Sunday, 28 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Hurricane Irene: Top 5 Online Sources for Weathering the Storm”

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Hurricane Irene: Top 5 Online Sources for Weathering the Storm”

Hurricane Irene: Top 5 Online Sources for Weathering the Storm

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 07:11 PM PDT

Now that Hurricane Irene is attacking the East Coast in earnest, it’s time to keep a close eye on current hurricane conditions — that is, if you’re lucky enough to still have some sort of Internet connection.

In addition to the 12 ways to track the storm we’ve already offered you, now we bring those up to date with added video sources and more.

SEE ALSO: Calm Before the Storm Pics | Hurricane Irene’s Twitter Account

Even if you’re not riding out the storm on the East Coast, you might want to watch that white spinning monster from a safe distance, keeping tabs on what’s happening every minute:

Google Crisis Response Dashboard

The Google Crisis Response dashboard is an excellent way to keep track of Irene, giving you a variety of overlays with which to visualize the storm. Using data from the National Weather Service, it not only shows you wind speeds and storm tracks, but can also predict where storm surges might be at their worst.

NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center

Here's the proverbial horse's mouth of hurricane information, right on Facebook. If you're looking for a concise "just the facts" report, the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center posts its updates every three hours on its Facebook page. After all, this is where most of the other weather service providers are getting a lot of their data.

Ray Wert's Jalopnik Live Blog

Our friend Ray Wert, who also is a car expert who edits the site Jalopnik, is holed up in the middle of the evacuation zone A in the Manhattan Financial District, weathering the storm while live blogging about his experience. Ray tells us he's stocked up with plenty of batteries, flashlights, food, 20 of his closest friends, and yes, liquor, to last through the duration, which is expected to span all the way into Sunday afternoon. he's been venturing outside from time to time to get a first-hand look at weather conditions, but we're hoping he'll stay inside once the winds start picking up. Along with Ray's live updates, get a visual fix on the scene with this live stream from midtown Manhattan. This camera is on the 16th floor of LiveStream's New York headquarters:

Watch live streaming video from breakinglivenow at

Twitter: Hash tag #irene

You'll see a lot of personal tweets at this #irene hashtag, as well as impressions and opinions about the storm, comments and noise. Buried within is lots of information and pictures of the hurricane from a wide and unpredictable variety of sources. Join in the free-for-all by adding that #irene hash tag to whatever you tweet.

Weather Channel Hurricane Central

If you don't have access to cable TV or a fast streaming video service, Weather Channel Hurricane Central is your next best bet. There's data galore and it's all up-to-the-minute. Better yet, if you have faster Internet service, don't miss the Weather Channel's live stream on Facebook (requires Windows Media Player plugin). If you don't mind waiting through all the commercials, it gives you the same content you get on cable TV.

More About: Hurricane Irene, Storm, tracking, trending, web sources

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Hurricane Irene: Social Media Shows Calm Before the Storm [PICS]

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 02:18 PM PDT

As Hurricane Irene churns through the North Carolina coast on its way to points north, New York City stands ready for the storm, and all is quiet. It’s like a ghost town.

While power stays on and smartphones stay charged, we’re putting together a gallery of the calm before the storm. We’ll cover the hurricane and its effects from the perspective of social media, so stay with us.

Our gallery will continue to grow as events unfold:

"Irene on the rise" - from Lansdale, Pa.

Courtesy Instagram/dj_kreger_photography

Irene making its way to #manchvegas

Courtesy Instagram/leocasado

Trees are down in NC

Why we have no power still. Tree down on Tennessee Ave. Courtesy

The hotel sign is down for the count, and drowning.

The New York Times' @brianstelter is reporting on #Irene from the Comfort Inn in Nags Head, N.C. Many news operations are running coverage out of the Comfort Inn. Courtesy Instagram/brianstelter

President Obama visits the National Response Coordination Center @ FEMA HQ

Courtesy Twitter/thewhitehouse

Hillsborough, N.J.: "The hurricane seems weak so far."

Courtesy Instagram/rajonbme

Getting Darker in NYC

Courtesy Playbadger/pr0f3ta

Airports are closed. This is JFK International Airport, Terminal 5

An eerily empty picture of our ramp at JFK T5. Boston will look similar later this evening. Courtesy Twitter/JetBlue COO Rob Maruster

Awaiting Irene in Long Beach, N.J.

Courtesy TwitPic/JenWilsonNBC

Subways are closed

Courtesy Pierrick Bouquet

Military assistance in NYC

Courtesy TwitPic/Julie Zeveloff

There is no bread left in Manhattan

Courtesy Instagram/meagancignoli

Empty Streets

Courtesy Followgram/NBCNews

A very empty Penn Station this afternoon

Courtesy Foursquare/ Felicia S.

"No one is shopping at Bloomingdale's today in NYC"

Courtesy Instagram/goodmorningamerica

Evacuate, please

Courtesy Instagram/jimcee

Almost Empty Grand Central Terminal

Courtesy Flickr/MTAPhotos

Sending a message to Irene on Long Island

Southampton village Long Island is boarded up and ready for #Irene. Courtesy Yfrog/ RenaudBrothers

ConEd trucks line at Union Square

Courtesy Instagram/stacygreen

Getting ready on the East Village

Courtesy Instagram/idoyany

Will This Help?

Courtesy uPhoto/Simon Lee

Here’s a live stream from New York City, Chelsea Piers, overlooking the Hudson River:

Live video by Ustream

Thanks to Marcus Cohn for the live video feed.

Hurricane Irene makes landfall at Ocracoke Island, Southeast North Carolina:

More About: Hurricane Irene, instagram, pics, trending

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38 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 01:08 PM PDT

digital resources

Did the earthquake in Virginia get you behind on your reading this week? Don’t fear, Mashable‘s giving you a second chance to catch up on the big, bad world of digital culture.

And what a week it’s been! Relive the top 10 Steve Jobs moments. Check out greatest geeky gadgets for back to school. Weigh in on whether HP exiting the market means the end of the PC era.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another roundup!

Editors’ Picks

HOW TO: Protect Your Laptop In Case of Theft

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 12:16 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.

Our laptops often contain a lot of sensitive data for work and personal use, and for most people, the thought of losing all that information is more than a little frightening. The sudden, unexpected loss (or worse, theft) of expensive equipment and delicate documents doesn't have to be a paralyzing experience, however. Here are some quick tips outlining steps you should take should your laptop become lost. We’ve also added a few handy precautionary measures you can take beforehand, so your laptop has a better chance of making it home safe if the two of you become separated.

1. File a Police Report

While it may seem obvious, many people don’t bother to file police reports on lost property under the assumption that there’s little law enforcement can do. While this may or may not be the case (depending on your situation), contacting the police gets the word out that your laptop is missing. Even if the police can’t find your missing MacBook, stolen computer hardware is entered into a national database, so if someone tries to sell your laptop, there’s a good chance it will raise a red flag when they do, even if they’re across the country.

If you live near a university, be sure and tell the campus police about your missing laptop as well, and don’t forget about alerting any private security in the area where you were working when the laptop disappeared.

2. Inform Local Repair and Pawn Shops

Tell any pawn or repair shops in your area about your missing computer. Be sure and give them serial numbers and describe any identifiable features, such as scratches in the case or worn paint. Most reputable pawn or repair shops will check with the local police department before purchasing used laptops, but it never hurts to make them aware of your plight, either.

3. Contact Your Insurance Agent

Many insurance policies for homeowners and some renters will cover stolen computer hardware, even if the item wasn’t taken from your residence. If your laptop was stolen out of your vehicle, its loss could be covered by your automobile insurance. If your laptop is company property, it is most definitely going to be covered by your company’s insurance policy. Get in touch with your insurance agent and inquire about filing a claim so that you can recover some of the cost of replacing your laptop. You’ll likely need that police report to do this, but your insurance agent can help you with the specifics.

4. Continue Spreading the Word

Get the word out to friends, colleagues and people in the community by letting your Twitter followers and Facebook friends know your laptop is missing. Post notices to community classifieds like Craigslist and other local directories. You may even want to put up fliers in your local grocery store or take out an ad in the local newspaper. If you can afford to do so, consider offering a reward for your laptop’s return. Offering a reward that’s similar to the laptop’s actual value may not save you a lot of money on replacing hardware, but it may help ensure that your data is returned safely.

5. Remain Vigilant

Once you’ve filed all the paperwork, got the word out to local businesses, tweeted about your lost laptop and placed an ad in the lost and found section on Craigslist, it may be tempting to sit back and let fate decide what happens next. Don’t give up, though — remain proactive. Check those lost and found ads yourself — but go beyond that, too. Many laptop thieves will attempt to sell the laptop online, because it’s harder to trace, so keep an eye on sites like eBay and Craigslist. If you were at a place of business when your laptop vanished, check in with them every few days. Keep an eye peeled to the local paper or community bulletin boards. Your laptop may turn up, and if it does, you need to be aware so you can claim it.

How To Prevent Theft and Protect Data

By taking the steps above, you maximize the chances that your laptop will be returned to you, whether it was stolen or simply misplaced, but what about precautionary measures? Here are a few things you can do beforehand to help make sure your laptop finds its way home and that your data stays protected.

1. Install Prey

Prey is a monitoring application that you can activate remotely should your laptop become missing or stolen. Prey then “calls home” to the Prey server (or your own server, depending upon configuration) once the laptop connects to the Internet. A Prey report gives the IP address, geolocation (complete with map) and even a screenshot from your webcam. You can also use Prey to lock your device to prevent others from accessing it.

2. Encrypt Sensitive Data

Personal data such as credit card, financial and medical records should always be encrypted — this is doubly true if your computer is portable. Encrypting your data will help to ensure that your identity doesn’t get stolen along with your laptop and helps protect you from any liability regarding the loss of sensitive work files.

There are a number of good encryption tools out there, and many modern operating systems have encryption options baked in. One popular, free encryption tool for Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms is TrueCrypt. Cross-platform and free, TrueCrypt is an affordable way to protect your personal files.

3. Make Your Laptop Easy to Return

Consider placing a prominently named text file on your desktop (e.g. REWARD_IF_FOUND.TXT) containing your contact information and any information about a reward, if you can afford to offer one. These details will make it easier for anyone who’s stumbled across your missing computer to return it to you without the need to go digging through personal data. It may even cause a remorseful thief to have a change of heart — especially if you can provide a way for the laptop to be returned anonymously.

4. Back Up Your Data Frequently

You should already be backing up your data on a regular basis to protect against hardware or software failure, but if you’re not, the possibility of a missing laptop is just one more motivator to do so. If you’re on the go with your laptop a lot, you may want to take advantage of online backup services like Dropbox. If you choose to backup to an external hard drive, don’t store the drive in your laptop bag! While this is fine for protecting you from technical issues, having your backup hard drive stolen along with your laptop doesn’t do you any good at all.

5. Consider an Engraving

If you’re serious about hanging onto your laptop, consider having your company or name and a piece of contact information such as your email address or phone number engraved into a prominent location on your laptop. This greatly decreases its resale value and makes it obvious who the laptop belongs to. Engraving is a reasonably good deterrent against theft and provides just one more way of letting the finder of your laptop know who to return it to. Of course the downside to this is that it makes the laptop harder for you to sell as well, unless you replace the engraved portion of the case.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, rubenhi

More About: laptop, security, Small Business Resources, software

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What Does Steve Jobs’ Retirement Mean for the Future of Apple? [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 10:46 AM PDT

Technology expert Scott Steinberg is the CEO of high-tech consulting firm TechSavvy Global, and a frequent keynote speaker and media analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN who's covered the field for 400+ outlets from NPR to Rolling Stone. A celebrated author and entrepreneur, he also hosts video series Gear Up and Game Theory, hailed as "the smartest take on the video game industry."

With Steve Jobs stepping down from the CEO position at Apple, consumers, gadget fans and investors alike are wondering: How will this affect the direction of what was briefly the world’s most valuable company?

We break down what’s at stake in the video above.

Do you have a question about the tech industry?

Leave a question in the comments section below, and we can answer it in our next video episode.

More About: apple, steve jobs, Tech, video

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Hurricane Irene Now Has a Twitter Account

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 09:50 AM PDT

Want to know what’s going on with Hurricane Irene? Follow her on Twitter. As the massive hurricane heads up the coast, its tweets have intensified. But don’t worry, Irene’s Twitter account status meekly declares, “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Besides giving us a witty travelogue of the hurricane’s visit to the North Carolina coast so far, @irene is helping people at the same time, re-tweeting messages from the NYC Mayor’s Office Twitter account and generally making herself useful.

Here’s a sampling:

More About: Hurricane Irene, trending, twitter

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Hurricane Irene: Find an NYC Evacuation Center on Foursquare

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 09:22 AM PDT

The Wall Street Journal has created a way for New Yorkers to interact with the location-based social media app Foursquare to find the nearest NYC hurricane evacuation center.

This Foursquare implementation is simple yet effective, letting users zoom in or out on an interactive map, which reveals a list of nearby evacuation centers. Click on one of the evacuation centers on the left column, and the map simultaneously zooms to that center, showing exactly where it’s located.

If you live in the New York area and you still haven’t figured out if you’re in one of the evacuation zones (wake up, there’s a hurricane on its way!), here’s an interactive app we’ve embedded that invites you to enter an address and it shows the corresponding evacuation zone and the nearest evacuation center.

More About: evacuation zones, foursquare, Hurricane Irene, Map

For more Social Media coverage:

3 Awesome Community-Oriented Apps

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 08:39 AM 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.

Each weekend, Mashable picks a few startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This week we turn our attention to startups building applications that have impressive community appeal.

ShareMyPlaylists, for instance, is a music playlist-sharing site for Spotify users. Givvy is a gift store that wouldn’t exist without the gift ideas and contributions of Facebook users. And LifeKraze taps into the power of your personal community of friends and followers for motivational purposes.

So get in the give-a-little, take-a-little spirit and check out these interesting application and services.

ShareMyPlaylists: Music Discovery for Spotify Users

Quick Pitch: is a platform to discover new music on Spotify through playlists.

Genius Idea: The Playlist Generator auto-generates playlists based on your musical taste.

Mashable’s Take: Spotify’s music-listening experience is structured around the playlist. If you don’t want to bother building your own or are simply in the mood for something new, take a gander at ShareMyPlaylists.

ShareMyPlaylists offers a community-based, give-and-take playlist experience. You give your playlists and get access to others in turn. Use the site to search and explore playlists of interest, or turn to the Playlist Generator to pump out a playlist personalized to your tastes.

You should have plenty of music to choose from; more than 100 new playlists are uploaded to the site each day. There’s even a new iPad app to boot.

Givvy: Facebook App Helps With Gift-Giving

Quick Pitch: Givvy is a social shopping app that helps Facebook users discover, share and curate gifts online.

Genius Idea: A gift store by and for the people of Facebook.

Mashable’s Take: Facebook has become the de facto way to keep up with friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. Givvy’s Facebook application harnesses this special-occasion data and marries it to product recommendations from Facebook friends and top curators. The end result is a gift store experience entirely sourced from the Facebook community.

Follow Givvy curators for gift recommendations that come highly recommended. Post your own ideas and create gift lists to share with friends and family members. You can even shop by personality type — maybe you’re in search of a gift for a hipster or wine lover, for instance.

LifeKraze: Community-Based Motivation

Quick Pitch: A motivation platform that uses a competitive point system to encourage individuals of all ages to live actively.

Genius Idea: Get positive reinforcement and perks for being active.

Mashable’s Take: What have you done? LifeKraze gives you 160 characters to answer that prompt. You can also add links, photos and videos as visual proof. Share your activities and accomplishments, big or small, and the community will reward you with Kraze Points — everyone gets 200 points to spread around each day — if they find your feats impressive.

The startup takes a simple approach to motivate users to lead more-active lifestyles. It scraps the logistics associated with pre-planning — goals, rules, restrictions and so forth — in favor of a positive reinforcement system that rewards users for a job well done, as judged by followers. Earn enough points and you can cash them in for discounts and products from the site’s brand partners.

LifeKraze has raised $1.25 million in funding, and has 20,000 users and 16 brand partners.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, PLBernier

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: Givvy, LifeKraze, ShareMyPlaylists, Startup Weekend Roundup

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Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 07:34 AM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

I believe I speak for everyone, everywhere, living and dead, when I say: “Twitter, you so crazy!”

This week’s bag of trends is again mixed, with a strong skew toward entertainment. Soccer returns to the top slot thanks to a few high profile matches. The 10th anniversary of R&B singer Aaliyah’s tragic death caught tweeters in a wave of nostalgia. Fans reminisced about her music and films, bringing her name in at number two.

And of course, the growing concern over Hurricane Irene landed that topic at number three as she continues her pummeling tour up the East Coast of the U.S.

See the full list below. Note that hashtag games and memes have been omitted from the data. You can check Twitter trends from the past in our Top Twitter Topics section.

Top Twitter Trends This Week:

Continuing the streak of placing first in the topic rankings, soccer and football had a variety of items under discussion. Arsenal v. Liverpool topped this list, with a wild match between Santos and Morelia in Mexico a close second. Shots were fired outside the stadium, suspending the game in progress.
Singer Aaliya died 10 years ago this week in a plane crash after filming the music video for the song “Rock the Boat.” Fans celebrated her songs, her movie roles, and the impact she had on their lives.
Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene is currently battering the East Coast of the U.S.
Demi Lovato
Singer Demi Lovato celebrated her 19th BIRTHDAY, the release of her new single SKYSCRAPER, and both Europe and Brazil NEED her to come tour there. Her fans LOVE both her and the CAPS LOCK KEY.
Lil Wayne
Rapper Lil Wayne (and his Young Money Records) were hot this week with the release of his new album Tha Carter IV. “How To Hate” was the most tweeted about song off the record.
In a move not completely unexpected, but still shocking, Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepped down this week for health reasons. Tim Cook will take over as CEO, with Jobs moving to Chairman of the Board. Many thoughtful pieces were written about the amazing career of Jobs and his influence on both the computer industry and our lives in general.
Justin Bieber
This week, it was a “Belieber World,” as Bieber crashed a Taylor Swift concert. Fans encouraged him to meet Lizzie, a young girl with a brain tumor who would love to meet her idol.
Super Junior
E.L.F.s are congratulating Super Junior on their win for recent hit “Mr. Simple.” SJ appeared on the show music show Inkigayo, taking home first place. Band members also
celebrated birthdays, and Eunhyuk will appear in the musical Fame.
One Direction
British-Irish boyband One Direction released the video for their debug single “What Makes You Beautiful.” Evidently, some girls find band member Harry beautiful and demanded to see as much as possible with trend “NAKED HARRY.”
Rebels entered the city of Tripoli and then Muammar Gaddafi’s compound, finding a number of surprising things, including an album filled with Condoleezza Rice photos. Gaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Islam, was reported captured early on, but those reports proved later to be false..

Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

More About: Social Media, Top Twitter Topics, twitter

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