Jan 242013


As a favorite hangout for the Millennial generation, Tumblr is already helping some brands reach this prized audience. (Check out some of the brands already on Tumblr here.) Every industry — from fashion to finance — is represented, and these companies are finding new and creative ways to connect to their customers using this platform.

Let’s take a look at a few of the opportunities your brand might be missing on Tumblr, as well as the brands that are getting it right.

Go native

Tumblr isn’t like any other social network, so a content strategy applied to Facebook, Twitter, or a blog won’t yield the same results on Tumblr. The most popular form of expression on the platform is visual — photos and GIFs (animated images).

To be successful on Tumblr, you first need to find a way to express the visual elements of your brand or message. This approach can showcase a different side of your brand, allowing you to communicate your brand’s personality in a new way. Striking images garner a great deal of attention on Tumblr.

MORE:  4 brands that are taking Tumblr by storm




Jan 242013

Google has revamped its image search for faster and better results, the company announced Wednesday.

In the next few days, images will be displayed in an inline panel so that users can quickly flip through a set of images using their keyboard, Google announced in a blog post.

“Based on feedback from users and webmasters, we redesigned Google Images to provide a better search experience,” Hongyi Li, Googles associate product manager, wrote.

As a result, it will be “faster, more beautiful and more reliable,” he added.

MORE:  Google Unveils Faster Image Search [PICS].




Jan 232013

dna strand

It’s easy to get excited about the idea of encoding information in single molecules, which seems to be the ultimate end of the miniaturization that has been driving the electronics industry. But it’s also easy to forget that we’ve been beaten there—by a few billion years. The chemical information present in biomolecules was critical to the origin of life and probably dates back to whatever interesting chemical reactions preceded it.

It’s only within the past few decades, however, that humans have learned to speak DNA. Even then, it took a while to develop the technology needed to synthesize and determine the sequence of large populations of molecules. But we’re there now, and people have started experimenting with putting binary data in biological form. Now, a new study has confirmed the flexibility of the approach by encoding everything from an MP3 to the decoding algorithm into fragments of DNA. The cost analysis done by the authors suggest that the technology may soon be suitable for decade-scale storage, provided current trends continue.

via MP3 files written as DNA with storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram | Ars Technica.

Jan 232013


As various tech companies report their fourth-quarter 2012 earnings numbers this week, so are two gray-market, Bitcoin-based casinos—and one is turning profits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars after only six months of being in business.

Recently, both SatoshiDice and bitZino released their financials. If these self-reported earnings are to be trusted and the companies say they are, given that a Bitcoin block chain can be read by anyone, then running a Bitcoin-based casino yields a tidy profit.

“These tiny startups are hitting some major online casino pain points. Theyre crushing it on those fronts and as an entrepreneur, I think thats rad—they are leveraging a disruptive technology to try and kick a large-scale industry in the balls,” said Peter Vessenes, the CEO of CoinLab, a Bitcoin-based business, which got $500,000 of venture capital last year.

SatoshiDice, which has servers based in Ireland, is a pseudo-random number generator game where players choose a number and then bet on the likelihood that a “rolled number” is greater than the one they’ve selected. If the rolled number is greater, they win. The house has a 1.9 percent edge—which is where the profit comes in.

The online dice game has returned profits to the tune of ฿33,310 $596,231 during 2012—an average actual profit of ฿135.96 $2,416 per day from May through December 2012. During that period, players put down a total of 2,349,882 bets. That’s minuscule by Las Vegas standards, but its still respectable.

MORE:  Bitcoin-based casino rakes in more than $500,000 profit 




Jan 172013


Karl Schellenberg demonstrates how to stagger full-site animations with CSS3 and JavaScript through page scrolling

When we redeveloped our new website, we decided to use CSS3 animations to provide an impressive and interactive site experience. However, we struggled to time the animations to trigger at the right time.

Because animated elements “below the fold” (depending on the screen resolution) animate on page load, some animations had already played before the user had chance to scroll to them.

To prevent this, we delay the animations until the user can see them. The animations trigger as the user scrolls down and the elements come into view, which creates a staggered effect. To do this we used specific classes for CSS3 Transitions and some JavaScript to trigger the correct elements during scrolling.

MORE:  Getting CSS animations to trigger at the right time




Jan 172013


Back in August, I wrote about cloud-storage service MediaFire, which was offering a whopping 50GB of free space, no strings attached.

Well, there were strings in the form of certain limitations (see below), but it wasn’t like you had to provide a credit-card number or start paying for the space after, say, six months.

Yesterday, the company unveiled MediaFire for Android, which joins the iOS version in giving you mobile access to your cloud drive. And new users still get 50GB of storage, free of charge.

Like other apps of its kind, MediaFire for Android lets you view documents and photos, stream audio, watch videos, share files with others, and so on. It also lets you upload snapshots and videos directly to your account, a nice option for folks who are running low on local storage. Unfortunately, there’s no batch-upload option, meaning there’s no easy way to archive, say, a photo gallery. That’s one area where an app like Dropbox holds the edge.

MORE:  MediaFire debuts for Android, offers users 50GB of free cloud storage




Jan 172013


Facebook’s free voice calling service has begun rolling out to users in the U.S. after a trial in Canada that began earlier this month.

As first reported by The Verge, voice calling will be made available to U.S. users with the latest version of Messenger for iOS starting today and will gradually be brought to more users.

Users can call their friends — who also need the latest version of Messenger for iOS and to be part of the initial test group — by tapping the “i” icon in the top right of the screen when messaging a friend and then tap “Free call.”

MORE:  Free voice calling rolls out to U.S. Facebook users




Jan 162013


The concept, in a nutshell, is that websites can be written to adapt to multiple screen sizes. Instead of writing different presentation layers to suit a desktop browser or a tablet or a smartphone, presentations can be created to respond to the screen they are presented on.

This notion seems pretty straightforward, and in some ways content has been adapting to platforms for a few years. But this approach is revolutionary in how it abstracts form from function and the flexibility it provides designers as well as business owners.

Here are the basics that marketers need to know about responsive design, along with the pros and cons of facets of the concept.

What is responsive design?

We are designers for things we can’t predict. It seems like every month there is a new device — with a new screen size — coming to market, and users want to consume their content on it. One way to address this approach is writing code that adapts content to the page that it’s on.

This approach, called “responsive design,” was coined by Ethan Marcotte to describe code that uses fluid design grids and lays pages out depending on the media, or device type, requesting the information. By using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the system can adapt the look and feel of its content to work in a number of different places. For example, open up Sony.com. Resize the browser window, and see how (and whether) the screen redraws itself. There are three breakpoints in the design where the browsers redraws the content to fit into different screen resolutions.

MORE:  Responsive design for dummies




Jan 162013


What kind of company has the best chance of success using email to acquire new customers? I’ve identified four key characteristics of successful programs:

Their target audience is small and medium-sized businesses

If you are marketing to Fortune 500 companies, it is extremely hard to achieve the scale you need to make email marketing cost effective. The list sizes just aren’t there, and the CPMs can be prohibitively high. If you have an extremely valuable offer, email might be viable, but direct mail or inside sales approaches probably make more sense. Yes, I just wrote that.

They have a very compelling offer

You are an uninvited guest, so you need to show up with some really good wine. Free trial offers, dramatic cost savings, and exciting promotions all have proven effective at getting emails opened. White papers are OK, but they don’t tend to attract those ready to make immediate transactions. (If you’re building a prospect database, however, they are very effective). You might never get a second chance to email to this person, so you need to swing for the fences right away.

MORE:  4 characteristics of successful email acquisition programs




Jan 162013


How do you choose the best social network for your content?

Know network demographics

First and foremost, know who is using the network. So many of us hear about how other businesses are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and the list goes on. That doesn’t mean every network is right for you. You need to know who is actually active in each network.

A report recently put out by Pew Research showed that the majority of users on Pinterest are women and the top users of Facebook are under 50. When you’re sharing content by network, you need to know the makeup of the network. This information should be a significant factor in choosing what to share.

Know fan and follower demographics

Along with the network as a whole, it’s important to get a sense of who your fans and followers are by channel. The demographics of your Facebook fans may be very different than that of your LinkedIn connections. The content they consume should therefore be different.

When evaluating demographics by network, there are a few places to look:

MORE:  How to choose the best social network for your content