Posts Tagged ‘phone’

Facebook Testing Timehop-Like Feature to Surface Past News Feed Posts

November 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Grufnik/Flickr Facebook is getting the slightest bit more nostalgic. The company is trying out a new feature inside of the News Feed that lets users surface old Facebook posts from their Timeline. Facebook confirmed the new feature in a statement: “We’re testing a new way to help you remember favorite moments by making it easier to revisit previous News Feed posts,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD . “When you click on this notice, you will see a selection of some of the top posts from your News Feed from a year ago. This is just a small test at this stage.” The feature is much akin to startups like Timehop and the now-defunct Memolane , single-serving apps that connected to users’ various social media accounts and resurfaced status updates, tweets and photos from years past. I found Timehop in particular to be equal parts charming and embarrassing when looking back on what I had to say just a year or two ago. But as an app that served little purpose outside of digging up the past, it was difficult to see any direction in which it could evolve. I’ve also been suspect of how long people would keep an app devoted entirely to this purpose before deleting it from their phone. It makes sense, then, that a site like Facebook — which aims to essentially be a digital-identity service and record of your online life — has subsumed the functionality. It’s also a simpler way to look into the past without requiring the work of digging back through your entire Timeline. As Facebook said, the feature isn’t being pushed out widely at the moment. But the timing of the test seems perfect: It comes smack in the middle of Thanksgiving and the holidays, the time of year perhaps best suited to nostalgia and self-reflection.

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Nokia Lumia 1520 Marks Giant Leap (In Screen Size) for Windows Phone

November 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

What’s big and red (or yellow, or white, or black), makes calls and plays movies, and doubles as a butter dish for Thanksgiving dinner? Why, it’s Nokia’s latest Windows Phone device, the Lumia 1520 , of course. And I’m just kidding about the butter dish part — sort of. The Lumia 1520, which is available now from AT&T for $200 on contract, is Nokia’s first foray into the world of “phablets” — those hybrid devices that try to be both smartphone and tablet. Till now, the largest screen to appear on a Windows Phone handset measured 4.5 inches. But the Lumia 1520 ups the ante with a six-inch full-HD display, which I found great for watching movies, reading text and even working on documents. But, as one would expect, it also makes for a large device. Not Samsung Galaxy Mega big, but big enough that it’s cumbersome to hold and carry

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Wi-Fi(delity) in a Smaller Sonos

November 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In the market for high-quality wireless speakers that stream music digitally, Sonos has been a gold standard. Its products produce sterling sound, need no wiring or professional installation and are controlled by apps on computers, tablets and smartphones. They can be used alone, or several can be networked together to form a whole-house system. But Sonos products have been relatively expensive, ranging between $300 and $700 for a single speaker, plus $50 for a “bridge” device that plugs into your home Internet router to make the speakers’ wireless network function. And its speakers have typically been large and heavy. Now, the Santa Barbara, Calif., company has come out with a lower-priced, smaller model that preserves its quality sound and its modular, wireless connection system. Like its larger siblings, it works with a handsome Sonos app on Macs, PCs, iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets to stream music either from those devices, or from the cloud via services like Pandora, Amazon and Spotify. I’ve been testing the new $199 Sonos Play:1 and I really like it, despite a couple of downsides that Sonos is working on fixing. I found it easy to set up and use. I loved the crisp, rich sound it produced, which easily filled a large room without being at maximum volume. Sonos is even throwing in the bridge device free with the Play:1. Like older Sonos speakers, the Sonos Play:1 plays music from computers, tablets and phones, but is more portable. I was able to tuck away a Play:1 almost out of sight and still enjoy great sound in my large family room. I was able to combine two speakers in a single room as a paired stereo set. I was able to set up three of them in my house and either play the same song on all of them, or separate songs and playlists on each. I controlled it from computers, tablets and phones

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The League’s Steve Rannazzisi Is a Real-Life Fantasy Football Junkie

November 15, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Steve Rannazzisi

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In Data-Speed Race, Who Is the Fastest in LTE?

November 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As smartphone usage has surged, so has the demand for reliable, fast cellular data. Sure, your smartphone can use Wi-Fi to surf the Web, watch video, stream music and download documents. But Wi-Fi isn’t always available or costs extra in some public places. In the U.S., the fast cellular technology of choice is called 4G LTE. The 4G just means we’re on the fourth generation of cellular data systems and LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, which is the fastest and most consistent form of 4G cellular data. It’s the one that U.S. wireless carriers are competing to offer in as many cities as possible, as quickly as possible. Verizon Wireless got the jump on deploying LTE and I reported my first tests of its nascent service in January 2011. But now AT&T claims it has almost caught up, and Sprint and T-Mobile are racing to build out their LTE networks. So I decided to test the availability and speed of the four major U.S. carriers’ LTE coverage in three metro areas where I happened to be in the past month or so. I focused on download speeds because the average consumer is still downloading much more than uploading

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Baby, You Can Drive (Or Ride in) My Car

November 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you’re still driving your own car, you might need to get up to speed. Car sharing and ride sharing have cruised into many cities around the world, especially as more people are going car-free to save money or live more environmentally friendly lifestyles. And smartphone apps are making it even easier to find available rental cars and rides. But before you can join in a chorus of car-sharing Kumbaya, you might want some basic information. In this week’s column, I’ll explain how car sharing and ride sharing work, how to find and access cars and how to address safety concerns. This could be helpful if you need wheels for just an hour or the day, want a ride from someone or want to offer a ride to someone. Just be prepared to pay for the convenience of quickly picking up a car and be aware of the possible awkwardness of riding with a stranger. Wheeling in Convenience A spin with some zip: Zipcar lets you pick from a variety of vehicles and choose a membership plan that fits your driving frequency. Renting a car no longer means going to an airport or rental office to get one. You might be able to find a car a few steps from your front door. This is especially common in cities where services like Zipcar, Car2Go and Enterprise (with its Enterprise CarShare program) let users pick up or drop off cars on streets or in parking garages. To start, you’ll need a membership with the company, which usually requires a fee, as well as some information like your driver’s license, age, moving violation history (if any) and payment information. The company will send you a membership card, which you wave over a small panel on the windshield to unlock the car and start tracking the time you began using it. Keys are inside and you’ll leave them there when you’re done. To lock the car, just swipe your card on the windshield reader again. In the case of Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare, cars must be picked up and returned to the same spot and reservations must be made via phone, website or mobile app. Car2Go uses a looser approach: It lets members pick up cars without a reservation (though you can make one) and it’s designed for one-way rides to anywhere within a designated Home Area

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Texting Can Be Good for Relationships (But Also Really Bad)

November 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Is texting good or bad for relationships? Well, yes, according to a new study. Flickr/Ei Katsumata “The use of texting with cell phones can increase intimacy by making partners more available and expanding their repertoire of connection,” according to a report in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy . At the same time, the study’s authors caution that “texting is devoid of important face-to-face cues,” raising the risk of miscommunication and real damage to the relationship. Also of note, the study found that repeated texts from male partners was a negative sign for relationships, while the same was not found of relationships in which women texted more. Barbie Adler, founder of Chicago-based executive matchmaking service Selective Search, said that men who rely on texting are seen as not taking the relationship seriously. Adler said that, regardless of gender, it is how one uses texting that matters most. The occasional text in the middle of the day to say you are thinking of someone can be sweet and romantic. But relying on texts as a primary means of communication — especially for the hard stuff — is a bad idea. “Something that is really important should be done in person or at least over the phone,” Adler said in an interview (done over the phone, not by email). It’s important for couples that do use texts or email to be sensitive to how often the other person is at a computer or phone, Adler said, as well as to make sure that both people have similar expectations on how quickly to expect a response. There’s another danger with always texting. You could end up missing out on meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. “I always say get your head out of the iCloud,” Adler said.

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Explaining What It’s Going to Do With All That Dough, Pinterest Unveils Stats on Strong Mobile and International Usage

October 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Pinterest confirmed an earlier report by AllThingsD that it had raised $225 million more from investors at a valuation of $3.8 billion . This Series E round will bring the total funding to $564 million for the San Francisco social scrapbooking startup since it launched in 2010. Yes, you may say it out loud: Yipes! In a statement, co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said: “We hope to be a service that everyone uses to inspire their future, whether that’s dinner tomorrow night, a vacation next summer, or a dream house someday. This new investment enables us to pursue that goal even more aggressively.” I’d say so — now Pinterest can afford the really big guns. But to perhaps help assuage the worry — more like: “Good god, VCs have lost their marbles again!!!” — that Silicon Valley is in a bubble with this latest massive investment, especially given Pinterest’s lack of revenue, the company also released some new stats about its usage growth and what it plans to use the money for. Such as: Pinterest will use the additional capital for corporate purposes including: International expansion that builds on 125% international growth since the beginning of the year. Pinterest recently launched in UK, France and Italy and plans to launch in 10 more countries before the end of the year. Investment in the core Pinterest service, especially mobile which has grown 50% since the beginning of the year to become more than three-fourths of all usage (for comparison, LinkedIn just announced 38%). Continued development of monetization, which first began testing earlier this month, into a global program. Capital investments in technical infrastructure to make the service faster, more reliable and more efficient. Strategic acquisitions of both talent and technology. Well, alrighty then! In fact, some of this is already happening. Pinterest recently said it hired country managers — its first global employees — in France (where it launched its first localized edition in June) and England. Pinterest had also indicated interest in Japan, when it raised $100 million from Rakuten in May of 2012. It also expanded to Italy, as it noted. Pinterest also just did a deal , unpaid, to be preinstalled on Google Android phones distributed by Telefónica’s various carrier brands in Latin America and Europe. Pinterest has seen huge growth as consumers have flocked to the free site on which they “pin” photos of their interests and share them widely. Usage has exploded since it was founded several years ago and has also become an increasingly key driver of traffic across the Web to other sites

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Meet Blogger Mobile: Biz Stone’s Idea for Twitter Before It Was Twitter

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Even with the best of ideas, timing is still everything. And sometimes you arrive years too early to something big. Just ask Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, who in the early 2000s made multiple attempts to build a simple, lightweight publishing service — all years before Twitter was ever on the radar. In a series of old blog posts, aptly enough, Stone documented much of his thought process of what a Twitter-like product could be, and made several early versions of a short-form blogging service. The first attempt came in 2003 with Sideblogger, a small project Stone worked on with programmer Chris MacDonald , tailored for entries that were “ too short for your main blog ,” as Stone once put it. Read this line from his early thoughts on the product: “My last post was 377 characters. My RSS reader is set to 255 characters. Maybe 255 is a new blog standard? The point at which post becomes essay?” Not quite 140 characters yet, but prescient enough. Sideblogger didn’t work out — Google ended up freaking Stone out by asking him to take “Blogger” out of the title , as the company owned the eponymous service. Later on, after Stone ended up joining Google and Blogger, came the Blogger Mobile project you see in the photo above. Stone, early Twitter product leader Jason Goldman , and Jason Shellen , another Blogger veteran, all collaborated on the project. This is quintessential Twitter before actually becoming Twitter

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Foursquare Opens Up Its Self-Serve Ad Platform

October 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Asa Mathat / If you want to be a big Web/mobile company that makes money selling advertising, then eventually you need to give small advertisers the ability to buy ads from you without talking to another human. Facebook built this kind of self-serve ad business a few years ago, and Twitter is building one, too . Google makes a ton of money from self-serve. And now Foursquare has one , too. If you’re a Foursquare user, you probably won’t notice any change to the service, but if you look very carefully, you may see more local shops and restaurants pitching you in places where Denny’s used to buy ads. The change is on the flip side, where Foursquare has built a platform that lets a local bar or restaurant buy an ad without ever picking up the phone. Foursquare started testing the software this summer , and says it has tried it out with a thousand buyers so far. Now anyone can buy an ad on a cost-per-action basis, as long as they’re willing to spend at least $50 a month. If Foursquare is going to be a standalone business, self-serve will be important. If it eventually ends up selling to someone like Apple or Yahoo, presumably for the value of the data it has built up over the last four years, its ad platform won’t really matter that much. What still matters a lot to Foursquare is whether more people are using the once-buzzy discovery service

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