Monthly Archives: May 2012

Social Media Stocks Falter –Facebook Debuts on the Options Market

NEW YORK, NY, May 31, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Social media stocks have fallen sharply recently. The Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL) is down almost 14 percent in the last month. There are currently a total of four social media companies (Facebook, Groupon, Zynga, and Pandora) who have went public in the last year that are trading below their initial IPO price. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for social media stocks and provides equity research on Facebook Inc. FB +5.00% and Pandora Media Inc. P +1.61% .

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Facebook options began trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, and will make its debut on the BATS Options Exchange Wednesday. According to an article from the Dow Jones Newswires roughly 365,000 Facebook options had been traded Tuesday, giving the right to buy or sell 36.5 million shares of the stock. “When you see a lot of people buying puts, that may put downward pressure on the stock because of the hedging that market makers have to do,” said Brian Overby, TradeKing senior options analyst. Facebook after Tuesday trading was worth $79 billion, down from its IPO valuation of $104.1 billion.

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As reported in a recent New York Times article Facebook is hoping to release a smartphone by next year. Last year technology website AllThingsD reported that Facebook and HTC partnered up to create a smartphone. The project (code-named “Buffy”) is still currently in progress.  Read More


Facebook just became the first social media company to snag a GLAAD award

Facebook just became the first social media company to snag a GLAAD award
May 31, 2012 12:33 PM

For years, Facebook has been working hard to scrub anti-gay bullying from its pages, and those efforts have not gone unnoticed. Today, we learn that the social network is beinghonored with a GLAAD award for its contributions to the LGBT community.

“Facebook will receive a Special Recognition Award at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards… for the company’s strong stand and leadership around bullying prevention as well as its inclusive options for LGBT users,” reads a statement from GLAAD.

Two Facebookers involved in the company’s LGBT work will accept the award, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will appear in a taped thank-you message.

“After violent anti-gay images and comments were posted on a memorial page for LGBT youth, Facebook worked with GLAAD to monitor the highly visible page and launched, in conjunction with several LGBT organizations, the Network of Support,” the release notes.

The Network of Support is a very visible group that serves Facebook in a consulting capacity and includes organizations such as GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC, PFLAG and the Trevor Project. The groups work together to monitor and stamp out hate speech, which Facebook prohibits but which users often carry out, both publicly and privately, in attempts to harass and intimidate gay youth.  Read More

Satellites dock with Microsoft’s Kinect

Satellites dock with Microsoft's Kinect

Engineers at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL; Guildford, UK) are developing an in-orbit docking system for small satellites that is based upon Microsoft’s Kinect system.

They aim to launch two small satellites equipped with the games controller as part of the so-called STRaND (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) program.

After the two Kinect-based satellites have been launched, they will then be separated. Next, following an initial phase of system checks, the satellites will be instructed to perform a docking procedure which will be accomplished by using 3-D spatial data acquired from the Kinect controllers.

Docking systems have never been employed on small, low cost missions and are usually reserved for big-budget space missions. But the STRaND team believes that relatively low-cost “nanosatellites” equipped with inexpensive Kinect-based systems could be used as building blocks that could be stacked together and reconfigured to build larger modular spacecraft.  Read More

Rumor: Apple to demo new Apple TV OS at WWDC, will be used on iTV

Apple could be preparing to demonstrate a new operating system for the Apple TV set-top box at theWorldwide Developers Conference in a couple of weeks. The OS is much more feature-complete than the current offering and while that alone could be exciting news for some, BGR says that this OS will also be utilized on the company’s long-rumored HDTV.

A trusted source told the publication that Apple has been shopping around a new “control out” API that would allow manufacturers to make accessories and components that would be compatible with the new TV OS and the pending television set. This new API will reportedly be able to control any connected component from the Apple remote control and probably the Apple iOS remote app as well.

As you can imagine, having this level of control over components would be unheard of as today’s home theater systems typically include a bevy of different remote controls, infrared codes, physical cables and / or separate Wi-Fi apps for each device.

The publication’s source claims that the API works on all levels of popular components, even allowing the user to control programming guides on a cable provider’s box. Perhaps this could be the game-changer that the late Steve Jobs was referring to when he said he’d finally cracked it? Read More

Google’s Pichai hints at Chome OS / Android convergence

This year at All Things Digital‘s D10 conference, Google’s Senior Vice President of Chome and Applications Sundar Pichai was interviewed by Walk Mossberg, speaking about both Chrome and Android in one. The main object of their discussion, which also included Google’s Senior Vice President of Advertising Susan Wojcicki, was indeed Chrome OS but also Chrome as a web browser, and how it’s overtaken the former king Internet Explorer in world browser share. Perhaps the most interesting bit of the conversation, on the other hand, sat squarely in the world of Android, and how Pichai saw mobile and not-so-mobile Google operating systems converging.

First it was all about business, with Internet Explorer being pushed out by Chrome more heavily on Windows machines than on Mac, Mossberg asking about “platform dispairity” and finding from Pichai that it’s speed that’s gaining them the upper hand, but that they’re winning on Windows because thats where Chrome as a browser was first developed.

“We are definitely more popular on Windows, but it’s because that’s where we launched. There are places where our share is over 50 percent today. I think the speed of Chrome is much more notable when you have a slow connection.” – Pichai

Speaking next on how the Android world figures in to all this, Pichai had quite a bit more to say, noting that just like some people have an iPhone and a MacBook, soo too could then have a ChromeBook and an Android smartphone. It is here that Pichai makes it relatively clear that through apps, both Chrome and Android are already one, and will continue to move closer to one another as time goes on.  Read More

Windows 8 Release Preview debuts

Microsoft today posted the Windows 8 Release Preview for public download, the last major milestone before the final release of the operating system, which will be the biggest change for the widely used software since the landmark Windows 95 release.

The company also confirmed that it will roll out a Windows Upgrade Offer starting June 2, letting anyone who buys a Windows 7 PC prior to the Windows 8 final release upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 when the new operating system comes out.

Microsoft still isn’t saying when it plans to release the final version of Windows 8. (Msnbc is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The company had promised to issue the Release Preview in early June, so it’s staying ahead of schedule. In a blog post announcing the Release Preview, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky said the Release Preview brings hundreds of new and updated apps. They include new apps from Microsoft Bing for Travel, News and Sports, as well as third-party apps available through the Windows Store.  Read More

So Why Is LinkedIn An IPO Standout?

Screen Shot 2012-05-30 at 1.57.16 PM

Earlier this morning at D10 KPCB analyst Mary Meeker showed a pretty definitive slide about the current state of the public markets with regards to tech companies. “The private market is in a bubble,” Meeker said, “We have a $1 billion fund, and didn’t invest once in Q1 because the valuation’s too crazy.”

The problem with these valuations is that public market investors are more skeptical, Meeker asserted bringing up the above slide comparing the IPOs of Facebook, Zynga, Groupon, Pandora and LinkedIn. Because of this skepticism their valuations are suppressed, almost all were trading at 20% lower than their initial IPO pricing, all except LinkedIn that is. The public market has taken kindly to the career focused social network, which is currently trading at $100 a share, 137% above its strike price of $32.

Kara Swisher had the opportunity to ask LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner why they thought the company was doing so well later today, dubbing it the “Little LinkedIn That Could”. Their answer?

Hoffman said part of the company’s success was only focusing on the long-term, “I only look at the stock price once a month, it’s doesn’t really affect what are we building towards. Weiner said that companies were often to focused on IPO events with companies being criticized for talking too much or too little, etc.  Read More

The Internet Never Forgets: Politwoops Saves The Tweets Your Politicians Tried To Delete


Once something is on the Internet, it’s typically pretty hard to delete it. Unless somebody retweets a posting to Twitter, though, a deleted tweet is pretty much gone forever. WithPolitwoops, however, the Sunlight Foundation is nowpreserving some of these tweets for posterity. Politwoops follows all the 433 official Twitter accounts for members of Congress, as well as President Obama’s andMitt Romney’s.

As Tom Lee, the director of Sunlight Labs, noted in today’s launch announcement, “in politics, Twitter is part of the ever-present ‘spin room’ of the digital age. But unlike other mediums, the record of events can be edited; tweets deleted from are hard or impossible to see after the fact.”

Politwoops doesn’t just preserve these deleted tweets but also tells you when it was deleted and how long it took the politicians (or their staff members) to delete it.

The reasons why politicians would delete a tweet are often pretty obvious, as in the case of Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, whose account was hacked a few months ago. Some of the deleted tweets were probably just a bit too off-topic or controversial (or in all caps), but for the most part, they just include bad links, typos or other common mistakes.  Read More

Google Places Gets Plussed Company debuts Google+ Local

Social-local-mobile has become an industry-favorite (and much-hated) buzzphrase over the past year as restaurants and retailers look to tie their social media presences with consumers’ mobile wanderings. Google’s is looking to capitalize on this supposed phenomenon by bringing its Places product under the Google+ umbrella via a new Google+ Local tab added to the social network today.

Now when users click on select locations within a Google map or search results page, they’re directed to that location’s Google+ page, not the Google Places page they would have previously encountered. Not all locations have yet been migrated to the new format, but roughly 80 million have been converted so far, according to Search Engine Land.

A location’s Google+ page features much of the same content as the Places page (address, hours, photos, reviews) but framed within Google+ to stress the social functions such as the ability to +1 a page or share it to Google+. And putting its acquisition of Zagat last fall to work, Google has outfitted the pages with Zagat ratings and reviews to replace its previous starred system.  Read More

Flipboard kicks off Android beta test, sign up now

Flipboard kicks off Android beta test, sign up now
May 30, 2012 3:41 PM

Slowly, but surely, the social news reader app Flipboard is making its way to Android — officially, this time. Today the company opened up its Android beta program to all, allowing anyone with an Android device to sign up and get their hands on the app.

But it’s not like Flipboard had much choice in the matter. The announcement follows a leak of the Flipboard Android app from earlier this month — which satisfied the Flipboard urge for eager Android users, but didn’t do much to help the company test its app on the platform. Now with an official beta, Flipboard can actually learn from all of the issues the beta testers will inevitably come across. (You can also download the beta installation file from Droid Life, instead of waiting for the beta process.)

We learned earlier this month that Flipboard will be making its official debut on Androidvia Samsung’s Galaxy S III. But with that earlier leak, and now this beta program, it seems that Samsung’s exclusive coup isn’t worth much in the end.

From the impressions I’m seeing around the web, it looks like the Flipboard beta runs fine on most new phones, but Android devices older than a year have various crashing issues.

Like the iPhone version, the app allows you to follow news from topics you’re interested in, as well as news posted to your social media streams. Flipboard has long been one of the prime examples of well-designed mobile apps on iOS, so just like Instagram finally heading to Google’s mobile platform, it’s something Android users have long been waiting for.  Read More

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