Posts Tagged ‘Web Development’


Dell Quietly Announces 7″ Android Tablet

by Devin Coldewey

I wouldn’t even say they announced it. Apparently Michael Dell just casually mentioned it at Oracle-related conference. Of course, we already knew there would be larger versions of the streak. What I don’t understand is why they released the tiny version first, and not a larger version with wider appeal?

At any rate, no other information was released, other than that it would also run Android. I think we can safely assume it’s going to simply be a larger version of the Streak, but perhaps with the “phone” aspect slightly downplayed, since holding even a 5″ tablet to your head to make a call is pretty ridiculous.



Foursquare Talks Privacy Ahead of Rumored Facebook Location Feature Announcement

By Chris Crum

Privacy is a major concern in social media these days, and location-based services add a whole different element to the equation (we can’t wait to see what happens when Facebook unleashes its location feature).

Check-in app posterchild Foursquare has made some changes to its own privacy controls.

“For example, you can now choose to share your email or phone number with friends, opt out of all Mayorships, and have more control over email settings,” the Foursquare team says. “We invite you to check out your updated settings page to review some of the tweaks we’ve made.”

“It seems that a lot of concerns over information sharing on location-based services arise from confusion over what is shared and where it’s shared, so we’ve put together an explanation of the different ways foursquare uses and shares location information,” the team adds.

The overview can be found here. Among other information, a “Sharing Matrix” can be found, which shows you which elements are being displayed where, what is viewable by friends, and what is viewable by all users.

Foursquare Privacy SettingsIt’s probably a smart move for Foursquare to talk about this today if Facebook is going to announce its new location features tomorrow, because Facebook’s is going to draw a lot of scrutiny whether they get it right or not. This in turn will bring a great deal of scrutiny to this whole space in general, and Foursquare is right there among the top players.



5 years of blogging

Well the blog is officially 5 years old this month..

Over the years I have used this blog to post what i think are the most relevant issues and trends in Web design, development, and promotion.
While most have been reprinted from other blogs and websites I have taken my place as a curator seriously, before there was such a name for it.

So 5 years has flown by…The first few posts were more or less an intro to myself.
I decided around then I would search through blogs and sites for interesting relevant content and repost what i felt was the best i found. Most of my sources today didn’t exist yet in 2005.

Back in January of 2006 I posted
“2006 crystal ball” followed by such posts as “Google conspiracy?”, and “Which search engine…Why?”. Now of course Google is even in the smart phone business. YouTube was just a gleam in the camera users eye and Facebook was just becoming a real platform.

A year later posts like “Key Wording Your Web” and “The cesspool we call the internet” were quite relevant, now of course one might ask “keywords really?”.

In August 2009 I posted “Digital Music Sales Closing In On CDs”, and that was only a year ago.. one of the last posts i did this week “Introducing WordPress 3.0rg ” kinda sums up for me where things have gone.. Expensive websites full of Flash, Graphics, and everything custom, with hours of SEO work to finish them off before launch have given way to CMS systems and plugins, Social Media and Social Networking have become the fourth revolution in technology since the main frame computer.
To be a web developer these days isn’t even the same as it was two or three years ago. Having gone from Netscape Composer, to Macromedia’s tools, to learning PHP/MySQL, the process still took almost a decade.

Now I find myself installing and customizing CMS apps such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal which didn’t even exist then. SEO, again was about learning what was important or needed changing, and was a slow and steady process, now it’s a whole new ballgame, Social Media and Social Networking platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Twitter have changed everything, it’s not enough to keep up with “the big three” search engines anymore. I have branched into other areas of business such as web hosting and more recently application development.

Thanks to those readers who have followed this blog and many thanks to the writers whose content has appeared here over the years. You have inspired and educated me.

As we say here,
Mahalo



Influence is Bliss: The Gender Divide of Influence on Twitter

by Brian Solis

Influence is a controversial topic and its measurement and definition are increasingly scrutinized as social media democratizes one’s ability to earn stature and prominence in new online societies. There’s a clear delineation between influence and popularity and it’s important to understand that in social networks, influence is not derived by the quantity of followers, friends, clicks, or “likes.” Nor is it discernible by the frequency of which one participates in their respective communities. While these serve as indicators of influence, they are not necessarily constant factors in its quantification.

Merriam-Webster defines influence as the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.

Exploring alternative sources, influence is described as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Influence vs. Influencer

In social networks, influence is naturally tied to individuals, where the extent, level, and effect of leverage or authority coalesces and contributes to a stature of varying degrees. Eventually, individuals who possess a propensity to cause a discernible effect earn a designation of influencer. When the funnel focuses on subject matter and themes, influencers are then further divided and ranked accordingly. Whether we agree or disagree on the idea of establishing a digital hierarchy, many social services are already verticalizing the horizontal nature of peer-to-peer networks. Klout, Edelmen’s TweetLevel, and PeerIndex, for instance, introduce a level of prominence into online connections measured by complex human algorithms.

Over the years, I’ve explored the roles of influencers in social networks and as a result, I’ve refined the definition as simply the ability to cause measurable actions and outcomes. Intentional influence then assumes that certain actions are therefore definable and as a result, desired activity and results are now designed into strategies. The execution of these plans is then dependent on the reach and conviction of the influential voices to which they’re aligned.

The Gender Divide in Social Networks

Late last year, I analyzed the demographic composition of many social networks and among other findings, it was clear that women represented the greatest majority of users. Dave McCandless visualized discovery in this wonderful infographic…

In April of this year, Nielsen released data that reinforced the role women play in social networking. As in social networking on the Web, women also ruled social networking in the mobile landscape.

Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet

10 years ago comScore reported that the number of women on the Web in the U.S. had surpassed the number of men.  In 2010 comScore still finds that women are the digital mainstream and social networking is central to their online experience. In celebration of the 2010 Blogher Conference, comScore released a new report, “Social Networking Sites Reach a Higher Percentage of Women than Men Worldwide.”

If e-commerce is a form of influence, women dominate. In fact, the report shows that women shop more online and in aggregate, they drive a disproportionate amount of online spending, representing 58% of all online spending. Accordingly, women also spend more time in social networks than men at an average of 5.5 hours per month compared to 3.9.

According to the comScore report, women spent an average of 16.3% of their online time on social networks. In comparison, men dedicated roughly 11.7%.

The trend of women powering “the conversation” in social networks is indeed global across the board.

The Gender Divide: Influence on Twitter

The theme of women dominating popular social networks was recently validated by comScore’s research. In addition to other leading social networks, the study found that women represent the majority of Twitter’s population. And since Twitter is, for the time being, one of the only social networks where the data to measure social stature and influence is readily accessible, I partnered with Klout and PeopleBrowsr to analyze the balance of influence by gender.

As social networking continues to transform how both men and women communicate and connect, individuals gain varying levels of prominence with every interaction. Working with Klout and PeopleBrowsr, we analyzed the top 50,000 most influential people on Twitter to capture a snapshot of influence. The results practically matched the global Internet population as measured by comScore.

Twitter Influence Composition:

Males = 52%

Females = 48%

Global Internet Population, 18 + (Comscore)

Male = 54.3%

Females = 45.7%

Of these top tier influencers, females earned a spot above the median with an average score of 54 out of 100.

The average Klout score for males was two points higher at 56.

We then sampled 100,000 random Twitter users to measure the average level of influence for the general Twitter population. Upon sorting by gender, we discovered that the majority of the group was comprised by women, 54% vs. 46%.  Of the random sample, the average Klout Scores weighed in favor of women, 34 compared to 31 for men.

While women represent a greater portion of the overall Twitter population, men edged slightly ahead in terms of Twitter’s top influencers. Yet that power balance shifts when looking at influence across the entire Twitterverse as women hold a  higher level of influence within the general Twitter population.

As Twitter is young, the balance of influence is evolutionary. With the introduction of its new “human algorithm,” Twitter is encouraging its denizens to expand their social networks based on context over contacts. Over time, these new connections will affect how we as individuals contribute to our level of influence and ultimately the stature we merit within our relative social graphs and communities of interest (aka nicheworks.) Influence is something that’s both earned and cultivated and is yours to shape.

About Klout Scores

The  overall Klout score ranges from 0 to 100. Klout’s algorithm involves three  stages of semantic calculation. The first, described as “True Reach,” measures influence between each and every relationship, evaluating the engaged audience versus total audience. The secondary metric known as “Amplification Probability,” documents the likelihood of a specific tweet spreading beyond the primary network through retweets as well as generating a response from the immediate audience. Finally, Klout factors the “Network Value,” which measures the influence of those individuals who follow the original user and their propensity for sharing their content, which contributes to overall authority.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook
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Please consider reading, Engage!: It will help you find answers to your questions…

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Image Credit: ShutterStock



Introducing WordPress 3.0rg

thumbWith the recent release of WordPress 3.0 we’re entering a very exciting time.

For the first time in the history of the platform, nobody is working on the next version.

All development outside of essential bug fixing has been stopped… and 3.1 won’t even start development until the beginning of September.

The reason? Well, the core contributors aren’t taking a vacation to Hawaii, in fact they’re doing something much less relaxing: working on the WordPress community.

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Right now, all of the WordPress core contributors are working on building up and improving the WordPress community features. Removing an entire release cycle from 2010, the WordPress 3.org project sits cleverly between 3.0 and 3.1. So what does that mean for you?

Well, first and foremost, WordPress.org has just received a small face-lift. The main WordPress site hasn’t been redesigned for years so this facelift will be a welcome change and the base for almost everything else that will be going on. The new site sports a lighter interface to match the new lighter interface for WordPress 3.0 and again this should carry through to other changes and progressions in style throughout the community.

So what are all the other things which are going to be happening? Well, that’s what we’re going to get into now. Before we start though, an important disclaimer: The world of OpenSource development is in a constant state of flux and as a result these things are subject to change without notice. Some things may be added, some things may be removed, but here’s a general idea of where things are going:


WordPress Handbooks

A long time coming, the first WordPress official Handbooks are now being put together in order to teach you your custom post type from your taxonomy, and your category from your tag.

The handbooks will cover a wide variety of subjects with multiple books being produced for different types of users. For example: end-users may get one handbook, theme developers another, plugin developers, core contributors and so on may also all get access to specialized handbooks which are most relevant to them.

These hand books should make an extremely valuable addition to almost all segments of the WordPress community and really help new people get involved without feeling too daunted.


API Reference

One team is looking at the possibility of creating a comprehensive guide to the WordPress API outlining all of the template tags, functions, hooks and filters which can be utilized within the core code.

Not only would this be tremendously helpful to plugin developers who need reference documentation to help them tie their functionality into the core as smoothly as possible, it should also help theme developers who are looking to create advanced custom options which ship with their themes.

The API Reference is also planned to integrate closely with the WordPress Handbooks.


Making bbPress a Plugin

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When it comes to forum software that integrates well with WordPress, your choices are pretty limited.

A small platform called bbPress has been around for a long time and, despite being an official WordPress project, hasn’t gotten very far. Right now it runs independently from WordPress with some really tricky integration that’s far beyond the average user.

The plan now is to turn bbPress into a fully fledged WordPress plugin so that it will integrate quickly and easily with any install – giving millions of WordPress users access to hosted forums on their sites.


The Plugin Directory

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The plugin directory is having so much done to it that it’s essentially getting mini-mini-projects. That doesn’t mean the tasks are any smaller than any of the others, it just means that the plugin directory as a whole is very big. So what’s been planned so far? Well, read on and find out:


Support & Management

Firstly, a set of tools are being considered to allow plugin authors to better support and manage the administration for their plugins within the directory.

This is an ongoing effort to try to raise the quality and the standard of plugins in the WordPress plugin repository and allow plugin developers to connect with their users far more easily.

Details on the exact tools being put together aren’t available at this early stage, however it goes without saying that this is a big deal for any and all plugin developers who actively support their code.

Community
Secondly, a team is going to look at building much more user interaction into the plugins directory to allow people to leave comments, reviews, and show adoption rate statistics. The project in particular should make the plugins directory much easier to browse through and give users a far better idea of whether or not a plugin is doing well based on what other people are saying. Opening up plugins in this way makes it much more transparent.

Core Integration
Thirdly, a team will be looking at how the plugins directory integrates with WordPress itself. Right now you might know that as the way in which you search for and add new plugins directly from inside your WordPress dashboard. This is the type of functionality which is going to be built on and improved. A few notable areas of focus for improvement will include the plugin installer itself, the updates manager and much better compatibility reports. Compatibility reports are already in place in the current version of WordPress, however this new work should make them even more accurate than ever before – which is a weight off the mind of anyone who has ever upgraded their version of WordPress only to discover that one of their most important plugins has stopped working, or broken everything!

Developer Statistics
Finally, the plugin directory may get SVN notifications, improvements to the bug tracking software integration, and far more detailed statistics for plugin developers including aggregate public download counts. Again this will contribute a great deal to the overall value of the plugin directory with both users and developers able to see more accurate figures on which plugins are popular and which plugins aren’t, leading to a more transparent and useful experience all round.


Internationalization Projects

Moving away from the plugins directory now, several internationalization projects are being discussed to improve the management of localized plugins and communities. Internationalization work, as covered in some detail in a previous post on Webdesigner Depot, is absolutely crucial to the success of WordPress – and it’s no small task!

The UI Group

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There aren’t enough people in the UI working group to be able to assign one person to each development team, not to mention that they can’t do much by themselves. So they will instead be collectively bouncing between all other projects filling in with design and UX help wherever required, you know, making stuff look pretty. With gradients.


Closing Notes

So now you have some idea of the things which are starting to take place, you can start to get a sense of where the community as a whole is going, and there may still be more coming.

There are projects which are being complete for the Google Summer of Code which will also greatly benefit the WordPress community. Finally there are couple more project ideas that are still being discussed so there may still be more to come this summer during the big drive for 3.org.

It’s incredibly important that all of the core contributors are taking this break because it means that for this period of time they’re focusing on you. How can your experience of WordPress be improved outside of just the platform itself. How can plugin authors be supported better, how can new users learn the ropes quicker, how can all users update everything more easily, how can WordPress be made accessible to more different languages and cultures?

These are all questions which are being answered now, with the ultimate goal of making the community better all round.

There’s never enough time to do everything that everyone wants, so the chances are that you might have a wishlist in the back of your mind that isn’t being totally fulfilled.

Just keep in mind that WordPress is OpenSource, that means decisions are made by the people who show up.

Anyone can become a contributor to WordPress, so if it interests you then you should definitely think about getting involved with everything that’s going on. It takes time, commitment, good communication skills, patience and diplomacy, but it’s extremely worthwhile.




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