Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “World’s First Glasses-Free 3D Laptop Comes With Health Risks”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “World’s First Glasses-Free 3D Laptop Comes With Health Risks”

World’s First Glasses-Free 3D Laptop Comes With Health Risks

Posted: 10 Aug 2011 04:28 AM PDT

Toshiba announced the Qosmio F755 3D laptop on Tuesday, describing it as “the world's first laptop capable of displaying glasses-free 3D and 2D content at the same time on one screen.”

The press release proudly featured the laptop specs in the body of the text, but other seemingly minute details — such as potential health risks of 3D viewing, in this case — were kept in the footnotes. One footnote stated:

“Due to the possible impact on vision development, viewers of 3D video images should be age 6 or above. Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised to avoid prolonged viewing without rest. Some viewers may experience a seizure or blackout when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain 3D television pictures or video games. Anyone who has had a seizure, loss of awareness, or other symptom linked to an epileptic condition, or has a family history of epilepsy, should contact a health care provider before using the 3D function.”

That disclaimer footnote then points to another more lengthy disclaimer on Toshiba’s website entitled, “3D Viewing: Important Safety Information,” in which another list of health risks continues. The first point on the list is especially poignant:

“If you or any viewer experiences the following symptoms or any other discomfort from viewing 3D video images, stop viewing and contact your health care provider: Convulsions, Eye or muscle twitching, Loss of awareness, Altered vision, Involuntary movements, Disorientation, Eye Strain, Nausea/Vomiting, Dizziness, Headaches, Fatigue.”

Priced at $1,700, the laptop will be available in mid-August. One can’t help but wonder if consumers will be paying attention to these small details relating to their health when deciding to purchase the latest in technological wonders.

It can be argued that these health risks apply for any type of 3D viewing — even so, should they be relegated to the footnotes?

What are your thoughts on how tech companies should disclaim health risks regarding use of their products? And is owning a 3D laptop worth risking your health? Let us know in the comments below.

More About: 3D, gadgets, health, laptop, Toshiba

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Facebook, Google & Apple Not Trusted in Mobile Payments [STUDY]

Posted: 10 Aug 2011 03:32 AM PDT

When dealing with mobile payments, consumers trust credit card companies — such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express — over technology brands, including Facebook, Google and Apple, according to a recent study conducted by Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing and public relations agency.

A number of mobile payment technologies have been developed over the past few years, including Square and Google Wallet. And Paypal recently demoed a new version of its mobile app that will include near field communication technology, enabling Android users to initiate payments with one another by tapping their devices together.

In the study, 500 U.S. online users were asked to select as many brands as they wanted in answering the question, “Who would you trust with mobile payments?”

Below are the results of the study. Does this order of trustworthiness jive with your own thoughts on who you trust with mobile payments? Let us know in the comments below.

[via: Ad Age]

More About: apple, facebook, Google, mobile payments

For more Mobile coverage:

Hacker Group Anonymous Aims to Destroy Facebook on Nov. 5

Posted: 10 Aug 2011 01:29 AM PDT

Hackivist group Anonymous vows to “kill Facebook” on November 5, citing users’ lack of choice in privacy as its reason for attack.

Update: Anonymous confirmed via a tweet that while some of its members are organizing the upcoming attack against Facebook, the hacker organization as a whole does not necessarily agree with the attack.

The group of hackers has claimed participation in just about every recent notable hacking attack of this year and successfully broke into 70 law enforcement websites and took down the Syrian Ministry of Defense website this week alone.

This recent interest in Facebook, despite a slew of privacy concerns raised against the social network since its founding, may be a result of Anonymous’s recent announcement that it plans to create its own social network, called AnonPlus. After the group’s Google+ account, called "Your Anon News,” was banned, it began fleshing out, "a new social network where there is no fear…of censorship…of blackout…nor of holding back."

Below is a video and statement released by Anonymous explaining the reason for its upcoming battle with the world’s largest social network. Let us know your thoughts on the group’s statement in the comments below.

Anonymous Statement

Attention citizens of the world,

We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows:
Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy.

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your "privacy" settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you "delete" your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more "private" is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.

You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It's unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don't understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them "for their own good" while they then make millions off of you. When a service is "free," it really means they're making money off of you and your information.

Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.

This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves.

We are anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us

More About: anonymous, facebook, hackers, privacy, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

E-Textbook Maker Kno Launches Facebook App

Posted: 10 Aug 2011 12:02 AM PDT

After Kno gave up on its textbook ereader earlier this year, it was left with a digital textbook software that had little distinction from others on the market. On Wednesday, it announced the first of its efforts to snazz up its platform — including a Facebook app.

The app gives readers access to their books through the social platform. Kno is the first of major players to offer such an app, but it’s done so in a rather underwhelming way. The Facebook app is essentially a version of the iPad app made accessible through Facebook, and both include a feature that allows readers to post directly to their walls from the text.

“I’d like to emphasize that this is a first step,” says Kno Vice President of Marketing Ousama Haffar.

Facebook is an interesting point for to Kno to start its social strategy. Other textbook companies have done so, mostly apart from established platforms. Follett-owned CafeScribe, for instance, allows students to join groups that pool their notes with others in the same class or share them with others who own the same book across the platform.

Outside of the textbook realm, digital book maker Kobo has created a social reading platform for the iPad that it says it will bring to all of its platforms. The platform allows readers to check in with characters and places on Facebook, earn badges and track reading traffics — sharing to social networks like Facebook at every step. No doubt there are many interesting directions Kno could take for approaching its social features from the basic app it launched on Wednesday.

Kno’s other new features for the iPad app are called “Quizme” and “Journal.” The first instantly creates multiple-choice quizzes for iPad app users by blacking out the labels in diagrams, and the second compiles a student’s notes and highlighted items into one easy-to-review packet.

Both are less-than-standard features for textbooks, but somewhat minor additions to the app. There are, however, examples of what Kno has planned for its overall strategy. Some textbook publishers have stayed clear of bells and whistles that make books hard to digitize in mass numbers. Others, like Inkling, build books from the ground up in order to create unique interactive experiences. For obvious reasons, the later group has a harder time building an inventory.

Kno is aiming for some point in the middle. Like CourseSmart or Amazon, they digitize books that can be highlighted, bookmarked and “written in” without building them from scratch and charging a premium fee. But it is also trying to add as much of the interactivity as it can without doing so manually or giving up its price tags of about 30%-50% the cost of physical books.

“If you want to be a company that changes an industry, you need the content,” Haffar says. “If you don’t have the content, it’s just something that’s kind of cool.”

From left to right, Kno’s Quizme feature, Journal feature and course manager

More About: education, ereaders, facebook, textbooks

For more Startups coverage:

The Social Tattoo Project Fights Apathy with Ink [VIDEOS]

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 11:04 PM PDT

The Social Tattoo Project

Would you consider getting a crowdsourced tattoo? What if it was for a good cause’?

Five people have already volunteered to do exactly that. The Social Tattoo Project is sponsoring unique tattoos based around major world issues too quickly forgotten.

“Someone’s empathy can expire,” says Jenn Huang, cocreator of The Social Tattoo Project. “If you ask someone now what’s happening in Haiti they probably couldn’t tell you, so we came up with a social experiment where we make empathy permanent by tattooing volunteers.”

Each week, the project asks its Twitter and Facebook followers to vote between four trending Twitter topics. At the end of the week, a lucky volunteer gets inked in the crowd’s favorite trend, making the chosen cause a permanent part of his or her life. The tattoo’s recipient doesn’t even find out the content of their new body art until the job’s done.

The first five tattoos read #humantrafficking, #Haiti, #Norway, #poverty and #Japan — hashtags included.

Huang, along with two other interns at BBH Barn, were challenged to make something famous while also changing public perception. Their hope is that tattoo shops around the country will ask to join the project. Volunteers have reached out from Australia and Brazil.

So far, the internship subsidy paid for the first batch of tattoos at a reduced rate thanks to New York’s Sacred Tattoo. Their budget can only pay for another tattoo or two, so the interns are hoping future volunteers will agree to cover their own costs.

What do you think: are social tattoos the next big thing? Would you consider getting one of these or a geeky tech tattoo?

Week 1: #humantrafficking

Week 2: #Haiti

Week 3: #Norway

Week 4: #poverty

Week 5: #Japan

More About: crowdsourced, social good, social media

For more Social Good coverage:

How Students Use Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:38 PM PDT

It’s clear that today’s students rely heavily on electronic devices even when they’re not incorporated in the classroom. In one survey of college students, 38% said they couldn’t even go 10 minutes without switching on some sort of electronic device.

But how students are using their devices, how technology is affecting their educational experience, and what effect it has on their well-being are questions that are harder to answer. In the infographic below, online higher education database has summed up some of the existing research on these points.

Students Love Technology

More About: education

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Want a Deal? This Site Will Do the Haggling For You

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 08:34 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: oBaz

Quick Pitch: oBaz lets users band together in groups to get discounts on the products and services they want.

Genius Idea: Social haggling.

Testing the notion that there’s power in numbers is the just-launched Chicago-based startup oBaz. Its promise: To go to bat for consumers who band together in big groups; it haggles with merchants to bring back big discounts.

oBaz, short for online bazaar, is kind of like an inside-out version of the daily deals model popularized by Groupon. Instead of businesses offering up pre-set deep discounts to groups of online denizens, people self-organize on oBaz around the products and service they want, and the startup then tracks down the merchant to negotiate a better price.

oBaz members can express their intent to buy anything they want by starting or joining a product group. “We don’t control what our users put on the site,” says CEO and co-founder Brian Ficho. “We’re just here to haggle.”

Each group has seven days to recruit more folks via Facebook, Twitter or email and reach critical mass. oBaz will then negotiate on their behalf and attempt to secure a discount. Once the deal is shared with the group, members have 24 hours to buy it — though oBaz charges a small fee for the convenience.

oBaz was birthed after Ficho, who would often organize his friends to do things — say a dinner with 20 friends after a Cubs baseball game — realized that businesses might have a keen interest in the buying intent of big groups.

Ficho first pitched the idea to Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell — Groupon co-founders and Lightbank partners — 18 months ago. The oBaz concept took shape under their guidance and officially launched to the public Tuesday, after a six-week alpha period.

The site does have its limitations, especially since oBaz’s team of hagglers can’t guarantee a discount on everything its users want. Apple, for instance, is unlikely to award an oBaz group with deals on iPads or MacBook Airs. Still, Ficho believes that most merchants will happily offer up discounts in exchange for acquiring new customers.

“We’re free customer acquisition for business,” he says. “We’ll find all the customers for you, and let you make them offers for free.”

oBaz has raised seed funding from Lightbank. The startup eventually plans to release mobile applications, but is currently focused on improving its website.

Image courtesy of FernandoPolo, Flickr

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, lightbank, oBaz, spark-of-genius, startup

For more Startups coverage:

Kids & Technology: The Developmental Health Debate

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 07:46 PM PDT

How much screen time is appropriate for children? Should young kids be exposed to tech for any extended periods of time? The developmental debate has raged for decades, only to be reignited by the latest waves of iPads and social media.

Dr. Larry Rosen’s experience as a research psychologist and computer educator has allowed him to witness both the positive and negative effects of technology use on young minds. Rosen is a professor of psychology and author of Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. In the end, he sees innovations like social media as developmental pluses for what he calls the "iGeneration."

"Social networking is really helping them with who they are, their identity in the world," Rosen says of preteens and teens who engage with their peers via social platforms like Facebook.

According to Rosen, teens are able to test the identity waters, so to speak. For example, they can practice different forms of sexuality via their web presences, and receive feedback from peers. It allows them to "practice life" somewhat innocuously, says Rosen.

Although he is a proponent for technology integration in modern child rearing, Rosen says there is the very real possibility of overdoing it. Many parents believe they're doing a great job raising their child if he is quietly playing video games in his room all day. That child will lose communication skills, he says. Technology must be "chosen correctly."

But in a perfect world, technology wouldn't be chosen at all, according to pediatric occupational therapist Cris Rowan. Author of Virtual Child: The Terrifying Truth About What Technology is Doing to Children, and founder of Zone'in Programs Inc. Rowan's outlook on child technology use is bleak — and irreversible.

"I used to say to parents, 'Look, it's reversible. Just cut your kid [off] and they'll be OK,'" says Rowan. "But that's not true. They're permanently altering the formation of their brain, and it's not in a good way." When asked how she foresaw children adapting or evolving if they were to continue at the level of usage seen today, Rowan responded, "Well, I see them dying."

According to a 2009 Kaiser study, kids aged 8-18 are engaging with digital media an average of 7.5 hours per day. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1-2 hours per day of screen-time. Rowan adds, "There is absolutely nothing in technology that is developmentally healthy. Any time spent in front of a device or with a device is detrimental to child development."

She cites the research of Dr. Gary Small, Director of the UCLA Memory and Aging Research Center. Small studies how children's brains today, specifically the frontal lobe, are developing differently than their parents' due to technology exposure. "As young malleable brains develop shortcuts to access information, these shortcuts represent new neural pathways being laid down," he writes in his book iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind.

Rowan references a study that indicates technology overuse is not only changing brain chemistry, but also increasing the likelihood of children developing mental illnesses. Human connection, eye contact and dialogue are paramount. Devices are hugely limiting this important exposure, Rowan says. As a result, therapists and clinicians are seeing an increase in attachment disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorders, and ADHD — all of which have been linked to technology overuse. "I've been working with kids for 25 years. I've never seen this," she concludes. "This is something that's epic. And we're really just witnessing the tip of an iceberg."

Although the debate rages on, Rosen and Rowan do agree on some things. Both referenced recent data indicating that extended use of social networks like Facebook can result in a decrease in empathy among teens, and thus an increase in narcissism. "[Overuse of Facebook by] teens can potentially lead to a problem psychologically," says Rosen. It's what he refers to as an iDisorder, a term he will discuss in his upcoming book about how to avoid tech-related psychiatric symptoms. However, it's not the platform's fault, he says. "It's the way we relate to the platform. It makes it easy to be narcissistic. You can type anything and not see a person's face crying on the other end."

Furthermore, neither believes that a complete unplug is necessary — or even safe. In fact, Rowan cites tragic consequences of cutting one's child off of technology completely — for example, the Ohio teen who killed his mother after his parents took away his Halo 3 video game.

What Can Parents Do?

1. Get the TV out of the children's bedrooms: Kaiser studies estimate that 30% of children age 0-3 and 71% of children age 8-18 have a television in their bedroom. Both Rosen and Rowan advise removing brain-drain technology from private spaces. That way, parents can both monitor the type of content kids are absorbing and limit their usage appropriately.

2. Talk about it: Engage in "co-viewing," a practice Rosen defines as talking about media while both parent and child experience it together. He suggests playing video games with kids, and checking out their social networks (although he's opposed to parents friending their children on Facebook, in most instances).

3. Evaluate appropriate tech by age: Rosen says that infants respond best to touchscreen technology that will foster their tactile/kinesthetic learning style. School age and young preteens have been shown to develop hand-eye coordination and decision-making skills through video games — ideally, those that have been properly researched, and coupled other imaginative play. For older preteens, mobile phone use fosters communication practice. Finally, despite studies that social networking decreases empathy in teens, Rosen has seen that platforms like Facebook actually aid communication and interaction among teens. "Virtually, you're doing it behind the screen and you feel safe," he says. "You have a free, anonymous feeling."

4. Institute "tech breaks”: The breaks, according to Rosen, can be used at home, in the classroom and everywhere in between. During class or family dinners, have kids put their mobile devices face down. If they succeed in not touching the device for 15 minutes, allow them a 1-2 minute "tech break," during which they can text, check email or log in to social media.

5. Set aside "sacred time": Rowan advocates following the "one hour per day, one day per week, one week per year" plan, in which both kids and their parents alike completely unplug. Rowan warns it will be challenging at first: "It's scary for some families. They don't know how to talk to each other anymore. They don't know what to say."

6. Encourage "healthy" technology: For Rowan, devices like the iPod don't inhibit social behavior as dramatically as other forms of media, like "brain-draining" video games or television. Rosen doesn't believe it's quite as simple anymore to limit certain types of technology — mainly because the lines are now blurred. We've integrated television into smartphones, and books into digital readers. He advises narrowing it down by app, and only approving ones based on solid research.

7. Trust your kids: Although parents shouldn't give kids free reign of their social media presences, allow them to "clean up" their profile pages before you take a peek. Rosen suggests giving kids a 24-hour warning beforehand. From then on, after the initial look, parents have the right to drop by and view their kid's page spontaneously.

Despite Rowan's strong warnings against technology abuse by children, she is resigned to the fact that exposure these days in inevitable. On the other hand, Rosen exhibits enthusiasm about the knowledge and technical know-how of today's youth. He sees a bright future for his friend's nine-year-old son who, for example, can manipulate gadgets with ease.

When asked whether kids sheltered from technology risk falling behind in society, culture and the business world, Rowan responds simply, "Kids soak it up. Let's worry about the fact that they may be illiterate by the time they finish high school."

Anxiety over children’s technology use has existed before the dawn of MySpace, before the rise of the mobile phone, and even before the invention of calculators. Is today's technology any different or scarier than the rise of technologies past? There's no doubt that children are growing and developing differently than they did even 15 years ago. But it may still be too early to determine the lasting effects on today's iGeneration.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Swansea Photographer, pvantees.

More About: health, Kids, technology

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Twitter Rolls Out Photo Sharing to All Users

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 07:14 PM PDT

Twitter’s photo-sharing and uploading service is now available to all users, Twitter has confirmed.

The feature, which made its debut in early June, allows users to add images to their tweets. Users will now find a camera icon on the bottom of the “What’s Happening?” box on Clicking it will let users select a picture to upload, which they can then preview before sending it to the world. Tweets containing photos include a link to, along with a thumbnail of the attached picture.

The feature is being rolled out in advance of the launch of Apple iOS 5. Apple’s new mobile OS prominently features Twitter integration, essentially making it the default social network for iOS users. Users will be able to share photos via Twitter in iOS 5. Twitter isn’t saying when mobile photo uploads will be available in its Android and iOS apps, but we suspect that functionality will be coming very soon.

Twitter’s photo-sharing service is powered by Photobucket, which provides all of the hosting for user-uploaded photos.

Twitter’s photo service essentially negates the usefulness of photo-sharing services like TwitPic. Twitter has come under criticism for competing with third-party services built on its platform. Developers don’t know whether Twitter will suddenly start competing with their products, an issue that has created a cloud of uncertainty over the Twitter ecosystem.

Check out the screenshots we took of Twitter’s photo sharing feature when it first launched and let us know if you’ll be switching to the official Twitter photo-sharing service in the comments.

Camera icon

That means the service is live on your account. To post a photo, click the icon.

Oops, that's not an image

If you try to upload a video or a doc, you'll get this alert.

Enter text

Once the photo's uploaded, all you have to do is type your tweet and click send.

Pic displays on the right pane

If you click a tweet with a photo, it appears in the right pane with a "Powered by Photobucket" line underneath. It's just like TwitPic or Yfrog on Twitter.

Another test

If you click the link, it takes you to the tweet with the picture, not the actual jpeg.

More About: photo sharing, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

London Riots: Twitter Traffic Surges in the UK [STATS]

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 06:24 PM PDT

Traffic is surging to Twitter and major media websites in the UK as the London riots enter their fourth night.

Twitter has been the biggest beneficiary of the unrest, according to web analytics firm Experian Hitwise. The social information network accounted for 1 in every 170 UK Internet visits on August 8. Hitwise also reports that approximately 3.4 million people from the UK visited Twitter’s homepage yesterday, easily surpassing the traffic Twitter garnered during the super-injunction scandal.

The social media impact of the London Riots seems to be limited to Twitter, though. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, didn’t receive a similar traffic spike. Hitwise attributes this anomaly to the fact that Twitter’s most prolific users are located in London postal codes, while Facebook is more dominant in the northern UK.

News and media websites also gained traffic as a result of the London riots. Traffic to UK news and media sites increased by 14% between Monday and Tuesday. The BBC was the biggest benefactor, garnering a third of all Internet visits to UK news and media websites. Sky News was also a big winner, thanks to a surge in searches related to the riots.

Social media and mobile technology have been playing a major role in the riots. Rioters have been using BlackBerry Messenger to organize their activities, while other citizens have utilized Twitter and Facebook to organize riot cleanups.

More About: bbc, Experian Hitwise, london riots, stats, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

Facebook Cooperates with Law Enforcement to Remove Inmate Profiles

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 05:43 PM PDT

Inmates incarcerated in the state of California who update Facebook, or have third-parties do so on their behalf, will likely soon find their status-updating privileges revoked by Facebook.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is working with Facebook to ensure that Facebook accounts set up and monitored by prison inmates are terminated swiftly.

The CDCR will report accounts in violation to the Facebook Security Department for removal. Citizens are also encouraged to report inmate accounts by calling CDCR's Office of Victim and Survivor Rights & Services at 1-877-256-6877.

“Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate says. “This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.”

The CDCR’s crack down is in response to “numerous incidents” involving inmates who have used Facebook to deliver threats or sexual advances to victims from prison.

The CDCR does stipulate that an inmate is allowed to have a Facebook profile, so long as it was created prior to incarceration and not updated or accessed while the prisoner is behind bars.

Image courtesy of Flickr, CACorrections

More About: facebook, prison

For more Social Media coverage:

Boxee Delivers a Snazzy New iPad App

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 04:47 PM PDT

Boxee, the media center with a social twist, has just rolled out its new iPad app, Boxee for iPad.

What makes Boxee for iPad [iTunes link] interesting as an application, is that it isn’t just for Boxee or Boxee Box users; the app was designed so that anyone who has an iPad can use it to discover and share web video.

The app works in tandem with the newly overhauled Boxee Bookmarklet and with the new Boxee Media Manager.

When you start up the app, you can sign in with your Boxee account and then choose to link your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. Once that’s done, you can see the videos that your friends share online from your stream. Similar to Redux, this offers up a more visual and manageable approach to what videos friends are sharing online.

You can then watch selected videos within the iPad app or opt to save them to your watchlist for later. Boxee Box users can also use the AirPlay functionality from the app to watch content on the big screen. This is the first time we’ve seen AirPlay-esque features work with a device that isn’t the Apple TV. We like it.

Boxee also has a curated featured content section in the app, for users who want to see what the Boxee community and staff think is worth watching.

Using the newly refined bookmarklet, users can add videos to their Boxee watch-later queues. Boxee has had a bookmarklet for saving online content for quite some time, but now the feature is a lot more useful, thanks to the iPad app. Like startup Squrl, content can be accessed from the iPad. You can also watch saved content on the web or on your Boxee Box.

Perhaps our favorite feature of Boxee for iPad is the new Media Manager. Install the new Boxee Media Manager software on your Mac or PC, and you can then access local content from your iPad. The process works just like AirVideo in that it transcodes the content on the fly (and on your local machine) and then streams it straight to your iPad.

The end result is that you can enjoy watching episodes of your favorite TV shows without having to convert the video for the iPad, and it doesn’t take up any space on your device. As with web video, that content can then be streamed to your Boxee Box wirelessly.

Even though I already have (and love) AirVideo, having the ability to access my local content in the Boxee app — and then having the ability to send that content to the big screen — is incredibly cool.

Boxee also announced that it is preparing to roll out Boxee 1.2 for Boxee Box owners.

If you are looking for a free way to aggregate online video and also access local content on the iPad, give the Boxee for iPad app a chance.

Login Screen

Main Feed

Video View

Add to "Watch Later" Queue



Media Manager

Media Manager - Folders

Media Manager - Titles

Media Manager - File Information

Media Manager - Share to Boxee Box

Media Manager - Playback

Media Manager - Fullscreen Playback

More About: boxee, ipad apps

For more Mobile coverage:

4 Social Music Services for Your Office Soundtrack

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 04:01 PM PDT

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

He hunches over his iTunes like a dragon on his jewels, relentlessly clicking through his favorite albums, subjecting the entire office to specially curated playlists like “Pump-Up Jamz 4 U!” He’s the office DJ — and unless you work in silence or are protected by the sanctuary of headphones — he can ruin the day with his imposed tastes.

Often, we lazily let such tyrants have their way with our ears, too caught up with actually working to contest their musical choices. However, if we looked a little further into the digital music ethos for a solution, we would see that office jamming doesn’t have to be a chore — or a battle. It can be a collaborative effort reminiscent of the culture of teamwork that your boss’ inspirational posters tout.

Read on for four services that put the “I” and “U” back into music:

1. Play My Song

Based on the old-school jukebox model — in which anyone could put in a dime for a song — Play My Song is an iOS app and web service that makes it easy for users to DJ via their phones.

The premise is this: The main DJ (perhaps the one we spoke of above) uses his iTunes library to create a social music player. If you are the main DJ, download the app to your iOS device (making sure that you have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection). Log into the app and create your location ("Office in the 9th Circle of Hell," or whatever). Select songs from your music library that users can play, and then connect your device to the sound system.

Your office mates can then sign up for Play My Song via the website -- or they can download the app — navigate to "Office in the 9th Circle of Hell" and start choosing songs to play. Users can also check out what songs are playing at their offices via the app (or website), which could really come in handy when deciding whether or not to "call in sick."

If you work at a bar, cafe or public venue, you can pay for the premium service, which for $423 per year will allow your patrons to choose music at your place of business. This offering allows you to create scheduled playlists and score premium visibility on the service. The Roxy Theatre in L.A. is currently using the service.

2. Rdio

Music subscription service Rdio was built to be social. In addition to boasting more than 9 million songs that users can listen to on-demand, subscribers can also interact with users in an array of ways. Rdio costs $4.99 per month for desktop service and $9.99 per month for desktop, mobile and supported devices.

While scoring your work day, you have two options for social listening: 1) You can follow other users and check out their playlists and collections. If you're down to DJ that day, simply follow your co-workers and raid their collections. 2) The other, more social option is to create collaborative playlists. After you create a playlist, simply click on the name of the list to enable collaboration, allowing other staff members to add tracks to the melange. You can either allow only people you're following to add tracks or let all of Rdio at it, in case you fancy a wild card.

3. Spotify

Spotify, which recently made it to U.S. shores, also adds a social layer to music listening. The service gives you access to more than 15 million songs with three tiers of service:

  • Free, which gets you desktop service with a 20-hour per month limit (might not be the best option for offices) and ads
  • $4.99 per month for unlimited listening without ads
  • $9.99 per month for unlimited listening and mobile access and no ads

Like Rdio, Spotify also has a social component, plugging into your Facebook account and allowing you to see what friends are listening to (and to listen to their tracks as well). You can also follow other Spotify users — not just your Facebook friends.

Like Rdio, Spotify also has collaborative playlisting (just right-click on the name of your playlist for that option), as well as the option to send tracks and albums to other members (and subscribe to their playlists). Spotify is definitely an awesome option if you work in a headphone-only office and want to share tunes with a cube mate.


Summer is here, which can only mean one thing: Friday afternoons are now officially the worst. Luckily, a little startup called has come on the scene, and it makes being computer-bound when the sun is shining hot on the beachy shores almost bearable. is basically a series of chatrooms in which music is played. It's currently U.S.-only and still in closed beta, but if you have one friend on Facebook using the service, then you can get access. functions thusly: One user creates a room ("Summer Fridaze") and other users enter in order to DJ. There are five DJ slots, and those users take turns spinning songs (available via MediaNet or their own, personal libraries). The room votes on whether songs are "awesome" or "lame" — so you can brag (or not) about your music taste. There's also a chat module where users can discuss music being played.

While we don't suggest using such a service if you actually want to be productive, is a great way to unwind with co-workers (especially those who work remotely) at the end of a brutal grind.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Nikada

More About: music, play my song, rdio, Small Business Resources, spotify,

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Instructional Video on Squiggling Will Ease Your Twitching Brain

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 03:23 PM PDT

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

End of the day doldrums dragging you into the abyss? Well, step away from the computer and pick up a pen. It’s time to squiggle.

This little vid comes courtesy of “Recreational Mathemusician” Vi Hart, who discourses grandly on the joy of doodling.

Hit “play” and Zen out. Your mind is half-dead anyway.

More About: squiggle, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

For more Video coverage:

How the Humble Washing Machine Is Getting a Digital Spin

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 02:58 PM PDT

On August 9, 1910, 101 years ago to the day, the U.S. Patent Office granted Alva J. Fisher of the Hurley Machine Co. a patent for an electrically powered washing machine.

In recent years, the washing machine has been transformed from a utilitarian appliance to a tweeting, texting, mobile-friendly and Internet-connected addition to the digital home.

We saw a few clever washing machine hacks, inspired by Twitter, introduced between 2007 and 2009. At CES, manufacturers such as LG teased audiences with the notion of a smart home, where appliances would talk to each other and the web. Some of these washers are just now becoming available for consumer purchase.

What’s next in the evolution of the washing machine? With Wi-Fi prevalent in homes and social media the preoccupation du jour, should we expect to see washers, dryers and other in-home appliances become sophisticated extensions of our digital obsessions? Or is this a fad that will fade with time? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

Laundry Room Twitter Bot

Roland Crosby created the @laundryroom Twitter bot in early 2007 during his freshman year in college. The bot spoke on behalf of a laundry room, at Needham, Massachusetts’ Franklin W. Olin College, with two washers, two dryers and a condom dispenser — it would update followers on the availability of each machine.

As of 2010, Crosby’s bot has ceased to update followers, but the creation did get ample press mentions and was mentioned in conjunction with other sensor-based applications at the heart of the web 2.0 movement by Tim O’Reilly at the Web 2.0 Expo in 2008.

The Washing Machine Hack

In 2009, Ryan Rose made headlines for his Washing Machine Twitter Hack.

Rose’s replicable machination calls for a network port, BS2 Stamp, 9 volt power inverter and a limit switch to detect wash mode. When added to a washer (an old Maytag model in Rose’s case), the end result is an automatic way of getting notified by tweet that your laundry is done.

Rose’s washer @PiMPY3WASH is, to this day, still updating the world via Twitter with each completed load.

Smart Washers

The Internet-connected washer of tomorrow promises those with a penchant for digital and social behaviors a way to get more function out of their appliances, without the need to hack or modify the machines on their own.

LG demonstrated the potential of connected appliances with a preview of its THINQ line and futuristic home appliance strategy at CES in 2011. The product line proposed to offer homeowners a way to manage their appliances via PC, tablet and mobile applications.

“This year will be the beginning of a new era of home appliances. By that I mean that we have reached the tipping point where appliances are now run entirely by CPUs and computer code,” Young-ha Lee, president and CEO of LG’s Home Appliance Company said at the time. “Just as automobiles became rolling computers a decade ago, home appliances are experiencing the same transformation.”

Now, LG’s Smart Washing Machine, model FR4349BAYZ, is making its debut in Korea. The machine allows users to monitor and control the appliance via an Android application. The device is expected to be released in more markets before the end of the year.

Image courtesy of Flickr, jaysk

More About: LG, technology

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Walmart To Shut Down 7-Year-Old MP3 Music Store

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 02:02 PM PDT

Walmart MP3 Downloads, the retailer’s 7-year-old iTunes competitor, will go dark at the end of the month.

The company plans to silence the site on August 29, according to The New York Times. Once viewed as a serious threat to iTunes, Walmart’s online music store never made huge inroads against Apple, despite deep discounting. The store’s introductory price per track was $0.88, which undercut Apple by $0.11.

Walmart rebooted the store in 2008 by offering top hits at $0.74 cents per song and other tracks for $0.94, plus a free download of the week. The store included more than 3 million tracks with content from all the major labels. There were other perks, including a free MP3 download with every CD purchased in-store or online. But nothing, it seemed, could tempt enough Apple users away to make it worthwhile for the Bentonville giant.

Why do you think Walmart could never compete? Let us know in the comments.

More About: apple, itunes, mp3s, WalMart

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Facebook App Suggests Concerts Based on Bands You & Your Friends Like

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 01:28 PM PDT

Trying to figure out what shows are going on this weekend, but too lazy to click through all of your favorite bands’ Fan Pages? ConcertCrowd aims to alleviate the onset of carpel tunnel by offering you suggestions based on your and your friends’ favorite bands.

ConcertCrowd is a Facebook app that launched Tuesday to make it easier to figure out what concerts to hit up. Simply install the app, and you’ll be presented with a dashboard that depicts all the upcoming shows in your area. You can click on “Your Artists” to see when bands that you’ve “Liked” on Facebook are playing, or “Recommended Artists” to see when your friends’ faves are slated to go on. You can also check out recently posted shows, as well as all shows in your geographic area.

The app also allows you to add concerts to your calendar, post events to your wall, email them to a friend and buy tickets. Click on a band’s name to access its Facebook Page.

Granted, there are a ton of apps out there that make it easy to find shows (I personally like Songkick‘s mobile app, which scans your iTunes to serve up suggestions), but Facebook surfers will definitely find ConcertCrowd useful when planning their weekends.

More About: concertcrowd, facebook, facebook apps, music

For more Media coverage:

Angry Birds Now Appearing on a Baby Near You

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 01:10 PM PDT

Even the tiniest tots can participate in the Angry Birds craze. App-maker-turned-entertainment-franchise Rovio has teamed up with baby product maker SwaddleDesigns to release an Angry Birds Baby line.

New parents can now opt to outfit, wrap or protect their bundles of joy, while showing off their Angry Birds fan status, in any of the five types of products (as seen below).

“As parents, one aspect of Angry Birds we appreciate is how protective the birds are and how much they love their offspring,” says Lynette Damir, CEO and creative director of SwaddleDesigns. “It’s one of the characters’ endearing qualities that resonates with parents everywhere, and a key reason we believe Angry Birds fans will be enthusiastic about our new line of Angry Bird baby products.”

Merchandise is a hot category for Rovio and the Angry Birds brand. The company has sold more than 7 million plush toys alone and will likely see merchandise sales skyrocket should the movie project come to fruition.

SwaddleDesigns is making its official Angry Birds Baby products available for sale Tuesday. Items cost $20 to $38 and will begin shipping October 10.

Receiving Blanket & Onesie

Baby Lovie

Baby Burpie

Swaddling Blanker

zzZipMe Sack

Receiving Blanket

Receiving Blankets

More About: angry birds, MARKETING, merchandise, rovio

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Deadline To Apply for the Startups for Good Challenge Is Now August 11

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:49 PM PDT

Startups for Good Challenge

The Startups for Good Challenge has had such great response that the deadline for applications has been extended to Thursday, August 11, 2011, at 1 p.m ET. The Startups for Good Challenge will showcase startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world.

Applications will be reviewed by Mashable staff and narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists. A panel of five judges will review the semi-finalists and select eight finalists to present their solutions on the final day of the Social Good Summit — September 22 — in New York City.

The winning startup will receive a $10,000 cash prize. The panel of judges will include representatives from Mashable, the UN Foundation, 92nd Street Y and industry experts. The event will also be livestreamed.

To enter the Startups for Good Challenge, apply online and tell us how your startup is changing the world.

Submit your application for Startups for Good Challenge

Complete rules can be found here.

A travel stipend and hotel accommodations for two nights in New York City will be provided to the eight finalists. Also, stay tuned for exciting announcements about the Startups for Good Challenge, including the unveiling of the judges.

Event Details

Date: Monday, September 19, 2011, through Thursday, September 22, 2011
Time: 1:00-5:00 p.m. ET
Location: 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
Tickets: $30 per day or $100 for 4-day pass.

Register for Social Good Summit 2011 - Presented by Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation - September 19 - 22, 2011 in New York, NY  on Eventbrite

Livestream: Unable to join us in person? RSVP for the Livestream to join us online.

Register for RSVP for Social Good Summit 2011 LIVESTREAM - Presented by Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation - September 19-22, 2011 in New York, NY  on Eventbrite

Sponsored by Ericsson

For over a century, Ericsson has seen communications as a fundamental human right. Today, we are the leading provider of technology and services to network operators – our networks connect 2 billion people and almost half of the world’s 5.5 billion mobile subscriptions. Now, we intend to do for broadband what we did for the telephone; make it mobile, available and affordable for all.

Ericsson's vision is to be the prime driver of an all-communicating world, where Information and Communications technologies (ICT) come together to create a Networked Society.

A Networked Society will bring many opportunities and challenges. As Ericsson works in the world, we aim to use our expertise and apply innovative solutions together with partners to make a real difference to peoples' lives, to business and to the economy, enabling change towards a more sustainable world. We call this Technology for Good.

About the UN Foundation

The UN Foundation connects people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a public charity with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We are an advocate for the UN and its lifesaving work around the globe. We help the UN take its best work and ideas to scale through advocacy, partnerships, constituency building and fundraising:

  • Partnerships because we have learned what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together through the United Nations;
  • Advocacy because we know the leverage and impact that sound policy can have on the kind of social, economic and environmental change the UN seeks;
  • Community-building because the UN was created for and by the people of the world and all of us can give back and contribute to a better tomorrow;
  • We need new and additional resources to power solutions to global challenges.

About 92nd Street Y

92nd Street Y is a world-class non-profit community and cultural center that connects people at every stage of life to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life. A community of communities, 92Y is a home for candid, thoughtful discussions on the most pressing issues of our time. We offer an outstanding range of experiences in the performing, literary and visual arts for both audiences and practitioners; unparalleled access to celebrated artists, teachers and thinkers; and a place to pursue personal journeys – spiritual, physical or intellectual. Through the breadth and depth of 92Y’s extraordinary programs, we enrich lives, create community and elevate humanity. More than 300,000 people visit 92Y’s New York City venues, and millions more join us through the Internet, satellite broadcasts and other digital media. A proudly Jewish organization since its founding in 1874, 92Y embraces its heritage and enthusiastically welcomes people of all backgrounds and perspectives. 92Y is an open door to extraordinary worlds.

More About: Events, mashable events, social good, social good summit, startups, startups for good challenge

For more Social Good coverage:

Cablevision Brings Live TV to the Ultra-Small Screen

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:28 PM PDT

Cablevision has updated its Optimum app for the iPhone and iPod touch to add support for live TV content and access to video on-demand titles.

Earlier this spring, Cablevision released Optimum for iPad [iTunes app], which allows subscribers to use their iPad like a regular television set. The app is similar to offerings from Comcast and Time Warner Cable, but with one big advantage: Users can watch live TV from Cablevision’s full lineup of programming. The only caveat is that unlike the Xfinity TV app, users have to be in their homes to watch Cablevision programming on their devices.

Still, the ability to use your iPad (and now iPhone or iPod touch) as a cable box, is incredibly cool. The new Optimum app for iPhone and iPod touch [iTunes] can also act as a remote control for a regular cable box, as well as a DVR manager. An updated version of the Optimum for iPad app also includes the new remote control and DVR management features.

Not everyone is happy about Cablevision’s move into the digital device space. In May, Viacom sued Cablevision over its iPad app. Viacom says that the ability to stream live TV content on the iPad violates the channel distribution agreement between it and Cablevision. Cablevision maintains that iPad (and now iPhone) access falls within existing cable television licensing agreements.

Earlier this year, Viacom filed a similar lawsuit against Time Warner Cable. The two companies are now in a standstill agreement and it looks like the licensing issue will eventually be settled.

For cable providers, features like a live streaming iPad and iPhone app are seen as necessary enhancements needed to keep subscribers. From the content provider’s point of view, live streaming apps are seen as undermining the TV Everywhere initiatives that the properties want to roll out themselves.

CNN, ESPN and HBO have rolled out their own apps that give cable subscribers access to live and archived content.

The industry is still trying to figure out its approach to online access, access from mobile and portable devices and Internet distribution. In the meantime, Cablevision subscribers can now enjoy TV on the ultra-small screen.

More About: cablevision, connected tv, iphone apps, television, tv

For more Mobile coverage:

Gilt Launches Full-Priced Men’s Retail Site

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:16 PM PDT

Gilt Groupe took the wraps off its latest ecommerce venture, a full-price fashion retail site for men.

Park & Bond is Gilt’s second departure from the business model it was built on, that of online flash sales. Until this year, the New York-based startup, which employs more than 600 people but is not yet profitable, had focused on limited-time discounts on high-end goods and services. It had covered a growing number of categories, including fashion, home and travel.

In May, Gilt launched Gilt Taste. Helmed by former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl, Gilt Taste was pitched as an “online culinary magazine” that was supported by ecommerce offerings, rather than advertisements. With beautiful photographs and an interface that resembles the tablet app of a high-end magazine, expectations were high. Unfortunately the site has since evolved into more of a glorified catalog.

Park & Bond, sadly, is even more disappointing. Aesthetically, it’s leagues behind its most obvious competitor, Mr. Porter. Take, for example, this piece on plaid, with non-clickable photos arranged in linear fashion. Tyler Thoreson, the former executive editor of, and Andy Comer, a former multimedia editor of GQ, were brought in to lead creative and editorial, but their talents seem to have been lost. The shopping sections look as catalog-like as one could imagine.

I’m no expert on men’s fashion and couldn’t tell you which labels are sought-after and which could be found at any department store. That said, the styling of Park & Bond strikes me as bizarre. Take the pairing of a $3,595.00 cashmere blazer and $275 cargo pants, above. One doesn’t really sell the other, does it?

To be clear, the site is by no means bad, but it’s not what we’d hoped after the visual elegance of Gilt Taste, the strong editorial of Gilt Man and Mr. Porter’s blend of both. Here’s hoping for a makeover — one that displays Gilt Taste-level photography and gives play to strong editorial.

More About: gilt, retail

For more Startups coverage:

Facebook Launches Dedicated Messaging App for iPhone & Android [PICS]

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:00 PM PDT

Facebook has unveiled Facebook Messenger, an Android and iPhone app dedicated to sending messages and texts through the world’s largest social network.

The mobile app, which is now available in the Android Marketplace and iOS App Store, is the direct result of its March acquisition of group messaging app Beluga. Facebook Messenger is the first mobile application the company has developed and released outside of its official Facebook app.

“It’s a mobile app about real-time communication,” Beluga co-founder and Facebook engineer Ben Davenport told Mashable. All messages are sent and received in real time — no refreshing required.

The app, much like Beluga, is simple and straightforward. Once users log into Messenger with their Facebook credentials, they’re taken to a screen with all of their recent Facebook chats and messages. Users can jump into any of their past conversations or create a new one. Messages can either be sent via Facebook Messenger or via SMS.

Users can also send photos to their friends with the app. It also lets you give message threads a name, for easier organization.

One of the key elements of Messenger is its alert system. Users can choose to receive alerts for new messages, or they can turn them off. They can also delay alerts for an hour or until 8:00 a.m. the next day. The alert settings can be tailored for individual message threads or for all messages through Messenger.

Facebook admits its official mobile app will eventually have all of Messenger’s functionality, but the company believes that having an app dedicated to quick messaging on the Facebook platform is something that will benefit its millions of mobile users. And it could give other group messaging apps like GroupMe a run for their money.

Check out the screenshots of the iOS and Android apps below, and let us know what you think of Messenger.

Login Screen: iPhone

This is the Messenger login screen for the iPhone App.

Login Screen: Android

This is the Messenger login screen for the Android App.

Finding Friends: iPhone

The Facebook Messenger app finds your friends as you type.

Finding Friends: Android

It's much like tagging friends on Facebook.

Sending a Message: iPhone

The interface is much like the texting interface on the iPhone.

Sending a Message: Android

Even the Android app sports the iOS-like interface.

Threaded Messages with Photos: iPhone

Users can send photos in their messages. They will appear threaded within the conversation.

Threaded Messages with Photos: Android

They will appear threaded within the conversation.

Map View: iPhone

The Map View lets you see where everybody in a message is located.

Map View: Android

You can choose not to attach a location to your messages if you wish, though.

Individual Map: iPhone

If you go to a user's single message, you can see exactly where he or she is located.

Individual Map: Android

Both the iOS and Android version integrate with Google Maps.

Messages View: iPhone

Since the app is integrated with Facebook, all of your messages will appear in this view, regardless of where the messages originated.

Messages View: Android

The blue dot indicates that you have an unread message.

More About: Andoid App, Beluga, facebook, Facebook Messenger, iphone app

For more Mobile coverage:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Barred From Sale in Europe

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 11:05 AM PDT

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is being bounced from another continent.

The Regional Court of Dusseldorf, Germany, has granted Apple a preliminary injunction against Samsung, preventing it from selling and marketing the device in Europe — except for the Netherlands. The court sided with Apple's claim that Samsung's device infringed on Apple’s patents and copied parts of the iPad 2. While Samsung can appeal the ruling, it won’t be able to do so for at least four weeks.

Europe is the second continent to ban the sale of the device on these grounds after the tablet’s launch was delayed in Australia on August 1. The tablet hit the U.S. market on June 8.

More About: australia, europe, Galaxy Tab 10.1, iPad 2, samsung

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Apple Briefly Becomes the World’s Most Valuable Company

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 10:33 AM PDT

UPDATE: Apple stock was trading higher than that of Exxon for much of the day, but when the market closed at 4 p.m. ET, the prices ended thus: XOM $348.32B, APPL $346.74B.

Apple's valuation has soared passed that of Exxon Mobil, making the technology giant the world's largest company.

Around 1:22 p.m. ET, Apple was trading at north of $367 per share, giving the company a valuation of more than $341 billion, briefly surpassing what Exxon Mobil was worth at that time. The valuations of the two companies have since been crossing back and forth in a volatile day on Wall Street.

While we'll wait and see if Apple holds onto its crown when the market closes at 4 p.m. ET, Apple has been gaining ground fast on Exxon Mobil since reporting record iPhone and iPad sales last month. At that time, Apple was worth about $50 billion less than the oil giant. It was only 15 months ago that Apple passed Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable tech company, which at the time represented a valuation of $222 billion.

Although a significant milestone for Apple, the company hasn't been left out of the broader stock market woes of the past several weeks. Overall, its stock is still down nearly 10% from its highs, though Exxon Mobil has seen a steeper decline as oil prices have fallen.

More About: apple, apple iphone, Exxon Mobil, stock market

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Flash Sales: How One Entrepreneur Bootstrapped a Burgeoning Fashion Empire

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 10:30 AM PDT

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

How does a guy from Ohio break into the men’s streetwear and luxury fashion world? By living the brand, being persistent and bootstrapping — all the time.

Jason Ross graduated from Ohio State University in 2003 and was fixed on entrepreneurship. He went to work on an off-price fashion business — an innovative concept in a pre-Gilt Groupe world. What emerged in 2008 is JackThreads, a private shopping club for men. A few months after launch, the business was featured in a Thrillist email, and it was a sign of what was to come. In May 2010, JackThreads was acquired by Thrillist, which shared the same cool, savvy, fashion-forward male audience. With the support and infrastructure of Thrillist, the fashion company has boomed — the site had 150,000 subscribers when acquired, and it now has more than 1.1 million, helping JackThreads reap revenues in the $20 to 25 million range.

Mashable spoke with Ross about how he built JackThreads, how he manages a company split between Ohio and New York, and how important his team is.

Name: Jason Ross, 30

Company: JackThreads

Year Founded: 2008

Fun Fact: After college, Ross co-founded SMI Ventures — Sports Marketing Innovations — which sold promotional materials, such as rally towels and hats to college athletic departments. Within two years, the company doubled the investors’ money and Ross walked away to pursue something he felt more passionate about.

You're a young CEO who broke into the fashion world from Ohio — that’s pretty inspiring for entrepreneurs, but what inspires you?

What inspires me every day now is the team that we're working with. I started this from scratch by myself and I've done every job within the company myself, so it's awesome to see this amazing team of people. It's not just me anymore driving this business forward — we've created a really great company culture, and everybody's really bought into the business and the vision of where this can go. [I]t also allows me to go out and focus on the some of the bigger, long-term opportunities. We've become a leader in the flash-sale space, but I think we have a huge opportunity to have a full-price presence as well, so that's where we're headed — to make a name for ourselves not just in off-price, but in full-price as well, and to really own this demographic.

You were acquired by Thrillist last year – would you say that was the turning point in this journey?

Yeah, I have to say Thrillist. We were a startup business, so the first year it was out of my house, a grassroots startup. The second year, we had a warehouse and we were still a startup, but we were growing considerably and had some profits to invest in the business. But once Thrillist came along — from May 10, 2010 on — we became much more of a structured company. That just really fueled our growth, and it helped me grow, too, as a leader and a businessperson and an entrepreneur, being plugged into this infrastructure they'd created for the five years prior to us becoming a part of it.

What's been the biggest challenge?

There have been so many along the way, but I think the biggest challenge would be building the audience that we've developed. In our early days, we had zero money. It took two-and-a-half years to get JackThreads launched. When the site went live on July 31, 2008, we had no marketing budget. Our marketing plan was: "Get creative, because you have no money." It was grassroots, it was hustling and getting on the phone with places like Thrillist and telling our story and making them see that our story is relevant to their community. So we spent the first year just on the phone cold-calling, emailing, doing anything we could to build the audience, and it was a challenge from day one. Now it's a lot easier since we have a partner, but that didn't happen until two years after launch, so those first two years … it was a grind.

You're an online business — how did you use social media to start JackThreads?

We just did a little bit. But it was Facebook — Twitter not so much in the early days. But I think for us it was more about being able to have an open dialogue with our customers on a place where they're already spending a lot of time. Its nice to have a presence there, and I'll be honest, I don't necessarily know that transferred into revenue growth, but I do know that anytime we launched a new a feature or wanted to change our photography or bring a new brand on board, we could interact with our community in real time and get their feedback. That's amazing for a business — when you can have your customers help guide where you're headed. It's cool to get that kind of feedback, and we still use it now for the same reason. Anytime we launch anything new — a new brand, a new sale, a new promotion or we're thinking about changing something — we seek feedback.

From a revenue perspective, I think it's still yet to be proven whether or not having a presence on Facebook or Twitter actually grows revenue or does it cannibalize because those users are already interacting with you on the site. Where I see the most value for us is just that, having the ability to communicate with our audience.

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?

Our marketing plan was: "Get creative, because you have no money."

I started a company right out of school, pre-JackThreads in 2003, and I think I ignored all the advice I got from all my mentors. This is one of the hardest career paths you could ever choose to go down, and I think what gets you through it is passion, making sure you're really passionate about what you're undertaking. And I was not passionate about my first business. I didn't really care about it, it wasn't me — I just wanted to make money. Starting a company has so many ups and downs, and the passion is what gets you through it. And after that business didn't really go anywhere, I made sure that my next company would be something that I truly care about and had an interest in, not just to make money. And that's what JackThreads is for me. I was into all the clothing that we sell today and I was a discount shopper — it was literally an extension of who I am. So in the early days, with all the ups and downs we faced and all the challenges, what kept me going what that I truly, truly care about what I was doing. And that's why we're sitting here 5, 6 years later with such a successful business. It's awesome.

While Gilt is the major player in flash sales, you were working on JackThreads well before Gilt launched. What was the biggest influence on your business model then?

The influences on our model were, for one, I found something that I care about. Realizing that I was a discount shopper and I was into certain brands that aren't necessarily sold off-price, I knew that in order to break into the private shopping space, I needed to find a business model that met the needs of the suppliers. I had the idea for a private shopping experience after speaking with brands and realizing how protective they were over their brand, especially when it came to selling online. So when I saw the model private shopping club model in Europe – vente-privee – it wasn't necessarily like, “I want to copy that model.” The thought was, the inspiration was, “I can bring that here, and all the things that the suppliers are telling me they don't like about their current off-price partners — this model satisfied all that.” It solidified the direction I was going to take, and that’s what inspired me that I was really onto something. It's not just a way to make money, but there is serious value in this industry for a business model like this to exist. And I wanted to create it.

Clothing and retail stores existed before the Internet, but could JackThreads have happened without it? How important is digital to your company?

It's our entire businesses, I don't think there's any way we could have scaled as quickly as we have without the Internet obviously. If we were a brick-and-mortar off-price store, we're only as good as the traffic that's walking by and the customers we have. The brick-and-mortar off-price places don't have the branding and the cache. We fond that whenever Thrillist wrote about us, or a community [spoke to our target demographic], that it was insane how engaged these guys were so instantly. And that was all through being online and having tech tools in place that allowed our message to spread socially. When I say we were bootstrapped, obviously a part of why we were so successful is because we were online. I could have you sign up and spread the message for me, and we have tools on the site to do that.

Growing a business is tough — it’s a grind. How do you inspire your team?

How do I keep the team inspired? I think for me, the fact that I’m still here so involved in the business and working on it every day, even though we have experienced leaders running all the different teams. I think people see that and that keeps them excited about the brand as well, that I’m right alongside them, working just as hard as they are. I care about it so much and that resonates throughout the ranks. But I think we also put people in positions that capitalize on their strengths, and we give them ownership of whatever world they’re in within the business. And I think because people are doing things that are matched up with their strengths, they’re very productive, and when you’re productive at work, you become very happy, and you feel good at the end of the day, and you see how your work affects the growth of the company.

We have meetings every two weeks for the JackThreads team, and we have a monthly meeting with the entire company – JackThreads, Thrillist and Thrillist Rewards. In those biweekly meetings, one thing we're always doing is pointing out when certain things are going really, really well because this is a full team effort. It's not just me and a few other senior guys taking credit for everything. This is a full team effort, and there’s no way we could have gotten this far without this team.

You split time between Columbus, Ohio — your hometown — and New York. How do you manage the teams remotely and create a company culture in those two very different places? Has everyone even met yet?

We haven't had a full company get together, but a lot of the team members from Ohio have come to New York, and the New York team has gone to Ohio. As for how I manage the team remotely, we have leaders in place overseeing each team, and again, going back to giving them ownership — people have ownership of their role and their department within the business. I don't have to be there "managing" them on a daily basis because they own that world. I'll meet people weekly to talk about strategy and identify things that I see that we can be doing better to push them a little bit, but for the most part, we've just got a great team in place.

Entrepreneurship can be consuming — how do you pull back from it all and re-center?

“I live this every second of every day — it's probably not healthy!”

I'll be honest, I’m not good at that. I live this every second of every day — it's probably not healthy! Over the past few years, I’ve tried to focus on what makes me happy outside of work, and I try to make an effort to do those things, whether it's golf or working out or traveling or spending time with friends and family. Those four things are really important to me, so I try to make a point to allocate time to do them. Because literally, every second of every day I'm not doing that, my head is here.

Do you meet with other founders and businesspeople to glean insights from them?

Ben [Lerer, a Thrillist co-founder] and I do all the time. I'm having lunch today with the CEO of College Humor. I do this all the time just because I think we all have a lot we can learn from each other. We all have different strengths and different weaknesses and that was what helped me in the early days — I had mentors, and I wasn't afraid to go to people for advice along the way. I’m still pretty humble in that I know what I don't know, so I'm happy to go meet with other people, and I do it all the time.

Series Supported by Diet Coke®

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

More About: entrepreneurship, Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series, fashion, thrillist

For more Startups coverage:

Make Lloyd Dobler Play Anything With Lloydtube

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 10:17 AM PDT

Are you one of the few cold-hearted girls who found Lloyd Dobler’s over-the-head-boomboxing in Say Anything kind of creepy? Enter Lloydtube, a little hack that lets you make Dobler play anything.

Simply surf on over to the Llyodtube site, enter in a music video’s YouTube URL, and Dobler will blast your tune of choice unto the heavens. I upped the creep factor by subbing in the Shimmering Stars’ “I’m Gonna Try.” What song will you choose?

[via Pop Loser]

More About: Film, hack, Lloyd Dobler, Lloydtube, music, say-anything, youtube

For more Media coverage:

New Blog Tells the Stories Behind Torn Photos

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:59 AM PDT

Torn photographs, much like discarded playing cards, are a common sight on city streets. A new blog titled Torn Lives collects those photos, and attempts to fill in the blanks.

Much like Dear Photograph, a blog that superimposes old photos onto real life — Torn Lives plays on the idea that there’s a story behind every photo — with something not fully evident going on off frame.

The blog was created by Renaud Donovan, a 35-year-old from Brussels who works for the local authorities. “I had some old torn photographs in my albums and I wanted to create something new and sensible with these forgotten pictures,” he says.

Some of the images are humorous, others poignant. Either way, this new blog makes for an exceedingly intriguing Tuesday afternoon diversion.

So start sending in those ripped-up snaps of your exes. We would very much like to revel in your pain.

More About: blog, pop culture, torn-lives, tumblr

For more Media coverage: Buys Social Media Publishing Tool Twitterfeed

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:38 AM PDT

The web’s dominant URL shortener,, has acquired social publishing tool Twitterfeed.

Twitterfeed is a tool that automatically publishes RSS feeds to social networks with a title and shortened link. Using the service, you can set your blog up to post to your Twitter account, or your Twitter RSS to publish to your LinkedIn page.

While some Twitterfeed functionality might pop up in at some point, it’s not the technology that is after.

“Let’s face it, posting updates to Twitter is not rocket science,” CEO Peter Stern says.

More valuable is Twitterfeed’s userbase and its creator, Mario Menti. Twitterfeed has more than 1 million unique users and posts more than 5 million updates every month (granted, those are automatic). could take the opportunity to make its analytics features more apparent to that userbase — and upsell them to its premium data tools in the meantime.

For now, though, neither nor Twitterfeed users are likely to notice the change in ownership.

“We bought it because it’s a product, it’s out there, it’s growing, it’s in use,” says Stern, who became CEO in May after the deal had closed. “For the foreseeable future it’s kind of business as usual.”

More About: betaworks,, twitterfeed

For more Startups coverage:

MovieClips Brings Its Collection to YouTube

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:01 AM PDT

YouTubing “that one scene” from your favorite movies just became a little easier. Movieclips is bringing its collection of 20,000 film snippets to YouTube.

The partnership allows studios, Movieclips and YouTube to share advertising revenue from the two- to three-minute clips. Although there were plenty of pirated movie scenes on YouTube before the deal, there was no good way to monetize them.

Working with content creators — in this case, six major studios — to put legal, high-quality videos on YouTube is a business model that Vevo and Machinima have already put in place for music and games.

“We consider ourselves a network,” co-founder Zach James explains. “We consider YouTube the new cable, and we consider ourselves the movie network. Vevo, they probably consider themselves the music network or the MTV of the Internet.”

The new relationship does mean that you’re likely to see more advertising on YouTube movie clips, but it also means that the quality of the experience will improve. Movieclips has a full-time team that manually creates and meticulously tags each of its video clips to make it easy to find in search.

The database this team is creating has been public on what James calls a “silent beta site” since December 2009. Movieclips recently raised $7 million that it will use to push the database to not just YouTube, but also mobile and Facebook apps.

“This is really our coming out party,” James says.

More About: movieclips, Movies, startup, youtube

For more Startups coverage:

MTV App Locates Places To Get Condoms

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 08:44 AM PDT

condom image

MTV has partnered with iCondom to release the iCondom iPhone app, a geo-aware map that’s part tool, part crowdsourced experiment.

With the app, users can search via GPS for the nearest place that sells condoms. Much of the information, however, will be crowdsourced. Users are encouraged to add condom-dispensing locations and to provide quick tips like if the shop is open 24 hours or if a machine is broken.

The app is part of MTV’s Staying Alive campaign, its global youth HIV awareness and prevention effort. The crowdsourced nature of the app encourages a supporting community that can hopefully remove the taboo of buying contraceptives. The information will eventually be used to create a global condom distribution map, allowing more people to avoid putting themselves or others at risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

iCondom is well-timed with a controversial new government health care plan that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for women’s birth control. Condom controversy usually revolves around a condom’s ability to prevent pregnancy rather than its ability to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The MTV campaign focuses on the latter even as it enters a climate of increased exposure and debate around sexual preventative care.

Recent numbers from UNICEF estimate that 5 million 15- to 24-year-olds are living with HIV and another 2,500 young people are infected every day. The app is free to download [iTunes link]. Any profit generated through iCondom’s adverts will be split three ways between Staying Alive, the developers and Scarlett Mark, which helped create the campaign.

What do you think of a global condom distribution map? Do you think iCondom will really help prevent the spread of HIV? Sound off in the comments.

iCondom from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

More About: App, hiv, iphone, social good

For more Social Good coverage:

Back to the top