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How to Monitor Your Twitter Feed

How to Monitor Your Twitter Feed

Posted on: February 22nd, 2012 by Access Computer Technology 3 Comments

One of the best ways to know if Twitter and other social networks are working for you is to monitor your social media activity on a regular basis. Most of the monitoring tools are free and Dream Grow social media has done a great job of reviewing 48 social media monitoring tools. They have divided them into two groups. Group A are the services that Priit Kalas of Dream Grow uses regularly and Group B includes social media monitoring tools that he doesn’t use regularly but could be of interest to you.

Group A

seesmic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Seesmic

Twitter account: seesmic
Seesmic is a suite of social media management and collaboration tools that provide everything to build their brands online. Seesmic has applications on every platform, including mobile, and a marketplace of third-party plugins. Seesmic gives you social media monitoring, updating and engaging in real time.

hootsuit 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
HootSuite

Twitter account: HootSuite
Monitor and post to multiple social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Create custom reports from over 30 individual report modules to share with clients and colleagues. Track brand sentiment, follower growth, plus incorporate Facebook Insights and Google analytics. Draft and schedule messages to send at a time your audience is most likely to be online. HootSuite has the dashboard for your iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android.

postrank 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
PostRank

Twitter account: postrank
Postrank has two tools. The PostRank Analytics (https://analytics.postrank.com/) gives you insight about your sites engagement scores and. Social engagement analytics covers over 20 of the top social networks. Find out who are your influencers, which content drives engagement, what posts are most impostant. And the best part is that you can also monitor your comperirors. You can connect PostRank with your Google Analytics to get even better results. PostRanks top ranked content (http://www.postrank.com/main) helps you to find most important blogs on any topic, use it to monitor your competition

socialmention 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Social Mention

Twitter account: socialmention
Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content into a single stream of information. It allows you to track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites.

socialpointer 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialPointer

Twitter account: socialpointer
SocialPointer is a real-time social media marketing platform for marketing agencies and individuals, It enables them to track, monitor and respond in real-time to relevant social mentions and user conversation. SocialPointer lets you monitor, listen, respond and engage.

socialseek 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialSeek

Twitter account: socialseek
Get all the latest tweets, news, videos, photos, and more on any topic you want in one place. There’s a Socialseek site for everything and you can even make your own. I found some of the news sources other tools missed.

twazzup 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twazzup

Twitter account: twazzup
Twazzup is real-time news platform. It allows you to filter the news out of live Twitter content. It’s useful for understanding who are the influencers on a given topic and what are to trending sources.

twittercounter 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TwitterCounter

Twitter account: Twitter
Twitter Counter is the number one site to track your Twitter stats. Twitter Counter provides statistics of Twitter usage and tracks over 14 million users. Twitter Counter also offers a variety of widgets and buttons that people can add to their blogs, websites or social network profiles to show recent Twitter visitors and number of followers.

wildfire monitor 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Wildfire Social Media Monitor

Twitter account: wildfireapp
Measure your performance. Glean insights about the growth of your social media fanbase on the leading social networks. With daily tracking, you have visibility into growth trends small and large. Gauge your social media success against others in your industry by comparing your follower bases across the leading social networks. Alert system will inform you of meaningful trends and activity that’s relevant to your social presence.

Group B

addictomatic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Addictomatic

Twitter account: addictomatic
Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on. You can personalize your results dashboard and keep coming back to your personalized results dashboard for that search. News pages provide the latest headlines on topics such as entertainment, politics, shopping, sports and more.

blogpulse 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Blogpulse

Twitter account: blogpulse
BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. BlogPulse applies machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to discover trends in the world of blogs. Different searches include basic, advanced, trend, URL and conversation tracker.

boardreader 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Boardreader

Twitter account: boardreader
BoardReader allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense. Boardreader is focused on creating the largest repository of searchable information for our users. Users can find answers to their questions from others who share similar interests. Our goal is to allow our users to search the “human to human” discussions that exist on the Internet.

boardtracker 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Boardtracker

Twitter account: BoardTracker
Discover the influencers, monitor and protect your brand and reputation, find and engage your customers and critics. BoardTracker is a forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.

cotweet 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
CoTweet

Twitter account: cotweet
Free version is for individuals and organizations that manage a small number of Twitter accounts and need only basic features to engage and manage their conversations. Free version includes scheduling, conversation history, email notifications containing your latest mentions, team collaboration tools and access to Twitter follower profiles.

facebook 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Facebook Search

Twitter account: facebook
Facebook search is notoriously bad and will not find much, but if you have nothing else to do then give it a shot. It relies heavily on your social graph so the results you get may not be meaningful for your target audience.

google alerts 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Alerts

Twitter account: Google
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (blogs, news, etc.) based on your searches. Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click preview to see the type of results you’ll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include: monitoring a developing news story and keeping current on a competitor or industry.

google blog search 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Blog Search

Twitter account: Google
Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice. Your results include all blogs. The blog index is continually updated, so you’ll always get the most accurate and up-to-date results.

google trends 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Google Trends

Twitter account: gtrendz
Trends allows you to compare search terms and websites. With Google Trends you can get insights into the traffic and geographic visitation patterns of websites or keywords. You can compare data for up to five websites and view related sites and top searches for each one.

howsociable 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
HowSociable

Twitter account: howsociable
Free monitoring tool for measuring your brands or keywords using 32 social networking sites. HowSociable provides a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social web.

icerocket 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Icerocket

Twitter account: icerocket
Blog Tools, create your own Trend Graphs with the IceRocket Trend Tool. Enter keywords to see mentions trended over time. Trend Tool, enter items to see mentions trended over time. Enter up to five queries under Trend Terms. Type in the label you would like associated with each query under Display Labels. Search tool for blogs, web, Twitter, Facebook, news, and images.

klout 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Klout

Twitter account: klout
Klout’s mission is to help every individual understand and leverage their influence. Klout measures influence in Twitter to find the people the world listens to. It analyzes content to identify the top influencers.

mentionmap 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Mentionmap

Twitter account: asterisqdataviz
Explore your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow. The visualization runs right in your browser and displays data from Twitter. Mentionmap loads user’s tweets and finds the people and hashtags they talked about the most. In this data visualization, mentions become connections and discussions between multiple users emerge as clusters.

monitter 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Monitter

Twitter account: monitter
It’s a twitter monitor, it lets you monitor the twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying. Just type three words into the three search boxes and within seconds you’ll start seeing relevant tweets streaming live.

nutshellmail 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
NutShellMail

Twitter account: NutshellMail
NutshellMail lets you organize, monitor, and interact with all your social networks from a consolidated email digest delivered directly to your favorite inbox on a schedule that you choose. Nutshellmail supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Ning.

omgili 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Omgili

Twitter account: omgili
Omgili Buzz Graphs let you measure and compare the Buzz of any term. The Buzz is the percentage of the term out of the total number of discussions Omgili covered on a specific date.

quarkbase 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Quarkbase

Twitter account: quarkbase
You can find out how good a site is, get comprehensive website details, discover competitors and analyze them. One can call Quarkbase ‘whois on steroids’ or ‘imdb for websites’, which provides detailed website information like people, traffic, similar sites, social comments, description, social popularity and much more.

samepoint 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Samepoint

Twitter account: samepoint
SamePoint.com tracks millions of conversations, taking place across in blogs and social media sites. SamePoint converts discussions into web pages, or permalinks, and organizes them within a tag cloud. SamePoint can serve as the nexus where the conversations meet, providing a single place for all discussions on a specific topic.

sharedcount 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SharedCount

Twitter account: yahelc
Track your shares, likes, tweets, and more. Enter a web address of a page and find out how much it has been shared in different social networking and bookmarking sites. Currently includes Facebook, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and StumbleUpon.

socialoomph 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
SocialOomph

Twitter account: socialoomph
Schedule tweets, track keywords, extended Twitter profiles, save and reuse drafts, view @mentions and retweets, purge your DM inbox, personal status feed — your own tweet engine, unlimited accounts.

steprep 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
StepRep

Twitter account: steprep
StepRep provides an overview of the conversations people are having about your business online. Anytime your business is mentioned, anywhere on the web, you’ll hear about it. Sources are scanned continuously to bring you the most complete and up-to-date data on how your business is perceived. The data is broken down and analyzed in reports that can help you target your marketing and increase your online customer engagement.

surchur 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Surchur

Twitter account: surchur
Surchur is the ultimate dashboard to right now. The surchmeter shows you how popular a keyword is on different sources: surchur, blogs and twitter.

technorati 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Technorati Blogsearch

Twitter account: technorati
Search Technorati and note the authority and rank of the blogs listed in the results. Authority measures the site’s standing and influence in the blogosphere. Rank shows what position this authority gives the site. It is not a very good tool for lesser known blogs as it misses a lot of great sites.

tinker 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Tinker

Twitter account: tinker
Tinker helps you stay on top of your favorite events by showing you the latest buzz from Twitter and across the social web. Create or follow an event stream by choosing a keyword. An event could be anything: the Oscars, a new iPhone release, a movie premiere, a book launch, or a Superbowl party. Tinker also lets you search for the top news, topics and places people are talking about.

tiptop 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TipTop

Twitter account: twittiptop
TipTop Search is a Twitter-based search engine that helps you discover the best and most current advice, opinions, answers for any search, and also real people to directly engage and share experiences with. A search on any topic reveals people’s emotions and experiences about it, as well as other concepts that they are discussing in connection with the original search.

topsy 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Topsy

Twitter account: topsy
Topsy is a real-time search engine. Topsy indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain. Topsy’s algorithms identify influencers for any searchable criteria, using these influence calculations to rank results. It displays results for related terms and articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index.

trendistic 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Trendistic (formerly Twist)

Twitter account: trendistic
Trendistic allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals. This way, it shows how the frequency of one to four-word phrases fluctuate over time. The result is a visualization of what’s popular Twitter users. You can enter a phrase in the search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate: try comparing “skype” and “microsoft”(http://trendistic.com/skype/microsoft), to see how powerful it can be.

tweetbeep 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetBeep

Twitter account: tweetbeep
Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates. You can keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL, Great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions.

tweetpsych 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetPsych

Twitter account: TweetPsych
TweetPsych uses linguistic analysis algorithms (RID and LIWC) to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their tweets. The service analyzes your last 1000 tweets. It works best on accounts that are operated by a single user and use Twitter in a conversational manner, rather than simply a content distribution platform. Created by Dan Zarrella.

tweetreach 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
TweetReach

Twitter account: tweetreachapp
TweetReach measures the impact of social media conversations. Use it to understand how many people were reached by tweets about a topic on Twitter.

twendz 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twendz

Twitter account: waggeneredstrom
The twendz Twitter-mining Web application uses the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversation themes and sentiment of the tweets that talk about topics you are interested in. Using the twendz application gives a glimpse into what’s on people’s minds and their emotional reaction. Mining Twitter conversations alerts you to brewing trends, conversation topics and points of view.

twitalyzer 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitalyzer

Twitter account: Twitalyzer
Analytics for social relationships. Twitalyzer knows who is in your social network and where they live, allowing you to be more targeted in your outreach efforts. Twitalyzer provides Twitter’s most robust benchmark reporting, ranking Twitter users ten different ways. Authored by Eric T. Peterson author and blogger.

twitrratr 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitrratr

Twitter account: twitrratr
Twitrratr built a list of positive keywords and a list of negative keywords. It searches Twitter for a keyword and the results are cross-referenced against adjective lists, then displayed accordingly.

twitter grader 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter Grader

Twitter account: grader
Twitter Grader lets you check the power of your Twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded. Just enter your Twitter username and you’ll get an instant grade and report. It looks at a variety of factors including the number of followers, power of those followers and the level to which you are engaging the community.

twitter search 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter Search

Twitter account: twitter
Use Twitter Search if you need to find out what’s happening in the world beyond your personal timeline. Twitter Search lets you search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. Twitter Search helps you filter all the real-time information coursing through our service. Advanced Search allows you to create your queries using many advanced operators.

twitter stream graphs 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitter StreamGraphs

Twitter account: JeffClark
A StreamGraph is shown for the latest 1000 tweets which contain the search word. You can also enter a Twitter ID preceded by the ‘@’ symbol to see the latest tweets from that user.

twitturly 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
Twitturly

Twitter account: twitturly
Twitturly tracks the URLs flying around the Twitterverse and provides a real-time view of what people are talking about on Twitter. When someone tweets a URL, Twitturly applies it as a vote for that URL. The more votes a URL has in the last 24 hours, the higher it ranks on Twitturly’s Top100.

whathashtag 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
WhatHashtag

Twitter account: whathashtag
WhatHashtag is service that allows you to find the most used Twitter hashtags for the keywords you enter. Search for the keyword and you will automatically get the most popular hashtags used worldwide to discuss your topic. The result retrieves the last 1.000 tweets related to your keyword, and orders hashtags by frequency of use. Using WhatHashtag you will gain visibility when tweeting your opinions, being read beyond your followers in the most effective way.

whounfollowedme 48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
WhoUnfollowedMe

Twitter account: whounfollowedme
Who.unfollowed.me is a service that helps you track your unfollowers, in real time, without waiting for a DM, or email. It allows you to check your unfollowers on your schedule, every 15 minutes, without waiting for an email or a direct message.

Google Drive to Compete with DropBox

Posted on: February 9th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

At Access Computer we have many of our clients using DropBox for file transfers. However, all that might change in the next couple week’s as Google releases the much awaited Google Drive. Here’s a great article in the Next Web by Matt Brian:

 

Google is reportedly close to launching its long awaited cloud storage service Drive, delivering a personal file-synchronisation platform that will allow users to store and copy files between computers and mobile devices.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar with the matter, which state that Drive will facilitate the storing of photos, documents and videos on Google’s servers, allowing them to instantly share them with other people.

Google Drive is tipped to launch in the ‘coming weeks or months’ and is expected to be free for most users and businesses. As with Dropbox, Google is likely to introduce a paid storage option for users that wish to store large amounts of files.

Google already allows users to upgrade their Gmail and Picasa storage, so it would likely incorporate the same structure into its new Drive service. Prices start at $5 for 20GB, so it would be inexpensive for users if the search giant was to adhere to the same strategy.

In November, we reported that Google was starting to introduce references to its cloud storage service inside Google Docs, which could be unlocked to enable a “Download Google Drive” option within the website itself.

The option looked to only be available to users with the correct privileges, suggesting it could be an option for Google employees, but highlighted an option that could possibly initiate the download of an application that would sync their entire Google Docs archive to their new Google Drive account or vice versa – when it launched.

Google is tipped to launch mobile applications and a desktop app, keeping files synchronised between devices. Whether iOS and Windows Phone users will be able to utilise the service on their smartphones and tablets remains to be seen, for Google to achieve mass-penetration, it almost certainly has to do so.

How Facebook Can Strengthen Your Website

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

Awesome article by John Haydon (Twitter: @johnhaydon) on using Facebook to increase engagement on your website. Here’s what John has to say:

If you want to increase pages views and site engagement, it’s critical that you create a more social experience when people visit your website.

For example, when people view an article from your blog, they can see which of their friends have already read that article. They also can share content on your site with their Facebook friends.

Gigya published data showing that Web users spend 50 percent more time on websites that use Facebook social plug-ins. They also view twice as many pages.

Use social plug-ins to increase engagement

time spent How Facebook Social Plugins Increase Engagement On Your Nonprofits Website

View your website as a fishing net. Web visitors either keep swimming on by your site or get caught in your net.

As you can see in the bar graph above, users spend most of their time commenting, which,according to Giya, “allows them to share opinions on content and interact with other users – including those from their social graph.”

This makes sense when you remember that people are busier today than ever before, but still want to converse with their friends on topics they care about.

Increase page views with social plug-ins

page views How Facebook Social Plugins Increase Engagement On Your Nonprofits Website

They also found that page views more than doubled for sites that use social plug-ins. Again, commenting and sharing were the two biggest activities.

What does all this mean for your website?

The more pages people view on your site, the more chances you have to convert them into an email subscriber or donor.

View your website as a fishing net. Web visitors either keep swimming on by your site or get caught in your net — subscribe to your email newsletter, etc. Social plug-ins encourage these fish to swim around a bit more, giving you more chances at catching them!

Which Facebook social plug-ins should you use?

Putting your organization’s goals aside for a moment, and viewing the data above, it’s safe to say that you should at least be implementing Facebook’s Like Button andComments plug-in. For instance:

  • Like Button: When a user clicks the Like button, a news story publishes to his or her News Feed, and this story includes a link back to the content on your site. If your site offers a lot of content that users can like individually (such as in a blog), you’ll invariably increase referral traffic from Facebook to your site.
  • Comments: This plug-in allows you to add a comment box to your website content so that Facebook users can enter their comments, which can automatically be published to their Facebook News Feed. These republished comments also include a link back to the comments on your site.

Facebook has excellent tutorials on installing these plug-ins, and if you use WordPress, all you need is to install a few plug-ins. The plugins I use are Facebook Like and Send andDisqus for comments (users can log in with Twitter or Google in addition to Facebook).

What Is Pinterest and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Posted on: February 1st, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

No, we don’t think Pinterest is going to be as successful as Facebook, but as Facebook’s IPO filing is only hours away it makes sense to look at this up-and-coming social networking site called Pinterest. More popular with women, Pinterest is quickly gaining in popularity and 2012 could be its year.

In her StartUpNation article, “Are you Pinterest-ed?”, Rachel Blaufeld explains the attraction to Pinterest.com:

Last summer, I was working with a client and she was bubbling over with excitement about Pinterest. While 6 months ago, Pinterest was relatively unknown to many people, as of last month it is now a TOP 10 social media network. That’s right – TOP 10. Pinterest is basically a visual bulletin board of what ‘pinners’ like… Users create ‘boards’ for individual categories (ex: home storage, yummy foods, books, cool products, funky restaurants) and ‘pin’ pictures of related items to the board. The pin then links to the original site where the photo was pinned from, so anyone interested can find the item/place/recipe/etc on the web. The possibilities are limitless. Think of a virtual thumbtack holding a picture of that latest and greatest item you adore to a web page so everyone that follows you can see that you give this item 2 thumbs up. Other users and followers can ‘repin’ your photos to their boards creating a snowball effect. Heavy influencers, who share their pins, which in turn results in their pins getting repinned and repinned, creating a spiraling effect and rush for particular items on the web.

Are you getting the picture, here? Yes, Pinterest is wildly fun, but the larger picture is that if products/places of business are being pinned/promoted/repinned, this can have a huge effect on start up businesses and products!

I asked, Rieva Lesonsky, former Editorial Director at Entrepreneur Magazine and current CEO of Grow Biz Media (and who recently followed me on Pinterest) for her take on Pinterest and Start Up Businesses. Rieva just started exploring Pinterest, and her thoughts are:

Retailers (both online and store owners) and restaurant owners could really benefit from Pinterest. Retailers should create boards featuring new products, sale items, special promotions and trends. Make sure you embed a link to your store’s location. Restaurant owners can pin specials, new menu items, and even share recipes.

The key though (which I truthfully have not conquered) is to remember this is social media. Don’t just pin your own goods, feature products from other places. You don’t want to promote a competitor, but a retailer could pin from a store in another state or country. Both retailers and restaurant owners could pin like-minded items from magazines.

Thanks to Rieva, and I agree with her last thought very strongly. Social media is about engaging, so do not make your pinning all about ME, ME, ME…but, promote someone in your referral network, another business in another state, or complementary products. For example, if you produce golf balls, endorsing gold clubs would be a natural choice.

Just like other social media networks have evolved from something very social and fun to a viable business tool, Pinterest lends itself really well to this.

If you want to learn more about actually using Pinterest, and the ins and outs of ‘pinning’ and ‘repinning,’ watch this:

Vizio’s New PCs

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

VIZIO announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.


Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.

“PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”

Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.

Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.

“We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”

VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers – enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at www.vizio.com/ces#computers.

Twitter Etiquette

Posted on: January 4th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

DeDe Watson lays out the Top Ten Twitter No-No’s:

Many people are just starting out in Social Media and have not had time to get acquainted with some of the most important rules and etiquette of Social Media. We think that when we join Twitter, we are going to have an EXPLOSION in business only to find out there is no easy way to do so. Twitter is simply a social media platform designed to give you the opportunity to gain visibility and make connections.

I have been involved with Social Media for about 4 years and am never surprised at what new spam and bad manners appear before me. There are obvious things that most people with common sense know is not allowed but there are also others that fall into those grey areas.

This is my top 10 list of things you do should not do on Twitter:

1.  Creating Drama on Twitter. Whether this ensues from becoming argumentative, or complaining about your life. Twitter is not for sharing your personal woes or becoming combative with other followers. Keep this offline as it will gain you a bad reputation and holds no positive value.

2.  Using Profanity in your profile or tweets. There really is no reason to use raunchy language unless you are trying to attract the same quality followers.

3.  Continually asking someone to follow you. There are many reasons that someone is not following you. Firstly, are you following them? I have had many people asking me for a follow that are not following me. What makes them so special? Also, perhaps they only follow those in their niche. If they are not following you, give them support by tweeting them and possibly they will recognize your value.

4.  Retweeting without checking out the list of people included in that tweet. Have you looked at their profile? Are they someone you would follow or want others to see you tweeting about? Be careful who you tweet!

5.  Being careless about whether you are direct messaging or tweeting. Be sure you are paying attention or you may tweet information that you are trying to keep private. It is not always possible to reverse what you have tweeted.

6.  Tweeting the same people too much. What is too much? If they stop responding, you will know. Some people love lots of attention and some are turned off by repetitive tweeting.

7.  Tweeting that you will have to unfollow them if they don’t follow you. It is their choice NOT to follow you. Sometimes they have overlooked you inadvertently and more often they just don’t want to follow you. Tweeting their content and building a relationship with them will gain their attention.

8   Over use of hashtags. It is so annoying to look at someone’s profile and see only hashtags with little description and no website address posted. Quality and content attract attention! Show everyone that you are someone they should follow and you will gain respect and followers! You should also not make your entire tweet a message of hashtags ##!

9   Overdosing in self-promotion. I tell people every day that succeeding on Twitter is about 80-90% promoting and supporting others and the rest you can allow for tweeting about your business. Too much about YOU becomes a negative and people will stop listening!

10  Don’t tweet your every move throughout the day. People really don’t care about your daily habits and lifestyle. Are you Kim Kardashian?? Okay, now you get my point. Keep it real, simple and professional! It is great to be friendly. Have a sense of humor, enthusiasm and passion in your tweets!

Microsoft Officially Acquires Skype; Facebook Expands Video Chat with Skype

Posted on: November 18th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

From Nicholas Kolakowski on eWeek.com

Skype, Facebook have deepened their partnership with the ability to conduct Facebook-to-Facebook calls from within Skype.

Having been integrated into Microsoft, Skype is now moving ahead with new Facebook integration and some new features for its Mac and Windows versions.

Microsoft Skype Deal

The latest versions of Skype for Mac and Windows now boast the ability to conduct Facebook-to-Facebook calls from within Skype. Starting such a call involves connecting the user’s Skype and Facebook accounts, then selecting a Facebook friend with whom to chat.

“This new feature lets you maintain social connections with your Facebook friends and complements previously announced features such as being able to see when your Facebook friends are online,” read a Nov. 17 posting on the official Skype blog.

Skype is also smoothing the video-rendering capabilities of Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac, and has added to Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows a group screen-sharing capability for any Windows users with a Premium subscription.

Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion earlier this year, turning the voice over IP provider into a business division headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates. Microsoft executives have repeatedly announced their intention to tightly integrate Skype’s assets with Microsoft products, ranging from Xbox Kinect to Windows Phone, although support for “non-Microsoft client platforms” such as the Mac will apparently continue for the duration.

Microsoft ended up paying far more for Skype than its previous overlord, eBay, which had agreed in 2005 to pay $2.6 billion in cash and stock for the then two-year-old company. Four years later, a team of private investors—including Silver Lake Partners and Andreessen Horowitz—took it off the auction Website’s hands for $1.9 billion in cash. Before the Microsoft acquisition, Skype had supposedly been raising money for an initial public offering, but that offering was delayed after the company appointed Bates to the CEO role in October 2010.

Microsoft also has a tightening relationship with Facebook, whose social-networking features (such as the increasingly ubiquitous “Like” button) have been incorporated into the Bing search engine.

Despite the massive Skype acquisition, most of Microsoft’s recent corporate activity has centered on partnerships with Facebook, Nokia and the like. This spares Microsoft, despite its considerable financial reservoirs, from having to shell out billions on potentially risky takeovers; however, it also raises the specter of discordance in strategic aims between partners.

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Facebook Kills Notes Import

Posted on: November 9th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

If you currently import content to your Facebook profile’s Notes app from outside sources via a RSS feed, that will change. Facebook has announced the following “Changes to How You Share Content in Notes”:

You currently automatically import content from your website or blog into your Facebook notes. Starting November 22nd, this feature will no longer be available, although you’ll still be able to write individual notes. The best way to share content from your website is to post links on your Wall. Learn more about notes.

This is another way Facebook is trying to have its users share links the same way they do so on Twitter and on Google Plus. If you were previously importing blog posts to Facebook Notes through a RSS feed, you can use an application like Networked Blogs to automatically post your blog post links to your Facebook page.

Cloud Computing for Non-Profits

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

I’m an avid reader of TechSoup and this month TechSoup Global Network is reporting on how cloud computing is being used in different countries in their Cloud Computing Worldwide campaign. The report from the U.S. focuses on how non-profits are using cloud computing. It is a very insightful perspective. Here’s what they have to say:

During the month of October, join TechSoup.org and the TechSoup Global Network for our Cloud Computing Worldwide campaign. Check back throughout the month for blog posts, webinars, and dispatches from around the world on cloud computing for nonprofits, NGOs, and public libraries.

 

This is a communique on the current state of cloud adoption in the United States from me, this time. What we know so far is that U.S.-based nonprofits know that cloud computing is coming, and know that they will probably be paying for their IT services in a different way, but are pretty unclear about what to do about it.

In July 2011, TechSoup.org conducted a survey of nonprofits on their current use of cloud services, their plans for adopting cloud services, their expectations on costs, and their barriers to cloud adoption. The survey project was done under leadership of TechSoup’s Dan Webb. We got 495 nonprofit respondents from 43 U.S. states. They were quite representative of the larger nonprofit sector in terms of budget except that we got a somewhat larger percentage of large nonprofits with budgets over $1 million participating. Here’s what we found out:

Current Cloud Adoption

Nearly half of respondents are not using cloud services (to their knowledge). About a third are using software as a service like Google Apps, or Salesforce.com, or a cloud database. A surprisingly large 15% are using cloud infrastructure services like Rackspace or another hosting service.

The anticipated timing of cloud adoption for most respondents (nearly 50%) is within three years.

Nearly 70% of respondents rate the importance of cloud technology in their future IT landscape as either somewhat important or very important. Nonprofits are very aware that this new way of operating IT systems is on the horizon.

Among the most important cloud services respondents said they plan to adopt are to get good cloud data backup in place. Of somewhat less importance are to begin using collaboration tools. The majority (69%) said that they expect to pay for those services, but of course want them discounted. Only 13% are currently paying for them. A significant minority (31%) said that they will use such services only if they’re free.

Top Cloud Adoption Inhibitors

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Our findings here are very interesting in this area. Across the board, nonprofits have concerns about not having IT staff able to transition them to cloud services, being able to afford monthly fees that cloud services will require, how secure their data will be, and not being entirely clear on how all that will work for them. Here’s the stats:

Nonprofit Comments

Of course we got lots of comments in the survey, mostly from people who are looking for better clarity on how to proceed in to mists of cloud computing. Here is a sampling:

  • “We look forward to this becoming a reality.”
  • “Thanks for being proactive about offering what non-profits need to keep up in the digital workplace.”
  • ” …a source to help us develop and implement a cloud-based strategy is what I have been looking for, so keep going, please.”
  • “Thanks for staying on the cutting edge working to further nonprofit work for the common good.”

For more information and hopefully some better clarity on cloud computing, check out TechSoup’s Cloud Computing resource page. We have put up what we hope is a pretty good set of online resources on cloud computing for nonprofits and libraries, but sincerely welcome your suggestions on what more you’d like to see from us.

Want an Ice Cream Sandwich? New Android Unveiled

Posted on: October 19th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

From Jason O. Gilbert on the Huffington Post:

Summer may have ended, but Android users are getting ready for some Ice Cream Sandwich.

In a joint event in Hong Kong with Samsung announcing the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, Google also unveiled the newest update to its Android operating system: Android 4.0, code-name “Ice Cream Sandwich.”

“While people like Android, and while people need Android, people didn’t love Android,” said Android Director Matias Duarte while introducing the OS, which features an aesthetic overhaul to make it more visually pleasing overall.

Among the major changes coming to Ice Cream Sandwich are:

– A new font called “Roboto,” which is a semi-circular, more rounded font than usual.
– Home, back, menu and search buttons being moved onto the touchscreen, especially important as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has no physical hardware buttons.
– General overhaul of the user interface. Expect much larger pictures for contacts, the ability to resize widgets on the homescreens, a favorites tray that is always visible at the bottom of the screen for quick launch of contacts, apps and webpages.
– The ability to swipe right or swipe left on any screen. Much like on Windows Mango, Android will now give users the option to swipe screens to the side to switch between panes.
– The ability to take screenshots by simultaneously pressing the power button and the home button.
– A new data usage view. In the settings, a data monitor will show how much data the user has eaten up in the month; this monitor will give the user an option to set a threshold where the user will be warned or where data will be shut off. It will also give the user the ability to view how much data each app is using over time, including in the foreground (while it’s running) or in the background (while any other app is running), giving the user the option to always turn off data for a given app while it runs in the background.
– Camera from the lock screen. A camera button has been added to the lock screen for quick access.
– Easier photo sharing. Pictures can now be shared to any app, like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter, that hooks in to Android’s PhotoShare platform.
– Photo editing tools. After taking a picture, users will be able to crop, remove red eye and perform several other edits, including add Instagram-like filters to their photos (Android still currently lacks the Instagram app that is so popular on iOS)
– Native panorama photo-taking capability. The camera has the ability to instantly take seamless panorama shots.
– Timelapse video. Native to the video app will be a timelapse option to make super sped-up videos.
– Take photos while recording a video.
– Zoom while recording video.
– A new people app, which integrates the contact information from several social networks and aggregates updates from those networks into a single feed (also familiar to Mango users).
– “Quick Response” to phone calls. If you receive a phone call and don’t want to answer it, you don’t just have to ignore it anymore; you can send a canned response text message to the person telling them why you are busy.
– Android Beam. With NFC-enabled Android phones, two Android users will be able to share any content by simply pressing the backs of their phones together and pressing the “Beam” button.
-Face Unlock. There is an option to unlock the phone using facial recognition: If your phone recognizes your face, it unlocks; if the phone does not recognize your face, it stays unlocked. For what it’s worth, this technology did not work on stage, much to the presenter’s chagrin.

This big update to the Android platform will be available for users with Gingerbread devices on October 19 or soon thereafter, according to Engadget.

Check out the cool new features available on the upcoming Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and then look at many of the features detailed above in our slideshow:

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