Sunday, December 6, 2009

Get started with managing Facebook App ads through OpenX

To manage your Facebook App ads through OpenX Hosted, you must have an OpenX Hosted account. If you don't already have an account, it's free to sign up.

Once you have logged into your OpenX Hosted account, follow these steps:

1. Add a website to represent your Facebook App.

Add a website

2. Add a zone. A zone represents a location on your Facebook App page where ads will display.

Add a zone

3. On the zone's Invocation Code tab, select the type "Facebook App Tag" then follow the directions to
get the demographic targeting script and the OpenX zone tag for your Facebook App ad.

zone invocation code

4. Add an advertiser.

Add an advertiser

5. Add a campaign. A campaign represents the collection of ads you will be delivering.

add a campaign

6. Add a banner. To add demographic targeting to your banner, select the desired targeting criteria on
the banner's Delivery Options tab. For your Facebook App ads, you will be able to select demographic
targeting criteria such as Age Group, Education, Gender and Relationship Status.

add banner

7. Link your banner to your zone. Go to your banner's Linked Zones tab and select the zone you created in step #2 to display your Facebook App ad.

add banner

That's all it takes to start serving Facebook App ads through OpenX.
Sign up for your free OpenX Hosted account to get started!


That's all it takes to start serving Facebook App ads through OpenX.
Sign up for your free OpenX Hosted account to get started!

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Saturday, December 5, 2009


Is intelligent and entertaining

The one crew member from Paa I hurried to look up on the internet, apart from the make-up artists, was the dialogue writer. Turns out, it’s director R Balki (of Cheeni Kum fame) who’s written the film’s crisp conversations.

Talking about the internet, there is a charming dialogue in the movie when 11-year-old Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) looks up an errant politician on the computer saying ‘Google se bach ke kahan jaoge’ (you can’t run away from Google).

It’s difficult then, not to fall for Auro, the possessor of a dry humour that consistently produces gems like the one above. We flashback to his mother, medical student Vidya’s story (Vidya Balan), who, after an affair with a political science student, Amol (Abhishek), gets pregnant and is disappointed when she is asked to get an abortion.

She speaks to her mother (Arundhati Naag, superb) who had brought up Vidya all alone after her husband’s demise. When plainly asked whether she wants to keep the baby or not, Vidya decides to go ahead with the pregnancy. Already wondering how she’ll bring up a child all alone, she’s shattered to know her newborn is suffering from progeria, a rare disease causing premature ageing in children.

At that moment, when you see Vidya Balan’s expressions on learning that her child is likely to have a life-span of only 13 years, you feel every bit of her anguish. All grown-up now and studying in a school, how an adolescent Auro rediscovers his Paa after 11 years forms the rest of the story.

The finest quality of the film is its refusal to coax pity out of the viewer - either for Auro or for single mother Vidya. A successful gynaecologist, Vidya is shown to provide Auro with all the comforts - from a nice car to a computer and even a play station. Together with Vidya’s mother, they form a cosy unit always good-naturedly ribbing one another. The inclusion of the Paa happens only after the interval, reminding you of Taare Zameen Par where Aamir enters the story around the middle.

You adore Amitabh Bachchan’s performance while applauding his commitment to his craft. Reportedly, it took a 60-plus Bachchan five hours to wear the prosthetic make-up for six hours of shooting, with another two hours to take it off. So truthful is this performance, you begin recognising Auro as an existing character with flesh and blood and forget you’re watching Amitabh Bachchan.

Abhishek Bachchan is also excellent as the do-gooder politician, who never agrees with his father’s (Paresh Rawal) seasoned opportunism. The story is as much Vidya’s as Auro’s and Vidya Balan is fabulous as the proud, independent single mother. Kids playing Auro’s friends, especially Pratik as his best bud, are fabulous.

In the technical department, the first mention must go to make-up artists Christien Tinsley and Dominie Till for painstakingly and expertly converting Amitabh Bachchan into Auro. Cinematography by P C Sreeram, editing by Anil Naidu and art by Sunil Babu are top-notch.

Styling, too, deserves special mention. Vidya Balan’s lovely saris are matched by a thick-strapped ‘working-woman’s’ wrist watch and subtle earrings. However, it's a little odd that the foreign-educated doctor doesn’t have any contemporary western clothes in her wardrobe. Abhishek’s clothes are delightful as is Auro’s oversized hooded shirt that he picks up for a special occasion.

Music by Illayaraja and lyrics by Swanand Kirkire make for hauntingly beautiful songs. Just for the Ittefaq song and its wonderful picturisation, this writer intends to watch the film again.

Some might fear Paa would be a depressing, melodramatic film or a shadow of 2005’s heavily emotional Black. It’s not, and neither does it have any link to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

For a couple of moments, the film does turn your eyes moist, but there are dozens where you’ll enjoy Auro’s antics. Of course, you wonder about the film’s anti-abortion stand and it’s propensity to encourage child-bearing - in a rather awkward scene, Dr Vidya tells a couple, who confess they’re too busy to have a child, that they ought to have one as life changes for the better after a baby.

The melodramatic finale, too, seems unnecessary and it appears that the director, who had so boldly shown a mother raising her child without getting married, cops out towards the end.

These are minor complaints still, in a film that holds you from the first scene to the last. R Balki outdoes himself with a film that’s intelligent, entertaining and visually arresting.

It’s indeed a pleasure presenting four stars to a film after years. You don’t want to miss this one.

Rating: Four stars

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Developer tools: what's in your box?

Hey software/web developer friends,

I've been keeping a list of the software that should come standard on our developer boxes (ya know, on the off chance Dustin and I ever get around to hiring someone), but I'm curious what tools other people are using that are sweet/useful. Here's what we've got (excluding SDKs and Unixy tools):

Windows and Mac
Firefox 3.0, Chrome 1.0, Safari 4
FireScope [great find by Star]

Windows specific
IE6, IE7, IE8 (is there something better than MultipleIEs for this?)
Microsoft Script Editor (for IE<8 debugging)
SharpKeys by RandyRants (for remapping Caps Lock)
Pixie by Nattyware (for determining the color of a pixel on the screen)
PrintScreen by Gadwin (for screenshots)
Free Extended Task Manager by Extensoft (task as in "OS process," not "project to-do")

Mac specific
Parallels (for IE testing)

Any additions? Any substitutions, cases where there's a better tool for the thing we're trying to accomplish?

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Name Our Company (1000 dolla bounty)


I'm quite serious. Dustin and I have been trying for months, and it turns out we're just not very good at naming things.

If you successfully name our company, we will give you (a) our undying gratitude and admiration and (b) $1000, if you're into that sort of thing. Here's everything you need to know:

Desirable properties

- Can unambiguously determine spelling from pronunciation
- Can unambiguously determine pronunciation from spelling
- Shorter is better
- Doesn't sound "Web2.0"-y
- .com doesn't have to be available, but can't be a well-established website/brand

Brand qualities we'd like to convey

- Solid, but not heavy
- Professional, but not stodgy
- Dependable
- Deliberate
- Powerful (as in "powerful tool", not "powerful President")
- Empowering
- Transparent / honest / straightforward
- Pervasive / invisible (like the telephone)
- Background / invisible (like the piece of paper on which something's drawn)
- Progressive
- A new way of doing business, a breath of fresh air
- Fast (as in responsive)
- Bringing people together
basically the qualities of Barack Obama

What does your company do again?

Our startup is developing an extensible productivity suite that we'll sell to organizations, and make free to consumers, to solve the group collaboration problem. We're addressing the same problem space as Microsoft Office/Exchange/Access/VBA

, but our solution is tightly integrated, focused on structured data, and built for the Web from the ground up.

Our product will ship with a set of core applications -- including project management, calendaring, discussion lists, sales CRM, customer support ticket management, and others -- as well as a development toolkit in which third-party software developers (and even power users) can add new applications and functionality seamlessly.

Though our business model is focused on enterprises and other organizations, there will also be a free consumer version that we hope will become a natural part of every day life, just as productivity tools of the past (email, spreadsheets, etc.) have made their way from the office to the home.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Can You Be a Web Designer

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What is Copyright? for small business

Prior to crowdSPRING, I was a lawyer for 13 years - focusing on complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. This is the first in what will be a regular feature in our blog discussing important legal issues that impact every small business.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of legal protection provided to those who create original works. Under the 1976 Copyright Act (United States), the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display the work. Any or all of these rights can be licensed, sold or donated to another party. One does not need to register a work with the U.S. Copyright Office for it to be automatically protected by copyright law (registration does have benefits - but we won’t be covering those in this article).

Copyright laws around the world can differ in significant ways. Most countries are signatories to various International treaties and agreements governing copyright protection (such as the Berne Copyright Convention). Under the Berne Copyright Convention, if your work is protected by copyright in your own country, then your work is protected by copyright in every other country that signed the Berne Copyright Convention.

What does Copyright protect?

Copyright protects works such as poetry, movies, writing, music, video games, videos, plays, paintings, sheet music, recorded music performances, novels, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography, and architectural designs.

To be protected by copyright, a work must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” This means that the work must exist in physical form for at least some period of time. A tangible medium includes paper (even a napkin will do!) and digital forms of storage. Additionally, the work must be original. It doesn’t matter if the work is similar to existing works, and copyright law is blind to whether the work is good or bad - so long as the work is original, it is protected by copyright. Finally, a work must be the result of at least some creative effort by the author.

Copyright doesn’t protect an idea, system or process (you would need to obtain patent protection for those). So, for example, if your small business is creating software programs, you would generally be unable to protect under copyright law the algorithms, methods, systems, ideas or functions of software (your code, however, is protected – nobody can sell or distribute your code without your permission).


How Long Does a Copyright Last?

For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work or a work made for hire (we’ll talk about that in a later post), the copyright lasts for 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on a number of factors.

What Should Small Businesses Do To Avoid Violating Copyright Law?

Here are five practical things you should do to make sure you don’t violate copyright law:

1. Don’t copy material just because you don’t see a copyright symbol. Since 1978, U.S. copyright law has not required that the copyright owner post a copyright notice with their work. That means that any work reduced to a tangible form (paper or digital, for example), is automatically protected by copyright.

2. Respect Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons is a powerful framework that works alongside copyright law, but don’t confuse Creative Commons with “free for the taking.” There are a number of different types of Creative Commons licenses and you should review the specific license before you use something protected by Creative Commons. For example, when searching for images on Flickr to include in my blog posts, I always search for images licensed under Creative Commons and available for commercial use.

3. Don’t use works created by someone else merely because you can’t find any copyright restrictions or the author’s identity. Merely because you don’t know who created a work doesn’t give you the right to use that work. This is commonly abused when people do a search - on Google, for example - for images and use an image they’ve found in an article, blog post, or design.

4. Define Copyright Ownership. When you hire independent contractors to create work for you, consider including “work-for-hire” provisions in your legal agreement with your independent contractor (more about this in a later post) or provisions that transfer the ownership of the work created by those contractors - or at the very least, a license to use - to you and/or your company.

5. Understand the Permitted and Prohibited Uses Under a Copyright License. When you buy or use stock photos or other materials protected by copyright in your marketing materials, advertising, or as part of your website, pay attention to what you are and are not permitted to do with that work. For example, stock photos from sites like iStockphoto and Shutterstock are protected by specific licenses which restrict the uses for those photos and prohibit, among other things, use of stock for logo design. Don’t assume that a license gives you unlimited rights - it most likely does not.

In a later post, we’ll talk about more advanced copyright issues, including what to do if someone violates your copyright. And If there are other small business legal issues you’re interested in reading about, please leave a comment and let me know.

Please remember that legal information is not the same as legal advice. This post may not address all relevant business or legal issues that are unique to your situation and you should always seek legal advice from a licensed attorney.

image credit: MikeBlogs

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9 Things I Learned from Reed Hastings @ Netflix

At a private CEO event a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of seeing Reed give a powerpoint-less presentation.   His way of looking at business is quite inspirational, and there’s now doubt it’s a major reason why Netflix succeeded where many others have not.  I’ve been thinking about which of these ideas fit for BzzAgent…regardless, every company could add a little bit of his wisdom.  Here’s what I jotted down (note much of this is paraphrased):

  1. When outlining a strategy, instead of just articulating what you’re going to do, always add what you’re NOT going to do.   To know what your strategy will force you to not do will make things much clearer.
  2. If you can grow within your market by 10x, then stay in that market.  If you can’t grow by 10 times, then expand into other markets where you can.
  3. Companies aren’t like families.  Families provide unconditional love and are highly dysfunctional.  Companies, rather, are high performance teams.  Sports teams make their players try out for their job every year.  If you need a great left tackle, you shouldn’t just keep someone because they were there last year.
  4. A great company is not sushi at lunch; it’s working with incredible people.
  5. Don’t optimize for people who follow process, optimize for people who think and are mavericks.  Flexibility is more important than efficiency.
  6. Coordinate team on strategy but avoid buy0in on tactics.  Think: Highly aligned, loosely coupled.   Occasionally stuff goes wrong, but this allows for much better speed to execution.
  7. Managers need to ween selves from crutch of an employee’s time in seat vs how they’re succeeding.
  8. If a smart person does something dumb, figure out the problem in the context that you set, not the tactic that they failed at.
  9. Value is what you hire and fire on.  Forget the bs flowery stuff.  Your values are based on what makes you decide to hire someone.

When I caught up with Reed after his speaking gig, we talked a little bit about some of his other ideas on compensation.  I’m not sure I buy into those yet, but he’s got me thinking…

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix

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