Bilcyber Portal

WordPress Revamps Its iOS App With Quick Photos & Analytics

Automattic has released a major improvement to its WordPress iOS app, fixing a variety of bugs while adding analytics and photo-sharing features.

Version 2.8 of the app fixes 31 different bugs, including errors that caused 75% of all app crashes. Issues with external keyboards and adding categories on the iPad have been resolved.

The app also comes with two new features: a Quick Photo button and a Stats section. The Quick Photo feature lets you snap a photo, quickly write a blog post around it, and publish. It’s similar to PicPosterous, Posterous’s rapid blogging iPhone app. WordPress says the feature is only available for iPhone, at least for now.

The other major addition is Stats. This feature provides a quick way to see daily, weekly and monthly pageviews, along with information such as top referrers and post views. The feature is available for all blogs. but self-hosted blogs need to have either Jetpack or the Stats plugin to activate it.

In addition to the new features, Automattic announced it has finally localized the app and added support for 10 languages, including Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

Combined, these changes make the WordPress app a significantly more useful tool for keeping your blog up-to-date. We’ve been frustrated many times by the app’s instability, so it’s good to see that most of the bugs that cause it to crash have been addressed. Writing blog posts from an iPhone or iPad is still nowhere as easy as writing one on a laptop, though.

filed under: Internet,Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , , , , , , , Puts the Spotlight on Web Shows

Online video network has just relaunched its website, focusing on helping users discover the best and highest quality original web series.

“There isn’t a good place dedicated to discovering original web content,” co-founder and CEO Mike Hudack told us. That’s what the new design hopes to change. The content featured on the site is handpicked to highlight the best quality, most professional offerings available. Currently 1,800 original series are organized into 16 different categories.

What separates blip from other content destination sites, however, is that everything is curated by actual human beings. This really shines through in the recommendation section visible on every show page and in every category. An algorithm isn’t showing users what other shows are similar; the site editors and show creators are making their own suggestions.

Show Pages Help Promote Shows, Not Just Blip

Each of the 1,800 featured web series has its own show page. The design of these pages is similar to what you might see on Hulu or on Sony’s — in other words, these pages look professional.

Each show has a show poster that is displayed alongside episode clips and offers an extra touch of branding. Show producers can integrate their Twitter and Facebook feeds with their show page, post links to their websites and promote merchandise. The pages also make it easy for users to browse archives and producers can even organize content into various series.

The hope is that this can be a place that content creators want to promote and use. Lots of blip producers cross-syndicate their content to other services, in addition to using their own sites.

Better Playback Experience

The video player is now larger and better looking. It gets out of your way, but still provides easy access to video controls. Easy access to an episode list is visible at the top of the player, and it opens in a modal window.

Sharing options also use a modal window, which makes it easy to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, embed a video on your own site or email to a friend.

Again, the experience is much more akin to Hulu instead of YouTube, and this makes a difference in terms of the overall destination experience.

Plans for the Future

The team reiterated that the new site is just the first step; more features and better functionality are planned for the future. For instance, users will be able to add and “follow” shows. Frankly, I can’t wait for this feature to launch, because it feels like the only missing piece in the current iteration on the site.

Furthermore, separate experiences are being worked on for connected devices and other platforms like iOS and Android. The goal was to focus on the web experience first and then look at other platforms.

Building Blip as a Brand

The new website shows lots of promise not just for users — who have a great new destination to find and discover original web series — but also for blip to build itself out as a brand.

Over the last year, we’ve been impressed by how blip has focused its energies on differentiating itself from its competitors and building itself into a television network for the Internet era.

With the new website, the company is even closer in reaching that goal.

filed under: Internet,Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , , ,

Twitter’s TweetDeck Acquisition Announcement May Be Days Away [REPORT]

We’ve known for a couple weeks that Twitter may have acquired TweetDeck; we’re now hearing that acquisition may be confirmed this week.

TechCrunch is reporting the deal will be officially announced within “the next few days.” The Wall Street Journal originally reported on rumors of the acquisition, saying sources pinned the sale price at around $50 million.

Of course, Twitter itself is mum on the situation. Giving a tongue-in-cheek turn to the typical boilerplate “no comment” reply, a Twitter rep told us via email, “We don’t comment on rumors. We don’t provide off-the-record background on rumors. We don’t wink twice or release puffs of smoke about rumors.”

The acquisition would be an agreeable end to a somewhat testy relationship between TweetDeck and Twitter. Around 40% of tweets come from third-party apps, and TweetDeck is leading the pack.

However, Twitter has been hinting to developers that creating pure-play Twitter clients will quickly put any startup on Twitter’s bad side.

We’ll continue to update you on this story as details become available.

filed under: Internet,Mobile Tagged with: , ,

HOW TO: Create a Group Tumblr Blog

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Tumblr blogs are known for being easy to use and simple to set up. But the blogging platform lives up to its reputation only as far as standard accounts go.

Want to set up a company blog that contributors can post to from multiple accounts? Want to use a password-protected Tumblr internally? Get ready for some help-section browsing.

Because Tumblr wants everybody’s “primary blog” to represent them, it does not allow users to create group blogs or password-protected accounts. In order to do so, you’ll need to create an additional blog under your account and then invite other members to join it. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to get you started:

1. Create an Additional Blog

tumblr_1Next to the title of your blog in the right panel of the Tumblr dashboard, there’s an arrow that opens a drop down menu. In that menu there’s an option to create a new blog. Click it.

2. Name Your Blog & Set a Password

tumblr_1After you click the “create new blog” tab, you’ll be asked to enter a title and domain name for your new blog. You also have the option to protect the blog with a password. If you decide to do so, only people who enter the password will be able to view your new blog.

3. Invite Members

tumblr_3In the dashboard of your new blog, select “members” from the menu on the right panel. You can invite members to post on the blog via email or by copying and pasting an invite link. Invited members will be able to add content to the new blog, but they won’t be able to change settings unless you promote them to be blog admins.

Important Questions

  • Can I add other contributors to my primary blog? Unfortunately, there’s no way to simply add other users to a blog that you have already started as your primary blog. There’s also no way to change which blog is your primary blog or transfer that content to another blog. Which means that if you want co-bloggers, you’ll need to either share the login information for your primary blog or create an additional group blog from scratch, as outlined above. Keep in mind that you need a primary Tumblr before you can start a group one.
  • Can my group blog follow or like other Tumblr blogs? Only primary blogs can follow and like other blogs. Since group blogs can’t be primary blogs, they cannot follow or like other people’s content.
  • Can other people follow or like my group blog? Yes.
  • Can I password protect my primary blog? Only additional blogs can be password protected.
  • Is there another platform that makes it easier to create a group blog? Depending on your needs and who you ask, Posterous, WordPress and Blogger are all excellent alternative platforms for collaborative blogs.
filed under: Internet,Tech

5 Quick Ways to Liven Up Your Twitter Stream

With a billion tweets per week, Twitter has become a place for people and organizations of all types to share their thoughts, reading lists and whereabouts. Real estate pros, politicians, non-profits, journalists and small businesses are all using the social platform to connect with their communities and meet organizational goals.

Whether you’re a Twitter novice or tweeting pro, there are always ways to improve your presence on the microblogging service. Here are five ways to make your Twitter stream more valuable and dynamic for followers.

1. Get Visual

A sampling of photos recently tweeted by Gregory’s Coffee

If you’re at a loss for words, try sharing pictures or videos instead. Multimedia adds a new layer to your tweets and lets followers into your business’s otherwise-unknown world.

Gregory’s Coffee, an espresso bar with three locations in New York City, operates a lively Twitter stream, loaded with behind-the-scenes photos of latte art, pastries and employees. The photos give the coffee shop a warm and cozy persona, inviting tweeps to venture over to the shop for a nice cup o’ Joe.

Brands are using photo sharing apps in creative ways to bring fans closer to the action. Using apps, like Instagram and PicPlz, smartphone photographers can take advantage of photo-editing tools, including filters, that can make any picture look more interesting.

2. Get Physical

Social technologies such as Twitter aim to connect people. But the digital world has, in some cases, made it more challenging to genuinely connect with those around us. At tech events, for example, it’s not uncommon to see a group of people standing in a circle, tapping away on their smartphones. Business people should be cognizant of how they are using social media and understand if their behaviors are hurting or benefiting their relationships.

One way to use Twitter for physically connecting with colleagues and customers is to tweet out when employees or reps are attending industry events or making appearances at related venues. Such tweets invite real-life interaction.

The GEM Hotel, a boutique hotel with three locations in New York City, maintains an active presence on Foursquare, checking in to nearby venues that embody the lifestyle of a GEM patron. The hotel occasionally shares its checkins via Twitter and automatically tweets when it “becomes mayor” or unlocks a badge on Foursquare, adding a bit of playfulness and humanity to its Twitter stream.

3. Get Personal

With humble beginnings, many small businesses live on their stories. Talk to a small business owner, and you’ll likely discover a passionate individual who is happy to share every small detail about his or her company’s founding. You’ll learn where it all began, what the founding idea was, how the company grew throughout the years and what unexpected lessons were learned along the way.

In the spirit of that small-time, homey feeling, small businesses on Twitter can tweet about family events, employee softball tournaments and personal anecdotes. There’s a fine line between adding a personal touch and going overboard, though. Boloco, a Boston-based burrito chain that has grown substantially since its first opening in 1997, understands that balance.

Boloco’s Twitter stream is mainly composed of tweets to individuals. Tweet after tweet, marketing maven Sara Steele-Rogers and CEO John Pepper answer questions for and converse with Boloco fans. The two add a more personal touch, though, when special occasions arise. For example, a couple recently got engaged at a Boloco location — and the team was quick to congratulate the love birds on Twitter. Tweets such as this add a personal and intimate flair that showcases a business’s appreciation for its fans.

4. Get Inspired

It’s difficult to be creative all the time — when you’re in a linguistic rut, turn to other tweeters for inspiration. For small businesses, the first stop should always be those who are tweeting about you. When a jewel of an @mention appears, retweet it. Besides sharing a customer’s positive story with your followers, you’ll also be empowering that tweeter. It’s a great feeling when a brand you admire acknowledges your tweet with a simple retweet.

Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,500-acre resort in Stowe, Vermont, spends most of its Twitter stream on retweeting satisfied guests and upcoming visitors. When a user posts a image from the estate or calls out a great experience, you’re sure to find it on the Trapp Family Lodge Twitter account. Such tweets also double as customer reviews for the company, which can drive your business even more.

5. Get Smart

Twitter is all about value — users want value out of the accounts they’re following. Value can come in the form of exclusive deals, contests and even expertise. While deals and contests may take a bit more legwork to get off the ground, expertise is something that any small business owner or rep should be able to share at the drop of a hat.

Face Place, a spa with locations in Los Angeles and New York, dedicates its Twitter stream to providing daily skin care tips. Most recently, the spa has tweeted about makeup-removal tips, how blood sugar levels affect complexion and which foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your skin.

Try spicing up your Twitter stream with tips and trivia related to your business. Your followers will appreciate the random facts you’re providing and tune in for the next tidbit.

Your Thoughts

How has your organization spruced up its Twitter stream? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, xotoko

filed under: Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , ,

Foursquare Day Sets Record With 3M+ Checkins

This year’s Foursquare Day festivities drew an impressive crowd of users on Saturday (4/16); together, their checkins exceeded 3 million in number during that 24-hour period.

The number of checkins on Saturday set a new record for Foursquare, which only reached the milestone 100 million total checkins in July 2010.

The service’s first-ever Foursquare Day was held April 16, 2010. This year, a total of 19 mayors — including Mayor Bloomberg of New York City — declared April 16 Foursquare Day in their cities and towns. Additionally, more than 1,200 events were organized around the world. And one superfan even got a checkin-themed tattoo. Ouch.

Did you attend an event or celebrate Foursquare Day on the 16th? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Foursquare.

filed under: Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , , ,

HBO Customers Will Soon Be Able to Watch on iOS & Android Devices

Starting next month, HBO subscribers will be able to access streaming content via iOS and Android devices.

The premium cable network started running teaser advertisements for its HBO GO iOS and Android apps earlier this month. The latest spot touts “instant and unlimited access” to “every episode of every season of your favorite HBO shows.”

HBO launched the browser-based component of its HBO GO streaming service in February 2010. Select cable customers can access online HBO content by visiting Comcast Xfinity customers can also access HBO content via the Xfinity TV website and On-Demand iOS apps.

Rumors of an iOS-compatible app date back to August 2010. In the past eight months, not only has the iPad become a bona fide hit with consumers, it is quickly being embraced by broadcast and cable networks to sell a “second-screen” experience.

Cable companies including Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner all have iPad apps available to offer users access to on-demand or live access to select networks and programming.

HBO GO is part of HBO’s overall digital strategy, which aims to keep its product exclusive, while still offering flexibility for subscribers. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has refused to license HBO premium content to Netflix, in part because he sees the service as potentially devaluing content.

In January, HBO’s VP of corporate affairs, Jeff Cusson, told The Hollywood Reporter that “HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content. That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service.”

As a lifelong HBO subscriber, I can understand the network’s position. HBO is one of the few networks that, for me, makes subscribing to cable worthwhile.

While we don’t anticipate HBO licensing its content to Netflix (without some serious negotiations), we see an HBO GO iOS and Android app as one of the final steps before the network makes its content available to subscribers sans a cable subscription.

HBO GO for iOS and Android is expected to become available May 2.

filed under: Entertainment,Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , ,

Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy; Are Other Tablet Makers Next?

In a patent suit filed Friday, Apple claims that Samsung’s line of Galaxy tablets and phones willfully infringe on its own patents. Apple is seeking injunctions as well as actual and punitive damages.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which runs on Android, was released late last year. Apple claims the tab infringes on iPad patents and that the Galaxy S looks and feels a little too similar to the iPhone.

The lawsuit doesn’t detail the damages it is seeking, but it also doesn’t pull any punches. A sample: “Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smartphone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products.”

That kind of language suggests Apple may ask the courts to pull the Samsung Galaxy products from the shelves. And given that the Galaxy Tab is not dissimilar to other Android devices, such as the Motorola Xoom, this may be the beginning of a concerted effort to hobble the iPad’s competitors for what Apple sees as infringement.

“This kind of blatant copying is wrong,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet added in a statement. “We need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

We will update with more details from the lawsuit as they come in. What do you think? Does the Galaxy Tab copy Apple’s technology? Are there features that make it more similar to the iPad than other Android tablets? Let us know in the comments.

filed under: Mobile,Tech Tagged with: , ,

RIP Google Video: Download Your Videos by May 13 or They’re Gone Forever

Google‘s decided to shut down its Google Video service, and in an email sent Friday night (4/15/2011), reminded those who’ve uploaded videos to the site that they have until May 13 to download them before they are removed.

Google says that on April 29, Google Videos will no longer be viewable on the site, and the download function will still be available for a couple of weeks to allow users to retrieve their work. Perhaps many of those users will move their video clips to Google’s other video service, YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006.

We’re surprised Google has taken so long to shut down Google Video, given that the company is finally figuring out how to make YouTube profitable, is also allowing video uploads to its Picasa service, and stopped accepting uploads to Google Video almost 2 years ago, in May, 2009.

In addition, wouldn’t it be a good business move for Google to make it easy for Google Video users to transfer their video clips to a YouTube account? Commenters, do you think Google is leaving its users hanging with this move?

Here’s the email sent to Google Video users:

From: “Google Video”
Date: Apr 15, 2011 9:56 PM
Subject: Google Video Hosted Content To Be Removed After May 13

Dear Google Video User,

Later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now we’re removing the remaining hosted content. We’ve always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.

On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don’t want to download your content, you don’t need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)

We encourage you to move to your content to YouTube if you haven’t done so already. YouTube offers many video hosting options including the ability to share your videos privately or in an unlisted manner. To learn more go here.
Here’s how to download your videos:

1. Go to the Video Status page.
2. To download a video to your computer, click the Download Video link located on the right side of each of your videos in the Actions column.

Once a video has been downloaded, “Already Downloaded” will appear next to the Download Video link.

If you have many videos on Google Video, you may need to use the paging controls located on the bottom right of the page to access them all.
Please note: This download option will be available through May 13, 2011.
Thank you for being a Google Video user.

The Google Video Team

filed under: Tech Tagged with:

Nintendo To Cut Wii Price To $150 In May [REPORT]

A year and a half has passed since Nintendo last cut the price of the Wii, to $200. And it might almost be time for another price slashing for the popular gaming console.

Nintendo plans to reduce the price of the Wii to $150 on May 15, according to reports citing sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Nintendo has sold more than 35 million Wiis in the U.S. as of March 2011. Sales were on the decline in 2010, although it’s no wonder given that the console was released in 2006.

A price cut might make sense for the company, which recently reported a large drop in operating profits on account of weaker Wii and DS sales, but nothing has been officially confirmed by Nintendo.

In the meantime, if you’ve been planning on buying the Wii, you might want to hold on to your cash just a little longer to see if the rumor is true.

filed under: Entertainment,Games,Mobile Tagged with: , , ,
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