Entries tagged with “US”.


Never underestimate the power of first-mover advantage, especially when being one of the first movers gets you bought by Google. Back in August, 1999, Pyra Labs launched Blogger. LiveJournal had launched six months before and Open Diary in October of the previous year. But it was Pyra Labs which was acquired by Google in February, 2003, and the rest was history. Now, nearly ten years later, Blogger is still the dominant hosted blogging platform. In May, 52 million individual people from the U.S. visited a Blogger blog, almost twice as many as the 28 million who visited a blog hosted by Wordpress.com (comScore). Six Apart properties, including Typepad.com, attracted 14 million.

Millions of bloggers still use Blogger because it is easy. However, Wordpress.com is making steady gains and growing its aggregate audience in the U.S. at more than twice the annual rate of Blogger (40 percent versus 14 percent). These numbers don’t count all the blogs that host Wordpress on their own servers, such as Techcrunch.

The vast majority of Blogger traffic comes from outside the United States, where its annual growth rate is 38 percent compared to Wordpress.com’s 59 percent. On a worldwide basis, Blogger blogs have a readership of 267 million people a month, compared to 143 million a month for Wordpress (comScore, April, 2008). The biggest countries are, in order:

1. U.S.
2. Brazil
3. Turkey
4. Spain
5. Canada
6. U.K.

From a business standpoint, Blogger is good for Google because it creates millions of sites which can show AdSesne ads. It creates more inventory for Google. Only recently has Google bothered to start showing ads to the users of Blogger itself every time they publish a post.

Can Blogger keep its lead indefinitely, or will Wordpress eventually catch up? Or will something else entirely overtake both of them?

Today, two of the people behind the original Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have another little service that is capturing people’s attention. It is called Twitter, you may have heard about it. In May, Twitter.com had 17.6 million unique U.S. visitors to its Website alone, making it bigger already than Six Apart.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The CDC’s report on wireless substitution – aka canceling your land line for a cellphone – is out and we discover that one in five U.S. households have cut the cable, an increase of 2.7 percent over six months ago. Another tidbit: one in every seven American homes (14.5%) took all their calls on cellphones despite having a landline.

The report polled 12,597 families for 23,726 adults total – there were 8,635 kids under the age of 18 – which makes it a fairly strong sample size. A few other tidbits:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

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?


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

For sites that use Google Friend Connect and its comment widget, there is now a novel new feature: comment translation. The comment widget plugs into Google Translate to allow readers to translate comments left in foreign languages. This will be a boon to international blogs and sites, such as Go2Web20, which use Google Friend Connect as a login system.

Now you can talk to people half-way around the world, even if they don’t speak the same language. Sort of. The translation is still machine translation, but it is usually good enough to get across the main gist of what people are saying.

The way it works is the comment widget has a “translate” link which then pops up a menu of languages to choose from. The translated comments are then highlighted in yellow. Here is a video showing what it looks like in action.

Google says that this can work for a variety of sites, including international non-profits such as the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Earth Hour website. The Earth Hour campaign is supported by 4,000 cities in 88 different countries to help engage citizens in conserving energy. Visitors to this website can now leave comments in their native language and use Google Friend Connect’s comment translation to engage in discussions with the greater community.

Comment translation is one of several new gadgets that have been rolled out in Google’s Friend Connect gallery, perhaps in an effort to catch up to Facebook Connect. These features include the event gadget, the polls gadget, and the Get Answers gadget.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

save

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Problem With Power.

The Problem with Power

We live in the Information Age where countless data is created, transmitted, and stored. We live in the Electronics Age where numerous electric-powered machines aid in business and household tasks, as well as entertain and inform us.

The reality of living in this time of technological innovation is that the power to run these machines can’t keep up (at least not yet). In many locations around the world, electricity generation, transmission and distribution have not evolved at the same pace as computer and communications equipment. What was built years ago for powering factories producing manufactured goods is struggling to adapt to provide continuous, sufficient-grade power to sensitive electronics processing valuable information.

What Is a Power Event?

Sags, surges, noise, spikes, blackouts…what really happens to connected devices when they experience a power anomaly? A lightning strike is a frequent example, although it is just one of countless problems that can strike your equipment.

Imagine lightning has just struck a nearby transformer. If the surge was powerful enough, it travelled instantaneously through wiring (AC, network, serial, phone lines and more) with the electrical equivalent force of a tidal wave. For PC users, the surge could have travelled into your computer via the AC outlet or phone lines. The first casualty is usually a modem or motherboard. Chips go next, and data is lost.

For info on different types of power problems and their effects on electronic equipment, click here.

Lightning Facts

The utility responds to overvoltages by disconnecting the grid. This creates brownouts and blackouts. If the voltage drops low enough, or blacks out, hard disks in computing machinery may crash, destroying the data stored on the disks. In all cases, work-in-progress stored in cache is instantly lost. In the worst case, password protection on the hard drives can be jumbled, or the file allocation tables may be upset, rendering the hard disks useless.

The Costs of Downtime

In the Information Age, data is quite valuable. It is the livelihood of businesses across the globe, whether in the form of financial transactions or online purchases or customer demographics or correspondence or spreadsheets or any number of business applications.

The Internet has emphasized that availability equals viability. If companies do not have reliable solutions for the continuing operation of their equipment, they lose money. If one company’s Web server goes down due to blackout, customers are apt to click over to a competitor’s. If mission-critical computers involved in manufacturing are damaged by a surge, inventory runs behind and schedules are missed. If electronic noise penetrates sensitive testing and measurement machinery, delays are inevitable.

Here are a few statistics that quantify the true costs of systems downtime:


[source: Network Computing (http://www.networkcomputing.com), March 5, 2001]
and
[source: META Group, Inc.,"Quantifying Performance Loss: IT Performance Engineering and Measurement Strategies", November 22, 2000
Clients of META Group, Inc. can read the full Delta Summary here: http://www.metagroup.com/cgi-bin/inetcgi/jsp/displayArticle.do?oid=18750

  • "Electrical interruptions will cost U.S. companies some $80 billion this year (2000)."
    [source: Worldwatch Institute (http://www.worldwatch.org)]
  • “Server downtime costs $108,000 a minute in lost brokerage operations.”
    [source: Contingency Planning Research (http://www.contingencyplanningresearch.com), a Division of Eagle Rock Alliance (http://www.eaglerockalliance.com)]
  • “Server downtime costs $43,000 a minute in lost credit card operations.”
    [source: Contingency Planning Research (http://www.contingencyplanningresearch.com), a Division of Eagle Rock Alliance (http://www.eaglerockalliance.com)]
  • “Server downtime costs $1,500 a minute in lost airline reservation operations.”
    [source: Contingency Planning Research (http://www.contingencyplanningresearch.com), a Division of Eagle Rock Alliance (http://www.eaglerockalliance.com)]
  • “Server downtime costs $1,200 a minute in lost telephone ticket sales operations.”
    [source: Contingency Planning Research (http://www.contingencyplanningresearch.com), a Division of Eagle Rock Alliance (http://www.eaglerockalliance.com)]
  • “Half of U.S. corporations rate their internet downtime costs at more than $1,000 per hour.”
    [source: Yankee Group (http://www.yankeegroup.com)]
  • “9% of U.S. corporations rate internet downtime costs at over $50,000 per hour.”
    [source: Yankee Group (http://www.yankeegroup.com)]
  • “Power outages interrupt operations at 72 percent of U.S. businesses.”
    [source: Contingency Planning & Management Online (http://www.ContingencyPlanning.com) and Ernst & Young (http://www.ey.com), 1997]
  • “Power problems (surges and lightning) were the number one cause of desktop computer loss in 1999 and 2000.”
    [source: Safeware, The Insurance Agency Inc., (http://www.safeware.com)] a member company of Assurant Group (http://www.assurant.com)]
  • “33.7% of U.S. companies have had business operations interrupted because of lightning storms.”
    [source: Contingency Planning & Management Online (http://www.ContingencyPlanning.com) and Ernst & Young (http://www.ey.com), 1997]
  • “31% of computer outages are the result of power failures.”
    [source: Contingency Planning Research (http://www.contingencyplanningresearch.com), a Division of Eagle Rock Alliance (http://www.eaglerockalliance.com)]
  • “Power disturbances account for about one third of all server failures.”
    [source: IDC (http://www.idc.com)]
  • “* Two-thirds of Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group (SVMG) member company respondents were directly impacted by the rolling blackouts.
    * The average blackout lasted 90 minutes in duration.
    * More than 100,000 workers at SVMG companies were left idle.
    * Immediate financial losses for Silicon Valley are estimated at the tens of millions of dollars, accounting for major effects like employee downtime, lost product and data, and the expense of retooling equipment.”
    [source: Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group press release (http://www.svmg.org)]
  • “According to a national survey conducted for Iomega Corporation by Bruskin Research, 57 percent of the Californian computer users surveyed fear loss of computer content due to a blackout or power failure. The survey indicates that 45 percent of computer users nationwide are concerned with losing power due to power problems.”
    [source: Iomega Corporation (http://www.iomega.com)]

In order to prevent costs involved with downtime or damaged equipment, businesses and even home owners require solutions from a vendor known for its reliability.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]