Monday, May 23, 2011

Play Angry Birds For Free in Your Browser!

click on the logo to play
First released for Apple's iOS in December 2009, Angry Birds is a video game developed in Finland, by Rovio, entertainment media company. 
Rovio was founded in 2003 as a mobile game development studio, and the company has developed several award-winning titles for various mobile platforms.
Rovio has developed games with Electronic Arts, Nokia, Vivendi, Namco Bandai and Mr. Goodliving/Real Networks and shipped over 50 mobile titles. But Angry Birds is definitely their greatest hit. 

Rovio describes Angry Birds as: "a casual puzzle game for touchscreen smartphones that became a worldwide phenomenon from 2010 onwards, now available on further platforms as well. The Angry Birds games have enjoyed continuing worldwide chart success, and the franchise has since expanded to a variety of new business areas."
In the game, players must launch birds at structures hosting pigs with the  purpose of bringing down the structures and destroying all of the pigs.  Advancing through the game, new birds appear, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player. Rovio Mobile has provided numerous free updates to Angry Birds adding new game content.  The company has even released stand-alone holiday and promotional versions of the game.

Angry Birds' popularity requested versions for PC and gaming consoles. Its characters might even feature in a film or television series. Due to its combined 200 million downloads across all platforms , the game has been called "one of the most mainstream games out right now", "one of the great runaway hits of 2010", and "the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far".

So, if you don't own an iPhone, or you don't want to install it on your PC or console, you can always play in your browser, by clicking here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CashParking with Go Daddy

The most important part of it all is choosing the domain name, I didn't spend too much time choosing mine, so all I could come up with was

I was planning to build a live scores website with maybe some (live?) video streams. Didn't have the time to do it, so I dropped the website dead for a while, I did get to the point where I was making a banner for it :)
Just the other day I remembered that upon registering the domain, I saw a "Cash Parking" option under my Go Daddy account.

At that point Cash Parking seemed exactly what I needed, money from my domains' parked pages. So I went for the Basic plan, they also have a Premium one, next to each plan they have some prices, but it did not occur to me that I will actually have to pay for Cash Parking additionally to the 40% of the revenue that also goes to Godaddy(20% in the Premium plan). 

Pricing is:

1 month:          Just $4.99/mo
12 months:      Just $4.49/mo Save 10%
24 months:      Just $3.99/mo Save 20%

for Basic and

1 month:          Just $9.99/mo
12 months:      Just $8.99/mo Save 10%
24 months:      Just $7.99/mo Save 20%

for Premium.

Your domain does not have to be registered Go Daddy to take advantage of CashParking, but you will have to park the names with Go Daddy in order to begin monetization. If the domain name is home to a web site, CashParking will replace that web site. 

After you pick a plan, use the bulk edit tool to add your domain(s) to your CashParking portfolio.

The number of domains you can add is unlimited. You will have to change domain name servers to the Go Daddy parkweb servers for CashParking. After that, ads will be presented on your domain's parked page.

Revenue payment is based on the plan you opted for, Basic or Premium.
US customers receive payment monthly, while International customers will receive payment quarterly. See some samples for domain parked pages here.

Whether it works for you, or not, or how much money you make, it is up to you, your audience and how you advertise your domain.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Google Under Investigation by US Justice Department

This Tuesday had both, good and bad news for and from Google.

The good news are the new music and movie services announced at Google's annual developers conference in San Francisco. The service is called "Music Beta" and will allow select users to store up to 20,000 songs at the company's servers. The users will be able to stream the music to their computers and some smartphones. Access to movie rental service has been added the Android mobile operating system.  

The bad news is that Google is under investigation from the US Department of Justice. Specifically, Google's advertising system is being investigated. The investigation targets to find how the automated advertising system treats some unnamed advertisers, while a separate study is being conducted by the European Commission.

After reporting a net profit of $2.3bn for the first 3 months of the year, Google's Tuesday report US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission reported a decrease to $1.8bn, after putting aside $500m to cover any potential fines resulting from the investigation of the charges.

None of the spokesmen, Google's or Justice Department's refused to make further comments. Google only stated: "Although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, we believe it will not have a material  adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows."

After the refuse to comment by the Google spokesman, questions rise, could the investigations be the consequence of complaints by rivals ? The Europan Comission began its investigation following accusations from Google search engine rivals, including Microsoft's Bing, accusations that mention manipulations of search results in order to promote Google's own services and to discourage advertising with other search engines.

Now, if we sit back and review other major events involving Google this year, inevitably Panda comes in mind.  Once Panda was introduced, Google has been accused of bringing Microsoft-owned company visibility down by 94%. Is this investigation a consequence of Panda, or Panda's target was to actually "fix" the previous algorithm and to basically put away the tricks that hit Google's rivals.

LastPass Hacked with Possible Data Leaks

This is starting to look like "hacks and leaks season". After Sony's PSN being hacked twice this spring, now it was password management program developer's network, LastPass to be targeted by hackers.

Three month after "one million people have said "goodbye" to password insanity", LastPass announces its users, through an email, that on may 3rd "suspicious network activity" has been detected on their internal network. Investigations determined there is a possibility that "limited amount of data was accessed". As a security measure, LastPass locked down all accounts and prevented access from unknown locations. However, LastPass does not have access to users master password or confidential data.

As an emergency reaction, LastPass quickly implemented a security layer based on the account/IP correspondence. To avoid access from unauthorized IPs, users were forced to set passwords per specific IP they will be connecting from after verifying the email address. To further secure user accounts, LastPass now requires user to verify their identity when logging in. Users are prompted to validate their email when trying to log in from a new location. This prompt will continue to appear until the user changes his master password or indicates that he is comfortable with the strength of the current master password.

What is LastPass ?
An online password manager and form filler that makes web browsing easier and more secure.

How to use LastPass ?

Watch the rest of the screencasts here.

Watching those videos you will see what a great piece of software LastPass is. If you are in doubt because of this hack, read their blog and see how professional and quick their reaction was, also they  immediately let their users know about the issue, unlike Sony, who needed more than a week to let people know their data might be in the wrong hands.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why is Trending on Google Trends ??!

First off, what is Google Trends. 

Google Trends analyzes Google web searches to computes how many searches have been done for the terms you enter, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time, you are then presented with a graph of the results – called Search Volume Index graph. 

Google Trends is only available in English and in Chinese
Hot Searches is only available in English, but region specific information for Singapore and India are also available. My Google Trends is U.S. region related.

On the landing page of Google Trends, other than the search box, there is the list of  Hot Searches, which are the ... Hot Searches probably updated in real time.

I check  Google Trends almost on a daily basis, I've found interesting things and even updated myself with the news. I was just checking it again today, and I saw is treding ... !? Umm, wtf ? I know people are lazy, and don't even try to remember the URL and type it in the search box, but still, how did that send it on the third spot of Google Trends !?
I'm still wondering. Maybe yahoo made some interface changes, though my yahoo mail looks the same. And even with some changes, how dazzled can you be ? What's up with you people !?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In-text context advertisting: Kontera

What is in-text advertising ?

As you already guessed, it is a form of advertising that is published through the textual content of your website. For example, when a user reads your blog article, for some specific words, if they click or mouse-over some words, a small window will pop up and advertise for certain context related products, as presented in the image below:

The contextual advertising system code in the source code of your website will scan the text for keywords and return advertisements related to the content the user is viewing. If the website that uses contextual advertising is a search engine, the visitor will be presented ads related to the keywords of their search/query.
In-text advertising is a somehow special form of contextual advertising. While contextual advertising includes advertisements adjacent to relevant online context, in-text advertising places hyperlinks directly into the text of your webpage.

In my attempts to earn an extra buck from blogging, I decided to give in-text advertising a chance. After closely examining the options, I decided to go with Kontera.

This is the webmasters or website owners category, after signing up, they will publish the advertisements provided by the advertisers.

Kontera ads require no extra space and makes no changes to your website.
If your site generates at least 25k pageviews coming from the US during your first 30 days with Kontera, you qualify for a $50 bonus!

Set up is basically plug and play with the easy-to-install plugins for popular platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Joomla & Drupal. Get further help and assistance from the knowledge base or email tech support which is very quick to answer and qualified.

The fully detailed reports system provides information like:
- The number of pages where Kontera was able to successfully mark with a ContentLink( also called net impressions);
- The number of clicks on the ContentLink;
- Click-Through Rate - percent of clicks versus net impressions;
And of course, revenue report, additional revenue report(like bonuses) and the average revenue per 1k net impressions(eCPM).
Keyword reports and URL reports are available, so you can see which keywords and URLs generated the most revenue.

Kontera’s Story-Level Targeting delivers unmatched user-experience & results. Your content is interpreted in real time and the most relevant and highest paying ads are served to your users. Work with big-brand advertisers like Ford, Microsoft, Procter&Gamble, Kellog's, Sun, Nintendo and benefit from unique creatives that deliver record-high CTRs and CPC.

Kontera have developed their own In-Text relevance engine, called Kontera Synapse. According to digital market intelligence measurement service, comScore, Synapse delivers advertiser performance that’s five times greater than traditional display advertising, and with the new topical-targeting capabilities also provides a platform for a new class of related information and related search applications. For attaining superior brand engagement and campaign results,  two complementary capabilities have been introduced: Cost Per View (CPV) pricing and PerformancePLUS, a continuous optimization capability that boosts brand awareness and direct response campaigns by as up to 30 percent. ComScore studied the advertiser performance characteristics of Kontera Synapse engine over a three-month period before releasing the results.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Atrix - not just a smartphone

You can call it a smartphone, but you are clearly underestimating it! Why ?
Because a dual-core processing technology equipped device is not only a smartphone, along with its webtop feature, it actually mobilizes your desktop!
Atrix does quadruple duty, it can be a laptop, set top box, desktop computer, and as a smartphone too. 

Developed on Android 2.2 (FroYo) and 4G enabled, it supports MULTIPLE NETWORKS: WCDMA 850/1900/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 14Mbps (Category 10) Edge Class 12, GPRS Class 12, eCompass, AGPS and it can combine and sync all your social network with MOTOBLUR. It has a 5MP camera with autofocus and flash(LED), front and rear-facing camera can be used as a webcam too, and can capture HD 720p video at a 30 fps rate. It is also able to play videos at a 30 fps rate and accepts formats like AAC, H.264, MP3, MPEG-4, WMA9, eAAC+, AMR NB, AAC+.

Messaging and connectivity:
Emailing is available with Corporate Sync, Google Mail, POP3/IMAP (embedded), Corporate Directory Lookup, also instant messaging via AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk.
You can browse the web with the Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 enabled Android HTML Webkit. 
Atrix is all Wifi: 802.11 a,b,g,n and it can be used as a router to share its main 3G connection between other 5 wireless enabled devices.
Needless to say, it supports Bluetooth and (micro)USB2.0 and 3.5 mm headset jack.
It can stream, store and share content with compatible devices around the home like HDTVs, game consoles and PCs as it is DLNA(DIGITAL LIVING NETWORK ALLIANCE) enabled.
GPS AND LOCATION SERVICES available: eCompass, aGPS (assisted) with Google Maps™, Google Latitude™, Google Maps Street View, eCompas.

You can read the full features and specification by visiting the dedicated Atrix page on the official Motorola website.