China Blocks IMDB Over Tibetan Documentary

China has been on a roll when it comes to blocking websites and banning internet services. Their list of banned websites is long and their rational for doing so is questionable at best. The most recent victim of the Chinese internet filtering is the IMDB website. Amazon owned IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase) is the most popular website for movie reviews, listings and information.

China reportedly blocked IMDB over a documentary focusing on Tibet and The Dalai Lama. The documentary titled “When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun” claims to have an unprecedented inside perspective on the Tibetan community in exile. The IMDB page for the movie also contains a 3 minute video teaser for the documentary. A quick search at IMDB shows that there is a lot of other information as well about “The Dalai Lama” and “Rebiya Kadeer”, the two most popular Tibetan figures, that might have provoked Chinese authorities to take this action.

China has previously also blocked YouTube, Facebook and Flickr inside the country and just recently banned individuals from registering domains. However, most of these blocked websites can still be accessed in China using proxy servers or other tools to browse the internet anonymously.

These actions taken by the Chinese authorities can be nicely summed up in the following image by Amar Toor of Switched.com:

Find Out Your First Follower, First Tweet and Other Twitter Firsts

You are an avid Twitter user who has done thousands of tweets and now you are getting all nostalgic about how you started on Twitter. You want to know your first tweet and you want to know who was your first follower. Here are a couple of tools that will help you:

1. Find Your First Tweet Using TwitterStorm:

TwitterStorm is a simple Twitter app to find out the first tweet of any user. All you need to do is enter the Twitter username of the person you want to look up. If you want to go back in time and see your first tweet, just enter your Twitter handle.

2. Find Out Who Followed You On Twitter First Using FirstFollower:

As the name suggests, FirstFollower tells you who was the first person to follow a Twitter account. All you need to do is enter the Twitter username and information about your first follower would be displayed. You can also tweet information about your first follower with a single click.

3. Find Out When You Joined Twitter:

If you are getting even more nostalgic and want to know when did you exactly join Twitter, there is a tool for that too. WhenDidYouJoinTwitter tells you the joining date of any Twitter user.

4. Who Was The First Person You Followed On Twitter:

You know who was the person to follow you, but do you know who was the first person you followed? You can find that out using this neat tool. However, the tool only fetches information from the people you still follow so if you have unfollowed the first person you followed, it will jump to the second person.

Please note that these tools do not work for users who have made their Twitter profile private.

Aol In Talks To Buy Mashable [Rumor]

Pete Cashmore founded Mashable from his parent’s basement in 2005 and now it is the top tech blog after surpassing TechCrunch late last year. There is a rumour in the blogosphere that Aol is in talks with Pete Cashmore to buy Mashable out. This was first reported by Gawker media but has also been confirmed by Robert Scoble.

No price tag has been mentioned yet but we would expect it to be upwards of $30 Million since that is the rumored price Aol tried to buy TechCrunch back in 2008.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise since Mashable has become the ultimate guide for social media news, tips and reviews with over 2.2 million Twitter followers and close to 100,000 Facebook fans. Mashable has also been on the Suggested User List of Twitter since day 1.

Do you think Mashable will be able to sustain their independent and unbiased opinions after being owned by a giant like Aol? Should internet companies like Aol, Google, Microsoft own such blogs at all? How would you feel if Microsoft goes out and buy TechCrunch?

The Best Tool Ever To Create Custom Twitter Backgrounds

There are a lot of websites that offer free Twitter backgrounds but Themeleon is a tool that clearly stands apart. Themeleon is a nice little tool by the COLOURLovers community that you can use to generate your own Twitter background within seconds.

Start with selecting a template; you can either browse through various template categories such as ornate, mosaic, simple shapes, nature, retro, stripes or check out the top templates. Once you have selected a template, click on the color thumbnail to open the color chart. Now you can choose any color in the world to customize the template.

For the color of your text, links, background and sidebar, you can either create a color palette or choose from over 1 Million available color palettes. If you like the colors of the template pattern more than the colors in your palette or vice versa, you can sync them with a single click. You can also create a background by uploading a photo and customizing it to your taste.

The most amazing feature of Themeleon is the ability to preview the changes as you make them right in your Twitter profile. Themeleon will ask you to login using your Twitter credentials so you can implement your customized Twitter theme with a single click. No need to download or upload anything.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

The developers creating Themeleon thought of everything. It is quick, has a lot of features and gives you infinite possibilities for your Twitter background/theme. I have not seen a better tool around.

Rating: 5/5

Facebook: 260 Billion Page Views Per Month and Other Stats

We saw Facebook becoming the most visited website in the US around Christmas. Everybody knows that Facebook gets crazy amounts of traffic but how much exactly is it?

Pingdom has put together a report using data from Google Ad Planner and reports that Facebook serves over 260 Billion Page views per month. If that doesn’t sound a lot to you, note that it comes to 260,000,000,000 page views per month. If you do the math, that translates to around 8.6 Billion page views daily and over 6 Million page views every minute.

The Pingdom report also compares this number to the 4.4 billion page views that Twitter gets and notes that Facebook has 59 times more page views than Twitter. MySpace, the second most popular social network also lags behind significantly with only 24 billion page views each month. With 350 Million active users, that comes to around 75 pages per user per month.

Looking at this data confirms Facebook’s position as the #1 social networking site in the global market and doesn’t look like MySpace can catch up to it now. However, the real task for Facebook is to convert this mammoth number of page views in to real money.


CelebritiesThatTwitter: Read Celebrity Tweets The Easy Way

Nowadays everybody seems to be on Twitter which makes it hard to keep track of all the good tweets. CelebritiesThatTwitter is a dead simple mashup tool to read tweets from various celebrities.

No registration or sign-up to do, simply go to CelebritiesThatTwitter.com and start reading tweets from people like Shaquille O’Neal, Paula Abdul, Perez Hilton, Jimmy Fallon and more. The tweets are constantly updated. If you like a tweet, you can retweet it or share on Facebook with a single click. Clicking on any username takes you to the actual status update on the Twitter website and hovering your mouse over the username shows you a snapshot of the user profile.

If you are interested in actually following some great celebrities check out the mashable lists for 20 Great NFL Players That Twitter, Comedic film actors on Twitter or 100+ Musicians on Twitter.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Overall, CelebritiesThatTwitter is a really simple tool to read celebrity tweets without going to their individual profiles or following them.

Rating: 3/5

Meet Skiff: The Newest and Largest e-Reader By Sprint

In the world of Kindles and Nooks, Sprint is about to make its mark with a new kind of e-reader called Skiff. With an 11.5 inch display, Skiff will be the largest e-reader so far and would offer a 1200 x 1600 display resolution. This high-resolution will make it easier for people to read books, magazines and newspapers.

Here are some other technical specs for the Skiff:

  • 4 GB of internal memory.
  • Dimensions: 9 x 11 x 0.2 inches
  • SD Card slot and USB port.
  • One week of average battery life.
  • Built-in speaker and a 3.5mm audio jack.
  • Runs on Sprint 3G network and Wi-Fi.
  • Full touchscreen.

Skiff will be the first e-reader geared towards newspapers rather than focusing only on books and magazines. Due to smaller screens and extra thickness, Kindle and Nook simply don’t cut it for reading newspapers. Skiff is also expected to be more durable with a metal foil display and the thinnest device with 0.26 inches of thickness. With 174 pixels per inch (ppi), it will provide the highest reading quality amongst all the e-readers.

No details have been provided yet about the price of the device or the downloadable content. The device would most probably be revealed at the CES show in Vegas later this week. A 360 view of the Skiff is available here.

Apple’s Tablet To Be Sold For $1000 In March

Much speculation has been done around the heavily rumored and over-hyped tablet by Apple. The initial price tag people expected was around $700 but Wall Street Journal just reported that the tablet will sold for $1000 and would be offered starting March 2010. Apple is expected to make the announcement on 27th of January.

Apple’s tablet is potentially called iSlate and would have a 10 or 11 inch screen. With MacBook being sold around the same price tag, the tablet might have a hard time unless it completely stands up to the hype being created. People are also speculating that the tablet would implement a new kind of 3D graphics which will change the future of UI at Apple.

Do you think the tablet will live up to the hype or be a massive failure as some people predict.

WordPress Launching An Android App?

With the upcoming release of Nexus One, Android market is predicted to grow significantly. Rumors are that WordPress is going to launch an official app for Android very soon. The news just broke when Blog Herald noticed that WordPress team has created the android.wordpress.org blog.

WordPress team has previously created similar blogs for iPhone (iphone.wordpress.org) and BlackBerry (blackberry.wordpress.org) to cover iPhone and BlackBerry apps. There is no official news from WordPress yet so nobody knows what features would be included. However, one would expect that the app would let users update their blogs on the go with ease, moderate comments and schedule posts.

Note that an unofficial WordPress app for Android called WPToGo is already available and provides the basic functionality to manage your WordPress blogs.

Generate Twitter, Facebook Ribbons For Your Website

Social media is all about letting people interact with each other. It is something that every good website uses to increase its traffic. There are several ways to invite website visitors to your social media profiles including text links, badges and icons.

Another great way is to display a banner on the top of your website. If you think creating these banners is a lot of work, try Social Ribbon Generator. Using this neat little tool you can generate banners for your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube profile in less than a minute.

Start by selecting the social network you want to generate a banner for. Then enter your username and select one out of several designs. Once you are done, an HTML code would be provided so you can embed the banner on your website or blog.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Social Ribbon Generator is a very simple yet productive tool to generate high-quality banners for your social media profiles. It is easy-to-use and quick. Adding more banner designs would, however, make the service even better.

Rating: 4/5