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We know tons of people that prefer using third-party apps because the Twitter homepage is a bit too basic, but it looks like the company just threw that line of thinking right out the window. Dubbed ‘The New Twitter,’ the Twitter website has received a much-needed overhaul, and the end result is that it looks and feels very similar to Twitter for iPad…but in a browser. Get a look at it in action in the video above. The new design is rolling out to users as we speak.


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Facebook Places

So Facebook just launched Facebook Places, a feature that lets you check-in to local spots, and even lets others check you into those spots without your knowledge or approval by default. We figured some wouldn’t appreciate that, and would want to opt-out of some or all of the Facebook Places functionality, and we wanted to fill you in on just how to do it.

First, log in to Facebook and choose Privacy Settings from the Account menu at the top right. Click on Customize to get to where we need to go. The first area we want to check is called “Things I Share.” One of the categories is “Places I check in” - this is set to be visible to all your friends by default, and you can make that more or less restrictive in this area. Right below it is an option titled “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” which is also on by default. This lets anyone know you are at a location if they are also there, or nearby.

The last option is the one that lets others check you in against your will, and it’s enabled by default. Scroll down to the “Things Others Share” area, and you’ll see a Enable/Disable toggle for “Friends can check me in to Places.” If you don’t want others associating you with a location, you can turn that off here.

There you have it! We’re sure Places is going to be huge for Facebook, and that a lot of people will be joining in on the fun, but we also know there are a bunch of you that would rather not be involved, so we wanted to let you know how to shut it off.


While it’s nothing new to be able to follow your favorite tweets via SMS, those who haven’t yet signed away their free time to the popular social network will be able to get a taste of the service through their cell phones. The new feature is called Fast Follow, and works as simple as texting “follow [Twitter name]” to 40404.

This allows users to see what Twitter is about, and gives them the option to sign up by replying back to a tweet, “SIGNUP”. Easy, huh? What’s more is you can cancel tweets with a simple “off” command, and “on” to resume them.

This feature takes Twitter back to its origin when it was necessary to use SMS to update your Twitter. Hence the 140 character limit. While your at it, feel free to text “Follow GearLive” to 40404! Or, you can just follow us the traditional way.

Read More | Twitter Blog

Facebook addiction

To the artist, distractions are all too familiar. Often times rearing their ugly head under clever guises to fool you. The Victorian poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lady of Shallot, symbolized the quandary that writers and others of a creative nature face - to watch the world or to live within it. It used to be that the most prevalent form of distraction to the creator came in the form of booze, drugs, and other destructive vices. However, in the digital age distractions invade our personal space with the dexterity of pop up ads. Charming and inviting as they may be, submitting to these distractions sends productivity packing back to the assembly lines.

As I sit here writing this in between drags of a cigarette, I can’t help but think about all the distractions that come to light when working day in and day out on a computer. The main culprit (besides philosophy and smoking) is none other than Facebook (dun dun dunnn!). I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there that have fell prey to the time consuming nature of the social networking phenomena. To remedy my ailment I even went so far as to deactivate my Facebook. But it was short lived.

Click to continue reading My Struggle With Facebook Addiction


It seems that the social networking site is a lot more social than previously thought. That is, thanks to Ron Bowes of Skull Security, who created a 2.8GB torrent file containing the personal information of about 1/5th the total number of users on Facebook (500 million for those who haven’t heard.)

Ron accomplished this by crawling Facebook’s open access directory with a program that stored and filed each users data. The victims come in the form of FB users who have not changed their privacy settings to avoid search engine detection. The torrent contains the profile information of each stalked users most intimate details, such as addresses, phone numbers, and the URL to each of their profiles. Also, searching a logged user’s Facebook profile will allow you to search their friends list and find people despite their unique privacy settings.

Ron is under legal authority in how he obtained the information, so nothing illegal has been committed. But you may want to think twice about what you are sharing with others in your social network, before your entire life becomes public domain for some creep browsing torrents.

Read More | Thinq

The grips of social networking can prove dominating over every waking moment. Especially if you happen to make a living from behind the lucid glow of a computer monitor. Each moment of “let me check Facebook to see what’s new” can cost valuable minutes of time that add up to decreased productivity. Up until now Facebook has only given its users looking for a way out the option to deactivate their account, leaving each and every digital footprint left intact if they ever choose to sign in again. The temptation to “check Facebook really quick” still lingers.

However, the social networking giant has now implemented a new delete account option that allows users to completely free themselves of the addicting clutches of Facebooking at last! The thing is, it’s only available to a few select users as a test group. No word on whether or not this ‘nuclear option’ will become available to all users at some point. Our guess - not a chance.

Meantime, you can add a dash of Gear Live to your Facebook.

Read More | The Next Web via Engadget


Mark Zuckerberg announced on the official Facebook blog that the social network has reached 500 million users world wide. An incredible feat indeed, but If you think that 500 million is a lot now, then imagine just how many more will sign up after The Social Network hits theaters. Also announced was the new application “Facebook Stories”. This app allows the 500 million Facebook users to share stories of how Facebook has helped them to do something significant. “Stories” is meant to tell of the miraculous feats that can be accomplished through the open, ever changing social network that is Facebook. For instance “Ben, the 17 year old high school student”, used Facebook to get his network involved in a movement to save an old town theater in Kentucky. Now if only we can get the other 499,999,999 to stop posting meaningless drivel, and start taking advantage of using it as a source of grassroots empowerment. Perhaps Facebook Stories will spark this, but methinks it will become overrun with stories such as “Jake the 22 year old college student used Facebook to organize a fart.”

You can follow us on Facebook.

Read More | Facebook Blog

Happy Cog SXSW Failure

This cleverly named, yet light hearted panel of Greg Storey, Will Reynolds, Greg Hoy, Tracey Halvosen and was narrated by Kevin Hoffman. Panelists told stories that technology consultants must deal with every day through interactions with their clients.  Most of the stories told were a bit sensationalized around a client’s unrealistic
expectations, mostly in regard to time to complete a project or disagreements of which technology to base a project on.  It seems that clients always want it faster, and typically more complex that it needs to be - something that is typically mutually exclusive.

Consultants are not perfect, and testing new features or methods on a client may prove to be disastrous when you work outside of your scope of expertise.  For example, one consultant on the panel said that they could help a client deliver an email message to their customer, and took on the project of developing the mailing system in house.  Rather than send a unique email to each user, or blind copy the customers, every email address in the client database was sent within the “To” field, something that one of my companies has been guilty of, albeit during the early Web 1.0 days.  This made all of the other client email addresses viewable from any one of the customers who received the message.  For this example, the client re-issued an apology offer, along with a discounted offer and the consultant ultimately paid a professional email marketer to re-send this message using their technology and expertise to avoid the snafu of sharing private email addresses.  As an aside, I received some marketing emails from SXSW film presenters who too left email addresses visible in the “To” field.  That is unacceptable in 2010.

Click to continue reading SXSW 2010: We F*cked Up: Happy Cog and Friends Exploring Failures Together


Facebook Acquires FriendFeedThe social media Internets are all up in arms this afternoon with the news that FriendFeed has been acquired by Facebook. The full details were announced on the FriendFeed blog, and according to the press release, “all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.”

A lot of the recent Facebook feature additions have been borrowed from, or inspired by, FriendFeed, so the move only makes sense. It brings Facebook directly into the real-time web scene, as they take aim for Twitter.

There is a lot of speculation right now as to what exactly will become of the FriendFeed product, since there is quite a bit of overlap between what FriendFeed does and what Facebook does. Fans of FriendFeed fear that all the features will be rolled into Facebook, while FriendFeed ceases to exist. All we know for now is that “FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being. We’re still figuring out our longer-term plans for the product with the Facebook team.” Kind of ominous, I know.

Still, if handled right, Facebook may become the standard for both connecting and real-time sharable status updates. Full press release after the cut.

Click to continue reading Facebook buys FriendFeed


What the F*ck is Social Media: One Year Later, is a presentation by Marta Kagan depicting the impact of social media on our current culture. A great starting point for anyone just jumping into the social media bandwagon and a perfect way convince businesses to start taking social media seriously. The presentation explains that social media is about dialog with your consumers—it’s no longer a monologue. Filled with statics, metrics and tips, What the F*ck is Social Media One Year Later is a great presentation that gives some insight into the social media world in a clean, easy to understand manner.


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