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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Is it a death knell to unlimited calling to India?

A decade earlier, the weekend would be a virtual get together because Indians would call their family and friends from the US once a week and speak to everybody at home. This was because the calling rates were exorbitant.

A while later, calling rates dropped and then came the VoIP technology. Vonage sensing the opportunity was the first one to offer unlimited calling to India and a whole lot of other countries. Indians in the US rushed to sign up. 
It would not cost the earth even if you wanted to call up to find out about Indian recipes and the ingredients behind a dish. You could call your mom, aunt or even your granny and speak for hours while cooking the perfect tummy-yummy, finger-licking Indian dish with the step-by-step instructions given on the phone right then. 
The rates were low and everybody was calling home; even the lady who joined her husband after marriage would call up her parents and talk for hours and discuss everything - the lack of domestic help to aid her with daily chores; the tattooed couple next door who were not married but had kids; about the lamp post opposite her apartment window and its efficiency; and yes even talking to the family pet that was in India.

Others came in as well – Allvoi, Unovon, Ooma, to name a few, to capitalise on this and started offering the services. It certainly was truly UNLIMITED calling by all means.

Today it seems we are again looking at the dark pre-2006 era.  With all the telecom carriers increasing the call rates to India by a whopping 250% in March, every VoIP provider of services would be forced to increase their monthly charges and offload this cost of burden to their valuable customers. This would be felt across by the entire Indian community when they see their monstrous bills in about a month’s time.  Else the VoIP would have to force the customer to limit their calling, thereby bringing in an end to the era of ”Unlimited Calling”.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Can Now Play Angry Birds on Facebook

Popular multi-platform game Angry Birds is now available on Facebook, hours ahead of the official launch in Jakarta at 12AM EST.

The Facebook app, as you might imagine, features the same disgruntled avians and addictive gameplay you’ve seen in mobile and desktop version of the game.
It will also feature added social components, brand new power-ups, and Facebook-exclusive levels.

Angry Games has been downloaded over 700 million times since its release for Apple’s iOS in December 2009, and with Facebook’s 800 million users, it’s bound to hit one billion soon.

Thanks to the success of the Angry Birds, game maker Rovio emerged as a gaming powerhouse, and it’s looking to go public as soon as 2012. Right now, the company is worth more than $1 billion, according to CMO Peter Vesterbacka.

Check out the trailer for the Facebook version of the game below, and try out the game here.

Source: Mashable

13 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers

Pinterest – the web’s latest social media craze, is a great way to build awareness for your blog or website. But as with most social media promotion techniques, your ability to influence others through your Pinterest presence is limited if you don’t have that many people following you in the first place.

So today, we’ll share a few techniques that can be effective for building up your Pinterest following. Try applying a few of these ideas to your own Pinterest profile and watch your number of followers soar!

Tip #1 – Tie In to Your Existing Social Networks

One of the fastest and easiest ways to get more Pinterest followers is by tying your account to your existing Facebook and Twitter profiles. Doing so (and setting up your permissions correctly) means that every new item you pin will be displayed to your followers on these networks. Since you already have established connections with subscribers on these sites, you’ll find that many of them elect to follow your Pinterest profile naturally.

Tip #2 – Make it Easy to Pin Your Content

Integrating Pinterest buttons into your blog posts, product pages and other areas of your site can help boost the number of times your content is pinned and lead to new followers for your profile. Because Pinterest is still relatively new, simply having these buttons in place provides a visual reminder for people to subscribe to your profile and engage with your content on this new site.

Tip #3 – Create Boards to Supplement Your Posts

Alternatively, why not create a Pinterest board that’s built around one of your blog posts. For example, if you run a dog training tips website and recommend several different products in a new blog post, create a Pinterest board tied to this post that shares these recommendations in a visual way. Doing so makes your content more engaging and gives readers a reason to follow your profile.

Tip #4 – Pin Regularly

As with any social media site, determining how often to pin new content involves finding the ideal balance between posting so little that there’s no value in following your profile and posting so often that people get annoyed with your constant updates. For best results, aim to pin between 5-30 new items a day, depending on the number of active Pinterest boards you maintain.

Tip #5 – Improve Your Board Naming Structure

Giving each board on your Pinterest profile a fun and unique, but understandable, name is a crucial part of attracting new followers. Since many subscribers elect to only follow the boards that are most relevant to them, it’s important that your board names make it immediately apparent what each of your boards are about.

“A board about morning routines could be named “Morning Routines” or “Morning To Dos,” but if you name it “Rise and Shine,” people will know it has something to do with mornings, but no idea that it’s morning routine ideas.”

Tip #6 – Curate Your Own Pins

If you only ever repin content from others, you aren’t bringing anything new to the table, which gives Pinterest users even less of an incentive to follow you. Instead, create your own new pins based on content you find on other social networking sites or from resources you’re familiar with that haven’t yet been featured extensively on Pinterest.

Tip #7 – Follow Other Pinners

On Pinterest – as on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook – following other users (especially power users with thousands and thousands of unique subscribers) is a great way to get your content noticed and spread across a much larger network of people. To find other pinners to follow, search for a few of your industry’s general keyword phrases on Pinterest and take note of the users that appear to publish the most content and have the most followers. Follow these users yourself and repin some of their content – many will return the favor by following you back and sharing your pins with their networks!

Tip #8 – Arrange a Pin Exchange

While it’s considered inappropriate to pin your own content too frequently, you can always team up with other site owners or retailers in your industry to organize a “pin exchange” that allows more of your content to be seeded on to Pinterest without your direct involvement. A group of friends who all sell items on Etsy, for example, could arrange to share each other’s content on Pinterest in order to build recognition without appearing too “scammy”.

Tip #9 – Expand Your Boards

It should go without saying, but when you offer plenty of different boards across a wide variety of interests and topics, you’re creating more opportunities for people to follow you. While it’s a good idea to create boards that are relevant to your website or business, consider creating boards on your personal hobbies and activities as well to reach a larger group of people.

Tip #10 – Pin Newsworthy Content

As mentioned in Tip #6, if you want to build your number of Pinterest followers, it’s important that you be seen as a “thought leader” in your industry – not just someone who repins content from other people. To increase this perception, try to be the first to create pins for news items within your industry. You could even create boards to feature new products that are released in your niche, making you the “go to” pinner serving your field.

Tip #11 – Use Pinterest to Create Tutorials

People love tutorials, and the unique visual display of Pinterest makes it ideally suited to create tutorials that other users can follow. As an example, say you run a site that teaches affiliate marketing to website owners. Using Pinterest, you could create a “step-by-step” tutorial board, in which you feature links to different articles from around the web on topics like choosing affiliate products to promote, building traffic to your site and improving conversions. Create tutorials on topics that you know will interest a number of people and you’re sure to pick up more followers for your account.

Tip #12 – Write Searchable Pin Captions

One of the ways that people find new Pinterest users to follow is by searching the site for interesting key phrases in order to uncover new pinned content. If your pins don’t appear in these searches, you’re losing potential followers that could have subscribed to your boards. For this reason, it’s important to integrate relevant keywords into your pin captions. Don’t simply stuff your pins full of meaningless keywords, but at the same time, don’t use basic captions like, “So funny!” that don’t give Pinterest users or the site’s search engine any information about what’s going on in your pins.

Tip #13 – Use Good Quality Pictures

Because Pinterest is such a visually-focused site, the quality of the images you use in your pins will go a long way towards attracting new followers. If the Pinterest bookmarklet doesn’t automatically capture an attractive image (or, if there are no good images used on the source content page in the first place), manually create the pin on your own using a high quality, visually appealing picture from a Creative Commons image directory.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Type This Into Google for a Valentine's Day Surprise

Romantic math geeks, your moment has arrived. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, go ahead and type (or paste) this into Google search:

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

Twitter user @Huckberry tipped us off to the fact that typing in the algebraic equation plots several different functions on a graph that forms the shape of a heart.

The series includes various square roots, absolute values and cosine functions — mathematical functions often taught in high school math courses. The plotted lines change direction due to the absolute value function flipping the sign of the x-coordinate, creating a mirror image across the y-axis.

The “cos(300x)” part of the formula was also written to make the line go quickly up and down as it traces out the interior of the heart. This creates the colored-in effect. Meanwhile, if you change the “300″ number in the equation to “500,” the color fills up the heart. That part of the formula is related to frequency.

Although the equation wasn’t written by Google, this is not the first time users have been able to type in certain keywords into search for a seasonal surprise. For example, type “Do a barrel roll” and the word “askew” into Google. Check out some more fun search tricks in the gallery below — and let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any.

Source:- Mashable

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chrome 17 Offers Pre-Rendered Web Pages, Malware Protection

Chrome 17 has just been released, offering pre-rendered web pages and malware protection. If you’re a Google Chrome user (and haven’t blocked automatic updates) you’re now using version 17 of the browser.
As is typical for Chrome, the update doesn’t add any drastic changes, but it does include a few new features. Most noticeable of these is pre-rendering. When you enter a URL into the omnibox and it auto-completes, Chrome will begin to load that site before you press enter. If you’re on a fast connection the page might seem to appear instantly because it has been rendered before you were done typing the URL.

I’m a Chrome user myself, so I took this feature on a test drive. It works as advertised. Sites will sometimes load instantly. Your connection speed will determine how well this feature works for you.
The other feature added by Chrome 17 is protection from files that contain malware. Whenever you download a file the browser will check it against a list of known bad files. If the file is executable, it also checks to see if the site you’re downloading from is known to host malware. Any suspicious results from these queries will cause a warning to appear.
The idea of Google checking your downloads for malware might cause privacy concerns. If so, the “Under the Hood” section of the browser’s preferences includes the option to disable it.

Source: Makeuseof

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinterest – More Than Just a Pinboard

Having revealed itself just over a year ago, Pinterest has recently surpassed 10 million users, a fact which itself proves that Pinterest has evolved from a clever start-up into a fully-fledged network in its own right.

Already loved by many people, the concept of Pinterest is to create a number of pinboards/scrapbooks of all the things that you as an individual ‘like’ in the digital environment. Recently this has started to turn into endorsement as Pinterest has opened its doors to more users and also welcomed brands in with open arms.

What is the potential benefit for brands and their respective digital PR / social media agencies? Brands can achieve benefits from the network without even being on it as an official presence, the primary focus of Pinterest is content first and foremost. Below are some further thoughts on what could be the most important aspects of Pinterest for brands moving forward:

Retail –
The gifts section is the perfect portal for ecommerce promotion, and the network will ensure that the items that resonate with the audience the most are the ones that achieve the most visibility. Just add a price to images and they will be added to the gift section of the site – great visibility, and for free.

Follow/pin it button –
As well as being able to add the Follow button for Pinterest to a website, to me the most interesting aspect of Pinterest’s buttons is the ‘pin it’ button. Brands with a great deal of high quality imagery and video content on their website could stand to benefit significantly, since once pinned the content isn’t just on Pinterest for everyone to see and reshare, it’s also possible for users really interested to click back through to a website. This could be a hugely influential traffic tool for brands in future, not to mention a great way of generating SEO value from backlinks too.

Use of search –
Pinterest’s internal search function is great – you’re able to find people who have tagged content relevant to a brand, find pin boards that are relevant to a brand, or a locale should the brand be a local business (posting to a shared board for “London” for example to get visibility of users specifically in London). This could be a great way for brands to proactively market on the network without actually being too intrusive for other users, whether done through employee accounts (more natural) or a branded account. Obviously having employees pinning brand content on the network is also a huge plus in itself.

Ultimately, Pinterest is a way of people creating a scrapbook that is a digital representation of their interests in pictures – perhaps (like Path) a strong element of what Facebook timeline wants to be. It represents a shift in social media that is increasingly pointing to the fact that brands need to become part of users lives to the extent that they are represented on their digital social media ‘scrapbooks’ in order to reap the most benefit. It will be very interesting to see how Pinterest evolves over the next year – we could see some entirely new trends emerging as a result. One thing is certain – in Pinterest content is king and brands that can create unique pictures and videos that are intrinsically shareable for a mass audience will be the ones that get the most out of it

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Google Chrome Update Brings Faster Browsing

The new stable release of Google’s web browser Chrome brings several improvements, most importantly faster browsing and more protection from malicious downloads.

From now on, when you start typing in Chrome’s address box (or omnibox, as Google calls it), as soon as Chrome autocompletes the URL you’re likely to visit, it will prerender the page, making your overall browsing experience faster.

As far as security goes, Chrome now does checks on executable files you’ve downloaded from the net. It matches the executables against a whitelist – a list of programs known to be safe – and if it can’t find the file there, it does some additional checks. For example, if the site you’re visiting hosts a high number of malicious downloads, Chrome will let you know.

The update comes just one day after Google announced Chrome for Android mobile devices.

Google also promises some updates to Chrome OS for the “near future,” including a new image editor and an improved Verizon 3G activation portal.

You can download the latest version of Google Chrome here.