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Fly Digital is 2! A few quick thank you’s

December 4th marked the 2-year anniversary of operation for Fly Digital.

The company has changed a lot in the last year most noticeably as it transitioned from representing me as a Sole Trader to changing into an Australian Pty Ltd Company.

I signed on my first full-time employee and grew our base of companies and specialists that design and development work is subcontracted out to.

I also took the decision to grow our skills and chase projects in the native app, mCommerce and mobile web areas to ensure we keep delivering solutions on the cutting edge of technology – the very ethos of what Fly Digital was conceived to represent.

The real purpose of this blog post however is to thanks the many people who helped get Fly Digital Pty Ltd to this point.

Firstly to our loyal clients who have been with the company from the first few months through to today – Perisher Ski Resort, Pacific Magazines, Rydges Hotels, Event Cinemas, QT Hotels and Stacks Finance. And to those clients who joined us this year, Zoe Foster, Absolute Tea, Susie Burrell, St Catherine’s School, Red Baron, and a few others who I can’t name publically until your awesome apps are launched early next year.

Secondly, our amazing team – Raf, Tony, Mandy, Jack, Anthony and BBA plus Patrick and the Apptastic crew.

Also, a big thanks to my friends and family who have supported and encouraged me through every step of the way, and finally to my partner and unofficial Business Manager Jacqui – without you this would never have happened. Your guidance, patience and seemingly unending and unconditional support is an inspiration to me every day.

Thanks to each and every one of you, and here’s to a third year of success for us all.

Instagram release profile badges for websites

Similar to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, Instagram have now launched profile badges that can be added to your website.

It’s simple to add, choose a badge style and the page generates the code that you can copy and paste into your website/blog.

To get a badge visit https://instagram.com/accounts/badges/ and login with your Instagram username and password.

 

How to fix your personal hotspot on a Telstra iPhone5

If you’ve bought a new iPhone5 and are struggling to get your personal hotspot working, or if you’ve recently reset all phone settings (maybe to troubleshoot iPhone5′s battery drain issues) then try this.

Tap the settings app and go to General > Cellular > Cellular Data Network.

If your APN (Access Point Name) is set to telstra.wap change this to telstra.iph. Then if your personal hotspot is on, turn it off then on again and see if that fixes your problem.

You don’t need to enter anything in the Username or Password fields as shown on the left.

Let us know how you go.

Why Facebook will fail within 5 years

Earlier in the year I read a very interesting article by Ross Dawson giving his thoughts on scenarios for the downfall of Facebook.

He stated that in 5 years time “the most likely outcome is that Facebook will still dominate” but gave 4 key reasons how, should that not be the case, Facebook could potentially fail, they were:

  1. issues relating to privacy and overcommercialisation
  2. an alternative becomes more popular (eg: Google+ or Socl)
  3. an alternative non-commercial social network becomes more popular (eg: http://diasporaproject.org/)
  4. a shift towards a mobile targeted social network

I wanted to add three more ways in which I see Facebook could potentially fall off the top spot:

a) Over-controlling the newsfeed

The primary way that users browse Facebook content – the newsfeed – has changed a lot over the years, and we’re now in a phase where Facebook have a lot more control over it than many people realise. Originally it was a chronological list of ‘events’ – ie: who did what, who said that, who liked something, etc. Basically a window into the lives of your friends, exactly what made Facebook popular in the first place. Today by default your newsfeed is set to show “Top Stories” which Facebook say are “the most interesting stories at the top of your news feed”. But how “most interesting” is determined is largely out of your control.

Some of the “most interesting stories” are in fact sponsored posts from companies that your friends like which raises the question of relevance. For example, as a vegetarian do you really want to see posts from McDonald’s in your news feed just because someone you went to school with ‘likes’ them on Facebook. Or when a friend ‘likes’ a political activist group that you don’t agree with do you really want to know about their rally in the local park this weekend?

We all joined Facebook because we love seeing what everyone else is up to. If that’s taken  away from us and Facebook start to make the call on what they think we want to see then that could start to drive people away.

b) Visual social networks – people love pictures

So I know Facebook own Instagram, but what’s been interesting is watching the growth of Instagram not just as a post-processing photo filter app but as a social network in its own right. The cameras on smartphones are so good these days that nobody really buys compact cameras anymore and having a place to quickly share snaps from your phone with your social network is going to become more and more important.

Facebook launched Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app recently but is this enough to stop a migration from Facebook to Instagram and other similar niche photo sharing networks? Uploading a photo to Facebook on your mobile is still a relatively clunky experience, it’s simple on Instagram.

Photo sharing is one of the most popular aspects of social media, so a network that provides a simple & easy to use way of doing this could well pull market share away from Facebook.

 c) Overly complex layouts

Take a look at your Facebook news feed page. There’s a lot going on. Links down the left, your apps, the news feed itself, birthdays & events, ads down the right, the live ticker, chat application, search, and a lot more.

What killed MySpace? Ok a few things, but it has a reputation for becoming way too cluttered and hard to use before everyone jumped ship.

Could Facebook’s need for driving revenue since the IPO mean the introduction of sponsored custom layouts, more integrated advertising such as over-the-page (OTP) rich-media ads or banners in the news feed? And if so, would updates like this eventually drive people away to simpler niche social networks to get away from all the noise?

Whatever happens, I don’t think you can say with any certainty whether Facebook will still be number one in 5 years time. However this is no time for them to rest on their laurels as like we all know things can (and do) change very quickly in the Digital space…

Ross Dawson’s original article can be seen here: http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2012/07/scenarios-for-the-downfall-of-facebook-and-a-new-landscape-for-social-networks.html

 

How to troubleshoot iPhone5′s battery life drain issues

If your new iPhone5 battery isn’t lasting as long as you’d expect and you’re constantly plugging it in just so you can stop it from dying during the day you’re not alone!

Many users are reporting problems with battery life on iPhone5. Whilst we’re waiting for Apple to acknowledge this fact and hopefully provide a firm solution, here are a few tips for how you may be able to improve your iPhone5′s battery life:

1) Reset All Settings

Tap SETTINGS > GENERAL > RESET > RESET ALL SETTINGS

This will reset general settings on your iPhone such as your saved wifi networks, passcode lock, homescreen image etc.

It won’t delete any of your data though (eg: your apps, music or photos).

I tried this on an iPhone5 earlier today and have noticed an improvement in battery life as a result, so this is the one I’d recommend you start with.

2) Full Battery Drain & Recharge

Try letting your iPhone5 battery drain fully to 0% so the phone switches itself off. Then connect it so it starts recharging and don’t disconnect until the battery is back up to 100% again.

3) Turn iCloud Safari Syncing Off

Tap SETTINGS > ICLOUD and swipe the ‘Safari’ option to OFF.

This will stop Safari from syncing your open tabs from all of your supported devices that have iCloud Safari preferences enabled.

(To use this feature, your Mac must have OS X Mountain Lion and Safari 6, and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch must be using iOS 6).

 

4) Full Restore To Factory Defaults

Finally, if all else fails, some users have reported that when restoring an iPhone5 to factory defaults and not backing up from a previous iPhone has shown improvements in battery life. This involves plugging your iPhone5 into iTunes and clicking the ‘Restore’ button.

It’s strongly advised that you backup your phone before doing this. However this also means your phone will be wiped of all data and you’ll have to start from scratch installing all your apps, syncing your music, etc. But if you’re at your wits end and have explored every other option it could be worth a try.

If you have any other tips for improving battery life let us know in the comments below.

 

Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app

If you’ve downloaded the new Facebook app there’s a new feature that’s easy to overlook but well worth a try – photo filters. Instagram users will be used to post-processing photos on their smartphones and parent company Facebook have added the same functionality to their own iOS app.

To try it, upload a photo to the app in the same way you normally would but then note the new icons that run across the bottom. Try tapping the magic wand icon (circled below):

The magic wand brings up an Instagram style selection of filter options. Tapping on each of the preview squares updates the main image.

The filters include various highlights, hues, contrasts and a grayscale option.

There is no ‘blur’ feature in this version though so fortunately there won’t be the same influx of tilt-shift or ‘miniaturised’ photos across Facebook that Instagram introduced to us (for the meantime at least).

 

The app update also features a well executed crop tool allowing you to drag the a shape around your photo and crop out any unwanted parts of the image.

The image can also be rotated 90 degrees at a time by tapping the round arrow at the bottom of the screen.

 

Google Gmail’s new ‘compose’ mail window

Google have just upgraded Gmail’s web client to allow you to compose an email far quicker and direct from your inbox view.

If you haven’t already tried it when you login to Gmail you should see a pop-up help window like this one:

You can opt to ‘try it now’ and use the new view or click ‘not now’ to stick to how Gmail currently works.

If you ‘try it now’ you’re taken through a quick help walkthrough and then can compose an email from the new pop-up overlay panel that looks like this:

A far quicker way to quickly compose an email, and I like the fact you can still see and click on mails in your inbox underneath without losing the email you were writing. Handy if you need to refer to another mail half-way through writing a new one.

Apple iPad Mini Announcement – LIVE BLOG

Welcome to the Fly Digital live blog of the Apple announcement on October 24th (October 23rd US) 2012. All times are Aus EDST.

4.01am: Tim Cook has just made his way onto the stage.

4.02am: We’re told the iPhone 5 was the fastest selling phone in history. Apple have made a video to back this up with lots of happy customers queueing at the Apple store in New York.

4.07am: There were 200million downloads of iOS6 in the first month (wow).

4.08am: 300 Billion messages have been sent via iMessage. That’s 28,000 per second. People don’t like calling each other any more.

4.10pm: 35 Billion apps have been downloaded from the App store representing a payout of 6.5 Billion dollars to developers.

4.15am: Welcome Phil Schiller to the stage to talk about some new hardware.

4.17am: The MacBook Pro is the best selling Mac machine (never knew that), and a new 13″ version is being released today.

4.21am: 7 hour battery life, retina display, lightning connector, power nap. The 2.5GHz dual-core i5 8GB RAM, 128GB flash version starts from $1699 (US).

4.26am: The first mention of “mini” … but it’s the new Mac Mini. Phil cracks a joke “you knew there’d be mention of something ‘mini’ in this presentation right?”.

4.29am: There’s a new iMac, the 8th generation of the flagship computer for Apple. Edge to edge glass, far thinner casing (5mm thick). Now that’s one thin desktop computer. Looks very sexy.

4.34am: The new iMac is 8lb lighter than the previous version, up to 768GB flash drive, up to 3TB HDD, Intel Quad Core i5 or i7, 21.5″ and 27″ versions.

4.36am: The iMac’s new Fusion Drive is a hybrid drive to enable faster access of data. Mountain Lion and base OSX apps are preloaded onto Fusion Drive if you choose that option. Claims to open files over 3x faster than standard HDD.

4.39am: 21.5″ iMac, 2.7GHz quad-core i5 starts at $1299. 27″, 2.9GHz starts at $1799, ships in December. Fly Digital will be getting a new present for Christmas methinks…

4.40am: And Tim Cook is back on stage, “and next I’d like to talk about iPad”.

4.40am: 100 Millionth iPad was sold last month (that’s over 2.5 years).

4.41am: iPad accounts for 91% of web traffic from Tablets. “There’s a simple reason for this”, says Tim Cook: “people love their iPads”. That got a chuckle from the audience.

4.45am: iBooks based textbooks are being used in over 2,500 schools in the US.

4.47am: And Phil Schiller is back on stage to talk more about iPad.

4.48am: The new 4th gen iPad has: A6X processor, 10-hour battery life, FaceTime HD camera, Expanded LTE (Telstra & Optus logos appeared on screen there), 2x faster Wi-Fi, lightning connector (with lightning to USB and SD connector options), black/white, 16GB Wi-Fi from $499, 16GB Wi-Fi and 4G from $629.

4.51am: The first mention of iPad Mini. The audience claps.

4.53am: The new iPad Mini is 7.2mm thick with a (7.9-inch diagonal) display. All software created for 3rd gen iPad works on iPad Mini.

4.59am: A comparison between the iPad and a “popular Android tablet” (Nexus 7) shows the iPad with a larger screen and larger area for content when browsing web pages.

5.01am: “Every inch an iPad” seems to be the new marketing line.

5.04am: We’re now watching a video on how the iPad Mini was conceived. Apple are doing a good job of reminding us this is a “condensed” iPad and a whole new device, and not just a “smaller” iPad.

5.07am: 16GB Wi-Fi version start at $329 (US) $369 (AUS). Pre-order October 26th. Wi-Fi ships November 2nd for Australia (available at 8:00 a.m in store).

5.09am: The new iPad Mini ad is pretty cute – two people playing “chopsticks” on a piano app side by side, iPad 3 on the left, iPad Mini on the right. Clever. That’s Phil’s spot finished, and Tim Cook is back.

5.12am: “This has been a truly prolific year of innovation for Apple”. Tim Cook thanks his teams for their work this year.

5.13am: And we’re done. Tim Cook thanks everyone for attending and the presentation finishes.

5.14am: www.apple.com is updated with the new iPad Mini

iPad Mini – Apple have got “a little more to show you”

Barely weeks since the iOS6 and iPhone5 announcements Apple are once again causing ripples across the Internet with more rumours of new products.

This time it’s the much anticipated iPad Mini – rumoured to be a 7.5-inch device to go head to head with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen size.

Apple are hosting an event next week (23rd in the US, 24th early morning here in Australia) and the iPad Mini is widely expected to feature. The invitation read: “We’ve got a little more to show you”.

It could have a price point around the $250-$300 mark.

Whatever gets announced we’ll let you know about it here.

Is the media making Trolling worse? How to stop the Trollstrollin

By Stefan Drury, Owner, Fly Digital Pty Ltd

The media’s current obsession with “Trolls” is doing more to encourage copycat behaviour rather than highlighting what was already a well known but relatively small issue within digital media.

This morning I read “Confessions of a Troll: Trolling is an art” on the Sydney Morning Herald website. The article is one of many recent reports in the media hyping up the subject of trolling even suggesting there are those people that believe trolling is “a threat to civilisation”.

As someone who’s been online since the days of Netscape Navigator I’ve seen my fair share of trolling. Back then we just used to call it “people being idiots”. It existed back in the days of bulletin boards and forums. It existed before Facebook or Twitter had been invented.

How did people deal with it back then? We ignored it. Marked it as “spam” or simply moved on and didn’t give that user our attention. That usually stopped it. Sure, today it has a fancy name but don’t be fooled, the practise is not new, it’s never been cool, and it does not deserve this much attention.

I’m not suggesting that the act of sending abusive, hurtful or aggresive messages to others via Social Media is acceptable. Nor am I saying bullying in any form (on or offline) should simply be accepted. What I am saying, however, is the way the media are hyping up the practise by latching on to the term “Trolling” is making the situation worse in my opinion, sensationalising something that should be dealt with subtly and strongly but not in front of a watching world.

Now every Australian with a Twitter account has been educated to the whats, whys and hows of making offensive and often hurtful remarks online and thanks to the Australian media they now have a fancy name to call themselves too.