Tag Archives: news

Don’t steal computers belonging to people who know how to use computers

*View this post in HD*

VIDEO: Macbook thief gets defamed on YouTube

I CAUGHT wind of a fantastic story on 5fm while stuck in traffic this morning. Apparently some guy had his fancy new Macbook Air stolen from him. A while later, Steve (we’ll call him Steve) remembered that his Macbook had an auto backup function which automatically backed up his data to an online server. When Steve went online to have a little peruse through his data he skillfully managed to find the identity of the Macbook thief. Not only that, but Steve also came across a video the wannabe rapper had made using his newly acquired Macbook Air.

Steve reported the identity of the Macbook rapper to the police and uploaded the video to YouTube. It has now seen over a million views and is appropriately titled, “don’t steal computers belonging to people who know how to use computers.” The rapper has asked that the embarrassing video be pulled from YouTube and that he was sorry for stealing the Macbook. Steve and his new fan base told him to get bent.

Don’t steal computers belonging to people
who know how to use computers

lol

The Buzz around Google Wave

GOOGLE WAVE: An analysis of its untimely downfall + Google Buzz

GOOGLE announced the closure of Google Wave on their blog after much hype from loyal Google followers. There has been much buzz as to why Google Wave was a failed project, but the pivotal reasons appear to be three-fold. Excessive hype and expectations, too many features for a single web application, and at the same time, not enough unique features to differentiate Google Wave from existing services (Facebook, Twitter), all ultimately lead to its untimely downfall.

The hype involved a handful of people being invited to test Google Wave and lead to several bloggers discussing it amongst themselves. After almost a year of testing and a plethora of blog entries, a lot was obviously expected of Google’s latest brainchild. However, there were still only a handful of people that actually knew how to make use of Google Wave and in an era of short attention spans and click-happy web-users, the buzz had just about fizzled entirely upon its release.

Google Wave logoThe problem was that for the average web-user to get to grips with Google Wave required setting aside a good period of time to learn how to use it, and for many, watching a video tutorial was essential. Google’s software developers even admitted that the service “takes a little getting used to” and that even they were still learning how to use it themselves.

Once Google Wave invitees got the hang of Wave they needed more people to be using it besides themselves in order to get a proper wave going. This proved to be difficult enough in itself, but perhaps the problem was not a lack of users, but rather a lack of appeal.

What exactly is Google Wave?
“Wave’s primary feature was to let users collaborate in real time, using an in-box-like interface that resembled a mix of Google’s Gmail Web mail service, and its Docs and Spreadsheets product. Each strand of messages, which could include text, links, and photos, was called a wave. Google launched the product with an API for developers to build extra functionality in the form of extensions that users could turn on and off” – Cnet News

I would argue that Google Wave had two other inherent problems. The first being that it did not offer enough unique features – i.e. things that web-users couldn’t already perform using existing Google and other services, and secondly that it tried to achieve too much at once. There also seemed to be a lack of focus with regards to what the product would primarily be used for.

To rope people into any new web service takes time and requires baby steps if you want to get enough people on board in order for the services to be worthwhile and developed further. The web-user trend is to stick with what’s foremost familiar and secondly to make use of the tried and tested. Although Google Wave offered several easy ways to perform familiar tasks online in real-time, the popularity of services such as Facebook and Twitter far outweighed its demand as a new web service.

Google has brought many great apps to the table that are worthy of praise and the Internet would not be the same without them; sadly Google Wave was not one of them. Until a viable market demand is found, the focus should be on improving existing Google services before unleashing something new to the online public.

A bit on Google Buzz

Google had another chance with Google Buzz – a web app released just prior to Google Wave. For those who are unfamiliar with Google Buzz, the service is an extension of one’s Gmail account – appearing below one’s inbox. It can be rightfully argued that Google Buzz is essentially a Twitter clone as it allows friends to provide status updates, embed photos and links, and to follow or be followed by other Buzz users. It now has a few Facebooky features too – these being the options of liking or commenting on other users’ posts and embedding photos and video.

Google Buzz logoThe idea was to discuss “the buzz”, but from many users’ experience the service seems to be primarily used as a promotional tool for embedding links and directing peoples’ attention to them. Facebook remains the popular choice for status updating and the sharing of photos and videos and Twitter is still the first choice for posting something of real value.

I do not imagine that Google Buzz will ever become as popular (or perhaps more importantly – more popular) than Twitter or Facebook – least not until it offers something different to what exists already. Buzz needs to be able to stand on it’s own, which isn’t currently happening with the ability to Buzz on Facebook or Buzz on Twitter.

Perhaps bloggers and Google Wave testers are largely to blame for the excessive hype and ultimate disappointment of Google Wave. Perhaps it was the product itself that asked too much of web users by way of time and practical use. Or perhaps Google Wave simply did not fill a need in the World Wide Web by offering something entirely unique and different.

Google can surely be forgiven for the failure of Google Wave and hopefully learn from their mistakes. With a history of so many other great services and the downfall of only a few, support for future developments should by no means be tainted by their recent faults. Keep the services coming Google; you ultimately never know what will work on the web until you try.

Sources:

Condensed twitterature takes off

NEW YORK — Arjun Basu writes short stories. Very short stories.

“The marriage didn’t survive the honeymoon. They acknowledged the majesty of their mistake. But they remained together. Because of the gifts.” – Twister story by Arjun Basu (@arjunbsau)

“I’m doing 140-character stories on Twitter,” said Basu, one of scores of authors and poets downsizing their literary talents to the limited format of the hot micro-blogging service.

“I call them Twisters because everything on Twitter has a stupid name,” the 42-year-old Basu told AFP at the 140 Characters Conference – a two-day talkfest devoted to all things Twitter held in New York.

“Each story has a beginning, a middle and an end,” said Basu. “I started with one story. I had an image in my head and I just did it, and I slowly built-up a following.” Basu began writing his Twisters last year.

“They went out hunting. They killed some large mammals. Later they saw the animals butchered. And one by one they ordered salads that evening,” reads the tale in one of Basu’s Twisters.

Haiku, which lends itself to the 140-character format, is another popular literary form on Twitter and the search term #haiku occasionally rises into Twitter’s list of “Trending Topics” – the 10 most popular topics on the site.

“And in the middle / of the rising city heat / the fountain is dry,” reads a Haiku from a Twitter user and poet with more than 3 800 followers who goes by the handle of @LadyParadis.

Websites have also popped up collecting the best of Twitter Haiku — known variously as Twaiku or TwiHaiku — and many users take part weekly in what is called Haiku Thursday.

Basu, who works in the magazine industry, said he has been surprised at the reception his byte-sized stories have received. “Things that I couldn’t have imagined,” he said.

“Some people have been using my stories in classes — English as a second language, creative writing,” he said.

— Sapa-AFP.

AOL refashions itself as a one-stop portal

AOL.com (the web portal of America Online), was a powerful player in the early days of the Internet, but has lost ground since then due to stiff competition. However, it is currently refashioning itself as a popular one-stop portal.

The web portal rolled out a redesigned homepage yesterday which it hopes will become a central station of sorts for Internet travelers by letting people coordinate social networks, email accounts and more without switching from site to site.

The move comes a month after AOL.com, the number four gateway to the web after Google, MSN and Yahoo, revamped its homepage to allow users to preview outside email accounts without having to navigate away from the homepage.

With “My Networks” users can now log onto their Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, AIM or Twitter accounts directly from the homepage and send a status update to all of them simultaneously. Bill Wilson, executive vice president of AOL Programming, said in a statement:

“AOL.com is the first traditional big portal to offer access to popular social networking sites all in one place. Now consumers can connect with their numerous networks and information sources all from AOL.com”

The new RSS feed browser allows users to receive news from other websites and display it in scrollable window at the bottom of the page. Entering the name of a US city or zip code provides a feed of local news and weather.

Another feature labeled “Themes” gives users the possibility of personalizing the homepage by choosing a color or backdrop of their own design. The functionality of the new site is allowing users to create their own personalised one-stop portals.

Look out Google!

The new tech-savvy social order

The Internet is not just changing the way people live but altering the way our brains work with a neuroscientist arguing that this is an evolutionary change which will put the tech-savvy at the top of the new social order.

Gary Small, a neuroscientist at UCLA in California who specialises in brain function, has found through studies that Internet searching and text messaging has made brains more adept at filtering information and making snap decisions.

But while technology can accelerate learning and boost creativity it can have drawbacks as it can create Internet addicts whose only friends are virtual and has sparked a dramatic rise in Attention Deficit Disorder diagnoses.

Small, however, argues that the people who will come out on top in the next generation will be those with a mixture of technological and social skills.

“We’re seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills”
– Gary Small

In his newly released fourth book iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, Small looks at how technology has altered the way young minds develop, function and interpret information. In his book Small explains that the brain is very sensitive to changes in the environment such as those brought by technology.

A study of 24 adults using the Web revealed that experienced Internet users showed double the activity in areas of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning as Internet beginners did.

“The brain is very specialized in its circuitry and if you repeat mental tasks over and over it will strengthen certain neural circuits and ignore others,” said Small.

“The environment is changing. The average young person now spends nine hours a day exposing their brain to technology. Evolution is an advancement from moment to moment and what we are seeing is technology affecting our evolution.”

Small said this multi-tasking could cause problems as the tech-savvy generation, whom he calls “digital natives,” are always scanning for the next bit of new information which can create stress and even damage neural networks.

“There is also the big problem of neglecting human contact skills and losing the ability to read emotional expressions and body language,” he said.

“But you can take steps to address this. It means taking time to cut back on technology, like having a family dinner, to find a balance. It is important to understand how technology is affecting our lives and our brains and take control of it.”

•Gary Small is the director of the Memory & Aging Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and the Center on Aging at UCLA.

– original copy supplied by Reuters

Related posts:
Web Addiction 2.0
Is technology rewiring out brains?

Search for SA’s Gadget Genie

In celebration of the launch of mobile voice, MWEB is on the look out for South Africa’s first-ever Gadget Genie.

THE Gadget Genie campaign is an effort to demystify technology in a fun and funky way and aims to show consumers how they could enjoy the benefits of web 2.0 and the latest cellular gadgets.

During the course of the campaign MWEB representatives will hit the streets of SA to interview ordinary citizens about their greatest technology woes.

So If you know your Wi-Fi from your WiMax and your Bluetooth from your Blu-Ray, visit www.mwebgadgetgenie.co.za before November 16 and try your techno-ledge on the Geek-O-Meter to stand the chance of winning great prizes.

Post-winner-announcement plans include a series of ‘agony aunt’ blog entries and educational blogs where the Gadget Guy or Girl will explain and demonstrate solutions to these problems, and in doing so, help demystify technology for the nation.

Who qualifies as a Gadget Genie?
The Gadget Guy or Gadget Girl is incredibly Internet and tech-savvy and proud to be called a geek! He/she understands all models of cellphones intimately, can sync their laptop with their cellphone in a matter of seconds, can connect to the Internet via any cell, and realises the power of the Internet by finding innovative ways to help you get online info quicker.

The Genie will be the ultimate person to help guide the average user through the maze of cell and Internet options.

  • Post-winner-announcement activities will depend on the Gadget Genie’s availability.

– Issued on behalf of MWEB

Link: Test your knowledge on the Geek-O-Metre

Experience the Internet in 3D

AN Australian company has launched a free tool that offers web browsers a world-first opportunity to view the Internet in three dimensions.

Melbourne-based ExitReality said its application allows users to turn any regular website into a 3D virtual environment, where an avatar representing them can walk around and meet other browsers viewing the same website.

Founder Danny Stefanic said that, previously, only specialised websites such as Second Life and World of Warcraft allowed users to enter a 3D environment, however, interaction within those environments are limited.

“ExitReality goes far beyond that. It allows you to view not just one website but the entire World Wide Web in 3D,” said Stefanic.

Exit reality and enter the virtual world of the 3D web
cool

Browsers can use the tool to turn their social networking pages on sites such as Facebook and MySpace into a virtual apartment, where photographs are displayed on the wall and links to friends are displayed as “doors” leading to other apartments.

Users can customise their flats by “decorating” with 3D versions of couches from stores such as Ikea or downloading an e-jukebox to play music clips stored on their personal page.

Similarly, using ExitReality on video-sharing websites such as YouTube creates a virtual cinema, where the browser’s avatar sits next to other users logged on to watch the clip they have selected.

Stefanic said the tool will transform the web from a solo experience into one that could be shared with friends and other users interested in the same content.

“The user can see and share experiences with their friends while chatting with them and other people at either their own website or another billion web pages” – Danny Stefanic

Stefanic says there is a wealth of 3D content on the Internet that conventional web search engines ignored. Such 3D effects made the web more interesting for users, meaning they were more likely to spend more time browsing the page.

“Users would normally spend no longer than a couple of minutes on a 2D website,” he said. “In a 3D environment, this time can extend to half an hour, creating a huge potential for the website owner to maximise user engagement.”

Link: ExitReality home
Related post
: The reality of the virtual