Ask LH: Is Usenet Safer Than BitTorrent?

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Dear Lifehacker,

I’ve been downloading torrents for a long time and people keep telling me about how great Usenet is, but is it actually safer than BitTorrent downloads? Or is it just not as popular?


Searching Bins

Title image remixed from Leremy (Shutterstock).

First off, BitTorrent and Usenet are both pretty safe provided you’re not downloading anything illegal and we don’t condone you use either for anything else. That said, you can face problems even if you aren’t doing anything illegal — like ISPs throttling your traffic or exposing your IP address and download habits to anyone watching.

Even though it has been around for years, Usenet is still a bit of a mystery to a lot of people. If you want to get caught up on everything you need to know check out our guide to Usenet. On the surface, Usenet seems like it should be a lot safer because you’re not directly sharing files with other users and tracking your activity is a lot more difficult, but you’re not completely anonymous on Usenet either. Let’s break down how it all works.

Anonymity And Secure Downloading On Usenet

Let’s start by getting a good grasp on how Usenet works. First, you pay for a subscription to a Usenet provider. This gives you a monthly or data-capped plan to access information stored on Usenet. Every provider gives you access to the same files, much like an internet service provider (ISP) gives you access to the same internet.

Remaining completely anonymous on Usenet is very difficult. Unlike a P2P network, you have to pay a provider to get access to Usenet files. In order to pay you have to send over your credit card and billing information to get access to Usenet files and services. You could use an anonymous payment service like Bitcoin, but we won’t get into that here.

Luckily, Usenet providers are good at keeping your download activity under wraps. Most Usenet providers offer a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for everything you download, meaning nobody but you and the provider has any idea what you’re downloading. Your internet service provider could notice you’re taking up a lot of bandwidth, but they don’t know how or why. To their eyes you could be downloading the newest Linux build or you could be watching a three-hour long porn epic.

In fact, they won’t even be able to tell that you’re using Usenet. The only person who knows what you’re downloading is your provider, but since most Usenet providers do not keep logs of your activity (and since the retention rate — the length of time a server keeps files — isn’t permanent like a torrent), tracking your downloads is far more difficult.

This differs from peer-to-peer in one key way. Tracking peer-to-peer downloads is as simple as looking at the IP address of someone seeding files (although, we’ve shown you anonymize your BitTorrent tracking before if you’re interested). Usenet is a server filled with files uploaded by people just like yourself, so you’re not broadcasting your IP address to strangers when you’re downloading — you’re only broadcasting it to your Usenet provider, who keeps no lasting record of your activity. Even if someone wanted them to hand over a list of everything you’ve downloaded, they wouldn’t be able to because it doesn’t exist. Image: Nite_Owl.

Potential Legal Troubles
Since Usenet is often used for piracy, it’s been having some legal troubles just like BitTorrent. Usenet users have been safe from prosecution so far, but providers haven’t been. In 2007 the RIAA won a similar lawsuit against Newzbin. The claims, at least from a legal point of view, are similar to the ones filed against sites like MegaUpload or Pirate Bay in that Usenet providers offer access to files that are often copyrighted works.

The problem is, like we mentioned above, all Usenet providers give access to the same content so taking one down does absolutely nothing for the content. Usenet files uploaded by individuals are stored on servers around the world, not on one single person’s hard drive. This is different than BitTorrent because a BitTorrent tracker actually tracks who has files and where. It’s a heck of a lot harder to find and get rid of files on Usenet, which is why it’s a great place to find crazy old out of print and unlicensed works of music and movies.

You Can Still Get Viruses And Malware From Usenet

One advantage peer-to-peer has over Usenet is that a lot of the links to torrent files are filled with comments. Inside those comments you’ll find information about whether a virus was found or malware was detected. Usenet search engines often have similar comments, so you should check through those to avoid any bad repercussions — and, just like with torrents, it’s always a good idea to scan them yourself. Luckily, we’ve shown you a great way to automate this process for all your downloads.

The point is that the safety of the files is almost as unpredictable as torrents, so it’s always a good idea to scan them before opening and installing anything. As far as your anonymity is concerned, as long as your Usenet provider offers SSL you’re pretty safe and you’re harder to track on Usenet than if you’re using BitTorrent. Your definitely safer on Usenet than openly using BitTorrent, but if you’re using BitTorrent with the security measures mentioned above they’re about equal. Image: inane_spiel.



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A List Apart: Articles: Tinker, Tailor, Content Strategist

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Five years ago I wrote Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data to encourage people to think more deeply about content and how they use it. Since then, the population of people focusing their wonderful brains on the content conundrum has grown every year.

We’ve been defining our terms, our responsibilities, and our deliverables. We’ve been developing strategies, tactics, and specialties. We’ve been broadening our horizons, filling out our ranks, and learning new ways to collaborate with our neighboring disciplines. All of these activities are important for an emerging practice, but to keep moving forward we also have to ask ourselves: how do we achieve mastery? We have to be able to think strategically about content and how the elements of content relate to one another, to ensure that the content creator’s vision is brought to life.

“Mastery” would bring the focus of content strategy beyond editorial strategy. It would require us to look past our immediate content activities and gaps in communication about content needs with people from every discipline we work with. To do this, we’ll have to rely on our negotiation skills, and we’ll have to translate our message into the native language for each discipline, because we’ll need to influence colleagues over whom we have no authority. We’ll also need to develop some advanced content strategy capabilities.

Content strategy basics: editorial strategy for non-publishers
Many early public responses to content strategy discussions were, “This sounds like a fancy name for an editor.” I have to admit, I was annoyed by comments like this, even though I have nothing against editors, or against doing editing work. However, editing represents a very small segment of my responsibilities as a content strategist. I wouldn’t even consider it one of my core responsibilities.

Recently my view on the relationship of editorial expertise and content strategy has shifted a little. We’re always saying “Everyone’s a publisher” and I realized that, at the moment, the growing demand for content strategy is often related to the need to bring an editorial viewpoint to organizations with no significant history of content creation. They need guidance on how to source, edit, produce, and maintain content. They need advice on staffing, governance, workflow, tone, quality, timing, and pruning the ROT from their overflowing archives.

Editing is necessary work and will continue to be the bulk of what business asks of content strategy for the next decade or so. But it’s tailors teaching young adults how to fix the broken buttons on their shirts. It’s not mastery of the craft.

Content strategy advanced: translate and negotiate
A content strategy must achieve a harmonic balance between business goals, editorial mission, user expectations, design vision, the content production process, and technological capabilities. All of these elements must work together to bring a content strategy to life. You won’t get very far with that grand plan to create content once and seamlessly publish it to multiple platforms if you don’t have a publishing system with multi-platform publishing capabilities. Similarly, if you have a system that requires a publishing process that takes more time than people have allocated in a day, even the most delightful content plan is not going to be sustainable.

Why would the responsibility for this balance fall to the content strategist when clearly it encompasses things that you can’t control, like the available technology and human resources? Content is the common thread that runs through all of these elements, and often it’s a lot easier to control your approach to the content than it is to buy new technology or hire new people. The content strategist must advocate for content at all stages of a project. People in other roles may take up that mantle as well, but in their specific sphere of influence, in their particular phase of the project. The content strategist must make sure that the vision for the content carries through from initial business concept through design and implementation, to maintenance and beyond.

On a recent project, we created one type of article that, in some cases, needed to have alternate visual elements—the logo, the background image, the color of the headings and buttons—but everything else was exactly the same. The tech team enabled this choice by including a pull-down menu in the UI that allowed the content creators to choose between two different templates.

Later, we created a second type of article that also needed to have these two versions. The tech lead decided that, since most of the code was identical, they could accomplish the same effect by having a single template and adding a checkbox that, when checked, would cause the template to just swap out the images and styles. Understandably, he reasoned that this would save his team time in creating, testing, and revising code because it would all be in one template instead of two. But it would also mean that the users of this CMS would make their choice by pull-down menu on one type of article and by checkbox on another, setting the stage for confusion and error for the content creators.

I told him “No way.” The content producers were already struggling to understand and adapt to this new CMS. We couldn’t start throwing them curveballs like having different ways to do the same thing for different article types. An approach that saved the development team a few hours of work over the next few weeks would confuse the CMS users for many years to come. I couldn’t let the team take that shortcut. The tech lead’s reaction: “I had a feeling you’d say that.”

Upholding the content vision through an entire project is no easy task, and sometimes it means having to compromise. But we must aim to optimize each one of those elements—business goals, editorial mission, user expectations, design vision, the content production process, and technological capabilities—by having them work in concert with each other. That means keeping a lot of lines of thought going at once. It also means trying to coordinate between a bunch of different stakeholders who sometimes have conflicting needs and sometimes barely speak the same language.

To support our roles as translators and negotiators, many of the deliverables that content strategists create are intended to bridge communication gaps between two or more of these audiences. For example:

A content inventory helps communicate the content history and editorial focus to the designers and business stakeholders.
Content analytics and search metrics help communicate to editorial and business which content engages the users, and what they’re looking for that they’re not finding.
An editorial style guide helps ensure that the content the editorial team creates has a clear, consistent, on-message voice that aligns with the brand and the business goals.
Advanced content strategy is more than just defining the editorial voice and processes. We advocate for the content creators, but we also represent and support the content vision throughout all project phases, with all of the important stakeholders. This is the position we need to be in before we can even consider moving on to master-level content strategy.

Content strategy mastery
So what does mastery look like? As in any field, it comes down to having master skills and knowing when to apply them. We acknowledge that there are different styles of content strategy—mainly an editorial/messaging focus and a technical/structural focus—but the master content strategist must work with content from all angles. Messaging architecture and messaging platforms. Content missions and content management.

Of course much of the work we do with content is very detailed and tactical. But it’s when we operate at the big picture level that we see the overall content vision and how we can help the entire team make sure the project follows that path. In content strategy, our master skills must include translating and negotiating, so that we can facilitate communication between disparate disciplines and help them to collaborate.

Underneath it all, a master content strategist must be an advocate and a diplomat. We must advocate on behalf of the end users, the business users, the stakeholders, and the content vision itself. And we must use diplomacy to influence a wide range of people over whom we don’t have any actual authority.

Content strategy is new enough that we’re still defining our version of mastery, and I don’t think anyone in the field can claim to have achieved it. I’m sure we’ve identified some master skills though, and I ask the community to share their ideas and suggestions so that the entire discipline can learn and grow.

What are you favorite master skills, or the master skills you aspire to learn?

Illustration by Kevin Cornell

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5 Tips to Write Better Google PPC Ad Copy

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What isn’t online anymore? Our relationships, social networks, finances and shopping experiences have already migrated online. Millions of people log on the Internet everyday—multiple times a day. It’s no surprise that advertisers want to grab a piece of market share through the Internet. They just need to hold enough attention from Internet users to get them clicking.

What better platform to display their advertisements than on Google? Advertisers and marketers can surely take advantage of Google tools to develop their search engine marketing campaigns, place their advertisements, and track results.

Pay-per-click or PPC ads can be seen on the top and on the right hand side of a search engine result page. Ad copy is important in a PPC campaign, since the content is textual. As the name suggests, advertisers are charged some amount when users click on the displayed ads. To become successful, there are few tips to follow in writing Google ad copy.


1) Follow Google’s ad copy rules.

The ad copy consists of 4 lines:

– A headline (ad title) limited to 25 characters including spaces

– 2 lines of description (more information, call-to-action words), each limited to 35 characters

– Display URL – the “pretty URL” (hyperlinked to the destination URL).

2) Get to the point

With a character limit, tailor your language to attract a potential online customer. Include at least one of your keywords in your ad copy. Highlight prices, special offers, promotions and other details that customers may be looking for from their query.

3) Include call-to-action phrases in the description lines

This will communicate a short and sweet sales pitch to customers. Sample phrases: contact, sign up, buy now, or order today.

4) Match Ad Copy to Landing Page

Check if the webpage content matches what the ad describes and promises.

5) Write several versions/copies of the ad copy

Draft several versions of the ad concept, review the performance (# of clicks, sales) after few weeks, and revise them if needed.

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What makes a good web design?

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For every good web design, there is always going to be a stinker that immediately loses your interest. Many people wouldn’t know how to explain a good site when called upon though. They just recognise one when they see it.
The basics of web design are simple. Putting it into practise is the difficult part. You need to remember that your site is about information. You want to lead the user around the screen, and to the information they require.
You May Be Interested In The Following Posts
If you like this article, you might be interested in some of our older articles about Important Ingredients of a Good Logo Design With Examples, Orb Design, 10 Popular Web Design Softwares or Pros and Cons of Flash-based Sites.
Take any good web design for example: Facebook,, MSN etc. They all implement the tools to give their site a distinct personality. And that is what will attract and keep the user hooked.
It is very easy to cram the space of your site with stuff, because too little content seems wasteful. In actual fact though, it is better to consider these two things:
The line spacing: You want the text to be readable, so you have to strike the perfect balance between the lines to keep the reader from struggling to read.
The padding- The padding is the space between text and everything else. Always have space between a picture and text.
The most important aspect of web design is navigation. You want the user to find everything. They won’t with bad navigation. You need to make sure they are easy to find. Make sure they are near the top and clearly visible. Their description needs to be clear, so you understand where you are going, and won’t feel lost on the page.
It sounds obvious, but your website has to be usable and intuitive. There are certain things people expect from a website, and not supplying them can cause confusion. For example, if text is underlined, we all expect it to be a link. If you underline something and it isn’t, it will frustrate the user. You have to think about the user at all times when you design. What are they likely to do? In short, make the site do what they expect it too.

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Beginner’s Guide to Wireframes and Tools to Create Them

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Wireframing, or prototyping, while designing, costs almost nothing, but can give back so much. While many designers start with a sketch in their mind and then just put it into Photoshop or even code it right away, some others start on paper. Yes, paper, that (most of the time) white thing we write on with our hands. Sounds very 2000-ish, but even today the best designers out there use this technique to their advantage. Web prototyping saves lots of frustrations later on during the project development phase, as it makes sure there are no things to undo or redesign. If you prototype correctly, you can be sure about the fact that redesigning will never be something you will have to think of.


What wireframing basically means is putting your design ideas on paper – for each of the multiple pages of a website. All pages will probably share some elements, therefore the first one will be a bit more challenging to do, whereas the rest of them will be a bit less difficult as you already have a basic idea over the general design patterns.

Keep in mind that these common elements are a must for any design. When switching between pages the user will have to immediately recognize the fact that he is on the same site and not somewhere else. Always keep the navigation and the important sections (content, sidebar, footer) in the same place. But this tends to become a novice guide to web design, so let’s move on.

General – the wireframe

In order to be able to use a wireframe, you need to know how it actually works. What this does is simple – it illustrates the layout of a website and its main components on paper. You can use different shapes, such as boxes and ovals to draw content, navigation and other functional elements. You might ask yourself why do we use shapes? The answer is simple: because it allows us to focus more on the design and forget about coding, cross-browser compatibility, images and so on. It’s pure and basic design.


Image by Zach Hoeken.



Wireframing or Photoshop design?

The alternative to paper web prototyping is creating the visual design in Photoshop first. While it has advantages to some extent, creating the layout in Photoshop is not as effective because it does not allow you to focus on the basic design elements. If you start designing in Photoshop you will probably also start thinking about colors, images and fonts. There is no need for this if done on paper. And the process is way faster on paper as well, so why not go for it? You can obviously start designing in Photoshop at a later stage, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it before you have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the project. The only way to achieve this is to start on paper.

You can call a wireframe a sketch if you want to. As a matter of fact, a wireframe is a basic, simplified sketch of a website. It communicates some ideas to the client which he can accept or not. If he doesn’t, it is quite easy for you to take another sheet of paper and draw other ideas from the top. The main reason behind a wireframe is to let you focus on what is really important on a website: how each page looks, where the most important elements go and how to achieve the overall positive balance you need.
After you get the idea to the client and he accepts it, you are welcome to evolve the basic sketch into something more detailed. Now it is maybe time to start thinking of fonts, colors and images.

Image by Denkbeelhouwer.


The Prototyping Stage

It is crucially important for designers and clients to work together during this stage of the project. While a client doesn’t have too much to say during the coding phase, this is where he usually gives a lot of input you should consider. Remember that once he accepted the design, he will gladly give into your further ideas – at this point in time he already believes in you and your skills. It will be a tough and long project if you don’t get the acceptance on the basic wireframe from him.

If you are a client remember not to stress a lot about the lack of colors, images, fonts and other styles. The job of a designer for now is to give you a basic idea of what he thinks is good for you. If you ask for more detailed wireframes from him and reject them three or four times, it will cost you lots of money. On the other side, if you ask for basic wireframes and reject them, it won’t cost you as much, because they are easier to draw and think of.


Tools for web prototyping

Here is a list of some tools I recently tested in order to see how much designers can trust them in building wireframes. If paper is not good enough for you then, in any given order, here are the other possible solutions:

1. iPlotz

This tool allows you to create wireframes which you can click on and navigate through. This helps creating the experience of a real website. While you can get a free account on iPlotz, I recommend one of the premium ones if you are serious about starting with web prototypes from now on.

2. Balsamiq

If you like drawing, then this tool will give you the feeling of it, only now it is digital. The elements can be tweaked and rearranged easily and the control over them is quite easy as well. The results are clean and one of its advantage is that everything can be reiterated in real-time.

3. Pencil Project

This tool can easily be used to make diagrams and GUI prototyping.

4. templatr

Although it will not allow you to draw anything, this tool lets you create individual designs for your website on the go. You don’t need to know any HTML and you can download the template in the end with a single click.

5. Flair Builder

This is a tool capable of creating interactive wireframes very fast. It is quite easy to use and comes with a palette of functional components which will ease the process of creating prototypes. Flair Builder is also interactive and will improve your experience a lot.

Image by Michael Lancaster.

Bottom line

Wireframes, or web prototyping, is a process known to many designers, although just a handful of them use it. While it might seem that it takes a lot of time, on long-term it will help you a lot. If you know how to properly communicate and closely work with the client during prototyping, the rest of the project will go smoother than expected. I totally encourage you to prototype your designs before actually starting to code or to create the whole visual design in Photoshop. It will make the process easier for you and will spare you frustrations down the road.

Until next time, let’s spark some discussion here for my 50th article on 1WD. How often do you prototype your designs? How effective has it been for you? If you don’t do it, why is that?

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Is Innovation Difficult? | 15inno

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I got a lot of response to my recent blog post, Ten Red Flags for Innovation: Why It Fails. One came from David Williams, a consultant who rather blatantly wrote this:

“Stefan, Please stop the innovation “BS”. You are absolutely wrong when saying “unfortunately innovation is too complicated and company-specific for one standard rule”. Innovation is not complicated and there are common elements used to evaluate it and develope it.”

Although this opening argument as well as some of his later ones in a LinkedIn group irked me somewhat, they do feed a discussion based on what seems to be a simle question:

Is innovation difficult?

If you follow my blog, you know my view. Yes, innovation is difficult and complicated. If not, then someone please explain to me why so many companies – most of them having smart executives as well as smart managers and employees – struggle on making innovation happen or have trouble meeting their innovation objectives.

David Williams implies that he has the answer. All it takes is total commitment from the executives. He states that if and only if you have this kind of commitment innovation will be easy and simple.

To me, this sounds like a contradiction in terms. You cannot get total commitment from executives! Let me try to explain this.

First, it is my experience that many executives do not know enough about innovation to know what to do. There are simply too many unknowns for them to be able to totally commit to innovation. A good thing is that executives in general are getter better on innovation, but most of them are not where they need to be yet.

Second, most organizations have too many internal conflicts for a top executive to be able to commit totally to innovation. Innovation requires different kind of resources including financial, people and time/attention. Business units fight each other for these resources and a top executive needs to make choices.

If you throw in a corporate innovation unit into this mix, it just becomes even harder for a top executive to decide where to allocate the scarce resources and thus to which extent he can support innovation initiatives that creates the future versus the big machine that pays the bills today

I remember a good friend who several years ago ran a corporate innovation unit at an internationally well-known company. This guy understood things had to change fast and quite much. He got lots of support from the CEO, but one day our innovation guy was told that the CEO faced increasing pressure from the other executives. The innovation initaitive was going too far too fast. The message to the innovation guy: If I have to make a choice, you are the one who gets fired. Not the other executives.

The innovation guy left, the executive got fired later on and the company is in deep trouble today. I am quite sure that a stronger focus on innovation could have helped this company.

Third, I don’t even think you need a total focus innovation. You need executives with the right balance between focus on the future (innovation) and what pays the bills today (the big machine).

This is getting to be a long post. I could go on with lots of other arguments and examples on why I believe innovation is difficult and complicated, but I just keep getting back to one thought.

I have spent many years as an innovation consultant. I have worked with lots of smart people in many different companies and in many different industries. If innovation is easy and simple, why do these guys have to work so hard to make it happen?

Open for discussion.

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Digest – Things you didn’t know about sex

Does losing to a girl make men want to lift weights? – Barking up the wrong tree

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“Threatened masculinity” theory proposes that males have experienced an increased drive for muscularity in recent times as a result of females’ expanded accomplishments among traditionally male dominated domains. We tested this hypothesis experimentally by examining the effects of competitive performance feedback against either a male or female opponent on male’s state self–esteem, body image, and confidence in physical performance. Sixty–six male undergraduate students were given false performance feedback on a competitive task in a 2 (failure versus success feedback) × 2 (male versus female opponent) factorial design. Men felt worse about their appearance and less confident in their physical ability following failure in general. They felt less muscular after failing to a female. These results lend some support to the threatened masculinity hypothesis and demonstrate that failure to a woman, even on a nonphysical task, may elicit compensatory drive for muscularity among men.

Source: “Competition and Male Body Image: Increased Drive for Muscularity Following Failure to a Female” from Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

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Right brain versus left brain epitomises modern marketing

Being crap at maths was once almost a prerequisite for those seeking a career in the creative industries. The business was dominated by those with a love of language, culture and art but a deep fear of numbers.

And being creative was almost seen as a weakness by their more numerate cousins in the world of finance, IT and science. Never the twain shall meet, was the mantra.

But a convergence of these two groups has become one of the defining element of this new age of what – according to The Drum’s masthead at least – can be described as modern marketing.

SapientNitro, for example, started with a strong technical pedigree, is proving it is as creative as any agency, with famous projects like its smile activated Wall’s ice cream dispenser.

Meanwhile, more traditional agencies now see coders, programmers and software engineers as having as much a role to play as designers, writers and creative directors. Seguir leyendo “Right brain versus left brain epitomises modern marketing”

Para mejorar la salud mundial, reinventemos el sanitario

Por Incubando Salud 

El sanitario, inventado a finales del siglo 19, ha mejorado enormemente la vida humana.

El inodoro se ha acreditado con la adición de una década a nuestra longevidad. El sistema de saneamiento al que se asocia, fue votado como el mayor avance médico en 150 años  por los lectores de la revista British Medical Journal.

Por desgracia, sólo es un lujo para dos tercios de los 7 mil millones de personas en el mundo, porque se basa en las conexiones a los sistemas de agua y alcantarillado que deben ser construidos y mantenidos a un alto costo. De acuerdo con la Organización Mundial de la Salud, alrededor del 40 por ciento de la población (se estima que 2,6 mil millones) no tienen acceso ni siquiera a una instalación mínima sanitaria.

El resultado es la enfermedad y muerte prematura. Las enfermedades diarreicas, incluyendo las relacionadas con el saneamiento inadecuado son la segunda causa de muerte  en el mundo en desarrollo, llevándose 2 millones de vidas al año. Por ejemplo, un brote de cólera en Haití que hasta ahora ha matado a más de 7.000 personas, al parecer comenzó cuando las aguas residuales de las viviendas de una base de las fuerzas de paz de Nepal contaminaron una fuente de agua.

Las vacunas y medicamentos contra estas enfermedades ayudan pero la solución final es abordar el problema desde su raíz.

Para ello, se requiere volver a imaginar el sanitario. En primer lugar, los nuevos diseños son necesarios para inodoros que son higiénicos, agradables y baratos de hacer y usar, y que funcionen sin necesidad de estar conectados a una red. Debido a que dicha instalación tendría que ser periódicamente vaciada, lo  ideal sería tratar a las excreciones no como residuos sino deberían reciclarse en el sitio o convertirse en recursos rentables. Seguir leyendo “Para mejorar la salud mundial, reinventemos el sanitario”

7 Sneaky Ways to Use Facebook to Spy on Your Competition

Previously on KISSmetrics, I covered the art of 7 sneaky ways to use Twitter to spy on your competition. I don’t really consider it spying so much as simply competitor research, but spying makes it more James Bond-like. And who doesn’t want to pretend to be a secret agent every now and again?

If your competitor doesn’t have Twitter, or you’ve exhausted what you can learn in 140 character bites, let’s continue by learning how to use Facebook for competitor research. Here are some sneaky (or little known) ways to use Facebook to learn more about your competitor’s online marketing strategy.

1. Find out your competitor’s strength on Facebook.

When it comes to competition, the first thing people want to know is if their competitor is using something and how well are they using it.

Facebook offers a simple link.getStats console that will give you basic statistics about any domain’s popularity on Facebook.

For example, if you wanted to check out the popularity of on Facebook, enter and click on Call Method to get the following:

facebook link getstats

This shows the number of likes and shares for their root domain, along with other interesting tidbits of data.

You can also enter the fan page URL in the Test Console of your competitor to get some basic popularity data about their fan page as well.

facebook link getstats

Note that you’ll need to visit their Facebook fan page and grab the URL directly out of the browser as it won’t return any data for but will for simply because of the capitalization of Southwest. Seguir leyendo “7 Sneaky Ways to Use Facebook to Spy on Your Competition”

Las diez cuestiones de las organizaciones 2.0.

El sistema de organización jerárquico-funcional basada en estilos de liderazgo de mando ycontrol no ha muerto, esta omnipresente en nuestra sociedad. Pero este sistema organizativo matará a las empresas y organizaciones públicas que no sean capaces de adaptarse a la nueva agenda que marca la brutal necesidad de innovación de nuestro entorno.

Rapidez, flexibilidad, talento organizativo conectado son algunas de las nuevas características de las nuevas organizaciones que algunos han dado en bautizarorganizaciones 2.0. : organizaciones con capacidad innovadora.

Para muchos las características de las nuevas organizaciones son un puzle difícil de aplicar y sobre todo de concretar. Te propongo que intentemos definir este tipo de organizaciones y su puesta en marcha mediante 10 cuestiones, basándonos el Modelo de Organizaciones 2.0,. que hemos desarrollado recientemente en nuestro último libro Liderazgo e Innovación 2.0. desde Humannova ¿Preparado? Seguir leyendo “Las diez cuestiones de las organizaciones 2.0.”

Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing

YouTube didn’t need ads to spread itself – instead it used embeds. Ad via Laughing Squid

The rise of the Growth Hacker
The new job title of “Growth Hacker” is integrating itself into Silicon Valley’s culture, emphasizing that coding and technical chops are now an essential part of being a great marketer. Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries. If a startup is pre-product/market fit, growth hackers can make sure virality is embedded at the core of a product. After product/market fit, they can help run up the score on what’s already working.

This isn’t just a single role – the entire marketing team is being disrupted. Rather than a VP of Marketing with a bunch of non-technical marketers reporting to them, instead growth hackers are engineers leading teams of engineers. The process of integrating and optimizing your product to a big platform requires a blurring of lines between marketing, product, and engineering, so that they work together to make the product market itself. Projects like email deliverability, page-load times, and Facebook sign-in are no longer technical or design decisions – instead they are offensive weapons to win in the market. Seguir leyendo “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing”

El Foro Global de los Medios recoge la preocupación de los grandes diarios ante la competencia de la red

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

Esta claro que la telefonía móvil, las tablets con conexión Internet… y las redes sociales están cambiando los medios haciéndolos más participativos para los lectores.

Ahora un Trending topic es noticia y un vídeo grabado desde un móvil en Homs, Siria, recorre todos los noticiarios del mundo.

¿Hace todo ello peligrar a la prensa tradicional? ¿Peligra la calidad de los contenidos? ¿Favorece económicamente el auge de las redes sociales a los medios?

En el Foro Global de los Medios organizado por el Paley Center for Media que ha reunido en Madrid a los grandes editores de la prensa mundial han sacado algunas claras conclusiones, otras quedan en aún el aire.

Todos los editores coinciden en que en una red saturada de información los diarios digitales deben incidir en contenidos de calidad para diferenciarse del resto de medios de Internet. Mejor periodismo y credibilidad frente a la competencia de freelances, vienen a decir. Y esa debe ser su tarea, pues cuentan con medios económicos, corresponsalías e informaciones privilegiadas gracias a fuentes de peso.

Sin embargo, tal y como apuntó Richard Gringras, responsable de productos de información de Google: “Las noticias no son necesariamente ciertas porque las cuenten los grandes medios” Y es que los grandes siguen ofreciendo informaciones sesgadas y llenas de cargas ideológica y partidista.

Además, las posibilidades de edición que ofrece la red esta generando miles de pequeños medios digitales de calidad, especializados, en un público que precisamente busca ya eso, especialización.

Cualquier blog de calidad sobre tecnología e incluso los especializados en relaciones internacionales puede aportar más contenido analítico que los grandes diarios. Contenidos además menos sesgados por los discursos oficiales de los grandes medios.

Como se ya apuntó en el Encuentro Internacional sobre Medios Sociales y Democracia deliberativa: los blogs y la multitud de fuentes de información en Internet favorecen la deliberación y la formación de opiniones propias.

Cientos de blogs y pequeños medios especializados estan aportando informaciones que los grandes medios no pueden recoger. Y lo hemos visto con los blogueros egipcios o rusos, los vídeos colgados en Twitter sobre la primavera árabe o las informaciones de Wikileaks. Informaciones que recogen la experiencia personal de los propios protagonistas del conflicto más allá de los corresponsales.

Otro de los miedos de los grandes editores es cómo hacer rentable el uso de las redes sociales. Google y Facebook acaparan casitoda la publicidad proveniente de las redes sociales dejando poco margen de beneficio para los grandes diarios.

Por ello Gringras cree que las redacciones tendrán que seguir replanteándose como hacer que una noticia se consuma en forma de tuit y que los diarios deben seguir incidiendo en plataformas digitales adaptables a las redes sociales. Javier Moreno, director del país recordó como el 20% del tráfico de la noticia de la expropiación de Repsol YPF provino de Twitter.

Además, el auge de los lectores digitales hace que la reflexión y la opinión de los lectores sea cada vez más activa dia a dia, recogiendo una de las funciones características del cuarto poder: enlazar a la ciudadanía con el poder y servir de correa de transmisión entre la sociedad y la clase política. Por ello frente a la posible falta de veracidad de muchos contenidos en la red, éstos tienen la ventaja de ser libres, y de favorecer la opinión pública real.

Si bien son muchas las voces que apuntaron que la prensa en papel persistirá, es cierto que se esta siendo relegada ya a una forma de análisis más pausada de la información. La información inmediata ya la tenemos solamente en la red.

Andre Rahsbass de The Economist, apuntaba que el auge de las tabletas reducirá aun más el negocio de una prensa escrita que seguirá perdurando para análisis elaborados y grandes coberturas, pero que tendrá que seguir reinventándose para dejar de ser un negocio en caída al vacío.

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