AOL said Sunday night that it will acquire The Huffington Post for $315 million, which will place Arianna Huffington at the helm of all of AOL's media properties as editor in chief.
Boards of both companies have approved the transaction, AOL said in a press release. About $300 million will be paid by AOL in cash.
With the move, Huffington will oversee all of AOL's editorial content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, MapQuest, and other properties.
Although The Huffington Post is private, the site records 25 million unique visitors per month, generating an undisclosed number of pageviews. The site also generates 4 million comments per month, according to AOL. Combined, the AOL properties will deliver 270 million visitors per month around the world, with 117 million in the U.S., AOL claimed.
Update: Due to user backlash, Facebook has suspended this feature for now. One reason is that, while it is opt-in to give this information to an app, you have to make that decision before you get to actually see what the app does, during the install process.
This weekend, Facebook updated its developer blog with some new abilities for developers of Facebook apps. The biggest change is the ability from those apps to now access user contact information like home addresses and phone numbers. This data used to be kept confidential from apps, but now they will be able to access it if a user grants that permission. There are some obvious uses for that, such as a shopping app which fetches your address for shipping purposes. Apps will have to explicitly ask for user permission, which will appear as a new entry on the Request for Permission screen, and they will be expected to follow Facebook's rules of conduct. The safest course of action, of course, is to not add your contact information to Facebook in the first place.
Read More | Facebook
Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, has issued an apology to customers in Japan by way of a YouTube video today. The apology is in relation to a New Years deal that ended up being a catastrophe. Food delivery business Bird Cafe has been featured on Groupon in the past, but the restaurant was overwhelmed by the volume of orders that came with the New Years osechi meal. Many meals were delivered late, while others were on time, but in "terrible condition." Groupon reimbursed all customers for the purchased and apologized in an email, but it's great to see Mason step up and personally apologize on video. Leaders of other companies might take notice--this is how you step up and own a mistake your company made.
Groupon is in the process of educating its merchants on "capacity planning" to avoid similar problems in the future.
Are you Twitter obsessed? Ever fantasize about working for the microblogging giant? Mashable has put together a how-to guide on how to land a job at Twitter. They give insight on whatit's like to work at Twitter, what kind of jobs you can find, and other tips.
Read More | Yahoo!
Looks like Google agrees with the vast majority of us as it pertains to Facebook's insane policy where they will allow you to import the data of your contacts, but refuse to let you get that data back out of the service. When you attempt to export your contact data from Google to Facebook, you get the warning above, where Google lets you know that once you export your data to Facebook, it is stuck there, and that they "strongly disagree" with the practice. They don't stop you, of course, but they do make it known what's going on, while Facebook tries to hide it.
Read More | Google Contacts Export
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.
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
It has just been announced that Amazon has purchased the vastly popular Internet shoe retailer Zappos for $850 million. The sale, confirmed in a letter sent from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to his employees, was for $807 million in Amazon stock, plus $40 million in cash and restricted stock.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has also given some feedback on the acquisition as part of a video that he put out today, embedded above.
You can check out the full press release, after the break.
Make no mistake, we are huge fans of TripIt, and have been using the trip managing site for two years now. I’d always wondered when I would be able to pay for the excellent service, and that answer came with today’s launch of TripIt Pro. TripIt Pro, first and foremost, stays on top of your flight plans and sends you text messages about flight delays, cancellations, and even gate changes (which is awesome.) In the event that a delay will mean you missing a connecting flight, TripIt will even let you know of alternate flights that will get you to your destination, including flight status and what seats are available. As you can see, TripIt is definitely trying to bring it with TripIt Pro.
According to the company, another much-requested feature has been added, that being a point tracker that keeps track of frequent flyer miles and hotel points that you rack up during travel. It’s nice to have that in your travel dashboard. Lastly, there is the Inner Circle, which basically let’s you set other specific TripIt members as contacts who can always view any of your itineraries, helpful for those of us with spouses or office assistants, where it would be helpful for them to just get those details without any action needed to be taken on your own.
TripIt Pro will cost $99 per year, and at that price, is well worth it if you travel often. Even better, though, is that from now through July 31, you can sign up and pay just $49 per year. If you sign up now, you will stay on a $49 per year price for every renewal period, until you cancel the service.
Read More | TripIt Pro
Kris Krug is here at Gnomedex to talk to us about taking better pictures. He goes into tips:
- Light in the Eyes: You want to try and get light in the eyes.
- Evaluate the Light: Sun? Shade? Incandesent? Halogen? Look around and find highlights, spotlights, and shadows, and then put your subject in good light. Look for reflection and light in the eyes, and if possible, use lamps.
- To shoot in low light: Turn your ISO UP, Increase your aperture (make number lower), decrease your shutter speed, focus manually if autofocus fails you, tinker with manual settings/metering, brace on things (tripod, wall, gear bag)
- Reflections are Yummy: Look for puddles, glass, metal, shiny floors that may have reflections in them, and then take an image of that reflection.
- Focus on a theme: Black and white, portraits, funny faces, laptop stickers, over-exposed. This will give you a goal.
- Learn Your Camera: Isolate the variables like depth of field, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. ALso, Tinker, tweek, shoot a bunch of photos, share them, get feedback, and feel free to change up your style. Share your gear by finding someone you can test out lenses, flashes, etc. with. Last, but certainly not least, set the white balance.
- Take a look at your background: No trees sprouting out of peoples heads, less busy puts more focus on the subject.
- Fill the frame: Hold your hand out, and if your subject isn’t bigger than your hand, you are too far away.
- Get High! Swing Low: People look better from above, so stand on things, lay down, get the angle, and change your perspective. This is why people are always taking MySpace photos by holding their phone above themselves.
- Tips for being a good subject: Laugh, smile, have fun. Make eye contact with the camera. Stand in the light.
- Camera buying advice: Lenses are more important than the body. You should spend 2/3 of your camera budget on your lens. Don’t fall for megapixels. Look for manual controls. Cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Fuji are great.
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