the 3 cast

Archie is Awesome! – The 3 Cast #119

Archie is Awesome, even if Vince doesn’t know it. This week we talked about Nintendo’s failure, Social Media brevity, and the end of the Modern Warfare series.

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Hosts: Matthew Weber, Vincent Hui, Ricky Williams

Topics: Nintendo, Social Media Failures, and the end of Modern Warfare.

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htc first

HTC First Drops to $0.99

htc firstFacebook Home was released not too long ago, and just after that came the dedicated Facebook Phone, a device that had Facebook Home pre-installed and fully supported it. It turns out that there isn’t much of an interest in a device that is centered around Facebook, because the device has dropped from $99 to $0.99. Even though the device runs Facebook Home by default, it has a decent 4.3-inch 720p display, a Dual Core 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and support for LTE. It also supports 1080p video recording.

Initial impressions of the HTC first weren’t good, with many people complaining about the camera. I can’t see this succeeding simply because of all the complaints about Facebook Home. As good as Facebook may or may not be, either way no one wants a device that revolves around one product or service. Chat heads is good, but that’s about the only useful feature of it, and that’s built into messenger on every Android Device that has it.

 

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Google+

Google+ Has Nearly 360 Million Users

If you were trying to get a buzz on what social media platform is most popular, it’s likely that you would guess that Facebook is clearly number one, with Twitter gaining ground from the second spot. In fact, you’d likely claim that Google+ was a complete failure. It turns out that Google+ is currently the social media platform in second place, with 359 million active users.

It’s a wonder that Google is able to boast such high numbers. It’s likely that a large chunk of users are just Android phone owners who use occasional features such as the +1 link on many apps and web pages. Google has been working on integrating all of their services such as Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and Google+ for the past couple of years, which was all a part of the original vision for Google+. It was supposed to offer connectivity to nearly every web service that we use, but Facebook has become so integrated with other sites that nobody really looks for Google+ integration other than Google themselves.

Speaking of Facebook, they have now passed 700 million active users.

Another benefit of Google+ has been the Google Hangout feature. That is likely where most of the buzz for Google+ has come from over the past year, as that feature has begun to get more and more popular. Twitter is getting a lot of media buzz and is generally more active per user, but it only has 297 active users.

One major benefit with Google+ is that it is the best of the social media tools to find complete strangers who share similar interests. Where Facebook is great at connecting you with people that you know, and Twitter is heavily influenced by connections to celebrities, Google+ connects the world wide web with each other in a way that the other platforms fail to do.

It has been nearly two years since Google+ launched. Despite many claims that there is no value to the service, it still has managed to stay ahead of Twitter for the second largest social media platform on the web. They still have a lot to do before they catch Facebook though.

Source: Business Insider

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Social Media

Should Businesses Allow Access to Social Media at Work?

I’m sure we’ve all had that job where it seems like the day never ends. In a world of increased connectivity, work can oftentimes be the one place where we’re no longer connected to the world around us. Many business owners want to keep it that way. They don’t want distractions coming in and slowing down productivity. Lately though, many employees have started to lash back and demand access to social media while on the job.

In the business world, it’s all about the bottom line. If they can find a way to increase productivity while keeping costs low, they will find a way to make it happen. In some fields, allowing employees access to social media can damage the image of their customer service. Some job markets, such as in construction, require that an employees attention be solely on the job at hand.

What about those desk jobs that so many people have though? I work as a technology technician on a college campus, and I get quite a bit of downtime in between tasks. I’m allowed to surf the web and check Facebook, but many people who have similar jobs aren’t granted that privilege.

In fact, recent studies show that employees are most productive if they’re allowed social media breaks. Compared to employees who were allowed to take breaks but weren’t granted internet access, those who had access to internet for their breaks have been found to be 16% more productive.

It has become time that we get past this idea that Facebook is toxic for the work environment. There should be no reason why social media should be banned during breaks. In fact, even Wal-Mart employees are told not to use social media while they’re at work, even during breaks. This old school way of thinking needs to change. As our society has embraced social media, so too should our work culture.

Using our own technology at work has its benefits, and allowing that access to the outside world will help workers be in a better mood. If this is a free and easy way to raise productivity, then we should let our employers know the facts. Let’s bring social media with us to work!

Source: BusinessNewsDaily

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What Does Facial Recognition Software Do?

As news slowly trickles out about the Boston bombing suspects, including the fact that authorities both had pictures of them at the attacks and photographs of them on file, people are questioning why didn’t facial recognition software immediately identify the perps? If America has learned anything from Gil Grissom and the rest of the CSI crew, it’s that very little imaging is needed to scan any face on a surveillance camera and return a complete list of information in minutes. Obviously a lot of the software on TV and in movies doesn’t exist but many people have the question of what does facial recognition software do?

What is Facial Recognition Software?
Facial recognition involves capturing a person’s face with a camera and scanning it with a database to find matches. The scanning process involves a number of logarithms including comparing spacing of eyes, offset of eyes from nose, cheekbone to jawbone composition, hairline,  and hundreds more. Ideally, the software will scan and report the number of features in the database that match, reporting a list of potential identities. Authorities can then conduct background checks on the individuals and hopefully find their unknown subject in a matter of hours. Where facial recognition can fail is if a person is turning to the side, looking at awkward angles, or wearing a hat or sunglasses. Three-dimensional facial recognition is in development to help with the system’s success.

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Even though people may question what does facial recognition do, the answer is that it does work. Dating back to the 2001 Super Bowl authorities scanned entrants into the event and 19 people with a criminal background were retained for questioning. Currently the most popular use of facial recognition seems to be for tagging people on Facebook. That being said, the recognition technology is being built into Smart Phones as an unlock feature, at ATM’s to negate the need of a pin number, and to prevent people from voting multiple times.

Consumers may also be surprised to know that one answer to ‘what does facial recognition software do’, is advertising. Much like a browser toolbar collects data about what websites a person visits, Smart TV’s will be built to detect what commercials grab a person’s attention. The future of facial recognition could save lives but it most likely won’t save money.

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Facebook Home Has Reached 500,000 Installs, But Does it Matter?

Facebook Home has reached a respectable milestone of 500,000 installs in nine days. Although I am severely against installing that abomination of a launcher on any smartphone, many are happily enjoying what Facebook Home has to offer. Many experts suggested that the app will appeal to a rather small section of Facebook users, and will stick with those who are fully invested in the social network. Yet Facebook Home, despite being put down by many Android users, has reached a hefty number of installs.

But apart from being a big number, 500,000 means nothing at all. Sure 500,000 users installed the Facebook Home on their devices, but that number simply represents the “number of installs”. So what if you installed Facebook Home just to check it out (like yours truly) and immediately uninstalled it after seeing that there are no widgets or that it takes three steps to get to your notification panel? Well you are among those 500,000. This number is more like a carwash saying 1000 cars washed this week, it’s not stating whether the customers were happy or not.

That is why I am more interested in knowing how many actual users are actively using the Facebook Home. I have been quite adamant against the sheer concept of Facebook Home and Facebook Phone, and have been stating that this is just a lame augmentation. Not that I don’t use Facebook, hell it’s even open in my browser tab right now. But going as far as making my beautiful smartphone a tacky Facebook one is totally dumb. For reference here is what my home screen looks like:Facebook Home

That’s right I’m using HD Widgets, a Live Wallpaper and Power Toggles on top of Nova Launcher with custom Icon pack. This is what makes Android a blast to use, the freedom. But we don’t have to worry about Facebook Home becoming a huge success though; people hate the app as much as I do. Here is a screen cap of how many people think Facebook Home is bad:

Facebook Home

Well I can now sleep tight knowing even though there is some really bad stuff going on, the world is not yet a lost cause.

Image Source: Google Play

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FBiOS Bnnr

Facebook chat heads are coming soon on iOS

I love that today Bloomberg reported that Facebook was working with Apple to bring Facebook Home or elements of it to iOS. Then The Next Web says Facebook is not in discussions with Apple. Low and behold if you were to look for app updates on iOS it seems the Facebook chat heads are coming soon on iOS. The chat heads are one element of Facebook Home and it looks to be coming to both iPhone and iPad soon. Just gotta love how the tech industry works, many people saying many things and then after denial it turns out to be true.

Now you might remember that I said in a post that Apple probably wouldn’t get the full Facebook Home treatment but it would probably get elements of it. Well so far it seems that is just what might be happening. When I did an app update today on my iPad there was an update for the Facebook app. It lists “chat heads” as available for everyone soon.

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Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 2.42.08 PM

Facebook Home Download Now Available

Facebook has made its brand new launcher, Facebook home, available to specific devices. You can now go download it for the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Samsung Galaxy Note II.

In order to use the “full” Home experience, you must have Facebook messenger installed, and the Facebook application installed. One thing you’ll notice if you download this is that it is very hard to get to your notifications. Any FB notifications will show up, anything else will not. If you want to actually get to your notification drawer, you’ll have to enter an app to do so.

We’ve had some reports that people aren’t able to download the launcher yet, and we assume it’s because the servers are overwhelmed. Also this is only available to US device owners at the moment, so the rest of the 7 billion people on the planet will just have to wait.

The Facebook Home download is available here.

Falcon Pro 2013-04-12 14.34.46

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Pay-to-message feature rolled out by Facebook

Over the past year Facebook has been experimenting with charging its users, personal and business alike, for various features. It started with a noticeable decrease in user reach to friends and subscribers. The official number is just between 15 and 20% reach. Users would then have to pay to promote their posts if they wanted to improve its reach. A price point system based on how many friends or likes a user or like page has been implemented to maintain reasonable pricing. There was outcry against these prices initially but now several months on it has just become an accepted reality. Today it was released that after successful trials in the US a pay-to-message system would be implemented gradually for all users.

Why pay-to-message?

This news has been met with similar outcry, however upon closer inspection this move makes a lot of sense. A few years ago Facebook inboxes were getting constantly spammed without the users consent. Facebook quickly remedied this issue by creating an “Other” inbox to handle messages from non-friends. This has not stopped spammers however but merely reduced their effectiveness. With the new pay-to-message system it tackles two important issues for Facebook. The first is it will weed out spammers while still making it possible to message your favorite celebrity or non-friends. It is actually still free if non-friends have mutual friends in common. The second issue it handles is Facebook’s need to keep their investors happy. Many believed that it would be near impossible to maintain a healthy user base while introducing charges to users.

pay-to-message
$100 to message Mark Zuckerberg

Will it work?

The pay-to-message feature is an win-win, that is, it is beneficial to Facebook no matter how it plays out. That does not mean they should not maximize profits. Facebook’s biggest concern at the moment is getting the price point right so as to encourage genuine messaging between users who are not friends. Where it may fall down is it can be quite costly to send to celebrities and public figures as the cost is based on the number of likes they have. Only the future will tell if they get this formula right.

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Untitled

HTC First, the Facebook Phone availability report

Finally the much rumored HTC First A.K.A the Facebook Phone has been announced. The smartphone is a mid-range one and doesn’t have anything special to boast. The body of HTC First is unimaginative and bland as well as the internals of the smartphone. Although it might be the first smartphone to use Qualcomm’s latest middle range Snapdragon 400 processor, we are not entirely sure how it will perform. In case you are interested in purchasing this smartphone, here is what we know so far about the availability of the HTC First:

Preorder starts today at AT&T

The HTC first is going to be exclusive to AT&T, at least for a short while. The preorder starts today at AT&T and the smartphone will start being delivered on 12th of April. That is the very same day when the Facebook Home will be released, fir the unacquainted, Facebook Home is a home screen skin tanned with Facebook branding. The handset will set you back $99 with a new two year contract.

Its $450 without contract at AT&T

If you don’t want to get in a contract with AT&T, you can still get your hands on the smartphone for a sleek price of $450. To be honest this is a very unreasonable and greedy price point, especially is you consider that the HTC First has absolutely nothing amazing when it comes to hardware. At this price you can get yourself a shiny LG Nexus 4, which is incredibly more lucrative than the bland HTC First. Then just install Facebook Home on it and you have the a better phone that runs the same software.

It is EE exclusive in UK

The British mobile carrier EE has recently announced that it will exclusively carry the latest HTC First in UK. There were no prices or release dates given by the British network. There is also no news if they will sell the HTC First contract free, like AT&T.

Four colors for HTC First

HTC CEO Peter Chou called the HTC First “the ultimate social phone” and announced that the handset will come in four colors. So black and white are confirmed, we are guessing that the other two will be red and blue.

This is it for now, we will update you if any more networks decide to carry the HTC First, and shall I say we will make sure that you are the First to know.

Source: Twitter

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