Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs dies aged 56

In the early hours of this morning Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer. His death was announced by Apple in a statement saying:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor.

Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

DIY website builder WebEden.co.uk launches blog feature

Award winning do-it-yourself website building tool WebEden.co.uk today announced the launch of their new, long awaited, blog feature.

The new blog tool opens up blogging to anyone with a PC who has little or no technical knowledge. Much like websites created with WebEden building system, it can be set up and stylised using simple drag and drop software and is aimed at both business and pleasure users.

WebEden MD Ken Builder says ‘Whether it’s a business wanting to interact with their customers more effectively, or an individual wishing to interact with like-minded people, blogging an incredibly effective way to do it.’

Blog content can be published through an RSS feed which in turn can be used to automatically update other services such as Twitter. With Facebook ‘Like’ and Twitter ‘Tweet’ buttons also included by default within the new blog feature, posts can instantly be shared by individuals reading posts to their own networks.

‘As they say, the blank page awaits, all that’s needed is a great thought to fill it!’ says Ken.

The Sunday Times Launches The Social List

Last week, The Sunday Times launched The Sunday Times Social List at www.the-social-list.com; a definitive and ever evolving list of who’s who in the world of social networking (The World’s Most Active And Influential Social Networkers).

Drawing information from the four biggest social networks – Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – The Sunday Times Social List system adds up your social networking activity and measures how much interest it generates amongst your friends and colleagues in order to work out how well you score.

Says Gordon Thomson, Online Editor of The Sunday Times, “The Sunday Times has a strong tradition of publishing great guides and lists –  and The Social List is our latest innovation, a dynamic, interactive chart which shows you where you fit into the new world of social media.  As social media continues to change the way people find information and interact online, so the Sunday Times Social List reflects the growing influence of bloggers and Tweeters on mainstream publishing and gives everyone the opportunity to pit themselves against their peers and climb the rankings of the most socially influential. ”

Jody Vogelaar, Head of News International Digital Marketing says, “We are very proud of how engaged customers are with our journalists and content in the social space.  We have more than one million followers across our Twitter feeds – a number that continues to grow each week. The social space is inherently competitive and we are taking full advantage of this by creating a fun and engaging piece of social entertainment that is very simple to get involved in”. 

Free to join, participants will simply need to link up whichever social networks they use and want to be included. Every morning The Sunday Times Social List will make its calculations.

People’s results will change daily as new people join and scores are updated.   

On the results page you can see a list of the top 2000 most socially wealthy people at any given time. You can also see how you compare with friends and colleagues who have also signed up.

To help people see where they are in the grand scheme of things, they are allocated a rank when they join and a badge that goes with it. This could change from ‘Fledgling’ through to the top spot, ‘Titan’, over time, depending on how well they are doing.

Created by VCCP, The Sunday Times Social List was designed so that “Anyone can join in and take their place on the List – no matter how active or idle they are on social networks like Facebook and twitter”, says Colin Byrne, Creative Director. “We wanted to build on The Sunday Times’ history of publishing definitive lists that become part of popular culture, but create a list that’s not only useful, but something everybody can be a part of. It finally puts to rest the debate about which friends are the most active on twitter, foursquare and Facebook, and turns the everyday activity of updating your status and sending tweets into something far more competitive”.

Channel 4 Seeks New Presenter For Future Family Series In Partnership With E.ON

Channel 4 is looking for someone with a passion for technology and gadgets to join the presenting team for Future Family, a major new documentary series in partnership with E.ON.

The new five-part TV and web-based series will follow an average family as their lives are transformed using futuristic technology and gadgets.

Featuring the latest environmental and energy-saving technology, Future Family will look at how new developments could change the way we live, from how we work and play, to relaxation, how we power and heat our homes, as well as eating and staying healthy.

As part of the presenting team, the new talent will be given the opportunity to front the Future Familyseries of web videos, in which they will help demystify the technology featured in the show.

The online series will showcase fantastic and futuristic inventions and practical how-to videos offering advice on saving and generating energy in your home. It will also offer the audience the opportunity to submit their own inventions. Further details will be announced closer to launch date.

Do you have what it takes?

The new presenter can be of any age, male or female, but should have a genuine passion for technology. They will be engaging and have the ability to speak about the latest gadgets and energy saving inventions with credibility.

How to enter

For an opportunity to become the show’s resident technology expert, email futurefamily@twofour.co.uk or visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwnWQaFuhKk

Applications close on 30th May 2011.

Applicants will receive an email requesting that they complete a short application form and provide a link to a one minute video clip of themselves talking about a piece of technology that interests them.

Should they be successful, applicants will be contacted by the production team to discuss the series in more detail. A screen test will be required as part of the final selection process.

Future Family will air on Channel 4 this autumn and will be Channel 4’s first peak-time Advertiser Funded Programme.

Republic Signs Facebook Deal With One iota

Leading fashion retailer Republic has joined the likes of Debenhams and Argos to launch a new Facebook Deals service.

Implemented and managed by One iota, the mobile and Facebook commerce provider, Republic will give shoppers access to exclusive offers and promotions. Deals will be activated when users ‘check-in’ on their mobile phone through Facebook to Republic stores in Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds and London.

Republic has recently embarked on a period of rapid expansion. In 2010, the retailer launched a social media strategy that has already clocked up over 43,000 Facebook fans.

Using Facebook Deals, Republic hopes to drive local retail footfall through Facebook and tap into the growing number of mobile users who are using their phones to source products, compare prices and seek out the best deals on the high street. 

One iota’s CEO, Damian Hanson, who worked closely with Republic on the launch, commented: “Facebook Deals provides bricks and mortar retail stores with a huge opportunity to create new customers and drive loyalty. The ability to attract custom through ‘local Facebook commerce’ is something that can’t be ignored. Facebook Deals is destined to become a key component in the multi-channel strategy, fuelled by the growth in social media consumption through mobile devices.”

Natalie Primus, head of social media at Republic, said: “We wanted to drive increased and repeat footfall by rewarding and incentivising our customers – Facebook Deals allows us to do this quickly and efficiently. One iota’s expertise and knowledge of the Facebook platform has been invaluable in supporting our goals.”

The initial campaign will provide customers with discounts of up to 20 per cent. Users simply have to ‘check-in’ to receive their Republic Facebook Deal, which can then be redeemed in store at the point of payment.

For more information, see www.oneiota.co.uk or follow the action at @itsoneiota.

Women Go Wild for Black Swan Style

Twenga, the most comprehensive shopping search engine, can reveal that the Black Swan phenomenon is influencing fashion with women expressing both their lighter and darker sides through elegant ballet-inspired clothes.

Searches for leotards have shot up by 288% this year, worn with sports tights by Adidas (up 75%) or luxury tights by La Perla (up 850%).  Although ballet flats are becoming something of a staple, searches have still risen by 21% and sporty models by Nike (+580%), Puma (276%) and Killah (240%) have seen dramatic increases in searches.

Wrapover tops and wrap dresses finish the look and searches for both are up, by 90% and 67% respectively.  Dance tutus too have seen a 163% increase.

But which swan do British women relate to most?

With 78% opting for a white leotard and just 22% going for black, it seems British women’s innocence is intact.  For now.

*Searches from 1/1/11 – 6/3/11, compared with 28/10/10 – 31/12/10

Book vouchers and British Rail cards arent enough say students…

Research shows that students favour budgeting over big incentives

Over half of students feel that the current resources being provided by banks to help students manage their finances are simply inadequate, according to research carried out by accounting software firm, Accountz.

The survey taken from a sample of 200 British university students identified that when it comes to finances there is a misconception that students are somewhat laissez-faire when it comes to managing their money. In fact over 66 per cent admit to regularly monitoring their bank account activity, as well as budgeting for expenses.

The survey also shows that over 70 per cent of students felt that the incentives on offer from banks to encourage them to join were useless to them when it came to managing their money and they would like more support from their bank when it comes to budgeting.

Students would like to see more tools offered that would allow them to manage their finances in a clear and easy-to-use way. Over 84 per cent of surveyed students felt that this would dramatically improve their ability to budget and help them gain control of their finances. Over half of students felt that this would be a key incentive encouraging them to join a bank.

Key findings of the survey were:

  • 52 per cent of students are now managing their weekly budgets through online banking
  • Over half of students have more than one bank account to help them manage their money
  • Travel incentives were the most common enticement offered by banks to students with over 40 per cent saying they had been offered discounted travel cards as well as reduced travel insurance
  • Despite the option of extended overdrafts and student loans 60 per cent of students still had concerns when it came to managing their money

Quentin Pain, chairman and founder of Accountz, stated: “Banks need to get in touch with the needs of the modern student, having free iPods and driving lessons as incentives are all well and good but they aren’t going to help them manage their money. With the impact of the financial crisis and more recently the protests over increased student fees still being felt, more should be done to help students manage their money and avoid the pitfalls of debt.”

* This survey was carried out on 1-4 February, across a sample of 200 students from London based universities

PRFilter – The first press release search engine launched in beta

PRFilter, the first press release search engine, has been launched today to enable anyone to quickly find recent relevant press releases. The service indexes thousands of releases each day and is designed to save journalists and bloggers time and get PR stories in front of the most relevant media.

PRFilter’s search results are ranked based on a combination of relevance to the terms searched for and the extent to which PRFilter’s patent pending Active Interest Technology considers a release to be relevant to a greater number of journalists and bloggers. So the more people PRFilter thinks a release could be relevant to, the higher it is ranked.

The search application has been developed by UK press release distribution company RealWire and represents a significant expansion of its PRFilter platform. The technology was subject to testing by UK journalists and bloggers at the end of 2010 and initial feedback has been very positive.  Founder of UK PR and journalist community, UKTJPR, Andrew Lim, said, “PRFilter is a fantastic way to manage press releases and find interesting stories.”

Initial sources include key paid newswires and distribution services such as Business Wire, PRNewswire, MarketWire and RealWire themselves. In addition releases are starting to be sourced direct from a number of the world’s largest companies with the initial focus being on the technology and media industries. More sources are to be added in the coming weeks.

Adam Parker, Chief executive of RealWire, said “PRFilter is designed to help both the Media and PR communities to find relevant stories as quickly and easily as possible. In a world where relevance is increasingly at a premium we need tools that focus on increasing the signal to noise ratio, not simply amplifying it. PRFilter seeks to do this in a human way by basing its automated predictions of relevance on the topics that journalists and bloggers write about the most.”

PRFilter operates as a standalone service, though its relevance prediction technology is now integrated into RealWire’s own existing distribution service offering.

The PRFilter platform also allows journalists and bloggers to register to access a specific profile built automatically from their own or their publication’s articles. This profile then ranks the press release content based on the topics they write about the most. Registered users can also teach PRFilter to better understand their interests by providing feedback on the releases suggested.

SoundCloud Launches North American Presence

SoundCloud, the audio platform that enables everybody to upload, record, promote and share the sounds they create across the web, has today announced it is to extend its operations into North America with the opening of a presence in San Francisco and several planned new hires in the city within the coming months.

The fast-growing company was launched in Berlin in 2008 and its headquarters remain in the German capital. With an additional office already in the Shoreditch area of London, home to many of Europe’s leading Internet start-ups, adding Silicon Valley as an operational base will promote further consolidation as well as growth in the key US market.

Establishing a physical presence in the technological heart of the US will allow SoundCloud to engage with other technology companies interested in using and integrating with its open API. These integrations have already resulted in the development of more than 120 apps available in the app gallery, ranging from Korg emulators for iPad to those allowing users to plug instruments into smartphones and directly uploading their creations to SoundCloud. It is expected that the number of apps on offer will increase substantially as a result of US expansion.

SoundCloud’s rapidly increasing user base in the US has so far been entirely organic. Opening a US presence will allow SoundCloud to better serve its American users and more easily focus on continuing its growth and development there.

Alexander Ljung, founder and CEO, SoundCloud, said: “Our move to San Francisco is reminiscent of when my co-founder, Eric Wahlforss and I first launched SoundCloud. Then it was the two of us working out of a cafe in the Mitte district of Berlin and sleeping on friends’ floors. We still very much maintain that start-up ethos and are starting our US venture based out of The Summit cafe.”

SoundCloud confirmed earlier this month it had received funding from two venture firms, Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures, with expansion into the US highlighted as a key component of its post investment strategy. Separately, Index Ventures has also recently announced a move into Silicon Valley.

SoundCloud currently has 2.8 million registered users and has recently introduced free apps for iPhone, Android and Mac OS, which so far have had more than 500k downloads.

More info at: http://www.soundcloud.com/

Review of Serif CraftArtist Gold

Hi all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a full review of this scale, so before I begin I would like to give thanks to Clare Homer PR Manager at Serif for proving me with this opportunity. Now that’s over 😉 Here is my Review of Serif CraftArtist! 😀

First of all for those that don’t know, Serif CraftArtist is a digital crafting product which provides individuals with all the tools needed to easily and quickly make professional-looking print projects including photo books, wedding stationery, cards, scrapbooks and much more at home! I posted a press release with more info here.

Serif CraftArtist comes in various packages/Stock-keeping units a.k.a SKU’s which you can buy or get for free for that matter, the free version is available here: http://www.daisytrail.com/free-digital-scrapbooking or http://www.serif.com/digital-scrapbooking but don’t go just quite yet, here’s a quick side by side comparison of the versions you can get.

 Features CraftArtist Compact(free on DaisyTrail) CraftArtist(inc in Baby, Wedding, Cards, Scrapbooks & Gold) CraftArtist Professional(inc in CraftArtist Platinum only)
Create any craft project
Add unlimited text, photos, embellishments, materials, backgrounds, brushes and frames
Templates included
Change colours of items
Crafting tools:Scissors, punches, stencils
Brushes
Photo editing capabilities
Cutout studio
Blend Modes
Digikit creator
Create your own stencils, brushes and filter effects

And as for prices, here’s what they cost, not bad once you see what the software can do:

  • CraftArtist Wedding Day (£19.99) – the perfect solution for brides and grooms looking to save time and money by creating their own bespoke wedding stationery and decorations.
  • CraftArtist Baby Photos (£19.99) – the complete package for parents who want to make high quality personalised photobooks and cards with their cherished baby photos.
  • CraftArtist Greeting Cards (£19.99) – the essential software for anyone who wants to create and print wonderful personalised cards at home, helping users save money whilst having fun.
  • CraftArtist Scrapbooks (£19.99) the ultimate home scrapbooking software to make beautiful, personalised scrapbooks and albums to share with friends and family.
  • CraftArtist Gold (£19.99) Fantastic value for money, with a selection of kits and templates from Wedding Day, Baby Photos, Greeting Cards and Scrapbooks, plus the CraftArtist software.
  • CraftArtist Platinum (£39.99) – the all-in-one package for creating every type of print project imaginable. It includes all the content from Wedding Day, Baby Photos, Greeting Cards and Scrapbooks plus the CraftArtist Professional software, with added features for extra value.

I shall be showing you CraftArtist Gold. Click The Images to Enlarge. CraftArtist loads up quite nice and simple and the first time you load it up, it will check for updates, which I recommend you do, believe an update fixed a bug I was having where an embedded web page was not showing on the digital content screen. Anyhow you can manually update at any time.

Serif CraftArtist

From the main start up splash screen you have many options which you can choose from, blank templates, pre-made templates, tutorials, more downloadable content and more. I choose “Choose a Template”.

Serif CraftArtist

On the next screen I was asked what template I would like to start of with, there was so many different types of projects I could choose from, It was certainly overwhelming, but in a good way as they all seemed very high quality.

Serif CraftArtist

And I could even filter by date and type for example, Greeting Cards for Valentines Day.

Serif CraftArtist

Or scrapbooks and hover over each one to get a little preview

Serif CraftArtist

I decided to go with a Valentines Day one,  You’ll notice it has a default image in it of a couple.

Serif CraftArtist

No problem, I can ungroup and and uncrop all the items and remove the image

Serif CraftArtist

And add my own and crop and regroup, in terms of cropping I mean using a shape, for example the heart, and the photo and crop out everything from the photo except a heart shape, took me a while to figure out how to do, you have to send the image to the back of the heart and then select photo + heart and the crop function, but once I did it once it was easy.

Serif CraftArtist

You can also change the background by importing more from the Digikits Browser, which is quite a good content library with lots of resources.

Serif CraftArtist

And it’s not just backgrounds, there’s also embellishments (a little bit like clip art) and frames and well loads more. All of this is filterable by type and category which is great, saves be digging around to much for that perfect piece of art, all of them very good quality.

Serif CraftArtist

You can pretty much change anything really, your free to express you creativity for sure!
Serif CraftArtist

On a gift card for example, same applies to scrapbooks, you can also of course edit the inside of the card/book by adding/editing the pages. Just like the front cover you can pretty much do anything you like with it, I quite like the “Insert Sentiment” and even that’s editable, there’s nothing like words from the heart so not being able to edit it to your own words would be a downfall, but it’s not so thumbs up!

Serif CraftArtist

Overall CraftArtist is a great product, and theres a lot more behing the scences than I can show you, plus it’s better for you to explore than me show you. I will certainly be recommending it and I truly believe that if you enjoy making cards and such then you will enjoy this, that goes for both those who like to make them but don’t always like the hassle of doing it or for those who would like to but find it to hard, it also applies to those who are professionals and like making such things by good old hand. Doing it digital can be as simple or as complcated as you like with little or loads of effort depending on how creative you want to be and its certainly fun.

If anyone gets it please post your crafting results here, would love to see. 😀

Don’t forget toy can get the free version here: http://www.daisytrail.com/free-digital-scrapbooking or http://www.serif.com/digital-scrapbooking

And Craft Artist Platinum here: http://www.serif.com/craftartist/platinum/