Instead of outthinking the competition…

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it’s worth trying to outlove them.

Everyone is working hard on the thinking part, but few of your competitors worry about the art and generosity and caring part.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Camera DIY Solar Filter

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If you’re interested in solar photography you can make a DIY solar filter using old CDs, cardboard, glue, and tape. As long as you’re not looking directly through the lens but instead using the LCD screen you don’t have to worry about damaging your vision.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Losing Likes on Your Page? Don’t Worry, It’s Just Facebook Cleaning House

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Facebook is cracking down on something they deem harmful to the integrity of their site, and your fans may be in danger.

You may have experienced a small dip in the total likes on your Facebook page in the last couple of days and yes, it does mean that people are fleeing your page. Why have you suddenly become so unpopular? You haven’t really – the fans fleeing from your page aren’t actually real fans.

In fact, they’re part of a subset Facebook likes to refer to as likes “gained by means that violate our terms.” To you and me, that means fake or fraudulent likes.

Late last month, Facebook announced a site-wide purge of fake likes – ones derived from malware, fake accounts, compromised accounts, duplicate accounts, and bulk purchases.

Have you seen a drop in your page’s total likes since Facebook began the purge? Do you think that Facebook is doing the right thing by upping their efforts to weed out the fakes? Would you be more likely to advertise on Facebook if you knew that the likes you may receive would be legit? Let us know in the comments.

“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about. When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content.

Facebook was built on the principle of real identity and we want this same authenticity to extend to Pages,” said the company in a security note in August.

Here’s the daily data for the top 30 Facebook pages, provided by PageData. Notice anything?

Weekly growth is still up for most pages, but daily growth is in the red for most of them. TechCrunch confirmed with Facebook that the fake like purge officially began on Wednesday.

When Facebook announced the fake like initiative, they said that it would only result in less than 1% of total likes disappearing. That looks to be the case with all of Facebook’s top 30 pages. For instance, Texas HoldEm Poker only lost about 0.15% of their likes in the day, and that’s by far the biggest chunk taken from any top page.

That’s an example of one of the most-liked pages on the entire network. What does this like purge mean for your business?

Facebook says that it will help brand pages by giving them a more accurate depiction of their popularity:

“These improvements to our site integrity systems benefit both users and brands alike. Users will continue to connect to the Pages and Profiles they authentically want to subscribe to, and Pages will have a more accurate measurement of fan count and demographics. This improvement will allow Pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in the true engagement around their content.”

Although most pages have only seen a small dip in their like totals (if any), some have reported more substantial losses, even up to 18% of their total likes. For that business, every advertising dollar they’ve spent in the past was going out to both real and fake users. If Facebook can’t convince page owners that buying ads on the network is going to produce real, genuine likes, then they have a major problem with this form of revenue going forward.

I assume that Facebook knows this and that it serves as at least part of the impetus behind this war on fake likes.

Page owners have a gripe as well. Take for instance this commenter who described their frustrations:

We’re cringing because businesses pay for advertising and so it appears we were advertising to both real and fake accounts and paying for every one of those clicks. I assumed ALL of my fans were real people. This is terrible on so many levels; facebook decides to clean up now and those of us who paid for advertising are down on the number of fans and now we discover that we had already been cheated out the money and the potential clients/customers (fans) we paid (at more than $1-2 ppc) for. I’m not down 10s of thousands like other pages, but I lost hundreds of my fans. To lose my time, and money from my advertising budget for this makes me feel cheated, both by facebook and by the faKebooks.

Although the fake like purge is better now than never, it could leave some advertisers with a bad taste in their mouths.

This update to their security systems will go far to improve integrity, as eradicating fake likes from fraudulent accounts is a nice fall cleaning for the network. It will be nice for page owners to know that the vast majority of their likes come from real people (who can be impressed upon). And the fact that this is an overall “increase in [Facebook’s] automated efforts,” rather than a manual one-time cleanup, is comforting.

But getting rid of the fake likes is simply treating the symptom. The problem remains that it’s incredibly easy to create a fake account on Facebook (or multiple fake accounts) and inflate a page’s like total. And it would be really hard for Facebook to create a gated system that would be tough enough to keep fake profiles out but not so tough that it prevents legitimate users from signing up.

Maybe if Facebook can treat the symptom, and focus on purging fake likes, that will be enough. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

September 30th 2012 Facebook, Social Media

A Tech Way Around “Creative Block”

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alex cornell

Editor’s note: Alex Cornell is co-founder and creative director at Firespotter Labs, makers of ÜberConference, NoshList, Nosh, and Jotly. Firespotter is backed by Andressen Horowitz and Google Ventures. Follow him on his website and on Twitter.

I’ve always found it interesting when the non-creatives in a company estimate how long it will take the creative team to accomplish something. What’s often baked into their scheduling assumption is that the creatives will deliver results at a predictable and regular rate. They expect that 10 hours of creative work will produce 10 hours worth of pretty pictures; as predictable as a banker crunching numbers.

Instead, it’s entirely possible to spend all day “creating” and literally accomplish nothing. In a way, it’s like a baseball game. The process of arriving at an effective creative solution, while scheduled to take nine innings as it were, could theoretically last a lifetime. And you still might lose the game. Working all day doesn’t always mean anything is actually being created.

There are many reasons for this, and of course some turmoil is a necessary part of a creative process, but there is one particularly gnarly reason artistic production can be so erratic. What causes the creative process to arrest most haltingly is often described as a “block.” Most are familiar with writer’s block of course, but I’ve always been interested in how this ailment affects creatives of all sorts — the so called “creative block.”

Two years ago, I found myself in the unique position to do something about this. Writing for the design blog ISO50, I was in contact with many awe-inspiring artists and designers — folks who had presumably figured out a way to, at least periodically, wriggle their way out of the confines of creative block. I decided to enlist them to build an arsenal of strategies. The results make up my book, Breakthrough, which was released last week.

Included are inspirational strategies by everyone from writer Douglas Rushkoff to singer Jamie Lidell. They explain how they stay inspired, overcome creative block, and what’s worked best for them. Since one block is not the same as the next, a diverse array of strategies is necessary to have at your disposal. This book is that array, the start of your arsenal. I’ve chosen a few pieces to excerpt below from some familiar names around the tech scene.

Robert Andersen – Creative Director, Square

As a product designer, most of what I do is twofold: understand the problem you want to solve and approach it from as many angles as you can. After executing on a well-defined and accurately constrained problem in multiple ways, it soon becomes obvious what the true or best solution is. Creative block generally arises from a breakdown in this process.

If you’re stuck in the middle of the design, it probably means that you’re not asking enough questions. Who is the audience? What do they feel? What do they desire? What will improve their life and create joy? How do other designers tackle similar problems? At the core of every successful design is a set of simply defined constraints that you measure your ideas against. It’s all about determining the soul of a product before laying down the first pixel or pen stroke.

Using constraints and understanding as a foundation, you should then execute as many variations you can within those bounds. There are limitless ways to tackle a problem both functionally and aesthetically, which is why you need to uncover a wide spectrum of possibilities to see what feels right. This is crucial to determining quality. Creating various options also means that you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to form one perfect solution from the start. Explore the good and explore the bad—creative block does not exist here, because even a bad direction can move you closer to the right one.

Accurately understand your task and explore immediately. Give yourself the space to freely fail, and that same space will give you the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Koblin – Digital Creative Artist, Google Creative Lab

They say an elephant never forgets. Well, you are not an elephant. Take notes, constantly. Save interesting thoughts, quotations, films, technologies…the medium doesn’t matter, so long as it inspires you. When you’re stumped, go to your notes like a wizard to his spellbook. Mash those thoughts together. Extend them in every direction until they meet.

Your notebook is feeling thin? Then seek assistance and find yourself a genius. Geniuses come in many shapes and colors, and they often run in packs. If you can find one, it may lead you to others. Collaborate with geniuses. Send them your spells. Look carefully at theirs. What could you do together? Combination is creation.

Beware of addictive medicines. Everything in moderation. This applies particularly to the Internet and your sofa. The physical world is ultimately the source of all inspiration. Which is to say, if all else falls: take a bike ride.

Nicholas Felton – Designer, Facebook

I rely on a few tactics to keep my creativity flowing. I try to alternate the tenor of my years, like crop rotations. During even-numbered years, I try to do more work and make more of a profit; during odd-numbered years, I travel more and concentrate on personal projects. In 2005 I spent five weeks traveling with an around-the-world ticket, and in 2007 I went to China, Tibet, and Nepal for three weeks. After both trips, I returned to my desk filled with thoughts and initiative to create.

My other strategy is to keep my plate as full as possible. I tend to say yes to more than I can do, and the fear of failure keeps the work flowing.

When I’m really at a loss—when it feels like my designs are simply circling the drain—I will leave the office. There’s no point in trying to blindly bump into a solution, so whether it’s sketching in the park or reading a book, I avoid trying to use brute force…it’s kind of like trying to get rid of the hiccups.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Comic for September 30, 2012

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September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Store Fruits And Vegetables In Plain Sight With A Magazine Rack

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Pinterest user Marissa Noe suggests storing smaller fruits and vegetables from hanging magazine racks to save space in your cupboard.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

This Week In Smartphone Software Updates: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone

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Wondering when the sweet new versions of Android will land on your device? You’re in luck: each week, Gizmodo Australia will take you through all of the handset updates currently being tested on Australian mobile networks (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone), and tell you when you can expect them on your device.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Taking It One Day at a Time at The Daily

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A lot is working against the iPad newspaper, but the ad business should root for its success.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Will Mobile’s Massive Growth Ever Equal Real Revenue?

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Media companies once lamented that ads worth dollars offline were only worth dimes on the web. It's even worse on mobile.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized

Startup Watch: Publik Demand

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Platform gives angry customers a better platform for complaints.

September 30th 2012 Uncategorized