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3D Printers Are Becoming A Reality

Mojo_Engineer-removing-partInvisalign is currently using 3D printers to make their custom transparent  braces to straighten teeth.  Other companies are using them to make molds for chocolate and Cornell University created a human shaped ear. That last item would make a lot of sense if you lost part of your ear.

 

The 3D printers are becoming affordable starting at $400 but can go as high as $500,000 depending on your needs.  Of course, last month’s report that someone was able to make a working handgun was unsettling news that draws attention to the implications of this advance technology.

 

Google and Motorola Team Up Adding Jobs To U.S. Market

Google and motorolaGoogle company Motorola has announced a new smartphone that will be designed, engineered and assembled in the United States — the Moto X. It will be manufactured in a factory in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

“There are more than 130 million smartphones in use in the U.S., but not one of them is made here. That changes with Moto X,” Motorola spokesperson Danielle McNally told TechNewsWorld.

“Motorola has more than 50 percent of its sales volume coming from North America, so it makes sense for them to stay close to their customer base,” noted Wayne Lam, a senior analyst at IHS iSuppli.

Given the high cost of production in the U.S., can an All-American smartphone compete with market leaders Samsung and Apple, which take advantage of lower manufacturing costs in developing nations? Consumer attitudes could be a key factor.

“Particularly in the middle of the country and in the Northeast, U.S. brands appear to do far better,” remarked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Motorola is also looking into advanced technologies, company CEO Dennis Woodside and advanced R&D head Regina Dugan said at AllThingsD’s D11 conference on Wednesday.

X Marks the Spot?

The Moto X’s processors are made in Taiwan, and its OLED screens will be sourced from Korea, but 70 percent of the assembly will be done at Fort Worth.

“The supply chain is still in Asia, and the case and componentry will probably arrive in Texas preassembled,” iSuppli’s Lam told TechNewsWorld. “They can save on logistics and respond to customer demand more quickly.”

Further, the Fort Worth factory will likely be highly automated. Motorola said it will hire 2,000 workers, but “they could invest in automation and quality and not necessarily in workers per se,” Lam suggested.

Lower import duties, and possible receipt of financial incentives at either the state or federal levels — or both — might further cut Motorola’s costs, Enderle told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s all about being close to the point of consumption, and the U.S. is a key market for us,” Motorola’s McNally said. “We also think this will open up some really cool possibilities.”

Other Smart Motorola Tricks

The Moto X, which likely will compete with the iPhone, will be the headliner of a new product portfolio that could help Motorola revive its failing fortunes.

One of the new smartphones Motorola will unveil between now and October has sensors that make it contextually aware.

Back in 2009, Google and Apple both filed patents for context-aware smartphones that would, among other things, build profiles of how users behave and tailor their user interface accordingly.

We may someday see user interfaces that rely more on voice recognition and smartphones that might be contextually aware enough to sense users’ emotions.

Other players also are looking into contextual awareness.

Since 2010, Intel has been working on a context-aware application programming interface that would tie in sensors with social networks and preferences and make suggestions to users. This engine was being tested in an app developed by travel guide firm Fodor’s.

Microsoft Research has been investigating contextually aware mobile devices as well.

Meanwhile, Motorola’s R&D department is working to solve the problem of authentication. One option is tokens or fobs with near field communication technology, which is used in Google Wallet.

Alternatively, users could have electronic tattoos similar to bar codes that would authenticate them to their smartphones — or even swallow a pill equipped with a chip and an electronic switch powered by a battery charged by the acids in a user’s stomach.

Electronic tattoos are already being used for authentication. Some years back, this reporter saw a Japanese computer expert use a bar code tattooed on his palm to authenticate himself to his laptop.

These futuristic technologies “show Motorola is looking for opportunities,” Lam said.

Taking On the iPhone

Motorola’s revival efforts may be part of Google’s strategy to best Apple in the mobile market. The two have been going head to head, but Google’s Android operating system unquestionably dominates Apple’s iOS.

However, the timing of the Moto X launch may need rethinking. Samsung is expected to unleash the Galaxy Note III in early September, and Apple is expected to release its iPhone 5S around that time as well.

The Moto X launch could get lost in the hoopla.

“Google tends to undermarket,” noted Enderle, “and I doubt you can beat Apple by undermarketing them.”

RIM Unveils New Blackberry 10 and New Name & Creative Director

New BlackberryResearch in Motion unveiled its latest smartphone, the long-awaited BlackBerry 10, at an event in New York City this morning. RIM CEO Thurston Heins touted it as the beginning of “new day for BlackBerry.”

That was not an overstatement. Mr. Heins announced early in the press conference that RIM was renaming itself BlackBerry, emphasizing how important the BlackBerry brand — and this product launch, in particular — are for the future of the struggling company.

 

Bloomberg Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), speaks during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 in New York on Wednesday. The product launch included the release of two new phones: the BlackBerry Z10, a touchscreen smartphone, and the Q10, a smartphone with a physical keyboard.

Mr. Heins said the decision to release a model with a physical keyboard — a feature noticeably absent from Apple and Android smartphones — was based on RIM customers who “love” their BlackBerry keyboards. Many members of the audience cheered and applauded when Mr. Heins spoke about the Q10’s keyboard.

Touting a keyboard for what is being marketed as a cutting-edge smartphone was just one of a few seemingly contradictory marketing messages about what makes BlackBerry 10 unique. Mr. Heins stressed that the phone was for people who are “hyper connected socially,” but then said it was for those who need to “get things done.” BlackBerry 10 is a device for corporate users, but it’s also great for those who want to watch movies on their phone. A user can keep his or her private and personal contacts and messages separate, or integrate them into a single interface.

BlackBerry, it seems, wants to continue to own its original perception as the phone of choice for business executives with a new emphasis on social-media sharing, integration across mobile apps and entertainment media. BlackBerry 10 is bursting with new features for those more interested in the latter. BlackBerry Hub, a new feature, consolidates a user’s emails, texts, LinkedIn updates, Facebook notifications and tweets into a single interface. BlackBerry Story allows users to create multimedia packages that include filtered photos, videos and music. BlackBerry Balance separates a user’s personal and business-related information.

Aware that smartphones have increasingly become media-consumption devices, BlackBerry showcased how its device lets users watch, hear, read and produce creative media. Popular apps such as Angry Birds, Kindle,  the New York Times, Rdio, Skype, Songza and films made by the world’s eight major movie studios are all available on the new device.

To drive home the device’s creative capabilities, Mr. Heins introduced singer Alicia Keys as BlackBerry’s new global creative director. (She’s the latest in a string of celebrities to assume roles like that at major marketers.) Gizmodo was quick to point out that the singer’s initial tweet about her new role with the company today originated from an iPhone.

Questions remain as to whether RIM can salvage the nearly defunct BlackBerry brand at all, however. In the not so distant past, BlackBerrys were status symbols, mobile devices reserved for the high-powered elite, tangible evidence of a person’s professionalism. Now, however, that notion has shifted. Recently, the New York Times suggested that BlackBerry users run the risk of being stigmatized as painfully out of touch for their phone choice.

 

Bloomberg The new BlackBerry Z10 is displayed during the device’s launch in New York Wednesday. The rapid change in perception has been mirrored by a similar decrease in market share. Four years ago, RIM’s worldwide market share was more than 50%, according to research firm IDC. RIM’s current market share is less than 5%.

In December, IDC projected RIM’s worldwide market share to stay essentially flat into 2016.

Larry Vincent, head of branding at Beverly Hills-based talent agency UTA, said that BlackBerry 10’s possible success will depend on how well it can differentiate itself from the iPhone and Android devices. That may mean focusing on users who prefer typing emails and text messages on keyboards, a feature noticeably absent from Apple and Android smartphones.

“They’re ashamed of [their BlackBerrys], but they won’t give it because they’re more effective on the old technology than when they tried to switch over,” he said.

Source: Ad Age Digital

Do not disturb. Apples ackward New Year’s resolution.

 

Last month, Simon Dumenco from Advertising Age, called Apple the “most damaged big brand of the year,” given the dings it suffered in 2012 thanks to the Apple Maps-app debacle and all the bad karma surrounding its controversial outsourcing practices. He received some backlash from loyal Applelodians and some suggestions regarding embattled brands he’d overlooked (one commenter wrote “My vote for most damaged brand of the year has to go to the Republican Party with Papa John’s a close second”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has apologized for Apple Maps and fortunately the Google Maps app came to the rescue. Cook has also been talking about bringing some Apple manufacturing back to the U.S.

That said, the company has already started off the new year on an awkward note, with its first new ad of the year, posted to Apple’s official YouTube channel. It’s a plug for the Do Not Disturb feature of the latest version of its mobile operating system and it stars Venus and Serena Williams in a dream sequence. Watch it above; it’s mildly entertaining. Unfortunately for Apple, though, the Williams sisters are promoting an Apple software feature that’s been making news in the new year for being buggy. See “Apple’s Do Not Disturb function reportedly won’t turn off in the New Year.” That report ends with “Apple did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment on the matter” and if you view the ad on YouTube, you’ll see that “comments are disabled for this video” (per usual for Apple). In other words, Do Not Disturb Apple, please.

Simon Dumenco is the “Media Guy” columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

The six sure ways to promote your website on Google

Google is constantly changing and updating their algorithms which determine which pages show up when you to a search.  For web marketers, this can be frustrating if you’re trying to get your business to rank high for key searches.  Google number one reason for changes this is to provide more relevant results and a better search experience for the user.  A lot

6 steps for you. One giant leap for your company.

Six good advice steps to improve your websites performance.

of unscrupulous marketers often try to trick the system and it’s a constant battle to keep the results on your searches as pure as possible.

Search Engine expert Andre Voget and Johannes Selbach recommend a simple six-step plan that will bring your website to the top of Google’s search result pages.

 Step 1: Don’t try to outsmart Google

Face it: If your website was hit by Google’s recent updates, you used spam tactics to promote your website.

The allegedly smart tools that offer a ‘fully automated way to get your website on Google’ aren’t that smart. It’s not possible to click a button and – BOOM – your website is on Google’s first page.

It is possible to exploit loopholes in Google’s algorithm for some time. Websites that do this will get high rankings for some time but they will also suffer badly as soon as Google detects them.

Fact: Spammy SEO tools that promise quick and easy solutions by exploiting weaknesses in Google’s algorithm will cost you a lot of time, money and work in the long-run. Many businesses have experienced this.
Step 2: Accept that normal business rules also apply on the Internet

Many people think that everything has to be free and easy on the Internet. It still costs money to attract customers and you still have to offer a good product and good service.

Fact: There are millions of businesses on the Internet and all of them compete for high rankings on Google. There is no fast-track that will bring your website to the top if you’re not willing to invest time and effort.
Step 3: Make sure that your website has a good infrastructure

Your website won’t succeed if it has a poor design. If you want to get high rankings, you need a fast-loading website that is on a fast server. You must also make sure that your web pages are error free so that Google can index your pages without problems (Times Ten can help you with that).

Fact: If you’re serious about your website, don’t use the cheapest web host. Slow pages can influence the rankings of your web pages.
Step 4: Realize that you are responsible

If your website has been penalized by Google because of the spammy backlinks, don’t complain that your competitors that haven’t been penalized also have these bad backlinks. They might have high quality backlinks that outweigh the bad backlinks by far.

Fact: SEO is about your own success, not about your competitors. Focus on things that you can control: your website, your SEO strategy, your customer service and your marketing.
Step 5: Take control

Stop searching for gurus or secret tricks that promise to solve your problems. Take control of your success:

  • Find your unique selling proposition, identify your audience and make a plan.
  • Create a valuable website with great content. If your audience likes your website, they will share it with their friends.
  • Advertise your website: SEO, paid advertising, even traditional advertising

Fact: No one is as much interested in the success of your business as you. Don’t trust the gurus. Accept help but don’t stop thinking.
Step 6: Set the right goals and act now

SEO is not about getting backlinks. It’s also not about getting high rankings on Google. It’s about getting sales. It’s about improving your business.

Focus on the things that will have an impact on your business. Stop searching for the latest trick. Start working on your success now!

Fact: Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.
You will save a lot of time and money by avoiding offers that seem to be too good to be true. It’s very likely that you will pay a lot more if you opt for the ‘quick and easy’ and ‘fully automated’ solution that will lead to a penalty and lost revenue.

Eye tracking technology tells where you’re really looking

Tobii RexImagine scrolling across a page or blasting an asteroid in a video game with the simple blink of an eye.

Eye-tracking technology has been making advances over the last couple of years, and it comes in real handy when you want to know which parts of a Facebook profile people actually attracted to.  Tobii , one of the leaders in this technology is set to bring their product to consumers in 2013 with a peripheral that works with any Windows 8 PC.

Tobi’s eye tracker is called The REX and it’s a  strip that attaches beneath your monitor (desktops and laptops are welcome), and it plugs into a USB port. Once it’s in place, the device works with special software called Tobii Gaze to track exactly what you’re looking at on the screen, letting you do many of the mouse functions, literally at a glance.

The company is doing a limited launch of 5,000 units throughout 2013 and the product is only available for Window 8. Tobii hasn’t announced the price or availability for the device, though a special developer edition is now available at $995.

 

Upcoming Digital Trends to Watch in 2013

digital_artDigital marketing has already had its share of watershed moments. 2013 is not going to be “the year of the [fill in the blank].” Instead, 2013 is going to build on the digital accomplishments of the past. Our industry is going to continue its refinement based on consumer needs — and not a marketer’s desire to make something big happen.

Something big has already happened.

According to comScore, there are more than 1 trillion digital interactions monthly. For too long, our industry has relied on technological accomplishments to drive our business. Each new technology has generated opportunity, but all too often we focus on the coolness of the technology instead of focusing on the consumer benefit and how marketing fits in.

Digital is no longer a subset of the average person’s life. Instead, it’s just a part of everyday living that’s expected and more accessible than ever. In 2013, marketers will need to embrace how consumers engage digitally and integrate their message accordingly. So what should you should you be looking for next year? Here are the trends you need to be watching if you want to keep up.

Smartphones and Tablets Divided

Smartphone and tablets are often lumped together in the mobile category, but usage and impact of these devices varies greatly. Smart marketers will start delineating their messaging accordingly.

Tablet usage tends to be more research and entertainment focused, whereas smartphone usage is more task focused. In 2013, we’ll have more ways to target and identify device types and deliver better messaging. This not only applies to digital media opportunities, but also to your response goals and metrics as well.

Don’t expect smartphone users to fill out long online forms or view a PDF with your product documentation. In turn, don’t expect tablet users to print out long documents (most are still trying to figure out how to print from those devices) or use navigation tools to get to your location.

When you set goals for mobile, be sure they align with device capabilities. (And let’s all be sure not to fall into the click-through rate trap again!)

The New Shareable Experience

Digital interactions have always been one-on-one. You don’t use your computer or surf the web with other people watching over your shoulder. We don’t invite friends over to gather around a computer to watch movies. But that’s starting to change.

Today’s mobile computer usage reminds me of the early days of digital photography. When people first started using digital cameras, the first thing they did after taking a picture was to quickly turn the camera around and show their friends the photo on the back of the camera. The same thing is now happening with mobile. Photos taken on smartphones are often shared with other people immediately via text, Facebook, Instagram, and via other means. This includes the people sitting on the couch next to them.

Tablets are often handed to friends to have them watch what the tablet owner just saw on YouTube. This is going to be further compounded as your tablet and television become even more integrated. Find what you want to share and slide it from your tablet to your TV for everyone in the room to enjoy. In 2013, marketers will be challenged to find new ways to encourage shareable moments — and support them with the newest form of “send to a friend.”

Death of the QR Code

The QR code has struggled for years to gain adoption. It’s a simple idea: QR codes gave us the ability to quickly get to detailed information by simply scanning a graphic. Great concept — but a horrible experience for a variety of reasons.

First, code scanning isn’t native on many devices. You have to download a special app, pull it up, and scan the image (assuming you’re using a standard code). Then, you’ll get a link to the desired information. For most of us, it’s often a lot easier to type — particularly for the text generation that can type faster with their thumbs than most of the secretarial staff on “Mad Men.”

Second, marketers have, for the most part, fallen short on their implementation of QR codes. For those of you who have tried to scan a bar code, how many times are you brought to a home page, a non-mobile page, or a page that had the same info you just read when you scanned? Where’s the benefit in that experience? So, unless code scanning becomes native in new devices and marketers start really using them for the intended purpose, QR codes will be going the way of Betamax.

Direct Video Sharing

With tools like Instagram and Snapchat, people have realized the power and fun of sharing images. In 2013, I expect we’ll see opportunities to start sharing videos the same way. Marketers are going to jump at this opportunity by inserting pre-rolls, sponsor sharing, and other promotions.

However, the downside of this emerging phenomenon is that people will likely be sharing long, boring videos, and recipients will start to feel like people in the 1970s who were invited over to watch a slideshow of a recent vacation. Be on the lookout for my 2015 predictions that will talk about the demise of direct video sharing.

The Privacy Debate Will Get a Verdict

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not cookie tracking is an invasion of privacy, and in 2013, there will be some legislation either for or against cookie tracking. And either way, digital advertising will increase.

Without cookies, it might be less targeted, or cookies might even become more invasive. (After all, direct marketers have been using incredible levels of personal targeting data for years.). But in the end, digital is where your audiences are.

Marketers will still have a need to build awareness and increase purchase intent. How we do it might change, but the need and opportunity won’t diminish. I encourage marketers not to waste a lot of effort complaining about how this works out. Instead, embrace the decision. Direct mail has always had more consumer data than we ever see, and broadcast has built a huge business on limited ratings data with limited audience detail. Digital marketing isn’t going away.

Increased Focus on on the Social Environment, Instead of Building a Social Platform

Marketers will finally tire of trying to manage and lead the conversation in social. They will instead focus on surrounding and participating in conversations.

Social media is about personal interaction and conversation, and people don’t invite brands into those conversations. In 2013, we’ll see a shift from brands trying to build their own social platforms; instead, they’ll start participating in ways that provide consumer value.

Ideas from the traditional marketing world will begin to migrate to the social world. For example, a brand that might sponsor parties at spring break or align itself with a sporting event will seek and benefit from the same type of experience and exposure in social. I won’t need to “like” or follow a brand; it will just be part of my social world like it is everywhere else (just like billboards at a stadium).

Source: Peter Platt and iMedia Connection

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Infomatic Provides Organized Stats About Your Social Presence In One Simple Package

mzl.ovmrutbb.320x480-75 mzl.qvosbykz.320x480-75 mzl.yrojjfnv.320x480-75Infomatic provides Facebook and Twitter statistics right on your Iphone for only $1.99.   Developed by Saturized, this app is a beautiful way to get the stats on your social media profile right on your iPhone, consolidated in a single app.  If you obsess over your social media or want to monitor how your clients are doing, this is a handy way to keep up to the minute information at your fingertips.
It will take a few moments for the app to load up all of your data — you can see the progress on the data gathering on the screen. For Twitter, you will be able to see how many tweets you’ve made, as well as your number of followers and following. The stats will include: Overview, Followers, Following, Media, and Activity. For Facebook, you’ll see your number of posts, friends, and photos. Stats will give you: Posts, Comments, Friends, Photos, Videos, and Activity.
Data will be refreshed once a day to give you a comprehensive overview of activity for the past seven days. Each stat section can be expanded or collapsed with just a tap. You can get information like new followers this week, who unfollowed you, media shared, tagged photos, most comments you’ve received on a post or comment, and much more. Infomatic also features beautiful in-line image previews when necessary.
The app has an activity section for both Twitter and Facebook. In here, you are able to see your most active time of the day on the chosen network, as well as your most active day of the week.
If social networking stats are your thing, then you will definitely want to check out Infomatic: Facebook and Twitter statistics for your iPhone. You can get it in the App Store for $1.99.

Facebooks Wild Year ends on a Higher Note

Well it’s been quite a year for Facebook and one with many ups and plenty of downs. facebook

Earlier in the year they had what had to be one of the most anticipated new stock offerings in years. After going public their stock really did anything but impress and please the investors who gobbled it up at first.

But now as 2012 is coming to a close the stock price has somewhat bounced back and at least stabilizing. One thing that may help sooth investors and continue to keep hopes up is that they just recently hit 1 billion in Facebook users.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg can now tout that one-seventh of the world is a Facebook member. The median age of a Facebook user is 22, with the highest concentration of users in the U.S, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and India.

There are some other fun facts like there have been 1.13 trillion “likes” since that feature was first launched in 2009. Even more impressive is that 219 billion uploaded photo’s have made their way for members to view.

Even with other companies trying to steal some of Facebook’s magic have really fell flat on their face: just look at Google’s “Google+” when was the last time you have even heard of anyone using it or talking about it?

It will be interesting to see how much more Facebook can grow in terms of users and it’s stock price.

 

Yelp Reviews: Do they Help or Hinder your Business?

Yelp, the online review website, has taken on the role of private detective.

With more than 71 million visitors monthly, Yelp is using a computer filter to help uncover companies that purchase fake positive reviews, calling out the offenders and then showing the world its evidence.

Companies linked to fraudulent reviews are now slapped with an alert:  the Scarlet Letter of the Internet age.

“One jewelry store was paying someone $200 [to write a positive review],” said Vince Sollitto, Yelp’s vice president of corporate communications. “It kind of shows that this is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. People are always going to try to game the system.”

Companies, though, say that Yelp reviews can either bring customers flooding into their establishments or running out the front door.

“We get good reviews,” said Elham Massarweh, a cafe owner. “That’s how people come in this place.”

According to various online reports, as many as 30 percent of online reviews are fake, from hotels to toys and books.

Yelp says it’s found that some businesses, such as Smith Brothers Appliance Repair, a Long Beach, Calif., moving company, are offering top dollar to have stellar reviews written and posted on their behalf.

“I’m willing to pay you $50 if you can write and post a review for my business,” the company posted on Craigslist.

A Yelp employee posing as a writer for hire replied: “I’m interested! Is there some specific text you’d like me to post?”

Smith Brothers did not return ABC News’ calls for comment, but the entire exchange is now posted on the company’s Yelp review page.

The computer filter that Yelp uses is so top secret the company will not talk about it for fear of giving away too many clues to businesses looking to post phony reviews.

Joe Garvey, the owner of a San Francisco scavenger-hunt business who was busted in a Yelp review sting, said he’d asked someone to write a fake review because “it makes it easier for people to find you.”

Garvey told ABC News that he had been dishonest, and that the fake review wasn’t worth buying.

“This is not acceptable behavior,” Sollitto said. “Frankly, it’s not just unethical, but it’s probably illegal. And we think we need to let business owners know you can’t go out there and try to mislead your consumers.”

There  are a couple of ways to help spot the real reviews from the fake. Truthful reviews talk about physical space and use  specific details like “floor” and “small,” while fake reviewers tend to talk about themselves and their companions more than the actual business. Words like “husband” can be red flags.