Tag Archive | Gadget

Mark Zuckerberg to Speak on Immigration Issues at S.F. Film Premiere

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to deliver an address on immigration issues in early August, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the first time he has spoken publicly on the matter.

The speech will include the San Francisco premiere of a new film, “Documented,” which chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

The film was written and directed by Jose Antonio Vargas, a writer and immigration rights activist who revealed his own status as an undocumented immigrant in a widely circulated New York Times Magazine article in 2011. (Vargas also wrote a lengthy profile of Zuckerberg for the New Yorker a few years ago.)

The premiere is sponsored by and ties in perfectly with FWD.us, the sometimes controversial Zuckerberg-backed political action group focused on U.S. immigration reform. The issues that FWD.us supports are felt by many tech companies in Silicon Valley; in particular, the focus on changing certain legislation which would allow for more annual H-1B visas, ultimately granting more foreign workers entry into the U.S.

But, as the Chronicle notes, the premiere will be the first time Silicon Valley will enter the wider debate on immigration reform as a whole, rather than just focus on the expansion of visa programs in order to recruit international engineering talent.

The film debuts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Aug. 5.

Pinterest Now Tracks Everybody by Default, but You Can Opt Out

Pinterest will now compile profiles of people who visit sites that contain Pinterest buttons, so their social bookmarking experience can be automatically personalized around interests that correspond to those sites.

Pinterestblog

This will happen both for people who are currently logged in to the Pinterest website, and for people who have never even joined Pinterest, via anonymized tracking.

“So, if you’re planning a party and have gone to lots of party sites recently, we’ll try to suggest boards to make your event a hit,” Pinterest software engineer Ke Chen explained in a blog post.

“Pin It” buttons and other Pinterest widgets are used on just about every page of major sites, including Amazon, eBay, Nordstrom, REI and Bon Appetit.

Their original purpose was so that that shoppers and other users could easily save items they come across to their Pinterest boards. Since Pinterest sends lots of traffic back to the sites, the buttons are all over the place.

People who want to opt out of Pinterest tracking can enable “Do Not Track” on their browser, change their account settings, or tell Pinterest not to use that data when they sign up.

Pinterest announced the initiative today by emphasizing its support for Do Not Track, a privacy initiative that has had trouble getting off the ground because people can’t agree how to implement it, and tracking users is a key ingredient for personalizing services and targeting advertising. As an emerging Internet giant, Pinterest’s endorsement for the standard is important.

However, the more notable aspect of today’s news doesn’t seem to be Do Not Track – it’s that Pinterest is tracking people who don’t even use the service.

That’s because Pinterest wants to provide a good experience for new users the first time they visit, said company spokesperson Malorie Lucich.

“One of our hopes is that, when people join Pinterest, we’ll be able to suggest better content to them, so they have a good new-user experience (and see stuff that interests them),” she said. “As part of the sign-up process, they can tell us not to use that type of data. (There is a clear check-box.)”

Data collected about users who are logged out of Pinterest will be anonymized, she said.

Lucich explained, “We think the websites you visit are a good indicator of your interests (and Pinterest is all about your interests). So as people visit sites with the Pin It button (or other Pinterest widgets), we can use that information (if they’re interested) to recommend better boards to follow.”

She compared the Pinterest feature to one that Twitter launched in 2012, which suggests accounts for new users to follow.

The Twitter suggestions are said to be based on monitoring people who visit sites with Twitter widgets on them, to see what accounts they commonly follow. If the new user has also visited one of those sites in the past 10 days, some of those accounts will be suggested.

Both moves are a little creepy when you think about it – some site that you’ve never even joined is ready and waiting to personalize itself for you, whenever you show up.

That said, this is not uncommon. Tracking cookies are used all over the Web, and few people know or care about them.

Pinterest said it would be adding the features “in the next few weeks.”

Google Suggests Web-TV Thingies You Can Buy Instead of Google’s Sold-Out Chromecast

poltergeist

Google has not only sold out of Netflix giveaways to bundle with its Chromecast device, but it doesn’t have any Chromecasts to sell right now, period. If you place an order on Google’s site, you’ll be told there is a two- to three-week wait before one will ship.

As a helpful AllThingsD reader points out, as of this morning, you could still buy a Chromecast from Best Buy’s website. That’s no longer the case, either.

But if you do end up looking for a Chromecast on BestBuy.com, you will find a list of other ways you can watch Web video on your TV.

The list is provided by Google, via its AdSense ad units, which means that, even if Google can’t sell you a gadget, it might still make money by getting you to click on a link.

The list will change over time, and will vary depending on your browsing history. Here’s one I just saw:

best buy chromecast adsense

If you’re in the market for a Chromecast, you might very well have heard of Roku, which offers gadgets that do similar things, but at a higher price point.

It’s interesting to note that Google’s auction/algorithm thinks you might also want to check out devices from Western Digital, which has had a hard time getting attention for its streaming boxes. It’s also interesting to see that Aereo, a subscription service that can’t show up on your TV without help from Apple TV, Roku (or, theoretically, Chromecast), is on the list, too.

Orchestra To-Do, the Predecessor to Mailbox, Will Be Shut Down

Orchestra, the to-do list app that never took off but helped inspire its creators to make Mailbox, the innovative mobile email client now owned by Dropbox, is going away. It will effectively stop working September 6, the company said in an email to users today.

Scientists build a real Panopticon that captures your every move in 3D

Motion capture technology has come a long way in the past few decades. Just take a look at Gollum actor Andy Serkis’s incredibly expressive performance as a computer-generated simian in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That role, like most other motion capture appearances of late, required sticking hundreds of tiny markers on the human actor’s body in order to track his movements and create an accurate digital replica.

But what if you could capture motion accurately without those annoying little markers? Scientists at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh have done it with a system reminiscent of the 360-degree cameras used to film the “bullet time” sequences in The Matrix. The new technique utilizes enormous spherical dome called the…

These video game players just won $5 million

Following an epic best-of-five clash between two of China’s biggest teams, Valve today crowned a new champion of Dota 2, its free-to-play multiplayer game that has morphed into a sporting spectacle capable of filling NBA-sized arenas. Team Newbee triumphed over their compatriots Vici Gaming in four games and earn a grand prize of $5,028,308, to be split between the five players and their support team of coaches and managers. Vici Gaming may be disappointed with their play today, however they too go home with a sizeable stack of cash: the second-place team has earned nearly $1.5 million, sharing in a total prize pool in excess of $10 million.

The International 4 has been by far the most lucrative, and now arguably the most prominent,…

Why Wall Street Should Care About Marketing Data

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Image copyright leungchopan

Today’s CMOs are making major investments to reach their target audiences across dozens of touchpoints – on their own websites, through search, display advertising and email, and increasingly on social channels and mobile devices.

The problem is, most of the technology platforms marketers are using to accomplish this don’t talk to each other.

What’s more, many of the groups within the organization running these programs are just as siloed. This means that the things marketers learn about customers in one channel often don’t translate into sound strategy decisions for other channels.

I’ll give you an example. Today, if someone clicks on a display ad, reaches a landing page and fills out a form, the CRM or marketing automation system can capture that lead and track that it came from display advertising. What marketers can’t yet do is take advantage of the information exchange in the opposite direction. What if they could use the rich information stored in the CRM system – such as how far along a prospect is in the sales pipeline – to make the display ad creative and messaging more relevant?

Marketing executives know they need to get their systems and people to talk to each other. In fact, a new study by Accenture Interactive, “Turbulence for the CMO,” reveals that 70 percent of top CMOs think they have five years to fundamentally overhaul their companies’ corporate marketing operating model to achieve competitive success. Big marketing technology companies know this too, and it is why companies like Salesforce, Oracle and Google are duking it out to own the customer data and CRM system. They want to be at the center of the value created by unlocking this marketing data and getting at an integrated view of a prospect or customer.

Think about how powerful it would be to serve up personalized Web content based on the ads someone has previously been exposed to, events they’ve attended, or when they’ve most recently engaged with a sales rep, or, to easily target email or display ads to just those people who engaged with a social campaign.

One company in particular has built a business around this very concept: Amazon. Amazon.com might very well be the most sophisticated marketer on the planet today, and if you spend a few minutes on their site looking at products, you’ll notice that the follow-up emails you get, the next experience you have on the site and even the display ads you see will all be synched to your product searches and prior browsing history – all to help you convert. Amazon is far ahead of the pack, with very few keeping pace today.

As companies get better at integrating their marketing systems to more fully understand the customer journey – from first exposure to the brand to the last program that drove the sale, and every touchpoint in between – every marketing dollar spent becomes extremely efficient.

And it’s a lot of dollars at stake. According to research by Outsell, B2B marketers alone will increase their advertising and marketing digital spend by almost 11 percent to $65.9B in 2013. Imagine the bottom-line impact when the performance of these investments improves by five percent or 10 percent – just by having the left hand talk to the right.

As companies use data to optimize their digital tactics – whether it’s through better targeting, reaching people where they are consuming media or tying together all the pieces of the marketing funnel – they’ll inevitably achieve a step-function in efficiency in terms of deploying marketing spend for impact. They can then cycle the additional revenue back into marketing, or R&D, or more salespeople.

And this is where Wall Street comes in. Wall Street should care about marketing data because companies that do the best job of tying together and leveraging marketing data will ultimately win and create outsized shareholder value.

So how can you tell if a company has a data-savvy CMO? Look for clear evidence of marketing integration.

It’s actually pretty amazing how many large companies have yet to integrate their marketing tactics. Investors should be looking to see, for example, if a company has a Super Bowl TV spot that they’re also using search ads and display ads to reinforce the Super Bowl message. The company should also be previewing the ad online to test customer response and drive viral awareness before the TV ad ever launches. Companies that only have a single spot and don’t back it up (and there are lots of them!) aren’t communicating effectively across the organization nor are they maximizing returns on invested capital. This is likely a good indicator that other programs are not well integrated either.

Another great way to test for marketing integration is simply the relevance of the ads you’re seeing. If they are relevant, and improving over time, the company is likely making the right investments in marketing technology to be ready for the next 10 years of growth. If you still get the same untargeted direct mail piece that you throw away every week, there’s cause to be concerned.

There are a lot of reasons to be bullish about the economy and the stock market over the next five to 10 years. Look no further than the innovation beginning to hit the CMO’s office to help decide if you agree, and if so, how to find leaders to invest in.

Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo, is a serial technology entrepreneur, having founded or held senior positions at four venture-backed technology companies. Prior to Bizo, Russ led the marketing and product management teams at ZoomInfo, a business information search engine, where he sharpened his B2B marketing skill set and developed his love for business data.

Barnaby Jack, Famous Hacker, Dies

Barnaby Jack, the hacker known for making an ATM literally spit out cash, died Thursday, days before he was set to show how to disable a pacemaker from 30 feet away at Black Hat, the large annual hacker conference. He was 36 years old.

Jack was the director of embedded security research at security firm IOActive. He had previously worked at a variety of security firms, including McAfee.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the death Friday but didn’t yet know the cause.

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Old school gamer logic right there…

Old school gamer logic right there...

The post Old school gamer logic right there… appeared first on Don't Hate The Geek.

Geeks! Someone try this out and tell us how it worked!

Geeks! Someone try this out and tell us how it worked!

The post Geeks! Someone try this out and tell us how it worked! appeared first on Don't Hate The Geek.

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