7 Ecommerce Design Trends for 2014

As more online retailers seek to provide a good mobile shopping experience, expect to see a significant number of site redesigns in 2014. These redesigned sites are likely to follow many popular design trends that are currently impacting entertainment sites, publishing sites, and mobile applications.

Ecommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, or even WooCommerce (on WordPress) can have a strong influence on how online shops are designed. This can make it more difficult for online merchants to simply redesign a site to keep up with the latest fad. But in 2014, even those sellers that take an “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” approach to website design may be forced to do some remodeling thanks to the continued growth in mobile Internet traffic. In fact, some predict that in 2014 mobile Internet usage will pass desktop Internet usage, and mobile-based ecommerce might account for 30 percent of Internet retail sales.

Given that ecommerce business are likely to be resigning to support mobile, these sites may also follow other important web design trends.
1. Responsive Design

Mobile is going to be the primary driver for ecommerce web design in 2014, but don’t expect Internet retailers to abandon desktop users. Rather, responsive design, which has already been a trend in ecommerce site design, will to continue to grow in popularity, allowing online sellers to provide a good shopping experience regardless of the device a shopper is using.

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As a subset, if you will, of responsive design, you may see more site designers using the CSS Flexible Box Layout Module. This is a proposed World Wide Web Consortium standard that is enjoying relatively good support across browsers, including at least partial support in Chrome 31, Firefox 25, Internet Explorer 10, Safari 7, Opera 18, iOS Safari 7, Android Browser 2.1, Blackberry Browser 10, and IE Mobile 10.

Three resources will help those unfamiliar with the Flexible Box Layout Module. These include CSS-Tricks’ “A Complete Guide to Flexbox,” the Mozilla Developer Network’s “Using CSS Flexible Boxes,” and Philip Walton’s “Solved by Flexbox.”
2. Finger Friendly Interfaces

The focus on mobile and what many call mobile-first site design is also likely to lead to more finger-friendly interfaces in 2014, since on tablets and smartphones most users are interacting with the web page using fingertips or, perhaps, a stylus.

In the context of ecommerce website design there are perhaps two impacts of the trend toward finger friendliness.

First, expect to see fewer content sliders. These sliders have long been popular on websites since they allow merchants to show a lot of information in a relatively small amount of screen space, but they tended to have relatively small next buttons that can make them a bit more difficult to manage on a smartphone.

Next, be on the lookout for larger navigation buttons and links, as site designers try to make it easier for shoppers to browse site hierarchies or click links.
3. Flat Design

Flat design can be seen in the Windows 8 interface, in Apple’s iOS 7, and in dozens of popular websites. This aesthetic tends to avoid drop shadows or similar — focusing on strong colors, and interesting fonts.

This design trend has a few advantages at present. It often leads to simple user interfaces that are relatively easy to make responsive. It tends to use graphics in a way that leads to relatively smaller file sizes and, therefore, faster loading pages, and it can be a differentiator for sites.

Sites like Canopy, which allows users to find and share products available on Amazon, offers a good example of how flat design is likely to be applied in ecommerce site design.

 

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4. More Content on One Page

In 2014, expect to see site designers and developers adding more content to individual pages in at least two ways.

Quick views, which allow shoppers to get additional product information without leaving a product category page, are likely to continue to grow in popularity since that makes it particularly easy for mobile shoppers to learn more about products without having to load additional pages.

Also look for pages to become longer, perhaps, even scrolling “infinitely” like Tumblr or Pinterest.
5. Interesting Fonts

Online typography has been exploding, if you will, in the past few years, and this trend is not going to slow down in 2014.

Expect to see sites using distinctive, brand supporting fonts to convey an online store’s feel. To see examples of typography in action on an ecommerce site, visit Free People, Design by Humans, Afends, or the Yellow Bird Project.

6. Great Big Graphics

This particular trend may seem counterintuitive in the context of mobile Internet use and the overall design to provide a better mobile experience. But it turns out that big graphics really is relative to screen size, and with a bit of good site development, designers can deliver big graphics appropriate for a user’s device.

Relatively larger graphics that link to products, also tend to make for finger-friendly user interfaces, which is another reason this trend will grow.

Sites like Born, Hagger, and Tommy Bahama serve as examples.
7. Video and Other Rich Content

Mobile video consumption is on the rise, more than doubling last year, so it is clear that consumers don’t mind watching videos on tablets or even on smartphones.

In this context, video gives online retailers an excellent medium for providing useful content and detailed product information. Look for more retailers to begin including video or other rich media content in content marketing and in product descriptions.

Enterprise Solutions Introduction

This section provides Enterprise Solutions information and documentation. It currently contains several worthwhile weblinks and a brief guide.
What is an enterprise?

An enterprise is a term for a very large business network. Therefore the phrase “enterprise solutions” refers to business solutions for large corporations which have large networks. I would, however, consider these solutions for various sized organizations due to the enhanced scalability and efficiency of the systems. This term “enterprise” is a very broad term and encompases all aspects of computer technology business solutions including hardware, software and the employees required to implement the requirements of specific organizations. I have had a very difficult time finding a specific definition to the phrase “enterprise solutions”. Therefore I am led to conclude that it is a term coined by marketing personnel to enhance interest in business solutions provided by specialists. This does not make it insignificant. Quite the contrary, as with all corporate operations, the corporation who is most efficient will have the greatest competative edge.

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This section talks about enterprise solutions with regard to software and servers (operating system platforms and related servers) to be used in the enterprise (corporation).
Enterprise Solutions

Enterprise Solutions provide for a scalable, easy to manage programming solution to providing business management and information accessability for internal and external clients. Enterprise solutions deal with the problem of providing information to clients both externally and internally. It deals with programming and databases. The main problem being how to most efficiently get our data accessable to those we want to access it. The solution have the following characteristics and more:

Security – Should be able to be sure information is not being stolen by those we don’t want to have access to it.
Scalability – Should be able to accomodate an increase in clients.
Cost – Should be easy to program.
Management – Should provide ability to manage the implementation including version control software and software that helps manage team effort with reguard to providing the solution.
Portable – Should be able to accomodate changes in technology.

Therefore, in order for a business to properly choose an enterprise solutions, a proper requirements definition must be completed. All desired features along with priorities for each feature must be assigned in order to make a suitable decision.
Application Servers

Enterprise solutions for implementing distributed systems generally revolve around an application server which provides several but not necessarily all of the following services:

Directory and naming services
Security
Distributed transactions
Fault tolerance management
Load balancing and clustering
Database services
State Tracking

These services are generally called technical infastructure services. There are many types of application servers that may supply some or all of these functions.

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The applications that run on these application servers will receive requests from clients such as web browsers and using API program hooks will request or send information to/from other applications or through the interfaces to the specific service such as a database service. When a reply is received, the client request is responded to by the application.
There are also other areas of functionality that are offered by application servers that make their use easier such as:

Managing and writing applications
Integration with other systems.

To justify an application server the distributed system should require transaction processing across multiple databases.

 

Digital Marketing Strategy

When electronic devices such as computers, Smart phones, Cell phones, tablets, game consoles , websites , emails , social media network and other cross traditional and digital marketing channels are used to market it is called digital marketing. The digital marketing started in 1990’s but took fold in 2000 and since 2010 it is growing many folds. It has now become the most effective medium of communication between marketers and consumers of today throughout the world. Year 2012-2013 showed remarkable improvement in the field of digital marketing.

digital-marketing-strategy

Two types of digital marketing exist:  The pull and the push digital marketing. In Pull digital marketing the consumers are themselves actively seeking for marketing content either through web search or opening emails, text messages or web feed. Through websites, blogs, audio/video streaming. All the user has to do is to navigate the website and search engine optimization plays a significant role in this.

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In push digital marketing the marketer sends a message without the consent of the recipients, such as display advertising on websites and news blogs. Emails, text messaging and web feeds can also be classed as push digital marketing when the recipient has not given permission to receive the marketing message. In a nut shell, Pull digital marketing is characterized by consumers actively seeking marketing content while Push digital marketing occurs when marketers send messages without the consent of the recipients

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We work according to your needs, requirements and desires our work is much customized as per your requirements. This is the main point of bench mark between us and our competitors that stand outs us amongst all.  From the initiation of the project till its finishing we constantly keep intact with your consent and do not deviate from this point of coherence to provide desirable outcomes.  We at                     TheVisionSpark develop simple, interactive, effective interfaces; we work from logo management to interface management.
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Streamus Turns Chrome Into A Fast, Free, YouTube-Powered Spotify Alternative

Use Chrome? Listen to a lot music throughout the day? Check out this extension.

Take a music streaming service like Rdio or Spotify, and boil it down to the absolute basics — searching for songs, adding songs to playlists, and playing said songs. Power it with YouTube’s massive (and sometimes questionably legal) music library. Keep it super fast, and super simple.

That’s Streamus. Streamus is a Chrome extension that has been quietly in development for the past few months, but has just recently started climbing up the charts.

Streamus lets you search for a song and start playing it in all of about 3 seconds. There’s no tab to switch to, and no app to open. Here’s what it looks like:

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“Streamus” into Chrome’s Omnibar (read: the fancy name for Chrome’s all-in-one address bar/search box), hit tab (or space), then type the name of the song you’re looking for. Streamus almost instantly returns a dropdown with the YouTube results — just click one, and the audio starts playing immediately in the background, all without taking you away from your current page..

Want more than a one off song? Want to build a big ol’ playlist of tunes to get you through the day? Streamus will do that too. It adds a little button to the navigation area of Chrome, and clicking it opens up a dropdown menu that looks like this:

fsg

From there, you’re able to add songs to playlists, save playlists for later listening, or enable a “Radio” mode that tries to find tracks you’ll dig based on the artists you’ve picked so far. There are very few frills, and that’s the way it’s meant to be. There’s no cheesy social networking elements, no “Popular Artists” metrics. You pick songs, it plays songs.

Plus, the developer of the extension seems like a pretty cool guy. He’s been documenting each new build on a little sub-reddit for months now, allowing his users to ask questions about each release — and for that matter, allowing for him to ask questions (like ‘Is bug x effecting you?’) of his users.

Of course, being that it’s totally free and still in an early Beta stage, it’s not without its faults. As it’s all pulled from YouTube’s (largely user-uploaded) music collection, there’s a fair amount of cruft. While I find that the top result is usually the song I’m looking for, that’s not always the case. Some songs are mislabeled. Some are just iffy quality. Sometimes you get a wonky live version of a song that someone recorded on their phone while, judging by the quality, said phone was seemingly placed inside of a jar of jam. But it’s fast, it’s free, and it’s a damned nice way to quickly play that song you’ve had stuck in your head all day.

It’ll be interesting to see how YouTube responds to this if it gets even kind of huge. Streamus only plays the audio from a video, and there’s little-to-no sign that this stuff is being fetched from YouTube once you’ve got the extension installed — so it’s easy to imagine that YouTube might get a bit miffed.

For more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/24/streamus-turns-chrome-into-a-fast-free-youtube-powered-spotify-alternative/

Google Glass User Detained By Feds Talks About Ordeal

The blog is a sequel to my last blog on google glass and its usage after launching.

While some businesses are banning the high-tech wearable device Google Glass, a theatre owner in Columbus, Ohio, saw enough of a threat to call the Department of Homeland Security. The manager called in unnamed Homeland Security agents to remove a Balkan programmer who was wearing Google Glass connected to his prescription lenses. The agents and mall police interrogated the Glass-wearer for hours.

The programmer has asked that we not reveal his name. “I am trying to limit my ‘celebrity,’” he said. He has special prescription lenses inserted into his device and wears them almost all the time. He is a Balkan immigrant and is working towards citizenship. He graduated from Ohio State University and now works as a network engineer.

According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch by reporter Allison Manning, the 35-year-old Glass-wearer was watching Jack Ryan when someone with a badge sat down next to him and asked him to come outside. In the lobby, he was met by additional agents who questioned him for hours. It wasn’t until they brought in a laptop and USB cable to connect the Glass to a PC that they were finally convinced he wasn’t recording the movie.

“About an hour into the movie, a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately,” he told The Gadgeteer. “It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops.” The agents accused him of illegally taping the movie with his Glass even though it was off.

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an email to the Dispatch that ICE Homeland Security Investigations “briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film.” Interestingly, this department is also responsible for “combatting piracy and counterfeit goods.”

I spoke to the programmer today about his ordeal and how he feels about Glass. He was relieved it all came out fine. For his trouble, the AMC Theater at Easton Town Center offered four free passes to a movie of his choice.

TC: Why do you wear Glass?

Programmer: I wear Glass because I like it. It has so many features and so much potential! For example, there is an app for Glass built to watch you while driving and — if it detects you doze off — to try to wake you up and give you directions to the closest rest stop. I also like Glass because it is based on an open-source system (as opposed to closed-source Windows), and I feel it actually gives users a choice (as opposed to Apple products who I feel have the philosophy of “We’re going to tell you what you like and you will buy it at inflated prices”).

TC: Great. Making friends right off the bat. Do you have any other wearables?

P: I don’t have any other wearables.

TC: Why did you wear it in the movie?

P: I wore it during the movie because I was an ignorant idiot. I seldom use the camera of any device for taking pictures (I have a Cannon 6D I use for pictures), so I didn’t even think about its existence. As a matter of fact, the camera of Glass is the least interesting feature Glass has. I got Glass in November (just after Thanksgiving), and it took me a while until I found somebody to make me a prescription lens for it, but after I got the prescription at the beginning of January, I started wearing Glass all the time as my regular glasses (with enhanced reality feature). As I don’t actively think about pirating movies, it didn’t cross my mind that Glass could be seen as a pirating device.

Also, it wasn’t the first time I wore Glass in that theatre, a week before the incident I was wearing Glass when I saw Saving Mr. Banks, and nobody said anything about it. Even before that I’ve seen another movie wearing Glass with no issues. Plus, AMC employees (among many other people) previously asked me “Wow, man! Is that Google Glass? How is it?” and I would always give them a nice review about what it can do.

TC: So now what? Are you angry? What do you want people to understand about your experience?

P: As any new technology, it is expected people don’t understand it quickly. After reading the story on The Gadgeteer or many other sites that reposted it from there, many have advised me to sue AMC and/or DHS. I am not planning to do that. I would love to have the chance to talk to the management of AMC, Regal and other movie theater chains and show them what Glass is and what it isn’t. As people take their camera phones in the theater and turn them off, people should turn off Glass in the theater should they choose to bring it in. And in time, as this product will be known better, people will freak out less. It’s just a matter of a learning curve.

TC: What did you think when they took you out of the movie?

P: As I was taken out of the theater – the DHS agent had my Glass because he snatched it off my face – I started shaking and I was thinking I should call the police. Outside the theater when they asked me for the first time why was I recording the movie I realized it was a misunderstanding and I wanted to clear it as soon as possible. I unsuccessfully tried for a couple of hours to convince them to connect Glass to a computer or put it on their face and check, and when they finally did so they realized I wasn’t doing anything illegal and let me be and left.

TC: Do you think you were profiled?

P: There was no profiling component. Just overzealous agents thinking they were doing their job. Not only [do] I have an accent, one of the first things I told them trying to reason with them was that I am an immigrant, I have a green card and I don’t want to do anything that could potentially jeopardize my chances of citizenship. Funny they were from ICE and they completely discarded this argument (at the time I was convinced they were FBI – I told them I worked with FBI in the past. I told them the first name of the agent I worked with, and they knew his last name, and that convinced me that when they said they were “federal agents” they meant FBI). When we got to the “interview room” the first two documents I showed them were my driver’s license and my green card. So there is no doubt they knew I was an immigrant.

However, I don’t believe they were profiling. They couldn’t have known I am an immigrant prior to them snatching me.

TC: What’s next for you and Glass? Where do you go from here?

P: Next it’s only more efforts to educate people about technology. I will keep wearing Glass all the time (maybe except at the movies), and as always, if anybody asks me about Glass I would let them try it on and give them a little demonstration on some of the capabilities of Glass. I signed up for Glass but I guess I also signed up for being harassed by authorities that are unfamiliar with the technology. Some hiccups are to be expected with any new advancement.

When I first talked about this, I thought I would accomplish two things: First, Glass users won’t be as ignorant as I was when going to the movies and, second, it would inspire people to educate the authorities more in regards to technology.

Glass users cannot record you without your knowledge even if they would want to. The little prism in front of Glass lights up when Glass is active (and by active I mean showing an email to the user, showing a text, weather forecast or stock prices, taking a picture or a video, or whatever Glass does).

TC: Are you angry?

P: Initially, Monday, I wanted to find out who they were (because I didn’t remember their names in the heat of the event) and write an angry letter to their supervisor but with all this press coverage they might be already in trouble. I don’t want them to lose their jobs, I just want them to think more. So I won’t do anything else.

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/22/glass-user-hassled-by-the-feds-speaks/

Why Silicon Valley Can’t Find Europe

Here is an informative abstract from tech crunch about European IT Industry potential by  Sten TamKivi .

Sten Tamkivi has been a software entrepreneur for 16 years and spent the recent half of his career as an early executive at Skype in Tallinn, Estonia. Sten is now an Entrepreneur in Residence at Andreessen Horowitz. Follow him on his blog and on Twitter @seikatsu.

Go to Europe these days – to Berlin, London, Helsinki – drop in on any of the regional tech confabs and you will quickly see that the European startup scene is in the most bustling, vibrant shape it’s ever been. The potential is everywhere, and the energy is undeniable. Then you return Stateside, in my case to Palo Alto, and Europe isn’t just irrelevant among the tech industry power-set. It has virtually ceased to exist.

That is a mistake. Blame for the ruptured relationship lies on both sides of the Atlantic, but it is Europeans that have the power, and should have the motivation, to mend things.

I’m proud to be Estonian and European, but recently realized that very soon I will have been living in California for 10 percent of my life. I had a front-row seat to the first Internet boom as an exchange student at the super-wired Monta Vista High School in Apple’s backyard. I returned to the U.S. with some frequency initially as an executive with Skype, and later to pursue a business degree at Stanford. My latest perch in Silicon Valley today is as an entrepreneur-in-residence with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Let me give you a small taste of the way Europe was woven into the discussion at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Over the course of four quarters I heard one professor make one joke about short-term macroeconomic troubles in Greece. We also had a visit from a well-dressed and charming British banker in our private equity class. That’s it. No European startups, no cases of European success stories or failures. A joke and a banker.

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A few isolated examples of systematic bridge building, like the fantastic five-years-running European Entrepreneurship seminar at Stanford’s Engineering school can fulfill targeted curiosity, but Europe is not visible as a theme in other classes across the curriculum.

Important Places

I’m not blaming Stanford. In talking to many people about my growing realization that the place of my birth simply didn’t matter to most people in the Valley, I began to understand that there is a mental hierarchy of “important places” for people building, investing in and studying tech companies in Silicon Valley. They exist in the following order:

1. Silicon Valley. Practically considered, the opportunity cost of venturing out of the bustling 30-mile radius of Sand Hill Road, whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or academic, is usually just too high.

2. The U.S. East Coast. Yes, stuff is happening in Boston and New York, but not so much that a once-a-month trip can’t cover most of it.

3. China. Massive tech companies do rise in China and go public in the United States, and Chinese investors have gobs of cash to invest in the Valley. There is a constant back and forth between both Pacific coasts. But it’s not just geography, and the historic manufacturing relationship that is stimulating this cozy dynamic. The Valley is looking more and more towards China for the next tech trends and expansion opportunities.

4. The rest of Asia. India’s diaspora links to the U.S. are strong. Southeast Asia’s growth is hard to miss, and there is interesting mobile stuff happening in Korea and Japan.

5. Latin America/South America. Markets in Mexico and Brazil are increasingly ripe for Silicon Valley tech, but the region is still a distant gleam for most companies.

6. Europe. Here is what I mostly hear about Europe: “I took my wife/husband to Paris last year for our anniversary, and we dropped by Rome. Great food, so much history, Europe is wonderful!” For vacation.

Rather than relying solely on my anecdotal examples of “important places,” I turned to LinkedIn. Mapping my network through the lens of the topic at hand, I can confirm that, while Estonia, the Nordics and Europe in general comprise a tightly knit blue blob, and Skype in Estonia (orange) and internationally (green) is an organism in itself, the Silicon Valley venture capital and serial entrepreneurship circles float as a distant burgundy cloud. And the international graduate student and teacher body of Stanford is even further out on the right.

 

Those familiar with Granovetter’s theory about the strength of weak ties should feel a wave of joy here. Sure, there are benefits of weak ties, but then again, there are virtues to tight-knit communities talking to each other frequently, sharing the successes and learning from each other’s mistakes.

And that is exactly what is missing between the U.S. and Europe — a real bridge. So how do we build one, and what can both partners in constructing this connection hope to gain?

Let’s start with Europe.

Why the Hell Are You in Silicon Valley? And Don’t Say It’s the Money

Raising money tends to be the No. 1 rationale from founders when asked why they’re in the Valley. It’s also the No. 1 mistake people make. You will be far more successful raising seed and early-stage VC financing close to home, on whichever side of the Atlantic it may be.

Yes, the internationalization of the venture capital industry is well on its way, and one can draw quite pretty graphs of the increasing money flow across the globe. Bollocks. Here’s why you, European entrepreneur, aren’t going to get that money.

Looking at closed early-stage deals listings in Pitchbook, it is very clear that U.S.-based VCs invest in U.S. companies, and European VCs invest in Europe.

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Those familiar with Granovetter’s theory about the strength of weak ties In my experience, this mindset applies to institutional investors in a clearly structured way, but is a notable behavior even for private angels in AngelList. Investors believe that there is much more that they bring to the table than just money – but that ineffable “value” is hard to bring across long distances and multiple time zones. No matter how much the video calling has improved, board seats, hiring networks, corporate development efforts and just quick (unscheduled!) calls work much better in proximity. Raise your money at home.

Part of building a solid bridge with the U.S. is having a solid reason for being here, other than money. Selfies at Infinite Loop Drive and group pictures in front of Facebook and Google headquarters don’t count.

One good reason for touching down at SFO might be that it’s because the companies that matter in your space – the ones you want to compete with, learn from, partner with or steal bored employees from – are in Silicon Valley. Ditto for customers.

That said, you need to honestly evaluate decamping from Europe against your own personal strengths and networks. I am in the thick of things on Sand Hill Road. Yet that relative advantage doesn’t change the fact that I have been building software companies for 16 years in Estonia and worked mostly with teams around Scandinavia and in Prague or London. This is where the best engineers I know are. This is the core of my network. This is my actual unfair home-court advantage.

If anything makes me stay Stateside, it must far outweigh the strongholds I’m leaving behind. That applies to every European (indeed everyone wherever they are from) pondering a move to Silicon Valley.

Why Silicon Valley Should Love Europe Back

So if exchanging money for equity isn’t the way to create tighter bonds between Europe and the Valley, the question becomes: how can we build more non-financial ties between our scenes?

When building high-value ties in any network, the question should never be what you get, but rather what can you give to the other party? What can you help with? What can you teach? What can you spare? This tends to be true with your friends, your community, and your country –  and how you ought to think about transatlantic relationships.

If we Europeans can muster the confidence, and the U.S. can tone down its arrogance, Europe actually has a lot to give to Silicon Valley. Here are just a few examples.

Talent. Silicon Valley’s weakest spot today is finding enough good engineers and designers. The European contribution here in the simplest case is talent. The next level of complexity, but more sustainable for both sides, are development outposts across the pond. This could also take the form of M&A targets that Europe could offer – something that Meg Whitman in her eBay CEO days used to call “off-balance-sheet R&D” when buying up another innovative marketplace team in the Netherlands or Sweden.

What about making this a two-way street, and providing interesting-timed job adventures for early-career Valley experts? Why be the 3,481st guy in Facebook, when during a three-year stint in a cool European city you can be No.1 in the entire country in what you do? Yes, moving American hotshots to Europe can be a tough sell, but we did it successfully at Skype, and companies like Soundcloud are doing it again.

Sharing new models. For any European who has spent an extended time here, Silicon Valley can often feel surprisingly backwards. When it comes to online and mobile applications truly embedded in how people go about their daily chores, how they sign and exchange legal documents, how they interact with the government, how they do their consumer banking, how they receive services from their doctors and so forth, many places in Europe are light years ahead of what is widely available in the U.S. We can share those ideas and expertise.

400 million customers. For most successful entrepreneurial ventures, there comes a day when growth needs to be found outside of the home market. And no matter how much the mobile handset makers talk about the next billion people coming online in Africa, and how lucrative the already-online billions of users in Asia are, the most common scenario for the Groupons and Airbnbs and Ubers of the foreseeable future is still to figure out their expansion strategy for the U.K., Germany and France.

Europe is still the rational next market for most U.S. rocket ships who are looking to find customers with above-average incomes and access to credit cards who live on infrastructure you can deliver your products and services to. Who better to help U.S. entrepreneurs crack Europe than Europeans?

Global skills. The value of understanding foreign markets does not stop with Europe, though. Far too much of U.S.-originated innovation is born in the form of English-language, iOS-only apps with hard-coded dollar signs. European entrepreneurs, especially those from the smallest countries, are much better trained at operating globally in multi-currency, multi-cultural markets. As a proof point, look at how the likes of Finnish Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of Clans) or Skypers in London or Tallinn and Evernoters in Zürich or Moscow have conquered the astonishingly tough Chinese and Japanese markets.

Security and privacy. In the post-Snowden days we’re living in, there is a new set of questions around the physical and legal location of users’ data and the regulations governing its privacy. Although the rules and behaviors driving this have been evolving in a U.S.-centric way thanks to U.S.-based Internet giants, if you look at where the users of the Internet live today, less than 10 percent of them are in the United States. And that share is declining.

It is obvious that nations other than the U.S. will have an increasing say in the governance mechanisms and regulation of the system with Europe at the forefront. And this is not just a government thing. The European tech scene can help its U.S. peers figure things out as private entities first.

If we Europeans can follow through with an approach of giving something unique and valuable, as opposed to just trying to get funding from the other side, I believe the European and Silicon Valley tech scenes have a shot at moving closer together. For U.S. players, this would presume paying a little bit more attention to the world outside. For Europeans, it’s mustering a bit more confidence in ourselves.

I am sure more non-financial bridges can be built. And as it has been shown by some VC investment-related research: Cold hard cash will eventually follow the international corridors where smart people are already on the move.

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/18/why-silicon-valley-cant-find-europe/

Editing Tips For Business Web Content

The Web is awash in content. A recent Moz article reports that 92,000 new articles are posted online every day. Companies are spending billions on content marketing to enhance credibility, build brand awareness and, especially of late, improve SEO.

Here is what Google has to say about content in its quality guidelines:

Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
Don’t deceive your users.
Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Google has always tried to reward great content with high rankings, but today, thanks to vast improvements in its algorithm, Google is better able to actually do it. Its content quality guidelines are perfectly aligned with what every writer and marketer should aspire to.
As A Designer, Why Should You Care About Content Quality?

Your brilliant designs will be wasted if they are filled with inferior content.
By developing the ability to evaluate content quality, you are able to provide constructive, difference-making input to other members of the creative team, increasing your value as a designer.
If you are in a project management role, you must know what needs to be fixed, improved and enhanced in the deliverable’s content.
Unless the content meets a high standard of quality, the finished product will undermine rather than enhance credibility, diminish rather than build brand awareness, and damage rather than improve search engine visibility.

Defining “quality content” is difficult. A useful approach is to look at the editing process, because editing is where content theory is translated into cold hard facts. You could argue forever with clients about what constitutes quality content on a theoretical level. But when you break down quality into its specific editorial components, theoretical arguments evaporate.

A sound editing process forces quality into content, no matter how ill-conceived or weakly written the content was in the beginning, assuming it was properly conceived and at least decently written to begin with.

duluthtrading

How Can I Get Copy Approved More Quickly?

Too much editing can be just as bad as not enough — some firms review and tweak for so long that the content is outdated by the time they approve it. The substantive editor or project manager is the best defence against perfectionism. They are best equipped to recognize when content should be deemed finished and to explain why to clients and team members.
How Much Editing Should the Writer Do?

I would love to hear from the Smashing Magazine community on this one, because it’s a thorny issue. Even writers with a firm grasp of grammar, style and technique submit substandard drafts due to time constraints or lack of familiarity with the subject matter. Competent writers learn as they go, reducing the editorial burden. For example, if a website project requires 60 pages of new content, have the writer start with 10 pages and then give them a careful copyedit and substantive edit. The edits may be numerous at this point, especially if the writer is new to the subject matter. If the next 10 pages come back vastly improved, then you’ll know the writer is catching on.
What If My Client Doesn’t Care About Editing?

Clients might not care about content editing as such, but they certainly care about public image, leads and orders. High-quality content impresses Google, which leads to more search engine visibility, which leads to more traffic and more business. High-quality content also reassures prospects, customers and stakeholders that the company is reliable and competent.
What’s the Best Way to Manage the Editing Process?

One person, generally the project manager or substantive editor, should coordinate all editorial functions and communication and make final decisions. Creative teams have many editing tools at their disposal, but using good old Track Changes and Comments in Word documents is perhaps the easiest way to start. A big challenge is preventing multiple versions of an in-process document from floating around; implement a clear procedure to avoid this. In my experience, the competence of the manager, rather than the tools, will determine the efficiency of the process.
Common Editing Issues

Let’s look at a few specific real-world issues that crop up in business Web copy for each type of editing. These particulars will give you an idea of what to look for if you are doing the editing or looking for an editor or managing the project.
Substantive Editing Issues

Here is an instructive, real-life example of how substantive editing produces clarity. In a recent article about writing for slide presentations, I wrote, “Slide presentations are great for a ‘peeling the onion’ narrative approach.” My editor commented, “What does that mean?” I pondered the issue and realized that I didn’t really know what I meant! After further reflection, I changed it to, “Slide presentations are ideal for storytelling.” Moral of the story: Substantive editors don’t always need to make sweeping changes. Often, just knowing what to look for helps to get it right.
Keeping content on point prevents content creep. Substantive editors remind clients that a landing page need not be a thousand words long to prompt a conversion, nor a website a thousand pages deep to convey the firm’s value proposition.
Substantive editors police all content to maintain consistency of brand messaging.
The company’s branding and positioning strategy, the value proposition of the product and service being marketed and the nature of the target audience will determine the content’s style and tone. The substantive editor must be crystal clear on all of them.
Building on the last point, a substantive editor — if time, budget and skill allow — injects personality into flat business content by adding storytelling narratives and stylistic flair that speak powerfully to the target audience.

An SEO editor might opt to add links to the client’s other relevant content on a given page of Web content or a blog post. If done correctly, these related links build the authority of the client’s website.

Proofreading Issues

One space after a period is standard.
Capitalization in headlines and headings should consistently follow a predetermined style.
Font size and style should be consistent for text and headers from page to page.

In Conclusion, How Much Editing Is Enough?

Practical considerations such as deadlines and bandwidth, along with a clear understanding of the audience, will influence how thoroughly a piece of online content should be edited.
Proofreading

Generally speaking, readers do not hold blog posts to the same stylistic standard as, say, white papers. However, a blog post directed at an audience of scholars, physicians or attorneys will be held to a higher standard.
Fact-Checking

Visual content such as infographics and slide presentations, perhaps because of their formality, seem to carry more weight with readers than blog posts and website pages. For this reason, producers of visual content have a greater obligation to be sure of their facts, all else being equal. Firms undermine their credibility when they publish graphical material loaded with unsupported or misleading facts, whether intentionally or not.
SEO

If a firm has an organized SEO marketing program, then on-page SEO is crucial. If not, on-page optimization alone would probably not be enough to have any substantive impact on search visibility.
Copyediting and Substantive Editing

As for these, there is never any advantage to publishing vague, incoherent and uninspiring material. Some level of review is really a must. If resources are limited, and often they are, use this editing tactic: When in doubt, leave it out.

for more information log on to  http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/01/14/editing-tips-for-business-web-content/

Bill Gates Is Not The Next CEO Of Microsoft, But His VC Investments Are Picking Up

Bill Gates may be one of the world’s most famous philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and guest editors,  but could he be adding venture capitalist to the list? Over the past few years it seems that Gates has, in fact, been increasing his investment in startups.

Though not as active in venture capital as other, less-billionaire-y, technology billionaires, Gates is nonetheless putting together a growing stable of technology companies. And the pace of his investment is steadily increasing, according to the data in CrunchBase.

Last year, Gates was involved in at least six new and follow-on investments in venture-backed companies, including a commitment to the energy storage technology developer Aquion, in a financing which wrapped up earlier this year. That’s up from four new and follow-on commitments in 2012, and three in 2011, the CrunchBase data indicated.

In addition to Aquion, the Gates portfolio also includes other companies tackling the energy problem, like the compressed air energy storage company, LightSail Energy, and the battery technology developer Ambri. And those aren’t Gates’ only sustainable investments.

Varentec, an electricity monitoring and management technology developer, is another cleantech pony in the Gates stable. Even more ambitiously, Gates is backing TerraPower, the nuclear reactor developer spun out from Intellectual Ventures, alongside former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer and Intellectual Ventures founder and chief executive, Nathan Myrhvold.

Intellectual Ventures is behind two other Gates investments. Both Evolv Technologies and Kymeta came from Myrhvold’s IP monetization factory.

Rounding out some of the newest investments in the portfolio of the man from Medina, Wash. are three healthcare investments focused on computational drug design and targeted cancer therapies: Nimbus Discovery and its development partner Schrodinger Inc. are both focused on computational drug design, while Foundation Medicine develops diagnostic tests based on gene sequencing to identify personalized cancer therapies for patients.

All of these investments hew pretty closely with some of Gates’ expressed goals of improving healthcare, or reducing carbon emissions in an effort to combat the effects of global warming, but he’s also an investor in NEOS GeoSolutions, a company which sells technology and services to improve the operations of oil and gas and mining companies.

Needless to say, Bill Gates did not respond to a request for comment for this post.

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/10/bill-gates-not-the-next-ceo-of-microsoft-but-his-vc-investments-are-picking-up/

After A Troubled 2013, The PC Market Looks For Stability

Today Gartner released a preliminary set of results for the global PC market in the fourth quarter of 2013, indicating that PC sales fell 6.9% to 82.6 million units.

2013 has certainly been a historically tough year for PCs and the industry that builds and sells them. Gartner, with its fourth quarter predictions now mostly in place, estimates that the PC market shrank 10% during the year. Total unit volume was 315.9 million units, a level that The Next Web points out is equivalent to shipments in 2009.

I think that we can cap 2013′s PC market with a few statements. Let’s begin:

The PC market had a very difficult year, shrinking around 10%.
That 10% figure is directly in tune with predictions.
With 315.9 million units shipped in the year, the PC market remains massive.
That fact will keep Microsoft’s Windows operating system relevant, even as it sorts out remaining difficulties — developer interest gap, app deficit, training the world on a new UI, etc — with its new Windows 8.x platform.
The folks that correctly predicted the 2013 PC unit volume decline anticipate that the market will contract less in 2014, and stabilize thereafter.

That last point is not news. The prediction (IDC, not Gartner if you were curious) expects a 3.8% contraction in 2014, and then for the pace of sales to become “slightly positive in the longer term.” All told this means that the PC market should manage to stay above 300 million units per year for the forseeable future.

Oh no, the world is ending.

I’ve been as guilty as most in using hyperbolic language to describe the PC market. Plummeting, decimating, falling, crashing and the like have been the lingua franca of reporting on the year’s results. But historic declines can be accidentally conflated with existential threat if we are not careful.

I think that in retrospect, 2013 will remain a decidedly black eye on the PC market’s history. But provided that the folks counting boxes have it right, the swan dive (I did it again) is all but in the pool.

Why was 2013 such a bad year for PCs? You could point to a weak economy, issues regarding Windows 8 and its market reception, unimaginative new PCs from OEMs, rising tablet demand, a general shift to mobile, and a host of other reasons. There is no single cause. But it’s worth noting that what likely merged to create the turbulent confluence that so retarded PC sales is in decline itself. The economy is better, PC design is better, Windows 8.1 is better, and so forth.

A 3.8% decline this year for PCs would certainly not be a win. But anything less than a 5% decline I think supports the prediction that the decline in PC sales is slowing, and could end altogether.

I don’t quite know how to phrase this, but once the PC market stops shrinking (again, we’re leaning on trends and predictions), the idea of a post-PC world itself ends. In fact, we need a new term. Call it the co-PC world, in which tablets and smartphones are equal in weight and importance to the PC.

As I’ve written before, there is a muddle afoot in all of this. Operating systems are breaking down their own walls and spreading tentacles across device classes. This means that if we compare the traditional PC market to tablets, say, we are pitting one group of Windows devices against another. That won’t do, obviously, for comparison’s sake.

And, as other operating systems — Android, in this case — move up the device size chart (from phone, to tablet, to PC) we are going to have a more diverse PC market in general, further undercutting its performance as indicative of the health of WinTel, as we have for so long deemed it.

So, fuck 2013 is what I’m saying, from the PC market’s perspective. It was awful. But shrinking 10% from massive scale still leaves massive scale.

We need to keep close eyes on continuing declines in PC sales, but inside the next 8 quarters we could see a positive year-over-year period for PC sales. Something to think about

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/09/after-a-troubled-2013-the-pc-market-looks-for-stability/

Yahoo Girds Its Loins For The Battle Over Your Home Screen

The home screen as it stands cannot last. In reality, what we’re looking at is the end times for the traditional grid of icons that we’ve become so familiar with since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.

There is simply too much context available via the sensors, camera, radios and other inputs we carry around in our pockets not to take advantage of it.

The icon grid design was used in many early smartphones running Palm and Symbian and Windows Mobile. But the iPhone really launched that design into the public consciousness and then Google cemented it with the launch of the first touch screen Android device. I’m not here to argue about firsts, but Apple was essentially responsible for making the grid the ‘standard’ in the eyes of a lot of people — both iPhone users and people who picked up other smartphones running on other operating systems.

But, seven years later, the choices made by Apple to honor the grid demand re-examination. The thought process is relatively simple to disassemble. The grid had been used by other smartphone makers and even Apple’s Newton. It was simple, easy to understand and friendly to people who were being introduced to multitouch — which was for most people a brand new way to interact with touch screens. This was the same process which led it to utilize real-world allegories like bookshelves, page curls and ‘buttony’ buttons.

4-morning
But that home screen belongs to a bygone era. We’re acclimated now and any new users of smartphones have the collective installed user base to help them along.

Now is the time that the home screen begins to take advantage of the thing that we’re going to be hearing an absolute junk ton about in 2014: context.

I have a ton more thoughts about why 2014 will be the ‘year of context’ for mobile software and hardware, but for our purposes it’s enough to point at a few recent trends. Among those are Google Now, Apple’s ‘Today’ section in Notification Center, Facebook Home, Cyanogen Mod and home screen customization companies like Everything.me and, yes, Aviate.

These various products are all efforts to leverage the contextual signals that our mobile sensor platforms are able to collect and transmit. Where we are, who we are, what our intent is, what our environment looks and sounds like and what we do when we’re there. That context can be used to customize the way that our devices look, feel and work based on our own personal signals.

At this point, a home screen that customizes itself to you, personally, feels as inevitable as a well-worn pair of shoes.

TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler noted a symptom of this recently. The ‘first app you open’ in the morning is becoming more important real-estate than your home screen. In reality the first app you open when you turn on your iPhone is ’springboard’, the home screen. But up to this point it has remained relatively static, with only a couple of minor nods to active icons like the clock and calendar.

Android home screens have always been more malleable, allowing for personalization and customization on a deeper level. Which is why some people really like Android.

But this isn’t just about customization, it’s about reaction and organization on a contextual basis. Which brings us back to Yahoo’s recent acquisition, Aviate.

Aviate is a home screen replacement for Android that interprets signals from you, the user, to present you with the apps, content and alerts you want right when you need them or even before. It groups apps into automated collections. This makes the home screen simple and clean.

It also has elements of app discovery, says Aviate’s Mark Daiss. Aviate will look at the apps that you have and use the most and suggest more like it. The goal for the first run at Aviate was to cover roughly ’80%’ of a user’s day, says Daiss. That includes the major components like getting up, traveling, working and going to bed. From here on out it will be about fleshing out the moments in between.

Daiss credits Facebook Home for creating an awareness of what a launcher was and how a customized home screen could change the experience. Despite the fact that Home didn’t exactly turn out well, Daiss notes that other efforts like GoLauncher have seen success, with that offering currently clocking in at over 100 million installs on Google Play.

One of the reasons I believe Facebook Home’s initial try failed was that it was too insular. Even the most dedicated Facebook user needs more than just one network’s worth of information. That’s why I was curious about Yahoo’s plans for Aviate.
6-location
Yahoo SVP of Mobile and Emerging Products Adam Cahan says that the company isn’t interested in turning Aviate into some sort of ‘all Yahoo apps’ portal. For now, it will expand the beta program and get more users checking it out. “Think of this as an extension of [Yahoo] Search,” Cahan says. 6.Location

The extension of search metaphor is an apt one, as contextually aware home screens will be all about using anticipatory ‘searching’ through our apps, habits and use cases to provide us with better experiences. Aviate will now be able to tap deeply into Yahoo data like search, weather, maps and more to inform contextual experiences. But, Daiss is careful to note, Aviate will still choose the best, most definitive data source possible — even if that’s not from Yahoo. With the best data comes the best experiences.

Daiss lays down the core components of what he feels a contextual computing experience are. First, it needs the right input signals, then it needs the information that’s pertinent to the situation and then it has to provide the right user experience.

Part of what they’ve discovered at Aviate is that this experience often involves offering information and context from inside the apps right out on the home screen. But this isn’t a one-shot widget, this is a continuously personalized experience.

One of Aviate’s more popular features is a ‘swipe down’ screen that can offer you context from inside various apps at any given moment. Swipe down at a restaurant and you might get information about what’s good to eat there from Foursquare or Yelp. Swipe down at home and you’ll get alarm settings, a do not disturb toggle and a schedule of meetings.

If you’re an iOS user and this is sounding familiar, yes, this is why Apple acquired Cue. Because its swipe down ‘today’ section has the seeds of this kind of contextual computing, but it needs a lot of water and care to grow. Control Center and Notification Center need to grow up, quickly. (It’s also, I feel, one of the major reasons Apple changed its design so drastically with iOS 7 — it needed a more flexible framework to build within.)

Aviate and other intent-based home screens are champing at the bit to offer people a better experience. And Google Now has an immense amount of head start simply by virtue of the enormous amount of data it has from its users.

Unfortunately, once you start talking about how much these intent-based systems know about us and can anticipate our needs, the spectre of the NSA and government spying programs rears its head. Yahoo, Google and Apple were all targeted for data collection and that’s unlikely to go away. There are some incredibly complex and sticky moral quandaries headed our way with this new contex-heavy world, but that’s probably a discussion best handled in a focused chat about the trend.

For now, we have Yahoo acquiring Aviate in order to make sure that it has a hand in this new world of context-based software. It has the resources to juice the back end with user data, and it’s going to be a big platform for Aviate as a (relatively) agnostic prototype of the custom home screen. And if it’s turning and burning as much as it appears to be on mobile, Yahoo is very interested in how this battle for the home screen turns out.

What’s intriguing about this is that it’s very much a ‘technology company’ move. So much of the confusion about Yahoo and its new direction — I feel — has been rooted in the inability by some to come to grips with the fact that Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer is comfortable thinking of the company as both, and so are her new lieutenants. Yahoo has an enormous amount to prove still. No amount of hot young talent Botox is going to magically turn the company around.

But I don’t find the company’s investments in technology confusing

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/07/yahoo-girds-its-loins-for-the-battle-over-your-home-screen/

How To Create An Embeddable Content Plugin For WordPress

Share WordPress content via widgets.
Ways Of Sharing Content

There are various ways with which one can share content across websites — RSS and Atom feeds, APIs and embeddable widgets. RSS feeds on WordPress are usually restricted to posts, while APIs are not easy to integrate on other websites without adding some extra code. This leaves us with embeddable widgets — like the ones used by Google AdSense to display advertisements on websites or Facebook “Share” and “Like” buttons — all of these rely on embeddable JavaScript code to display specific content on a website. The idea mentioned in this article is certainly not new, but in the context of WordPress it opens up many possibilities. The advantages of the technique mentioned here compared with others is that it will enable you to share almost any content, even content from other plugins on your blog, with other websites.

Our goal in this article is to create widget code that a user could insert in their website to display a list of recent posts from the parent website. Of course, this can also be easily accomplished using RSS, but this is just an example to show the technique. In reality, you would use it for more interesting purposes, like sharing popular product images if you are running a WordPress e-commerce website.
The Widget Code

The embeddable code will look something like the following. This is the code the user will insert into their webpage, which will allow them to display the content from the parent website. The crucial element of this widget is the wp-widget.js file, which calls the remote WordPress website, gets the content and embeds it as an iframe in the calling page.

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var widget_embed = ‘posts’;
</script>
<script src=”http://www.example.com/widget/wp-widget.js”
type=”text/javascript”>
</script>
<div id=”embed-widget-container”></div>

Adding this block of code to any website page will display the list of recent posts from example.com. The content can be anything besides posts — images, comments, tags, data from other plugins — anything you as a WordPress website owner would like to share with other people. For this example, I’ve limited the content to a simple posts list, as this is a common denominator across all WordPress websites and will be easy to start with. Of course, you will need to add some extra code to share other content, but the base plugin skeleton will remain the same.
Creating The Plugin

The fist step in creating an embeddable widget is to design a small WordPress plugin that will intercept the widget calls from another website and return the required data. You may be thinking that this will be a knotty job, but nothing could be easier. Just a few lines of code and our plugin is ready. The complete code for the plugin is shown below. I’ll explain how this works as we proceed along.

To get the content from the plugin, we will need to pass a query parameter of what content we would like from the remote server in the em_embed variable. This query parameter will then be intercepted by the plugin and the corresponding content returned. We will also pass along implicitly the domain URL of the calling page, so we can later use it for analytics purposes or for restricting the websites which can embed our widget.

For example, to get the list of recent posts, we need to send a GET query to the main WordPress website as shown below. Of course this query will be created by our JavaScript widget, wp-widget.js.

http://www.example.com/?em_embed=posts

The complete code for the plugin is given below.

<?php

/**
* Plugin Name: WordPress Widget Embed
* Description: Allow people to embed WordPress content in an iframe on other websites
* Version: 1.0
* Author: Sameer Borate
* Author URI: http://www.codediesel.com
*/

class WPWidgetEmbed
{
public function __construct()
{
add_action(‘template_redirect’, array($this, ‘catch_widget_query’));
add_action(‘init’, array($this, ‘widget_add_vars’));
}

/**
* Adds our widget query variable to WordPress $vars
*/
public function widget_add_vars()
{
global $wp;
$wp->add_query_var(’em_embed’);
$wp->add_query_var(’em_domain’);
}

private function export_posts()
{
$outstring  = ‘<html>’;
$outstring .= ‘<head><style>’;
$outstring .= ‘ul {
padding:0;
margin:0;
}
li {
list-style-type:none;
}’;
$outstring .= ‘</style></head><body>’;

/* Here we get recent posts for the blog */
$args = array(
‘numberposts’ => 6,
‘offset’ => 0,
‘category’ => 0,
‘orderby’ => ‘post_date’,
‘order’ => ‘DESC’,
‘post_type’ => ‘post’,
‘post_status’ => ‘publish’,
‘suppress_filters’ => true
);

$recent_posts = wp_get_recent_posts($args);

$outstring .= ‘<div><ul>’;
foreach($recent_posts as $recent)
{
$outstring .= ‘<li><a target=”_blank” href=”‘ . get_permalink($recent[“ID”]) . ‘”>’ . $recent[“post_title”]. ‘</a></li>’;
}

$outstring .= ‘</ul></div>’;
$outstring .= ‘</body></html>’;

return $outstring;
}

/**
* Catches our query variable. If it’s there, we’ll stop the
* rest of WordPress from loading and do our thing, whatever
* that may be.
*/
public function catch_widget_query()
{
/* If no ’embed’ parameter found, return */
if(!get_query_var(’em_embed’)) return;

/* ’embed’ variable is set, export any content you like */

if(get_query_var(’em_embed’) == ‘posts’)
{
$data_to_embed = $this->export_posts();
echo $data_to_embed;
}

exit();
}
}

$widget = new WPWidgetEmbed();

?>

To successfully intercept calls from another website, we need to first add the em_embed and em_domain parameters to our WordPress query_var variable. This will be used later to see what kind of data needs to be sent to the remote website. This is done by the following function.

public function widget_add_vars()
{
global $wp;
$wp->add_query_var(’em_embed’);
$wp->add_query_var(’em_domain’);
}

Next, we will need to catch the query variable on the template_redirect hook and process any data if the em_embed variable is set in the global variable.

public function catch_widget_query()
{
/* If no ’embed’ parameter found, return */
if(!get_query_var(’em_embed’)) return;

/* ’embed’ variable is set, export any content you like */

if(get_query_var(’em_embed’) == ‘posts’)
{
$data_to_embed = $this->export_posts();
echo $data_to_embed;
}

exit();
}

In our example, we will be exporting a list of recent post titles, so our export_posts function will look like below.

private function export_posts()
{
$outstring  = ‘<html>’;
$outstring .= ‘<head><style>’;
$outstring .= ‘ul {
padding-left:10px;
margin:0;
}

li > a {
text-decoration: none;
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif;
font-size:12px;

}

li {
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
padding: 3px 0 3px 0;
}

.widget-posts {
width: 250px;
border: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
padding: 12px;
margin-left: 3px;
}’;
$outstring .= ‘</style></head><body>’;

/* Here we get recent posts for the blog */
$args = array(
‘numberposts’ => 6,
‘offset’ => 0,
‘category’ => 0,
‘orderby’ => ‘post_date’,
‘order’ => ‘DESC’,
‘post_type’ => ‘post’,
‘post_status’ => ‘publish’,
‘suppress_filters’ => true
);

$recent_posts = wp_get_recent_posts($args);

$outstring .= ‘<div id=”widget-posts”><ul>’;
foreach($recent_posts as $recent)
{
$outstring .= ‘<li><a target=”_blank” href=”‘ . get_permalink($recent[“ID”]) . ‘”>’ . $recent[“post_title”]. ‘</a></li>’;
}

$outstring .= ‘</ul></div>’;
$outstring .= ‘</body></html>’;

return $outstring;
}

This is all there is to the plugin. If you need to export any other data, you will need to replace the code for getting posts with code for getting the data you like.
Writing The Embeddable Widget Code

We have now completed only the part for the WordPress plugin. We still have to write the JavaScript embed code which will remotely access our website and insert the appropriate content into the calling page. The easiest way to display content from another website into your Web page is by using an iframe. The code needed to embed the content on a website is shown below.

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var widget_embed = ‘posts’;
</script>
<script src=”http://www.example.com/widget/wp-widget.js”
type=”text/javascript”>
</script>
<div id=”embed-widget-container”></div>

If you are going to use the widget for returning only a single type of data,you can do away with the widget_embed variable. So you will have something like the following.

<script src=”http://www.example.com/widget/wp-widget.js”
type=”text/javascript”>
</script>
<div id=”embed-widget-container”></div>

wp-widget.js is the JavaScript that does all the work of calling the remote WordPress website and adding the content to the iframe. You need to place the wp-widget.js file in a subdirectory on your WordPress website; the exact name and location does not matter.

The complete code for the wp-widget.js is shown below, and is self-explanatory.

/**
* wp-widget.js
*
* Inserts an iframe into the DOM and calls the remote embed plugin
* via a get parameter:
* e.g http://www.example.com/?embed=posts
* This is intercepted by the remote ‘WordPress Widget Embed’ plugin
*
*/

(function() {

// Localize jQuery variable
var jQuery;

/* Load jQuery if not present */
if (window.jQuery === undefined || window.jQuery.fn.jquery !== ‘1.7.2’)
{
var script_tag = document.createElement(‘script’);
script_tag.setAttribute(“type”,”text/javascript”);
script_tag.setAttribute(“src”,
“http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.2/jquery.min.js”);
if (script_tag.readyState)
{
script_tag.onreadystatechange = function ()
{ // For old versions of IE
if (this.readyState == ‘complete’ || this.readyState == ‘loaded’)
{
scriptLoadHandler();
}
};
}
else
{
script_tag.onload = scriptLoadHandler;
}

(document.getElementsByTagName(“head”)[0] || document.documentElement).appendChild(script_tag);
}
else
{
// The jQuery version on the window is the one we want to use
jQuery = window.jQuery;
main();
}

/* Called once jQuery has loaded */
function scriptLoadHandler()
{
jQuery = window.jQuery.noConflict(true);
main();
}

/* Our Start function */
function main()
{
jQuery(document).ready(function($)
{
/* Get ’embed’ parameter from the query */
var widget = window.widget_embed;
var domain = encodeURIComponent(window.document.location);

/* Set ‘height’ and ‘width’ according to the content type */
var iframeContent = ‘<iframe style=”overflow-y: hidden;” \
height=”550″ width=”400″ frameborder=”0″ \
border=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ scrolling=”no” \
src=”http://www.example.com/?em_embed=’ + widget + ‘&em_domain=’ + domain + ‘”></iframe>’;

$(“#embed-widget-container”).html(iframeContent);
});
}

})();

The task of inserting the iframe and the WordPress content in the DOM is accomplished by the main() function. The iframe size needs to be changed depending on your requirements or created dynamically by letting the user pass additional parameters along with the widget_embed variable in the main widget code.
Adding Custom CSS To The Content

You can also add custom CSS to the displayed content through the plugin. Sample CSS to go with the above plugin is given below. You can also specify a style sheet URL if needed.

private function export_posts()
{
$outstring  = ‘<html>’;
$outstring .= ‘<head><style>’;
$outstring .= ‘ul {
padding-left:10px;
margin:0;
}

li > a {
text-decoration: none;
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif;
font-size:12px;
}

li {
border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
padding: 3px 0 3px 0;
}

.widget-posts {
width: 250px;
border: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
padding: 12px;
margin-left: 3px;
}’;
$outstring .= ‘</style></head><body>’;
.
.

The type of CSS you add to the content will depend on what content you are displaying. With a little creative coding, you can also allow the user to add certain display options to the widget with which they can control the display style of the embedded widget.
Restricting Display To Certain Domains

You may want to allow only certain domains to be able to display your content using the widget. This can easily be made possible, as we already have the calling website’s url in the em_domain variable. All we have to do is check the domain and selectively allow the content to be displayed.

public function catch_widget_query()
{
/* If no ’embed’ parameter found, return */
if(!get_query_var(’em_embed’)) return;

/* ’embed’ variable is set, export any content you like */

if(get_query_var(’em_embed’) == ‘posts’)
{
$allowed_domains = array(‘site1.com’,
‘site2.com’,
‘site3.com’);

$calling_host = parse_url(get_query_var(’em_domain’));

/* Check if the calling domain is in the allowed domains list */
if(in_array($calling_host[‘host’], $allowed_domains))
{
$data_to_embed = $this->export_posts();
echo $data_to_embed;
}
else
{
echo “Domain not registered!”;
}
}

exit();
}

Performance Concerns

Allowing other websites to access your content via widgets means additional load on your servers. A few hundred websites using your widget could easily slow down your server, so take this factor into consideration when promoting widgets. However, plugins like WP Super Cache can be used to cache widget data and reduce server load. If you are not using WP Super Cache or any other cache plugin, you can try using the WordPress Transients API to save the results into the database.

The WordPress Transients API offers a simple and standardized way of storing cached data in the database temporarily by giving it a custom name and a time frame, after which it will expire and be deleted. The catch_widget_query() function after adding the WP Transient API code is shown below.

public function catch_widget_query()
{
/* If no ’embed’ parameter found, return */
if(!get_query_var(’em_embed’)) return;

/* ’embed’ variable is set, export any content you like */

if(get_query_var(’em_embed’) == ‘posts’)
{
/* Here we are now using the ‘WP Transient API’.
See if we have any saved data for the ‘ewidget’ key.
*/
$cached = get_transient(‘ewidget’);

/* Oops!, the cache is empty */
if(empty($cached))
{
/* Get some fresh data */
$data_to_embed = $this->export_posts();

/* Save it using the ‘WP Transient API’ using the ‘ewidget’ key,
set it to expire after 12 hours.
*/
set_transient(‘ewidget’, $data_to_embed, 60 * 60 * 12);
echo $data_to_embed;
}
/* Yes we found some, so we return that to the user */
else
{
echo $cached;
}
}

exit();
}

for more information log on to http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2012/11/15/embeddable-content-wordpress/#more-107310

WordPress Essentials: The Definitive Guide To WordPress Hooks

In this article, I would like to dispel some of the confusion around hooks, because not only are they the way to code in WordPress, but they also teach us a great design pattern for development in general. Explaining this in depth will take a bit of time, but bear with me: by the end, you’ll be able to jumble hooks around like a pro.
Why Hooks Exist

I think the most important step in grasping hooks is to understand the need for them. Let’s create a version of a WordPress function that already exists, and then evolve it a bit using the “hooks mindset.”

function get_excerpt($text, $length = 150) {
$excerpt = substr($text,$length)
return $excerpt;
}

This function takes two parameters: a string and the length at which we want to cut it. What happens if the user wants a 200-character excerpt instead of a 150-character one? They just modify the parameter when they use the function. No problem there.

If you use this function a lot, you will notice that the parameter for the text is usually the post’s content, and that you usually use 200 characters instead of the default 150. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could set up new defaults, so that you didn’t have to add the same parameters over and over again? Also, what happens if you want to add some more custom text to the end of the excerpt?

These are the kinds of problems that hooks solve. Let’s take a quick look at how.

function get_excerpt($text, $length = 150) {

$length = apply_filters(“excerpt_length”, $length);

$excerpt = substr($text,$length)
return $excerpt;
}

As you can see, the default excerpt length is still 150, but we’ve also applied some filters to it. A filter allows you to write a function that modifies the value of something — in this case, the excerpt’s length. The name (or tag) of this filter is excerpt_length, and if no functions are attached to it, then its value will remain 150. Let’s see how we can now use this to modify the default value.

function get_excerpt($text, $length = 150) {

$length = apply_filters(“excerpt_length”);

$excerpt = substr($text,$length)
return $excerpt;
}

function modify_excerpt_length() {
return 200;
}

add_filter(“excerpt_length”, “modify_excerpt_length”);

First, we have defined a function that does nothing but return a number. At this point, nothing is using the function, so let’s tell WordPress that we want to hook this into the excerpt_length filter.

We’ve successfully changed the default excerpt length in WordPress, without touching the original function and without even having to write a custom excerpt function. This will be extremely useful, because if you always want excerpts that are 200 characters long, just add this as a filter and then you won’t have to specify it every time.

Suppose you want to tack on some more text, like “Read on,” to the end of the excerpt. We could modify our original function to work with a hook and then tie a function to that hook, like so:

function get_excerpt($text, $length = 150) {

$length = apply_filters(“excerpt_length”);

$excerpt = substr($text,$length)
return apply_filters(“excerpt_content”, $excerpt);
}

function modify_excerpt_content($excerpt) {
return $excerpt . “Read on…”;
}
add_filter(“excerpt_content”, “modify_excerpt_content”);

This hook is placed at the end of the function and allows us to modify its end result. This time, we’ve also passed the output that the function would normally produce as a parameter to our hook. The function that we tie to this hook will receive this parameter.

All we are doing in our function is taking the original contents of $excerpt and appending our “Read on” text to the end. But if we choose, we could also return the text “Click the title to read this article,” which would replace the whole excerpt.

While our example is a bit redundant, since WordPress already has a better function, hopefully you’ve gotten to grips with the thinking behind hooks. Let’s look more in depth at what goes on with filters, actions, priorities, arguments and the other yummy options available.
Filters And Actions

Filters and actions are two types of hooks. As you saw in the previous section, a filter modifies the value of something. An action, rather than modifying something, calls another function to run beside it.

A commonly used action hook is wp_head. Let’s see how this works. You may have noticed a function at the bottom of your website’s head section named wp_head(). Diving into the code of this function, you can see that it contains a call to do_action(). This is similar to apply_filters(); it means to run all of the functions that are tied to the wp_head tag.

Let’s put a copyright meta tag on top of each post’s page to test how this works.

add_action(“wp_head”, “my_copyright_meta”);

function my_copyright_meta() {
if(is_singular()){
echo “”;
}
}

The Workflow Of Using Hooks

While hooks are better documented nowadays, they have been neglected a bit until recently, understandably so. You can find some good pointers in the Codex, but the best thing to use is Adam Brown’s hook reference, and/or look at the source code.

Say you want to add functionality to your blog that notifies authors when their work is published. To do this, you would need to do something when a post is published. So, let’s try to find a hook related to publishing.

Can we tell whether we need an action or a filter? Sure we can! When a post is published, do we want to modify its data or do a completely separate action? The answer is the latter, so we’ll need an action. Let’s go to the action reference on Adam Brown’s website, and search for “Publish.”

The first thing you’ll find is app_publish_post. Sounds good; let’s click on it. The details page doesn’t give us a lot of info (sometimes it does), so click on the “View hook in source” link next to your version of WordPress (preferably the most recent version) in the table. This website shows only a snippet of the file, and unfortunately the beginning of the documentation is cut off, so it’s difficult to tell if this is what we need. Click on “View complete file in SVN” to go to the complete file so that we can search for our hook.

In the file I am viewing, the hook can be found in the _publish_post_hook() function, which — according to the documentation above it — is a “hook to schedule pings and enclosures when a post is published,” so this is not really what we need.

With some more research in the action list, you’ll find the publish_post hook, and this is what we need. The first thing to do is write the function that sends your email. This function will receive the post’s ID as an argument, so you can use that to pull some information into the email. The second task is to hook this function into the action. Look at the finished code below for the details.

function authorNotification($post_id) {
global $wpdb;
$post = get_post($post_id);
$author = get_userdata($post->post_author);

$message = ”
Hi “.$author->display_name.”,
Your post, “.$post->post_title.” has just been published. Well done!
“;
wp_mail($author->user_email, “Your article is online”, $message);
}
add_action(‘publish_post’, ‘authorNotification’);

Notice that the function we wrote is usable in its own right. It has a very specific function, but it isn’t only usable together with hooks; you could use it in your code any time. In case you’re wondering, wp_mail() is an awesome mailer function — have a look at the WordPress Codex for more information.

This process might seem a bit complicated at first, and, to be totally honest, it does require browsing a bit of documentation and source code at first, but as you become more comfortable with this system, your time spent researching what to use and when to use it will be reduced to nearly nothing.
Priorities

The third parameter when adding your actions and filters is the priority. This basically designates the order in which attached hooks should run. We haven’t covered this so far, but attaching multiple functions to a hook is, of course, possible. If you want an email to be sent to an author when their post is published and to also automatically tweet the post, these would be written in two separate functions, each tied to the same tag (publish_post).

Priorities designate which hooked function should run first. The default value is 10, but this can be changed as needed. Priorities usually don’t make a huge difference, though. Whether the email is sent to the author before the article is tweeted or vice versa won’t make a huge difference.

In rarer cases, assigning a priority could be important. You might want to overwrite the actions of other plugins (be careful, in this case), or you might want to enforce a specific order. I recently had to overwrite functionality when I was asked to optimize a website. The website had three to four plugins, with about nine JavaScript files in total. Instead of disabling these plugins, I made my own plugin that overwrote some of the JavaScript-outputting functionality of those plugins. My plugin then added the minified JavaScript code in one file. This way, if my plugin was deactivated, all of the other plugins would work as expected.
Specifying Arguments

The fourth argument when adding filters and actions specifies how many arguments the hooked function takes. This is usually dictated by the hook itself, and you will need to look at the source to find this information.

As you know from before, your functions are run when they are called by apply_filters() or do_action(). These functions will have the tag as their first argument (i.e. the name of the hook you are plugging into) and then passed arguments as subsequent arguments.

For example, the filter default_excerpt receives two parameters, as seen in includes/post.php.

$post->post_excerpt = apply_filters( ‘default_excerpt’, $post_excerpt, $post );

The arguments are well named — $post_excerpt and $post — so it’s easy to guess that the first is the excerpt text and the second is the post’s object. If you are unsure, it is usually easiest either to look further up in the source or to output them using a test function (make sure you aren’t in a production environment).

function my_filter_test($post_excerpt, $post) {
echo “<pre>”;
print_r($post_excerpt);
print_r($post);
echo “</pre>”;
}
add_filter(“default_excerpt”, “my_filter_test”);

Variable Hook Names

Remember when we looked at the publish_post action? In fact, this is not used anymore; it was renamed in version 2.3 to {$new_status}_{$post->post_type}. With the advent of custom post types, it was important to make the system flexible enough for them. This new hook now takes an arbitrary status and post type (they must exist for it to work, obviously).

As a result, publish_post is the correct tag to use, but in reality, you will be using {$new_status}_{$post->post_type}. A few of these are around; the naming usually suggests what you will need to name the action.
Who Is Hooked On Who?

To find out which function hooks into what, you can use the neat script below, courtesy of WP Recipes. Use this function without arguments to get a massive list of everything, or add a tag to get functions that are hooked to that one tag. This is a great one to keep in your debugging tool belt!

function list_hooked_functions($tag=false){
global $wp_filter;
if ($tag) {
$hook[$tag]=$wp_filter[$tag];
if (!is_array($hook[$tag])) {
trigger_error(“Nothing found for ‘$tag’ hook”, E_USER_WARNING);
return;
}
}
else {
$hook=$wp_filter;
ksort($hook);
}
echo ‘<pre>’;
foreach($hook as $tag => $priority){
echo “<br /><strong>$tag</strong><br />”;
ksort($priority);
foreach($priority as $priority => $function){
echo $priority;
foreach($function as $name => $properties) echo “\t$name<br />”;
}
}
echo ‘</pre>’;
return;
}

Creating Your Own Hooks

A ton of hooks are built into WordPress, but nothing is stopping you from creating your own using the functions we’ve looked at so far. This may be beneficial if you are building a complex plugin intended for wide release; it will make your and other developers’ jobs a lot easier!

In the example below, I have assumed we are building functionality for users to post short blurbs on your website’s wall. We’ll write a function to check for profanity and hook it to the function that adds the blurbs to the wall.

Look at the full code below. The explanation ensues.

function post_blurb($user_id, $text) {

$text = apply_filters(“blurb_text”, $text);

if(!empty($text)) {
$wpdb->insert(‘my_wall’, array(“user_id” => $user_id, “date” => date(“Y-m-d H:i:s”), “text” => $text), array(“%d”, %s”, “%s”));
}
}

function profanity_filter($text) {
$text_elements = explode(” “, $text);
$profanity = array(“badword”, “naughtyword”, “inappropriatelanguage”);

if(array_intersect($profanity, $text_elements)) {
return false;
}
else {
return $text;
}
}

add_filter(“blurb_text”, “profanity_filter”);

The first thing in the code is the designation of the function that adds the blurb. Notice that I included the apply_filters() function, which we will use to add our profanity check.

Next up is our profanity-checking function. This checks the text as its argument against an array of known naughty words. By using array_intersect(), we look for array elements that are in both arrays — these would be the profane words. If there are any, then return false; otherwise, return the original text.

The last part actually hooks this function into our blurb-adding script.

Now other developers can hook their own functions into our script. They could build a spam filter or a better profanity filter. All they would need to do is hook it in.
Mixing And Matching

The beauty of this system is that it uses functions for everything. If you want, you can use the same profanity filter for other purposes, even outside of WordPress, because it is just a simple function. Already have a profanity-filter function? Copy and paste it in; all you’ll need to do is add the one line that actually hooks it in. This makes functions easily reusable in various situations, giving you more flexibility and saving you some time as well.

for more information log on to http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/07/definitive-guide-wordpress-hooks/#more-103790

Up On The Wall: How Working Walls Unlock Creative Insight

Research wall, design wall, research board, ideation wall, inspiration board, moodboard, pinboard — Working walls are known by countless names. Underlying them all is a single idea: that physically pinning our sources of inspiration and work in progress, and surrounding ourselves with them, can help us to rearrange concepts and unlock breakthrough insights.

In their 2009 paper on creativity in design, human media interaction researcher Dhaval Vyas and his colleagues coined the term “artful surfaces” to refer to “surfaces that designers create by externalizing their work-related activities, to be able to effectively support their everyday way of working.” According to Vyas and his colleagues at the University of Twente (in the Netherlands), designers integrate these surfaces “artfully” and organize information in such a way that it empowers them to visualize and extend their work in progress.
Working Walls And Design Thinking

In this article, you will learn how displaying data and ideas on a large vertical surface can enhance your design thinking process. One of the first things to know is that the practice of using “working walls,” as we will call these surfaces from now on, is scarcely documented in scientific literature — hence, the need for a working definition of a working wall (redundancy intended). For the purpose of this article, we’ll define it as a large vertical surface on which ideas, data and work in progress can be displayed, rearranged and extended.

working-walls-dining-experience-opt

This design thinking tool being as powerful as it is, it comes as no surprise that a myriad of other fields have adapted and used it for years. But just how do working walls come into play in design thinking? Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO, defines design thinking like so:

“A human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

To further define this approach, The Institute of Design at Stanford (or d.school) has outlined five steps in the design thinking process:

5 steps of design thinking

It all starts with empathizing with the people you are designing for. Then, you define a clear perspective of the process by making sense of a large amount of information. You proceed with ideation, exploring a wide array of concepts and generating possible solutions. Prototyping involves building an object (or artifact) that a user can experience and give you feedback on. Testing is about triggering an actual response from your intended user.

Working walls can facilitate every step of the design thinking process, and they offer unique advantages to bolster creative thought. The tool can help us empathize with and gather input from users, define a focused approach based on a large amount of data, capture the ideation process, display a low-fidelity prototype that users can interact with, and keep track of the way we’ve tested our creative assumptions.

Hopefully, the following benefits and working wall templates will inspire you to create your own today.

For more information please log on to http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2014/01/02/how-working-walls-unlock-creative-insight/

European Trademark Office Says Pinterest Doesn’t Own ‘Pinterest’ – Social News Startup Premium Interest Does

Pinterest raised a $225 million round in October 2013 to help fuel its international expansion, but a recent ruling in Europe could prove to be a hiccup in that strategy. The U.S.-based social networking site has lost a challenge it made to claim the Pinterest trademark in the region, with a European trademark court ruling in favor of the current owner, a London-based social news aggregation startup called Premium Interest and its founder Alex Hearn.

It means that if Pinterest wants to continue to do business in Europe, “Pinterest will have to change their name if they don’t get a licence from him,” according to Adam Morallee, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Reya, which represented Hearn and his company. Hearn also owns similar rights on the Pinterest trademark in other markets such as Australia.

A spokesperson for Pinterest says the company will be fighting the case. “We plan to appeal the recent decision,” he told TechCrunch.

For now, however, the ruling — made by the European Commission’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, Trade Marks and Designs Division — notes that Pinterest’s claim was “rejected in its entirety.”

screen-shot-2014-01-02-at-17-57-55
Part of reason why, it seems, has to do with timing: Pinterest was already active by the time Premium Interest filed for a trademark in January 2012, but it had yet to formally enter the European market, let alone file a trademark. In fact, Premium Interest filed its trademark in Europe some two months before Pinterest had even gotten its act together in the U.S. to file for a trademark there, notes the blog Mark Matters.

The decision, which is dated November but was only made public last month, also notes other issues that must feel like frustrating oversights for Pinterest at this point.

For example, Pinterest provided documents to support substantiation of its earlier, non-registered mark. But it did so several months after the OHIM’s submission deadlines had passed, rendering them invalid.

The OHIM also determined that documents that were submitted within deadline only proved that the media was buzzing about Pinterest — but not that the general public in the UK or elsewhere in Europe were — or simply didn’t provide enough detail to show they supported the relevant timeframes.

The ruling — embedded in full below — will mean that Pinterest needs to pay court costs (€300, or $409) but no trademark infringement damages as yet.

Pinterest could still get an opening in the case on an appeal — when it would presumably not miss the submission deadline and provide documents that more clearly proved that it was already a well-enough-known entity in the UK and elsewhere in Europe before January 2012 (when Premium Interest first filed its mark).

Done correctly, such documents could help Pinterest work around the “first to file” rule that was the decider this time around. But there is a catch here, too.

“Pinterest may well appeal but the rules of OHIM are that no new evidence can be put forward,” Morallee tells us. “To win the case they have to show they had rights before Premium Interest in Europe. OHIM refused that on the basis of the evidence [Pinterest] put forward. The fact they are well known in the U.S. is not relevant. What matters is their rights in Europe. And they didn’t have any at the relevant time.”

Pinterest has been a strong defender of different aspects of its branding, from its Pin-it button through to its curvy P logo that looks a bit like the P that social networking app Path uses. It’s also actively discouraged any partners to use any variation of the words “pin” or “pinterest” as puns in their names. So you can imagine that it will not give up its trademark on “Pinterest” across Europe so lightly.

On Premium Interest’s side, Hearn says filing the Pinterest mark was “standard practice to protect intellectual property once we start to work on it.”

“We do have great respect Pinterest Inc’s worldwide rights, but also we respect our rights too!” he says. “There is no mistake their growth has been rapid over the past 18 months, from unknown to megastars, and this has posed the problem in trademark use we have today in the EU and beyond.”

Hearn would not comment directly on questions of whether he would accept a licensing settlement. “I hope there is a route through, as no-one likes good businesses to be impeded! But also it is difficult when there is a rapidly expanding company to waive your protected rights, especially when its your baby,” he says.

What’s ironic is that while Pinterest really has been rapidly growing and gaining traction with consumers, Premium Interest has yet to launch, or use any variation of the “Pinterest” trademark that it owns.

Premium Interest, according to its site, has been “developed by a team of individuals based in London, UK who are dedicated to providing a new way to view news, ranked and selected by the reader, not the editor… The vision is that only the most imaginative news and debates will be captured, giving a wholly different insight on traditional news sourcing.”

Hearn tells me that he first coined the use of Pinterest in late 2009/2010, when he and colleagues started to work on some of the early experimental algorithms. But it wasn’t until 2011/2012 that the site appeared online. “We have been very busy the past year developing the mobile apps for launch [this year],” he tells me. Premium Interest’s website, Hearn says, is “acting as a test concept site.” For its interface, it happens to use a similar mosaic-style flow to Pinterest’s.
premium interest

for more information log on to http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/02/pinterest-loses-trademark-claim-in-europe-to-premium-interest-a-social-news-aggregator/

Why Fireworks Is So Awesome (Today)?

Designers, especially ones with little or no experience with Fireworks, often ask, “Why should I use Fireworks for UI design and screen graphics? Why not use Photoshop (as most visual designers do), combined with Illustrator? Or why not some other tool?”

Many features make Fireworks an excellent (and even indispensable) tool for screen design. We’ll quickly list a few below.
Focus on Screen Design
Fireworks is a tool to design for screens; thus, it is focused. It has features that help the UI designer work quickly and accurately, and clutter is kept to a minimum (for example, it has no print or 3-D features). It is also intuitive to use and has wireframing and prototyping capabilities. Fireworks is like a Swiss Army knife for UI design.
Powerful Vector Tools

Fireworks has powerful vector tools, too. In this regard, you could easily compare it to Adobe Illustrator — yet Fireworks’ tools are easier to master. You can go from the simplest of wireframes to the most complex of screen graphics, illustrations, icons, and full-page designs and comps, and then export the entire page or just selections as optimized bitmaps or SVG, without ever needing to switch to another app!
Good Bitmap Editing Tools

Fireworks also has full bitmap editing tools, so you don’t need to jump from Fireworks to another app when you want to modify bitmaps (for example, when you have to make a quick color correction on an imported photo, crop an image, apply a vector mask, etc.).
Create Live Prototypes

Create live (i.e. HTML) without ever leaving Fireworks? Yes, that’s possible. We’ve covered this in the past. Fireworks is also invaluable for other types of live prototypes; for example, you could quickly create a prototype of a music player?
Create Live iOS Prototypes

Fireworks can also create iOS prototypes. From wireframes to an iOS prototype to the final polished design — all of these steps can be done without leaving this one design tool!

The topic of iOS live prototyping with Fireworks and TAP was covered in great detail in the three-part article by Shlomo Goltz, “iOS Prototyping With Adobe Fireworks and TAP” (part 1, part 2, part 3).
The (Smart) Fireworks PNG File Format

Fireworks saves to a special editable PNG format, which offers many advantages: small file size (multi-page Fireworks PNG files are usually less than 10 MB in size, while a single PSD file can easily reach a few hundred MB, even for a one-page design!), the ability to embed custom meta data (such as annotations, notes and comments) within the source file itself, the ability to preview files in Finder and Explorer, the ability to make special libraries of symbols (which can be indexed and searched, as in the example of the Evernote and Fireworks workflow) and, last but not least, the ability to view a live preview of a single-page Fireworks PNG in any browser or device.
Excellent Exporting, Opening, Importing and Saving Options

Fireworks can export to the following formats, with excellent compression and quality: PNG32 (i.e. PNG24 + alpha transparency), PNG24 (with no transparency), PNG8, PNG8 + index or alpha transparency, JPG and JPG progressive, selective JPG, GIF and GIF animated, SVG, and ICO (for favicons).

In addition to all of these “flat” file formats (and, obviously, the editable file-name.fw-opt.png), Fireworks can open most Photoshop (PSD) and Illustrator (AI) files, Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files and most SVG files.

AdobeFireworksCS5_2

Fireworks saves to the editable Fw PNG (file-name.fw-opt.png) format by default, but it can also save to PSD (file-name.psd) and AI (file-name.ai) formats.

(Note: Support for PSD and AI files has some limitations, especially as the features of Photoshop and Illustrator continue to change.)
Pages and Master Page, Layers, States (and Objects)

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Nearly all websites and mobile apps have more than one page or screen, and many pages and even many states (or variations) of those pages have to be designed. One of the most powerful features of Fireworks is its ability to contain many pages in a single file, as well as contain many states for both pages and individual objects in a design

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