November 2012

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.