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Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoins, the fast trending online currency, is become more ubiquitous by the hour.

Virgin Galactic accepts bit coins for space flight. Sir Richard Branson extends support.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/22/virgin-galactic-bitcoin/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

The University of Nicosia announced it will be the world’s first to accept bitcoins as tuition payment.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/21/bitcoin-tuition-payments/

GlassPay, a Google Glass app that lets you pay with Bitcoins.

http://mashable.com/2013/10/17/google-glass-bitcoin/

The price of bitcoins surpassed $600 on Monday as the Internet-based currency’s value jumped 60-fold over a year ago.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-600/

Cyprus Gets World’s First Bitcoin ATM

http://mashable.com/2013/03/26/cyprus-bitcoin-atm/

What exactly is Bitcoin?

Watch this 1:43 min video for a quick overview:

bitcoin-logoTo start with, Bitcoin is a digital currency. That means that if two people would like to conduct a transaction (like buying a watch online for instance) so long as the buyer has the number Bitcoins the seller requires for the good or service, a transaction can be conducted. Using a digital wallet, users can securely and privately transfer a Bitcoin in a transaction. Many have simply described it as “cash for the Internet.

Where do they come from?

Knowing that it is a form of digital currency, the next logical question is, where did it come from? Bitcoin proof of concept was first published in 2009 and has been in circulation ever since. Bitcoins are found through an elaborative discovery process known as “mining.”

The mining process involves harnessing computing power to process the Bitcoin transactions and ensure the system runs smoothly. Bitcoin operates through a complex set of mathematical equations and formulas that ensure each transaction is verified and secure, and needs a wealth of computer power to operate. In order to incentivize users to assist in the mining process, users who are involved in the mining process are in turn rewarded when their systems find new Bitcoins in the encrypted computer program.

Currently, about 12 million (and growing) Bitcoins have been found, but Bitcoin itself notes that the number of Bitcoins created each year is halved until Bitcoin issuance is completely halted when supply reaches 21 million.

How much are they worth?

Like any other currency, Bitcoin has a value that is set by supply and demand. However, very uniquely, unlike any other currency, it’s not regulated by any central authority, so it can be subject to rapid changes in price. As of the most recent check, a single Bitcoin is worth about $700, but users can also have fractional amounts of them. At the beginning of November, a single Bitcoin was worth right around $200 — but the currency has seen incredible fluctuation in value.

Some more news:

 Order a pizza with Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/02/06/pizza-bitcoins/

Why Bankers Want You to Fear Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/14/bitcoin-banking-comic/

$1.3 Million in Bitcoin Stolen in Major Online Robbery

http://mashable.com/2013/11/08/bitcoin-theft-tradefortress/

These Startups Are Betting Everything on Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/12/bitcoin-startups/

Can the Internet Replace Big Banks?

http://mashable.com/2013/03/24/douglas-rushkoff-digital-economy/

The Bitcoin Taxman Cometh

http://mashable.com/2013/06/18/bitcoin-taxes/

Bitcoin Goes to Washington: The Case for and Against Digital Currency

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-senate-testimony/

8 Vendors You Didn’t Know Accepted Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/03/29/bitcoin-vendors/

Time for eCommerce folks to review their payment options, maybe?

Gharkamai: Yet another Indian dot-com startup!

All boys & men working from home rejoice…and welcome aboard Gharkamai!

Gharkamai Logo

Started by a couple of Delhi dotcommers, Gharkamai is in beta as we speak, and aims at connecting businesses with business professionals as per need.

So if you are looking at home-based work, have an unexplored expertise, need extra income, then log on & create a profile. Similarly, if you need freelancers and project-centric professionals, it makes sense to look some people up over here.

2 reasons why the resource pool should be good here:

1. Home-based workers strive to deliver better, as a sense of entrepreneurship comes in, leading to better results

2. In these recession-led times, pink slipped folks can find solace here!

The only glitch – registration process is a bit long, and you need to submit a CV…painful. Hope the owners do something about that!

Check it out & do post a comment upon your experience…

Gmail goes video

Here’s the deal as I see it with Google..

These guys have taken the idea of “disruption” to an all-time high…having turned it now into a web-statement of sorts.

First it was gmail…launched in a market where hotmail & yahoo were kings, usa.net had gone paid, rediffs of the world were trying hard to get attention….basically a very crowded & highly competitive market. So google walks in & “disrupts” the proceedings – 1GB mailbox, by invite only.

2 propositions that turned cult in 5 minutes…EVERYONE wanted one, EVERYONE wanted to have those invites to give out..

So email was great, beating IM was next to impossible, with nearly ALL of us active on either Hotmail or Yahoo messengers. The solution – Disruption again.

Suddenly IM was on email…made sense, didn’t it? You logged in to check mail and logged in your IM around the same time..by combining the two, gmail made Internet communication one seamless experience, and NOBODY has been able to replicate that! And then they even went voice – along with the two other biggies, but essentially kept up with the user experience expectations.

Oh and then there are these 1000s of other benefits – POP access (yahoo pay attention..msn burnt their hands), easy UI..all that & more, that basically started settings standards.

Finally, they have probably put a huge big nail in everyone else’s coffin (not the last one I presume) by going video (MSN/Skype had it)…within Gmail..disruption all over again. And great timing too, considering webcams cave become standard pre-installed accessories only recently!

It makes sense to visit the church of google, I say!

Launched: India’s own Laptop Community

Through the years, Indian consumers have gotten used to the fact that if they want to find out more about laptops, they only have two options:

1. Read international reviews & opinions, a lot of which may not be applicable to India

2. Tread the dusty Nehru Place (New Delhi) or equivalent lanes in the city and dodge the dodgy hardware shops and hope to get a good deal

Both are impractical and unfriendly options, and more often than not, the only savior is the IT department admin at your place of work or Word-of-Mouth via friends. The only problem is that these routes can only yield limited info and hence, limited results.

Thankfully, India now has its own laptop review site – with Indian content, products that are available in India, best laptop deals and more.

image

http://laptopcommunity.com/ is a community review site designed purely for Indian audiences and their needs. Still in its infancy, and hence beta (!), the site already has 100s of laptop models reviewed including the latest hp laptop, Dell, Apple & Acers of the world..and a list of models rated prominently basis their popularity with users. There is also an integrated discussion board (PhPBB based forum), product videos, Q&A, latest India-specific news & new launch info and some well written & regularly updated articles relevant to the site’s content.

Users who consider themselves laptop experts can join the community as experts to guide others. I am joining for sure…think I have had enough of providing gyaan to all & sundry, and it wont hurt to spread my wings a bit! Brands can look at the site as a niche opportunity to advertise their products to a bang-on TG…makes sense.

Try it out..and do leave a comment here about how you find the experience!

Google’s 10^100 Project

As Google turns 10 they celebrate with an attempt to make a difference.They have officially announced the launch of the Google Project 10^100, on the Google blog.

Here is what they have to say:

To mark our 10th birthday and celebrate the spirit of our users and the web, we’re launching Project 10^100 (that’s “ten to the hundredth”) a call for ideas that could help as many people as possible, and a program to bring the best of those ideas to life. CNN will be covering this project, including profiles of ideas and the people who submit them from around the world. For a deeper look, follow along at Impact Your World.

During the next three months, the Internet search company will solicit world-changing ideas from anyone, anywhere, no matter the size or scope and will reward the top five ideas with $10 million to see their projects come to life. Google will select the 100 best ideas before having the public vote for the top 20 semifinalists in late January. Five finalists will split the $10 million, which Google will give to them to help get their projects off the ground.

Watch the video:

The categories for entry seem to be primarily humanitarian aid innovations, including things like water solutions for rural villages in developing countries, and solutions for bringing wireless internet to disconnected rural areas.

If you have ideas that you feel can help make a difference to the world, now is your time to act.

John Roach
for National Geographic News

September 12, 2008

A multibillion-dollar atom smasher on the Franco-Swiss border may help scientists treat diseases, improve the Internet, and open the door to travel through extra dimensions, according to physicists.The first half of the inner tracker barrel for the Compact Muon Spectrometer, an experimental device at the Large Hadron Collider, is seen in an undated image. In addition to solving big mysteries of the universe, the massive atom smasher—which was "turned on" September 10, 2008—may help treat disease, improve the Internet, and open the door to faster-then-light travel, scientists say.
On Wednesday scientists cheered and champagne flowed as the first beam of protons lapped around the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground tunnel at the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, was designed to solve big mysteries in science, such as the nature of dark matter and what the universe was like just after the big bang.
The massive machine could also lead to medical and technological advances, some experts argue.
Such potential breakthroughs are often an “ancillary benefit” of big science projects like the LHC, said Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and author at Arizona State University in Tempe.
Still, Krauss said, these benefits are a misguided way to justify building the atom smasher.
“It’s like trying to argue that manned space missions were useful for Tang,” he said, referring to the powdered drink mix popularized in U.S. households by NASA in the 1960s.
“Our job as scientists is to explain that these esoteric things [such as dark matter] are not completely unrelated to humanity,” he added. “Ultimately, we address the questions of how we got here and what we’re made of.”
Already Providing Benefits
In the months ahead, scientists will use the LHC to ramp up opposing proton beams to nearly light speed and smash particles together, breaking them into smaller components.
Monstrous detectors will pore through the detritus, helping scientists examine the conditions of the very early universe.
The computer network set up to process the mountains of data generated by each collision is already inspiring spin-offs, noted Andy Parker, a professor of high energy physics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, who helped design the grid system.
Parker is also involved with a Cambridge-based company that is using the grid technology, which links together thousands of computers, to better index images on the Internet.
Such a system determines the task to be done, the processing power required, checks for availability, sends the task out, gets it done, and ships it back to the scientist—all while the person sits at a desk.
“I don’t have to do anything to achieve [all] that,” Parker said.
Technologies developed for earlier atom smashers—such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider that booted up in New York in 2000 and the Fermilab Tevatron started in 1987 in Illinois—are today ingrained in mainstream society, Parker noted.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans, for example, are common at most major hospitals to make images of the insides of patients’ bodies, often to look for cancerous tumors.
The technique stems from general studies of antimatter and the use of particle detectors, Parker said.
And more medical professionals are turning to proton beams similar to those used in the LHC to blast away tumors deep inside bodies.
“What you can do there is send a beam of protons into the patient, which does essentially no damage at all to the tissues on the way in,” Parker explained.
“All the damage is done at the point where the protons stop. And by tuning the energy of the protons, you can make them stop inside the tumor.”
As scientists working with the LHC learn to better focus and control proton beams, the improvements will likely trickle down to the medical profession, he added.
Faster Than Light
Future spin-offs from the LHC are less certain.
“We don’t know what we’re going to find out,” Parker said.
Though admittedly far-fetched, one sexy idea is that the LHC may find extra dimensions of space/time. If so, the discovery could open the door to technologies that allow people to travel faster than the speed of light.
In a sense, Parker explained, scientists may discover an ability to move chunks of space-time from one place to another through those extra dimensions, effectively bypassing the known laws of physics.
“If you went to the 23rd century and there were people flying around faster than the speed of light, you would say, What is it you found out that enabled you to do this?” Parker said.
“And the answer might be, It all started when we discovered there were these extra dimensions.”
Krauss, of Arizona State University, said that even without such advances, curiosity-driven research is fundamental to maintaining our current standard of living for generations into the future.
“It will help create innovation and enhance the economic future of our children in ways that we don’t know,” he said, adding that the chance to work with machines such as the LHC often attracts students to the sciences.
Krauss added that the big science questions being probed with the LHC are also personally relevant and practical for all members of society.
He explained that just as people are made of stardust, the origins of those particles in stardust stretch back to the beginning of the universe.
“If it all works out, you’ll get a better understanding of what you’re doing here,” he said. “And, to me, that is the greatest benefit of science.”

Smells like lunch!

Check out this KFC Press Release about a really innovative marketing campaign!

In a marketing first, KFC is highlighting the launch of its $2.99 Deals by placing the mouth-watering aroma of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the halls and offices of corporate America.

Forget television integrations or corporate naming rights, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s first-ever “scent-focused” pilot program teamed KFC with corporate mail rooms nationwide. Along with carrying inter-office mail, overnight packages and bills, mail carts in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas delivered the aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken during pre-lunch mail drops.

Through the pilot program, KFC worked with an online company, a business-to-business consulting firm and a non-profit, to include a $2.99 Deal – a plated meal including KFC’s world famous chicken, a side item and a biscuit – on the actual mail carts that pass the offices of hungry workers.

“There is truly no better brand ambassador worldwide than the signature aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said James O’Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC. “And we couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the value of our new $2.99 Deal than to inject the mouth-watering scent of Kentucky Fried Chicken into the corridors of corporate America.”

To bring the sweet-smelling promotion to life, KFC collaborated with Chemistry.com in Dallas; the Trade Association & Society Consultants of Washington, D.C.; and the Chicago offices of the Salvation Army.

 

More Smelladvertising:

 

image

VIA (the washing powder) ran a poster campaign in Stockholm and Malmö which..er..actually smells!

Push the little spout at the bottom of the poster and you’ll sniff a sample on how the washing powder smells. Or how clean clothes smell after being washed with Via.

HOT!

So, smell some fried chicken, and if it gets too much, there is always the refreshing detergent smell to wash it off! Anyone for coffee beans?

More examples? Look at how newspapers are using smelladvertising to regain lost commercial revenues…here

The IE8 concerns around the Chrome fever…

In the midst of the Chrome Launch, Adage has this interesting viewpoint on Internet advertising and the implications that new browsers bring on to the table…

Latest Microsoft Browser Fuels Fear

IE8 Gives Web Surfers More Power to Block Ads and Cookies

By Beth Snyder Bulik
Published: August 28, 2008

YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) — Microsoft’s newest bro

wser is still only in beta, but it already has the advertising world in a tizzy. Its “InPrivate” set of features on Internet Explorer 8 out this week has publishers, marketers and industry advocates worried that it could block their ability to distribute, track and even monetize what the Interactive Advertising Bureau values as a $21.2 billion-plus internet-ad industry.
But Microsoft Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch advises to remain calm. “The point isn’t to block content or ads. The point is to put users in control of what they’re sharing,” he said, adding he has read and heard many misconceptions about what InPrivate can and cannot do.
Stealth surfing
For instance, the InPrivate Browsing feature — already slang-termed “porn mode” — only allows a user to hide single browsing session activities from “over the shoulder” viewers such as family members. It does not block ads from being served to the user or from advertisers counting views or clicks.
It works, and got its nickname, by letting users surf porn sites (or any other content, for that matter) without caching any content such as a list of URLs visited, cookies or other data. That could mean no cookies on your computer — as well as no cookies for future use by marketers or publishers, although only during selected InPrivate sessions.
However, it is the InPrivate Blocking feature that seems potentially more worrisome for advertisers. InPrivate Blocking acts to inform users about sites that consistently track and collect browsing histories. In fact, when a user opts into an InPrivate session, it will automatically block third-party content if it detects that the third party has “seen” the user more than 10 times. So, for instance, if the third party is advertising.com and it is serving ads across 10 sites a user has visited during an InPrivate session, it will begin to block advertising.com tracking codes and possibly content on the 11th website.
Cause for concern
Mike Zaneis, VP-public policy for the Internet Advertising Bureau, said while he is encouraged that InPrivate is never a default option on Internet Explorer — meaning that users have to manually opt in each time — he still has concerns.
“With IE’s market share, will so many people activate that so that it could affect the revenue side of the industry?” he asked. “Any content from anywhere that appears as third parties, whether advertising or stock tickers or news feeds, all appear as third parties, and in theory their content could be blocked.
“And if you’re blocking all third parties, you’re also going to block all analytic companies,” he said. “You’d be blocking the companies that do the auditing of ad delivery.” He’s particularly concerned about the potential disruption to the entire accounting system of internet advertising.
Mr. Hachamovitch concedes that IE 8 has no way of knowing if the content is an ad, a stock tracker or a newspaper column. It can only tell if it is third-party content. So that does mean that any content, say, ads, analytics and more, can be blocked. However, he repeated that the user must select InPrivate every time. And users can create “allow” and “block” lists, so-called whitelists and blacklists, to always allow content from trusted sources. Consumers can also subscribe to lists of acceptable content created by others.
Microsoft itself has tips for publishers and advertisers on how to get third-party content and ads seen. Publishers, for instance, can serve the ads directly from their site (making them first-party content) or they can make third-party content look like first-party content, he said.
Letting consumers decide
Ultimately, the point of InPrivate is not to block anything, but instead to give consumers control of the online information they chose to share, or not, Mr. Hachamovitch said. “In a world of well-informed consumers who expect choice, we all need to be thoughtful about how we conduct business,” he said. “To me, this really starts the conversation. IE8 Beta 2 starts us thinking about the expectations people should have about what they share and how.”
Of course, Microsoft is hardly anti-advertising, and in fact, depends on ad-servicing revenue from its own sites like MSN. In May 2007 it purchased for $5.9 billion aQuantive’s three businesses — Atlas, DrivePM and Avenue A — as a means to build out a massive ad platform, and it had pursued Yahoo in a bid to gain more display-ad leverage. Microsoft, moreover, is a longstanding member of the IAB.
“From the Microsoft perspective,” said a spokeswoman, “we’re right there with the rest of the crowd in that we think there is a lot of benefit in targeted ads. We just believe consumers have the right to know it’s happening and to opt in.”
JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley said the industry upheaval may be moot soon enough anyway, as ad targeting has come under serious scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. She said she believes the many different industry factions will come up with — by force or free will — guidelines and standards that are acceptable to consumers and regulators.
“In the short term, though, I can understand how it could be scary for advertisers, because ad targeting is so valuable,” she said.

Intel today launched its ambitious “Connected Indians” movement at The Taj Palace, New Delhi.

connected indians

Check out www.connectedindians.com!

The Connected Indians movement aims to be the catalyst for delivering the power of the Internet into the hands of a billion Indians. Intel states that its success will hinge on spirited public and private participation.

Over the next few months, Intel will mobilize people, resources & infrastructure to facilitate Internet adoption across India.

Over time, this collaboration will help build partnerships between people, Industries and stakeholders via a complete and connected ecosystem to accelerate the growth of Internet and its benefits to the society.

The Connected Indian web site is an innovation in itself wherein users can click on an interactive map to locate their co-ordinates, and then post their voice for an Internet-enabled India. Not only that, they can utilize the in-built feature to invite more of their friends and peers from their web contact lists to add in more numbers.

There is also an India Speaks section that highlights different areas where Internet is making a huge difference in the way people, processes, industries & services in India are progressing with the power of the Internet.

Intel is following up this movement on-ground with specially-designed “Net Yatras” wherein it will showcase Internet’s benefits to Indians using interactive tools & techniques.

This is one movement that has been designed with a specific cause in mind and Intel promises that for every 10,000 Connected Indians who register, the movement will donate a PC to selected government schools in rural areas.

Now that’s what we call a spirited initiative!

Know more about the movement here.

Join the movement here.

Join the Connected Indians Orkut Community here.

Intel’s partners in this venture include google, HCL, Zenith, Edurite, MAIT, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Indicom, Acer, Intex, Novatium, Wipro, Asus, CII, e-zone, lenovo, NIIT, Tata Communications, Croma, NASSCOM etc.

It will be interesting to see the kind of products & services Intel will introduce to take this step further & forward. Here’s wishing Intel all the best for the initiative & hoping that more & more brands take such steps towards better propagation and acceptance of technology!

Piclens is now Cooliris

Remember our post on Piclens? Well, things have changed a bit over there…and we have a quick update from the Piclens Team at Cooliris:

Luna Yang wrote:

Hi Masala Digital Team,My name is Luna and I’m a Stanford intern at Cooliris. You posted about PicLens recently – thank you! Since you use and enjoy PicLens, we thought you might appreciate an update on our product as we’re releasing some exciting new features today.

One of the biggest changes is that PicLens will now be known as Cooliris. Not only is the brand of our product undergoing change, but so is our product. We are very pleased to introduce Cooliris 1.8 with a few new additions that will make the lives of our users easier.

 

 

  • Sharing: Interact more within Cooliris by sharing cool content you find in Cooliris with your friends. All you need is their emails to send them the images and videos you find interesting. Your recipients don’t even have to be PicLens users to receive your content. And now with our new international content and Olympics channel, there’s even more to play with – share the gift of a 3D Cooliris Internet experience!
  • Cooliris for Developers: Enabling websites has just become the work of less than 10 minutes with Quick and Simple! Even sites with complex media are now better served with Full-Featured Cooliris support. Our new Developer Forum is a quick way to find the answers to all of your enabling questions. We’ve got you covered for all of your enabling needs.

You can download Cooliris 1.8 at http://cooliris.com and find out more about Cooliris for Developers at http://developer.cooliris.com. We hope you and your readers enjoy Cooliris. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to hearing your feedback.All the Best,
Luna and The Cooliris Team

 

 

About MD

Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.