Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



Facebook’s Graph Search and this week’s bits and bytes

Using the example of the horrific helicopter crash in London this week, the Guardian looks at how traditional news outlets and broadcasters now use social media and photos posted to Twitter to cover the news – and what implications that has for image copyright: In the past, such material was called user-generated content, or citizen journalism. Now it’s just Twitter and everyone should be aware of the rules of engagement.

The National Retail Federation conference took place in New York this week and Reuters has been very taken by ‘smart screens’ that (a la Minority Report) know who is looking at them and display targeted information from ads to deals or their online shopping basket. Forbes focused on what eight retail CEOs have planned for 2013. Good news: Omni-channel and mobile are here to stay.

With their Track My Macca’s app, McDonalds really hit the nail on the head this week. The app tracks the ingredients in the food you just bought through some nifty use of augmented reality, geo-location and time information – basically allowing you to plug in directly to McDonald’s supply chain data. Social media integration allows you to share the burger you just ate and tracked on Facebook. You can download it from the app store here although I doubt it works outside of Oz (HT to @TaraSThompson).

Twitter released a report this week showcasing the tweeting habits of people while they watch television in the U.K. Why is Twitter important for TV? Well, if you’ve been reading my weekly bits and bytes, you’ll have read about ‘second screening’. Here are some stats to help you understand why the two go together like fish and chips: 60% percent of the U.K.’s 10 million active users tweet while watching a television program and 40% percent of all tweets mention TV in some form. Download TV Twitter Book ‘Tune in with Twitter’. It’s free.

It was all about Facebook this week: they launched their version of Skype/Face-Time but the big news was all about the launch of the ever so creepy ‘Graph Search’ to take on Google. At first, it will allow you to search people, places, photos and interests – before spreading to every bit of information on the network. So for example, rather than search for a Chinese restaurant in London, you could now search for a Chinese restaurant in London that your Chinese friends who live in London like. Mashable has used the Graph Search and learnt, for example, that Google employees like Pink Floyd, while – slightly more seriously, USA today looked at how businesses can use Graph Search to their advantage. Me personally? I think this is yet another reason to make sure you regularly spend time learning the new Facebook privacy settings, think twice about what information you share and remember that on any free platform such as Facebook, you are the product.

Oh yeah. MySpace finally relaunched. With a little help from Justin Timberlake and his new single. Which is horrible and why I don’t have more to say about the new MySpace.

Don’t call an iPad a mobile device. Stats from comScore show that 90% of iPad use happens in your own home, 40% in public locations (most likely café’s and on trains and around 30% at work. Or as Business Insider puts it: they’re home PCs that are a little easier to carry around.

A great spot from @a_little_wine: Helen McGinn, a former Tesco wine buyer quit London to live in the New Forest and turned a weekly email to friends on wine suggestions into an award-winning blog Knackered Mothers Wine Club. Red Online spoke to her about how it happened and Helen’s tips for blogging.

An impressive/mind-boggling look back at 2012 by Pingdom: How many emails were sent during 2012? How many domains are there? What’s the most popular web browser? How many Internet users are there? Find out on their blog.

And finally: The White House responds to a petition on its website to build the Death Star (HT @tomparker81 and all of the world’s Star Wars geeks).

Weather permitting, I will be in Philly next week. I might or might not pull together these here bits and bytes. I do however, plan to eat many Cheese Steaks.

My toughts on Apple’s iPad

It is safe to say that there was no way that Steve Jobs could live up to the hype that had built up to the launch of Apple's tablet device. So it is no surprise that the reception has been critical: sofa computer, ladycomputer, netbook without a keyboard, etc have been some of the kinder descriptions. Others ask if there really is a need for a device that fits between a laptop and a smart phone? To echo the thoughts of Stephen Fry (or at least my take on his thoughts), the iPhone received a similar reaction when it was first launched.

At that time I remember thinking to myself – why would I ever want/need to check my mail from my phone? Or surf the web? I owned a crappy handset that had a tiny screen and a crap browser. It was a pain in the ass! And now Apple launches this incredibly sexy looking phone with just one button. Yet I still could not imagine using the iPhone to check my mail, surf the web, etc.

Until I walked into a Carphone Warehouse store in London and touched it.

Within five minutes I understood why I had to have one. It suddenly made sense. Words such as intuitive, sleek, awesome, powerful, beautiful, useful were just some I used afterwards when describing the experience to friends, telling them (and myself) why the iPhone makes sense. Not long after, I bought my first iPhone. Today (and much to the annoyance of my girlfriend) it is with me all the time. Email, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, news, maps, music, apps… all accessible on the go. It has changed completely not only how I consume media and experience the world around me.

I have a feeling that it will be the same when I touch the iPad for the first time. And I am excited to see how it will change my personal habits.

What are your thoughts on the iPad?

Check out the iPad Keynote and Video on Apple's official site.

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