Entries tagged with “iPhone”.


Twitter can be an invaluable tool for business networking, but most new users don’t get it at first. Learn why in this look at the four stages that the average Twitter user traverses on the path from newbie to devotee.

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There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.

But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere

You can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonhiner

Because I think Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. I’ve put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the twitter.com homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using twitter.com to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages.

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.”

As I’ve written before, I think Twitter can be an very useful tool for business and technology professionals. For more, see:

And here are a couple external links worth looking at:

If you use Twitter, which of the four stages are you in?


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Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

One product that produced a lot of hype at the recent CES show was the GiiNii Mini Movit. The mobile Internet and social networking device allows you to stay connected any time and anywhere. One of the most intriguing elements of this device is the fact that it is carrier-independent. Dennis Sones, the Chief Marketing Officer of GiiNii, told Mike McDonald the Movit permits free calling wherever you find a WiFi hotspot.

Other features include:

-    Skype-enabled
-    Built-in microphone and speaker to make Skype calls
-    Bluetooth 2.0
-    4.3-inch, 480 x 272 pixel touchscreen
-    Easily accessible touch keyboard
-    Address book
-    Front-facing camera (used also as a webcam) and video functionality
-    Built-in lithium battery (lasts 6-8 hours)
-    Easy access to social networks
-    256 MB of internal storage
-    MicroSD slot

The Movit is Android-based and contains an open source platform. An exact price for the device has not been revealed, but GiiNii representatives did say the cost would be lower than the iPod touch. GPS Obsessed reports the expected price to be $149.

GiiNii Movit is set for release during the third quarter of this year and will be available at Walgreens, Walmart, Amazon.com, Target, and zbezt.com.

Now for your thoughts – some speculate that Movit poses a threat for the iPod touch and the iPhone. What do you think? Is this a device that will shift the focus away from Apple?

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Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
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Technology companies will need to lower prices this year to appeal to consumers, says David Silverberg, managing editor of DigitalJournal.com.

There will be lots of discounts as companies struggle to sell products to buyers who are watching their cash in the face of the economic downturn, he told CBC News.

So there will be fewer big video-game titles this year because they are costly to produce, and “a lot more simpler games,” he predicted. Karaoke-type games that can be played with friends, such as Guitar Hero, will continue to be popular, he said.

But even if consumers hold back, there will be new gadgets and applications this year.

Communications-device companies Research in Motion and Nokia will jump on the applications bandwagon, following the path set by Apple Inc.’s iPhone, Silverberg said.

GPS on cellphones “will really be huge,” while organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs will come on strong, if the price comes down. At the moment, an 11-inch Sony OLED TV costs $2,500, Silverberg said.

But OLED TVs “trump LCD big time,” because the resolution and colours are much better, and they draw less energy, he said.

Social networking will continue to be popular, and the next step may be corporate use of the sites to connect with customers and link staff, Silverberg predicted. But current users may feel that is an intrusion, he said.

It could be the year of the Blu-ray video format. After it beat out a competing format last year, manufacturers could put more money in to marketing and publicity.

But lowering the cost of the players is key, Silverberg said.

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A Microsoft patent application details a business model whereby the user gets a free or heavily subsidized PC but is charged for usage time, application and performance. Microsoft has applied for a patent on metered, pay-as-you-go computing.

US patent application number 20080319910, published on Christmas Day2008, details Microsoft’s vision of a situation where a “standard model” of PC is given away or heavily subsidized by someone in the supply chain. The end user then pays to use the computer, with charges based on both the length of usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a “one-time charge”.

Microsoft notes in the application that the end user could end up paying more for the computer, compared with the one-off cost entailed in the existing PC business model, but argues the user would benefit by having a PC with an extended “useful life”.

“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected,” reads the patent application’s abstract.

“The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed,” the abstract continues.

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

“The metering agents and specific elements of the security module… allow an underwriter in the supply chain to confidently supply a computer at little or no upfront cost to a user or business, aware that their investment is protected and that the scalable performance capabilities generate revenue commensurate with actual performance level settings and usage,” the application reads.

‘A more granular approach’
According to the application, the issue with the existing PC business model is that it “requires more or less a one chance at the consumer kind of mentality, where elasticity curves are based on the pressure to maximize profits on a one-time-sale, one-shot-at-the-consumer mentality”.

Microsoft’s proposed model, on the other hand, could “allow a more granular approach to hardware and software sales”, the application states, adding that the user “may be able to select a level of performance related to processor, memory, graphics power, etc that is driven not by a lifetime maximum requirement but rather by the need of the moment”.

“When the need is browsing, a low level of performance may be used and, when network-based interactive gaming is the need of the moment, the highest available performance may be made available to the user,” the document reads. “Because the user only pays for the performance level of the moment, the user may see no reason to not acquire a device with a high degree of functionality, in terms of both hardware and software, and experiment with a usage level that suits different performance requirements.”

By way of example, the application posits a situation involving three “bundles” of applications and performance: office, gaming and browsing.

“The office bundle may include word-processing and spreadsheet applications, medium graphics performance and two of three processor cores,” the document reads. “The gaming bundle may include no productivity applications but may include 3D graphics support and three of three processor cores. The browsing bundle may include no productivity applications, medium graphics performance and high-speed network interface.”

“Charging for the various bundles may be by bundle and by duration. For example, the office bundle may be $1.00 [68 pence] per hour, the gaming bundle may be $1.25 per hour and the browsing bundle may be $0.80 per hour. The usage charges may be abstracted to ‘units/hour’ to make currency conversions simpler. Alternatively, a bundle may incur a one-time charge that is operable until changed or for a fixed-usage period,” the document reads.

Microsoft’s patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC’s lifetime. The company argues in its application, however, that “the payments can be deferred and the user can extend the useful life of the computer beyond that of the one-time purchase machine”.

The document suggests that “both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model” because “the user is able to migrate the performance level of the computer as needs change over time, while the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced”.

“Rather than suffering through less-than-adequate performance for a significant portion of the life of a computer, a user can increase performance level over time, at a slight premium of payments,” the application reads. “When the performance level finally reaches its maximum and still better performance is required, then the user may upgrade to a new computer, running at a relatively low performance level, probably with little or no change in the cost of use.”

By David Meyer ZDNet.co.uk
Posted on ZDNet News: Dec 29, 2008 6:20:34 AM

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Industry observers say virtualization will enable staff to use their own devices at work, while keeping corporate data safe. Virtualization promises to usher in a new era of consumer technology in the workplace — potentially satisfying the demands of new workers from the Facebook generation who want to use more consumer hardware for work purposes.

Companies are expected to increasingly roll out technology to implement ’sandboxed’ virtual machines on staff’s personal laptops and mobile devices, allowing workers to choose the hardware they use to do their job, while keeping corporate data safe.

Such virtual machines can give staff access to their business applications and information, including the security protocols and software of the corporate system, and are completely isolated from the user’s physical machine.

The shift should help businesses cater to ‘millenials’ who a want to use their own technology — including iPhones and instant messaging — at work, according to a recent survey.

Clive Longbottom, service director for business-processes facilitation at analyst house Quocirca, said that both VMware, with VMware View, and Citrix, with its ICA application-server-system protocol, will be focusing on the technologies in 2009. “With the collapse in laptop prices and more people wanting to use their own machines, there will be a massive push towards this use of virtual desktops next year,” Longbottom said.

“The virtual desktop is completely sandboxed from the physical machine to the extent that you cannot even cut and paste between the two,” Longbottom said.

“Citrix wants to take it even further, with a virtual desktop on devices such as the iPhone or Nokia models, where you will be able to use them to access your work desktop and it will be repurposed for the mobile form factor,” Longbottom said.

Guy Bunker, chief scientist at Symantec, said the security company is also developing virtualization technology to allow consumer technology to be used at work.

“We are looking at a way of taking the virtualization of the end point and allowing workers to download a corporate virtual machine. Within that, you will have the corporate security stack and applications, but it will be completely isolated and sandboxed,” said Bunker.

“You will see this happening on laptops first before spreading to other devices,” he said.

Bunker said that such technology can also help consolidate software licensing costs by allowing the virtual machine to run applications held centrally, rather than on each user’s device.

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