If I Die….

28 Dec
Facebook profiles don’t die the same way people do. If I Die is a Facebook app that makes sure, even if you die, your social self can still send out your last wishes and post messages to your friends years after you’re gone.

If I Die lets “you” post a final message to your wall and loved one when you’re dead. After installing the app, you choose three “trustees” (Facebook friends) who are charged with verifying your death. Users can then record videos or craft any number of Facebook posts to be published posthumously. When your trustees confirm your death, your messages can be published all at once to your Facebook wall or released on a designated schedule.

It might be a little morbid to start recording farewell messages, but Wilook, the Israel-based company behind the app, built the app because nobody really knows when death will come: “We all have things to say and don’t necessarily have the audience with the patience to hear us,” says Eran Alfonta, the app’s co-founder and CEO. “Actually we all want to leave something behind, we all want to leave a stamp behind us.”

Alfonta got the idea when two of his married friends traveled to Italy without their children and narrowly escaped a fatal car crash with a truck. “They stopped aside and drank water and relaxed and started speaking between themselves: ‘Oh my god, what would happen to the kids if something happened to me?’” They asked Alfonta to create a website where they could record something secret to their kids that would only be sent if they died. 

People have been leaving posthumous messages for a long time. Why should a Facebook app replace pen and paper or a recorded video? Facebook provided a way to verify your death with “trustees” but it also guaranteed a delivery mechanism. Too many times a letter can sit unread in a desk, but If I Die ensures a message reaches its destination.

It also allows messages to come out on a schedule. For example, when one user was diagnosed with cancer, she started recording videos for her daughter to be posted on her birthday every year until she was 18.

In a way, If I Die gives its users a measure of social media immortality. Even when they die, their profiles can live on, posting comments and sending personal messages for as long as they have messages to send.

If I Die currently only publishes to a user’s public profile, but the team is working on features to allow for discrete messages and even messages that can be sent to people not on Facebook. The public postings will be free to use, though the discrete messages will work on an annual subscription model, Alfonta says.

 While the team is tight-lipped on how many users it has, Alfonta said they expected to hit 100,000 users within a couple of months. Death is clearly on our social minds and Alfonta is no exception. “Oh my god, yes,” he says, when asked if he’s used If I Die to record his own parting messages. “I have four kids and a lovely wife and I left each one of them a message. I hope to live long and prosper but if something happens to me then I think there will be some excellent surprises for my kids, some touching messages.”

Would you record a message? Do you want your profile posting messages on your behalf — even after you die?

 

Twitter’s NEW Changes..

20 Dec

The Internet’s most popular microblogging service got a major upgrade today, rolling out a brand-new look and a bunch of new features. The update is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging change Twitter’s ever done, revamping its website, its apps for both iOS and Android, and even its recently acquired social-media integrator, TweetDeck. Here’s a closer look at what Twitter’s done and why.


What’s Different


When you visit the new Twitter, you can quickly see the site’s been reorganized in some key ways. Everything fits into one of four labels:

    • Home: This is your old news feed, only better. Whereas before media in tweets like photos and videos was viewable on the side, now you can see them right in the tweet (you still need to click). You’ll also be able to see information about @replies and retweets for a particular tweet by selecting “Open,” a new option. Twitter says your feed will now appear “consistently” across platforms. which apparently was a problem before.
    • Connect: This is where all your @replies and mentions will be. Not a lot new here, but Twitter says you can type in someone’s handle will let you learn more about the person and connect instantly.
    • Discover: Twitter appears to have supercharged its search functions and put the results here. More than just a place to look for trending topics and hashtags, Discover will identify stories and trends based on your connections, location and language.
    • Me: Here’s your Twitter profile, made bigger, neater and with more activity recorded. Your information now appears on the left instead of right.

Twitter’s mobile apps have been given the same four-column treatment, with streamlined interfaces and a new design. In a subtle change, the old pen icon for drafting a new tweet has been replaced with a quill.

On the back end, Twitter’s updated its API to allow embedded tweets (more on those in a bit) and some better interactions with various other apps and platforms, like WordPress (disclosure: WordPress is Mashable‘s content management system).


Why Twitter’s Doing It


        Twitter says it wants to make its interface more inviting to new users, while giving existing users better functionality. But there’s no doubt that a large part of the change has to do with accommodating ways to drum up revenue. Twitter has recently been experimenting with ways to point users toward its advertising services, though it’s done so clumsily at times (case in point: the ill-fate

“dickbar”

      on the iPhone, named after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo). The redesign brings with it opportunities to steer users toward sponsors, specifically through the new branded pages (see below).

 


What’s Gone


      We’ll have more information on this after we’ve had a chance to give all the new Twitter apps and the site a thorough hands-on, but on iPhone it appears users can no longer copy and paste from a tweet. Users no longer can translate tweets in other languages. Options to mail, repost, or save links to Instapaper appear to have been removed. And the redesign makes it less convenient to switch accounts.

 

An important difference on the Web interface: Profile names are now emphasized whereas the user’s “handle” was front and center before.

(Thanks to Mashable readers for pointing out many of these changes.)


Embedded Tweets


      If you have a website, you can now embed individual tweets on a page. It’s sort of like Storify, but just one tweet at a time. From the embed, you can retweet, reply or favorite the tweet, and you can follow the user as well — all without leaving the page. Links and other dynamic content remain active.

 

You can see the option to embed a tweet on any tweet’s “permalink” page, accessible via the new Open button. Importantly, tweets that are on private accounts won’t give you the option. Twitter told Mashable. For more on embedded tweets, check out our hands on.

Twitter also improved its buttons that appear on many websites. Now a Tweet button can include a specific hashtag or @mention, an easier way for sites to get their readers tweeting to specific people and about specific things.


Brand Pages


        Just like Facebook and Google+, Twitter now has

brand pages

      for companies. Although many, if not most, companies already had their own Twitter accounts, brand pages allow for more functionality and interactions with followers.

 

A report in Advertising Age says brands will be able to customize the page with large logos and extended taglines. They’ll also be able to promote tweets in the timeline on their own pages, letting them highlight their best content. Brand pages don’t cost anything, and they’re available to companies large and small.


User Reaction


        According to 

Mashable

      , many users (almost 41% of respondents) love the new changes, saying that the site is “easier to use,” “fantastic” and “pretty kewl.” Some have risen concerns about the features missing in iOS and the necessity of the change, however.

 On Twitter itself, the overall response appears to be positive, with many users reacting with enthusiasm. Most of the negative reactions have to do with mobile, with a few also complaining about the usefulness of “Discover.”


In contrast to some of its earlier moves this year, Twitter appears to have handled its platform-wide revamp deftly, and the majority of is users are pleased. If it can work out some issues on the mobile side, it may have scored a home run. But the real question will be if the new Twitter can actually serve the company in the area that matters most to all companies: making money.


Top 4 Must have Facebook Applications

14 Nov

The number of Facebook applications can seem a little overwhelming at times. While Facebook doesn’t share an exact number, an independent website called AppData monitors trends for over 100,000 Facebook applications, which is a lot to sift through.

As a business, trying to determine which of those apps can help your organization can be daunting. To get you started, here are four essential Facebook apps that allow you to better reach and communicate with your audience, as well as save you time for all those other things you have to do.


1. Tweets to Pages — Display Your Twitter Feed


Tweets to Pages, which has 1.2 million monthly active users, will create a tab on your Facebook Page that displays a timeline of your company’s most recent tweets. This is a great feature for providing additional, real-time information to Facebook users who don’t have a Twitter account and for avoiding the annoyance your fans would feel if you were to constantly stream your tweets to Facebook as wall updates. The app is very easy to set up, and the free version allows you to adjust the number of tweets that show on the Tweets to Pages tab.

If you want to upgrade to the paid version, you can better control your content limits, choose a color scheme, add a banner and allow comments on your tweets.


2. Static HTML: iframe Tabs — Create a Custom Landing Page


 

Static HTML: iframe tabs, which has 61.8 million monthly users, will simplify the process of making a custom landing page by automating many of the steps. Forget about creating a developer account and your own application — this app provides copy and paste textboxes for your custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It also offers checkboxes to remove the scrollbars and to enable Facebook’s FBML. If you want to incentivize Likes on your Page, the application enables you to “like-gate,” and show different content to those who have and haven’t “liked” your page.

It’s worth noting that you will still need to host your own files, and you won’t be able to remove the scrollbars for any design over 520 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall.


3. ContactMe — Add a Contact Form


 

ContactMe, with 180,000 monthly active users, adds a tab on your organization’s Facebook Page with a contact form. This allows anyone visiting your Facebook page to easily get in touch with you at the very moment when they’re most interested.

The biggest advantage of this app is its customization options. You can choose whether you’d prefer to show your company’s contact information or social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Skype. You can also adjust, add, remove, reorder and require specific fields through a simple user interface on contactme.com. And of course, there’s a paid option to remove the ContactMe branding, offer a custom success message and receive text message alerts when someone submits the form.


4. RSS Graffiti – Automatically Post Updates


 

RSS Graffiti, with 1.5 million monthly users, allows you to automatically post wall updates any time there’s a new item in one of your specified feeds. For example, if you publish to a company blog every day, RSS Graffiti can automatically post an excerpt of the article with a direct link onto your Facebook page’s wall. That saves you the time and effort of creating a new wall update every day to distribute your company’s content.

Just like ContactMe, the customization options for this application make it stand out. You can automatically post more than one RSS feed, adjust how the post looks when published, schedule how often the feed is checked, and specify how many posts should be published per check. And most importantly, with all these options and more, the configuration interface is still easy to use and intuitive.

Do you use any of these apps on your business’ Facebook Page? Do you use other ones? Let us know in the comments below.

Steve Jobs Dies

5 Oct

Reactions to Steve Jobs’ Death

The world is now reacting to the very sad news of Steve Jobs’ death. We are collecting the thoughts and condolences of people like Bill Gates, Larry Page, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and President Barack Obama himself.

But perhaps the most important reaction—apart from his family—is Steve Wozniak’s. According to the LA Times, he was “overwhelmed and could not get in touch with his emotions”. His only words: “People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself.”

Steve Jobs’ Family

Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.

In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.

We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.

Apple Employee #8 Chris Espinosa, Macintosh Team

*sob*

Andy Hertzfeld, Macintosh Team

Steve Jobs was my friend and hero for over thirty years. The Apple II changed my life before I met him, and working closely with him to create the original Macintosh was the high point of my career, if not my entire life. Steve was more than the greatest business person of his generation, he was a passionate artist who poured his soul into his work. I will miss him terribly, even though he will live on in Apple products for many years to come.

Bruce Horn, Macintosh Team, creator of the Finder

I am extremely saddened learning of Steve’s death. It was a tremendous experience and personal honor to have worked with Steve on the original Macintosh. His passion and commitment to make the world a better place through Apple technology had a great influence on my own life. Steve was a force of nature, and we will all miss him.

Larry Tesler, Manager, Lisa applications software, MacApp software framework

Working in the halo, no, giant aura, of Steve was unimaginably motivating. But Steve had a sizable streak of humility. Yes, he was the very definition of charisma. Yes, he exuded confidence. And yes, he built the world’s leading animation studio and the world’s greatest company. But he never denied the extent to which serendipity and other people’s work played a part in his success. And he never let himself feel invulnerable. Silicon Valley owes its culture to many people, but Steve tops the list. I miss him.

Former Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki, Macintosh Team

May Steve rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to his loved ones. No CEO has done more for his customers, employees, and shareholders than Steve.

He changed the world—my world, your world, the entire world. His words to live by: “There must be a better way.”

You changed our lives, Steve, and you showed us that there is a better way…we will miss you.

Ronald Wayne, co-founder Apple Computer Company

Steve was one of a kind, and will truly be missed.

Disney/Pixar Chief Creative Officer, John Lassetter & Pixar President Ed Camull

Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time.

President Barack Obama

Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates

I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Team,

I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email rememberingsteve@apple.com.

No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.

Tim

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen

My condolences to Steve Jobs’ family and friends. We’ve lost a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products. Steve fought a long battle against tough odds in a very brave way. He kept doing amazing things in the face of all that adversity. As someone who has had his own medical challenges, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by how he persevered.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.

Google CEO Larry Page

I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google’s are with his family and the whole Apple family.

Google Co-founder Sergey Brin

From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met. On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt

Today is very sad for all of us. Steve defined a generation of style and technology that’s unlikely to be matched again. Steve was so charismatically brilliant that he inspired people to do the impossible, and he will be remembered as the greatest computer innovator in history.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed and the culture he defined. Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch

Today, we lost one of the most influential thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs of all time. Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation. While I am deeply saddened by his passing, I’m reminded of the stunning impact he had in revolutionizing the way people consume media and entertainment. My heart goes out to his family and to everyone who had the opportunity to work beside him in bringing his many visions to life.

Dell CEO Michael Dell

Today the world lost a visionary leader, the technology industry lost an iconic legend and I lost a friend and fellow founder. The legacy of Steve Jobs will be remembered for generations to come.”

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesnt just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev

People like Steve Jobs change our world. My sincere condolences to his loved ones and to everyone who admired his intellect and talent.

Stephen Fry

Woke to the news of Steve Jobs’s death. He changed the world. I knew him a little and admired him entirely. Love to Apple and his family.

 
 
 
 

Jim Henson’s Doodle

23 Sep

Google has rolled out a new Google Doodle to honor the 75th birthday of Jim Henson, the famous puppeteer who created The Muppets.

This is not just any Google Doodle, though. The Jim Henson Company and The Creature Shop partnered with Google to create an interactive doodle to honor his legacy. Using the Henson Digital Puppet Studio (yes, there is a digital muppet studio), they designed and animated the characters, which users can then manipulate using a mouse and keyboard. A YouTube video detailing the work that went into designing and creating the Doodle is embedded below

And, as with all good things, there are lots of easter eggs to discover. We’re still busy trying to find them all.

Facebook Changes Again

22 Sep

As we predicted, Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at the f8 conference in San Francisco Thursday introduced some of the most profound changes seen on Facebook since its inception. So many changes, in fact, that it can be hard to keep track. So here’s a handy-dandy guide.

1. You’re going to get a Timeline — a scrapbook of your life. In a complete overhaul of its ever-evolving profile page, Facebook is introducing Timeline. This is a stream of information about you — the photos you’ve posted, all your status updates, the apps you’ve used, even the places you’ve visited on a world map — that scrolls all the way back to your birth. It encourages you to post more stuff about your past, such as baby pictures, using Facebook as a scrapbook.

The further back in Timeline you go, the more Facebook will compress the information so that you’re only seeing the most interesting parts of your history. You can customize this by clicking on a star next to a status, say, or enlarging a picture.

Timeline is in beta now, and will be opt-in to start. In the long run, it will become the new default profile page.

2. You don’t have to just Like something — now you can [verb] any [noun]. Remember when all you could do to something on Facebook — a video, a comment, a product, a person — was Like it? Pretty soon that’s going to seem laughably antiquated. The social network has launched Facebook Gestures, which means that Facebook’s partners and developers can turn any verb into a button.

So you’ll start seeing the option to tell the world you’re Reading a particular book, for example, or Watching a given movie, or Listening to a certain tune. In turn, as many observers have pointed out, this is likely to lead to an explosion of oversharing — and far more information on your friends’ activities showing up in your news feed than you probably cared to know.

3. Facebook apps need only ask permission once to share stories on your behalf. Although not as big a deal as the Timeline, this tweak may be one of the more controversial. Previously, apps had to ask every time they shared information about you in your profile. Now, the first time you authorize the app, it will tell you what it’s going to share about you. If you’re cool with that, the app never has to ask you again.

But you don’t have to worry about this app stuff clogging your news feed, because …

4. All “lightweight” information is going to the Ticker. Status updates, photos from a wedding or a vacation, changes in relationship status: these are the kinds of things you want to see from your friends when you look at your news feed. Who killed whom in Mafia Wars? Who planted what in FarmVille? Not so much. So that kind of trivial detail has been banished to the Ticker, a real-time list of things your friends are posting now that scrolls down the side of your screen.

5. You can watch TV and movies, listen to music, and read news with your friends — all within Facebook. Starting today, thanks to a whole bunch of partnerships, there are a lot more things you can do without ever having to leave Facebook. You can watch a show on Hulu, listen to a song on Spotify, or check out a story on Yahoo News (or Mashable, via the Washington Post‘s Social Read app). The ticker will tell you what your friends are watching, listening to or reading, allowing you to share the experience with them by clicking on a link.

The upshot: a brand-new kind of media-based peer pressure. On stage, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings — a launch partner — revealed that he had only just decided to watch Breaking Bad because Facebook’s Ticker told him a colleague was watching it. Netflix’s own algorithm had been recommending the show to him for years, but that was never reason enough for Hastings.

6. Facebook has more users and more engagement than ever. We got two interesting nuggets of information out of Zuckerberg (and the Zuckerberg-impersonating Andy Samberg): Facebook has hit 800 million users, and most of them are active. The social network just saw a new record for the most visitors in one day: an eye-popping 500 million.

Indeed, the whole impression left by the event was that of a confident, fast-evolving company that is becoming ever more professional, and Zuckerberg’s stage show bore more than a little resemblance to an Apple keynote. It’s going to be interesting to see what Google+ can do to keep up.

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

15 Aug

Steve Jobs, co-founder and two-time CEO of Apple, offered his resignation to the company’s board Wednesday.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Jobs has been in poor health for some time. In January, he announced that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from the company. He returned to the public spotlight in March to help launch the iPad 2.

Jobs advised the board to “execute our succession plan” — by naming Tim Cook to replace him. Cook, formerly the COO of the company, has been standing in for Jobs since January and was widely tipped to be his successor. Cook also stood in for Jobs during his bout with pancreatic cancer in 2004. “The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” said board member Art Levinson, chairman of biotech firm Genentech, in a prepared statement 

Jobs will not be leaving the company altogether, and the move was clearly well-planned in advance. He has been elected chairman of the board, Apple said Wednesday, and Cook will be joining the board, effective immediately.

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it,” Jobs wrote in his resignation letter to the Apple board. “I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

Apple stock was down 7% in after-hours trading but rallied and was down just 5% by 7:50 p.m. ET — suggesting Apple’s succession plan had calmed the markets.