Gadget speak

This week, E&T weighs up the battle between My Space and Facebook and we give you some insider tips on how to restore your digital memories - after you've hit the delete button!

Social networking: MySpace vs Facebook

Compete.com has crowned Facebook the most popular social networking website, saying it racked up nearly 1.2 billion visits in the last month.

The Internet-tracking firm released social-networking website rankings that show MySpace slipped to second place during the course of the past year, while micro-blogging service Twitter catapulted to third place from 22nd.

The number of visitors to social-networking websites and the amount of time they dwell there are considered key indicators of how well Internet services are doing. Facebook and Twitter have registered increases in both categories, while visits and time spent at MySpace have stagnated or slid during the past 12 months, according to the research.

According to the latest Web market research, Facebook gets more international page views than MySpace and is continuing to gain quickly in unique visitors. While some other social networking tools dominate in specific international markets, no other platform comes close to the two US giants in overall audience and reach.

Facebook's lead is a more recent phenomenon. MySpace had a head start getting into the global market - launching its first international site in the UK in April 2006 before rolling out sites in other European countries. Additionally, MySpace has launched in countries that are more difficult for US companies to penetrate - such as India and Russia. In contrast, Facebook's first non-English site did not start until 12 months ago.

In fact, a year ago, Facebook was only available in four languages, English, Spanish, German and French whereas MySpace was localised in 30 territories. Today, Facebook has caught up. How have they managed this in such a short space of time?

MySpace plans and launches its international sites in the traditional way of setting up local offices, getting entrenched in the culture, and then launching. Facebook, on the other hand, is building out its foreign language versions with the help of its vast and committed user base.

Rather than setting up an office and a staff before launching in new countries, Facebook has put its audience to work with an online application that allows translation by its community. To participate, users add a translation application to their account that they can use to translate, review and vote on translations in their language.

But MySpace does have one huge advantage - it dominates Facebook in music. Obviously, Facebook and MySpace are not the only social networks, and there are a large number of other websites that are mroe popular in various countries including Orkut in Brazil, Live Journal in Russia and Mixip in Japan. 

Trade secrets: digital cameras

  • Digital cameras now dominate over traditional film camera - and because of the nature of the digital world we live in, most of these images are unlikely ever to be printed on photographic paper. But what happens when these memory cards become damaged, corrupt, or perhaps we accidentally format them? If we delete the pictures from the memory card, is it possible to restore them?
  • It is highly unlikely, in most cases, that the files and data on those memory cards is completely deleted. With photo recovery tools, it is now easy to restore your deleted pictures without a great deal of technical knowledge. But if you continue using your camera after formatting it, the chances of successfully restoring all of your pictures is diminished - because of the risk of over-writing the file location.
  • One common situation which many users find themselves in is taking out the memory card while the camera is still on. This is very dangerous as it can cause damage to the memory card. You will find yourself in a situation where your memory card has become too damaged and corrupted to recover.
  • Another common error message on Flash media is words to the affect of 'Media is not formatted, would you like to format now?' or 'Memory card not formatted'. If you are getting this error, your pictures can still be recovered. Again, this error means that your memory card is corrupt - do not take any more photos. If there are no pictures on the card that you want to keep, you are safe to format it and this should resolve the problem. Otherwise, if there are any pictures, do not format as they might still be recoverable.
  • Even if you have formatted the card or used the Delete-All option, you can still retrieve your pictures after format if you act decisively. You can undelete your pictures because the digital camera will not overwrite that data immediately and just makes it available for use.
  • A quick search on Google brings up dozens of downloadable programs which will allow you to restore images on your memory card. Most will require you tapping in your credit or debit card details, but there is one free program that I have used several times and would recommend - Art Plus Digital Photo Recovery, available from www.download.com. Not only is it a free download but you do not have to install it on your Windows-based computer; you just save the file to your desktop and run the executable file.
  • One thing to note is that memory cards have a limited lifespan and failure is always inevitable. Therefore, make it good practice to always to download pictures and store them on alternative media - and never panic!

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