Posts tagged Time
Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s UK Managing Director, says capturing a moment can be incredibly powerful. Brands have several opportunities on Twitter, both planned and unplanned. Real-time marketing is about being the smartest by planning for your moments.
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5 Dead-Simple SEO Hacks to Save You Time
Let me be very clear, when I talk about “hacking” SEO, I'm talking about saving time and doing things as efficiently as possible. I'd never encourage gray or black hat techniques in an effort to game the search engines! So with that in mind, let's look …
Four Top Dealer SEO Misconceptions
Is SEO Really Effective for Internet Marketing?
In 2014 Will You Double Down on SEO or PPC?
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With its latest offer, Google has effectively settled the three year probe and has dodged a potential $5 billion fine. While the European Commission has accepted the concessions, they must first be accepted by the complainants, including Microsoft.
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Along with the Super Bowl, there’s another annual big game that happens — sites trying to be number one for “What Times Does The Super Bowl Start?” This year, I want to win by pointing out that no one should click on any of the articles competing. Just look up, searchers…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Technology journalist Robert Cringley thinks IBM is doomed because it just sold its Intel server business to Lenovo. On the contrary, this may be the clearest indication that IBM may thrive. After all, given the trend toward cloud and build-your-own-datacenters, has there ever been a worse time to be selling enterprise servers?
“An Act Of Desperation For IBM”
Let’s be clear. Every incumbent hardware company is under the gun as low-margin cloud businesses boom. Amazon puts every hardware company under pressure and is even causing fits for those trying to make a business of selling private cloud technology.
Yet Robert Cringley, a longtime IBM critic, believes IBM “has sold the future to invest in the past,” referring to its mainframe business, which it retains. He goes on to suggest that, “little servers are the future of big computing” and that, “IBM needs to be a major supplier and a major player in this emerging market.”
Yes and no.
It seems clear that selling big hardware like mainframes is a dying business. Yes, enterprises will continue to buy it, but if the last few earnings calls from IBM, Oracle and their peers are any indication, big hardware is a difficult proposition in the age of cloud.
Not that the big incumbents are giving up on big hardware. As reported by ReadWrite in November 2013, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison believes the future datacenter will include purpose-built, big hardware and low-end commodity servers, with the latter constituting the core of enterprise workloads. But that core will not powered by Oracle. Or IBM. Or any mega-vendor.
The problem is that these legacy server companies are not buying into that “purpose-built,” insanely expensive hardware, either. Hence, while CA Technologies may like to pretend that the mainframe is an integral part of the “data center of the future,” as a recent Wall Street Journal advertisement proposes, IT buyers aren’t buying.
Why Not Sell “Little” Servers?
If big hardware is struggling, why shouldn’t IBM, Oracle and other enterprise incumbents trade in commodity servers? In large part, they can’t. Not while being profitable anyway.
The commodity server business has been further commoditized by the rise of white box server vendors and open-source datacenter initiatives like Facebook’s Open Compute project. As Accenture writes, “Facebook’s Open Compute Project is accelerating the adoption of infrastructure innovations by sharing those breakthroughs freely.” For incumbent server vendors, “freely” is the last thing they want to hear.
It may be on the verge of getting even worse. According to McKinsey & Company, in 2014 enterprises need to increase their emphasis on private cloud deployments:
Many large infrastructure functions are experiencing “cloud stall.” They have built an intriguing set of technology capabilities but are using it to host only a small fraction of their workloads. It may be that they cannot make the business case work due to migration costs, or that they have doubts about the new environment’s ability to support critical workloads, or that they cannot reconcile the cloud environment with existing sourcing arrangements. Over the next year, infrastructure organizations must shift from treating the private cloud as a technology innovation to treating it as an opportunity to evolve their operating model.
If this happens, and there are good reasons to believe enterprise developers will continue to skip the private cloud in favor of public cloud options like Amazon Web Services, it won’t serve enterprise hardware companies very well. With increasing interest in open datacenter designs, enterprises can utilize private clouds with low-end, white box vendor servers rather than higher-cost, name-brand servers from the likes of IBM.
Which, presumably, is one big reason IBM sold its commodity server business.
The Future Of Hardware Is Software
Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen argues that “software is eating the world.” Along the way, it’s also eating hardware. At least, the fancy name-brand hardware that used to mint billions for IBM and its peers.
This is what Cringley misses. He blithely suggests of IBM that, “they are selling a lower-margin business where customer are actually buying to invest in a higher-margin business where customers aren’t buying.” This is true. But it doesn’t lead to his conclusion: “IBM needs to learn how to operate in a commodity market. IBM needs to become the lowest cost, highest volume producer of commodity servers.”
This is like suggesting that IBM needs to slit its right wrist instead of its left wrist. In either market, IBM is going to lose. The difference is that it can milk the high-margin, fading business for years as it tries to transform itself into a commodity cloud computing business. With the acquisition of Softlayer, it is well on its way, though the journey will be brutally painful.
Which, I suppose, is how I’d describe any company trying to make a living peddling hardware. Or cloud, for that matter. The cloud is compressing margins on all hardware businesses, even as Amazon forces would-be cloud competitors into a game of low-margin commodity cloud pricing. For hardware companies, it seems to be a lose-lose proposition. But it may be the only option they have.
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SEO technology company Conductor has published research that looks at how many search results had a healthy number of “blue links,” what percentage had universal search results, and how many ads were common for 1.5 million keywords.
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Finding the right time to post on social media can be tricky, especially when each different social network has its own audience to think about. And we’ve written a few different articles here on the Buffer blog that touched on how to come up with the best time to Tweet. And yet, we never quite dedicated […]
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Call me a dreamer, but I want it all. I want a watch that can receive notifications and make phone calls while also tracking my heartbeat and fitness activity—and without needing a recharge every day or so. Sadly, this watch does not yet exist.
And it’s not likely to hit shelves any time soon, either. If the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month gave us anything, it was a clearer view of just how the nascent wearable computing and smartwatch markets are evolving. Briefly put, you should get used to smart “watches” that require tethering (of one sort or another) to a smartphone in order to take advantage of its superior processing power and wireless capabilities.
That means smartwatches are most likely to serve as niche, satellite devices—notification/communication gadgets, for instance, or health-related fitness trackers—for the immediate future. It also means that you’re not likely to strap a smartphone onto your wrist any time soon—and no, Samsung’s ill-fated Galaxy Gear doesn’t count.
All that represents a fairly sharp break from the assumptions many people formed when smartwatch concepts started to emerge in Apple, Google and Samsung patent filings last year. The technical challenges to the standalone Everything Smartwatch, it turns out, are way more daunting than you might have thought.
The Incredible Shrinking PC
When computer engineers at companies like Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, etc. etc. etc. set their sights on the phone several years back, their challenge was simple, if not easy: Deliver PC-like computing power in a handheld package that could maintain a good wireless connection with decent battery life. The iPhone basically hit the mark, at least in a rudimentary way, in January 2007. From that point, we were off to the races.
The smartphone of today is often more powerful than the PC of just a few years ago. Smartphones and tablets in 2014 will be running on 64-bit architecture and some will have up to 4GB of RAM. No wonder netbooks are dead.
The watch, however, is different, and it’s pretty clear that no one is planning on rerunning the smartphone playbook just yet. That’s because there are some really big challenges in the way, which you could summarize as heat, juice and control.
Have you ever felt your smartphone get really hot when it’s doing heavy lifting like streaming video or playing a game? That’s because the processor is shedding excess heat generated by its furious electronic activity.
A smartwatch that handles computing tasks like a smartphone will need a processor with some serious chops—but it will also have to run much cooler than its smartphone cousins. You can’t easily set a smartwatch down if it gets too hot, and it really won’t do for it to melt your watchband or give you first-degree burns.
That’s one big reason smartwatches today seem underpowered, at least by smartphone standards. It’s telling, for instance, that the chip Qualcomm used for its Toq smartwatch isn’t a variant of its own Snapdragon processor, used in many of today’s smartphones. Instead, it’s an ARM Cortex-M3, a microcontroller often used to perform relatively low-level functions in appliances, factories and automobiles.
The Cortex-M3 lacks several of the integrated functions you’d find in a Snapdragon—chief among them, wireless and GPS capabilities. That saves on processing power, and thus reduces its heat output; it also keeps the chip small enough to fit reasonably into a watch. But it complicates the process of turning a wristbound device into a real connected computer.
The Cortex-M3 can, of course, still act as a traffic cop by routing around data from other chips—a pedometer accelerometer, for instance, or an external GPS receiver. (The iPhone 5S M7 motion co-processor is designed on Cortex-M3.) But those functions aren’t integrated into the Cortex-M3 chip itself, which is a big deal when you’re trying to pack as much raw computing power as you can into a tiny watch-sized package.
Worse, few chip manufacturers are likely to take on the challenge of squeezing all those functions onto a single chip until they’re convinced there’s a viable market for the resulting product. Doing so could take the clout of, say, an Apple—or maybe a Samsung.
Of course, several of the top smartwatches of 2013 do in fact rely on Snapdragon-class processors for their smarts. It’s just that those processors are actually in smartphones tethered to the watches.
Until someone solves the heat and power conundrum, smartwatches are going to remain poor cousins of the smartphone. That’s one big reason you’ve seen the wearables market specialize into many fitness bands and a couple of notification watches, but no device that combines those and other functions effectively. (Cost, of course, is also a factor; if your watch can’t be everything, which would be pricey in any event, why not do just a few things well for the lowest price you can manage?)
Battery life is pretty key to any watch, smart or otherwise. If the battery must be recharged or replaced frequently, the experience becomes more frustrating than useful. Unfortunately, two of the most important aspects of a smartwatch are the biggest battery hogs—the processor (see above) and the screen.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear has a smartphone-style Super AMOLED display running an 800 MHz processor. This will come as a shock, but the Gear’s battery life is abysmal. Samsung predicts just 25 hours of continuous use; some reviewers counted themselves lucky to keep the watch charged for two full days, counting idle time.
Blame the screen. Only a few of today’s smartwatches can actually measure battery usage in days, not hours, and that’s largely because they’ve opted for alternative (and sometimes limited) screen technologies.
The Pebble, for instance, uses what it calls a “transflective LCD” made by Sharp; it’s monochrome and slow, but power-efficient. The Toq uses its own MEMS-based screen standard called Mirasol. E-Ink, the company that makes the screens for Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, also makes screens for some forthcoming, if rudimentary, smartwatches that can receive notifications (see here and here, for instance).
These alternascreens yield pretty good battery life for a watch, typically between four and 10 days. And some of them may be starting to catch on in a bigger way. HTC, for instance, has already licensed Qualcomm’s design and hardware kit, according to an individual familiar with the situation.
Smartwatches, so far, are also just intrinsically hard to control. Keyboards, virtual or otherwise, are right out, and small screens limit the usefulness of touch-based controls. That leaves many modern smartwatches with side-button controls that bring to mind all the fun button-mashing of early digital watches and the gracefulness of texting from a numerical keypad.
Futuristic alternatives could save the day. Voice command and recognition, already present in Apple’s Siri and Google Now, is certainly one possibility. Gesture-based computing, sort of like what Google has done with X8 Computing System in the Moto X, might be another. Augmented reality displays like the examples in Google’s smartwatch patent could be interesting.
But any whiz-bang technology like this will take more processing power, thereby increasing demands on the processor and battery and generating more heat. It’s not an insoluble problem by any stretch of the imagination. But it is something of a vicious circle in the meantime.
Jewelry Or Computer?
When the incredible shrinking PC morphed from laptops and netbooks to phones and tablets, it met a compelling need: powerful mobile computing for an increasingly contextual and connected world. Wearable computing—again, at least for now—is in a different place.
Cellphones were already big before smartphones; everybody needs a phone of some sort, so a phone that did more stuff was a natural evolution for the vast majority of people. By contrast, not everybody needs or wants a watch, especially since the phone essentially subsumed the timekeeping function for many. (Even fewer people think they need a wearable device like Google Glass, which is much more, well, in your face.)
Watches have been and will probably always be jewelry, worn by some but not all. Even when if the fundamental problems of heat dispensation, battery life and processor are solved, it’s entirely possible that many people just won’t want to wear their computers on their bodies.
Until there’s a killer app that convinces them otherwise, that is.
Lead image via Flickr user Decade City, CC 2.0
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Today Facebook announced “Trending,” a new feature that puts a list of trending topics in the top right corner of the News Feed. The company began testing this feature last fall, and is now rolling it out to a larger audience.
Users in the U.S., UK, India and Australia will begin to see the list of trending topics accompanied by a brief explanation of why they are trending. You can then select any headline to see on-topic posts from people or pages, and those you are connected with will rank higher in the feed.
You may already be familiar with the trending topic feature on Twitter. Trending topics appear as links to the left of Twitter timelines on desktop and under the “Discover” tab on mobile, and when clicked, users can view a timeline of tweets containing the trending word or phrase.
Similar to Twitter, Facebook’s trends are reflective of what’s being talked about on the service and are constantly updating. “Trending” is only available on desktop for now.
This update is the latest in a slew of Twitter features Facebook has implemented in the past. The social network also recently introduced hashtags and embeddable posts, two favored features on Twitter.
View full post on ReadWrite