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Blogging Updates WordPress

Fall in love with WordPress again with WordPress 4.0

Hello!

So as I said, hello! I wanted to make an entrance, since it has been 7 weeks since I wrote an article!

I also wanted to show off how brilliant WordPress 4.0 is, by adding a YouTube video. I literally just added the URL to the post and voilà, the video appears then and there in WordPress as I am writing this article. No need to preview the post or wait for it to go live, I add the URL and the video is there straight away!

Why that video though? Well I am back, and WordPress has just been given a bit of rejig with the release of 4.0 – named Benny.

So, we are going to save the world and their will be a good dose of cool cars, gadgets and weapons, mixed with a bit of humour along the way.

Alright, this is quite tenuous, maybe I just wanted to put the video in because I could. I did because I could.

It’s all well and good being serious with this blogging malarkey, but one needs to let ones hair down once in a while, and a funky friendly post is a good way to do that. Probably.

WordPress is fantastic. In my humble opinion, no other blogging platform comes close, let alone another free, open source one!

This is a bit of a non-post of ramblings, but trust me, there is better stuff to come.

You are still reading anyway, aren’t you?

Categories
Fun Internet News

JibJab’s 2013 year review

You thought I had forgotten this didn’t you. Each year I post JibJab’s review of the year, so here is 2013’s.

This year JibJab have called their video 2013 What A Year! last years was 2012 The End is Here! and the year before was 2011 Buh-Bye!

Take a look…

JibJab's LogoJibJab always cram so much into their year reviews. Here are some of the things I picked out… there was the Egyptian uprising, the US shut-down, government spying (on the public and other governments/countries), YouTube’s most watched video What Does the Fox Say? Toronto’s ‘unconventional’ mayor, the ISS got damaged (or maybe it was a reference to the film Gravity), there was a change of pope, the Philippines typhoon, gay marriage became accepted, there was a royal baby, Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, the release of the iPhone 5S, 5C and iOS 7, Miley Cyrus wrecking ball, Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post, famous deaths including Thatcher and Mandela, Blockbuster’s final shut down and the Harlem Shake craze.

I know I missed a few and there were some things the video didn’t feature, but I think it was a pretty good summary of 2013.

Categories
Fun Internet News

YouTube’s most watched UK videos of 2013

It’s that time of year again when our content starts to become more fun. To continue the tradition of the last two years, I am going to take a look at which videos attracted the most attention on YouTube over the last year in the UK. Scroll to the end for the global list.

Sneaking in at number 10 this year is Learn the Alphabet with Peppa Pig! a video which teaches the alphabet the help of a family of pigs. Interestingly the video has a very high percentage of dislikes – around 10,500 likes to 9,000 dislikes. If you have forgotten the alphabet and want a quick refresher, I recommend you check out the UK’s 10th most visited video of 2013.

In at number 9 is a music video by the band Hadouken! The song is accompanied by a video of people doing all sorts of amazing, thrilling stunts and is well worth a watch. It proves to you what us humans are capable of.

The eighth most watched video on YouTube for the UK this year is Francine Lewis’ Britian’s Got Talent Interview. Francine is an impressionist who shocked and humoured the audience, naturally getting 4 yeses from the judges. If you want to follow her story (and have a laugh) check out the video, Francine Lewis with her many impressions.

Having been watched over 10 million times across the world Tom Daley: Something I want to say… comes in at number 7 on this years list. The Olympic athlete announced he was in a relationship with another guy via his YouTube channel and the video instantly went viral. The media as a whole were very respectful of Tom’s bravery and many congratulated him on helping to break down still prevalent social boundaries. With a 20:1 like to dislike ratio, I think it is fair to say the public is behind Tom and value his openness.

Remember that video by the Norwegian army that made Internet history earlier this year? No. How about if I say the words Colo Terorita… ringing any bells? Watch this then.


That’s right, a Harlem Shake parody comes in at number 6.

Has there been a year when Tom Ska hadn’t had a video in the UK’s top 10? Probably not for a while. Okay so in at number 5 is asdfmovie6, a continuation of the asdf sketch comedy series. asdf7 is now also out, but since it was only released in October, it hasn’t made the top 10 for this year. For a little more comedy, check out asdf6 below. 🙂

Number 4 this year a BBC video from the Graham Norton Show where Graham is surprised by Will & Jaden Smith. The video has been viewed nearly 20 million times, and sees Alfonso, Will and Jaden and DJ Jazzy Jeff do the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air rap.

So, to the top three!

This year Britain’s Got Talent has two videos in the top 10, stealing slot number three on the list too with Attraction’s audition video. Attraction are amazing, they stunned and moved the nation with their fantastic shadow performance. Check it out.

In at number 2 this year with over 200 thousand likes to less than 2,500 dislikes is the 15 minute long My Wedding Speech by Mcfly drummer Tom Fletcher. The video is a brilliant song thanking all those involved in making Tom’s wedding. The song is a very entertaining tribute and is worth 15 minutes of watching, do take a look.

So now to number 1. Comedy seems to have been a common theme over the last three years, so it is fitting that this years winner is a comedy video. Ever wondered how animals eat their food? Well you wouldn’t be alone, it appears over 90 million other people have too. Take a look.

The Global Most Watched

Here is a list of the global top 10 most watched videos on YouTube.YouTube logo

  1. Ylvis – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)
  2. Harlem Shake (original army edition)
  3. How Animals Eat Their Food
  4. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version)
  5. baby&me / the new evian film
  6. Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme
  7. YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)
  8. Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise
  9. THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading
  10. Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2

That’s it for another year, but do be sure to stay tuned for next years YouTube top 10! 🙂

Categories
Apps Reviews

Hirred App Review

Are you looking for work? Do you enjoy social networking and find that you sell yourself best when you talk rather than write? Then Hirred is for you. Wiink Inc. has come up with a this social networking app aimed at bringing employers and candidates together through short 30-second video clips. You are probably wondering how that works. Imagine just listening to a short description of a quick task that needs completing. You don’t have to read anything, you just watch and listen. You become interested. So, you reply, or apply, with a short video clip about why you are the best candidate to get the job done. Flip it around, now. You are looking to have a small app for iPhone written, or need a few short blog articles for your new website. Come to Hirred and make a quality 30-second infomercial about the great task you have at hand, and watch as the replies post to your clip, with offers of talent that knows no bounds.

Hirred works well for those in an industry where creativity abounds. People who just can’t describe in words how great their talent is, can do great justice in 30 seconds by saying a few words, giving the right facial expressions, and making contact; because, at the end of the day, it’s the contact and familiarity that gets you the job. For employers, this means striking the right chords with potential hires with a description of your needs and what needs to be accomplished. Sometimes, words alone do no justice. It takes a bit of moving art to make something come to life; and, in 30 seconds, enough can come to life.

Hirred iTunes image

When you first download the app, you will have a chance to setup your profile. From the main page, you can view Pitches or Calls. Pitches are clips about people and their talents. Calls are clips about jobs. Under each category of viewing you can select the level of video clips: Rising or Live. Rising is essentially “just starting out”, while “Live” is a user that has been using Hirred for a while, and may have had a few jobs or even hired a few folks. Use of the app is fairly simple, as all you are doing is recording yourself in response to a Call, or creating a Call.

Logistics behind the app reside in the Main Menu, which sits at the bottom of the screen. The menu fades away to a small blue domelike icon when minimized. This renders greater screen viewing real estate. It does get a bit awkward when trying to conjure up the main menu, as many times I found myself pulling up the iPhone’s menu instead. This should be changed.

Other than that, Hirred has some potential. It may not do too well on just the merits of 30-second video clips. Descriptions that short serve as attention getters and teasers… to attract interest. This app will do well if it adds the ability to link clips to resumes or websites that offer more details.

Categories
Apps Reviews

Givit Video Editor App Review

This is the 200th article I have written on Technology Bloggers! I really enjoy writing for the blog and value the community. :-)

Technology Bloggers top smartphone app reviewers are without a doubt, Steve and Ron. In the past I have attempted app reviews myself, however I have never reviewed just a single application in one post. What better time to try something new then than in post 200!

I’m playing it safe with my first app review, and choosing an app that has already been reviewed by TechCrunch, and written about on the The Wall Street Journal’s website. The app is called Givit Video Editor, and is available for all iDevices.

What is Givit?

So what exactly is Givit Video Editor? Well in the words of (the apps creators) Vmix Media:

“Givit is a free, fun and simple app to quickly make and share great videos on iPhone.”

As I am sure you know, Instagram is a photo sharing application, which lets you share photos you take, pretty much instantly, to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Givit offers a similar service, but for video.

Sharing

One of the key features of the app is its sociability. The app interoperates ‘one-click’ sharing to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as email compatibility, so you can privately email clips. You can also upload your videos to the Givit cloud, where you get 5GB of free storage.

Share videos iPhone application
A screenshot of the Givit sharing screen.

The latest version of the app (3.2.0) enables you to find and invite your Facebook friends, so you can see which of them are sharing their videos, and post your clips to your stream.

Features

The app is a clever video editor, which lets you mash different clips together, so you can chip and chop the best bits of clips and the stitch them together to make great montages.

The app is also compatible with live editing, so you can modify clips as you are filming, adding effects and music wherever you choose.

Cost

One of the best things about the app is that it is completely free! With the Standard Account (as I mentioned earlier) you get 5GB of permanent free storage; so long as you use it once every 3 months. 5GB is enough room to store around 30 minutes of uncompressed HD video; Givit probably have some clever compression going on, so I would imagine you get a bit more that 30 minutes.

Half an hour is all I think I need, as the clips I want to share are only usually a minute or two long, however if you are a budding videographer and need more space you can buy a Premium Account, which costs $29.99 a year, for an extra 100GB of storage.

So far, reviews of the app seem positive. The apps official iTunes rating is currently 4 stars in the UK store and 3.5 in the US store. Coverage on sites like Macworld, CNET and the above mentioned TechCrunch indicate the growing popularity of the service.

Interested in getting the app? Click here to download the Givit from iTunes.

Shoot, edit, share and store – that’s Givit!

Categories
Fun Internet News

Best internet April Fools 2013

Monday (April the 1st) saw hundreds of high profile April Fools’ Day jokes hit the internet, but which were the top April Fools spoofs online?

7. Virgin

At number 7 this year, is Virgin Atlantic’s glass floor planes. On his blog, Richard Branson posted on how Virgin Atlantic Airlines (in which he owns a 51% stake) are planning on launching a glass-bottomed plane. Branson commented on how he was “thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first with the introduction of the technology required to produce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane.

Glass-bottomed planesVirgin Atlantic also posted the jape on its official blog, stating that thanks to private funding from Richard Branson, the technology had now been developed to give passengers the experience of a transparent floor.

The floor of a plane couldn’t really feasibly be made transparent though; the luggage and engine have to go somewhere!

6. Metro

One of the first articles I came across this April Fools’ Day was the Metro’s April Fools’ Day 2013 round-up. The Metro had taken screenshots of all the top April Fools this year, including Goolge’s, Facebook’s, YouTube’s, Tesco’s, The BBC’s and more.

I only realised when I got to the end of the post that they were all spoofs! The Metro’s April Fool was to Photoshop loads of fake April Fools. Tesco’s 3D food printer, YouTube’s $1,000,000 giveaway and the BBC’s story of how Curiosity rover had joined Twitter, were all very well designed, believable, and well worth a read!

5. The White House

As we the above pranks show, April Fools’ jokes aren’t just limited to a personal level, companies and the media like to play them too, but what about government? Well the US government tried to fool its Twitter followers this year, posting a ‘special video from the president’ – watch it below.

%CODETWEETWHITEHOUSE1%

4. Technology Bloggers

Okay, my post on Monday which informed readers how the Higgs boson has been found  wasn’t true. The Higgs is thought to hold the key (or at least part of it) to help us better understand the origins of the universe. I did also mention in the post how the particle could potentially make time travel viable, and also be the key to ultimate power, enabling us to use nuclear fusion as a power source.

Last month scientists thought they were closer than ever to identifying the Higgs particle, and this is true. However it is still yet to be proved to exist, and it might not be the miracle particle that I made out it could be. Most of my post was made up, as an April Fool – I hope nobody minded.

April Fools from Technology Bloggers! 🙂

3. Google

Google is becoming famous for its April Fools. This year they played several. The most high profile was probably Google Nose, which had the strapline “Smelling is believing.” This April Fool claimed that Google could bring uses the smell of things they were searching for, by “intersecting photons with infrasound waves” they can “temporarily align molecules” to make your screen smell like what you are searching for. Clever stuff – if it were real!

A treasure map of the world
The world, as viewed through Google Treasure Maps

The search giant also created a treasure map version of Google Maps. Google claimed it had found some old treasure maps which once belonged to an infamous pirate Captain Kidd, and it had scanned them and added them to its online mapping service.

Another April Fools joke that Google played was seen in the launch Gmail Blue. Gmail wasn’t blue enough, so they made it all blue, because blue is better! It doesn’t make any sense, but is very comedic – watch the video below for more.

%CODEYOUTUBEGMAILBLUE%

On Monday, when checking Technology Bloggers Analtyics, it turned out that we had 41 visitors from the International Space Station. I took a screenshot, this is no joke!

ISS traffic stats
We had 41 visitors from the International Space Station!

Okay, maybe it was a joke, yet another Google April Fool.

These are just a few of Google’s 2013 April Fools jokes.

2. Twitter

In third place is Twitter. Twitter’s fool was to trick users into believing that they would soon have to pay for vowels!

It was a half believable story that the social network published on its blog, and it did show innovative ways that people were trying to get around having to pay the five dollar a month fee so you can “use our premium “Twitter” service which also includes vowels” as opposed to having to use the free version: Twttr. Some people substituted o’s (owes) for 0’s (zeroes) whilst in an example in the blogpost, Joan Rivers used the partial/semi vowel ‘y’ to replace all vowels!

%CODETWEETJOANRIVERS1%

Personally I am not sure that twttr.com would ever really have taken off. Wh-t 1s thy p01nt 0f – Tw1ttyr w1th n0 v0wyls? 😉

1. YouTube

This year, I think that YouTube had the best April Fools’ joke. YouTube claimed, in a video post, that the website was no longer accepting submissions. That’s right, submissions, like entries. This is because the website was simply a massive competition; who could submit the best video?

YouTube logoThat’s right, the competition of YouTube is over, and over the next ten years, the winner will be decided, and on April the 1st 2023, the site will relaunch with just one video on it. The best video. The winner of YouTube’s 8 year video contents!

A pretty good April Fool, but that isn’t why it wins this year. The reason YouTube is number one, is because of the time and effort they put into their April Fool.

%CODEYOUTUBEAPRILFOOL2013%

The video above shows the initial video YouTube put out for the April Fool, but what many people never saw was the 12 hour live stream they did! That’s right, YouTube got two presenters to stand in front of a camera and read out video after video, videos which have been posted on the site and are ‘up for nomination’ to be the ‘winner’ of the YouTube contest. Click on this link to see the video, and check out this link to read more on the official YouTube blog.

Which was you favourite April Fools’ Day joke this year? Was it one you played, or had played on you? Do you think that smaller April Fools’ like putting salt in the sugar are no longer that significant, when companies like Google, (who own YouTube) Virgin and Twitter are playing jokes on millions – maybe billions?

Categories
Business

Business savings using conference calling

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A video conferenceIf you run a business, the likelihood is that, every once in a while, after poring over your finances, you look at ways of saving money. You might look at how much you spend on your energy bills, whether you could cut jobs or persuade some of your employees to work part-time instead of full-time or even look at technology that can help to reduce your company’s outgoings.

Video conferencing is perfect for any company that wants to reduce its costs, but you may wonder how it can do that. If you regularly go to meetings away from the office, you’ll surely be aware of the expense involved. If you’re not spending a fortune in fuel costs, you’ll probably be paying for plane, train or coach tickets or even a taxi, and doing this all the time can really add up. By video conferencing, you eliminate all those travel costs.

You can invite anyone you want to a conference call, irrespective of where they are. You can talk to them for a very low price or even for free, plus you can do all things you can do in a normal meeting thanks to the visual element of video conferencing such as showing prototypes or graphs. It also allows for collaboration too, which sets it apart from other forms of communication.

A conferenceSaving time – this is another benefit that video conferencing can bring to your business. Meetings take a lot of time to get to, but by arranging a conference call in their place, you could save your business and employees hours at a time. This allows you to prepare for the meeting properly, while you can also get on with any other important tasks such as accounting.

Categories
Fun Internet News

JibJab’s 2012 year review

We are now in that part of the year when I like to write more general interest posts with more of a fun and festive theme.

JibJab's LogoLast year I commented on JibJab’s 2011 year review, (2011 Buh-Bye) and as in 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005, JibJab have created a Year in Review video, where they take the major events of the year, and mash them together in one fast, fantastic, usually quite funny, video.

JibJab are an American based company, so the content is usually slightly more geared towards American current affairs. However, that said it usually includes lots of globally significant events too.

This years video was released on the 20th of December, a day before the world was supposed to end, topically calling this years video, The End is Here! Luckily the world didn’t end, so you can watch the video here now 🙂

%CODEYOUTUBEJIBJAB2012%

You might need to watch the video more than once to find all the years significant events references, as there are quite a few!

Some of the major references you probably picked out include: the amazing global popularity of Gangnam Style; the 2012 London Olympic games; the release of Marvel’s the Avengers; the issues Facebook had when it floated on the stock exchange; Barack Obama’s election victory; Lance Armstrong loosing his cycling titles; the growth in the number of people doing Zumba; the rapid melting of Arctic Ice; Felix Baumgartner’s 24 mile jump (from space); not forgetting the widely discussed end of the world!

I always look forward to JibJab’s Year in Review video, but it is impossible to fit everything in, so like I asked you last year, what do you think was missed out?

Categories
Apps Media Smartphones

A Civil Rights Swiss Army Knife in your Phone

Last week I wrote about Apps for driving, and this week I would like to continue the theme, but with Apps that aim to protect the user from police harassment.

The first I would like to look at is called Stop and Frisk Watch, and has been developed with the help of the non-profit organization Make The Road New York. The App is designed so that the user can record both audio and video of police interactions in the community (with the screen black so that evidence is less likely to be destroyed), is alerted when other users are doing the same in the area, and has a direct reporting system so that any interaction can be reported in real time. Just shake the phone and the video is sent directly to a lawyer. It also contains a document that outlines an individual’s rights while recording the police in action.

Filming Police Brutality
Filming Police Brutality

The App is downloadable here through the New York Civil Liberties Union website.

The groups that are advocating the use of such Apps tend to be minority groups, who believe that they are treated differently from other members of society due to their race or religion, and hope that recording the police at work might help to address this issue. If we think back a few years to the Rodney King case in LA in 1991 we can see that video technology has held a place in these types of issues for some time. We should also remember that riots were triggered in which 53 people were killed when the police were acquitted and so this is not a technology without implications for all sides. If you watch the video of the beating though you can see why the acquittal caused so much anger.

UPDATE: I just want to clarify that 2 officers were later charged with civil rights violations related to the Rodney King case mentioned in the article and found guilty and imprisoned. Also readers should be aware that the use of these Apps to film the police may not be legal in certain states, a problem that I touched upon last week regarding radar tracking equipment in cars.

Also in New York the Sikh Coalition is making an App available called FlyRights. This App allows the user to file complaints about air travel discrimination in real time and directly to the correct authorities. If a user feels they have been profiled or are being searched because they are wearing religious dress such as a turban or veil they can report discrimination on the grounds of religion or race.

There are many other Apps like this, and supporters argue that they could become the base as a new civil rights movement, after all the phone is one of the few things that most people carry everywhere they go. A Swiss army knife for civil rights right there in your pocket for some, a dangerous tool for others, once more we are in a debatable position. In many states in the US it is illegal to film the police and action is taken against those who do, so an App that allows someone to do it without being noticed may be looked upon with suspicion.

Categories
Computers Internet Search Engines

The journey of an email – as told by Google

Today, when I opened up Google, I saw something new. In the past Google has used the space directly below the search box to notify users of holiday events, privacy policy updates, tributes to industry legends – such as the Steve Jobs tribute, among other things.

Google's Tribute to Steve Jobs
Google's tribute to industry legend - Steve Jobs

Today however Google is using this spot to advertise its new feature, which lets you follow the journey of an email: ‘The Story of Send’.

Google's homepage with a link to 'The Story of Send'
Google advertises 'The Story of Send: Follow an email on its journey.' on its homepage

When you click the link, you are taken to a page on Google’s Green website (.google.com/green) which tells you how you can

“Take a journey through Google’s data centers by following an email along its path.”

Click ‘Start the story’ and the journey begins! Google takes you through an interactive journey of a Gmail email, from when you hit send on your device, to when it arrives at its destination.

The tour takes about 5 minutes (around 50 if you watch all the videos) however, as we all know, the journey of a real email, takes seconds – if that sometimes.

It is evident that the project is meant to be promotional for Google, as it points out all the good points along the journey. For example, how they have ‘built an extensive Internet backbone across the U.S.‘ to speed things up; how they ‘protect your message with a wide range of security measures‘ and how their data centres use ‘50% less energy than typical data centers‘ etc.

What the journey fails to point out is the less desirable things that go on. One example being how your email is read (or spidered) by Google Bots/Spiders, keywords are picked out, and then relevant ads are displayed alongside the message. Another being how Google want not only to own the systems which deliver your emails, but also the infrastructure (the cables and power) which gets it there – is that not a bit of a monopoly?

I like Google, I think it does a wonderful job, and it is great that it offers us all so much for free, however they do also do a good job of covering up the stuff they don’t want us to here.

Check out the video below for more. I found it and tweeted about it a while ago, however never really found an article for it to go in.

So, have you taken the journey yet? Aside from the obvious PR (public relations not PageRank) stuffed in, it does make interesting viewing.

More interested in talking about the ethics of Google? Add your view below 🙂

Why not talk about them both!

Your views?