Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Beach Body Spam Spreads via Hacked Twitter Accounts [WARNING]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Beach Body Spam Spreads via Hacked Twitter Accounts [WARNING]”

Beach Body Spam Spreads via Hacked Twitter Accounts [WARNING]

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:04 AM PDT

Thousands of hacked Twitter accounts are sending a wave of spammy messages advertising a weight-loss product.

The message reads: “Get the beach body you’ve always wanted, now you can with this weight loss supplement,” followed by a link to a website advertising an Acai Berry dietary supplement.

We don’t know how the accounts have been compromised, but judging by the number of spammy messages, it’s possible that users’ passwords have been stolen.

If you see such a message coming from your account, change your password immediately. You should also revoke Twitter access to all suspicious applications. You can do that by logging into Twitter, clicking on "Settings" in the upper-right drop-down menu, choosing "Connections" and clicking "Revoke Access" on suspicious apps.

[via NakedSecurity]

More About: acai berry, hack, hacked, malware, spam, twitter

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Face Recognition Coming to iOS 5 [REPORT]

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 03:04 AM PDT

Apple is planning to include face detection capabilities in the next version of its smartphone/tablet platform, iOS 5, 9to5Mac has discovered.

It is too early to tell how, exactly, the face recognition in iOS 5 will work, but it seems that Apple plans to open it up to developers via several API controls, including a call for recognizing the position of the person’s eyes and mouth. This means that in the future we’ll be seeing iOS apps utilizing face detection from third party developers, and possibly from Apple itself.

The technology behind this feature probably comes from Polar Rose, a Swedish company specializing in face recognition which Apple acquired in 2010.

Check out a video showcasing an augmented reality app called Recognizr which Polar Rose co-developed, below.


More About: apple, face detection, face recognition, iOS, ipad, iphone, polar rose

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Which Tech Giants Birth The Most Successful Startup Founders? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 11:05 PM PDT

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook all compete for top talent. In doing so, they lure and acqui-hire the brightest minds in tech — who, unfortunately for them, later go on to trade these cushy jobs for the rough-and-tumble life of a startup founder.

Which of these four mega powers in tech (at one point or another) has produced, and hence pushed out, the top talent in the industry? A little analysis of the startups that have come from the former employees of these tech heavy-hitters, and a look at the funding these startups have raised, might shed some light on the answer.

TopProspect to the rescue. The startup, a site that helps you get hired through your social network friends, fashioned the infographic below after analyzing data, dating back to 2006, from its users and their social connections — that pool includes more than 3 million folks mostly in the Silicon Valley area.

“We only focused on companies founded in the last 5 years,” the startup explains of its data analysis. “Second, we made sure that the companies had at least 10 employees in our network (a pretty good sign that they're legit, and well-connected). Finally, we only included companies with publicly available funding information.”

Google is birthing the most successful founders, if you measure success by funds raised (which isn’t always the best measurement of success). The search powerhouse-turned-social-media company has spawned 13 qualified founders in five years — who’ve started companies including Foursquare, Color and Qwiki. Together, these startups have raised a whopping $309 million in funding.

Lowest on the totem pole, at least for now, is Facebook. Its offspring includes seven founders — altogether raising more than $65 million — who have gone on to found startups such as Quora, Path and Asana.

Surprised by the results? Check out the full infographic below and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, satanslaundromat

More About: facebook, founders, Google, infographic, microsoft, startups, topprospect, Yahoo

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Google Triples the Speed of the +1 Button

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 09:54 PM PDT

The +1 button is about to get a whole lot faster, thanks to an update Google rolled out on Tuesday.

“We've begun to roll out out a set of changes that will make the button render up to 3x faster on your site,” software engineer David Byttow said in a blog post. “No action is required on your part, so just sit back, relax, and watch as the button loads more quickly than before.”

In addition to the speed boost, Google also introduced new code that speeds up the +1 button via an asynchronous code snippet. The code allows a web page to load with the +1 JavaScript code in parallel. The result is another improvement in page load time. The code is available on the +1 configuration page.

The +1 button is Google’s answer to Facebook’s Like Button. Since its launch, it has quickly gained adoption, and one report even claims its more widespread than the Twitter Tweet Button.

For more Dev & Design coverage:

Facebook Runs Ads Teaching Users How To Turn Off Facial Recognition

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 08:25 PM PDT

Facebook ruffled feathers last month after it turned on its facial recognition feature by default. Now, the social network is seeking to remedy this by running ads showing users how to turn the feature off — though it is still turned on by default.

The feature in question is called Tag Suggestions. Here’s how it works: Whenever you're offered the chance to tag groups of your friends in an album, Facebook will use facial recognition technology, and faces on previously tagged photos, to suggest the name you should tag a friend with. The feature is turned on by default, and you must change your privacy settings to opt out of it.

Facebook instituted the ads after Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen contacted the company to voice his concerns over user privacy. "Facebook has made significant changes that will provide better service and greater privacy protection to its users, not only in Connecticut, but across the country," Jepsen said in a statement.

The first round of ads ran on Facebook at the beginning of July. The second began Tuesday. Facebook claims that every U.S. user will see the ad at least twice.

"For any users who opt out, any facial recognition data collected will be deleted," Jepsen added.

What do you think of Facebook’s fix? Is it sufficient?

Ad image courtesy of Los Angeles Times

More About: advertising, business, face recognition, facebook, facial recognition, social media, tag suggestions

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10 Sleek Google+ Icons for Your Website or Blog

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 07:40 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.

Now that you’ve had a few weeks to get your feet wet with Google+, it’s time to make sure your other web properties are linking to your +Profile in style.

SEE ALSO: Google+ Tips & Tricks: 10 Hints for New Users

As always, the web is teeming with talented and generous artists who offer their visions of a more beautiful Internet up for free. We’ve sampled their wares and chosen the classiest badges and buttons that will alert your readers in no uncertain terms: “Hey, I’m doing things on the Google+!”

Found any beauties we missed? Link away in the comments.

1. The Google+ App, by David Walsh

Probably the defining Google+ icon on the web right now, the subtle gradients and light shadow give David Walsh's contribution the look of a smooth stone. It'll make a nice addition to any webpage or app dock.

2. A Google Rainbow, by Samuel McQueen

What it lacks in texture, it makes up for with a fresh take on Google's color scheme.

3. A Clean Vector, via Bold Perspective

If you're looking for a simpler take on Walsh's, check out this option, which includes the big plus.

4. A Bit of Texture, via Creative Nerds

This four-pack comes with and without grain.

4. Assorted +1 Items, via IconShock

If your site favors the shiny 3D, look no further than this pack of graphic trinkets.

6. A Subtle Shine, by ~abhashthapa

At first glance, this pack may seem similar to those previously discussed. But the bevel of light that runs across each one adds a glossier feel. What's more, the set comes with the white versions, as well as their non-glossy counterparts.

7. Circular With a Waving Banner, via 365psd

This little number makes thematic use the Google+ "circles," and adds the logo colors with a waving banner. It's a great choice for an airy blog theme.

Mashable clouds sold separately.

8. A Touch of Glass, via Serif Tuts

We really like these. View them at full size for maximum appreciation.

9. Inverted Metal, via The Icon Deposit

In a word: epic.

10. A +Fresh Font, by David Silva

Silva freshens up the Google logo with a new font -- great for design-centric sites. It's based on Sean McCabe's original vector.

More About: design, Google, Google Plus, icons, List, Lists, social media, social media icons, web design

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Windows Phone 7 OS “Mango” Ready for Release

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 06:18 PM PDT

The newest version of the Windows Phone OS, codename “Mango,” has reached the release to manufacturing stage (RTM). By this fall, Microsoft’s mobile OS will available on handsets worldwide.

The RTM stage marks the end of Microsoft’s development of the mobile OS. Now Mango is in the hands of handset manufacturers and mobile operators, who will now have the chance to optimize the OS for their devices.

“Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process,” Microsoft Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson said in a blog post. “The Mango update for current Windows Phone handsets will be ready this fall, and of course will come pre-installed on new Windows Phones.”

The technology giant unveiled Mango in May with a focus on improving communication, app multitasking, and Internet browsing. Mango includes new features like Threads (a fusion of text, IM and Facebook Chat), a web-based marketplace for apps and a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9 with advanced HTML5 support.

Despite the new release and a major partnership with Nokia Microsoft still faces an uphill battle in its quest to reclaim market share in mobile. Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, are still the dominant forces in the market, though some predict that WP7 will gain traction in the next few years.

More About: mango, microsoft, mobile OS, Windows, windows phone, windows phone 7, wp7

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Google Shopper for iPhone Now Surfaces Nearby Offers

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 05:34 PM PDT

Google, by way of Google Offers and Google Wallet, has long shown an interest in winning the daily deal poker match against current market leader and one-time acquisition target Groupon. Tuesday, Google is going all in with a deals-focused update to Google Shopper for iPhone.

The Google Shopper for iPhone application [iTunes link], once focused around comparison shopping, now includes nearby offers and has become a near clone of Groupon’s first-to-market Groupon Now application for location-based deal discovery.

The Shopper application’s navigation has been reworked and now includes an “Offers” tab sandwiched between the “Shop” and “My Offers” options.

“The Offers tab displays a list, or map view, of nearby offers which businesses have submitted through Google Places,” Google Shopper Product Manager Richard Hung explains. “If Google Offers are available in your city, you'll be able to view and redeem your purchased offers on the My Offers tab.”

Google Offers launched in Portland in April. Earlier this month, Google expanded Offers into two new markets: San Francisco and New York. Nearby offers were previously made available to Google Shopper for Android users.

More About: daily deals, Google Offers, Google Shopper, Groupon Now

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Is Apple Working on 15-inch MacBook Air/Pro Hybrid? [REPORT]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 04:48 PM PDT

Apple is putting the finishing touches on a 15-inch ultra-portable MacBook Air/Pro hybrid that could make its debut this holiday season, according to multiple reports.

While Macrumors is scant on details about the next-generation Apple computer, it is likely to drop the optical disc drive and utilize a solid state drive instead of a hard disk drive. These are two of the MacBook Air‘s defining features.

A follow-up report from TUAW corroborates the Macrumors report. In addition, TUAW claims that the new device will be part of the MacBook Pro product line and not the MacBook Air family. It also claims that a 17-inch model is also being developed and that both models could make their debut during the 2011 holiday season.

Apple unveiled new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs last week to critical acclaim. In addition to new Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, the refreshed ultra-portables contain Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards and OS X Lion. The tech titan refreshed the MacBook Pro line in February with faster processors and Thunderbolt ports.

If Apple really intends to slim down the MacBook Pro line and switch out the HDD for the SSD, it will have to find a way to keep the price down while giving customers comparable disk storage options. Or perhaps the 15-inch ultra-portable is the start of a new line of MacBooks that combine the portability of the Air with the power of the Pro.

We won’t know for sure until we get closer to the holiday season. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and try to get some answers.

More About: apple, Hardware, macbook, macbook air, Macbook Pro, SSD, Thunderbolt

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Obama’s Call to Contact Congress Takes Down Capitol Websites

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 04:01 PM PDT

During last evening’s address to the nation, President Obama urged citizens to contact their Congressman. And contact they did.

According to a message from the Senate Sergeant At Arms, sent to Senate offices and obtained by NPR, saw a massive increase in requests for two hours following Obama’s speech, resulting in many constituents being unable to access it.

“We are again experiencing peak loads today and many sites are sluggish and may at times receive errors,” the note said.

The web servers for Congress members such as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) were taken offline for several hours Tuesday. Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) also found their websites affected.

Thousands of constituents hitting the web to contact their representative, all at the same time, turns out to have the same effect as those denial of service attacks we often write about.

According to AllThingsD, the outages, which have subsided for now, didn’t just effect the Republican members of Congress. Elliot Engel, a Democratic representative from New York also saw his site go down.

More About: Debt Ceiling, politics

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Facebook for Business Launches To Help Companies Market Themselves

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 03:27 PM PDT

As businesses clamor to join Google+, it may be no coincidence that Facebook has introduced a new site walking potential advertisers through the process of advertising and marketing on the social network.

The site, Facebook for Business, "provides step-by-step guidance for how to best use Facebook's marketing tools," a company rep says. Such tools include Pages, Ads, Deals, social plugins and Sponsored Stories.

Though Facebook is sought after by marketers, many have found the process of buying ads on the network complex, which has spawned a network of third-party agencies that specialize in placing ads on the network. With the site, Facebook hopes to offer more of a helping hand. "We want to inspire small businesses by seeing how other businesses have found success on Facebook by sharing their stories," the rep says.

The new site is the latest effort by Facebook to court advertisers. In April, the company launched Facebook Studio, which showcases successful Facebook campaigns and gives awards for the best work.

More About: advertising, facebook, Facebook Studio, Google Plus, MARKETING

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2012 Olympics Launches New Event: Competitive Tweeting

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 03:05 PM PDT

London 2012 Twitter Competition

The website for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games just got a bit more rowdy. It now features an interactive contest designed to discover which country has the biggest online fan base.

The contest ranks the top 20 countries based on the number of tweets, YouTube videos and Flickr photos submitted. Fans already have submitted more than 20,000 tweets with Great Britain in the lead, followed by Brazil, the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands.

To be considered, tweets need to include the hashtag #1YearToGo, along with the three-letter code for your country. The aim of the contest: to promote the fact that we’re a year away from the opening ceremony of 2012 London Games on July 27, 2012.

Let the Contest Begin

The contest ranks the top 20 countries based on the number of tweets, videos and photos submitted.

The Tweets Are Rolling In

Twitter users have submitted more than 20,000 tweets, as of 5 p.m. ET on July 26.

Choose Your Country

A pop-up menu allows you to choose which country to support.

Tweet Your Support

Customize your tweet. All tweets will include the three-letter format of a respective country and the hashtag #1YearToGo.

The Top 20

The top 5 spots so far goes to Great Britain, Brazil, U.S., Canada and the Netherlands in the lead, as of 5 p.m. ET on July 26.

Globe View

Click on the "View Globe" mode to see the tweets, videos and pictures from fans across the world. There, you can view those items by country.

Get Visual With Video ...

You can submit videos via London 2012's YouTube channel.

... or With Photos

You also can use your Flickr to submit photos by tagging your images with "1yeartogo" and the name of a country.

As with past sporting events, social media will play a huge role in how fans participate in next summer’s 17-day festivity, whether they’re watching from home or at one of the 32 Olympic venues. We’ll have to wait to see if the level of tweets reaches the magnitude seen during this month’s FIFA Women's World Cup final game, for example, when Twitter users set a new record of 7,196 tweets per second.

Last month, the Olympic Committee officially encouraged the 10,500 competing athletes from 200 countries to “take part in social media and to post, blog and tweet their experiences,” so long as their efforts are not for commercial purposes.

Tweets aside, the official Olympic website — — has cranked up ways for fans to get involved well before the opening ceremony. In March, the website unveiled a feature in which users can create an Olympic mascot and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of, ODA.

More About: 2012 Olympics, social games, social media, sports, twitter, video

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Exclusive First Look: The Smurfs Movie Storybook App for iOS

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 02:27 PM PDT

The popular children’s cartoon The Smurfs has been adapted for the big screen in the 3D flick The Smurfs Movie, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria. Now showing on iPhone and iPad, in advance of the film’s July 29 debut, is the companion iOS application — The Smurfs Movie Storybook.

The application, developed by mobile children’s book application publisher iStoryTime, is targeted at junior Smurfs fans and follows the storyline of the upcoming feature film.

The $2.99 storybook for iOS, released Tuesday, features images from the film and celebrity character voiceovers. It offers young readers narrated read-alongs with manual flip or auto-play options, and includes a “Spot-The-Mistakes” game.

Movie companion applications are becoming must-offer appetizers and desserts by an entertainment industry hungry to drive audiences to theaters. The Smurfs Movie already has its own Farmville-knockoff in the “The Smurfs Village” game for iOS, and app maker iStoryTime has a long-standing relationship with Sony Pictures to create storybook applications for select films.

iStoryTime is also the publishing platform behind the Kung Fu Panda 2, The Penguins of Madagascar, Shrek Forever After and Transformers Mix & Match storybook applications.

Check out the application below and share your thoughts on the rise of movie-companion applications in the comments.

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

The Smurfs Movie Storybook for iOS

More About: Film, iOS, iStoryTime, MARKETING, The Smurfs, The Smurfs Movie

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Amazon Revenues Jump 51% Amid “Fastest Growth in a Decade”

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 02:08 PM PDT

Amazon‘s revenues jumped 51% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, as the company experienced the fastest growth it has seen in a decade, according to CEO Jeff Bezos.

In a statement, Bezos singled out the Kindle 3G with Special Offers, a $139 device that operates on 3G wireless networks and is subsidized by advertising, as the best-selling Kindle. Amazon didn’t break out sales for the Kindle 3G with Special Offers, which was introduced in May.

Revenues for the quarter, which ended June 30, hit $9.9 billion and the company predicted it would break $10 billion in Q3. Amazon’s net income fell 8% to $191 million, but investors cheered the report, prompting a 12% jump in Amazon’s stock price in after-hours trading.

The results contrast with Q1, when its income fell 33% due to a massive wave of hiring and a 42% increase in operating expenses.

More About: amazon, Kindle, Kindle 3G

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U.S. Senators Urge Saudi King To Overturn Ban on Female Drivers

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 01:56 PM PDT

Fourteen female United States senators have sent a letter to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, asking him to lift the ban that keeps women from driving within the kingdom.

The letter — dated July 26 — comes as a major boost for an ongoing social media campaign against the ban.

The bipartisan letter admits that the kingdom has recently taken some steps that advance women’s rights, including the appointment of its first woman deputy minister and the establishment of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, “the only university in Saudi Arabia that allows women to study alongside men and where women are allowed to drive motor vehicles on campus.”

But the senators feel the country needs to do more, given that its government accepted the majority of recommendations by a United Nations human rights group. The senators’ letter says one of these recommendations included putting an end to “all legislation, measures and practices that discriminate against women… including… the prohibition on women driving.”

“Given this commitment, we strongly believe it is time to abolish the prohibition on women driving once and for all, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s role as a newly elected member of the board of UN Women,” the letter says.

There is no actual written law that keeps women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but religious edicts enforced by religious police have made it the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. This is why the Women2Drive movement, which first began spreading across social sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, came about. Some women have continued driving past the original protest date of June 17, posting about their experiences on Twitter and also posting videos on YouTube.

Though most women spoke of little to no harassment while driving, five were arrested in the city of Jeddah at the end of June. Most recently, Saudi media reported that a woman who says she was driving to seek medical help for a hemorrhage will be tried.

“The prohibition on women driving motor vehicles, even in cases of emergency, makes it impossible for citizens to exercise a basic human right,” the U.S. senators’ letter reads.

The letter includes signatures from California’s Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat and senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Louisiana’s Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu; and Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine.

The fourteen senators aren’t the first U.S. female politicians to throw their support behind the Women2Drive movement. A number of House of Representatives members — including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — also expressed their support for the campaign last month. Shortly after that, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a news conference, following a petition started by activist coalition Saudi Women for Driving, calling the women’s efforts brave.

The European Union’s Catherine Ashton, high representative and European Commission vice president, has also issued statements to show her support.

The Saudi Women for Driving seem pleased with the senators’ recent letter.

“We welcome the support of so many U.S. senators,” the group said in a statement. “After more than 15,000 people from all over the world have joined our campaigns demanding that Saudi women be given the right to drive, it’s high time that American leaders art taking the lead, and demanding that Saudi women be afforded the most basic human rights.”

The full letter to King Abdullah can be viewed at Sen. Barbara Boxer’s website. The complete list of senators who signed the letter is as follows: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Image courtesy of Flickr, Travis S.

More Stories About Women2Drive

The History of Android [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 01:33 PM PDT

Android‘s box of sweets has gotten much more diverse since launching its first dessert-themed operating system, Cupcake, in 2009.

Mobile app developers [x]cubelabs have laid out a timeline of these versions — from Cupcake to Ice Cream Sandwich — in the infographic below.

What updates do you think were most influential? At what point did you decide that Android was or wasn’t the right OS for you?


More About: android, Google, infographic

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7 Ways Google+ Users Are Getting More Out of Their Circles

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 01:17 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.

Organizing your circles in Google+ can be the most confusing part of the new social network. Yet people are learning to embrace and even optimize their circles for better productivity, filtering and privacy.

We spoke with some Google+ mavericks about how they’ve corralled their circles to be more effective. Below, they share their clever tricks and best practices so you can learn from both their mistakes and their successes.

1. Sourcing

Technology writer +Mike Elgan will directly address people that circled him. He’ll reach out with a personal question like “Where do you live?” Not only do Elgan’s polls help him get to know his followers, but he often uses the feedback from his circles as a resource. His “What should Google users be called?” poll, for example, generated 181 responses. “I’ve crowdsourced some issues for columns I work on and taken polls to get a finger-on-the-pulse idea of what people are thinking or doing,” Elgan says.

2. Learning

+Steve Rubel, EVP/Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman has organized his circles to focus on early adopters and thus access valuable feedback and information. He uses Google+ as a virtual “Junto,” named after Ben Franklin’s original discussion forum. Rubel’s circles are organized by persona, for example, “Pluserati,” “CEOs” and “Clients.” From there, he shares “semi-private posts just to ask questions … we can explore the issues of the day, much as Franklin did.”

3. Deeper Interaction

Many Google+ early adopters are curious about their followers. Because Google+ doesn’t require mutual friend acceptance like Facebook, many users have gained hundreds and even thousands of followers in the first few weeks of registering.

Mashable‘s +Ben Parr regularly asks his public circles for responses and insight. One recent request, “What’s the name of your favorite Google+ circle?” received funny replies including Purgatory, The Circle Of Trust, The Party Posse, Inbreds, Ppl I’ve Kissed, Ppl I Want to Kiss, People I NEVER want to Kiss, Tila Tequila Wanna-bes, Guys Who Pissed Me Off in High School, Scoblized, People I Call When I’m Dying or Arrested, More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle, Muggles, and of course, Ubergeeks.

Google+ users are finally able to put faces to their followers and interact with them in meaningful (and sometimes hilarious) ways.

4. Filtering

Google+ users are two to three times more likely to share in specific circles than in public, according to Bradley Horowitz and Vic Gundotra, Google’s vice president of products and senior vice president of social, respectively.

Google+ circles encourage user etiquette, sparing certain members of your network from updates they can’t relate to or flat out don’t care about. “You share each item with only the people who deserve to know. And simultaneously, you spare the masses from seeing news of no interest to them,” wrote David Pogue of The New York Times.

Technology journalist +Steven Vaughan-Nichols divides his circles into three basic categories: personal, work and interest. He warns about proper circle etiquette on ZDNet’s blog. “Just keep in mind that if you want to keep people reading your words, show some sense about what you post,” he advises. “For example, I can already tell you that a lot of Google+ users are already sick and tired of animated GIF graphics, no matter how cute they are."

5. Personal Memos

Advanced Google+ users have discovered a way to use circles to save personal memos, drafts or articles to read later. Think of it as a type of Google+ reader, especially when articles that you’ve “+1′d” don’t make it to your profile.

Creating a circle-of-one (just your own profile) can function as a type of scrapbook, a history of interpersonal notes or private memos. Blogger +Charo Nuguid created a circle only composed of herself. “I created two ‘private’ circles, one for private messages and another for my notes-to-self,” she writes. “So far it's worked out well. The posts show up in the circles. I finally have a way to keep track of my notes and the messages I post.”

6. Organizing

Technologist and startup advisor +Christopher Allen explains his method for organizing his circles (seen above).

Although Google+ is not yet offering sub-circle organization, Allen figured out a way to organize circles within circles. For example, under “1.0 Kin,” he’s added sub-circles called “1.1 Immediate Family” and “1.2 Extended Family.” All in all, Allen has created 42 circles. It may sound daunting but it does allow him to better target his posts to specific audiences.

Still, that’s a lot of sorting to do especially if you already have a lot of followers. Allen suggests reviewing a few circles every day: “I do so by going to ‘Manage Circles,’ then selecting ‘People in your Circles’ and sorting by last name. I choose that letter of the alphabet that corresponds to the day of the month and hover my mouse over each name … If they're in the wrong Circle, I move them.”

7. Preparing for the Future

Many Google+ users have already begun to think about future uses for circles. Although Google is still tight-lipped about additions, our early adopters have certainly been chiming in with suggestions.

  • Search: Mike Elgan suggests that "standard search, plus a lift on the limit of people in circles (something rumored) would enable me to follow a gazillion people without actually seeing the full stream generated by that gazillion — only the most relevant items."
  • Organization: “I would love to be able to organize my circles any way I want (alphabetical, most used, etc.). I also would love to color code them,” says indie film producer +Adam Cohen.
  • Topics: Steven Vaughan-Nichols writes, “At the moment, Google+ circles aren't ideal for interest circles. For example, if you were to follow me in a dog-lovers circle, I might only mention pups once every other day or two. It's my understanding though that Google intends on making it easier to post by topics. I certainly hope they do.”

Google+ circles have surprised and stumped the world’s greatest technology leaders. Hopefully these quick tips will help you optimize your own circles and become a Google+ master.

More About: Circles, Google, Google Plus, social media, tips, trending

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Harry Potter Reimagined as a Lighthearted Teen Movie [VIDEO]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 01:05 PM PDT

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

The Harry Potter franchise is fraught with more angst than your average teen series — what with the evil and the death and the crushing responsibility of it all. Luckily, some hardcore Potter fans decided to lighten the mood a bit with a campy parody trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that’s been making the rounds on the web today.

Let the butter beer flow, dude.

[via 'Thewlis Rox' @]

Check out some more of our favorite Harry Potter spoofs below.

1. Harry Potter, Bad Roommate, Episode 1

This witty mini web series reimagines Harry Potter as a sitcom character. Chortle alert!

2. Harry Potter vs. Voldemort Rap

Clearly the franchise needed an epic rap battle between Master P and MC Voldemort. It's worth a play for the amusing lyrics and trash-talk.

3. Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Star Wars Mashup

BBC comedy show Dead Ringers pokes fun at the similarities among these three major fantasy series.

4. Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Neil Cicierega's "Potter Puppet Pals" are wildly popular with the kids. This video has racked up more than 100,000,000 views.

5. LITERAL "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" Trailer Parody

Our favorite in this lineup, the video dissects one of the Deathly Hallows trailers quite literally. Sheer genius!

6. Harry Potter with ADHD

Not politically correct, but pretty funny.

7. South Park & Harry Potter (NSFW: Language)

As you'd expect from anything South Park, this video's audio is as sweary as it comes, but very funny and well-executed.

8. Harry Potter and the Douchebag Magicians

College Humor manifests its usual comedy magic in this cartoon spoof.

9. Norwegian Recycling - Dark And Difficult Times (Harry Potter Mashup)

If you're a fan of the auto-tune sound, then you'll enjoy this musical interpretation.

10. Bart Simpson & the Half-Blood Prince

The Simpsons has chucked a few Harry Potter references into its episodes over the years. This fan-made mashup effectively combines the two for animated fun.

More About: harry potter, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Book-like iPhone Case Doubles as Wallet [VIDEO]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 12:51 PM PDT

In a world full of excellent iPhone 4 cases, Twelve South’s new BookBook for iPhone might just one of the most versatile.

Like the BookBook for the MacBook Pro and iPad, the BookBook for iPhone is designed to mimic a real vintage, leather-bound book. In addition to looking stylish, however, the BookBook for iPhone also acts as a fully functional wallet.

Even better, unlike some other iPhone wallet cases, the phone can actually be used comfortably while inside the case. For comparison’s sake, I’ve balked at purchasing this Michael Kors iPhone wallet clutch because it was too rigid to use with a camera or while talking on the phone.

The BookBook for iPhone is $59.99.

More About: accessories, bookbook, cases, iphone cases, twelve south

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Internet Star The Weeknd’s First Live Show Captured by Fans [VIDEO]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 12:25 PM PDT

Toronto-based R&B singer Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. The Weeknd) played his first live, sold-out show in his hometown this past weekend, and rabid fans were at the ready with cameras to capture the performance.

Hugh Dornbush, founder of the site, along with Alex Lasky cut those videos together with tweets to produce a crowdsourced vision of the event. (NSFW: language)

The Weeknd is an Internet-born star who released his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, for free via his website in March (click the arrow on his website to access it yourself). The album, which is wholly NSFW, has managed to capture the fleeting attention span of the Internet in its dark talons.

Tesfaye entered the music scene at first as a shadowy entity — no one knew his name — but as buzz for the album grew (facilitated in no small part by support from musician Drake), the artist has gained a cult following even though he is largely reclusive and has only really communicated with fans via Twitter and other social media channels. He even tweeted that no cameras were allowed at this past weekend’s show. Guess they didn’t check bags at the door.

Still, Tesfaye’s burgeoning star power was wholly evident at The Weeknd’s first show, as you can see in the vid, in which his fans roar each and every word to the song “High For This” (currently featured in an ad campaign for Entourage).

The video stands as a nice “full circle” kind of representation of The Weeknd’s ascension: Internet star to real-life sensation, to a mixtape-esque fan collage destined to make its way across the web.

More About: Abel Tesfaye, music, the-weeknd, video, viral video, youtube

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Mad Men Available for Netflix Streaming Starting Wednesday

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 12:15 PM PDT

For fans bumming because Mad Men's fifth season won't be airing this summer, here’s some good news: The first four seasons will be available to stream via Netflix starting Wednesday.

Netflix inked a multi-year deal with Lionsgate in April to air the series. Additional seasons will be added after they air on the AMC Network.

Lionsgate and creator Matthew Weiner announced in March that the show will return to AMC for its fifth and sixth seasons. Because of a contract dispute, though, the fifth season won’t air until early 2012, rather than in August, when the new seasons typically begin. The first four seasons of the show have been available via streaming for some time to Netflix customers in Canada.

Netflix gained the ire of many subscribers earlier this month by initiating a price increase for customers who stream movies and get DVDs delivered. Netflix's stock got hit in after-hours trader Monday, after the company predicted it would see a slowdown in subscriber acquisitions in the third quarter thanks to the price hike.

Image courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

More About: amc, mad men, netflix, streaming video, trending

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Project Runway Fans Can Vote for Designers on Twitter

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 12:05 PM PDT

Project Runway, the hit Lifetime reality show and designer competition, will air its Season 9 premiere episode Thursday. For the first time, the show will actively encourage fans to vote for their favorite designers via Twitter.

Lifetime parent network A+E has reinstated the “Fan Favorite” competition — a relic of seasons past — and will prompt fans at several points during each broadcast to cast their votes for their favorite designers via Twitter.

Here’s how the Twitter Fan Favorite competition works: Each of the top 20 designers have been assigned a Twitter hashtag. Show producers will embed each designer’s hashtag alongside his or her name during episode broadcasts.

The network will also run 15-second promotional spots (like the one above) to get fans voting. Tweets that mention a designer’s hashtag (at any time during the season) will be counted as votes. The designer with the most Twitter-casted votes at the end of the season will take home a $10,000 cash prize.

Fans can watch the Twitter drama unfold on air — A+E will provide an update on designer standings toward the end of each episode — and on the show website.

“We have been obsessing about trying to understand the relationship between social media conversations and television ratings,” says Evan Silverman, senior vice president of digital media for A+E Networks, on the real-time Twitter competition. “It’s a nascent industry … and it’s hard to show a direct correlation. What is clear is that if you can generate buzz, awareness and visibility in real time, then it does seem to help grow ratings.”

Still, it would seem that Project Runway and Twitter are discordant entities. The show is taped months in advance, as most fans know, making it impossible for tweets to determine which designers are in and which are out. But, with the Twitter Fan Favorite competition, A+E hopes to make the show more fluid and bring in more live broadcast viewers.

“Anything we can do to help make Project Runway a must-watch live show and give it a real-time feel encourages people to engage in conversation around the show, which in turn attracts more viewers,” Silverman explains.

Twitter, he says, was the right platform for a season-long, real-time vote. The network collaborated with Twitter’s media team in Los Angeles.

A+E is working with Mass Relevance — the same team that helped power President Obama’s Twitter Town Hall — to aggregate, track and filter tweets that use the designers’ hashtags.

Project Runway Twitter Fan Favorite Landing Page

Project Runway Twitter Fan Favorite Designer Chart

More About: A&E, lifetime, MARKETING, Mass Relevance, project runway, social media, television, twitter

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Time, People Top List of “Digitally Savvy” Magazines

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 11:48 AM PDT

L2, a think tank specializing in luxury brands, released the latest in its series of Digital IQ surveys Tuesday. It highlights magazines that are thriving and those that are struggling under the wave of digital technology that has reshaped the magazine environment over the past five years.

Of the 87 titles profiled in the study, only one was awarded “genius” status. Time magazine was praised for its multi-platform,‪ “all access” mobile strategy, multiple blogs, colorful Twitter feed and a Facebook Page that integrates Twitter, video and subscriptions all within Facebook.

Thirty-seven percent were placed in the “gifted” category, including People, Sports Illustrated and The Economist at the high end, and Vogue, Food Network Magazine and Playboy at the low end.

Another 30% were deemed “average,” including Us Weeky, Newsweek and Vanity Fair, while 24% rounded out the “challenged” category, including Reader’s Digest, Architectural Digest and Conde Nast Traveler.

Eight percent of magazines landed in the bottom, “feeble” rung, including Elle Decor, Men’s Journal and Town & Country.

The study found that titles with larger parent companies performed better on average, suggesting that those organizations “have leveraged economies of scale” in their approach to digital, the report says.


Of the 87 magazines in the survey, 85% have a blog, but only 70% of those with a blog integrate its content onto the home page — a surprisingly low figure, given that blogs “typically generate some of the timeliest content and provide some of the best opportunity for community engagement,” the study notes.

Ninety percent of those blogs allow comments. On average, users spend 30% more time on sites that allow commenting.


Each title in the study has a Facebook Page, averaging a quarter of a million Likes and 26 posts per week. Magazines in the Family and Health & Fitness categories tend to perform better on Facebook, the study found. Their Facebook pages offer a mix of tips, recommended workout routines, seasonal recipes and questions for their respective communities.

Although publishers have successfully leveraged Facebook as a traffic driver — 49% name Facebook as their number-two source of traffic, following Google — they have largely failed to use their Pages to drive subscriptions. Only 49% link to a subscription offering on their Facebook Pages, and less than one-third have a dedicated tab for subscriptions, despite the fact that nearly a quarter of new magazine subscriptions are now activated online.

The report found that, by and large, circulation is no guide to a brand’s following.

“This suggests that the social media battleground is about more than just active readership,” says the study. That could be a frightening prospect for some of the most widely read brands, it adds.


All magazines in the survey have active Twitter accounts, averaging 33,000 followers and 17 tweets per day. Those in the News & Politics and Fashion & Style categories tend to have the largest followings, dispensing timely news links and commentary, and also engaging in conversations.

Only one-third of magazines posted links to their other accounts on other social networks, suggesting that cross-network integration is poor.


Ninety-three percent of the titles in the Index have an active YouTube channel, with an average of 289 videos, 12,000 subscribers and 400,000 channel views among them.


Unsurprisingly, the study found that magazines have prioritized iOS above other mobile operating systems. In fact, more titles have an app in the iTunes store than a mobile-optimized site (57%), “perhaps working under the assumption that users will pick up their Apple device and reflexively jump right to the iTunes App Store instead of Safari,” the study suggests.

Only 31% of magazines maintain both a mobile site and apps for the iPhone and iPad, and 70% furnish content on both tablets and ereaders. Magazines’ scattered presence on tablets and ereaders is largely related to the user demographics of those devices; more men tend to own tablets, and more women tend to own ereaders.

A Few Thoughts

As with any set of rankings, somereaders are likely to disagree about both the methodology and the rankings themselves. For example, the study failed to acknowledge titles that have aggressively gone after Android and webOS tablets (i.e., Sports Illustrated, which was the first magazine to roll out all-access subscriptions), as well as those that have amassed impressive followings on Tumblr, the podcasts section of the iTunes Store and Instagram.

On social media — Twitter especially — it’s also important to look at not just the primary brand accounts, but a magazine’s presence across all of its writers and editors, many of which have amassed sizable and influential followings as leaders in their fields.

What do you think of the rankings? What other elements do you think are important to consider in determining a brand’s “digital IQ”?

More About: l2, magazines, media, people, Sports illustrated, time, Wired

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Join Mashable’s Real-Life Facebook Wall

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 11:18 AM PDT

We’ve had plans to build the world’s largest real-life Facebook wall at our New York City headquarters for some time — and we still plan to do so.

But in the middle of planning, we found out the wall we intended to adorn would be changing. In fact, all of our walls are — because we’re moving to a new office.

As the Mashable team gets settled into new digs in August, you can help us finish decorating. We’ve extended the deadline to opt in to our real-life Facebook wall to September 1. To participate, click the “connect” button below and we’ll use that to pull your profile picture. Then Social Printshop will print a giant poster of readers’ Facebook avatars.

We hope to connect with as many of you as possible by September 1. A big thanks to all our fans who have already participated!

Connect To Participate

We appreciate your readership, community and support, and this is a small way of saying thank you. Here’s a rendering of what the wall might look.

More About: facebook, facebook fans, Facebook wall, mashable, mashable hq, social media, social networks

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Tablet Publishing: Why Sports Illustrated Is Looking Beyond the iPad

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 10:57 AM PDT

The magazine industry’s current interest and investment in tablets beyond the iPad can be described as tentative at best.

It’s not terribly surprising. Even by the most conservative of estimates, the iPad will make up the lion’s share of worldwide tablet sales for the next three to four years. Nearly seven of every ten tablets in consumers’ hands at year’s end will be iPads, Gartner forecasts.

By comparison, Gartner estimates that Android will own 19.9% of the tablet market by the end of 2011, followed by QNX (5.6%, used by the BlackBerry PlayBook), webOS (4.0%, used by the HP TouchPad) and MeeGo (1.1%).

Given early indications that the Android-based Motorola Xoom and Galaxy Tab are not selling well, that RIM has shipped — not sold — a mere 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks, and that HP’s webOS TouchPad tablet has garnered only lukewarm reviews, those numbers even strike us as a little ambitious.

(Asus’s Android tablet appears to be selling well enough to compensate for the rest of the Android tablet category, however.)

Despite evidence that sales of non-iOS tablets will not take off for the next few years, a number of news organizations have launched one-size-fits-all apps for Android tablets to complement their multi-platform, “all access” subscription offerings, and a few have even developed apps for RIM’s QNX platform and Palm’s webOS software.

But very few magazine publishers have released full-fledged apps (by which we mean more than PDF-like copies sold through apps like Zinio) for the newer crop of tablets. Magazine apps typically require a substantial investment in terms of resources, as each edition must be formatted uniquely from its print counterpart rather than automatically refreshed from a feed.

It’s for that reason that so many publishers previously waited to see if the iPad would make a sizable impression on the market before developing apps for the device, and why an even larger portion have not yet allocated resources for developing other tablet editions. (If you recall, more than a few publishers made similar mistakes waiting to see if the web was here to stay.)

Many have opted instead to focus on and build out their iPad editions — that is, if they’re not still struggling to launch on the iPad in the first place.

Despite slow development, we have been both impressed and, frankly, a little puzzled by the way Sports Illustrated has tackled each new device, churning out unique, richly interactive editions of its magazine not every month, but every single week.

Why, we wondered, is Sports Illustrated bothering to produce editions for these other tablets, when all evidence suggests it will be some time before the devices reach consumers’ hands in significant numbers? Why not allocate more resources to print, which still brings in the majority of their ad revenue, or enrich its iPad version instead?

A Substantial Investment

In terms of time and staff, the requirement is substantial. Sports Illustrated‘s design team, headed up by creative director Chris Hercik, must format the issue at a 16:9 ratio in both vertical and horizontal formats for the iPad, at a vertical 16:9 ratio for the HP TouchPad, and at a 4:3 ratio (horizontal only) for the Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom.

Side by side: the same elements rendered for print (left), iPad (center), and Galaxy Tab (right).

Furthermore, unique functions must be built for each platform. In a recent music-themed double issue, Sports Illustrated was able to embed iTunes songs in the iPad edition, but other tablets had to link out to Amazon’s music player so that readers could listen to songs.

The publication has been able to do all of this without staffing up, but by working harder, faster and, ultimately, more efficiently.

Beginning Thursdays, editorial determines what long-term stories will make the print issue while brainstorming creative extensions for the tablet editions. As major events occur throughout the week, additional stories are assigned by vertical editors (i.e. the baseball editor, or the football editor) for print as well as the web.

The design team formats each issue for print and tablets simultaneously, closing print Monday night, the iPad and HP TouchPad editions on Tuesday, and Android versions on Wednesday.

It’s an impressive feat. While many magazines are still struggling to put out one tablet issue per month, often bringing in a “tablet editor” and other staff to oversee its production, Sports Illustrated is releasing four each week, having seamlessly integrated each of them into the existing workflow without making significant new hires.

What Sports Illustrated Stands To Gain

Editor Terry McDonell at the Sports Illustrated offices in New York.

The work will pay off, Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell expressed in a recent interview with Mashable, and indeed it already has. Sports Illustrated‘s digital revenue was up 22% between 2009 and 2010, and is on track for double-digit growth again this year.

Other magazines that were quick to adopt the iPad, such as Wired, have reported similar gains in digital revenue since launching iPad editions.

“We’re placing bets across the table, because we don’t know where we’re going to be in 18 months. But [other tablet platforms] are going to grow,” McDonell said.

What’s essential, he explained, is giving readers access to Sports Illustrated wherever they are. It’s part of the all-access subscription strategy the publication rolled out in March, which enables readers, in theory, to access Sports Illustrated in the form most convenient to them — print, web, mobile or tablets — at any time.

Among magazines, all-access is an unusual strategy — until last week, no other magazine of which we are aware has rolled out a similar offering. Glamour, Esquire and The Atlantic, to name three examples, released nearly identical, paid and notably static magazine products for both print and the iPad (which, until recently, had to be purchased separately), and have a web operation, run under a separate online editor, that produces live, freely available content independent from the magazine.

The problem with the latter strategy is that the web arms of these magazines are more like franchises than true embodiments of their respective brands. Most of the content is produced by a different staff with a different voice and, inevitably, a different standard of content quality. Furthermore, readers are unable to seamlessly access all of the content a publication produces. They must seek it out through a combination of print, apps and browser navigation.

Ultimately, the latter three are doing their readers — and their brands — a disservice by a) failing to enable readers to access all of their content on the devices and platforms most convenient to them, and b) keeping that content inconsistent in form, quality and voice across platforms.

This is ultimately why there is a good chance that Sports Illustrated stands to succeed — not only through digital revenue increases, but by carving out the model that other successful magazine publications will inevitably imitate.

More About: apple, galaxy tab, Gartner, Google, hp touchpad, ipad, magazines, media, motorola xoom, Sports illustrated, tablets

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Old Spice Guys Battle in YouTube Popularity Contest [VIDEOS]

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 10:34 AM PDT

Can’t we all get along? Old Spice‘s attempt to freshen up its 18 month-old “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign continues as old Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa and new Old Spice guy Fabio square off via YouTube.

The “Mano a Mano en el Bano” fight, which was hyped on Monday with challenge and response videos from Fabio and Mustafa, respectively, is actually a popularity contest. The two have created competing videos asking viewers to vote for them as favorites. To ensure social media buzz, Mustafa also encourages viewers to express their support via “Liking, sharing, tweeting, commenting, posting or all other things smart Internet people do.”

Though Old Spice seems to have set up Fabio as the fall guy by presenting him as a bit of a bully, he gets the better lines in the two videos. “Hello old Old Spice guy — who’s gross” says Fabio, sounding like a 13-year-old girl. “To old Old Spice guy, welcome to your nightmare. Starring Fabio. With story written by Fabio and directed by Fabio. Stunts done by Fabio. And delicious catering including homemade treats and sliced fruit, of course, by Fabio.”

To continue to keep things fresh, Mustafa and Fabio are also reacting in real-time to commenters on Twitter and elsewhere. See the latest responses below.

Now for your vote: Do you think this campaign has jumped the shark or has Old Spice and ad agency Wieden + Kennedy managed to propel it beyond its apparent expiration date? Let us know in the comments.

TEAMOLDSPICEGUY - Cash | Old Spice Mano a Mano

You have supported TEAMOLDSPICEGUY for the best Old Spice guy.

Rules of Engagement

Isaiah Mustafa sets up the rules and encourages viewers to spread the word on social media.

Fabio Responds

Fabio predicts Mustafa's humiliating victory and mangles the English language.

Mustafa Says Thanks

Isaiah Mustafa thanks you for helping him triumph over evil by voting for him.

Fabio Says Thanks

Fabio gives you praise for voting for him.

Mustafa Answers Tweet

Mustafa responds to a comment from a Twitter user named @KissMyBlackAds who wrote: "Isaiah Mustafa challenged to a Duel by Fabio - Internet Duel of the Century?"

Re: @taylorphyllis | Old Spice Mano a Mano

Fabio responds to a tweet by @taylorphyllis with a Eurotrashy disco tune.

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

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Turn Your Webcam Into a Credit Card Reader

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 10:23 AM PDT

Jumio Netwswipe

Payment startup Jumio revealed a new technology Tuesday that turns a standard webcam into a secure credit card reader.

The technology, called Netswipe, uses secure video streaming to recognize and verify credit card information. Hold a credit card up to the camera, wait for it to initialize and then enter the 3-digit CVN number.

We think Jumio’s ideas are interesting, and for businesses that have a hard time with traditional payment processors or for consumers who are iffy about typing their credit card details into a form, this might be a solution.

SEE ALSO: How Mobile Payment Systems Are Redefining Commerce

We have to wonder though how much traction this idea will really have. Credit card readers were once built into computer keyboards and that trend never took off, partly because convincing businesses to adopt alternate payment technologies is difficult.

Still, for online purchases, this could be a better, potentially faster and safer way to make payments.

More About: jumio, netswipe, payment, startup

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Google+ Tips & Tricks: 10 Hints for New Users

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 09:57 AM 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.

Do you still consider yourself a noob when it comes to Google’s social platform? If so, we’ve got some handy hints to help you out.

From quicker sharing options to better content curation via savvy privacy settings, we’re bringing you 10 tips and tricks that will soon have you Google Plussing like a pro.

Take a look through the image gallery below and please share in the comments any Google+ tips we haven’t mentioned — your suggestion could be featured in a forthcoming Mashable article.

1. Add More Info to Your Profile Pop-Up Window

To most Google+ "strangers," you're just a thumbnail. If they do care to hover over your avatar, then you're a thumbnail with a few words of description, likely your company name, profession or location.

There's a simple "hack" that can make Google+ display much more info when someone hovers over your avatar -- similar to the appearance of Twitter.

Go to edit your profile, select the employment section, and in the first "Employer name" box, write your bio and check the "current" box. Whatever you have written should now appear when people hover over your avatar, as in the screengrab above.

Hat tip: Atom McCree & Simon Kemp

2. Organize Content With Circles

Circles are a useful tool for organization of content. Thanks to the fact you can create empty circles, there's a variety of organizational options open to you.

As Google+ currently has no way of bookmarking content (+1-ing a post does diddly squat, other than giving the poster a thumbs up), Plussers have devised workarounds.

You can create empty circles to "share" under different headings. Create a notepad. Make "bookmarks" for links you want to check out when you have more time, "read later" for longer posts and articles, and even "test" if, like us, you want to muck around on the service without annoying your followers.

Once you've set this up and shared content to your various empty circles, viewing that circle's stream will bring up all the Plus bits you wanted to save.

Hat tip: Evelyn Barney & Natalio Cosoy

3. Click on Profile Pics to Scroll Through

One really neat trick Google has built into Plus is the ability to scroll through all of a user's uploaded profile pics directly from the profile or posts page.

You can do this by clicking on the person's avatar image at the top left of the screen. If they have added more than one pic, Plus will flip through the album there and then.

While on one hand this is a handy way to see profile pics at-a-glance, some Plussers have gotten creative with the concept. Designer Phouthong Luong has two profile pics you can scroll through. They are the same except for the fact the second cartoon avatar winks!

Hat tip: Tom Paladino

4. Disable Sharing on Posts

One of our favorite things about Google+ is limited, rather than public, sharing. You can share a post with one person -- or the entire world.

However, there's nothing to say that one person won't click "share" to expose your previously private post to the entire world.

Thankfully, Google+ offers the ability to disable sharing on posts. If you've posted something you'd like to stay private, click on the drop down menu arrow at the top right of the post and select "disable reshare."

For obvious reasons this also disables "+mentions" in the comments of the post, even if you want to mention someone who has commented previously.

Do be aware this doesn't mean people can't screengrab your post, etc, but it will at least communicate that you'd like the post to stay private.

5. How to Find Post's Permalinks

If you want to find a post's permalink, it's simple. If the post was shared publicly, you can hit the drop down menu arrow at the top right and select "link to this post." This will open the post in a separate tab, allowing you to copy and past its URL.

If the post has limited sharing options, this setting won't appear in the drop down menu. Instead, click on the time or date stamp toward the top of the post. This will also open the post in a new window and reveal the URL, although not everyone will be able to view it.

Hat tip: Tom Paladino

6. Drag and Drop Content to Share

If you expand the "share" box, you can drag and drop content into it. This works for video, photos, links and even other Plus profiles.

7. Change the Visibility of Your Circles

Google+ displays all people in your circles at random on your profile. However, you can change the default options to show only certain circles and hide others.

In Google's own words, this is so you can "hide that weird aunt you're embarrassed about, and show off the coolest people you know."

To change your circle settings, click "Edit profile" and then hit the circles boxes on the left of your screen. You can now choose which circles you want the world to see, and even decide whether to display people who have added you to circles.

8. Notify People About Posts

Rather than risk burying an important post in the stream, Google+ offers a way to notify people in a circle about the post, without having to add their Google+ username.

To set it up (and please, use wisely because we've all got overflowing inboxes these days), click on the circle you're sharing with (as per the grab above) and check the "notify about this post" box.

Spammers beware -- it only lets you activate this option for groups of up to 100.

Hat tip: Marvin Ryan Vista

9. Add Special Photo Effects in Google+

Did you know Google+ offers some cool, Picnik-style, built-in photo effects? There's even an "I'm Feeling Lucky" option!

Click on one of your photos to bring up the dark background view, then hit the "Actions" menu at the bottom right. In addition to useful options such as "Auto Contrast" and "Auto Color," you can also Cross Process, Orton-ize, or turn your image black and white.

As far as we can tell, the "I'm Feeling Lucky" option will randomly apply an effect.

10. All the Google+ URLs

Did you know you can find Google+ at various URLs? There's:, and

In addition, if you type in it will take you right to your own profile.

More About: easter eggs, gallery, Google, Google Plus, Google Plus Lists, how to, List, Lists, tips, tips and tricks

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Paste Magazine To Premiere Slow Club’s New Album on

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 09:30 AM PDT

Paste magazine will premiere English folk-rock band Slow Club’s upcoming disc Paradise via still-in-beta startup on Tuesday.

Slow Club’s sophomore album drops on September 13, but fans can check out tracks and chat with the band in Paste‘s Turntable room today at 2 p.m. ET. (And you can check out the first single, “Two Cousins,” below).

For the uninitiated, is a series of chatrooms in which music is played by users. Five DJs can hold court at the same time, and members of the room vote on whether songs are “lame” or “awesome,” thereby garnering the DJs points. Songs are played via either Medianet or user upload, and one can only join a DJ room if he or she has a Facebook friend using the service. Right now, the service is U.S.-only for legal reasons, but it recently got a jolt of legitimacy in the form of licensing agreements with BMI and ASCAP.

A few weeks ago, we suggested that bands use the service to host new album listening parties, and in the weeks following we’ve seen more and more of them getting hip to Ra Ra Riot's Mathieu Santos premiered his solo album on (and effectively crashed the site in the process), as did the band Class Actress.

Currently, a lot of’s top users are developers and early (techie) adopters, but perhaps more bands will continue to flock to the service as it continues to grow.

“Two Cousins,” Slow Club by Mashable

More About: music, paste, slow-club, startup,

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Meet the 6 Imaginative Evernote Apps Competing for $100,000 in Prizes

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 09:02 AM PDT

Developers have already flocked to Evernote’s note-taking platform in droves to provide its 11 million members with additional utility. Now, six new application makers will vie for the crown of most inventive Evernote application or integration and compete for $100,000 in prizes.

The six finalists, being revealed Tuesday, are Colorstache, MyWorld, Notablemeals, Sniptastic, Touchanote and Zendone. Community members are being encouraged to vote for their favorites.

The finalists range from the practical to the fantastical. Zendone and Colorstache are more sensible in nature, for instance. Zendone focuses on applying a “Getting Things Done” methodology to notes, while Colorstache lets Evernote users browse and search for notes by Color.

The flashier MyWorld and Touchanote add spunk and character to the Evernote experience. MyWorld gives Evernote users an augmented reality browser for viewing notes, and Touchnote makes NFC note-tagging and association possible. More details on all of the finalists are included below.

The finalists were selected based on a few key factors: finish and polish of the application, utility, originality and integration with the platform. Each will be awarded $5,000 for placing in the contest.

“Evernote currently has over 6,000 developers working on software and hardware integrations using out API,” says Andrew Sinkov, Evernote’s vice president of marketing. “We wanted to see what would happen if we did a developer competition as an incentive. We’re pretty blown away by the results. We had over 1,000 developers enter the competition from around the world.”

The grand prize winner will be chosen based on community votes, the votes of celebrity judges and live judging at the startup’s first-ever developer conference in August. The winner will revealed at the event — the Evernote Truck Conference — and will take home an additional $50,000 in cash. Evernote will also award two additional submissions with $10,000 each in the wildcard and student categories.

Check out the Evernote applications below and share your favorites in the comments. Should you wish to attend the event, Evernote is offering the first 50 Mashable readers who register via this link (with the “ETCMASHABLE” discount code) a 50% discount.


Colorstache, by Reno Collective, offers Evernote users a way to browse and search their notes by color.


Touchanote, by Wiseleap, connects the capture and organization capabilities of Evernote with the convenience of physical NFC tags. Easily associate any note in your account with a real world NFC tag.


MyWorld, by Wikitude, allows you to save the places you love in Evernote, then view them on a map in Facebook. You can then share your favorites with friends and view the places they've been.


Sniptastic, from Andrew West, is a set of developer tools that let you share and organize code snippets.


Notablemeals, from John McLaughlin and Kal Michael, is an iPhone app that makes it easy to capture memories about meals.


Zendone is a personal productivity tool based on the Getting Things Done methodology. It offers a simple, well-designed interface for implementing the GTD workflow, using Evernote for collecting and archiving projects and tasks.

More About: evernote, evernote trunk, notes, startup, Web Development

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