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Elise Moreau

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Etsy Products Are Coming to Offline Retail Stores

Wednesday April 16, 2014

This summer, Etsy is opening its Wholesale channel publicly to qualified retailers in the U.S. and abroad. That means that you'll be able to find some of the very same handmade, vintage and artisian goods from Etsy sellers in your favorite physical retail stores -- like Nordstrom, West Elm and Indigo.

Etsy Wholesale, which launched in private beta last year, will require participants to pay a one-time sign up fee of $100 plus a 3.5-percent transaction fee for whoesale orders. Etsy sellers will be able to take advantage of the fact that nearly 90 percent of retail commerce still occurs offline these days by gaining the the opportunity to find more buyers so they can grow their businesses.

The public launch is scheduled for this August, and Etsy is currently taking applications from interested buyers and sellers now.

Photo Etsy, Inc.

1Password Is Having a Heartbleed Sale

Monday April 14, 2014

By now, you've probably been exposed to at least one chaotic news story about the Heartbleed bug and how terrible it is for all of us who need to maintain so many online accounts. Hackers gonna hack, and we've all got about a bajillion passwords that need to be changed because of it.

If you've already gone ahead and changed your passwords for the list of previously vulnerable but now patched sites, then good for you. As an additional step, I highly recommend getting set up with a good password manager like 1Password or LastPass to further secure all your online accounts and keep them organized.

I use 1Password, and right now they're offering 50 percent off in wake of the Heartbleed bug. A tool like 1Password can help you automatically build strong passwords, store them so you don't have to remember them all, and sync them up across all your web browsers and devices.

It's time to stop using the same birthday or phone number password for every single account you have, and avoid scribbling it down on a piece of paper or storing it in a random doc or notepad file somewhere on your computer.

For more on this topic, check out our mobile office technology expert's comparison of five of the web's top password managers.

Photo Laurence Dutton / Getty Images

Facebook to Pull Messaging Feature from Main App, Wants You to Use Messenger App Instead

Friday April 11, 2014

Soon, you won't be able to send or receive any Facebook messages through its main app. The social network is beginning to inform users that they'll have to download the standalone Facebook Messenger app for iOS or Android if they want to send or receive messages on mobile.

Facebook wants to separate messaging from the rest of the social network on mobile to promote a "more focused experience." But even though chatting through the Facebook Messenger app is indeed much faster and easier than doing so through the main app, not everyone wants to have multiple Facebook apps installed on their phones just to be able to use all the features.

Another bold move from Facebook. Users in Europe have already started to receive notifications about the change, and they'll have about two weeks before they'll be required to download the Messenger app if they want to keep using Facebook messages from their mobile devices.

Photo Facebook

Here's Why You Should Consider Changing Your Online Passwords

Wednesday April 9, 2014

Heartbleed -- the name of the recently discovered security flaw in OpenSSL -- could possibly affect up to two-thirds of all websites on the Internet. The bug makes it possible for anyone to hack web servers running specific versions of OpenSSL and gain access to user information, passwords, encryption keys and website content.

Security expert Bruce Schneier called the bug "catastrophic" today on his blog. "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11," he writes.

Before you panic and rush off to change all of your passwords to your online accounts, you should consider testing each site for the vulnerability. This test site was one of the first to pop up, although it's been criticized for being somewhat inaccurate.

The Atlantic has recommended this industrial-strength test site, and this one too. And here's another test site option from LastPass.

Any site that comes through as safe is a go for password changing. You can still change your password if a site does not come through as safe, however you'll need to change it again once the SSL for that site has been repaired. Be on the lookout for emails or updates from the sites you use regularly about information regarding the vulnerability and/or about changing your password.

You can visit Heartbleed.com for more information about the bug, and follow these tips to make your passwords as strong as possible.

Photo from Heartbleed.com

Google Play Gets a 'People' Section for App Suggestions from Your Friends

Monday April 7, 2014

If somebody you know personally recommends a product or service to you, you're probably a lot more likely to try it out. Google thinks you'll react the same way to apps that your friends use, which is why a new People section was recently introduced on Google Play.

Under this new section, you'll see a list of apps that received a +1 rating from your friends in your Google+ circles. But it doesn't stop there -- you'll also see recommendations to follow other app users on G+ who you're not currently connected with yet, in order to get additional app suggestions.

The idea is to give users a better way to cut through all the crap and find more apps that are actually worth using. It's not so easy to determine whether an app is a good one these days, just by skimming over the app description.

The new People section is only available on mobile devices for now, and you should see it if you have the latest updated version of Google Play.

Photo Getty Images

Vine Introduces Direct Video Messaging

Friday April 4, 2014

Vine now lets you send private text and video messages to other users right through its own app.

An update to the app for both iPhone and Android now features a new Messages option in the menu, which you can use to access your messages at any time. Starting a new message prompts you to record a video and then send it out to one or multiple recipients.

When you receive a Vine video message, it'll be there waiting for you to view in your messages section, which you can easily reply to by tapping and holding the camera button. And if you're on Vine, but your friends aren't, you can still send them a direct message through email or SMS -- even if they don't have a Vine account.

Nothing groundbreakingly new here, especially since Instagram launched a similar feature just a few months ago. But private and even group messaging is a big deal online these days, so even though we have about a trillion instant messaging apps out there already, it's always convenient to have a built-in messaging feature on our favorite social platforms that we use the most.

Photo Vine Labs, Inc.

WhatsApp Goes Down After Record-breaking 64 Billion Messages Sent in One Day

Wednesday April 2, 2014

WhatsApp tweeted yesterday that it just shattered its latest 54-billion message day record, set on New Year's Eve 2013. The app has now processed 64 messages in one 24-hour period, including 20 billion messages sent and 44 billion received (with group messages received counted separately).

Less than one year ago, WhatsApp was only handling about 27 billion messages, so the fact that this figure has more than doubled in a year's time sure says something about the app's growing popularity. If you think about it, 64 billion messages is like 9 messages for every single human being on Earth.

Unfortunately, since being acquired by Facebook for $19 billion back in Februrary, the popular messaging app has had to deal with some big problems -- including a major outage following the acquisition. This morning, it appears that it's happened again.

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp users are seeing a system status error message when trying to access the app. The last major outage lasted for about three and a half hours, so it could be a while before users can expect to see it back up and running today.

Photo WhatsApp Inc.

Twitter Now Lets You Share 4 Photos in One Tweet, and Tag People in Them

Monday March 31, 2014

It's only been a few months since Twitter rolled out inline previews of images shared through tweets, and now the company has decided to step it up to the next level by taking inspiration from Facebook and making everything a whole lot more visual.

With an update to the Twitter for iOS app, users can now add up to four photos to a single tweet. The update is said to be coming to Android and Twitter.com soon.

You can now also tag up to 10 other people in photos before you share them on Twitter, and your tagged friends will receive a notification that they were tagged. Of course, if you're not a fan of photo tagging, you'll be able to disable it for yourself by switching it off from your account settings.

So, that's that. Twitter is Facebook, and Facebook is Twitter. Basically.

Short text-based messages are cool, but tons of photos are apparently way cooler. It would be kind of nice if certain accounts would stop abusing the inline photo feature so much in hopes of getting their tweets recognized.

Photo Getty Images

Pinterest Hacked, Tons of Accounts Filled with Weight Loss Spam

Friday March 28, 2014

Last night, several Pinterest users noticed a whole bunch of weight loss photos and butt pics had randomly been pinned to their boards.

TechCrunch was first to report the news, pointing out that hackers were likely able to flood multiple user accounts with spam by locating security holes in third-party apps, or finding a way to get in through some of the "Pin This" buttons found on other websites. So, if you see a shady looking pin featuring hot bodies or weight loss results or butts -- don't click on it.

My own account was actually affected. I could clearly see quite a few spam pins hiding in my boards as shown on my profile, but when I clicked on the individual board to view all the pins on a specific board, the spam pins were nowhere to be seen. I have no idea what's going on.

If your Pinterest account was also hacked, chances are you may have received a message saying that your account has been put in "safe mode," and that you should reset your password to protect your pins from suspicious activity. Do this now if you haven't already.

Pinterest has yet to comment on the hack, but I expect we might be hearing something about it sometime later today.

Photo: Screenshot of Pinterest.com

Spotify Launches Discounted Subscriptions for Students, Songza Now Suggests Music Based on Weather

Thursday March 27, 2014

Popular music streaming services Spotify and Songza both introduced some cool new features this week to make streaming music more accessible and enjoyable.

Spotify now offers a discounted subscription option for students, at just $4.99 per month.

Being in school is expensive, and Spotify is hoping to get more students on board with their service by offering a subscription option that slashes 50 percent off the regular premium subscription price to just $4.99, while still offering unlimited music streaming and no ads. Students can submit their information through the Spotify Student Discount page and enjoy the $4.99 subscription page for 12 months before it defaults back up to the regular premium price.

Spotify will allow students to renew their discounted subscription for three more additional time periods (for a maximum of four years) as long as they re-submit their information on the Student Discount page proving that they're still a student.

Songza just teamed up with The Weather Channel to bring you playlist suggestions based on your local weather forecast.

Starting today, Songza will start integrating weather-based suggestions into its Concierge tool. Up until now, Songza primarily made its music suggestions based on the day of the week, the time of day and seasonal holidays -- but only now will you be able to get music recommendations based on the app's new ability to predict rain, snow or a mix of sun and clouds.

"With new data provided by The Weather Channel, we can more accurately predict your context, helping you enjoy more sunsets and weather more storms," Songza CEO Elias Roman said in a statement.

Songza users can expect to see the new weather-related music recommendations start popping up today when they go ahead and access the Concierge in the app.

Photo Doug Armand / Getty Images

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