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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 16:05

Attract More Twitter Followers

(The Root) -- A recent poll by social recruiting company Jobvite revealed that 46 percent of the American workforce now uses Twitter. And most of those people are higher-skilled, higher-paid individuals who are using the social media tool as a vehicle to find new job opportunities. Personal branding is a critical piece of attracting those potential opportunities, and the number of Twitter followers you have is one of the metrics that prospective employers will use to gauge the strength of your brand. If professional networking is at least part of the reason you're on Twitter and you've found yourself lacking in followers, a few things could be holding you back. Here are three ways to improve your chances. Your Profile Picture Is Missing This is probably the biggest reason you may not be getting the followers you should. People like to make a visual connection to the folks they follow. Also, just having that egg as your avatar can be a signal to some people that the account is a fake, and who would want to follow that? Add a recent photo in which you're easily recognizable. Your Username I can tell you right now, if your username is something…
Monday, 03 December 2012 17:36

OMG! Texting Turns 20

(CNN) -- It's been hailed for its succinctness and blamed for everything from sore thumbs to the decline of conversation. Love it or hate it, the text message is 20 years old. The first-ever text message was sent December 3, 1992, by software engineer Neil Papworth, to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis, who received the message on his husky Orbitel 901 cell phone. It read simply, "Happy Christmas."As of Monday, the text is no longer in its teens -- the age group it's probably most associated with. In fact, it's more of a senior citizen in technology years. At just 190 bytes and 160 characters, the modest text message isn't the most glamorous or elaborate form of communication, and that's a major reason it's become so pervasive. Texting is popular around the world, across age groups and cultures, because it is simple, concise, and compatible with every mobile device, whether it's a $500 smartphone or a disposable flip phone. Mobile society leads to bad manners? Church: Go forth and tweet Teen is fastest texter in United StatesSix billion SMS (short message service) messages are sent every day in the United States, according to Forrester Research, and over 2.2 trillion are sent…
Friday, 30 November 2012 16:44

Why We Can't Put Our Phone Down

The urges that drive cell phone and instant messaging addiction may be the same as those driving shopping addiction, a small new study suggests. Baylor University and Seton Hall University researchers found that materialism and impulsiveness lie behind compulsive cell-phone use and instant messaging tendencies. Their findings are published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions. Although cell phone addiction can be hard to define and is not yet defined in the DSM, experts say it is most often characterized by feelings of withdrawal if you don't have it, compulsive checking of the phone, and using it to feel good."At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss such aberrant cell phone use as merely youthful nonsense -- a passing fad," study researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., a professor of marketing at Baylor University, said in a statement. "But an emerging body of literature has given increasing credence to cell phone addiction and similar behavioral addictions." The study is based on questionnaire results from 191 college students. The questionnaires were meant to assess the students' levels of impulsivity and materialism, as well as possible addiction to instant messaging and cell-phone use, using a metric called the Mobile Phone and Instant Messaging…
Friday, 30 November 2012 16:01

Facebook's New Privacy Policy

(The Root) -- In the last couple of days, I've seen legal declarations in my Facebook newsfeed about how the social media network can allegedly use your personal data. Some of the language posted includes this: ... I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents ... It goes on to cite some legal statutes and encourages everyone to repost the update for his or her own personal protection. I can tell you right now that posting that status update not only is unnecessary but also doesn't really give you a legal leg to stand on, either. Here are the highlights of Facebook's new privacy-policy changes: Failed Democracy Did you know (or care) that beginning in 2009, Facebook allowed users to vote on its privacy policy? However, less than 30 percent of the 1 billion folks on the network provided feedback on privacy changes. So now updates will be decided by the powers that be and no one else. Targeted Ads Facebook is turning up the notch on the use of your personal information to sell you stuff, now sharing…
Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:31

AT&T Rated Worst Carrier In U.S

More bad news for AT&T. Consumer Reports has released its annual carrier ratings. And just as it had in the last two years, AT&T landed in last place, far behind the top major carrier in the roundup, Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless fared somewhat well in the study, earning relatively strong marks on voice and data. The only bright spot in AT&T's review was its 4G LTE network, which actually beat out its chief competitor in this year's study. Sprint and T-Mobile USA landed between Verizon and AT&T.For its part, AT&T isn't ready to back down. In a statement to CNET, an AT&T spokesperson said the company is always working to improve its service. "While delivering an even better customer experience is a never-ending job, we're pleased that our customers rate their 4G experience as best of any carrier," the spokesperson told CNET. "We've invested significantly to deliver unique advantages, including offering the nation's largest 4G network, which enables the fastest iPhone 5 downloads and simultaneous talk and surf." Consumer Reports' survey examines voice, data, and customer service across the wireless space. Although Verizon was tops among major carriers, across the industry, it actually landed in the middle of the pack.…
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 18:20

Apple Buys Trademark

Who would have thought motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson owned something Apple Inc. might desperately desire? Back in September, Apple debuted its "Lightning" dock connector, a new charging port for iPhone 5 that the company said would make its way onto future devices. The port also happened to share a name with a line of patented Harley-Davidson bikes that were never released. Patently Apple reports that Apple recently purchased the European trademark, originally claimed by the infamous motorcycle company in 2005. "The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for 'Lightning' under numbers 011399821/862," according to Patently Apple. The site also notes this negotiation seems to be a "partial transfer," allowing Harley-Davidson to "use certain aspects of the trademark" after the transfer is complete. No financial terms have been disclosed to the public. Apple's original 30-pin connector was first used on the iPod, way back in 2003. Apple insists the update to a smaller 8-prong connector was necessary for the slim new iPhone 5, thus customers have (grudgingly) shelled out $30 for adaptors to sync previously purchased Apple products with the "Lightning" connector. The company's purchase of the Lightening trademark also protects "television sets, games, computer game programs,…
Monday, 26 November 2012 16:58

Amazon Best Cyber Monday Deal

Amazon's Cyber Monday deals went live on Nov. 26 at 12 a.m., offering shoppers up to 90 percent off some of the season's hottest items. This year's Cyber Monday is slated to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row, according to the Associated Press. Cyber Monday sales are expected to jump 20 percent from 2011, CBS News reports. Amazon has amped up its Cyber Monday deals for 2012. The online retailer is offering week-long savings, plus lightning deals for Monday shoppers. Click over to Amazon's Cyber Monday page and check out some of the best deals below. Amazon Deals: Kindle Fire: Amazon's Kindle Fire with 7-inch LCD Display, Wi-Fi and 8GB is available for $129 Monday only with the code FIREDEAL. This is a $30 savings from the normal price of $159. Panasonic VIERA 55-Inch LED-LCD TV: Cyber Monday savings on Panasonic's 55-inch TV top $1,500. Buy this for just $999 on Monday. Samsung Galaxy S III: The Samsung Galaxy S III 4G Android phone with 16GB is priced at just $24.99 with a savings of 96 percent when purchased with the AT&T service plan. Other plans available include Sprint and…
Friday, 23 November 2012 15:41

Samsung Targets Apple iPad Mini

Last time we checked in with Apple's ongoing court battle with Samsung in the upcoming Galaxy Nexus case, which will be tried by the same court that awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages this past summer, Apple was adding the latest Samsung devices to the suit. Now Samsung has responded in kind, adding the iPad mini, 4th generation iPad and 5th generation iPod touch to the mix. Samsung's additions shouldn't come as a surprise; when a judge ruled that Apple was indeed allowed to add Android 4.2 Jelly Bean as it pertains to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as well as the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy S III to the proceedings, he specifically warned that in granting that alteration, Apple should be prepared for return amendments from Samsung. Specifically, he said that the iPad mini and latest iPad were likely additions. The end of this week, November 23, is the deadline for any new additions to the lawsuit, so the timing on Samsung's part is not surprising. Samsung had also previously moved to have the iPhone 5 added to the filing, and that motion was successful. This time around, the basis for adding Apple's latest devices is the same: Samsung…
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:46

Windows 8 Sales

Between the vigorous ad campaign and redundant launch events, you've probably heard: Microsoft recently released a shiny-new, touchscreen-optimized operating system called Windows 8. The OS has received mixed reviews from critics since its October launch. But what the response been on the consumers' end? So far, it's been one great big meh. Our colleagues at HuffPost Tech U.K. report lukewarm enthusiasm among current Windows 8 users, according to Toluna QuickSurveys, a market research firm that conducted a poll of 2,000 PC users. Per the research, two out of five Windows users say they're likely to upgrade to Microsoft's. From the report: In all, 38.6% said they were either "very likely" or "quite likely" to upgrade. By contrast, 27.4% said they were either "quite" or "very unlikely" not to upgrade - and 29.4% had no interest either way. Finally, 4.5% said they did not own a Windows PC.(Toluna, which surveyed only those who volunteered for its service, could not provide a sampling error.) Similarly, 70 percent of Windows users in a survey conducted for USA Today said they planned to stick with the operating system they had. One wrinkle in the Toluna survey results is that there's a decent level of…
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:10

Facebook is About to Slow Down

(CNN) -- Bad news: Your Facebook page is likely about to slow down. Good news: The change will help keep online thieves away. According to a recent blog post, Facebook is in the process of moving all of its users in North America -- and soon the rest of the world -- to a type of Internet connection that is more secure but also tends to slow down Web browsing a bit. Called HTTPS, as opposed to less-secure HTTP, it's the connection you see on online retail sites when you're about to enter credit card information or a password. Sometimes a little lock icon appears in the browser window when you're connected to a site with HTTPS. (The "s," by the way, stands for "secure.") "As the Web evolves, expectations around security change," Facebook's Alex Rice wrote last year when he announced that HTTPS would become an option on Facebook. "For example, HTTPS -- once a technology used primarily on banking and e-commerce sites -- is now becoming the norm for any Web app that stores user information." The new change is that Facebook is starting make HTTPS the default setting for all its 1 billion-plus users, so people who…
Friday, 16 November 2012 16:35

Flexible Mobile Screens

Samsung is rumored to take the lead. What's taking so long for smartphone displays to be made of plastic? The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung is stepping up efforts to mass produce mobile device displays made of plastic rather than glass. Your smartphone might soon become, says the Journal, "unbreakable, lighter and bendable." And we might even see these next-gen displays as soon as the first half of 2013. Samsung and others have exhibited prototypes, or proto-prototypes, of technology like this in the past (see "Are Bendable Smartphones the Future?"). Key to flexible display technology are OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes), which are very thin and thus can be put on flexible plastic. OLEDs and the materials they could be embedded in point towards a future where electronics don't necessarily take the rigid shapes we associate with them today; they might even someday be "draped like cloth," wrote Kristina Grifantini in a look at the tech last year (see "The First Fully Stretchable OLED"). And what has taken them so long? The Journal cites "technological barriers" without going into further details (and Samsung wouldn't officially go on the record here; the Journal cites one of those "person[s] familiar"). The next…
Thursday, 15 November 2012 15:00

Facebook Job Search App

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Watch out, LinkedIn. Facebook is jumping into the job search space, with a Social Jobs App that includes listings from services like Monster and BranchOut. The app, which launched Wednesday, currently includes 1.7 million job listings. It's part of the Social Jobs Partnership initiative, which Facebook formed in October 2011 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor and three nonprofit labor organizations. The Social Jobs App marks a shift for Facebook, which has historically focused on personal networking. LinkedIn (LNKD), which had about 187 million members as of September 30, has positioned itself as the king of professional networking. But if the Social Jobs app takes off, Facebook could become a more direct competitor in the professional space. Shares of LinkedIn ended the day slightly lower. Investors were more upset about Monster helping to power Facebook's app, given that the company's bread and butter is its own job search site. Monster's stock closed down 5%. Facebook shares ended the day nearly 13% higher, but that jump came after about 800 million of the company's shares were made available to trade on Wednesday. Facebook's press release cited the flagging economy as the inspiration for the app.…
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 16:12

Apple iMessage vs Texting

I was wondering when this was going to happen. As soon as Apple launched iOS 5 last year, many of us in the tech press took one look at its iMessage feature and thought the same thing: The carriers are screwed. This week, we saw the first sign that that prediction may be coming true. For years, mobile carriers have gotten fat on phone-users desire to send each other short, text-based messages. Carriers are still getting a hefty chunk of revenue from texting, but this week they saw the first-ever decline in SMS text messaging, according to a new report by independent mobile analyst Chetan Sharma. In the third quarter of this year, the number of text messages people sent to one another in the U.S. dropped by about 2%. That may not sound like much, but considering how fast texting had been growing - especially among young people - the fact that the number declined at all is significant. It's not that people are any less connected or firing off any fewer messages. They're just doing it in different ways. One of the biggest culprits is indeed iMessage, which operates exactly as text messages do, but bypasses the carrier…
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:20

Robots May Come For Your Job

Who's your biggest competition for that new job? Turns out, it could be a robot named Baxter. This humanoid robot, created by Rodney Brooks and his team at Rethink Robotics, is easy to program and costs only $2,500. Brooks imagines that users will range from small-scale manufacturers, developers adapting the robot for unique uses, and university researchers. In about 30 minutes an hourly worker can program the robot to do a full day of work. Its small screen even has a face. Is Baxter a sign of an entirely automated manufacturing future? At the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Ariz., Brooks joined MIT research scientist Andrew McAfee to talk about how robots will change our lives. John Markoff, a journalist at the New York Times, moderated the discussion. While Brooks presented a rosy robot future, McAfee warned of the hugely negative consequence of digitizing work: humans are going to lose their jobs. "I see robots encroaching into human skills and abilities that we have never seen before," said McAfee. "When digital technology gets better, employers hire the digital labor rather than the human labor." The adoption of automated robots is one cause of the recession, he says. It has also contributed…