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June 19, 2009

Friday Recap: Shock and Awe Edition

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Happy Friday and happy early Father’s Day! I bet there are a few techie dads expecting this week’s must-have gadget, the iPhone 3GS, to find its way into their eager hands by Sunday. Am I right? I’m sure you’ve all come across lots of stories about the new iPhone device and software, covering a variety of angles, but took the cake this week with 12 bugs in the iPhone OS 3.0.

iPhone bug
Photo by Inchka via Creative Commons

Speaking of bugs, one of the most circulated videos of the week showed U.S. President Barack Obama execute a fly during an interview. In an impressive feat of hand-eye coordination, the president smacked the pest when it landed on his arm. Less than impressed were our wily friends at PETA. All together now: Oh, PETA.

Twitter has been playing a significant role in the continuing developments following the election in Iran last week. While the Iranian government has reportedly taken steps to control Internet access and media coverage, citizen journalists are vigilantly reporting news via Twitter, which Time has dubbed the medium of the movement. Google is now offering a tool that will translate text from Farsi into English and vice versa to help those following the story.

Meanwhile in Holland, a couple bad guys have been caught red handed thanks to pictures taken by a Google Maps Street View car. A teenager who had been robbed by two men last year discovered pictures on Google Maps taken just moments before the attack. Thanks to the images, police found the alleged muggers. Google, please accept this gold star. You earned it.

gold star balloon
Photo by Larsz via Creative Commons

Oh, Google? I’m going to need that star back when you get a chance. It looks like you’ve been a bit naughty lately. Or at the very least, you’ve been making a few enemies in the SEO community. On the aimClear blog there’s a thoughtful post about how Google’s unannounced change to nofollow last year has diminished marketers’ trust. The dominant search engine is also getting flack for offering artists “exposure” instead of payment in exchange for works of art. With $1.4 billion in profits in just the first quarter of 2009, we can assume Google’s frugal offer isn’t due to an aching bank account.

In more favorable news, TechCrunch reports that Google will soon launch Flipper, which presents news results through an interactive visual display. One story coming out of Google that I may never understand was reported by The Next Web this week. As a promotion for Chrome, Google employees made a video of man-on-the-street interviews where random passersby in New York City answer the question “What is a browser?” I won’t lie. I was shocked. Kinda like you’ll be after you watch these videos of people doing amazing things with their voices. Carayzee cool.

family dinner
Photo by Jeffrey Beall via Creative Commons

Has the Internet eroded family time? The findings of one survey suggest it’s so. More than a quarter of participants said they have spent less time with their family in the last year — a trend that parallels an increase of time spent on social networks. At Search Engine Land, usability expert Kim Krause Berg examines the impact of the Internet on human behavior, examining fatigue factors, mobile Web access, and the info overload effect.

Amazon affiliates in North Carolina got a shock this week as the retail giant announced it may be shutting down their N.C. program because of new tax laws. Affiliates will have to find new means of income. I hear there’s a rising market for doggie exercise videos. (That’s a giggle-tastic video of a pup doing squats and it’s really too good to miss.)

Finally, a few announcements to make before signing off. I’d like to wish the best of luck to Rebecca Kelley, who bid farewell to SEOmoz today in pursuit of new adventures. Luckily, the SEO community can get their Rebecca fix from her new blog, Fresh Edge Media. In social media announcements, nominations are now being accepted by the SAMMY Awards, honoring excellence in social media marketing. And while the next Search Engine Strategies conference is still many moons away, on July 8 the good people at SES are presenting a webinar with Charlene Li on integrating social media into any business.

Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:

  • A 10-year-old’s final wish to see Up was granted thanks to some good people. I recommend clicking through to the OC Register for a moving and heartwarming story.
  • Hummingbirds are the world’s gnarliest daredevils, diving at speeds that are comparatively faster than a space shuttle.
  • A colony of the world’s rarest insect, thought to be extinct, has miraculously been found on an isolated volcanic island.
  • In the art of writing employee handbooks, no detail is too insignificant. City workers in a Florida town have just been ordered to wear underwear and cover open wounds. I’m thinking this is a good thing.
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