The Ethics of Designer Brains

By Reda Bouaichi Posted in Tech, tips

Facebook to reach a value of $100bn in 2012 | •…BitterBeam…•

Facebook to reach a value of $100bn in 2012


Facebook is planning to launch onto the stock market in the second quarter of 2012 and it is expected that this initial public offering will take the company value of facebook over $100bn. YES! you read it right, 100 Billion American Dollars.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has managed to keep his company off the stock market than many anticipated he would. However the growing number of shareholders in the company has forced him to change his mind. The company will be crossing the mark of 500 shareholders by the end of the year, which means it will be obliged to publish its finances in April.

However the critics suggest that this move will definitively increase the company potential to do major expands in the future in the current market while increasing the company value.


The fight gets technical: mobile apps vs. mobile sites | Econsultancy

The fight gets technical: mobile apps vs. mobile sites

Posted 28 July 2011 11:10am by Jake Hird with 7 comments

This article is the second in a series of extracts taken from Econsultancy’s new Internet Marketing Strategy Briefing. The free-to-download report covers the most important online trends in digital marketing that we are witnessing.

Topics covered within the document include customer centricity, channel diversification, data, social media and content strategy.

This extract, written by Econsultancy’s Research Manager, Aliya Zaidi, focuses on the more technical aspects in the continuing battle between mobile apps and mobile sites.

Channel diversification

Clearly the proliferation, and fragmentation, of customer touch points and channels, isn’t slowing down. We feel it is safe to say that 2011 is, indeed, finally the ‘year of mobile’, with both smartphone and tablet device usage fast growing.

However, ‘Connected TV’, which promises any brand ‘access to the living room’ via the TV, is looking to become a reality in 2012 in some countries with many brands building capabilities now.

Quite apart from the commercial and regulatory challenges, it is a big operational and technical challenge to deliver a joined up brand experience across all these interactive channels.

The end goal is likely to be a single web platform that can deliver device-specific, personalised, experiences across all these channels; shorter term expediency means ‘silos’, across people, process and technology, are being created in an attempt to ‘deliver something’ and learn in the process.

A key issue for companies is the mobile versus app debate, and whether there is an argument for producing a mobile application over a mobile site.

There are clear arguments for both applications and mobile sites. While some companies believe that mobile development priorities should be focused on either a mobile site or an application, the reality is that consumers are using both channels, so an integrated approach is the optimal solution.

The use of smartphones have proliferated in the last year, which means that there are far more opportunities to reach consumers via a mobile app.

According to Olswang, 22% of UK consumers already have a smartphone, with this percentage rising to 31% among 24-35 year olds. According to research from Gartner smartphone sales globally will reach 467m in 2011.

Smartphones are becoming increasingly sophisticated with a growing number of features, which means consumers are now engaging with brands via multiple channels on their phones.

It is important to distinguish which type of solution best suits the needs of the company. There are three types of mobile applications: native apps, web apps, and hybrid solutions.

Native apps are programmed using Objective C on the iPhone or using Java on Android devices.

  • Native apps make use of all the phone’s features, such as the mobile phone camera, geolocation, and the user’s address book.
  • Native apps do not need to be connected to the internet to be used.
  • A native app is specific to the mobile handset it is run on, since it uses the features of that specific handset.
  • Native apps can be distributed on the phone’s marketplace (e.g. Apple Store for iPhone or Ovi store for Nokia handsets).

Web apps run in the phone’s browser.

  • This means the app works across all devices, and ensures cross-platform compatibility.
  • The same base code can be used to support all devices, including iPhone and Android.
  • However, web apps do not make use of the phone’s other features, such as the camera or geolocation.
  • Web apps cannot be deployed to the phone’s marketplace.

Hybrid mobile apps are a mix between these two types of mobile applications.

  • Using a development framework, companies can develop cross-platform applications that use web technologies (such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS), while still accessing the phone’s features.
  • A hybrid app is a native app with embedded HTML.
  • Selected portions of the app are written using web technologies.
  • The web portions can be downloaded from the web, or packaged within the app.
  • This option allows companies to reap all the benefits of native apps while ensuring longevity associated with well-established web technologies.
  • The Facebook app is an example of a hybrid app; it is downloaded from the app store and has all the features of a native app, but requires updates from the web to function.

Advantages and disadvantages of native mobile applications

There is evidence to show that smartphone users are more affluent and have a higher disposable income. According to a study about smartphone users from and Harris Interactive, the most affluent respondents in the survey were most likely to say they had downloaded an app.

Native apps also have better functionality. Because they use the features of the smartphones, such as the camera phone, the user’s address book, geolocation and augmented reality, companies can offer a richer, more immersive experience.

Native apps do not need necessarily to be connected to the internet to be used. Since they make use of the phone’s functionality, they can work in offline mode when there is no internet connection. However, some apps may require an internet connection, depending on functionality and available data.

In terms of distribution, native apps get good visibility with consumers because they are distributed through the phone manufacturer’s app store. This also means that they have an in-built revenue model, since consumers may have to pay to download the app.

The decision to create an application or not depends on the nature of the company and its products and services. If there are a significant proportion of customers using smartphones and mobile apps, then there is a case for investing in app development.

It is also important to consider which platform customers are mostly using. To maximise the number of consumers reached through an application, it is important to create an app for different mobile handsets, to ensure compatibility with the widest range of handsets.

The disadvantage of native mobile apps is that it can restrict the number of users that can be reached, if the app is not compatible with all handsets. It also requires additional development time as different apps need to be developed for each type of platform.

Third-party approval can also be another barrier. As the app will be distributed through the phone’s store, companies need to wait for approval before the app is released, and this can be a time-consuming process. In addition, if the app is not approved, there is usually little, if any feedback on why it was rejected.

Advantages of mobile web applications

The main advantage of a web app is that it is compatible across all platforms and devices. As the application runs in the browser, it is independent of the handset it is run on. This means that the web app has effectively more reach, and that only one app has to be designed for several handsets.

Web apps make use of existing web technologies, such as Java and CSS, which means the technical barriers to entry are low. Developers can use their existing skills to develop a web app, whereas native apps may require additional training given that the technologies are newer.

Companies can also make use of mobile search to allow their consumers to find the app. Native apps need to be downloaded in advance to be used, whereas web apps can be found and used simply through a search on the browser.

Because the app is not distributed through the phone’s store, no third-party approval is required before release. The site can be updated in real-time and changed without requiring sign-off by the mobile provider.

There is also some evidence to suggest that browser-based mobile applications will grow faster than the app market, which may bode well for a long-term strategy.

Which is the right approach?

To cover all bases, it is important to recognise that consumers are not using these channels in a mutually exclusive manner. They are using both native applications and browser-based apps, so the best strategy is to develop both types.

The decision to invest in an app or in a mobile website depends on the company’s target audience and the functionality of the app. Companies also need to consider time, budget and resources to develop each solution.

Native, web or hybrid mobile app development?

Source: Worklight

An inherent trade-off

Source: Worklight

Case study: The Financial Times vs. Apple

Another good example of a hybrid mobile app is the Financial Times mobile web application. Many publishers are unhappy that Apple plans to retain 30% of the revenue from the subscriptions sold on iTunes and to keep customer data from the sales.

To get around this, The Financial Times designed a new app that includes much of the functionality of an iPhone or iPad app, but can be deployed within the browser.

The web app uses the web technology standard, HTML5, which allows developers to create a single application that can be run on a variety of devices, while also making use of the benefits of native mobile apps.

Although the Financial Times uses both native mobile apps and web apps, the newspaper is encouraging its users to migrate to the new web app to circumvent Apple’s app store terms and conditions. Mobile customers currently make up 15% of the FT’s digital subscriber growth, and a large proportion of them are iPhone or iPad users.

While this is a risky strategy, publishers can collect 100% of their revenue via a web app, while 30% of the revenue generated through the native would be collected by Apple.

A key advantage of native apps is that they can be given a high profile within the app store. However, in the case of the FT, their brand is strong enough that users will remember to visit the website, and the FT may not need the extra exposure the app store provides. Employing a multichannel approach also means that the FT is not reliant on a single channel.

Jake Hird is a Senior Research Analyst for Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn or see what he’s keeping an eye on via Retaggr.

By Reda Bouaichi Posted in Tech, web


USB Drives come in different shapes and sizes, but they all give you the same 2 choices. You can either buy one big enough to store all your data or you can keep a bag full of drives to keep your data separately. But  Designer Hyunsoo Song’s creative mind has other thoughts as he proposed an alternative with this so-called Amoeba modular USB flash drive, which enables people to store data on individual USB drives that can be used both on their own or together as one large USB drive. The Idea behind this is you can keep the drives together most of the time detach the appropriate section if you want to share only a specific data section. Although this is still at the “Concept” Stage all we can say is that this concept is not too far from a future possibility.


Via engadget
Source yankodesign

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Apple Poised to Become World’s Top-Selling PC Vendor with Tablets Included

Apple Poised to Become World’s Top-Selling PC Vendor with Tablets Included

Research firm Canalys today noted that Apple appears set to become the world’s largest PC manufacturer by volume if the iPad … Read more

By Reda Bouaichi Posted in Tech

How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer Careers

How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer [Careers]

medium_c72747695635093e6ff9621f760701d4.jpgHow to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer

Jobs are scarce these days, but barring a survival situation, getting a new job offer doesn’t automatically mean you should accept it. Even if you’ve been interested enough in a company to apply and go on an interview, when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, you should take time to consider whether or not this job is actually right for you. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

Photo by Egan Snow.

The Basics: Money, Travel, and Leave

As we said, assuming you’re not in a survival situation where you have to take whatever job offer comes your way in order to stay afloat and pay the bills, you should take some time to think about the offer itself and determine whether the fundamentals you’re being offered are right for you.

  • The pay: Is the offered pay what you’re looking for? If it’s the same or even less that you make now, are the other conditions like paid leave, sick leave, benefits, or the work environment or commute enough to make you take a new job without a pay increase? Head over to and Glassdoor before agreeing to the offer to see if you’re being lowballed compared to other companies. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on salary after the job offer has been cut. We’ve talked about how to negotiate getting paid what you’re worth, and why you should avoid tipping your hand when talking about salary, but make sure the dollar signs make sense before accepting.
  • Vacation/Sick Leave. Is the new job offering you competitive leave? In some cases, if you’re not getting the salary you’re looking for, you can negotiate more leave to compensate. Many firms would rather you take an extra week’s vacation than lose you entirely. Ask how much paid and sick leave you get before you accept the job offer.
  • Travel and Other Duties. Some employers are up front with this kind of thing, but others aren’t. One employer I used to work for would tell all of our candidates that they’d work at corporate HQ, but depending on your skillset, you could see yourself on a plane with an hour’s notice for one of the satellite offices to resolve a problem. Make sure you ask about travel, long hours, heavy or long-term projects you may be assigned to, and other required responsibilities that may influence your decision before you accept.
  • Benefits. More and more companies are cutting back on the amount they’re willing to chip in towards an employee’s benefits, and many more are delaying when they offer those benefits until after the first month or so. Does your job offer include information about the benefits you’d be eligible for, and are those benefits enough to cover your needs? Benefits definitely aren’t the kind of thing you want to wait until you’re on the job to find out about, but unfortunately they often don’t come into the discussion until late in the game, and they’re usually not something you can negotiate.

How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer

Who Will Your Manager Be?

With luck, you interviewed with the person who will likely be your manager. Often, an HR department is the intermediary between a candidate and the manager who actually has the opening that needs to be filled, but did you at least get the chance to speak with the person who would be your boss if you took the job? If you didn’t, would it be possible to speak with them or meet with them before deciding on the offer? It’s not unreasonable to at least want to have a phone conversation with the person you’ll work for and find out whether the two of you are compatible people, and whether your future manager’s goals for your position are the same as the HR recruiter told you, or that you have for your career. If you get the feeling that your actual boss doesn’t want to or doesn’t have time to speak with you, even if there’s an offer on the table and the company is saying they want you to join the team, be wary.

Photo by bpsusf.

Who Will You Work With?

Many companies put candidates through “gauntlet” style interviews, where they meet with groups over the course of a long interview day. My last job was this way, and I had the privilege of being on both sides of the table when I was hired and as I interviewed other candidates over the years. When I interviewed at Google, I learned they did the same thing, and the trend is catching on at more companies, not just technical ones.

How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer The reason for this is twofold: it gives the entire team the opportunity to meet and learn something about the person who may be joining their ranks, and it also gives you—the candidate—the opportunity to meet and learn more about the people you’ll be working with. You get the opportunity to question them and see their personalities just as they have the chance to find out if you’re right for the job. If you didn’t get a chance to meet any of your colleagues during the interview process, that’s a warning sign, but not a big one.

Ask the manager interviewing you (or the recruiter) about the team you’ll be working with. Ask how many are on the team, and where you fit in as far as roles and responsibilities. Ask how long they’ve been on board and when the last person left that team. You should definitely try to get some insight into your team before you join, and if you don’t like what you hear, trust your gut. The last thing you want to do is take a job offer where the money and benefits are right, but your coworkers are all wrong and you dislike working with them every day.

Photo by Lloyd Johnson.

What Will You Work On?

Most job interviews do a great job at explaining what your roles and responsibilities will be (although you should make sure you’re clear on these before you accept the offer!) but make sure you’re also clear on exactly what projects you would start working on as soon as you start, who will work with you, and any team members you may be required to manage or direct. Make sure that the first projects and tasks that you’ll be given should you accept the job offer are things you actually want to work on, and would be passionate about doing. Also, consider whether or not those projects are ones you think you can make an impact on as soon as you arrive. You don’t want to be set up for failure as soon as you start.

You should also consider how much training or orientation you’ll be expected to take when you start. Some companies consider orientation and training important, others just want you to start working and make an impact as soon as you get in the door. Make sure you know what you’re getting into, and that it’s okay with you—if you’re the type to take it slow and learn as much as possible before jumping in with your ideas and your boss expects you to start chiming in on day one, you may be in trouble.

Similarly, make sure that your career goals and the goals for the position you’re applying for as similar. You don’t have to have your career all written out yet, but hopefully you have a general idea, and you can find out whether your overall goals are at all in line with what your future manager sees for this position.

How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer

What Does Your Gut Say?

Talk over the job offer with your friends and family. Your offer should be good for at least a few days while you make the decision and sleep on it for a night or two. Think it over, and make sure it lines up with your career goals. Does the job give you the flexibility you need to have a life outside of work? Can you pursue your passions in your off-time, or even on the job? How did you feel about the people you met during the interview process, and did it go too quickly or slowly for your tastes? Ultimately the decision is yours, but your instincts should have a say in the matter as much as the fact and figures do.

If you don’t have a job currently, you may be tempted to take whatever comes along, and there may be something to that if you need a job right now. If you’re currently employed however, or you’ve been going on several interviews and have more than one prospect in the hopper, you may have the luxury of thinking over whether or not this job offer is a good move for you personally and professionally. Taking a job offer that you know isn’t right for you is a quick way to set yourself up for failure down the road, and possibly a worse situation than you’re in now. Remember, a job interview is a two-way conversation, and a job offer is a two-sided agreement. Just because a company offers you a job doesn’t mean you have to take it, especially if you have the nagging feeling it may not be right for you.

Photo by Dani Lurie.

By Reda Bouaichi Posted in tips

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

HipGeo has launched an API that allows iOS developers to the incorporate location-based features, such as geo tracking and tagging, of the HipGeo app, into their 3rd-party apps. This provides options which go beyond the check-in features that the FourSquare API offers. The toolkit also includes widgets that allow developers to incorporate location-based features in web apps and pages.

HipGeo widgets are the really easy way to add where to your when. With a little cut and paste magic, you can show where something happened with a cool popup map.

Access the API here and the HioGeo iTunes page here.

Read more at HipGeo Releases Public API to Add “Where” to Your “When”.

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Did you know?→

thoughtful | convergence

A few days ago I shared a video of population growth. This one has some similarities but goes much broader in cataloging changes that are happening.

Did you know?

Particularly striking to me is the application to education. How do you teach students for a world that doesn’t exist yet and is changing faster than ever? How do you prepare them for jobs that don’t exist yet? What would you focus on? What would you hope every student was taught?

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