Archive for the ‘technology’ category

Digital Journal launches Achievement & Badge program to showcase top talent

September 19th, 2011

Digital Journal, the parent company of Future of Media, today announced a new Achievements and Badge program designed to reward top members and highlight talent from the company’s 30,000+ members in 200 countries around the world.

Who is the most active member on Digital Journal? Who uploads the most original photography? Who comments most often?

Today Digital Journal is happy to introduce a new badge and Achievement program that showcases top talent and the most active members, giving everyone the chance to compete for top spots. Top contributors will be showcased more prominently across the digital media network and earn badges for reaching certain milestones and accomplishing various tasks.

How it works:

Digital Journal members can perform actions across the Digital Journal network such as posting news articles and blogs, uploading images and connecting to Facebook. Each member is given a certain number of points for completing actions and the people with the most points and who are most active can earn badges.

Also, every Digital Journal member is now ranked in order based on how active they are and how much they have contributed to the Digital Journal network. A leaderboard with the Top 50 members can be found here.

To view a person’s rank, points and badges simply click on their name. From here you can see how that person earned his or her points and who they are beating in the ranks. Points and Achievements are updated regularly to reflect activity in each calendar month and everything is reset at the start of the month to begin a new competition.

Digital Journal is launching its Achievements reward program with seven Achievements up for grabs, and the company will add more Achievements in the future.

Achievements

The following Achievements are being announced at launch (a full list of who has earned each Achievement is here):

(1.) Power User The most active Digital Journal members who have earned the most points this month. Points are earned from doing various activities such as uploading articles, posting blogs, connecting to Facebook and receiving “Likes” on uploaded content this month.

(2.) Top Editor Digital Journal members who have submitted revisions on news articles that were approved. These are the top editors with the most approved edits.

(3.) Top Photographer Digital Journal members who have submitted the most original photos this month.

(4.) Top Commenter Digital Journal members who have commented the most this month.

(5.) Top Blogger Digital Journal members who have published the most blogs this month.

(6.) Top Content Producer Digital Journal members who have received the highest number of Likes on their content this month.

(7.) Million Pageviews Given to Digital Journal members who have received more than 1 million pageviews on their content.

To see a list of how many points each action is worth, bookmark this page.

The most coveted Achievement is the Power User reward, an honour that identifies the most active and prolific Digital Journal members. Because the Power User spot is the most difficult to maintain and earn each month, Digital Journal will reward Power Users with the following additional benefits:

• A special Power User badge will appear on the person’s profile page.

• Digital Journal Staff will promote and profile Power Users.

• Power Users will be listed in the TopFinds roundup each week.

• Content uploaded by Power Users will be featured and promoted frequently via Digital Journal’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

• Power Users can participate in private chats with Digital Journal staff members to offer feedback, provide input on new features and maintain a direct line of communication with decision-makers behind the scenes.

• Digital Journal will issue a press release each month to showcase and promote Power Users.

• Power Users will be promoted and featured to new members when they sign up to the site as Suggested Users to follow.

• Digital Journal will also promote Power Users via the company’s sister site, Future of Media.

For Power Users, the above benefits will be given to Digital Journal members for one month after earning the Achievement (i.e. a person who earns a Power User badge in September will be given the above additional privileges in the month of October).

All Achievements will be reset each month to allow new people a chance to earn a badge for each action.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]

Google buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion

August 15th, 2011

Google has announced plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. The deal gives Google a stronger foothold in the mobile industry, putting it directly in the handset business, and positions Google to better compete with companies like Apple.

Google CEO Larry Page, made the announcement on the company’s blog, saying the deal will “supercharge Android.”

“Since its launch in November 2007, Android has not only dramatically increased consumer choice but also improved the entire mobile experience for users,” Page wrote. “Given Android’s phenomenal success, we are always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem. That is why I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola.”

Google’s cash offer is $40 per share which is a 63 percent premium on Motorola‘s closing price Friday, and the deal is expected to close by the end of 2011 or in early 2012.

Google says it has activated more than 150 million Android devices, adding 550,000 new devices each day. The company boasts a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers in 123 countries.

“Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today,” Page said. “In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices. It was a smart bet and we’re thrilled at the success they’ve achieved so far. We believe that their mobile business is on an upward trajectory and poised for explosive growth.”

Page says the acquisition will not change Google’s promise to keep Android as an open platform, saying Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open.

“This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world,” Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said in a press release. “We have shared a productive partnership with Google to advance the Android platform, and now through this combination we will be able to do even more to innovate and deliver outstanding mobility solutions across our mobile devices and home businesses.”

While Motorola will run as a separate business, this deal marks the first time Google has had a hand directly in the mobile handset business.

“Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies,” Page said. “Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.”

When the acquisition announcement was first made, questions arose around how HTC, LG, Samsung, Acer, Sony Ericsson and Lenovo would respond to the announcement.

Google says says the reaction has been positive, quoting positive responses from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC and LG execs.

In the acquisition announcement, Page also took a shot at Microsoft and Apple, saying the companies are “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to ‘protect competition and innovation in the open source software community’ and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction,” Page said. “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”

According to Motorola, the company has 14,600 patents, with 6,700 patent applications pending worldwide.

Google says the Motorola acquisition will enhance competition, offer greater innovation and choice and a better user experience.

UK government mulls idea of banning suspected rioters from social media

August 11th, 2011

Critics and hacker groups are lashing out at the UK government and at BlackBerry maker RIM after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested the UK could block social media services and get user data from mobile phones to shut down further riots.

The UK government is debating whether it should shut down social media websites in order to stop further riots from taking place.

In his opening statement during a Commons debate on Thursday, Cameron told parliament the government is looking at banning individuals from using sites like Twitter and Facebook if they are believed to be plotting criminal activity.

“The prime minister did not go into specifics about how such a block could work, what evidence would be needed to trigger it, and whether it would apply only to individuals or could see networks shut down entirely — instead saying only that the government was looking at the issue,” Metro reports.

Cameron recalled MPs from summer recess to address the increasing violence and riots happening throughout London.

According to the Guardian, Cameron also said the government will hold meetings with Facebook, Twitter and Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry, to discuss “their responsibilities” in this area.

As the BBC reports, under UK law, police are legally allowed to request data from someone’s mobile phone if the information relates to criminal activity.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media,” Cameron told Parliament. “The free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill.

“So we are working with the police, intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Cameron has also told broadcasters such as the BBC and Sky News they should turn-in unused footage to help police. That request has been met with opposition from broadcasters who say handing over unused footage would damage their editorial independence.

While the UK government continues to put the blame on social media websites for playing a role in the riots, Metro reports evidence has yet to show Facebook or Twitter played a significant role.

That said, technology has played a part; the uprising in the UK has been dubbed the “BlackBerry riots” by media because several reports indicate people are using the BlackBerry’s instant messaging features to plan and organize riots and looting.

Earlier this week Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, went as far as asking RIM to shut down its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service on Twitter. “Immediate action needed,” he Tweeted. “[Londoners] cannot have another evening like last night tonight. BBM clearly helping rioters outfox police. Suspend it.”

RIM raised eyebrows when it confirmed via Twitter it was indeed helping police. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” the Tweet reads. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.”

RIM’s move to help police has caused outrage among hackers and a BlackBerry blog was hacked in response.

The hack was sent as a warning by a group calling itself “Team Poison.” As Computer Weekly reports Team Poison has threatened to publish personal data of RIM employees if the company cooperates with police by handing over user data.

“Team Poison said it did not condone innocent people or small businesses being attacked in the riots, but said it supported attacks on police and government,” Computer Weekly reports. “The hacker group said it was opposed to Blackberry giving user information to police because it could lead to the wrong people being targeted.”

Meanwhile, Cameron says the government continues to use social media and technology to its advantage, publishing photos of people accused of looting online. “No phoney human rights concerns about publishing photographs will get in the way of bringing these criminals to justice,” Cameron said.

Jim Killock, executive director of online advocacy organisation Open Rights Grouptold the Guardian Cameron’s requests attack free speech.

“Events like the recent riots are frequently used to attack civil liberties,” he said. “Policing should be targeted at actual offenders, with the proper protection of the courts. How do people ‘know’ when someone is planning to riot? Who makes that judgment? The only realistic answer is the courts must judge. If court procedures are not used, then we will quickly see abuses by private companies and police. Companies like RIM must insist on court processes. Citizens also have the right to secure communications. Business, politics and free speech relies on security and privacy.”

The beauty in Sony promo video for upcoming tablet

June 17th, 2011


Sony is gearing up to launch two tablets called the Sony S1 and the Sony S2, but not much is known about them yet.What we do know is that they are built on Android Honeycomb and the S1 boasts 9.4-inch screen, while the S2 is smaller with two 5.5-inch displays.

To tease about what’s coming, Sony has put together a five-part story called “Two will” featuring the Sony Tablet. In the first video, you get to see glimpses of the device but that isn’t what struck me as being impressive — the video itself did.In this video, we see a series of domino-like movement with steel balls moving along, knocking things over, before starting a small model train.

The idea is not new, but the way this video is shot is really striking, reminding me of a Tim Burton film. The lighting is captivating and the “episode” is a really unique way to generate buzz and build momentum around a product.

Good work Sony, this pre-launch video is well done. Not everyone agrees, but hey, that’s what opinions are all about.

Check it out embedded below and tell me what you think.

Future of Media recap: Start-ups, gamification and ‘pay-what-you-can walls’

April 11th, 2011

Future of Media panel on stage at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. From left to right: David Silverberg, Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

by David Silverberg and Chris Hogg

The future for media organizations is not all doom and gloom, and there is more opportunity and experimentation happening today than ever before. That was the overall discussion at Digital Journal‘s Future of Media panel discussion last night in Toronto.

In a meaty conversation that sunk its teeth deep into topics of start-up culture, gamification and paywalls, editors and experts discussed why we should be optimistic for legacy media and start-ups experimenting with innovative news projects.

Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News, talks with other panelists at a Future of Media event April 6, 2011 in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz ÜberallThe insightful debate included a wide array of media experts: Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News; Jon Taylor, senior director of content for Bell Media Digital; Chris Boutet, senior producer for digital media at the National Post; Mathew Ingram, a senior writer at GigaOM; and Kathy Vey, editor-in-chief of OpenFile. The discussion was moderated by David Silverberg, managing editor of DigitalJournal.com.

The theme of the night could be summed up by Ingram’s poignant one-liner: “When you’re on Death Row, it’s easy to find religion.” He referred to the important wake-up call many newspapers faced with plummeting ad revenue and an upturned business model.

Boutet of the National Post agreed and said his outlet has adopted a digital-first strategy to allow readers to easily consume online news, while making sure the print product still had strong long-form content. “It needs to start with digital and end in print,” he said.

The conversation often veered into the benefits and dangers of using on-the-ground reporting from citizens in global hot spots. Angus said the BBC had previously ignored social media but now the organization is increasingly incorporating tweets into its reportage. “That could never happen two or three years ago,” he admitted.

Ingram replied, “When Twitter came out, I don’t think anyone would have predicted newspapers would have entire staff devoted to their Twitter account.”

OpenFile editor Kathy Vey laughs as journalist Mathew Ingram tweets from the stage at a Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Vey, who runs the collaborative news start-up OpenFile, said she’s optimistic about journalism’s future, considering how many important news start-ups have made an impact in the U.S. She just wishes Canada could better nurture start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The conversation around start-ups took up a better part of the night, with each panelist discussing how a news organization could benefit by having an entrepreneurial approach to media production. Panelists agreed the lean approach without expensive overhead and the willingness to try new things is an important part of determining media’s future.

That said, Boutet, Vey and Ingram agreed entrepreneurial skills are not something journalism students learn in school, and students don’t enter j-school with the goal of graduating, starting their own company and trying to compete with a big newspaper.

Digital Journal Managing Editor, David Silverberg, moderating the panel discussion at a Future of Media event in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Boutet said newsrooms need to create an environment where experimentation is encouraged, and an entrepreneurial mindset helps. He noted how the National Post has designers, programmers, digital media producers and journalists within the same area to facilitate collaboration.

Ingram agreed, saying a news experiment today can happen in an afternoon with $1,500 and a programmer who fires out some code. But that often doesn’t happen because the small numbers and quick turn-around time are not how media executives typically think. “They think in terms of months, not days,” Ingram said.

Some mainstream media outlets are stepping up their online news initiatives and experiments. At the National Post, for instance, the newspaper partnered with GeoPollster to allow people to check-in to venues with Foursquare with their political party affiliation, so a certain restaurant can be Conservative if enough Conservatives check-in to that spot en masse. “We wanted it to be fun,” Boutet said, and many panelists agreed entertaining media projects and “gamification” could benefit news outlets.

Taylor, from the newly minted Bell Media, said the growth of mobile and tablet platforms have also dramatically shifted focus and opened up many new opportunities for media outlets, especially broadcasters. “My job has 100 per cent changed because of those platforms,” he said. “We’re learning with everybody else. It’s constantly evolving.” Taylor said he’s hopeful the rules of the TV game will evolve into a more futuristic model, where it’s not just watching TV on your tablet PC, say, but also being able to swipe something from your tablet onto your TV somehow.

He also spoke about new revenue possibilities for broadcasters, saying there’s “no magic bullet” but that old ideas are becoming new again. “I think the answer is going to be a multitude of things, which include digital sponsorship, we have sponsors we have advertisers,” he said. “In the TV world you can only get so innovative, in the digital space it’s nearly unlimited.”

Taylor said the “This show is brought to you by…” line is something we’ll likely hear more often, but that media organizations have to be careful how they balance sponsorship and production. He said sponsors need to be happy with the presence, but broadcasters have to make sure content is not overly swamped with advertising messages.

From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor and Chris Boutet. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Angus agreed that mobile is an integral part of the future of media, noting that rapid adoption of mobile phones in some places such as Africa have replaced more traditional platforms such as radio. Angus said the BBC, and media organizations that reach massive audiences in very rural places, have new challenges because they must think about the medium or platform through which the message is being delivered. In some areas, media is consumed through more than just a newspaper or Internet connection. Angus said organizations who want to reach wide audiences now have to think about how much the end-user will have to pay to consume content via mobile versus other platforms when they decide where to invest and how they want to target new audiences.

On the topic of cost, the panel  discussed paywalls and how they fit in the media’s future. The BBC’s Angus and Ingram were at odds on this issue. Angus suggested the paywall experiment by the Times of London and New York Times could be the harbinger of things to come. ”What if they’re right, doesn’t that change things?” he asked. Ingram shook his head and said “But the Times of London lost a lot of pageviews…and now they’re just an expensive newsletter.”

From left to right: Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey and Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

After some debate among panelists, Angus went back to the idea and admitted that while it may not be popular among readers it may be necessary for media outlets. He said if it becomes the norm, it may give media organizations enough of a revenue stream to encourage them to invest in the digital media space.

Boutet didn”t like the idea of a paywall because it’s an ultimatum that does not allow the reader to suggest how much they think content is worth. Telling a reader to pay $10 per month or go away, Boutet believes, is the wrong approach because it’s an all-or-nothing attitude. “What about a pay-what-you-can wall?” he suggested, saying some readers may not want to pay $10 per month but would be willing to pay $5. Having the option to let people price a product themselves provides a news organization with the opportunity to market-test various pricing options and determines what people will pay.

The panelists generally agreed a paywall or pay fence would work with specialty content, such as Wall Street Journal‘s financial news or ESPN.com‘s in-depth sports coverage. Ingram was unsure what metric would be used to measure success, though. “Does it look like 200,000 people paying to read your content, or does it look like millions?”

So what’s in store for the future of media? The panelists all seemed to agree experimentation is important and that the news industry as a whole is in better shape today than it has been over the last few years. That said, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered as far as concrete business models that will take shape.

Panelists present door prizes to attendees of the Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram and David Silverberg. - Photo by Janusz Überall

New technologies such as augmented reality provide some really interesting opportunities to media companies, and mobile phones, apps and tablets are a game-changer for how, when and where people consume content.

The overall tone of the night was optimistic, with panelists agreeing wholeheartedly the future looks much brighter than the past. Media organizations now need to focus on experimentation, and partnering with start-ups is a cost-effective way to innovate new ideas.

The panel also agreed newsrooms need to shed old attitudes and get people to talk to their audience in a two-way conversation via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, while at the same time remember that every word they say is essentially speaking on behalf of their respective media outlets. What you say, when you say it, and how you say it, are guidelines that media organizations need to quickly decide.

Video from the Future of Media event will be available shortly. Check back next week to see full coverage.