5 Free and Open-Source Software Alternatives for Small Businesses -
If you’re part of a small business, chances are you’re always looking for ways to save money. What many business owners and managers don’t realize is that they can get all the software they need to run a business — quite literally all of it in most cases — 100% free of charge. That includes operating systems, word processing programs, accounting software, email servers, graphic design programs and more. If you put in some time to do some research, you might find perfectly free software alternatives that work just as well as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop (Adobe Photoshop), QuickBooks, and other better-known programs.
HTTPS Everywhere Encrypts Your Connection with Major Websites -
HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox add-on created by The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your web communication with several major websites that support, but may not default to secure, HTTPS connection. The add-on, currently in beta, makes sure you connect securely to the following sites: DuckDuckGo, EFF, Facebook, Google Search, Google Services, Identica, Xquick, Mozilla, NYTimes, PayPal, Scroogle, Torproject, Twitter, The Washington Post, Wikipedia, GentooBugzilla and Noisebridge. Of course, you can make sure that you connect to these sites via HTTPS individually, but this script makes it a far simpler affair.
Sezmi Expands to New Markets — But Is Anyone Buying? -
Sezmi is making its broadband and broadcast set-top setup available in 10 new markets, expanding beyond a limited trial of services in Los Angeles that began earlier this year. But while the company called its LA trial a success, we’re skeptical that consumers will be eager to pay $299 plus an additional $4.99 per month to get live access to content, most of which is readily available through Hulu or can be picked up over the air with a $30 digital antenna. Residents of Boston; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and San Francisco will now be able to use the Sezmi hardware to get live and on-demand content from broadcasters like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as broadband Internet video from YouTube and other online video providers. But unlike in LA, the system won’t be sold in Best Buy stores (though it will be on sale through bestbuy.com), and users won’t have access to certain premium cable content.
FFmpeg Goes WebM, Enabling VP8 for Boxee & Co. -
FFmpeg published release 0.6 of its set of multimedia tools and libraries this week. The release is code-named “Works with HTML5″ since it incorporates support for Google’s WebM open source video codec, as well as improved decoding for H.264 and Ogg Theora. FFmpeg is used by more than a hundred video players, transcoding applications and home theater solutions to support a wide range of video codecs, with VLC, Boxee, MythTV, Handbrake and MPLayer being some of the more popular projects utilizing FFmpeg. WebM was open sourced by Google at its developer conference in May and is based on On2′s VP8 video codec. It is meant to offer an open source alternative to the H.264 video codec, which is controlled by the MPEG LA licensing body — a fact that has stopped the makers of Firefox from supporting H.264 for Flash-free HTML5 video playback. Firefox and Chrome support the playback of Webm video content via preview-releases instead, and Adobe has announced that it will also bake WebM support into Flash.
Attend One of Mashable’s 340+ Social Media Day Meetups -
Mashable is hosting the first-ever worldwide Social Media Day celebration on June 30 and you’re invited. Last week, we announced Social Media Day — a global celebration of the revolution of media becoming social. Readers responded enthusiastically by signing up to organize or attend more than 340 meetups in 74 different countries. Today, we also launched Smday.com to help showcase the social discussions around the event with featured photos tagged with #smday on Flickr (Flickr), tweets that include #smday, your Facebook comments, and, of course, the Meetup widget showcasing the events closest to your community. Our staff will be attending meetups in New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta and Austin, so come say hello (other cities may be added).
Huffington Post Buys Adaptive Semantics To Keep Up With 100,000 Comments A Day -
The Huffington Post has acquired its first company in a small cash deal, and it is not another blog or media site, but a pure technology startup called Adaptive Semantics. The two-person startup provides a semantic analysis engine (aka JuLiA) already used by the Huffington Post to help moderate the 100,000 comments published on the blog every day. Prior to the acquisition, the Huffington Post was already Adaptive Semantic’s largest and only outside investor, buying a 20 percent stake in April, 2009. Adaptive Semantic’s two co-founders, Elena Haliczer and Jeff Revesz, will join Huffington Post to oversee its social news and community technology R&D. The acquisition price was not disclosed “Technology is very critical to us,” says CEO Eric Hippeau. “In this case, the technology has implications for our content. It makes moderation hyper-efficient.” With close to 3 million comments a month, the only way to moderate them is through automation tools (as well as a corp of about 30 professional human moderators).
Confirmed: Criterion Capital Partners Acquires Bebo From AOL -
The rumors are true: hedge fund Criterion Capital Partners is indeed the buyer of Bebo. As we reported yesterday, AOL is offloading the social networking service for less than $10 million (other media are reporting a purchase price of around $2.5 million). To remind you: AOL paid $850 million for Bebo back in 2008. Ouch indeed. In a press release that just went out, Criterion acknowledges that it has acquired the Bebo business from AOL and that it will “assume the rights and complete operating control over the global social platform business”. The acquisition and financing was led by CCP partner Adam Levin in partnership with business strategist Paul Abramowitz and web entrepreneur Richard Hecker. Criterion Capital Partners will take over Bebo’s global operations immediately and retain its San Francisco-based headquarters.
Yahoo Expands Widget Availability With Sony, But Google TV Looms -
There’s good news and bad news for Yahoo’s TV Widgets. The good news is that Sony is expanding the number of markets where those widgets are available nearly seven-fold. The bad news is that Yahoo partner Sony is also spearheading the introduction of a competing platform by Google. Yahoo announced today that its TV widgets will soon be available on Sony Bravia LCD TVs in more than 100 countries around the world, a nearly seven-fold increase over the number of markets that they are available in now. With Yahoo TV Widgets on their TVs, customers can get access to thousands of content sources for news, weather, sports and social networking, as well as over-the-top movies, TV shows and other Internet content. The only problem is that Google also wants to make Internet content available through connected TVs and other devices, and plans to do so with the help of Sony. The search giant introduced Google TV at its I/O conference last month, with Sony as its first major CE partner to introduce connected TVs and Blu-ray players that leverage the new TV operating system.
Encoding.com Offers White-label Encoding in the Cloud -
Encoding.com has introduced a new API that will let major customers — like large video publishers and video distribution platforms — offer its cloud encoding services as a white-label solution. And a group of its customers have already signed up for the white-label service, including Cisco Eos, Giant Realm, Kaltura and Vzaar. Encoding.com’s new features allow video management firms to create sub-accounts on the fly, enabling them to sign up their own customers for the cloud-based encoding service. By extending its API, video hosting and distribution companies can integrate the service into their own platforms, therefore making encoding in the cloud a seamless part of the video production workflow. The startup has also made sample scripts available for various programming languages to let its customers get up and running quickly.
Ustream’s Live Mobilizer Gives Bands And Brands Live Streaming iPhone Apps -
Popular live video platform Ustream is adding a new product to its repertoire today: an iPhone application platform called Ustream Live Mobilizer that offers brands, celebrities, and bands a customizable iPhone application that features Ustream’s live steaming capabilities. Each Mobilizer app is branded to the artist’s specifications (in other words, they don’t look like generic cookie cutter apps). The biggest feature here is support for watching an artist’s live video feed through Ustream, but the app also includes support for sharing to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. It also has Ustream’s ‘Social Stream’ feature, which lets you submit questions to the artist during a live stream and syndicate it out to other social networks.
5 Ways to Build a Loyal Audience on YouTube -
Vanessa Pappas is Vice President of Audience & Strategic Partnerships at Next New Networks, where she oversees key partner relationships, builds out audience growth strategies and advises programming of the networks which include Indy Mogul, Hungry Nation, and Barely Digital. Online video has moved from the niche to the mainstream and become a part of our regular media consumption. After five years, YouTube (YouTube) hit the milestone of serving one billion video views per day in October 2009, and just seven months later crossed the threshold of two billion view day in May. With online video viewing rivaling some of the biggest television ratings, how can you stand out in this sea of content on the world’s largest video platform? Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, a media outlet, a small business, or an individual, the questions are the same: How do viewers find your videos online, and what keeps them coming back for more?
YouTube Adds Video Editing in the Cloud -
Up until now, if YouTube users wanted to combine multiple clips into a single video, they had to use offline editing tools. But YouTube today rolled out cloud-based video editing tools, giving users a whole new way to remix their existing video assets online. As detailed in the Google operating system blog, the new YouTube editor allows users to trim video, mix and match clips — even add music. And while the new offering won’t replace more robust video editing software — like Apple’s Final Cut Pro — it will enable users to combine their videos in new and interesting ways.
How the World Is Spending Its Time Online [STATS] -
So… whatcha doin’ over there on that laptop, denizens of the world? Well, according to a new study from Nielsen showing Internet usage in April 2010, 22% of the time, you’re engaging with social media. Yeah, 22% might not seem like a mammoth percentage, but you have to take into account the fact that this finding is on a global scale. Also, a few more telling takeaways from the report: * Currently, three quarters of Internet (Internet) users worldwide visit a social network or blog when they go online — that’s a 24% increase over last year. * Joe Average (the international version) spends 66% more time on these sites than he did a year ago — for example, your average user spent 6 hours on these sites in April 2010, while last year he spent 3 hours, 31 minutes. * Facebook (Facebook), YouTube and Wikipedia (Wikipedia) make an appearance among the world’s most popular brands. We’ve seen ample proof of the burgeoning popularity of social media in the past — just two months ago, Nielsen reported similar growth — and it makes sense. Facebook has been giving Google (Google) a run for its money when it comes to traffic, and YouTube (YouTube) recently surpassed two billion views per day. We’ll have to see how social media usage shakes out as Facebook continues to accrue users, and YouTube dips its toe into the newsfeed business in an attempt to become a legit news source. In the meantime, check out a few more highlights from the study: * Brazil boasts the largest percentage of Internet users visiting a social network –- 86% * Australians spend the most time on social networking sites: an average of 7 hours and 19 minutes in April — the U.S. and Italy came in second and third with six and a half hours each. * Facebook has the greatest share of the market in Italy in April 2010, garnering two-thirds of the active unique audience in April 2010. Australia (Australia), the U.S. and the UK came in on Italy’s heels with more than 60% of active users visiting the site. How much time do you spend on social networking sites? Has your hunger for social media contributed to this global increase?
T-Mobile Rolls Out “4G Speed” Network In 15+ New Cities -
4G is in the air! Or, at least for T-Mobile, 4G speeds are in the air. While T-Mobile isn’t technically allowed to pitch their HSPA+ network as 4G, its speeds can exceed that of the networks that some carriers (read: Sprint) have been toting as 4G for the last few months. This morning, T-Mobile is officially debuting their HSPA+ network in 15 new cities, from Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA. While a handful of places — New York, Philadelphia, Vegas, and Memphis, to name a few — are already blanketed in T-Mobile’s latest radio juice, the new roster is pretty impressive. If you’re in Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Tampa, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, New Orleans, or Charleston, fire up your device and give it a speed test — chances are, you’re surrounded in 4G(ish) radiowaves right this second.