Category Archives: Business

A glimpse into the future of computing

Touch is transforming how we interact with computers, and motion control can do the same

Leap motion in action
The first steps you go through is an orientation walkthrough to teach you how to use the Leap Motion Photograph: Leap Motion

Gesture interaction with computers had long been the stuff of sci-fi, until the recent socially-awkward flamboyant games such as Xbox Kinect began to enter the mainstream.

Leap Motion in use
The Leap’s introduction orientation demo in action. Photograph: Leap Motion

Now that touchscreens have moved the human-computer interaction beyond the monopoly of the mouse-keyboard union for the first time in 30 years, are we now at a point where we can put some distance between us and our computers? Can we instruct them without direct contact but now move to the new union of voice-gesture?

Leap Motion is the first serious mainstream contender for a high fidelity gesture peripheral. It tracks the movement of hands in two square feet of space above it with unbelievable speed and accuracy.

The first question everybody asks is, ‘So what can it do?’. The short answer is, today, very little. Tomorrow? Well, I for one am a believer. What we have here is a limitation of imagination, not of technology. That is usually a catalyst for innovation.

Device itself

Receiving my Developer Kit a few weeks ago was a cause for a large crowd to gather in the development team at the Guardian. Only a handful of new gadgets really generate this level of excitement and people wanted to see for themselves whether it lived up to the hype.

Guardian Developers gather round
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Guardian developers: moths to the flame of new technology. Apologies for the blurriness. Photograph: Jonathan Hyde/The Guardian

At the point of receiving the developer kits, the demos available were basic but captivating. The ability to interact with a school of digital fish or navigate through central London like a helicopter was briefly entertaining.

Real world use

We were able to use the Leap Motions during our last internal Hack Days which generated some interesting results. But one litmus test I have for new technology is whether my five-year old daughter can operate it. Whilst she struggled with the games that require pinpoint accuracy and poise, she adores playing with the fish and flying around the earth.

My daughter playing with the digital fish
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My daughter playing with the digital fish. Photograph: Jonathan Hyde/The Guardian

Using the Leap is a good experience as long as it is stationary and not near any very bright light sources. Once you attach it to a laptop and take it mobile, the varying light sources can make it lose track of your hand and this spoils the game or application you are working in. The ability to strain out extraneous light input is the largest challenging still facing the Leap.

The software running the device has made huge leaps (excuse the pun) forward in its reliability and functionality over the last few weeks. There are a small number of applications ready on their new Airspace app store. I have tested a few of them and the experience varies widely.

Airspace app store
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View of the Airspace application allowing you to browse your downloaded apps. The app store itself is web based. Photograph: Leap Motion

Established game developers zeptolabs have ported ‘cut the rope’. This is the most fun I have ever had playing this game, and far more immersive than on the iPhone. Other games such as Puddle and Boom Ball are really good fun. The art, medical and astronomy apps were briefly interesting but didn’t engage me.

Should You Buy Facebook Likes?

How do you Buy Facebook Likes?


There are a number of websites that offer to sell Facebook Likes. Just search “Buy Facebook Likes” on Google and you’ll find a long list. Before writing this, I did some research on the top websites where you can buy Facebook Likes. Basically, the premise with these sites is that you pay them a fee and they add Likes to your Facebook Page or website. I’m not sure how or where these Likes come from, but I’m skeptical, to say the least.

Where do “Bought” Facebook Likes Come From? Who Are These Users?


The most “legitimate” site I checked out, Boost Likes, puts a lot of emphasis on them being “Real”, although I’m unsure what they mean by that. “Real” as in the Facebook account exists? Even if they are real people, there is no way to choose ones who will actually be interested in your business or industry. It’s just a generic mixed bag. And who knows what country they live in or what language they speak. In reality, there will be a very low likelihood that any “real” accounts that Like your Facebook Page will have any interest in buying from you in the future.

Still think that buying Facebook Likes is a good idea?

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Facebook Likes


  • Low Engagement = Low Edgerank
  • Causes you to alienate real Likes
  • Purchased Likes won’t become your customers

Low engagement = Low EdgeRank

Having 10,000 Likes on your Facebook Page doesn’t mean much if they aren’t engaging with you. Bought fans don’t engage because most of them aren’t real people. Even if they are real people, they aren’t at all interested in what you have to say.

EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines which posts go into users’ News Feeds. It’s difficult enough to get your posts into the News Feeds of your Facebook Fans as it is, but when your Facebook Page has little or no engagement (especially with a large number of Likes), your EdgeRank will drop and no one will see your posts – including your real Likes.

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For future reference, here are the four factors that affect your Page’s Edgerank:

  • If a Fan interacted with your posts before: If they Like every post by your Page that Facebook shows them, it will show them more from your Page.
  • Other people’s reactions to a specific post: If everyone on Facebook that’s shown a post ignores it or complains, it’s less likely to show anyone that post.
  • Your Fans’ interaction with posts of the same type in the past: If your Fans always Like photos, there’s a better chance they’ll see a photo posted by your Page.
  • If that specific post has received complaints by other users who have seen it, or your Page has received lots complaints in the past, your Fans will be less likely to see that post.

It Can Cause you to Alienate Real Fans

OK, let’s say that the unthinkable happens and these bought Likes do engage with your Facebook Page. This will be good for your overall Edgerank, but not with the Likes that actually matter to your business. It will basically create a red herring in your Facebook Insights. Although you’ll see a lot of engagement, it won’t be coming from the people who are really interested in your business.

So where will this lead?

If you start constantly posting things that your “Fake Fans” are engaging with but your real fans are not, then all of your effort will be for nothing. After a lot of testing you may find that you’re getting the most engagement with posts that include funny cat photos.

Unfortunately, if you sell, for example, exercise equipment, you won’t actually be posting something that is relevant to your Fans who are interested in exercise and will potentially buy from you. This will cause these real Likes to lose interest in your Page and they’ll stop seeing any of your posts in their News Feed.

Purchased Likes Won’t Become Your Customers

Facebook Pages, like any marketing channel, are meant to help generate more sales for your business. If you’re just engaging with people on Facebook who have no interest in the products or services you sell, then it’s a futile activity.

As I mentioned above, you may be able to engage these Likes with certain posts that they are interested in, like pictures of cats, but your chances of engaging them with posts in your industry niche and converting them is zero.

Buy Targeted Instagram Followers

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What happens when I buy targeted Instagram followers?

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