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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan became the youngest couple to lead the list of biggest U.S. donors, thanks to a gift of 18 million Facebook shares awarded to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The lump sum gift was close to $1 billion, with a large amount aimed towards education and healthcare.
Zuckerberg and Chan were No. 2 on the list in 2012, with a heavy emphasis on developing Northern California and U.S. infrastructure.
Contributions from the top 50 philanthropists in the U.S. topped $7.7 billion, along with $2.9 in promised pledges. A recovering economy and a friendlier stock market has allowed Silicon Valley tech leaders to increase donations - an unwritten expectation among the wealthiest U.S. business leaders.
Social media plays an important role for viewers, businesses, and sponsors of major international events, with the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, providing a great opportunity for Twitter and Facebook. Twitter gives smaller countries and lesser known Olympic athletes a way to share their love and passion for their sports with new fans - and give sponsors additional return-on-investment.
"The social media experience it's all about time and efficiency," said Justin Maas, fishbat Client Relations VP, in a press statement. "By making it easier for users to retrieve the information they want, Twitter has added value to its site. Twitter is essential for gathering news. Adding special pages for Olympics athletes and events was a smart move by the social network."
Journalists and Olympics viewers share stories, results, and interviews with one another - and with mobile content increasing, it's become even easier to share information to Twitter and other social media websites. However, athletes and coaches in Sochi aren't allowed to post audio or video from sporting events or anything happening in the Olympic Village. They can record audio or video for personal reasons, however, it cannot be done with professional recording equipment.
Meanwhile, some have used social media to protest the Russian government's anti-gay stance that has shocked many visitors to the country.
Major pizza chains are able to use customized online ordering systems to woo Internet users, while mom and pop shops are having trouble trying to keep up. Papa John's, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and other large chains are able to support online ordering using automated systems tested across multiple locations - but smaller local pizza shops traditionally need to use walk-in and telephone orders to handle customer interactions.
Younger customers are more inclined to order delivery through mobile or online services ,with smart TV and game consoles giving customers the chance to easily place orders.
"Most of the small and regional chains who still continue to sell the majority of the pizza in the U.S. simply aren't able to play on these technology platforms with the level of sophistication that we have," said Patrick Doyle, Domino's CEO, during an investor's financial call.
Local pizza shops often provide lower prices, better service and higher quality pizza, but trying to compete with organized online ordering is difficult. However, services such as Eat24 level the playing field, though larger corporations can more easily afford to pay the commission per order. Even so, the larger chains tend to be able to provide bigger online ordering coupons and discounts, making it more appealing for those just looking for a quick meal.
Shortly after receiving an emotional plea from a father whose son died at 21 years old due to natural causes, Facebook will provide a 62-second Look Back of the son's account. After sending numerous letters that didn't garner a response, John Berlin posted a heartfelt, emotional plea on YouTube, which quickly went viral.
Following the death of a Facebook member, when verified, the account is removed so friends and family no longer have access. However, Berlin doesn't want access to his son's account, and just wants to be able to view the Look Back and see the pictures generated in the brief collage.
The Look Back feature was rolled out for Facebook's recent 10-year anniversary, and has proven popular among avid Facebook users.
The founder of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, has been indicted and faces significant time in prison if he's found guilty, as the federal government attached the "kingpin statute" to the case. The FBI has seized more than $150 million in Bitcoin, the only type of currency Silk Road accepted from customers.
Ulbricht was arrested in October and has been charged with computer hacking, money laundering, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and running a narcotics conspiracy. If convicted of all charges, Ulbricht faces a life-sentence, with some charges carrying 20-year minimum sentences - and the trial is expected to start later this year.
Not surprisingly, the federal government wants to make an example of Ulbricht and his accomplices, to prevent other groups from trying to fill the void. Estimated profits from Silk Road topped $22 million in annual sales, so the temptation will drive someone else to create a similar service.
Pornhub saw some interesting traffic over the weekend as the Super Bowl took place, with traffic dipping heavily at 3PM, but building up incredibly high from Denver between 7-9PM.
With the game starting at 3PM, traffic on Pornhub dipped heavily, but as of around 5PM it looks like porn watchers from Denver decided to skip the game in favor of some digital lovin'. Seattle-based Pornhub visitors weren't alone, but they didn't start jumping onto the site until around 9PM, hours after Denver fans checked out of the Super Bowl.
Some interesting numbers for Pornhub here, to see how quickly fans at home were jumping back onto their desktops and laptops and onto Pornhub during a disappointing game for the Broncos.
The recently launched Academic Torrents service is a torrent site focused on sharing academic papers, research material and data sets, according to the University of Massachusetts. Academic Torrents was started to help researchers to more easily share and find information, and was founded by students from the Department of Computer Science from UMass, Boston.
Academic Torrents already has more than 1.67TB of research data available to those interested. Researchers no longer have to worry about trying to upload, host, and share content on their own servers, and uses peer-to-peer to share files.
Torrents tend to be in the headlines for copyright infringement and piracy, but it's possible to find academic material, open source drivers and software, and legal torrents to download.
Internet giant--no, we're not talking about Google--Yahoo has seen a breach of its security. An undisclosed number of e-mail addresses and passwords, collectively accounts, were compromised, Yahoo informed users via its Tumblr page. Yahoo says, "Upon discovery, we took immediate action to protect our users, prompting them to reset passwords on impacted accounts."
Yahoo believes that the information was obtained from a third-party database, not their own systems, but they are working with law enforcement to hopefully find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Yahoo says that they have implemented additional measures to keep accounts safe. Impacted accounts have had their passwords changed and Yahoo is allowing "second sign-in verification" to allow users to regain access.
If your account was compromised, you may have received an e-mail notification or SMS, if you had added a mobile phone to your account. As always, Yahoo reiterates good user security:
In addition to adopting better password practices by changing your password regularly and using different variations of symbols and characters, users should never use the same password on multiple sites or services. Using the same password on multiple sites or services makes users particularly vulnerable to these types of attacks.
Everyone's favorite online shopping destination is considering a price hike for everybody's favorite two-day shipping club. That's right, Amazon is considering increasing the price of US Prime memberships by $20-$40. This piece of information was given out yesterday during Amazon's earnings call, during which it detailed its earnings.
It's not exactly clear why Amazon would want to increase the price for US Prime memberships, especially considering they reported record membership numbers. One reason provided was higher shipping costs, though I'm not completely convinced this is the real reason. Since its inception, Amazon Prime has expanded beyond two-day shipping by adding free Kindle rentals and instant streaming of over 40,000 videos. I would venture to guess that the cost of adding content to the streaming service is the real reason for the contemplated price hike.
It's possible that Prime memberships could end up having different tiers, though Amazon's CFO dodged a similar question during the earnings call yesterday. One thing is clear, don't be surprised if you start having to pay more for your Amazon Prime subscription.
Facebook is still popular, especially among younger demographics, and won't suddenly spiral out of popularity anytime soon, according to the Forrester Research group. Following a recent Princeton University study predicting Facebook will no longer exist by 2021, which the No. 1 social media site immediately argued against.
In the Princeton study, two PhD students also predicted Facebook would lose 80 percent of its users by 2017 - which Forrester also disputed.
"In fact, from a user perspective, Facebook is in rude health," according to a recent Forrester blog. "Its number of monthly users is still growing - up to 1.19 billion in Q3 2013. More importantly, more and more of those users are coming every single day: in Q3 2013, its daily user count was 61% of its monthly user count, up from 55% in Q2 2012."
It's no surprise Facebook didn't take kindly to the Princeton study, as Facebook is a publicly traded company and wanted to dispel the study - and all rumors - and Forrester's blog should help temporarily quash those worries.