Sunday, April 21, 2013


You may want to be Facebook friends with your doctor, so you can ping him or her a quick question or maybe an image of a bug bite for an online diagnosis. But the question being asked by the medical community is, should your doctor be Facebook friends with you?

The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards issued a policy statement in the Annals of Internal Medicine addressing best practices for physicians in the digital environment.

As more doctors are using social media in both their personal and professional lives and more patients want information in a digital minute there hasn't been formal guidelines for how this online relationship should proceed, until now.


"Digital communications and social media use continue to increase in popularity among the public and the medical profession," wrote Phyllis Guze, MD, FACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. "This policy paper provides needed guidance on best practices to inform standards for the professional conduct of physicians online."

According to those recommendations, the use of online media can bring about educational benefits both to patients and their doctors. But they acknowledge possible ethical challenges as well. They also suggest that doctors maintain separate personal and professional identities online consisting of perhaps a personal Facebook account as well as a professional page for communication or sharing health info.

So are more doctors turning to the Internet and social media as a way to communicate with their patients? Dr. Ted Eytan, Director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington tells our reporter all 17,000 of Kaiser Permanente's physicians are accessible to their patients via their mobile devices. That doesn't mean they're all friending and tweeting each other, though. He says instead of thinking about how doctors and patients can get social, they focus on how they can best communicate, using social media as a tool. That way, "you can meet people's needs, securely and quickly."

Eytan says it's about talking and listening communicating. At KP there are 1.1 million emails sent to physicians every month, and 580,000 new emails sent to patients every month from physicians.
"Once patients can get the information they need about their care in a quick and accessible way," he says. "Social media is a way to build trust by delivering useful information and creating good will between patients and physicians."


You may want to be Facebook friends with your doctor, so you can ping him or her a quick question or maybe an image of a bug bite for an online diagnosis. But the question being asked by the medical community is, should your doctor be Facebook friends with you?

The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards issued a policy statement in the Annals of Internal Medicine addressing best practices for physicians in the digital environment.

As more doctors are using social media in both their personal and professional lives and more patients want information in a digital minute there hasn't been formal guidelines for how this online relationship should proceed, until now.


"Digital communications and social media use continue to increase in popularity among the public and the medical profession," wrote Phyllis Guze, MD, FACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. "This policy paper provides needed guidance on best practices to inform standards for the professional conduct of physicians online."

According to those recommendations, the use of online media can bring about educational benefits both to patients and their doctors. But they acknowledge possible ethical challenges as well. They also suggest that doctors maintain separate personal and professional identities online consisting of perhaps a personal Facebook account as well as a professional page for communication or sharing health info.

So are more doctors turning to the Internet and social media as a way to communicate with their patients? Dr. Ted Eytan, Director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington tells our reporter all 17,000 of Kaiser Permanente's physicians are accessible to their patients via their mobile devices. That doesn't mean they're all friending and tweeting each other, though. He says instead of thinking about how doctors and patients can get social, they focus on how they can best communicate, using social media as a tool. That way, "you can meet people's needs, securely and quickly."

Eytan says it's about talking and listening communicating. At KP there are 1.1 million emails sent to physicians every month, and 580,000 new emails sent to patients every month from physicians.
"Once patients can get the information they need about their care in a quick and accessible way," he says. "Social media is a way to build trust by delivering useful information and creating good will between patients and physicians."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, had 160 million monthly active users in November, according to the latest figures available.

That was an increase of nearly 30 million from September when LinkedIn had more than 133 million users who logged in to the website at least once a month.

The Mountain View, Calif., company announced the number, which was calculated by research firm comScore, after crossing the mark for 200 million registered users earlier this month. LinkedIn has registered 13 million users since November.


LinkedIn launched in 2003 and hit 100 million registered users in March 2011. The social network has been able to keep growing steadily since going public in May 2011. Its stock price has increased by 25% since then and stands at $117 per share.

With 160 million active users, LinkedIn is in front of Google+, which last month announced it had 135 million active users and more than 500 million registered users. Twitter, meanwhile, had more than 200 million active users as of last month.

And, of course, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter all fall behind Facebook, which has more than 1 billion monthly active users.


LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, had 160 million monthly active users in November, according to the latest figures available.

That was an increase of nearly 30 million from September when LinkedIn had more than 133 million users who logged in to the website at least once a month.

The Mountain View, Calif., company announced the number, which was calculated by research firm comScore, after crossing the mark for 200 million registered users earlier this month. LinkedIn has registered 13 million users since November.


LinkedIn launched in 2003 and hit 100 million registered users in March 2011. The social network has been able to keep growing steadily since going public in May 2011. Its stock price has increased by 25% since then and stands at $117 per share.

With 160 million active users, LinkedIn is in front of Google+, which last month announced it had 135 million active users and more than 500 million registered users. Twitter, meanwhile, had more than 200 million active users as of last month.

And, of course, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter all fall behind Facebook, which has more than 1 billion monthly active users.


Facebook’s mystery “press event” on Tuesday could reveal a more robust search feature that would intensify the competition between the social networking giant and its rival Google Inc.

Facebook is holding the event at noon Chicago time at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The company has not said what it plans to announce. Last week, it invited bloggers and journalists to “come see what we’re building.”

The company probably won’t be showing off a new office building — unless it decided to make its invitation very literal.

It’s also unlikely to be unveiling a much-rumored “Facebook phone” — unless CEO Mark Zuckerberg has changed his mind recently. Last fall, as he’d done on numerous occasions, he publicly shot down speculation that Facebook was building its own smartphone.


“It is so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” Zuckerberg said at a September technology conference in his first public interview after Facebook’s May initial public offering. “It doesn’t move the needle for us.”
 
As far as search goes, users would likely welcome a better way to sift through Facebook for people, businesses, events and everything else available on the vast online network.

The company, whose much-ballyhooed initial public offering turned out to be a disappointment, may also talk about new advertising features. Facebook has been especially focused on building up is mobile advertising business, since most of its users access Facebook through smartphones and tablets.

Research firm eMarketer estimates that Facebook, the No. 2 company in the U.S. mobile advertising market, had an 8.8 percent share last year —up from zero in 2011. That compared with No. 1 Google’s 56.6 percent. This year, Facebook is expected to grow its share to 12.2 percent, while remaining far behind Google.

Facebook, which has been calling itself a “mobile-first” company, has been growing thanks to increased use of its mobile apps, improving ad quality and its emerging advertising network, called Facebook Exchange, said Baird analyst Colin Sebastian in a recent note to investors.

“Our field checks suggest that the recently launched Facebook Exchange is helping advertisers target consumers more effectively,” he said.

Sebastian thinks that over time, Facebook will make more money from mobile ads, helped by its increasing experience in the space, as well as its “ever-increasing user profile data.”


Facebook’s mystery “press event” on Tuesday could reveal a more robust search feature that would intensify the competition between the social networking giant and its rival Google Inc.

Facebook is holding the event at noon Chicago time at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The company has not said what it plans to announce. Last week, it invited bloggers and journalists to “come see what we’re building.”

The company probably won’t be showing off a new office building — unless it decided to make its invitation very literal.

It’s also unlikely to be unveiling a much-rumored “Facebook phone” — unless CEO Mark Zuckerberg has changed his mind recently. Last fall, as he’d done on numerous occasions, he publicly shot down speculation that Facebook was building its own smartphone.


“It is so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” Zuckerberg said at a September technology conference in his first public interview after Facebook’s May initial public offering. “It doesn’t move the needle for us.”
 
As far as search goes, users would likely welcome a better way to sift through Facebook for people, businesses, events and everything else available on the vast online network.

The company, whose much-ballyhooed initial public offering turned out to be a disappointment, may also talk about new advertising features. Facebook has been especially focused on building up is mobile advertising business, since most of its users access Facebook through smartphones and tablets.

Research firm eMarketer estimates that Facebook, the No. 2 company in the U.S. mobile advertising market, had an 8.8 percent share last year —up from zero in 2011. That compared with No. 1 Google’s 56.6 percent. This year, Facebook is expected to grow its share to 12.2 percent, while remaining far behind Google.

Facebook, which has been calling itself a “mobile-first” company, has been growing thanks to increased use of its mobile apps, improving ad quality and its emerging advertising network, called Facebook Exchange, said Baird analyst Colin Sebastian in a recent note to investors.

“Our field checks suggest that the recently launched Facebook Exchange is helping advertisers target consumers more effectively,” he said.

Sebastian thinks that over time, Facebook will make more money from mobile ads, helped by its increasing experience in the space, as well as its “ever-increasing user profile data.”


Apple down? RIM up? It's like investors have entered a smartphone bizarro world.

Following an unconfirmed report of waning iPhone 5 sales, nervous investors briefly drove Apple's stock below $500 on Monday, continuing a slide from a peak of more than $700 in September.

Kicking sand in Apple's face, chief rival Samsung announced Monday it has sold 100 million Galaxy S smartphones. And even the stock of struggling Research in Motion, whose sales of BlackBerrys were crushed by the iPhone in recent years, soared 10% amid optimism that Apple's weakness might help it rebound.

Whether these Apple fears are unfounded remains to be seen. But the gathering doubts about Apple's business have dramatically raised the stakes for its earnings report scheduled for Jan. 23, an event that already was expected to be intensely scrutinized.


If Apple wildly exceeds expectations, as it did last year, and executives offer a rosy outlook, investors hope the stock will repeat the remarkable run that peaked in September. But should earnings disappoint, or executives reduce their sales projections for the coming quarter, there's no telling how far a stock that's already down 28.5% in the last three months could plummet.

Such a plunge could heighten doubts about Chief Executive Tim Cook's ability to lead Apple as effectively as co-founder Steve Jobs, who stepped down in August 2011 and died several weeks later.
"There's this lingering unease about the stock because Steve is no longer around," said Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. "The problems last quarter have raised the issue in investors' minds that Apple no longer has a leader of Steve's stature."

Apple's stock closed Monday at $501.75, down $18.55, or 3.57%.

In general, analysts seem confident Apple will meet or beat expectations for the quarter that ended in December. They are focused on the company's outlook for the rest of the year. Will Apple raise or lower its sales and profit forecasts, or even keep them the same?

"If the company gets on the call and provides a positive outlook to sales, then investors will be relieved," said Walter Piecyk, a research analyst at BTIG. "But any reduction in earnings guidance could scare people."

Clearly, investors remain spooked. Sunday night, the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that Apple had slashed orders for several components for the iPhone 5. Investors interpreted the move as a signal that the latest phone, which was plagued by supply chain issues and shipping delays, was not performing as strongly as previous versions.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Like many Apple rumors and stories, however, this latest development was open to different interpretations. Many analysts and independent observers suggested indications that Apple had cut its outlook for the iPhone 5 by as much as half seemed extreme, given recent reports of strong smartphone sales by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Wolf, the Needham analyst, suggested an alternative explanation to reports that Apple needed fewer screens. Because the iPhone 5 had a longer screen than prior versions, he said, suppliers at first had a hard time manufacturing them, so Apple had to over-order screens because the rates, or "yields," of acceptable screens out of each batch was low. It's possible manufacturers have become more efficient, producing fewer duds and allowing Apple to reduce its orders for screens.

Still, nobody will know the answer until Apple reports its first-quarter earnings. And until then, investors' nerves will probably remain frayed after watching the stock fall from its peak of $702.10 in September.

The issues weighing on Apple's stock are many and complex. They include fears that Apple is losing too much market share; that its profitability will slip as it makes cheaper iPads, or a rumored cheaper iPhone; that consumer interest in new versions of products doesn't last as long; and that dramas like the Apple Maps issue and the management shake-up last fall are signs that Cook doesn't have the vision to lead the company as effectively as Jobs.

Those doubts have been gathering steam since last summer. In July, the consensus among analysts was that Apple would report earnings per share of $54.87 for the fiscal year ending September 2013, according to Bloomberg. As of Monday, that figure stood at $48.86.

That would put Apple's earnings-per-share growth at 10% for the current year, compared with 80% two years ago, and 60% in the 2012 fiscal year that ended in September. Even more remarkable and worrisome, Piecyk said, is that some analysts believe there is a chance Apple's current quarter, which runs through March, could see the first decline in year-over-year quarterly earnings per share in a decade.


"If these growth rates continue to go down, it's going to be hard for the stock to work," Piecyk said.
Of course, plenty of analysts and investors remain bullish on the stock, with some projecting it will climb past $1,000 per share this year. They argue the recent stock slide has been due to technical reasons; that the stock is cheap by historical measures; and that rumored products like an Apple TV could propel the company to greater heights.

Everyone is hoping that when Apple lays its cards on the table Jan. 23, investors will know which narrative is correct.

"I think there's a real malaise that has taken over the story of Apple," Wolf said. "We'll see if it goes beyond the 23rd."


Apple down? RIM up? It's like investors have entered a smartphone bizarro world.

Following an unconfirmed report of waning iPhone 5 sales, nervous investors briefly drove Apple's stock below $500 on Monday, continuing a slide from a peak of more than $700 in September.

Kicking sand in Apple's face, chief rival Samsung announced Monday it has sold 100 million Galaxy S smartphones. And even the stock of struggling Research in Motion, whose sales of BlackBerrys were crushed by the iPhone in recent years, soared 10% amid optimism that Apple's weakness might help it rebound.

Whether these Apple fears are unfounded remains to be seen. But the gathering doubts about Apple's business have dramatically raised the stakes for its earnings report scheduled for Jan. 23, an event that already was expected to be intensely scrutinized.


If Apple wildly exceeds expectations, as it did last year, and executives offer a rosy outlook, investors hope the stock will repeat the remarkable run that peaked in September. But should earnings disappoint, or executives reduce their sales projections for the coming quarter, there's no telling how far a stock that's already down 28.5% in the last three months could plummet.

Such a plunge could heighten doubts about Chief Executive Tim Cook's ability to lead Apple as effectively as co-founder Steve Jobs, who stepped down in August 2011 and died several weeks later.
"There's this lingering unease about the stock because Steve is no longer around," said Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. "The problems last quarter have raised the issue in investors' minds that Apple no longer has a leader of Steve's stature."

Apple's stock closed Monday at $501.75, down $18.55, or 3.57%.

In general, analysts seem confident Apple will meet or beat expectations for the quarter that ended in December. They are focused on the company's outlook for the rest of the year. Will Apple raise or lower its sales and profit forecasts, or even keep them the same?

"If the company gets on the call and provides a positive outlook to sales, then investors will be relieved," said Walter Piecyk, a research analyst at BTIG. "But any reduction in earnings guidance could scare people."

Clearly, investors remain spooked. Sunday night, the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that Apple had slashed orders for several components for the iPhone 5. Investors interpreted the move as a signal that the latest phone, which was plagued by supply chain issues and shipping delays, was not performing as strongly as previous versions.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Like many Apple rumors and stories, however, this latest development was open to different interpretations. Many analysts and independent observers suggested indications that Apple had cut its outlook for the iPhone 5 by as much as half seemed extreme, given recent reports of strong smartphone sales by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Wolf, the Needham analyst, suggested an alternative explanation to reports that Apple needed fewer screens. Because the iPhone 5 had a longer screen than prior versions, he said, suppliers at first had a hard time manufacturing them, so Apple had to over-order screens because the rates, or "yields," of acceptable screens out of each batch was low. It's possible manufacturers have become more efficient, producing fewer duds and allowing Apple to reduce its orders for screens.

Still, nobody will know the answer until Apple reports its first-quarter earnings. And until then, investors' nerves will probably remain frayed after watching the stock fall from its peak of $702.10 in September.

The issues weighing on Apple's stock are many and complex. They include fears that Apple is losing too much market share; that its profitability will slip as it makes cheaper iPads, or a rumored cheaper iPhone; that consumer interest in new versions of products doesn't last as long; and that dramas like the Apple Maps issue and the management shake-up last fall are signs that Cook doesn't have the vision to lead the company as effectively as Jobs.

Those doubts have been gathering steam since last summer. In July, the consensus among analysts was that Apple would report earnings per share of $54.87 for the fiscal year ending September 2013, according to Bloomberg. As of Monday, that figure stood at $48.86.

That would put Apple's earnings-per-share growth at 10% for the current year, compared with 80% two years ago, and 60% in the 2012 fiscal year that ended in September. Even more remarkable and worrisome, Piecyk said, is that some analysts believe there is a chance Apple's current quarter, which runs through March, could see the first decline in year-over-year quarterly earnings per share in a decade.


"If these growth rates continue to go down, it's going to be hard for the stock to work," Piecyk said.
Of course, plenty of analysts and investors remain bullish on the stock, with some projecting it will climb past $1,000 per share this year. They argue the recent stock slide has been due to technical reasons; that the stock is cheap by historical measures; and that rumored products like an Apple TV could propel the company to greater heights.

Everyone is hoping that when Apple lays its cards on the table Jan. 23, investors will know which narrative is correct.

"I think there's a real malaise that has taken over the story of Apple," Wolf said. "We'll see if it goes beyond the 23rd."


You know a mobile app store is still young and needs more content when the company behind it still writes its own blog posts when interesting new apps appear in it. With 150,000 apps, the Windows Phone store isn’t actually quite as empty as the Windows 8 store, but Microsoft could sure use some marquee apps for its mobile platform. To get developers and consumers a bit more excited about it, the company is launching its “Windows Phone Next App Star” contest today.

Registered Windows Phone developers can opt in to participate in the competition by March 5th and the company will then announce the 64 finalists. Public voting will start in April and the top 64 will then slowly be whittled down to the grand prize winner. Microsoft says there “will be prizes along the way to encourage people to participate [...] and ways for you to promote your app and gain new fans.”


Overall, there will be “thousands of dollars in prizes for the developers of the 64 apps that get selected, including a Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone and a one-year free Dev Center subscription.” The grand prize winner will be featured prominently in Microsoft’s Windows Phone TV ads in the U.S., “bringing national exposure and a lot of buzz to one developer’s creation.” The contest is open for all developers, including students and hobbyists.

While it would be easy to make fun of Microsoft by saying that Apple never had to run a contest like this for its platform, it’s worth noting that Google regularly ran Android Developer Challenges in the early days of its mobile operating system, and Intel and others continue to run similar Android-focused events.


You know a mobile app store is still young and needs more content when the company behind it still writes its own blog posts when interesting new apps appear in it. With 150,000 apps, the Windows Phone store isn’t actually quite as empty as the Windows 8 store, but Microsoft could sure use some marquee apps for its mobile platform. To get developers and consumers a bit more excited about it, the company is launching its “Windows Phone Next App Star” contest today.

Registered Windows Phone developers can opt in to participate in the competition by March 5th and the company will then announce the 64 finalists. Public voting will start in April and the top 64 will then slowly be whittled down to the grand prize winner. Microsoft says there “will be prizes along the way to encourage people to participate [...] and ways for you to promote your app and gain new fans.”


Overall, there will be “thousands of dollars in prizes for the developers of the 64 apps that get selected, including a Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone and a one-year free Dev Center subscription.” The grand prize winner will be featured prominently in Microsoft’s Windows Phone TV ads in the U.S., “bringing national exposure and a lot of buzz to one developer’s creation.” The contest is open for all developers, including students and hobbyists.

While it would be easy to make fun of Microsoft by saying that Apple never had to run a contest like this for its platform, it’s worth noting that Google regularly ran Android Developer Challenges in the early days of its mobile operating system, and Intel and others continue to run similar Android-focused events.


Dell shares surged Monday afternoon on a Bloomberg News report that the PC maker is talking to private equity firms about a possible deal. This seems to be at least the second time that the company has considered such a move. Dell, also the company’s chief executive, told a Sanford Bernstein conference in 2010 that he had previously considered such a move, back when the company’s market valuation was about $27.5 billion. Read Bloomberg report on Dell.

With a current market cap just under $19 billion, according to FactSet, Dell might have a greater impetus now, even though the current talks are said to be very preliminary, and such a deal would still be a mammoth one.


While Dell has been trying to transition beyond its core PC business, the PC business just keeps getting worse. On Monday, new data from Gartner Inc. showed that fourth-quarter sales in PCs were even worse than expected, and Dell’s own sales fell even farther than its rivals. Gartner said Dell’s fourth-quarter units fell 20.9%

Dell still gets a bigger chunk of total revenue from PCs and laptops than its main rival, Hewlett Packard Co. (US:HPQ) . In its fiscal third-quarter results, the combined sales of desktop PCs and mobility, mostly made up of notebook computers, was 49% of total revenue.

As Dell seeks to transition to other business areas such as storage, software and services, it might be helpful to get out of the limelight. And that transition will take time, give


Dell shares surged Monday afternoon on a Bloomberg News report that the PC maker is talking to private equity firms about a possible deal. This seems to be at least the second time that the company has considered such a move. Dell, also the company’s chief executive, told a Sanford Bernstein conference in 2010 that he had previously considered such a move, back when the company’s market valuation was about $27.5 billion. Read Bloomberg report on Dell.

With a current market cap just under $19 billion, according to FactSet, Dell might have a greater impetus now, even though the current talks are said to be very preliminary, and such a deal would still be a mammoth one.


While Dell has been trying to transition beyond its core PC business, the PC business just keeps getting worse. On Monday, new data from Gartner Inc. showed that fourth-quarter sales in PCs were even worse than expected, and Dell’s own sales fell even farther than its rivals. Gartner said Dell’s fourth-quarter units fell 20.9%

Dell still gets a bigger chunk of total revenue from PCs and laptops than its main rival, Hewlett Packard Co. (US:HPQ) . In its fiscal third-quarter results, the combined sales of desktop PCs and mobility, mostly made up of notebook computers, was 49% of total revenue.

As Dell seeks to transition to other business areas such as storage, software and services, it might be helpful to get out of the limelight. And that transition will take time, give


The Russian Space Agency says it will send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2015 from a new launch pad in the country's Far East.

Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the rocket booster would deliver a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) space exploration vehicle with up to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of scientific equipment that would search for water and take soil samples.


Popovkin said the moon-bound spacecraft would be launched from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome. President Vladimir Putin has vowed to invest $1 billion in building this launch pad in the Amur Region not far from the Chinese border.

Russia's last and only moon mission was accomplished in 1973.


The Russian Space Agency says it will send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2015 from a new launch pad in the country's Far East.

Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the rocket booster would deliver a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) space exploration vehicle with up to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of scientific equipment that would search for water and take soil samples.


Popovkin said the moon-bound spacecraft would be launched from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome. President Vladimir Putin has vowed to invest $1 billion in building this launch pad in the Amur Region not far from the Chinese border.

Russia's last and only moon mission was accomplished in 1973.


Six words designed to “build” hype. Shortly after 10 am PT tomorrow, we will know what the fuss is (or isn’t) about. The speculations circle around mobile, of course. Is it a full-on phone, or a mobile OS that runs on one or more manufacturers’  phones? A form of Facebook Messenger for iPad seems certain, but how does that fit in?

Then there are the persistent rumors that Facebook is buying the Atlas ad serving network from Microsoft. And let’s not forget the possibility that the social giant is trying to get into the ad supported search business, as well.


More than pitting itself agains Apple‘s iOS, these ideas are more directly aggressive towards Google. Could it be that Facebook and Google are both fighting to be the guest for whom Apple’s iOS is the host?

Think about it. Google’s recent batch of apps for iOS virtually add up to an OS onto itself. Facebook could do the same, only different.


Facebook and Google have, in fact, two contrasting paradigms about how to create relevance for users—and advertisers. As Eli Pariser writes in his brilliant book, The Filter Bubble, ”Google and Facebook have different starting points and different strategies—on starts with relationships among pieces of information, while the other starts with relationships among people—but ultimately, they’re competing for the same advertising dollars.”

But despite the fact that Apple may have set production quotas too high for the iPhone 5, iOS users are widely acknowledged to be more valuable users than Android users. And since the name of this game is advertising, it is possible that instead of building its own Android fork OS or phone, that Facebook could be targeting Apple’s OS in the same way Google has.

So while it is possible that Facebook has been “building” its own phone or mobile OS, it’s also possible that what they have built is a set of apps that run on iOS that together become a defacto OS in much the same way Google’s suite of mobile apps do. They could be doing the same for Android, or even Windows Phone or Blackberry 10. Who knows, Mark Zuckerberg could have even rescued HTML5 from under the bus where he threw it last year and the apps could work everywhere.

The point is that a people based mobile experience that intermediates your messaging, your news feed, your games, entertainment and commerce would be different than Google (or Apple’s) version of the same. Personally, it’s the last thing I want, but I’m not who Facebook is after. But really all of the big mobile apps that have incorporated their own web browser within the apps (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) are heading in this same direction, but Facebook and Google are unique in being able to lay claim to all the corners of people’s lives.

The question for tomorrow, and really for Facebook’s future, is what is the benefit to users to see the world and speak to the world through Facebook. We already know what it will do for Facebook.


Six words designed to “build” hype. Shortly after 10 am PT tomorrow, we will know what the fuss is (or isn’t) about. The speculations circle around mobile, of course. Is it a full-on phone, or a mobile OS that runs on one or more manufacturers’  phones? A form of Facebook Messenger for iPad seems certain, but how does that fit in?

Then there are the persistent rumors that Facebook is buying the Atlas ad serving network from Microsoft. And let’s not forget the possibility that the social giant is trying to get into the ad supported search business, as well.


More than pitting itself agains Apple‘s iOS, these ideas are more directly aggressive towards Google. Could it be that Facebook and Google are both fighting to be the guest for whom Apple’s iOS is the host?

Think about it. Google’s recent batch of apps for iOS virtually add up to an OS onto itself. Facebook could do the same, only different.


Facebook and Google have, in fact, two contrasting paradigms about how to create relevance for users—and advertisers. As Eli Pariser writes in his brilliant book, The Filter Bubble, ”Google and Facebook have different starting points and different strategies—on starts with relationships among pieces of information, while the other starts with relationships among people—but ultimately, they’re competing for the same advertising dollars.”

But despite the fact that Apple may have set production quotas too high for the iPhone 5, iOS users are widely acknowledged to be more valuable users than Android users. And since the name of this game is advertising, it is possible that instead of building its own Android fork OS or phone, that Facebook could be targeting Apple’s OS in the same way Google has.

So while it is possible that Facebook has been “building” its own phone or mobile OS, it’s also possible that what they have built is a set of apps that run on iOS that together become a defacto OS in much the same way Google’s suite of mobile apps do. They could be doing the same for Android, or even Windows Phone or Blackberry 10. Who knows, Mark Zuckerberg could have even rescued HTML5 from under the bus where he threw it last year and the apps could work everywhere.

The point is that a people based mobile experience that intermediates your messaging, your news feed, your games, entertainment and commerce would be different than Google (or Apple’s) version of the same. Personally, it’s the last thing I want, but I’m not who Facebook is after. But really all of the big mobile apps that have incorporated their own web browser within the apps (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) are heading in this same direction, but Facebook and Google are unique in being able to lay claim to all the corners of people’s lives.

The question for tomorrow, and really for Facebook’s future, is what is the benefit to users to see the world and speak to the world through Facebook. We already know what it will do for Facebook.


Our TV sets are getting bigger and bigger and with ever greater resolutions. But what if the screen isn't enough anymore though? That's the idea behind Microsoft's latest idea, a technology that turns the room around your TV into an extension of it.

IllumiRoom uses a Kinect sensor and a projector "to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds," as Microsoft puts it the project's official site.

Basically, the Kinect maps its surrounding environment, noticing the shape and distance of furniture and shelves, and then tweaks the images that are going to be projected so that they match the room.


Microsoft unveiled IllumiRoom at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show of Las Vegas last week, but there's no word on the actual release, since the project is still just a prototype. According to Microsoft, we'll know more about it later this year at at the Conference on Human-Interface Computing in Paris.


Our TV sets are getting bigger and bigger and with ever greater resolutions. But what if the screen isn't enough anymore though? That's the idea behind Microsoft's latest idea, a technology that turns the room around your TV into an extension of it.

IllumiRoom uses a Kinect sensor and a projector "to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds," as Microsoft puts it the project's official site.

Basically, the Kinect maps its surrounding environment, noticing the shape and distance of furniture and shelves, and then tweaks the images that are going to be projected so that they match the room.


Microsoft unveiled IllumiRoom at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show of Las Vegas last week, but there's no word on the actual release, since the project is still just a prototype. According to Microsoft, we'll know more about it later this year at at the Conference on Human-Interface Computing in Paris.


When someone donates stock, what is the tax effect? This seems like an obvious question. It’s surprising that the dollars are not more widely understood. What happens, of course, is a charitable contribution. Donations of stock or other property are usually valued at fair market value. Value and basis are different things.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $500 million of stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in December. On the surface, it translates to a $500 million tax deduction. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation gives to a broad array of causes, especially education. Zuckerberg made his donation in the form of 18 million shares.

Facebook went public in May 2012 with shares initially priced at $38 a share. They proceeded to dip below $20 but then rose by more than 25% by the time of Mr. Zuckerberg’s December donation. Zuckerberg’s deduction is keyed to that market value.


Donating appreciated stock is a much better tax move than selling it and donating the sales proceeds. After all, by donating the stock, the gain he would have experienced on selling it is never taxed. The donee organization can either hold or sell the stock. But since it is a tax-qualified charity, if it sells the stock it pays no tax regardless of how big the gain.

Zuckerberg wrote that he and his wife Priscilla have signed the Giving Pledge launched by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, committing to give away at least half of one’s fortune during his or her lifetime. Big donations yield big tax benefits. Of course, you can’t deduct charitable contributions unless you itemize deductions. The donations will go on Schedule A to your Form 1040.

Furthermore, you can only take a deduction of up to 50% of your adjusted gross income for most charitable contributions (30% in some cases), and there may be additional limitations on your ability to deduct these contributions. If your donations entitle you to merchandise, goods or services, you can only deduct the amount exceeding the fair market value of the benefits you received. If you pay $500 for a charity dinner ticket but receive a dinner worth $100, you can deduct $400, not the full $500.

Another basic rule is to make sure the donee organization is qualified. You cannot deduct contributions to individuals, political organizations or candidates. The IRS maintains a list of all charities. To check whether particular organizations are on the IRS list, Search for Charities or download Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations.


When someone donates stock, what is the tax effect? This seems like an obvious question. It’s surprising that the dollars are not more widely understood. What happens, of course, is a charitable contribution. Donations of stock or other property are usually valued at fair market value. Value and basis are different things.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $500 million of stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in December. On the surface, it translates to a $500 million tax deduction. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation gives to a broad array of causes, especially education. Zuckerberg made his donation in the form of 18 million shares.

Facebook went public in May 2012 with shares initially priced at $38 a share. They proceeded to dip below $20 but then rose by more than 25% by the time of Mr. Zuckerberg’s December donation. Zuckerberg’s deduction is keyed to that market value.


Donating appreciated stock is a much better tax move than selling it and donating the sales proceeds. After all, by donating the stock, the gain he would have experienced on selling it is never taxed. The donee organization can either hold or sell the stock. But since it is a tax-qualified charity, if it sells the stock it pays no tax regardless of how big the gain.

Zuckerberg wrote that he and his wife Priscilla have signed the Giving Pledge launched by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, committing to give away at least half of one’s fortune during his or her lifetime. Big donations yield big tax benefits. Of course, you can’t deduct charitable contributions unless you itemize deductions. The donations will go on Schedule A to your Form 1040.

Furthermore, you can only take a deduction of up to 50% of your adjusted gross income for most charitable contributions (30% in some cases), and there may be additional limitations on your ability to deduct these contributions. If your donations entitle you to merchandise, goods or services, you can only deduct the amount exceeding the fair market value of the benefits you received. If you pay $500 for a charity dinner ticket but receive a dinner worth $100, you can deduct $400, not the full $500.

Another basic rule is to make sure the donee organization is qualified. You cannot deduct contributions to individuals, political organizations or candidates. The IRS maintains a list of all charities. To check whether particular organizations are on the IRS list, Search for Charities or download Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations.


Twitter has been pushing into the international market by making its service available on feature phones, according to Bloomberg.
The move comes as users in the U.S. are topping off and the microblogging service has to expand its boundaries in search of new members.
One of the ways Twitter is gaining new users is by partnering with wireless carriers in different countries that let people tweet on feature phones for free or for the cost of a text message. For example, the social network is now working with Turkish carrier Turkcell, according to Bloomberg. The partnership lets users tweet with a more simple version of Twitter and also gets them to spend more time on their phones.
"We need to deliver a more compelling product for low-end devices," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told Bloomberg.
Since the social network partnered with Turkcell, Twitter mobile users in Turkey have increased by threefold, according to Bloomberg. These new users have also increased revenue for the company by clicking on photos and links within tweets.
Besides Eastern Europe, the social network is also expanding in Asia, South America, and the Middle East, where many mobile users don't yet own smartphones. According to Bloomberg, Twitter has now partnered with around 250 operators in more than 100 countries.


Twitter has been pushing into the international market by making its service available on feature phones, according to Bloomberg.
The move comes as users in the U.S. are topping off and the microblogging service has to expand its boundaries in search of new members.
One of the ways Twitter is gaining new users is by partnering with wireless carriers in different countries that let people tweet on feature phones for free or for the cost of a text message. For example, the social network is now working with Turkish carrier Turkcell, according to Bloomberg. The partnership lets users tweet with a more simple version of Twitter and also gets them to spend more time on their phones.
"We need to deliver a more compelling product for low-end devices," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told Bloomberg.
Since the social network partnered with Turkcell, Twitter mobile users in Turkey have increased by threefold, according to Bloomberg. These new users have also increased revenue for the company by clicking on photos and links within tweets.
Besides Eastern Europe, the social network is also expanding in Asia, South America, and the Middle East, where many mobile users don't yet own smartphones. According to Bloomberg, Twitter has now partnered with around 250 operators in more than 100 countries.


NASA has awarded a contract to explore ways to potentially expand the International Space Station.
The agency announced last week that Bigelow Aerospace has been awarded a $17.8 million contract to deliver to the agency an inflatable--extension for the space station. According to NASA, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module "will demonstrate the benefits of this space -- habitat technology for future exploration and commercial space endeavors."
Inflatable space technology is nothing new. In fact, the first passive communications satellites -- Echo 1 and Echo 2 -- were both inflatable. NASA determined in 1958 that the satellites would be too big to fit into the Thor-Delta rocket, so scientists decided to allow the satellites to inflate when they got into space.
The idea of a self-contained inflatable habitat for space exploration has even been in place for decades. However, due to NASA budget constraints, the so-called "Transit Habitat," which was to help get crews to Mars with inflatable technology, was cancelled in 2000.
Bigelow, founded in the late 1990s, has been working on its own inflatable habitats for years. The company currently offers a BA 330 inflatable habitat that can be both added on to existing stations or operate on its own. The BA 330 has 330 cubed -- meters of volume and support up to six crewpeople for an extended period of time. According to Bigelow, the BA 330's radiation protection can at least match that of the International Space Station. The habitat's "aluminum can" design includes four large windows for occupants to look out into space.
It's not clear whether the BA 330 or another habitat has been commissioned by NASA. However, the space agency plans to hold a press event with Bigelow on Wednesday to discuss their plans.


NASA has awarded a contract to explore ways to potentially expand the International Space Station.
The agency announced last week that Bigelow Aerospace has been awarded a $17.8 million contract to deliver to the agency an inflatable--extension for the space station. According to NASA, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module "will demonstrate the benefits of this space -- habitat technology for future exploration and commercial space endeavors."
Inflatable space technology is nothing new. In fact, the first passive communications satellites -- Echo 1 and Echo 2 -- were both inflatable. NASA determined in 1958 that the satellites would be too big to fit into the Thor-Delta rocket, so scientists decided to allow the satellites to inflate when they got into space.
The idea of a self-contained inflatable habitat for space exploration has even been in place for decades. However, due to NASA budget constraints, the so-called "Transit Habitat," which was to help get crews to Mars with inflatable technology, was cancelled in 2000.
Bigelow, founded in the late 1990s, has been working on its own inflatable habitats for years. The company currently offers a BA 330 inflatable habitat that can be both added on to existing stations or operate on its own. The BA 330 has 330 cubed -- meters of volume and support up to six crewpeople for an extended period of time. According to Bigelow, the BA 330's radiation protection can at least match that of the International Space Station. The habitat's "aluminum can" design includes four large windows for occupants to look out into space.
It's not clear whether the BA 330 or another habitat has been commissioned by NASA. However, the space agency plans to hold a press event with Bigelow on Wednesday to discuss their plans.

Monday, January 14, 2013


A new study has found that almost half of U.S. adults online don't understand where Facebook funds are coming from.

The study, conducted by by The Search Agency, surveyed 2,006 American Internet users. Of those surveyed, only 54% could say how Facebook earned cash 57% of men and 51% of women.

So perhaps Facebook isn't being all that clear when it comes to its reliance on advertising.


The study also found that 22% of people polled have clicked on an ad via a search engine and that millennials were two times more likely than older users to click on search engine ads.


A new study has found that almost half of U.S. adults online don't understand where Facebook funds are coming from.

The study, conducted by by The Search Agency, surveyed 2,006 American Internet users. Of those surveyed, only 54% could say how Facebook earned cash 57% of men and 51% of women.

So perhaps Facebook isn't being all that clear when it comes to its reliance on advertising.


The study also found that 22% of people polled have clicked on an ad via a search engine and that millennials were two times more likely than older users to click on search engine ads.


Samsung has sold more than 100 million Galaxy S devices, the company has announced.

Samsung reached this milestone in 2 years and 7 months after the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy S back in May 2010.

A big chunk of this success Samsung owes to its Galaxy S III, whose average daily sales are currently 190,000 units. All in all, the company sold 40 million Galaxy S III devices in 7 months. It took 20 months for its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S II, to reach that same milestone.


For comparison, Apple sold more than 250 million iPhones to date, but it had a big head start, given the first iPhone was launched in June 2007.


Samsung has sold more than 100 million Galaxy S devices, the company has announced.

Samsung reached this milestone in 2 years and 7 months after the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy S back in May 2010.

A big chunk of this success Samsung owes to its Galaxy S III, whose average daily sales are currently 190,000 units. All in all, the company sold 40 million Galaxy S III devices in 7 months. It took 20 months for its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S II, to reach that same milestone.


For comparison, Apple sold more than 250 million iPhones to date, but it had a big head start, given the first iPhone was launched in June 2007.


The uNu DX Protective Battery Case for iPhone 5 doubles your talk time, letting most iPhones last for two days on one charge.

While that's still far from what feature phones can manage, it's a significant improvement and would come in handy in many situations. The great thing about this case is how little bulk it adds. It's 15mm thick and actually looks quite good.

Another case discussed in the video below is an LED case that's still a prototype. It increases your battery life, protects your phone, and adds an LED panel to the back of it. The cool thing about the LED panel is that you can connect to it with Bluetooth and push custom notifications to it.


You can already use the the built-in iPhone flash for alerts, but with this case you would get different notifications from each app.

While I don't care about getting better notifications on the back of my phone, I'm sure some people will see the benefits of having the LED panel.

There's no doubt that uNu is doing interesting things with cases. Learn more about what the company's up to here.


The uNu DX Protective Battery Case for iPhone 5 doubles your talk time, letting most iPhones last for two days on one charge.

While that's still far from what feature phones can manage, it's a significant improvement and would come in handy in many situations. The great thing about this case is how little bulk it adds. It's 15mm thick and actually looks quite good.

Another case discussed in the video below is an LED case that's still a prototype. It increases your battery life, protects your phone, and adds an LED panel to the back of it. The cool thing about the LED panel is that you can connect to it with Bluetooth and push custom notifications to it.


You can already use the the built-in iPhone flash for alerts, but with this case you would get different notifications from each app.

While I don't care about getting better notifications on the back of my phone, I'm sure some people will see the benefits of having the LED panel.

There's no doubt that uNu is doing interesting things with cases. Learn more about what the company's up to here.


Security experts are recommending computer users disable or uninstall Java following the discovery of a zero-day Java exploit which allows hackers to take control of vulnerable Macs, PCs and Linux computers.

The exploit takes advantage of a vulnerability left open in Java 7 Update 10, released in October of last year. It works by getting Java users to visit a website with malicious code that takes advantage of a security gap to take control of users' computers.
  
Update: Oracle has released Java SE 7 Update 11 to address the vulnerability. It "strongly recommends" that Java SE 7 users upgrade immediately.

What's worse is this particular exploit is reportedly being used to push ransomware, a type of attack that demands users pay to have control of their computers returned from a hacker's grasp.

Java's creator, Oracle, hasn't specified the number of users who have downloaded Java 7 Update 10. However, Java runs on more than 850 million computers and other devices. When Oracle released Update 10, it "strongly recommended" that users update to receive "key security features and bug fixes."

The exploit was first discovered by French researcher Kafeine, who claimed to have found it running on a site registering hundreds of thousands of page views daily.


Should you be worried about this exploit? While security lapses are sometimes overblown, there are good reasons to take this one seriously: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning advising users to disable Java until a fix is discovered. Apple has apparently moved to disable Java in response to the threat. Mozilla took the opportunity to warn users and advertise "Click to Play," a Firefox feature which stops Java from loading on individual web sites until a user allows it. Many security experts are advising users disable or uninstall Java for the time being.

Our advice? It's probably a good idea to disable or uninstall Java until a fix is published. You can find out how to do that right here: How to disable Java in your web browser. How to uninstall Java for Mac. How to uninstall Java for Linux.


Security experts are recommending computer users disable or uninstall Java following the discovery of a zero-day Java exploit which allows hackers to take control of vulnerable Macs, PCs and Linux computers.

The exploit takes advantage of a vulnerability left open in Java 7 Update 10, released in October of last year. It works by getting Java users to visit a website with malicious code that takes advantage of a security gap to take control of users' computers.
  
Update: Oracle has released Java SE 7 Update 11 to address the vulnerability. It "strongly recommends" that Java SE 7 users upgrade immediately.

What's worse is this particular exploit is reportedly being used to push ransomware, a type of attack that demands users pay to have control of their computers returned from a hacker's grasp.

Java's creator, Oracle, hasn't specified the number of users who have downloaded Java 7 Update 10. However, Java runs on more than 850 million computers and other devices. When Oracle released Update 10, it "strongly recommended" that users update to receive "key security features and bug fixes."

The exploit was first discovered by French researcher Kafeine, who claimed to have found it running on a site registering hundreds of thousands of page views daily.


Should you be worried about this exploit? While security lapses are sometimes overblown, there are good reasons to take this one seriously: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning advising users to disable Java until a fix is discovered. Apple has apparently moved to disable Java in response to the threat. Mozilla took the opportunity to warn users and advertise "Click to Play," a Firefox feature which stops Java from loading on individual web sites until a user allows it. Many security experts are advising users disable or uninstall Java for the time being.

Our advice? It's probably a good idea to disable or uninstall Java until a fix is published. You can find out how to do that right here: How to disable Java in your web browser. How to uninstall Java for Mac. How to uninstall Java for Linux.


The CES show floor was home to several GPS trackers this year. One of the most interesting was I’m Here, a tracker developed by the same company that created an Android smart watch called I’m Watch.

Unveiled during the company’s CES press conference, I’m Here is a pint-sized tracker designed to help you keep up with everything from your suitcase to your kindergartener.

The tracker works using the same technology found in cell phones. Users can find out where the device is located whether it's in a bag or tied to a shoe whenever they want.


If, for example, you arrive at your destination without your bag, simply ping the device to find out where it is. The I’m Here’s location is shown on a map in an accompanying app for the device.
I’m Here has a high up-front cost around $160 but after its initial purchase, you can locate the device 200 times for free. Each additional search after the initial 200 will cost $0.05. The device can be used in any country around the world for the same price.

Trakdot, a competing GPS tracker specifically for suitcases and bags, is expected to be available in March of this year for a suggested retail price of $49.95. Activating that device will cost an additional $8.99, plus an annual service fee of $12.99.

Whereas Trakdot is a fairly large device, however, I’m Here is both small and colorful, making it ideal for tracking kids (by tying the device onto their shoe, for example). It's also great for finding lost valuables such as house keys or a pet.


The CES show floor was home to several GPS trackers this year. One of the most interesting was I’m Here, a tracker developed by the same company that created an Android smart watch called I’m Watch.

Unveiled during the company’s CES press conference, I’m Here is a pint-sized tracker designed to help you keep up with everything from your suitcase to your kindergartener.

The tracker works using the same technology found in cell phones. Users can find out where the device is located whether it's in a bag or tied to a shoe whenever they want.


If, for example, you arrive at your destination without your bag, simply ping the device to find out where it is. The I’m Here’s location is shown on a map in an accompanying app for the device.
I’m Here has a high up-front cost around $160 but after its initial purchase, you can locate the device 200 times for free. Each additional search after the initial 200 will cost $0.05. The device can be used in any country around the world for the same price.

Trakdot, a competing GPS tracker specifically for suitcases and bags, is expected to be available in March of this year for a suggested retail price of $49.95. Activating that device will cost an additional $8.99, plus an annual service fee of $12.99.

Whereas Trakdot is a fairly large device, however, I’m Here is both small and colorful, making it ideal for tracking kids (by tying the device onto their shoe, for example). It's also great for finding lost valuables such as house keys or a pet.


Photos from Flickr are now showing up in Yahoo Image searches, the company announced on Thursday.

Yahoo is making "tens of millions" of Flickr photos available, which are available for reuse and reposting. The photos are available under Flickr's Creative Commons licensing agreement. Photos not covered under Creative Commons won't be affected. Offering such images can give Yahoo a real advantage over Google and Bing, which do not offer the photos in their image searches.

To use the feature, employ the left rail on the Yahoo Image Search page and click the "Labeled for Reuse" option.


The move comes after Yahoo upgraded the Flickr mobile app last month with Twitter integration. The app was released almost at the same exact time that Instagram now a unit of Facebook began disabling support for Twitter Cards.

Flickr, which was bought by Yahoo in 2005, has been a prime area of focus for Marissa Mayer, who became Yahoo's CEO in June. Shortly after Mayer began, the Internet petitioned her to "Make Flickr awesome again." Yahoo responded by thanking the Internet and soliciting suggestions for making the photo-sharing site "awesomer."


Photos from Flickr are now showing up in Yahoo Image searches, the company announced on Thursday.

Yahoo is making "tens of millions" of Flickr photos available, which are available for reuse and reposting. The photos are available under Flickr's Creative Commons licensing agreement. Photos not covered under Creative Commons won't be affected. Offering such images can give Yahoo a real advantage over Google and Bing, which do not offer the photos in their image searches.

To use the feature, employ the left rail on the Yahoo Image Search page and click the "Labeled for Reuse" option.


The move comes after Yahoo upgraded the Flickr mobile app last month with Twitter integration. The app was released almost at the same exact time that Instagram now a unit of Facebook began disabling support for Twitter Cards.

Flickr, which was bought by Yahoo in 2005, has been a prime area of focus for Marissa Mayer, who became Yahoo's CEO in June. Shortly after Mayer began, the Internet petitioned her to "Make Flickr awesome again." Yahoo responded by thanking the Internet and soliciting suggestions for making the photo-sharing site "awesomer."


With its extensive library of promo photos from major news events and exotic locations around the world, Getty Images could one day become a force on social media. That day may, in fact, come sooner than later.

The company on Monday launched something called "The Feed by Getty Images," which essentially piggybacks off Twitter's API to identify trending topics on social media then push out Getty photos that match those conversations. For major news, sports and entertainment in particular, this could launch a much more powerful presence for and greater awareness of Getty on social media.


Getty produces more than 10,000 images per day and many of the best ones will find their way to Getty's various Facebook pages, the @FeedMeGetty Twitter handle and a gateway page at thefeed.gettyimages.com. On Twitter for example, the company will post images of trending topics each hour, then increase that output when major news breaks or big events take place. On The Feed website, meanwhile, users will also be able to look at photos of trending topics sorted by region.

Yvonne Chien, the company's senior vice president of marketing, says the move's goals are twofold to drive more Getty subscriptions and image purchases, as well as elevate the brand's profile and visibility with normal Internet surfers simply hungry for visual content to look at.

"There is undoubtedly a desire from both business customers and consumers alike to see the newest and most exciting images, "The Feed was built to open up ways for Getty Images’ content to be showcased through today’s top social media networks, enable real-time engagement and create new experiences. We looked to see whether other visual content providers had this type of capability, automatically populating their content into social media using trending algorithms, and did not see any similar brands doing this anywhere else."

Chen says the project has been in the works for four months, and that it will likely soon expand to include video and additional social platforms.


With its extensive library of promo photos from major news events and exotic locations around the world, Getty Images could one day become a force on social media. That day may, in fact, come sooner than later.

The company on Monday launched something called "The Feed by Getty Images," which essentially piggybacks off Twitter's API to identify trending topics on social media then push out Getty photos that match those conversations. For major news, sports and entertainment in particular, this could launch a much more powerful presence for and greater awareness of Getty on social media.


Getty produces more than 10,000 images per day and many of the best ones will find their way to Getty's various Facebook pages, the @FeedMeGetty Twitter handle and a gateway page at thefeed.gettyimages.com. On Twitter for example, the company will post images of trending topics each hour, then increase that output when major news breaks or big events take place. On The Feed website, meanwhile, users will also be able to look at photos of trending topics sorted by region.

Yvonne Chien, the company's senior vice president of marketing, says the move's goals are twofold to drive more Getty subscriptions and image purchases, as well as elevate the brand's profile and visibility with normal Internet surfers simply hungry for visual content to look at.

"There is undoubtedly a desire from both business customers and consumers alike to see the newest and most exciting images, "The Feed was built to open up ways for Getty Images’ content to be showcased through today’s top social media networks, enable real-time engagement and create new experiences. We looked to see whether other visual content providers had this type of capability, automatically populating their content into social media using trending algorithms, and did not see any similar brands doing this anywhere else."

Chen says the project has been in the works for four months, and that it will likely soon expand to include video and additional social platforms.


As John F. Kennedy once noted, the Chinese word for "crisis" is composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity." So characteristically, amid the hand-wringing at CES about the show's decreased relevance, a handful of Chinese brands saw a big opportunity.

In fact, the emergence of several Chinese brands as wannabe major players became one of the central narratives of the show. Typically at CES, Chinese tech brands are relegated to the International Pavilion rather than the show proper.

This year, though, there were at least five brands from China Hisense, ZTE, TCL, Huawei and Haier that took the main stage or at least got treated seriously by the press.


Next up: Convincing U.S. consumers that Chinese brands equal high quality. Despite the fact that most U.S. electronics are actually manufactured in China these days, U.S. consumers still view Chinese brands on a lower plane, says Hayes Roth, CMO of Landor Associates, a branding consultancy. However, those beliefs can change.

Roth pointed out that Japanese brands Sony and Panasonic set the precedent for changing U.S. mindsets in the 1960s. Buoyed by a simultaneous influx of Japanese auto brands, the U.S. public slowly began to have a different view of "Made in Japan," Roth says. "The Japanese got around that by reinventing quality control," Roth says. "They became the gold standard." A generation later, South Korean brands LG, Hyundai, Kia and Samsung convinced U.S. consumers that Korean goods could go toe-to-toe with Japanese products.

Samsung, in particular, likely provides an aspirational road map for Chinese brands. In 2012, the brand successfully battled the perception that it was an Apple copycat with a slew of innovative, quality products. Samsung is now the top producer of cell phones in the world and its smartphones outsell Apple's by a roughly two-to-one margin.

However, success for the following brands is far from a given. Roth notes for instance that, despite its lead in the marketplace, the China-based Lenovo "hasn't become a dominant brand." In the footwear category, Li-Neng, known as the Nike of China, is still pretty obscure in the U.S., even though it's earned high-profile U.S. endorsers like Dwyane Wade. Another cautionary tale is HTC, the Taiwanese telecom brand whose quick ascendance in the U.S. has been followed by an equally swift collapse.

Despite the odds, the following Chinese brands saw CES as their springboard for a breakout 2013:

 Hisense


Hisense has been established in the U.S. since 2001 and makes TVs, refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, among other products. Since 2007, it has achieved 30% annual growth. In 2012, the company posted $2 billion in sales. By 2015, it aims to achieve a total of $5 billion in sales. At CES, Hisense got attention by showing off a 110-inch ultra HD TV, a Smart TV controlled by gestures and voice and a glasses-free 3D TV. The company also makes Android phones. 

ZTE


ZTE has had a U.S. presence since 1995. The company manufactures phones for Verizon, among others, but plans to make a bigger name for itself in 2013 with a Firefox OS-based smartphone. ZTE plans to release the device in Europe and possibly the U.S. this year. "They're really expanding their range and their portfolio,"

TCL

TCL is the world's fourth-largest TV producer after Samsung, LG and Sony. At CES, TCL displayed an Android-based TV called Ice Screen that includes Frequency, a video curation app that lets you subscribe to BBC, CNN and other channels.

Huawei


Huawei sought to stand out from the pack at CES with the Ascend P1 S, which is billed as the "world's slimmest smartphone" at 6.68 mm and the Ascend D2 smartphone, which sports a 6.2-inch screen.

Haier

Haier, another conglomerate that makes everything from mobile phones to washing machines, showcased a vision-control system for TVs at CES that lets you adjust the volume and browse a news feed with your eyes.


As John F. Kennedy once noted, the Chinese word for "crisis" is composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity." So characteristically, amid the hand-wringing at CES about the show's decreased relevance, a handful of Chinese brands saw a big opportunity.

In fact, the emergence of several Chinese brands as wannabe major players became one of the central narratives of the show. Typically at CES, Chinese tech brands are relegated to the International Pavilion rather than the show proper.

This year, though, there were at least five brands from China Hisense, ZTE, TCL, Huawei and Haier that took the main stage or at least got treated seriously by the press.


Next up: Convincing U.S. consumers that Chinese brands equal high quality. Despite the fact that most U.S. electronics are actually manufactured in China these days, U.S. consumers still view Chinese brands on a lower plane, says Hayes Roth, CMO of Landor Associates, a branding consultancy. However, those beliefs can change.

Roth pointed out that Japanese brands Sony and Panasonic set the precedent for changing U.S. mindsets in the 1960s. Buoyed by a simultaneous influx of Japanese auto brands, the U.S. public slowly began to have a different view of "Made in Japan," Roth says. "The Japanese got around that by reinventing quality control," Roth says. "They became the gold standard." A generation later, South Korean brands LG, Hyundai, Kia and Samsung convinced U.S. consumers that Korean goods could go toe-to-toe with Japanese products.

Samsung, in particular, likely provides an aspirational road map for Chinese brands. In 2012, the brand successfully battled the perception that it was an Apple copycat with a slew of innovative, quality products. Samsung is now the top producer of cell phones in the world and its smartphones outsell Apple's by a roughly two-to-one margin.

However, success for the following brands is far from a given. Roth notes for instance that, despite its lead in the marketplace, the China-based Lenovo "hasn't become a dominant brand." In the footwear category, Li-Neng, known as the Nike of China, is still pretty obscure in the U.S., even though it's earned high-profile U.S. endorsers like Dwyane Wade. Another cautionary tale is HTC, the Taiwanese telecom brand whose quick ascendance in the U.S. has been followed by an equally swift collapse.

Despite the odds, the following Chinese brands saw CES as their springboard for a breakout 2013:

 Hisense


Hisense has been established in the U.S. since 2001 and makes TVs, refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, among other products. Since 2007, it has achieved 30% annual growth. In 2012, the company posted $2 billion in sales. By 2015, it aims to achieve a total of $5 billion in sales. At CES, Hisense got attention by showing off a 110-inch ultra HD TV, a Smart TV controlled by gestures and voice and a glasses-free 3D TV. The company also makes Android phones. 

ZTE


ZTE has had a U.S. presence since 1995. The company manufactures phones for Verizon, among others, but plans to make a bigger name for itself in 2013 with a Firefox OS-based smartphone. ZTE plans to release the device in Europe and possibly the U.S. this year. "They're really expanding their range and their portfolio,"

TCL

TCL is the world's fourth-largest TV producer after Samsung, LG and Sony. At CES, TCL displayed an Android-based TV called Ice Screen that includes Frequency, a video curation app that lets you subscribe to BBC, CNN and other channels.

Huawei


Huawei sought to stand out from the pack at CES with the Ascend P1 S, which is billed as the "world's slimmest smartphone" at 6.68 mm and the Ascend D2 smartphone, which sports a 6.2-inch screen.

Haier

Haier, another conglomerate that makes everything from mobile phones to washing machines, showcased a vision-control system for TVs at CES that lets you adjust the volume and browse a news feed with your eyes.


Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish gaming firm best known for its Angry Birds franchise, tweeted on Friday that it has more than a quarter billion active users.

Although Rovio didn't expand on the statement, the figure likely refers to monthly active users, the industry standard. At the Mipcom conference in Cannes, France, back in October, EVP Andrew Stalbow announced that the Angry Birds games had 200 million monthly users. Stabow added, "In any given day, we have 20 to 30 million people playing our games connected." Zynga, meanwhile, claimed 306 million active users around the same time.

Though Rovio has had trouble expanding beyond Angry Birds, the three-year-old franchise keeps on giving. In November, the company introduced yet another Birds title, Angry Birds Star Wars. An Angry Birds movie also is set for 2016.


Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish gaming firm best known for its Angry Birds franchise, tweeted on Friday that it has more than a quarter billion active users.

Although Rovio didn't expand on the statement, the figure likely refers to monthly active users, the industry standard. At the Mipcom conference in Cannes, France, back in October, EVP Andrew Stalbow announced that the Angry Birds games had 200 million monthly users. Stabow added, "In any given day, we have 20 to 30 million people playing our games connected." Zynga, meanwhile, claimed 306 million active users around the same time.

Though Rovio has had trouble expanding beyond Angry Birds, the three-year-old franchise keeps on giving. In November, the company introduced yet another Birds title, Angry Birds Star Wars. An Angry Birds movie also is set for 2016.