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August 2011

Will the HP TouchPad Get a Chance at a Second Life?

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After the death of the HP TouchPad was announced, it seems all anyone is talking about these days in terms of tablets is, yes, the HP TouchPad.

The company lowered the price of the tablet from $500 to only $99 earlier this month and they went fast. So fast, they are almost impossible to find right now.

In an interview with Reuters, HP executive Todd Bradley said there is a chance the TouchPad could be resurrected.

Bradley said the company could resurrect HP’s short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later.

“Tablet computing is a segment of the market that’s relevant, absolutely,” Bradley said.

He continued on saying “regardless of what happens, we’re the largest PC company in the world. We need everybody energized, and while this isn’t business as usual, we need people to go out and sell products every day.”

The biggest question right now is, will HP release any more TouchPads? Mark Budgell, HP’s PR Manager for Social Media Strategy, answered a few consumer questions in this blog post yesterday (August 29th).

In regards to the release of more TouchPads he said, “We will have more information available in the next few days about whether or not more will be available and if so, what the details will be about the situation.”

If HP does release more TouchPads, will you run out and purchase one? Some don’t see the point, while others want one as soon as they become available again.

Submit Your Comments on Facebook’s Privacy Policy by September 2nd

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Facebook made many changes last week to its privacy policy and tagging options. The changes included features such as inline profile controls and approving or rejecting any photos you’ve been tagged in.

Facebook has been working on these new options for most of 2011 and now they want your feedback.

The Facebook Site Governance page lays out all of the changes Facebook has made to its privacy policy and on August 26th, they made a note asking for your feedback on the changes:

As part of our site governance process, you have a chance to review the proposed updates and give us feedback by commenting on them before they’re final.  Please review the proposed materials here.  You may submit your comments until 5:00 PM PDT on September 2, 2011.

As of right now, there are about 90 comments. Some of the comments are:

  • If they’ve considered having two level of friends, such as a friends and best friends
  • Disabling right click
  • Disabling the ability to see who is playing what Facebook game (several comments on this)
  • The ability to separate friends and family

If you want to get your opinion and comments in, do so before September 2nd. I’m actually surprised there’s only 90 comments.

What do you think of the privacy changes Facebook recently made and what else could they be doing better to protect our privacy?

Jason Sadler from iwearyourshirt.com on the Today Show

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I was watching the Today Show this morning while answering some emails and sipping on my coffee, when I heard the t-shirt guy would be on. I was all ears.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Jason Sadler from iwearyourshirt.com, but if you haven’t you might want to keep reading. He’s taken advertising, social media and t-shirts (which all companies have right?) and rolled them into one extremely successful business. He’s creative. He’s brilliant. I love his story.

So basically, every day Jason puts on a different t-shirt and promotes the company he’s wearing the shirt for that day. He does this all via social media, but also while out and about. The man has to eat and go grocery shopping and maybe go on a date every now and then (if he’s not married).

As the Today Show said Jason is “a walking, breathing, internet savvy billboard”. Jason tweets, broadcast and interacts every day with his online audience.

During his interview, he said of his social media following, “They’re basically coming to consume an ad. Where does that happen? No where else. No one looks through the magazines and goes ‘hmm article. Oh, ad!’ That’s exactly what they’re doing with us”.

Jason obviously has an advertising background and he’s putting it to good use. He’s been in business for 3 years and has been so successful he’s hired four additional t-shirt wearers. He has one in Dallas, New York, Missouri, Los Angeles and he is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Here’s the video from the Today Show segment where you’ll also see how his furry friend gets involved in the business as well.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Amazing business idea isn’t it? I love stories like this and it’s proof that with a little creativity and social media, you can create a dream job for yourself.

What do you think of Jason’s story and does it inspire you to dream big?

Image Source: Twitter

BloggersCompete.com – Bloggers Compete, Advertisers Win

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BloggersCompete.com is a new start-up company where bloggers can compete with other bloggers and gives advertisers a means to encourage a crowd of bloggers to blog about a topic of choice.

Advertisers also receive a link back to their URL and the opportunity to have their message spread over powerful social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

For bloggers, you create content and have the chance to win prizes like t-shirts, products and on-line services. If your content is chosen as the best post, then you’ll get paid via Paypal.

According to CEO and Founder of Bloggers Compete, Pavan Katepalli, “For advertisers, bloggers are powerful allies. With over a hundred million blogs on the internet, the blogosphere has become the most powerful news scene in the world.Bloggers, through BloggersCompete.com, work in movements to influence a company’s internet presence.”

Bloggers must submit their blog for approval and according to this page, they’re looking for technology, business, start up and software like blogs. Although they do say if you’re blog is awesome and it doesn’t fit into those categories, they might accept it anyway.

It’s definitely an interesting concept and I’ll be watching to see if both bloggers and advertisers see a benefit and sign up. As of right now, there are three contests running with one having 6 entries and a $150 prize attached.

So tell us – is this something you would participate in and do you see any benefit for bloggers and advertisers?

Facebook Wants a Broader Range of Game Choices

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Facebook’s recently added gaming features sounds like just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their dreams and desires for their gaming platform.

In an interview with MCV, Sean Ryan – Facebook’s head of game partnerships, says he wants a broader selection of gaming choices such as the ones found on consoles. He wants a little bit of everything offered on Facebook “from sports to core shooters to family games and social games.”

Ryan says when you look at their platform, they don’t have the type of breadth gaming consoles do. Why is that? He believes it’s because they are still so young.

“That’s because we are young – we are only three and a half years old. We are a pure platform – we don’t invest in games or make them. But we ask ourselves how we can make games like a football manager title rise up and become a success. There is a range of sophisticated games we want to get on our platform.”

Facebook has definitely taken a step forward into the console market with Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony already using the the Facebook Social Graph API.

“Everybody games, just at different levels. What Facebook does through social games, as Apple and Google have done in mobile, is broadening the types of users who play games. So is this a challenge for the traditional companies? It’s an opportunity.”

Ryan says their goal is to have more people playing games on Facebook or the games that use the Facebook Social Graph.

Now that Google+ has games, can you see some major competition between the two companies for the attention of gamers? It will be interesting to see how far Google+ wants to take their gaming platform.

Adobe Launches CreatePDF for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

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You can now create PDF files from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch with CreatePDF. Adobe launched the mobile app today for $9.99 at the iTunes store. This is Adobe’s first official crack at enabling PDF creation on iOS devices.

CreatPDF for the iPhone

Here are a few of the features for CreatePDF:

High Quality PDF Creation

  • Creates PDF files that look exactly like the original using the same technology as Adobe Acrobat

Intuitive Interface for PDF Conversion

  • Convert email attachments or files stored in the cloud or any application by opening them within the Adobe CreatePDF application

Share

  • Hand over converted PDF files to other applications, including sending as email attachments with one touch

For those of you on the go and working from your iPad or iPhone, you can use this app for any document that needs to be sent as a PDF. This eliminates the need to be at your desktop, unless you’re doing something more sophisticated.

So far, the reviews have not been so great, although there’s only 2 at the time of this writing. One reviewer was disappointed when she discovered you could create PDF files, but could not open them from an email. She did like the clean interface, but would like it to be able to open the PDF documents.

Do you find this app useful enough to pay $9.99 for or would you rather just wait to send the PDF when you’re back in front of your computer?

Update: In regards to the comment made by the reviewer that she could not open PDF documents from an email, for opening and viewing PDF files on your iOS device, you can currently use the default PDF Preview. Adobe Reader for iOS will be coming later this year.

How Bloggers Can Make The Most of The School Hours

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As the kids go back to school, we bloggers have several hours during the day to ourselves. If you are not careful, those hours will go by very quickly and you’ll find that you haven’t accomplished anything. Here are a few tips bloggers can use to make the most of school hours.

Routines. Set up a weekly routine and put it on your calendar. I like to start my week out by writing on Mondays and Tuesdays. That way I have the rest of the week for social media, meetings and anything else that comes up. Some weeks, I have to rearrange, but I try to stick to that routine. By having it on my calendar, I don’t spend any time figuring out what I need to do. I can be productive as soon as I sit down at my desk.

Do tasks that require peace and quiet. I try to schedule conference calls and meetings for the 6 hour span that all 4 of my kids are in school. I know I won’t be settling arguments while on the call. That is another reason I like to write during the day. My thoughts are not interrupted by, “I’m hungry.”

Exercise. That may sound counter productive, but if you start your day by moving your body, you will have more energy for your day. I find the days I work out, I accomplish more in less time.

Be ready when the last child leaves. Don’t use the time the kids are gone to shower and get ready for your day. Get up before the kids if you need to. Once they are out the door, you can begin your work day.

Set business hours. You may want to post your business hours on your blog. If someone is trying to contact you or set up a meeting, they know what your hours are.

Following these tips has helped me become more productive during the day which leaves me open and available to my kids after school when they need me. I have had to learn to be very flexible though. It never fails that someone will be sick or we will have snow day when I have an important meeting. I will rearrange my week so I can work around the changes. Ultimately it all comes down to managing your time well.

What tips do you have for maximizing those school hours?

Why You May Want to Say “NO!” to Advertisers

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Advertising space on the sidebar is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways for bloggers to make money. You can use Google or affiliate products to fill ad spots, but it’s always my goal to actually find a sponsor – someone who wants to purchase that advertising space. I don’t have advertising on my career blog or Blog Zombies (yet), but on the blog I write anonymously, I sell anywhere from $300 to $1000 worth of advertising per month. Considering that I don’t have to do much work for that money (most companies approach me), I’d say it’s a pretty sweet deal.

That said, sometimes you have to tell an advertiser the scary n-word: NO! Here are a few situations that I’ve experienced where it was better to just walk away:

  • The product would have hurt my reputation.

Most people are smart enough to realize that just because you have an ad on your sidebar doesn’t mean that you use the product/service or even recommend it. It’s a fine line to walk, though. Before you take someone’s money an slap up a banner, take a moment to check out their business. If they’re doing something shady or selling a low-quality product, your readers could get hurt or lose money, and they’ll associate those negative experiences with you. The best case scenario is always to work with companies for products you like to recommend to others, but at least make sure the advertiser isn’t going to hurt your reputation.

  • You’re driving people to a competitor.

Sometimes, it can make sense to work hand-in-hand with a competitor in your field. For example, I once traded advertising with another blogger selling similar products as mine. It made sense because we both got about the same amount of traffic and offered one another a percentage of the sales. Keep in mind that it’s not always a good idea, though. If you blog about shoes, for example, and the majority of the profit you make comes from selling affiliate products, advertising a discount shoe store on your sidebar where people can go to get the same shoes you’re trying to sell, but at a cheaper price, may not make sense. Think about the potential profit you’ll be using and make sure that the amount you’re charging for the ad is at least twice as much. Otherwise, say no.

  • The advertiser is difficult.

Once, I had someone contact me to ask for advertising rates and traffic information, which I more than happily shared. True story, this is the real email reply I got, name/company removed:

“Hi Allison,

We think your rates are fair, but we’re a small company and need to receive a discount. We can pay $X now and a little more in two weeks to pay for the remainder of the month of advertising. How can we pay you? And don’t say paypal!

Thanks,

Jane, XYZ Company”

I have to read the email several times because I really couldn’t believe it. In some cases, I’m willing to negotiate a price, but to demand a discount for no reason other than the fact that you’re a small company is a little ridiculous. I’m a small company too, so does that mean I should charge more? The “And don’t say paypal!” really made me roll my eyes too. I work with almost all of my clients through this service. Sure, I’m happy to accept a check instead – but not for half a month of advertising from a company that can barely afford to pay it.

The bottom line is that this advertiser clearly showed that it would be difficult to work with her. Could I have used that extra cash? Sure! But my time really isn’t worth the headaches she would likely cause, especially considering that I’d have to deal with her every two weeks.

The bottom line is this: Yes, selling advertising on your blog is a great way to make money, but it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes, it is okay to say no to advertisers – and for your blog, advertising might be a bad idea altogether. Try to look at the big picture to ensure that advertising is going to have a positive effect on your long-term goals, not just a positive effect on your short-term wallet.

Delicious Creator Unveils New Project – “Jig”

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Joshua Schachter, the founder of social networking service Delicious, has unveiled his newest project. It’s called Jig and it’s a site where you can post what you need.

When you go to the page, it simply says “I need” with a box for you to type your need into. As of right now, some of the requests at the top include where to buy silk suspenders in Berkley, CA and where to find a squash club in Nashville, TN.

Some are saying the site looks a bit like Twitter, but has a different focus. Instead of posting about what you are doing, you post about what you need.

From a first glance, it’s definitely very diverse in terms of what people are needing. I noticed quite a bit of spam and hopefully as the site grows, they will come up with a system to easily filter the spam out.

In the end, the biggest question right now is – how will Jig make money? I am sure Schachter already has that piece figured out. Here are a few upfront questions asked by Nova Spivack in regards to revenue.

Will users eventually be charged to post certain kinds of needs? Or is the idea to charge companies, for example, as they are asked to do when posting job ads in Craigslist? Or will there be some kind of reverse auction or group buying angle to this – when enough people have the same need they can pool together and negotiate for a group deal?

After you’ve had a chance to look over the site, let us know what your initial reaction is.

You Can Now Ignore People on Google+

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Google+ wants to make sure some of their features represent those real-life relationships we all have (you do have those right?), so they’ve introduced a couple of new options.

The new options are called ignore and block. So, just like IRL (in real life) you can choose who you connect with and who you don’t. I’m not sure if I’ve ever blocked someone in person, but I’ve been known to ignore a time or two.

Olga Wichrowska posted about these new options yesterday evening.

The Block option “limits the ways a person can interact with what you’re sharing”;  meaning you have absolutely no desire to have anything to do with them. They’ll be removed from your circles, they won’t be able to interact with you by commenting on your posts and you won’t see their stream.

The Ignore option means “you’ll see less of what a person is sharing”. In other words they are boring you, you’re not interested in what they have to say but you don’t mind them still interacting with your content.

Google+ says they will not let the person know you have blocked or ignored them, although I think the blocking option will become fairly obvious to them when they can’t interact with you.

If you change your mind about the person, you can always un-ignore or un-block them by going to the “More Actions” on the Circles page.

Google+ started the roll-out of these options yesterday, so keep an eye out for them. There are several different places to find both of these options on your Google+ profile, which are explained in the video below, as well as the transcript version here.

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