The only Egyptian Internet service provider (ISP) to have survived last week’s government-ordered Internet blackout has finally been taken down, according to internet monitoring firm Renesys. The hesitance in pulling the plug on Noor Group was due to the fact that it services several critical financial institutions. But Google refused to watch from the sidelines as Egypt was being cut off from the internet by Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Over the weekend, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow -- a company the internet giant bought just last week -- extended a lifeline to the restive Arab country by coming up with the “idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.”
“It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet,” Google announced in a blog post Monday.
For better or worse, more and more professional athletes are voicing their opinions about each other on Twitter, taking public things that often times should be kept private. One recent example involves Detroit Pistons forward Charles Villaneuva calling out Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett for allegedly calling him a cancer patient (Garnett denied the claim calling it a "major miscommunication").
Some felt Villanueva did the right thing by posting his criticism of Garnett's alleged comments, while others felt that whatever was said on the court should stay on the court. It appears those that favor the latter are losing out.
More recently, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was the target of near-instant criticism for sitting out most of the second half of the NFC playoff game with an injured knee. Players took to Twitter with harsh comments for Cutler's sideline act, including comments by Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
"Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough........QUIT ..," Maurice-Jones tweeted. "All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one...," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Maurice-Jones later claimed that his comments were made in jest, which most found hard to believe, including a handful of commenters who supposedly issued death threats against the running back.
"I guess death threats towards me and my family isn't head line news but me tweeting my opinion about a person is... The society is backwards I guess we haven't came far enough as human beings," Maurice-Jones wrote in an expanded tweet.
Fair enough, but does anyone else miss the days when sports news was ruled by highlight reels, upsets, and even the occasional non-Twitter related controversy?
Google's ranks have been raided by Twitter and Facebook more than once in the last year. Employees have been following lucrative offers away from The Big G, and that has led many to insinuate that Google has lost its mojo. In perhaps the biggest coup attempt yet, Twitter failed to hire away Google VP Sundar Pichai. Mr. Pichai is the VP in charge of products like Chrome and Chrome OS.
No one is saying just what Google had to do to keep Pichai around, but the rumor is that it took a large pay increase. Stories are floating around silicon valley about Google engineers being offered millions in additional compensation to turn down offers from Facebook and Twitter. Pichai is said to be a particularly valued employee, so we wouldn't be surprised if Schmidt approved a mighty payout in this case. Looks like Twitter will have to continue their search for a VP of product.
We're not surprised Courtney Love said/wrote something that earned her a lawsuit, we're just surprised this is the first time a celebrity's been sued over comments left on Twitter.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Love had been in a dispute with Dawn Simorangkir, a fashion designer seeking payment for clothes worth several thousand dollars. For whatever reason, Love decided to fire off a string of insults and personal attacks against Simorangkir on her Twitter account.
"She has received a VAST amount of money from me over 40,000 dollars and I do not make people famous and get raped TOO!," Love tweeted.
That was the least of Love's comments, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which says Love also accused the fashion designer of being a drug-pushing prostitute. The end result is the first high-profile defamation trial over Twitter comments.
"We don't believe there's any defamation, and even if there were defamatory statements, there was no damage," says James Janowitz, an attorney for Love.
The big question -- and potential precedent -- is whether or not users would legally interpret Love's Twitter posts as facts rather than opinion.
We're more interested in Android and Windows Phone 7 devices ourselves, but for those of you itching to go all Apple-y with an iPhone, Best Buy is giving them away today only, the company announced in a Twitter post.
One of the caveats should be obvious -- this is the older iPhone 3GS and not the new iPhone 4 model, which means no FaceTime (or antennagate woes). And of course you have to agree to a 2-year service contract and data plan with AT&T.
Best Buy normally sells the iPhone 3GS for $100 with a 2-year contract.
There are three ways you can get your canine companion posting on Twitter. First, you can create an account for your puppy and update it yourself. Alternately, you can try teaching your dog to type, which would require an even bigger investment of your time. And the third way? Let Mattel do all the work for you.
Mattel has come out with an electronic dog tag called "Puppy Tweets," and it does exactly what you think. Just attach it to your dog's collar, install the USB dongle to your PC, and start following your pet's Twitter account.
Our friends over at Engadget posted an in-depth review of the device, noting that the $30 medallion is a bit on the large side, but works as advertised.
"In Typical fashion, the cat down the street is registered as an Independent. They can't ever commit to anything," one of the 500 pre-recorded tweets reads. Yet another says, "Getting up from my nap to tweet clearly demonstrates that I get daily exercise."
So how does it work? There's a motion sensor tucked inside the device, and according to Mattel, it measures the level of activity and sends a tweet based on whether it's high or low. And to prevent duplicate posts, Mattel says it's working on download packs that should be available soon.
Faced with a moral dilemma, the world had a choice between exiling Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest, and Usher from Twitter forever, or raise $1 million for the Digital Life Sacrifice campaign on behalf of Keys' charity, Keep a Child Alive. Twitter users chose the latter.
The above mentioned celebrities vowed to stop tweeting until the campaign raised a million bucks, going so far as posing for ads in which they were photographed laying in coffins, a symbol of their digital demise. The ads called on fans to send donations via text messaging, who collectively responded and have now brought the stars back to life, UK's Daily Mail reports.
Despite raising $1 million, the campaign wasn't as successful as Keys and company hoped. Donations were slow to roll in, and it took a $500,000 check from billionaire pharmaceutical executive Stewart Rahr to meet that goal and ensure millions of Twitter of fans would see their favorite stars realign with Twitter.
Perhaps Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus can form a club for ex-Twitter users, a social networking rehab for celebrities of sorts. More than a year after Billy Ray's baby quit the hard stuff, Lady Gaga has decided to follow suit, no doubt a crushing blow to her more than 7 million followers, the BBC reports.
She's also quitting Facebook, removing her name from the 500+ million members that make up the ginormous social playground, and leaving behind nearly 24 million fans.
Lady Gaga isn't the only celebrity to quit the social networking game, at least on the surface. According to the BBC, Lady Gaga, along with Justin Timberlake and Usher, are doing this as part of a campaign to raise money for Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive charity. Apparently the stars will realign on Facebook and Twitter once the charity raises $1 million. Talk about a moral dilemma.
It was just last month that Dick Costolo took over as CEO of Twitter. He;s only given one major interview since then, but managed to flat out say that Twitter doesn't have a 'clear long term vision'. Twitter has changed dramatically since it began. The service started as an SMS-based service, hence the 140 character limit. It has since expanded in so many ways with link shortening and smartphone apps.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has also said that Twitter is hard to define because its users have defined it so much over the last few years. We can certainly appreciate that. Ideas like retweets and replies were invented by users before being integrated with the platform. Maybe another use for Twitter will be developed by the users that changes the purpose of the service yet again.
Do you think Twitter is destined to be a vastly different product in the future, or is this it?