Popcorn Time Shuts Down. Just Kidding!

Popcorn Time, a project that completely cuts out all the tech mumbo jumbo between the uninitiated and a seemingly infinite supply of pirated movies, made a stir at it’s launch. Soon after, it shut down after fearing vengeance from the movie industry. The good folks at YTS (YIFY) have decided to take over the project, fearing no repercussions. Apparently, they ain’t neva scared.

“The YTS team will now be picking up the Popcorn Time project and continuing on like previously. We are in a better position copyright wise as for us, because it’s build on our API, it’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies,” the dev explains with an interview with ShowerHacks.com.“

It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down. That stir is exactly what the public needs and it’s already evident that people are becoming more aware of copyright-related issues.”

via Popcorn Time Shuts Down, Then Gets Resurrected by YTS YIFY | TorrentFreak.

Doddlr Unifies Social Networks and Emails

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Doddlr for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

An idea hatched by two 16 year old students, Doddlr is a new service that wants to help unite your online social networks and email all in one place. The 2 young co-founders want to show the world that UK entrepreneurs can still compete with Silicon Valley. 

Anyone even remotely into social media and technology knows that it can quickly become a pain to deal with all your different social inboxes, alerts, and messages. Doddlr lets you connect accounts from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and email accounts with other services coming soon. This means all your social activity can be taken care of in one place.

The philosophy behind Doddlr is to avoid re-inventing the wheel, while providing the user with the most up-to-date information from their various social networks and mail accounts. The focus is on what's happening now and possibly in the future, without influence from past events.

Doddlr provides a clean and simple user interface and connects securely to your various social networks, requiring no direct usernames and passwords. Their is no primary newsfeed or timeline, but you are able to see multiple updates from your social accouts in one place and also share updates to multiple networks at once. Each update can be manipulated directly for likes, comments, retweets, etc..

Doddlr is a free app, so check it out and let us know what you think. 

Visit Sponsor's Site

The Kia Rio Scavenger Hunt

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kia Rio for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Kia Rio Scavenger Hunt is an interesting event involving 2 stars: Christina Milan and the Kia Rio. Two pairs of best friends are sent on a scavenger hunt through L.A. to find Christina Milan. Each pair is equipped with their very own Kia Rio, giving them the power of navigation and bluetooth to find their target.

The Kia Rio Scavenger hunt was pretty cool to watch. The competitors were able to use the various techy features built into the Kia Rio to solve the clues and eventually reach Christina herself.  They took advantage of features like the USB jack to load up an audio clip and the rear camera display to get a shot of one of the clues.The Kia Rio also features navigation and Bluetooth, two of the coolest features in my opinion. Definitley a plus for safe and hands-free calling while driving.

They first had to use a cube to answer trivia question about LA. The next challeng was to find a hidden Christina CD at Amoeba Records. Using the USB jack, they were directed to find the exact number of palm trees near Rodeo Drive. Next, probably the hardest challeng, was basically a hotdog eating contest at one of the most popular hotdog stands in LA, where they were directed to their next clue tucked into the roomy trunk of the Kia. This final clue led the teams directly to Christina in her hotel.

Overall, I'd say the UVO Technology is the coolest feature of the Kia Rio. This allows you to basically control the car with your voice and keep your eyes on the road. For more info on the Kia Rio, check out the Rio Explorer Page.

 

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Straight Talk Cuts Your Phone Bill in Half and Offers Android Smartphone

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The average cell phone bill is about $80/month. With Straight Talk, you’re looking at $30/month for 1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and 30MB of data. Add $15 dollars to that, $45 dollars, and you get unlimited minutes, texts, and data. That’s only $499 for an entire year of unlimited mobile service. With numbers like that, many are going for Straight Talk, Hook, line and sinker.

If you take a look at commentary from a real Straight Talk customer, you find that the service is not only affordable, but also reliable. With no contracts, no credit checks, and no surprises. Think of how much richer you’ll feel while cutting your cell phone bill in half. Think of the money you could save. Everything you need in an affordable, no-hassle package.

Straight Talk gives you everything you need with no hassle. They use nothing but the best phones from manufacturers like LG, Kyocera, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia. 411 calls are included at no charge and Straight Talk International Long Distance Service offers competitive prepaid rates from your home phone and cell phone. Call a friend whenever you want, no matter where they are.

You can get a reconditioned phone for just $10 which includes a camera, mp3 player, bluetooth, and mobile web access. Straight Talk also offers advanced smart phones, touch screen phones, app-capable phones and just about any phone you might be looking for. Looking for Android on Straight Talk? They’ve got it. Check out the video for more details.

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Hyper-Gate is Social Media Management PLUS

hyper-gate

Hyper-Gate is a Brooklyn-based IT Services, Software Development, and Social Media Management company composed primarily of Latino and African-American shareholders. Their business is geared towards African-American and Latino brands.

Hyper-Gate does what they call an Optimized Business Branding process, registering businesses in 300+ Social Networks, 300+Business Listings, and search engines. Once the basics are done, Hyper-Gate maintains, manages, develops and distributes content for your brand on a daily basis. This allows small businesses to focus on their core products and services while Hyper-Gate keeps their brand competitive on the social media side.

Social media has transformed the way we do business today. The prizes have been huge for those businesses that have harnessed the power of social media. Successfully managing your social media presence can be very time-consuming and quite often requires the use of full-time staff, who in our experience are quite often not the most ‘trained’ Social Media Managers.

Hyper-Gate is the technical arm of Nuyorican Media Corp., combining Education, IT and Business Consultants to customize services for businesses. Founder of Nuyorican Media Corp. Miguel Algarin is known for his work as the Founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which has long stood as “a beacon for emerging poets, hip hop mavens, musicians, visual adventurists, and sonic/visual artists of virtually every other stripe.” Algarin is also the subject of the The Miguel Algarin Story. Executive Producer and Director Will Roberson, also President of Diggin 4 Brown Films says:

“The golden years of Algarin’s life are no Shakespearian sonnet. A better comparison would be a full-on slam (body, not poetry), as Algarin labors to get on the same page again with the landmark club he founded, keep his home, and manage his HIV+ status. The result is a documentary in progress that’s also a race against time.” — SonicScoop

Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets introduced the production team from Diggin4Brown to produce “The Miguel Algarin Story”. Hyper-Gate CTO Anton Prakash is a six sigma blackbelt and former General Electric IT manager. Robin Benton is the Hyper-Gate designer and Miguel’s business partner along with Mirta Serrano, Roy Skodnick, and John Howard Algarin Esq.

Designed to lend Social Media and IT support for Latino and African-American business (B2B), Hyper-Gate will work closely with business owners as Ambassadors for their Brand. Check out the video below for more info on Hyper-Tech. You can also connect with Hyper-Gate on Facebook.


Tech Week in Review 06-17-2011

Restart to Safari

MacRumors reports an interesting feature in Mac OS X Lion called Restart to Safari. This feature is reminiscent of Google’s Chromebook, which cuts away your operating system and puts all the focus on accessing the Internet via a web browser. In Apple’s case, though, the motivations are different. They are probably not planning to dump Mac OS X in favor of providing a lightweight, browser-only interface.

This feature seems to be part of the “Find My Mac” feature set which allows users to get access to the internet. Though the premise appears to be to give your Mac a chance to phone home, the feature seems very useful for day to day use.

Updates to Google Sync for iOS

GoogleSynciOS

Google Sync is the technology that keeps your phone’s native mail and calendar apps in sync with your Gmail, Calendar and Contacts. Google has released 3 updates for Google Sync that should make some iPhone and iPad users more productive:

  • Now, you will be able to search all your emails in Gmail, not just the ones stored locally in your iOS Mail app.
  • Accept, decline or edit calendar events from the iOS calendar app.
  • Send email from the address you want. Many of us manage multiple addresses and Gmail’s “Send Mail as” feature was not available on your iOS device. Now, you can keep things more consistent as the iOS mail app will respect those settings.

Lady Gaga and 50 Cent All About Bre.ad

bread-50-cent[1]

Bre.ad is a custom link shortener funded by Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter. There are many…many link shorteners already out there, but Bre.ad seems focused on big brands and those looking to promote themselves. Promoting online requires strategy. There is a delicate balance between promoting your own stuff and helping others to shine. Bre.ad sort of allows you to do both at the same time. Clicking a Bre.ad link takes you to a splash page where you spend five seconds reading a custom message and viewing a branded image before being forwarded to the actual destination. Sounds annoying as all get-out, but Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, and Pepsi have all already signed on. With most users not willing to wait any more than a few seconds for a site to load, it will be interesting to see how Bre.ad does.

via BetaBeat

Facebook Moves in Against Apple and Photo Sharing

15[1]

Two major leaks from Facebook this week. The first is a photo sharing app which has the potential to completely change the game. Photo sharing is a hot area right now with apps like Instagram and PicPlz exploding. Facebook, still quite popular for sharing photos with friends, apparently has no plans to be left behind. Their leaked photo sharing app seems to do way more than just share photos, building on features from Color, Path, and even Path’s new side project, With. Check out TC for a healthy helping of screenshots from the mobile app.

SPARTA[1]

Facebook has made a commitment to support HTML5, which powered their recent upgrade of the mobile Facebook site and is likely behind the upcoming photo sharing app. Development using HTML5 also happens to be one of the ways to get around Apple’s lockdown. One could distribute apps across most mobile platforms using HTML5 web apps. Facebook’s Project Spartan is allegedly going to do just that, and more. Instead of simply using HTML5 support in the Safari mobile browser to bypass Apple’s App Store, they are rumored to be planning a full on attack by distributing mobile apps and games through the mobile browser. I have long been a supporter of HTML5 as a mobile development platform as it gives the developer full control, but I never thought Facebook would leverage it in this way.


Gingerbread a Double-Edged Sword for HTC Evo. No More Netflix.

Excited about Gingerbread?! Loving the fact that you can stream Netflix?! Well, too bad you can’t have both on your Evo. The latest update to the Evo, which includes Gingerbread, apparently renders the device incompatible with the Netflix service. Netflix has even removed the device from its supported list. But you can get netflix in other countries just click here to see how to get american netflix.

Having this service available on Android is great, but it has also been a great disappointment for Android users. The fact that it is only compatible with a few devices is definitely a big issue in and of itself, but it seems like OS updates might be bringing issues as well. One does wonder if this problem will rise up every time a device receives an update. What do you guys think? EVO users, are you upset about this?

Am I upset? Nope. I’ve been running Gingerbread for quite a while using CyanogenMod 7. Rooting was painless and CyanogenMod with Gingerbread is a beautiful thing. Reminds me why I love using Android: Control. Not being controlled by a wireless carrier or a hardware manufacturer, but the ability to control my device and do whatever-the-hell I want with it.

via Android and Me

Tech Week in Review 6-3-2011

Samsung and Apple Trade Prototypes

Apple filed suit against Samsung a while back, saying that Samsung is basically biting Apple’s style with their line of Android phones and tablets. As part of this suit, Apple demanded to see pre-production samples of the upcoming Droid Charge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 so that they could evaluate any similarities. What does Samsung do in response? They demand access to the upcoming and unannounced iPhone 5 and iPad 3. A pretty ballsy move by Samsung, with the goal being to get Apple to move on and resolve this lawsuit. Are Samsung devices similar to iPhones? I’d say so, but so are all the other touchscreen smartphones out there. Apple was the innovator, but I doubt they can really stop other companies from leveraging that innovation. Check out the full rundown at This Is My Next.

Tupac and Biggie Alive and Living It Up in New Zealand?!

No, not really. Just a prank pulled by a group called LulzSec. They hacked into the PBS.org website and, among other defacements, posted this fake story about Tupac and Biggie staying in some unnamed town in New Zealand. Besides defacing the site, they also compromised network, server, and database details, and user login data for some PBS staff and contractors. In a statement, LulzSec sort of explains why they attacked PBS:

Greetings, Internets. We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed. We decided to sail our Lulz Boat over to the PBS servers for further… perusing. As you should know by now, not even that fancy-ass fortress from the third shitty Pirates of the Caribbean movie (first one was better!) can withhold our barrage of chaos and lulz. Anyway, unnecessary sequels aside… wait, actually: second and third Matrix movies sucked too! Anyway, say hello to the insides of the PBS servers, folks. They best watch where they’re sailing next time.

via BoingBoing

Twitter Launches Photos and Follow Button

Twitter had two interesting announcements this week. The first being a revamped search interface with tighter integration for photos and videos. This comes in part via a partnership with Photobucket, one of the first photo sharing sites in the game. See relevant photos and videos right alongside your searches at Twitter.com. We will also soon see the rollout of a feature that lets you add photos directly to your tweets. Yes, you could do this before with 3rd party services, but it’s a feature of the official Twitter.com interface now.

Next up is Twitter’s new Follow button. This makes it a snap to follow people and brands on Twitter instantly from their sites. It’s almost exactly the same as the Facebook Like button, except you’re actually subscribing to someone on Twitter. In addition to integration across sites like About.me and MTV.com, you can integrate the follow button into your own site.

Klout Introduces +K for Topical Influence

Speaking of buttons, the popular social media influence monitoring site Klout has announced a feature they call +K. This allows you to vouch for your peers on specific topics.

  • Give +K on topics: If a user has recently influenced you in a topic, give them +K in that topic
  • More topics: our topics model is even more accurate, and now surfaces up to 10 topics per user
  • Hide topics: You can now opt to hide your topics from public display
Introducing such human input to the Klout algorithm should immediately raise red flags, but there are some limitations that should keep the potential abuse to a minimum. You get 5 +K’s to give out each day and you can only do so by visiting the Klout website. Unlike Google’s +1′s, Facebook’s Likes, and Twitter’s Follow, you can’t just drop a +K button on your site. People who want to give you props have to visit the Klout site to do it.
via Klout


Tech Week in Review 5-27-2011

Microsoft Gets $5 Everytime HTC Sells an Android Phone

Windows Phone 7 may not be the hottest mobile platform out right now, but at least Microsoft can make some change off Android. Wait…What?! According to Citi analyst Walter Pritchard, this is exactly what’s happening. Microsoft makes 5 bucks for every Android device sold by HTC. This is due to a patent settlement with HTC over intellectual property infringement. They aren’t stopping there, though. Microsoft is seeking anywhere from $7.50 to $12.50 per device against other handset manufacturers. Why not go directly after Google? Probably because the actual manufacturers are easier to pick on. There is also the fact that Google isn’t actually selling the phones, just providing the OS.

via TNW source BI

Twitter Officially Buys Tweetdeck

In a deal finalized on Tuesday, Tweetdeck has officially been acquired by Twitter. It’s both exciting and scary, kind of like when Microsoft acquired Skype. It means that TweetDeck will now have abundant resources to do what they do, but there is really no telling what Twitter will do with it. They haven’t exactly been to keen on third-party clients and developers. TweetDeck could very well be scrapped for parts to bolster the #1 Twitter interface: Twitter.com. Remember, TweetDeck has already created a multi-column HTML5 version of the popular TweetDeck client that works in Chrome.

Quora Launches SMS Support

You can now search and add questions to Quora via SMS on your mobile device. No fancy iPhone or Android app. No fancy HTML5 mobile website. This is straight up text messaging. Might sound archaic, but the fact is that most people still do not have a smartphone. Most of those people can text and they probably have questions they want answered. Holden Page says this move is pure genius, citing chat only 17% of Gen X and Y folks have a smartphone and pointing to Twitter’s rise being powered by initial SMS support. This now puts Quora in competition with services like ChaCha. If you are not already using Quora, will this make a difference?

HTC to Unlock Bootloaders

Due to consumer feedback, HTC will soon make it much easier to install custom ROMS on their Android phones. You know, the ones they pay Microsoft $5 a piece to sell (see above). ROM creators like @Cyanogen, who develop the popular (and totally awesome) CyanogenMod, had to resort to hackery and other mischief to get their product onto HTC devices. Now, this process will be much easier. After outcry from the HTC community, HTC CEO Peter Chou’s released the following statement:

There has been overwhelmingly customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we’ve listened. Today, I’m confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience.

via MobileLuv source GDGT

Square Moves Towards Mobile Wallet

The app that lets anyone accept credit card payments using their mobile device has taken things to the next level. Their Card Case feature turns your mobile into a virtual wallet, eliminating the need to actually pull out a physical card to pay for anything when you visit a trusted business.

Card Case is a new venture by Square that essentially puts a mobile wallet on a consumer’s iPhone or Android smartphone that they can use at any Square-enabled business. Users can store credit card information for each business they frequent. Upon entering the business, users can enter their name, select their virtual card from the Card Case app, order their stuff, and Card Case takes care of the rest.


Amazon Giving Away Lady Gaga’s New Album to Promote Cloud Player

Well, it’s not actually free, but you probably have 99 cents knocking around under your couch cushions. Why so cheap? To get more users for their shiny new Cloud Player storage locker.

Lady Gaga Fan? Cop the album here and store it for free in the cloud. Play it on your mobile device or from your browser without ever having to actually download it.

Check out the details at AllThingsD, where they Peter Kafka goes into detail about the love-hate relationship between Amazon’s Cloud Player and the music industry.

Amazing Danger Mouse, Jack White, Norah Jones HTML5 Experience

If a web page calls itself an “experience” and requires Chrome Canary, the “cutting-edge experimental version of Google Chrome,” it’s gotta be awesome…RIGHT?! Check out the behind-the-scenes video below, download Canary, and check out the experiment.

“3 Dreams of Black” is Chris Milk’s new interactive film, created in WebGL with Google for Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi’s ROME, featuring Jack White & Norah Jones. The project is a Chrome Experiment which pushes the boundaries of HTML5 and showcases the potential of video on on modern browsers. Watch the “Creation Of” video:

via hypebot.

Google’s Movie Rentals for Android Blocked for Rooted Devices

That fancy new movie rental section on the Android Market? You can’t use it if you have rooted your device. Kinda sucks and I can understand why many rooters would be upset, but I think Android Central goes a bit overboard here:

So now people who root their phones, whether to get rid of the crap “open” that’s forced down their throats, or to have a current version of Android, are punished and lumped in with folks who steal movies. Nice move, Google. That makes me want to buy more of your products and use more of your services, so I can be treated like a criminal just because I’m smart enough to get rid of CityID, or want a safe version of Android on my phone.

There is one important point we have to remember here: Google did not create these movies. In order for Google to distribute them, they need permission from the movie industry. We’ve already learned from the Netflix launch on Android that this industry forces those distributing their content to be very careful. This is one of the reasons Netflix isn’t available on all handsets yet.

Let’s also take a peak at the new Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player services. Both operate as simple cloud storage lockers which just so happen to be geared towards playing music. Without the music industry behind it, you are forced to simply upload all your junk instead of having these services recognize and match your library as Lala has done in the past. More than likely, Apple’s cloud-based music service will have this ability. Remember? Apple bought Lala and later shut it down.

Let’s not go blaming Google and try to realize that, without these restrictions, there probably wouldn’t be any movies at all for any Androids.

Tech Week in Review 5-20-2011

Android Users Vulnerable to Man-in-the-Middle Attack

Due to an insecurity in Google’s ClientLogin Protocol, it seems any Android user running 2.3.3 or earlier could unknowingly give away access to personal data. Researchers at uulm claim that authToken information, stored for 14 days any time you login to sites like Facebook and Twitter, can be easily obtained by hackers:

“To collect such authTokens on a large scale an adversary could setup a wifi access point with a common SSID evil twin of an unencrypted wireless network, e.g., T-Mobile, attwifi, starbucks…With default settings, Android phones automatically connect to a previously known network and many apps will attempt syncing immediately. While syncing would fail unless the adversary forwards the requests, the adversary would capture authTokens for each service that attempted syncing.”

Today, Google announced a fix for the problem, which will be completely transparent to users. You won’t have to do an update or install anything. Picasa synchronization, introduced in Android 2.3, will remain unencrypted. If you think you already got got, you will still need to change your Google password.

Keep in mind that, in order for the attack to work, you would have had to connect to a “fake” unencrypted WiFi network at some point.

via Gizmodo

AT&T Sees the Light. Removes App Restrictions.

It’s been a long time coming for AT&T Android smartphone customers, but you will FINALLY be able to install 3rd-party applications on your devices (sideloading). This means you will also now get access to Amazon’s Android Appstore, which is still giving away a free app on the daily. The Samsung Infuse, which just launched recently, will be the first phone to get this functionality.

“Over the next few weeks, we will also roll out this capability to existing devices in our base for which an upgrade is possible,” an AT&T spokesman said.

It appears those free daily apps from Amazon were a huge factor in AT&T changing their position. Customers were very vocal and AT&T had no choice.

via Wired

Netflix Single Largest Source of Interenet Traffic in the US

According to a report by Sandyvine, Netflix now accounts for 29.7 percent of peak downstream traffic in North America. This puts it ahead of Bittorrent, YouTube, and all HTTP websites by a pretty big margin. Bittorrent still dominates upstream traffic, though. The reasons for Netflix dominating our downloads? Video streaming eats up a lot of bandwidth, so it doesn’t take much actual usage to post big numbers. Still, this report highlights the major changes in how we consume visual content.

via TechCrunch

Google Teaches Developers How To Turn Apps Into Businesses

Apps are where it’s at right now, but there is more to success than just developing an app. Just like any other creative pursuit, there is work to be done once you have a finished product. It’s highly likely that, just like your average musician, developers need a little direction when it comes to the business end of things. This is where Google’s Guide to the App Galaxy comes in:

App Galaxy isn’t an eBook, PDF, or subscription you have to pay for to take advantage. You don’t have to specifically be an Android (Powered by Google) developer either. App Galaxy is pretty awesome website (no sign-up required) that’s designed as a spaceship taking off that carries you through the many aspects of the app business, regardless of what platform you choose to develop for, as it blasts off into the app success stars.

via BrothaTech


How to Import Foursquare Check-ins Into Google Places

If you’re reading this, I must assume you’re some type of techy. Who else would bother with Google Places? Facebook and Foursquare have that location check-in thing on lock. At any rate, Google just announced the ability to import any RSS feed that includes location data and I’m going to show you how to do so with Foursquare.

Google Places just announced a new feature that lets you import the places you’ve checked-in to on Foursquare into Google to rate and review. It’s as simple as finding the feed from your Foursquare profile, copying its link and pasting it into the search box in Places. It’s really easy! via ReadWriteWeb

Well, it’s not that hard, but if you haven’t a clue about RSS and all that jazz, I don’t think “really easy” covers it. Especially not with an exclamation point (Marshall, you’re still my dude).

The first thing you want to do is grab your Foursquare RSS feed. For your privacy, these feeds are available using private token URLs. This means you have to be logged into Foursquare to even see them.

  1. Login to Foursquare.
  2. Go to Foursquare.com/feeds.
  3. Copy the link to the RSS feed for your check-in history (right-click on PC, control-click on Mac).
  4. Fire up Google Places.
  5. Paste the URL you just grabbed from Foursquare into the search box and hit Search button.

Now, this will pull in some of your recent check-ins and give you the option to rate them. Here is where things get a little funky. You’re only going to get the last 10 or 20 check-ins, not much if you actually use Foursquare.

To increase the number of results you see, you have to add a parameter to the end of the URL. Try adding “?count=1000” to the end (no spaces) before you hit Search and you should see more results as you hit Load More at the bottom of the page.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Google Places is all about Ratings. If you don’t actually go through and rate the places that show up from Foursquare, you haven’t actually imported them into Google Places.

Again, if all you do is paste the feed from Foursquare and hit Search, you haven’t imported any info into Google Places. You must go through and rate the places you’ve been.

via Google Places Now Imports Your Foursquare Check-Ins.