Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Famine in East Africa Draws Attention of Tech & Entertainment All-Stars”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Famine in East Africa Draws Attention of Tech & Entertainment All-Stars”

Famine in East Africa Draws Attention of Tech & Entertainment All-Stars

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 05:06 AM PDT

bob marley image

A global collective of musicians and tech giants have teamed up for “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend,” a campaign to help Save the Children fight the famine in East Africa.

Right now, East Africa is being hit by a massive famine and humanitarian crisis. Save the Children is using “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend” to raise money and awareness for its philanthropic work.

The organization put together a short video, directed by Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle) depicting the situation. The video is set to Bob Marley’s song “High Tide or Low Tide,” which features the lyric “I’m gonna be your friend.” The song is being sold on iTunes with all proceeds going to Save the Children.

SEE ALSO: How the Web Is Responding to the Horn of Africa Famine

The campaign and crisis have attracted some huge players. The team estimates its advocates have a collective reach of more than 1 billion people. Stars like Lady Gaga, U2, Beyonce, Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Lopez, Muse, Coldplay, Elton John, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Robert Plant, Kanye West, Madonna, Justin Bieber, Sting, Rihanna and more have pledged to help promote the video and charity song through their networks.

Tech giants are also onboard. Facebook, iTunes, Yahoo, YouTube, MSN and AOL UK have also pledged their support. For example, Facebook is facilitating an advertising campaign and Yahoo will feature the campaign on each of its global homepages on August 9.

The song and film can be downloaded through iTunes, from I’m Gonna Be Your Friend, or via Bob Marley’s Facebook Page. The Facebook Page will also feature click-through links to donate directly to Save the Children.

What do you think of donating by downloading or the massive celebrity show of support? Let us know in the comments.

More About: bob marley, east africa, famine, high tide or low tide, im gonna be your friend, non-profit, save the children, social good, somalia

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London Riots: Social Media Mobilizes Riot Cleanup

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 03:37 AM PDT

After days of riots in London, thousands of Londoners and worldwide supporters are taking to social networks to help reclaim the streets of London.

While rioters took to the underground paths of BlackBerry Messenger to organize, the highly spreadable mediums of Twitter and Facebook have shown to be the perfect platforms for mobilizing cleanup organizers and followers in the early aftermath of the rioting.

For the most part, organization has been very smooth, with a few key hubs across social platforms taking root. The @RiotCleanup Twitter page has amassed more than 50,000 followers in fewer than 10 hours and is consistently broadcasting cleanup locations and times, along with other pertinent information regarding the initiative.

On Facebook, a similar page has emerged as the central location for information on the world’s largest social network.

And for a more static look at where the action is, riotcleanup.co.uk is being constantly updated with cleanup location information. In an email interview with Ian, the creator of the website and resident of rural Shropshire, England, he explained:

“I was sitting at home following the #londonriots hashtag — then I saw #riotcleanup start to appear. I am not in London, but wanted to do something. Near enough simultaneously, I registered riotcleanup.co.uk as someone else got the Twitter account @riotcleanup going. Then, I just knocked something together as fast as possible and uploaded it!”

Beyond the riot cleanup, another effort to catch and prosecute looters has taken root, with the Tumblr account “Catch A Looter” accepting and posting images of looters for identification.

For Londoners like Heather Taylor and Cheska Moon (pictured above), deciding to volunteer time to help rebuild their community happened in the matter of minutes.

Taylor told Mashable, “I saw the [#riotcleanup] hashtag spring up and thought, ‘We need to have a cleanup in Clapham.’ So, [I] set the time for 9:00 at Nandos, which got passed around.” About 400 volunteers showed up to the cleanup in Clapham, and the local Sainsbury’s pitched in by distributing food to volunteers, Taylor said.

Taylor is just one of thousands of volunteers spreading word of the cleanup initiatives that are taking place all over London.

Below is a look at some of the positive energy flowing across the social web as supporters take grasp of the situation and band together to restore order.

If you’re part of the grassroots organizing that we’re seeing take shape in London, please add to the story in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Heather Taylor

More About: facebook, london riots, social media, trending, twitter

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Digg Launches Newswire, a Social News Curation Tool

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 01:40 AM PDT

Digg launched a new social news discovery function called Newswire on Monday.

Newswire “gives you the tools to shape the breaking stories on Digg,” according to the social news site’s blog. Unlike other areas on Digg, the Newswire updates news in real-time — as stories are submitted, they appear in the “Recent” section within Newswire. As they are Dugg, stories move up in the “Trending” section within Newswire.

As the company notes on its blog, the key to picking the top stories on Digg is finding them. This tool was created to help alleviate the pain of sifting through a ton of subpar content to find the diamonds. Instead, users will find the most recent submissions in “Recent” and the most popular stories in “Trending.”

Popularity is calculated “by looking at how many Diggs, Likes and Tweets [a story] has, who has Dugg it, when it was submitted, the past quality of similar stories, and a handful of other signals,” according to Digg’s blog.

The Newswire feed can be customized by focusing search results with the following pieces of information:

  • By “Recent” or “Trending” stories
  • By type of media, including images, videos or text (or all stories)
  • By number of Diggs (“more than” or “less than” a certain number of Diggs)
  • By topic, such as business, entertainment, technology, etc.

To further the transparency of how news is developing, the Newswire also features an activity feed in the right column, as well as on its own page.

Digg has been facing hard times — founder Kevin Rose left the company earlier this year, the site has faced plummeting traffic, competitor site Reddit has been benefiting from Digg’s decline and the company made major staff cuts late last year.

This new feature could be a positive blip in Digg’s history, or it could just be another update gone unseen. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

More About: digg, newswire, social news

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The Rise of the Mobile Workforce [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 11:29 PM PDT

The era of the 9-to-5 job is over. Even just a few years ago, you were expected to commute to work, put in your hours and drive back home. Once you left work, it was done until you came back into the office the next way.

Thanks to laptops, smartphones, tablets and Wi-Fi, that has all changed. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can file reports, hold meetings, edit proposals and complete practically all of your work tasks remotely. As a result, telecommuting is on the rise, and more and more work is completed via our mobile devices.

Social contact manager Gist, acquired by RIM earlier this year, has analyzed some of the data about the rise of the mobile workforce, detailing where they prefer to work and the devices they use to do it. The infographic below provides a nice overview of this very important business trend.

Check out Gist’s infographic, and let us know how much of a mobile worker you are in the comments below.

More About: infographic, Mobile 2.0, mobile porn

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The Most Social Shows on TV in July [STATS]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 10:32 PM PDT

Realtime social media tracker Trendrr provided Mashable with a report highlighting the biggest winners in the social TV space for July 2011.

As with June’s social TV report, Trendrr has broken down the top broadcast, cable networks and TV shows, based on social interaction.

This month, Trendrr also compared broadcast network performance with June, 2011. Every broadcast network, with the exception of NBC, rose for the month of July. NBC lost 22% of its social share in July, 2011. This makes sense, when we consider that NBC’s The Voice, the most social show on TV in June, ended its first season at the end of June.

For July, the most social broadcast network was Fox, with 27% of the social share. CBS and NBC follow quickly behind with 26% and 25% social share, respectively.

On the cable front, VH1 and HBO are the big leaders, with 12% and 11% of the social share. TeenNick makes a strong appearance with 9% of the social share. This can likely be attributed to The ’90s Are All That programming block that has captured the hearts of Mashable writers and readers alike.

On the programming side, the big winner on broadcast networks was Glee. With 31% of the broadcast social share against the total broadcast conversation for July, Glee managed to score nearly three times the share as second-place finisher Big Brother. Big Brother was the only show in the broadcast top 5 that is airing new episodes. We’re not sure if this is a reflection of the social nature (or lack thereof) of summer programming, or if it’s more indicative of the strength that existing brands like Glee, Family Guy and The Simpsons have on the public as a whole.

When it comes to cable, HBO’s True Blood scored a 10% social share for July, 2011. USA’s Monday Night Raw was also a strong performer with a 7% social share.

Trendrr compiles data from public profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Miso and GetGlue. It then ranks that data using buzz, checkins, posts and tweets for terms associated with TV shows.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, GodfriedEdelman

More About: social tv, stats, television, Trendrr, trendrr.tv, tv

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Why the Next Big Thing Will Come From Small Innovations

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 09:48 PM PDT

James L. McQuivey, Ph.D. is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving Consumer Product Strategy professionals.

Everyone wants to create the next big thing. In the tech world, that desire has been translated as: “How can I invent the next iPad?"

The question, no matter how it's asked, is the wrong one. When people ask about the next big thing, they see innovation as a linear progression toward some brand new, revolutionary technology. Naturally, everyone is trying to invent that new “thing,” but there is no straight line and no linear pattern to innovation.

Thanks to this demise of linear innovation, the next big thing isn't going to take years of research and development. It won't be developed in a big scientific lab by dozens of Ph.Ds; it won't have a public launch date over which the press drools; and it won't take years to generate millions of dollars.

Instead, the next big thing is going to come from left field. It will bundle together a patchwork of innovations in a seemingly amorphous way. The next big thing will be created by innovating the "adjacent possible." The term was first used by Steven Johnson, who borrowed it from evolutionary biology. Basically, it refers to any innovation that stems directly from the present. The iPad, as an example, didn’t reinvent the wheel, but instead reapplied the concepts of Apple’s iPhone and laptops into a new, revolutionary product.

The genius of Apple's accomplishment didn't involve invention, but adjacent innovation — in effect, combining the best innovations of others to create a completely new and singular experience. Apple used the power of digital technology to spot, integrate, develop and deploy several adjacent innovations in a single product. That's the central theory of innovating the adjacent possible: taking digital shortcuts to harness and combine adjacent innovations into a new thing.

Imagine, for example, the impact a digitally-integrated bathroom mirror would have on the fashion industry. It would be a digital display surface with a camera, options to connect over Wi-Fi, and even share updates through your social networks. By simply applying adjacent concepts, you could potentially transform the way L'Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Levi's, Tesco, etc. do business.

This may not be your industry, but it is your future. If you look closely, small and big players in your industry probably have their eyes on adjacent possibilities. Look to see how you can innovate in your own industry, you might even be sitting on an idea that would make Apple jealous.

Images courtesy of Flickr, nhuisman, zhouxuan12345678.

More About: business, innovation, Opinion, tech, technology

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Crowdsourced Contest Platform Now Looking To ID Problems, Not Just Solve Them

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 09:04 PM PDT

After powering problem-solving challenges for clients like the U.S. federal government, the city of New York, Michelle Obama, Samsung and the World Bank, ChallengePost has raised $4.1 million to develop a new type of platform — one that not only solves problems, but helps point them out.

CEO Brandon Kessler created ChallengePost about two years ago after discovering a blog post that promised $100 to anyone who made a program that would run Windows on a Mac (at the time, Apple didn’t make this easy). Other frustrated Mac users added to the prize money until the pool was up to $14,000, the New York Times had run a story about it, and a programmer submitted a successful solution after just three days.

“I said, We need an eBay around collaborative problem solving,” Kessler remembers. He started ChallengePost and hired the blog’s author as his chief of product.

The startup, which had just two employees up until February, made deals to run an app developer contest for the City of New York and solicit software suggestions for Michelle Obama’s healthful eating campaign within nine months of its launch. Challengers ask the public for their ideas and typically reward winners with cash — picking up affordable work, publicity and fresh perspectives in the process. To date, more than $40 million has been given away in more than 200 ChallengePost contests.

ChallengePost announced on Tuesday that it it had raised the funding round, led by Opus Capital, in order to expand its team and explore a somewhat reverse concept: asking constituents for the problems in addition to the solutions.

While Kessler says he’s not ready to discuss what such a platform might look like, New York City recently ran a campaign using ChallengePost that might provide some hints. The city’s Big Apps Ideas contest asked the public to submit their ideas for apps the city needs where its other contests have asked for fully developed products. A problem identifying solution would likely enable sponsored problem identifying contests like this one as well as user-submitted ideas.

“Right now we’re more of a place where people can solve problems they’re passionate about, but we’re going to be focused on this concept of identifying problems that you’re passionate about as well…,” says CEO Brandon Kessler. “Completing that circle is our biggest focus and what I think is the largest opportunity and the one that is potentially disruptive.”

Image courtesy of istockphoto, yurok

More About: challenge.gov, challengepost, crowdsourcing, funding, NYC big apps

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Jaleel White Stars As Cee-Lo Green in “Cry Baby” Video

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 08:24 PM PDT

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

This isn’t quite as epic as “F**K You,” but it comes close: Jaleel White (a.k.a. TV’s Steve Urkel) starred as Cee-Lo Green in the musician’s new music video, “Cry Baby.”

Hey, I would cry if Urkel dumped me, too.

More About: cee-lo-green, Jaleel White, music, steve-urkel, video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Updater Helps You Opt Out of Junk Mail

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 07:59 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: Updater

Quick Pitch: Updater is an online service for managing offline mail.

Genius Idea: Letting users opt of junk mail with a do-not-mail list.

As anyone who’s ever moved or been inundated with junk mail and catalogs knows all too well, the only thing more frustrating than inbox overload is physical mailbox disarray. In fact, the United States Post Office delivers more than 90 billion pieces of direct mail on behalf of marketers each year, according to the Direct Mail Association.

Launched in late July, Updater is a web service that aims to help people tackle two key challenges associated with snail mail: Change of address and junk mail.

The Updater user can file an official Change of Address Form and simultaneously update businesses, schools, organizations and personal contacts with their new mailing address.

On the no-junk-mail front, Updater attempts to give users control over who can access their physical mailing address. With the Address Privacy option, users can can create their own do-not-mail lists to stop receiving mailings from specific direct marketers.

We like the idea — less junk mail and a hassle-free change of address service sounds fantastic — but Updater has a few drawbacks. First, it comes with a $14.99 fee for its Address Privacy services, a price that may be difficult to stomach without any pre-purchase proof that it will deliver on its junk mail-eliminating promises.

Also, as still a beta service, Updater falls short at times. For example, the site does not yet allow users to update billing companies when changing their address.

Still, Updater might be on to something with its do-not-mail list. So readers, tell us, would you pay for the convenience of being removed from the direct mail lists of snail mail marketers?

Image courtesy of Flickr, Oran Viriyincy

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, snail mail, spark-of-genius, Updater

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BlackBerry Colt: Say Hello to RIM’s First QNX Phone [REPORT]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 07:05 PM PDT

The first details have leaked surrounding the BlackBerry Colt, RIM’s first QNX-based smartphone.

The device is the company’s attempt to catch up to its technologically superior iOS and Android counterparts. RIM acquired QNX last year and anointed it the future OS of its mobile devices. RIM’s first QNX device, the BlackBerry Playbook tablet, made its debut earlier this year.

According to Boy Genius Report, the first mobile device to carry the QNX operating system, codenamed the BlackBerry Colt, is slated for release in the first quarter of 2012. It’s currently undergoing internal testing with RIM’s Software Verification team.

BGR‘s sources dive further into the product, though. Apparently, the BlackBerry Colt is likely to ship with a single-core processor. More and more smartphones, especially ones running Android, already contain dual or even quad-core processors. The next iPhone, which will likely make its debut next month, will almost certainly contain a dual-core processor. While the Colt could still get a dual-core processor before it launches next year, it seems likely that the Colt will already be underpowered compared to its competition.

Like the PlayBook, the Colt is not expected to include BlackBerry Enterprise Server at launch. BES, which powers the email, contact and calendar synchronization on BlackBerry OS, is proving more difficult to rewrite for QNX than expected. That is why the PlayBook lacked native email at launch. If this is true, it will negate one of the major reasons why people still purchase the BlackBerry.

RIM needs to find its answer to the iPhone and Android soon. It is cutting 2,000 jobs after weak financial results. Its software and hardware have simply lagged behind the competition. The BlackBerry Colt may be RIM’s last shot at saving itself from oblivion.

More About: blackberry, blackberry colt, Mobile 2.0, qnx, RIM

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Stock Market Dive: Twitter Users Blame S&P Downgrade [STATS]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 06:30 PM PDT

The stock market took yet another beating with the Dow Jones and the NASDAQ both dropping between 5 and 7%. Twitter users chimed in en masse on the information network Monday, with a majority blaming S&P for the meltdown.

NM Incite, a social research service from Nielsen and McKinsey, did some fast analysis of tweets and found that “tweets were overwhelming negative with almost half of all messages expressing concern for the economy or fault-finding.”

Forty-seven percent of tweets were negative in tone, 10% expressed mixed reactions, 38% were neutral and just 5% had a positive quality to them, NM Incite found.

More than one third (38%) of Twitter messages took Standard and Poor’s — which downgraded the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday — to task, blaming the market intelligence company for its role in Monday’s collapse.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, a large percentage (19%) of tweets also expressed humor or sarcasm in the form of 140 character jokes relating to the stock market free-fall, according to NM Incite’s data.

Did you take to Twitter to discuss the stock market? See the charts below and share your reactions to NM Incite’s findings in the comments.

Images courtesy of NM Incite

More About: investing, social media, stock market

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London Riots: BlackBerry Messenger Used More than Facebook or Twitter

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 06:00 PM PDT

As the riots in London look set to continue for a third night — and to spread to other parts of the UK — details are starting to emerge on how the rioters have been organizing themselves. The medium of choice? BlackBerry Messenger.

The riots began as a protest at the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a resident of the Tottenham area of north London, last Thursday. A Facebook group quickly sprung up to commemorate Duggan; police and media attention was drawn to a particular post on the Facebook page which appeared to fan the flames, as well as the occasional tweet from rioters describing their deeds and where they were headed next. Some posted pictures of looting and burning police cars.

But it soon became clear that BBM was by far the most popular means for rioters to communicate. BlackBerry devices, cheaper and more widespread than iOS or Android smartphones, are owned by more than a third of British teens, according to a recent study. BBM — an instant message service for BlackBerry owners — is free, instantly available, one-to-many, and the authorities can’t immediately trace it. BBM users must exchange PIN numbers, which keeps their conversations private.

The Guardian got its hands on BBM messages directing rioters — blasts that are shocking in their specificity. “Everyone in edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!” reads one. Another directs looters to Oxford Circus in the heart of London: “SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!)”

Research in Motion, makers of BlackBerry, responded with this tweet: “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” That seemed to suggest that BBM would not be as private as some of the rioters might have hoped, but RIM refused to say exactly how much information it would be sharing with police.

The BBM connection didn’t stop one of London’s chief law enforcement officials from tarring all of social media with the same brush. “Really inflamatory” messages on Twitter were mainly to blame for the disorder, said Steve Kavanagh, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police at a press conference Monday. “Social media and other methods have been used to organise these levels of greed and criminality,”

More About: bbm, blackberry, london riots

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Johnny Carson Returns On YouTube [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 05:21 PM PDT

Heeere’s Johnny — again on YouTube.

Google, which recently feted Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, is saluting another classic TV legend today with the new Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Channel on YouTube. As YouTube explained on its Official Blog on Monday, the site will be loaded with new videos each week. The channel will also take requests for clips to upload and you can submit a playlist to Google Moderator to share your “ultimate episode” of the show.

The channel, like another recent effort by Jerry Seinfeld, attempts to present a “greatest hits” of Carson’s career, though the project will no doubt be challenged by the fact that so much of Carson’s humor was topical. How many YouTubers will be up for Jimmy Carter jokes, for instance? On the other hand, testimonials from superfans like Howie Mandel may also convince younger viewers to give Carson a try.

More About: Google, jerry seinfeld, Johnny Carson, youtube

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Live Nation Sold 422K Offers Via Groupon in Q2

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 04:16 PM PDT

Live Nation Entertainment — the merged ticketing, promotions and agency conglomerate formed from Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Front Line Management — reported that it sold more than 422,000 offers via Groupon in the second quarter.

The partnership with Groupon, said President and CEO Michael Rapino in the company’s earnings call Monday, has helped Live Nation target event goers in cities where shows need a little last minute help in the ticket sales department. “It’s been a very easy sell,” he said.

GrouponLive — not to be confused with Groupon’s real time location-based deals service called Groupon Now — is a joint initiative between Groupon and Live Nation to distribute discounted tickets to concerts and sporting events in specific markets.

Rapino said the company placed more than 1,200 different offers via GrouponLive and is pleased with initial results, explaining that Groupon’s targeting capabilities are helping Live Nation sell to problem markets.

The company also claimed that artists and label executives — industry types not usually pleased with last minute discount offers — have bought into the program and appreciate the alignment with the currently en vogue Groupon.

Live Nation exceeded expectations for the quarter; it reported $1.6 billion in revenue — up 20% from revenue in the same quarter last year — and a net income of $13.3 million for the second quarter ending June 30, 2011. Rapino said that the global ticketing business has stabilized and attributed improved profitability in concerts, advertising growth and increased ticket sales to Live Nation’s stronger-than-expected quarter.

In another social media promotion play, Rapino stated that Live Nation will soon integrate venue seat maps with Facebook.

Update: This article has been change to reflect that Live Nation has sold 422,000 offers, not tickets, via Groupon.

More About: event tickets, groupon, grouponlive, live nation

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Why Metadata Will Define the Future of TV

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 03:25 PM PDT

Ron Frankel is the CEO of Synacor, the leading provider of authentication and information management technologies and TV Everywhere services for cable, telecommunication and satellite providers.

Today’s consumers want TV content not just in the web browser, but on smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles — you name it. However, for “TV Everywhere” (TVE) to succeed, the industry cannot simply offer content on a multitude of devices — it must also ace the viewer's search and discovery experience. Enter, metadata.

Metadata is the in-depth descriptive information about programming that includes title, storyline, cast, genre, release date, images and more. It drives TVE forward by powering search, discovery and content personalization, and creates the potential for new revenue streams through enhanced product placements and targeted advertising. Similar to how the remote control once empowered viewers to browse through channels, multi-device TV viewing requires detailed metadata that allows consumers to effortlessly discover the content they want to watch across multiple platforms. HBO gets it. Using HBO GO, True Blood fanatics can now find and stream their favorite episodes, or any of actress Anna Paquin's performances, via smartphones, tablets and the web.

Competitive Advantage Through Comprehensive Search & Discovery

Google changed the game on how we interact with online content. Now we're at the same inflection point with online video, where viewers want to watch sports, shows and movies based on their own schedules and convenience. So far, it's Netflix, Hulu, Clicker, as well as Comcast (Xfinity), Dish Network (DISH online) and Charter Communications (Charter.net) vying for the lead. Who wins? Just look at who has the the metadata? It’s not Google, Yahoo!, Hulu or even Netflix. Because programmers offer it only to their affiliates, metadata is in the hands of the cable, satellite and telecom companies.

And the company that successfully aggregates, organizes and integrates metadata will not only transform the viewer experience, but will create new revenue streams by leveraging metadata to index consumer behavior — a highly valued commodity for advertisers.

Comcast and other cable giants have another advantage: their access to licensed video content online and the ability to power content playback. Startup tech companies lack — and may never gain — the rights to offer premium content to their customers. Unlike Google TV or Clicker, which provide limited solutions, Comcast can offer a more comprehensive search experience for cable subscribers that combines free material from sites like Hulu and YouTube with premium content. Authentication is made possible by credentials cable subscribers receive from their MSO, telecom company or satellite video providers. Services like HBO GO and CNN’s recent live streaming, combined with the emergence of other TV Everywhere platforms are making consumers more aware of the value of these credentials.

While some consumers will visit their cable operator's website to find content, others will migrate to the specific shows and brands they know. Networks are beginning to recognize they can utilize their brand equity to offer viewers programming anytime, anywhere. By leveraging their successful introduction of mobile applications (10 million mobile app downloads across all devices), news giant CNN recently launched two live, 24-hour news channels specifically designed for online, mobile and tablet viewing.

The Social Viewing Experience and the Future

The eventual integration of social media into the online and mobile viewing experience will force the industry to expand its current definition of metadata to include the behavioral element. Beyond simply tagging social updates during a broadcast, Facebook is now distributing Warner Brothers content. And HBO Connect is pushing the viewing experience envelope by creating a social and entertainment hub that empowers consumers to be more than passive viewers, but active participants in a larger conversation.

Utilizing metadata, brands can efficiently track consumer habits to better place relevant and targeted advertisements. No more seeing the same ad over and over again on Hulu. Free from television's strict programming schedule and advertising model, online entertainment offers an innovative and agile platform tailored for targeted promotions. Startups like Anyclip are getting onboard the metadata bandwagon by tagging full-length motion pictures with up to 5,000 individual elements, utilizing almost everything seen onscreen and analyzing that data in real-time for advertisers and deep search alike. The goal? To serve up relevant advertising and make the content much more searchable and discoverable for consumers.

The Obstacles to Changing a Ninety-Year-Old Business Model

TV Everywhere threatens to completely disrupt a ninety-year-old business model. Updating the status quo can be costly and involve battling lethargic legacy systems. One of the largest obstacles delaying the successful integration of TVE into the entertainment landscape is the inability for programmers and content owners to agree on entitlement rights. This disconnect between digital and broadcast rights reduces the overall benefit of TV Everywhere by potentially alienating subscribers and weakening revenue streams.

Further complicating the process and frustrating subscribers is the entanglement of ownership rights for each program. Netflix's recent deal with Lionsgate for the streaming rights to Mad Men is a great example. Fans who want to tune in online to find the latest Draper drama will not find the show through search on their cable company's or AMC's website. Instead, they must subscribe to Netflix to view the syndicated episodes. Case in point: Content is increasingly scattering all over the Internet, and it's difficult for the consumer to keep up. Fragmentation of the distribution channels means fragmentation of dollars — and eyeballs, as well.

The "I want my TV Everywhere" rally cry will only get louder — evidenced by over 3 million downloads of HBO GO. And as consumers enjoy the benefits of multi-platform viewing and become increasingly educated about what is rightfully theirs, they'll begin to question their own purchasing decisions on sites like iTunes and Amazon. For the industry to fully capitalize on TVE, viewers must have a robust search and discovery experience. Lacking metadata, Google, Yahoo!, Hulu, Netflix simply can't deliver. It's a case of the haves and have-nots. With TV Everywhere, cable operators, telecoms and satellite providers are the haves.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, shiftback, nyul.

More About: connected tv, metadata, television, tv, tv everywhere

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Apple Offers a $999 iMac for Schools

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 03:07 PM PDT

Apple quietly introduced a new 21.5-inch iMac specifically for educational institutions on Monday.

The computer, first noticed by MacRumors, costs $999 — about $200 less than the models available to the general public.

Lowering the price seems to have come at the expense of some bells and whistles. The education-only iMac does not, for instance, come with Apple’s new Thunderbolt port. For an extra $150, schools can purchase the publicly available version.

Apple also still appears to be offering the $899 education-only 20-inch iMac that it released in 2009.

As The Washington Post points out, Apple has always targeted the education sector, and its success with the iMac in schools is part of the reason why its sales are above the industry average.

“This continues Apple’s tradition of offering discontinued and cut-rate Macs to education-only customers,” writes Andrew Cunningham at Anandtech.

More About: apple, education, iMac

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New Balance Offers Free Shoes If You Can Find Virtual Batons [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 02:42 PM PDT

A campaign in the UK recently challenged consumers to find virtual cars. Now, New Balance is running a similar effort in New York asking runners to find virtual batons.

The augmented reality campaign, explained in the video above, requires a download of the “Urban Dash” iPhone app, which is expected to go live this week. Once that’s done, consumers will be asked to find virtual batons around the city. In an athletic twist, other players can grab your baton if they get close enough to you and vice versa.

If you get to the store in time, you can get a pair of NB NYC 574 shoes and a chance to win a 14 karat gold baton valued at $20,000. Twenty batons will be released every weekday and 30 will be released every weekend.

The effort, promoting New Balance’s first ever New York flagship store, runs from August 11 to September 10.

More About: apps, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, New balance

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Sleeper Agent Takes Us Behind the Scenes of “Get It Daddy” Video

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 02:29 PM PDT

Each Monday, Mashable highlights an exclusive new video or song. Check out all our Music Monday picks.

Garage rock-esque band Sleeper Agent has been gaining its share of buzz for “Get It Daddy,” the first single off of its debut album Celabrasion. The video for the jam premiered just a few days ago, and the band was kind enough to let us in on the “celabrasion” with a behind-the-scenes vid and a pro bono download of the dancey track.

Check out the band‘s original video — featuring myriad pinatas — as well as exclusive to Mashable making-of footage below. For those of you still in need of a summer jam; it ain’t September yet.


Official Video


Click here to get the track.

More About: Celabrasion, get-it-daddy, music, music monday, sleeper-agent, video

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Facebook Study: Bad Students Chat, Good Ones RSVP [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 02:09 PM PDT

In the debate over whether social media has a positive or negative effect on education, a new study to be published in Computers & Education has made a refreshing suggestion: Neither. It depends how you use it.

The survey of 2,368 university students looked at how 14 specific behaviors on Facebook – commenting on content, playing games, posting photos — correlated with student engagement on campus and time spent studying. It found that specific behaviors on Facebook were stronger predictors of these types of academic outcomes than measurements like time spent on Facebook.

Playing games on Facebook, for instance, correlated with low scores on a 19-question version of the National Survey of Student Engagement, which measures both participation in campus activities and in the classroom. Creating or RSVPing to Facebook events, on the other hand, correlated with high scores on the same assessment. And although the study found no relationship between time spent on Facebook in general and time spent studying, it did find a negative correlation between Facebook chatting and time spent studying.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that banning Facebook chat will solve a student’s studying challenges.

“We can’t tell the direction of that correlation,” explains Reynol Junco, the author of the study. “Do [some Facebook activities] cause more involvement or does the involvement cause more Facebook?”

More clear is that how Facebook is used, rather than how much, is important in understanding its relationship to education.

“There are still a lot of faculty who feel students using Facebook is bad,” Junco says. “And there are clearly data that show that yes, there are some ways in which it is not good…[But faculty] should be thinking about ways, if not using Facebook in our classes, of helping students use Facebook in some ways that may be more beneficial to their academic outcomes.”

More About: education, facebook, study

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Spotify Gained 1.4 Million Users in a Month [REPORT]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 01:46 PM PDT

Spotify launched stateside almost one month ago, and we’re hearing that it already has 1.4 million users signed up for its free trial. Some 175,000 folks are shelling out cash for a subscription.

The numbers come from All Things Digital, who cite “a source familiar with the company's operations.”

We’ve reached out to Spotify for confirmation, but expect a response similar to the one we received after it was reported that the service hit 70,000 registered users after one week: “The launch of Spotify in the US has exceeded our expectations in both the response to invitations for the free service as well as subscriptions. We aren't going to discuss numbers at this stage but we are excited to be here and confident that Americans will love Spotify as much as they already do in Europe.”

For comparison’s sake, Rhapsody recently announced that it has 800,000 users, and it launched 10 years ago. Most other music services do not report user count.

More About: music, music-subscription-service, spotify

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RIP Old Twitter: Will You Miss It? [POLL]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 01:34 PM PDT

Old Twitter, the information network’s interface from a simpler time, has passed away after nearly a year of being on its death bed.

In its place, the multimedia-enhanced and fresh-faced New Twitter offspring will reign supreme for all.

“New Twitter rollout: complete! All users now have the same Twitter.com experience & can access our latest features. http://t.co/8dfSGdV,” the company tweeted Monday.

Twitter has been preparing the holdouts for several months now, warning them that Old Twitter was not long for this world. Still, the loss of Old Twitter will be mourned by those who appreciated its uncomplicated nature and single-column style.

Are you grieving the loss of Old Twitter? Take our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: New Twitter, Old Twitter, twitter

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Stock Market Plunges, Taking Tech Stocks Down With It

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 01:19 PM PDT

The freefall in stocks continued on Monday with the Dow Jones losing 5.53% and the NASDAQ dropping 6.9% on news of Standard & Poors downgrading its rating of U.S. government-issued debt.

Tech stocks were not spared in the selloff, with some names – including those that recently IPO'd – falling sharper than the broader indexes. Here's how some of the publicly-traded companies that Mashable follows fared on Monday:

  • LinkedIn -17.38%
  • eBay -8.02%
  • Zillow -7.35%
  • Pandora -7.62%
  • Netflix -6.00%
  • Google -5.70%
  • Yahoo -5.54%
  • Apple -5.46%
  • Microsoft -4.67%
  • Amazon -4.44%

Another big storyline emerging out of the last several weeks of market turmoil surrounds what will happen with yet-to-go public companies like Groupon, Zynga and even Facebook. Just a month ago, it seemed just about every Internet company to go public was soaring higher upon its debut as talk of a bubble went seemingly unanswered. Now, with major markets down more than 15% from their highs, it appears that some companies may have missed their window to IPO at a premium valuation – if at all.

For keeping up with the latest stock market news, check out some of these tools and apps:

1. CNBC Real-Time for iPad [iTunes link]

Released in December 2010, CNBC's iPad app remains one of the best finance apps for the iPad.

It includes real-time stock quotes and charts from the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

2. Bloomberg and Bloomberg Anywhere

Bloomberg's free mobile app isn't as feature-rich as what you get from CNBC, but it does work on multiple platforms. It loads quickly, has market quotes (delayed) and has fantastic charts.

For Bloomberg Professional subscribers, the Bloomberg Anywhere apps turn your iPad or smartphone into a Bloomberg Professional desktop.

3. NASDAQ QMX Portfolio Manager [iTunes link]

StockTwits and Nasdaq teamed up to combine the StockTwits Human Ticker with real-time market data.

The iPad app is free and also provides access to StockTwits discussions, post updates and StockTwits.tv.

StockTwits also has mobile apps for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.

4. Yahoo MarketDash for iPad and Yahoo Finance for Mobile

Yahoo finance remains one of the best financial portals on the web. The MarketDash app for iPad provides real-time market data, stock performance comparisons and interactive charts.

The Yahoo Finance mobile apps are available on the web, for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.

5. E*Trade Mobile Pro

The E*Trade Mobile Pro app is a great tool for ETrade customers, but the real-time market and news data also makes it a great app to follow the state of the market for users who use a different brokerage firm.

6. YCharts

YCharts is a superb research tool that lets users chart data from 70 different metrics for more than 5,000 stocks.

It has a clean interface and lets users run comparison charts for multiple companies or for industries. It also has economic indicator charts going back almost 100 years.

7. FinViz

FinViz is a top-notch stock screener and visualization tool. Most of the content on the site is free, but for $40 a month, users can access real-time quotes, premarket data and more advanced charting.

8. & 9. Chart.ly/StockTwits

In just three years, StockTwits has evolved from a Twitter app into a bonafide social network for investors.

8. & 9. Chart.ly/StockTwits

Along with Chart.ly and the recently released StockTwits IR Suite, StockTwits is at its core, a way for investors to share ideas, charts and news in real-time.

10. Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is one of the biggest stock market sites on the web. It publishes more than 250 articles daily, with a focus on opinion and analysis, rather than news.

The site also serves as a great research point for investors and it has a vibrant community of contributors and commenters.

More About: investing, stock market

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Online Dating Got You Anxious? Duodater Lets You Bring A Friend [INVITES]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 12:30 PM PDT

When going out on a date planned via the web, it’s usually a good idea to let a friend know where and when you’re meeting the person. Well, new dating site DuoDater puts a new spin on that convention. It encourages pals to go on dates — together.

DuoDater is a new, San Francisco-based dating site that launched Monday in order to facilitate less awkward meetups between romance seekers.

When you sign up for the service (the first 250 to enter in the code “MASHABLE” will get access), you can create a joint profile with a friend. You can then search for appropriate matches with your friend, and suggest a group date.

Although we can understand the whole “strength in numbers” approach to dating, we can see some potential issues with DuoDater — namely, what if my friend doesn’t like your friend? Couldn’t that make the situation a lot less awkward than just biting the bullet and imbibing with a stranger?

Moreover, we’re increasingly being told that there’s less of a stigma today on online dating than ever before (see: this New Yorker article). Relying on “the buddy system” could bring some of that stigma back.

What do you think of this new approach to online dating? Would you ditch the traditional method and double up?

Image courtesy of Flickr, rileyroxx

More About: duodater, online dating, startup

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Stock Market Meltdown: 10 Tools To Help Survive the Plunge

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 12:19 PM PDT

The U.S. stock market today continues to plunge in the wake of the S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Many investors — big and small — are reacting to the news by rushing to sell-off positions. All three major U.S. stock indexes are down between 5% and 6%, which has pushed the Dow down 500 points.

We can’t offer you any investment advice, but we can point out 10 mobile apps, iPad apps and websites that should make tracking investments and the state of the market less complicated.

1. CNBC Real-Time for iPad [iTunes link]

Released in December 2010, CNBC's iPad app remains one of the best finance apps for the iPad.

It includes real-time stock quotes and charts from the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

2. Bloomberg and Bloomberg Anywhere

Bloomberg's free mobile app isn't as feature-rich as what you get from CNBC, but it does work on multiple platforms. It loads quickly, has market quotes (delayed) and has fantastic charts.

For Bloomberg Professional subscribers, the Bloomberg Anywhere apps turn your iPad or smartphone into a Bloomberg Professional desktop.

3. NASDAQ QMX Portfolio Manager [iTunes link]

StockTwits and Nasdaq teamed up to combine the StockTwits Human Ticker with real-time market data.

The iPad app is free and also provides access to StockTwits discussions, post updates and StockTwits.tv.

StockTwits also has mobile apps for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.

4. Yahoo MarketDash for iPad and Yahoo Finance for Mobile

Yahoo finance remains one of the best financial portals on the web. The MarketDash app for iPad provides real-time market data, stock performance comparisons and interactive charts.

The Yahoo Finance mobile apps are available on the web, for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.

5. E*Trade Mobile Pro

The E*Trade Mobile Pro app is a great tool for ETrade customers, but the real-time market and news data also makes it a great app to follow the state of the market for users who use a different brokerage firm.

6. YCharts

YCharts is a superb research tool that lets users chart data from 70 different metrics for more than 5,000 stocks.

It has a clean interface and lets users run comparison charts for multiple companies or for industries. It also has economic indicator charts going back almost 100 years.

7. FinViz

FinViz is a top-notch stock screener and visualization tool. Most of the content on the site is free, but for $40 a month, users can access real-time quotes, premarket data and more advanced charting.

8. & 9. Chart.ly/StockTwits

In just three years, StockTwits has evolved from a Twitter app into a bonafide social network for investors.

8. & 9. Chart.ly/StockTwits

Along with Chart.ly and the recently released StockTwits IR Suite, StockTwits is at its core, a way for investors to share ideas, charts and news in real-time.

10. Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is one of the biggest stock market sites on the web. It publishes more than 250 articles daily, with a focus on opinion and analysis, rather than news.

The site also serves as a great research point for investors and it has a vibrant community of contributors and commenters.

More About: Bloomberg, cnbc, dow jones industrial average, finance, Financial, financial crisis, finviz, nasdaq, new york stock exchange, seeking alpha, stock market, stock quotes, StockTwits, yahoo finance, ychart

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9 Startups Aiming To Make Fashion Better for the Planet [VIDEOS]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 12:03 PM PDT

fashion image

Do you like your jeans? Would you like them better if they didn’t take at least 1,800 gallons of water to make? Yoxi, a platform that challenges startups to solve pressing problems, is turning its eyes to fashion.

Even if you don’t enjoy the catwalk, you certainly enjoy having a t-shirt to wear in the summer or boots to wear in the winter. The fashion industry, however, is not the most eco-friendly. Yoxi’s “Trim the Waste of Fashion” challenge is looking for tech innovators to help undo some of the excessive waste created by the trillion-dollar fashion industry.

Creating clothing inevitably results in wasted fabric. The industry has also been accused of unsustainable material sourcing, massive carbon emissions, wasted and polluted water, as well as excessive packaging, according to Yoxi.

Yoxi starts its challenges by picking a problem and inviting application videos from teams around the U.S. A panel of expert judges then narrows the results down to finalists who then must further explain their idea. The public can vote for their favorite idea. The winning team will earn prizes as well as marketing and business support to make its good idea a reality. Teams are comprised of boutique owners, eco-fashion designers, social entrepreneurs, photographers, video directors, professors and students. Voting opens August 8 with winners announced on September 15.

Take a look through the videos with solutions that reinvent the process of making clothes. Is a platform like Yoxi the best way to solve fashion industry excess? Are you more likely to help after watching these videos? Let us know in the comments below.

1. Preloved Apparel

2. Raw

3. Sea Endless

4. The Factory 2.0

5. Trimndous

6. American Green Team

7. Forevermore

8. Smarter Clothing Project

9. The Triangle

Image courtesy of Flickr, Tasayu Tasnaphun

More About: fashion, fashion industry, non-profit, social good

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Facebook Updates Your News Feed: Introducing Topic Groups

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 11:55 AM PDT

Facebook has started grouping status updates by topic, in the hopes that the update will help make sense of your News Feed.

Now, should your friends be sharing posts with similar themes — such as going to see the same movie — you’ll see a single News Feed story that lumps them together (see the example below).

“You may notice some of your news feed stories are now grouped together by topic,” the 750 million member-strong social network posted on its Facebook Page Monday. “We want to show you the most relevant and interesting information, and this test is designed to show you trends among what your friends are saying.”

As with every Facebook change, not all users are loving the algorithmic alteration. Many of the initial comments on Facebook’s post were negative.

What’s your take? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Andrew Feinberg

More About: facebook, facebook status updates, news feed, trending, trends

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Twitter Buys Bagcheck for Engineering Talent

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 11:19 AM PDT

Twitter has purchased lists and interests-focused startup Bagcheck for an undisclosed sum, co-founders Sam Pullara and Luke Wroblewski revealed in announcements Monday.

Bagcheck, launched just seven months ago, encourages members to build collections of products, applications and items they love by placing them into “bags.”

“We’ve acquired Bagcheck, and Sam Pullara, its co-founder and CTO will join us today,” a Twitter spokesperson tells Mashable.

The acquisition of Bagcheck appears to be mostly motivated by a decision to snatch up the engineering half of the two-man co-founder team. Pullara is joining Twitter’s engineering team, but Wroblewski is said to be working on the “next big thing.”

“Sam Pullara is a rare talent with a deep appreciation for connecting people with their interests,” Twitter’s representative says. “He’s a skilled product strategist, technologist and entrepreneur who has not only led large teams at Yahoo and Borland, but has co-founded successful ventures and spent time advising young startups as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital.”

One of Bagcheck’s crowning achievements, says Wroblewski, was rolling out a number of real-time user interface elements. These elements — such as real-time notifications and an as-it-happens view of who’s checking out your “bag” — perhaps speak to Twitter’s real interest in the young company.

The Bagcheck site will continue to be available for the immediate future, Pullara says. “But as with any acquisition, things may change at some point in the future,” he adds.

“It’s too soon at this point to share any details on how and whether Bagcheck will be incorporated into Twitter,” Twitter’s spokesperson says.

More About: Bagcheck, twitter

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AT&T Harasses T-Mobile Spokeswoman in Virgin Mobile Ad [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 10:54 AM PDT

AT&T is presented as a creepy middle-aged guy harassing T-Mobile in a new ad from Virgin Mobile, playing on the pending T-Mobile/AT&T merger.

The ad, from Mother, New York, presents a stand-in for T-Mobile girl Carly Foulkeswearing the brand’s signature pink polka-dotted dress. A young, hip couple embodying Virgin Mobile find her and the white background “depressing.” The faux Carly agrees: “Totally. And imagine us being taken over by AT&T, who’s last in customer satisfaction.” Enter balding guy in a cheap brown suit representing AT&T.

Cut to a happening club where Virgin Mobile customers are happily dancing to the music, all except for fake Carly, who says, through gritted teeth “I’m contractually obligated to enjoy this!” as the AT&T guy dances with her.

Sprint has also gone on the offensive over the T-Mobile/AT&T merger in an ad that featured another middle-aged man wearing Carly’s pink dress. Then again, it should be noted that it was T-Mobile that initially presented AT&T as a balding middle-aged dude.

What do you think? Is this ad effective or it is just petty, not to mention ageist? Let us know in the comments.

More About: advertising, att, MARKETING, sprint, T-Mobile

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Band Plans To Give Fans Free Music Via Bluetooth During Concert

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 10:28 AM PDT

QR codes are a popular (albeit unwieldy) way for bands to get free tunes to their fans. Electro band Data Romance, however, plans to go beyond the code, testing out a new method of delivery: Bluetooth.

During the upcoming IDentity Festival tour, the band will be asking fans to activate the Bluetooth on their phones to instantly receive free songs. Unfortunately, only Android phones will receive the jams, as iPhones don’t allow file transfers via Bluetooth.

“I think we’re unabashedly nerdy and enthusiastic when it comes to new gadgets and innovations in tech,” the band says of the initiative. “We loved this idea and since no band has ever offered this on a tour before, we were sold on the idea right away. While we have nothing against download cards or QR codes, this is a uniquely direct, with no strings attached, instant way to get content to our fans.”

In order to get fans primed for the campaign, the band plans to hang banners at merch booths detailing how to get the free songs, as well as post to Facebook and Twitter before the event. “If people simply activate Bluetooth on their phone, they’ll be able to see the signal and it’s pretty self explanatory from there,” Data Romance tells us.

Cellphones are usually the enemy when it comes to live events, but increasingly we’re seeing bands using them to promote their music and interact with fans during shows (see: Umphrey’s McGee).

What do you think of Data Romance’s Bluetooth-flavored giveaway?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Bliz

More About: bluetooth, data-romance, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, music

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10 Free Google Chrome Apps for Increased Productivity

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 10:04 AM PDT

chrome store

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

Since Google launched its Chrome web store in December, extensions have sprung up to speed up and simplify the messy world of Internet browsing. If you’re a member of the club that spends more time looking at screens than people, some simple browser add-ons can streamline many of your daily processes on the job.

We brought you a list of great Chrome apps for small businesses shortly after the store’s opening. Here are ten new ones that are sure to increase your web productivity while at work.

Let us know in the comments if you are using any of these apps. Which work for you? What did we miss?

1. StayFocusd

We understand it's a bit much to ask you to go completely cold turkey from Angry Birds. Fortunately for the Internet browsing addicts out there, StayFocusd puts a cap on a list of sites you choose to limit. Whether you're wasting time on social networks, blogs, shopping or gaming, you can customize your list of restricted sites. Then, set your limit to the amount of time you will allow yourself to waste.

2. Large Document

Say goodbye to email bounce-back notifications for documents over ten megabytes. The Large Document app lets you transfer what email won't, and it's simpler than an external sharing site like YouSendIt or Dropbox. The Chrome extension converts your file into a URL you can share. An added bonus? No log-in information is required.

3. Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer ends the frustrating restriction of needing to download Doc and PowerPoint files to view them. Rather than wait to read several pages sent in email, open Docs, PowerPoints and PDFs directly in your Chrome browser.

4. Yast

Whether you're timing your hours billed to clients or how long your lunch meeting lasted, Yast makes timing your work easy. The app generates time sheets you can comment on and color codes so you can organize all your time-related needs.

5. TabCloud

Sure, tabbed browsing makes everyone's life easier. That is, until your tabbing gets to be a disorganized mess. TabCloud lets you save browsing sessions for a later date. If you're researching a project, just save the set of tabs and return to the bunch at a later time. And, because they're stored in the cloud, you can access your tabs from any computer.

6. Screen Capture

Using Screen Capture, you can easily grab stills from your browser. More transferable than copy and paste and faster than taking notes, screen shots will speed up your work online.

7. Popchrom

Expedite your typing by turning your commonly used phrases into abbreviated shortcuts. Let's say you add "lmk" as a shortcut for "let me know if you have any questions." Once you have the shortcut saved, all you need to do is place your mouse over the abbreviated shortcut -- in our case, "lmk" -- and press ctrl+space. The expanded text will replace your abbreviation.

8. HootSuite

Winner of Mashable's Best Social Media Management Tool for 2010, HootSuite puts all your social networks in one simple dashboard, updated in real time. Track traffic to your site, monitor conversations and schedule messages using this handy app.

9. Read Later Fast

If you often find yourself distracted while reading every interesting story you stumble across during the work day, Read Later Fast can help you kick the habit. Rather than forgetting about all those interesting links, this app will store your stories in an easy to use inbox for reading at a later time.

10. Google Calendar Checker

Rather than navigating between your work and your schedule, this easy app counts down until your next engagement in the corner of your browser. Google Calendar Checker's simplicity keeps you focused on meeting your deadlines and preparing for engagements.

More About: chrome apps, google chrome, small business, Small Business Resources, web productivity

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