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In an announcement made Tuesday at the company HQ of Twitter by its Co-Founder & CEO, Evan Williams (@ev), who bought one of the world's most famous domains for just $7,500, Twitter unveiled a new "faster, better" look. But first the co-founder and CEO Williams gave some background. Twitter - especially mobile Tweeting - was "too difficult," Williams said. Which is why Twitter developed its own mobile apps, so that now 16% of new Twitter users start using Twitter via their mobile devices. Twitter, in Williams' vision - shared by his co-founder Biz Stone (@biz) - is an information network. Ever since he left Blogger eleven years ago he has been trying to make information easier to share, Williams said. In a somewhat meandering presentation, marred by slides that wouldn't work and awkward silences, Williams initially spent a great deal of time explaining, to people who alre... (more)

How Dell Converts Social Media Analytics into Strategic Business Advantage

The next BriefingsDirect business innovation case study examines how Dell has recognized the value of social media for more than improved interactions and brand awareness. Dell has successfully learned from social media how to meaningfully increase business sales and revenue. The data, digital relationships, and resulting analysis inherent in social media and social networks interactions provide a lasting resource for businesses and their customers, says Dell. And this resource has a growing and lasting impact on many aspects of business -- from research, to product management, to CRM, to helpdesk, and, yes, to sales. To learn more about how Dell has been making the most of social media for the long haul, BriefingsDirect sat down with Shree Dandekar, Senior Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics at Dell Software. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gard... (more)

Exclusive Q&A with Mike Vernal of Facebook

More than a thousand sites are using Facebook Connect, says Mike Vernal, a member of the Facebook Platform engineering team, in this Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Web 2.0 Journal. Some prominent examples Vernal mentions include Citysearch for local reviews, Joost and Vimeo for video sharing, and a number of blogs, including TechCrunch and Gawker. Web 2.0 Journal: You’ve been closely involved with developing and launching Facebook Connect. How would you summarize the chief strategic benefit of this service for Facebook’s 150M or so users? Mike Vernal: I think the answer is twofold. First, Facebook Connect allows users to take their Facebook profile and friends with them to any site on the Web. This is pretty powerful, in that it saves users the hassle of creating another username and password, filling out their profile information, and running a contact importer on ev... (more)

Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing

Ever since I first published here my tentative list of Top Players in the Cloud Computing Ecosystem - now expanded to a list of 250 and growing daily thanks to community feedback via my Twitter account (@jg21) and a very kind mention by ReadWriteWeb - there have been suggestions that another prism through which to view cloud computing might be that of people rather than companies. Now Michael Sheehan has encouraged me to Just Do It, so let me get started...as per the previous Top Cloud Players list, this list will a work-in-progress and is totally porous, so don't hesitate to ping or tweet me if there are folks I have missed. In particular if you are a journalist whose "beat" is Cloud Computing, please let's be hearing from you, and we can maybe widen this list from Cloud Bloggers to Cloud Commentators. For now though let's get started. In alphabetical order - to av... (more)

Microsoft Kills Its Blogging Platform

Microsoft is throwing in the towel on its six-year-old blogging platform Windows Live Spaces (née MSN Spaces). It's sending its bloggers over to Wordpress.com, a competing platform, where Microsoft's current crop of scribblers can get free space. The two have worked out a migration scheme and Microsoft will redirect URLs. Bloggers can use Microsoft's facilities until the end of the year but have to be out by March. Microsoft counts 30 million "active" users. In comparison WordPress, written in PHP and hosted on Apache, for Pete's sake, powers over 8.5% of the web, is used on over 26 million sites and is seen by over 250 million people a month. This is the new practical "why-waste-the-money" Microsoft, which has decided not to fight the social networking crowd with look-a-like services and simply integrate with them instead. ... (more)

Facebook Sues Yahoo Down to Its Drawers

Facebook has countered Yahoo's patent infringement claims with some patent infringement claims of its own. It's countersuing the stricken old Internet queen in federal court in Silicon Valley, charging it with infringing 10 of its patents. According to the New York Times it's enough to cover 80% of Yahoo's revenues last year. Including display advertising, content personalization and photo sharing, that adds up to $4 billion. Facebook, whose users increased Yahoo's traffic by 300% in Q4, is ticked that Yahoo would turn on it and bring suit just before it IPOs at a gargantuan $100 billion valuation. It wants the court to rule Yahoo's broad, if not sometimes vague, fundamental patents invalid. (Unfortunately, perhaps, for Facebook they're not all vague.) And of course it's demanding damages. Yahoo allegedly treads on Facebook patents relating to the social network's ... (more)

Five Reasons Why My Tweets are Better than Yours

Some tweeters use “Shock ‘n Awe” and others use humor (that’s humour for my Canadian friends.) OT: Should I call them “tweeters” or “twits”? Never mind, let’s talk about some of the things you can do to make the most of Twitter. Just like the subject line to an email, each tweet should get to the point very quickly. In fact, many of us read email in the same way we read tweets (only the first 140 characters.) Lets face it, if you’re not Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, getting a bunch of people interested in what you have to say doesn’t come easy. But with a little advice on the subtlety of tweeting, you can grow your followers with fellow twits that are actually interested in what you have to say. Here are 5 things you can do to get more followers that matter: RTability: Limit your characters to 120 to make retweets (RTs) easier Hashtags are themes: Have a theme or three... (more)

Lessons Learned from LinkedIn

Users are making it too easy for hackers. If we take a closer look at the 6.5 million hashed LinkedIn passwords that leaked we find a large swath of the user population are ignoring warnings of overly simplistic and obvious passwords. Would you believe the most common word or phrase found in a 160K sampling of the list was “link”? And would you further shake your head in disbelief that “1234” and “12345” followed close behind. Rounding out the top 10 were “work,” “god,” “job,” “angel,” “the,” “ilove,” and “sex.” More so than Facebook, LinkedIn is the social media of choice for business. So it is likely to be used by the users in your enterprise as part of their SaaS profile. This makes their problem, your problem. If we learn anything from this debacle, it is that password management should be a priority for any organization that allows its users unfettered access t... (more)

Load Testing Facebook Applications: New Frontiers, New Solutions

The social media revolution, with Facebook at its vanguard, has led to changes in behaviors not just for users, but for the sites and applications that benefit from such platforms. It represents a new frontier for developers, and new frontiers require fresh approaches to new challenges. This is now a world of unprecedented traffic volume and operating speeds. Anything but the fastest, most efficient operation of sites or applications threatens online success. Consequently, the need to ensure that this operation is as robust as possible is essential. Yet as progress develops exponentially, so must the solutions to test and validate performance. Facebook Apps vs. Standard Websites Standard websites that don't run specific sales or promotions generally don't have unexpected spikes in traffic. Instead, they experience a constant load of traffic that varies within relativ... (more)

Lessons Learned from the Amazon Web Services Outage

On Monday, Amazon Web Services — the leading provider of cloud services — suffered an outage, and as a result, a long list of well-known and popular websites went dark. According to Amazon’s Service Health Dashboard, the outage started out as degraded performance of a small number of Elastic Bloc Store (EBS) storage units in the US-EAST-1 Region, then evolved to include problems with the Relational Database Service and Elastic Beanstalk as well. WEBSITE DOWN: AWS outage takes down Reddit and other popular sites The only surprising thing about this AWS outage was that anyone was surprised by it. It wasn’t the first time AWS had a major outage or problems with this data center. If you remember, back in June a line of powerful thunderstorms knocked the power out at a major Amazon hosting center. The backup generator failed, then the software failed, and, well, you know t... (more)

On-Ramp to the Cloud

NetIQ has announced new appliances that help enable businesses and other organizations to simply and securely access the power of two mega trends -- cloud and social media. Cloud Access 1.1 provides a single sign-on virtual appliance that provides access to cloud services without complex and risky controls. Users within the company can access the permissioned cloud services without having to keep track of numerous and often changing usernames and passwords. The IT team retains control of which services users can access, while making any changes in authentication for each individual site transparent to the end user. Administrators can provision services for employees on an as-needed basis, while easily de-provisioning those services when the employee leaves the company, or no longer requires access to certain services because of a role change or some other reason. F... (more)