Guest Post: Mobile News Applications from the UK’s Reese Jones

Keeping Up With the News – Digital Tools

by Reese Jones

News travels faster than ever and there is more of it, reported in more ways, by more agencies, than you could possibly imagine. Trying to keep up with it all is an impossibility. That’s why it can be of great benefit to the news hungry, to have some way to tailor what news will reach them. With mobile devices set to take over as the major news communication device, the number of news apps has proliferated faster than a plague of locusts. With so many apps out there, it is hard to choose the one that suits you best. Here are some handy tips to helping you find what is best for you. Please note, these are only guidelines and not articles of faith…

News: Your point of view
With so much news out there, it is important that your app learns to discern what news would typically be of interest to you. Your news app should be able to pick out news from geographical regions, subject areas such as art, entertainment and politics as well as what type of news. This last option is a little tricky. You might be more interested in features rather than straight-up news reports. You might want news round up like a stockmarket report or general news bulletin. A good news app should be able to scan the news out there and pick out the news based on your preferences.

Presentation
The layout is also crucial. Some news apps can organise your news efficiently according to your preferred categories. In some instances they can even prioritise what news reaches you, so that if time is short the important news reaches you first. It can also adapt the way the news is presented to you, so that for example you can have a list of news snippets presented to you. RSS feeds are a particularly popular way of garnering news that interests you in an accessible way that allows you to find out what’s going at just a glance.

Who has your ear?
In this age of celebrity, news presenters can attract a cult following so if you just cannot bear the thought of missing any interrogation from The Paxman then you should get a news app that can identify and select news from certain sources. My father, for example, has a completely irrational love of FOX news. Now if I were of a mind, I could install an app that looks specifically for reports from FOX News; unfortunately for him, he can’t install the app – he’s not savvy enough to know how…he watches FOX news after all. Of course, I won’t bother. My mother told me not to encourage other people’s bad habits. Naturally, nigh on every national news agency has their own app, if you have your colours pinned to one particular mast.

Delivery
How about this for fancy? Buzz Voice can scan the news for your favourite news items and then read them out to you. In essence, you would be creating your own personal news radio show. You can happily make yourself breakfast in the morning while your phone tells you what’s going on in the sectors and countries you are interested in. I’m a particular fan of using this app when my mother-in-law comes to visit, as I can pretend I’m on the phone to someone. Amazing how hearing what’s going on in Africa helps you blur out someone’s very existence from your consciousness.

Share the pain/gain
Some particular news item excites or depresses you so much you just have to tell your friends? Well, many news apps have jumped on the online social bandwagon and allow you to share your news collections in an easy manner. Pulse News is a particularly useful way of organising and sharing your news on Facebook, Twitter or via email.


About the Author
Reese Jones is a tech and gadget lover, a die-hard fan of iOS and console games. She started her writing venture recently and writes about everything from quick tech tips, to mobile-specific news from the likes of O2, to tech-related DIY. Find more about her and her work at Reese+ and tweet her  @r_am_jones.

Facebook IPO to raise about $10,000,000,000. Value of Facebook approaches 100 Billion.

The numbers are staggering as Facebook prepares to launch her initial public offering.   With Facebook share prices expected to be $28-$35, Facebook’s public value will be 77-96 Billion dollars, making the company one ofthe biggest in the world and founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest humans ever to walk the planet.  Also one of the youngest rich humans.  At 27, the wiley coyote (or maybe better the roadrunner) of American Internet Entrepreneurs has come to dominate both his company and the social media market niche in a way noone has ever done before.

 

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg fielded questions about the No. 1 social network’s slowing revenue growth … as he kicked off a cross-country roadshow to promote the company’s $10 billion IPO.   MORE from Reuters

Facebook Facts from Facebook.com

Facebook Facts from Facebook.com as of August 2011:

These are Facebook facts as described by the company in August of 2011 – if you read this post later than that it’s likely most of these numbers have *increased*.       Very notable in my view is the huge number of “active users”, the huge collective time they spend online, and the fact that mobile users are twice as active as non-mobile, though this last point does not necessarily mean that use will increase as far more people flow into mobile use – rather it may simply indicate that early adopters in mobile are more active users and thus mobile use will trend along the lines of regular use as more mainstreamers start accessing Facebook on mobile devices.

Facebook  Facts:

More than 750 million active users

50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day

Average user has 130 friends

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Social Media Activity on Facebook

There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events

Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

Facebook’s Global Reach
More than 70 translations available on the site
About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

Facebook’s Social Media Platform
Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites

Facebook’s Mobile Exposure
There are more than 250 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products

Domain Name Speculation

Data from Wikipedia’s entry on “Domain Name Speculation

* The number of registrations of .com domain names grew from 23,662,001  in  January 2003 to 80,759,835  in January 2009.

Wiki goes on to note that a quirk in the registration rules led to a surge in the practice of “Domaintasting” where a huge bulk order of domain names would be registered for a short time.   Only the names that created click revenue from pay per click ads would be kept.    This led to new domain hosting companies set up simply to filter for marginally valuable names that could be set up to get click revenue, and then to a new rule in June 2008 from ICANN, the body that oversees domain registrations.  ICANN started to limit the number of domains that a registrar could delete in the ICANN “grace period” where no fees were charged.   These grace period deletions fell by 99.7% the following year as the practice of “domain tasting” became less profitable.

Verisign Domain Brief in June 2009 identified  92 million COM and NET domain names, 24 percent with one page websites, 64% have multipage websites and 12% have no associated websites.

These last numbers suggest to me that the speculation is not as rampant as most seem to think – ie most sites are multiple page implying content and not speculation.    Of course systems like the one I’m testing now at Godaddy that auto-generate several pages of content make it even harder to distinguish between  sites that are driven speculatively vs those that are driven more by a passion to communicate or quality initiatives.       As the quality, sharable content online increases and systems become smarter I think we may see that it will be impossible to distinguish between sites created by humans and those made automatically.

CES 2010 Keynotes

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is more than just a showcase of the world’s latest and greatest technologies, it is where industry movers and shakers often announce new innovations and set the tone for how technology will move forward in the coming year. For many years Bill Gates of Microsoft led the keynote lineup, but with Gates’ retirement to pursue the objectives of the mega-philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates foundation it is now Steve Ballmer who effectively “opens” CES with his keynote talk the night before the official conference begins.

We’ll also be live blogging the CES Press Event on Tuesday where several highlighted innovations from the conference make their debut.

SOURCE:  International CES

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

6:30 p.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Center

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 after being the first business manager hired by Bill Gates and was named chief executive officer in 2000. With Microsoft’s goal of delivering an integrated platform to enable a seamless experience for consumers across PCs, devices and services, Ballmer is focused on continuing Microsoft’s leadership across the company’s seven businesses.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

8:30 a.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Center

Gary Shapiro

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO

Gary Shapiro will deliver his annual state of the industry address immediately before the 2010 CES opening keynote from Ford President and CEO Fred Mulally. Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing some 2,000 consumer electronics companies and owning and producing the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, the International CES. Shapiro is an active leader in the development, launch and marketing of HDTV. He has testified before Congress on HDTV and other technology and business issues more than 20 times. He co-founded and chaired the HDTV Model Station and has served as a leader of the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC). He is a charter inductee to the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, and in 2003 received its highest award as the industry leader most influential in advancing HDTV.

Update:  Yahoo’s Carol Bartz will not be speaking at CES 2010:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2355792,00.asp

Thursday, January 7, 2010

8:30 a.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Center

Alan Mulally

Ford President and CEO

President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally, will deliver the opening keynote address at the 2010 International CES. “Alan Mulally has positioned Ford as a leading innovator in the automotive industry, and we are pleased to welcome him back to CES,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “For the auto industry and all other businesses that use technology, CES is the single must-attend event where business gets done.” Mulally will deliver his keynote address, following a State of the CE Industry keynote address delivered by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. Mulally joined Ford in 2006, after serving as executive vice president of The Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Mulally is known for his innovation and focused leadership, while working to transform Ford into a lean, global enterprise. He has served as a past president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and is a former president of its Foundation. Additionally, Mulally served as a past chairman of the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association. He was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2009, “Person of the Year” in 2006 by Aviation Week magazine and one of “The Best Leaders of 2005″ by BusinessWeek magazine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

11 a.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Theater

Carol Bartz

Yahoo! CEO

Carol Bartz has served as chief executive officer and as a member of the Board of Directors of Yahoo! since January 2009. Previously, Bartz served as executive chairman, president and CEO of Autodesk, Inc. During her 14 years at Autodesk, the company diversified its product line and grew revenues from $285 million to $1.523 billion in FY06.

She previously held positions at Sun Microsystems, most recently as vice president of worldwide field operations and an executive officer of the company. Before joining Sun, she held product line and sales management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation and 3M Corporation. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the National Medals of Science and Technology Foundation. Ms. Bartz also serves as a director of Cisco Systems, Inc.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

4:30 p.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Center

Paul Otellini

Intel President and CEO

Paul Otellini became Intel’s fifth CEO in 2005, succeeding Craig R. Barrett. Otellini previously had served as Intel’s president and chief operating officer, positions he held since 2002, the same year he was elected to Intel’s board of directors. Otellini is now focused on continuing Intel growth by extending Intel Architecture into adjacent market segments of embedded, handhelds and consumer electronics and to continue building new businesses by tackling big problems.

Friday, January 8, 2010

9 a.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Theater

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo

Nokia CEO

Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is preparing to deliver a keynote address at the 2010 International CES as part of the third annual Technology and Emerging Countries (TEC) program, which focuses on technology’s role in furthering economic and sustainable development.

Kallasvuo was appointed president and CEO of Nokia in 2006. He has held several executive positions after joining Nokia in 1980 as corporate counsel, including executive vice president, North America; Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Kallasvuo has been a member of the Group Executive Board of Nokia since 1990, and was nominated to the Nokia Board of Directors in May 2007. He has been Chairman of the Board of Nokia Siemens Networks since its formation in 2007.

Friday, January 8, 2010

4 p.m. Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Theater

Zhou Houjian

Hisense Chairman

Zhou Houjian, chairman, Hisense, will deliver a keynote address at the 2010 International CES as part of the third annual Technology and Emerging Countries (TEC) Program, which focuses on technology’s role in advancing economic development.

Under Zhou Houjian’s leadership, Hisense Group Co. Ltd. has grown from a small regional multimillion dollar company to a large global multibillion dollar conglomerate. With a worldwide workforce of more than 60,000 employees, Hisense has over 300 sales companies and more than 60,000 service outlets around the globe. It has 13 manufacturing facilities in China, as well as in North and South Africa. In addition, it has three R&D facilities in China, as well as in the U.S., South Africa, and Belgium. Its products are exported to 130 countries and regions throughout the world.

Zhou has twice won the honor of China Central Television’s Business Man of the Year (2000 and 2005), a similar award to Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. He is also recognized as one of the most influential persons since China’s economic reform policy was established in 1978 and has been named as one of the “Top Ten Electronic Information Leaders since China’s Economic Reform.

CES 2010: Carol Bartz to Keynote at CES Las Vegas

Update:  Bartz will not be speaking at CES 2010:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2355792,00.asp

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz will be one of the keynotes at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Bartz will speak at 11 AM Thursday, January 7th in the Las Vegas Hilton.

Bartz was Autodesk CEO from 1992 to 1996, and took the helm of a troubled Yahoo in January 2009, just months after Yahoo founder Jerry Yang resigned the post after months of controversy surrounding his decision to avoid a Microsoft takeover of Yahoo at upwards of $31 per share.

Bartz is known as a “no nonsense” tough executive and many assumed at the time her job was to groom the company for a Microsoft takeover. However that never materialized.  Instead, Yahoo and Microsoft recently announced a joint search deal where Yahoo will effectively be dropping Yahoo search and using Microsoft BING search technology instead.  Yahoo will continue to sell advertising across both networks giving the combined Microsoft Yahoo search empire a larger advertising footprint.   Most feel this deal is more beneficial to Microsoft than Yahoo since it expands BING’s reach at only a small cost to Microsoft.   Yahoo will retain most of the advertising revenues for the next several years in this deal.

Perhaps Bartz most quotable moments to date were about a month into her tenure when she said she would “kick ass” with the Yahoo brand and also inadvertently suggested that some Yahoo engineers were not “f**king doing anything.”

Other executives expected to give keynote addresses at CES 2010 include Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Alan Mulally of Ford (see our CES 2009 Coverage of Mulally’s keynote) , Paul Otellini of Intel, and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo of Nokia.

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel spoke at CES 2006, and Jerry Yang gave a very uninspired talk in 2008 CES, but Yahoo had little to say at CES 2009.

Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Electronics Association said after the announcement:

“Yahoo is a top global brand whose vision is to be the center of people’s online lives, and Carol Bartz is leading the development of Yahoo’s approach to delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences,”


Disclosure:  Joe owns YHOO stock

Twitter Raises another $100 million. Twitter now valued at approximately 1 Billion dollars.

Jessica Vascellaro at the Wall Street Journal is breaking the news today that the social media mavens at Twitter.com are raising an additional $100 million in venture capital, giving Twitter a new valuation close to  (insert Austin Powers voice here)  one billion dollars.

Jessica notes that previous funding valued the company at about 255 million.    The new funding round not only confirms that Twitter is now a key major online player but will give them huge resources to continue rapid growth and expansion and perhaps even marketing, although one of Twitter’s brilliancies is that it needs an advertising budget of zero.   Twitter is the ultimate “word of mouth” tool for the online generation and everybody from celebrities to businesses are using the tool to create a dialog with fans, customers, and friends.     Where Facebook is powerful as a tool for maintaining relationships with friends and family, Twitter is superior as the fast and superficial way to keep in touch, “shout out” a message to the world, and generally manage large networks of customers, friends, conference attendees, etc.     There’s room for several social networking tools but I think we’ll  see both Facebook and Twitter continue to thrive and grow substantially in the coming years.

As we’ve been noting for some time Twitter represents something of a “perfect online storm”  where timing, simplicity, and social media are combined in a way that appeals to both sophisticated and new technology users.    The last time we saw this combination of innovation with the technological zeitgeist was Google search, and we all know how that turned out.

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Calacanis Twitter Keynote: Monetizing Potential for Twitter is huge, Twitter’s will eventually eclipse Facebook’s valuation.

Jason Calacanis is no stranger to successful internet companies and even though he has no direct financial connection to Twitter (to my knowledge), he’s very bullish on Twitter’s prospects to make a *lot* of money as Twitter traffic and growth explode online.

Jason is right to tell people to ignore today’s Wall Street Journal article suggesting Twitter’s lack of revenue is a sign of weakness. Almost to the contrary Twitter is correctly building a loyal following of Twitter “Friends and Followers”, many of whom would not participate if the commercial elements were too overwhelming. Google did this masterfully with search with a lean, user friendly interface. After people became loyal and even addicted to Google search they turned on the revenue spigots and Google became the key online player within just a few years.

Calacanis is noting how simply “turning on” various possible advertising features at Twitter would instantly lead to millions in revenue – he said “hundreds of millions” but one should be skeptical of that level of optimism given the challenges Facebook has had despite their huge level of traffic and participation.

Calacanis is so optimistic about Twitter he’s convinced it will be worth more than Facebook eventually, and feels that it’s now worth about a billion based on the implied valuations of the venture capital.

Wolfram Alpha Search. It’s no Google.

Reporting:  Joe Hunkins

Early hype suggesting that new search engine Wolfram Alpha could be a possible “Google Killer” quickly shifted to a focus on Wolfram’s new approach to search, which they call “computational”.     Although Technology-Report had early access to the program it is now open to all here:  http://www.wolframalpha.com

Although I’ve only spent a short time looking for inspiration at Wolfram Alpha, I’d have to say I could not find any answers where I felt Wolfram would beat out a Google search combined with some quick scans of the listed resources.     Wolfram’s promise was to deliver “the answer” to complicated questions but it seems to work well only for the kinds of information it appears they have already sliced and diced into packages, and I’m not clear it even beats out a Wikipedia entry when searching for data like states or countries where a packaged approach to the information is best.

A quick comparison of Wolfram’s answer to “New York” vs Google’s vs Wikipedia’s

In a case like this I’d argue Wikipedia is the clear winner, giving the user extensive information and links to more.   Google second with good lists, and Wolfram a distant third with very limited information given the wealth of data online.

For students creating notes (or papers to hand in!) Wolfram may provide some great tools with its unique organization schema, but for most internet researchers and browsers I think Google has nothing to worry about here at all.

Amazon Kindle DX

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveiled the new large format Kindle today, the Kindle DX.   The DX appears to be a very impressive device that brings the elegant reading capabilities of the smaller kindle to a much larger screen that will be more friendly to newspapers and textbooks – the two reading items that appear to be Amazon’s target market for this brand new entry into the electronic reader fray:

As a past skeptic of how the smaller Kindle could find the market needed to be a big success I’m certainly impressed, but also wondering about the economic viability.   At $489 for the new Kindle with at best only modest discounts for newspaper subscriptions I have to remain somewhat skeptical this can take off, although one can see a potentialy large library market since devices like this may make it easier for libraries and schools to manage subscriptions, textbooks, updates, etc.

Gizmodo’s got more on the specs and the launch.