Stop SOPA before it’s too late

In the tech community, SOPA is not news. For an average American, SOPA is unheard of. The traditional media and major news organizations have completely ignored SOPA as if it doesn’t exist. SOPA is real, it does exist and if passed could mean the end of internet as we know it.

Apart from calling your representative, bloggers and social media influencers should do couple things. If you are on WordPress, download the plugin, Stop SOPA Ribbon, look at the upper right corner to see how it looks like. Go to BlackoutSOPA and change your profile picture. Stop American Censorship has few different ways to highlight censorship, check that out too.

January 18th is the day that is designated for a massive awareness campaign. Reddit, Wikipedia, Cheezburger Network etc have confirmed that they will go dark in order to garner attention and call for action. Google and other major companies are anti-SOPA but won’t do much apart from having a stand.

+Paul Tassi from Forbes has created “Stop Internet Censorship by Protesting SOPA” event on Facebook. Plan to attend and follow the steps to get the word out.

Still don’t know what SOPA can do to the internet? Here’s an infographic that sums it all up, courtesy of Stop American Censorship

SOPA Infographic

Be prepared to make some noise.


2011 was the Year of Cinemagraphs

GIF file format has been around for quite sometime but I never thought that I would see a day when GIFs would become so epic that a term would be invented to describe the phenomenon.

What is a Cinemagraph?

Cinemagraphs are partially animated photographs in which a subtle movement action occurs. The effect is produced by taking a series of continuous shot photographs or a video recording and compositing the frames into an animated GIF file. New York photographer Jamie Beck coined the term “Cinemagraph” and re-invented GIFs in the process. That got the ball rolling and since then many creative nerds have showcased their skills.

Here are 10 Cinemagraphs worth looking staring at:

Coco by Jamie

Taxi Cinemagraph

Coco Rocha Cinemagraph

Cola Cinemagraph
Keychain Cinemagraph

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Facebook not on the Technology Fast 500 list released by Deloitte

Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Deloitte, one of the Big 4 CPA firms, releases a list of the 500 fastest growing technology companies every year – Technology Fast 500. To be recognized as Technology Fast 500, companies need to own intellectual property that generates majority of the operating revenue. It looks at companies that have been in business for at least 5 years and have revenues of minimum $5 Million. It doesn’t matter if the companies are public or private, as long as they meet the criteria and are nominated, they have a fair shot at recognition.

My focus while skimming the list was on social media and internet companies and here’s what I found amongst other facts already mentioned in the report:

- Majority of fastest growing companies are in the West (LinkedIn, IMVU, Shutterfly, Tagged, Ooodle etc)
- Recent IPO darling LinkedIn’s revenue grew 2372% over 5-year period; overall it ranked 49th.
- Google is ranked 425th; revenue grew 176% over 5-year period.
- Facebook and Twitter not yet on the list.

I reached out to Deloitte to inquire why Facebook wasn’t on the list. That’s because according to publicly available data, it has had revenues since 2006 and if I use the formula [(FY’2010 revenue – FY’2006 revenue)/ FY’2006 revenue] x 100, used by Deloitte for 5-year growth percentage, I get 3746%.

In response, I was told by the Facebook page administrator, “Private companies must self-nominate themselves to be part of the program. To my knowledge, Facebook has never submitted a nomination form or the supporting documentation, and the selection team would not base revenue numbers off of a Wikipedia page. Interestingly, you’ll notice Facebook is also not listed on the Inc. 500 list.”

That explains why Facebook is not on the list but it still doesn’t make sense that a company that strives on selling personal information would be so secretive about its own growth. Most figures on Wikipedia page happen to be pure speculation based on market data that is not really verifiable.


My Attempt to Make Sense of TLC’s All American Muslim Reality Show

TLC’s All American Muslim is a show about Muslims in America. Make that, Muslims based in Dearborn, Michigan. Make that Lebanese-Arab Muslim families based in Dearborn, Michigan. Make that, camera friendly, little whacky, but normal on a good day, Lebanese-Arab Muslim families based in Dearborn, Michigan.

America has somewhere around 3.5 million Muslims, a conservative estimate, and a large proportion of them call Dearborn, Michigan home. Though the show is Arab-centric, make that Arab-culture centric; it does show a rare and never before seen image of Muslims in America, make that Arabs in America. It’s getting really confusing to write this post, I promise I won’t do that again.

The show has nothing to do with Islam, actually it’s about Muslims who decided to cherry pick certain aspects of Islam and mix it with culture. It makes for a good reality TV show and I think that’s the idea. Who the heck really wants to see a boring-practicing-Muslim family when I can watch a Muslim hillbilly single mom with tattoos and piercings?

Muslims, who I happen to know and other random strangers on Twitter, didn’t really appreciate the show. Major concerns: Why so much focus on Arab families from Lebanon? Instead of showing Islam, why did the show focus on culture? In other words, diversity and the true face of Muslims in America was lacking. But wait, what about that Muslim hillbilly single mom with tattoos and piercings who convinces her boyfriend to convert so that they can get married? I am still not over that…

On a serious note, a practicing Muslim family wouldn’t let TV crew follow them around, that’s a fact. That explains why the families in the show all happen to know each other, come from the same country, and are affluent. People who are little higher on the socioeconomic scale have a good back drop, they don’t live in an apartment complex. Have enough family members to give a different flavor, keep things interesting. Have enough money and don’t look desperately trying to make a buck. All ingredients of a reality TV show.

It’s a good thing they are not depicting Islam because that would generalize the Dearborn community at large and would leave a very bad after taste in the mouths of many Muslims living in other parts of America. Glass half full this time, things could have been worse but I guess TV executives did their homework.

Zaki Hasan, pop-culture blogger, echoed my sentiment when I posted on Facebook asking friends to chime in. He said, “…if it finds a mainstream audience whose perception of Muslims and Islam becomes a tad more shaded and nuanced as a result of watching, that’s not a bad thing.”

All American Muslim is a reality TV show and will appeal to certain kind of people and will not sit well with many Muslims hoping to see something more depictive of the issues and realities on the ground. The show is not for Muslims but it may still appeal to some non-Muslims who have always seen Muslims in negative light. There is no better way to shatter the stereotype than to show a tattooed hillbilly (Amen Family), Deputy Sheriff (Jaafar Family), woman entrepreneur hell bent on opening up a club (Bazzy-Aliahmad Family), Head Coach of the Fordson High School football team (Zaban Family) and the newlyweds (Aoude Family).

It’s the Halal version, in a peculiar way, of Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Science of Timing and Blogging

Timing is everything, and maintaining a blog is no exception to the rule. Learning when your audience is tuning in, and therefore when to post, is mandatory for any successful blogger.

Two Takeaways

- Post on Monday before 12:00pm.
- Post opinionated posts on Saturdays to generate discussion and comments.

by KISSmetrics via