Posts tagged Beyond

An In-Depth Look At Second-Party Data: Its Uses In Search And Beyond

In the third installment of his multi-part series exploring the data landscape, columnist Alistair Dent discusses second-party data and its applications.

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Beyond Personalization: Using Data-Driven Marketing to Create Individualized Customer Experiences – June 4 Webcast

Cutting through the media clutter to deliver a personalized customer experience.

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Jaunt’s Virtual Reality Cinema Takes VR Beyond Gaming

Jaunt’s virtual reality camera

In the year since cinematic virtual reality startup Jaunt launched, the world of VR has once again turned upside down. There are new headsets, new industries interested and, finally, definite plans to release it to consumers. The race is on to determine which content will define the world’s first experiences with the medium.

Jaunt CEO Jens Christenson can’t help but get excited about all the activity and identify one of its greatest opportunities: 

I think technology has gotten to the point [where] people are excited about it. They’re going to get the headsets, especially mobile headsets. The biggest overarching thing is just creating enough content so we can have what I call critical mass of content in 2015. So when people get their headsets, there is great content they can view, but also fresh content coming every day, every week, so they keep coming back.

At the South By Southwest festival, Christensen had a fresh reel of content to show me, including aerial shots of rock climbers and an on-stage view of a Paul McCartney concert. Jaunt’s custom camera captures 360 degrees of 3D video that pulls on the emotional strings that make virtual reality feel so real. 

VR Films Are No Laughing Matter

Jaunt’s founders take a moment to yuck it up for the cameras.

It’s clear that Jaunt is beginning to experiment with new forms of video. Back when the company was still in stealth mode, its clips felt mostly like home movies—simple shots of a children’s choir, BMX bikers and a tranquil yard. There was one experimental scene from a horror film.

Today, the production value feels much higher. In one scene from “Other Space,” the upcoming Yahoo comedy by the creator of “Freaks and Geeks,” characters lobbed mildly humorous insults and got in my face while examining me aboard their spaceship. 

See also: 6 Ways The HTC Vive Will Freak Out Virtual-Reality Geeks

This was the first comedy I’ve seen in virtual reality. While I don’t have great things to say about the script writing, it raised some interesting thoughts. 

Oculus Rift, one of several headsets that Jaunt films will support.

You know how people like to keep a little distance between themselves and other people or objects? Your desire for personal space in real life still exists in VR. But the scene didn’t ask me to laugh at some character on the screen getting poked and prodded—it asked me to laugh at myself. It was a conflicting feeling of discomfort and amusement. 

Another clip, “Stress Level Zero,” is Jaunt’s first piece to feature computer-generated material. An animated alien in a spacesuit lands and begins performing a DJ set, while live-action FBI agents shout at it to freeze. The combination felt natural in VR. 

Virtual Opportunity—And Competition

Jaunt plans to remain goggle agnostic, but its biggest boost may come from mobile headsets, which eliminates wires by using a phone as their screen. 

“We’re very excited about the mobile solution,” Christensen said. “The thing that’s so great about mobile for us is, it plays video really well. It’s really not that suited for video games.”

Jaunt CTO Arthur van Hoff, vice president of engineering Tom Annau and CEO Jens Christensen.

That means less competition for eyeballs on the platform that could be the first VR experience for millions of people. 

Films run just fine on headsets like Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, which have higher-quality screens, but they were born for gaming and need to be tethered to a computer. Samsung and Oculus’ Gear VR headset is made to be out in the world getting strapped onto as many heads as possible. Christensen said he is even excited about Cardboard, Google’s inexpensive headset that is literally made out of cardboard. 

I agree with Christensen that it’s all about content now. Even today, you can have a great experience in VR whether you’re using Gear or HTC’s new Vive, which was the hit of the 2015 Game Developers Conference. Jaunt is under similar pressure. While it has the intellectual property rights to protect its camera, plus its editing and distribution software and apps, it is no longer the only company creating high-quality videos for VR. 

See also: Samsung Is Getting Serious About Producing Its Own Virtual-Reality Videos

But Jaunt’s latest demos convinced me that its inventiveness could still give it the edge. The company provides evolving creation tools to artists and developers, and it’s clearly thinking hard about what VR cinema should feel like. Christensen’s team is also considering how to make watching VR videos more social, to beat back the feelings of isolation common in virtual reality environments. 

The questions that remain for cinematic VR creators will take years to answer. But hopefully, when the first headsets emerge later this year, the industry will have a compelling start.

Camera photo and color shot of founders by Signe Brewster for ReadWrite; all others courtesy of Jaunt

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What’s The State Of Link Building For SEO In 2015 & Beyond? – Search Engine Land

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What's The State Of Link Building For SEO In 2015 & Beyond?
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“In general, I'd try to avoid that,” he said, indicating that link building, long believed to be an essential process in SEO, is no longer advisable. Mueller elaborated on his answer, saying that Google does take links into consideration as part of its

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What’s The State Of Link Building For SEO In 2015 & Beyond?

The rules regarding link building are seemingly always changing, so columnist Jayson DeMers lays out thoughts about what’s safe, what isn’t, and how you can hedge your bets.

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The Shifting World Of Search: Predictions For 2015 And Beyond

As the search ecosystem matures, search engines must overcome new challenges. Columnist John Cosley of Bing discusses how search engines are adapting to new trends in order to address user needs.

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Beyond The Smartwatch: Pebble Unleashes The Smartstrap

The Pebble Time, the smartwatch startup’s third-generation device, has raised $12 million in preorders on Kickstarter since its debut last week. Get ready to watch that number tick up higher.

On Tuesday at Mobile World Congress, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky announced a new version of Pebble Time, the Pebble Time Steel. Like the previous Pebble Steel, the Time Steel is a higher-end version of the smartwatch, and it’s available for preorder for $250. 

See also: Meet The New Pebble Time—Though Getting One Will Take … Time

The 40,000 people who preordered the Pebble Time for $159 or $179 can upgrade and keep their May delivery date. Migicovsky teased that the audience at Wearable World Congress, where Migicovsky will sit with me for an on-stage conversation on May 19, will likely be wearing Pebble Times if they got their preorders in.

The Pebble Time will support both old and new apps.

Wrist-To-Wrist With Apple

It’s in Pebble’s best interest to lock in those orders, because the Apple Watch is coming in April. Migicovsky has an answer for that. Pebble already lets developers build apps for its smartwatches. Now it’s going to let others build hardware for Pebbles, too.

What kind of accessory can you put on a smartwatch? Well, Pebble already sells straps. For the Pebble Time and Time Steel, you can now build what Migicovsky calls a “smartstrap.”

The smartstraps attach to the Pebble’s charging port, exchanging both data and power, which Migicovsky says is a first. One kind of smartstrap could be a battery that extends a Pebble’s working life. Another smartstrap type might be a heart-rate sensor that draws power from the Pebble’s battery instead. A GPS sensor could turn a Pebble smartwatch into a fitness tracker that can monitor runs without tethering to a phone—something the Apple Watch won’t be able to do at launch.

See Also: Hear From Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky At Wearable World Congress

“When you start adding sensors, it makes the [device] bigger,” Migicovsky told me. “You don’t need that GPS all day, you only need it for particular situations.”

Migicovsky argues that it will be far easier to create a smartstrap than a standalone device or an all-in-one smartwatch with more built-in features: “The sensor doesn’t need a battery, doesn’t need a charger, doesn’t need a microcontroller.”

Smartstraps will be easy to hack on, he promises.

“We’ll have a few things you have to sign,” Migicovsky said. “If you’re a hacker and want to create hardware that works with it, go for it. I bet someone’s going to make an Arduino smart strap.”

Smartstraps could turn Pebble Time smartwatches into GPS sportwatches, fitness trackers, or anything else hardware manufacturers can dream up.

A Wired-In Platform

In the past, Migicovsky has talked about Pebble’s smartwatches acting as a hub for other connected devices, bypassing smartphones. But that vision relied on the very newest Bluetooth technology, which isn’t seeing widespread adoption in the marketplace yet.

Migicovsky said Pebble “hasn’t set a date yet” for Bluetooth connectivity, but “it’s on the roadmap.” For now, smartstraps are the way to build on Pebble hardware.

Pebble is also taking care of the 26,000 developers it has signed up to build apps for its watches. The Pebble Time will run older apps, for those who don’t care to update for the Time’s new color screen. And in June or July, Pebble plans to release a software update for its older watches that will let them run the same software as the Time. 

“We can’t say we’ll support the old hardware forever,” said Migicovsky. But the company is trying very hard to treat developers well. “That’s all that really matters: developers and users,” he said.

It will be interesting to see how many preorders Pebble draws for the Pebble Time Steel. It’s now $1.3 million short of the current record for a Kickstarter campaign. And it will also be crucial to see how swiftly developers and hardware makers create new apps and smartstraps.

If Pebble succeeds in competing with Apple, it won’t be by building something sleeker or more powerful. It will win by being more open.

Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky is speaking at Wearable World Congress on May 19. Order your tickets now and get $100 off the early-bird price by using the code READWRITE

Product and promo images courtesy of Pebble; all other photos by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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Opportunities For 2015 Omni-Channel Success In Paid Search & Beyond

That online marketing stalwart, search, is in the midst of change, and columnist Matt Ackley from Marin says change equals opportunity.

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Going Beyond Google: A Comprehensive List of Search Engines by @alexanderkesler

When people think of search engines, the first name that comes to mind is often Google. It’s one of the most enduring brand names, and it has even worked its way into mainstream vernacular, and today many people substitute the phrase “searched online” for “Googled”. According to comScore, Inc., Google and its affiliated websites comprise 67.6% of the search engine market share in the United States, and, according to Netmarketshare 66.44% worldwide. Though prominent, Google is not the only search engine available. There are innumerable others that provide various interfaces, search algorithms, and other unique features. Many even base their search algorithms around specific philosophies, ones […]

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Teach Your Fish To Text And Beyond: ReadWrite’s Year In Tutorials

ReadWriteReflect offers a look back at major technology trends, products and companies of the past year.

Here at ReadWrite, we strive not only to see technology as something that shapes our world, but as something we can access ourselves, to make our lives better and more fun.

That’s the spirit behind ReadWrite tutorials, which are sometimes silly, sometimes practical, but always designed to teach you something new about technologies we rely on every day.

If you’re resolving to become more technologically proficient in 2015, we’ve compiled our favorite tutorials of the year that cover languages like Python and JavaScript, and skills like working on the command line syncing an app with an API. All of these tutorials are designed for beginners, so all you need is a computer and some free time.

1. The Quantified Fish: How My Aquarium Uses Raspberry Pi

2. My Fish Just Sent Me A Text Message

The tiny, customizable computer Raspberry Pi is affordable at about $30, so early this year I bought a designated one just for monitoring my aquarium. Tutorials one and two outline how I use my Raspberry Pi and a waterproof temperature sensor to text me information about the fish tank and let me know when it needs my attention.

I have also expanded on these two tutorials in a book, Make: Raspberry Pi and AVR Projects: Augmenting the Pi’s ARM with the Atmel ATmega, ICs, and Sensors, produced by Maker Media. The basics are the same, but the book also describes how to feed the temperature data into a MySQL database and interpret that into a graph you can access online.

3. How To Build A WinJS App In 10 Easy Steps

Is your New Year’s Resolution to finally build your app this year? If so, I recommend WinJS, which has simplified the art of quickly producing an HTML5 app you can share online with friends, family, or anyone who you want to impress.

4. Building A Raspberry Pi VPN Part One: How And Why To Build A Server

5. Building A Raspberry Pi VPN Part Two: Creating An Encrypted Client Side

We all know it’s not safe to check secure sites like your bank account on public WiFi, which is where a Virtual Private Network comes in handy. With a VPN, you can experience secure browsing no matter who is providing your Internet.

I built this tutorial while I was myself learning how to build a VPN, so the part I am most proud of is that it includes a lot of troubleshooting based on real problems I experienced. Even better, the comments section has become an incredibly helpful FAQ since this was published.

6. 5 Pointers To Supercharge Your Raspberry Pi Projects

These five mini-tutorials outline techniques I use over and over whenever I do a project using a Raspberry Pi computer, or a Python project in general. From learning the ins and outs of the SSH (secure shell) protocol to establishing a static IP, these five tutorials go over basic skills every Raspberry Pi owner should know, but that some advanced tutorials tend to skip.

7. Easy Arduino: Two Projects To Help You Get Started

For a jolt of confidence that anyone can truly become a programmer, I recommend learning to use an Arduino, the tiny, cheap microcontroller that knows how to communicate with sensors and outside stimuli the way your regular computer can’t. In just a few lines, this tutorial shows you how to make an Arduino communicate with an LED light, or with your regular PC.

8. Five Steps To Build Your Own Random Non-Sequitur Twitter Bot

I love my personal Twitter bot, which takes my tweets and garbles them in a way that will never stop being silly. Case in point:

To build your own, all you need is a new Twitter account and a phone number that isn’t already connected to Twitter (I recommend using Google Voice). My tutorial shows you how to connect an app to the Twitter API and get up and running in about 20 minutes.

10. Friday Fun: Build A Drinking Game With Twilio MMS And Flickr API

Twilio Developer Evangelist Matt Makai and I teamed up to create two silly apps that are just for fun, but will also teach you quite a bit about using Python. (Matt also helped me with the Twilio integration on the fish tank text message tutorial further up.)

Yo was one of 2014’s one hit wonders, an app I was convinced anyone could make! And with Matt’s help, I proved it. We show you how to create your own Yo to annoy your friends, and you can use any word or expression in place of “Yo.”

The drinking game, titled Picture Roulette, was a result of the Flickr API not working the way we expected it to. Since Flickr is only as accurate as its users doing the tagging, sometimes a search for “turtle” might net you pictures of ice cream. Hence, a drinking game in which you are rewarded if your guess is correct.

11. How To Win Friends And Make Pull Requests On GitHub

I use GitHub to store my tutorials and, despite the drama this year, I remain a fan. However, I agree that we all need to do our part to keep GitHub’s community nontoxic and friendly. This tutorial is about contributing to projects in a way that should be most rewarding and effective, and I talked to GitHub’s Matthew McCullough to make sure that was the case.

12. How To Use Emoji Anywhere With Twitter’s Open Source Library

I’m not casting judgement on whether it’s a good idea, but now that Twitter has made its emoji library open source, you can set them up to function anywhere on the Internet, including on your own website or app. I used and clarified Twitter’s own how-to in order to make this tutorial especially beginner-friendly.

13. Five Arduino Tutorials For The Ultimate High Tech Haunted House

14. 6 High Tech Tutorials And Kits For DIY Holiday Decorations

Of course, ReadWrite is far from the only place to find helpful tutorials. For both Halloween and the winter holidays, I compiled other people’s tutorials so you can make some truly festive high-tech projects. Our resident graphic designer, Nigel Sussman, contributed fully accurate technical drawings that make the Halloween hacks a cinch.

As always, email me if you try a ReadWrite tutorial and have questions or comments. What tutorials would you like to see on ReadWrite in 2015? 

Photo by Lauren Orsini

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