This week’s Tech Buzz tackles a collection of big headlines from the tech world. From Facebook’s new look, to big roaming bills blamed on kids, let’s get into it.
Why did MySpace fail? Because it got too personal in its design. The color themes, the plugins, and the bling, all just became too much for the user. Facebook has gone the other way in its design. It has always had that blue bar, and the look and feel of the site has always been dictated by Facebook. There has been some customization allowed, but it is solely in the images we use to describe ourself.
This week Facebook rolled out a new design that many are heralding as sleek, and beautiful. Taking cues from Pinterest and Tumblr, the new site is described as “clutter free” and puts the content front and centre. There is a consistency of design across desktop and mobile. There is less room for ads. You can choose which information you get – music focussed, video focussed, brand updates, or absolutely everything. You can put yourself in line to have the new design at Facebook.com.
What do you do if your kid gets sunburned on vacation and can’t go outside? One dad handed his son his mobile phone and the 11 yr old stayed in the room for 3 days watching 12 hours of YouTube videos. Despite having the phone locked down to stop roaming, the son flicked a few switches and got the data he craved. Then the family got a bill, for $22 000. The dad then complained to the media and the cell carrier reduced the bill to $500.
Another family in the UK experienced a similar situation when a child grabbed an iPhone and rang up $2500 in iTunes charges buying upgrades and apps on their iPhone. Apple recently settled a class action suit against people who say it is too easy to buy upgrades, if you have that problem you may be eligible for a refund. Still, the problem these parents had was giving the code to their kids – the code must be put in before an in app purchase can be made, NEVER give them your iTunes password.
WORKING FROM HOME
The future was supposed to involve telecommuting – the home office was going to be the office of the future. Well, not at Yahoo! or Best Buy. Yahoo!‘s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, made headlines this week when she pulled the plug on telecommuting. A fan of big data, she ran the numbers and found that people working from home just weren’t working. So now, all employees need to be in an office. ‘Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home… We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together,’ her Memo read. Reaction has been heavy on both sides. People saying employers need to be flexible (after all, Mayer gave birth weeks after becoming CEO and got a nursery built next to her office), while others saying if you get the luxury of working from home – you need to work.
Best Buy is also modifying a program they called Results Only Work Environment. Unlike Yahoo!‘s total ban on remote working, Best Buy is tightening the strings a little, and promises to enforce the commitment to results when working remotely. If employees can’t keep up, they’ll be pulled back to the mother ship.
APP OF THE WEEK: Cycloramic [99c]
This is perhaps the greatest party trick iPhone app I have seen in a while. You know we all pull out apps to impress our friends, this one will blow their mind. It uses the iPhones vibrating ability to spin and take a full 360 degree panoramic – hands free. Take off the cover, turn your vibrate mode on, put it on a flat surface, press click, and watch it spin. Fabulous.