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Techie Whispers: Facebook Gets Approval to Buyout Instagram

Posted August 23, 2012 10:33 AM By Deirdre B Pride


The US Federal Trade Commission has given the go-ahead for Facebook‘s takeover of popular photo-sharing app Instagram.

In a short statement, the US regulator said that it had “closed its non-public investigation of Facebook’s proposed acquisition of Instagram without taking any action”, meaning the deal can now “proceed as proposed”.

Facebook has already secured a greenlight for the deal from UK regulators, and so is now very close to completing the transaction.

In April, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook announced that it would buy Instagram, the new hot property on the social media block, in a deal worth around $1 billion (£630 million).

This included $300m in cash and 23m Facebook shares, which were valued at the time of the acquisition by the parties at $30.

Instagram appeared to have got a great deal when Facebook shares started trading in mid-May at $38, but that turned sour after Facebook saw a dramatic slide in its stock price to around $20, meaning the deal is now valued at around $735m.

This means that the company’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are out of pocket to the tune of around $300m – on paper at least. The share price could also, of course, go up again making their stock more valuable.

Since it launched in 2010, Instagram on iPhone and Android devices has secured more than 50 million users, who apply filters to their photos and then share them with other users.

Facebook said in a statement that it was pleased to secure FTC approval for the Instagram deal, and indicated that it hopes to complete the transaction by the end of 2012.

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Someone at Facebook “Likes” Marijuana; Okays Marijuana Legalization Promos

Posted August 14, 2012 10:17 AM By Deirdre B Pride

Facebook turned over a new leaf Monday, unblocking advertisements promoting a marijuana legalization campaign involving a set of November ballot initiatives across the country.

The social media giant conceded to Internet freedom advocates over the past week that it had erred in yanking a pro-legalization group’s ads from its network because of pot leaf images. Parties involved in the controversy confirmed the Facebook decision to The Huffington Post on Monday.

Just Say Now organizer Brian Sonenstein told The Huffington Post that the leafy ads were no longer listed as disapproved on Facebook.

When the online campaign’s ads were submitted for review earlier this year, Facebook outright rejected them, as it did the group’s ads two years ago. In 2010, Facebook took down Just Say Now’s ads after about a week on the social network.

More than 15,000 supporters signed an online petition calling for Facebook to bring back the latest batch of Just Say Now ads, catching the eye of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California.

The two free speech groups approached Just Say Now and Students for Sensible Drug Policy — which had found itself in a similar situation — about appealing to Facebook. Electronic Frontier Foundation activism director Rainey Reitman and ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye said they held several discussions with Facebook executives from Wednesday to Friday. Lye said the Facebook representatives were “quick to admit” they had either misinterpreted or failed to follow Facebook advertising guidelines.

“Their position was very clear — and we certainly applaud it — which is that Facebook is a neutral platform,” Lye said. “It does not weigh in on political advocacy, and it was a mistake to reject the ads.”

I see you Zuckerman!!

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Techie Whispers: Facebook to Allow Mobile Advertising

Posted August 8, 2012 5:34 PM By Deirdre B Pride

Facebook will allow app makers to pay to promote their apps in the news feed in what could be one way to help solve the company’s mobile monetization problem. Facebook said Tuesday that developers will be able to target a specific audience and set a budget for their ads, which will appear as sponsored apps in a “Try These Apps” unit in a mobile user’s news feed. If a user who doesn’t already have the app clicks on the ad, they will get taken to the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

This is noteworthy because it’s the first time that mobile users will see ads in their feed that are not triggered by their actions or those of their friends. It opens up the news feed as an advertising space that any developer can target, whether or not they have a relationship to a user or not. That may encourage investors who have been worried about Facebook’s revenue plans, especially as more traffic moves to mobile where ad space is limited. And it will likely cheer developers, who continue to look for ways to distribute and market their apps. Developers can sign up here.

Facebook has a huge audience and its mobile users are growing rapidly with more than 543 million users accessing the service from a mobile device each month. With some basic targeting by interests, demographics and platform, Facebook can serve up a pretty good mobile audience to developers willing to pay. This builds upon the work Facebook has done with App Center, which helps recommend apps to users.

But it also raises the question of how much advertising users will accept. Facebook has shunned display ads and instead pushed for sponsored stories that appear in a mobile user’s news feed. But the initial idea was to let advertisers better reach their existing fans through these sponsored stories that were engaging and interesting for users. Now, users will get hit up by developers who they don’t have any relationship with.

The new ads come on the heels of Facebook’s first quarterly earnings report, in which it generally met expectations but didn’t impress. On the earnings call, company leaders stressed the importance of a mobile and said the sponsored stories were generating $1 million a day, half of which was coming from mobile. Now, Facebook has a better shot at improving its revenue picture but the challenge will be to ensure that it can generate more money without turning off its millions of mobile users.

I guess it was good while it lasted.  Facebook is going straight to the crapper.

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Techie Whispers: Microsoft Unveils Windows 8-Ready Hardware (PICS)

Posted July 30, 2012 12:32 PM By Deirdre B Pride

Microsoft announces the new Windows 8-Ready Hardware:

I know, lately it hard to keep up with all the newly revealed technological advances, but you welcome it all the same right?  Like I said, I am still unable to use some of the things Windows 7 has, and now here comes Windows 8.
Nonetheless, Microsoft has unveiled  a new wireless mobile keyboard as well as a newly designed wireless mouse.  Behold, New Windows 8-Ready Hardware from Microsoft:
Wedge Mobile KeyboardThe new ultraslim Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard brings full-size keyboard comfort, efficiency and speed to a tablet. Designed specifically for tablet users, Wedge Mobile Keyboard includes some of the most commonly used features, such as Windows Hot Keys and built-in media keys.• The lightweight design makes it easy to carry, and its full-sized keyset provides a comfortable experience that makes typing a breeze.

• Its durable cover not only helps protect your keyboard from scratches but also quickly converts into a tablet stand. When you’re done using it, simply snap the cover back on the keyboard to power it down before you stash it in your bag.

• Bluetooth technology lets you wirelessly connect to your tablet without a cable or transceiver.

 Wedge Touch Mouse

Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse packs full functionality into an ultracompact frame that’s great for a mobile lifestyle. Small enough to fit in your pocket, the Wedge Touch Mouse is designed to complement your Windows experience in all its forms, providing four-way touch scrolling and navigation at your fingertips.

• Its artful and minimalist design also comes free of cables or USB transceivers — you simply turn it on and connect it to your Bluetooth-enabled laptop or tablet for a clutter-free experience.

• It features BlueTrack Technology so you can use it on virtually any surface, whether you’re in a conference room, a coffee shop or at home on your couch.*

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Techie Whispers: Facebook Maybe Adding “Want” Button?

Posted July 25, 2012 2:35 PM By Deirdre B Pride

 Techie Whispers: Facebook Maybe Adding  “Want” Button

NEW YORK – Facebook’s famous “like” button may be getting a new friend: a “want” button.

Reports indicate that Facebook may be in the works of developing a “want” button as a way for users to share coveted items with their friends.

In a report released Tuesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster notes that a “want” button “could be Facebook’s first true product to directly impact commerce on the site.”

“Offering a ‘want’ button and enabling users to tell friends and Facebook what products they want would give Facebook data closer to what Google has when users type an explicit commerce related search query,” Munster wrote.

The speculation started last month when Web developer Tom Waddington discovered the code for a disabled version of the button and published a mockup of it on his blog. Waddington wrote that Facebook clearly has “big plans for social commerce.”

He added that it appears the purchases and wants a user submits will appear in a similar manner as other content on Facebook.

Facebook would not specifically discuss the chatter about a “want” button. “We’re always testing new platform features. However, we have nothing new to announce,” a company spokesperson said.

The “want” button would essentially function as a wish list, so Facebook could collect data and learn more about the types of products its users would like to purchase.

Ken Sena, an analyst with Evercore Partners, also said the addition of a “want” button could “make a lot of sense” for Facebook since it would allow Facebook to show advertisers what its users actually intend to purchase.

But if Facebook were to make an announcement about this or any other new features, Munster says it would likely happen at the company’s next developer’s conference.

The company has yet to announce a date for its next conference but it is expected to take place sometime this fall Last year’s F8 conference was held in September. At last year’s conference, the company revealed a redesigned news feed and the Timeline feature for profile pages.

I really could care less.  Facebook is just not the bizness it use to be to me.  Just trying to keep you informed.

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If You try to comment on a video today and a window will pop up with the title “Start using your full name on YouTube,” which will sign you in with your Google+ account. A YouTube spokesperson that this option has been offered since June 29 and that users with a Google+ account will see the same thing if they try to upload a video.If you don’t want to use your Google+ account, you can refuse — but then you’re taken to a second prompt, which asks “Are you sure?” Then, like some kind of Internet degenerate, you must explain why you don’t want to use your full name.

Most of the reasons provided involve the user being a business or product, although you can choose the mysterious “My channel is for personal use, but I cannot use my real name,” useful if you are cruising YouTube as a member of the witness protection program.

Balancing the needs for free speech and civility is a tricky proposition that, quite frankly, no website has completely figured out. This is definitely a step in the right direction for YouTube; whether or not its users will actually start using their real names is another question.

This article originally appeared on Time.com:

I made my first comment under the new rules today.  I could either sign my comment under UnlimitedWhispersTV, Deirdre B Pride or hide….. It was really no big deal.  I must admit that the racial jargon is too old.  If you can still comment anonymously why even bother with this right?

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FDA Approves Pill to Prevent HIV

Posted July 16, 2012 2:37 PM By Deirdre B Pride

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.

The agency approved Gilead Sciences’ pill Truvada as a preventive measure for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners.

Public health advocates say the approval could help slow the spread of HIV, which has held steady at about 50,000 new infections per year for the last 15 years. An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which develops into AIDS unless treated with antiviral drugs. With an estimated 240,000 HIV carriers unaware of their status, doctors and patients say new methods are needed to fight the spread of the virus.

Gilead Sciences Inc. has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are already infected with the virus.

But starting in 2010, studies showed that the drug could actually prevent people from contracting HIV when used as a precautionary measure. A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling.

Last year another study found that Truvada reduced infection by 75 percent in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not.

Because Truvada is on the market to manage HIV, some doctors already prescribe it as a preventive measure. FDA approval will allow Gilead Sciences to formally market the drug for that use, which could dramatically increase prescribing.

Truvada’s groundbreaking preventive ability has exposed disagreements about managing the disease among those in the HIV community. Groups including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation asked the FDA to reject the new indication, saying it could give patients a false sense of security and reduce the use of condoms, the most reliable preventive measure against HIV.

But FDA scientists said Monday said there was no indication from clinical trials that Truvada users were more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

“What we found was that condom use increased over time and sexually transmitted infections either remained at baseline levels or decreased,” said Dr. Debra Birnkrant, FDA’s director of antiviral products. “So in essence, we don’t have any strong evidence that condoms were not used or there was a decrease in condom use.”

I’m surprised so many people risked their lives to help out with the research.  This is certainly a huge accomplishment.

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announced that it has reached a “a fair distribution agreement with for AMC, IFC, Sundance and WE tv.” The deal reached today will keep AMC Networks available to some 4 million subscribers on U-verse TV. Details were not disclosed. AMC and Dish remain at an impasse and has pulled AMC programming and substituted other content. Here’s AT&T’s statement:

“It was important to us on behalf of our U-verse TV customers to come to a positive resolution as quickly as possible. We appreciate everyone’s willingness to make that happen, working diligently over the weekend, so customers can continue to enjoy the programming they love on U-verse, the fastest growing TV service in the country,” said Jeff Weber, President of Content and Advertising Sales, AT&T.

In a separate statement, AMC Networks took a jab at Dish:

It’s telling that AMC Networks has historically been able to negotiate fair agreements with television providers that reflect the value of our content. Yet DISH, which dropped our networks as of July 1 never engaged with us in any rate discussions. DISH customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming, our ratings or our rates.”

This means some of us get to keep Braxton Family Values, Bridezillas, Mary Mary, LA Hair, Hell on Wheels etc.

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CDC to Distribute Free Rapid AIDS Test at Drugstores

Posted June 26, 2012 6:01 PM By Deirdre B Pride

The $1.2 million program will offer the free rapid HIV tests at pharmacies and in-store clinics in 24 cities and rural communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

“We believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, who oversees the agency’s HIV prevention programs, said in a statement.

The tests are already available at seven places, including Washington, D.C., Oakland, Calif., and an Indian health service clinic in Montana. The CDC will soon pick 17 more locations.

The HIV test is a swab inside the mouth; it takes about 20 minutes for a preliminary result. The test maker says it’s correct 99 percent of the time. If the test is positive for the AIDS virus, pharmacy employees will refer customers to a local health department or other health care providers for a lab blood test to confirm the results, counseling and treatment. The workers are expected to deliver the news face-to-face and give customers privacy, the CDC said.

An estimated 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV, but as many as 20 percent of them don’t know they carry the virus, according to the CDC. It can take a decade or more for an infection to cause symptoms and illness.

Since 2006, the CDC has recommended that all Americans ages 13 to 64 get tested at least once, not just those considered at highest risk: gay men and intravenous drug users. But fewer than half of adults younger than 65 have been tested, according to the agency’s most recent statistics.

It’s important to know about infection not only for treating the condition but also to take steps to prevent spreading it to others. An HIV diagnosis used to be a death sentence, but medications now allow those infected to live longer and healthier lives.

On special occasions, health organizations have sent workers to some drugstores to offer HIV testing. This week, Walgreens – the nation’s largest chain of pharmacies – is teaming with health departments and AIDS groups to offer free tests in 20 cities.

But in that program, health professionals conduct the tests and deliver the news. The CDC program aims to train pharmacy staff to test and deliver the results themselves.

“I’m excited. It’s such a new and novel thing for us,” said Sarah Freedman, who manages a Walgreens in Washington, D.C., that is participating in the pilot program.

At her pharmacy, prominent signs advertise the test, which is then done in a private room. The pharmacy has also taken steps to let a customer discreetly request the test, putting out stacks of special test request cards – they look like business cards – at George Washington University and nearby businesses. Anyone seeking a test can simply hand the card to the clerk, she said.

Only three or four customers have gone through with a test in the first few weeks.

“We get a lot of questions,” she said. “Usually they get the information and they go and sit on it and think about it.”

The drugstores are expected to keep the test confidential. Pharmacy workers are to refer customers with positive tests to counseling and other services.

When the project ends next summer, CDC officials will analyze what worked well and what didn’t, said Paul Weidle, the epidemiologist who is heading up the project.

The program carries both promise and potential pitfalls, said Julie Davids, a longtime advocate who now works for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

More testing is a plus, she said. And even if they don’t get a free test, signs in the drugstores may prompt people to get tested at a doctor’s office or clinic where they feel more comfortable, said Davids.

But Davids said pharmacies more used to handling cholesterol screenings might have difficulty responding to patients who learn in a drugstore they’re HIV-positive.

“A person may freeze up and fall apart later,” or get emotional on the spot and even talk about suicide, she said.

In addition to Freedman’s store, a second Walgreens in Washington is offering the test, as well as branches in Chicago and Lithonia, Ga. The other sites are East Pines Pharmacy in Riverdale, Md., Mike’s Pharmacy in Oakland, Calif. and a federal Indian Health Service location in Billings, Mont.

Each location will get enough tests to check 200 to 300 people. Made by OraSure Technologies Inc., the $17.50 test is the only government-approved rapid HIV test that uses saliva. Other rapid tests on the market analyze a finger-prick blood sample. The tests are used routinely in doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics.

The OraSure swab test’s stick-like testing device is used to wipe the inside of the mouth, then it is put in a solution, said company spokesman Ron Ticho. If two lines appear, that indicates a positive test.

The company is seeking government approval to sell it over-the-counter for home testing. A decision is expected later this year.

The test is sold in about 40 countries, including Mexico, Italy, South Korea and South Africa. Ticho said he is not aware of another country where pharmacies routinely offer the testing.

Home AIDS tests too !?!? :~0  Remember June 2th is National AIDS Testing day.

source ~ Associated Press


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Techie Whispers: iPhone 5 Photo Leaked

Posted June 1, 2012 11:46 AM By Deirdre B Pride

(see the pic after the rip)

A shakeup in the design of a larger-screen iPhone could go a long way in boosting its ‘wow’ factor, convincing fans to trade in their old iPhones for new ones, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee.  ‘Not only do users pay for features, but they also pay for aesthetics and design. ‘That’s as important, or more important, than features,’ Mr Wu said.

‘People love the current design (iPhone 4S) – but it’s 18 months old.’  This version you can see two obvious differences:  a larger screen, and a smaller dock connector.

A popular cell phone company offered me 2 free iPhone’s.  I can only assume it’s because of the new release of the iPhone 5 which is rumored to hit the masses this month.  Don’t worry I’ll wait.

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