Archive for February, 2011

March 2 is Apple day

February 24, 2011

*Picture from NY Times

Next Wednesday, the media will gather in San Francisco at the invitation of Apple in what is expected to be the launch of the new i-pad. Consumer will watch with much anticipation as what changes have been made to the new model and what upgrades have been included. There is rife speculation that new member to the family will have front and back facing cameras an weigh less than its predecessor.

Meanwhile Motorola have fired shot across the bow of Apple by lauching their Xoom tablet. Available to buy in the U.S at a very steep $799, it hopes to make a serious play for the hearts and minds of tablet lovers everywhere. You can knock $200 of this if you are willing to sign a two year contract with Verizon. For that you pay $20 a month for 1 gigabyte of data.The xoom has a 5 megapixel camera on the back which records high definition video. The Xoom  uses android 3.0. Google’s software specifically designed for tablets. You can read all about it here. One interesting aspect is the ability to play flash videos online. You just have to wait for Motorola to release the download in order to do so. Xoom has one over on the i-pad as it doesn’t have this capability just yet


Twitter trending powered by traditional media

February 18, 2011


“Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

Yes folks. There is life in the bones of traditional media still. For all the hype surrounding Twitter as a groundbreaking and leading force in social media, it has been discovered that all of its trending is actually inspired by traditional media and not bloggers.

HP Labs conducted a survey which found that news outlets CNN and the BBC were responsible for 72% of  the 22 Twitter streams for most retweets.  In their research paper entitled ‘Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay, they also discovered that only 22 users were responsible for  the majority of retweets when a topic was trending. It also showed that trending issues only last an average of 40 minutes.

“You might expect the most prolific tweeters or those with most followers would be most responsible for creating such trends,” said Bernardo Huberman, HP senior fellow and director of HP Labs’ Social Computing Research Group. “[But] we found that mainstream media play a role in most trending topics and actually act as feeders of these trends. Twitter users then seem to be acting more as filter and amplifier of traditional media in most cases.”

Arianna Huffington interview

February 16, 2011

There is an interesting interview with Arianna Huffington on The Guardian website about the $315 deal with AOL. She talks about the anger of bloggers who want to get paid for their contributions in light of this deal, but she has refused to do so.

This quote stood out for me from the interview where Tim Rutten from  the LA Times called  the Huffington Post’s business model to “a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates” and said that the AOL deal “will push more journalists more deeply into the tragically expanding low-wage sector of our increasingly brutal economy.”


CBS reporter assaulted in Egypt

February 15, 2011

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, was sexually assaulted in Egypt during the celebrations in Tahrir Square. Logan who is the Chief Foreign Correspondent, was separated from her crew and surrounded by a mob who attacked her. CBS News describes it as a brutal and sustained sexual assault. She was rescued by a group of women and soldiers. Logan has returned to the United States, where she is now in hospital recovering. Logan was a reporter for GMTV in 2001 when she was kidnapped in Afghanistan before being released.

Egyptians erupt with joy

February 12, 2011

*Picture from NY Times

After 18 days of protest, Hosni Mubarek finally succumbed to the will of his people and step down from the Presidency. This was  a truly momentous day in Egypt and the region. The power of the people was so overwhelming that their will was not to be denied. It all started with the ouster of Tunisan President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali by the Tunsian public who called for him to go. The key word in all of these protest is democracy. People in the middle east no longer wish to live under a dictatorship, but what to have their voices heard and their right to free speech. Yemen has seen pro democracy protests in recent weeks and now Algeria is seeing the same thing. Could the removal of Mubarek be a watershed moment for the Arab world?

The other question we should all be asking is was former U.S President George W. Bush right when he said that people wanted western style democracy? Many people thought it was a pipe dream when he spoke of this desire in 2003. It could just be that history will judge him in more favourable light. As for what happens now in Egypt, we shall await the next move of the military and if they indeed push for democracy. The events in Egypt should inspire all of us wherever we reside and should act as a reminder that the electorate hold the true power.

AOL buys the Huffington Post

February 10, 2011

Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of the influential news website The Huffington Post, agreed to selling the company to AOL this week. The deal, reportedly worth $315 million, is be seen by some as AOL muscling its way into the market of digital journalism. You can watch an interview with Arianna Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong here.

AOL do not have a good track record in recent years with partnerships. Their purchase of Time Warner didn’t work out as planned, but this recent purchase could prove to be a success. The Huffington Post has strong name recognition in the U.S and in other parts of the world. So this move will allow them to use the resources of AOL and reach even more with it’s combined content.

“By uniting AOL and The Huffington Post, we are creating one of the largest destinations for smart content and community on the Internet. And we intend to keep making it better and better.” So says Arianna Huffington speaking about the future of this partnership. The move may allow AOL to take control in the content farms world as it will amass large amounts of quality content that will help it attract users who are fed up with being bombarded with rubbish content and spam from search engine results. Search engines are looking at putting a stop to this, so Demand Media would be the loser and AOL the winner with this move.

AOL’s Patch, a network of  local news sites, will get a boost from this partnership. People logging onto the Huffington Post will be more inclined to check out local news in their area rather than using newspaper and TV websites. It will be interesting to see if this marriage sinks or swims.

The tablet of doom

February 10, 2011

I keep reading how it’s just a matter of time before the printed newspaper is in its  final death throes. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, a countdown has begun to the day the last printed newspaper is produced. I beg to differ on this and there is an interesting counter argument from Jason E. Klein, president and CEO of the Newspaper National Network.

Sales of the iPad in the U.S have been moderate at this point and although it may seem as though many print junkies have discarded their newspapers in favour of an iPad, but the majority have yet to do so and may never make the switch. Hewlett Packard announced this week that they plan to make a table called the the Touchpad.

*Picture from the NY Times website

The newspaper industry is excited by the possibilities the iPad and otherfuture tablets have to offer, but it’s diffusion may not be rapid.

Here in the UK, sales of newspapers continue to decline, but I don’t see many people pulling out tablets on their commute to work or on a leisurely weekend in the park.

iPad 2 rumours

February 3, 2011

The twittersphere is abuzz with rumours of an ‘eyewitness’ spotting an iPad with front and back facing cameras. This had led many to speculate that it could be the latest version of the much vaunted iPad. Reuters reported that an unknown person saw it during the launch for Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily in New York on Wednesday. No pictures have emerged of the object in question, but that hasn’t stopped some people salivating at the prospect of owning this piece of fantasy techware.

The Daily launch

February 3, 2011

Rupert Murdoch has plunged headlong into the battle for the salvation of the newspaper industry. On Wednesday he launched The Daily, an electronic newspaper that is exclusive to the iPad.

This latest venture is being watched closely by those within the industry. The hope is that it will be the first success in stemming the rapid decline of newspaper readers. The cost of The Daily will be 99 cents a week or $40 for the year. The first two weeks however are free.  Speaking at the New York launch, Mr Murdoch was enthusiastic about the impact his latest title could make. “We can and we must make the business of news gathering and editing viable again.”

This one could prove to be a slow burner as the public have shown a resistance to paying for news content online. The other hurdle could be the iPad itself. In the U.S., 15 million have been sold. That’s a small number when you look at the size of the population. However, anyone with a passion for journalism will hope that this could open up the world to the age of new journalism. Whatever your thoughts on Rupert Murdoch may be.

*Picture taken from the NY Times website

Mubarek hits back

February 2, 2011

So after his speech on Tuesday, it appears that President Mubarek has resorted to instilling his authority  on his people by having his supporters attack them. Foreign journalist have also been attacked. Anderson Cooper and his crew from CNN were assaulted. Christiane Amanpour from ABC News just tweeted that she and her crew had to flee after being surrounded by pro government supporters.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mubarak decides to stay in office beyond September as his taste for power is far too strong. Wonder what Hilary Clinton and William Hague have to say about today’s events.

*Picture from the NY Times