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February 13, 2012

Moving Day for BaltTech

moving-day-image.jpg


We have come to the end of the road for this blog template. No longer will I be using Movable Type to craft my pearls of journalism for the blog-reading masses.

Starting early tomorrow, we're switching BaltTech over to the Sun's proprietary content management system, and my blog will look different to you -- and I'll have to learn a whole new way of creating BaltTech content. You won't have to do anything different -- the web address will remain www.baltimoresun.com/balttech.

But! For diligent Baltimore tech scene followers, a word of advice: I'll be I am updating this post with a link to this old blog format, which will be turning into an archive of sorts. This content will continue to stay live on the Internet, but when you search for "BaltTech" on Google and type in BaltimoreSun.com/BaltTech, you'll get the new blog layout -- not this one. For the historians among us, if you want to find stuff I wrote about the Baltimore tech scene over the past three years, you'll need to search on this site here, because the new site will not have these posts in its archive.

But, the good news: I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be covering tech, entrepreneurs, innovation and whatever else interests me (or my editors).

And follow me on Twitter here!

And friend-up BaltTech on Facebook here!

Seeya' around.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 2:08 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

February 7, 2012

Facebook deletes photo of artful nude pregnant woman on Disney-owned parent-blogging site's FB page

Avert your eyes! Avert your eyes!

This photo was apparently deemed offensive by Facebook, and unilaterally taken down from a page operated by Babble, a popular online site for parents that's owned by Disney, according to Babble.

In a blog post, Babble explains:

Facebook’s community standards specifically state, “We have a strict “no nudity or pornography” policy. Any content that is inappropriately sexual will be removed. Before posting questionable content, be mindful of the consequences for you and your environment.” And today they proved that their definition of nudity is even stricter than ever thought. Earlier this afternoon, a photo of a beautifully adorned pregnant belly was removed from the site because – evidently – it involved unacceptable nudity in the form of a painted breast.

Babble’s social media manager, Andrea Zimmerman, posted the photo in question (above) to our Facebook page a few hours ago, and it received several hundred views before it was deleted by Facebook without warning. This has happened once or twice before to photos on Babble’s account, and Facebook has responded by sending a message warning that if their guidelines are violated too many times, the account will be deleted.

I have asked Facebook to comment. Waiting to hear back.

Update, 5:30 pm: A Facebook spokesperson sends along the following comment:

While we can’t comment on individual cases, Facebook has a strict policy around the prohibition of nudity on the site. This mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television, and which places limitations on nudity due to the presence of minors on Facebook.

In the meantime, is this photo -- a giraffe drawn on a woman's pregnant body -- offensive to you? Are there, perchance, other things you see on Facebook that are more offensive, yet never censored?

Just trying to spark a conversation.....


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 3:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

NFL's online copyright monitor vendor threw flag too soon on Chrysler ad

Yesterday, you may have followed the online back-and-forth here on the much-talked-about Chrysler ad, " Halftime in America," featuring Clint Eastwood. It was knocked off YouTube for several hours yesterday, with only a short notice from YouTube on the site saying they had received a copyright complaint from NFL Properties.

But the NFL said they quickly told YouTube the Chrysler ad was OK.

The NFL said they did not complain about the video. YouTube said they only take down videos when they receive a complaint. Chrysler was just wondering what happened to this video that they had spent a ton of money on, and why it was no longer on YouTube.

So here's the update. An NFL spokesman tells me today that a third-party vendor the NFL uses for "content identification services" had "mistakenly sent a take-down notice." (They declined to name the vendor.)

Says NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy: "We asked Google to reinstate it immediately, which it did. Our office did not object to the ad or its placement online. (It was on NFL.com yesterday after the game – and continues to be – as part of content along with all the ads that appeared in the game)."

So here's the key part: "The vendor thought the ad was part of the halftime programming, which is protected, and not a commercial."

So the vendor thought Chrysler had taken a portion of the NFL's halftime programming and put it on its own Youtube page. Ooops. Inadvertent flag on the play. Play on.

In a way, Chrysler's ad people should be commended for making such a slick ad that it got confused for NFL programming. NFL programming is very well done.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:23 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

"App Economy" created nearly 500,000 jobs: study

A new study from TechNet, a bipartisan advocacy group in Washington for technology companies, says that the growth of "apps" -- from Facebook games to iPhone apps -- has generated nearly 500,000 jobs in the United States since 2007.

This study from TechNet is among the first to grapple with job creation tied to apps that include both mobile and Facebook platforms. Last fall, the University of Maryland released a study that estimated that the Facebook App Economy alone generated 183,000 new jobs.

The TechNet study breaks down the U.S. by state and region, in terms of app job density -- apps created about 466,000 jobs in the country.

(Baltimore accounts for nearly 1 percent of App Economy jobs, per the study. You'll find that number in the full report, attached below.)

Top U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Percentage of App Economy Jobs

New York-Northern N.J.-Long Island………………….. 9.2%

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont………………………. 8.5%

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara……………………… 6.3%

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue……………………………….. 5.7%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana………………….. 5.1%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria………………………. 4.8%

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet……………………………….. 3.5%

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy……………………………… 3.5%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta………………………… 3.3%

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington……………………………… 2.6%

Top Ten States for App Economy Jobs (Percentage)

California…………………………………………………… 23.8%

New York…………………………………………………… 6.9%

Washington………………………………………………… 6.4%

Texas……………………………………………………….. 5.4%

New Jersey………………………………………………… 4.2%

Illinois……………………………………………………….. 4.0%

Massachusetts…………………………………………….. 3.9%

Georgia……………………………………………………… 3.7%

Virginia……………………………………………………… 3.5%

Florida………………………………………………………. 3.1%

Below is the TechNet study:

TechNet App Economy Jobs Study


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:03 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

February 6, 2012

NFL asks Google to reinstate Chrysler's "Halftime in America" ad

Just got word from an NFL spokesman that the NFL did not ask Google/Youtube to take down Chrysler's popular "Halftime in America" commercial, featuring Clint Eastwood.

From NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy moments ago, via email to me: "The NFL did not file a copyright complaint about this ad with Google. We have asked Google to reinstate the ad immediately. Google is looking into why the ad was removed."

I reported early this morning that the video was blocked on Chrysler's Youtube page, with a notification to viewers that the NFL had filed a copyright claim.

Indeed, the video is now live on Chrysler's Youtube page. See below:

So what happened? Chatter around the web suggests that Youtube may have a very finicky automatic copyright detection filter that went a little over-aggressive today. But I'm waiting to see the official explanation from Google/Youtube.

Update, 4:30 pm:A YouTube spokesperson emailed me to say the following:

YouTube expeditiously removes content when it receives a copyright notification from copyright owners, or from third party agencies operating on their behalf. We reinstate content when we receive a retraction from the party who originally submitted the notification. The video has been reinstated.

I replied to the spokesperson:

The NFL says they never filed a complaint about the video -- even though the video screen said there was a complaint from NFL Properties LLC. Was it taken down due to some type of auto filtering technology that YouTube uses?

Your statement doesn't really say what happened in this case. Thanks.

The YouTube spokesperson's response:

No, a video comes down when we receive a copyright complaint about a specific video from the copyright holder, or from the third party agency that they designate to make such complaints on their behalf.

Then I ask back:

So did the NFL's third party agency make the complaint? Because the NFL itself is telling me they didn't complain.

Are you confused yet? Cuz I am. How did YouTube knock off this Chrysler video for several hours today?


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:09 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

Youtube blocks Chrysler's "Halftime in America" commercial for NFL copyright claim

I missed the Clint Eastwood/Chrysler ad spot last night during the Super Bowl halftime, but many raved about it. So I just tried to pull it up on Youtube and was blocked. Apparently, the NFL has made a copyright claim against Chrysler and the commercial, per the message that popped up.

Update, 11:15 am: The NFL just told me they did NOT file a copyright claim. It asked Google to repost the Chrysler ad. Something happened on Google's end to take this video down.
youtube-chrysler-nfl.png I watched the commercial, which is still on Youtube on another official Chrysler account, and my layman eyes and ears had trouble picking out the alleged copyright violation(s). Is it because there was a reference to a football game, during the actual Super Bowl? I don't know.

Any copyright lawyers out there want to share some insight? I have a request for comment in to the NFL for some clarification on what's happening here.

P.S. The "Halftime in America" video doesn't even play on Chrysler's own website, because Chrysler linked to the Youtube video, which no longer plays.

This is unfortunate for Chrysler because it is paying for paid ad links on Google, which is how I found the video on Chrysler's site. Clearly, Chrysler had high, viral video hopes for this Eastwood ad. The ad copy on the site says: Just One Person can start a chain reaction that reaches thousands. Share this video and watch as it spreads across the country.

Update: 8:20 am: I've been in touch with both NFL and Chrysler spokespeople and they're both researching what's happening, before making any public statements. 

 


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 6:49 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

February 2, 2012

What the Facebook IPO filing misses: age demographics

I keep hearing in my travels that the young folk (teens and tweens) are using Tumblr alot. Tumblr, indeed, is on a roll.

In the context of Facebook's IPO filing, I went looking for age demographics in its S-1 filing with the SEC.

Guess what? It wasn't there.

With 800+ million worldwide users, Facebook is gargantuan. But the social networking giant hardly gave insight into the demographic undercurrents driving the website's growth, in terms of age.

We've seen some of these graphics and stats elsewhere on the Web before. Like here, for 2010 estimates. And here, for 2011 estimates.

If I were investing in Facebook, I'd like to see more reporting on their age demographic trends. How fast are their various age segments growing? What is user activity among 18-25 year-olds like? What is your most engaged age demographic from a daily-average/monthly-average user perspective?

The only on-point statement I found the filing that addresses the younger demographic is the following: "We also believe that younger users have higher levels of engagement with the web and mobile devices in general and with Facebook specifically. We anticipate that demographic trends over the long term may contribute to growth in engagement as a greater number of users will come from demographic groups that have grown up with the web and mobile devices and who spend more time online every day." (page 46)

To me, one of the biggest competitive threats to Facebook is what online tools a 13 year old is using today to share their lives with friends.

Back in 2008, this chart I found on Myspace and other networks showed that 0-17 year olds were its largest demographic. Next largest? 45-54. And women dominated the site more than men.

AOL was once pretty omnipotent. But guess what? A new generation adopted new tools and new sites. Sure, people are still using AOL (dialup, no less), but AOL is a shadow of its former self.

Another random thought: Facebook has grown, in large part, thanks to women users. Look at the user stats from the above link (yes, this one). There are more women using Facebook than men in every age category.

That's pretty impressive. Women control many household purse strings. They are financial decision makers. I'm not saying this with any gender bias. But women increasingly really are decision makers, and advertisers recognize that. This is a feather in Facebook's cap.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:21 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Social Media
        

February 1, 2012

Facebook files for IPO, seeks to raise $5 billion

At 4:47 p.m. today, Facebook Inc. filed its S-1 registration statement as it seeks to go public and raise $5 billion.

Some key facts: from the filing:

* The Web 2.0 company has 845 million monthly active users. It had revenues last year of $3.7 billion, compared to $1.9 billion in 2010.

* It had a profit last year of $1 billion last year, compared to $606 million in 2010.

* Facebook has $3.9 billion in cash in the bank.

* Founder Mark Zuckerberg controls 36 percent of Class A shares. Baltimore's T. Rowe Price Group, a mutual funds investor, holds 5.2 percent of shares.

* Here's a monster number: 483 million daily active users (DAUs) on average in December 2011, an increase of 48% as compared to 327 million DAUs in December 2010.

* Zyngaville! Facebook says its relationship with Zynga accounted for 12 percent of its revenues. A healthy amount, but not surprising.

* The filing says Facebook plans to list its stock either on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange (You mean they haven't decided yet?)

* VERY interesting: Because Zuckerberg controls so many shares, the company is "not required to have a majority of our board of directors be independent, nor are we required to have a compensation committee or an independent nominating function."

* Total cost and expenses for running Facebook quadrupled to nearly $2 billion in 2011, from $515 million in 2009.

* Here's a chart of Facebook's history, from the filing:


facebook-history-chart.PNG


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 4:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Entrepreneurs & Risk Takers, Social Media, West Coast
        
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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
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