China Says It’ll Continue Internet Censorship

On Tuesday China vowed to continue enforcing Internet censorship. In a “white paper” statement, the country stated that it’d block anything that threatens “national unity.”

This all comes after a few months ago, when Google pulled out of the country due to China’s demands of censoring search results. Censorship in China has limited over 384 million Internet users from accessing websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and many more.

But China, which routinely blocks websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, gave no sign there would be an easing of the “Great Firewall” — the nickname for the network of filters that keep mainland web surfers from accessing material the government deems sensitive.

Source: Canadian Press

The report that came out also suggested that it’s the responsibility of the company or website owner to block all content that is considered a threat. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the ISP to implement “security management systems and utilize technical measures to prevent the transmission of all types of illegal information.”

Doesn’t look like China will have a “free Internet” any time soon.

New iTunes Update To Be Released Along With iOS 4

Flying under the radar today during WWDC is the fact that iTunes 9.2 will be released alongside iOS 4. The report of this news came from Techcrunch’s MG Siegler.

Specifically, the employee told me that iTunes 9.2 would be unveiled in the coming weeks (and probably the same time as iOS 4) to allow for PDF syncing in the new iBooks for iPhone. The ability to read PDFs is the latest addition to the iBooks app, and isn’t currently available in the iPad version. According to the employee, people will be able to email PDFs to one another and open them in this reader — or they can simply sync them with their computer and this new iTunes 9.2.

My hope is that they do a complete overhaul of the software. The current design is painful to look at, not to mention that it is pretty slow (even on a Mac). It just doesn’t have the easy-to-use interface that most other Mac applications have. It will be interesting to see how much Apple will integrate iTunes with iOS 4, especially with the introduction of folder support, multitasking, and other new features.

Entrepreneur Nearly Gives Up $1.3 Million Due To Gadget Addiction

Kord Campbell, an entrepreneur in San Francisco, almost missed out on a huge opportunity to sell his company for a substantial amount of money. The reason for this isn’t all that surprising either: his computer screens were flooded with instant messages, e-mails, and other various applications. It took him over 12 days for him to finally figure out what had happened.

“I stood up from my desk and said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Mr. Campbell said. “It’s kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did.”

While he managed to salvage the $1.3 million deal after apologizing to his suitor, Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data. Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.

Luckily, Mr. Campbell was able to contact the buyer and sell his company for a 1.3 million dollars. I cannot imagine the stress he was under once he figured out the huge opportunity he nearly missed.

With all of that said, this all begs the question of whether we’re becoming addicted to technology. What are your thoughts? Has our constant use of technology interrupted what really matters in life?

Is Apple Intentionally Delaying iPad Shipments?

I wrote earlier today on my personal blog about the Apple shipping delay on iPads that just doesn’t seem to be going away. What I found difficult was the fact that Apple’s been promoting the iPad as a “revolutionary product,” but yet, they weren’t able to meet the high demand for it. You’d think that Apple would expect demand for the iPad and that it would be getting to the 2 million mark in sales rather quickly.

What made me even more angry was the fact that Apple delayed the shipment of the iPad to international countries by a whole two months (and it could be 3 for a lot more customers). I ordered my iPad over two weeks ago and it hasn’t even been shipped, which is really making me wish that I would’ve just purchased from a local retail store. But as expected, it’s too late, bricks-and-mortar stores are sold out of the iPad as well.

I am really beginning to think that Apple fabricated the delay of the iPad to get more hype towards the launch. It seems so silly that Apple wouldn’t make enough product before the release, especially if it’s such a “magical and revolutionary product.” The only other reason I can think of for these delays would be poor planning by Apple, and I really don’t think Steve Jobs would allow that to happen.

With all of that said though, whatever Apple is doing is working. I have been wanting to get my hands on an iPad for a very long time. Additionally, I probably wont even remember that I was so angry at Apple once I’ve received the iPad.

‘Quit Facebook Day’ More Popular on Twitter Than Facebook

Well today was the big day, the day that thousands of users said that they would be quitting Facebook. Although my personal beliefs are that very few have followed through, it has brought quite a laugh to other social network users.

A trending topic on Twitter for most of the day was “Quit Facebook;” however, you’d be surprised at how few users were criticizing or promoting the movement. Statements were pretty neutral, and included tweets such as whether one should quit Facebook, or simply stating that “Today is ‘Quit Facebook Day’.” Rarely would you see someone who’d voice anger or displeasure towards the social network. People seemed pretty satisfied with the fact that Facebook at least made an effort to improve their privacy settings.

This begs the question of just how much of a choke hold Facebook has on its users. I’ve come to the realization that people have developed a need for Facebook, and unfortunately, they cannot fulfill that need anywhere else. Facebook really didn’t need to improve their privacy settings, in my opinion. I doubt a significant portion of users would’ve left anyway, considering that the social network plays such a vital role in people’s lives. Facebook has obviously become an addiction for quite a few people, and I’m not sure that privacy issues are going to deter them from that addiction.

What are your thoughts?

3G Calling Now Available for Skype on The iPhone

Early this morning Skype released an update to their popular iPhone application. This update now allows Skype users to make voice calls over their carrier’s 3G network, allowing you to make phone calls on Skype from just about anywhere.

This all comes after a couple of months ago, when AT&T restricted the use of VOIP applications to Wi-Fi networks.  They did this because they wanted to keep users from piggybacking their 3G data service, and consequently, would be forced to use AT&T’s mobile service instead.

At the end of the summer Skype will be charging a “small fee” on their 3G Skype feature, however, it is not yet understood just how much this fee will be. So far, reviews on this feature have been quite positive, however, there have also been reports that there is a small delay on the audio.

960×640 To Be The New iPhone’s Resolution

According to SuperPhone.cz (via MacRumors.com), the brand new iPhone, which is expected to be released in late June, will feature a 960×640 screen resolution. The website had apparently gotten their hands on the iPhone screen and magnified it using a microscope.

The fact that Superphone got hold of this screen isn’t a surprise though, as there have been reports of iPhone parts floating around for the last 3 months.

From this procedure, they were able to count the RGB elements of the screen and found it to be exactly twice the density in both horizontal and vertical directions compared to the current iPhone. This would quadruple the total number of pixels and increase the resolution from the current 480×320 to 960×640. This would increase the pixel density to a whopping 320dpi — higher than any other device on the market.

I expect that we’ll be seing some pretty stunning video from this device.

Should YouTube Allow Videos To Exceed 10 Minutes?

When I first read this New York Times article I was quite reluctant to believe the fact that the everyday user leaves YouTube once they’ve finished watching a single video. Furthermore, statistics show that an average YouTube viewer only stays on the Web site for 15 minutes.

One reason for the problem, that this article pointed out, is the fact that the video lengths are too short. They even questioned whether it would be even possible for users to want to watch hours of short videos. Now I personally could spend hours going through YouTube’s video content, but the vibe I’m getting is that the everyday user doesn’t.

Would you agree that in order for YouTube to keep visitors on their site longer, it’d need to increase its upload capacity? Or would longer videos ruin the overall user experience?

3-Year Old Girl Found Roaming Vancouver Streets

Last night, a 3-year old girl was found by a couple walking the streets of Vancouver, Canada. Apparently, the mother left the daughter at home overnight, but police aren’t sure what for. The CBC is reporting that the couple that found the girl monitored the girl from a distance for a few minutes, and then took charge when they noticed she was walking onto the roadway.

Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness said the girl spoke some English, but had trouble forming sentences and was too young to identify herself, so police had to conduct a search of the area to try to find her family.

“She seemed to understand a bit of Cantonese and she seemed to understand a bit of English, but she doesn’t speak anything. She just had little kid gibberish. We had no ability to find out anything from her.”

The girl was placed in the care of social service workers while police spent the night searching the neighbourhood for her family. Local hospitals, fire departments and paramedics were all alerted about the girl.

Luckily, the Vancouver police were able to find the child’s mother, who arrived at her residence at 6:00 a.m the next morning (Friday). She then went out looking for her daughter. That is when her and a police officer crossed paths. The mother was then reunited with her daughter around 10 AM at morning.

It’s quite concerning to know that a mother would leave her young daughter at home overnight, no matter what the reason is. I have a feeling that there must be something more to this story, as I don’t know anyone who’d leave their 3-year old daughter at home alone.

What are your thoughts?

F.T.C. Approves Google’s Acquisition of AdMob

The advertising company AdMob will be sold to Google for a whopping $750 million dollars. In a  5 to 0 decision, the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal after some controversy that it would be providing Google with an authoritative position in the mobile advertising market.

In a statement issued today, the Commission said that although the combination of the two leading mobile advertising networks raised serious antitrust issues, the agency’s concerns ultimately were overshadowed by recent developments in the market, most notably a move by Apple Computer Inc. – the maker of the iPhone – to launch its own, competing mobile ad network. In addition, a number of firms appear to be developing or acquiring smartphone platforms to better compete against Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, and these firms would have a strong incentive to facilitate competition among mobile advertising networks.

“As a result of Apple’s entry (into the market), AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not,” the Commission’s statement explains.

The F.T.C also stated that company acquisitions in developing markets such as mobile advertising should receive a similar level of “antitrust scrutiny” as those in other types of markets. Additionally, the statement also suggested that the competition between Google and AdMob before the purchase has increased innovation tremendously.

Well it looks like Google now has power of yet another advertising market.

Facebook Blocked By Pakistan Government

Outrage over a Facebook page called “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day!,” has lead to the Pakistani government to blocking the social network. The page was posted by a Muslim group who’re against the creator’s of South Park for showing Mohammad in a bear suite in an earlier episode.

Many Muslims, in and outside Pakistan, consider images of the prophet, whether good or bad, to be blasphemous.

The order came out earlier today, and according to Naveed Inayat Malik, the deputy attorney general of Punjab province, it will remain blocked until at least May 31.

This all comes after Tuesday, when the government ordered ISPs to block the “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day!” page only. Attorney’s from the Islamic Lawyers Forum made an appeal to a high court the next day, stating that Facebook should be completely blocked, as it has allowed the creation of the page in the first place.

Microsoft Files Multiple Patent Infringement Claims on Salesforce.com

Microsoft is taking aim at Salesforce.com for infringing upon nine patents owned by the software giant. Salesforce, a company which provides cloud-computing consultation to enterprises, has been up in running for over ten years.

The patents that have claimed to have been infringed upon include the following:

  • Method and system for mapping between logical data and physical data.
  • System and method for providing and displaying a web page having an embedded menu.
  • Method and system for stacking toolbars in a computer display.
  • Automated web site creation using template driven generation of active server page applications.
  • Aggregation of system settings into objects.
  • Timing and velocity control for displaying graphical information.
  • Method and system for identifying and obtaining computer software from a remote computer.
  • System and method for controlling access to data entities in a computer network.

It should also be noted that “Timing and velocity control for displaying graphical information” was noted twice in the claim. Below is part of an official press release issued by Microsoft earlier today.

“Microsoft has filed an action today, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, against Salesforce.com for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by their CRM product.

Microsoft has been a leader and innovator in the software industry for decades and continues to invest billions of dollars each year in bringing great software products and services to market. We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard that investment, and therefore cannot stand idly by when others infringe our IP rights.”

This is only one of the many patent infringement claims that have been thrown around as of late by large tech industry companies. What are your thoughts about this reoccurring trend?

0.Facebook.com: A New Mobile Platform For International Facebook Users

International Facebook users with mobile devices will be a lot happier today. Called 0.Facebook.com, users with specific carriers will be able to access their Facebook accounts on mobile devices absolutely free.

“Zero” is a light-weight version of m.facebook.com that omits data intensive applications like Photos. It will launch in coming weeks and we are discussing it at MWC as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile Internet usage.” — Brandee Barker

TechCrunch.com

Unfortunately, there are two cons to this version of Facebook. One of which is the fact that users cannot view or upload photos — this is probably to reduce the costs of data for the mobile carrier. The second problem is that it’s not available from any carriers within the United States or Canada.

With mobile devices becoming ever so popular now-a-days, this is a huge move for Facebook. This is because it will allow their users to stay connected to the social network more often throughout the day. With that said, in April Facebook tossed away Facebook Light, a more cleaner, stripped down version of Facebook. Without the ability to upload photos and other media, I presume that 0.Facebook.com will take a similar path.

Apple Quietly Releases New MacBook

Earlier this morning Apple released its latest version of the MacBook. As expected, the new version has a 10 hour battery life — the same as the new 13 inch MacBook Pro. Additionally, Apple has also equipped it with NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics. Even better, the new MacBook now has a 2.4 GHz processor, but unfortunately, they’re still using a Core 2 Duo over the new i5 and i7 processors.

Currently, Apple has the product priced at just under $1000. This would probably benefit university students the most, but it’s also a solid solution for others on limited cash budgets.

I’m surprised at how little Apple has improved this product. Perhaps it’s trying to weed the MacBook out of its lineup. I’m not sure that would be a good move, however, as reports are coming out about Mac sales increasing and iPod sales decreasing.

5 Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Website

Are you having problems getting more people to your website? If so, you’re not alone. Most people don’t understand the work it takes to get a website noticed on the Internet. Additionally, people continue to have problems fathoming that the search engines aren’t crawling websites to learn about them, they’re crawling for content. Until website owners realize that “content is king,” they’ll continue to have difficulties getting website traffic.

There are a few things you can do, however, to better your chances at increasing traffic. Here are 5 of them below.

  1. Get more links – By attracting more links to your website you’ll be increasing your chances of your website being found in search engines. These search engines determine the importance of your website by how many quality links are directing towards it. More importantly, these links need to be relavent to what is being talked about on your site. Remember, a link for the sake of a link isn’t as valuable as a website who links to you because of the quality of your content.
  2. Promote Offline – One of the best ways to direct more people to your site is by actually telling them in person. This is a great way to allow people to see who you really are and why they should visit your website. Talk to your friends about what your site offers, why they should visit, and what benefit they can get from your content.
  3. Make connections with successful people – Finding people with an already solid reputations is a great way to spread the word about your website, especially if they’re popular on the Internet. These people will be able to direct people to your site by simply recommending it to their followers. Additionally, they can also provide additional “link juice” by linking to you from their website.
  4. Use video and audio – Using different types of media is a great way to get additional traffic to your website. By using services such as Youtube.com and MyPodcast.com you’ll be able to tap into a market that can’t be touched by strictly focusing on written content. A way of leveraging the power of sites like Youtube is by including a link to your website in the description box.
  5. Use social networking – Social networking has allowed website owners to display and promote their content to the world. Now, the mainstream media has also caught on, meaning that the chances of one being noticed by a mass audience are significantly increased. Now using social media tools doesn’t mean you should spam your site on Twitter and Facebook. Instead, use these tools to make connections with people that will actually be interested in what you have to say. Social networking is a great way to build a community around your brand and make connections with other people interested in your niche.

Again, I must reiterate how important content is. Without good content, users will have no reason to head to your website. Whether your content is through text, video, or audio, you need to ensure that there is a demand for what you’re saying. You also need to make sure that what you produce is helpful and will provide quality solutions to your visitor’s problem.

If you have any tips that you’d like to share feel free to leave a comment below.