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Archive for March, 2011

Verizon Wireless Implements Mobile Giving Program For Japanese Relief Efforts

March 14th, 2011 No comments

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to donate to the relief efforts in Japan, Verizon has developed a mobile giving program to make it as simple as a text message to give to those in need.  The company announced on Sunday that customers can use their mobile phones to make $10 donations to a host of non-profit organizations responding to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

credit

All it takes from the user to donate $10 is a simple text message to any one of the nine organizations that are helping in the relief efforts. Another positive about this program is that they will waive all text-messaging charges for customers donating to one of the organizations, something Verizon Wireless has always done in the past with relief efforts. Another plus is that the $10 in its entirety, will go to the specified organization. For Verizon Wireless customers who pay monthly bills, the $10 donations will appear in customers’ next regular monthly bill.  For customers using the company’s prepaid services, the $10 donations will be taken from customers’ prepaid balance.

The following is a complete list of the participating organizations along with the specific word and number you are to text:

•       ADRA Relief: text SUPPORT to 85944

•       American Red Cross Relief: text REDCROSS to 90999

•       Convoy of Hope: text TSUNAMI or SUNAMI to  50555

•       GlobalGiving: text JAPAN to 50555

•       International Medical Corps: text MED to 80888

•       Mercy Corps: text MERCY to 25383

•       Salvation Army: text JAPAN to 80888

•       Save the Children Federation, Inc.: text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222

•       World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals: text WAVE to 50555

•       World Vision, Inc.: text 4JAPAN or 4TSUNAMI to 20222

 

It’s Finally Here!: Behold The Apple iPad 2

March 11th, 2011 No comments

Source: ZDNet.com

Beginning at 5PM local time, the much anticipated iPad 2 will be on sale across the U.S. at Apple stores (236 to be exact), AT&T & Verizon stores, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and other Apple-Authorized Resellers. Additionally, customers can order their iPad 2 at Apple.com starting at 1AM PT/4AM ET on March 11th. Furthermore, Apple has stated that “every customer that purchases an iPad 2 at an Apple retail store will be offered a free, Personal Setup service, helping them customize their iPad 2 by setting up email, loading new apps from the App Store℠ and even more. This new addition cuts down the time it takes to get our iPad 2 up and running  before you even leave the store.” Even though all of this sounds fine and dandy, it’s important to analyze the differences between the iPad and iPad 2, whether you are upgrading or purchasing your first tablet.

Size and Weight:

  • iPad: 1.5lb; 9.56×7.47x.528 inches; rounded edges, flat back
  • iPad 2: 1.33lb; 9.5×7.31x.346 inches; rounded edges, curved back

Display:

  • Same: 9.7 inches; multi-touch display at a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels; LED backlighting; fingerprint and scratch-resistant coating

Processor:

  • iPad: 1 GHz Apple A4 system on a chip

    Source: WashingtonPost.com

  • iPad 2: 1.08 GHz Apple A5 system on a chip

Operating Systen:

  • iPad: iOS 4.2.1
  • iPad 2: iOS 4.3

Battery:

  • Same: built-in-25 watt-hour rechargeable lithium polymer battery; 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music; 9 hours of surfing the web using 3G data netowrk

Environmental Sensor:

  • iPad: accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer
  • iPad 2: +Gyroscope

However, the iPad 2, despite having that ever so important earphone jack, comes with only a charger and sync cable. The new back camera is a more exciting function than the original as it shoots less than 1MP and does not have a flash; In addition, the new front-facing camera shoots at VGA-quality,which allows for Skype’s FaceTime.  One flaw is that it does not have HD-level video, like on the new MacBooks. Above the volume control sits the rotational lock/mute switch that can be adjusted in the settings menu to control either function. Additionally, the new Safari browser allows you to view some pages in full or mobile modes (i.e. ESPN.com), as well as watch some mini-videos on sites such as ESPN, CNN, and Vimeo. Customers will also have the option to purchase the iPad 2 in white or black and the new Smart Cover. The Smart Cover is made of either polyurethane or leather and comes in an array of colors. A nifty new accessory, the Smart Cover magnetically attaches to the side of your iPad, protects the screen, and automatically sends the iPad to sleep when it’s closed and wakes it when it’s opened.

WashingtonPost.com

 

Prices for the iPad 2 are as follows:

Wi-Fi Only:

  • 16 GB: $499
  • 32 GB: $599
  • 64 GB: $699

Wi-Fi+3G

  • 16 GB: $629
  • 32 GB: $729
  • 64 GB: $829

If you can’t decide whether or not you want the option of a 3G service plan in the future (or know you want it now), here is what you can expect to pay from AT&T and Verizon Wireless for data services:

AT&T

  • 250MB: $12.99
  • 2GB: $25.00
  • AT&T is also offering 1 free month of 2GB of data; Overages for AT&T are $10 per GB if you exceed your limit.

Verizon Wireless

  • 1 GB: $20
  • 3 GB; $35
  • 5 GB: $50
  • 10GB: $80
  • All of Verizon’s data plans will be available without a contract, so the users have the option to activate or cancel service at any time.

So no matter what you are planning on doing to get your hands on the iPad 2, whether it be standing in a long line, pre-ordering to avoid the craziness, or you have some other method.  Let us know about your experience in your adventure to get the latest in mobile technology or whatever thoughts you have on the Apple iPad 2.

 

Yahoo! Gives MyBlogLog The Pink Slip

March 3rd, 2011 1 comment
After a little over six years as an online community, MyBlogLog has been given the proverbial pink slip by  its parent company, Yahoo!, in an attempt to cut costs. Originally created by Cloudspace, MyBlogLog allows interactions between bloggers by way of a web widget that also enables members to see who visited  their blog. Acquired for $10 million in January 2007 by Yahoo!, MyBlogLog currently has over 275,000 members and averages approximately 22 million daily page visits by way of the MyBlogLog widget. On February 24, 2011, Yahoo! announced that MyBlogLog will be terminated on May 24, 2011 in an e-mail to its users:

Dear MyBlogLog Customer,

You have been identified as a customer of Yahoo! MyBlogLog. We will officially discontinue Yahoo! MyBlogLog effective May 24, 2011. Your agreement with Yahoo!, to the extent that it applies to the Yahoo! MyBlogLog, will terminate on May 24, 2011…

We thank you for being a customer on Yahoo! MyBlogLog.

Sincerely,

The Yahoo! MyBlogLog Team

The termination of MyBlogLog brings into light the failure of Yahoo!’s recent acquisitions that are unable to hurdle the integration difficulties and endless, bureaucratic red tape to continue moving forward. As it turns out,  these issues ultimately cause the founders to bolt after the two-year mark and leave the users with the shell of the founders’ ultimate goal.

 

Geocities (acquired January 1999; $2.87 billion)

  • Announcement after Acquisition: Yahoo said it plans to integrate Geocities tools into areas such as auctions, chat, message boards, and classifieds. It also plans to integrate the community site’s home page building services into Yahoo Clubs. (Cnet)
  • Current Status: Geocities was closed done by Yahoo! in late June 2009.

Flickr (acquired March 2005; $35 million)

  • Announcement after Acquisition: “We’ll be working with a bunch of people that totally get Flickr and want to preserve the community and the flavor of what is here. We’re going to grow and change, but we’re in it for the long haul, with the same management and same team.” (Flickr)
  • Founders’ Status: After three years, co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield left the company, while many engineers were laid off in 2009.
  • What happened?: Ex-Flickr architect Kellan Elliot-McCrea on Yahoo!’s bureaucracy: “Roughly 15% of any of the large projects they (we?) tackled over the last few years (internalization, video, various growth strategies, etc) went into the building feature. 85% was spent dealing with Yahoo!.” (Quora).
  • Current Status: Even with Facebook grabbing some of the photo sharers, as of September 2010, Flickr had hosted more than $5 billion photos.

Upcoming (acquired October 2005; $1 million)

  • Announcement after Acquisition: “We’re happy to become valued members of the Y! Local Team, trusted to turn out part-time ideas and blue sky into a tangible, fully-featured events offering. The opportunity to join forces with Y! ultimately bespeaks all of our sincere interest in making a useful, interesting events substrate on which a flourishing, social community can naturally grow.” (co-founder Gordon Luk)
  • Founders’ Status: Co-founders Gordon Luk and Andy Baio left a few years later.
  • What Happened?: According to ex-Upcoming engineer Neil Kandalgaonkar, Upcoming was “parceled out to different parts of Yahoo! where they were subordinate to the existing hierarchy and agenda.” He additionally stated that the “Yahoo! model is to think of their sites as media properties with audiences, and bolder ideas like one social network encompassing them all was never a priority.”
  • Current Status: Yahoo! announced a new look for Upcoming in December, but it is also possible that it will be merged with other Yahoo! sites.

Del.icio.us (acquired December 2005; speculated $15-20 million)

  • Announcement after Acquisition: Joshua Schachter: “Together we’ll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We’re excited to be working with the Yahoo! search team – they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web.”
  • Founders’ Status: Joshua Schachter left in June 2008 after his contract expired.
  • What Happened?: Joshua Schachter: “I was largely sidelined by the decisions of my management. It was an incredibly infuriating experience.”
  • Current Status: Still active with over 5.3 million users as of 2008; however, there have been leaks that Yahoo! may let the app sunset.

MyBlogLog (acquired January 2007; $10 million)

  • Announcement after Acquisition: “We don’t plan on making any immediate changes to the MyBlogLog Web site, distribution or branding. We want to encourage and not disrupt the continued growth of the MyBlogLog community and foster the innovation that has already made MyBlogLog an indispensable part of lives.”
  • Founders’ Status: The founders of MyBlogLog, left the company in July 2007.
  • What Happenened?: Co-founder Eric Marcoulier: “So much of your company’s long term success when it’s acquired is based on the amount of executive juice it has. The only way it survives and flourishes is if you have an executive champion who promotes it internally. Shortly after we were acquired we were transferred away from our champion and under someone who didn’t feel the same way about MyBlogLog. In those circumstances, things simply slow down.”
  • Current Status: MyBlogLog users were informed on February 24, 2011 that MyBlogLog would be terminated May 24, 2011.

Maven (acquired February 2008; $160 million)

  • What Happened? Yahoo! announced that expansion was no longer cost effective and wanted to focus on other video offerings. (PaidContent)
  • Current Status: Yahoo! announced that the platform will no longer be supported, beginning in 2010.

 

It can be argued that, in the end, it is all too difficult for acquired entities to change their organizational structure to overcome the bureaucracy they encounter at large organizations, like Yahoo!.  Additionally, as stated by Kellan Elliot-McCrea, it was not only difficult to move forward due to endless meetings and decreased control, but, in the case of Flickr, innovation and technological advances were stymied due to a decrease in available resources. However, there are examples that disprove this theory, such as the acquisition of Rivals.com (acquired by Yahoo! in June 2007 for a reported $100 million). For those of you that are unfamiliar with Rivals, it is a website that is mainly dedicated to college basketball and football recruiting. Even though it is a small niche website, Rivals successfully competes with Scout.com (acquired by Fox Interactive Media in June 2005 for a reported $60 million) and ESPN recruiting for the loyalty of college fans everywhere who seek out daily news on that next big recruit who is going to take their program to the top. (It must be noted that it is somewhat unfair to include ESPN recruiting in this discussion due to the fact that ESPN Recruiting Insider airs every Thursday at 5 on ESPNU). Regardless, even after Yahoo! acquired Rivals, it did not nose-dive, like other acquisitions, but continued to grow and compete as a top source for extensive college recruiting news. In other words, to use the an old cliché, only time will tell if each failure is solely Yahoo!’s fault or if these startups “sunset” due to a combination of corporate competition, absence of a forward-looking business model and/or bureaucratic setbacks.

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