Instagram the popular social media photo sharing site with approximately 130 million monthly users will now be able to shoot and share videos.

The new video feature is available to all iOS and Android Instagram users as a free update to the existing Instagram app. The basic look of the app is the same, but a small movie icon has been added that takes you into video mode.

The  videos can be between three and 15 seconds long and include any number of individual video clips. After you shoot the video: 13 brand-new filters, created by an artist specifically for Instagram video. They do the usual tweaks to make video pop, like adding vignettes, upping the contrast and playing with color. There is also an image-stabilization feature to even out shaky videos shot on the go.

For now, videos can only be shot from within the Instagram app, and there is no way to upload existing video from your phone’s camera roll.

According to Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom  “It’s everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves.”

The video-sharing feature puts Instagram in direct competition with Vine, the popular Twitter-owned app that lets users share looping six-second video clips. Vine has skyrocketed in popularity in the six months since it launched, attracting more than 13 million users. Many of the six-second videos have a unique look and feel, employing fast cuts and stop-motion animations to tell quirky little stories.


Almost everyone at one time or another has signed on to a website and viewed a “Captcha”. The term CAPTCHA (for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.  At the time, they developed the first CAPTCHA to be used by Yahoo.

A CAPTCHA is a program that can generate and grade tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. For example, humans can read distorted text, but current computer programs can’t.

CAPTCHAs have several applications for practical security.  First they help prevent comment spam in blogs.  Comment spam, the bogus comments submitting by programs usually for the purpose of raising search engine ranks of some website. Using CAPTCHA controls who can submit comments.  It makes sure that only real humans can post so that there is no need to make users sign up before they enter a comment.

CAPTCHAs can also help with protecting sites that offer registration for free services.  Often times “bots” will sign up thousands of times for free accounts.  Using a CAPTCHA can prevent sign up abuse by automated programs.

CAPTCHAS can help safeguard password systems.  Many hackers and purveyors of identity theft will use dictionary attacks to gain unauthorized access to an account.  You can prevent a computer from being able to iterate through the entire space of passwords by using a CAPTCHA after several unsuccessful logins.

CAPTCHAS are good for online polls and businesses like ticket brokers. Using a CAPTCHA application can help prevent ticket scalpers from bombarding the service with massive ticket purchases for big events and poll respondents from flooding the system with votes for a specific selection. Without some sort of filter a bot could place hundreds or thousands of ticket orders or votes in a matter of seconds.

The most common form of CAPTCHA requires visitors to type in a word or series of letters and numbers that the application has distorted in some way. If your website needs protection from abuse, you might want to consider using a CAPTCHA.


Pinterest has introduced two new features to its popular social media sharing site.

Now in addition to posting images on a virtual inspiration board – you can send the image to friends.  If you see something on Pinterest that you know that one of your friends will like, you can hit the “send” button to share it. You will be able to send the pins to other Pinterest users, Facebook friends, or email contacts with a personal note. They will be able to see them in their Pinterest notifications or in their email inboxes.  If they reply or like the pins, you’ll get a notification as well. Previously, you could only send a pin to someone via email. The new feature works for both mobile and desktop versions of Pinterest.

In another addition, Pinterest is making its collection of images more informative with a new format for a select group of pins that show products, movies, and recipes. Instead of just showing a small, formless caption beneath the pin, the new format will include an additional space for details like ingredients and cook times on Recipe pins, prices and store locations for Product pins, and ratings and cast members for Movie pins. An icon beneath the picture will let users know when there’s more information. The details will appear when users click on the pin to enlarge it. Among the first to test it out are Target, eBay, Etsy, Sony,, Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Martha Stewart, Netflix, and Rotten Tomatoes. Pinterest will roll this feature out slowly. Users will find new pins from these merchants — and refreshed versions of their older ones — in their feeds.

These new additions are the latest in Pinterest’s quest to make the social media bulletin board even more social and informative.

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