We'll start this week with the protests in Egypt where the leaders of the country took the unprecedented step of turning off the internet on January 28. The country came back online this week and social media users in the country were yet again able to communicate with the world. Sweden's Minister on Foreign Affairs had a few ideas on how to prevent Internet shutdown from happening again.
While the Internet was down in the country, Google came up with a creative way to help Egyptians send Twitter messages. Using a speak to tweet service, users could call a phone number and leave a voicemail. The service would then tweet the message using the hashtag egypt. The speak-to-tweet service automatically puts the voicemail on a Web page that is then linked in a Twitter message posted to Google's Speak2tweet Twitter account.
Staying with Google, the company on Wednesday announced a Web-based store for Android applications. That means you can browse the apps online, select them and they'll automatically install on your Android device.
Chris Yerna, Engineering director, Android Cloud Services: "The Android Market Web Store is basically the new way that users can get applications on their devices. Up until now, the way you would browse applications and install them is by using the Android Market client on your phone. But now, with today's release of the Android Market Web Store, users can go to their browser, discover and browse through the entire catalog of Android applications on Android Market, as well as install and purchase directly to their device from the Web."
For each app purchase, visitors to the Web store can choose among their stored credit-card numbers and pick the Android device where they would like to have the app installed. The site is available at market.android.com.
This week at New York's Guggenheim Museum News Corp launched what it calls the first electronic newspaper built from the ground up for the iPad. Called The Daily, the app is free for the first two weeks, then only costs 99 cents a week. Its delivered wirelessly to the iPad and includes sections like news, gossip, opinion, arts and life, apps and games and sports. There is a good bit of rich media in each of the articles including photos and embedded videos. All of the articles can be shared to social networks, emailed to friends or saved for later reading. In less than a day, the app became the #1 most popular free app in the Apple App store, but whether users continue to use it once they have to start paying still remains to be seen.
Researchers at BMW are working on building near field communication technology into its electronic keys. That means that the car key wont just run the car, but be able to store information like hotel and train reservations.
Tobias Schollermann, BMW Group: "The new thing is we can store this electronic ticket on our NFC key. We start in Munich main station and we travel to Berlin main station. Now we get an overview about the price and duration of our business trip. Now the ticket has been generated in the backend, downloaded to the car and stored on the key. So I can directly change to the train and the conductor can check my ticket from the key.
The company sees such keys as potentially useful for all stages of a journey.
The electornic key for a hotel booked online could be stored in the key allowing the driver to bypass check-in, and when it comes time to check-out, an electronic money function in the key could settle the bill.
The key can also hold vital data about the car, allowing the driver to check if it's locked, look-up the amount of fuel, check service data, and even the GPS location of the vehicle.
Microsoft-cofounder Bill Gates is increasing his foundation's commitment to eradicating Polio. At last week's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Gates pledged more money to a global effort that appears close to eliminating the disease.
Speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron, who pledged to double the UK's 30 million dollar matching grant to the campaign, Gates announced the extra funding.
Bill Gate, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: "I should mention that our foundation is adding a hundred million (U.S. dollars) today to the polio campaign and that's to help close the gap."
This is what they're trying to stop. While many completely recover from Polio, in some it spreads to the spinal cord or brain leading to partial or complete paralysis. It is a disease that disables more often than it kills. Globally, around 10 million people are estimated to live with the effects
Last week I was at a TV and online content convention in Miami and had the chance to catch up with YouTube superstar iJustine. With more than 1.2 million twitter followers and more than a million YouTube subscribers, iJ credits her success from engaging with her viewers.
Justine Ezarik, Internet personality, iJustine.com: "I think a lot of it is engagement and consistency. For me, I really love my audience and I love talking to them and hearing feedback. I love taking their questions and answering them.
Her love of Q&A spawned the Ask iJ series in 2009, where Justine solicits questions from social media. She's produced more than 30 of the episodes which get between 200,000 and 1.5M views. Marketers are even taking note of YouTube celebrities because they come with audiences of hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions. While iJ said her priority is getting more hits and growing her audience, she also hopes to expand her brand.
Probably a line a iPad and iPhone accessories. So we can look forward to something like that? Potentially!
iJ rocketed to fame in 2007 when she posted a video of her 300 page phone bill that quickly went viral.
With Super Bowl 45 taking place in Arlington, Texas this weekend most of the millions of people tuning in will be to watching the Steelers and the Packers battle it out on the gridiron. But behind the scenes a vast array of IT will make sure things run smoothly. There are 884 Cisco wireless access points scattered around the stadium and more than 40,000 wired ports.
There's more than 8 million feet of Ethernet cabling, 260 miles of fiber and more than 100 terabytes of data storage. It's not just on site technology for the big game though, the NFL has developed apps for Android and iOS for fans to interact with during the game. There's also a souvenir program for the iPad too.