Critics are out of touch, what else is new?

Many social critics have blamed the distractions of technology for weakening family ties, but that's simply not true. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 47% of adults said the Internet, cell phones, and other handheld devices had actually improved communication within the family; only 11% said they have harmed family cohesion. Face it, the burden is on parents to keep up with technology and communicate about it with your children. Most of the dysfunctions associated with heavy Internet usage, such as online porn, gambling, and identity theft, are committed by adults. In fact, the next edition of the DSM of Mental Disorders will include new mental illnesses such as "Internet Addiction" and "Parental Alienation Syndrome." As the kids would say "Don't be 404, get a clue!" You can start here...

Obama Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages!

The Washington Post reported today that If the Obama campaign represented a sleek, new iPhone kind of future, the first day of the Obama administration looked more like the rotary-dial past.

Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.

What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.

Read the full story here...

Did You Update Your Facebook Yesterday? 1.5 Million Users Did... for Obama!

People are waking up today with new hope!

Adios dubya,

Obama First President with Internet Access

Barack Obama plans to have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first president to have Internet access there. But he'll probably have to give up using email since emails can be hacked into and subpoenaed. Neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush used email during their presidencies (can you imagine!), but unlike Mr. Obama neither of them was a devoted BlackBerry user. One possibility under consideration is that he could continue to receive emails, but not send them. Why? There are 3 main reasons: In addition to the risk of digital communications being hacked into, there is the Presidential Records Act, which could open all presidential emails to public scrutiny, as well as the possibility that the location of a presidential mobile device could be tracked. Kind of makes me appreciate my email after all!

No More Free Jott? Fine. A Company's Got to Make Money!

I like to follow Internet start-ups, especially when they involve subscription services and have the potential to grow into mega-success stories. One company I'm particularly interested in is Jott based in Seattle. They are a voice-to-text service who moved out of beta in August 2008 and added a premium feature for $4/month. According to the company, about 30% of Jott's active users have opted for the premium, no-ads version of the service since then. 30%? In 5 months? Not bad!

What is Jott? People use Jott to send voice-to-text emails and SMS messages, to send Twitter messages, to add calendar items as a personal reminder service, and so on. It's way cool. The way it works is that voice messages are transcribed into text messages via software by, you guessed it, good old-fashioned wetware (as in humans ;-)

The free version of Jott is going to end on February 2, CEO John Pollard told Michael Arrington of The terrible advertising market, he said, means every customer has to pay their own way from now on. Customers will need to pay $4/month to continue the service, the current price for a premium account. This includes users of the Jott iPhone application.

I read today that Jott is also preparing to roll out a new service, voicemail-to-text. Like their competitors (including Spinvox, PhoneTag, GotVoice and others) voice mails will be converted into text messages and sent to the subscriber within a couple of minutes. The application is priced at the same level as their competitors, $10/month for up to 40 messages. Now that sounds a little suspect to me but we'll see as the product launches today. Film at 11!


Reminder to All: Think Before You Hit "Send"

"Plans for Saturday?" That was the subject line of an email I received the other day, and I was excited about the prospect of some fun, until I realized I was not the intended recipient. My colleague had sent it to some family members and mistakenly included me. In this case it was a harmless mistake, but the inadvertent hitting of "Send" is becoming a part of daily life sometimes with more serious consequences.

Surveys have found that the percentage of Americans who've sent embarrassing emails to the wrong person at work has doubled over the past five years to 20%. Embarrassment is the mildest possible consequence, I've read about employees ending up in jail! So next time, before you hit "Send," remind yourself of little r, and count to 5 to save yourself from the dreaded ohnosecond.


Take a Cue and Get a Clue as to Why Text Messages are All the Rage

It is so funny to see the difference between teens and parents when it comes to online communication. I say funny because I'm on the outside looking in (I don't have kids), but I remember when I was a teen, I was a hellion so I'm sure my Mom doesn't think there's anything funny about trying to communicate with an adolescent. I can't imagine her trying to control me if we had the Internet around back then. But I digress, my point is that many parents "hate" texting but I'm here to change your mind. For starters, look at it like this: It's another way to communicate with your child and isn't that what every parents wants? To communicate more with your child?

A friend was explaining that the only way his daughter will "call" him is if he "texts" her. He could call her cell phone and leave message after message and he'll never hear from her, but if he texts her, she'll respond immediately. "Why is that?" he asks me. "Because" I say, "it's easier and quicker for her to punch a few buttons and touch base with you. If she thinks she has to call you, then she feels like she has to spend time talking to you and ultimately answer whatever question you may have at the moment. Basically she doesn't really want to do that. With texting she is in control."

Most teens I talk to think it's cool when their parents finally adopt texting, and in fact, they appreciate it tremendously. Here's the skinny: If you want to have a conversation with a child who still lives at home, do it over dinner, don't expect to do it on the phone or worse yet, via text or email. You simply cannot have a relationship via text, it's meant for short messages, to keep each other posted on what's going on. Just because your tween is texting her fingers off with her BFF Jill, doesn't mean she'll do that with you. She has a different kind of relationship with her peers, respect it, encourage it, but monitor it. Keep in mind that this kind of communication is empowering to youths, and in the end, they are communicating more and more with each other. Again, isn't that what every parents wants? For your child to express him or herself and communicate more?

One startling statistic is that 95% of parents don't recognize the lingo kids use to communicate online. NetLingo is here to help! One way to get a clue is to keep up-to-date with text lingo. Check back to this blog too, I'll be writing MANY posts about text messaging in the future because it remains to be "a gr8 db8."


Wine, Sex and iPhone Logos, It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This!

So this posting is about creating iPhone apps but actually it's an excuse for me to archive this picture for eternity. Being a wine connoisseur I just have to!

It started when my programmer friend and I began laughing hysterically when we saw this image on Tech Crunch. Sure enough, many others saw the Freudian image contained therein, and in fact, the longer you look at it, the naughtier it becomes.

Anyway, I intend to create an iPhone app for NetLingo and so after doing some research, here are a few items of interest to keep in mind. Enjoy!

Experienced iPhone app developers tell me it’s tempting to think that developing a UI for an iPhone is like developing a UI for a computer. But it isn’t. iPhone UI design is much less forgiving than for Mac or Windows. Fortunately, Apple has provided us with a consistant user interface, which we can draw off of and use in our own native apps.

The attention to detail is so important when developing for the iPhone. For example, ever notice the "Back" buttons found in almost every app don't actually say "Back", but instead the title of the previous screen? And what about when it's sliding in and out of screens, the buttons drift away seamlessly? Sure, they could of made them just fade, but they made them drift... The result makes sense to your brain. All just simple things that make using an iPhone so enjoyable and easy.

I'm taking suggestions as to NetLingo iPhone applications, let me hear your thoughts!

Face It: Your Personal Information Is Not Safe, Even From Your Neighbor!

I was shocked to read in the The Washington Post this morning that businesses, governments and educational institutions reported 50 percent more data breaches last year than in 2007, exposing the personal records of at least 35.7 million Americans, according to a nonprofit group that works to prevent identity theft.

Nearly 37 percent of the breaches occurred at businesses, while schools accounted for roughly 20 percent of the reported incidents. The center also found that the percentage of breaches attributed to data theft from current and former employees more than doubled from 7 percent in 2007 to nearly 16 percent in 2008.

They say this may be reflective of the economy and that some of the incidents are the result of employees feeling the pinch from the recession. As companies become more stringent with protecting against hackers, insider theft is becoming more prevalent.

I find this completely unacceptable! What is wrong with these people? Suddenly your next door neighbor is a white collar thief?

But like many things in this world, it feels like it is beyond my control, especially when the largest single cause of data breaches came from human error. Lost or stolen laptops and other removable electronic devices, along with the accidental exposure of consumer data -- such as the inadvertent posting of personal data online -- were named as the cause for more than 35 percent of reported incidents.

One important thing I can do is educate myself and take action so as to not "inadvertently" post personal data online. It is also our duty as citizens to not let government or big corporations take away our privacy rights. We must stay aware, and put pressure on state and federal legislators for regulatory infrastructure to protect privacy.

Here are several resources that have helped me understand how to keep a rap on my ever-increasing digital footprint. Please, I beg of you, WATCH this "big brother" video... then tell your loved ones and children to do the same. You don't want to wake up one morning in the middle of a nightmare do you?


Are you a Freelancer? You're in Good Company Now!

"Laptop nomads" are getting a little less lonely according to Ilana DeBare the San Francisco Chronicle. A movement known as "co-working" gives independent types an alternative to working at home or camping out in cafes. In co-working, a group of freelancers or other solo entrepreneurs shares one big office space with perks that they might not get at home, such as conference rooms espresso machines, and opportunities for socializing. Co-workers can either drop in or rent a dedicated area in spaces ranging from funky industrial lofts to sleeker sites with a more corporate ambiance.

I love it! In Manhattan, for example, In Good Company Workplaces caters to female entrepreneurs, according to to Marci Alboher in The New York Times. The company's menu of offerings reads like a gym membership with an annual fee and various options based on how many hours of desk and meeting-room time the entrepreneur wants to rent each month. A basic membership is $300 a year, though there are extra fees for renting desk space or conference rooms. The idea makes sense according to Nell Merlino (founder of Count Me In, a nonprofit in which Erin of NetLingo is a member), as long as it's not an excuse to socialize. The focus has got to be about growth for your businesses. Check out NetLingo for definitions of these terms and a link to In Good Company Workplaces.


How to Make it Work for You! Here's one Way to Leverage Social Marketing

As President-elect Barack Obama proved during the campaign, there is great power in building online communities. Now, marketers and Internet entrepreneurs are trying to emulate his style of social marketing in order to build and expand their own networks of online users. As usual, it's about building an experience and a deeper relationship, but there's more to it than that.

If you work in big corporate, you'll resonate with online growth of Visa, who launched the Visa Business Network on Facebook this year and already signed up 20,000 small businesses; but if you're an entrepreneur you'll be pleased to hear about new synergies between social network sites, publishing sites, and share sites. For example, this NetLingo blog will get mentioned on Twitter which in turn gets published on Facebook.

The key for small businesses is to embrace a social media ;-) You need to dedicate a certain amount of time each day to cultivating your fan base. One way of doing this is to remain committed to PUBLISHING your content on Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Squidoo, FriendFeed, Wikipedia, and Flickr -- then geta group of people to SHARE it on sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Slashdot, Digg, -- and finally post the content to your NETWORKS on MySpace, LinkedIn, and others, all the while, subtly promoting a new piece of content on your website.

I've seen this method work in action, resulting in Twitter or StumbleUpon generating the most traffic on a given day the plan is put into effect. Sound like a lot of work? It's heavy lifting in the beginning to get it all built and established, but once you get into the routine, it can be one of your cheapest and most effective marketing campaigns.


2009 Promises to be a Year Full of Tech Updates

Hi all, and Happy New Year 2009!

This is the official NetLingo blog, used primarily to track updates to the website and developments within the industry. I've been running since 1995 and I am continually amazed at the degree and rate in which technology continues to evolve! There's always going to be the need for someone like me to explain it all to you and your loved ones, in layman's terms. For instance, can you believe I still get at least one new acronym/text message shorthand submission every single day.

This month we'll be launching a new PHP site and wow, is it going to rock. The Lexicon Builder will not only be fixed, but there's a wiki component that will allow you to add and edit other people's suggestions ;-) We're also fixing the RSS and the Toolbar, as well as adding new widgets and ebooks. I'll publish a post once we go live!