‘FaceGlat’, Jewish answer to Facebook

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skynews 461749335 thumb FaceGlat, Jewish answer to FacebookA new social networking site for ultra-Orthodox Jews takes customary segregation of the sexes online and also bars pictures or ads deemed immodest in ultra-Orthodox society.

Go to www.faceglat.com and the home page has signs in Hebrew and English directing men to click on to the right of the page and women to the left.

Sign up and you will see a page identical to those on Facebook, but here photos posted on a man’s wall may only be of other men; likewise for the women’s side.

The virtual divide mirrors the practice at Orthodox Jewish synagogues, weddings and other events where the sexes are physically separated. On certain public bus lines running through ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods, women must stand at the back, to the outrage of feminists.

Israeli news website Ynet says FaceGlat — Glatt is a term used in kosher food certification — was founded by Yaakov Suissa from the Habad hassidic movement.

‘It’s not an alternative for Facebook, but something intended for a particular public,’ Ynet quoted him as saying.

‘I believe that it would be much more convenient for a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) man or woman to publish pictures and all kinds of other things to people of the same sex only.

‘People who are God-fearing and care about their children’s education cannot tolerate the ads and pictures one sees on the regular Facebook,’ he said.

Men who sign in to FaceGlat as men cannot visit or post on the women’s wall and vice versa, although at the moment there seems to be nothing preventing a member of either sex signing up under a false name and details.

Ynet says that plans for the site’s future include modifications to prevent gender impersonation.


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Microsoft apologises for Winehouse tweet

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winehouse thumb Microsoft apologises for Winehouse tweetMicrosoft has apologised for a ‘tweet’ that has been blasted for seeming like a blatant effort to cash in on the death of 27-year-old British singer Amy Winehouse.

‘Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated,’ Microsoft UK PR said at a ‘tweetbox360′ account at microblogging service Twitter.

‘Far from the case, we assure you,’ the message continued.

Microsoft became a target of online ire over the weekend after the same Twitter account posted an update inviting people to remember Winehouse by buying digital versions of her Back to Black album at social.zune.net.

The Zune website is Microsoft’s shop on the internet for downloading music, films and other entertainment content to computers, smartphones, and Xbox 360 videogame consoles.

Replies on Twitter criticised the Microsoft message as ‘crass’ and ‘vile.’

Winehouse’s latest album topped the sales chart at Apple’s online iTunes music store on Monday while her defiant Rehab song was the tenth best selling single track download.

Winehouse’s parents on Monday visited the growing shrine of tributes left outside her London home as a post-mortem on her body failed to establish a formal cause of death.

Winehouse was found dead at her house on Saturday and the police are not treating it as suspicious. The cause of death remains unknown.

With her sultry vocals and trademark beehive hairstyle, Winehouse was considered one of the finest British female singers in years, but she had struggled with drink and drug addictions.

‘With Amy W’s passing, the world has lost a huge talent,’ Microsoft UK PR said in its most recent tweeted message.

‘Our thoughts are with Amy’s family and friends at this very sad time.’


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Executives Fail to Focus on Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media marketing has gained its place at the table. eMarketer estimates 80% of companies with at least 100 employees will use social networks for marketing this year, up from nearly three in four last year. By 2012, usage will be even greater, and, in turn, efforts are becoming more sophisticated.

Most companies now recognize a well crafted social media strategy is a vital part of the marketing mix. In fact, a study from Jive Software and Penn, Schoen & Berland found 78% of executives thought a social business strategy was somewhat or very important to the future success of their business.

Despite this realization, most executives are still only in the tentative stages of making social strategy a priority.

The survey of executives who have final say or significant input on social business strategy found that only 27% listed social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admitted a social plan was necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% said social business strategy was simply not necessary.

Meanwhile, executives were also not overly optimistic about their current social strategy efforts. Only 17% felt their social strategy was ahead of the curve. About four in 10 (42%) felt their social strategy was just keeping up and 33% felt they were behind.

A different study from Forbes Insights and Coremetrics showed a similar amount of enthusiasm for social strategy. Only 11% of US and UK executives surveyed at large businesses listed social media strategy as a leading priority in 2011—tied for last place with mobile marketing. Social media strategy will receive a small boost in 2012, though, with 19% of execs listing it as a leading marketing priority for the coming year.

Many companies may be using social media marketing, but those that choose not to focus on a social strategy risk falling behind the curve in integrating social media with their overall marketing goals. Recognizing the importance of strategy alone isn’t enough; companies should start implementing a plan.


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Govt to consider new Facebook law

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Facebook thumb2 Govt to consider new Facebook lawThe federal government says education, rather than legislation, is the best way to protect children using Facebook and other social media.

But the government has agreed to look at proposals being prepared by South Australia, including tighter age limits on use of the social media and giving parents more rights to access their children’s Facebook accounts.

The SA government will prepare a discussion paper on the issue after raising its concerns at a meeting of state and federal attorneys-general in Adelaide on Friday.

Federal Justice Minister Brendan O’Connor said the government was loath to legislate where legislation was not going to work.

‘I think education is the key,’ he said.

‘We need to make sure young people are informed about the potential risks.

‘The cyber world is a magnificent place, it’s a fantastic educational tool, it’s a fantastic place for people to engage socially.

‘But the internet is not a benign playground. There are potential threats to young people in particular.’

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau said Australia was going through a revolution in the way people consumed and generated information.

‘That is a technologically driven change that is way ahead of the legal system and probably the thinking of most governments around the world and certainly in this country,’ he said.

‘We are grappling with changes that are moving more quickly than most people would have thought possible only a few years ago.’

SA’s proposals are likely to include a provision to raise the age for Facebook users and to also require the site to seek proof of age.

They will also consider allowing greater parental access.

Facebook currently requires users to be aged at least 13, but there is no requirement to provide proof of age.

A SA mother found recently that her teenage daughter had uploaded inappropriate pictures of herself to her Facebook page but the mother was prevented by Facebook from removing them.

Mr Rau said that case highlighted the concerns of many parents, while Mr O’Connor said more needed to be done to educate and inform young people of the dangers associated with posting material online.

‘People need to think carefully about what they upload, what they put onto their Facebook and social websites,’ he said.


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NBN to cost at least $60 a month

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NBN Rollout thumb NBN to cost at least $60 a monthHouseholds will pay at least $60 – and up to $190 – a month for internet services on the National Broadband Network, data from an internet provider shows.

The first retail pricing for services over the $36 billion NBN were released by internet provider Internode on Thursday.

Packages start at $59.95 a month for a basic 12-megabit-per-second (Mbps) service with a 30-gigabyte quota for downloads and uploads, The Australian newspaper reported on Friday.

At the top end, Internode said it would charge $189.95 a month for a 100Mbps service with a 1000GB download quota.

Internode blamed the high prices on ‘existing flaws in the NBN Co wholesale charging model’ and warned that regional customers could have to pay more to connect to the network.

Telstra, the commonwealth and the builder NBN Co signed definitive agreements for the rollout of the $35.9 billion scheme in June.

NBN Co plans to provide a fibre-optic cable network to 93 per cent of the population while the remaining seven per cent will have either fixed wireless or satellite broadband over the next decade.


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Software to end ‘naked’ US airport scans

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skynews 1933409307 thumb Software to end naked US airport scansIn the face of an outcry over so-called ‘naked’ body scans at airports, US authorities have announced plans for a new scanning system that eliminates ‘passenger-specific images’.

Transportation Security Administration administrator John Pistole said the agency would begin installing new software on its scanners ‘designed to enhance privacy’.

The new software ‘will auto-detect items that could pose a potential threat using a generic outline of a person for all passengers,’ the agency said on Wednesday.

‘By eliminating the image of an actual passenger and replacing it with a generic outline of a person, passengers are able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees,’ a TSA statement said.

‘Further, a separate TSA officer will no longer be required to view the image in a remotely located viewing room.’

The news comes after protests and lawsuits over the use of so-called ‘naked’ scanners that take full-body X-ray images that show passengers’ genitals. In cases where people refuse such scans, TSA agents manually pat down passengers.

The TSA says the scanners protect fliers following the foiled 2009 Christmas Day plot to down a US jet by a Nigerian traveller who concealed explosives in his underwear.

Critics say the devices and the pat downs are invasive and demeaning.

US President Barack Obama last year said he understood ‘frustrations’ over the measures and had asked the TSA to ‘constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety’.

Story source: www.bigpond.com


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Harry Potter website adds Google magic

harry potter thumb Harry Potter website adds Google magicAuthor JK Rowling’s website devoted to fictional wizard Harry Potter will feature a bit of Google magic when it debuts later this year in the United States, according to the internet titan.

Rowling’s beloved Potter titles will be available on Google eBooks platform at Pottermore.com and Google Checkout will be the preferred payment system, according to Larissa Fontaine of Google Books new business development.

‘When you buy a Harry Potter e-book from Pottermore, you will be able to choose to keep it in your Google Books library in-the-cloud, as well as on other e-reading platforms,’ Fontaine said on Wednesday in a blog post.

The Pottermore team reportedly plans to use Google-owned video sharing service YouTube for online broadcasts.

‘Pottermore and Google are teaming up to integrate Pottermore with a number of Google products,’ Fontaine said. ‘Stay tuned for more Pottermore and Google wizardry on the web.’

In June, Rowling unveiled an interactive website featuring new material about the boy wizard’s world, while his adventures will also now be sold as e-books for the first time.

The free website, www.pottermore.com, will go live from July 31 for one million Potter fans who pass a special online challenge, and to the general public from October.

The seven e-books will be available through the website from October in partnership with Sony.

Rowling said Potter fans will be able to register on the free website using one of the young sorcerers from the books as their online identity, then play games and interact with elements of the fictional world.

The site will also have previously unpublished material that she has written on the backgrounds to the characters and their lives at Hogwarts Academy, a fictional school for young wizards.

The author laid down her pen – and Harry’s magic wand – when she finished the seventh book in 2007, with a stunning record of 400 million copies of the series sold around the world.


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Mobile ownership expected to rise

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smart phone thumb1 Mobile ownership expected to riseIt is predicted that in five years everyone will own a mobile phone and half of these will be smartphones.

The head of Ericsson’s mobile infrastructure group says global mobile penetration will reach 100 per cent by 2016.

Australia is leading the way, with active SIM cards ownership making 115 per cent of the population.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded that 31 per cent of children owned a mobile phone in 2009 and AIMIA found 40 per cent of smartphone users were over the age of 40.


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In-stream Online Video Boosts Brand Recall

Interactive marketers can’t help but look to online video to take advantage of branding potential richer than that for previous online display ad formats. But like its static display counterpart, banner ads, online video advertising can appear in numerous ad sizes, placements and creative types, making it difficult for marketers to decide where to start.

Research from Yahoo! indicates certain video ad units are better at boosting advertiser and brand recall than others, providing marketers a tentative roadmap for increased online video advertising success.

In Yahoo!’s study, video viewers recalled seeing pre-, mid- and post-roll ads more often than any other display ad type. More than half (53%) of respondents who recalled seeing some advertising remembered viewing these in-stream ads.

However, the pervasiveness of an ad unit type can still have a large influence on recall. For example, 35% of viewers were able to recall seeing static banner ads, one of the most common display ad types. In contrast, only 13% of viewers remembered seeing seemingly more eye-catching video banner ads.

This seems counterintuitive when comparing the dynamic nature of video to static creative. But users are much more commonly exposed to standard banner ads than online video banner ads; users can hardly recall ads they rarely or never see.

The concept of exposure influencing recall is also echoed in the fact that in-stream units like pre-roll ads—the most recalled ad unit types—are also the most used video units by US marketers, according to Break Media.

Viewers not only remember seeing these in-stream units, they also recall the ads’ subjects. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they remembered the brand or product advertised after viewing a pre-, mid- or post-roll video ad. This is not surprising given the often mandatory—and interruptive—viewing nature of these units.

Worth noting is the ability of expandable video banners and pop-up video ads to prompt user action: 39% of respondents reportedly acted after viewing an expandable video ad, compared to only 20% of pre-, mid- and post-roll video ad viewers.

Expandable and pop-up video ads were also more likely to aid users in purchase decisions than any other display ad type. Such findings hint at the potential use of these video ad units for direct response-related campaign objectives.

As the industry continues to mature and new formats undoubtedly emerge, video advertisers will be presented with new ways to engage viewers and enhance their brands. For now, brand marketers are best served leveraging the use of in-stream video ads and investing in the creation of professional, branded content to boost brand recall.


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Hackers target Sun newspaper

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the sun thumb Hackers target Sun newspaperComputer hackers have targeted The Sun website with visitors being redirected to a hoax story about Rupert Murdoch’s suicide.

The group LulzSec, which has previously targeted companies including Sony, says it carried out the hijack, via messages on Twitter.

Internet users trying to access thesun.co.uk were redirected to new-times.co.uk and a story entitled ‘Media mogul’s body discovered’.

It suggested that Murdoch had been found after he had ‘ingested a large quantity of palladium’.

After that site stopped working, The Sun address was re-directing to LulzSec’s Twitter account, which claimed to be displaying ‘hacked internal Sun staff data’ in one entry.

A News International spokeswoman confirmed the company was ‘aware’ of what was happening, but made no further comment.

LulzSec is a group of hackers that has claimed responsibility for various high-profile computer attacks on bodies including FBI partner organisations, the CIA, the US Senate and a pornography website.

In the UK it also carried out a distributed denial of service attack – where large numbers of computers overload a target with web requests – on the Serious and Organised Crime Agency website.

The group’s name comes from the word lulz, which is online slang for laughter at someone else’s expense. Their logo is a cartoon man in a top hat and monocle, holding a glass of wine.


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