Articles about Social Web

Yahoo takes data visualization startup Vizify under its wing


Yahoo has been splashing the cash once again, this time placing its bets on Vizify, a company set up to make it easier to create visualizations from social media data.

The outfit has been up and running since 2011, but as a result of Yahoo's acquisition the service will be "sunsetted". It seems that the startup has been swayed by the idea of teaming up with Yahoo with a view to expanding its audience to one of hundreds of millions and will now be working closely with the search giant on projects that are yet to be revealed.

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Yahoo and BlackBerry worm further into your life with mobile ads

ad wall

There are few people who like ads. Sure, they can be works of art -- certainly there are some advertisements that are infinitely better than a lot of the dirge pumped out by television networks -- but while advertisements on television can be fairly easily avoided (thank you TiVo -- other PVRs are available!) it is a different matter on a computer or mobile device. "Opting" to watch a mindblowing ad for Apple, Guinness or Honda is one thing, but to have unavoidable -- and usually crappy -- advertisements forced upon you whilst browsing the web or using an application is an entirely different matter.

There are groups of people who are happy to endure these adverts because they fund apps, and make it possible for developers to provide their hard work free of charge -- you may fall into this group and have perhaps been able to configure an automatic ad filter for your eyes. But there are larger legions for whom ads are just plain, damned irritating. In some instances it is possible to pay to avoid them, but this is not always the case. If BlackBerry and Yahoo get their way, advertisements are going to become rather more noticeable.

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Twitter, you had me going for a while


Every day, right after I wake up, I check my email accounts to see who reached out during the night. This morning it was Twitter that grabbed my attention with an email informing me that my password has been reset.

The reason? "Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter", says the email received from the social network. "We've reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account". This is not something that one wants to hear, is it?

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week February 23 -- March 1

March 2014

Webcam porn! Spying! Cell phones! Bitcoin controversy! Just another normal week in the world of tech news! Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox disappeared offline amid concern about missing millions and then filed for bankruptcy. After panic spread through Mac users following the discovery of a serious SSL bug in Mavericks, Apple released an update that plugged the hole -- but it was also discovered that iOS 7 has a keylogging vulnerability. Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Office 2013, but anyone using Office 365 will need to force the installation of newer updates in order to reap the benefits.

Security updates are all well and good for operating systems and applications, but it will do little to protect you against the wandering eyes of government agencies. As if everything we have already learned about the activities of the NSA et al, this week's revelations about what the UK's GCHQ has been getting up to is sure to raise ire. Not content with logging emails and web searches, the UK intelligence agency apparently spent a number of years tapping into the webcam chats of millions of Yahoo users. There may be little good news in this revelation, but it was at least slightly amusing to find that the surveillers were rather taken aback by the amount of pornographic content they encountered. It makes ya proud!

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Spotify agrees to block user-created Ministry of Sound playlists

no music

Spotify is all about streaming music, creating playlists and sharing them with others. Who doesn't relish the idea of creating the ultimate mixtape and sharing with not just their best friend, but the whole world? Music fans love it, and so do the musicians who earn royalties from making their work available.

But Ministry of Sound felt a little differently about things. Back in September, the dance brand took Spotify to court, claiming that the music streaming service was refusing to delete playlists created by users that mimicked the tracklisting of Ministry of Sound releases.

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Are you reading this when you should be working?

Internet distraction

A study of 2,500 people in the UK shows that 68 percent have been distracted from completing work by browsing the web, checking emails and engaging in social media.

In addition, 63 percent said they had lost their train of thought while working on a report or long piece of written work because they responded to an email or social media alert.

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Mark Zuckerberg addresses MWC 2014 -- looks to get the world online


Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the Mobile World Congress today, saying that there needs to be some "pretty dramatic changes" to help to get more people online, pointing out that most people in the world simply do not have access to the internet. The Facebook founder has already launched with a view to getting more people online around the globe and this is referred to as an "an on-ramp to the internet" -- he wants to get a billion people online in the next five years.

Zukerberg's goal is fairly simple. He feels that there are a number of basic services -- he mentions weather and messaging specifically -- that everyone should have access to, and this is what provides. He admits that Facebook is not able to connect everyone without help, and suggested the possibility of working with more partners in the future. It seems as though this is a venture that Zuckerberg has taken a broad view with. At the moment it is a venture that is losing money, but this is not an example of martyrdom: "If we do something good for the world, eventually we'll find a way to benefit from it".

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YouTube now adapts layout to larger displays

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.23.19

Like Google+, YouTube had a love affair with white space. This quirkiness was only noticeable to those who have large displays. On my 23-inch screen this meant the video-sharing site had only taken roughly half of it to show me relevant content. To get around this behavior, I had to resort to Google Chrome extensions which could center the page.

I said "had" because, thankfully, YouTube is now smart enough to figure out that when we are using large screens it should adapt its look accordingly. It now centers, yes. And, to my eyes, YouTube now looks more like Google+. That is not a bad thing, really, as, from my point of view, there is nothing wrong with the latter's layout.

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Social media gets cooking with Chef's Roll


The world of social media has exploded -- there are countless sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to name a few. One problem with these sites, is that they are not focused. In other words, they exist to encapsulate all topics. That is good and sometimes better, but some people may prefer a network that is dedicated to one topic. After all, if you are passionate about one thing, everything else can be noise.

This is particularly true of chefs -- they are passionate people that dedicate themselves to preparing, cooking and presenting their dishes. While a site like Facebook could store pictures of meals and cooking techniques, there is a good chance that it will be lost among the sea of cat videos and chain letters. And so, Chef's Roll has been born.

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Kickstarter is the latest hack victim -- regains control and issues belated apology

God Almighty

It seems to be hacking season at the moment, with new high profile victims hitting the headlines just about every day. The latest target is Kickstarter. The website, which exists to help projects raise the funds they need to get off the ground, was hacked on Wednesday, but details of the attack -- along with an apology -- have only just been made public. If you're wondering why is has taken so many days for Kickstarter to speak out, the company has pre-empted your question and supplied a FAQ: "We immediately closed the breach and notified everyone as soon we had thoroughly investigated the situation".

In a statement on the Kickstarter website CEO Yancey Strickler explained that the company had been contacted by law enforcement officials and alerted to the activity of hackers. It's not clear what users are likely to find more alarming, the fact that the site was hacked in the first place, or the fact that it was not Kickstarter that noticed, but a third party.

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YouTube announces winners in Super Bowl ads contest

cat popcorn movie film hollywood 3d gkasses

The Seattle Seahawks overwhelming victory in this year's Super Bowl may now be a memory, but the ads certainly live on. Those that debuted during the big game continue to run during our daily TV shows, and Google's video service has been polling viewers to get a feel for what really came out on top that Sunday.

While everyone likely had a personal favorite, there was a consensus amongst the masses, and the company has unveiled its top five from the NFL championship.

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: February 9 -- February 15


It is usually Bill Gates who is heralded for his philanthropy, but according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who is currently the most generous. In another change from the norm, malware threats to OS X, Linux and Android have increased, showing it is not just Windows that is prone to attack. As if to prove this, Mac malware has been discovered that has been designed to steal Bitcoins from victims. Factor in all of Apple's devices and the company managed to sell more units than Windows PCs are sold, although this revelation caused quite some debate.

Twitter found itself in the headlines after the James Dean estate tried to gain control of a fan's James Dean-related account. Twitter has already spoken out about the shackles binding companies from being open about government data requests -- companies are practically falling over themselves to add their names to the list -- and Dropbox is in agreement. The European Commission has expressed a desire to wrestle some control of the internet from US hands voicing fears that too much influence was being exerted,

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Free 15GB Bitrix24 account for BetaNews readers


Social intranet cloud site Bitrix24 is two years old and has over 100,000 company sign-ups. To celebrate it is giving BetaNews readers the chance to claim a free account with 15 GB of online document storage -- standard free accounts only get 5GB.

Here is how to claim yours.

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Mark Zuckerberg is the most generous man in the US


According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were the most generous US philanthropists last year. In 2013, the couple donated 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, amounting to some $992.2 million. The Chronicle of Philanthropy put together a list of the top fifty most generous donors in 2012, ranked according to the size of individual donations.

The list is concerned only with gifts and pledges of cash and stock to non-profit organizations and it might be surprising to find that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is not at the top spot -- in fact, it does not appear in the list at all. This is explained by the publication:

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Twitter needs to stand its ground over James Dean legal action


Legal threats on Twitter are nothing new, but it is usually Twitter users who are the subject of litigation. In the case of the @JamesDean account, however, it is Twitter itself found on the receiving end of legal action. Acting on behalf of the James Dean estate, celebrity licensing agency CMG Worldwide is attempting to wrestle control of the Twitter account -- which is currently being used to tweet quotes by and about the star -- from the hands of its current owner.

The complaint says that Twitter is breaching trademarks owned by James Dean Inc by placing "objectionable content" online. CMG Worldwide has been in touch with Twitter to ask that the account activity be stopped, and that contact details for the account owner be handed over. Twitter has refused both requests. It is hard to see how the James Dean estate could have suffered "immeasurable and irreparable" damage. It is also interesting to note that the complaint suggests that unless the account activity stops, then James Dean Inc "will continue to be irreparably harmed and suffer actual damages in an amount as yet undetermined". There is no suggestion of what irreparable damage has actually been caused.

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