Saturday, 3 September 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Personalize & Protect Your iPhone With a Handcrafted Wood Back”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Personalize & Protect Your iPhone With a Handcrafted Wood Back”

Personalize & Protect Your iPhone With a Handcrafted Wood Back

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 08:10 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: JackBacks

Quick Pitch: JackBacks makes customizable wood and glass back replacements for the iPhone 4.

Genius Idea: Protect your iPhone 4 in style.

The ubiquity of the iPhone 4, means everyone else’s phone looks just like yours. Plus, the iPhone’s durability is really put to the test should you drop it on its back.

Sure, you can bedazzle and bling out your iPhone with many a quirky or colorful case. Those looking to give their devices a radical makeover, and better product the back of their devices in the process, can turn to JackBacks.

JackBacks creates customizable handcrafted bamboo, mahogany, cherry, maple and walnut wood backs you can use to replace the stock glass back your iPhone 4 shipped with. Less adventurous types can also turn to JackBacks to purchase replacement glass backs and restore a shattered iPhone 4 to new.

The backs start at $89 for a basic bamboo replacement. Custom etching and different wood types will set you back a bit more.

The one-man shop was started by trained woodworker Adam Baumgartner in late 2010 after he scoured the web for a high quality bezel and back replacement. A few failed purchases later, Baumgartner was inspired to create his own better, more durable back replacement from wood. One business and entrepreneurism class later — combined with positive feedback from friends, of course — and the JackBacks brand was born.

Baumgartner processes, handmakes and ships each and every order, all while still maintaining his developer day job — no easy feat considering that he saw 46 orders amounting to $8,000 in sales in August. “I’m working my butt off,” he says. “It’s challenging, but fun.”

The hard work is paying off. Baumgartner’s backs have attracted clientele of the Hollywood and Silicon Valley celebrity breeds. Former Facebooker and Path creator Dave Morin happened upon JackBacks. Morin first ordered a few backs, but returned to purchase custom etched Path backs for his entire startup. Arrested Development star Tony Hale (a.k.a. Buster Bluth) also totes around his iPhone 4 in a JackBack.

Baumgartner hopes to turn his self-funded endeavor into a more scalable and sustainable business. His next challenge will be figuring out how to build backs for the pending iPhone 5.

“What’s it going to take to get me there?,” Baumgartner questions aloud. “I don’t quite know yet … I’m waiting in anticipation of the iPhone 5.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, Robert Scoble

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, iphone 4, iphone accessories, JackBacks, spark-of-genius

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Editor of TechCrunch Resigns [REPORT]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 08:08 PM PDT

Michael Arrington, the editor of popular tech blog network TechCrunch has resigned and will run a $20 million venture capital fund run by the entity’s parent company, AOL, and other venture capital firms.

Arrington will “continue to write for TechCrunch, but will have no editorial oversight,” an AOL rep told The Wall Street Journal. Erick Schonfeld, who had been co-editor of TechCrunch, will serve as interim editor until a replacement is found, according to the report.

Arrington’s new fund, called CrunchFund, has backing from Accel Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Austin Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital, among others.

When AOL bought TechCrunch in 2010, Arrington said he would remain a part of the blog network for at least three years.

More About: aol, Michael Arrington, TechCrunch

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Digital Doppelgangers [OPEN THREAD]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:31 PM PDT

We’ve all had it happen:

“This username is already in use. Please try again.”

People have taken our vanity URLs, our names and our SEO. We’ve gotten into wars over Twitter handles, over names on Google+ and gotten to new social networks just a moment too late. At Mashable, we like to refer to these people as “Digital Doppelgangers.”

Here are some of our stories.

Christina Warren

Christina Warren has more than 22,500 followers on Twitter but still can’t properly search for herself by name on the site. Why? Our resident @film_girl became an almost real-life movie star when a second Christina Warren became prominent on the web: the lead character of the movie Source Code. Now, whenever she searches for herself, she tends to get movie references.

Charlie White

Charlie White doesn’t own A photographer does — or at least he did. There’s also an ice dancer — and Olympic silver medalist — by the name of Charlie White, as well as a politician in Indiana and a legendary fishing guru who had a fishing show on television before his death last year. All this name overcrowding means a severe SEO issue.

Meghan Peters

This isn’t only a story about Meghan, but one about her sister Meredith as well. There are not only one but two Meredith Peters who live in Brooklyn who have sisters named Meghan. Meredith, a nurse, was actually contacted by her doppelganger on Facebook. She was just saying hello!

Adam Ostrow & Robyn Peterson.

These photos say it all:

Poor Other Robyn and Other Adam.

Sidenote: Other Adam got it wrong. Adam Ostrow is Mashable’s editor in chief, not founder. That’s Pete Cashmore’s title.

Do you have a Digital Doppelganger?

Have you ever contacted someone with your name? Do you specially code your website somehow to have better SEO then theirs does? Have you tried to buy a handle or URL off of someone who wouldn’t give? We’ve tried all of these things — but we want to hear your story, too.

Tell us in the comments below!

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This Week in Politics & Digital: The Debate Edition

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:10 PM PDT

usa image

This week’s convergence of politics and digital is all about debate and how it’s filtered through social media.

In the past week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took on (and lost to) a college student, Google is ramping up for another GOP debate and we’ve got stats on how the Republican candidates stack up against each other on social.

This is the Week in Politics & Digital.

Santorum Video Goes Viral

When presidential candidate Rick Santorum visited Penn State, he probably wasn’t expecting an audience-made video to go viral. In it, he defends his stance on homosexuality. One student stands up to Santorum and the fireworks start flying.

The video has received more than 100,000 views since it was posted August 31.

Google Launches Site to Crowdsource Debate Questions

debate questions image

Fox News and Google are co-presenting the next GOP presidential debate taking place on September 22. Google’s site, FOXNews/Google Debate, is collecting text and video questions from users to be asked during the debate. Users can also scroll though submitted questions and vote on ones they find most relevant.

Social Decision Releases Stats on the Republican Field

republicans image

Just listening to the media, it’s hard to tell which Republican candidates are at the front of the field. Social Decision, a news and analytics site, has put together a study with numbers from Klout and Real Clear Politics. The study shows Rick Perry owns the majority of Twitter mentions, with 30.66%. Michele Bachmann was best able to convert her tweets into action at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, while Newt Gingrich had the lowest poll numbers compared to his number of social media followers.

Image courtesy of Flickr, familymwr

More About: 2012 election, Politics, Social Media, week in digital politics

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HOW TO: Use Your Social Media Skills to Earn Extra Money

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:39 PM PDT

Alexis Grant is a journalist and social media strategist. She tweets as @alexisgrant and recently launched an e-guide, How to Build a Part-Time Social Media Business.

Inside the social media bubble, it seems like everyone knows how to use Twitter, Facebook and Google+. But the truth is, while most businesses and organizations realize they would benefit from having an online community, many don't know how to grow one or lack the time to do it.

If you're awesome with online tools, this is a huge opportunity. Whether you already have a job and want to earn some cash on the side, or need a stop-gap income while you look for the right position, this demand for social media help can work in your favor — if you're bold enough to step up to the plate.

SEE ALSO: Do You Have What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur?

Here are a few tips for how to start making money using your social media skills.

Put a Value on Your Skills

Don't be one of those clueless "gurus" who have given social media consultants a bad rap. But don't underestimate yourself either. This is often a bigger problem for people who have ideas and skills that deserve a price tag. If you know how to use social media strategically, work it. Chances are somebody out there wants to tap into your knowledge.

Work for Free (But Only Once)

To prove you're awesome at growing online communities — both to yourself and to potential clients — find a cash-strapped small business or non-profit organization and offer to do it for them for free. Not only is this a great way to build your resume, self confidence and knowledge, you'll also grow your network, and hopefully come out on the other side with a client who's willing to recommend you.

The best part? No one will know you did it for free.

Land Your First Paying Client

Use your experience working for free to solicit paid work. This is most difficult at the beginning, but once you have one client, you'll be able to land others more easily. Hopefully, each client will tell her friends, who will tell their friends. If you do a great job for your clients, they will market your business for you.

SEE ALSO: 15 Case Studies to Get Your Client On Board With Social Media

So how do you sign that first client? It usually happens through your existing friends and contacts. That's how it happened for me, and that's what my readers tell me works for them. Tap your networks via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your blog. If you're just starting your career, check out your parents' networks, too. Those can be gold mines for this type of work. Tell everyone what you're available to do. You never know where the first few leads may come from.

Don't feel bashful about asking your friends and network to help you spread the word, especially in the beginning. They'll likely be more than happy to do it. After all, your friends want to see you succeed.

Determine Your Services

Define your offerings beyond saying you "do social media work." Do you teach people how to use Twitter and Facebook? Or create blog strategies for companies to implement? Maybe you even grow online communities for your clients. That practice is sometimes shunned, but there's often a case for outsourcing social media, especially when the client doesn't have the know-how or the time to do it herself.

Then consider what types of clients you want to work for. Individuals? Businesses? Organizations? Can you narrow those groups down by topic? The more specific you can be, the better your chances of connecting with the right people.

When a new acquaintance asks what you do, be prepared to explain in layman's terms, using examples. "Social media" can sound vague and even daunting to newbies, and your target client may not be social-media savvy. Explain your services succinctly, and word will spread quickly about your offerings.

Decide What to Charge

Prices for social media consulting run the gamut, from free to several hundred dollars an hour. No matter what you decide to charge, some people will think you're too expensive, and others will think you're a steal. The challenge is finding the sweet spot for your skills and experience.

The beauty in figuring out what to charge, especially when you're just getting started, is that it can vary from client to client. Think one client can afford to pay more? Offer a higher per hour or project quote. If you're worried a potential client will lose interest once you reveal your prices, offer several tiers of service with different price tags attached.

Figure it out as you go. Whenever we leap into something new, we have hesitations. But you will learn by doing, so long as you have the guts to get started.

SEE ALSO: Creative Social Media Resumes, by Brian Hernandez

1. Put Your Best (QR) Face Forward

At first glance, Victor Petit's resume looks similar to any other text-based CV. But flip the document over and you'll find a full-page image of his face as well as a QR code where his mouth would be.

Once a recruiter scans the QR code and places his or her phone on top of it, a video pops up revealing Petit's mouth, ultimately completing the full-page image and allowing the recruiter to hear Petit's voice.

QR codes are easy to make and can help you get noticed, especially if you ditch the standard black-and-white QR code and opt to add some pizazz to your design.

2. Sell Yourself ... Literally

Shopify, an ecommerce platform, says the best resume it has ever received is this one from Mike Freeman, who wanted to work at Shopify's marketing department.

"He built an online store using Shopify where you can read about his background, experience, etc. and the ecommerce part is you can 'buy' an interview with him for '$0.00,' " said Mark Hayes, Shopify's manager of marketing and media. "We get an infinite amount of resumes here. Yes, he got the job."

3. Leverage Facebook Pages

Henry O'Loughlin took to Facebook to showcase his "Social Resume," including a video in which he describes how to navigate his resume on Facebook.

"I work with mostly small businesses doing social media, so I am demonstrating through this resume all of the tools out there that can be utilized without an ad budget."

Using Facebook's Page feature, O'Loughlin was able to showcase his skills as well as show potential clients what he can offer them.

4. Video Killed the Resume Star?

Video resumes can be a clever complement to your existing job-search materials (i.e. print resume, cover letter and website).

Graeme Anthony ditched his print resume altogether and created a fun, interactive video where viewers can click on words (see 0:34) linked to an "about me" section, portfolio, skill page, timeline and contact information.

If you decide to make a video, be sure not to just rehash what's on your print resume. Have fun with it and show your personality. Anthony sure did.

5. Gather Online Networks in One Place

Alisha Miranda used as an online hub for all of her social media networks. Her profile, which essentially acts as an abridged online resume, caught the eye of her eventual employer.

"Before approaching Alisha, I monitored her social profile for about three weeks and saw what she was doing on Tumblr, Twitter, etc. to evaluate her marketing effectiveness and if her style matched what I wanted," said Tracy Brisson, CEO of The Opportunities Project. "Once I saw that she had all the goods, only then did I contact her to talk. As a career coach and recruiter, I can't emphasize the importance of creating something clients and employers want, which is results and evidence."

You can employ sites like or to showcase all of the social media websites you use. Your existing website or blog are also good spots to place your social media icons.

6. Add Personality to Your Print Resume

HAMSTER? Hired! It's hard to take your eyes away from Katie Briggs's visually pleasing resume, which pimps her "fancy hamster," Belafonte.

"I wanted the first thing that people notice about my resume to be that it's a little fun, but still pretty much all-business," Briggs said. "In any creative field, at least, I think it's important to make your resume a testament to your work ethic. It shouldn't look forced but it should give the impression that the work you put into constructing your resume is an indicator of the kind of dedication and hard work you'll bring to the job."

Takeaways: Make sure your resume shows your personality and represents who you really are. Also, don't bore job recruiters.

"I can say that I haven't been turned down for anything I've applied for with this resume," Briggs added.

7. Think Outside the Box ... or On It

In 2D form, Omondi Abudho's resume goes beyond the standard text-driven resume. It even adds extra "creative juice" with a nutrition label-inspired skills column.

However, the resume can be folded into an actual three-dimensional box. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Think Outside the Box."

Using a resume design or structure that strays away from the typical printer paper size is a surefire way to get noticed.

8. Pitch Electronically

Beyond Credentials believes that "finding talent based solely on a resume is fundamentally flawed." Its service allows users to build "personalized pitch pages."

For example, Nadia Kouri's pitch page lists everything she would have on a print resume as well as her story, an enlarged quote, accomplishments, personality, a Q&A and writing samples. The page also includes icons linking to her LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

9. Highlight Recommendations

While Jenn Pedde was revamping her full, multi-page resume, she used this one-page resume "teaser" on her blog. The resume puts major emphasis on the recommendations people left on her LinkedIn profile.

"The one page got so many compliments and it was so right to the point and social," Pedde said.

It's an effective way to translate your online presence to an offline print form.

Pedde's recommendation-focused resume led to her current job at 2tor where she works as community manager for the Master of Social Work program at USC.

10. Let Them Read Your Back

Even as a social media person, you'll have to interact with the offline world.

For those instances — if you are job hunting — you may want to make a resume T-shirt, which would have your resume on the back and something silly or informative on the front. The T-shirt pictured is from Blackbird Tees.

More About: business, consulting, entrepreneurship, Social Media

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Dish Network is Bidding for Hulu [REPORT]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 04:30 PM PDT

Hulu is receiving bids from up to five potential buyers, including Dish Network, according to a report.

The potential buyers’ bids all include programming rights, according to a report in Bloomberg Business Week, which cites “people with knowledge of the situation.”

Hulu's owners — Walt Disney, News Corp., Comcast and Providence Equity Partners — will give the new buyer five years of rights to TV shows, including two years of exclusivity.

Dish’s reported bid comes as the company is said to be preparing its own movie streaming service to compete with Netflix. Dish’s move also comes as Starz announced this week that its content will stop appearing on Netflix on February 28. Most of the newer releases and catalog films from Sony and Disney that are currently available on Netflix Watch Instantly are a result of the partnership with Starz.

More About: dish network, hulu, netflix, streaming

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Amazon Tablet to Sell for $250 [REPORT]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 03:12 PM PDT

Amazon’s rumored tablet will sport a 7-inch screen, run Android and sell for $250, according to a report.

The device, called “Amazon Kindle,” also uses a back-lit, color screen that is “two-finger multi-touch,” according to TechCrunch, whose MG Siegler reports he got hold of the tablet. The report also notes that Amazon is planning to release the device in late November, rather than in October, as others have stated.

The report didn’t include a picture of the device, which was described as a Design Verification Testing unit. The unit’s version of Android is said to look very different from other Android tablets. It’s also said to be specially designed for Amazon. The price, $250, would pit it directly against Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, which got more tablet functionality in April.

Amazon reps could not be reached for comment.

More About: amazon, android, Kindle, nook color

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Volkswagen’s Radical Electric Roadster of the Future [PICS]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 02:15 PM PDT

Volkswagen has designed a unique single-seat electric sports car it calls NILS.

The radically designed concept vehicle is inspired by open-wheel F1 race cars. While its electric motor can only crank out 30 hp, the 10-foot-long aluminum-framed vehicle is so small and light, you might think you’re in a race car when its torque-rich little engine delivers that neck-snapping acceleration of which we are all so fond.

Low-speed acceleration notwithstanding, you won’t want to enter it into any impromptu street races, because its 0-60 time is a leisurely 11 seconds, with its top speed a rather tame 80 mph.

Volkswagen says this electro-cart only needs a couple of hours to charge from a 230V electrical outlet. The downside is its range is only 40 miles on each charge. Still, that’s farther than the average commute.

Wondering when you can get one? Like most concept cars, this one’s not for sale. The car maker plans to show off NILS at the upcoming auto show in Frankfurt this month.

Even if you won’t be getting behind its wheels soon, the design exploration gives you a sneak peek at the cars you might be driving a few years down the road.

VW Electric Roadster

2-Hour Charge Time

Gull-Wing Doors

[via Gizmag]

More About: concept car, Electric Car, volkswagen

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Google Considers Suggested User Feature for Google+

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 01:50 PM PDT

Google is mulling a Twitter-like suggested user feature for Google Plus.

Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product at Google, floated the idea via a tweet Friday afternoon:

A Google rep confirmed that the search engine giant is “exploring suggested users” and wants to start a dialog with people who have big Twitter followings. The tweak would be just the latest to Google+, which also got a Chrome-based translation feature this past week and an “ignore” option for annoying people in the network.

Twitter introduced a suggested user list in 2009 and then scrapped it later that year, though the company introduced a more personalized list in 2010. Facebook also experimented with a suggested user list last year.

More About: facebook, Google Plus, Suggested User List, twitter

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Dish to Launch Netflix Competitor in October [REPORT]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 01:30 PM PDT

tv image

Dish Network is preparing to launch its own movie streaming service to compete with Netflix, according to a new report. The company acquired most of Blockbuster’s assets in April for $320 million and will reportedly introduce the service under the Blockbuster name.

Bloomberg reports that the service is planned to launch in October as a bid to compete with Netflix. Though Netflix is the market leader, the company has experienced blowback from customers and on Wall Street, in the wake of its recent price increase.

On Thursday, Starz announced that it had ended negotiations with Netflix. Starz is responsible for most of the new releases — from studios like Sony and Disney — on the streaming service.

Bloomberg reports that Starz is expected to be part of the new Dish/Blockbuster offering. If true, that could give Dish a leg up on some of the competitors in this space. Bloomberg also says that Dish is looking into an option that might allow Dish customers to watch on-demand Blockbuster films via their TV sets. No pricing structure has been set.

Dish will enter an arena fraught with competitors. Hulu, Amazon’s Instant Video and various TV Everywhere initiatives like HBO Go are also currently fighting for a place in the living room.

More About: dish network, Movies, netflix, subscription streaming, tv everywhere

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Google Discontinues Aardvark Amid Social Product Closures

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 01:19 PM PDT

Google will soon shutter Aardvark, the social search and question-and-answer service it purchased for $50 million early last year.

“As part of the shutdown of GoogleLabs, Aardvark will be shutting down at the end of September,” Aardvark co-founder Max Ventilla writes in a blog post on the site.

Aardvark users have until Sept. 30 to retrieve their data, he adds.

The news follows recent announcements that Google would be killing of social app maker Slideacquired for $182 million — and its associated products, as well as closing down its Labs departments. The spree appears to be motivated by Google+, the company’s single focal point in the realm of social networking for the foreseeable future.

Ventilla acknowledges that Google+ played a significant role in Aardvark’s closure. “We learned a lot about creating and maintaining online communities, and how to facilitate sharing of knowledge between people,” he writes. “We've been excited to share these lessons within Google over the past year, especially as part of the effort behind Google+. It has been gratifying to see how well this project is doing — even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original!”

Even with Aardvark’s demise, Ventilla suggests that he and the rest of the team will continue on at Google. “In this and other projects at Google, the Aardvark team remains committed to developing powerful tools for connecting people and improving access to information,” he writes.

More About: Aardvark, Google, Google Plus

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Listen & Spin in Mashable’s Turntable.FM Room With Nat & Alex Wolff

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 01:05 PM PDT

turntable fm image

For the final installment of the Summer Fridays room — brought to you by Mashable and Musebox — Nat and Alex Wolff of Nickelodeon fame will spin on the ones and twos from 4 to 6 p.m. ET.

The brothers first shot to fame in 2004 when they starred in “The Naked Brothers Band” rock musical comedy. The movie spawned their Nickelodeon TV series in 2007. Now, they have an indie album, Black Sheep, due out in October. And last week, they debuted their music video for “Thump Thump.”

If you’re unfamiliar with, get ready for a litany of bouncing avatars to start haunting your dreams. The startup, which is still in beta, comes from the Stickybits team and is basically like (musical) AOL chatrooms of old — user-created, browser-based chat and listening rooms where "DJs" (a.k.a. you and others) can play songs, vote on how "lame" or "awesome" those songs are, score points for picking good tunes, and chat with others in a sidebar. You can choose songs from a MediaNet-powered library or upload your own. Unfortunately, the site is no longer open to anyone outside the U.S. because of Turntable’s efforts to stay DMCA compliant.

Come hang with us and the Wolff brothers here.

More About: music,

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Google +1 Buttons Arrive on the Mobile Web

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 12:48 PM PDT

Google +1 buttons are becoming more ubiquitous thanks to an update that carries them over to the mobile web.

The mobile-optimized +1 button made its debut on select Android and iPhone browsers Thursday.

“The button will automatically be visible to anyone on Android 2.1+ and iOS 4.0+ browsers,” Punit Soni, lead product manager for Google+ Games and Mobile, wrote in a post on Google+. “When you +1 something, it will be displayed publicly across the Web as an annotation on the content you +1'd.”

The +1 button mobile upgrade follows recent feature rollouts, including friend annotations, +1 sharing with Google+ circles and +snippets.

As of late August, the +1 button had been embedded on more than 1 million websites. Still, every improvement matters. The +1 button ties directly into Google’s social network, and a recent Experian Hitwise report suggests that the time users spend on Google+ peaked in mid-July.

More About: Google +1 Button, Google Plus

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Dear Diary: 5 Journal Apps for iPhone

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 12:22 PM PDT

Many of us remember how fun (not to mention therapeutic) it was to pour our innermost thoughts into a pen-and-paper diary, but how many of us take the time to keep a personal journal today?

As you no doubt take your mobile everywhere you go, a diary app for your iPhone means you can get scribbling whenever you have a spare five minutes, be that waiting in line, on your commute or before bed.

SEE ALSO: Back to School: 15 Essential iOS Apps for Students

We’ve found five fantastic iPhone journals that will give you a digital outlet for your thoughts, but with some diary-themed twists. Let us know in the comments if these apps inspire you to start a fresh chronicle of your life.

1. Day One

One of the more contemporary-looking options on this list, Day One gives you an easy way to jot down your thoughts and even easier options to sync them with Dropbox.

You can passcode protect your "entries," which appear as a date-based list within the app. Features include reminders, rich text and the ability to star entries.

Day One offers no customization as far as appearance goes, but we'd imagine most people will be more than happy with the default black, white and turquoise color-scheme, the simple layout and clean font.

Cost: $1.99

2. iJournal - Notebook and Journal for iPhone

Simple to use, with a clean design, iJournal is recommended for anyone looking for a no-nonsense, date-based diary app.

Password-protected, the app lets you create diary entries with a title, optional sub-title and space for text.

Customization options include the ability to change the background of the homepage, the background of the entries and to select one of four fonts.

Cost: $1.99

3. Memory Book - Diary & Journal

Although the cheapest app on this list, Memory Book has a few neat features. In addition to creating text-based "memories" (i.e., entries), you can add people, places, keywords and photos to a memory.

The beauty of this system is that you can then review your entries via those tags -- that is, everything you've written about a particular trip, person or event.

We like the app's looks, modern yet with a touch of a classic journal. Syncing is possible between the iPhone and iPad app, as well as the Mac OS X version of Memory Book.

Cost: $0.99

4. My Daily Journal - The Personalized Journal/Diary

An app that emulates the paper diary as far as looks go, My Daily Journal nevertheless offers some good digital features.

These include that all-important password protection, auto-saving, search, PDF export and Dropbox backup.

You can personalize your journal by changing the background (although the parchment-style option above is the only one we liked) as well as by selecting the color of the leather trim. The best bit as far as customization goes is the number of fonts available -- a very healthy selection indeed.

Keeping with the real-life diary theme, you can swipe through entries with a flick of your finger, which is just as well, since the calendar-based index system is not so easy to browse.

Cost: $1.99

5. Memento

The priciest app in our roundup, Momento does at least boast a feature set to justify the extra expense -- especially if you're the social type.

This is because you can hook up feeds from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and more to integrate items into your diary, giving you a truly digital, content-rich journal.

In addition, you can add photos to each "moment," and there's the ability to both rate and keyword tag your content in order to categorize it for future reference. Good-looking, with stylish faux-wood background and orange highlights, Momemto comes recommended as the journal app for social networking afficianados.

Cost: $2.99

Thumbnail image courtesy of Madzia Bryll

More About: apps, iphone, iphone apps, Lists

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Facebook Rolls Out Official Like Button Extension for Chrome

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 11:41 AM PDT

Facebook has introduced a “Like” extension for the Chrome browser.

Now you might be asking: Wasn’t there already a third-party Chrome extension that did this? Yes, but this official Facebook one’s better, showing you how many others have clicked Like on the page you’re viewing.

We tried it, and the extension installs in seconds. It immediately works well, making short work of showing all your Facebook pals what you like, no matter where you roam on the Interwebs. It shows up alongside all the other extension buttons and also lets you access its Likeatude in Chrome’s right-click menu.

Want to give it a try? It’s available free at the Chrome Web Store.

More About: chrome, extensions, facebook

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Samsung CEO Says His Company Will “Never” Buy WebOS

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 11:09 AM PDT

What will happen to webOS, the mobile operating system HP purchased from Palm Inc. for $1.2 billion last year? That’s still up in the air. But we know one thing that’s not going to happen: Samsung has no interest in buying it from HP, according to its CEO Choi Gee Sung.

As he took the stage at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin Friday, Sung emphatically denied his company’s interest in buying webOS. He insisted Samsung will “never” pursue such a deal.

Why not? For one thing, Samsung is showing off its own mobile operating system, Bada 2.0, ensconced in three new smartphones.

So who is interested in buying the currently orphaned webOS? Research firm Ovum Ltd. told Bloomberg that HTC and Facebook might be in the running for the operating system. Neither companies responded to Bloomberg‘s queries.

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iPhone 5 Could Be Thinner & Wider [PICS]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 10:48 AM PDT

Another day, another iPhone 5 rumor. If the latest reports are true, Apple’s next iPhone will be considerably thinner and somewhat wider than the current model.

Italian blog MacityNet posted an extensive set of photos of a purported iPhone 5 case. The photographs show the current iPhone 4 as well as the fourth generation iPod touch in the new case.

Case makers are frequent sources for Apple rumors, but their track record is far from perfect. Case manufacturers often make prototypes of their best guesses for future Apple product dimensions. More often than not, those uninformed prototypes are what find their way to the press.

Still, looking at this case design in comparison to the current model is fascinating. This design indicates that the next iPhone would be styled more after the iPod touch than the iPhone 4. The tapered edges and curved back also align with the iPad 2.

Most interesting is the width of the device. It is wider and taller than its predecessor, which could mean that Apple is increasing its screen size for the next unit. The current iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch screen. This is perfect for a pocket — especially if you are small in stature, like me — but the trend with smartphones in the past 18 months has been to release phones with larger and larger screens.

I’ll go on record as saying I still think a 4-inch screen is too large, and don’t even get me started on the 4.5-inch beasts. But perhaps Apple could compromise at 3.7-inch or 3.75-inch.

What do you think of these photos? Would you like a thinner, albeit wider, iPhone? Let us know in the comments.

Photos courtesy of *MacityNet*

[via Gizmodo]

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The Black Keys Announce New Blakroc Album on YouTube [VIDEO]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 10:26 AM PDT

Blues-rock duo The Black Keys chose YouTube to announce the upcoming album from their side project Blakroc, a collaboration with hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dashon.

Blakroc features various emcees rapping over original music from The Black Keys. Per the trailer, Blakroc 2 will feature rappers such as Talib Kweli, U-God, the Cool Kids, Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Jay Electronica, Jim Jones, Sean Price and OC, all of whom appear in the recording studio during the video. It may not give much insight into what the album will sound like, but there’s a lot of smoking.

It’s common for artists to use free services like YouTube to preview and promote upcoming work. Recently, Tom Waits used the service to announce his new album, Bad As Me, which will be released Oct. 25. However, The Black Keys’ teaser doesn’t reveal its impending release date, simply saying “Coming soon.” The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney even tweeted last night, probably sarcastically, “There are no actual plans to release blakroc 2. We’ve been trying for months to work out a partnership with @redlobster…to no avail”

With the popularity of The Black Keys at an all-time high following the band’s Grammy-winning 2010 album Brothers, perhaps simply getting the word out early creates a success. The video already has more than 16,000 views.

Will you be looking forward to the release?

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Behind the Scenes With Google’s New AdMob Campaign [PICS]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 10:09 AM PDT

When the Google mobile ads team was looking for the best way to promote the Google Search app for iPhone, the company turned to its in-house AdMob platform for help.

In the software industry, there is a term known as dogfooding — where a company uses its own products to achieve a certain task. In this case, Google worked with Grow Interactive to “eat its own dogfood” by creating a rich media mobile ad for the Google Search iPhone app. The goal of the campaign, dubbed “Uncover Your World,” is to show off Google Search app’s features in an interactive, fun way.

As you can see from the video, the ad is more like a mini mobile app, rather than an advertisement, using HTML5 elements like inline audio and video.

You can also unlock mini games in the ad, which take advantage of features like the microphone, built-in camera and tilt sensors.

Early reports indicate that users really enjoy the ad and interactive ad experience. Google tells us that the average time that users are spending with the ad is 1:30. That’s a significant amount of time for online mobile content in general, let alone an advertisement.

Behind the Scenes

Google and Grow Interactive documented the process of creating the ad in this behind-the-scenes video. We think using a 3D printer to create the models that were captured for the video and in the ad itself was an inspired — and very cool — approach.

Google also provided us with some behind-the-scenes photos of the creation process. It’s fascinating to see the work that went into creating the ad’s components. If anything, the easiest part of the whole process was using the AdMob platform to create the digital and interactive assets.

Cafe Model

Cinema Model

Citywide Model View

Hardware Store

Setting the Stage

The Image Search Menu

Creating the Models

3D Printouts

Navigating the Ad

Painting Drips

Painting the Diner

Taking Photos


Tiny Chairs

Tractor Interactions

iPhone users can see and experience the ad for themselves at

Let us know what you think of this new trend of interactive, robust mobile ads in the comments.

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The Rise of Digital Comic Books: DC & Same Day Digital

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 09:42 AM PDT

actions comics image

Comic books have finally gone fully digital with DC’s release of Same Day Digital. The program will release digital versions of new comic books the same day that they are available in print. The comics will cost $2.99 and drop down to $1.99 after four weeks.

Other companies and publishing houses have experimented with digital comics, but Same Day Digital marks the first all-in bet that digital is the future of comic books.

The Same Day Digital program will be available on a range of platforms including the iOS family of devices, Android and personal computers. DC Comics pushed its digital launch to coincide with the New 52, a massive overhaul and reimagining of 52 of their most iconic characters.

Marquee names like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and more received costume redesigns, as well as updated origin stories. All 52 characters had their comic series reset to issue #1.

“I think part of this whole initiative was breaking down those doors and one was by changing the continuity and streamlining the shorelines and the second part of that… was doing digital delivery, right?” says Jim Lee, DC’s co-publisher and the man behind the New 52 character redesigns.

Mashable had a chance to mess around with the app on an iPad. The app is presently bare bones with simple scroll and zoom options. One tap brings up navigation tools, including a bottom bar with all the pages, and a settings option where you can automate page turns or set preferences on speech bubbles. The final panel is a pop-up box asking users to rate the comic and directing them to purchase additional comics in the series or browse through other titles.

It’s clear more features are on the way, including more integration with social networks and possibly a subscription option.

superman sketchDigital has allowed DC to be more creative with its comics. The DVD release of the Green Lantern movie, for example, contains a digital preview for a comic book. The digital team is also experimenting with deluxe digital editions, like issues that come with additional sketches or alternate covers.

“I’d love to think this was a pure genius on one person or a group of people’s part,” says Hank Kanalz, SVP of Digital at DC. “And it was just like, ‘duh.’”

There are some concerns Same Day Digital will cannibalize print sales. But DC has set up — with its digital partner Comixology — a DC digital storefront retailers can put on their websites. Retailers will get 30% of any digital purchases without worrying about over-ordering copies or dealing with unsold copies.

“It’s a tough sell, because you’re talking to real life people with real life establishments and real life stores and you don’t want to introduce something that’s going to put them out of business,” Lee says.

Comics are facing the same tricky fate that befell compact discs, and DC is trying to get in on digital before piracy or third parties (as seen with iTunes and music) beats the company to it.

Digital sales have been doing well so far, according to Kanalz. Issues across the DC canon have been selling — this includes the New 52 batch to comics from five or 10 years ago.

The future of Same Day Digital is still very much in the air. DC has talked about whether to include more interactive features but so far that’s off the table. There’s also some discussion on how to optimize content for small devices like smartphones where a full-length comic book might be too long (or too small) to enjoy.

There are also headaches for illustrators and writers to consider, says Lee. Panels are stretched or compressed to fill the size of the platform. Massive double-page spreads are shrunk down, or minuscule details are blown up to huge proportions.

DC comics has a lot of things to consider, but Same Day Digital has been paying off so far. “Sure, there are people that are scared of digital and there are others that embrace it as much as I do,” Kanalz says. “We all love comics and that’s the key.”

batman image

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5-Minute Guide to Getting a Job in Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 09:00 AM PDT

Are you looking to get a job in social media? Of course, we’d highly recommend jumping into this lively line of work, but the field is highly competitive and there are lots of people looking. This infographic from online training software company can help you stand out from the crowd.

Even though spending five minutes might not be enough time to put you on the road to working in a social media paradise, there’s sound advice within this infographic.

We’ve already firmly established on these pages that social media can help you score a new job, so you might as well use social media to score a job in social media, right?

The best news is, social media is in such a booming stage right now, hundreds of big companies with lots of money are looking to get into the game, and they all need experts — perhaps someone like you. Take a look at this infographic, check our job postings to help you find a gig in social media, and then let us know in the comments if you have more suggestions:

Infographic courtesy

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Apple Puts Old Version of Final Cut Pro Back on Sale

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 08:22 AM PDT

Apple has agreed to make older versions of Final Cut Studio 3 available for purchase, following several months of customer backlash against the radically redesigned Final Cut Pro X.

When Final Cut Pro X was released in June, Apple touted the release as “the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro.” Video professionals disagreed.

After receiving negative reviews from customers, Apple promised to frequently update Final Cut Pro X in order to bring its features up to par with previous versions of the venerable editing software. Apple’s competitors in the space, including Avid and Adobe, used the opportunity to offer Final Cut Pro customers cheaper migration paths to their software.

Since July, we’ve been hearing that existing Final Cut Studio customers could purchase additional licenses to the old program by calling Apple directly. MacRumors confirms that any customer can now obtain the legacy version of the video editor by calling Apple.

Users will need to call Apple directly at 800-MY-APPLE and ask for Final Cut Studio, part number MB642Z/A. The product is not available in Apple Retail stores or at

Final Cut Studio is $999 or $899 for educational customers. The package includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, DVD Studio Pro 4, Color 1.5 and Compressor 3.5. In contrast, Final Cut Pro X is $299.99 from the Mac App Store and Motion and Compressor are $49.99 each.

As a longtime user of Final Cut Pro, I maintain that for new digital editors or editors who are working with primarily digital footage (4K footage notwithstanding), Final Cut Pro X is decent tool. For my own non-professional usage, the app is fast and the new features are slick.

However, for users that need a more robust system, support for a wider array of hardware cards and monitors and formats, Final Cut Pro 7 is still ahead of the pack. For users who are looking for a more modern successor to Final Cut Pro 7, I would seriously suggest checking out the trial versions of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.

The Final Cut Pro X rollout is one of Apple’s rare execution fumbles. But perhaps existing customers will be appeased by having access to the legacy program.

What do you think of Apple’s decision to continue selling the older version of the program?

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Supercookies: What You Need to Know About the Web’s Latest Tracking Device

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:51 AM PDT

Christian Olsen is the head of Levick Strategic Communications' social and digital media practice. Follow him on Twitter @cfolsendc.

Recently, online properties like Hulu, MSN and Flixster have been caught using a tougher version of the common cookie. These "supercookies" (aka “Flash cookies” and "zombie cookies") serve the same purpose as regular cookies by tracking user preferences and browsing histories. Unlike their popular cousins, however, this breed is difficult to detect and subsequently remove. These cookies secretly collect user data beyond the limitations of common industry practice, and thus raise serious privacy concerns.

Supercookies are similar to the standard browser cookies most folks are familiar with, but are stored in different locations on a user's machine, for example, in a file used by a plug-in (Flash is the most common). This makes them harder to find and delete, especially since a browser's built-in cookie detection process won't remove them either. Furthermore, some supercookies have additional capabilities, like regenerating regular cookies to prevent their removal by the user.

To make matters worse, removing master supercookies is much more difficult. It requires the user to dig through the file system and delete them manually, an inconvenient task even for advanced users. The novice, on the other hand, likely won't even realize supercookies exist, let alone be able to find them.

SEE ALSO: 10 Travel Tips for Protecting Your Privacy

The kind of data supercookies track isn't typical cookie material. A browser limits the typical cookie to be written, read and ultimately removed by the site that created it. The supercookie, on the other hand, operates outside of established safeguards. It can track and record user behavior across multiple sites. While it's easy to understand that a site would want to track a user's activity while she navigates its turf, it's ethically questionable that site operators are able to record a user's actions beyond site parameters.

In several cases, a company's supercookie is the result its partnership with a digital marketing firm that places a high value on user behavior. In response to FTC pressure, the Internet ad and marketing industry responded by publishing "self-regulatory" policies, although it restricts itself from little else than a user's medical records.

To the majority of the public, this type Internet tracking is outside of the bounds of acceptable conduct. While the "right to track" may be written into a terms of use or user agreement contract, it is often not fully disclosed or within the realm of industry standards, rendering its legal defense moot. Furthermore, tracking provokes a breach of trust between user and site — and consumers have historically exhibited intolerance to brand betrayal.

While many companies that had been challenged on their use of supercookies were quick to cease, some choose to continue the practice. Many web marketing firms, advertisers and less-than-scrupulous websites still refuse to follow industry best practices — they continue to practice knowingly. And many more sites don't even realize they're utilizing supercookies in the first place.

Whether it has decided to cease web tracking or not, the company at risk needs to beware of losing control of already collected data. A data breach would result in catastrophic — and perhaps incurable — brand distrust. A user's discovery of a company's surreptitious data collection and the subsequent vulnerability of that data could easily spell the end of a brand's reputation.

Companies that care about reputation and user trust should audit their sites and properties to ensure that data collection and the use of supercookies parallel user expectations. This analysis applies to the site, its advertisers and any third party tools or plug-ins. Companies need to ensure that all data collection has been thoroughly disclosed in order to avoid legal liability.

Companies should not wait for a problem to arise before initiating a comprehensive data security overview. A regular screening of all user data and its safeguards is good practice. The cost a company suffers for securing its data and customer trust is small compared to the business and public relations fallouts that would result from a security breach.

A successful company will always make a comprehensive attempt at transparency by handling data responsibly. The use of data tracking tools like supercookies does not rank highly in consumer acceptance, whether its application is technically "legal" or not. Regardless of the manner in which information is collected, know that negligent data handling will not be excused by claims that a company was in the dark about its collection practices. In the eyes of the consumer, the more data collected, the more of an obligation that company has to keep it safe.

Images courtesy of Flickr, ssoosay, Jeremy Brooks

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AT&T Determined to Save T-Mobile Deal [REPORT]

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:55 AM PDT

AT&T has a plan to save the $39 billion T-Mobile acquisition blocked by the U.S. government, reports Reuters quoting sources familiar with the matter.

AT&T’s new plan has two parts: First, it will pledge to keep T-Mobile’s subscription plans and rates at current levels. Second, it will need to sell off up to 25% of T-Mobile’s business, potentially including airwaves and customers.

Some analysts doubt AT&T can pull off the merger. Former antitrust enforcer Bob Doyle told Reuters it would be difficult to find a buyer for parts of T-Mobile’s business in the U.S., as a sale to either Verizon or Sprint would also cause antitrust lawsuits.

Should AT&T fail to reach a settlement, it will need to pay T-Mobile’s owner Deutsche Telekom approximately $6 billion.

In a recent Mashable poll, 66.49% of readers said the U.S. government was right to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, 25.53% thought the government should butt out and 7.97% were unsure.

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Today’s Top 6 Stories in Tech, Marketing & Social Media

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:18 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning’s edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. We're keeping our eyes on six particular stories of interest today.

Michael Arrington Steps Down as TechCrunch Editor

TechCrunch founder and editor-in-chief Michael Arrington, who has just launched an AOL-backed venture capital fund, is no longer an employee at AOL or TechCrunch, Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, reportedly wrote in an email to Business Insider.

Renewal Talks Break Down Between Netflix & Starz

Starz Entertainment, one of the major sources of newer movie content to Netflix, announced that its content will stop appearing on Netflix's streaming platform as of February 28, 2012.

Fashion Marketers Voice Public Outcry Against Tumblr

Several fashion marketers and their agencies are speaking out against Tumblr as it prepares to send 16 bloggers to a second season of shows, breakfasts and intimate studio tours at their hosts' expense.

Foursquare Adds Five New Languages

Foursquare has added five new languages to its app: Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Thai.

HTC Announces Two Windows Smartphones

HTC has announced two new Windows Phone 7 smartphones, the 4.7-inch HTC Titan and 3.8-inch HTC Radar.

Acer Unveils Ultra-Thin Laptop

Acer has jumped on the Ultrabook bandwagon — the new class of ultra-portable laptops pushed by Intel — with Aspire S3, which will be available for €799 to €1,199 ($1,138 to $1,707) this September.

Further News

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

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7 Factors to Consider When Redesigning Your Website

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:13 AM PDT

The Web Design Usability Series is supported by, an easy way to instantly share your screen with anyone. lets you collaborate on-the-fly, put your heads together super-fast and even just show off.

There are very few, if any, websites on the Internet that don't undergo at least a minor facelift at some point in their lifecycle. If you own a business with a web presence, at some point, that site will need to be redesigned, whether it's due to the changing nature of your business, or purely for aesthetic reasons.

Redesigning your company site can be a major undertaking, so we've put together a helpful list of things to keep in mind when considering a redesign.

1. Why Are You Redesigning?

This is perhaps the most deceptively complex, yet obvious question of all. Before undergoing any redesign, however, it's important to understand what it is you wish to accomplish. Are you unhappy with the way your site functions? Do you simply want a better-looking site? Do you need to improve search engine rankings and sales conversions? Maybe the focus of your business has shifted and it's time for new content.

SEE ALSO: 17 Web Resources for Improving Your Design Skills

These are all important factors to consider, so before you start, make a detailed list of what it is you wish to accomplish during the redesign. This will help guide you through the rest of the process and make sure you stay focused on the end goal.

2. What Type of Redesign Do You Need?

Now that you've decided exactly why you want to redesign your site, it's time to decide just how far down the rabbit hole you need to go. Perhaps a small change in visuals and content is all that's necessary. On the other hand, you may need to add new features or completely redo your underlying code base. Depending on your needs and budget, a large overhaul may be out of the question, or it may be the most cost-effective long-term solution, so take a moment to think about your needs going forward and work with your developer to strike a balance that best meets them.

3. What Does and Doesn't Work Currently?

No matter how large or small the redesign, chances are there will be some elements of your existing site that work very well and some that don't work at all. Now is the time to go through your site and identify these elements. Maybe your content is too verbose or your sales page isn't very user-friendly. On the other hand, that photo gallery and the blog may be big-ticket items that do really well for your image and bring in lots of traffic. Some elements will need to remain (though possibly given a makeover), some will need to be cleaned up and some will have to go. Break your site down into its key components and then compare those with the goals you decided on in step one and the overall vision for your web site. If something doesn't fit, it's out.

4. How Is Your Site Being Used?

Along these same lines, don't forget to take a look at how users are currently interacting with your site. This will help you identify great content and problem areas. Study your traffic statistics and site analytics for information on things such as entry and exit pages, sales conversions, and search engine keywords. This will help you to understand how visitors find your site and what they do once they get there. While you're studying those statistics, also have a look at details like screen resolution and browser usage. This will help your developer determine what technical specifications your site should meet and whether a separate mobile version of your site is recommended, among other things.

5. Has Your Brand or Company Image Changed?

If you've undergone changes to your brand and company image, those changes need to be reflected in your site, even if the only updates are visual. Keep your logos updated and consider a color-overhaul if the corporate image or philosophy has shifted. Your website is often the first impression people get of your business, so it should grow and mature right along with the rest of your brand identity.

6. When and How Should You Launch Your Redesign?

When and how you launch your redesign can have a big impact on your traffic and in generating buzz about your new site and your product. Maybe you're simply making improvements and want to slowly roll out changes over time and unannounced. This unobtrusive rollout won't give you a lot of buzz, but it will still accomplish your goals of improving the site's performance and the user's experience. On the other hand, a big relaunch around the holidays or at the start of a big promotion, or when announcing a major change in the way your business operates can both draw traffic and generate more interest.

7. How Do I Make the Transition Smoother?

Most people are a little intimidated by change. If you have a site that gets a lot of repeat traffic, a sudden, drastic change in form and function can be a bit off-putting to some users. Further, you don't want this drastic shift to damage search engine rankings and suddenly destroy any and all backlinks you may have gathered over the years.

Try and keep vital elements of your site similar to their existing counterparts, such as the main navigation and header. Usually, your redesign should strive to be an evolution of your existing site, not a dramatic replacement. If the change is dramatic, make sure it's clear and give your users a blog post or news announcement discussing the changes.

Similarly, you want to make things easy for the search engine spiders, as well. Moved content should be redirected via 301 redirects, for instance, and error pages should be helpful and transmit the correct header information and meta data. For human visitors, make sure those error pages contain helpful information that is, where possible, relevant to the content the user was trying to access.

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The Web Design Usability Series is supported by, an easy way to instantly share your screen with anyone. lets you collaborate on-the-fly, put your heads together super-fast and even just show off. The possibilities are endless. How will you use Try it today.

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Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 05:41 AM PDT

Thanks to this week's advertisers and partners for enabling us to bring you the latest social media news and resources. Mashable’s sponsors are as social media savvy as our readers!

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Mashable is seeking site sponsors for our large, diverse audience — social media users, venture capitalists, early adopters, developers, bloggers and many more. You’ll receive hundreds of thousands of views per day in addition to weekly recognition as part of our “thank you” to our premium sponsors. Are you interested? Contact us for more information and to receive our media kit and rate card.

This week, our valued sponsors are:, Spredfast, MessageMaker Social, Cisco, CBS Interactive, Lenovo, Campaigner®, CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign, The Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck, The Awareness Social Marketing Hub, AceProject, 7MainStreet, LoopFuse, BMW i, Discover Digital Group, Global Strategic Management Institute, Ford,, Sprout Social, Site24x7, IDG, CUNY School of Professional Studies, Oneupweb, SoftLayer, SRDS, Buddy Media, Clickatell, Microsoft BizSpark, MaxCDN and Eventbrite., an easy way to instantly share your screen with anyone. lets you collaborate on-the-fly, put your heads together super-fast and even just show off. The possibilities are endless. How will you Try it today. supports Mashable’s Web Design Usability Series. Follow on Twitter.

Spredfast provides an enterprise-class social media management platform helping organizations unlock their social business potential. The Spredfast platform provides a unified system for managing, monitoring and measuring social media programs for better business results. Discover best practices & proven tactics for using social for business with the Social Media Pocket Guide.

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The Awareness Social Marketing Hub is the leading social media marketing software for marketers to publish, manage, measure and engage across the social web. The Awareness Social Marketing Hub is leveraged by companies of all sizes including Sony, MLB, American Cancer Society, and Starwood Hotels. Request a demo here.

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7MainStreet is the first company to combine social networking, e-commerce, and comprehensive business reviews and listings. 7MainStreet helps organizations of all sizes.

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LoopFuse provides forever-free marketing automation software that closes the loop between sales and marketing with smarter lead capture, scoring, and nurturing — plus integration. LoopFuse helps marketers build better pipelines, run more efficient marketing operations, and enable more effective sales teams leading to increased revenue and reduced costs. Learn more about lead nurturing with LoopFuse.

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BMW i is a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles — it delivers smart mobility services. Visit

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Discover Digital Group is a unique consultancy that focuses on identifying new e-revenue opportunities for both Fortune 1000 and startup clients alike. From developing new digital products to generating new audiences and revenue for existing online products, it creates smarter, more effective solutions for your business challenges. Follow DDG on Facebook to get a taste of the insights that are offered.

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Ford supports Mashable Explore. The Content Exploration Series is presented by Mashable Explore, a new way to discover resources and information on your favorite Mashable topics. Mashable Explore is brought to you by the all-new, 100% reinvented 2011 Ford Explorer. Drive One.

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Site24x7, an online website monitoring service which allows users to monitor their website, web application and online web transactions. Users can get instant alerts when their website goes down. Site24x7 allows monitoring from across 25+ global locations. Site24x7 pricing starts from $1/Month/URL. Sign up for a 15-day Free Trial!

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With the explosion of mobile devices, advertising dollars will begin to shift to mobile for tech marketers this year. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke talks about the rise of social and how IDG helps marketers create social campaigns. The line is fading between social media and traditional media. Earned media or sharing of information within social networks is becoming mainstream whether on a PC or mobile device. Learn more.

IDG supports Mashable’s Modern Media Agency Series.

Oneupweb is an agency specializing in search marketing, social media and design for mid-to-enterprise level brands. Keep up with Oneupweb through its blog and monthly newsletter.

Oneupweb supports Mashable’s Behind the Social Media Campaign Series. Follow Oneupweb on Twitter and Facebook.

SoftLayer provides global, on-demand data center and hosting services from facilities across the U.S. it leverages best-in-class connectivity and technology to innovate industry leading, fully automated solutions that empower enterprises with complete access, control, security, and scalability.

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SRDS connects agencies, brands and media through its online database of media planning data. SRDS is committed to making it easier to buy online ad space and build integrated marketing campaigns. Sign up for a free 14-day trial of the SRDS consumer and business database here.

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Buddy Media is Power Tools for Facebook. Have something new to tell 500 million people? Learn the best way to manage multiple brands on Facebook with this webinar.

Buddy Media supports Mashable’s Facebook Marketing Series, which is about how brands can advertise on Facebook. Follow Buddy Media on Twitter and Facebook.

Clickatell was the first provider of Online SMS Gateway connectivity, and after 10 years, is still the leading provider. Clickatell can deliver your SMS text messages to over 818 mobile networks in more than 222 countries and territories.

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BizSpark is a program which offers new software businesses and entrepreneurs access to Microsoft design, development and production tools with no upfront costs for up to three years. Learn more or connect with a Microsoft BizSpark advisor here.

BizSpark supports Mashable’s weekly Spark of Genius Series, which showcases promising startups. Follow Microsoft BizSpark on Twitter and Facebook.

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Eventbrite sponsors Mashable’s weekly social media and marketing event guide. Follow Eventbrite on Twitter and Facebook.

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Intridea is an application development consultancy specializing in Ruby on Rails and mobile development, and has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and funded startups. Visit or call 1-888-968-IDEA (4332).

Intridea has created the official Mashable apps for platforms including Android, iPad, and the Mac App Store. Follow Intridea on Twitter and Facebook.

Webtrends founded the web analytics industry in 1993. Today, its leadership extends much further to social media measurement, paid-search optimization and connecting the online and offline data silos scattered throughout organizations. Webtrends helps you analyze the data generated by your web site, blogs, online campaigns and enterprise systems to understand your customers and, ultimately, business opportunities.

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Since 2007 W3 EDGE has assisted with creative, web development, and search and social media marketing for and its other web properties and projects. Day-to-day maintenance and support is handled by Frederick Townes and his W3 EDGE team.

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Rackspace Hosting is the world’s leader in the hosting and cloud computing industry. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support® to its customers across a portfolio of IT services. For more information, visit is hosted on Rackspace, and Rackspace sponsors Mashable’s Web Development Series. Check it out here, and follow Rackspace on Twitter.

iStockphoto offers easy, affordable inspiration with millions of safe, royalty-free photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash® files. Browse the best stock library of royalty free content at prices anyone can afford. Mashable readers save 10%.

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Dyn Inc. is a world leader in managed DNS, powering the best brands on the web including Gowalla, Mashable, Twitter, Wikia and more. For more information about Dyn Inc., visit, e-mail or call +1-603-668-4998.

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ConcentricSky offers web and mobile development with a focus on emerging technologies. With partners ranging from National Geographic and Encyclopedia Britannica to NASA and The World Bank, Concentric Sky is known for delivering innovative, world-class software solutions.

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Acer Aspire S3 Is Thin, Light & Very Fast

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 05:10 AM PDT

Acer has jumped on the Ultrabook bandwagon — the new class of ultra-portable laptops pushed by Intel — with Aspire S3, officially unveiled at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

The device lives up to its name, with a magnesium alloy case measuring only 13 mm in thinness and weighing 1.3 kg. Acer says it takes only 1.5 seconds for the Aspire S3 to wake up from sleep (6 seconds from deep sleep), and 2 more seconds for it to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, which makes it a perfect portable machine for people who don’t like to waste time.

The rest of the specs include: a 13.3-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel LED display; a choice between low voltage Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs; a battery that should last 7 hours and a choice between SSD or HDD for storage.

The prices in Europe are €799 to €1,199 ($1,138 to $1,707), and the device should become available in September.

More About: Acer, Acer Aspire Ultrabook S3, gadgets, IFA, laptop, Ultrabook

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HTC Titan & Radar: A Huge Windows Smartphone And Its Little Brother

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 02:08 AM PDT

HTC has announced two new Windows Phone 7 smartphones: HTC Titan and HTC Radar.

The Titan is an enormous device: With a 4.7-inch, WVGA (800 x 480 pixel) screen, it’s still a smartphone but it’s dangerously close to tablet territory. Given its huge screen size, however, its measurements are reasonable: 130.6 x 70.6 x 9.9 mm still falls under the pocket-size label.

It comes with a 1.5 GHz single-core Snapdragon CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and HSPA+ connectivity, which doesn’t quite make it the top smartphone around but it’s definitely in the upper echelon as far as specifications are concerned.

The Radar is a mid-range WP7 smartphone, with a far more reasonable 3.8-inch Super LCD screen, a 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel camera on the back.

Both devices should become widely available in Europe in October.

More About: htc, HTC Radar, HTC Titan, IFA, smartphone, trending

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Oprah to Appear Live on Facebook, Invites Your Questions

Posted: 01 Sep 2011 10:17 PM PDT

Oprah Winfrey is coming to Facebook next week. On Sept. 8, the TV star will be the one answering questions rather than asking them, appearing on a one-hour Facebook Live streaming video interview at 4:30 p.m. ET.

To see the live webcast, go to Facebook Live on Sept. 8 and Oprah will answer questions shared by visitors to the Facebook Live event wall. Fans are invited to share their questions now, with the promise that “you might hear Oprah answer your question during the live show.”

Oprah is no stranger to Facebook. Her official Oprah Winfrey page is liked by more than 6.2 million fans. She’s also hip to the iPad-based magazine app Flipboard, where there is an official “Oprah” section.

Oprah has a burgeoning Twitter account as well, where she has 7.2 million followers. That number is dwarfed by the throngs of devotees the woman enjoys elsewhere. For instance, soon after she joined Twitter and featured it on her TV show in 2009, Twitter traffic was boosted by an astonishing 24% compared to day before the segment aired.

Now that’s clout.

Graphic courtesy iStockphoto/EdStock

More About: appearance, facebook live, Oprah winfrey, trending

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