Internet. It’s a distinction that Steve Czaban, the popular Fox Sports Radio talk show host, likes to mock when he refers to the “Worldwide Interweb.” Nothing dates you more than pulling out one of those old-fashioned ways of referring to the Internet such as “infobahn” or “electronic highway.”

VIA: Yahoo / BusinessWeek

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

LinkedIn Reaches 45 Million Users

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LinkedIn celebrated their 45 millionth user sign up on Aug 12, 2009, according to LinkedIn’s Marketing Project Manager Florina Xhabija’s Twitter message.

According to comScore, LinkedIn had 16 million worldwide monthly unique visitors and 331 million page views in June 2009, up from 7.7 million and 114 million a year ago, respectively.

The company was valued at around $1 billion in its last (2008) round of financing, and says they’ve been profitable for 2+ years.

LinkedIn has gone through numerous changes at the CEO role with founder Reid Hoffmanchanging the guard once again in June of this year after yet another change in December of 2008.

The company is a strong 2010 IPO candidate. Hoffman told us earlier this year “we can go public any time we want to.”

by Daniel Brusilovsky

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Articles, News | Leave a comment

YouTube Places New Emphasis On Search With Homepage Tweaks

by Jason Kincaid

As the most popular video portal in the world, it comes as little surprise that YouTube is also effectively the second most popular search engine, coming after only Google in overall search queries. With that in mind, it’s a bit surprising that the site hasn’t done a better job at featuring this ridiculously popular functionality — instead of placing the search box at the far left or right side of the screen, as most sites do, YouTube has instead tucked it a bit off center, embedded in its somewhat cluttered masthead. In light of this, YouTube has decided to totally revamp the design of the top of its homepage, and will be rolling out a new version today.

The new version has eliminated most of the clutter and color of the old design, in favor of something that’s unquestionably more Googleish. Before now, navigation buttons like “Home” and “Videos” were likely the first thing people looked at — now, there’s no question that the default action on the site is going to be search. The layout also does a better job categorizing the main features of the site: the left side is now dedicated to finding videos, the right is dedicated to uploading and managing the clips you’ve seen.

It may not sound like a huge deal, but just as very small tweaks on Google can have a major effect, a minor change to YouTube’s design may well change the way people use the site. I won’t be surprised if YouTube sees a marked boost in search queries as a result of the new masthead.

New Masthead

Old Masthead

VIA: TECHCRUNCH

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Articles, News | 1 Comment

Google Ads Get Shifted to the Left

Does Google’s search results page feel a little more crowded to you? The ads which used to run down along the right-hand edge of the page are now shifted over to the left, as if to declare, “Hey, look at us!” Maybe this will increase the number of times ads are clicked on. They are certainly more noticeable.

The ads now seem like they are now grouped together with the organic results, whereas before they were shunted off to the side (a legacy of the early days of Google when the purity of organic results was protected as much as possible from being sullied by dirty ads). In fact, on my screen the ads take center stage, with a thin line down the middle forming the slimmest barrier separating them from the natural results. I wonder if this design change has something to do with the popularity of wider screens. But the line and central placement of the ads also conveniently draw the eye.

Is that what is most important now to Google? Don’t bother your mind with such silly questions. Google needs more clicks, and it shall have them.

Update A Google spokesperson confirms that it is always “experimenting with new visual representations” and that it “shifted the ads to the left on the page as a way to help users find what they are looking for on the Internet.” See, it’s for your own good. You were looking for the ads the whole time.

VIA: TECHCRUNCH

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

The New Media School: Learning About The Digtal Economy

By now, most businesses and self-employed individuals know that they can use social media services like Twitter and Facebook to help themselves grow their customer base and (hopefully) make some money. But for most people, actually using these services presents a challenge. Granted, there is no shortage of social media ‘gurus’ who have blogged their tips, but when it comes to finding ongoing instruction from genuine experts, the pickings have been slim.

Nick O’Neill , founder of the The Social Times, is looking to help. O’Neill is launching an educational program called the New Media School, which is setting out to help both companies and individuals most effectively take advantage of the businesses opportunities afforded by the web.

The school’s first course is the Social Media Marketing Program, which entitles participants to a number of text guides as well as a series of video lectures led by a solid roster of industry veterans. Each lecture will be streamed live via Livestream, and students in the program will be able to submit questions live via an integrated chat box. The course will begin in about a week and a half.

The school is charging $147 per month, and plans to offer new content on a rolling basis. For now, O’Neill is restricting the class size to 125. He explains that while the video lectures will be held via video stream (which presumably would have a much higher limit), he will be personally advising each participating company and indivdual through the course’s forums. There will also be virtual ‘office hours’ conducted through Livestream. O’Neill mentioned that he may consider offering alternative formats in the future (perhaps a video-only option without the one-on-one support), but the school is still in early stages so he’s eager to first see what people are interested in.

Here’s a full list of the program’s instructors:

Brad Feld – Co-Founder of Foundry Group and author of widely read venture capital blog
Chris Bucchere – Founder of Social Collective
Clara Shih – Author of “The Facebook Era”
Craig Stoltz – Author of “Web 2.Oh…Really?”, one of Time.com’s Top 25 Blogs
Dan Schawbel – Author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success”
David Berkowitz – Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy for 360i, author of the blog Inside the Marketer’s Studio
Debbie Weil – Author of “The Corporate Blogging Book”
Don Steele – Vice President of Digital Marketing, MTV Networks
Frank Gruber – AOL Product Strategist & Evangelist
Harper Reed – CTO at skinnyCorp, Co-Founder of Threadless
Hiten Shah – Co-Founder of KISSmetrics
Jake Brewer – Engagement Director of Sunlight Foundation
Jesse Thomas – Founder of JESS3
Jared Goralnick – Founder of Set Consulting
Joe Suh – Founder and CEO of myChurch
John Bell – Managing Director of Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence and President of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association)
Leslie Bradshaw – Director of Engagement, New Media Strategies
Mike Lazerow – CEO and Founder, Buddy Media
Mike Volpe – VP of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot
Neil Patel – Co-Founder of KISSmetrics
Shashi Bellamkonda – Head of Social Media Strategy, Network Solutions
Tamar Weinberg – Author of “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web”
Ted Leonsis – Owner, Washington Capitals, Chairman of Revolution Money, and Vice Chairman Emritus of AOL
Tim O’Shaughnessy – Co-Founder & CEO, LivingSocial
Victoria Ransom – Founder, Wildfire Interactive

VIA: TECHCRUNCH

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Articles | 1 Comment