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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Integration within social media networks attracts potential customers

May 2, 2011
by Mark Ollig

Businesses and organizations today understand the need in having a presence on the Internet.

Years ago, most businesses engaged in e-commerce by setting up a simple website.

On their website, they displayed pictures of their products, listed their services, and added a phone number, along with an email address.

Then they sat back, and hoped somebody would contact them.

Much has changed since then.

Today, the Internet has become home to savvy, social networking consumers.

Businesses and organizations are using modern social commerce practices to actively engage these online consumers directly – by going where they are.

“So, where are these online social consumers going?” you may be asking yourself.

Facebook, the number-one Internet social networking venue, is, of course, where most of today’s online social consumers are located.

Facebook users (such as me), mostly interact with family and friends messages; however, I also tend to interact with messages posted from blog sites and Facebook business pages I like, as well.

Sometimes I come across a newly posted message from a business seeking an opinion or comment. The business is engaging me to respond, to interact with them, and in doing so, an online social commerce relationship is being developed between us.

On Facebook, I favor businesses, organizations, and product brands and services which appeal to me. I occasionally contribute comments, and share them with my Facebook friends.

The business is made aware of any Facebook comments or questions in their blog, or Facebook business page, and can adjust the information presented, or respond directly to the Facebook user.

Social commerce used in this manner provides a direct two-way dialogue between the seller and a potential buyer, using a social networking venue frequented many times a day.

We are evolving into interactive online social consumers; we are no longer impressed seeing one-way advertisements displayed on a static website.

Social networking consumers all over the Internet are engaging in direct dialogue with the suppliers of their favorite name-brand products and services via Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking media venues.

Businesses becoming knowledgeable to this are engaging online social networking consumers by using creative online social commerce techniques.

When I am using Facebook, I often acknowledge, and occasionally comment on, messages posted by local coffee shops, restaurants, newspapers, real estate offices, auto dealerships, technology blogs, non-profit organizations, professional entertainers, and others.

Social commerce blog posts sometimes deliver attention-grabbing messages.

These messages may be asking for opinions about their products, or taking polls regarding their services. Some posts make me aware of special sales or local social events taking place.

Targeting messages to an online social network like Facebook, engages a business directly where potential customers are.

If I come across a message about a service or price discount a local company is offering via Facebook, I can easily share it with hundreds – or even thousands – of Facebook friends with just a mouse click.

Since the message is being shared by a fellow Facebook friend, several users seeing it will probably take the time to click and read the business or organization’s Facebook business page or blog post.

Online social consumers appreciate new content and want to be able to communicate easily and directly with the companies and organizations they follow.

Fresh content needs to be regularly delivered to the social network in order to maintain an ongoing interaction with, in this case, the Facebook users who have activated the company or organization’s thumbs-up or “like” button, and therefore are following their messages and blog posts.

Facebook users place importance upon – and will more likely interact with – newly updated messages received from the organizations and companies they choose to follow.

Social media branding, or integration of a business or organization’s blog site onto Facebook, allows for their messages and blog posts to be seen, liked, and shared with other Facebook users.

Social media integration guides Facebook users to a business or organization’s videos, photo galleries, messages, and products and services.

A recent survey by the Social Commerce Today website shows 81 percent of consumers go online to verify purchase recommendations, while 60 percent regularly interact with companies on a social media site.

They also reported 43 percent of consumers polled as saying companies should use social networks to assist their customers.

Today, businesses and organizations are learning the value and importance of building mutually beneficial, interactive two-way relationships with consumers via online social networks.

A business or organization distributing social commerce over a Facebook business page, in a well-thought-out methodology, has the opportunity of winning a Facebook user’s loyalty.

Properly managed social media commerce, delivering original, creative, and regularly updated content to online social media sites like Facebook, will benefit businesses and organizations in obtaining favorable correspondence among consumers within the online social networking community.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Internet user trends are significantly changing

April 25, 2011
by Mark Ollig

“Where are we, where are we going?”

This is the question headlined on the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s report, presented during the 44th annual APLIC conference, in Washington, DC.

APLIC (a global network of population information professionals) says it represents “a forum for sharing professional interests, experience and knowledge.”

Kristin Purcell is the research director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

During the APLIC conference, Purcell shared survey information collected by Pew, regarding Internet user trends during the past 10 years.

Pew reported less than 20 percent of us were watching videos over the Internet in 2000.

By 2010, this number had climbed to 66 percent.

Only 46 percent of all adults were using the Internet in 2000, as compared with 71 percent in 2010.

Pew states today’s online access to news and information has become, “abundant, cheap, personally-oriented and designed for participation.”

According to Pew, we are now in a new information “ecology” where the lines between “news” and “information” have become somewhat blurred.

The 2010 Pew survey results reported adults obtained their news from multiple sources, or platforms, such as; print newspapers, television, radio, and of course, the Internet.

Pew says six out of every 10 adults with online access use the Internet as their news platform.

Our online information content consumption has evolved to where information is easily accessible, and individually personalized. We are also finding ourselves becoming active contributors in the creation of this content.

Many of us using the Internet have, in fact, become “news and information participators” by means of our personal blogs, Twitter messages, personalized web pages, and various online social networks.

Pew revealed 37 percent of Internet users in 2010 contributed news and other content, made comments on various stories or topics, and, discussed news within their online social networks.

More of us are customizing what news and information we want to see “harvested” and delivered to our Internet home pages and blogs.

The 2010 Pew Internet Survey shows 35 percent of those polled have a favorite online news source.

What may not be surprising to some folks is Pew acknowledging recent studies showing 70 percent of adults feel “overwhelmed” by the amount of news and information content available to them over the Internet.

In a 2011 tracking survey conducted by Pew, they found 85 percent of all adults own a cell phone, and one-quarter of all US households are now using cell phones instead of corded phones.

Back in 2000, no one was using a wireless mobile device to access the Internet.

In 2010, with 59 percent of adults wirelessly accessing the Internet using mobile devices, cell phones, tablets or laptops, it was the young folks, age 18 to 29, who led with 84 percent.

Of young adults, age 18 to 29, who were surveyed in November 2010, Pew found 14 percent of them using the Twitter online social network, while all adults, age 18 and over, averaged 8 percent.

So, what is the answer to the “Where are we, where are we going” question?

In this humble columnist’s opinion, the previous decade of the Internet has seen it evolve into a venue being used today as not just a one-way knowledge gateway medium; but as a venue where many of us have become active participants and contributors.

We have been furthering our own learning and understanding of ourselves, our surroundings, our government, and each other, as well as continuously re-inventing how the Internet is being used.

The Internet will eventually become the dominant medium, surpassing the traditional starting places we have used in the past for obtaining news, information, conducting commerce, communicating, and when seeking entertainment.

The Internet will continue to encompass more of our daily lives as the online venue from which we pursue our leisure, learning, and interactions with others, and, for some of us, the Internet will become the venue we go to in order to earn a living.

All of us have witnessed the remarkable upsurge in the use and popularity of online social networking sites.

Social sharing networking sites like, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, along with live-streaming video broadcasting platforms, such as Ustream, Livestream and, are bringing everyone closer together – not just in this country, but throughout the world.

As we journey towards the end of the next decade, we will find our online time spent within a more personally interconnecting, friendlier (and hopefully equally accessible to all), robust Internet.

The Internet will continue to be comprised of networks; hardware and software immersed in an ever-expanding “sky” containing “clouds of data” constantly acquiring, storing, and redistributing information amongst themselves. Portions of this data content will be created, shared and consumed by us, and our electronic devices.

All of this will be taking place within an intelligently controlled semantic Web.

Did I mention this journey will be a lot of fun, too?

We are on course . . . so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Las Vegas hosts National Association of Broadcasters Show

April 18, 2011
by Mark Ollig

Their website boldly states: “Where Content Comes to Life.”

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held their annual trade show last week in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The NAB was established in 1922.

Some of the organizations the NAB is made up of include local radio and television stations, various broadcasting networks and telecommunication providers, and a large number of social media content creators.

Once a year, the NAB puts on what they call the NAB Show, described by NAB as being “the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and development, management and delivery of content across all mediums.”

The NAB Show, according to its website banner, claims it is the “world’s largest digital media industry event.”

The NAB Show has been an annual event for the last 80 years.

Companies exhibiting their products during the NAB Show number around 1,500.

The NAB Show exhibits are spread across 800,000 square feet of floor space.

The 2011 NAB show registered 92,708 attendees. Of this number, 25,691 were representatives from 151 countries.

The number of media in attendance at this year’s show was 1,314.

Educational offerings during the NAB Show were available through its workshops, round-table discussions, keynote speeches, and training and certification programs.

Many of the showcased exhibits are interactive-live-demonstrations featuring the newest in media-related technology.

One exhibitor I watched with interest (via a video stream) was a company called NextoDI, which has its US office located in Inglewood, CA.

NextoDI demonstrated its portable video backup storage device, called the NVS2525.

This device is for use with a broadcast production team’s video camcorder out in the field.

The high-tech device measures 6.1-inches-by-3.6-inches and is 1.3-inches in depth. It features a 2.4-inch color LCD monitor, which provides viewing of the video file footage stored in it.

The NVS2525 allows video content creators to not only back up video, but also to make copies of hundreds of hour’s worth of raw video footage taken on-the-go.

Video captured inside the NVS2525 device can be downloaded and stored onto smaller USB-like memory cards – no computer is required.

The NextoDI presentation gave details on the NVS2525 backup speed; which is a rapid rate of 80MB/s (Megabytes per second).

I was interested in how the NVS2525 provides for “mirrored” backups. This is where one can generate two copies onto two separate storage devices – at the same time – during one download. This provides added data safety and security in the event of an accidental loss of data from one of the storage devices.

The NVS2525 also comes with a built-in 750 GB 2.5-inch SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard drive that’s future-compatible up to 2TB.

They advertise the hard drive as literally “floating” inside the case.

The NVS2525 has internal “shock absorbers” and an internal “free fall sensor” so if the user accidentally drops the unit, it will automatically lock the data on the hard drive, preventing the data from being lost.

However, if you can help it, I recommend not dropping this expensive device.

One supplier has the NVS2525 priced at just under $3,000.

The company’s website is located at:

The NAB Show attracts companies (and their clients), along with special guest speakers who share their knowledge of media content tools and offer advice.

These sources offer suggestions on how broadcasters can best present their unique media content to the viewers, or, as they are sometimes called, “content consumption users.”

The opening keynote address was given by the famous movie producer and director, James Cameron.

Cameron is the executive producer of the new movie “Sanctum” which was created using RealD 3D (stereoscopic three-dimensional) technology.

He is also, of course, the creator of the movies “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

Cameron talked about his thoughts concerning the future of 3D entertainment and other future trends in movie film making.

Other speakers at the NAB Show included representatives of Twentieth Century Fox Television, Sony Corporation, and National Public Radio.

Famous television and movie actor, Michael J. Fox, along with Stan Lee (who co-created the comic book character Spider-Man, among others) also spoke during the NAB Show.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission was there, too, along with other public figures.

I noticed how Twitter was being used regularly to relay messages from the NAB Show, via the Twitter hashtag: #nabshow.

Some of the messages or “tweets” included one from the popular video website’s “Funny or Die” CEO, Dick Glover, who said, “We don’t see social media as a part of marketing but just a part of life.”

Jason Phipps, vice-president of digital media of FX Networks, sent this message, “Twitter has become the real-time water cooler for watching TV shows.”

For more information about the 2011 NAB Show, check out their website at:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commodore 64 is tanned, rested, and ready for a comeback

April 11, 2011
by Mark Ollig

What’s old is new again.

The original Commodore 64 home computer made its debut in 1982, which, for me, doesn’t seem all that long ago – well, okay, it is that long ago . . . but I digress.

I admit to not owning a Commodore 64, or “C64” as some called it back then, (in 1982 I had my Timex Sinclair ZX81) but I did play some games using the C64 and also checked them out at the retail stores where they were sold.

Do you remember some of the games played on the Commodore 64, like GORF, Visible Solar System, Radar Rat Race, Mole Attack, Pitt Stop II, Avenger, Ace of Aces and Jupiter Landing?

The C64, manufactured by Commodore Business Machines, was primarily a gaming machine, although it also had a collection of office productivity applications including word processing, an electronic spreadsheet, and a customized customer data base.

The Commodore 64’s rectangular shape, with the light brown and beige-colored plastic housing, was given nicknames such as “breadbox.” This case not only contained a full keyboard, but included all the computing components, as well.

The “64” was referring to Commodore’s 64KB (kilobytes, or 64,000 bytes) of Random Access Memory (RAM).

The Commodore 64 operating system was Commodore’s own proprietary BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) version 2.0 on Read Only Memory (ROM).

Inside the C64 was a MOS Technology 6510 central processing unit running at a clock speed of around 1.0 MHz.

The cost of the Commodore 64 in 1982 was $595.

The Commodore 64 was on display during the 1982 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Chicago.

During the early 1980s, the C64 was in direct competition with the Apple II, Atari 800, Radio Shack TRS-80, and IBM PC.

Around the mid 1980s, the Commodore 64 became the best-selling home computer.

I have seen an estimate of up to 22 million Commodore 64’s sold between 1982 and 1994.

The C64 included two game controller ports, TV video and audio output connectors, a cartridge memory expansion slot, a serial connector for a printer or external disk drive, and an edge connector interface that could be used with the Commodore’s Datassette Recorder, which was an audio cassette tape unit used to store programs and data on.

Most of the kids at the time were drawn to the C64 because of the games, but they soon discovered it was capable of more than just gaming; a person could connect the C64 to a telephone using Commodore’s VICMODEM cartridge and call into a computer Bulletin Board Service (BBS) and communicate with others.

A Commodore 64 user could also dial-up into the online CompuServe network, and as their 1982 advertisement stated, use the C64 to get news updates, stock quotes, electronic mail or to do “computer shopping.”

Folks also used the C64 to learn about computer programming.

With no internal hard drive, the storage medium mostly used with the C64 was 5 1⁄4-inch floppy disks. One floppy disk held roughly 170KB worth of data. In comparison, one of today’s commonly used 2GB (gigabyte) keychain-sized memory sticks can store 11,765 5 1⁄4-inch floppy disks’ worth of data.

Yes, it’s mind-blowing, isn’t it?

After almost 30 years, the Commodore 64 remains popular with computer hobbyists.

Some of those old C64s are still in use even today.

Here we are in 2011, and with the wave of the magic nostalgic wand, an all new Commodore 64 has been brought back to life.

The new Commodore 64 has the appearance of the traditional model on the outside, combined with today’s advanced technology packaged on the inside.

Instead of 64 kilobytes of RAM, the new C64 has 2GB of DDR3 (double-data-rate 3) RAM and a powerful 1.8 GHz dual-core Atom 525 processor.

The new C64x Standard computer comes with a 250GB built-in hard drive.

Commodore’s new C64x Ultimate computer is equipped with a 1TB (terabyte) hard drive.

Also included in the new C64 is a full 1080p HD (High-Definition) video output, a DVD (Digital Versatile Disk), or newer Blu-ray disc drive, six channel high-definition audio, four USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), VGA (Video Graphics Array), and Ethernet connectivity.

The new 2011 Commodore 64 Basic computer is priced the same as the 1982 original model, at $595.

How’s that for nostalgia?

A link showing detailed photographs and additional information about the brand-new Commodore 64 can be seen at

An Adobe PDF file containing a color brochure advertisement of the original Commodore 64 computer from July of 1982 can be opened at