Monday, 25 July 2011

Mashable: Latest 15 News Updates - including “Mashable Weekend Recap: 25 Stories You May Have Missed”

Mashable: Latest 15 News Updates - including “Mashable Weekend Recap: 25 Stories You May Have Missed”

Mashable Weekend Recap: 25 Stories You May Have Missed

Posted: 25 Jul 2011 05:01 AM PDT

Social media tracked the profound stories of the world this weekend, and we stayed on top of the news as it spread throughout our society, with help from Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

You might have heard of the weekend’s tragedies — and comedies, too — although perhaps not from the unique perspective of Mashable. We found the good and bad, the agony and the ecstasy for you while you were out there sweating (or freezing if you’re in the southern hemisphere) through the statistically second-hottest/coldest weekend of the year.

No sweat, though: You don’t have to miss a thing if you partake of our collection of everything we posted since Friday night, right here:

News & Opinion Essentials

Rainbow Niagara Falls Photo Goes Viral on Twitter [PIC]

Why Location-Based Gaming Is The Next Killer App [OPINION]

Oslo Bombing Video Is a Facebook Scam, Infecting 1 User Per Second [WARNING]

Amy Winehouse's Last Performance Caught on YouTube [VIDEO]

Amy Winehouse Found Dead

Buyer Beware: BBB Highlights Top 10 Online Scams [INFOGRAPHIC]

This Week in Digital & Politics: GOP Edition

Norway Attacks: Suspect's Social Media Trail Examined

Why Dependability Is the Most Important Quality for Businesses [OPINION]

Helpful Resources

8 Ways To Recruit Startup Talent Using Social Media

HOW TO: Use Google+ For Your Job Search

HOW TO: Get Journalists to Tell Your Story

Top Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Spotify Invites: Mashable Wants to Give You One [CONTEST]

3 Cool Tools for Finding Activities, Apps & Information

14 Ways to Create a Memorable Business Card [PICS]

Make Your Own Subscription Service With Memberly

Weekend Leisure

GuideMe Doles Out Deals for the Venues You Love

Meet Some of's Top DJs

Review: Droid 3 Smartphone Does It All [PICS]

Sony 3D HDTV Offers Perfect Picture But Awkward Internet [REVIEW]

Etsy's Unofficial Music Scene Takes Off

15 Beautiful and Creative QR Codes [PICS]

Dexter Slice of Life: A Facebook Game for Your Inner Serial Killer

Captain America: The First Avenger Targets Social Media Success

More About: Weekend recap

For more Social Media coverage:

Fake Apple Stores in China Ordered To Close

Posted: 25 Jul 2011 04:13 AM PDT

The authorities in the Chinese city of Kunming have ordered two fake Apple stores to close after a blog wrote about them exposed their existence to the media.

BirdAbroad, a blog that describes the experiences of an American living in China, wrote about the stores several days ago, pointing out the meticulous attention to detail, which made these Apple “outlets” nearly identical to the real thing.

Several media outlets picked up the news, which caught the attention of Apple and, eventually, the Kunming authorities, which launched an investigation.

Chinese law recognizes trademark protection and prohibits copying the “look and feel” of other companies’ stores. However, only two of the five offending stores were closed — and the one initially highlighted by BirdAbroad was not one of them.

A more recent post on BirdAbroad highlights other “fake” Apple stores around the world, but the one in Zagreb, Croatia, is, to my knowledge, simply an authorized reseller.

Apple has four official stores in China — two in Beijing and two in Shanghai — but none in Kunming.

Image courtesy of BirdAbroad

[via Reuters]

More About: apple, Apple Store, china, fake

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

EXCLUSIVE: Fabio Issues “Challenge” to Old Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa [VIDEO]

Posted: 25 Jul 2011 04:00 AM PDT

A lot of Old Spice fans have been wondering whether last week's round of new ads featuring Fabio meant that the old Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa, is out.

Good news for Mustafa fans: A source at Procter & Gamble says Mustafa is still involved and, in fact, will be answering this "challenge" that Fabio will put forth on Monday. Mustafa will respond around 1 p.m. EST.

The plotline is the answer to the question in advertising circles: "What will Old Spice do next?" After unprecedented success with Mustafa's "Smell like a man, man" campaign from ad agency Wieden + Kennedy that hit in 2010, the brand has mostly just tweaked the campaign. Though a replacement for Mustafa has appeared in foreign markets, in the U.S., things haven't really evolved. Until now, that is.

Keep an eye out for more silliness on Monday. You don't think Mustafa's going to back down from Fabio's challenge, do you?

More About: advertising, MARKETING, old spice, twitter, wieden & kennedy, youtube

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Google Nexus S Now Available at Best Buy

Posted: 25 Jul 2011 02:08 AM PDT

If you’ve been eying Samsung’s latest Android smartphone, the Google Nexus S, take notice: The device is now available in subsidized form with an AT&T contract, exclusively at Best Buy.

The device sports the latest Android variant, Gingerbread or Android 2.3, as well as a 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU, a 4-inch, 800×480 touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and 16 GB of internal memory.

It also brings the whole connectivity shebang to the table: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 as well as NFC, the technology that allows simple wireless transactions, poised to become widely supported in the near future.

The unlocked version of Samsung/Google Nexus S costs $529, but it will only set you back $99 with a two-year contract with AT&T.

More About: android, best buy, Nexus S, samsung, samsung nexus s, smartphone

For more Mobile coverage:

Airbnb Raises $112 Million to Take Its Marketplace For Places Global

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 11:58 PM PDT

Airbnb, the popular marketplace for places, has raised $112 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global and General Catalyst in order to boost international growth.

The company is now worth north of $1 billion, according to our sources. It’s a big jump from the $7.2 million Series A it raised in November 2010. The company also received a “significant investment” from Ashton Kutcher just a few months ago.

"Today is a watershed moment – both for Airbnb as a company and for our community — that will enable us to touch new markets and expand our vision to make the world's most interesting and inspiring places accessible to our users,” co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

Andreessen Horowitz, whose portfolio companies now include, Foursquare, Facebook, Groupon, Instagram, Twitter, Zynga and Skype, led the round with a $60 million investment. founder Jeff Bezos is also reportedly invested as well.

The money is clearly meant to fuel growth rather than cash out its existing investors, something that Facebook, Groupon and others have done with their massive funding rounds. Airbnb faces international competition from companies like Wimdu, which it publicly calls “impostors.” They money could be used for international acquisitions, a strategy Groupon has liberally utilized.

“And while [Airbnb] has accomplished a ton in just a couple of years, we believe that they're just scratching the surface of their potential,” Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan said about the acquisition. “They have opportunities to go much deeper in their current categories, broaden into new categories of spaces, and build out their global footprint. They are truly pioneering a new marketplace, where access to spaces is more valuable than ownership.”

More About: AirBNB, andreessen horowitz, ashton kutcher, business, digital sky technologies, DST, funding, jeff bezos

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

40 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 06:56 PM PDT

Coming at you with the weekly roundup of features you may have missed on Mashable. Can you handle our collection of Google+ tips, mobile how-to’s, and general geekery? We thought so.

We especially hope you love the editors’ picks this week because we have a hunch they’re exactly what you need. Read on for the latest in tech resources, gathered together for your convenience in this handy one-stop guide.

Editors’ Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Image courtesy of Flickr, webtreats.

More About: business, List, Lists, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, social media, tech, technology

For more Social Media coverage:

GuideMe Doles Out Deals for the Venues You Love

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 05:43 PM 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.

Name: GuideMe

Quick Pitch: GuideMe helps you build a local to-do list and get deals on the places you care about.

Genius Idea: Matching deals to places you love or want to try.

Daily deal services send you local deals via email, but you might be more inclined to buy if deal offers were matched up against the venues that you already like and the ones you know you want to try.

That’s the idea behind GuideMe, an early stage startup that lets you build a list, called a “GuideList,” of the places you want to go and the locales that you’ve already been to and love — for sharing with friends and finding savings.

You can manually look up and add places to your GuideList, or use the feed of activity to find places that your friends are trying and recommending. If you’re a Foursquare user, you can automate the list creation process and connect your account to import checkins.

As you add places to your GuideList, the catalog becomes a comprehensive collection of spots you’d like to visit, the venues you’ve already tried and the locales that you love. You can then view and filter locales on a map and even book takes via OpenTable.

Your list also doubles as a directory of places that GuideMe then uses to track down relevant daily deals. The startup, with the help of Yipit and other deals partners, monitors daily deal sites to alert you when there’s an active deal at one of the places on your list.

GuideMe intends to do more than serve targeted daily deals offers to users; it hopes to tackle the larger problem of helping people find things to eat, see and do whether at home or traveling.

“We're on a mission to provide tools to make discovering, saving and sharing those recommendations easier, while also providing users with as much value as we can along the way,” GuideMe CEO and co-founder Pat McCarthy says.

GuideMe does have a clean and crisp interface, but the product may be lacking a magical element that keeps users coming back. There’s also no mobile applications yet, which means referencing your to-do list while on the go will not be an easy task.

Launched to the public in late June, GuideMe is the product of Yahoo and Right Media alums. The startup has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, thesuperph

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: bizspark, daily deals, GuideMe, Recommendations, reviews, social media, spark-of-genius, startup

For more Startups coverage:

8 Ways To Recruit Startup Talent Using Social Media

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 05:06 PM PDT

handshake image

Scott Gerber is the founder of Sizzle It!, a New York-based sizzle reel production company and the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist, angel investor, public speaker and author of the best-selling book Never Get a “Real” Job: How To Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke.

The hardest part of growing a blossoming startup beyond infancy is recruiting talent. The right team can take your venture to new heights whereas the wrong one can push it off a cliff.

Even though we are in a “employer’s” market, traditional recruitment channels, such as recruitment firms, may prove too expensive for fledgling businesses. Startups should consider using social media as a recruitment tool.

When executed properly, social media offers recruiting managers a larger applicant pool, more access to information that will enable them to better pre-screen and filter candidates and, most importantly, a more direct line of communication to the potential hires themselves.

It is important to avoid missteps. Spamming people will get your business nowhere fast. It’s a tricky balancing act but by being respectful, honest and human, your next big hire might just come from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

I asked a group of successful young entrepreneurs about the best ways to use social media to recruit top notch startup talent. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Achieve Expert Status

wright imageUse social media to help build a strong brand and then let the top talent come to you. The ideal situation is to have others wanting to work with you, whatever the conditions, so by simply being great at what you do and building your brand around that, you shouldn’t have any trouble drawing in top talent (then make them happy they contacted you!).

Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle

2. Tweet with Hashtags

wong imageWhen promoting any new openings at your startup, tweet out with special hashtags for #hiring, #startupjobs and whatever industry or trade you’re hiring from to get the attention of the right candidates.

Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

3. Twitter Is Your Best Friend

saladino imageScout for startup talent using Twitter search with hashtags and terms relevant to your industry. Compile a list of potential candidates and evaluate their Twitter activity by looking at their number of followers as well as the quality of their tweets. Use Follower Wonk‘s “Compare whom they follow” to compare candidates with industry leaders and look at shared connections and “Wonk Score”.

Andrew Saladino, RTA Kitchen Cabinets

4. Pick the Folks You Want

bram imageWhen you’re still early in the startup process, you have to make sure that you’ve got the right team. That means knowing as much as possible before even suggesting that you’re looking … social media makes it easy to find out all sorts of [information].

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

5. Have a Contest

bell imageChoose an important trait you’re looking for and host a contest via social media. Get creative with submissions and guidelines. Share the contest with influencers and hubs and invite them to send talent your way.

Lisa Nicole Bell, Inspired Life Media Group

6. Get a Referral

blaskie imageReferrals are the lifeblood of many a business. It works the same when it comes to recruitment via social media. Ask your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts for solid leads for the new position in your company. By having someone come pre-qualified, you end up with (usually) a better candidate and someone whom you can trust.

Erin Blaskie, BSETC

7. Listen, Converse and Engage

holmes imageBesides LinkedIn being amazing for recruiting startup talent, I'd say monitoring job trends on Twitter and keeping your job board updated is also a great pull strategy. If you have a current job board and are sending your opportunities through your social media channels, then your message will be heard and re-posted in all the right areas.

Ryan Holmes, HootSuite

8. YouTube Your Vision

margolis imageYou have to get people to believe in your story. Especially when you’re in startup mode. So record a short video where you describe your vision, progress and motivations. Help prospective talent connect with your deeper story. What’s the next chapter they can help to create? Share that video across social media.

Michael Margolis, Get Storied

Image courtesy of Flickr, oooh.oooh

More About: hiring, Recruiting, social media, startup, yec

For more Startups coverage:

Meet Some of’s Top DJs

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 04:07 PM PDT

They reign over like mighty kings and queens, showering the sweet manna of music onto their followers. Some hide behind mysterious monikers, others are legit celebrities, but all devote hours and hours per day to the noble cause of DJing.

Mashable reached out to some of buzzy, still-in-beta startup‘s power users to reveal the women and men behind the avatars. Check out our Q&As with these top DJs — as well as their song or choice — below.

Note: Some of the songs chosen were too obscure to locate on YouTube, so we subbed in random videos instead.

DJ Wooooo

Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

I'd be on the street collecting cans if the people that pay me knew how much time I spend on TT. Seriously though. I'm back and forth between NYC and some rural New England town. I'm a tech startup(s) guy. My fans call me DJ Wooooo.

How did you first hear about

I was lucky enough to be Facebook friends with some of the first people on TT, which means I had access in the first week or so. As productivity at the office began to suffer, I embraced it and decided to make it a daily activity, because if and when it takes over my life, I want to have a solid footing in the world of online avatar DJing.

How many hours per day do you use it?

Chances are if I'm sitting at my desk, trying to get work done, I'm multi-tasking as a DJ. Or if I'm watching a movie with the girlfriend, or eating dinner on a table strong enough to hold a laptop, I'm probably DJing, too. So my queue is running and I'm jumping in to comment on something now and then for at least 8 hours a day. I believe that with America in a state of historic debt, the only thing that could make it worse is Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible service, but the way they've implemented "social music" has potential to seriously disrupt productivity. Obviously the Turntable team has a winner on their hands.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

I identified a need early on, and created my own room to satisfy that need. DJ Wooooo's House is consistently the most popular room on TT. We get people coming back for three reasons: the music is always good, we have a group of "regulars", and we get very popular artists coming in and playing unreleased stuff to a very targeted group of music lovers that may have never heard of them before. Once an artist visits the room once and sees the power it has to spread their brand, they always come back. The only thing we need now is a room that holds more than 200 people.

Number-one DJ song?

It changes every few days. Right now, it's a track remixed by Lazerdisk Party Sex called "Selecta."


Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

I am a 42-year-old stay-at-home-father from Oregon named Chris Warren. I have four kids ranging from 19 to 8 years old.

How did you first hear of

I heard of from a post by a high school classmate on Facebook. He posted that he was DJ'ing in the Headbanger's Ball room and I was intrigued enough to go take a peek. I don't think I have left since for any real length of time.


How many hours per day do you use it?

I think I am an unusual case for this question. My wife is a teacher and so my summers are less busy than a lot of people. Typically if I don't have anything taking me out of the house I have Turntable going most of the day. I am not always DJ'ing, but I often have it open for the background music and to chat with friends (most of whom I didn't know before Turntable). I think my personal record in the DJ chair is 18.5 hours. I had things keeping me in the house that day, but not demanding too much of my attention so I just never found a reason to step down.

That probably makes me sound pretty lifeless. I don't spend every waking minute on Turntable really.  But when I am sitting around with not a lot else to do anyway it is fun to have one headphone on and keep up with chat while the kids are watching television or something.


How did you get so popular? Any tips?

I didn't really set out to get popular, there is probably a lesson in that alone. I just found that I really enjoyed Turntable and the people I met there. The '80s room I usually call home requires a balance. I try to play some stuff that is not strictly a Top 10 hit, but you can't play stuff that nobody has heard of too much or they shut down on you. Reading the mood of the room and keeping up a chat helps too. If nothing else, ask the room what they are in the mood for.

I think trying to figure out what people want to hear (even if they don't know it yet) is half the fun of Turntable. It is challenging to scramble in the few minutes duration of the song before you to find a good fit to match it, or to decide that you want to kick people off in a different direction. Some of the most fun evenings I have had have been when I just picked out stuff that hadn't been heard before. Maybe a popular artist, but one of their lesser-known singles rather than the one that hit #1.

Number-one DJ song?

Oh, there's the tough question.  The last time I counted it up my queue was about 11 hours long.  I do have a few I usually always play though.  "Freaks Come Out At Night" by Whodini does well, as does (remember, '80s room) Rick Astley.  One I champion all the time, but can sometimes get mixed results is "Goodbye To You" by Scandal.  It is one of my favorite songs, but it is one of their lesser-known songs when put against their big song "The Warrior" (which I also love to play).

Alex Mizell

Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

My real name is Alex Mizell. During the week I'm the IT Manager for a cable television provider in Atlanta, GA. I spin house, trance, DnB and '80s at clubs and parties many weekends.

How did you first hear of

My friend Rob Skipworth is a pro sound engineer and he turned me onto it pretty early on.

How many hours per day do you use it?

I would say 8-10 hours a day would be typical, but not all of that is DJ time.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

Every good DJ is sort of a politician. The goal is to please as many different demographics in a room as possible while not offending the rest. I play music that lies at the intersection of what I think the audience will love and what I like to hear myself. In my favorite rooms it's usually energetic, loud and has some sort of novel musical element that makes it distinctive.

Number-one DJ song?

Sub Focus, "Rock It."


Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

I'm Paul. By day I am in systems administration, which basically means I listen to music and type madly into bleak windows full of text when I'm not dealing with phone calls about servers being on fire. I work from home in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by large pieces of glowing glass with the aforementioned tiny-text-filled windows all over them.

I listen to a lot of music.

How did you first hear of

A little Internet whispered it into my ear!  Beyond that, I don't recall firmly -- someone tweeted a link to an article that referenced someone's comment about another ... You know how it is. I do not get much time to peruse the net, so when I have such time I end up blurring most things together. I understand videos of cats are big somewhere these days. Within two minutes of seeing what this site did, I tweeted: " has, in 120 seconds, changed the way I listen to music at work. Nice job, guys."

How many hours per day do you use it?

Turntable has almost completely replaced other forms of musical entertainment for me. We use it in the living room when I'm not at work, and during my work hours it's up in a window in the bottom left corner of one of those glowing panes of glass I stare at. This means it's probably on somewhere in the house between 10 and 18 hours per day, depending on my workload and evening plans. And I'm not the only user in the household!

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

I DJ while I work, and I find that it takes just a few seconds every 15-20 minutes to pick my next song and help keep the room flowing. Five DJs doing that together make for a fantastic room. Even one AFK DJ can really break that up and you lose the crowd's attention. You can always tell a good room -- people aren't begging for DJ slots.

I really enjoy playing things people haven't heard before, and that's what I enjoy hearing most from others as well. If you're just after points, that's really not the fastest way to get them. I'd wager my points per hour is lowest of any of the "top" DJs, but I'm pretty sure I'm having the most fun.


Here's what I'd recommend if you want to be a great DJ:

- Pick a room that you like, a genre you like, and stick to it. Get to know the flow there, and put everything into your queue that you ever might want to play.


- Stick around! Choose your next song based on the past couple that have played. Keep the flow going or, if you have the perfect transition, send it in a new direction.

Then you have a choice:

- Play things that you know about, but others may not have heard. This is not the fastest way to get points, but it is the best way to explore new music. And isn't that why we are there? You will get fans that are interested in music this way, but fewer points.


- Play the songs that get the most votes. Space out the most popular artists, watch what people request when they're new to Turntable, and play those as often as you can get away with it. You will attract fans that are mostly wanting to hear things they already like. You will also get quite a lot of points very quickly.

Above all: Be nice. Enjoy what other people are playing, even if you have to do it through their ears, so to speak. Musical tastes differ, but you can love them all if you can get past your own preferences. Be that DJ you'd want to have listening while you're on the table. Talk to your listeners, listen to what they have to say, and smile often!

Number-one DJ song?

Without question the best-received songs I play are those by an artist I actually met through Turntable and who DJs in the same room as I do. Her name is Olga Nunes, and she's becoming pretty well known on ttfm. When you say "And this next track is by... the person sitting to my right" -- well, that really moves people. It brings home the whole idea of Turntable: People get together with their music. Here in Oregon I play songs by my new friend in San Francisco to people I just met from New York! None of that can happen with any other musical medium.

It is changing the game.


And it's not just limited to you and your friends -- artists are taking notice. People got to sit down with Sir Mix-A-Lot a couple of weeks ago and just play tracks for him, and hear his selections. Sir Mix-A-Lot playing Devo to 200 people in his Turntable room, right here on the Internet. Mind-blowing. And he was just the first of many.


Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

Olga Nunes, a singer/songwriter living in San Francisco.

How did you first hear of

Through highly tech-savvy friends, a few weeks after launch.

How many hours per day do you use it?

Somewhere between five to ten, often while I work on other things. Turntable has near-replaced iTunes for where I listen to songs. I've discovered so much great new music in the rooms, which I've then bought on Amazon or iTunes. It's made me a more voracious listener.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

I've gotten the best response when I play my own songs on Turntable. People love discovering new things and supporting indie music, and I think Turntable is an amazing tool for artists to connect with potential new listeners. A fair amount of people download my tracks after I play them in a Turntable room, as well as join my mailing list -- and I think artists using the site this way is a trend we'll be seeing more and more of as Turntable grows.

Number-one DJ song?

Currently the song I'm loving the most is actually one I bought because of Turntable: "Holocene," off Bon Iver's new album. Gorgeous stuff.


Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

I'm Jamie Martin, an entrepreneur/designer from Phoenix.

How did you first hear of

I saw Gary Vaynerchuk tweet about it one night.

How many hours per day do you use it?

I usually have it running from 9-5 while I'm at work, and probably an hour or so over the weekends.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

One of the frustrating aspects of some of the more popular rooms is the same four or five artists/songs get played over and over again, so I like to scour SoundCloud, Beatport and Hype Machine in my free time to bring people new music they haven't heard before. People get sick of Avicii over and over in the Coding Soundtrack room, same for Bassnectar in the dubstep room, etc.

Number-one DJ song?

My favorite song to play is probably Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie (Terravita Remix)" because it is fun to see the needle jump after it drops -- really catches people off guard, aside from being a great track.


Note: This is one of those random videos we subbed.

Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

My name is Charles Thompson. I'm a student at UNCW right now, studying Management Information Systems. I'm from North Carolina and have lived here my whole life.

How did you first hear of

I heard about Turntable from a friend. He told me about all the electronic music it played and I became very interested.

How many hours per day do you use it?

Since it's the summer, I usually play seven to eight hours straight and then take a day off. It's really addicting so I have to really pace myself.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

I got popular with the people because I play a lot, of course, but you have to interact with the crowd also. Along with interacting with the crowd, you have to play good music. If you don't play good music, you obviously won't get the points and fans that enable you to be popular. I try to avoid playing the most overplayed songs on Turntable because I think that doesn't make a good virtual DJ. I surf Hype Machine or Beatport for new tracks the crowd hasn't ever heard of before. It can be risky playing a new track because I've learned that if the crowd has never heard of it before it increases the chance of them "laming" it. It would have to be a real banger for them to awesome something they've never heard.

Just put some time into it and rack up points with tracks people know. Once you get enough points you can start to experiment with newer tracks. That's what I did and as you can tell, it's worked so far.

Number-one DJ song?

My number one DJ song would probably have to be an unreleased track by Sue Cho, "Light my Fire" (Keith MacKenzie Mix_MSTR FINAL). It always gets the crowd bobbin'.


How did you first hear of

I heard about through a coworker at Stormfront Productions.

How many hours per day do you use it?

Since almost all of my work is done on the computer, I listen to Turntable throughout most of the day. It has replaced other music services and programs like Pandora, Grooveshark, and Rhapsody as my daily source of music. I actively participate and DJ my own sets anywhere from two to three hours a day in our room,

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

There is no magic formula or secret trick to get people to notice you. You just have to play music that people like, and as in any situation, courtesy goes a long way. Making the environment inside of a Turntable room feel more like a community than a chatroom is the key to drawing people in. Our room,, has also grown due to the presence of our community outside of Our blogs directly tie into the Turntable room. If users hear a new song they like they can they can dig deeper by listening to more music by the artist and reading articles about the them on our blogs. This is very helpful to the mashup genre and room as there are so many new, amateur, and upcoming artists. Many of the artists we play are gaining a following just because of Turntable.

Number-one DJ song?

"Indie Treats Gangster Beats" by Mitch-Mash (Homegrown Turntable Artist).


Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

I'm Mike Mitchell, an artist from LA. I run a t-shirt and print store named Sir Mitchell which my wife and I run out of our house.


How did you first hear of

I heard about Turntable on a forum I belong to. The idea sounded really intriguing, and when I checked it out, it sucked me in like a black hole of awesome.

How many hours per day do you use it?

I use it too many hours per day. I usually have it running while I work (which is a lot of the time) or while I am surfing the net.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

Well, I have an unfair advantage to most people as I have somewhat of a following on Tumblr and Twitter. After a couple weeks I decided to make my own room and I promote it quite a bit. It's one of the only rooms that isn't genre specific and plays whatever it is we're feeling at the time. I'm in there right now, and we just transitioned from electronic, to indie to hip-hop in the span of 45 minutes. 

Number-one DJ song?

Oh man, well I play everything from Indie, to hip-hop, electronic, oldies. I think the song I've played the most though is "Civilization" by Justice.

Neil Gaiman

Who are you? What do you do, where are you from?

Neil Gaiman. An English author living in the U.S.

How did you first hear of

Olga Nunes, who for most of the last decade has been the canary in my coal mine of cool, told me about it.

How many hours per day do you use it?

Two to three in the evening, mostly on in the background while I do other stuff.

How did you get so popular? Any tips?

It really helps to have 1.6 million Twitter followers and 420,000 Facebook followers.

Number-one DJ song?

Apparently the most popular thing I've ever played (per TTdashboard) was Iggy Pop's "Sister Midnight." But I've had the most fun playing Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Mashup songs like "Melange" and watching people's reactions.

More About: music, startup,

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Sony 3D HDTV Offers Perfect Picture But Awkward Internet [REVIEW]

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 03:09 PM PDT

Sony’s Bravia HX Series of HDTVs is a good example of how the HDTV market has evolved in the past couple of years. Complete with 3D capability and Internet connectivity, the Sony XBR-55HX929 had me captivated from the very start.

The first surprise came when I saw the box containing this 55-inch HDTV. Even though the screen’s diagonal measurement is about 3 inches larger than my current 52-inch HDTV, the old 52-inch TV’s screen is 4.5 inches wider than this 55-inch screen. How does that work? This TV’s bezel, or the frame around the actual screen, is much thinner — just over 1 inch wide on this TV vs. at least 3 inches wide on the older model.

The overall effect is that of a deep black slab — you can’t even see where the screen ends and the bezel begins. Sitting in my test theater, it looked like a minimalist sculpture, reminding me of that monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Picture Quality

What kind of video quality do you get when you spend upward of $3,000 on a Sony XBR-55HX929 HDTV? Firing it up for the first time, I was impressed. It displayed the finest, sharpest and most contrasty HDTV picture I’ve ever seen. The 1080p picture quality when playing Blu-ray discs was second to none, and the black levels were so deep and dark when a scene would fade to black, it was still impossible to tell where the screen ended and the bezel began.

I was astonished by the quality of the video on this highly evolved model, using all of Sony’s latest creatively named enhancements such as the X-Reality Pro engine. That built-in bundle of tech consists of a dual-core digital video processor to analyze each scene, optimizing the backlighting to suit the various brightness levels of different parts of the screen. There are myriad technical enhancements on board, and you can investigate the full specs list here on Retrevo, but suffice to say here that you’d be hard-pressed to find better video quality anywhere outside of a professional broadcast control room.

Internet Video

That dual-core processor comes in handy when you’re using the TV’s Internet video functions, which gives you Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora Radio, Sony’s own video-on-demand service, and many others. You can plug an Ethernet cable into the back of the TV, but that’s often not convenient, so there’s a very good Wi-Fi capability built in. It gave a fast enough connection to play back 1080p video. Using the faster Wireless N standard, in more than a month of testing, it never disappointed.

While it’s great to have access to Internet video on the TV itself, as opposed to a Boxee, Roku or Western Digital set-top box, to me, it’s just too awkward to be worth it. If you’re already spending three grand on a TV, I’d recommend instead getting yourself a cheap computer with an HDMI port (commonplace on many of today’s laptops), plug it into your TV, and use a wireless keyboard and mouse to control it in your home theater.

Why’s an Internet TV so awkward? With the Internet on board, first of all you’ll have lots of tedious clicking around with a remote just to type your name. Second, if you want to use a good quality receiver for Dolby Digital surround sound, you need to feed an optical audio cable back to the receiver from the TV, which adds another complication to your setup, especially if you’re mounting the TV to a wall. Worst of all, if you want to play your own video files, they must be in a format Sony approves. Since Sony also sells movies, it doesn’t bend over backward to let you play open-source file types, such as the favorite of file sharers everywhere, .MKV files. That fact alone will be enough to make many users shun Sony’s Internet TV capability.


To use the TV’s 3D capabilities, you’ll need to don Sony’s 3D glasses, which aren’t included with the TV (they’ll cost you around $140 retail for a two-pack). After watching a 3D Blu-ray disc (of which there are not many available yet), and clips from Sony’s streaming “3D experience” just added to its Bravia lineup, I have to conclude that Sony has made an admirable effort at displaying 3D content.

Without going into a whole diatribe about the virtues and pitfalls of 3D — which is fodder for an entire series of articles — I’ll say that this TV’s 3D picture is bright and super-clear. The downside is that I just don’t like to watch 3D. I think it’s a gimmick. On top of that, the glasses are so uncomfortable, they made my head feel like it had been held in a vise for two hours. Not pleasant. One of my viewing companions got a headache after about 10 minutes of watching 3D on this TV, imploring me to turn the thing off. This is not a good sign.

That said, if you’re one who finds the 3D effect pleasing, this is the TV for you. I was startled at how much better 3D looks at home with this TV than it does in most theaters, which often project a dim 3D image that borders on unwatchable.


The Sony XBR-55HX929 HDTV is magnificent, even though it has some awkward features that the company’s compelled to add to keep up with today’s Internet viewing trends. If you have $3,000 to spend on a TV, go for it — you will be amazed by its picture quality. Consider the Internet features and 3D an extra treat.

Sony 3D HDTV

We tested the HDTV with color bars, which looked just like they do at the TV station after careful setup. Impressive.


The TV had no difficulties getting through this industry-standard obstacle course. Its picture looked better than any I've ever seen.

Computer display

The TV's localized dimming was fooled when I plugged a PC into the TV using an HDMI port, showing light leaks on both sides of a normally-dark background. This wasn't a factor when watching Blu-ray, Sony's Internet TV sources or a TiVo HD DVR. Strange.

Look How Thin

It's thin -- almost as thin as an iPad.


Plenty to go around, including 4 HDMI inputs and optical audio out.


It's smoothly rounded.

3D Glasses

Not included with the TV, Sony sent us a couple of pairs of these 3D Active Glasses (model TDG-BR250), which cost $139.98 for a two-pack (retail), $50 apiece online.

3D Glasses

Too bad these active 3D glasses were so uncomfortable, clamping down on my (admittedly large) head like a vise. Because they're active you'll need to recharge them via USB. Sony says they charge in 3 minutes for three hours' use. We never needed them for anywhere near that long.

Bezel w/Netflix

Look how narrow this the bezel (frame) is! And notice how dark those blacks are, where you can hardly see where the bezel is.


I've never seen Netflix looking so good. It's easy to navigate on this TV, too.


It's much better for viewing your Facebook feed than actually typing something, a tedious process at best.


Let's face it, this is not the ideal way to use Facebook. I found it unpleasant. It's demoware, in my opinion.


Signing into my Twitter account was one of the most frustrating experiences I've had in a long time.

Twitter Feed

You can catch up on your Twitter feed. Just don't start thinking you're going to be doing much tweeting with that remote control.

Amazon Instant Video

We rented an HD movie from Amazon for our test, and it didn't drop a single frame the whole time, using the TV's internal Wi-Fi.

Amazon Instant Video

Response is quick as you navigate around the menu with Sony's improved remote.


Notice how a TV show we were watching stays in a picture-in-picture (PIP) window as we wander around the menu system. Here, I'm browsing the Internet Content area.

Sony's Qriocity

Sony's getting in on the video- and music-on-demand game, too.

Bravia Internet Video

The usual suspects are all here.

Bravia Internet Video

Some of these channels will survive, others are filler.

Sony Video on Demand

Sony offers another way to get some great-looking HD movies into your living room.

Sony Video on Demand

I like Sony's VOD interface, but isn't $5.99 a bit much for renting a movie?


There's even a camera on board for Skype video calling.


Pop up the weather, other widgets on your screen, and your wife will quickly become annoyed with you, guys. But it might come in handy if you're watching alone.

Settings Menu

You can drill down deep into the settings menu -- it's a tweaker's paradise.

Recently Viewed menu

This is handy feature to have.

3D Experience

Sony offers its "3D Experience," more of a demo thus far than an ongoing service.

3D Experience

The streaming 3D video looked better than I expected -- not too grainy. Imagine this 3D Masters logo smacking you in the face -- that's 3D!

More About: 3D, 3D TV, HDTV, internet tv, review, Sony XBR-55HX929

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HOW TO: Use Google+ For Your Job Search

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 02:11 PM PDT

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable’s Pete Cashmore for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as social media and technology updates.

Google+ hit 20 million unique visitors this week, and the company launched a mobile app. The stats are impressive, but the new social network has room to grow in catching up with its massive competitors Twitter and Facebook.

Early adopters of Google+ are captivated by the network’s growth, as many tech elites — including Mark Zuckerberg, Robert Scoble and Kevin Rose — have amassed large followings in just weeks.


Google+ hasn’t hit a mainstream audience yet, but it does seem to be romancing the tech geeks with strong force. Yes, I’m talking about you, fellow Mashable readers. Early adopters, social influencers, tech innovators, digital natives — call yourselves what you will. The bottom line is, you understand the value of digital tools and how they can connect you to people and ideas all over the world.

With so many influential techies flocking to Google+, it’s a great place to showcase expertise and learn from others. Here are some tips for using Google+ for your job search.

Announce Your Availability

Once your profile is completely filled out, and you’ve begun growing and interacting with your network, don’t be shy about letting your contacts know you’re on the prowl for work.

This could be as subtle as mentioning it in the “About” section of your Google+ profile, or as public as posting an update to announce that you’re looking for new challenges on the career front. If you choose the latter, be original with your post and how you frame it. Try not to sound hopeless — make sure you are confidently communicating your unique skill set and the value you can add to a project or company.

Organize Contacts with Circles

Google+ Circles

The Google+ Circles screen allows you to drag-and-drop your friends into different friend categories.

Drag-and-Drop Friends

When you drag a friend over a circle, the circle expands.

Google Explains Google+ Circles

This is the message you'll receive the first time you add somebody to a circle.

Inside a Google+ Circle

Clicking on a circle lets you look at all the members of that group, as well as change things such as the membership and the name of the circle.

Playing with Google+ Circles

Here's what Google+ Circles might look like after a few minutes of work.

The key to a fulfilling Google+ experience is Circles, the heart of this social network’s organization system. Circles give users control over who sees their content. To connect with another user on Google+, you must add him or her to a Circle, such as “Friends,” “Family,” “Work” or “Softball Team.” Users can create as many Circles as they’d like, though we’d recommend limiting them to a manageable number — having too many can dilute the experience.

For the purposes of seeking a job, it’s important to denote which Circles you want to see your messages when you post. If you’re posting about your job search, it makes sense to include your industry contacts — which you might put into “Social Media” or “Tech” Circles, for example — but that same post might not be as relevant to your “Friends” or “Family,” where a more personal post may be more appropriate.

On the flip side, make sure you’re not sharing unprofessional content with your business network. As usual, just use common sense when dealing with privacy and sharing settings.

Host a Relevant Hangout

John Havens, formerly of Porter Novelli, plans to enhance his job search with Hangouts, Google+’s group video-chat service. Instead of focusing his chat on getting a job, Havens plans on inviting a number of influential contacts to discuss relevant topics, such as the state of social media and virtual currency. He says he’ll let participants know that he has been “digitally downsized,” and that he’s open to discussing new positions afterwards, but that his Hangout will focus on generating intelligent conversation.

“Essentially, I’m trying to think of the best ways to show potential employers that by running a campaign to get myself hired, I’m showing them how I’d bring value to their organizations,” Havens says.

Share & Follow Relevant Expertise

In order to be seen as an industry expert, you need to showcase that you know what you’re talking about. Tech enthusiasts tend to use Twitter and blogging for this purpose, but Google+ is quickly becoming another outlet for sharing and discovering tastemaker opinions and interesting content.

If you’re not a natural at finding and sharing content that connections in your Circles may find valuable, check out Sparks, the product’s content recommendation engine. You can define topics you’re interested in — or that you want to learn more about — and it will bring up content the algorithm believes you’ll find useful. You can add your favorite sparks to the left-hand navigation for easy perusal when you’re on your Google+ homepage.

Choosing the right mix of sparks to read each day may lead to you becoming more informed about news and conversation in your industry.

Your Tips

Having launched less than one month ago, Google+ is in its infancy, and our tips are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re using Google+ for your job search, let us know about your strategy in the comments below.

Development Job Listings

Every week we put out a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we post a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top dev & design job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

More Job Search Resources From Mashable

- HOW TO: Spruce Up a Boring Resume [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Tips For Negotiating Employee Equity
- HOW TO: Land a Job at Airbnb
- HOW TO: Set Up an Online Resume
- HOW TO: Land a Job at LinkedIn

More About: Google, Google Circles, Google Hangouts, Google Plus, Google Sparks, job search series, trending

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HOW TO: Get Journalists To Tell Your Story

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 12:57 PM PDT

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Any press may be good press, but good press is even better. Yet, how do you stand out among your competitors and catch the attention of journalists? The traditional route is to pitch your story directly to reporters and hope it’s compelling enough that they’ll bite, or to offer your expertise around breaking news topics with your fingers crossed that the reporter is even working on a story about whatever that might be. Another option, however, is to respond to requests on sites that connect reporters with sources.

The most well-known of those is probably Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Started by Peter Shankman in 2008, it now connects over 100,000 sources with nearly 30,000 journalists (and brings in more than a million dollars per year in revenue). There are others, too — Media Kitty (which is older than HARO), FlackList, ProfNet (perhaps the oldest of the bunch), NewsBasis and Reporter Connection, are among the most active. These communities have grown so popular, that it’s now difficult for sources to stand out on these platforms, as well.

We spoke with Heather Kirk, the founder of Media Kitty, and Jennifer Nichols, CEO of FlackList, to get some tips on how sources can improve their chances of being noticed when responding to queries from journalists.

1. Be Fast

Speed matters when it comes to catching the eye of a busy journalist for two reasons. First, he is probably operating on deadline, so getting connected to a solid source quickly is important. Second, there are a huge number of other qualified sources trying to catch his eye at the same time. The last time I used one of these sites to find interviewees for a story, I received more than 100 email responses in the first six hours. That’s a lot to sort through, and the further out from my query, the more likely it was that I had already found the sources I needed to complete my piece.

“Respond as soon as you see the query and well before the deadline,” advises Nichols. “Once a reporter has what he/she needs, he doesn't usually continue sifting through query responses.”

Being quick is also the number one piece of advice from HARO founder, Peter Shankman.

2. Be On Target

One thing all journalists universally hate is having their time wasted. Make sure when responding to a query on any of the aforementioned sites that your pitch is on target. Journalists are looking for sources that match their needs, not people who maybe, sort of, might have some expertise in a kind of, semi-related area.

“Don't respond to a query unless what you are offering is truly a fit,” says Nichols, who advises that responses be kept to the point and devoid of fluff, but still full of relevant information. “The trick here is to still keep it short while including the pertinent info.”

Kirk also advises keeping the clutter out of your pitch and finding a unique — but still germane — angle to set yourself apart. “Relevant, researched and realistic replies score best. Attaching their hook to your material is key — colorful examples, links to fitting images, engaging background briefs and on-target experts with clout, character and ready accessibility all help set you apart,” she says.

3. Be Honest

“Don’t bait and switch,” says Nichols. “If you offer an executive for an interview, make sure you can deliver. Reporters don't have the time or patience for your CEO to somehow now be on a plane to Rome and have only an assistant VP able to chat.”

Coming off as dishonest is the best way to sour what could have been a long-term relationship with a reporter. If a journalist doesn’t think he can trust you, there’s very little incentive to ever quote you (or your client) as an expert in the future.

“Many sources see every journalist lead as an opportunity to finagle their way into publicity, jazz up their client reports or nurture new contacts. Leads can offer all of these, but only if you tackle replies with transparency and sincerity,” notes Kirk.

4. Be Personal

Remember that when using these types of source-matching sites, yours is likely one of hundreds of responses that the reporter has received. Sometimes a personal touch goes a long way toward making you stand out from the crowd.

“A well-written, personalized and targeted response where there is a clear fit will get you noticed,” says Kirk.

Similarly, Nichols advises Googling journalists before pitching them to familiarize yourself with what they write. “Check out the style of their stories and how they typically present info and mimic that in your pitch,” she says.

5. Be Precise

Make sure your responses are accessible. No reporter has time to sift through a wordy or poorly composed pitch to try to find that nugget of expertise or the unique perspective that you might be able to offer. Craft a response that is straightforward and to the point and you’ll increase your chances of being tapped as a source.

“Make your reply easy to scan with bullet points and rich context. Rather than bulk up an email with attachments that call for an extra step to open and review, links are handier. Keep your response lean yet workable, colorful yet specific. Look for niche services that tailor to specific beats to up your odds even more,” says Kirk.

What other tips do you have for being a good source? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, urbancow, kycstudio

More About: flacklist, HARO, journalism, journalists, mediakitty, PUBLIC RELATIONS, small business, source, tips, trending

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Review: Droid 3 Smartphone Does It All [PICS]

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 12:00 PM PDT

The Motorola Droid 3 is an improved, high-performance smartphone that introduces new features to an already extensive feature set. It's a world-traveling, dual-core, HD machine that fits in your pocket, offering the best Android experience yet. Here’s our review.

Like many of its Droid predecessors, there's an excellent sliding keyboard hidden beneath its screen, though with the current "Gingerbread" Android 2.3 software, its on-screen keyboard is a pleasure to use as well.

The Droid 3 ($199.99 with a 2-year contract on Verizon, available now) has a 4-inch screen that feels big and bright, larger than an iPhone’s screen thanks to a wider 16:9 aspect ratio. Made of damage-resistant Gorilla Glass with an antiglare coating, it isn't particularly fingerprint resistant.

In addition to the 8-megapixel sensor on the back, there's a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for self portraits and video chat. Unfortunately, there are few functioning video chat apps for this particular Android phone — as of this writing, the most glaring omissions are Skype and Google Talk).

If you're a world traveler, this phone would be an exceptional traveling companion. One of the best features of this phone is its multi-network radio, allowing the phone to attach itself to a variety of CDMA and GSM formats around the world (alas, there’s no 4G). The phone comes preloaded with a Vodaphone SIM card, but that can be replaced so the phone with the international provider of your choice. Motorola reports the GSM bands on the phone are only compatible with non-US networks.

Another useful feature is the addition of numerous social logins under the account screen. Built-in, without any separate app download, one can login to Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, MySpace, Photobucket, Picasa, Twitter and YouTube in addition to the expected email systems, Google, Yahoo and corporate email.

Verizon's Backup Assistant offers yet another means to protect your data (and give unscrupulous newspapers access to it). It's an extensive feature set, but the implementation is lacking basic functions for each of the incoming streams, necessitating the need to seek out the standalone apps anyway, for many power users.

Included ringtones, notifications and graphics are decidedly techno in nature. My vote for most cacophonous is DROID Incoming Call. It should win an award.

An optional car kit ($60) makes use as a GPS easy. Setting the phone in the cradle immediately launches the phone into a simplified interface with just 4 buttons on each screen and enables noise and echo cancellation. It's handy, unless you have an exceptionally aerodynamic car with a dramatically raked windshield.

If that's the case, you're not going to be able to reach the thing while you're driving. I also worry about having the phone exposed to full sunlight for extended periods of time, potentially damaging the battery when temperatures exceed 120º. The kit also includes an adhesive mounting pad for permanent placement elsewhere in the car. A multimedia dock ($50) is available for simplified home entertainment use, too.

Summing up, the Motorola Droid 3 does it all in a sleek package and for an affordable price. It's especially useful for travelers and road warriors. It has advantages over other smartphones and has enough capabilities to keep up with technology for a while.

Want to know more? Here’s the Motorola Specs page for the Droid 3.

Motorola Droid 3

The Droid 3's slide-out keyboard is easy to use, fast. But the on-screen keyboard is also excellent, especially if you've gotten used to typing that way.

Motorola Droid 3

Both USB and HDMI connectors can be used to charge.

Motorola Droid 3

It's surprisingly thin.

Motorola Droid 3

The built-in camera features an LED flash, an 8mp sensor and 1080p 30fps video.

Motorola Droid 3

A customizable widget interface allows interactive calendar access directly from the app screen.

Motorola Droid 3

GSM SIM card included. An empty MicroSD slot allows for up to 32GB of expansion.

Motorola Droid 3

Social logins built in.

Motorola Droid 3

Attractive texture added to back of sliding screen.

Motorola Droid 3

A really nice keyboard to use.

Motorola Droid 3

Just a bit bigger than an iPhone4 in every way.

Motorola Droid 3

In car use facilitated by optimized screen layout.

Motorola Droid 3

Great GPS interface.

More About: android, droid, Motorola Droid 3, review, smartphone, trending, verizon

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Rainbow Niagara Falls Photo Goes Viral on Twitter [PIC]

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 10:48 AM PDT

When the clock struck midnight in New York State on Sunday morning, same-sex marriage was suddenly legal in the state. What better place to tie the knot than Niagara Falls, especially when it’s lit up like a rainbow?

As gay couples began their midnight nuptials at the traditional honeymoon spot, they were surprised by the sudden colorful backdrop of Niagara Falls sporting the rainbow hues that have served as a rallying banner for LGBT activists fighting for their civil rights.

Pop singer/actor and former ‘N Sync-er Lance Bass tweeted this photo of the Falls (update: turns out he didn’t create this pic — it was taken a while ago by Flickr user Mykelle Nicole, and now it’s being passed around as a symbol of the official beginning of gay marriage in NY), and posted it to TwitPic as the crowd celebrated the auspicious occasion. Now the photo’s gone viral, with more than 31,000 views so far. Exclaimed Bass in a Twitter post just after midnight, “Niagra Falls right now! So amazing!”

Photo used with permission, courtesy Flickr/Mykelle Nicole

More About: gay marriage, Lance Bass, LGBT, new york state, Niagara Falls, rainbow Niagara Falls, same-sex marriage, trending, twitter

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Why Location-Based Gaming Is The Next Killer App [OPINION]

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 09:32 AM PDT

This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Greg Steen currently serves as a trendspotter for Moxie, discovering and assessing marketing implications for global trends. He has over five years experience in analyzing trends and creating strategic campaigns for brands such as Verizon Wireless, Marriott and the Alzheimer's Association.

Capture the flag. Hide and seek. Marco Polo. These location-based games brought hours of fun to many of us as children. Then video games came along and suddenly the only location you played in was the living room. Now this shift is coming full circle as innovative mobile games are using geo-location, image recognition and augmented reality technologies to combine the real and virtual worlds.

Location-Based Games Are Already Starting to Emerge

For example, the popular Finnish iPhone game Shadow Cities, which recently made its debut in the U.S., uses the city of each player as a game board, allowing them to roam their neighborhood casting spells and taking over city blocks. Players can engage with others nearby by either teaming up or fighting over territory.

Angry Birds will soon include location-based features that give players access to new characters and content. Players will also be able to compete with one another on a unique leader board tied to each location. This feature will turn coffee shops, bars and apartment buildings into proving grounds for the next Angry Birds champion and could serve as a great ice breaker for players that compete in the same spot at the same time.

Paparazzi is an Android game that layers digital animation on top of the real world, a technology known as augmented reality. The game challenges players to take photos of a 3D character standing on a table. The character becomes agitated and will throw tea cups at the player. He'll even jump onto the phone itself if given the chance.

Games such as these can be a great fit for marketers looking to connect with customers. Logos, buildings and products can all be incorporated into the gaming environment through barcode scanning, image recognition or GPS. Such games add more depth to social check-ins, a field where developers are still trying to figure out how to create worthwhile experiences. MyTown is an early example of how this can work. Players buy and sell the locations they check in at, much like Monopoly, and products are integrated through barcode scanning, which can unlock virtual goods and manufacturer promotions.

The Location-Based Gaming Market Is Poised for Growth

A confluence of smartphone adoption and interest in gaming has laid the foundation for mobile games to become a cultural touchstone and an extremely profitable industry. eMarketer estimates that 31% of mobile users have a smartphone and projects that 43% of mobile users will have one by 2015. That's 101 million people. Interest in gaming has grown rapidly as well. According to Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal, 183 million Americans report playing a game for an hour a day. That's more than half of the population.

All it will take is one breakout success and the market will explode with new players and more innovative games. Marketers should look for successful games to partner with rather than creating their own, since building a player base from scratch is difficult. But marketers would do well to think about how these integrations can enhance the gaming experience. Developers have been known to turn down partnership dollars if they fear the in-game additions won't add something meaningful to the game.

A good example of a brand integration that improves the gaming experience is the Dreyer's Fruit Bars campaign that is running in FarmVille. Players have the opportunity to plant Dreyer's branded crops, which are more profitable than comparable plants and create the possibility of receiving recognition as a top grower. Dreyer's is even bringing the promotion into the real world by selecting a few players to travel to Farmville, Virginia, and plant an actual fruit orchard for the community.


The market is primed for the right game to galvanize interest in experiences that combine the real and virtual worlds. Just as FarmVille put social gaming on the map and Angry Birds brought attention to mobile gaming in general, we could see a wave of smartphone owners flood the application markets looking for similar experiences. This will present a valuable opportunity to marketers that want to foster emotional connections with their audiences, so keep a close eye on new releases and brace yourself for the next big thing in mobile gaming.

More About: android, angry birds, farmville, gaming, location-based apps, Paparazzi, shadow cities

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Top Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 24 Jul 2011 08:35 AM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

For those of you who are tired of seeing Justin Bieber top these charts, take heart. Not only did he not make it this week, but pioneer geneticist Gregor Mendel did. Sort of.

Mendel was honored with a Google Doodle last week that propelled Google to a top trend on Twitter, which got people talking about Mendel. Otherwise, another surprise was Twitter itself, which had a strong showing thanks to some outages. Of course, we all know that one of the things people like to discuss most on Twitter is, well, Twitter.

Elsewhere, there were some mainstays, such as soccer/football, which made another number one showing, and Harry Potter, which got a boost from its final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Harry’s magic beat out Mendel’s science in the end, but maybe we can blame those Twitter outages for that.

You can check Twitter trends from the past in our Top Twitter Topics section.

Top Twitter Trends This Week:

A combination of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between the USA and Japan and the Copa America quarterfinals and semifinals ensured that a large percentage of the world was watching football this week. Uruguay and Paraguay are playing in the Copa America Final on Sunday while Peru and Venezuela are meeting up today to determine the third-place winner.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
The final Harry Potter film was released last weekend and it spurred a lot of discussion. Favorite trends this week were Albus Severus Potter, Mrs Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Mischief Managed and Severus Snape../font>
These days, Twitter hits its own Top 10 only when things go wrong. Trends that got it to the number three spot include #WhenTwitterWasDown, “Damn Twitter” and “Over Capacity”.
News of the World/Phone Hacking Investigatio
Between Rupert Murdoch’s appearance before the Select Committee, shaving cream pies and the unfortunate death of journalist Sean Hoare, The News of the World’s phone hacking scandal broke through into the Weekly Top 10 after barely missing the cut for the past two weeks.
Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony
After 7 years of marriage and twins, singers Lopez and Anthony have decided to separate and get a divorce..
Paige Conway
Ironically, this week Justin Bieber doesn’t make the Weekly Top 10 but a Belieber, Paige Conway, does after Bieber “crashed” her cousin’s wedding and she Tweeted about it.
Google offered another one of its very popular Doodles to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Austrian scientist Gregor Mendel who made advances what would become the field of genetics. This week, Google announced the end of Google Labs, which was very popular with some users..
Friend’s Day
This week, users in Brazil and Argentina were wishing their friends Feliz Dia Do Amigo/Feliz Dia De La Amigo!
On July 20, the nominees for MTV’s Video Music Awards were announced and while some fan groups celebrated, others were upset that their favorite artists were left out and protested with #VMANominationFailure.
Phineas & Ferb
Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension is a movie coming out on August 5.


Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

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