Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands for the Last Time [VIDEO]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands for the Last Time [VIDEO]”

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands for the Last Time [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 04:46 AM PDT

Space Shuttle Atlantis, the last orbiter to fly as part of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, successfully landed in Florida at at 5:56 a.m. ET.

In its final voyage, the Atlantis flew with a reduced crew of four, bringing supplies to the International Space Station. Since its first flight in 1985, the Atlantis orbited the Earth more than 4,800 times and traveled more than 120 million miles in space.

Check out a video of Atlantis’ landing as well as a gallery of photos from its last mission below.


Photo courtesy of NASA.


Photo courtesy of NASA.


Photo courtesy of NASA.


Photo courtesy of NASA.

Solid Rocket Booster Separation

Photo courtesy of NASA.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Mashable Media Badge

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

NPR Tweeted

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Official Launch M&Ms

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Elmo Reports Launch

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Media Getting Signals

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

@SethGreen Tweeted

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Participants

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Participants

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Badge

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Participants

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Participants

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Tweetup Participants

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

@schierholz Handed Out M&Ms

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

@schierholz Tweeted

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

@schierholz's Badge

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Shuttle Atlantis

Shuttle Atlantis moves into the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Atlantis Sunrise

The sun rises over the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Atlantis Sunset

Sunset over Launch Pad 39A before the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module (MPLM) is delivered.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Atlantis Sunrise

Another sun rises over the Shuttle Atlantis.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The Crew Celebrates

The STS-135 crew wave American flags in honor of Independence Day. From left: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The Crew Heads for Final Launch Preparation

The STS-135 team departs for the Astronaut Crew Quarters in Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Firing Room 4

In Firing Room 4, NASA team members prepare for launch.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Launch Pad

Atlantis was "hard down" at its seaside launch pad by 3:29 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 1.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Atlantis Flag

The Atlantis flag flutters below the American flag.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Launch Pad

A view of the launch pad from across the water.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Media Gathers

News crews prepare their equipment at tents near the launch pad.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Media Tents

Two-tier media tents provide better views of the Atlantis.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Launch Clock

Ryan Matzner, lead strategist at Fueled, a mobile app development firm, stands in front of the countdown-to-launch clock.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Media Tripods

Media stakes out their turf with tripods aimed at the shuttle launch.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.


Media and spectators alike participate in the lunch Tweetup.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

En Route

The van will lead the procession of astronauts to the shuttle.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

En Route

The astronauts en route to the launch pad.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

En Route

Precious cargo on the way to the launch pad.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Vehicle Assembly Building

An impressive spectacle in itself, the Vehicle Assembly Building has been used to assemble NASA vehicles since 1968. It is the largest single-story building in the world.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

Vehicle Assembly Building

A view of the vehicle assembly building.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Matzner.

More About: landing, space shuttle, Space Shuttle Atlantis

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Google to Offer Credit Card to AdWords Users [REPORT]

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 02:03 AM PDT

Google plans to offer a credit card with a low interest rate to its AdWords advertisers, Reuters reports.

The credit card will be issued by MasterCard and will come with no annual fee and a 8.99 percent annual percentage rate, but customers will only be able to use it for buying AdWords ads.

The purpose of the card is to help small and medium businesses ramp up their sales with intensive ad campaigns when needed – before holidays, for example – something many of them normally wouldn’t be able to do due to lack of funds.

“They are resource-constrained and they are often cash flow-strapped. Many of them are trying to grow a business without the kind of means that, say, your classic company has”, said Claire Johnson, vice president of global online sales at Google.

Google wouldn’t say to whom, exactly, it plans to offer the card, but claims that the maximum credit line will vary by cardholder. Select customers should get an invitation to start using the credit card in a “beta test” as soon as Wednesday.

How do you like this idea? Would you consider using Google’s credit card? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

[via Reuters]

More About: ad, ads, advertisers, advertising, Adwords, credit cards, credit-card, Google, google adwords, mastercard

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15+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 10:04 PM PDT


Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences.

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and promote your event using social media:

Mashable’s Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.

July 27-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Join us at the premiere of ePharma Summit West, the sister event to The ePharma Summit, the largest, longest running and most respected digital marketing event for the Life Sciences Industry. Network and join the conversation with hundreds of fellow thought leaders from top Pharma, Biotech, Device and Health Science companies. Register as a Mashable reader with the promo code XP1656MASH and save 10%.

August 1-3, 2011, San Antonio, TX: The eduWeb Conference is the event for you to meet, share, explore, and learn from your higher education peers on topics including mobile apps, branding, web site analytics, social media strategic planning, and web development. eduWeb offers four tracks: marketing communications; design and development; social media; and information architecture. Register with the promo code 11Mash and save $50!

September 6-8, 2011, Cleveland, OH: At Content Marketing World, you'll learn how to transform your marketing department into a storytelling factory, engaging your prospects and customers in all the right channels with the right messages– including social, mobile, email, online and even print and in-person strategies. Through 24+ breakout sessions and amazing keynotes led by worldwide experts, you'll get the tools you need to be a successful content marketer. Plus, you'll experience the best of what Cleveland has to offer, starting with our opening night reception at the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Register and use the promo code mash to receive $100 off the current price of a ticket.

September 11-14, 2011, Denver, CO: Come join the best and brightest of the iOS development community at 360|iDev, the first iOS developer event to be held by the developer community! Speakers include many leading community members, and app store success stories. With over 40 sessions, including hands-on training the sunday before the conference, 360|iDev offers more content than any other iOS developer event in the world. Register and use the promo code iosmash to save 20% of the ticket price.

September 12-13, 2011, Renaissance Glendale, Phoenix, AZ: The third Social Media Optimization Summit event, presented by Multifamilypro, brings together small to mid-sized business owners with an interest in putting social media to work successfully within their organizations in ways that are proven to generate results. The event offers two full days of intensive, hands-on workshops from the intermediate to advanced level, led by top social media experts. The unique "See it. Hear it. Do it." approach allows attendees to learn by doing, and begin immediately applying newly-acquired skills and knowledge while the event is underway. See what others are saying about the event and register now at and use discount code Mashable to save $100!


September 20, 2011, Chicago, IL: Federated Media presents Signal Chicago: The Marketing in Real Time Conversation. We will be focusing on the theme of “Marketing in Real Time.” From “real time bidding” on new demand-side and exchange platforms to “real time messaging” of location-based services, marketing has time-shifted into the present tense. A new suite of tools and services have evolved which enable the marketer to have conversations with customers in real time, creating both challenges and opportunities.Please join us More information and registration details at – Register with promo code SIGMash to save 15%

Sept 21-22, 2011, London, UK: ad:tech London is the UK’s essential free to attend event for professionals seeking to stay ahead of the latest interactive media, advertising and marketing trends. The event unites advertisers, media owners and agencies to harness the power of digital and deliver real marketing ROI. Alongside the exhibition, there is also a conference featuring 100+ international speakers for serious digital innovators and marketers. Mashable readers can take 20% off their conference ticket price. Register online now with the promo code MASH11 at

September 26-29, 2011, Kaua’i, HI: Search and Social Hawaii is an elite conference unlike any other that will provide you with the strategies and complete know how to thrive in this ever changing environment. Each day begins with morning sessions around the hottest topics. With Keynote Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. and speakers from corporations such as Real Networks, Network Solutions, AT&T, Microsoft Bing and Logitech. Afternoons are spent in a relaxed environment including planned activities in which individual attendees can get to know speakers and each other on a more personal level continuing the discussion and building long lasting relationships. Register and use the promo code SSWootMash to save 10%.

September 29-October 1, 2011, Atlanta, GA: As pet owners, bloggers, consumer brands and those connected to the industry – including veterinarians – continue to build upon social media & marketing, pet social media education & networking is an extremely important aspect to mobilizing efforts and to address the challenges faced by pet owners. Whether you use YouTube, Twitter, Dog/Catbook or online forums to gather & share information about pets, it's increasingly important for this community to have a face-to-face forum. Established in 2009, the BarkWorld Conference & Expo is the only pet social media conference covering ALL facets of social media & pet education. Our 2011 annual conference will focus on many topics, including: how to take great photos your pet & use it online, how to build/design a blog & monetize, mobile applications, metrics/SEO, pet food demonstrations, promoting your pet/business via social media and using online forums. Join us for this 2 ½ day conference. You'll be amazed with the information you'll walk away with and the new connections you'll make; your well-trained, leashed, pet is welcome. Register with the promo code MASH2011 to receive a 25% discount.

October 1-6, Boston, MA: At DMA2011, you – and 10,000 marketing peers from around the world – will find everything you need to develop and execute the real-time integrated marketing campaigns that drive measurable bottomline results for your brand. Listen to 300+ marketing experts and gurus talk about social, mobile, mail, search, data, attribution, and more. Plus, you'll find hundreds of technologies in the Exhibit Hall, the only one of its kind in the world! Register now with the promo code AN504 and SAVE $250!

October 5-6, 2011, Seattle, WA: The first annual Seattle Interactive Conference is a two-day event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. SIC brings together entrepreneurs, developers and online business professionals from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a powerful combination of in-depth presentations, networking opportunities, and uniquely Seattle social events. Attendees have the rare opportunity to explore disruptive technologies and business models with visionary thinkers and peers in areas ranging from online commerce and social media to gaming, interactive advertising, entertainment, and much more.

October 9-11, 2011, Scottsdale, AZ: Join 200 of your advertising and PR agency friends at BOLO 2011. This event champions the marketing stalwarts, showing you how to leverage today’s digital marketing trends and technologies for economic advantage. Hear from industry thought leaders such as Scott Stratton, President of UnMarketing, and Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution. From analytics and targeting to social media and agency management, the topics are cutting-edge and chosen to help your agency stay ahead of the curve in digital. Register now with the promo code MASHABLE for 10% off.

October 17-18, 2011, New York, NY: Pivot is the only conference focused purely on how major brands, agencies, marketers and content creators can succeed by understanding, accessing and influencing the emerging Social Consumer. Hosted by Brian Solis, a noted social marketing consultant to major brands worldwide and author of Engage, the self-help handbook for winning the new marketing game, Pivot delivers two full days of unique content and experiences that illuminate the altered marketing landscape, delivered by transformational thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. Register with the promo code MASH20 and save 20%!

October 26-27, 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria: The only digital industry event for Central and Eastern Europe and one of industry’s premier events in Europe. At the Webit Expo & Conference, more than 6000 people from the CE Europe’ digital ecosystem gather together. Amazing line up of world renowned international and local speakers in the conference programme and some of the top service and technology providers among the exhibitors. Webit Conference programme includes The Main Stage (inspiring keynotes from the leading digital companies in the world), Webit Dev Camp (where platform owners meet the developers of CEE), eGov Summit (regional government officials and world CEOs in discussion on e-gov, e-health, etc), The Creative Lounge (the world’s creative minds gathered together). Register with the promo code WEBMASH and save 10%!

November 3-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: BlogWorld & New Media is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!

November 16-18, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The WOMMA Summit is the only word of mouth marketing conference where research and measurement integrate with online social media and offline conversations. The Summit is a year-end review of BEST and NEXT practices in word or mouth and social media marketing in addition to future trends. WOMMA Summit showcases through leadership from some of the innovative and forward thinking. Go to to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.

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The Mashable Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.

Eventbrite is an online events marketplace where tens of thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes manage, promote and sell tickets to their events. Make your event a success on Eventbrite.

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Exclusive: “Cut the Rope” Licenses Comic Book Series

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 09:00 PM PDT

Cut the Rope, the hit game for iOS and Android, is getting the comic book treatment.

Application developer ZeptoLab has partnered with Ape Entertainment to produce a digital comic book and graphic novel series based on Om Nom, the voracious candy-eating creature featured throughout the game.

The pair will announce the licensing agreement Thursday at Comic-Con in San Diego.

“People love the character,” ZeptoLab Chairman Misha Lyalin says of Om Nom, “but he doesn’t have a story yet. Now, Om Nom gets a story.”

The likable creature isn’t the only one getting a story — the comic series represents the beginning of a new narrative for developer ZeptoLab. The company now has the opportunity to expand its immensely popular game title into an even more recognizable entertainment brand — just as Rovio has done with Angry Birds.

“In order to build a franchise, we wanted to expand the storyline,” Lyalin says. “The best way to do that is with comics.”

The Cut the Rope comic series will start with the full-color iOS Cut the Rope Comic App to be released in late August. A print version is also scheduled for publication at a later date.

First released in October 2010, Cut the Rope, says Lyalin, has been the number one free, paid and top grossing application on the App Store in every country in the world. It has been downloaded more than 45 million times, with 9 million of those being paid purchases, he says.

ZeptoLab will join the Ape Entertainment crew at their Comic-Con booth. Fans of the game can stop by to get a preview of the comic application, meet the artist, take photos with a life-sized Om Nom character and check out the Om Non plush toys that are scheduled for September release.

Cut the Rope Comic

Cut the Rope Comic

Cut the Rope Comic

Om Nom Plush Toys

More About: comic book, comiccon, comics, cut the rope, games, Om Nom, san diego comic con 2011, sdcc

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Are You a Dexter Fan? Ask Michael C. Hall Your Social TV Questions

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 08:49 PM PDT

Anyone who’s watched Showtime’s Dexter has likely wondered what goes on in the creepy yet charming mind of the serial killer of serial killers.

Now’s your chance to find out. 

Mashable's Jennifer Van Grove will interview Dexter actor Michael C. Hall tomorrow at Comic Con, along with fashion designer and entrepreneur Mark Ecko. They’ll talk about the show and preview the Dexter social game for Facebook — which is sure to involve a lot of bloody scenes.

Though Ecko Code launched a Dexter game for iPod Touch and iPhone in 2009, the new version lets players be social by connecting and sharing with their Facebook friends. The social gaming trend continues to be popular with TV shows. HBO launched its beta of Weeds Social Club, a Facebook game based on Weeds, less than a month ago.

The Dexter social game launches the same day as season six premieres on TV in September, and it will allow Facebook users to play as Dexter Morgan along the season six narrative. Players will watch the episode on Sunday and then play online on Monday, completing missions and finding evidence while exploring Miami.

So, tell us, what questions do you have for Michael C. Hall? We’ll choose the most inspired submissions to ask him and post a video of the interview on Friday.

Submit your question in the comments below by Thursday, July 21 at 12 p.m. ET. Please use your real identity in the submission so that we may credit you if your response is chosen. And be sure to check back and see if your question was asked!

More About: comic-con, dexter, media, michael c hall, social tv

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Create Albums From Instagram, Twitter & Facebook Photos With Pictarine

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 08:10 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: Pictarine

Quick Pitch: Pictarine is a website that lets you enjoy and share all your photos in one place.

Genius Idea: Mix and match photos from different services to create shareable albums.

Today’s digital photo sharer snaps and posts shots to myriad social sites and photo applications. Those photos often end up haphazardly scattered across web and mobile sites and devices.

Paris-based startup Pictarine gives modern photo sharers a way to clean up the photo chaos and bring together all of their shots littered across web and mobile for viewing, sharing or one-click download.

CEO and co-founder Guillaume Martin says Pictarine was envisioned after a weekend getaway with his partner. “Both of us took photos, but we couldn’t share them in an easy way,” he says. “So, the first idea was to share Flickr photos with other friends, like Facebook friends.”

An early version of Pictarine first offered users a simple way to collect and share all their photos from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and the desktop. Today, Pictarine now includes Instagram and Twitter — TwitPic, Yfrog, Lockerz and Twitter Photos included — integration. These new features where released Tuesday to further round out its online photo repository.

After first-time users authenticate each of their photo site accounts, Pictarine collects their photos, and auto-sorts them into albums by service, while also maintaining third-party site album structure. The service even grants users viewing access to their Facebook friends’ photos, Instagram friends’ photos and Flickr friends’ photos, making Pictarine a window to nearly all of the photos the users’ friends are posting to the web.

Pictarine’s most fetching feature is its highly malleable virtual photo album. With Zests, as they’re called, you can construct albums from your Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and desktop photos, as well as mix in photos from friends’ albums. You can then choose to share Zests with Facebook friends, Google contact groups and email contacts either publicly or privately.

Founded two years ago, Pictarine has been quietly available to the public since May of this year and has more than 3,000 users. The bootstrapped startup hopes to raise funding to support development of mobile applications.

Image courtesy of Flickr, massdistraction

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, facebook, flickr, instagram, photo sharing, Photos, Pictarine, spark-of-genius, startup, twitter photo sharing

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Gmail Now Lets You Make Multiple Calls at the Same Time

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:39 PM PDT

Remember those old multi-line phones with all the buttons across the bottom? That gave you access to more than one line at a time, a feature now available in Google‘s Gmail.

According to the official Gmail Blog, this new multi-call capability will let you put callers on hold with Gmail’s phone service, picking up another call at the same time. Too bad there’s no music on hold to entertain that first caller.

Also imitating conventional phone systems is call waiting, where you receive a notification of an incoming call, and then it’s up to you whether you’re going to answer it or not. The only limitation with this new capability is that you’re only allowed two outgoing calls to physical phones at the same time.

Best of all, U.S. and Canada calls using the Gmail phone and video system will be free through 2011, and all these new multi-line features work with Gmail’s phone, voice and video calls.

More About: gmail, Gmail phone, Google, multi-line, Multiple calls

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage: Is Now Licensed by ASCAP, Will It Come Out of Beta Soon?

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 06:51 PM PDT

Still-in-beta interactive music startup has taken another step toward going mainstream Tuesday. It has just become licensed by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), a performing rights organization which licenses and collects royalties for performances. has been taking the web by storm of late, amassing around 300,000 users and more than its share of buzz. However, many have wondered if the site is wholly legal. Basically, it’s a series of musical chatrooms in which five DJs can spin tracks on demand via Medianet or by uploading their own music. The site even shut down international usage recently in an effort to stay Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)-compliant (the DMCA is U.S.-only).

Still, myriad musicians (and music industry types) have flocked to the site, and we have yet to see any significant backlash against it. However, is still in beta and is invite-only (if you have a Facebook friend on there, though, you can get access), so it’s still a bit under the radar in the mainstream sphere.

The fact that the site is still in its infancy makes the ASCAP license an interesting milestone (Spotify secured its license when it launched in the U.S. last week). “It’s great to see a tech start-up securing an ASCAP license from the outset, ensuring that songwriters, composers and publishers will be paid fairly if the site succeeds,” said Jon Bahr, director of marketing for ASCAP, in a statement.

Perhaps we could be seeing coming out of beta soon.

We’ve contacted the team for comment.

More About: ASCAP, music, startup,

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Sonos Play:3 Wireless Speaker Is Cheaper, Still Powerful

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 05:56 PM PDT

Sonos has rolled out Play:3, a smaller and lower-priced version of its wireless Internet-connected speaker system. Retailing for $299 rather than the $399 of its larger brother, the company says the smaller boxes give you “the same powerful sound quality” as the Sonos S5.

If you’re not familiar with Sonos, it’s a wireless speaker system that operates via Wi-Fi, and lets you spread seriously high-fidelity music throughout your house.

With the help of a $49 wireless bridge plugged into your home network, you can gang up 16 of these speakers, each either by itself or in a stereo pair. That’ll let you play either all the same music or different music in every room, with the ability to control each separately.

The system allows you to play most of the music you have on your Mac or PC, portable audio devices, or link up to your accounts with Spotify, Pandora,, and just about any other Internet music service in existence. You can control all this music from apps available for iPhone, iPad or Android phones, or you can opt for the swanky Sonos controller.

We’ve tested the larger Sonos S5 speaker system, and can vouch for its startling power and excellent fidelity. Sure, it’s not cheap, but it’s not just any ordinary speaker. Could this smaller (measuring 10.5″ x 5.2″ x 6.3″) and cheaper Play:3 sound as good as the mighty S5?

Giving it a fighting chance is the fact that the Play:3 shares its power system with the S5, but while the Play:3 has three drivers and three digital amps inside, the S5 (which Sonos has now renamed the Play:5) has five of each. And the Play:3, like its big bro, is available in either white or black.

We hope to be testing these smaller and lower-priced speakers soon, so we’ll compare them directly with the S5s. Until then, let’s just say if these smaller speakers sound anything like their brandmates, we’re in for a treat.

More About: play:3, sonos, Sonos Play:3, spotify, wi-fi speakers, Wireless speakers

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Why Valuations Are Getting Too High for Seed Stage Investors [OPINION]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 04:41 PM PDT

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

dollar imageChris Yeh is an independent angel investor and VP of Marketing for PBworks, one of his investments. He has been involved with Internet startups since 1995. His Twitter handle is @chrisyeh. He has been blogging since 2001 at Adventures in Capitalism and answers random questions from strangers at Ask The Harvard MBA.

One of the surest signs of a bubble is when you start to hear the phrase, “This time it’s different.” That’s my cue to clap my hand over my wallet and head for the nearest exit. That same mentality is starting to bubble up around seed stage valuations. Investors are justifying those higher valuations with comments like “social media and viral loops make marketing more effective” or “If things don’t work out, we can sell to Google as a talent acquisition.”

It all comes down to the fact that all the previous norms of seed stage investing have gone out the window. The problem is that this shift partially ignores two important factors: History and economics. Here’s why valuations still matter.


Uncapped convertibles used to be the standard financial instrument of seed stage investments. Investors didn’t face the same kind of valuation risks they do now. Angels didn’t care about valuations because the idea of a $30 million pre-money for a Series A round of fundraising was laughable. Back then, $10 million was a respectable Series B valuation.

Today, the same conditions no longer apply. Pre-product startups with novice founders are getting $8 million pre-money valuations. The angel who leaves it up to venture capitalists to set the valuation of his or her investment is likely to end up paying a $20 million premoney.


So what? Do you think Sequoia feels bad about the premoney on their Google investment? The Google argument is a pernicious one, because it relies on two fallacies. First, availability bias means that we remember Google far more than the legion of failed investments from that same time period.

Second, the Google argument assumes that you even get the opportunity to invest. You’re not Sequoia. You might not get into that hot deal you heard about. If you still invest at a high valuation, you’re like a car shopper who passes on the Ferrari dealer to then pay $100,000 for a Camaro.

The fact is that the success rate for early stage investments is abysmal. The general rule of thumb is that only 10% of venture-backed startups are successful. The record for seed stage companies is even worse, since companies rarely make it to exit with just a seed round. Even if we’re generous and assume that half of seed stage companies manage to raise a Series A, that’s still only a 5% chance of success.

If success consists of a $100 million exit and we assume 50% dilution, the break-even point on premoney valuations is $2.5 million. If we assume that the big winners return far more than $100 million and therefore justify using $200 million for the mean exit, that still only pulls the break-even point to $5 million. That’s a far cry from valuation not mattering.

Consider this scenario: Investor X invests in $250,000 in each in each of 20 companies, at a $2.5 million postmoney valuation ($2.25 million pre), and thus owns 10% of each. The total investment is $5 million ($250,000 x 20). Of the 20 companies, one successfully exits for $100 million after raising a Series A and Series B. Investor X, after being diluted by the two rounds of subsequent financing, holds 5% of the common stock, and receives 5% of that $100 million. Thus, after investing $5 million and holding on for some number of years Investor X ekes out a 0% return from the one successful exit in his fund.

Note: You may notice that I am basing my return calculations postmoney rather than premoney valuations. I've chosen to make this simplification for two reasons. First, given the small size of most seed rounds (under $500,000), the delta between pre and postmoney valuations is pretty small; and second, no one ever talks about anything other than "the pre," so it is simpler to stick with that metric.

Since the goal of venture investing is to provide a 3x cash-on-cash return over the lifetime of the fund, angel investors would need to invest at an average valuation of $1.7 million to deliver the desired return.

Most of the time angels refuse to provide information on their returns but we do have one interesting proxy: YCombinator.

Paul Graham, a founder of Y Combinator, recently reported that the total value of Y Combinator’s (relatively) mature graduates amounted to $4.7 billion, or roughly $22 million per company.

That’s impressive performance, even if the majority of that value comes from two companies (AirBnB and Dropbox). But let’s start to apply the same math as before. Assuming 50% dilution, we get an average value of $11 million. Throw in the requirement of a 3x cash return and we find that an angel seeking good, risk-adjusted returns would need to invest at an average premoney of less than $4 million.

In recent classes, Y Combinator companies have been getting $8 million or higher on their valuations. That doesn’t bode well for angel returns.

This doesn’t mean Y Combinator is a bad business. Y Combinator is a fantastic business. It invests at an average premoney valuation of less than $300,000 ($20,000 for 6% of the common stock). Despite that, Y Combinator is still a great deal for entrepreneurs. The value of the mentorship and branding far exceed the equity you give up.

However, if you won’t make venture capitalist-scale returns by investing in Y Combinator companies at more than $4 million premoney, the returns on non-Y Combinator investments will probably be even worse. If we assume that Y Combinator companies are worth double the average, the acceptable premoney for the average seed investment needs to be $2 million or less.


It’s an oversimplification but the underlying math is solid. Seed stage valuations are too high. Angels that pay those higher prices might not end up losing money but they won’t earn a return that’s commensurate with the risk they’re taking.

Some entrepreneurs might be upset with this post. After all, aren’t higher valuations better? One entrepreneur only half-jokingly asked if he could finish raising his round before I published this post.

The thing is, with a seed round of $250,000 or even $500,000, the valuation doesn’t matter that much for the founders. Let’s say I were to raise $500,000 at a $2 million premoney. I would be giving up 20% of the company. If I raised at a $4.5 million premoney instead, I’d only be giving up 10%. On a $100 million exit, that’s the difference between $80 and $90 million. (Yes, I know I’m not accounting for liquidation preferences, the option pool, etc. But this is an article, not a dissertation)

There just isn’t that much difference between those outcomes for the founders. Or let’s try something harder. How about a $20 million exit. Ignoring liquidation preferences, we’re talking about the difference between $16 and $18 million for the founders. For the angel investors, it’s the difference between 4x and 8x their money. That’s a huge difference.

Diversity is good for the startup ecosystem. If angels get priced out of deals, not only do angels suffer but entrepreneurs lose out on a lot of expertise and venture capitalists lose out on some valuable filtering.

In short, valuations are too high. It will be better for the entire ecosystem if they return to historical norms.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Amarand Agasi, Dave Dugdale

More About: angels, business, funding, investing, startup, valuation

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Google+: The Numbers Driving Its Growth [STATS]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 03:50 PM PDT

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

New data from Experian Hitwise shows that Google+ is growing fast, thanks to a young demographic and lots of traffic from other Google properties.

The web analytics firm has released its first set of data regarding Google’s new social network. While its data only extends to July 16, it provides a detailed picture into the numbers that are driving Google+’s growth.

Here are some of the most interesting stats from Experian Hitwise’s report:

  • As of July 16, Google+ is the 42nd most-visited social networking site in the US and the 638th most-visited site on the web. We suspect that Google+ is even more popular now, and will gain steam when it opens to the public.
  • According to Hitwise, Google+ had 1.8 million total visits last week, an increase of 283% from the previous week. Google+ has grown by a whopping 821% from the week ending on July 2, the first week Google+ was made available.
  • 56% of Google+’s upstream traffic came from other Google properties last week, with 34% of that traffic coming from And 37% of its upstream traffic came from search engines, while 21% of its traffic was driven by email.
  • Google+ may not be as much of a sausagefest as some early estimates claimed. According to Hitwise, 57% of visits to Google+ were from males for the four weeks ending on July 16. That doesn’t mean that 57% of its users are male, but it’s a sign that previous estimates were off the mark.
  • Google+ is dominated by young adults. Its biggest age group for the four weeks ending July 14 was the 25-34 age bracket, which accounted for 38.37% of all visits. The week before, the entire 18-34 age bracket made up just 38.11% of total visitors.
  • Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco are the most dominant metropolitan areas driving traffic to Google+. Other areas with a higher proportion of visitors to Google+ than the general online population include Bowling Green, KY, Portland, OR and Bend, OR.


The truth of the matter is that none of these stats are official and Google+ is still very new, so it’s anybody’s guess as to how accurate Experian Hitwise’s actually are. Still, we think the company’s numbers make sense. While Google+ is gaining in popularity, it is still minuscule compared to Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Tagged or even MySpace.

Google’s Facebook competitor may have 18 million users, but it still has a lot of room for growth.

More About: Experian Hitwise, Google, stats

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X-Men Get the Lady Gaga Treatment in “Born This Way” Parody [VIDEO]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 03:13 PM PDT

Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks.

It’s been a while since we’ve had some Gaga up on Mashable. Well, quit your crying, Little Monsters, because a “Born This Way” parody recently hit the web featuring none other than the X-Men.

This vid, which was created by the folks at The Warp Zone on YouTube, is a more elaborate version of an acoustic reinvention of the song, inspired by the film X-Men: First Class.

Naturally, this isn’t the first parody of Lady Gaga’s jam — Weird Al Yankovic famously featured a tune called "Perform This Way" on his album, Alpocalypse.

Which Gaga satire has been your favorite?

More About: Film, Lady Gaga, music, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, x-men, youtube

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Google Labs Closure Won’t Affect Google 20% Time

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:59 PM PDT

Despite announcing that it will shut down Google Labs, Google insists that it is not changing its famous employee 20% time policy.

“[Google Labs] was a separate consideration from 20% time,” a Google spokesperson tells Mashable. “We don't have any changes to announce there. We'll continue to devote a subset of our time to newer and experimental projects.”

Google is famous for letting its employees spend approximately 20% of their time “on projects that aren’t necessarily in [their] job descriptions.” This has given birth to some of Google’s most important products, including Gmail, Google News and Google Reader, the latter of which is a graduate of Google Labs.

Google Labs has often been a conduit for testing out these 20% ideas. Googlers have posted hundreds of experiments to the site, including “graduates” like Google Reader, Goggles, Groups, Maps, Social Search and iGoogle. The company relaunched Google Labs in 2009.

In a blog post, Google said that it needs to focus if it wants “to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.” These are the same points that CEO Larry Page made during last week’s earnings report.

“Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter — more wood behind fewer arrows,” Page said in his statement. “Last month, for example, we announced that we will be closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter. We've also done substantial internal work simplifying and streamlining our product lines. While much of that work has not yet become visible externally, I am very happy with our progress here.”

It seems as if Google’s shutdown of Labs isn’t about ending experiments, but focusing them on existing projects and products. Central to that effort is Google+, the search giant’s social network. We’ve heard several times that there has been more pressure on employees to focus their extra time on improvements to existing projects.

Google may be encouraging its employees to put their extra energy into projects like Google+, rather than creating tangential products. The search giant may also have simply decided that it didn’t need a central place for its experiments. Either way, the closure of Google Labs is the end of the era, but it doesn’t spell the end of 20% time.

More About: Google, Google 20% time, google labs

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New TSA Software To Nix Invasive Body Scan Images

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:46 PM PDT

When the Transportation Security Administration rolled out full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints, it produced images detailed enough to earn the nickname “porno scanners.”

Now, the TSA plans to install software in all of these machines that will put an end to the seemingly naked scanned images.

The software eliminates passenger-specific images. Instead, the machine uses a generic image to pinpoint any potential threats hiding under a passenger’s clothes that require further screening. If no potential threats are automatically detected, an “OK” appears on the screen and the passenger is cleared.

“By eliminating the image of an actual passenger and replacing it with a generic outline of a person, passengers are able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees,” a TSA statement explains. “Further, a separate TSA officer will no longer be required to view the image in a remotely located viewing room.”

The TSA plans to install the software on the imaging technology units that rely on a technology called “millimeter wave” in the coming months. It also plans to test similar software for the rest of the nearly 500 units at airports nationwide that use a different technology called “backscatter.”

On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the scanners did not violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches, and the new software may help quell the concerns of privacy activists. But the debate on the new scanners is far from over. The latest argument is over whether the machines negatively affect health of TSA employees.

More About: airport, scanners, tsa

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Find a Job in Social Media, Communications or Design

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:35 PM PDT

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists section gathers together all of our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles on How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions in the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Postings

Business Development Coordinator at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Director at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Editorial Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Communications Coordinator at Mashable in New York, NY.

Campaign Specialist at Mashable in New York, NY.

Mashable Job Board Listings

Interactive Producer at Attention in New York, NY.

Interactive Coordinator at EQAL in New York, NY.

Manager of Social Media Marketing at ANSYS, Inc. in Canonsburg, PA.

Interactive Account Manager at Fetching Communications in Tarpon Springs, FL.

Online Marketing & Analytics Coordinator at The Hartville Group in Canton, OH.

Web Producer at ASME in New York, NY.

Software Engineer at Razoo in Washington, D.C.

Account Supervisor – Digtial at Edelman PR in Sacramento, CA.

Web Developer at Dyrdek Enterprises in Los Angeles, CA.

Manager, Email Marketing at in Carpinteria, CA.

Senior Web Product Manager – at Bloomberg in New York, NY.

Web Product Manager at Bloomberg in New York, NY.

Senior LAMP Developer at MGH, Inc. in Columbia, MD.

Digital Media Planner at Bloomberg in New York, NY.

Paid Web Design Internship: Magazine for the Facebook era at Civic Action in Berkeley, CA.

Integrated Marketing Manager at Johnson & Johnson in New York, NY.

Measurements Solution Manager, Digital Analytics at Johnson & Johnson in New York, NY.

Product Development Intern at Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York, NY.

Senior Social Media Strategist at Morpheus Media in New York, NY.

Copywriter at Blendtec in Orem, UT.

MTV News movies writer at MTV in New York, NY.

Social Media / SEO / Blogging Specialist at myFORBUY in San Ramon, CA.

VP of Business Development at ValueClick in San Francisco, CA.

Community Manager / Blogger at Collective Digital Studios in Beverly Hills, CA.

Director, Sales at ValueClick in New York, NY.

Client Relations Manager (Frontline New Release)at The Orchard in New York, NY.

Client Relations Manager (Catalogue) at The Orchard in New York, NY.

Manager, Catalogue Marketing at The Orchard in New York, NY.

Associate Director, Social Content at Razorfish in San Francisco, CA.

Online Producer at XO Group Inc. in New York, NY.

Social Media Account Manager at Razorfish in San Francisco, CA.

Social Media Coordinator at Razorfish in San Francisco, CA.

Social Media Strategist at Starworks Group in New York, NY.

HTML Coder at Beyond Indigo in Dover, NH.

Co-Founder / Lead Developer at Party Foul in Los Angeles, CA.

Sr. / Expert Web Developer – PHP/ MySQL, Javascript, WordPress at The Uprising Creative in Los Angeles, CA.

Internet Ad Trafficker at Bloomberg in New York, NY.

Marketing Manager/Director at Fanscape in Los Angeles, Ca.

Sr. Social Media Analyst at Fanscape in Los Angeles, CA.

Social Media Coordinator at The Pampered Chef in Addison, IL.

Executive Vice President, Digital at Porter Novelli in Washington, D.C.

Digital Media Account Executive at The Telegraph in Hudson, NH.

East Coast Regional Manager at Israel on Campus Coalition in Washington, D.C.

Wed Developer at Motivators, Inc. in Westbury, NY.

Operations Director, at NBC Universal in Universal City, CA.

Software Engineer (.NET) at Group Commerce in New York, NY.

Test Engineer at Group Commerce in New York, NY.

Account Director at Group Commerce in New York, NY.

Front End Engineer at Group Commerce in New York, NY.

Senior Systems Engineer at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Senior Software Engineer (.NET) at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Web Developer, Display Advertising at Adknowledge in Kansas City, MO.

Marketing Director/Manager at FindTheBest in New York, NY.

Production Designer/ Developer at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Producer, Digital Marketing Content Development at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Orlando, FL.

Senior Software Engineer: Rails, Agile at Meredith Corporation in San Francisco, CA.

Director, Product Development – Social Media Analytics at NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey Company in New York, NY.

Developer at Likeable Media in New York, NY.

Senior Interactive Marketing Manager at Carol’s Daughter in New York, NY.

Web Application Developer at ALLDAYEVERYDAY in New York, NY.

Director, New Business Development at The Hyperfactory in New York, NY.

Digital Media Supervisor / Strategist at 26 Dot Two, LLC in Walnut Creek, CA.

Community Coordinator at EveryBlock in New York, New NY.

Software Engineer at AWeber Communications in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

Online Community Manager at Market America in Greensboro, NC.

Account Director at BAM Strategy in Montreal, Canada.

Senior Systems Administrator at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Senior Engineer, Video Asset Manager at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Director of Technology Operations at A Startup Cloud Computing Services Provider in Atlanta, GA.

Marketing & Sales Internship (Paid) at Qstir in Atlanta, GA.

Senior Engineer, Search & Advertising at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Classified in Chicago, IL.

Director of Product and Program at Code for America in San Francisco, CA.

Development Director at Code for America in San Francisco, CA.

Social Media B2B Marketing Manager at Multi Billion Dollar Sales Organization in New York, NY.

Lead Systems Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, New NY.

Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.

Find a Web 2.0 Job with Mashable

Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, YinYang

More About: COMMUNICATIONS, design, jobs, jobs listings, Lists, media, social media

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Which ’90s Nickelodeon Show Do You Most Want To Watch? [POLL]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:14 PM PDT

Tuesday we told you about Nickelodeon’s plan to bring back 1990s shows on the TeenNick channel.

TeenNick will air four hours of “classic” 90s programming from midnight to 4 a.m in a programming block called “The 90s Are All That.” With so many classic shows being rerun, and DVRs becoming more ubiquitous, these shows are bound to see a lot of play.

We had to ask: Which shows do you most look forward to watching again?

Along with the list released by Nickelodeon, we’re also including some shows that might prove to be crowd favorites, including Hey Dude!, which was released on DVD Tuesday.

More About: cartoons, nickelodeon

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Roku 2 Gets TV, Games & Movies in a Tiny Package

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 01:58 PM PDT

The team at Roku has just announced its newest line of streaming players, the Roku 2.

It was only last fall that Roku revamped its line of players, introducing the Roku XD and XDS. The new Roku 2 comes in at the same price as the previous units, but it comes in smaller, sleeker and with support for a Bluetooth motion-remote control.

The new remote will be bundled free with the $99 Roku 2 XS and will come bundled with a version of Angry Birds built just for the Roku.

Roku says it plans on bringing a large collection of games aimed at casual gamers to the platform between now and Christmas.

Roku has also launched some new channels alongside the new units, including Facebook and The channel is interesting because it will offer livestreaming weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Roku 2 starts at $59 for the Roku 2 HD, the Roku 2 XD is $79 and the Roku 2 XS is $99. The Roku 2 XD and XS support 1080p playback, and the XS has an ethernet port and a USB port for playing back music and movies.

All three Roku units will support the new Bluetooth remote control, so you don’t have to get the XS to enjoy games — just pick up a motion remote.

We’re not sure if Roku will establish itself as a platform for gaming — casual or not — but we’re excited to see newer, smaller units come out with more features at the same affordable price.

What do you think of the new units?

More About: connected devices, connected tv, roku, roku 2, roku 2 xs, set-top box

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Twitter Closing $800M Funding Round at $8 Billion Valuation [REPORT]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 01:38 PM PDT

Twitter is in the process of completing an $800 million funding round that will value the company at approximately $8 billion, as well as cash out some of the company’s early employees and investors.

According to All Things Digital, the funding will be a two-stage deal. The first $400 million will go toward the company itself, while the second $400 million will be set aside for cashing out employees and existing investors. This is similar to what Facebook did in 2009 with its $200 million in funding from Digital Sky Technologies.

In fact, DST, which also has stakes in Groupon and Zynga, is participating in the deal. J.P. Morgan is also reportedly participating in the round through its digital-growth fund. The company has raised more than $350 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital and a host of angel investors, including Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, Chris Sacca and Kevin Rose.

The deal, which is expected to close in the next two weeks, will value the company at $8 billion. This is the number The New York Times reported earlier this month. It also means that Twitter’s valuation will have doubled from its $200 million round in January 2011.

Unlike Zynga and Facebook, Twitter is still experimenting with business models and isn’t cash flow positive. It intends to place Promoted Tweets in user timelines sometime in the next month and a half.

More About: digital sky technologies, DST, facebook, funding, J.P. Morgan, twitter

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Get Out Your Rage With the Cheezburger Network’s fffuuuuu Rage Guy Site

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 01:32 PM PDT

It’s Wednesday, so you’re probably mad about something — most likely the fact that it’s Wednesday. Well, get out your aggression at the Cheezburger Network via its new site, Rage Comics.

Rage Comics is a new addition to the Cheezburger Network’s Memebase and plays off of the popular FFFFffffuuuuu Rage Guy meme (with varying degrees in “f” and “u” duration), a series of comics that took off through 4chan's /b/ board in late 2008. Basically, the comics are created to express rage. Go figure.

Rage Comics contains FFFfffuuuu comics galore, and it also features a “Rage Builder,” making it easy for you to create your own.

What’s PO’ing you this afternoon? Sharing your comics in the comments below.

More About: Meme, pop culture, rage-comics, rage-guy, the Cheezburger Network

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HOW TO: Do a Clean Install of OS X Lion

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 01:09 PM PDT

OS X Lion is now available from the Mac App Store and we know that many of you are preparing or have already started downloading and installing the new cat.

Because installation takes place entirely from within the Mac App Store, the usual “clean install” option isn’t present. If you’ve followed our guide for preparing your Mac for Lion, you’re probably in good shape to proceed with an upgrade. If, however, you long for the ability to do a clean install without having to first install Snow Leopard and THEN install Lion, Mashable has you covered.

If you want to create a bootable USB stick or burn a DVD of OS X Lion, read along.

Step 1: Download Lion From the Mac App Store

Go ahead and download OS X Lion from the Mac App store. This is a nearly 4GB download, so if your Internet connection isn't super fast, you may want to plan to get some other stuff done while you wait.

As soon as the download is complete, exit out of the installation prompt. We don't want to do an install right now.

Step 2: Find The Install Lion App in Finder (in Your Applications Folder)

Locate the Lion installation program.

Step 3: Right-Click on the Installer, Select "Show Package Contents"

Right click or control-click on the program icon and select "Show Package Contents." Now, you want to browse to the "Shared Support" folder inside of "Contents" and locate a file called "InstallESD.dmg." This is the file we will use to create our bootable Lion image.

Copy this file to your desktop or another folder you have easy access to.

Step 4: Start Disk Utility

Open up Disk Utility (it's in the Utilities folder in Applications). At this point, you should see the various hard drives connected to your Mac. If you haven't already plugged in an empty USB thumb drive or a hard drive with an empty partition, do that now.

Step 5a: Insert a Blank DVD

For users that want to create a DVD for installation purposes, go ahead and put it in your Mac.

In Disk Utility, click the "Burn" icon and then select the "installESD.dmg" file that we just copied to our desktop.

Let it burn.

Step 5b: Select the USB Drive You Want to Use

Click on the tab that says "Erase."

If, however, you'd prefer to create a bootable USB drive. Select it now.

In the source menu, select the "installESD.dmg" file we already copied to our desktop.

For destination, choose the partition of the drive you want to use. Be aware that you will erase everything on this partition and replace it with OS X Lion, so be sure you don't have anything important on that drive or partition.

Click Restore.

After the image is burned to USB or DVD, restart your computer by holding down the option key. You will now be given an option to boot from the DVD or USB drive. Go through the installation, ready to enjoy a new, clean install of Lion.

For the Uber-Scared

Apple will be selling OS X Lion on USB thumbdrives in its stores in August for $69. You can buy several 8GB USB thumb drives for that price, so our advice is to skip the Apple release and just burn your own Lion installer copy for safe keeping.

More About: apple, how to, lion, mac, mac apps, mac os x lion

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“Amazing Spider-Man” Trailer Hits the Web [VIDEO]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:59 PM PDT

Let the battle for summer blockbusters begin. For summer 2012, that is.

Two days after Warner Bros. released the first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment of the rebooted Batman franchise, Sony Pictures has released its first teaser trailer for the first installment of the rebooted Spider-Man franchise.

Like The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man won’t hit theaters until next summer, but fan interest in both are sky-high. In the latter case, the back story is also of interest: Sam Raimi, who directed the three most-recent Spider-Man films, featuring Tobey Maguire, was set to make a fourth installment, but decided he couldn’t do so and maintain artistic credibility. So, a mere nine years after the first Spider-Man in that series premiered, Sony decided to start over again with Spider-Man’s creation story.

The cast is different this time around, as is the director, Marc Webb. Andrew Garfield (who played Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network) plays Spider-Man, Emma Stone plays his love interest, Gwen Stacy, and Ryhs Ifans plays the villain, The Lizard.

Since this is a teaser trailer, you don’t get to see Spider-Man in his full regalia, save for a quick reflection off a building at the end. What do you think of the new film so far?

More About: Amazing Spider-Man, movie trailers, Sony Pictures, The Dark Knight Rises, trending, warner bros

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Google Strikes Deal With J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore for Harry Potter Ebooks

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:48 PM PDT

Google has announced that it has teamed up with J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore to make the Harry Potter books available through Google’s literary products.

Starting this fall, all seven Harry Potter tomes will make their debut on Google eBooks, the search giant’s ebookstore. Unlike most digital book platforms, Google eBooks lets users port their purchases to more than 80 ereaders. The books will also be available through Google Books and the company’s iOS and Android apps.

As part of the distribution deal, Google also secured exclusive rights to be the payment platform for all purchases. That means you will be paying for your ebooks and audiobooks via Google Checkout rather than PayPal or Amazon Payments.

Pottermore, which launches this fall, is designed to be an interactive online reading experience. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase the ebook versions of Harry Potter. The site is rumored to have gaming elements, awards and achievements, and virtual items.

Harry Potter mania is at an all-time high, despite the last book being released in 2007. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final film in the cinematic adaptation of the series, is breaking box office records and is set to become the first billion-dollar movie in the franchise.

More About: eBook, ebooks, Google, google books, google checkout, google ebooks, harry potter, J.K. Rowling, jk rowling, pottermore

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Google Shuttering Google Labs

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:37 PM PDT

Google announced Wednesday that it plans to shutter its Labs department in an effort to focus more on its products.

For years, Google Labs has been, to quote the company, “a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them.” That playground has birthed the likes of the Google Reader and Google Goggles — to name a very few.

SEE ALSO: Google Labs Closure Won't Affect Google 20% Time

Google announced the loss of Labs via its blog, stating: “While we've learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we're to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.”

Many Labs experiments will end, Google says, and other products will be folded into different areas. Android apps in the Lab phase, however, will still be largely available in the Android Market.

We’ve reached out to Google for more information.

Image courtesy of Google

More About: Google, google labs

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Saudi Woman To Face Trial for Driving in Medical Emergency [REPORT]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:18 PM PDT

A Saudi Arabian woman will be tried for driving during what she said was a medical emergency, according to reports released Wednesday. The kingdom, currently home to the social media-driven Women2Drive campaign, is the only country in the world that bans women from driving.

According to the AFP, Saudi daily newspaper Okaz reported that an unnamed 35-year-old woman was arrested in the city of Jeddah before eventually being released with her father acting as her guarantor. Okaz says the woman said she had been suffering from a hemorrhage, and chose to drive due to a lack of public transportation and due to having no personal driver to take her to the hospital.

Though Saudi Arabia has no written law preventing women from driving, religious edicts enforced by religious police have kept them from driving within the kingdom. Women typically rely on male family members or hired chauffeurs for transportation. As a result, the Women2Drive movement — which spread the word via sites like Facebook and Twitter — was born, asking Saudi to drive their own cars on June 17. While a number of women drove on that specific date, a few have continued driving since then, with many using the #Women2Drive hashtag on Twitter and posting YouTube videos to document their experiences.

Most women participating in the campaign have reported little to no trouble with the law — since key organizer Manal al-Sherif was arrested in May — though five women were arrested in Jeddah at the end of June. On Sunday, Saudi media reported that two women with Omani licenses were arrested for driving. The women had been traveling with their families on the road between capital Riyadh and the city of Taef. According to newspaper Al-Hayat, the women were required to sign agreements not to commit the offense again.

The news about the female driver facing trial comes the same day the Saudi Women for Driving, an activist group, received a letter of support from one of the European Union’s top diplomats. In the letter dated July 6, Catherine Ashton — high representative and European Commission vice president — calls on Saudi Arabia to implement the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

“I assure you that the EU will continue to raise human rights and fundamental freedoms in its contacts with Saudi Arabia,” the letter concludes. “I thank you for your commitment to this particular issue and hope you will continue to speak out on human rights.”

Ashton first issued a public statement of support via a representative last month, after more than 7,000 people signed a petition asking for her support on online activism platform U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also publicly backed the driving movement after a petition hit the web. The Saudi women pushing for the right to drive have even received support from Saudi Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel.

While there have been fewer reports of women driving in recent weeks, the #Women2Drive hashtag is continuing to see use on Twitter, with both men and women using it to spread related news and explain why they endorse the movement.

Saudi Atheist Tweet

Image courtesy of yfrog/Mai AL-Shareef

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Olsen Twins & Anna Wintour Interpreted as Techie Art [PICS]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:17 PM PDT

The artist who brought you Twitter’s fail whale has joined the fashion realm — but still with a tech twist. Yiying Lu debuted Wednesday two of her 10 illustrations that will appear in Meets Obsession magazine’s "10 Most Intriguing in Fashion” feature next month.

Lu shared her interpretations of fashion icons Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Anna Wintour, on whose likeness she incorporated QR codes. When scanned, the codes will direct readers to Lu’s site where they can download the free artwork to iPhones and iPads.

“I am personally obsessed with the interplay between art and technology, and between digital content and real world content, and this project brings this all together in an innovative and interactive way,” says Lu.

Technology and fashion have been intertwined for decades, but today’s direct interplay between the two is unprecedented. Lu’s artwork comments on that dynamic. "Yiying Lu has discovered the future of fashion," says artist and cultural critic Jonathon Keats. "Clothing and accessories printed with personal QR codes are the ultimate in mass customization."

The entire Meets Obsession feature will debut when the magazine’s inaugural print issue hits newsstands August 5. Apart from Wintour and the Olsens, Lu won’t divulge what fashion icons to expect, but she has agreed to share some photos, the first of which is an exclusive sneak peak of the remaining illustrations.

Exclusive Sneak-Peek: The Remaining Fashion Icons

Terry Richardson

Fashion photographer Terry Richardson will also appear among Lu's ten illustrations.

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen

Images courtesy of Yiying Lu

More About: art, artist, fail whale, fashion, magazine, qr, QR Codes, Yiying Lu

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5 Current Trends Shaping the Television Industry

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 12:04 PM PDT

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tv imageAlthough TV ownership dropped last year for the first time since 1992, traditional TV viewership rose 22 minutes — the length of a sitcom — per month. Now the average viewer consumes 159 hours of TV per month.

And there’s also a new media platform — your Internet browser — that increasingly competes for your attention. According to Forrester, people spend as much time on the Internet as they do watching television — and sometimes they watch TV on the Internet on sites like Netflix and Hulu. So how does digital’s infiltration of the mainstream affect consumer trends when it comes to television?

Market research firm Mintel recently published a report on the U.S. television industry — we checked out the data and found some other stats to shed some light on what’s happening in the world of television.

1. TV Embraces the Internet

netflix image

Thanks to Hulu and Netflix, people don't necessarily need television sets in order to consume media. But while the recession prompted consumers to cut back on dining out and other frivolities, they did continue to spend on home entertainment, which has prompted many TV manufacturers invest in new, Internet-enabled models. So even while traditional television is being challenged by the rise of Internet video streaming, manufacturers are embracing new consumer behaviors.

Look at Sony’s search-centric Google TV, for example. The set allows user to search for “Seinfeld,” and call up air times, cast information from IMDB and information on where the content can be viewed on the web — it’s a more holistic and streamlined experience.

There are several other ways to stream web content to your TV, including the use of connected devices like Boxee Box. The symbiosis between Internet, apps and TV could keep the TV industry going strong.

2. The Box Office Pulls People Away From Their TVs

The movie industry has also affected TV consumerism — the rise of 3D movies has pulled consumers away from their sofas and into cinemas, where they can indulge in a highly visual experience for a few bucks more than a regular movie. While 3D TVs exist, they come at a hefty price and don’t yet provide the same level of viewer immersion.

3D technology was touted as the next frontier in the TV industry, but consumers don't seem to be latching on — in a 2010 study, 83% of survey respondents said 3D technology isn't enough to make them want to buy a new TV, and nearly one-third of people say 3D doesn’t enhance the viewing experience. It seems that 3D technology is preferred on the big screens of movie theaters and not in one’s home. Just 3% of TV owners own a 3D TV, but there’s not much 3D content out there to keep them entertained. The resistance also can be attributed to the glasses factor: many people find them uncomfortable, inconvenient and, in some cases, nausea-inducing.

3. LCD and Flat-Panel Screens Dominate

More than 60% of Mintel’s respondents own a flat-panel TV. Competition among television brands in 2010 drove down the price of TV sets, which in turn spurred growth in the volume of TV sales.

While Sony remains the big fish in the TV space — commanding 20% of the market share — bargain brands are gaining steam. Samsung and LG both made big strides in market share, but Vizio is presenting the greatest challenge to Sony, thanks to its placement in stores like Walmart and Sam's Club.

Value brands like Vizio, which boast similar technology to the premium brands, but at a better price, have slashed prices by 20%. A 55″ edge-lit LED LCD HDTV was sold for $1,829.99 by Vizio and for $2,299.99 by Sony and Samsung — that’s a $400 spread, and 30% of consumers say they’d go with an unfamiliar brand if it would save them more than $200.

But it’s not enough to have a flat-panel TV — LCD screens represented 78% of factory sales in 2010. Although sales totals declined — much in part because the actual price tag on LCD TVs has decreased — LCD penetration more than tripled to 39% from 2006 to 2010.

And apparently, size matters. If you’re going for all the high tech features, you may as well go big or go home. Half of the TVs in America are now in excess of 40″.

Despite the sales spikes for these new TV features, the average number of TVs per household has not changed — the market share is rising because consumers are “trading up” for bigger and better televisions.

4. TV Is Going Social

Television viewers are often multitasking — they watch their favorite shows while interacting on social media platforms via their tablets, smartphones and laptops. A Deloitte survey found that 42% of Americans surf the web while watching television, 29% talk on their phones while the TV is on and 26% of consumers are texting or sending IMs.

According to TV Guide, Twitter leads Facebook when it comes to social engagement during a show’s airtime — a phenomenon known as “social TV.” 50% of users said they tweet about the show they’re currently watching, while only 35% say they post to Facebook. Interestingly, the most social TV shows are not necessarily the ones with the highest Nielsen rankings — they’re the ones that spur conversation and have super passionate fans. American Idol, Glee and Smallville cracked the top ten, even though they’re all in different echelons of Nielsen ratings.

At Mashable Connect, TV Guide‘s Christy Tanner spoke about social TV and where it’s going — the video of her talk is embedded above. Tanner said the reason people are inclined to share their opinions on their favorite TV shows is that it’s not a controversial topic, like politics, and it’s not boring, like the weather. And so, we share our thoughts with our friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

5. Advertising Is More Targeted

Some TV brands have begun to target demographics more specifically. While they used to target the "Under 45" crowd, Samsung now targets young families, males under 35 and active and childless 25-34-years olds.

Likewise, Toshiba ads speak to independent millennial women; Sharp appeals to tech-savvy consumers with Star Trek actor George Takei, and Vizio targets shopping-savvy and trendy twenty-somethings.

You might also notice more advertising targeted toward fathers. Dads are more receptive to television product marketing, as tech is something male friends talk about over beer, and a father could justify a new television as a big investment that will benefit and entertain the whole family. Television companies may try to target dads directly — maybe with a commercial of one family with a souped up TV being happier than a family without such a TV — or via the children. A 3D TV would make gaming and other TV-based activities more exciting, for example, so the kids might give dad that extra push to splurge.

Demographic Trends and Fun Facts

The Mintel report is littered with interesting tidbits and data gleaned from its survey. Here are some interesting trends and stats:

  • Flat-panel TVs remains most dominant in households with incomes that exceed $100,000. Not surprisingly, this demographic is also more likely to own a TV larger than 50".
  • Purchasers tend to want the biggest TV screen they can afford, which suggests that size trumps technology and features.
  • Those under 45 or with children are more likely to have a large TV screen.
  • Interest in Netflix is as high among 45-54 year olds as it is among 25-34 year olds.
  • 21% of respondents would pay up to $100 more for an energy-efficient TV.
  • 34% of respondents would like to upgrade at least one TV in the home.
  • 49% of respondents like to have a TV in the bedroom.
  • 18% of respondents like to have a TV in the kitchen.

How many and what kind of TVs do you own? Let us know in the comments below.

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The New Old Spice Guy Is an Old, Familiar Face: Fabio [VIDEOS]

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 11:40 AM PDT

Meet the new Old Spice guy. He may not be all that new to you, though.

Fabio, who has employed his romance-cover looks for decades in ads for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, among other campaigns, is starring in four new ads for the deodorant brand. The brand enjoyed unparalleled social media success with its “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign last year.

It’s unclear whether Fabio will be replacing the old Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa, and whether these ads are running on TV. Reps from Old Spice and the brand’s ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy, could not be reached for comment.

Check out the full collection of ads below. What do you think of Fabio’s new role?




"Mountain Top"

More About: advertising, Isaiah Mustafa, MARKETING, old spice, old spice guy, viral videos, Wieden + Ke, youtube

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DoubleClick Founder’s New Startup Raises $6 Million

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 11:20 AM PDT

FindTheBest, a comparison and decision engine, has completed a $6 million round of financing courtesy of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' sFund.

The newly secured funds will be used to launch a network of vertical comparison sites and help the budding startup expand internationally.

Founded by DoubleClick creator Kevin O’Connor, FindTheBest launched in August 2010 to help consumers make faster and more informed decisions by objectively comparing information on products and services.

The FindTheBest name is meant to suggest that users can turn to the site to find the best [insert anything here].

One year since launch, the startup claims to attract 2 million unique users per month. It has also expanded its product and feature set to become both a comprehensive machine- and human-powered curation service.

sFund is the $250 million social innovation fund put together by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and partners such as Facebook and Zynga. Friend management startup Katango, née CafeBots, was the first startup to receive funding from sFund; it just launched its iPhone app for group and private messaging.

FindTheBest’s $6 million Series A was raised in two parts with the startup first securing $2 million in early December of last year.

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Kraft Jell-O Pudding Seeks To Eradicate Twitter Frowns

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 10:53 AM PDT

Kraft's Jell-O Pudding brand is looking to turn your Twitter frowns upside down.

The brand this week unveiled the Jell-O Pudding Face Mood Meter, which detects smile and frown emoticons on Twitter. The website shows a guy who is either frowning or smiling based on the mood of the country.

On average, there are 800 frowns and 1,200 smiles a minute. When the mood deviates from that norm, Kraft sends recent frowners a redemption link for free Jell-O Pudding. When those consumers click the link, Kraft encourages them to use the :D “pudding face” emoticon. Those count as smiles, in theory bringing the total count up.

In addition, there’s a Twitter feed for the campaign, @Jell-OMoodMeter, which so far has only 100 or so followers. But the brand hopes to spread the word by name-checking frowners in the feed and giving them pudding. For instance, Twitter user @jonheller used the frown symbol regarding Apple's Lion OS X release. "What'd they do with spaces :(," he asked, and got a callout from the Mood Meter: "Woah there, Leroy Frown. We saw that :( and we're not happy about it. Have some FREE pudding." A URL then leads to a site where he can get pudding if he verifies his identity.

The work is the latest attention-getting stunt from ad agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, which broke some innovative Twitter campaigns for Jell-O sister brand Kraft Macaroni & Cheese earlier this year and is now doing some interesting outdoor work for Vitaminwater.

This isn’t the first attempt to gauge the country’s mood via social media. Facebook examines the same issue in a less tongue-in-cheek manner with its USA Gross National Happiness Index.

What do you think of the Mood Meter? Did it make you smile or frown? Let us know in the comments.

More About: crispin porter + Bogusky, facebook, Jell-O Pudding, twitter, USA Gross National Happiness Index

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WePay Makes Opening an Online Store Simple & Embeddable

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 10:22 AM PDT

Online payment service WePay has unveiled a new merchant feature that makes it easier for small businesses to set up their own online stores.

The new WePay Stores aren’t designed to replace more advanced ecommerce software solutions like Zencart or Magento. Instead, WePay Stores are best-suited for home business and small stores that only have, at most, a few dozen items to sell. WePay has streamlined the process of getting items onto the market.

WePay Stores don’t require a merchant account and the user doesn’t need any programming knowledge to set it up. And because the system is powered by WePay, it doesn’t have any setup fees — it takes its cut from the transactions.

The feature that will definitely get the most attention though is embedding. With just a few lines of code, you can stick your WePay Store on your website or blog. This is exactly what Startup Tees did with its website.

One of the disadvantages of WePay Stores is that they lack the depth of customization options. For instance, making subtle color and design changes requires CSS knowledge, though WePay co-founder and CEO Bill Clerico says that it will add more customization options to its ecommerce platform over time.

The WePay Stores are part of the company’s broader strategy to be simpler and easier to use than its biggest competitor, PayPal. The startup has raised approximately $10 million in funding from Dave McClure, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Highland Capital Partners, August Capital, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and, interestingly, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

More About: Onlien store, paypal, wepay

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