Monthly Archives: March 2012

Web News Round Up – 31st March

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This week on SelfAssemblySites' Web News Round Up we look at Google's attempt to be a big player in downloadable media with Google Play, Earth Hour 2012 and the YouTube challenge, the US Navy's new laser canon, how apps can change your life and the Oatmeal gives gold standard advice on improving your shopping cart as only it can.

Google Play

Google Integrates Play Into Navigation Bar

Google has taken the next step in its mission to become one of the big players in downloadable media online. The search giant has unified all its digital content stores under the name Google Play. The navigation bar already contains gmail, docs, images, youtube and maps, now joining them with the bright red 'new' beside it, is Google's latest venture. But will the take up be on par with Google Earth or Google Buzz? Read the article.

US Navy 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

It's up there with some of the most popular science fiction visions of the future, but the laser gun weapon may soon become fact. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) claim they'll have a working laser canon prototype on a ship in under four years time. It's purpose will primarily be to target subsonic cruise missiles, aircraft, fast moving boats and unmanned aerial vehicles. Read the article and watch the video.

YouTube Earth Hour Campaign Dares You To Take Action for the Planet

Earth Hour which is now in its sixth year encourages people to take positive action by turning off your lights for one hour annually on March 31st between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. YouTube is launching a new platform named "I Will If You Will" for Earth Hour 2012, it allows people to challenge others to take environmentally friendly action for the planet. Read the article and watch the video.

How Apps Can Change Your Life

Chad Mureta was a an 18 hour a day real estate agent salesman living from hand to mouth until he had a car crash which mangled his arm and almost killed him. From knowing little or nothing about technology he borrowed some money and created an app for $1800 which eventually created revenue of $800,000. His new book, "App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life and Let Technology Work for You", gives insights on how you can do the same. Read the article and watch the video.

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Choosing a Domain Name: Avoid the 5 Biggest Mistakes

Your domain name is one of your core points of branding and identity for your business or organisation on the web so it's well worth putting in even a little bit of time and thought in making a decision that you're mostly stuck with for years to come. These few pointers are to help you avoid some of the most common errors.

The Video, Choosing A Domain Name: Essentials to Consider, follows the tips.

Choosing the Wrong Suffix

DotCom (Image: sxc.hu)

Your choice of suffix or Top Level Domain (TLD) extension is key. Generally you can't go too far wrong with .com and to a lesser extent .net or .org, but be extremely wary of oddities like .cc and .co.com due to being uber cheap some of these are heavily associated with spammers and questionable practices. Read more about avoiding risky domain extensions here.

If you're a national business, country specific domains can add to that sense of nationality and locality eg. .fr for France, .co.uk for the UK, .ie for Ireland and so on. But buying .ie and attempting to attract audiences from elsewhere in the world could prove tricky as you're removing a level of trust or familiarity away from the visitor.

Here are some TLD's you may be less familiar with:

  • .com is the leading TLD, but all one word and most two words in the English language are already taken.
  • .biz was created as an alternative for businesses to .com, but is less commonly used these days.
  • .net was originally for networks only, but can be a good option if your .com is not available.
  • .me tend to only be suitable for sites about you, usually resume or CV sites.
  • .edu is restricted to educational institutions and links from these to your site are quite valuable.
  • .gov is similarly restricted but used by government entities in the USA.
  • .info usually indicates information sites, but Google are wary of it as many spammers used to use it .
  • .org is for organisations and often for non-profits and can be suitable if your .com is not available.
  • .mobi focuses on mobile ready or mobile only versions of websites.

Making it Difficult to Spell or Type

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Web News Round Up – 23rd March

Good Cop Dadaist Cop (Image: Xkcd.com)

On this week's SelfAssemblySites' Web News Round Up learn how to buy your friends drinks with Twitter, how to transfer files up to 1Gb over Facebook, Nasa invites you to a hackathon, and can code ourselves a better government.

Tweet-a-Beer

Buy Someone a Beer with Tweet-a-Beer

If you can't be there in person to buy your friends a beer, you can now do it via this handy new twitter app. Tweet-a-Beer is an online networking app and aims to make paying for other twitter users' beers easier and maybe even become a habit. "Become a beer benefactor" they suggest on their lager coloured homepage. Is this a nice novel idea or could this actually catch on? Read the article.

1Gb Person to Person File Transfer Coming to Facebook Through Pipe

Soon you'll be able to transfer files that are usually too huge to send through normal email channels, all on Facebook. The social media giant is partnering with a newly developed app called Pipe which was unveiled at London Web Summit recently. The Berlin based company uses Adobe's Real Time Media Protocol Flow to slip the file into the recipient's cache, so that no Pipe or Facebook server space gets occupied. Read the article.

NASA Invites You to a Global Hackathon

NASA needs new tools to improve life in space and on Earth so they're running the International Space Apps Challenge. It's a two-day 'codeathon' taking place on April 21-22, 2012. Participants from around the world will work together to create solutions to current challenges that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on earth. Individual contributors will be working both remotely and in large gatherings on all seven continents as well as including a team in space. Read the article.

Coding a Better Government

Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments and their neighbors. Pahlka is the founder of Code for America, which matches software geniuses with US cities to reboot local services. View the TED Video.

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What Are the Benefits of WordPress as a CMS?

"But, isn't WordPress just for blogs?"

We see this question asked a hundred times a day all across the web. Here's our answer:

WordPress is suitable, even the best choice Content Management System (CMS) for the vast majority of websites. Yes, it did originally start as a blogging platform years ago, but it has come a very, very long way since then. Yes, there are exceptions. (more…)

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Web News Round Up – March 16th

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In this week's web news round up we see Path partnering with Nike to make running more social, all the flexibilities and functions of PayPal's new Digital Wallet, Amazon creeping into Google territory and revenue and Facebook's 6 Point Plan for building your social brand.

"Path & Nike" (Image: DigitalTrends.com)

Path and Nike Team Up to Make Running More Social

Path, or Facebook for only your real close friends, has launched its latest version of the app today, including a new integration which features the company’s first partnership ever. The collaboration with Nike will allow users to log their running paths on a map and share your route with friends. Read the article.

PayPal’s New Digital Wallet Will Offer Deals, Flexible Payments & More

The new version of PayPal will allow you to create personal lists of items you want among many other features. Via PayPal, you can search for items, compare prices, pay by multiple methods and create lists of things you want to buy for a variety of situations. PayPal will then find deals and coupons for these items on your list whether you are in the store or online. View the video and Read the article.

Amazon Is Already Doing More Than $1 Billion In Ad Revenue - Should Google Worry?

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Coder Dojo Hits the Mark

In a recent blog post here on SelfAssemblySites, Training vs Learning: Computer Science in Schools, we looked at the growing movement in Britain to bring computer science into the secondary school curriculum. Here in Ireland right under our very noses an organic, non-profit organisation was doing something very similar off their own bat.

Coder Dojo is a volunteer lead group orientated around running coding clubs for 9-16 yr olds, usually on Saturdays outside of schools, for example the Highlane Gallery in Drogheda, the Science Gallery and Google's Montevetro building in Dublin. The kids learn how to code, developing websites, apps, games and other technology.

In early 2011 James Whelton won some publicity by hacking the iPod Nano. This stirred the interest of some of his PBC Cork school pupils and so he started to teach them html and css.  A meeting with the philanthropist and entrepreneur Bill Liao proved a catalyst to Whelton's brain wave. It was June 2011 when the first Coder Dojo was launched in Cork's National Software Centre to great success.  Rapid expansion followed with Coder Dojo now boasting 40 dojos in Ireland and further afield, as far as London, St Petersburg, Florence and 10 across the United States.

The attitude of the guys and clubs shines through with great positivity in their one rule: (more…)

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Web News Round Up – March 9

"Late Shift" (Image: Dilbert.com)

In this week's Week News Round Up we look at how the US can seize any .com domain, why Google gives cash to hackers, the benefits of levitating Japanese homes and Pinterest surprises many by referring more than Twitter.

If It Ends In .Com the US Can Seize It

The betting website Bodog.com was recently shut down by US authorities. What surprised most was the fact that it was Canadian and so many had believed that it was outside US jurisdiction. It seems this is not the case. VeriSign manages the registration of .com and other top level domains globally and since it's based in United States it obeys the law and complies with US Court Orders. The popular .net and .org managing bodies are also in the US and can be similarly effected. Read the article.

Google Throws Cash at Hackers to Publicly Crack its Chrome Browser

Google has offered cash prizes to anyone who is able to hack their browser in an effort to ensure Chrome is as safe as possible. The prize money has been on the table for the last four years but it's only this week that they've had to pay out. The talented individual was a Russian university student. Read the article.

Levitating Homes A Possible Solution to Japan's Natural Disasters

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Training vs Learning: Computer Science in Schools

The Difference Between Learning and Training

Learning is usually an open format for exploration, without absolutely specific goals, knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It's what we learn in schools and universities, we learn the curriculum as foundation for further expansion of knowledge.  Learning is about levels of knowledge, which in academics merit different grades.

Training is usually about specific skills and "doing". At the end of a training course participants should be able to complete distinct tasks or functions, have developed skills they didn't have before.

There is a growing belief from some in Britain, such as the £2bn a year computer games industry and UK Education Minister Michael Gove, that computer science should be offered in the curriculum of second level education. It's interesting to see if it will be a traditional learning course or greater integration with aspects of training.

Raspberry Pi Gives a Taste for Coding

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Web News Round Up – March 2nd

In this week's Web News Round Up we look at the 3 most innovative social networks, see how Twitter is pairing its interest graph with ads, find out how you can charge your phone by breathing and we look for the ultimate spaghetti sauce!

"Study" (image: Xkcd.com)

The 3 Most Innovative Social Networks According to Inc.com

Every day, new and exciting platforms emerge for distributing great ideas, products and answers, and the boundaries keep getting pushed further out each year. Flavour a soft drink, community feedback on your big product idea and quality answers to nearly any question. Read the article.

How Twitter Is Pairing Its Interest Graph With Ads

Unlike Facebook which knows vast amounts of your personal information, Twitter on the other hand knows nothing of where you're based, your age or where you went to school. Instead it knows who you follow, what you like and link to, so it will be enlightening to see how successful this information model is for advertisers compared with Facebook. Bloomberg's Brad Stone accurately describes the data Twitter collects as "both revealing and non-invasive". Read the article.

Charge Your Phone by Simply Breathing

Designer João Paulo Lammoglia created the AIRE Mask which is outfitted with small wind turbine-like system to help convert your breaths into energy. The mask is also made to be used both indoors and outdoors, so you can charge your phone while you sleep or while you’re out for a jogging exercise. (more…)

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