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How Much Is A Twitter Follower Worth?
A technology Web site, chúng tôi and one of its former chief editors, Noah Kravitz, are embroiled in a legal battle that could have fascinating repercussions for social networks. Kravitz is suing PhoneDog over contractual issues, but it’s the counter-suit that really has my attention. PhoneDog is suing Kravitz over the use of his Twitter handle. They claim that he improperly kept the Twitter name after he left the company, and that he owes them damages of $2.50 for each Twitter follower he took with him, for each month he held them after he left. At 17,000 followers when he left, and 8 months since then, that starts damages at $370,000. So, that’s not even the full value PhoneDog puts on the Twitter account, but rather the value that Kravitz took with him when he left. PhoneDog essentially believes a key Twitter account is worth half a million dollars per year.
I could fill pages with disclaimers about this case. I used to be a tech journalist full time, and I was friends with just about every editor with a byline on all of the sites involved. I still see them regularly on a professional basis, and we still drink and joke and tell embarrassing stories about the time we got too excited over a new phone with polyphonic ringtones. So, I’m not going to say who’s right and wrong.
I’m also not going to simply flesh out the merits of the case. You can find those details elsewhere. I’m not going to analyze this issue from an unbiased perspective. I’m not legally qualified to do so. I’m just giving my opinion on the case as I understand it.
I went directly to Kravitz, but I didn’t talk to anyone on the PhoneDog team. Noah is a friend, but I don’t know any of the people named on the PhoneDog side of the case.
[aquote]We’re all still feeling our way around Twitter, we’re worried about making huge, career-ending mistakes[/aquote]
It seems there are two issues here. The first is how to measure the value of a Twitter account when social networking is part of your business strategy. How and why the account was created makes a difference here. Eventually, that won’t be the case. When companies start assigning Twitter accounts like email addresses and phone numbers, they will certainly have more sway over the ownership of that account when the employee leaves. But for now, we’re all still feeling our way around Twitter. We’re cautious and unsure of its utility. We’re worried about making huge, career-ending mistakes.
I tweet a lot. My day job employer does not require it, but does not forbid it. It’s all at my own risk, and it’s a heavy risk. It is far more likely I’ll make a mistake on Twitter that will get me in some sort of trouble than it is I’ll generate some great success on Twitter that will prove it’s worth the risk.
I asked Kravitz why he opened his Twitter account in the first place.
“I saw enough of the people around me using it that I figured I should be paying attention. And seeing as I make a living posting content to the Web – and tech-related content at that – it seemed like a good, potentially great, way to spread the word about what I was doing.”
Kravitz opened his Twitter account as “@phonedog_noah.” I asked if he was the first PhoneDog employee to open an account. “I believe I was, yes.” Was the “PhoneDog” name in the Twitter handle a company mandate? “No, nobody told me what to name myself.”
See. The company did not yet understand the branding value of a Twitter feed. This brings me to the second issue here. Is Kravitz’s Twitter feed a part of his work life, or part of his identity? Is it part of his brand, or just something fun he does to pass the time?
I have worked for companies that lay claim to any creations while you are employed. So, if I work for Samsung (which I do), and I create a really amazing pickle slicer, that’s Samsung’s pickle-slicer now. If the Twitter account is a work product, there could be an argument that PhoneDog owns anything Kravitz creates.
However, what if it is part of his identity? Let’s say I work at a company and I change my hair style, lose some weight, and start dressing much better. I might have better luck with my clients, and the company reaps the benefits. If I then leave the company, can they claim to own my image? Should I become slovenly, hairy, and fat again?
I asked Kravitz about how he accumulated so many followers on Twitter.
“I tweet a lot about Phil Collins, trips to the dentist, and sports in addition to technology. Maybe people like me? … I tend to tweet quite a bit in general, and quite a bit about non-technology things – and I tend to carry on conversations with other tweeters, so Twitter is often more of a virtual town square for me than anything else. Some people like my style, some don’t, and so it goes.”
[aquote]I’ve always thought about Twitter as a virtual water cooler[/aquote]
So, can work lay claim to the relationships you build around the water cooler? If you spend your spare time chatting with strangers in a nearby town square, can your job say you can’t take those strangers with you when you leave?
How would that happen, exactly? I suppose that Kravitz could have changed the PhoneDog_Noah Twitter handle to simply “PhoneDog.” Then he could have started at scratch with a new account. When you leave an office, you don’t get to keep using your desk, or your email account. The desk is physical. They clean it out and the next person takes it. The email account is virtual. They flush it to save space, or dig through your emails for pertinent information, but they can’t give it to the next person. It loses all of its value when it is no longer connected to you.
The Twitter account seems to fall somewhere in the middle. It could still have value even if Kravitz weren’t the one behind the tweets. It’s like reading a new Robert Ludlum novel. The poor “Bourne” author passed a decade ago, but a fan who wasn’t paying attention would still be thrilled by his latest paperback. It would be even easier for PhoneDog to continue tweeting from that account, even with Noah uninvolved.
The most damning evidence against PhoneDog might be Kravitz’s last post. He suggests readers find him on his blog, or check out his newly renamed Twitter feed, under the @noahkravitz name. That post is still up at PhoneDog as of writing, so it would seem that PhoneDog is endorsing Kravitz’s ownership of the new name, while at the same time suing him over it.
I asked Kravitz about whether he saw his Twitter account as part of his identity, part of his job, or part of his brand.
“I’d say it’s all more part of my identity than my brand. In order to view it as part of my brand I’d have to be a better businessperson than I clearly am, given that I’m somehow in the middle of this silly mess. I mean, seriously, would the pitchman for a brand be tweeting photos of himself at the dentist?”
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Such platforms are innovative technologies that are used by both technical and non-technical coders. In fact, not all technical enthusiasts can prove their expertise in coding. It’s not obligatory for everyone to be experienced in generating codes if there is a need to create an application or software within a limited time. Even highly experienced software developers often look out for various alternatives to substitute traditional ways of creating apps with a minimal coding effort, whereas the notion of low-code platform and development is not new to programming specialists.
Such platforms require no preliminary introduction for experts working as part of the coding community. However, there are still a great number of coding specialists who are only on the way to getting started with low-coding application development.Is It Worth Using This Technology?
The LCAP appeared as a reaction to the complexity and diversity of modern ways of program development. There are many famous platforms belonging to this industry segment. According to what is offered by various vendors, even ordinary users will be able to create business applications with ease in the long run.
However, it’s hard to work on such applications without the assistance of professional developers. And regrettably, modern service vendors are not created for qualified experts, while relying on them in the long-term perspective is always associated with certain risks for your business. If your company wants to use LCAP for industrial exploitation, it’s worth weighing up all pros and cons before making the final decision.
9 Best Cybersecurity Companies in the WorldAutomation of Simple Processes and Creation of Prototypes
To describe data models;
To quickly create screens with the help of widgets and samples;
To describe logic with the help of so-called microflows.
However, after going through the stage of prototype interaction of the system with the user, business logic becomes more complicated. In order to develop the project further, professional development experts are needed.Slow Development
Any logic, be it calculations or interaction with the user, must be described in microflow as stated previously. Here, several problems arise:
It is a long process. It’s much quicker to generate codes using IDE than move or interconnect tens of blocks;
Readability is yet another important issue. Blocks look great, but as soon as the amount of information blocks grows to several dozens, it will become harder to understand the logic;
It’s used as an alternative in complicated cases. The main drawback is the absence of transparency. Here, all points of access are located in microflows. Therefore, the logic is distributed between two weakly linked environments. As a result, it becomes difficult to keep track of dependencies.
Low-coding platforms are great for prototyping. They decrease the distance between business users and IT developers, which allows quickly getting the needed prototype and shaping the way your future system will look like. The expenses at this stage are also minimal. However, there are two major drawbacks of this technique, which include low speed and dependency on the expensive platform.
Python 3.11 is the first release to benefit from a project called Faster CPython!
The Python programming language releases new versions yearly, with a feature-locked beta release in the first half of the year and the final release toward the end of the year. The feature set for Python 3.11 has just been finalized, with a beta version available for testing. Developers are encouraged to try out this latest version on non-production code, both to verify that it works with your programs and to get an idea of whether your code will benefit from its performance enhancements.Let’s look into the features in Python 3.11 Typing improvements
Python‘s type-hinting features make larger codebases easier to manage and analyze and have increased significantly with each revision since Python 3.5. Python 3.11 brings in several new type-hinting additions.The Self type
Class methods that return self previously required obtuse and verbose annotations to be useful. typing. Self lets you annotate the return value of a class method as, simply, Self. You get useful and predictable results from your analysis tools for such methods.CPython Optimizations
CPython is the reference implementation of the Python programming language. Written in C and Python, CPython is the default and most widely used implementation of the Python language. In version 3.11, the CPython interpreter is much more optimized and much faster than in version 3.10. CPython 3.11 is on average 1.22x faster than CPython 3.10 when measured with the performance benchmark suite, and compiled with GCC on Ubuntu Linux. Depending on your workload, the speedup could be up to 10–60% faster. In Python 3.11, the developers have mostly focused on faster startup and faster runtime as has been stated in the documentation.Arbitrary string literal type
Previously, type annotations had no way to indicate a given variable needed to be a string literal—that is, a string defined in source code. The new typing.LiteralString annotation fixes that. Using the new annotation, linters can test for a variable is either a string defined in the source or a new string composed of only source-defined strings.Python 3.11: I am Speed
Every new version comes with lots of improvements and the same goes with Python 3.11. One of the features (Speed) that every developer was waiting for is finally here. Since an object’s type rarely changes, the interpreter now attempts to analyze running code and replace general bytecodes with type-specific ones. For instance, binary operations (add, subtract, etc.) can be replaced with specialized versions for integers, floats, and strings.How Python 3.11 is gaining performance?
Python function calls also require less overhead in Python 3.11. Stack frames for function call now use less memory and are more efficiently designed. Also, while recursive calls aren’t tail-optimized (which probably isn’t possible in Python, anyway), they are more efficient than in previous versions. The Python interpreter itself also starts faster, and core modules needed for the Python runtime are stored and loaded more efficiently.
Python 3.11 is the first release to benefit from a project called Faster CPython, where CPython is the standard version of the interpreter. Faster CPython is a project funded by Microsoft, whose members include Python inventor Guido van Rossum, Microsoft senior software engineer Eric Snow, and Mark Shannon – who is under contract to Microsoft as tech lead for the project.
A session scheduled for the EuroPython event to be held in Dublin in July centers on some of the changes that enable the speed-up. Shannon will describe the “adaptive specializing interpreter” in Python 3.11, which is PEP (Python Enhancement Proposal) 659. This describes a technique called specialization which, Shannon explains, “is typically done in the context of a JIT [just in time] compiler, but research shows specialization in an interpreter can boost performance significantly.”
The interpreter identifies code that can benefit from specialization and “once an instruction in a code object has executed enough times, that instruction will be “specialized” by replacing it with a new instruction that is expected to execute faster for that operation,” states the PEP. The speed-up can be “up to 50 percent.”
One of the main effects of Mars being smaller than Earth is that its gravity is different. Gravity there is around one third the strength of gravity on Earth, because there is less mass attracting things to its surface. This can be useful for exploration in some ways – for example, the Ingenuity helicopter is able to fly there in part because the lower gravity makes it easier to get off the surface (via Digital Trends). But it causes problems in other ways, like making the atmosphere very thin.
The atmosphere on Mars is just 1% of the density of the atmosphere on Earth, and it is mainly composed of carbon dioxide so it isn’t friendly to humans. If humans ever do set foot on Mars, they’ll need to stay in spacesuits or in sealed habitats at all times. Because of the low gravity, Mars cannot hang on to its atmosphere and it has lost atmosphere into space over time (via NASA).
This might also be what happened to Mars’s water. Astronomers are confident that there was once liquid water on Mars, billions of years ago, as we can see evidence of flowing water in rock formations on its surface (via ESA). But now Mars is dry and barren, with basically no liquid water on its surface and only ice at its poles and under its surface.
Experts are still debating exactly how long the water was there and what happened to it, but a leading theory is that Mars once had a water cycle similar to Earth’s (via Max Planck Society). Water on the surface was hit with the sun’s rays and evaporated up into the atmosphere. But once it reached the atmosphere and splits into hydrogen and oxygen, the planet’s lower gravity meant that some of the lighter hydrogen was lost into space. Over time, this meant there was less and less water on the planet.
Mars’s relatively low mass may also play a part in one of its strangest and most distinctive features: The global dust storms which can periodically cover the entire planet. According to NASA, these global dust storms happen every few years and have so far only been observed on Mars. Mars is the dustiest place in the solar system, and because of the low gravity it is easy for these small particles to be picked up by the wind.
We’re still not sure exactly how a dust storm can spread across an entire planet, but weather instruments on the Perseverance rover are studying the weather there to try to learn more (via Digital Trends). And the story of Mars’s size and development isn’t only a matter of history, as it directly affects exploration there now. Mars’s dust could be one of the major obstacles to exploring it, as dust can damage delicate electronics and cover over solar panels, as happened with the rover Opportunity which lost communication in 2023.
If we want to explore Mars more in the future, we’ll need to find ways to address issues like how to design machines which can cope with the dust and how to build spacesuits which can keep astronauts there safe.
Having a good VPN app is almost a necessity these days. Whether it’s to get around geo-restricted content, unblock websites, or just to ensure some semblance of privacy in a connected world where privacy is but a lie. Well, recently I came across one such VPN service that I think deserves your attention for sure. It’s called, “VeePN” (visit the website), and it has features that you’ll be hard pressed to find in any other VPN service out there… for the most part.Key Features of VeePN 1. Smart VeePN
One of the biggest reasons I’ve heard from people for using VPNs is to access geo-restricted content, and also to bypass some of the most insane blocking that governments do, especially in China and UAE. VeePN uses its own custom protocol to connect you to the internet, and it doesn’t just encrypt your traffic (which in itself is a pretty solid safeguard), but it even masks it, so websites, ISPs, and governments don’t get to know if you’re using a VPN. That’s particularly nice.
Other than that, since websites can’t know that you’re using VeePN, they simply assume that you’re actually accessing them from the server you set up for yourself in the VeePN app. Guess what I tried first? Accessing Netflix’s US library, and it works flawlessly. I watched a couple of episodes of Friends on Netflix thanks to VeePN, and I love it. It also works with Spotify, by the way, so if you’re in a country that Spotify doesn’t support yet, like I am (come to India already, Spotify!), you can use VeePN to make Spotify think you’re in the US, or the UK, or wherever you want it to think you are.2. Privacy, Anonymity, Speeds, and Data Caps
What’s more, VeePN has over 2500 servers in over 48 locations across the world, which means you can access the internet from any one of those servers using VeePN, so you can choose something that’s the best in terms of speed for your location, or you can choose a different location if you’re looking to access geo-restricted content. Plus, with VeePN you don’t need to worry about speed-drops, the VPN service offers high speed connections, so your browsing sessions will not get hampered with speed issues.
Also, VeePN offers unlimited data usage across all of its plans, which means whether you’re paying by the month, or by the year, you will never have to worry about your reaching your VPN’s data cap and getting stuck with your old, unprotected internet.3. Multi-Platform Support Plans and Pricing
By now, I’m sure you’re convinced about the usability and the appeal of VeePN as a VPN service. Which would lead you to wondering what the pricing models are like. So let’s talk about that.
VeePN offers a bunch of plans. I’m listing all of them below:
1 Month: $10.99 per month
1 Year: $5.83 per month
3 Years: $2.78 per month (one time payment)
Lifetime: $199.99 (one time payment)
Also, regardless of what plan you spring for, VeePN offers you unlimited data usage, and the ability to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously! That’s pretty impressive too.VeePN: Pros and Cons
Look, I’ll just come right out and say it, VeePN is one of the best VPN services available out there, but as it is with almost everything, there are pros and cons here as well. So let’s take a quick look at them:
Unlimited data usage
Can bypass Netflix and Spotify geo-restrictions
Apps available for almost every platform out there
No free plans
… actually, that’s pretty much it for the consUse VeePN for All Your VPN Needs
Check out VeePN from the website
Smartphones and tablets suffer from a limitation in the amount of phone memory they can store. Most mid-range models can store anywhere between 8 and 32 GB of information, with some of it being occupied by the operating system. While 32 GB might initially seem like a lot (especially considering that the average size of an app in iOS is 23 MB ), you’ll find that the space on your phone for other purposes is shrinking ever-so-slowly. What do you do when you run out of space? The answer currently is “nothing.” Will this always be the case? How much bigger can mobile devices really get?
64 GB and 128 GB phones exist, but there isn’t a great deal of them. Despite the lack of a manufacturing trend biased towards making higher-capacity mobile platforms, there is always a demand for them. The average app size between March and September 2012 grew 16 percent. Bloated software is getting even more bloated all of the time, not to mention the increasing graphic resolution that the developers need to pack in their apps. We’re seeing the same phenomenon plague phones just like they did in the PC’s golden years.
The demand for larger hard drives in personal computers came directly from the fact that programs and games were inflating off the charts. There was a point back in 1997 when my IBM Aptiva computer’s 2 GB hard drive was more than I’d ever need. Fast forward to 2014, and I’m struggling to live on 1 TB (around 1,000 GB).
If 32 GB is enough for you and your smartphone or tablet, I applaud you. However, this will certainly not be the case in a few years.Why Aren’t Phone Manufacturers Putting in More Memory?
Unlike a desktop PC, a phone doesn’t have a whole lot of space. In the beginning of the PC era, a 500 MB hard drive occupied as much space as a 1 TB hard drive occupies now. The issue here wasn’t space, though. Hard drives got larger capacities when manufacturers figured out how to make their mechanical parts more precise and fit more platters into the disc array.So, How Much Bigger Can They Get?
Using traditional flash memory, a phone can probably house a comfortable 128 GB, depending on its physical size and other limitations that the manufacturer may run into when creating the device. Any more than that, and we approach a level of technology that today’s machines have difficulty reaching.
This doesn’t mean that phones can’t get any bigger, though. Researchers at the ReRAM company (acquired in February 2012 by Rambus) are coming up with a new kind of random-access memory that could be the key to answering the memory question hopefully for the next decade. They have developed something known as Resistive random-access memory (RRAM, also called ReRAM, after the company that researched it). Crossbar, a company that manufactures computer hardware, has come up with a prototype of RRAM that can store 1 TB of memory within the space occupied by a postage stamp!
Rice University scientists have managed to up the ante in RRAM development and created a chip that can be made very cheaply by filling the pores within a porous silicon oxide sheet with conductive metals. This type of storage not only requires a lower amount of power to operate, but also can store three times as much memory per cell as flash memory.
An undisclosed amount of phone manufacturers have already shown interest in RRAM and wish to implement it in their phones. We really won’t have to wait very long to start seeing multi-terabyte phones in the market!Are You Running Out of Space?
Cutaway image taken from Rice University.
Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.
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