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Archive for March, 2009

Earth Hour This Saturday

March 27th, 2009 No comments

VOTE EARTH

Earth hour 2009 is this Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 pm.

To participate, turn off your lights for one hour and help Mother Earth fight climate change.

Earth hour started in Sydney in 2007. More than two million Sydney businesses and households turned off their lights for one hour. This helped to send a powerful global message that it’s possible to take action on climate change. In just one year, Earth hour has reached more than 50 million people in 35 countries across 18 time zones, and the campaign shifted from a Sydney event to a global sustainability movement. In 2009, the goal is to reach one billion people in 1000 cities worldwide.

For more information, visit earthhour.org

btw, all year around you could help save energy & reduce your electricity bill using Snap’s CO2Saver. It is a lightweight program that manages your computer’s power usage when it’s idle, saving energy and decreasing the demand on your power utility. Download it here.

Mother Earth will thank you.



This Blog Has A New RSS Feed Address

March 25th, 2009 No comments

I have recently migrated my feedburner account to use a Google account. As a result the RSS feed url has changed to:

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/jaymeydad

If you are a subscriber please make sure to update your RSS reader with this new address, and if you are not, you might want to give it a try and subscribe to it. For an unlimited time, it is free.



Big News – Free Hebrew For iPhone Is Available Once Again

March 23rd, 2009 36 comments


During the past month there have been a few important developments related to the availability of free Hebrew fonts and localized interface for iPhone and iPod Touch. First, HebDev, a group that developed a popular free open source solution suspended their project, leaving users with only one alternative – pay about $60 to a competitor. Second, Apple released iPhone 3.0 to developers and based on early previews, it looks like Hebrew support will finally be part of it. However, this version will become available to the public only in the summer, so this does not help those who have recently bought an iPhone or iPod Touch or those who have upgraded to firmware 2.2.1.

But today a new solution called OpenHebrew was released to the public. OpenHebrew is a package of basic Hebrew support (fonts and keyboard but not a localized interface) and it supports iPhone and iPod Touch running firmware 2.2 & 2.2.1. The creators used the Hebrew translation made by project iVrit (fully localized interface) and made it possible to install the iVrit package from the same source.

Installing OpenHebrew requires that you have a jailbroken device. If you have not done it, download QuickPwn and use it to jailbreak (5 min task even for non-techies). Then do the following:

Step 1 – Launch Cydia

Step 2 – add this new source: http://tom.zickel.org/openhebrew

Step 3 – Pick one of the two options:

  • To install a fully localized Hebrew interface – search for the package iVrit and install it
  • To install Hebrew fonts & keyboard only – search for the pacakge OpenHebrew and install it

Personally I prefer the second option which keeps the iPhone interface in English but properly handles right to left display of everything within applications that is written in Hebrew, like email subject lines and content, iPod song titles and artist names, text messages, contacts, etc.

Kudos to the iVrit team and to Tom Zickel at OpenHebrew (and in english) who worked hard on this and made Hebrew free to all iPhone & iPod Touch users once again. You can follow OpenHebrew on twitter as well.

Now, show some digg love.



Twitter – No Longer A Toddler

March 21st, 2009 No comments

I read earlier today that Twitter is turning three today. As a parent to three young boys, one of them is a few months younger than Twitter, I had some thoughts on twitter’s development during his first two years and how similar they were to the first two years of a baby that grows to be a toddler.

Just like every baby in its first year, very few understood what twitter meant when he made his first voices and mumbles. But this fact did not stop many to get impressed, excited, happy, loving and forgiving.

During the second year, an age referred also as ‘the terrible twos’, twitter was really trying to test the boundaries and our (the users) patience. He misbehaved by going down frequently and acting immaturely. But at the same time, he had these magic moments that created huge excitement among us.

And as twitter approached the age of three, things have become much better. He behaved much better & didn’t go offline that often, and he became really friendly and played along really really well with others (using its robust API).

Twitter – it seems like you are growing really fast these days, faster than many other toddlers. Do you feel ready for kindergarten? and if so, which one is it going to be – this one or this one?

Categories: Social Media, Twitter Tags:

Social Media Services As A Growing Source Of Traffic

March 12th, 2009 2 comments

My blog gets a fairly small number of visitors and page views every month. But just like TechCrunch, Fred Wilson and Sean Percival, I decided to take a look at my Google Analytics account and see how much link love social media services like Twitter, Facebook and others send here.

Below is February 09 referring sites data and a couple of observations:

  • February was not a usual month for this blog in term of traffic. At the begining of the month, my Tropicana’s poor re-branding post was picked by FastCompany and the blog recieved (and still continues to) large number of readers.
  • As pointed out by the bloggers I mentioed above, social media services are becoming major traffic drivers in the overall mix of referring sites. Specifically in my blog’s case, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Ginx (a Twitter interface), Facebook and Outbrain appear high on the list. In addition, their positions improved compared to previous months.
  • Users referred by social media services seems to be of “better quality” than users referred by Google. These users tend to spend more time and often read more than the specific page they land on. In addition, a smaller percentage of them, compared to users referred by search engines, hit the browser’s Back button immediately after seeing the landing page (bounce rate %).

I will keep following whether this trend continues to grow over time and post about it.

meydad_com - referring sites feb 2009

How To Add Signature Right After Reply In Entourage

March 12th, 2009 99 comments

By default, Microsoft Entourage automatically adds a signature at the very bottom of an email thread. I reply to dozens of emails every day and for a long time I used to cut the signature from the bottom and paste it to the correct place.

You might ask yourself how come I kept doing this. Very simple, I just could not find the right setting under the Preferences pane that would change the behavior. There is also no setting related to the positioning of the signature under the “Signatures”window to address this.

I finally found the time and did some online research and was able find the answer. I figured others could benefit from this tip as well. So, here it is. To get Entourage automatically add the signature at the top of the reply/forward, make sure you have the setting as in the screenshot below.

Alternatively, you could upgrade to Outlook which is a much better email client for Mac and is part of the new Office 2011, or use a webmail like Gmail.

Microsoft Entourage - adding signiture at top

Reflections from Berry Sakharof’s Show In Los Angeles

March 11th, 2009 2 comments

Berry Sakharof performed last night at the Avalon Hollywood club in Los Angeles and gave a great 2 hour rock concert, and as in every Berry’s album and live shows, it was decorated with fantastic electronica (thanks to Gidi Raz on samplers) and some middle-eastern motifs.

Few other things to mention:
– Adi Renert can play keyboards for rockers and not just for mainstream artists. Very refreshing.
– Aviv Cohen is an amazing young drummer. I was really impressed with him.
– Oren Lotenberg is like an all around basketball player when it comes to guitars. You want to have someone like him on your band.
– At the age of 51 Berry is still miles ahead of many young Israeli artists in his ability to write, compose, and perform fantastic Israeli rock.

Below is one clip of Kama Yossi (with a talented trumpet player I can not remember his name named Lior Ron, who saw this clip on YouTube and contacted me) and I have more on my YouTube page, including Birthday (with Infected Mushrooms). Too bad my flip camera could not capture the great sound quality this venue provides.

The additional clips are on this playlist.

Why Twitter Should Not Sell Itself To Google

March 11th, 2009 No comments

Despite what a few bloggers have posted lately, despite the fact Google wants to buy Twitter very much, despite Twitter’s speculated price tag, I am calling the Twitter executive team not to sell itself to Google’s.

If Twitter will be part of Google it is probably going to go down at the same time Gmail and other Google services go down (you can check status here). This would leave millions of folks in the twittersphere with no effective tool to immediately post their rants.

Biz, Ev, You have built the internet’s freedom of speech best tool. Don’t do it.

gmail-is-down

Topify Upgrades Twitter’s Weakest Link

March 4th, 2009 5 comments

Arik Fraimovich (the co-creator of QassamCount which I blogged about in the past) together with Ouriel Ohayon (VC & Blogger) launched a very useful service for Twitter called Topify. It is an improved new follower email alert that addresses one of Twitter’s weaknesses – getting bio information and other useful stats (following/followers counts) inside an email and being able to follow back using a simple “reply”. Topify also makes it possible to reply to direct messages (DM) using email. I signed up earlier today (super easy & friendly sign up) and already noticed the benefit. You should do the same. More info on how it works here or on TechCrunch and here is Ouriel’s announcement.

Related to that, I was thinking how come Twitter has not released this feature and kept their new follower email so basic. After all, you would expect that with all the hype and buzz around Twitter and the almost-endless resources they have ($55M in funding to date), the Twitter team would be releasing new features constantly. So, I put this short list of pros and cons and this is what I came up with:

A: Why twitter should have implemented improved email notifications long ago:

  1. Twitter’s basic new follower email has been a major user pain and many users have requested this feature. Listening to your users & enhancing your product to address their needs is important and it creates an engaged user base.
  2. The current email notification is actually hurting Twitter since it is not optimized to help users grow their network. Users don’t check their email constantly. Even when they do that, they don’t immediately take the necessary action. Many of them are limited in time, attention or don’t have the right device (ie a smartphone) that makes it easy to visit their new follower’s twitter page, read the bio located on the right side bar, and then, log into your Twitter account and follow back. This is a very long and cumbersome process which leads to poor conversion.

B: Why twitter has not implemented improved email notifications:

  1. Keeping the product feature-lite encourages more & more 3rd party developers to use the Twitter API and it cements Twitter in the center of the eco-system.
  2. The current basic email alert forces users to visit the twitter website in order to get information about the new follower. This helps increase the number of page views & unique users Twitter.com gets. After all, if the entire Twitter usage comes from 3rd party apps & clients, how can user-rating services like Compete & Quancast measure Twitter’s growth?
  3. Investing resources in email related features is a low priority to Twitter (same as SMS these days) since they see their future in its robust API.

My wild guess is that the folks at Twitter deliberately chose (B) despite the fact it makes their product inferior, and that they will continue to do that until they establish their web property as a top destination site and get bought by Google.  Once this happens they won’t have to worry about how to position the company for an exit and then they will start releasing new features like crazy, including one similar to Topify. They might even acquire Topfiy like they did in the past with other missing features (Summize the Twitter Search company).

What do you think?