This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

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    Facebook Video Calling with Skype

    Facebook today announced Video Calling powered by Skype. Currently (free) one-to-one but group video chat may be in the near future according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This may be sooner than later given Google+ introduced video chat for up to 10 people.

    Facebook Video Calling uses a Skype plug-in that allows users to launch a video chat session in two clicks. The plug-in is downloaded on-demand so a video call can be initiated without the need to have Skype software pre-installed.

    Sarah Kessler over at Mashable put together a nice little How-To slideshow for getting started with Facebook Video Calling.

    Aside: If you have been paying attention to your stock portfolio, you’ll recall that Microsoft received FTC approval to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in May of this year. Skype has 145 million users. No doubt the video conferencing service will now get a nice bump from Facebook’s 750 million users.

    Google+ is the search giant’s next step in Social Web and yes, it “looks” like Facebook but I don’t really care. Google is expanding its strategy and rebranding a number of popular services like Blogger (now called Google Blogs). Okay.

    I’m tempted to say that Google should stick to search.

    I’m tempted to say that Google+ is Facebook for grown ups.

    I’m tempted to post graphs that sway the argument either way.

    Truth is it is way too soon to critique or celebrate the impact Google+ will have on social media (though plenty already have from Forbes to Mashable). I welcome the obvious challenge Google poses to Facebook and other social networks. I also don’t think it matters much as an end-user if Google+ is the proverbial “killer app” or not… mainly because I like having options. So bloggers and journalists have at it and speculate until the cows come home, move into the basement, and start a public access television show. My “knee jerk” reaction is it is all good.

    In the past I’ve recommended the poor man’s online reputation manager was to use Google Alerts with Social Mention. Google today expanded Alerts with a new feature to your Dashboard called Me on the Web (located right under the Account info). This works much like Alerts where you can be notified about “mentions” on a weekly, daily, or real-time but the really nice touch is that you now have an easier way to remove unwanted information about yourself from Google Search. Learn more reading this post by Google’s Product Manager Andreas Tuerk.

    Facebook announced the completion of the Photo Tagging Auto-Suggestion feature two days ago and it immediately prompted public outcry over privacy issues (perhaps Google had something to do with this… the two online rivals haven’t exactly been playing nice lately). I don’t want to spend too much time on this as I’m sure the subject will get plenty of coverage but it would seem the real privacy issue is with the friends that upload (and tag) a photo of you.

    The world has gone digital. Does anyone print photos anymore? In 2010 the last photo lab in the world stopped taking new rolls of Kodachrome film (sorry, Paul Simon). Gee, I hope my Facebook account will still be around long after I’m gone so my great-great-grandchildren can see what I looked like. Without any clear answer how to keep our binary memories safe forever, digital preservationists suggest having multiple copies in multiple places. Ouch! Sounds like I’m gonna need an organizational coach. I wonder if the Sumerians contemplated this dilemma 5,000 years ago.

    Photo uploads are one of the most popular features on Facebook and according to Mark Zuckerberg, members add over 100 millions tags to their photos everyday (roughly 2.5 billion photos are uploaded every month). Facebook using facial recognition to auto-tag photos simply saves time. Chances are your pretty mug is already in somebody’s online photo album… photo tagging just makes it easier for you to know where. In fact, when you’re tagged in a photo, Facebook sends you an email (or an on-site notification) letting you know a friend has uploaded a photo of you, giving you the opportunity to ask that friend to remove the photo or at least limit its visibility.

    If you’re really uncomfortable having photos of yourself tagged, here is a step-by-step guide on how to disable the Facebook facial recognition feature.

    Shortly after we launched the CONNECT Computer website, we were asked to design, write, and manage a monthly newsletter for ongoing client communications as well as provide useful insight into the IT industry for those who opt-in (via website, email blasts, and social media channels). After some A-B testing, this design layout below proved to be the most engaging for CONNECT’s subscribers. Each newsletter would have a different “theme” such as Security Issue, Support Issue, or Breathe Deep Issue (below). On average, we see 18% to 24% click throughs to full stories residing on the website (industry average for IT is only 15%).

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