April 29, 2010

China's Alibaba Now Accepting PayPal Payments - PCWorld Business Center

Alibaba Group, the biggest e-commerce company in China, is accepting payments made using PayPal on one of its e-commerce sites, even though the company runs its own competing payment platform called AliPay.

The site, called AliExpress, targets small to medium-sized retailers and wholesalers outside of China that want to source products from Chinese companies, said Linda Kozlowski, a spokeswoman for Alibaba in Hong Kong.

Unlike Alibaba.com, the company's main site where customers typically order large quantities of customized goods and make payments offline, AliExpress was set up to handle smaller orders of goods that suppliers already have in stock. Payments can be made using PayPal, Visa, MasterCard or bank transfer.

While AliPay isn't offered as a payment option on AliExpress, the payment platform is still used to provide an escrow service on the site, she said.

Alibaba is offering users the ability to pay with PayPal because the company believes users benefit from having a choice of payment options. "It's simply another option for payment," Kozlowski said.

The announcement that Alibaba is accepting PayPal as a payment method is notable given the competition between the two companies, as well as with PayPal's parent, eBay.

Alibaba's Taobao consumer e-commerce and auction site dominates the Chinese market, having built its success there largely at eBay's expense. In addition, Alibaba executives have said they're committed to expanding AliPay internationally, a move that will inevitably lead to greater competition with PayPal.

Earlier this month, Alibaba announced plans to invest 5 billion yuan (US$702 million) in AliPay over the next five years to fund its international expansion plans.

How the partnership between Alibaba and PayPal will play out remains to be seen. Kozlowski declined to comment on whether or not Alibaba plans to expand the availability of PayPal to its other e-commerce sites.

China's Alibaba Now Accepting PayPal Payments - PCWorld Business Center

New Flash Drive

New Flash Drive

April 25, 2010

The $100 Bill Gets a Makeover - Bucks Blog - NYTimes.com

Officials from the government unveiled a new $100 bill look  Wednesday.
Officials from the government unveiled a new $100 bill look Wednesday.

The $100 bill has gotten a new look intended to thwart counterfeiters.

Officials from the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve board and the United States Secret Service unveiled the new design Wednesday. The government had announced it last month.

While the bill retains the security features found on the previous design, the new design also has a couple of new features. Among them, a blue “3-D Security Ribbon” contains images of bells and 100s that move and change as you tilt the note. Meanwhile, the “Bell in the Inkwell” on the front of the note changes color from copper to green when the note is tilted.

According to the government, the $100 note is the most widely circulated and most often counterfeited denomination outside the United States. “This note incorporates the best technology available to ensure we’re staying ahead of counterfeiters,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a statement.

The reaction online so far has been positive from bloggers at sites like creditcardoutlaw.com and Bargaineering.com.

What do you think of the new design? You can learn more about it here.

The $100 Bill Gets a Makeover - Bucks Blog - NYTimes.com

April 18, 2010

Blogging for bankers - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

To take on their toughest critics, big banks are playing as visitors on social media's turf. Can they keep up, much less win?

By Nin-Hai Tseng, Fortune Magazine March 24, 2010 12:45 PM

Five days a week, and sometimes weekends, Larry Rubinoff pounds away on his laptop with a mission: Expose what he believes to be the truth about the big banks’ roles in the global financial meltdown.

For this semi-retired mortgage professional turned blogger, running Goldmansachs666.com isn’t just a hobby, it’s a full-time job. “To demonstrate how destructive [Goldman Sachs is] to our lives and the hopes and dreams of our children,” is part of the motto/disclaimer splashed across the front of the site. “What’s going on is wrong and we need to correct what’s wrong and get to the truth,” said Rubinoff by telephone from his Florida home.

The global financial crisis has spawned dozens of Rubinoffs who have unleashed their frustrations onto the Web. To name a few, there’s Banks are Evil and Bloggers Against Chase Bank. And Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington urged Americans to boldly move their money away from big banks and into community institutions in her Move Your Money campaign (which has drawn 34,842 Facebook fans as of Friday morning). Then there is ZeroHedge, the big daddy of anti-banker sentiment, which often reports information from dissident bankers working inside the system itself.

These bloggers might sound like just another batch of disgruntled Wall Street critics. But corporations are paying attention to them. They’re watching their YouTube videos, reading their posts and tracking their Tweets, because they can’t afford not to. It’s not just the content of their messages that matter but their presence on the Internet. By talking about banks negatively online, the bloggers essentially become the online presence of those banks. And that’s something no industry, let alone one that depends on the trust of its customers, can long abide.

The question is, can the financial industry tweet or blog its way out of a bad rep?

Damage Control 2.0

Last month, Citigroup (C) launched “New Citi,” a blog where CEO Vikram Pandit and other high-level executives try and rebuild trust with a recession-worn public. Citi was one of the largest recipients of government support during the wake of the financial crisis, receiving more than $45 billion.

The blog encourages visitors to post comments about reform, recovery, and responsible finance. A quick review of the comments seems largely positive, with a few negative remarks. “When you look at Citi and what we’ve been through in the last two years it’s clear that we made some mistakes,” Pandit says in a video posted on Feb. 1, highlighting how Citi has worked towards more responsible financial practices with a new management team, a revised governance structure, and other similar measures.

“Just talking about change is not enough,” said Aneysha Pearce, associate partner at Prophet, a strategic brand and marketing consultancy headquartered in San Francisco. “Consumers have to feel it and see it.”

In other words, action counts. Pearce led a 2009 survey of U.S. consumers that ranked the reputation of the financial services industry dead last — lower than the insurance, health care, and oil and gas industries. Which is not surprising, given the extra scrutiny bankers and financiers faced following the mortgage crisis and massive industry bailouts, she said.

While blogging or tweeting alone might not change a company's reputation, “social media has the potential to force conversations that will ultimately be in the public record and that can enforce accountability,” said Giovanni Rodriguez, co-founder of the Conversation Group, a social engagement consultancy.

Tweeting for happier customers

Increasingly, banks and financiers have turned to social media to communicate with investors and customers. In response, the National Futures Association drafted rules to cover the way its 4,000-plus member firms market and promote via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the plethora of other social media tools — marking the first time the association explicitly addressed the topic. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has also developed usage guidelines (download podcast) for blogs and social networking sites.

David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a San Francisco-based new media consultancy, said Citi’s blog can only help. “Your best customers can often first be complainers,” Spark said. “If someone makes the effort to go to your site and complain then they care. It’s not like they’re saying, ‘I hate Citi.’ It’s more like ‘Hey, I care about my money.’”

But online public engagement can be a dizzying, if worthwhile enterprise. At many corporations, especially in heavily regulated industries like banking, every Facebook posting, every blog reply, every video, and every tweet typically must go through some kind of internal review before going public. Still, saying something is preferable to saying nothing, especially when everyone else is talking about you.

Rodriguez points to the Wells Fargo-Wachovia blog as one example of outreach done well. Hosted by real employees, the site addresses customer questions and concerns, mostly about changes happening with the merger of the two banks. At a time when critics of the financial services industry are calling for more transparency, the blog puts a human face — literally showing pictures of the bloggers — on the huge institution. “It invites the public to talk with them about the integration of the two companies, a mission-critical project for the bank after the financial meltdown,” Rodriguez said.

Goldman Sachs (GS), perhaps because it usually deals with the ultra-wealthy or other institutions, has been less savvy with social media. At the moment, the bank has no plans to launch a blog or create a Twitter account, a spokeswoman said. Instead, the firm responds to issues raised in the media with statements available in its On the Issues site.

When Goldmansachs666.com first launched February 2009, the firm responded with a trademark infringement lawsuit. The case was resolved and the blog now has a disclaimer. Rubinoff says managing the blog has been worth all the energy. He notes one of its latest successes for the site, which mixes mainstream media reportage with global conspiracy theories from the fringes of the financial world: It ranked No. 6 in Wall Street Journal columnist David Weidner’s top Ten Wall Street Blogs You Need to Bookmark Now.

Blogging for bankers - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

AMD falls as analysts see share loss to Intel - MarketWatch

By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch April 16, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. fell sharply Friday, a day after the chip maker posted results that showed a profit but also highlighted concerns that it's losing ground to Intel Corp.

AMD /quotes/comstock/13*!amd/quotes/nls/amd (AMD 9.81, -0.35, -3.44%) shares fell 3.4% to close at $9.81, a day after the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company reported it swung to a profit, aided by a big jump in graphics-chips sales and a one-time gain from its deconsolidation of Global Foundries.

AMD reported a first-quarter profit of $257 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with a loss of $416 million, or 66 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue was $1.57 billion, up from $1.18 billion for the same quarter in the year-earlier period. Adjusted income was 9 cents a share.

However, analysts quickly picked up on troubling signs for the company, given that compared to rival Intel's robust numbers, AMD's profitable quarter didn't seem that impressive.

"The quarter was good -- not phenomenal," Wedbush analyst Patrick Wang wrote in an email late Thursday.

And that pretty much summed up sentiment among analysts who saw the report as a mixed bag.

"AMD's first-quarter results were relatively mixed with revenue slightly better than our estimate, but a disappointment vs. Intel, and margins continuing to improve," Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Seymore wrote in a note.

Wells Fargo analyst David Wong said the company's sales numbers "were quite good, with positive implications for the computer and microprocessor market overall. However, we continue to have market share and profitability concerns with regard to AMD specifically."

Auriga analyst Daniel Berenbaum offered a grim view of AMD's competitive position, writing in a note, "We see no shortcut to AMD to regain market share" in PC chips. ... Given past missteps, we have low confidence in AMD's design and manufacturing execution."

The report marked the first time AMD posted deconsolidated results after the GlobalFoundries spin-off. The company reported a one-time, non-cash gain of $325 million as a result of the new accounting.

Rex on Techs: AMD in Intel's shadow

Rex Crum says enough is never enough for second-fiddle chip maker AMD.

FBR Capital's Craig Berger wrote in a note that "prospects for meaningful cash generation seem impressive, and with the stock still arguably trading in value country."

He said AMD's revenues of $1.57 billion "were a bit ahead of consensus but reflect another quarter of share loss to Intel."

Still, Berger maintained an upbeat view of AMD, especially with the GlobalFoundries deconsolidation, saying, "We believe AMD is truly transforming itself, and few investors we speak with are keeping close tabs on the firm. Indeed, this is not the AMD of yesteryear."

Williams Financial analyst Cody Acree also said the after-hours sell-off "is a classic case of selling the news."

"After reviewing the firm's results, particularly given the economic back drop and the increased forecasts, we saw little disappointment," Acree wrote.

The company's results included a one-time, non-cash gain of $325 million related to its deconsolidation of GlobalFoundries.

Analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 3 cents a share, on revenue of $1.5 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters. However, it was not immediately clear how analysts computed their estimates due to the change in AMD's accounting.

An AMD spokesman acknowledged in an e-mail that "there is not a great number in our release to use as a comparison as there are discrepancies in the models for the 30+ analysts who cover us."

For the current quarter, AMD said it expects revenue to be "down seasonally."

AMD falls as analysts see share loss to Intel - MarketWatch

Intel is looking chipper after income quadruples as tech spending jumps

News Wire Services April 14th 2010, 4:00 AM

Bloomberg A detailed, internal view of the Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) Opteron 6000 Series platform.

Intel posted quarterly net income Tuesday that nearly quadrupled to $2.4 billion from a year ago, reflecting an overall bump in companies' technology spending.

Among other things, Intel got a lift from sales of new chips for computer servers - the kind of purchase that many companies delayed during the recession.

Also, Intel's chief financial officer, Stacy Smith, said demand for processors for higher-end laptops was stronger than expected as corporations upgraded their workers' computers. Revenues jumped 44% to $10.3 billion.

The world's biggest chipmaker also forecast sales in the current quarter that topped analysts' predictions, citing growing worldwide demand for computers.

The company leads off two weeks of earnings reports by the nation's largest tech companies, including IBM, Google and Microsoft.

Intel supplies more than 80% of the world's PC processors, making its sales a barometer of computer industry demand.

Intel stock rose nearly 4%, or 90 cents, to $23.67 in after-hours activity. It gained 23 cents in regular trading.

Intel is looking chipper after income quadruples as tech spending jumps

April 13, 2010

New Study Shows the Mobile Web Will Rule by 2015 [STATS]

Jolie O'Dell
Jolie O'Dell Mashable April 13, 2010

In a dense, 87-page report, Morgan Stanley analysts have charted the most important online trends and predicted the future of the Internet. In addition to forecasting more online shopping and showing the geographical distribution of Internet users, the study also shows a dramatic shift toward mobile web use.

Including devices such as the Kindle, the iPhone (iPhone) and other smartphones, web-enabled tablets, GPS systems, video games and wireless home appliances, the growth of the mobile web has been exponential — and we’re still just at the beginning of this cycle. Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.

The mobile wealth creation/destruction cycle is in its earliest stages. The proliferation of better devices and the availability of better data coverage are two trends driving growth; having better services and smaller, cheaper devices has led to a huge explosion in mobile technology that far outpaces the growth of any other computing cycle.

And speaking of coverage, global 3G penetration is expected to hit 21% this year. In Japan, where the U.S. looks to find its mobile roadmap for the future, 96% of mobile subscribers already have 3G coverage. In Western Europe, the penetration is around 54%, just slightly above 46% in the U.S. In developing and/or economically depressed areas, including the Middle East, Africa, parts of Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, 3G penetration is still in the single digits. Morgan Stanley identifies 3G access as a key point in the success of the mobile web.

Finally, mobile e-commerce is ramping up faster than online e-commerce, now making up 4% of total retail sales. In certain categories, such as computers, consumer electronics, music, movies, tickets, video games and books, online sales account for between 45% and 20% of the total retail market. Japan’s Rakuten shows how the mobile share of e-commerce is growing as well, from 10% of e-commerce in 2006 to nearly 20% now.

Notes on the Social Web

Social network use has already eclipsed e-mail use. People started spending more time on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace () back in 2007; in 2009, there were more users on social networks than users of e-mail.

In the past three years, two sites have gained a huge amount of mindshare around the world. The number of minutes spent online from a global audience was dominated by Yahoo and MSN in 2006. Today, Facebook is the website that gets by far the most attention, minute for minute, with YouTube () holding a steady second position.

Other Stats of Interest

  • 48% of all Internet users come from just five countries (Brazil, Russia, China, India and the U.S.).
  • Video () accounts for 69% of mobile data traffic.
  • Facebook is the single largest repository for user-generated content such as pics, videos, links and comments.
  • Apple and Android () platforms are gaining in the mobile OS market, while Windows Mobile, RIM and Palm decline.
  • More and more, we are expecting to have access to our “stuff,” i.e. music, documents and applications, in the cloud.
  • The overlap between mobile users and social web users continues to grow; more and more users are accessing the social web from a mobile device.
  • If Skype were a telecommunications carrier, it would be the largest carrier in the world, with 521 million registered users.
  • Games are bigger than any other app category — both for the social web and for mobile devices.
  • Real-time technology and location-based services are expected to drive mobile retail.
  • Online ad sales are growing, but virtual goods, premium content and other models are big business, especially for the mobile web.
  • The average iPhone user only spends 45% of his on-device time making voice calls.

New Study Shows the Mobile Web Will Rule by 2015 [STATS]

Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires

Greg Ferenstein by Greg Ferenstein Mashable April 13, 2010

Humans have a natural proclivity to want what they cannot have. Our insatiable appetite for sharing information, combined with the nearly limitless ways to access the web have thus far frustrated the most sophisticated attempts to block access to social media services.

From the Great Firewall of China to the public schools of Britain, IT security experts are finding that restricting Internet access can have the unintended consequences of civic backlash, poor worker productivity, and students unprepared for cyber threats. Here are a few examples that illustrate the ban and backfire.

In Schools

School Computer Lab Image

My own university bans the Internet in some large lecture halls. Yet, when I wander in back of the room before lecture, I see students hunched over cell phones, the signature blue and white colors of Facebook (), and an inordinate number of students camped out near the perimeter of the hall, where a weak wi-fi signal permeates the room.

Meanwhile, some schools in Britain have chosen to “lock down” their systems, allowing access to only verified websites. However, a report from their government’s department of education found that “this approach had disadvantages in the schools visited. As well as taking up time and detracting from learning, it did not encourage the pupils to take responsibility for their actions.”

Additionally, children were less likely to understand proper Internet safety when outside of school. By contrast, in those schools that took a more educative approach to e-safety, teachers could use incidents of phishing, cyber-bullying, and inappropriate material as a way to discuss how such encounters should be dealt with in the future. Indeed, in at least one high school where cell phone use was part of the curriculum, the principal noted that inappropriate use of technology is exceedingly rare.

In other words, blocking access to social media sites may ultimately prove more distracting — and potentially more dangerous — to students.

In the Workplace

I once worked the night shift at a business that attempted to ban Internet access. Not only did I spend my time figuring out ways to circumvent the ban, and then even more time masking my browsing footsteps, but other employees were finding ways to visit sites that were certainly “not safe for work.”

A recent survey found that 54% of companies report banning access to social media. The debate over whether Internet browsing is good or bad for productivity will likely be a war waged deep into the tenure of the next generation’s workplace. However, IT workplace experts warn of an inevitable backlash.

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Anna Cavoukian noted that “Employees tend to re-route around a blog, go to another server, and find other ingenious ways of doing what they want to. And these rerouting efforts may actually be even more time consuming.”

“No matter what, people will find ways to socialize and share during work hours,” according to Jeremy Buron, CEO of Serena Software. So long as social media sites will be utilized, “why not encourage them to channel their social media impulses in smart, safe ways that can potentially help your business?”

Finally, unlike schools or governments, employees are free to leave any time. A recent survey found that 39% of 18-24 year-olds would consider quitting social media-restricted workplaces. While I have yet to see businesses tout their browsing policies at my University’s career fairs, I imagine that bragging about unrestricted Internet use would actually turn some well-educated heads.

By Government

Iran Flag Image

Being a dictator used to be so much simpler: Unruly journalists were few, and easily identifiable; editors could be intimidated or bribed; and newspapers could be physically obstructed from dissemination. These days, if a political faction really wants to control information, they’ll have to take North Korea’s strategy, and wall themselves off from the world, causing widespread poverty and stunting innovation.

Countries such as China and Iran, with similar levels of authoritarianism, but relatively more open economic markets, are having considerable trouble banning social media. Though popular social media sites are restricted in China, one report estimates that 92% of Chinese netizens are social media users, and that cracking the government’s firewall is not uncommon. Additionally, the government has faced widespread public embarrassment over ongoing tensions with Google.

Iran has faced its own unique set of problems. In response to what was perceived as the illegitimate re-election of hard-line nationalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country erupted in violent protests. Citizen journalists posting on Twitter (Twitter) and YouTube (YouTube) became some of the only reliable sources of information to leak from the government-imposed media blackout. One year later, Ahmadinejad is still in power, but experts agree that the once solid status of the presidential incumbent and the reigning religious council has been seriously undermined.

Venezuela is the most recent regime to take on social media, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the country’s wobbly support of Hugo Chavez. If Iran and China are any indication, it will not be smooth sailing.


Restricting access to information is fighting the force of a global movement towards greater participation.

Organizations that choose to block social media with an iron fist should plan to expend significant resources to enforce these rules. Additionally, there is the missed opportunity to use your citizens and employees as leverage in the all-out branding war.

When schools restrict Internet access, we leave the important topic of cyber safety to the half-baked theories of childhood peers, or worse, to the friendly stranger students inevitably find themselves chatting with. Whatever the organizational reaction to social media is, the human response to restriction is universal: Forbidden fruit looks so much tastier.

Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires

Snaptu: Microsoft Kin Phone Demo [VIDEO]

Earlier today, Microsoft launched Kin, a new series of touchscreen mobile smartphones focused on social networking, photography and the needs of...


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Snaptu: Business Professionals Can’t Live Without Sex or Smartphones [STATS]

Smartphones tied with sex as the number one thing that business professionals can not live without in a study from cloud-based business phone system...


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April 12, 2010

Snaptu: Attention Readers: Just in Time for Your New iPad, Free Movies!

by Sarah Lacy on Apr 12, 2010

I’ve spent some 30-weeks in developing countries over the last year. It’s been a pretty brutal travel schedule, but it’s given me a rare vantage point to see the business, technology and cultural implications of the crushing urbanization, growth of a middle class and chaotic economic ascendancy that’s happening in several hot spots all at once. Spread across so many places, it’s a phenomenon that the modern economic world has never seen, yet the story can really only be told correctly country-by-country through local eyes.

Now for those of you who don’t fancy the idea of spending 40-hours a month in a cramped coach seat, there’s a cool new way to witness this knife’s edge between increasing stability and instability without leaving your laptop. It’s called AsiaPacificFilms.com and it’s basically a Netflix for Asian Pacific indie filmmakers.

The service was born out of founder Jeannette Hereniko’s experience organizing film festivals. Frequently attendees would write to her and ask where they could see a certain film again and the honest answer for most was “You can’t, sorry.” Finally, using deep connections in the Asian film world, she decided to create a place where you could. I met Hereniko on my recent swing through Hawaii, and was captivated by her descriptions of how the painful-yet-rewarding route to modernization was playing itself out in art across Asia. I convinced her to give our readers a free one-month trial. Go to AsiaPacificFilms.com and enter TechCrunch2010 to redeem it.

The company has raised just $350,000 in angel funding to date, and is in the process of
trying to raise more to help grow the site, acquire more content and build out some discovery and social-network-like features to help flummoxed new users find good films. Hereniko admittedly knows more about the film world than the Internet world, but from a content point of view, her timing couldn’t be better. We all know about the success of Bollywood—which now grosses more money than Hollywood—but experimentations with film, art and documentaries are sprouting up in a big way throughout the rest of the emerging world. Yes, even in China.

There’s a complex tech-and-cultural cocktail of reasons why including the availability of cheaper film and editing equipment, availability to get an audience through non-traditional Internet means, and the whole globalization movement creating real ties between the West and the rest. And, says Hereniko, this very same angst, hopefulness, creation and destruction of national identity that emerging markets are going through gives endless content fodder. Urbanization, disparity between rich and poor and dramatic social change is the reoccurring theme in most of the films she’s seeing, across a host of countries.

To get you started here are a few of Hereniko’s own suggestions. I plan on checking out each of these during my upcoming 20-plus hour flights, along with “The Land Has Eyes,” a film Hereniko and her husband (both pictured above) produced that was Fiji’s 2006 official submission to the Academy Awards.

Black Snow, directed by Xie Fei, China (1990), follows the experience of a 24 year old man who comes out of a prison and finds the new Beijing, a city that has changed beyond his recognition.

Women from the Lake of Scented Souls, directed by Xie Fei, China (1993), is about a female entrepreneur in rural China, who embraces the economic reforms, but still must deal with the age-old conservatism of rural China.

Kaal (Our Time) directed by Bappaditya Bandopadhvay, India (2009), follows four women living in poverty in rural India who are lured by the promise of a financially prosperous life in the big city.

Women Come Out of the House, directed by Manijeh Hekmat Iran, (2005) is a short (24 minutes) documentary from Iran featuring Shirin Ebadi who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize award for her efforts promoting human rights in Iran. It presents a realistic picture of shifting identities for Iranian women and the conflicts it brings.

Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, directed by Joan Lander, Hawaii, (1993) tells the little-known history of how globalization and colonialism changed and continues to change the values and life style of the Hawaiian people.


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Snaptu: Eric Schmidt: Mobile Is The Future, And There’s No Such Thing As Communication Overload

by Jason Kincaid Techcrunch on Apr 12, 2010

Earlier this evening, Google CEO Eric Schmidt took the stage at Atmosphere, a special event where Google and an array of speakers presented new cloud technologies to CIOs. Quentin Hardy, National Editor of Forbes Media, conducted a one on one interview with Schmidt, which was followed by audience questions.

The discussion covered a range of topics, including the security threat from China, Chrome OS, and Google’s future. Some key takeaways: Schmidt says that while many people associate Google with search, it’s fundamentally an information company, which is why it has undertaken initiatives in the enterprise, the browser, and mobile. He also says that despite the growing number of incoming information streams, there’s no such thing as communication overload (just watch a typical 18 year old, he says).

Schmidt also underscored a theme that’s grown increasingly apparent over the last few years: the future of computing is mobile. Schmidt says that businesses should have their best developers working on their mobile applications. He also says that the interoperability and security of mobile devices will be key factors for large businesses a few years down the road.

Below are my live notes from the interview:

Q: How did Apps come to be an important part of the company?

A: Much of the network computer was announced in 1997 and it didn’t work. What has changed? An enormous jump in technology. Sun in 1983 had a diskless computer. Google has announced a diskless computer this year, and they’re now much more powerful.

Q: Why take these computers you’re making out to world? Why take your eye off the ball of your core competency search?

A: People think of Google as a search company, but we’re really an information company. What’s interesting about these web apps is that you can do these sharing applications now. One of the new things about the web is that it enables sharing-sensitive apps. I think calendars are boring.. but I’m wrong. Because they’re shared quite often, people share their calendars quite a bit; spreadsheets are the same way.

A: The key insight in these architectures is that you can have open exchange data interfaces. Applications are no longer these monolithic applications.

Q: The nice thing about large IT apps…
A: Late, complex, inflexible, or did I miss something?

Q: Who is an interesting player here?
A: The goal here is to serve the customer. Everyone here has a multi-platform solution. All of us, including Microsoft, are trying to move to new web model.You have to try. There are limitations. Our applications are not full replacements for the incumbents, we’re clear about that. The strategy is to get to 80%, because of our cost benefit is worth it to switch because we’re providing value. We have a couple million enterprise customers for Google Apps. Adding around 3000 businesses a day (typically small). Large businesses a couple times a week adding 20-30k people.

Q: When you’re at scale, what are some of the things you’re seeing?
A: The most interesting things are the ones you didn’t think about wanting that you now want because of the web’s inter-connected sharing model. Virtually everyone here has very specific document retention policies. And yet most of the systems in place are fairly restrictive. There are a lot of applications that can be build on web servers. Google App Store growing very quickly. Our best strategy is to provide interoperability, authentication, and then the third parties build the applications.

Q: Let’s spend a minute on the future. On the product, inside the corporation. What kind of relationship you want with businesses, and your work with news computers, Chrome OS, the tablet.
A: Hopefully someone else will be making the devices, we do the software. What’s important now is to get the mobile architecture right. Because mobility will be the way you will provision in the future. Fast forward 5-10 years. The answer should always be mobile first. You want to have the best app on mobile. If the real action is going to be there, then making sure you know what’s going on with mobile devices within the firm, they’ll want interoperability and safety.. For us the single most significant moment has been the arrival of HTML5. This standard allows for store value within the browser. Allows for application segregation. Means that applications will be less virus sensitive. The promise of Chrome and Chrome OS is that the devices you give to employees will have 2 second boot time, will be disposable, low price.

Q: What’s it going to cost?
A: It will be up to the manufacturers. Think about the current net book prices, which are around $300-400. Chrome is free.

Q: IM video, voice. Is there such a thing as overkill in communication?
A: No. You’re obviously not young enough. Watch an 18 year old. One of the questions you want to ask, is, “what is new?” One thing that’s really new, is that everything is now. What you’re really referring to is not necessarily that you have so many parallel streams, it’s that they’re all right now. With a modern data connection and powerful computer you can work anywhere. What is fundamentally different now is everyone knows what’s going on exactly now. Everyone with a digital device. If you turn off digital devices now, you take away something pretty profound. That connection is so fundamental to peoples’ lives today.

Q: As CEO, what are you doing to help create spirit of innovation, culture of dot com environment. What are you doing to keep the spirit alive?
A: The culture is determined not by the CEO but by the people. We work hard to run the company with a set of values.. it’s all about the people and the selection of people we bring into the company. Bring in a narrow set of people and they tend to stay. We’ve tried to stay away from focusing on competitors. We’re focused on end user solutions.

Q: You alluded to breach/near breach with ‘advanced persistent threat’ (China). Are there security lessons you can share?
A: When we were attacked we faced a moral question. Most companies would be embarrassed.. we decided we had to tell people as a warning. There was evidence of tracking of human rights activists, and there was lots of coverage after that. We have not gone into the specifics of the attack except that ultimately it was publicized that it was a vulnerability in IE6. Simple advice: make sure that you’re using the latest versions of operating systems and browsers. We ultimately believe the web platforms we’re building over the last year will be inherently more secure (Chrome, Chrome OS).

Q: How do you see Google on the ground level, in those areas where despite conditions everyone has a mobile phone?
A: We see ourselves as platform provider not content providers. One of the thing I’m most proud of in the next few years, more than a billion people will get mobile phones who have never had a mechanism of communication outside of their village. Outside of the US we’ve worked hard on SMS search. Also have a feature phone focus around these browsers. Most people in the future will access internet mostly from mobile device.

Q: Where do you see Google in 3-5 years?
A: We’re growing so we’ll have more people and operations. We will be a larger company, a larger footprint. In search, there are a lot of things in the web that are close to AI. Google Googles, automatic page translation in Google Chrome. That kind of technology is as close to magic as I can imagine. We’re close to moving this information explosion to the next level. We operate with the assumption people will carry with them a mobile device with them at all times, and that there are applications we can build/people will build on our platform that will allow people to be more productive, more fun.

Q: Warren Buffet says that when you acquire great wealth you find yourself in more interesting circles/situations. What are 1-3 things you’ve learned that have knocked your socks off?
A: I was surprised at severity of financial crisis. I was surprised that so many smart people knew so little about what was going on. I wanted to work on helping fix that, it’s fundamentally an information problem. I’ve been working on advanced manufacturing issues in the US as well. That’s another surprise, the decline of American manufacturing.

Q: Could you give me a thumbnail report of Google?
A: We make lots of mistakes. One weakness is that as we become more middle aged as a company it’s harder to do completely new things. Now because of constraints… Every government has a group trying to figure out what we’re up to. Information is power. The fact of the matter is that we’re disrupting industries. Most of the other large companies have collaborations as well as competitions with us. My basic objective is to find out how to grow these industries.

Q: I’m from the Pentagon. I listened to Alan and Jeff speak about public, private cloud. What do we need to do to engage more to become more successful in gov/industry partnership?
A: It’s a hard answer. The structures are completely different breed than the consumer market. I would observe that in non-classified parts of gov, the needs are almost identical to consumer side, with collaboration, cheap, reliability, etc. With respect to specifics, let’s work together on this.

Q: What do you think are great skills/talents/areas of study these leaders should seek?
A: Most of it has to do with curiosity. People my age often don’t ask the fundamental questions. When people say things to me, I actually check every one of them. I would encourage you to challenge every assumption. Larry/Sergey would challenge every assumption I made. Your employees will respect you if your’e on top of the details at that level. We run Google in collaborative way. We sit in rooms until the best idea comes and everyone agrees on it. Finally, there are some very smart people in your organization that you don’t know about. The ones who are low in the org, they’re probably miserable. They’re often deep, three levels down, look for it and when you hear it jump on it.


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Snaptu: Surprise, Surprise: Opera Mini iPhone App Gets Apple’s Stamp Of Approval

by Robin Wauters on Apr 12, 2010

Good news for Opera (and its legions of fans around the world): the company has just announced that its mobile browser Opera Mini has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store.

The app will be available as a free download within 24 hours, depending on which market you are located in.

The iPhone app was shown off by the Norwegian software company to a small circle of reporters at the most recent Mobile World Congress (us included).

Opera then officially submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the Apple App Store on March 23, when we wondered out loud if it would ever be approved.

The answer to that question is yes, contrary to what many believed would happen. I guess they can take that counter down now.

Opera Software claims Opera Mini for iPhone is up to 6 times faster than the native browser thanks to its compression and server-side rendering technology, based on internal tests, and after having tried it at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona myself I have to say it’s definitely zooming.

When the app was first submitted to Apple for approval, Opera told me that they had analyzed the App Store policies in great detail, and that they were completely certain of being 100% compliant – looks like they were right.

Earlier today, Opera disclosed that it now counts over 100 million users, about half of which are using its mobile browser products. The company also offers Opera Mini 5 beta for Android phones.

The iPhone app is already showing up for me here in Belgium, how about where you’re located?

(Source: press release)


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April 11, 2010

Apple devices to soon have long-sought multitasking

by Rachel Metz Associated Press Apr. 9, 2010 12:00 AM

CUPERTINO, Calif. - Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad devices will soon be able to run more than one program at a time, an ability that phones from Apple's rivals already offer and that iPhone owners have long sought.

The changes, coming this summer to iPhones and this fall to iPads, mean that users might be able to listen to music through the Pandora program and check a bank account online simultaneously. Currently, users must return to Apple's home screen, effectively quitting the open program, before starting a new task.

"We weren't the first to this party, but we're going to be the best," Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared Thursday, as bloggers, software developers and others in the audience greeted the news of such "multitasking" with applause.

The iPhone already permits some multitasking, but that's largely limited to Apple's own programs. Apple had not given users ways to seamlessly switch among all the software "apps" available from outside software companies, the way phones from rivals Palm Inc. and Google Inc. already do.

That will change with the updates known as iPhone OS 4. Apple generally makes such updates available for free, and often automatically, as a software download.

"It really changes the way you use the iPhone," Jobs said. "You're bouncing around the apps with tremendous fluidity."

Jobs said the company waited so long because it wanted to offer multitasking in a way that didn't drain the iPhone's battery or reduce the phone's performance.

In demonstrating the feature, Jobs double-tapped on the iPhone's main button while playing a game to reveal a row of icons for other programs that were quietly running in the background and accessible with a finger tap.

Other updates include the ability to have messages from multiple e-mail accounts land in a single inbox and a way to connect an iPhone with a regular keyboard using Bluetooth wireless technology.

But Apple still won't support Flash technology
, even though many Web sites require it for displaying video. Flash is on many wish lists.

Although Apple is making the updates available to all iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad models, some features will only work with newer versions. The multitasking function, for example, won't work with the original iPhone or the iPhone 3G - only the 3GS versions that came out last summer. For the iPod Touch, you'd need the models that came out late last year.

Jobs also announced an advertising platform
called iAd in which Apple will sell and host ads to run on apps made by outside developers; those developers will get 60 percent of the ad revenue. He said users shouldn't find the ads annoying because Apple will make it easy for people to navigate back to what they were doing before clicking.

Jobs said the company had wanted to buy mobile-advertising service AdMob, but lost out to Google. That deal is undergoing regulatory review.

Apple devices to soon have long-sought multitasking

FCC to push ahead on broadband plan despite court setback

by Joelle Tessler Associated Press Apr. 9, 2010 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that it intends to move forward quickly with key recommendations in its national broadband plan - even though a federal appeals court this week undermined the agency's legal authority to regulate high-speed Internet access.

The FCC needs that authority to push ahead with many parts of the broadband plan, which it released last month. Among them: a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural areas.

The FCC laid out its 2010 "broadband action agenda" without indicating how it will proceed in light of the court ruling. But the agency says it will ensure it has the legal authority it needs for its sweeping plan to increase broadband usage and Internet speeds.

"Does the FCC still have a mission in the Internet area?" FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick wrote in a blog post following Tuesday's court decision. "Absolutely."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday that the FCC lacks authority to impose "network neutrality" obligations. Those require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all traffic over their lines. Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, had challenged the rules in court after the FCC ordered it to stop blocking its subscribers from using an online file-sharing service called BitTorrent.

Although the FCC could appeal the decision or ask Congress to give it the authority it needs, many public-interest groups are instead calling on the agency to impose "common carrier" regulations on broadband providers. Those rules, which have traditionally applied to phone companies, prohibit carriers from discriminating against certain types of traffic, among other things.

But even as the agency contemplates its next move on that front, it made clear Thursday that the broadband plan remains a top priority. The FCC said it will focus on a number of major proposals including:

• Reforming the Universal Service Fund by phasing out subsidies for phone service and instead using the program to pay for broadband.

• Freeing up more wireless spectrum to deliver mobile broadband services.

• Establishing a nationwide wireless network for public safety that will help firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers communicate.

• Seeking ways to drive more competition in the market for network connections used by business customers, cellular towers and other big bandwidth users.

FCC to push ahead on broadband plan despite court setback

Here's a legal way to print money: change the font

by Dinesh Ramde Associated Press Apr. 7, 2010 12:00 AM

MILWAUKEE - Here's a way you might save $20 this year: Change the font in the documents you print.

Because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print, you could be buying new printer cartridges less often if you wrote in, say, Century Gothic rather than Arial. Schools and businesses could save thousands of dollars with font changes.

Data on the subject from Printer .com, a Dutch company that evaluates printer attributes, persuaded the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to make a switch. Diane Blohowiak, coordinator of information-technology user support, has asked faculty and staff to use Century Gothic for all printed documents. The school also plans to change its e-mail system so it uses Century Gothic.

"The feedback we've gotten so far has been positive," she said. "Century Gothic is very readable."

The school of 6,500 students spends about $100,000 per year on ink and toner cartridges. Although students and staff can change the default font to something more ink-intensive, Blohowiak said the university expects to save $5,000 to $10,000 per year with the font switch.

When Printer.com tested popular fonts for their ink-friendly ways, Century Gothic and Times New Roman topped the list. Calibri, Verdana, Arial and Sans Serif were next, followed by Trebuchet, Tahoma and Franklin Gothic Medium. Century Gothic uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial.

The amount of ink a font drains is mainly driven by the thickness of its lines. A font with "narrow" or "light" in its name is usually better than its "bold" or "black" counterpart, said Thom Brown, an ink researcher at Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's top maker of printers.

Also, serif fonts - those with short horizontal lines at the top and bottom of characters - tend to use thinner lines and thus less ink than a "sans serif" counterpart.

But while using less ink at home can help you buy roughly one fewer printer cartridge each year, it's not necessarily better for the environment.

That's because some fonts that use less ink, including Century Gothic, are also wider. A document that's one page in Arial could extend to a second page if printed in Century Gothic. Blohowiak said her research suggests that ink makes up the main cost of a printout, but the environmental costs of paper are probably higher.

"Maybe the individual characters use less ink, but if you're using more paper, that's not so green, is it?" said Allan Haley, director of "words and letters" at Monotype Imaging Inc. in Woburn, Mass., which developed Century Gothic.

Also, Century Gothic was designed for limited blocks of text such as titles and headlines, not for full documents, said Haley, who describes fonts as his "children." Despite Printer.com's research and UW-Green Bay's experience, Haley said he still recommends Times New Roman or Arial for their readability.

The standard advice for trimming printing expenses still applies: Print in "draft mode," if you can. Use both sides of a page and do a print preview to make sure you're not printing pages with useless text such as a copyright line. Using an ink-saving font is just one more technique to consider.

And the greenest way to save on ink is not to print at all.

That's the philosophy Microsoft Corp. said it uses in deciding which fonts to include in its Outlook and Word applications. The more pleasing a font looks on the screen, the less tempted someone will be to print, said Simon Daniels, a program manager for Microsoft's typography group.

That's why the company changed its defaults in Office 2007 from Arial and Times New Roman to Calibri and Cambria, he said.

Here's a legal way to print money: change the font

10 Amazing Musical Instrument iPhone Apps

Amy-Mae Elliott Amy-Mae Elliott Mashable April 11, 2010

As anyone who has browsed the App Store will know, musical instrument apps don’t have their own category, but are in fact spread out across “Music” and “Entertainment,” alongside what seems like an unholy number of fart- and burp-themed efforts.

To separate the proper musical apps from some less desirable offerings, we’ve highlighted 10 great iPhone apps that provide a darn good musical experience on your handset.

Whether you’re looking to strum, blow, shake, tap or hum, here are the apps that’ll do it for you, and all of them offer more than just a novelty experience. With this many musical instruments available for $2 or less, why not get a few friends together and start a band?

1. iBone – The Pocket Trombone

iBone quite simply offers a masterclass in musical instrument design for the iPhone. It works on so many different levels. You can pick it up and have fun playing, but if you know your way around a real trombone, you’ll actually get a virtual instrument. As well as blowing into the iPhone’s mic (or an iPod touch’s mic via an add-on, such as headphones), you can move the slide with your finger, or just hit the notes on the app’s background screen. In addition to playing along to a tune from the iBone songbook, you can also select a tune from your iPhone’s music collection to add some ‘bone too. Death metal works particularly well in our experience.

Cost: $1.99

2. Virtuoso Piano Free 2

There are a plethora of piano apps available for the iPhone, but we like this super simple version, and not just because of its zero price tag. With a really nice sound emulating a concert grand piano, download this and you’ll be tickling the virtual ivories in no time at all. You can chose to have the keys labeled with the notes or not, and there’s the ability to “roll” the keys for a quick thrill. The app displays eight keys on the iPhone’s screen, and you can use the slider bar above to scroll higher and lower through the six available octaves. You’re not going to be able to play Stravinsky, but we managed to bash out a fairly tuneful rendition of Chopsticks.

Cost: Free

3. Bebot – Robot Synth

Don’t let the retro robot fool you into thinking Bebot is a just a gimmicky app — it actually offers a fully-fledged real-time synthesizer. While our electro-music skills only managed to glean a bit of robot fun, the longer and more in-depth video demo above from synth superstar Jordan Rudess will show you just what the app is capable of — and it’s pretty impressive stuff. The app boasts four independent “voices,” including a wicked theremin effect that provides some great spooky music. An option to record your warblings would be very welcome in a future update.

Cost: $1.99

4. Harmonica

We’re going to come right out and say that the idea of holding this to your mouth is a bit dumb, as your breath just fogs up the screen, and dangerously so depending on how long you play. But as a music app, it works great with just touch. The looks are clean and simple and the interface is fab. There are 12 keys to chose from, and in “free play” mode, the touch of a large button turns a blown note into a drawn one. There’s another button to play a chord, and you can change the strength of a note by how closely to the edge of the screen you press.

That’s not all, however; there’s also the option to learn one of the many pre-loaded songs with a wicked Guitar Hero-style game. Playing notes as they come down the screen makes for a mega-fun mini-game in its own right.

Cost: $0.99

5. Pocket Guitar

If you can get your fingers around the average fret board, you’ll likely find this app easy to pick up, once you get the hang of touching rather than picking. With six guitar sounds to chose from (including the ukelele for any George Formby fans out there… anyone?) you can customize the sound to go acoustic or electric, as well as adjust the distortion and the accelerometer effects, shown off nicely in the video above. There’s also a setting for southpaws (lefties), and best of all, calloused fingertips are a thing of the past.

Cost: $0.99

6. Pocket Shaker

Despite a rash of bad reviews in the App Store, we love the Pocket Shaker app for fulfilling the percussion-in-your-pocket needs we didn’t even know we had, and all for free. As well as the requisite cowbell, there are maracas (which you shake the phone to activate), bongos (or conga and tabla drums if you’re being pedantic), and many more presented in a photo-realistic interface with a scrolly bit beneath that’s really easy to navigate. If you ever wanted to play the agogo on the go-go, then look no further.

Cost: Free

7. Jug Band

Jug Band has you well covered on the folky or alternative music side of things with an app that offers a washboard, kazoo, the spoons, and of course, a jug effect. As you will see from the video above, the washboard works via the touchscreen, the spoons just as in real life, and the kazoo and the jug by humming into the mic (or external mic in the case of the iPod touch). If you can get past the irony of playing a 99 cent app on an expensive gadget in order to emulate the sound of home-made instruments, then it’s great fun.

Cost: $0.99

8. Ocarina

Smule’s Ocarina has a well-deserved place in the iPhone app hall of fame with its rank as an all-time top paid offering. In addition to wowing on launch with its then innovative use of the mic and touchscreen, and addictively simple musical style (that has spawned a user generated online song book), the app incorporates social elements, such as the ability to hear Ocarina performances from around the world within the app via a great globe interface. Although its gentle, flute-like sound may not suit fans of say, punk rock, it’s a must for those with a penchant for ethereal wind instruments — and of course, Legend of Zelda fans.

Cost: $0.99

9. Drum Meister

It’s no secret that drummers are always the coolest member of the band, and not just because they can sit down for the duration of any concert. Give the drummer inside you an outlet with this app that lets you create your own sweet set of skins, customize their placement and size, and set the type of sound you want to create. Similar to Drum Kit but better looking, and with the ability to record even in the free version, it’s another example of an instrument done very, very well. The free “Lite” version gives you a super-cool, super-simple interface for banging away on a custom kit from the get-go.

Cost: $1.99

10. Bloom

As a new musical instrument created for the iPhone, Bloom is hard to describe. In the words of co-creator and famed musician Brian Eno, “Bloom is an endless music machine, a music box for the 21st century. You can play it, and you can watch it play itself.”

If that’s clear as mud, then the basic idea is that you tap the screen to generate a pattern of sound (shown via colored bubbles). Left alone, Bloom will then continue to repeat and “evolve” the tune, while you can jump back in at any point to expand the pattern or shake the phone to clear it. If plinky ambient music isn’t your thing, then back away now. Otherwise, dive in for an addictive experience that will chill you right out on the morning commute.

Cost: $3.99

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10 Amazing Musical Instrument iPhone Apps

HOW TO: Create Free Music Playlists Online

Amy-Mae Elliott Amy-Mae Elliott Mashable April 11, 2010

Sharing music can be as much fun as listening to it. There are a large number of legal services online that allow you to share songs with friends, but some require paid accounts and software downloads, while others suffer from restricted geographic availability.

So, in the spirit of mixtapes from years gone by here we’ve hand-picked and tested three personalized streaming music services that will let you easily create a playlist online and, better still, share it with friends, wherever in the world they might be.

Try out the services we’ve listed below and let us know which you like the most. Oh, and be sure to link to the playlists you create in the comments so we can have a listen.

1. Mixtape.me

Creating a Playlist

Mixtape.me is really easy both to get started with and get using. Signing up requires creating a username, entering an email address and password and once you’ve deciphered a Captcha, you’re good to go.

Finding content for your list is likewise just as easy. Simply enter a term — song name or artist — in the search box. MixTape.me’s songs are added by users, as well as generated from the millions of songs indexed by MP3 search engine SeeqPod and SkreemR.

When the list of results comes up you can either hit up the song to start it playing, or drag and drop into a playlist which you can create by clicking the “+” sign next to playlists on the left hand side of the screen. To add more songs you just need to carry out more searches.

While your list is auto-saved as you go along, it can just as easily be edited. Once you’ve created your list you get the option to add a picture as well as the ability to add a description, should you feel it needs it.

Sharing Options

There are a few options for you here. You can share with “Friends” on Mixtape.me, you can auto-generate an email with a link to the list, you can get a shortened URL (for example in this instance “http://mixtape.me/p/14398″) and you can tweet the list which creates the following message on Twitter: “Have a listen to my mashlist playlist on MixTape.me: http://mixtape.me/p/14398.”

In addition, you can embed the playlist using HTML. Here’s one we made earlier:

2. 8tracks ()

Creating a Playlist

Like the now closed down (and due to reopen as a band resource) Muxtape service, 8tracks lets you upload your own music to the site, which you can then save as a streaming playlist to share with others.

Signing up is simple, and allows you to chose your own personalized URL. To create your playlist, simply select at least eight tracks, no more than two of which are from the same artist or album, making sure you meet the conditions of 8track’s licensing agreement.

Getting MPS and AAC tracks on the site works on a simple browse to upload basis (which took a little time, but certainly not off-putting) after which you can name your playlist, enhance the auto generated description and add up to five tags, as well as illustrate it nicely with a pic.

Sharing Options

While the playlist’s URL can be directly shared (http://8tracks.com/amymaeelliott/amymaeelliott-s-april-2010-mix), a simple “share” button offers a short cut to tweet the list with a shortened URL (http://8tracks.com/mixes/105018) as well as post it to Facebook and StumbleUpon ().

Finally, there’s also the option to embed the playlist by copy and pasting some HTML code. Here’s our effort:

3. Grooveshark ()

Creating a Playlist

To use Grooveshark you have to sign up for an account which is another simple username, password, etc, type affair, after which you can start makin’ music.

Search works via a keyword basis via a search box. If you click to play a song, Grooveshark brings up a neat row of thumbnails showing the song’s title, the artist and album art at the bottom of the screen and, although you can drag and drop to create a playlist the more usual way, you can also turn your little selection of recently listened to thumbnail songs into a playlist too, which is quite a nice touch.

While we were seriously impressed with the music we found to be available through Grooveshark, if you can’t find a track you want, or want to add your own home-made music, you can upload music files from your computer to your account on the site, although this can take up to 24 hours.

Sharing Options

Grooveshark generates a direct URL for your list, which appears as follows for our creation: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Mashlist/27397447 and also offers the option to email it out from within the site.

More advanced options include the ability to export the playlist to a Grooveshark widget, with the choice to mirror the changes in the online playlist. Rather than being stuck with whatever design the site offers for its widget, there are vast customization options.

As well as scroll through a list of designs to chose from, you can change the color scheme, the size (great option, Grooveshark guys!) all of which is previewed live so you can see your changes. Here’s our customized widget:

HOW TO: Create Free Music Playlists Online


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