Archive for June, 2012

 

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that he thinks Apple have ruined Siri.

Steve Wozniak poses for a photograph at his ho...

Steve Wozniak

Mr Wozniak recently spoke about Siri while he was attending a farm dedicated to saving malnourished and neglected horses.

“A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo. I was using it to make reservations long before Apple bought it,” said Mr Wozniak.

He is reported to have told a crowd at the farm that Siri was better before it was acquired by Apple.

“I would say, ‘Siri, what are the five largest lakes in California?’ and it would come up, one, two, three, four, five. And I would ask ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and they would come up all in a row. Then Apple bought Siri’, said Wozniak, who apparently then showed the crowd a thumbs down.

“‘[Now it’s], what are the largest lakes in California?’ I’d get all these lakefront properties. And I’d say ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ And I’d get prime rib.”

But it would seem Mr Wozniak remains hopeful for the future.

“I’m really disappointed, but it’s still a market for the future,” Wozniak said. “I think voice recognition for all the platforms is going to get better and better and better at putting together complete sentences and phrases.”

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Facebook allows you to edit your posts

Posted June 28, 2012 By David Kolle

Ever made an embarrassing mistake in a Facebook status update? No problem, you can now edit your comments well after you have written it. 

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

The social network site has started allowing users to edit their comments, avoiding a more cumbersome deletion.

”For instance, if you join a thread and write a long comment but make a typo, I’ll now be able to go edit it instead of having to delete it and repost,” a spokesperson, Johanna Peace, said.

”We’ll also be showing the editing history for a comment so that subsequent commenters or likers have the full context of the conversation. It’s rolling out now and should be live to everyone in the next couple days.”

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Twitter to allow more characters

Posted June 27, 2012 By David Kolle

Twitter concedes that 140 characters will no longer be your limit.

This big ... Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has changed his mind on brevity.

The microblogging site long ago outgrew its original purpose as a platform for simple status updates. Now people use Twitter for news, jokes, conversations and ferocious arguments – and 140 characters is too cramped. That’s why people often resort to hacks like multipart tweets, ugly textese and TwitLonger to express their expansive thoughts. Though it would be a bad idea to drop the character limit entirely, allowing up to 280 characters would let people add more heft to their tweets while ensuring they wouldn’t drone on.

Everyone thought I was nuts. People at the company pointed out that the service is still used by lots of folks who rely on SMS text messaging for access; the 140-character limit was originally chosen so that tweets would fit within texts, and if Twitter dropped it, texters wouldn’t be able to see the bigger tweets.

Lots of folks on Twitter called me a moron, too, and I had a long, mostly incoherent argument about the merits of longer tweets with Mathew Ingram, a blogger at GigaOm, who wrote a piece calling my idea “dumb”. And not long ago, I went to a dinner at which Twitter CEO Dick Costolo talked about the bad advice people had given the company over the years. One of his examples was the recurrent proposal to drop the character limit. The audience laughed at the stupidity of the idea.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I read last week that Twitter is beginning to push past the sacrosanct 140. In a blog post, the company announced the creation of “expanded tweets”, which will allow for “interactive experiences” within boring old text-laden posts. Technically, all tweets can still be only 140 characters long. But the company is letting select organisations – including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, TMZ and the WWE – append more stuff to tweets that reference their content.

For instance, if I link to an article, my followers will now see a little button on the tweet labeled “View summary”. If you click that, you’ll see hundreds more characters: The article’s headline, the author’s byline and Twitter handle, the publication’s Twitter handle, a photo from the piece, and even a short snippet from the article.

Twitter has posted guidelines for sites looking to create these in-tweet “media experiences”, and they specify exactly how much more expansive the new tweets can be. Headlines in supersized tweets can be 70 characters long. Snippets can be 200 characters long. And that’s on top of the main tweet, which can be 140 characters long. Add it all up and you get 410 characters! I can already picture the billboard. Expanded Tweets – fortified with 270 more characters!

Expanded tweets are a great development for Twitter, a way to add depth to the service while still clinging to its hyperabridged roots. In truth, expanded tweets have been around for a while – if you include a picture or a video as part of a Twitter message, then your followers can click to see it. This continued tweet expansion was inevitable. A shrinking percentage of Twitter’s user base accesses the site through SMS, so the 140-character limit was becoming increasingly arbitrary (SMS users will still see all tweets, but they won’t be able to see the expanded summaries). Instead, most of us get our tweets on the Web and on smartphones, venues that allow for richer content.

As expanded tweets roll out to all users on all devices, we’ll find that posts that pack 410 characters worth of information will make the network a deeper, more coherent source of news and conversation.

For one thing, expanded tweets will make Twitter feel less disjointed. Expanded tweets will let you see what’s behind links before you click on them. They’ll also let you follow your favourite writers right from tweets that link to their pieces. And as Twitter adds similar expansive summaries of other kinds of content, say, reviews when someone links to an Amazon product, the experience will become more engaging. Twitter won’t be a place that’s always sending you away to other things. Instead, it will become a destination.

One criticism of expanded tweets is that Twitter has only allowed a few organisations to get expansive.

In a conversation with a Twitter spokeswoman, though, I got the sense that the preferential treatment is only temporary, part of a slow rollout of a complex technical change. At the moment, Twitter is letting any site apply to have its content show up as expanded summaries. Over time, it seems likely that more and more sites will be allowed to automatically expand into summaries within tweets.

A bigger-picture criticism is that, by offering more and more stuff within each tweet, Twitter risks becoming something altogether different from a quick-update site. This fear rests on the idea that there’s something mystical and poetic about the current character limit. Many people argue that it inspires creativity, and that without it, Twitter would get bogged down in endless talk and too many flashy things.

Costolo himself has fretted about this. In a Fortune interview last year, the CEO was asked whether he felt pressure to make Twitter more dynamic in response to other, more feature-rich social networks. “You know, if you just look in the sideview mirror at what are particular companies doing, and then you start to say, ‘Twitter is going to be the world in your pocket – now with video chat!’ – then you lose your way, right?” Costolo said. “So, we’re going to offer simplicity in a world of complexity, focus on our goal, while we understand what everyone else is doing.”

I don’t think money is Twitter’s main reason for expanding tweets. The more simple explanation is that small blocks of text are becoming more and more out of step with everything else online. The web is a bustling place that’s overflowing with pictures, movies, songs and blog posts. Twitter’s purpose is to reflect everything that’s going on in this crazy ecosystem. If it takes a few hundred more characters to do so, what’s so bad about that?

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Microsoft ’Surface’ tablet runs Windows 8 and offers touch and gesture recognition.

Microsoft surface
CEO Steve Ballmer launched the device at a “mystery event” in California today and said it would act as the head of a “whole new family of Microsoft computing devices”.

“If you use your PC to design and create things, this is for you,” Ballmer said. “Imagine if we built this so we could use all the apps you’re familiar with.”

Surface is the first tablet to come with an “ultra rigid” full magnesium case, he told the crowd.
It is just over 900g, less than 14mm thin but “a full PC”, he said.

The Surface has perimeter venting which Ballmer described as a “groove around the edge of the case which allows air to be vented so you never block it with your hands.”

Tech blog Mashable said: “In other words it shouldn’t get hot like an iPad can.”

Other features are a built-in stand and an attachable keyboard and “Vapor MG” scratch resistant casing.

The tablet also uses “digital ink” for a stylus and comes with a magnetic pen which connects to the top of the tablet.

Microsoft Surface

Ballmer said Microsoft was working with Intel to release Surface as the next iteration of tablets.

Ballmer said the Surface would be “priced to compete” and that its price would be “comparable to tablets and Ultrabooks” but did not release a figure.

The demonstration didn’t come without a few hiccups. The first tablet didn’t work properly so Ballmer had to run off-stage to use a second one it’s reported.

The response to the new device has been mixed. Some calling the Surface “the next generation of mobile computing”. The tech blog also acknowledged that it may not kill the iPad but it might have the potential to revive Microsoft.

But it also said that not giving a price or release date was a big mistake.

Some Twitter users were sceptical. One user, @GuyEndoreKaiser wrote that the company would be “discontinuing its Microsoft Surface tablet in early 2014″.

News Limited Technology Editor Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson tweeted that “Microsoft’s Surface tablet looks exceedingly long. Cinematic ratio long. Cargo pants pocket long. “.

Microsoft Surface ReleaseOthers were confident Microsoft was on to a winner:

“Looks sharp and powerful! May have a winner here,” tweeted user @Richard Clarke.

The venue for the invite-only announcement was shrouded in secrecy and was reminiscent of tech mega rival Apple’s media-frenzied unveilings, was disclosed to participants only hours before the event itself.

Journalists – who last week received an invitation teasingly telling them “This will be a major Microsoft announcement – you will not want to miss it” – were told to turn up at the Milk Studios, in downtown Hollywood.

Microsoft Surface

The Milk Studios website describes it as “one of the world’s premiere photography studios, (which) stands at the crossroads of fashion, photography, art and media” – although it was unclear what link it has with Microsoft.

Last week it was reported that Microsoft would unveil its own branded tablet powered by Windows in a head-on challenge to Apple.

Another report said the announcement would not involve a device with the upcoming Microsoft 8 operating system, but a co-branded tablet with Barnes & Noble, the struggling bookseller and maker of the Nook tablet.

US-IT-MICROSOFT-PRESS CONFERENCE-SURFACE

Same say the device could allow consumers to link to the Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console for streaming movies and other entertainment.

Microsoft in April announced a $300 million investment in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary which includes the Nook business.

The brokerage firm Canaccord said “sources close to the matter” indicate Microsoft would unveil a tablet running the next version of Windows under its own brand, departing from its strategy of partnering with computer makers.

“Microsoft has been working with computer makers in the production of the tablets, looking to win share of the tablet market from the dominant iPad,” the brokerage said in a note to clients.

Microsoft Surface ReleaseSome others speculated Microsoft might announce a deal to buy online video service Hulu and weave it into the Xbox Live online entertainment service linked to the Redmond, Washington-based company’s leading Xbox 360 videogame consoles.

The fact that the press event will be held at a yet-to-be disclosed venue in Los Angeles hinted heavily that entertainment industry content would be in the spotlight.

“It’s in LA, so they are going to talk about media,” said independent Silicon Valley analyst, Rob Enderle.

“It could be about hardware, but after the Kin failure and the Zune failure I can’t picture the person at Microsoft who has the balls to pitch a Microsoft tablet.”

Kin was a youth-oriented mobile phone from Microsoft that was pulled from the market after just weeks, while Zune was the longtime Apple rival’s now-abandoned MP3 device that unsuccessfully challenged the iPod.

Some analysts were speculating about an early release of Windows RT, the Microsoft operating system to power tablets or other mobile devices running on ARM chips, which allow mobile devices to run more efficiently.

Microsoft earlier this month stepped up its quest to be at the heart of home entertainment by syncing Xbox 360 videogame consoles to smartphones and tablets while adding more blockbuster content.

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