Posts tagged actually
We’re all chasing “quality content” – but what does that actually look like? In an apparent effort to help publishers rank better, Google released a notoriously unhelpful list of questions. Bing was a little more resourceful with their more recent guidelines for quality content, but there are…
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Pretty Geeky is an ongoing series that explores the role of style and design in wearable technology.
What good are wearables if you won’t actually want to—you know—wear them? At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, it was obvious that tech companies had gotten a few tips from the style department to make gadgets more stylish and less silly-looking. Ahead, check out the most fashionable trackers, earphones, and cameras we’re excited to get our hands on in the next few months.
Bellabeat Leaf Pendant
Fashion meets function with the Bellabeat Leaf, a pendant that keeps tabs on physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and reproductive health (like period and ovulation dates). Sync it with an app for details and wear the pretty piece—which comes in five different leaf designs—as a necklace, pendant, or bracelet. The $89 Leaf is available for preorder now.
Stellé Audio Earbud Locke
Consider the new Stellé Audio earbud locket a stylish twofer. It’s actually a necklace that holds Bluetooth earbuds for music and phone calls. The locket controls the audio, letting you to change the volume or answer calls by touching a button. Expect it to sell early this year for $200.
Mira Health Tracker
Mira was actually designed after getting input from a panel of women across the U.S. The small black activity tracker is detachable so you can place it anywhere, but fits in a stylish bracelet that comes in gold and deep purple. Sign up to find out when it will be available for order.
June UV Ray Tracker
We saw this incredible UV tracker last year at CES, but it’s back and better than before. The jewel tells you how much sun is hitting you and gives sun protection advice. It now comes in three colors: platinum, gold and gunmetal. Order it now for $99.
Narrative Wearable Camera
This Narrative portable camera clip is slick and teeny, so you can wear it without anyone really noticing it’s on you. Plus, it comes with 8GB of memory, wireless connectivity, and a 30-hour battery life. No word on when exactly it will come out this year, but the price will be $199.
Swarovski x Misfit Collection
Activity-tracker company Misfit recently teamed up Swarovski for a sparkly new collection called Swarovski Shine. The nine-piece line features sleep- and fitness-tracking gadgets that double as jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, bands, and more). Preorder them now.
Guess Connect Smartwatch
Ooh la la. The upcoming Guess Connect Smartwatch is pretty and practical, working with Android and iOS to display text-based notifications from a discreet OLED screen. No word on pricing or exact launch date, but expect it sometime this Summer.
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Are Your Video Ads Actually Being Seen? Google Will Soon Report On Video Ad Viewability by @mattsouthern
Google will soon let advertisers and publishers know whether or not their video ads delivered via the DoubleClick ad services are actually being watched by customers, Bloomberg reports. This news was announced by Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display and video advertising, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. In keeping with the Media Ratings Council’s standard, Google will let advertisers know what percentage of their videos were at least 50% in a customer’s view for at least two seconds or more. In order to take advantage of this new viewability reporting, advertisers and publishers […]
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In spite of the many people that might state otherwise, SEO and content can actually be best friends – here’s a look at why.
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When you can’t win over the courts, extortion can come in pretty handy—so says a broadcast industry that once again strong-armed Dish into watering down the Auto Hop commercial-skipping feature in its digital video recorders.
CBS, which temporarily pulled its programming off Dish, agreed to come back to the satellite TV provider if it instituted a seven-day waiting period for Auto Hop on its channel. (Previously, subscribers could use it the day after a program first aired.) Dish agreed, making for an apparent win for CBS. In fact, the company made off better than Disney, whose Dish deal yielded a three-day Auto Hop delay for ABC shows.
In both cases, the Dish contracts were up for renewal, backing the TV service into a corner. It had no choice but to hold up Auto Hop, if it wanted to continue carrying those channels. It did, but it also got something else: the rights to carry their programming online.
The Art Of Negotiation
CBS has a history of trying to force partners’ hands to get what it wants, though this time, the contract renegotiations may have worked somewhat in Dish’s favor.
Because of the demands of CBS, and Disney before it, the satellite service had the opportunity to work in “over-the-top” or online rights to carry their TV programming.
With that clause sealed into the deals, Dish has a stronger basis now for launching an Internet TV service. The Disney deal, in particular, could be valuable in that case. Not only do the terms bring ABC to the table, but ESPN as well.
For CBS, it’s a somewhat surprising move. The broadcaster apparently finds its programming so valuable, it charges people $6 per month for its own standalone Internet subscription service.
Streaming’s importance in living rooms and mobiles has grown quite a bit—so much so that Nielsen will start tracking Netflix’s online viewership. In that light, Dish’s side benefit seems significant—even if it came at the price of waylaying Auto Hop.
The Long Hop
It’s worth noting that, so far, Dish delayed Auto Hop on those select channels. It’s not hobbled everywhere, and the company didn’t completely kill it off. Plus, it’s not the only way to skip commercials. Manual fast-forwarding through them still works fine.
Nonetheless, Auto Hop has been the contentious point for broadcasters, including CBS, Disney (ABC/ESPN), Comcast (NBC) and Fox, all of whom have tried (and failed at) suing Dish over it. The reason: advertising metrics. Broadcasters base ad rates on estimated viewership. If they can’t prove people watch the commercials, especially during the highly prized first-run programming, their ability to sell air time significantly weakens.
CBS and Disney have managed to beat back the Auto Hop threat, so they dropped their lawsuits. Expectations are high that Comcast and Fox will do the same. And if they do, Dish may get the full house of major broadcasting channels necessary for an upcoming Internet streaming TV service.
By that point, the traditional set-top DVR and individual features may not mean all that much anymore.
Photo by 360b, courtesy of Shutterstock
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Many agencies and Internet marketers deliver a summary of performance for PPC and SEO on a weekly or monthly basis, but who decides what data goes into these reports, what metrics to include, and which graph to use to visualize the data?
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Starbucks has become practically synonymous with mobile payments, thanks to its innovative app which lets you buy coffee with money stored on a prepaid card.
So people got excited when Apple CEO Tim Cook flashed the Starbucks logo on the screen while talking about Apple Pay at a product-launch event Thursday.
In fact, Apple had previously announced Starbucks as an Apple Pay partner in September. But the details, now that we know more of them, are a little disappointing.
You can’t buy a latte with your iPhone 6. Starbucks is only supporting the in-app version of Apple Pay. It will be “primarily for loading and reloading” your Starbucks Card, says Maggie Jantzen, a Starbucks spokesperson. Starbucks stores don’t currently have the NFC technology needed to make use of Apple’s tap-to-pay feature.
Starbucks is not actually a launch partner for Apple Pay. Apple Pay is launching Monday, October 20. But Jantzen says the reloading feature will be available “in the coming months.”
Using Apple Pay this way is actually kind of stupid. Consider these two options:
- Launch Starbucks app. Go to account settings. Tap to reload card. Select Apple Pay as a payment option. Authenticate with your fingerprint. Tap to verify the transaction. Pay at the register with the Starbucks app.
- Set your Starbucks Card up for automatic reload. Pay at the register with Starbucks app.
Why would anyone pick the first one?
The bottom line: Apple Pay will save you from having to enter in your credit- or debit-card number if you need to reload your Starbucks Card. But you’re far better off just using the Starbucks app and keeping your card on file for automatic reloads. And it changes nothing about how you actually pay for your latte.
Photo by Kayla Kandzorra
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NoSQL, the newish alternative to traditional relational databases, is a big deal, but it can also be a big mess: there are more than 100 different NoSQL databases, and several different kinds ranging from document to key-value to columnar to graph databases. Even more confusingly, relational databases are now cross-dressing as NoSQL databases, adding support for JSON, among other things.
And yet enterprises are navigating the potential pitfalls and embracing NoSQL in droves. Today Redis Labs, the company behind the popular in-memory, key-value NoSQL database Redis, announced that it has hit 3,000 paying customers.
This number would be impressive for any company, but it’s particularly noteworthy for a company that has to compete with rivals who are also selling Redis.
The Redis Phenomenon
Most people tend to think of Redis as a close cousin to Memcached, an open-source memory-caching system often used to speed up data-intensive websites by limiting the number of database calls. That’s true up to a point, although it doesn’t do Redis justice.
Redis also offers “built-in persistence (snapshotting or journaling to disk) and more datatypes,” which, among other things, means “you can use Redis as a real database instead of just a volatile cache,” as Carl Zulauf described on Stack Overflow.
I interviewed Redis Labs co-founder and CEO Ofer Bengal this week, and he stressed that while Redis Labs is still early in its market adoption, “we are starting to also see enterprises adopt us.” That’s in addition to the early adopter Web companies and startups that have been its staple to date.
Based on Leo Polovets’ analysis of AngelList data, Redis is one of the hottest database technologies around:
It is not, however, always easy to use—or, rather, to overcome the operational limitations Redis presents to those trying to run it in the cloud. Redis Labs built a proxy-based architecture that overcomes Redis limitations and makes it easier for companies to have a good experience running Redis at scale.
Redis Finds Its Customer Niche
Regardless, Redis isn’t growing at the expense of relational database systems, Bengal told me. Instead, it’s enabling a whole new class of high-performance applications:
Redis is a bit different from other NoSQL systems in that it is served from RAM. RAM is much more expensive than disk, so Redis isn’t used as a replacement for other databases but people instead use it for net new use cases, architected for Redis. We have users that base their entire application on Redis.
Early on, Bengal said, the company saw Redis used side-by-side with Cassandra and other databases. “But now we’re seeing entire applications built on Redis,” he said. “Not the majority, but it’s a nice trend.”
So far, that trend is mostly playing out in a few particularly industries. Bengal said Redis Labs’ 3,000 customers are largely concentrated in gaming, online advertising and financial services. The common thread connecting them? Speed. As he noted, “Most use cases have to do with high performance, given that Redis is the fastest database today.”
Unlike most open source companies, Redis Labs doesn’t provide consulting services. Frankly, it hasn’t needed to, given the active Redis community.
Nor has it needed to roll out training, though Bengal told me that the company expects to do this soon. As he says:
Redis has very attractive data types and commands that are very useful in almost any application. So developers really love Redis. It’s not very complex so people are doing OK with it without formal training.
Fortunately for Bengal, however, 3,000 companies feel the need to make Redis even easier by running Redis Labs’ cloud services.
Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Maybe you told Facebook why you hid an ad in the past, but the social network didn’t really use that information to change the ads it showed you. That’s changed.
On Thursday, Facebook announced two new updates that are meant to help show people “better,” ads—as in, advertisements you might actually click on, thus providing better service to Facebook advertisers.
Facebook has provided the option to hide ads by clicking, “I don’t want to see this,” just like any other post, for years. But the company is now using information gathered by that feature to ask you why you’re hiding a particular ad in an effort to get a more comprehensive understanding as to why people hide ads. (Beyond the obvious “No one likes ads.”)
It’s unclear what Facebook was doing with the information you provided before this update, and the company declined to disclose what that data was used for. But now the social network is using it to determine which ads to display in your timeline.
After hiding an ad, Facebook will ask you why, and if you decide to provide feedback, you’ll see something that looks like this:
Feedback like, “It’s not relevant to me,” and “It’s spam,” can help Facebook better understand what you want to see. If the ads just aren’t interesting to you, Facebook will show you different ones. But if it’s offensive or spammy, the company might not display it on other users’ newsfeeds.
“When testing this update, we looked at when people told us that ads were offensive or inappropriate and stopped showing those ads,” product manager Max Eulenstein said in a blog post. “As a result, we saw a significant decrease in the number of ads people reported as offensive or inappropriate.”
Additionally the company will start paying more attention to users who only occasionally hide posts from their newsfeed. According to the company, if someone hides advertisements rarely, that will factor in what ads they show them, and if there’s even a small chance someone will hide a particular ad, it won’t appear in the newsfeed.
“When testing this update, we saw that people who rarely hide ads ended up hiding 30 percent fewer ads with this change,” the company said.
This won’t really affect the majority of advertisers, Facebook said. Only the ones that have terrible ads people tend to not want to see pop up in their feed. Of course, with extra data provided by users, advertisers will be able to target ads even more effectively.
Lead image by Doug Hay
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