March 28, 2011

How to Write a Blog Post in 5 Steps and 15 Minutes

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Can you really write a quality blog post in 15 minutes?  Yes, but that should just be your time actually writing the post, and not the time doing the research and preparing to write.  I don’t want to mislead anyone here. If you are writing about a topic that you don’t know much about it could takes a couple hours just doing research.   But a quick 15 minute article should be written about what you know, what you enjoy, what you are passionate about.

The part of writing an article that can take the longest is doing research.  This is why I recommend making it a habit of doing research on a regular basis.  This way, when it is time to start writing you already have a head full of information.  But you can’t be expected to remember everything you read, so always do research with an eager mind and a ready pen.  Write down any stats, thoughts, and figures that you think might be useful. read more

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March 25, 2011

This Is How And Where You’re Being Scammed on Facebook

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Facebook App ScamsEvery year millions of Facebook users encounter various types of online ad scams, those scams can come in the form of applications that steal user information or through direct click links among other attempts. PC protector BitDefender has taken the time to share with us an infographic that showcases the top 5 Facebook scams and how they target their users.

Among the most interesting facts gathered, 34.7% of all Facebook scams come in the form of “see who’s following you” and other profile traffic insight scams, while 16.2% arrive from social gaming (with the likes of Cityville) and 14.1% come from “shocking images” that entice users to click-through to witness what ends up being some type of malware or other scam.

The graphic also showcases some of the most popular words used in Facebook scams, including (but not limited to): Wow, profile, killed, OMG, stalker, video, busted, stripping, cash, Zynga and pounds. Basically if the word entices you to want more money, lose weight or think in a sexual manner, there’s a chance it could be a scam.

Towards the bottom of the graphic BitDefender also showcases the top five most targeted countries for click traffic scams which includes (in order from highest to lowest): USA, India, UK, Australia then Canada.

Here’s the full Facebook Scam Infographic: read more

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The First 48 Hours Of Firefox 4 (Infographic)

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Firefox 4 has arrived Tuesday and is boasting amazing download numbers. In its first day FireFox 4’s 7.1 Million downloads beat Internet Explorer’s 2.35 Million. The Mozilla team put together an infographic to celebrate the first 48 hours of Firefox 4 which details the browser’s exact download numbers.

What’s interesting is the perspective of Firefox 4’s downloads over the first 48 hours. The 15.85 cumulative downloads is larger than the population of Los Angeles, California and the Internet in 1995.

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When Millions Are Bad: I’ve Got A Case Of The Fridays

The web can be a funny thing. When something goes viral, it spreads to almost every corner of the web and finds a way to infect you. Rebecca Black’s music video for her (terrible) song Friday has amassed over 40 million views and close to 700,000 dislikes. As parodies funnier and better than the song crop up and criticism towards Black is openly mocked with the statement “It sticks in their heads and that’s what counts” the question really is: when is too much of something a bad thing? When you’re viral in a bad way.

What kind of life can I live where the toughest decision of my day is to choose whether or not I should sit in the front or back seat of a car? Evidently not the one I’m living now.

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March 24, 2011

YouTube Begging Users To Embrace Google Accounts

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Begging is probably not the best word to describe the scenario (demanding would be better), but either way YouTube is once again pleading for users to embrace Google accounts or face the consequences.

Although YouTube wrote up a nice post comparing those refusing to upgrade to people carrying “brick phones” from the 1990’s, Google is apparently tired of speaking softly and is preparing to resort to more drastic measures.

Now, we’re gradually asking all remaining users still using the older YouTube account system (pre-May 2009) to link a Google Account to their YouTube username. This is required in order to continue using your YouTube username. [...]

Choosing not to link won’t delete your YouTube videos – you just won’t be able to sign into your YouTube username until you link your YouTube Account to a Google Account. (YouTube Help)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

It’s still unclear how many YouTube fans have yet to embrace Google accounts, although it must be a significant amount for the social video giant to resort to hassling fans logging in.

For those of you using YouTube as your primary way to consume online video, have you upgraded your account? If not, why?

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Facebook Utilizing Real-Time Conversations For Ad Targeting

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Facebook Real-Time Ads

Are you sick and tired of seeing teeth whitening ads on your Facebook account? Or perhaps even ads that seem to fully miss your lifestyle? Facebook may soon have an alternative, the social networking company this month began testing a new way to target users by data mining their real-time conversations.

The current testing environment is only targeting 1% of Facebook users, an amount equal to approximately 6 million users, not a bad study group.

The move marks yet another attempt by Facebook to more directly target users, you may recall that they recently began offering “sponsored stories” in which users brand interactions are posted via a side bar with included ads.

The new program is simple, for example a user may type “I really want to buy a new pair of Nike basketball shoes” at which point they may immediately see a Nike ad, perhaps a coupon for “x amount” off a pair of shoes at Foot Locker.

For users who may be a bit confused, it is true that targeted ads have been offered for some time now on Facebook, however a real-time based ad platform is a new opportunity for the world’s largest social network.

The platform is being tested on only 1% of users because Facebook says the algorithm they use is so complex that it must be tweaked to perform at levels advertisers will appreciate. Unlike search engines such as Google and Bing, Facebook often ignores keywords and looks at other factors to determine which ads will best target their core user groups. read more

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Drunken Social Media: Last Night Never Happened App

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Last Night Never HappenedFacebook and Twitter have allowed our lives to become more interconnected and while that connectivity is great for reconnecting with old friends and staying in touch with current ones, it can also mean airing our dirty laundry, a fact that can be exasperated by a drunken night of debauchery. Thankfully if you’re a “serial poster” when drunk and don’t have the time to fix last nights tweets and wall posts there’s now an app for that.

Developed by 22Seeds and called “Last Night Never Happened” the iPhone/iPad/iPod app can be purchased for $1.99 from the Apple App Store.

The program is simple to use, just type in what time you started drinking and the application goes through your connected social media accounts and deletes all messages from the time you started drinking until the moment you run the program. Users can also choose to only delete certain hours, for example Midnight through 6am.

On the lastnightapp.com website the developer states: read more

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18 Million WordPress Blogs Are Now iPad Friendly

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WordPress, one of the largest Blogging platforms on the web, has announced that 18 million of its self-hosted Blogs will be iPad friendly. Frankly, iPad users everywhere should be excited.

Automattic which owns WordPress.com, flipped the switch on its iPad optimized interface allowing Bloggers to create a custom mobile experience that doesn’t sacrifice content and formatting because a mobile device is accessing the Blog.

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Twitter’s Malware History Shown With Infographic

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Twitter HackedWhen Twitter launched five years ago not only did the service bring micro-blogging to the masses, it also brought malware to unsuspecting users, with that trend continuing well into 2011.

Whether the site was attacked through straight forward hacks, clickjacking, worms, trending scams or direct message hacks, the fight to keep users safe has been a major concern for the company that is now valued at nearly $10 billion. When Twitter takes into consideration that their nearly 200 million users tend to be an an ever increasing risk compared to fellow social networking company Facebook, the need for action appears even more urgent.

How bad have the malware and other virus exploits been? In 2010 the FTC launched an investigation to determine if Twitter was doing enough to protect their growing base of registered users who had already grown to numbers of more than 150 million at the time of the investigation.

Have you ever watched your Twitter account become hijacked? Share your stories with us and don’t feel ashamed, I know computer programmers who have watched their accounts become compromised while using the service.

Here’s the Infographic courtesy of Kaspersky Lab’s SecureList blog: read more

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March 23, 2011

AOL/HuffPost: We Want Real Staffers Not Bloggers

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AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post hasn’t been without consequence. 30 AOL owned brands have been squandered, 900+ laid off and others axed in favor of journalists.

The $315 Million acquisition of Huffington Post is part of a new path for AOL. In the past few months, Tim Armstrong released an internal company document detailing the new content direction AOL would be taking. The document came under fire for exploiting popular trends and churning out knee-jerk Blog posts in favor of increased traffic and revenue.

Huffington Post, which is powering AOL’s new content revamp has folded or absorbed 30 AOL brands. In the aftermath, 900+ AOL employees have been laid off and more face the axe. Freelancers employed by AOL are left wondering what their fate in the new company is.

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