Citizen Journalism Site AllVoices Adds 30 Countries

Written by Curt Hopkins

allvoices.pngToday citizen journalism site AllVoices is launching news bureaus in 30 additional countries. They say the bureaus are to be staffed by a hybrid force of professional and citizen journalists.

New countries represented include Iraq, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, the Philippines and Armenia.

Reports make their way up through a system in which the most popular stories are forwarded up levels from country to region to front page. Each city represented by the Global News Desk has a landing page which features local news.

“Likewise each country and continent has their own landing page,” said Aki Hashmi, AllVoices Chief Marketing Officer. “An algorithm promotes the best of the city page to the country page and the best of the country page to the continent page. Finally, the best of the continent page will be promoted to the Allvoices front page.”allvoicesscreen.png

According to AllVoices, 300,000 journalists and citizen journalists contribute to the service and serves and audience of 4.5 million. Citizen journalism site Demotix, by contrast, claims 14,00 members in 110 countries, though it acts as much as an agency as a news site. NowPublic claims it serves, and is served by citizen journalists in, 6,000 cities in 160 countries for five million monthly readers.


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Twitter’s Translation Problem

Written by Mike Melanson

For all the hype and all the discussion, the thousands of apps surrounding the service and our constant amazement at how fast or slow it grows, one point noted in a Twitter blog last night might bring us all back down to Earth for a moment – Twitter just became multilingual less than six months ago.

If you’re wondering, there are as many, if not more, Spanish speakers in the world as English. While Twitter is bragging about its expanding international audience, the next time you find yourself wondering why the service hasn’t absolutely exploded on the worldwide stage, look at its translation issues.

Now, this wasn’t the main point of Twitter’s blog post, which tells us that more than 60% of Twitter accounts come from outside the U.S. But, it didn’t seem like a rather noteworthy point.

twitter-international-growthjpg.jpgAccording to the company, the addition of a Spanish-language Twitter website saw an “immediate 50% boost in signups from Spanish-speaking countries.” After the earthquake in Chile, signups “spiked 1200% and nearly all of those were using Spanish as their language.”

The reason we make this comparison is to remind ourselves of how infantile Twitter really is. We compare it to Facebook all too often, and that much-repeated statistic of 400 million users, but we don’t bother to note that Facebook is also translated into more than 60 languages.

So, while Twitter is not only striving to reach mainstream America, it is still only offered in two languages and it’s a bit of a surprise that it’s become as international a service as it has. While the blog brags that Indian politicians have spurned a recent growth in India, the country is also host the second largest number of English speakers worldwide.

Jack Dorsey on Translation Leer más “Twitter’s Translation Problem”

Is Gmail Giving Up on Tagging?

Written by Sarah Perez

Gmail Labs, the “Settings” section featuring optional, experimental features for Google‘s webmail program has just received two new additions: “message sneak peek” and “nested labels.” Now the sneak peek we definitely like – it lets you preview a message without opening it so you can take immediate action. Handy!

But nested labels is a somewhat curious addition. It turns Gmail’s once-revolutionary “tagging” system into something that more closely resembles the traditional folder structure found in email programs like Outlook. So now you can drag-and-drop your email into these so-called labels and you can create hierarchies, too? Oh, c’mon, Gmail, let’s just call them folders already and be done with it.

The Tagging Revolution

Wait! Before you rush into the comments and declare your love for nested folders, the option you’ve been waiting for since the day you got your Gmail invite back in 2004, hear me out.

I get it – nested folders are great. I’ll probably even use them. (I am nothing, if not a Gmail filter junkie. Nearly everything get tagged upon arrival and a lot gets pre-filed, too).

The point is that these labels were introduced as a major improvement over folders because you could – Wow! – tag email messages with more than one label. That means mail could be tagged “Travel,” “Coupons” and “Southwest Airlines” all at once. And wasn’t that just amazing?

But the problem with Gmail’s tagging system is that there’s no easy way to surface the combination of these tags. For example, what if you want to see all mail tagged “Work,” “From Boss” and “Project X?” Quick! How do you do it? (And don’t tell me to type in some long, complex search query with colons and Boolean operators, either. Tell me how the average email user would do it). The answer? Most people don’t know how. They’re just going to enter a few search terms into the “search mail” box at the top of the screen. Or maybe they’ll head over to the “From Boss” folder and then search for “Project X.”

Missed Opportunity Leer más “Is Gmail Giving Up on Tagging?”

25 Fun and Time Saving PhotoShop Actions Tutorials

Written by: Carol Francis

Creating your own actions in PhotoShop is a time-saving way of applying the same effects to multiple layers/images, and there are many tutorials around the Internet to teach you how to do that.

This is a list of actions that have been created for you. It is not so much time-saving to use someone else’s action, it is a way to achieve an effect that you may not be able to create for yourself (and how frustrating can that be!). You can also learn a lot from these actions – just open the file in the Actions dock in PhotoShop and you can see how the end result is achieved.

PhotoShop Actions Tutorials

Some actions just run through from beginning to end with no messages and no input required from the user. Some, on the other hand, require a lot of input from the user – these ones often end up being trial and error to get the settings right – but if it is the effect you are after, it is worth it.

I have used all of the actions listed here, and the images are my results. Clicking on the image of the action will take you to the download area where you will be able to see the results the creator achieved.

Running an Action

Alt + F9 opens the actions palette. If the action has been installed in the PhotoShop presets file, click on the small down-pointing arrowhead in the top right corner of the palette and you will find the required action in the list. Clicking on it will put the action at the bottom of the palette.

Screenshot 1

If you have downloaded but not installed the action, click on the small down-pointing arrowhead in the top right corner of the palette and select ‘Load Actions…‘.

Screenshot 2

Find the required action in the actions palette and click on the arrowhead to the left of the name – this will place the file at the bottom of the actions palette.

Click on the first item and click the run button – the right-pointing arrowhead at the bottom of the palette.

Screenshot 3

Hand-Colored Vintage Action

This is an easy to use action – just follow along with the instructions. I think the result is superb.

Hand Colored Vintage

Black White Sepia Action

This is one of those actions that just goes through the steps with no user input required and no messages.

Black White Sepia
Image credit: sxc

Acerbus Action

This action gives a retro black and white effect and also softens the image a little – very easy to use.


Lens Baby

The instructions for this action are very concise. The user is asked to make a selection to be the in-focus part of the image, then it is explained that by painting black on the layer mask you can reduce the blur in required areas.

Lens Baby

Action 8

This action gives a beautiful soft glow with a nice back-lighting effect. If your computer is running in any language other than Spanish, you will get the message that Layer ‘Fondo’ is not available. The English translation of Fondo is Background. Stop the action and duplicate the background layer, then rename it Fondo and continue the action – it should now complete all steps.

Image credit: sxc

Action 5

This action brightens up nature pictures, but does awful things to portraits! It makes this picture look like it was taken on a sunnier day.

Image credit: sxc

Old Photo Effect

This action creates a very old, grainy photo effect. It is very easy – it just carries out the steps with no user input. It is better to apply this action to the image at the size you want it – resizing doesn’t work too well with this effect.

Old Photo Effect
Image credit: sxc

300 Action

This action changes the color and sharpness of the image. It runs through the steps with no user input required.

Image credit: sxc

Spooky Portraits

The effect created here is a very dark sepia-type color. The action runs through each step requiring no input from the user, and the final image is flattened into one layer.

Spooky Portraits

HDR Fantasticalizers

This is a faux HDR effect to brighten photos. It runs through without input from the user.

HDR Fantasticalizers

Dreamy Effect

Lightens and slightly blurs the image. During this action you may get the message ‘The command Merge Visible is not currently available’. Having looked through the steps of the action I think this command is in there by mistake as there are no layers to merge at that time – so just click Continue.

Dreamy Effect

Bright Eyes

The end result of this action is very good, but a lot of user input is required. First, you have to select the eye or eyes – which is something the action doesn’t tell you. You should copy and paste the selection and it is necessary to ensure the layer is named Layer 1. You will need to adjust the Curves to your liking, then the Replace Color fuzziness, Color Balance, Gaussian Blur, Blending Mode (twice).

If you haven’t made the copy layer in the name Layer 1 you will now get a message: ‘The object “layer “Layer 1 copy”” is not currently available’. This is not the end of the world! You can either stop the action to rename the eye layer and then continue the action, or just stop the action and merge the layers yourself.

For my example I kept all of the author’s settings.

Bright Eyes
Image credit: sxc

Dim & Jade

A soft vintage effect. This action runs requiring no user input.

Dim Jade Leer más “25 Fun and Time Saving PhotoShop Actions Tutorials”

From Status to Access: Urban Millennials and Mobile

Author Richie Cruz
It was almost a rite of passage, but the rules that governed growing up in New York City in the late 80s/early 90s were unflinching: Once one hit adolescence, one needed a beeper.

Of course no one really “needed” one, but no one wanted to be deemed “disconnected” or “off the grid.”  For most, beepers were desired less for their functionality (at least for us lawful citizens) and more as status symbols– there existed an inherent need to identify with the larger, connected group.  Even if your social circle was restricted to your 8th grade classmates, we still had a way to get at them (or in modern digital social vernacular, “poke” them)… should they needed to get got at for whatever reason.

Since then, this underlying need of urban America to be constantly connected hasn’t changed much at all.  As the technology has matured from archaic numerical pagers to chic two-ways (oh, how I miss my Timeport) to mobile phone ubiquity to the current smartphone craze, the underlying cultural drive has shifted as well.

The Motorola Timeport 2way pager by Stony2BroadwayThe Motorola Timeport

As technology and information become more accessible the role it plays in our lives is shifting dramatically.  We not only rely on our gadgets to simplify life or manage connections between individuals, but also to maintain a connection to information, even as we’re away from home or work. In this context, urban consumers’ mobile communication “need state” can be understood as having evolved from demanding status…to demanding access.


Why Mobile: Traits of Urban Millennials

“This generation is always ‘on’ and strapped for time as they move through a life stage distinguished by unprecedented upheaval and personal change.”

-Mike Doherty, “Millennials Could Be Your Next Growth Opportunity

The Millennial Generation, defined by Pew Research first generation to come of age in the new
 millennium (1980- ), totals about 46 million Americans.  They are the first generation to experience the Internet as an omnipresent, culturally defining force.

The older end of the Millennial spectrum is finally coming into their own, after living through a historic economic downturn that forced many to cut back on spending.  (Worth noting, that although consumers economized on cell phone plans, the penetration of smartphones actually increased substantially during the recession.)  With the dust finally settling, and with the economy (fingers crossed) on the up and up, it’s these digital natives who are poised to lead the recovery albeit through adjusted purchasing habits & behavior.

Urban Millenials, for the sake of this argument, are generally considered to be more informed and discerning than their general market counterparts, and tend to prefer “premium” experiences, so long that they enhance their lifestyles. Understanding the growing segment of Millennials who subscribe to this sensibility has consistently been a challenge for brand marketers, and for good reason: the overall consumer landscape is traditionally volatile and the practice of looking to standard cultural drivers (entertainment, fashion, etc.) to forecast behavioral and consumer trends has become increasingly difficult with the traditional media landscape melting. Under the assumption that those of the urban mindset usually live at the forefront of cultural trends, the issue is compounded dramatically. This said, marketers’ strategies for reaching these consumers are in need of a fine-tuning- the capability is there, but the thinking has to catch up. One thing we understand as consistent with this group is their affinity for culturally-relevant, progressive content; this needs to be considered at the heart of any consumer-facing communications program.  In the ongoing quest for authenticity, the true value-add for consumers is in how constructive the brand (or its experience) is to their dynamic -their reality-, and not how intent said brand delivered was on delivering something comparable to a throwaway show flyer.

Consider the above as “exhibit A” in the case for mobile as a top-of-mind consideration to connecting with young, urban consumers. In a recent piece on Mobile Marketer reported that multicultural mobile consumption “outdistances the general market almost 2-to-1”, and that “they text more, have more unlimited plans, download and purchase more content, etc.” than their general market counterparts. A number of variables could be attributed to supporting this behavior, but the key here for brand marketers is to aggressively act on this reality and harness the growing power of this rapidly evolving medium to deliver the right messages in the appropriate context.

Reaching Out Leer más “From Status to Access: Urban Millennials and Mobile”

Share Flickr, Picasa, Gmail & Facebook Photos All In One Place With Showzey

As a professional blogger having accounts on multiple social media sites is very beneficial for me. But for average computer users the multiple social media accounts pose a significant management problem; more specifically, photo management.

Our photographs and images are scattered across all our social media accounts. Suppose we want to share one picture from a network A on network B. To do this we normally log in to account A, save the picture, then upload it on account B.

Thankfully with Showzey, that lengthy process no longer needs to be employed.

Showzey is a free website that lets us gather and catalog photos from Gmail, Picasa, Facebook, and Flickr. We can then organize these photos and proceed to share them on Facebook or email them.

The function of the site is best understoof by trying it out. Click on the “Get Started” button on Showzey’s homepage:


You will be prompted to select the services you wish to use with Showzey.


Then you will proceed to connect your respective service accounts with Showzey.

With each account you connect, you will asked for a confirmation from that particular service. In case of Flickr, this is the message you will receive:

showzey3 Leer más “Share Flickr, Picasa, Gmail & Facebook Photos All In One Place With Showzey”

Dmailer Backup Works Great As Dropbox Alternative With More Features

Dropbox is a wonderful file hosting solution that provides users with 2GB online storage capacity. Countless computer users have taken advantage of Dropbox’s services and use it daily. Being a Dropbox user, I was sure nothing could compete with the user-friendliness and feature-richness offered by Dropbox. But now having discovered Dmailer, I am happy to be proven wrong.

Dmailer is also a free online file hosting solution. We can use the application on Windows and Mac operating systems and use it to backup as much as 2GB of data. The data is stored online, just like Dropbox.


This tool can be taken maximum advantage of by users who own a USB flash drive larger than 2GB capacity. One way in which Dmailer works is by backing up all of a user’s files to the USB Flash drive. The interface copies by default files from the Desktop, Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos folders. This makes restoration easier in case of data loss or corruption of operating system.


Apart from this USB feature, a number of other impressive features set Dmailer apart from Dropbox. These features include: Leer más “Dmailer Backup Works Great As Dropbox Alternative With More Features”