Social Networking

HTC First Was Last and It’s Now Almost Free

A few weeks ago we got exclusive information that the HTC First was in big trouble. As we first reported, sales number for the first phone designed specifically for Facebook Home were close to nonexistent. Our inside information told us that the pre-order and first weekend sales numbers of the HTC First were less than 500 total units on the East Coast. In other words, the HTC First was all but dead on arrival. My conclusion at the time was that: I cannot begin to imagine what stock AT&T is currently holding of the device, but I have a pretty…


EXCLUSIVE – The HTC First Facebook Phone Comes Up Last

I watched the Facebook Press Conference during which Facebook Home and the HTC First Android Phone with Facebook Home launched two weeks ago with a bit of amusement. I’m not a huge Facebook user, but my amusement really wasn’t just about my lack of being a Facebook fanatic at play; the idea of Facebook being my welcome screen and launcher just didn’t seem like something I would ever want. Facebook Home takes one means of connection and makes it central to my entire mobile experience. Having it on a dedicated Facebook phone means that I would need to go THROUGH…


Facebook Home App Arrives on Google Play, Hands-On First Look

We have been hearing about Facebook Home since the Facebook event last Wednesday which we covered here. The general consensus was that Home was pretty much just another launcher – but a Facebook centric one. Now as the Facebook Home app arrives on Google Play, we have installed it and taken a quick look. The big question from the post we had about the event is ‘who cares’? In other words, exactly what market does this app serve? I always thought that was obvious but had two angles – it serves the Facebook crowd, and pretty much does NOT serve…


The Outcome of My ‘Unsubscribe’ Adventure

Back in mid-November, I wrote a post asking if those ‘unsubscribe’ links in emails of reputable companies actually meant anything. Carly wrote a follow-up post about how companies used junk mail blasts as targeted marketing, because it was surprisingly effective. So now it is about six weeks since I wrote my original post, making it nearly two months since I started trying to dump unwanted emails. How did it go? Amazingly well! Through Cyber-Monday I saw only a slight decrease in unwanted email, but immediately after that I noted a sharp decline, followed by slower drop-offs, and then a couple of reappearances between…


Randi Zuckerberg Learns the Hard Lesson of Facebook Privacy First-Hand

Over the Christmas holiday, Randi Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister and former director of Marketing at Facebook) posted a picture of her family around the kitchen island having fun, and someone else shared the image on Twitter. This was picked up on Buzzfeed and more thoroughly explained on GigaOm amongst other places. Zuckerberg called the person out, saying that she had no idea how they got it, but that sharing the image to Twitter was ‘way uncool’. The thing that some pointed out was that Zuckerberg had very publicly taken the stance that “Anonymity Online ‘Has To Go Away’”. Personally I…


Stay Connected to Family in 2013 with Sony’s Camera and Microphone for Skype

I’ve become increasingly enamored of video chatting. It is handy, convenient and it works well; it also saves gas and time. For example, I do most of my High Holy Day sermon writing with my friend Lawrence. We bounce ideas around, rip initial drafts apart, and share illustrations. In prior years we would get together two or three times and have marathon writing sessions together. This year we didn’t get together once; instead we used FaceTime and Skype. We didn’t need to travel, and we were able to “meet” far more times than we could have in the past. Similarly,…


Pique your [P]Interest

Did you know that if you run out of AA batteries, you can use AAA ones and fill the gap with foil?  Did you know adding baking powder into your baby’s bath can help relieve diaper rash?  Do you want to learn how to make homemade gel ice packs?  Do you want a recipe for garlic cheese bread?  Do you enjoy looking at cute pictures of fluffy animals?  Are you interested in learning how to make an eternity scarf?  These are just a few things that Pinterest has to offer. Pinterest is like Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote all in one…


All Those Junk Emails Are No Accident!

 (image courtesy TLC) My morning routine during November and December is pretty simple; wake up, throw on warm clothes, grapple the dog into his leash, start our walk, and use my iPhone to begin the mass deletion of every “ONE DAY SALE” email that’s hit overnight. I don’t even read most of the subject lines, I just skim and delete. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what all those retailers don’t want…and there’s more to their strategy than just gunking up our inboxes. The Wall Street Journal has an utterly fascinating article on how email marketing works, and what retailers aim to accomplish…


ArchetypeMe Makes Finding New Content Fun and Personal

Finding new things to read online can be remarkably difficult. Everyone has their “usual” websites, via RSS, or Flipboard, or Twitter. And there are sites like Stumbleupon that give you fun random ideas. But it can be hard to set the parameters for new sources just right — either you’re looking in too broad an area, or you get so focused on a narrow niche that you miss out on finding anything new and different. That’s where ArchetypeMe.com steps in to make your morning news and coffee routine that much more interesting. What is ArchetypeMe? It’s an approach to content…


How to Kill an Online Community in Three Easy Steps, by Runner’s World and Rodale

I used to love hanging out on the Runner’s World online forums. They were a treasure trove of information, support, and stories about running. I have met people from that site at races, and have challenged myself with online mileage games organized through the forums. Unfortunately, over the last year or so there has been a huge issue, so much so that it’s actually driven users away from the forum entirely. Want to know how Rodale is killing a thriving online community? Read on! Step one: SPAM! Everyone hates spam. Does any reasonable person actually click on the “make $1,000…


The Need for Training Wheels on Twitter

I have a coworker who often complains about our limited abilities to discuss work over social media. He claims it is a draconian and old-fashioned approach. Most of the time I let it roll past me, but more and more I think that it’s not strict or unreasonable, but in fact extremely smart. For some reason, Twitter seems to trigger the worst in public tweeters, from celebrities to companies. Don’t believe me? Lets look at some of the worst offenders. Just this week, there were two tweets that ignited a firestorm of criticism. First, KitchenAid tweeted this: Obamas gma even…


Apple’s Ping to Cease Operation Sept 30 in Case You Care … Which You Don’t

I was too busy with actual work to get to see the Apple iPhone event this year, so when I heard that Ping was ceasing operations on September 30th through an email … I just assumed it was one of those Apple ‘shutdown in 7 days’ things like we got for iWork and MobileMe and so on. Turns out it was a link from Macworld , and cited a bunch of sources noting that if you head to Apple’s Ping site … well, you can’t because you get redirected. But if you click on Ping in iTunes, you get the…


When Compared to Zynga, Suddenly EA is the GOOD Guy!

I think it is accurate to say that I have shown Electronic Arts VERY little kindness in my posts about them. I think they are greedy, petty, and petulant megalomaniacs as a corporate personality, and have a well-established history of buying properties, destroying studios, and running game franchises into the ground while extracting maximum financial gain from the ashes of former greatness. That said, they are not always wrong. They have stood up for marriage equality, have corrected many of the worker issues to the point where they are now a good place to work, and they put out loads…


Roamz 2.5 Makes Smart Social Search Smarter

Last month we shared our interview with Roamz CEO Jonathan Baruch. (Read it.) We also noted that an update to the ‘Social Goggles for the Real World’ app would be coming soon. Well Roamz 2.5 has launched and it brings some neat new features. As Baruch notes, “The new version of Roamz takes local discovery to the next level helping people find, discover and share great places and events around them.” The release goes on to explain that… Roamz’ new features make learning about exciting local events even easier. The update has a revamped interface with new search tiles, which…


Roamz Gives You ‘Social Goggles for the Real World’

If you are anything like me you, then are connected to numerous social networking accounts. When you have more than just a few services spitting information at you, it becomes difficult to keep them all straight. But even worse is the fact that all this information is available through the various social networking outlets and, well, and it is pretty much useless. Sure, Twitter and Facebook let me keep up with my friends and even see what some non-friends are doing. But there has to be some way to actually put all that information to use. That’s what Roamz seeks…


If You Thought Twitter Didn’t Have the Power to Effect Change, Think Again

Yes, this is going to come off looking like a partisan post. I can deal with that because (a) as someone who finished graduate school with some hefty loans, I really felt for the students whose loan rates were about to double, and (b) even if you sit on the other side of the aisle it is hard NOT to see the true power of social media. Student loan rates were set to double if Congress didn’t act and, for a time, it looked like that rate increase was a forgone conclusion. The White House got into the mix, and…


Welcome to Disqus 2012!

If you have been commenting on the site in recent weeks you will have noticed that we use Disqus to power our comments section. We really like the platform. It allows ease of commenting, simply comment moderation for us (we are committed to keeping the trolls out) and, it just streamlines the entire process for everyone. Well, the company behind Disqus just rolled out Disqus 2012. You can get a sense of what is new with Disqus by watching this “awesome new video showing off the new Disqus”. The new Disqus is more social, streamlines the process of commenting, and…


Striiv Fitness Motivating Pedometer Gets Smart, Gets Social

Back in January Judie and I found ourselves in an unplanned competition of sorts. Judie was using the FitBit fitness device and I was using the Striiv Smart Pedometer. The devices could not have been more different. The FitBit was black and the Striiv white. The FitBit clipped to your cloths and has a small LED readout to let you know what was what. The Striiv has a large, touchscreen face reminiscent of a tiny smartphone. The FitBit had a USB dock that, when the device was synced to your computer, tracked your progress and even offered the ability to…


Ashley Judd Eviscerates the Gossip Industry

Gossip can be a very cruel phenomenon. There is reality, and then there is the truth according to viral videos, Facebook, Us Weekly, and the E! Network. Just this past weekend Sarah and I were in the grocery store, and she commented that the headlines screaming from the checkout magazines were just out of control and invasive. Did it really matter whether Kim Kardashian cheated on her (soon to be ex) husband? Do we really need to know the second Prince William and his wife get pregnant? So it makes me very happy to see a different kind of article…


Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion!

Soon after launching the Android version of the ultra-popular social photo sharing site, Instagram has just sold to Facebook for a cool $1 billion! Here are some details from the New York Times: Facebook has acquired Instagram, the popular photo-sharing application, for about $1 billion in cash and stock, the company said Monday. In a Facebook post, the company’s chief, Mark Zuckerberg, said he planned to build Instagram independently from the social network, allowing users to post on other social networks, follow users not on Facebook and opt out of sharing on Facebook. And from Instagram the following statement: When…


Is This the End of Privacy?

Privacy on the Internet is a very slippery idea. We share information voluntarily, through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media. Information gets shared involuntarily through hacking, or by companies tracking our purchases and browsing habits to glean clues about how to make us their ideal customer. But Slate has an article today on a new way to learn about people online that is passive, technologically advanced, and nearly impossible to avoid: eye tracking using front-facing cameras. It sounds like the stuff out of paranoid science fiction, and right now it is. However, as Slate astutely points out, more and…