Search Google Docs & Gmail Simultaneously with New Labs Feature

first_imgThere’s a new feature available in Gmail Labs that will help make Google serve as your one-stop shop for cloud-based communications and file storage. Already the service is letting users use Google Docs as a Web drive, and now the company is bringing Docs and Gmail even closer.Rather than treating Gmail and Docs as two completely separate places for file storage, the new labs feature brings the two services into a common search from the Gmail interface.The blog post on the Gmail Blog describes the obvious scenario quite aptly:Where is that presentation? Was it attached to an email? Or in Google Docs? If you’re not sure, you may end up searching several places with the same query in order to find it. With the new “Apps Search” lab, we just made that all a bit simpler. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Now, the search bar in Gmail allows you to search both Gmail and Google Docs at the same time. While it’s a simple addition, it’s a very useful addition. We don’t know about you, but for us Gmail acts like another hard drive, with thousands of emails and attachments galore in the archives. And with the integration of Google apps like Gtalk, Calendar and Docs, Gmail serves as a sort of dashboard, an always-open tab in our browser. In addition to the search feature, Google notes that it will now correct mistyped searches, just as it does with its standard Web search. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Google#search#web mike melanson Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Loyalty Card Company Adds High-Powered Check-in Capabilities

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces marshall kirkpatrick What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts center_img Tags:#Data Services#Internet of Things#mobile#news#NYT#web Novitaz, makers of a line of customer loyalty cards powered by film-thin batteries that enable location tracking, announced today that the company has joined the Dash7 Alliance, a consortium of companies using a wireless data transmission technology that allows data to be sent from indoors, through cement or water, and bent around impermeable metal surfaces.The organizations say that the technologies brought together will allow everything from opt-in personalized commercial offerings pushed to a customer’s phone to automatic check-ins on popular location-based social networks – all powered by a smart card in your wallet. That sounds substantially more frictionless than requiring that an app be running on your phone, with the trade-off being the persistent passive tracking.Novitaz calls itself “the first company to enable a Digital In-store Ad Network,” and says its data acts as “a rich platform for customer identification and interactive commerce.”The prospect of a low-powered smart card broadcasting my location to trusted organizations sounds fairly appealing, and as a technology that can be baked into existing loyalty programs it sounds like a viably fast path to mainstream adoption of commercial location-tracking technologies. Indoor-capable, unafraid of cement, water and metal? Bring it on, location platform.Dash7 is an organization that’s very big on the Internet of Things, the vision of a world filled with network-connected physical devices, publishing data to the Web for analysis and interaction.Now we’ll just have to remember to take those smart cards out of our wallets and purses when we don’t want to be tracked around town. Can companies offer a sufficiently compelling value proposition to persuade consumers to make that trade-off? Discounts in exchange for your purchasing data were an easy story for the loyalty card industry to sell – but how many of you put your real personal information into that system? That might change with a location-tracking smart card. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

85% of Firefox 4 Users Use Add-Ons Says Mozilla

first_imgklint finley How does that compare with other browsers? BrowserFrame points to a Chromium developer blog post that reveals that as of December 2010 about 1/3 of Chrome users had at least one extension installed.I don’t have any stats handy, but I suspect the numbers for Internet Explorer will be very small. In an interview with ReadWriteWeb at MIX, VP of the Internet Explorer team Dean Hachamovitch told us that Microsoft’s research indicated that only a tiny minority of Internet users use browser plugins.Mozilla didn’t say how many Firefox 3.X users are using add-ons, but given the quick adoption of Firefox 4 and the current estimates of overall browser share, I think it’s safe to say that browser plugin user have graduated from tiny minority status to significant minority status.Of course, Firefox 5 was just released yesterday, so who knows how that will change the equation.(Hat tip Mike Loukides) According to a post on the Mozilla Add-Ons Blog, 85% of Firefox 4 users have at least one add-on installed. The average user has five add-ons installed. The figure doesn’t include the Personas feature and excludes add-ons bundled with other software that users haven’t actively chosen to install.“We previously estimated that at least a third of Firefox users had chosen to install an add-on, but knew the number was higher than that,” wrote Justin Scott, the product manager for add-ons at Mozilla. 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Tags:#hack#tips Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Why You Love Online Quizzes Related Posts last_img read more

How Will Google Plus Affect SEO?

first_imgGoogle Plus has been live for barely two weeks, but inevitably, online marketers and search engine optimization experts are curious about how the new social product might influence organic search rankings in the future. Officially, there’s no official indication of how Plus will affect SEO, but plenty of speculation and some obvious hints about where things may be headed.Signs Point to Social Factors Influencing Search RankingsEven before Google rolled out the +1 button (a precursor to Google Plus itself), social factors from sites like Twitter and Facebook were already being baked into search engine result pages (SERPs), even if the extent of their immediate influence on Page Rank wasn’t immediately obvious. For example, research has indicated that the number of retweets a link gets on Twitter has an effect on how it’s indexed on Google, or at least that was the case before Google quietly cut off the Twitter firehose from their search results and folded its real-time search feature earlier this month. With Google Plus and the +1 button, the social activities are taking place on Google itself, so it’s hard to imagine things like the number of +1 button clicks a given page gets wouldn’t have an effect on that page’s organic rankings. Twitter Remains Relevant, But Google Plus’s Impact is Less ClearRand Fishkin, CEO of SEO software vendor SEOMoz recently undertook some experiments on Twitter and Google Plus to see how these social media sites change search rankings, especially in light of recent changes to Google’s real-time search feature. Fishkin created a series of unique, unindexed URL’s and shared them exclusively on Twitter before and after the Google firehose shutoff. He then shared another URL exclusively via Google Plus. In each case, he asked followers to retweet or reshare the post, but not to do so outside of the originating social site. The results showed that even though the Twitter firehose was no longer flowing directly Google’s way, tweets and retweets still aid in page indexation. One possible factor here is the many tweet-scraping sites that automatically republish tweets outside of Twitter.com. In the Google Plus sharing experiment, the test page was ranked #1 on Google within 2 hours, showing that Google’s new social product can help pages get indexed, although not quite as quickly as Twitter used to. In terms of actual rankings, the SEOMoz team wasn’t able to find a correlation there. Too Early in the Game to TellIt’s hard to imagine that Google Plus and the +1 won’t have a substantial impact on both indexation and ranking of URL’s in search results. Not only is the +1 button included on every post within Google Plus and on content publishers’ Websites, but it’s literally sitting next to every single search result that Google returns. Whatever the algorithmic effect this may have in the future, right now it’s probably too early to accurately predict. What do you think? Will Google Plus revolutionize SEO or do you see it having only a minimal effect? Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Analysis#biz john paul titlowcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

5 Things Google Plus Can Do to Outbox Facebook

first_imgA Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#Facebook#Google#NYT#social networks#web richard macmanus Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… It’s been a fascinating year in the social networking space, as heavyweight champion Facebook fends off some solid blows from muscley contender Google Plus. However over the past week, it’s been nearly all Facebook – with the release of the Subscriber button and vastly improved lists (akin to Google Plus “circles”). This week, or perhaps I should say round, is also shaping up to be a big one for Facebook. Its annual developer conference F8 is on this Thursday in San Francisco. According to uber-blogger Robert Scoble, “Facebook has one of its biggest releases ever coming this week.” ReadWriteWeb will be at F8 to cover whatever big punches Facebook delivers.Meanwhile the Google Plus team has been fairly quiet lately, other than the announcement of a (limited) API last week. Here are five things we wish Google Plus would do, both to improve its still nascent product and to make Facebook stagger a little against the ropes!1. Automate creation and maintenance of Circles.This has been my number one problem with Google Plus so far: the large amount of effort it takes up front to create circles of people (a.k.a. friends lists) and then the ongoing hassle of maintaining them.Facebook showed the way forward for Google Plus, by launching improved – and semi-automated – friends lists last week. Facebook now automatically creates lists based on your location, workplace and a couple more bits of information from your profile. It’s still relatively simple and not perfectly implemented. But it’s a damn sight better than starting from scratch, which Google Plus makes you do. 2. Add a special search box for Google Plus.While any public content on Google Plus can be searched using ordinary Google search, any private post or data about Circles is hidden from Google.com. The Google Plus team knows this is something their users want, so it’s likely they’re working on an internal Google Plus search as we speak. It will be a great addition when it finally happens, because neither Facebook or Twitter does a good job archiving and surfacing old posts. Twitter has a notoriously short memory, while Facebook has (up till now) been happy to make its users ‘live in the moment.’ A decent Google Plus search will make Facebook reassess that, because suddenly Google Plus would become kind of a memory bank for its users. The success of Evernote – a note-taking app which markets itself as an “online brain” – is an indicator that social networks need a longer memory.3. Open up the API! The Google+ API is limited to public data, so external developers won’t be able to tap into private data or information about Circles. It’s a no-brainer to eventually open it up and the Google Plus team has stated this will happen. Given that the entire Facebook platform is predicated on third party developers accessing private information about users, this can’t come soon enough for Google Plus if it wants to rapidly build its platform. (If you aren’t sure what I mean by third party apps accessing your private Facebook data, just recall how many times you’ve clicked “yes” to a web app that requests to be able to write to your Facebook wall and seemingly do anything it else it pleases with your data.)Update: Google engineer Will Norris questioned the above statement, in Google Plus of course: “remind me again why it’s in users’ best interest to rush out and enable that on Google+.” My response: it’s in users’ interest because they’ll get a ton of great third party apps that do wonderful things with their data. (and yes I admit it’s a double-edged sword)4. Hurry up with pages for brands.It’s common knowledge that Google Plus is working on implementing pages for brands, which will be similar to Facebook Pages. I’d like to see these pages be much more easily surfaced and organized in Google Plus than they are with Facebook. I often find myself ‘liking’ a brand page on Facebook, then never coming across it again because it’s hidden away. Why can’t I put my favorite brand pages in my main Facebook menu? Why can’t I add it immediately to a list when I ‘like’ it (instead of having to manually go to the list and put the new Page into it, which is time consuming). Google Plus has the opportunity to create much more user friendly brand pages, which will only benefit both users and brands.5. Find a way to entice my family and non-geeky friends onto Google Plus.This may be the most important challenge that Google Plus faces if it’s truly going to challenge Facebook. While Google Plus has a fervent base of early adopter users, it hasn’t managed to attract mainstream people yet. I don’t have any statistical proof of that, but you only need to look at who you’re interacting with on Google Plus. For me it’s all industry people, which makes for a great social network if you want to discuss work matters. That’s why Robert Scoble loves Google Plus so much.So far only one of my family members is using Google Plus – my iPad 2-toting brother. And he’s using it mainly to make humorous references about the lack of people he knows on Google Plus. In contrast, all of my immediate family and a good portion of my extended family uses Facebook. Sure, it took years for them all to arrive there. But the point is, Google Plus needs to eventually find a way to entice them onto its service. Or maybe the fact that Google Plus will be such an intricate part of the future Google product line (search, e-commerce and so on) is what’s going to eventually get my family and others using Plus.Those are 5 things I’d love to see from Google Plus, as soon as possible. I haven’t even mentioned the big complaint from recent weeks: Google Plus doesn’t allow people to select user names that aren’t their real names. This has been a controversial issue and it too needs to be resolved.What else do you think Google Plus should do in order to keep the pressure on Facebook? And by the way, this ‘battle’ is great news for us consumers – as it forces both companies to give us what we’re clamoring for. And we won’t mind if a bit of bigco blood gets spilled in the process. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Related Posts last_img read more

Getting Started With Public Clouds

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts pam baker Looking to spin up a virtual machine and get that project done in a hurry but not sure what your choices are in terms of cloud vendors?Here is a listing (not a rating) of some of the top vendors and what they offer.Amazon Amazon Elastic Compute (EC2) is the dominant player. It offers several instance types in six groupings: Standard, Micro, High-Memory, High-CPU, Cluster Compute, and Cluster GPU. VM Import option allows you to import virtual machine images from your own environment at no additional charge. However, detailed monitoring is an extra charge but basic monitoring of EC2 instances is free. Amazon EC2 pricing requires no minimum fee and there’s even a calculator to help you estimate your monthly bill and a detailed comparison page to help you choose between On-Demand, Reserved and Spot Instances pricing so you can make the best cost choice for your project. Specific Instances pricing is here. All told, EC2 is a full rent-a-data-center-service but it has crashed before so it is not infallible.RackspaceRackspace Cloud Servers have gotten a lot of buzz lately around OpenStack, a joint Rackspace and NASA open-source cloud project. But there are a lot of moving parts thus the odds for something going wrong is higher. This is not necessarily a black eye for RackSpace as rival Amazon completely mishandled a crash in April underscoring that “stuff happens” even to the best of cloud vendors. Rackspace does offer very high customer service which is extremely helpful if something does go wrong. Pricing is based on server size with Linux-based servers being slightly cheaper than Windows. This site too offers a calculator to help you estimate costs in advance and a compare page that takes on Amazon EC2 head-on. Rackspace publicly claims superiority in a number of areas ranging from a greater selection of server sizes to third-party software support and admin level troubleshooting. Bandwidth is free between cloud servers but you have to upgrade your entire plan to upgrade storage. Pricing appears higher than Amazon but that may not translate to the final bill, especially if your project is small. You may get a better indication of pricing differences by running the calculators on all the cloud vendors and then compare the monthly estimates of each. All told, Rackspace is a strong company with an excellent reputation in support and delivery.JoyentJoyent is operating on a completely revamped infrastructure management platform called SmartDataCenter 6 which has granular analytics and added management, performance and security capabilities. Two free analytics packages, Joyent Cloud Analytics and New Relic, are included and they give users a good view into latency and other issues that some competing providers fail to reveal. Joyent uses SmartOS and KVM hardware virtualization. Pricing is based on server size with a minimal difference between Linux and Windows as is seen in the public cloud services field overall. Appliances, i.e. Percona/MYSQL, RIAK, Node.JS, and Zeus Load Balancer, are priced as an additional cost.IBMIBM got into the cloud game early albeit quietly. The IBM platform runs virtual machines in a variety of formats along with other IBM services. It tends to cater to more conservative enterprise developers rather than the bolder programming crowd. The pricing is a bit confusing and is detailed in a charging schedule. Anonline IBM SmartCloud pricing plan spells out a $3000 one-time fee for the Enterprise On-boarding Service Package and a $1000 one-time fee for a Virtual Private Network Service on unreserved virtual machine instances.Cloudshare Cloudshare offers a free trial period and a super simple browser-based process. No need to even enter credit card information to get started and play around to see if you like it. Multi-server, fully functional SharePoint farms come with fully-licensed, best practice SharePoint templates pre-installed. Pricing for the full enterprise product is not readily accessible online and requires a call to the sales department for a quote. Cloudshare ProPlus which is suitable for enterprise app use and designed for development, testing and collaboration of smaller teams, is priced online starting at $49 a month for unlimited hours (but subject to save and suspend after 60 minutes of no activity) and rising to well above $599 for the always-on option (no automatic save and suspend).TerremarkTerremark’s vCloud Express is VMware based and requires no minimum commitment. Live chat service is available from the landing page to help you get started or to figure out what you need for the project at hand. Chat follows you from page to page standing at the constant ready. While there is a full-blown Terremark enterprise option, vCloud is designed more for smaller businesses, individual departments, rapid prototyping, and developer coding and testing. Adding and deleting extra capacity is relatively simple although the vCloud pricing table isn’t. Priority support is an additional $500 or 20% of your usage fees, whichever is greater in a given month. The good news is that you can enable priority support whenever you wish so it really isn’t an expense unless and until you need it. Prebuilt server templates contain licensed Windows/SQL software for a fee based on the number of VPU servers you use.Elastic Hosts ElasticHosts also offers a free trial period, but for five days which is less than the 14 day free period offered by Cloudshare. Pricing is based on by month or by burst and an online calculator helps you calculate the cost in advance. You have a choice in UK and US-based data centers and you can pay in either U.S. dollars or British pounds. The service configures VMs like hardware and provides persistent storage, static IPs and a simple API. ElasticHosts also offers ElasticStack, a platformthat allows hosting providers and data centers to offer their own branded cloud services.Dell and HPIThe cloud space is getting very crowded and there are even more public cloud providers preparing to launch. Dell is launching its public cloud offering later this year. The company has strong experience in cloud computing with a wide array of products to help companies make the big move. Dell’s public cloud offering teams the company with VMware and its vCloud Datacenter Services offering. Prices have not yet been announced but there is little doubt that Dell will be a serious contender worthy of full consideration as an option.HP has also announced an upcoming public cloud service, which is now in beta but a public launch date has not been announced. HP’s platform is based on the open-source OpenStack project which adds steam to that movement overall.Notice that most of the public cloud players are companies you already know. That’s the good news in that it lends familiarity to an otherwise tricky equation. The bad news is that there is lots of fine print to weed through and none of it tends to be straightforward. Make sure you understand all the legalities wrapped in the service level agreements (SLAs) to avoid problems later and run the monthly calculators offered on most of these sites to get a better feel for actual costs before you commit. center_img Tags:#solution-series#Virtualization Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Maybe Turning Off Email Is Catching On

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts Last year I wrote this post reviewing 40 years of using email. I am old enough to recall many of those events and while I wasn’t exactly present at the dawn of email, I know people who were. But it seems as if email, at least corporate email, has come and is in the process of going all in my own lifetime. A number of factors are making turning off, or at least reducing your email dependency, more viable these days. And I should point out that we are talking here about just eliminating internal emails; no one is suggesting that we go without emails to connect people in different domains.First, corporations are shifting notifications to mobile phones. While they still may get email, needing a desktop email client to be running isn’t always necessary. This isn’t quite turning off email, but it is displacing a lot of email traffic that might have waited until someone was back online.Of course, this also has the consequence of working 24/7, as people check their phones at all times of day and night, and even leave them on their nightstands when they supposedly sleep. The further consequence is companies such as Volkswagen that will turn off email access for some unionized staffers in off-hours. (But this is about one percent of its total workforce, too.) According to this story on ABC news, other European companies are starting to do this.Second, as social media becomes more prevalent, it becomes easier to have conversations in the public eye, or at least on the corporate Intranet. I don’t mean just using the built-in messaging feature of Facebook, but posting questions and replies using the discussion features of these products, so that everyone can see the conversation threads. But it isn’t enough for something like Yammer or IBM’s Connections to be popular, they have to be universally used for this to work.One social media advocate, Luis Suarez, was chronicled in Wired this month showing how he does this. Now, granted he works for IBM, and IBM has done a very solid job of moving all of its employees to Connections over the past few years. But if you only have a couple of departments that have become socialized, you are still going to need email to connect to the rest of your enterprise colleagues.Next, more people are practicing inbox zero messages. This means you try very hard to file incoming messages and delete those that don’t apply to the here and now, so your inbox only has a few messages in it at any given time. This has been my own standard operating procedure for many years and works well, but you have to say on top of it. It also means when you go on vacation, or are away from the Internet, your inbox will pile up quickly.Finally, other technologies are taking the load off email, including texting, Instant Messaging and group chats and other services. This is certainly the case for many Gen Y’ers, who grew up with these kinds of technologies and as a result were slow to adopt email as their native communications tool. Again, this has to be universal throughout a corporation; otherwise it won’t work as a substitute for email. None of these are really good solutions for getting rid of all email, and even the IBMer Suarez still uses emails for meeting notifications (I guess they haven’t completely trained folks how to set up meetings in Connections.) What really helps is how the management team deals with their own emails: there are still some companies that have secretaries who print out emails for their bosses, I know how barbaric! But if you have the right mix of people and under the right set of circumstances, I can see email playing less of a role in our communications in a few years.Of course, you can always pick up the phone or send a fax. (Just kidding.)image credit: Softpedia. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… david stromcenter_img 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#Analysis#enterprise#mobile#Trends last_img read more

Marketing Your App: Find Market Weaknesses and Exploit Them

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces These types of fluctuations point to larger trends. App publishers are rapidly approaching an inflection point where download volumes will not fluctuate on a month-to-month basis but continue to rise as smartphones and tablets find their way to more people. With more smartphones and more apps the competition to remain relevant in the marketplace will become difficult. Overall that means that marketers will need to spend more and become more efficient in targeting loyal users. Yet, while the bar for popularity rises, the ability for the mid-sized developer to make money goes down. The theory is that the top portion of the ecosystem will help the middle ascend. The idea is to find the market inefficiencies. Fiksu points out that January was a great time for marketers to take advantage of all-time high download rates while spending less. The enterprising mid-sized publisher can create a base of users in these so-called “down” times by aggressively targeting users while the large budgets of the top publishers are less active. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts “We’ve historically observed this spike in volume and costs around peak periods – such as major holidays or iPhone launches – then seen a return to more normalized costs levels once the initial rush dies down. This year was no exception. Cost-conscious marketers who chose to hold off on Christmas spending, preferring to target a period when costs were expected to drop, won big in January 2012,” Fiksu’s report states. Update: The headline of this article has been altered from its original publication. Tags:#marketing#mobile center_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … dan rowinski There are more smartphones in the hands of consumers than ever. The natural consequence of smartphone penetration is that more users are downloading more apps. It comes down to simple economic theory: as volume increases the cost of acquiring loyal users goes down. Mobile app marketing platform Fiksu revealed new stats today showing January saw the highest download rate of iOS apps ever. Users downloaded the top 200 free iOS apps 6.79 million times per day in January, a 12% increase from the previous high in December. That kind of volume comes with benefits to publishers who are now spending less to acquire users than any time since June 2011. Fiksu defines a loyal user as anyone that opens an app at least three times. That is not to be underestimated as users may download many apps but only use a handful. App marketers rushed to meet the holiday demand in December, spending $1.81 to acquire a loyal user during the holiday season. In January the marketers stepped off the throttle of their marketing campaigns but ended up seeing better return on investment as volume increased and averaged $1.14 per loyal user. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

How Fast Is Your Cloud?

first_imgRelated Posts david strom A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… The French-based company Cedexis has come up with a Cloud Performance Index. It’s an interesting way to measure the performance of your content delivery network or cloud-based provider, and a useful way to determine which provider you should use – or even which part of the planet you should locate your apps. Every day on its website, Cedexis will publish new country-by-country performance reports on various IT providers. The info is collected via a Javascript tag on its customers’ sites. The tag is counted only if the entire page has loaded.For example, above is a report on the various French Internet providers. As you can see, the most measurements are collected from Orange and Proxad. The fastest page load times are 4.1 seconds from Adista, and the slowest are 6.5 seconds from Mobius.The range of variation for U.S. ISPs is from 3.9 seconds from Cablevision to 5.4 seconds from Cogent. If we were to look at U.S.-based cloud providers, the fastest response times are from VOxCloud in Amsterdam and New York, faster than Amazon EC2 even, as you can see from the partial graph below. Cedexis, which is trying to push its agenda of having customers use multiple cloud providers to deliver apps, presents three different data sets: one for general ISPs, one for content networks and one for cloud providers. In addition to average response time, there is also a statistic on the percentage of times that a page timed out or resulted in other errors. For example, in the U.S., Google’s App Engine had the highest error rate of 2.6 percent.There are other companies that provide similar data, including CloudSleuth, which we wrote about last fall. CloudSleuth takes a moving average over the past 12 months’ worth of data, rather than the daily stats that Cedexis uses, so the data isn’t directly comparable. Still, for choosing the right ISP or cloud provider, it is an interesting first place to look. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Amazon#apps#cloud#cloud computing#Cloud Providers 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

No Easy Fight for Facebook When It Comes to Search

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification dave copeland Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Related Posts center_img Overheard on Twitter: “I use Google and look things up that I hear about on Facebook.”It’s a simple enough statement and one most people who use both services can relate to. But for Facebook, it could mean the difference between becoming another MySpace and justifying the anticipated $100 billion valuation it is expected to have following next month’s initial public offering of its share. The problem is, Facebook, like Microsoft’s Bing, is going to find itself in a seemingly never-ending game of catch-up with Google.“Search is the answer [for Facebook], but it’s not a loud enough question,” said Simon Schnieders, co-founder of the local search engine companyExplore To.As noted on the advertising trade journal Adotas, paid search has continued its decade-long rise. Google still controls 66% of that market in the U.S. Its next closest competitor, Bing, has 15%.“If Facebook wants revenue, then they need search and it needs to be as good as Google’s experience, which means immense engineering investment, high-scale crawling ability and lessons learned from historical web spam, search semantics and manual monitoring, to name but a few,” Schnieders said. “The speed of the ‘like’ button on third-party sites suggests Facebook may have problems withscale like this.”Schnieders thinks Facebook could take the search fight to Google by focusing on local search, like his firm. But it won’t be easy: Just ask Google. Google’s local search is skewed to favor companies that have completed their Places profile, he said, but at the same time, it boxes out other local search players like Yelp, YP.com and Schnieders’s Explore To. Local advertisers, as a result, have been reluctant to invest heavily in Google search ads.“Google have done a really poor job at relevancy for users,” Schnieders said. “Despite the resources available to Google, not a single piece of innovation has emerged from the product known as Places.” Tags:#Facebook#web A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today

first_imgFor some time, we’ve run up against the limits of what CSS can do. Those who build responsive layouts will freely admit the frustrations and shortcomings of CSS that force us to reach for CSS preprocessors, plugins and other tools to help us write the styles that we’re unable to write with CSS alone. Even still, we run into limitations with what current tools help us accomplish.Think for a moment of a physical structure. If you’re building a large edifice with weak material, a lot of external support is required to hold it together, and things have to be overbuilt to stay sturdy. When you’re building a website out of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, this external support might look like frameworks, plugins, preprocessors, transpilers, editing tools, package managers and build processes.The post The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today appeared first on Smashing Magazine.From our sponsors: The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today Posted on 11th July 2016Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them TodayYou are here: HomeWeb DesignThe Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Todaylast_img read more

Twitter will make its ads more transparent to brands, everyone else

first_imgAs the spotlight hits the murky side of digital advertising — from election-related controversies to viewability concerns — Twitter is pledging to expose more aspects of its advertising business.Twitter plans to open an Advertising Transparency Center so that anyone can see all of the ad campaigns currently running on the social network, including those that didn’t originally appear as regular tweets. Additionally, the company has agreed to have the independent Media Rating Council (MRC) audit its ad measurements so that brands can be assured of what they are buying.Twitter’s Advertising Transparency Center will roll out “in the coming weeks,” according to a company blog post published on Tuesday. The move is an attempt by the company to address the controversy surrounding how Russian-linked entities used digital ads on Twitter, Facebook and Google in an effort to influence last year’s US presidential election.In addition to indexing all currently running campaigns on Twitter, the Advertising Transparency Center will show how long each ad has been running and what it looks like. And people will also be able to see a list of the ads that have been targeted to them and “report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback (i.e. ‘I don’t like this ad’) for every ad running on Twitter, whether the ad targets you or not,” according to Twitter.Twitter has also adopted a new policy regarding political campaign ads. Now Twitter will require that those buying such ads to disclose that they are aimed at influencing an election, and Twitter will label these as political ads on its platform. In the Ad Transparency Center, these “electioneering ads” will be displayed along with details about the advertiser’s identity, its historical ad spend and the targeting parameters used.In addition to making its ad ecosystem more visible, Twitter will make its ad measurements more transparent. After Facebook and Google’s YouTube agreed to MRC audits earlier this year, Twitter has followed suit.At the moment, independent auditors are checking that Twitter’s measurements comply with industry standards. That work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and then the MRC will officially inspect how Twitter counts ad impressions, including earned impressions, viewable video impressions and the amount of time people spend looking at a tweet or viewing a video on Twitter, according to an announcement released by the MRC on Tuesday (PDF).“The MRC’s audit will cover metrics included in the data feeds Twitter prepares for third-party measurers, as well as its own reporting of certain metrics. It is expected that the ingestion and processing of the Twitter data feeds by the third parties will also be audited separately by MRC, to allow for an end-to-end consideration of Twitter metrics as reported through these third-party environments,” according to the MRC.The independent auditor plans to complete its review of Twitter’s ad measurements sometime during the first half of 2018.From our sponsors: Twitter will make its ads more transparent to brands, everyone else HomeDigital MarketingTwitter will make its ads more transparent to brands, everyone else Posted on 25th October 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 Twitter will make its ads more transparent to brands, everyone elseYou are here:last_img read more

Monthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Calligraphy With AR

first_imgMonthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Calligraphy With ARYou are here: Editor’s Note: Our dear friend Anselm Hannemann summarizes what happened in the web community in the past few weeks in one handy list, so that you can catch up on everything new and important. Enjoy!Welcome back to our monthly reading list. Before we dive right into all the amazing content I stumbled upon — admittedly, this one is going to be quite a long update — I want to make a personal announcement. This week I launched a personal project called Colloq, a new conference and event service for users and organizers. If you’re going to events or are organizing one or if you’re interested in the recorded content of conferences, this could be for you. So if you like, go ahead and check it out.The post Monthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Calligraphy With AR appeared first on Smashing Magazine.From our sponsors: Monthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Calligraphy With AR Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 Posted on 18th November 2017Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share HomeWeb DesignMonthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Calligraphy With ARlast_img read more

Programmatically Discovering Sharing Code With oEmbed

first_imgProgrammatically Discovering Sharing Code With oEmbedYou are here: HomeWeb DesignProgrammatically Discovering Sharing Code With oEmbed Programmatically Discovering Sharing Code With oEmbedProgrammatically Discovering Sharing Code With oEmbedDrew McLellan 2019-11-26T11:00:00+00:00 2019-11-26T12:36:56+00:00 The web is full of services that host rich content such as videos, images, music and podcasts, maps and graphs, and all manner of different delights. Chances are, when you add your content to a site, it will offer you a way to embed that content in a web page somewhere else.Sites like YouTube have their own embeddable player that is popular to use in blog posts and even product pages. Soundcloud has code for embedding their music player in your band’s website. Charity fundraisers might upload the route of their big race to a site like Strava, and want to share it on their fundraising site to show their sponsors.All this is done by finding that Share option on the hosting site and copying out some code that is normally a mix of HTML and JavaScript. That code can then usually be pasted into the destination page, and the hosting site will present a rich representation of the content for all your friends, customers and contacts to see.So far, so good, and this covers the option for the manual embedding of content pretty well. There is a distinct second use-case however, where the outcome is the same but the route to it is very different.Sharing ProgrammaticallyLet’s imagine you’re building an app or site that accepts content from a user. That could be something as simple as a basic intranet page for staff to share news with coworkers, or something massive like a whole social network where people can sign up and start posting.In both cases, you need to work out what to do if the user adds a URL as part of that content. You can imagine the scenario:Check out this video! https://youtu.be/jw7bRnFbwAIAt this point, as a publishing system, you need to figure out what to do. The first option is to do nothing, and just leave the URL as plain text. That’s not a brilliant idea, as users will generally want to click on the URL and plain text won’t help them get to the page at the other end.The second option is to turn it into a link. That’s a good solid next step, as users can follow the link and get to the content. But in doing so, they leave your site and might not come back in a hurry.The best user experience might be to be able to fetch the player for that content and embed it right there instead of just the URL. That would enable users to experience the content right within your site, much like they would on Facebook, for example.This poses the problem. Given a URL, how can I turn that into the HTML/JavaScript embed code needed to show a rich player on the page?If it’s a known site like YouTube, I could write some code that uses the YouTube API to fetch the video information and get or build the embed code that way. I could do the same for other video services like Vimeo and VIVO. I can write code to recognize Flickr and Instagram URLs and use their APIs to fetch nice embeddable versions of photographs. And the same for Twitter and tweets. But this is sounding like a lot of work!What would be ideal is if there was a standardized way of getting from a URL of a piece of content to a block of embed code to show that content on a page. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll realize that the answer to that is oEmbed.The Origin Of oEmbedThis was exactly the problem Leah Culver had while working on Pownce (a truly innovative social networking site that was the Betamax to Twitter’s VHS). Pownce wanted to embed rich representations of content into a user’s update stream, but didn’t want to limit support to only the services they’d specifically written code to integrate with. At dinner with colleague Mike Malone, as well as Cal Henderson (who led engineering at Flickr — one of the major providers of such content at the time) and Richard Crowley, they together hashed out an idea for an open standard for getting embed code from a URL. Henderson went away and drafted something up based on the discussion, and oEmbed was born.Using oEmbedHere’s how it works.It starts with the URL that points to a single item of content. That might be a YouTube video, an image, or whatever. Typically this will have been provided by a user of your site or app as part of some content they wish to publish. The first step is to fetch the content of the page at that URL, which should be an HTML page.If the site hosting the content supports oEmbed, in the section of that page there should be a link element with an oembed content type:A note about XML: oEmbed supports responses in both XML and JSON format. For this article, I’m only considering JSON, because we’re not savages. If you’re in the unfortunate position to need to work with XML, be aware that it is a supported format with the oEmbed spec, although you may find that some providers only offer JSON responses.This link tag as the rel attribute set to alternate and a type set to either application/json+oembed or text/xml+oembed. It’s this attribute that clues us into the fact that the URL given in the href is actually an oEmbed API endpoint for retrieving the details of the content.That URL will have usually two parameters: url and format.ParameterValueurl (required)The URL-encoded web address of the content itemformatThe format you’d like the response in. One of either json or xmlCommon URL parameters for the initial consumer requestThe full specification goes into much more detail here (and you should reference that if creating your own implementation) but these are the two parameters you’ll likely see the most.So, we’ve got a URL, fetched the page, found an oEmbed link tag with another URL for an API endpoint. Next, we request that new URL, and that returns all the information the service has to provide about that piece of content.{ “author_name”: “Smashing Magazine”, “width”: 480, “title”: “Smashing TV: Inclusive Components with Heydon Pickering (Nov 7th 2019)”, “provider_name”: “YouTube”, “height”: 270, “html”: ““, “provider_url”: “https://www.youtube.com/”, “thumbnail_url”: “https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jw7bRnFbwAI/hqdefault.jpg”, “type”: “video”, “thumbnail_height”: 360, “author_url”: “https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDtqcJ8ZXviPrEcj1vuLiQ”, “version”: “1.0”, “thumbnail_width”: 480}Now we’re talking! The response gives us lots of information about the content. The version should for the foreseeable future be 1.0, which is the current version of the oEmbed spec. The other information returned depends largely on the value of type.Response TypesThe value of the type key in the response tells you what sort of media you’re going to be embedding.Value of typeWhat to expectphotoA static photo that offers a url, width and height that can be used for a basic img tagvideoA video player, with html specifying the code required to embed a player on a page, although with a width and heightlinkThe best way to deal with this content is just to provide a link after all. The response might have other useful information like a title, but it should just be linked up.richSome sort of rich content player, which just like the video type returns html, width and heightAside from dedicated video content, the more common type you’re likely to see in the wild is rich. Even Flickr itself, while still sending a photo response, also supplies html for a rich embeddable ‘player’ for the image, too.Most of the time, embedding the content in your site is just a case of using the code provided as the html value.A Note On SecurityOne thing you might be rightly cautious of is taking an HTML response and embedding it programmatically into a page you host. Without the human step to double-check the code you’re pasting in, there is always potential for that code to be malicious. As such you should take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk.That might include filtering the URLs to make sure the schemes and domains match those expected, and sandboxing code into an iframe on a different, cookieless domain. You should access the situation in which you’re using the code and make sure that you’re not exposing your self to undue risk.Getting StartedAs important as it is to understand the process when using oEmbed, the reality is that most common languages have libraries available that abstract away the process and make it relatively simple.For example, the npm packaged oembed provides a very simple interface for making a request based on the content URL and getting the oEmbed response back in return.First install the package into your project:npm i oembedAnd then request the URL. Here I’m using the URL of a presentation on Notist that I gave about oEmbed. How very meta.const oembed = require(‘oembed’);const url = ‘https://noti.st/drewm/ZOFFfI’;oembed.fetch(url, { maxwidth: 1920 }, function(error, result) { if (error) console.error(error); else console.log(“oEmbed result”, result);});And the response:{ type: ‘rich’, version: ‘1.0’, title: ‘Understanding oEmbed’, author_name: ‘Drew McLellan’, author_url: ‘https://noti.st/drewm’, provider_name: ‘Notist’, provider_url: ‘https://noti.st’, cache_age: 604800, thumbnail_url: ‘https://on.notist.cloud/slides/deck4179/large-0.png’, thumbnail_width: 1600, thumbnail_height: 900, html: ‘ read more

Google Rolls Out Android TV

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Android#Android TV#Google#now#smart TV 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App adriana lee Today in San Francisco, Google took the wraps off its new Android TV. It essentially revamps the company’s smart TV ambitions into a platform that can work with Android smartphones and mobile devices, ties into Google search, YouTube and Google Play video titles, as well as game apps.The software will work with set-top boxes, streaming boxes and consoles, and will also come with casting features. Sharp, Sony and TPVision, among others, announced as early partners. Others, including LG, Asus and Razr, are coming this fall. For more information on the software development kit, visit Google’s developer site.Lead image screencapped by Selena Larson for ReadWritecenter_img 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Why Apple Just Wasn’t Feeling It For The TV Set

first_imgRelated Posts 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App david nield 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…center_img Tags:#Apple#Apple TV#Gene Munster 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Thanks to the Wall Street Journal, we now know that Apple really was working on its own television set before it ditched the idea over a year ago. The project got shelved, Gene Munster has said his mea culpa, and we can all move on.It puts a different perspective on the tech rumors of today: Even when they’re right they can be wrong. In other words, speculation about an upcoming product might be spot on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll ever see the light of day. Apple Car, anyone?The Simple Reasons Apple BailedIn retrospect, it’s not difficult to see why Apple canned its idea for a TV set to call its own. As one commenter at 9to5Mac put it:As expensive as they are, TV screens are a commodity. Selling different sizes and features would be a nightmare, and so would lugging one into the Genius Bar for warranty support.In other words, televisions are bulky pieces of equipment that tend to last a lot longer than the rapidly obsolete electronics you’d expect in a smart TV. Margins are slim and making a profit is hard, as LG, Sony, Samsung, Philips and others have all discovered in recent years. Buyers wouldn’t be upgrading very often, and Apple wouldn’t make much money when they did.These are all points that have been repeatedly made down the years. No doubt they played some part in Apple’s thinking.But Wait, There’s MoreBut aside from the practicalities of TV engineering or the realities of the marketplace, Apple’s decision also suggests it just couldn’t figure out a way to put its own distinctive mark on the screens that fill our dens and bedrooms.By contrast, Apple had no problem green-lighting its smartwatch. Whether the Apple Watch goes on to be a roaring success or not, it’s certainly distinctive, premium and disruptive. Could any television set Apple might have come up with have made the same impact? It’s doubtful.MacBook Pros, iMacs, iPhones—these bits of kit are compelling and iconic in a way that you can’t really envisage a television set being, even with the best efforts of Sir Jony Ive.Ultra-high resolutions are already here, as are super-slim bezels, curved screens, integrated apps, gesture control and lots more. How would Apple’s version have stood out? Or stood out enough to make the endeavour worthwhile?Indeed, it’s the things that would have made an Apple TV set truly compelling that are being built into the Apple TV box that it actually does sell: smart home control, live TV streaming, Siri integration, access to the App Store, and so on.The Real Apple TVIt’s perhaps no coincidence that the real Apple TV is getting a lot more love and attention since the theoretical Apple TV bit the dust. Maybe Tim Cook and his team realized that all the best parts of their new project could be added to the one they had under their noses all along.And look at the competition: Google, Microsoft, Amazon… these companies are all building boxes to go under your living room TV, without worrying about the actual sets themselves.Ultimately, a TV is simply a window into something else, plus a small package of extra smarts, and Apple has realized putting those smarts in a separate puck-shaped black box gives it the flexibility it needs to do something that can really make an impact.Lead image courtesy of Applelast_img read more

Roost smart water leak detector should keep you drier, richer

first_imgDavid Curry Tags:#CE Week#insurance#Internet of Things#IoT#Roost#smart home#Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector#water leak Smart home startup Roost has announced its entry into the water leak detector market on Wednesday with a new product, the Smart Water and Freeze Detector.The new device, unveiled at CE Week in New York City, is able to identify a water leak and can also detect frozen pipe water damage, mold and mildew damage, and inefficient energy usage due to ineffective cooling systems or broken cooling systems.See Also: Liberty Mutual funds smart home IoT startup NotionOnce it recognizes a problem, the Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector will send an alert to the homeowner through Wi-Fi to a connected smartphone. And unlike a lot of other water leak detectors, Roost is battery powered, letting you place it wherever is convenient.Roost believes that the device will save U.S. consumers and insurance companies up to $8 billion per year in water damage, by alerting them to issues and notifying them of any future problems that may occur.roost-smart-water-leak-freeze-detector-at-water-heater“We are excited to introduce the Roost Smart Water and Freeze Detector, and expand our ability to offer consumers safer and smarter homes,” said Roel Peeters, Roost CEO and co-founder. “Our unique technology delivers consumers tangible solutions that are simple to install and at affordable costs.”“With the new (smart detector), Roost now provides the ability to manage the all-too-common water leak or freezing pipes situation that we’ve all experienced in our homes at some point,” he added.The new device builds on Roost’s smart home platform, which currently consists of a smart smoke detector and a Wi-Fi battery that connects to any old smoke detector.Roost will begin shipping the new Smart Water and Freeze Detector in the fall. The device will cost $49 when it launches, a bit pricer than some of the other options, but a lot more mobile. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…center_img Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts last_img read more

Senate Lawmakers Ask Treasury, IRS for Guidance on Qualified Student Loan Bonds

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportSeveral bipartisan Senate lawmakers have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen concerning Qualified Student Loan Bonds (QSLBs) and their role in solving what the lawmakers characterize as “the growing student debt problem in this country.” The letters request technical clarifications regarding the use of these tax-exempt bonds as a vehicle for refinancing existing student debt. Fifteen senators signed the letter, including Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and Jack Reed, D-R.I.In November 2015, the IRS issued Notice 2015-78, I.R.B. 2015-48, 690, to provide guidance on certain requirements for tax-exempt bond refinancing for loan programs. The Notice addressed qualified student loan bonds under Code Sec. 144(b) and certain requirements for State Supplemental Loan programs.“For anyone interested in solving the never-ending mountain of student debt, Notice 2015-78 is an important step towards that end,” the senators wrote. “However, our constituencies still need technical clarifications before fully implementing these refinancing programs.”The number of student loan borrowers has grown by 89 percent between 2004 and 2014, tripling the aggregate debt during that time to 1.3 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as noted in the letter. One way to reduce the burden of student debt is to make it easier for student loan borrowers to refinance at a lower rate, the lawmakers wrote.The senators asked Mnuchin and Koskinen to clarify guidance on several situations and requirements to which borrowers must adhere when refinancing their loans. These questions include, among others, issues surrounding circumstances under which a student can refinance a loan taken out by a parent or a parent can refinance a student’s loan. “Empowering nonprofits operating in the student loan space is one of the many tools we should unleash to better deal with the student debt problem,” the senators wrote.SenateLetterStudentslast_img read more

GRAMMY Week: The Roots Pre-GRAMMY Jam Session

first_imgGRAMMY Week: The Roots Pre-GRAMMY Jam Session The Roots Pre-Grammy Jam Session Last night, fans lined the block waiting to get in to The Roots Pre-Grammy Jam Session at The Music Box on Hollywood Boulevard. The venue was packed with fans, artists and amazing (and unexpected) music collaborations.  Jimmy Fallon opened the “Grammy Jammy Jam” (as Black Thought kept calling it) with an acoustic version of Willow Smith’s hit “Whip My Hair.”   Will.I.Am, Chaka Khan, Ne-Yo, Marsha Ambrosius, Raheem Devaughn, Melanie Fiona, Chuck Brown, Young Chris, Dougie Fresh, Bobby McFerrin, Sarah Bareilles, Estelle, Blu, Craig Robinson and many others all jammed with The Roots. Celebrities weren’t just on stage–Chris Brown, Mario, Ne-Yo, Drew Barrymore and others were spotted at the jam session.  Philly and 215 shout outs all night made us feel like we were back at the Electric Factory. Philly was definitely in the house last night.last_img read more

Man imprisoned for sports editor’s killing seeking freedom

first_img(AP) – A man who has served 15 years in prison for the 2001 killing of a Missouri sports editor is challenging his imprisonment.Charles Erickson pleaded guilty in 2004 in the death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. He told police he had “dream-like” memories of helping Ryan Ferguson rob Heitholt before he was killed.Ferguson’s conviction and life sentence were vacated in November 2013.The Daily Tribune reports attorneys for Erickson filed a petition this month in Pike County seeking his freedom. They argue Erickson’s confession and guilty plea don’t prevent him from seeking relief from the sentence.The state argued that Erickson has repeatedly confessed to the crime both before and after his conviction.There is no timetable for the judge to issue a ruling.last_img read more