Monday, 19 September 2011

Mashable: Latest 19 News Updates - including “10 Entertaining Tumblr Blogs About Your Parents”

Mashable: Latest 19 News Updates - including “10 Entertaining Tumblr Blogs About Your Parents”

10 Entertaining Tumblr Blogs About Your Parents

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 04:55 AM PDT

One thing we all have in common is embarrassing relatives. You’ll suffer a cringe-worthy moment at some point in your life — either on or offline — courtesy of a family member. Perhaps that’s why blogs covering such topics hit such a nerve.

We’ve taken a look at some Tumblr blogs that venerate, commiserate and otherwise celebrate parents. From embarrassing photos of dads on vacation to painfully funny texts from your mom, these blogs share the universal truth that all parents are hopeless dorks.

Take a look through the image gallery below for our picks of the best Tumblr blogs related to parents and parenting. Let us know in the comments your favorites — and why.

1. My Parents Were Awesome

We're starting off with a nice one. The now-famous My Parents Were Awesome blog has become a Tumblr success story. Take a look back at pictures of people's folks looking impossibly young, chic and downright cool, and ask yourself, where did it all go wrong?

2. Dancing Dads

Does your pa turn into fat Tony Manero as soon as the opening notes of Fernando drift across the dancefloor? This blog feels your pain.

Dancing Dads displays alarming videos of the E.D.D. (Extreme Dad Dancing) phenomenon, truly awful dad moves captured on camera.

We'd love to see more content, so why not humiliate your dear old pops by digging out those family wedding videos and submitting some screamers?

3. When Parents Text

Do you remember when you got your first text from your folks? Giving parents access to cheap, short-form messaging is a recipe for disaster -- and comedy, as shown by these amusing exchanges.

4. My Dad is a Bro

Is your dad one of the guys? BroBible has collated images -- both vintage and contemporary -- of dads doing "bro" things. This, in their words, includes "playing beer pong, smoking cigars, golfing with his buddies, rocking team attire, drinking beer, shredding a guitar, doing a keg stand, or simply hanging out with the dog in a bathtub in the backyard."

Whether or not you laugh with -- or at -- these images will depend on whether you think doing a keg stand is cool, but any which way, you should be amused.

5. Crap at My Parent's House

Is your parent's house full of kitschy junk? Then get snapping and give us all a laugh over at Crap at My Parent's House.

Hideous figurines, bizarre paintings, creepy dolls -- it's all laid bare on this humorous blog that shares the pain of parent's terrifying possessions.

What's even more funny is that you'll end up inheriting the lot, so parents get the last laugh.

6. Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook

The big debate of the modern era -- should I accept my parent's friend request on Facebook -- gets an argument firmly in the "nay" camp with this laugh-out-loud blog.

This blog offers up true gems, such as parents sharing way-too-personal details on walls, cringey status updates and passive-aggressive commentary.

Whether you've given in and friended your folks on FB, or if you want to know why you were right not to, take a look and follow this fab Tumblr blog.

7. Dads are the Original Hipsters

Think keffiyeh scarves, preppy shorts, skinny jeans and over-sized sunglasses just belong to your generation? Well you're wrong, as this blog happily displays. Dads are the original hipsters.

8. Dads on Vacation

Ah, dads on vacation: sandals with socks, foam hats, hilarious poses and general camera-hamming.

These images will ring true with many of us who were eternally grateful when we reached the age we were no longer forced to vacation with our family.

9. STFU, Parents

"You used to be fun. Now you have a baby." So reads the tagline for this satirical site.

It ruthlessly showcases baby-related oversharing on Facebook and true T.M.I.s (usually involving bodily excretions), hormonal moms (both pre and post-baby-extraction process) and hilariously hostile comments from their frenemies.

Warning: this blog will give you second thoughts about the whole parenthood thing. Or, if you've made the parenting plunge and stayed sane, it might feel like a big pat on the back.

10. Before They Were Grandparents

Finally, we're hopping back two generations to your parent's parents. Before They Were Grandparents is a sweet Canadian Tumblr that welcomes submissions from across the globe.

You can view, share and submit pics and stories about your awesome grandparents from back in their day through this "online intergenerational storytelling project." Grand description, grand project -- let's hear it for the grandparents!

Image courtesy of Ohnojojo, Dads are the Original Hipsters

More About: comedy, funny, gallery, Lists, tumblr

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Mashable Weekend Recap: 32 Stories You May Have Missed

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 04:18 AM PDT

Mashable took a road trip to the Emmy Awards over the weekend, hobnobbing with the glitterati while bringing home the first-hand social media and digital scoops just for you.

Meanwhile, we found boatloads of cool stuff around the world, gazing forward into the future, and at the same time, finding better ways to supercharge your social media and technology experiences in the present.

But no, you missed it all! Wait. Fret not, dear reader — we’ve saved it all in one place, right here:

News & Opinion Essentials

Facebook: Hot, Not, Or Lukewarm? [OPINION]

Netflix Apologizes to Customers & Rebrands Its DVD Service

The Sad State of AT&T's Quest to Acquire T-Mobile

Watch the 2011 Emmys Live with Mashable

Ashton Kutcher Using Social Media to "Set Record Straight" on New TV Role

Tea Party Domain Name Could Fetch $1 Million

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Officially Announced, Taken for a Spin [PICS]

A Look at the Growing "Work From Home" Phenomenon [INFOGRAPHIC]

What Are You Most Excited to See at The Emmys? [OPEN THREAD]

This Week in Politics & Digital: The Attack Edition

Social Media & Peer Pressure: What Does It Take To Change Your Mind? [STUDY]

How Bear Grylls & Men's Deodorant Unlocked the Secret of Reddit Marketing

Helpful Resources

8 Twitter Accounts to Follow During Emmy Awards

HOW TO: Follow the 2011 Emmy Awards Online

41 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

5 Online Learning Resources to Help You Run a Better Business

3 New Takes On Instagram Photos, Professional Profiles & Virtual Goods

5 Content Lessons for Non-Profits on Tumblr

7 Tips for Designing a Successful Photo Contest

Weekend Leisure

8 Current Technologies That Will Shape Our Future

7 Amusing Nature Mockumentaries [VIDEOS]

Sweet Elderly Couple Tests Their New Webcam [VIRAL VIDEO]

Shoot the Moon: Lunar Photography Tips [PICS]

10 Peculiar Vending Machines [VIDEOS]

10 Customizable Social Media Accessories

Suddenly It's Clear: 10 Transparent Screen Trick Shots [PICS]

Fall TV Goes Social: 27 New Shows to Watch

Happy 20th Birthday, Linux: 10 Cool Devices That Embrace You

Get Rewarded For Your Indie Movie Taste With Prescreen

William Shatner Addresses "Star Trek" Vs. "Star Wars" [VIDEO]

Fall TV Goes Social: What to Watch Friday and Sunday

Razorbombing: Latest Internet Meme Brought to You by Schick [PICS]

More About: Weekend recap

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Burberry to Premiere Runway Collection on Twitter Before Show

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 02:42 AM PDT

Watch the Burberry S/S 2012 womenswear collection show here beginning at 4 p.m. BT (11 a.m. ET).

After having staged 3D and shoppable livestreams in past seasons, Burberry is once again stepping up its game to bring its runway collection to the largest online audience possible.

The London-based fashion house has partnered with Twitter to develop what the two companies are calling a “Tweetwalk.” Backstage Twitpics of every look will be taken and shared with the brand’s followers on Twitter before the models hit the runway beginning at 4 p.m. BT (11 a.m. ET). In other words, Burberry’s Twitter followers will see the collection moments before anyone else.

(The company suggests followers view the photos using Twitter’s new photo gallery feature, located here.)

In addition, Burberry will stream its show — a full program that includes backstage pans and red carpet arrivals at Hyde Park — live in HD through and Facebook, which users can also host on their own Facebook Pages. Livestreams have also been formatted for viewing on Chinese social networks Sina Weibo and Youku, as well as all major smartphone and tablet platforms.

Burberry’s Instagram account is being taken over by photographer Mike Kus, the most-followed Instagram user in the UK, for the duration of the show. The show’s album will later be made available on iTunes through its on-demand service.

For one week following the show, bags and outerwear from the collection will be available for purchase at and at “retail theatre” events in more than 45 of its locations worldwide. Orders are expected to arrive within eight weeks — i.e., several months before the rest of the collection will be available online and in retail stores.

We’ve argued previously that livestreaming is transforming Fashion Week, once a largely private trade event for press and buyers, into a global, consumer-facing experience — a concept that will perhaps become fully realized at the show Burberry is staging across so many social networks and other online platforms Monday.

More About: burberry, fashion, fashion week, lfw, london fashion week, Twitter

LG Optimus Q2 Brings Power of Tegra 2 to QWERTY Lovers

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 01:09 AM PDT

LG has launched an Android 2.3-based smartphone with a slide-out, full QWERTY keyboard called Optimus Q2.

The device has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen, a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front for video chat. It also sports a freshly-upgraded 1.2 GHz Tegra 2 CPU, which should make it one of the best-performing Androids on the market.

According to LG, the Optimus Q2 should also be one of the thinnest QWERTY sliders around, which will be appealing to users who must have a physical keyboard but don’t want a very chunky device.

The device is slated for a launch in Korea and Europe later this week at a yet undisclosed price.

[via Electronista]

More About: android, LG, LG Optimus Q2, QWERTY, smartphone, trending

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Qwikster & What Went Wrong [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 10:11 PM PDT

After staying silent for months, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is now going the distance to win back customer trust.

Hastings, in an attempt to quell a customer revolt, has apologized for how Netflix handled its recent price hike. It also separated its DVD and streaming businesses by rebranding its DVD by mail service to Qwikster.

To explain the change and to emphasize how sorry he is about how poorly Netflix communciated with customers, Hastings and new Qwikster CEO Andy Rendich recorded a YouTube video that dives into what went wrong and what the company is doing to fix it.

Check out the video above and let us know if you think Netflix has done enough to appease angry customers in the comments.

More About: netflix, reed hastings

Emmys 2011: The Social Media Recap

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 09:37 PM PDT

The 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards have concluded, with Modern Family, Mad Men and Downton Abbey taking home the big awards.

The big social buzz kicked off before the award show started with the revelation that FOX removed Alec Baldwin’s phone hacking joke from the ceremony. This sparked a lot of discussion via Twitter and in our Emmy live blog, with most agreeing that FOX made a mistake in dropping the joke.

The Emmy’s had a robust social media campaign this year that achieved mixed success. In our live chat, viewers loved the celebrity smartphone photos, but were less thrilled with the backstage cameras that were offered.

The biggest winners this year were Modern Family and Downton Abbey. ABC’s comedy series has a large social following, but for PBS to beat out front-runner HBO was the big surprise of the evening.

Of course, as tends to be the case with award shows, some of the most interesting bits and pieces took place online and off-air. This included a Twitter conversation between Ashton Kutcher and Charlie Sheen.

Looking at the Emmys, especially through the lens of social TV, we again can’t help but notice the disconnect that exists between the direction that networks and programs are headed and the types of shows that tend to win awards.

Moving forward, what will the Emmys need to do to become more social? How can the social conversations that take place around the show be better integrated into the show and the second screen experience? Let us know your thoughts, as well as what you thought of the show, in the comments.

More About: Emmys, Emmys 2011

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Netflix Apologizes to Customers & Rebrands Its DVD Service

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 09:37 PM PDT

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has announced that Netflix will be splitting its DVD and streaming video businesses and rebranding the DVD division to win back the trust of its customers.

“We realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently,” Hastings explained in a blog post. “It's hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to ‘Qwikster’.”

Netflix has been under fire ever since it announced a price hike for its DVD and streaming video services. The change, which bumped the price of the streaming and DVD plan by 60%, was met with a social media revolt, resulting in Netflix cutting its customer forecast by 1 million.

Netflix stock has lost nearly 50% of its value since it made the price announcement in July.

“In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success,” Hastings admitted in his candid apology. He explained that his greatest fear was that Netflix “wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.” Thus he decided to make agressive moves into the streaming space to the detriment of Netflix’s DVD business. Confused and frustrated consumers didn’t respond kindly to the changes.

“Now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both,” Hastings added.

Qwikster will be run as its own separate entity. Netflix has named Andy Rendich, formerly the company’s chief service and operations officer, as Qwikster CEO. Netflix’s DVD by mail service will move to in the next few weeks and feature the Qwikster logo on all of its packaging (though the red envelopes will remain). The company will also be offering a new service: video game rentals.

Will this quell customer dissatisfaction and restore their trust in Netflix? Only time will tell, but Hastings had to do something to reverse customer anger and stop Netflix’s stock from falling any further. It took too long to make this move, but it was the right thing to do. Netflix and Qwikster have a long road ahead.

Update: following the blog post, Hastings answered some of the criticism of Netflix’s new direction in the post’s comments section .

One commenter asked, “You thought a good idea to make up for miscommunications was to separate the websites and make it more complicated for us to manages our queues? Really?” In response, Hastings said, “We think the separate websites (a link away from each other) will enable us to improve both faster than if they were single websites.” Hastings added that some more explanations on how the two sites will work.

When asked about the two services having separate ratings and reviews, Hastings clarified, “At least when you start, your current rating and reviews will be in both.”

Responding to a question about two services having two separate queues, Hastings said, “We already have two queues. The two ‘sites’ are a click between each other, so we think not that much different than two tabs on one site.”

More About: dvd, netflix, Qwikster

Emmys 2011 Live, as Seen Through Celebrities’ Smartphones [PICS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 06:12 PM PDT

Mashable‘s newly launched Entertainment channel hosted an Emmys live blog on Sunday, and as part of our coverage, we’ve taken our readers behind the scenes. Throughout the night, celebrities posted pictures to Twitter — check out the gallery below for red carpet smiles, victorious moments and backstage snapshots, all taken with smartphones.

Nina Dobrev -- Actress, Vampire Diaries

"Wow. Enough said. MS [Martin Scorcese]"

Image courtesy of Nina Dobrev, yFrog

Lea Michele -- Actress, Glee

"Just presented with the amazing @iansomerhalder :) and look what I found backstage..."

Image courtesy of jeremy Piven, yFrog

Taraji P. Henson -- Actress

"The Emmyngton's backstage! We're going on tour really soon! #lookforus HA!"

Image courtesy of Taraji P. Henson, Lockerz

Cory Monteith -- Actor, Glee


Image courtesy of Cory Monteith, yFrog

Jeremy Piven -- Actor, Entourage

"This just happens!"

Image courtesy of Jeremy Piven, Twitter

Harry Shum -- Actor, Glee

"I wish we were onstage right now at intermission time do glee performances as entertainment.."Love, Heather

Image courtesy of jeremy Piven, yFrog

Nigel Lythgoe -- Producer, American Idol

"Just starting"

Image courtesy of Nigel Lythgoe, yFrog

Rico Rodriguez -- Actor, Modern Family

"So excited for the #Emmys to begin!!!"

Image courtesy of Rico Rodriguez, yFrog

Padma Lakshmi -- Host, Top Chef

"I accidentally groped Betty White! Oops"

Image courtesy of Padma Lakshmi, yFrog

Cat Deeley -- Host, So You Think You Can Dance

"We're never going to win.... But definitely intend to have a bloody good time!"

Image courtesy of Cat Deeley, yFrog

Carrie Ann Inaba -- Judge, Dancing with the Stars

"On my way!!! Weeeeeeee!!!!"

Image courtesy of Carrie Ann Inaba, yFrog

Alan Cumming -- Actor, The Good Wife

"About to be on fox!! It's boiling here"

Image courtesy of Alan Cumming, yFrog

Giuliana Rancic -- Host, E! News

"Emmy girlzzz:) @elshane (wardrobe) @catalinaLINAsu (makeup) @SarahK_LA (bestie) @BrendaKovar (hair)"

Image courtesy of Giuliana Rancic, yFrog

Jesse Tyler Ferguson -- Actor, Modern Family

"Get ready red carpet! Here we come!"

Image courtesy of Jesse Tyler Ferguson, yFrog

Lea Michele -- Actress, Glee

"Pre-glam look:)"

Image courtesy of Lea Michele, yFrog

Danny Zuker - Writer, Modern Family

"Accountants love me. #Emmys"

Image courtesy of Danny Zuker, yFrog

More About: award shows, Emmys, Emmys 2011, smartphone

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FOX Kills Alec Baldwin’s Phone Hacking Joke at The Emmys

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 04:33 PM PDT

alec baldwin

Alec Baldwin, star of 30 Rock, took to his Twitter account hours before the opening of The Emmy Awards to let fans know that FOX had removed a joke he made about the News Corp phone hacking scandal from the show's opening sketch.

Baldwin tweeted that, "Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little." He added, "I understand News Corp killing that joke."

According to Deadline Hollywood, which first reported the change to tonight's opening sketch, Baldwin asked FOX to remove him from the skit entirely after learning that the phone hacking joke had been removed. FOX in turn replaced Baldwin with Leonard Nimoy, who Deadline reports re-filmed the skit, minus the joke.

SEE ALSO: Watch the 2011 Emmys Live With Mashable

The News Corp scandal dominated the media world earlier this year following revelations that The News of the World hacked into the voicemail of a missing girl in the UK, giving the family false hope that she was still alive. That case resulted in the closure of the tabloid paper, News Corp dropping its bid for BSkyB and ongoing investigations into the reporting practices of the media giant.

UPDATE: The New York Times‘s TV & Digital Media Reporter Brian Stelter was able to discover the joke that was cut from the broadcast, and shared it via Twitter.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, EdStock

More About: alec baldwin, Emmys, Fox, News Corp, phone hacking

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7 Amusing Nature Mockumentaries [VIDEOS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 02:47 PM PDT

As a genre, the wildlife documentary has its own recognizable rules, conventions and language. This means it’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, but is certainly ripe for parody. As early as 1957 people have created nature spoofs.

We’ve hunted down a handful of funny YouTube videos parodying the nature footage format via mockumentary, comedy sketch and hilarious voiceover.

SEE ALSO: 15 Movie Cliché Supercuts That Poke Fun at Hollywood [VIDEOS]

Grab your hiking boots and binoculars and take a look through the video gallery below. Let us know in the comments which clips made you smile.

Some of these clips contain language that falls into the NSFW category.

1. The Amazing Lyrebird of Australia

Clever editing shows nature doc David Attenborough learning the never-work-with-animals lesson the hard way.

2. Bodega Cats

Forget big cats -- bodega cats are the ones to watch.

3. Birds of Britain

If you like your humor seriously silly then this spoof commentary will have you on the floor in stitches.

4. The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

If it's been a while since you've seen Randall's viral hit, it's well-worth another watch. If you've yet to discover it, then hit play pronto -- you're in for a treat.

5. The Majestic Plastic Bag

Narrated by Jeremy Irons, this well-made mockumentary has a serious message: raising awareness for the plastic bag pollution problem.

6. Planet Earth: Birds of Paradise Techno Dance

We bet you've never seen a Bird of Paradise mating dance quite like this before...

7. Hinterland Who's Who - The IT Professional

One of many spoofs of the Canadian Hinterland Who's Who public service announcements, this documentary takes a look at a fascinating species -- the IT professional.

BONUS: Funny British Animal Voiceovers

While it creates some amazing nature documentaries, the BBC can also see the light side of animal footage, as this excellent compilation from the Walk on the Wild Side series demonstrates.

More About: features, gallery, Lists, parody, spoofs, Video

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Shoot the Moon: Lunar Photography Tips [PICS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 02:11 PM PDT

On this day in 1977 the Voyager I space probe took the first photograph of the Earth and the Moon together, an image that would give us a new interplanetary perspective about our position in the universe.

To mark this anniversary we’ve decided to look to the sky and offer tips and tricks for photographing the moon. As you will see from the sample images in this gallery, you can capture amazing lunar images with an ordinary camera.

SEE ALSO: HOW TO: Get the Most Out of the iPhone Camera's HDR Functionality [PICS]

Read the tips in the photo gallery below, and then link us in the comments to any moon pics you’ve snapped (we’ll suspend our “no HTML” rule just this once). If you’re feeling generous, share your “how to shoot the moon” secrets with the Mashable readership.

1. When and Where

The moon is different every single night. You can refer to a lunar calendar to find out what phase the moon is in, as well as when moonrise can be expected. The weather, of course, is a different matter.

As you might imagine, a clear night sky is desirable. "You should take photos of the moon on a clear night, with no clouds in the sky. Even thin cloud layers can make it difficult to get good photos," says Flickr photographer colorpix.

And folk in densely populated areas have other issues to worry about -- pollution.

"In and around cities there can be pollution in the air and this makes a difference. So ideally take the photos 'out of town' on a location with no light or air pollution," advises Colorpix.

As well as moon phase, your location and the weather, time of night can affect results. Even shooting in the morning darkness (as opposed to the evening darkness) can make a difference, as the photographer of this shot, Gary Lamprecht, explains:

"I went for the morning shot for a couple of reasons. I wanted to see if any light changed as the moon reflects the sun towards pre-dawn versus post-dusk. I think the bigger factor is the light noise was less as it was so early in the morning. During an earlier evening shot, there was more light noise from vehicles, houses, and other building lights."

"The other reason was the air was brisk and the sky looked so clear that I felt the image would have to be clearer. Sometimes you get that 'haze' in the air that just seems to be a carry over from the daytime hours that the night seems to clear up."

"Basically, I just wanted to see if the different hour changed the final result. I took 11 pictures the evening before and just two the following morning. From my camera preview in the morning, I felt they were indeed clearer."

Image courtesy of Gary Lamprecht

2. Be Still

Stability is everything when you're shooting the moon in order to keep detail as sharp as possible, especially if you're using a long lens.

Although there are plenty of examples of fabulous moon shots taken with handheld cameras (including a few in this gallery) to give yourself the best chance of success you need to get seriously stable. Here's some suggestions how:

1. Use a tripod with a solid head.

2. Use a remote/shutter release cable.

3. If you don't have a shutter release cable, then use your camera's self-timer.

4. If your DSLR allows, use mirror lock-up. Even the slightest vibration can add blur.

Image courtesy of colorpix

3. Lens Length

When it comes to a lens, the bigger the better. Accepted wisdom suggests a minimum lens length of 200mm, but ideally you're talking closer to 500mm.

You can also use a lens extender or teleconverter to increase the focal length of a lens. This image above was captured with a 400mm lens fitted with a 1.4x extender.

If you're shooting with a fixed lens camera, then zoom in as much as your optical zoom will allow -- don't be tempted to use digital zoom, this won't do you any favors with image quality.

Image courtesy of Luis Argerich

4. Settings to Get You Started

As with all photography, capturing a great shot of the moon comes down to trial and error.

If you tend to shoot in "auto" mode and you've no idea where to start, then these settings instructions will give you a good baseline to further experiment from.

1. Zoom in as far as you can.

2. Set your camera to manual focus and focus to infinity (this looks like a squashed number eight).

3. Set your camera to its lowest ISO rating, likely 100 or 200, depending on the model. This will ensure you don't get plagued by noise.

4. Set the f-stop (aperture) to 11.

5. Start at a shutter speed of 1/250 and then bracket (change the shutter speed or aperture -- not at the same time) depending on the results to find the best settings for your situation.

It's worth remembering two things -- the moon is actually very bright, and it moves across the sky, as Colorpix tells us.

"When shooting the moon, you are taking a photo of a very bright object so don't underestimate the brightness. My first photos of the moon showed only a big white blob. The exact brightness is variable depending on a number of factors, including atmospheric conditions and the angle of the moon over the horizon."

"You might need to experiment with the camera settings. You need of course to adjust the camera manually to get this right. I tend to use a more narrow aperture, for example around f/11 as a wider aperture can soften the image. A more narrow aperture than this, for example f/16, requires a slower shutter speed. This can create blurred photos, as the moon is moving at a good speed across the sky."

Image courtesy of Gordy Glen

5. Post Processing

If you're not thrilled with your results, then don't despair, you might be able to improve them with post-processing.

Just playing around with the photo's curves in a photo editing program may bring out unseen detail, highlights and shadows as you adjust the curves.

If you're a whiz with photo editing, then combining several shots -- as Luis Argerich has done with this image -- can create an impressive composite photo.

Image courtesy of Luis Argerich

6. Compact Can-Do

If you only have a compact camera, then don't think you can't have a go at photographing the moon.

This image was captured the 8-megapixel Canon PowerShot S5 which boasts a 12x optical zoom (roughly speaking in 35mm terms the equivalent to a 420mm lens).

Mim Eisenberg demystifies the experience for us with her pragmatic explanation of just how she managed to capture such a shot:

"I stepped onto my patio with my S5 point-and-shoot camera set to spot meter, aimed at the moon, kept my arms at my sides to steady myself and the camera, held my breath and pressed the shutter."

Image courtesy of Mim Eisenberg

7. Get Creative!

Finally, if you just don't have any kind of photography kit, then make up for lack of lens size with some creativity.

As images from Andrea D'Amico's sweet "playing with the moon" series demonstrates, you can still capture interesting moon-themed photos with nothing more than a cameraphone.

These pics were shot with an iPhone, showing that a little bit of imagination can go a long way.

Images courtesy of Andrea D'Amico

Thumbnail image courtesy of Garry Wilmore

More About: features, gallery, how tos, iphotography, photography, Photos, space

Ashton Kutcher Using Social Media to “Set Record Straight” on New TV Role

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 01:29 PM PDT

Ashton Kutcher officially joins the cast of Two and a Half Men on Monday. The social media savvy actor, investor and activist penned an op-ed for USA Today explaining the reasons he took the role on the hit sitcom.

Notably, it was Kutcher’s social media savvy, including his 7.6 million followers on Twitter, that helped convince the actor to take the job.

He writes,

“When I really broke down the decision to take the job, there were so many rewards and few risks — except maybe one: I was stepping into a media frenzy. But I figured I could temper that a bit by keeping the lines of communication open with my social media presence. I can always set the record straight.”

The “media frenzy” that Kutcher is referring to is the fallout from former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen’s very public exit from the show. In the wake of his suspension and subsequent firing, Sheen took to social media, performed one-man shows in clubs across the country and has coined a number of memes.

The Charlie Sheen media circus is something Kutcher, CBS and the show producers are all going to have to deal with head-on. Fittingly, Comedy Central’s Charlie Sheen Roast will air 30 minutes after the season premiere of Two and a Half Men. (We should point out the fortunate timing of this programming decision was not accidental: Viacom and CBS are sister companies.) It will be important for Kutcher to own the messaging behind his own brand, as well as the brand of the show, to keep the attention on the product and not the larger media story.

As Christy Tanner, general manager and executive vice president of TV Guide Digital told us back in May, “Two and a Half Men won’t live or die by social media. The show will continue to be successful if fans continue to find the show funny.”

Rumor has it that Charlie Sheen will be attending Sunday’s 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

What impact do you think Kutcher’s presence is going to have on Two and a Half Men? Do you think his social graph will help get the right message out to audiences? Let us know.

More About: ashton kutcher, charlie sheen, social tv, TV, two and a half men

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Tea Party Domain Name Could Fetch $1 Million

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 01:07 PM PDT

If the Tea Party wants its own dot-com domain name, it might have to pony up $1 million or more. That’s because the domain name now belongs to The Tea Party, a Canadian band that’s owned the name since 1993.

Nobody’s offered to plunk down $1 million just yet for, but Warren Adelman, president of thinks that’s an accurate estimate of its value. He told Businessweek he wouldn’t be surprised if the name sold for that amount, given the spending habits of high-flying political campaigns and groups. He says, "If you look at the money being talked about this time around — campaigns raising $1 billion — it's easy to expect to go for well over $1 million."

If the band times it just right, it could unload the domain name, pick up a slightly altered name such as (which is available), and walk away with a good chunk of cash. That sort of rich deal is not unheard of — in fact, it’s a fairly low amount compared with some domain name deals, such as, which sold for a reported $13 million last year.

Although the band hasn’t ruled out selling the domain name to a conservative political group, the band members are reportedly more oriented toward liberal politics, wishing some deep-pocketed individual or organization would come up with big bucks to take the name off its hands.

[via Businessweek]

More About: domain name, internet, tea party

10 Peculiar Vending Machines [VIDEOS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:25 PM PDT

The vending machine has come a long way since the first postcard dispensing machines were seen in London in the 1880s.

While soda and snack machines are now commonplace, the vending machine has gone beyond convenience to curio, dispensing bizarre objects to those with the correct change to purchase them.

Take a look through the video gallery below for all manner of unusual automated goods. Let us know in the comments what would be your dream vending machine, and why.

1. Shoes

Would you consider buying footwear from a vending machine? Onitsuka Tiger hopes you might.

2. Bread

Enterprising French baker Jean-Louis Hecht offers fresh bread 24 hours a day thanks to his "automated baguette dispenser".

3. Robot Santa

Frankly terrifying, this Japanese robo-Santa can dispense MUJI gifts -- or swift justice, probably. We've been nice Santa-bot, we promise!

4. Pizza

In just two-and-a-half minutes this vending machine will infrared you up a hot pizza pie.

5. Books

This novel machine makes you up a book that's out of stock, or even out of print, within minutes. Um, then they invented eBooks...

6. Eggs

While this might look like a drop-from-a-height vending machine, this is the urban equivalent of egg boxes stacked by the side of the road and an honesty box.

7. Gold

Well where the heck else are you going to buy your gold bullion?

8. Balloons

This is tons more fun than handing over money to a grumpy street vendor.

9. Live Crabs

Scrummy, live crabs from a vending machine! Everyone wins! Oh wait, maybe not the crabs...

10. Luxury!

At the Mondrian at South Beach, Miami, this luxury vending machine offers everything from toothbrushes to sports cars. The latter of which will require a lot of quarters.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Dominic Alves

More About: features, Gadgets, gallery, Tech, vending machines, videos

8 Twitter Accounts to Follow During Emmy Awards

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 11:49 AM PDT

Mashable’s live Emmys coverage is presented by the Samsung Galaxy S II, a faster phone for speedier web browsing and access to all your favorite apps. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #GalaxySII on Twitter.

The online discourse for Sunday night’s 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards is in full swing. For you, we’ve assembled this all-star list of Twitter accounts that will light up the show’s hashtag stream — #EMMYS. Join the conversation!

Accounts to Follow for Commentary & News

  • @PrimetimeEmmys: As the official account for the Primetime Emmy Awards, this handle will provide the inside scoop on the festivities. Be sure to check it out before, during and after the telecast.
  • @RedCarpet: E!‘s red carpet coverage on Twitter begins at 5 p.m. ET. E! encourages you to follow along using the hashtag #Eredcarpet.
  • @IMDb: IMDb and its snarky TV section (@IMDbTV) will offer a constant stream of photos and real-time updates of the winners.
  • @BrianStelter: New York Times‘s TV and digital reporter Brian Stelter is on scene and will tweet from the red carpet, the ceremony and the after parties. Expect detailed tweets and Instagram photos.
  • @MichaelAusiello: With more than 1 million Twitter followers, TVLine‘s founder and editor Micahel Ausiello is sure to dish out the expert commentary his fans have grown to love. His team at TVLine is hard at work, too, filling up the site’s Emmy Awards page.
  • @LittleyLittley: Pop pundit and new media guy Gregory Littley will monitor nominees’ tweets and Tumblr posts. He’ll also tweet about the fashion, first arrivals and tibits from his interviews with attendees.
  • @TVGMDebra: TV Guide Magazine‘s Editor in Chief Debra Birnbaum will tweet from within the theater. @TVGuideMagazine and @TVGMSchneider will provide reinforcements while watching the live broadcast. Also, check out TV Guide’s snazzy Emmys page.
  • @THR: The Hollywood Reporter‘s account has already been posting fascinating multimedia such as links to photos and this cool Emmys roundtable video featuring TV executives. THR‘s TV-centric account — @TheLiveFeed — likely will chime in, too.

SEE ALSO: HOW TO: Enhance Your 2011 Emmy Awards Experience Online

Mashable Staff Also Will Live Tweet

  • @Film_Girl: Entertainment Editor Christina Warren is at the Emmys in Los Angeles. She’ll be live tweeting from the media center, where the celebrity attendees will stop in to answer questions. Follow her and then tweet her a question that she should ask a certain celeb.
  • @BAHjournalist: Brian Anthony Hernandez edits and writes at Mashable HQ in New York City. He watches a crazy amount of reality TV — Survivor, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway and ANTM. His favorite shows are True Blood and Glee.
  • @Drelly: Lauren Drell, associate editor of supported content, will watch and tweet about the Emmys alongside her dog @FranklinPup, who is Mashable‘s chief morale officer. She’s rooting for Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Modern Family.
  • @PetersMeg: Community Manager Meghan Peters will be scouring social networks to find the best tweets, photos and videos from viewers and celebrities to share with you. She is super stoked that Jane Lynch is hosting the Emmys this year.
  • @StephLauren: Stephanie Haberman, who’s also part of the community team, is convinced that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League are the funniest shows on TV, truly doesn’t understand why anyone would want to keep up with the Kardashians, and believes that Emily Deschanel from Bones was robbed of a Best Actress nomination.

Twitter Handles for Celebrity Attendees & Nominated Shows

Here’s a handy Twitter list of Emmy-nominated shows and celebrities like Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara, How I Met Your Mother‘s Neil Patrick Harris and Desperate Housewives‘s Eva Longoria, among others. Kudos to E! for compiling this comprehensive list.

SEE ALSO: Emmys 2011: Twitter Takes On The Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Emmys live coverage presented by Samsung Galaxy S II

Mashable’s live Emmys coverage is presented by the Samsung Galaxy S II, a faster phone for speedier web browsing and access to all your favorite apps. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #GalaxySII on Twitter.

More About: emmy awards, Entertainment, features, television

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Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Officially Announced, Taken for a Spin [PICS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 11:18 AM PDT

The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid was officially unveiled on Friday, and it’s due to hit the streets in March, 2012. Now the first reports of what it’s like to drive one are just coming in.

The coolest aspect of the car is its ability to function as a purely electric vehicle for up to 15 miles at speeds of 62mph before the gasoline engine kicks in. It can accomplish that feat thanks to its heftier 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery that replaces the old Prius’s NiMH batteries. These new batteries charge in 1.5 hours if you plug the car into a 240V outlet, but take roughly twice that long if plugged into a standard 120V outlet.

Just 15 miles? You might be asking, so what? That 15-mile distance might be enough for a quick run to the supermarket and back, no gasoline required. And you get that snappy acceleration with instant torque that’s the hallmark of an electric car.

Beyond that, the Engadget reporter who had a chance to drive the car was impressed with its illuminated charging port, backup camera, LED headlights and a millimeter wave radar sensor that enable its dynamic cruise control and pre-collision systems to do their magic. Check out the details in Engadget’s hands-on report.

SEE ALSO: Toyota Reveals Two New Prius Hybrids [PICS]

When the new Prius first appeared for test drives at Green Drive Expo (part of the Frankfurt Motor Show), technophiles were impressed with its interior gadgetry, but decried the vehicle’s sluggish handling and “numb” steering. But let’s keep in mind, this is more akin to a toaster than a Formula 1 sports car.

Want one anyway? The basic model will be $32,000, the “Advanced” model will be $39,525, and both will be available in 14 states six months from now. Toyota says the cars will be available in all other states in the U.S. in 2013, but wasn’t specific about exactly when in 2013 that would be.

For all of Toyota’s details, check out the company’s new Prius Plug-in site.

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The electric plug "filler cap" is on the right rear, and the gas filler cap in on the opposite side.

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Entune Plug-in Hybrid App

Left to right: Home screen, Charge Management (lets you monitor the charge of your battery and start charging via your smartphone), Remote A/C (allows you to monitor the temperature of the cabin and turn on the A/C before getting out to your car).

More About: Electric Car, Plug-in hybrid, Toyota Prius

10 Customizable Social Media Accessories

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 10:24 AM PDT

Even when we’re away from our social networks, we still like to feel connected. We’ve chosen the top customizable social media accessories for your offline life — that is, if you even have one anymore.

The apps and services in the gallery below connect to your social accounts and transform profile pictures, status updates and mobile photography into fun and meaningful memories. Create a T-shirt or a coffee mug using your Facebook friends’ pictures. Customize Twitter shoes with your @ID. And compile a professional hardcover book using your best Instagram photos.

Scroll through the gallery for our picks, and tell us which are your favorites in the comments section below.

1. Social Print Studio

In addition to generating posters from your Facebook friends or uploaded photos, Social Print Studio is currently helping Mashable HQ create an entire wall of our Facebook family.

Price: $25

2. Friendcup

Smile every time you sip by connecting your Facebook with this app that will generate 148 selected friends' profile photos into a mug collage.

Price: $13.95

3. Wearing Social

Wearing Social has t-shirts in fun Facebook or Twitter designs. Based on your social information, choose to upload friend/follower photos (see left) or create a QR code that leads back to one of those profiles.

Price: $19.99

4. Friendsshirt

Choose among icons like the Apple logo, Batman crest, four-leaf clover or, of course, a cat. Then elect where your social photos will come from — either Facebook or Instagram — and get uploading! Friendsshirt will print those images on a shirt or poster and send it your way.

Price: $21.95

5. Twitter shoes

Shoes are the new sandwich board! Publicize your @ID wherever you walk with these color-themed Twitter kicks from Zazzle. They also have a Ked's slip-on option.

Price: $61.40

6. Etsy onesie

Celebrate a new arrival with this customizable baby onesie. The seller, zoeysattic, will print the baby's name, status update, and family member "likes." Also attach a photo of the newborn for extra personalization.

Price: $15

7. Twitter hat

Zazzle offers a customizable Twitter trucker hat. Choose your color, then play with the font and sizing of your Twitter ID.

Price: $29.90

8. TweetBookz

TweetBookz accesses a Twitter feed to compile a book of tweets from any account.

Price: $19.89 for soft cover, $29.89 for hardcover

9. BookOfFame

Create a functional notebook of memories based on the status updates of you and your friends. Decide which friends, and their updates will appear at the bottom of each page. BookOfFame also has cute cover options to select from.

Price: 14-18 EUR, about $19-24

10. Blurb book

Turn those precious mobile photos into a real-life coffee table book/portfolio by connecting your Instagram account to Blurb. Make edits, rearrange or add more photos using the Blurb Bookify tool.

Price: $10.95 for 20-page book - $51.95 for 160-page book

More About: apps, Facebook, instagram, photo, Social Media, Twitter

Suddenly It’s Clear: 10 Transparent Screen Trick Shots [PICS]

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 09:19 AM PDT

Here at Mashable we’re big fans of photos that make you look twice. The “transparent screen” trick shot does just that, offering your eyes a delicious dose of unreality.

To celebrate such cunning creations, we’ve collected 10 of our favorite “see-through display” images into a gallery for your viewing pleasure.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ingenious iPad Self-Portraits [PICS]

Suspend disbelief and take a look through the photo gallery below. Link in the comments to any transparent screen shots you’ve created and, if you don’t know how — stayed tuned for a tutorial coming soon.

1. Michelle

As an opener, Michelle's classic clear screen is a perfect example of the genre.

2. Scott Wilson

Wilson takes the concept outside for an impressive landscape version.

3. Anthony Joh

Joh gets bonus points for making two screens see-through!

4. Martin Eckert

The Finder window open on Eckert's MacBook adds an extra surreal dimension.

5. Oddgeir Auklend

What's really impressive about Auklend's photo is that he matched the depth of field on his screen to the objects in the background.

6. Zach Inglis

Don't try this at home! Inglis brings the fun with a bath-themed screenshot.

7. Scott Wilson

Just imagine how fast Wilson had to have worked to match the clouds on and off the screen...

8. Andrew Harding

Wow. Just... wow!

9. Patryk Dwórznik

What an obliging kitty.

10. Steve Byrne

Simple, but very effective, we like Byrne's view through his iMac.

BONUS: Peet Sneekes

Finally, to show that the transparent screen theme has evolved to the tablet, Sneekes has created a clear screen on his iPad, although we fear using it as a coaster for his Caipirinha is a bit much!

Thumbnail image courtesy of Oddgeir Auklend

More About: features, gallery, photography, Photos

HOW TO: Follow the 2011 Emmy Awards Online

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 08:20 AM PDT

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards hits the airwaves at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, and now there are more ways than ever to enjoy the broadcast, eavesdrop behind the scenes and join the conversation using social media.

While you can’t legally watch the Emmys live online, we’ve whipped together this list of handy companion tools: a backstage livestream; an app that aggregates viewers’ social media activity and spits out related Emmy content in real time; a Twitter list of celebrity attendees and nominated shows; and photo-sharing sites with Emmy pictures.

SEE ALSO: 2011 Emmys Live Blog with Mashable’s Christina Warren

Last year’s Emmys began toying with the online social dialogue. This year, with social media-minded Mark Burnett as executive producer, the Emmys and the resources below should help online participation reach new heights. Burnett is no stranger to turning TV shows into interactive powerhouses; he’s done it with Survivor, The Apprentice and The Voice, a singing competition that recently became a 24/7 social media conversation.

Live Video

Tune into the livestream above to simultaneously watch backstage action that the cameras don’t catch during the main Emmys telecast. Returning for its second year, the backstage webcast starts at 8 P.M. ET and has added a new feature: a host. Comedian Michael Kosta will provide commentary and jokes for you as he hangs out in the control room, where he’ll monitor footage from the show and 10 backstage cameras. Those cameras will follow presenters and nominees as they answer questions in the press room and mingle in the greenroom and the winners area. One camera will follow every move and word Lynch makes or says behind the scenes.

iPhone & iPad App

If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can download the free Emmys app to use during the show. The app aggregates social media activity — like reactions from your fellow viewers — about the Emmys and a bevy of other items. On the iPhone, you’ll find news, photos and videos from this year's telecast as well as nominee and winner information from past Emmys. On the iPad, the app uses the audio around you to find where you are in the broadcast and then syncs your iPad to that moment. Once synced, the app gives you related content to each moment of the telecast such as biographies, videos, fashion information, trivia, red carpet photos and backstage news.

SEE ALSO: 8 Twitter Accounts to Follow for #EMMYS Commentary


Leading up to Sunday’s show, the show’s YouTube channel has filled up with short, entertaining clips, including one of Burnett, in which he describes his social media initiatives and touts the show’s Twitter account, hashtag and free app (see video number two).

"Life After Emmy"

"The Primetime Emmy Awards. Television's biggest night. But after the acceptance speeches are given and the champagne is poured, how does life change after winning an Emmy? Jeremy Piven, Kristin Chenoweth, Jackée Harry, and Megan Mullally share their stories."

Producer Mark Burnett Discusses Social Media for the Emmys

Emmys Promo

Red Carpet Rollout

Host Jane Lynch Gets Advice from "Glee" castmates

"Jane Lynch Public Service Announcement"

"The internet is a dangerous place!"

Emmys Countdown

Originally directed toward United Airlines passengers, you are flying with a glamorous "Captain Jane Lynch" here and joined by Adam Scott of NBC's Emmy-nominated comedy Parks & Recreation for a special Countdown to the Primetime Emmys segment.


The official hashtag for the show is #EMMYS. Use that to discover which shows and nominees are garnering the most preshow buzz or to interact with other Emmy watchers in real time. Also, E! has compiled a handy Twitter list of shows, nominees and presenters.

SEE ALSO: Emmys 2011: Twitter Takes On The Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

TwitPic & Yfrog

To find photos from attendees, keep your eyes on the TwitPic “Emmys” search and the show’s Yfrog page, which will display pictures like the image below featuring host Jane Lynch and the cast of Jersey Shore.

Photo from Yfrog, PrimetimeEmmys; thumbnail courtesy of FOX, Williams & Hirakawa

More About: celebrities, emmy awards, Emmys live online, Entertainment, features, How-To, television

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8 Current Technologies That Will Shape Our Future

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 07:17 AM PDT

Rick Chin is the director of product innovation at SolidWorks, where he develops new products and researches how technology will make us smarter, simplify daily tasks and seamlessly fit into our everyday lives.

In 20 years our technology will reach a level of personalization that will enhance every moment of our lives. We'll be more physically comfortable with the furniture we sit on and the products we hold; only the most relevant and personalized information from friends and family will reach us; and our movement in the digital world will be near telepathic.

I foresee several of today's technologies as relevant to this particular vision of the future. They will evolve to not only be more powerful, but also more integrated with one other.

1. Smartphones

Smartphones, like today's iPhone, are as much a computer as they are a communication device. Besides having a great multi-touch interface and fast CPU, they contain sensors like cameras, gyros, accelerometers, GPS and compasses. They allow us to calculate and communicate anytime, anywhere.

In the future, they'll evolve into personal mobile computers (PMC). Assuming that Moore's law holds true, mobile CPUs with near super-computing speeds will be entirely possible. The number, accuracy and performance of sensors will grow, the combination of which will give the user a very powerful sense of her surroundings.

Your PMC will move to your wrist and take the place of your watch. (Microsoft had this vision with SPOT, but the technology came too early and was too limited.) The device's display will not need to be your primary user interface (UI), so the PMC can be a small, diverse fashion statement like today's watches. The primary UI will become personal peripherals, like information glasses and headsets. You'll be able to interact naturally in a visual and audible way.

Your PMC and personal peripherals will become your interface to every other computer, device and machine you interact with. The only UI you will ever need to know is that of your PMC.

Not only will your personal peripherals allow you to explicitly interact with the digital (and physical) worlds, but they'll also provide subtle cues to your subconscious. While looking through your information glasses, a restaurant might emit a subtle, warm blue tint because it was reviewed positively by patrons. It will feel like a good place to eat. Are your spidey senses tingling?

2. 3G and 4G Wireless Broadband

"How many bars do I have?" We're frequently checking smartphone signal strength when wirelessly browsing the Internet and retrieving our email. Today's 3G and 4G networks provide acceptable but intermittent connections and okay speed. This must change.

The deployment of today's cell towers is a slow, deliberate and costly affair. In the future, deployment will be faster and more organic. Wireless providers will likely credit homeowners' monthly bills for having devices like AT&T's 3G MicroCell at home. With enough of these devices in place, even remote neighborhoods and towns will enjoy solid wireless access to the cloud.

So in the future, personal mobile computers (PMCs) won't even have signal strength indicators; wireless access to the cloud will be pervasive and ultra-fast at all times.

3. Cloud Computing

There is certainly a lot of hype around cloud computing, but few technology providers have done a good job explaining or providing services that are relevant to the average person.

The two most notable exceptions are Google and Apple. Google Docs is arguably the first cloud-based app that gained mainstream traction. Apple's iCloud looks like it has the potential to cross the chasm and move the early majority into the cloud.

With tomorrow's cloud computing, all of our personal information and the applications will be available to us at any time. Whether you're editing a text document while riding a train, or adjusting a sales proposal at a client's office, you'll never be without the information needed to complete a task.

4. Eye-Tracking / Voice Commands

Today's eye-tracking technology from companies like Tobii is used heavily in usability research. Where are people looking on a webpage, and how do their eyes move around it? Voice recognition products like Dragon from Nuance are used extensively when transcribing voice to text.

In the future, this technology will be combined with augmented reality (AR) to create a near-invisible and natural user interface for your PMC. We'll call these information glasses. The object you're viewing and the words you speak will be transmitted to your PMC, which will interpret your intent, find and compute and then transmit the results back to you visually and/or verbally. Look at a restaurant and say, "Do they have good salads there?" A moment later, you will hear the highest-rated salads, communicated via your information glasses either by visual display or audible voice, depending on what you are doing at that moment, like driving.

5. Augmented Reality

Today's augmented reality (AR) will add floating text, symbols and 3D virtual images to a camera's video feed to make it more informative or entertaining. Numerous iPhone apps like Layar provide local information. Tissot watches and Olympus cameras have webpages that let you experience virtual products. And Lego has a great point of sale display that lets kids virtually play with the toy inside the box they're holding. You can even use AR glasses to experience this technology in a slightly more immersive, first-person point of view.

In the future, AR glasses will project images onto the lenses using components that are barely noticeable. Your PMC will display information on your glasses much like a heads-up display (HUD), for instance, with symbols projected along the periphery. Look at a symbol and say something, and your PMC will act on the broadcasted message. Your PMC will also do a great job of minimizing the information displayed, limiting it to just what you need to know now.

6. Social Networking

Social networking as it exists today on Facebook and Twitter requires users to do extra work to extract value. We must diligently manage our community of friends and followers, and weed through all the tweets and posts for those that pique our interest. In the future, the management of our network will be dynamic and automated; the system will make and break connections to ensure maximum value. As updates are posted, for example, only those relevant to you at the present moment will make it through the filter to your PMC.

Social networking may also become more integrated with other components of our digital lives, like our calendars, address books and GPS. When going to a scheduled meeting with someone, you may be presented with recent and relevant posts that person made on Facebook to help prepare for small talk.

Image courtesy of Flickr, escapedtowisconsin

7. CAD, 3D Printing & Custom Products

Computer-aided design (CAD) products are popular among engineers, designers and students for creating 3D product designs. But the software is often too advanced for the average consumer to design his or her own products.

In the future, however, CAD will allow the average consumer to design his own custom products that are both manufacturable and affordable. Consumers will be able to use simple software to combine predefined, configured product features. They'll be able to personalize further by adding their own color palate, pictures, shapes and even personalized sizing.

3D Printing (3DP), like that from Dimension, is another amazing technology that will take a 3D CAD model and "print" layers of material, one on top of the previous, to produce a real physical model. It can create almost any shape, even those that can't be made by traditional manufacturing. The downside today is that the process is slow, costly, and often doesn't produce parts strong enough for real world use. The technology in this industry is always advancing, and in the future, it will be able to produce robust parts quickly and cheaply.

3D Printing in an industrial setting is often referred to as "additive manufacturing." As products are ordered online, versatile manufacturing stations controlled by robots will quickly and affordably crank out custom-manufactured products. The robots will be controlled by process software that will be integrated with future CAD.

Online custom products are slowly gaining popularity. You can go to NIKEiD and design your own customized Nike shoes. The downside is that they are pricey and will take several weeks to get to you. Other websites such as ShapeWays and Ponoko are useful for many DIYers. The mass market appeal of sites like these will grow in the future (when combined with the simpler CAD described above) with fast, flexible and inexpensive manufacturing.

8. Autonomous Cars

Today's cars are packed with a variety of driver assistance aids. You can get most any car today with GPS, but luxury car makers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo provide a whole lot more. Options now include active cruise control, lane departure warning/intervention, traffic info and blind spot warning. These cars can even brake on their own to avoid hitting an obstacle or pedestrian in front of the vehicle.

A few years ago, DARPA ran its Grand Challenge, in which teams competed to race fully autonomous cars that drove themselves. They were tested in off-road, highway and urban settings. Some of these competitors later went to work for Google's autonomous vehicle efforts.

In the future, we will have autonomous cars, where driver control will be optional. Even though the thought might seem scary, the cars will be safer than any car you'd pilot yourself. They will constantly evaluate their current environment with multiple sensors -- and they'll never get distracted by text messages.

Will they be complex to operate? Not at all. Your PMC will act as a user interface to any device, including your autonomous car. It will know your schedule and address book, so when you get into your car one hour before an appointment, the car's GPS will instantly display the destination address and arrival time. All you have to do is say, "Let's go!"

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tlnors

More About: future, Gadgets, technology

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