Monday, 20 June 2011

Mashable: Latest 12 News Updates - including “This Morning’s Top 3 Stories in Tech, Gadgets & Social Media”

Mashable: Latest 12 News Updates - including “This Morning’s Top 3 Stories in Tech, Gadgets & Social Media”

This Morning’s Top 3 Stories in Tech, Gadgets & Social Media

Posted: 20 Jun 2011 05:11 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning’s edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. We're keeping our eyes on three particular stories of interest today.

ICANN Approves New Top-Level Domains

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved the expansion of generic top-level domains, which will allow companies and organizations to apply for branded (such as .coke) and generic (such as .soda) domain extensions.

1.3 Million Accounts Compromised in Sega Cyber Attack

The names, birth dates, email addresses and encrypted passwords of some 1.3 million users of Sega Pass have been compromised in the latest attack on a popular online gaming network, the company admitted Sunday.

Huawei Launches First Android 3.2 Tablet

Huawei has unveiled the first tablet running Android 3.2 in Singapore, the 7-inch MediaPad.

Further News

  • Google and the British Library are working together to digitize 250,000 books from the latter’s collection.
  • The FTC has approved Microsoft’s buyout of Skype. The deal, valued at more than $65.2 million, will now proceed to the Department of Justice for final approval.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama plans to begin tweeting regularly from his official Twitter account, signing his initials to tweets authored by him personally.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

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To Buy or Not to Buy? Decide Has The Answer

Posted: 20 Jun 2011 05:01 AM PDT

Ecommerce startup Decide launches Monday and uses two straightforward words — “buy” or “wait” — to educate consumers on when it’s best to buy their next laptop, television or camera.

On Decide, the experience is simple: Search for a product and get an immediate buy or wait recommendation, along with a machine-generated prediction on when to buy and a percentage indicating Decide’s confidence in that prediction.

A quick Decide search for a particular Samsung Plasma HDTV, for instance, will yield a “wait” because the site predicts that prices for that model, with 87% confidence, are expected to drop $92 within two weeks.

Decide’s purchase recommendations are generated using a combination of proprietary data and predictive algorithms. Decide takes into account 40 distinct price factors, historical data on model lineage releases and pricing, and relevant rumors on when the next iteration of a product is coming.

The problem, as Decide CEO Mike Fridgen sees it, is that the rapid rate at which technology evolves can often leave consumers with a feeling of buyer’s remorse if they discover there’s now a newer version of that laptop, TV or camera they just bought.

“We are, at the moment of purchase, the place to go to answer the ‘when to buy’ question,” Fridgen says.

Decide has raised $8.5 million in pre-launch funding. The web and mobile-friendly site earns referral fees for directing consumers to sellers’ websites. Eventually, the startup will broaden its scope beyond TVs, cameras and laptops to offer recommendations on even more products and gadgets.

More About: decide, ecommerce, gadgets, startup

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Mashable Weekend Recap: 20 Stories You May Have Missed

Posted: 20 Jun 2011 04:31 AM PDT

As dads basked in the glory of their special day, we commemorated it here at Mashable with Google doodles, infographics and guides galore.

Not wanting to leave anyone out, we took you on tour of our favorite gadgets of the week and gave you a first look at a gorgeous new ad for the iPad 2.

There was a lot more, but you don’t have to miss anything, because we’ve wrapped it all up for you in a neat, compact package, posting it all just for you:

News Essentials

RIP Clarence Clemons: Internet Mourns Death of The Big Man [VIDEOS]

NBC Omits "Under God" From U.S. Pledge, Ignites Controversy [VIDEO]

Indian Village Changes Its Name to Nagar [PICS]

Are Samsung's Mobile Designs Really That Similar to Apple's? [PICS]

New iPad 2 Ad Pushes All the Right Buttons [VIDEO]

This Week in Politics & Digital: The Confrontation Issue

Helpful Resources

5 Clever Ways to Get a Job Using Social Media

Behind the Scenes on 8 Innovative Social Media Campaigns

How Big Is the Web & How Fast Is It Growing?

3 Handy Apps for Digital Wizards

47 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Weekend Leisure

The History of Email [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top of the Flops: 10 Tech Products Ahead of Their Time [VIDEOS]

How Social Shopping Is Changing Fashion Production

Google Doodles for Father's Day: Every One Since 2000 [PICS]

How Dad's Music Indicates What You Listen To Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

First-Generation GPS [COMIC]

5 Gadgets We're Playing With This Week

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of the iPhone Camera's HDR Functionality [PICS]

More About: Weekend recap

For more Social Media coverage:

ICANN Approves New Top-Level Domains, So Prepare For .Whatever

Posted: 20 Jun 2011 02:52 AM PDT

A handful of not very descriptive top-level domains, such as .com, .net, .org, as well as country-specific TLDs are what the web is currently made of, but this is about to change drastically.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the international authority over top-level domain names, has approved the expansion of generic TLDs which will allow companies and organizations to create domains for their branda (such as .coke) or simply create generic names (such as .car or .green).

The option won’t come cheap, though: The application fee alone is $185,000, and the annual fee is $25,000. Still, we can imagine large corporations spending millions on these very soon. If you’re in the business of making phones, owning a “.phone” TLD sounds like a great idea — if you can afford outbidding other phone manufacturers.

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination,” said Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN. “No one can predict where this historic decision will take us.”

We can safely predict one thing: Expect lots of legal disputes over company trademarks with regard to new TLDs.

Applications for new generic TLDs will be accepted from January 12, 2012, to April 12, 2012. New domains should appear within a year.

image courtesy of iStockphoto user ahlobystov.

[via AFP]

More About: com, ICANN, internet, TLD, top level domains, web

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How Social Shopping Is Changing Fashion Production

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 04:37 PM PDT

fashion image

Fashion editors and department store buyers have long had the biggest say in what parts of designer collections make it to market. This pattern is changing, however, thanks to a more social web culture and better tools to facilitate online voting, purchasing and even customization.

In an effort to drive deeper engagement between designers and those who purchase their clothes and accessories, a mix of established and lesser-known brands are now giving consumers opportunities to choose what gets produced and, in some cases, even what gets designed.

The result is both a more engaged shopper and less waste as manufacturers and retailers are better able to estimate demand before garments are produced.

Be the Buyer

“Fashion is morphing into a two-way dialogue,” says Vivian Weng, who launched fashion ecommerce venture FashionStake with fellow Harvard Business School alum Daniel Gulati last fall.

Although FashionStake has since evolved into a somewhat more traditional ecommerce site, the two recognized that consumers “were craving an opportunity to somehow be a part of the creative process.”

Weng and Gulati also wanted to discover new talent in the fashion industry. They created a platform where designers and shoppers could collaborate to fund the creation of new work through pre-orders. Clothes were only manufactured after enough orders were placed.

Older dot-com companies such as eBay are likewise capitalizing on the shift. At New York Fashion Week this past February, designer Derek Lam unveiled a series of 16 original designs, which eBay shoppers were then invited to vote upon. More than 120,000 votes were cast to determine the five dresses (plus a surprise sixth) shown above.

In both cases, consumers — not buyers — were given the final say (collectively, at least) on what items became mass-manufactured. The most popular items were produced in quantities to match demand.

Be the Designer

Some brands are going a step further by inviting shoppers directly into the design process. Burberry is following the lead of startups such as Blank Label (pictured above) and Gemvara, which allow customers to choose between patterns, materials and other details in step-by-step web apps to create “one of a kind” apparel and accessories. Later this year, Burberry will let customers design their own trench coats.

Using a web application, consumers will be able to choose the style, color and details of their own Burberry-branded “Bespoke” trenches. With more than 12 million possible combinations, it’s possible to create something pretty unique.

It’s an efficient model because garments are only produced after an order is placed, thus negating any possibility of excess inventory.

Accessories designer Rebecca Minkoff has allowed consumers even more freedom. She turned to online fashion styling community Polyvore to help design her next “morning-after clutch” earlier this year. She supplied users with images of signature materials, including leather, hooks, tassels, studs, zippers and straps, and asked them to get creative.

Nearly 4,000 users submitted more than 6,000 different designs in the course of a week. The winning clutch debuted during Minkoff’s first runway show during New York Fashion Week in February and went on sale this spring under the Minkoff label.

Minkoff believes that collaborations between consumers and designers are “a great way for all designers to truly understand what their customer wants from their brand,” she says. “Having my customers be a part of this collaboration has truly shown that they understand my aesthetic and design theory.” Minkoff says that she would consider participating in similar projects in the future.

Is the Notion of “The Designer” Becoming Obsolete?

Although there are new opportunities for engagement between designers and consumers, Polyvore co-founder Jess Lee is aware that some people think these collaborations compromise the artistic integrity of the design process.

“Some people people feel that crowdsourced design takes away from the specialness of artistic creativity,” she says. What’s important, she adds, is to preserve the vision of the designer which, ultimately, all of the projects cited above do.

Lam agrees, noting in an earlier interview with Mashable, “At no point [during my collaboration with eBay] was my vision compromised — that's why crowdsourcing in this way was such a great concept. I was able to maintain my creative vision and still execute the design process as I normally do.”

Although Derek Lam, Rebecca Minkoff and Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey have invited consumers to become part of the design process, they retain control, ensuring that the products express their style and choice, while engaging the consumer in a new way.

“Customers need to be part of a personal experience,” Weng says. “More and more websites will try to build direct connections with their customers to directly engage them.”

Image courtesy of Flickr,

More About: blank label, burberry, crowdsourced, fashion, gemvara, social media, web apps

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Behind the Scenes on 8 Innovative Social Media Campaigns

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 04:07 PM PDT

With the Behind The Social Media Campaign Series, supported by Oneupweb, Mashable took an in-depth look at the makings of eight innovative social media campaigns from Ford, Mattel,, Old Spice, Toy Story 3, Edge Shaving Gel, The Voice and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare and SCVNGR, among other social tools, these brands executed successful and engaging social media campaigns worth applauding.

This roundup is dedicated to outlining each campaign. If you find a particular campaign interesting, click through to the article to read the full story.

1. Twitter + Random Acts of Kindness = A Successful Social Campaign

Edge Shaving Gel’s #soirritating Twitter campaign spreads the word about its anti-irritation gel through random acts of kindness. Here’s an inside look at this creative play.

In its first three months, @EdgeShaveZone gathered about 1,500 followers, the #soirritating hashtag was used about 6,800 times, and attention from numerous media outlets contributed to mounting buzz — all of which likely contributed to Edge’s decision to continue the campaign throughout 2011. Mashable recently spoke with the team at Edelman Digital that runs the campaign, about the factors that have contributed to its success.

Read the full story here.

2. How Social Media Helped Toy Story 3 Win at the Box Office

Toy Story 3 was one of the biggest films of 2010. As Pixar’s 11th full-length film, the third and final chapter in the world of Buzz Lightyear and Woody hit theaters in June 2010.

Months before that, Disney and Pixar embarked in a wide-scale marketing blitz that covered television, print and social media. Using Facebook and YouTube to help promote the film, the studio raised awareness and successfully targeted demographics that don’t traditionally flock to Disney animated feature films.

Read the full story here.

3. Lessons Learned From The Old Spice Campaign & Its Imitators

Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Imitation is the sincerest (form) of flattery.” Obviously, Mr. Colton was not talking about the success of the Old Spice campaign (seeing as how he lived during the 1700s), but we’re sure he would have reiterated that sentiment if he were to see how many spinoffs the aforementioned marketing miracle has inspired.

The campaign launched just over a year ago — centered around the theme "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” — and captured the imagination of the public. Case in point: The original ad has garnered more than 30 million views to date on YouTube.

Its success also earned Old Spice a legion of students, as it were — folks who cribbed ideas from the ads and applied them to their own marketing efforts. Mashable chatted with a few of these businesses — who have all enjoyed success from following the Old Spice model — about what aspects of the campaign worked for them.

Read the full story here.

4. Was the Charlie Sheen Tweet a Win for

When it comes to brand building, there are basically two schools of thought: "Build it and they will come" and "brainwash the masses."

The latter is based on the belief that any publicity is good publicity. If you get your name out there, the rest will fall into place. A good example of this philosophy is, which recently bought Justin Bieber's hair, and in the past has purchased William Shatner's kidney stone for the free publicity.

At the moment, fits the latter category as well. If you've heard of the brand, it's most likely due to a single effective marketing campaign: An endorsement by Charlie Sheen via Twitter.

Read the full story here.

5. How Barbie & Ken Were Reunited by Social Media

Exactly seven years after their controversial split on Valentine’s Day in 2004, America’s favorite plastic lovebirds reunited, sending the socialverse down memory lane. In celebration of Ken’s 50th anniversary and just in time for the Valentine’s Day release of its Sweet Talkin’ Ken doll, Mattel launched a grandiose marketing campaign to reunite its iconic doll couple, Barbie and Ken.

We spoke with Lauren Bruksch, director of Barbie marketing at Mattel, to get the inside scoop on the success of the campaign’s social media components.

Read the full story here.

6. Sock Puppets & Social Media: Inside Ford's Risky Marketing Campaign

On the heels of its successful and well-received Ford Fiesta Movement and 2011 Explorer Facebook reveal initiatives, Ford has crafted yet another innovative social media campaign, this time to raise awareness and introduce consumers to the 2012 Focus.

At the center of the campaign is Doug, an irreverent and absurd tweeting, Facebook updating and YouTube uploading sock puppet serving as the spokesperson for the new car.

Mashable spoke with Kelly extensively to get a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign and a progress report on how it’s going.

Read the full story here.

7. How SCVNGR’s First National Brand Partnership Scored Big During March Madness

SCVNGR is a location-based gaming platform –- there are challenges at every venue, and businesses can also "script" their own challenges. Customers can do challenges (take a photo, eat a certain dish) to earn points, which are redeemable for real-world rewards, such as a free drink or 10% off. The Cambridge-based company launched in 2008, and was founded by a 22-year old Princeton dropout who wanted to add a game layer to the world. And that he did.

In January 2011, SCVNGR partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) — at all 730 of its locations — for a 12-week campaign leading up to March Madness. The competitive game layer of SCVNGR worked well with the BWW patrons, who thrive on competition, community and games. SCVNGR’s SVP of Marketing Chris Mahl says that what differentiates SCVNGR from other location-based services is that it’s “not a checkin-based service, [but something] that goes further into brand goals [and] consumer goals.” The success of the campaign indicates that may be true. BWW was the first national SCVNGR promotion, and in the first three weeks, the game accrued nearly 30,000 players. By the end, the campaign had 184,000 players at 730 BWW locations.

Read the full story here.

8. The Voice: How a TV Show Became a 24/7 Social Media Conversation

First there was scripted TV, then reality television became the “it” format. But now that’s getting old and stale, and the audience wants something new. The Voice delivers that, with a highly engaging and social co-viewing experience that’s earned it a spot as the top-rated new show this season. People are ready for a change in entertainment, and The Voice is providing a nice alternative.

Mashable spoke with Nicolle Yaron, the show’s supervising producer, Andrew Adashek, the social media consultant, and Alison Haislip, the social media correspondent, about the show’s social media integration and why it’s effective.

Read the full story here.

Your Favorite Social Media Campaigns

If we didn’t mention your favorite social media campaigns in this roundup, let us know about them in the comments below. We’re always looking to learn from innovative marketing campaigns.

More Business Resources From Mashable

- 6 New & Innovative Social Media Campaigns to Learn From
- How JetBlue’s Social Media Strategy Took Flight
- 5 Ways Social Media Has Changed Marketing Campaigns
- The PR Pro’s Guide to Facebook
- How Converse Became the Biggest Little Sneaker Brand on Facebook

More About: Behind the Social Media Campaign Series, facebook, scvngr, social media, social media marketing, twitter, youtube

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

NBC Omits “Under God” From U.S. Pledge, Ignites Controversy [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 03:02 PM PDT

Soon after NBC aired a pre-taped segment for a golf tournament that twice omitted the words “under God” from the United States Pledge of Allegiance, the Twittersphere erupted into a fury of controversy.

The NBC TV network’s coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament, held at the Congressional Country Club near Washington D.C., featured a patriotic theme, where the United States Pledge of Allegiance was recited by schoolchildren, intercut with patriotic images. Twice during that segment, the words “under God” were omitted, with the second reference also eliminating the phrase “one nation.”

The TV network apologized later in the broadcast for offending anyone by omitting the phrase, without mentioning which words were left out. Said NBC announcer Dan Hicks, “Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of the Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you that were offended by it.”

In the crude video embedded above, you can see that NBC was getting arty with the editing, pausing within the staged school kids’ recitation of the pledge. Was the omission inadvertent? Or was NBC making a statement?

Interestingly enough, the phrase “under God” was not part of the original Pledge of Allegiance, but was added by the U.S. Congress at the urging of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

More About: controversy, nbc, Pledge of Allegiance, twitter, U.S. Open, under God, video

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Top of the Flops: 10 Tech Products Ahead of Their Time [VIDEOS]

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 02:12 PM PDT

It’s a sad truth: Not every great idea translates into commercial success. Some products launch “ahead of their time,” either because the tech can’t support the concept, or because the public isn’t ready to invest in such a radical idea.

From an early interactive television to Nokia’s infamous N-Gage phone, we’ve taken a look at 10 such gadgets that the market just wasn’t ripe to receive, but the principles of which have since borne fruit for other brands.

Take a trip down memory lane via our video gallery below and let us know your thoughts on these interesting examples of innovations that didn’t pay off in the comments below.


The limited geographical trial of the QUBE cable TV service from a subsidiary of Warner Bros was ahead of its time -- almost astonishingly so.

For example, if we described "an electronic survey to see what people watching at home think of the president's speech" you'd think we were talking about a modern social media tool, but QUBE actually offered the service -- back in the late '70s.

Thanks to a proprietary remote control, QUBE's interactive elements included opinion polls, community auctions and a show that aired video footage of music groups. It asked viewers to vote for their favorites.

With 30 channels, including 10 pay-per-view channels and 10 interactive channels, QUBE offered a way to interact with your TV never seen before -- and not seen again for some years. The aim of QUBE was much like social media's role today" "to create a faster method for groups to communicate and interact, across distance."

Despite its forward-looking functionality and relative success, the QUBE service cost too much to produce a nationwide rollout and it was subsequently shut down.

2. Polaroid Polavision

This 1978 Polaroid invention saw a gap in the market for quick and easy video recordings of special moments with family and friends. The ability to capture "little peices of your life" and view them "by dropping them into a box" rings a bell with video clips uploaded online today.

However, the Polavision instant movie camera, film cartridges and special viewer weren't a commercial success and were discontinued just a year or so later.

The home video recording market was to go through many changes in the '80s and '90s before pocket video camcorders, cellphones and social media. Ultimately, they all rendered Polaroid's quick-and-easy vision a practical possibility for millions of consumers today.

3. Sinclair C5

British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair has been ridiculed for years for the C5, but hindsight is 20/20. In light of today's greater eco awareness, Sinclair was really onto something.

Launched in 1985, the electric vehicle had serious limitations, but boasted qualities we now look for in modern modes of transportation. After all, the car could run for five miles on a couple of cents -- the majority of its power came from a battery. And at a cost of less than $1,000 (in today's money), the vehicle was an attractive proposition.

Today, larger cars have adopted eco tech. Furthermore, small electric town cars with limited range are driven in cities across the world. The C5 seems like a distant ancestor to such vehicles.

Unfortunately, in spite of its advantages, the C5 was impractical for the British climate, and therefore suffered technical and road safety issues. Less than 13,000 of them sold. The company went into receivership the same year it launched.

4. Apple MessagePad/Newton

Needing virtually no introduction, the infamous Apple Newton platform is the great-grandparent of the iPhone and iPad.

Although expensive and a little buggy, the touchscreen MessagePad PDAs enjoyed popularity among many Apple fans, and have since reached cult status.

Too niche and costly at the time to be sustained by Apple, the Newton platform and related hardware was axed by Steve Jobs. He instead streamlined the Apple product portfolio soon after his return to the company in 1997.

Since then, of course, Apple has enjoyed astonishing success with its most recent touchscreen iOS platform.

Incidentally, for those who still have a hankering for a Newton, the "Einstein" program offers an emulator.

5. The Netmachine

Net PCs or Internet appliances such as the Netmachine (see commercial above), the Sony eVilla, the 3com Audrey or the i-Opener were a new breed of home computers launched in the late '90s and early 2000s.

They were "lite" computers, suitable for surfing, email and some multimedia applications. At the time, however, confident consumers were happy to pay the difference for a full-fledged system, making Net PCs a flop.

Recently, the principle behind such simple machines has since seen a resurgence -- first netbooks, then iOS and Android tablets and, even more recently, the new ChromeBooks.

6. Rabbit Phones

As the commercial above will illustrate, a Rabbit home phone could make wireless calls when you were in range of a Rabbit transmitter.

Thanks to poor timing, Hutchison's location-specific telephone service was a flat-out failure. Although the telecom company had the license for such a system in the late '80s, it wasn't until 1992 that the service launched. By then, full-scale cellular networks appealed more to consumers than a location-based solution.

However, by seeing the value in "hot spots" of connectivity, the Rabbit network's premise can be compared to the Wi-Fi coverage most of us enjoy (and make VoIP calls via) today.

7. Sega Activator

Microsoft's Kinect is nothing new. In 1993 the Sega Genesis (or "Mega Drive" outside the U.S.) got the "Activator Full Body Controller" add-on.

This plastic hexagon shot out infrared beams that, when disrupted, would produce action within the game. For this reason, fighting games such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were obvious titles for the system.

Sadly for forward-thinking Sega, the high cost and lack of software meant the Activator was not a hit (as was often the case with innovations in the fragmented 90s gaming market).

Meanwhile, Microsoft has passed the 10 million sales mark for Kinect. Ouch!

8. WebTV

In the mid-'90s WebTV sought to bring the world wide web to TV sets, allowing consumers to surf more than just channels.

The subscription service was delivered via set-top boxes. Too much hassle for too little return meant WebTV was never a huge hit with consumers at the time.

Nowadays we're seeing more and more Internet-enabled TVs with tech already built in. Although we're far from seeing an enabled TV in every home, it does seem inevitable that cable boxes of the future will boast connectivity.

As a footnote to the this flop, WebTV was acquired by Microsoft in the late '90s and eventually turned into MSN TV.

9. Nokia N-Gage

Poor old Nokia. Back in 2003, before the iPhone or the App Store were even a glint in Steve Jobs' eye, this Finnish phone company recognized a consumer demand for cellphone video games.

Unfortunately, Nokia paired this clever innovation with terrible hardware.

The original N-Gage handset was an absolute stinker. It felt bulky, looked ugly and suffered from several major design flaws. Changing games was a chore that required removing the cover and the battery. The mic was located on the side of the phone; users held the device sideways to speak. The inconvenience prompted the nickname "taco phone" and the catchphrase "side-talking". In addition, the N-Gage had a portrait screen instead of landscape. And to top it all off, the buttons weren't particularly well-placed.

Subsequent models did develop some improvements, but due to poor sales Nokia dropped the hardware. Instead, N-Gage became the gaming platform for Nokia's N-Series handsets.

However, none of this was enough to save N-Gage, leaving the iOS and Android platforms free to mop up the mobile gaming market.

10. NSFW (NUDITY): Amstrad Video Phone

British technology company Amstrad attempted to launch a home video phone in 2004. At that point, video phones had been a technical possibility for years -- AT&T offered a "Picturephone" service as early as the 1960s. Amstrad felt the public was ready to embrace such tech.

They weren't. Many considered video phones highly invasive. Not to mention, idiotic advertising premises (see commercial above) did nothing to rectify that conception. The Video Phone failed.

However, fast forward about a decade, where most of us think nothing of hopping on a Skype video session or taking a FaceTime call.

Skip ahead for one more bonus slide about a product that definitely wasn't ahead of its time.

BONUS: And Finally, One That Wasn't Ahead of Its Time -- the MotorolaROKR E1

To round off our gallery of "good ideas that were launched too soon and flopped," we'll flip the coin and look at a product so crippled from bad design and functionality that it seems bizarre anyone would authorize its release.

Take a trip back with us to 2005: Apple is on fire with its massively popular iPods, and Motorola is riding high on the success of the RAZR. Rumors abound that the two companies are in talks to collaborate on a cell phone -- dubbed the iPhone.

Apple calls a special media event. Fanboys and girls hold their collective breath as Jobs unveils the ROKR E1, an ugly, rebadged Motorola E398 candybar handset with -- wait for it -- limited iTunes integration. (And when we say limited, we mean it.) The ROKR contained memory capacity for just one hundred songs, included no dedicated media buttons and allowed for no wireless downloads.

Despite its drawbacks, Motorola embarked on a star-studded advertising campaign; one of the ads can be seen above. However, with such crippling specs, (and the fact that Apple launched the iPod Nano the same day), the ROKR E1 was destined to fail.

Why Apple ever worked with Moto on such a product, why they implemented it on such cruddy hardware, and why Moto accepted such limited integration remains a consumer tech mystery to this day...

More Related Resources from Mashable

- 5 Vintage Apple Products That Time Forgot [PICS]
- 9 Notable Tech Flops That Live in Infamy
- The Evolution of the Apple Mouse [PICS]
- 5 Media Format Flops Destined To Be Forgotten [VIDEOS]
- 10 Vintage Apple Ads That Time Forgot [VIDEOS]

Newton image courtesy of Marcus Daniel

More About: apple, gallery, history, List, Lists, microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, polaroid, retro, sega, tech, trending, video, videos, vintage

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5 Clever Ways to Get a Job Using Social Media

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 01:02 PM PDT

Dan Schawbel is the author of Me 2.0 and the founder of Millennial Branding, a full-service personal branding agency. He's spoken about personal branding at Google, Harvard, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Read his Personal Branding Blog for more information.

Social media is making it easier to find the right jobs, and for you to connect to the right people that can help you get those jobs. Many job seekers are still using traditional job search methods that are yielding poor results. The New York Post reported that one woman applied for more than one thousand jobs over 99 weeks, getting only two interviews. Nearly one in three job seekers has been out of work for more than a year, and the average job seeker gives up after five months.

But you don't have to end up like these professionals! By understanding who you are, what differentiates you in the marketplace and establishing your personal branding online, you can compete in the new talent marketplace. Once you've built your own website and established your social network profiles, you're ready to start leveraging your relationships and talents to get the job of your dreams, not just one that pays the bills.

More and more companies are recruiting using social media, and 40% of young professionals are using social media to get jobs, reports Elance. You can have a successful job search by following these five new ways to get a job using social media.

1. Leverage Your Social Graph

People get jobs through other people, not computers. By having a personal connection to the company you're applying for, your chances of getting a job multiply. If all you do is submit your resume blindly on job boards, you won't have much luck. Ten years ago, it would take you a lot of effort to ask your friends who they know and to remember where all your friends work. Now, you can tap your social graph on social networks and have all of that information at your fingertips. For job seekers, this means that you can get introductions to people who work at companies you're interested in. For companies, this means growing your business though introductions instead of cold calls. The internet is your personal research laboratory. Here are a few tools that will help you tap into your social graph during your job search:

  • 1. LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives you access to hiring managers through your close connections. After creating your profile, upload all of your email contacts so that you have a foundation to build upon. Then, search for a company or position, filter your results by location and see who in your immediate network can introduce you to a hiring manager. LinkedIn forces us all to do more research on employees and companies before interviews. All of their information is online, so it's created an expectation that you're doing your homework.
  • 2. Think of as a job board overlay on your Facebook social graph. It connects's aggregated job board database and your Facebook social graph to show you who in your network can connect you with specific openings. You can find jobs at your friends' companies, search for jobs in different cities by preference and search by company and job title.
  • 3. Much like, BranchOut utilizes your Facebook social graph. The main difference is that you access BranchOut from within your Facebook profile, and it gives you more of a professional identity. It was always hard to build a professional identity on Facebook but BranchOut has tried to solve that. With $18 million in a recent venture capital round by Redpoint Ventures, more than 3 million job listings and 20,000 internships listings, this site is serious business. Like LinkedIn, you can get recommendations on your page, and like Foursquare, you can earn badges.

2. Use Augmented Reality and Job Search Apps

People are starting to use mobile applications to see job openings near them and apply with just a few touches of an iPhone or Android. In fact 20% of job seekers use their smartphone in their search for a job, reports LinkUp. "Augmented reality" blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. If you have an iPhone, you should download the "Layar" application. Once installed, click on "Layars" from the bottom menu and search for "JobAmp Mobile." When you use this layar, you will be able to see all the companies near your current location and what positions are open at them. This information is very useful if you see a company you're interested in when walking around your city.

In 2009, I wrote a post for Mashable on the top iPhone job search applications. Since 2009, I've found a number of other good applications that will assist you in your search, wherever that may be:

  • CareerBliss (Free). It has company reviews, salary information, and about three million job listings.
  • Good Job ($4.99). Organize your job search by tracking jobs from multiple sites, contacts, interview schedules, resumes and more.
  • Real-Time Jobs (Free). Attach a social network profile and video to Twitter job postings.
  • BusyBee (Free). If you're a freelancer, then you can find contract opportunities nearby with this app.

3. Build Your Online Influence

More than a decade ago, if you had the right “hard” skills (i.e., C++ programming), you were almost guaranteed a job. You could almost trade your college diploma for a job upon graduation. Then, as the economy changed and became more competitive, companies started to pay attention to a new set of skills. Soft skills (i.e., communication, organization, leadership, etc) became increasingly important as a way to choose one candidate over another. Companies were interested — and still are — in passion, teamwork and cultural fit. In today's world, not only do you need strong hard and soft skills, but you need to develop online influence. When two candidates look the same on paper and are both good communicators, the differentiator will be their online influence.

Online influence is measured in how many connections you have, who those connections are (and how influential they are), who and how many people are sharing your content and backlinking to your website and more., a site that measures online influence and gives you a “Klout score,” is becoming increasingly popular with employers. If you have a high Klout score, it can help you get hired over the next person. Online influence attracts employers, who are increasingly looking to hire professionals who are already well-known by their target audience. Companies understand that those with larger networks are more productive and can generate new business, recruit top talent and market their brand better than someone who lacks a big network.

4. Use Multimedia Instead of a Paper Resume

A recent OfficeTeam survey noted that 36% of companies think that it’s at least somewhat likely resumes will eventually be replaced by profiles on social and business networking sites. More and more professionals are using creative ways to promote themselves online. I've seen rap videos, dedicated Facebook Pages, a blog saying "hire me" and presentations. These promotional tactics can be effective and even land some media attention, which could turn into a few job offers. Since very few job seekers take the time to invest in these tactics, they stand out and are shared widely.

Google Doodles for Father’s Day: Every One Since 2000 [PICS]

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 11:44 AM PDT

Take a look at our gallery of Google doodles for Father’s Day, going all the way back to the year 2000.

This year, Google wishes dads all over the world a happy Father’s Day with a simple design, an embossed tie motif that resembles the style we saw in the company’s Mother’s Day doodle.

SEE ALSO: Happy Mother's Day: We Celebrate With Google Doodles [PICS]

While we were hoping for something as spectacular as that Les Paul interactive doodle that turned us all into quasi-musicians, this one’s simple and understated elegance is still quite pleasant.

The necktie is a recurring theme for Google doodles on this day, but that’s not all — there’s a range of creations on display in our gallery of Father’s Day doodles from the past decade:

Happy Father's Day 2010

Happy Father's Day 2009

Happy Father's Day 2008

Happy Father's Day 2007

Happy Father's Day 2006

Happy Father's Day 2005

Happy Father's Day 2004

Happy Father's Day 2003

Happy Father's Day 2002

Happy Father's Day 2001

Happy Father's Day 2000

More About: Father's Day, google doodles, Happy Father's Day

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How Big Is the Web & How Fast Is It Growing?

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 11:08 AM PDT

There’s no easy way to find out or explain the size of the web.

After all, though there are a few governing bodies and consortia, there’s no real central control system for the Internet. No one really knows with 100% certainty exactly how many websites exist, for example, or how many new websites are set up each day.

However, a few organizations do make it their business to keep an eye on the domain names that make up the Internet as the web continues its rapid sprawl throughout the infinite expanses of cyberspace. Although their data isn’t infallible, it does give us a pretty good idea of the size and growth of the web.

We’ve gathered information from a few of these sources and created some handy graphics below to help put it all in perspective.

How Old Is the Web?

The oldest currently registered URL is, which was registered March 15, 1985. Other notable domains in the first 10 registered URLs include,, and, all registered in 1985. [source:]

Who Registers the Web's Domains?

GoDaddy is the largest ICANN registrar of domain names, controlling almost a third of the total market and almost half of domains from the top ten registrars. Enom, Tucows, and Network Solutions are next in line, with 5-9% each. [source:]

How Many TLDs Exist?

A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the URL that comes after the dot. There are currently 324 TLDs. 291 of these are country codes. Only 5 TLDs (.com, .net, .biz, .info and .org) are unrestricted and unreserved for specific types of sites. [source: IANA]

How Fast Is the Web Growing?

Just how fast is the web growing? In 2009, around 3.7 million new domains were registered each month. As of June 2011, it's not uncommon for 150,000 new domains to be registered with generic TLDs alone in a single day. [sources: VeriSign and]

How Big Is the Web?

How many websites are there? That's a difficult question to answer, because there's no central control system for the Internet. Here are some tidbits we do know:

[graphic source: Netcraft]

Top image based on a photograph from iStockphoto user Petrovich9.

More About: domain name, godaddy, hostname, how big is the web, how many websites, server, TLD, top leve domain, url

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RIP Clarence Clemons: Internet Mourns Death of The Big Man [VIDEOS]

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 10:04 AM PDT

Clarence Clemons died Saturday night at the age of 69, immediately followed by an outpouring of grief and remembrance worldwide.

The E Street Band saxophonist, known as the “Big Man,” was revered for his big tenor sax sound, giant stature, and larger-than-life charisma, playing in his inimitable soulful style next to Bruce Springsteen for nearly four decades. He was seen most recently on Lady Gaga‘s new video, “Edge of Glory.”

Expressions of love and loss were trending on Twitter (#ripclarenceclemons) and dominating the discussion across the rest of the Internet, as fans remembered Clarence Clemons and his music.

Bruce Springsteen mourned the loss of his esteemed colleague and longtime friend in a statement:

“Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”

Rest in peace, Big Man. You’ll be sorely missed.

A group of videos to remember the beloved Big Man:

Clarence Clemons: Twilight of the 'Big Man'

The Big Man of the E Street Band speaks out on music, the glory days and his intense connection with Bruce Springsteen. (Nov. 12)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Jungleland (PROSHOT)

Filmed at Hard Rock Calling 2009, Hyde Park, London, UK. 28-6-2009

Clarence Clemons Plays The National Anthem April 1, 2011

At the Florida Marlins opening day game against the NY Mets.

Clarence Clemons on Letterman

Somebody had to be the Big Man. The star of the E Street Band (if you don't count Danny, Gary, Max, Roy, Patty, Steve and that other guy).

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run

Music video by Bruce Springsteen performing Born To Run. (C) 1982 Bruce Springsteen

Sherry Darlin'- Bruce Springsteen & Clarence Clemons

Bruce Springsteen introduces & has fun on stage with Clarence Clemons

Bruce Springsteen - Paradise By The C (Live 1978)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Paradise By The C at Capital Center in Landover, Maryland on August 15/1978

Bruce Springsteen - The Ties That Bind - Frankfurt 2009-07-03 CLOSEUP

Bruce is bloody awesome, go to his concerts!

Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days

Music video by Bruce Springsteen performing Glory Days. (C) 1985 Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen - The Promised Land

1978-08-15 - Landover.

Image courtesy YouTube/Bruce83Filming

More About: bruce springsteen, Clarence Clemons, E Street Band, RIP Clarence Clemons, twitter

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3 Handy Apps for Digital Wizards

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 08:41 AM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Each weekend, Mashable handpicks a few startups that we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This time we’ve curated a collection of applications that should come in handy the next time you’re planning a hotel stay, interested in promoting your digital prowess or looking to list your events calendar in a social way.

We like Infostripe as a simple way to create a mobile-friendly microsite that represents our web presences, and FYi Fly is a nifty interactive calendar app for the social butterflies among us. Then there’s Bedmap, a hotel search engine that makes mapping out future road trips a breeze.

Infostripe: Mobile-Friendly Personal Landing Pages

Quick Pitch: Create customizable infostripes to show off your tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates, YouTube videos and more.

Genius Idea: Simple, mobile-friendly personal splash pages..

Mashable’s Take: Infostripe is a slightly different interpretation of a personal landing page tool, similar in nature to or Flavors. Where Infostripe differs is in its focus on simplicity and mobile.

“The founding motivation for Infostripe was to create a unique mobile-ready and shareable website that anyone could set up regardless of their skill level,” creator Harold Fudge tells Mashable.

You can use your Infostripe to represent your entire presence on the web by including linked icons for as many as 200 social sites, or by featuring your recent status updates, videos and photos.

You can also optionally include contact information and turn your Infostripe into a digital business card, or choose to collect web content on any subject matter in a notebook-like fashion.

Bedmap: Map-Based Hotel Search

Quick Pitch: Bedmap is a map-based search tool for finding hotels.

Genius Idea: Making finding hotels for road trips more manageable.

Mashable’s Take: Many hotel sites tack maps on to their search result pages to highlight hotel locations, but Bedmap makes the map the focus of its site.

Bedmap offers users a simple, fast and elegant map-based interface — with appropriate filters for desired amenities — for viewing hotels and rates by destination. Because of its map-centric approach, Bedmap could prove especially useful for those in search of road-side hotels on their summer road trips.

The Toronto-based startup was founded in January and gets its listings and reviews from global hotel database partners and TripAdvisor.

FYi Fly: Facebook-Infused Social Calendar for Your Site

Quick Pitch: FYi Fly is a social event listing site and calendar widget for your site with Facebook integration.

Genius Idea: A slick social calendar for your website or blog.

Mashable’s Take: FYi Fly is a convenient little calendar application designed for event organizers and attendees alike.

Use the tool to build out your social calendar, customize the size and look of the widget and then grab the embed code to list your upcoming events on your site.

Visitors who mark that they’re attending your events via the widget will also post their attendance to their Facebook walls, further promoting your events. You can even encourage event attendees to add their own photos and comments to your events.

Altogether, FYi Fly is as pretty and functional as anything we’ve seen in the social events startup category.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, fotoVoyager

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: Bedmap, bizspark, FYi Fly, infostripe, spark-of-genius, Startup Weekend Roundup

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