May 10, 2011

Facebook To Developers: It’s Time We Had The OAuth, HTTPS Talk

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Despite the success of Facebook’s secure logging feature, many developers have yet to embrace the way of HTTPS (as one can easily notice by the lack of support from many popular apps).

In order to prevent a scenario where users have to choose between fun and security, Facebook is giving developers a deadline to embrace HTTPS (as well as OAuth 2.0).

Over the past few weeks, we determined that OAuth is now a mature standard with broad participation across the industry. In addition, we have been working with Symantec to identity issues in our authentication flow to ensure that they are more secure. This has led us to conclude that migrating to OAuth & HTTPs now is in the best interest of our users and developers.

Today, we are announcing an update to our Developer Roadmap that outlines a plan requiring all sites and apps to migrate to OAuth 2.0, process the signed_request parameter, and obtain an SSL certificate by October 1. (Facebook Developers Blog)

While forcing developers to embrace OAuth 2.0 and HTTPS will cause a few developers to whine, doing so will help Facebook cut down on the number of accounts hacked (especially around unsecured hot spots).

Smaller social networks like Twitter have already embraced OAuth 2.0 (not to mention secure logging as well), and Facebook’s adoption will hopefully inspire other social networks with large developer communities to adopt these standards as well.

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Starwood Hotels Now Offering Foursquare Checkin Incentives

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Foursquare Starwood Resorts Checkin

Starwood Preferred Guests (SPGs) can now earn additional points, badges and rewards from their loyalty program when they use Foursquare at participating Starwood hotels.

The new program begins on Tuesday with Foursquare/SPG members earning 250 bonus Starpoints when they link their Foursquare and SPG accounts together. Users then simply checkin to more than 1,000 hotels after confirming their reservation and they will earn points and other rewards.

According to the official Foursquare blog:

Starwood will continue to tailor and optimize Specials for people who are using foursquare. Can’t wait to get started? Go to spg.com/socialcheckins and link your SPG and foursquare accounts today. Happy travels!

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Google Launching Cloud Based Music Service Without Labels Support

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Google Cloud MusicIt’s official, Google has unveiled their cloud-based music player at Google I/O.

Called Music Beta by Google, the program works in a similar fashion to Amazon Cloud Player.

Unfortunately because of lacking support from major record labels users can not share music, can not buy songs from Google (Amazon users can at least buy songs) and they can not use offline caching.

Those lacking elements mean that users can only really load their own music onto a service and then stream those songs to their Android phones, tablets and a web-based player. Users will however be able to transfer their created playlists to any device that supports the cloud player, while users will be able to store 20,000 songs at no cost, that number is four times larger than Amazon’s current free rate of 1,000 songs. read more

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May 9, 2011

Amazon Can Now Stream Music To iOS Devices

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Two months after its release, Amazon slipped in a small update to its cloud based music player adding adds iOS compatibility. The update allows users visiting the player from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to stream music through Safari. However, it’s not without bugs.

Accessing Amazon’s cloud player through an iOS device required the use of a third-party browser but recently gained native Safari support. However, there are some interface issues that you need to be aware of:

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Do You Still Need an RSS Reader?

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How are you reading blog and site feeds these days? Over the last year and a half many people have been arguing for and against the idea that RSS is dead. While I don’t agree with that viewpoint, siding instead with Matthew Ingram on GigaOm,  it’s true to say that there are a lot more ways to access the content you want to track than by using a feed reader. There are lots of tools around to curate or prettify those feeds.

Dressing Up Your RSS Feed

If you’re a bit conservative, but want your feed content to look more attractive, consider Feedly, a Google Reader overlay that offers a raft of useful tools. Not only will the contents of your RSS reader look like a magazine (complete with title page and list of recent items) but you can share to a number of sites from within the Feedly interface. In fact you can do pretty much everything you can do in Google Reader, but it’s faster and prettier. read more

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May 6, 2011

Wall Street Journal Creates A Honeypot For Sensitive Info, Doesn’t Care If You Get Caught

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Wikileaks created waves for revealing sensitive information about governments the world over and most notably cables from US diplomats and the collateral damage video which detailed the killing of American journalists in Iraq. A few spinoffs have been created such as Open Leaks but now news organizations are taking a stab at crowd sourcing scoops.

The latest attempt at a Wikileak clone comes from the Wall Street Journal. Dubbed SafeHouse, the site will allow users to anonymously upload sensitive data which will be dispersed and presented online.
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3 Sites to Get Free News-Related Images

The social impact of Bin Laden’s recent death has been incredible and it also became an incredible force across blogs and other Web sites. Countless bloggers, even those who usually don’t cover news-related topics, felt the need to peak out on the breaking story and, along the way, dip their toes into news and political blogging.

But with so much attention being focused on how blogging and social media is changing journalism, there are still scant few resources that give bloggers and other webmasters access to the media used by mainstream outlets.

The problem is that, while there are countless great sites on the Web for stock photos and other images, they are more targeted at providing attractive, but generic images for a blog post. If you need a photo to indicate friendship or represent something being locked down, these sites are great. However, if you need a photo of a recent rally in Washington D.C. or of a particular celebrity, they are virtually useless as most of the photos they have are not timely and not related to current events.

However, there are a few sites that offer news-related images for free on your site. All you have to know is where to look and how to search them correctly.

Here are some of the options to consider. read more

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Sawing the Web: How the “New Media Revolution” Can Be Derailed the Old-Fashioned Way

Some weeks back, the BBC reported that a 75-year-old woman from Georgia managed to disrupt Internet service in the entire country.  She didn’t do so with a DDoS or an LOIC or any other sophisticated hacking tool, but with a plain old saw.  To supplement her pension, the woman scavenges for copper.  The cable didn’t mean a whole lot of difference for her, but it did mean the temporary paralysis of Internet services in Armenia.

Could it happen here?  Of course it can.  All it took to temporarily shut down the Internet for an entire nation was an old woman with a saw.  What more for an earthquake in Taiwan, or a scavenger in Manila, or someone who trips a wire in the United States?

If there’s anything this story could tell us, all the hype and hoopla about “new media revolutions” seem to be so “up there;” out of the reach of the majority of the world’s population who are not yet “wired.”  It’s often grounded on something abstract, like ideas and conversations, when that entire reality is grounded on a very vulnerable network of wires.

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Facebook: Shortened Status Tags Now Displaying

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Facebook Status Upgrade

It’s only a small upgrade but one we welcome with open arms, on Thursday afternoon Facebook rolled out an update which shortens Facebook Status Tags.

If you’re unfamiliar with tags, they occur when a user would input the “@” symbol followed by a friends name, however users are no longer required to use the “@” symbol and can instead type a users name which will then display all possible matches below the status update bar.

Once typed a user can then use the backspace key to delete the users last and if available middle names as they deem necessary. read more

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Facebook Now Paying Users To Watch Video Advertisements

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Facebook CreditsFacebook wants users to watch entire ads from their advertisers and to accomplish that goal they are now paying site visitors to view adverts. Launched on Thursday the company is now offering Facebook Credits to watch certain video based ads.

Facebook Credits can be used to purchase in-app products, such as products found in Farmville and they can be used on Facebook’s new Facebook Deals platform, a competitor to Groupon that offers daily deals with offers often discounted 50% or more on retail goods and services.

The price for watching an ad isn’t huge, right now just one Facebook credit ($.10), but it does signal a new way to engage users who might typically exit video ads as they appear.  read more

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