Monday, 24 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 16 News Updates - including “Why Slacktivism Is Underrated”

Mashable: Latest 16 News Updates - including “Why Slacktivism Is Underrated”

Why Slacktivism Is Underrated

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 05:03 AM PDT

Katya Andresen is chief strategy officer of Network for Good, author of Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes and blogs at You can find her on Twitter @katyaN4G.

So called “slacktivists” take easy, social actions in support of a cause – signing a petition, liking a Facebook Page or putting a pink ribbon on their avatar. But that's pretty much where their involvement ends, right?

Slacktivists tend to get a bad rap: they lack real commitment, care only about self-satisfaction and don't contribute to meaningful change. So, why waste time with these lightweight social activists?

Because new research shows just how valuable social actions (however easy) can be.

The Dynamics of Cause Engagement study by Georgetown University's Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Worldwide shows slacktivists (whom I prefer to call "social champions") are more likely to take meaningful actions.

In the 2010 national survey, people who frequently engaged in promotional social activity were:

  • As likely as non-social media promoters to donate
  • Twice as likely to volunteer their time
  • Twice as likely to take part in events like charity walks
  • More than twice as likely to buy products or services from companies that supported the cause
  • Three times as likely to solicit donations on behalf of their cause
  • More than four times as likely to encourage others to sign a petition or contact political representatives

The survey was conducted in late 2010 by TNS Global among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 American adults, ages 18 and over, with a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.

The bottom line? Just because people are doing something easy on social media doesn't mean that's all they are doing. In fact, so-called slacktivists participate in more than twice as many activities as people who don't engage in slacktivism. Plus, the activities that slacktivists choose to undertake have a higher potential to influence others.

"This research shows good causes should focus like a laser beam on social champions because they will do more, spread more, and advance your cause more," says Julie Dixon of Georgetown's Center for Social Impact Communication.

Here are four important tips for people who care about advancing good causes.

  • Don't stereotype slacktivists. Just because people are taking easy actions online doesn't mean they aren't willing – or already doing – more for a cause.
  • Social champions have real value, because they're not only likely to undertake certain activities; they're also more likely to spread the word. The same study found the second most common way people get involved in a cause after donating is by talking to others about it. Word of mouth is critically important, so focus on the people willing to spread it.
  • Slacktivists are like the rest of us. They exhibit varying degrees of commitment to different causes. The message here isn't that all slacktivists are diehard activists. They may be willing to join a Facebook cause for one non-profit, but run a marathon and raise a fortune for another. It's up to the non-profit to see slacktivist action as a sign of interest, and then to deepen that interest with strong engagement.
  • Measure your engagement with everyone, slacktivist or not, so you know your time is well spent. You really don't know who is worth the most time until you pay attention to the actions people take. Make sure you have the systems in place to determine your return on investment.

Don't slack off yourself when it comes to engaging with slacktivists. They may be far more energetic – and interested – than you think.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, AnthiaCumming

More About: activism, causes, Social Good, Social Media

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Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro Lineup

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 04:27 AM PDT

Apple has refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup with new processors and graphics chips Monday without changing any of the prices.

The biggest change is in the CPU department: the 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro now comes with either a 2.4 GHz Core i5 or a 2.8 GHZ Core i7 CPU, both dual-core.

The 15-inch version can now be had with either a quad-core, 2.2 GHz i7 or a 2.4 GHz i7 CPU, while the 17-inch version starts only with the latter processor. Both can optionally be configured with a quad-core, 2.5 GHz processor as well.

Also, the 15- and 17-inch variants of the MacBook Pro can now be configured with an AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics chip.

More About: apple, Macbook Pro

Grand Theft Apple

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 04:08 AM PDT

It was easy to see that Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of Google or Android. But I’ll admit, I was surprised by the pure vitriol he expressed towards the search giant’s mobile OS.

It was Apple’s commander-in-chief declaring war.

I have been reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs for the last few days. And while I will have plenty more to say about the in-depth look at one of the world’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs, I do think the subject of Steve Jobs and Android deserves deeper exploration.

In the book, Jobs accuses Google of “grand theft” with Android — the Apple co-founder believed that the search giant’s leadership “personally betrayed” him by stealing concepts like the app screen and multitouch. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (who sat on Apple’s board of directors until August 2009) had inside information on the iPhone, while co-founders Page and Brin looked to Jobs for mentorship.

“We did not enter the search business,” Jobs told Isaacson in the book. “They entered the phone business. Make no mistake. They want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”

Jobs, enraged as he talked about Google, went on to bash the company’s famous motto. “I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing,” he said. “This ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra, it’s bullshit.”

Just a few pages later, Jobs declares what is essentially a manifesto of war against Google and Android. His dying words to Apple’s leadership is simple: Android must be destroyed, no matter the cost. They are words that will likely echo in the ears of Google’s leadership for years to come:

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google, you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.’ Grand theft. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty. Outside of Search, Google’s products — Android, Google Docs — are shit.”

A Declaration of War

Did Google steal any proprietary technology from Apple in order to build Android? There is no way to truly know — neither side is going to be objective in this debate.

The debate is a moot point, though. Steve Jobs believed that Google ripped off Apple in the worst way possible, and now that sentiment is public knowledge. And while I doubt that will affect what phone consumers choose when they are at the AT&T or Verizon store, you can bet that everybody working at Apple will remember the dying words of their visionary leader.

It’s that type of statement that will create an even greater divide between the two companies. It’s the type of statement that will spark a bitter war between Google and Apple, because Jobs’s words were nothing less than a declaration of war.

The war will only get uglier as Google closes in on Motorola. It’s going to look like Grand Theft Auto — there are going to be bodies before this thing is settled.

The Social Analyst is a column by Mashable Editor-at-Large Ben Parr, where he digs into social media trends and how they are affecting companies in the space.

Lead image courtesy of Gamefaqs, sleepmode.

More About: android, apple, features, Opinion, steve jobs, The Social Analyst

Netflix Coming to UK and Ireland in 2012

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 01:11 AM PDT

The rumors which have been circulating since early 2010 have turned out to be true: Netflix has officially announced its expansion to the UK and Ireland in early 2012.

The company announced it will offer unlimited TV shows and movie streaming for a “low” monthly subscription price.

We’ll have to wait a while to find out what “low” means, however, as details about the pricing, content and supported devices will be announced “closer to launch”.

Users in the UK and Ireland who are anxious to find out more as soon as possible can do head on over to and sign up to receive an email alert about the launch.

Netflix’s biggest competitor in the UK will be Lovefilm, a movie rental service acquired by Amazon in January 2011.

Recently, Netflix has increased its prices and announced a separate service for DVD’s in the U.S. under the name Qwikster, but after a huge backlash from users, it decided to give up on the plan altogether and continue offering streaming and DVD rentals as one service.

More About: europe, ireland, movie rentals, netflix, streaming, TV, uk

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The Impact of the iPod

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 06:35 PM PDT

“With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go,” said Steve Jobs as the first iPod launched in 2001. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.”

Thanks to the iPod’s far-reaching impact over the last decade, you could argue that the consumer electronics industry has never been the same again.

On the tenth anniversary of the iPod’s debut we take a look at just how influential Apple’s portable digital music player has been. Take a look at our analysis, complete with comment from experts. Have your say in the comments below.

1. Transforming the Consumer Electronics Industry

“The iPod truly ushered in the era of portable digital consumer electronics, much as the Walkman did for analog audio,” states Jordan Selburn, principal analyst of consumer electronics at IHS-iSuppli.

In just 10 years the iPod has been so influential that the word has come to represent a portable digital music player in the same way “Hoover” dominates the vacuum cleaner market. Apple wasn’t the first to introduce such a device, so why has the iPod brand dominated all others?

“The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player out there — before it came out I’d used models from Rio for my runs — but it took the shortcomings inherent in the existing products in the market and improved on them,” explains Jonathan Seff, executive editor, MacWorld.

“It held much more music than a typical MP3 player, and its use of FireWire meant transfer speeds much faster than the slow 12Mbps USB everyone else was using,” Seff continues. “Plus the combo of hardware and software (iTunes) made it easier to use than much of what else was out there. And in very little time, the iPod took over the digital music player section of the market.”

Apple has had something like 70% market share for years now. There are still competing products (minus the Microsoft Zune, which was recently killed off), but the others are fighting over a pretty small sliver of the pie.”

Leander Kahney, editor of Cult of Mac and author of The Cult of iPod, sees the iPod’s primary impact in terms of the “connected device.”

“Gadgets are no longer stand-alone products,” Kahney says, “they connect to a range of software and online services. Think Internet TVs, stereos like Sonos, handheld gaming devices, GPS bike computers, in-car stereos, high-end watches, Internet radios, even printers — the list goes on and on — and the iPod was the first to do that.

“In terms of connected devices, Selburn sees the iPod as essential tool for hooking consumers to content. He says the device “ignited the idea of ubiquitous access to content,” an influence that can now be seen across all areas of consumer electronics.

“The era of the connected consumer, ignited by the iPod, is now coming to fruition. In the very near future, consumers will truly have access to all of their content anywhere they are, and on a wide range of devices spanning from home theaters and large screens to media tablets and smartphones and, of course, their iPods.”

2. An Influential Design

The iPod’s design is iconic. Design museums around the world display iPods proudly. Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, Jonathan Ive, has earned multiple awards and accolades.

“One of the major reasons for the iPod’s success is its unique design, which is simple and aesthetically appealing, making use of high-quality materials like stainless steel,” says Dr. Peter Zec, CEO and intellectual and creative head of red dot. “The Apple Industrial Design Team, led by Jonathan Ive, focuses on strict and sustainable design politics: The first iPod fitted perfectly into Apple’s product family of that time — just like the latest models do, which pick up today’s unibody design of the iMac or MacBook Pro.

“The simplicity of the iPod’s design speaks for itself: There are no unnecessary buttons or wheels, just one single element to navigate intuitively through the product’s entire music library.

“When the first iPod was put into the market in 2001, it was a breakthrough and changed portable music from scratch, continues Zec. “There are only few products that shaped the lifestyle of a generation, found its way into popular culture and became the archetype of an entire product group like this.

It’s not just the iPod’s hardware that has been influential. Apple’s user interface and experience also had an enormous impact on the market.

“The iPod had an enormous effect on the UI/UX of consumer electronics, completely changing the game from the day it was launched,” says Joshua Porter, interface designer and director of UX at HubSpot.

Porter says the iPod’s simple interface was optimized for music playing. The “fun” scrollwheel let users easily move through large lists of music, and the device’s pocket-sized ergonomics had rounded corners and was generally comfortable to use.

“I would say that, in general, the addictive nature of all of these pieces created an amazing user experience that just wasn’t possible with anything else on the market,” concludes Porter. “Apple was the first company to truly think of the overarching activity of purchasing, organizing, and listening to music — and designing their ecosystem to make that activity pleasurable — a good experience from beginning to end.”

Even the iPod’s headphones were strategically designed. “The white headphones were interesting at first, but it was quickly realized that they were an amazing advertisement for iPods,” says Porter. “I even heard stories of people switching to black headphones because thieves were targeting the white ones!”

3. The Changing Music Industry

Over the last 10 years, the iPod’s companion software, iTunes, has evolved from a simple music management application to a multi-billion dollar online store, with agreements with all the major record labels.

“Without easy-to-use software such as iTunes, the iPod would be as useless as most of the other players on the market,” says Patrik Wikström, author of The Music Industry – Music in the Cloud.

“In the early days of the iPod and iTunes, Apple was considered by the industry to be part of ‘the digital problem’ and to encourage piracy,” continues Wikström. The industry argued (probably correctly) that most music on peoples’ iPods was illegal. The iPod and iTunes was a cog in the global piracy machinery and probably contributed to the shrinking CD sales rather than anything else. It was not until 2003 when iTunes Music Store was launched when the industry started to believe that Apple was going to save them all. It was indeed an important step when Apple was able to convince all the major labels to license their music to iTunes.”

Wikström says one could argue that iTunes has been more a hindrance to the industry than a help. Despite the billions of sales using the platform, the music industry has still suffered over the past decade. Did the dominant iTunes business model blind the industry to alternatives?

“iTunes prolonged the industry’s dependence on the old model, and made them believe that it actually might be possible just to shift from CD to MP3, just as they had done in the past when they moved from vinyl to tape to CD,” says Wikström. “This is just speculation, but perhaps the most important impact on the music industry is that iTunes delayed the shift from a retail model based on control to what we now start to see emerge as various kinds of cloud-based retail models, such as Spotify and its peers.”

Futurist Gerd Leonhard, author of The Future of Content and co-author of The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution also sees iTunes playing a part in the decline of the music industry.

“The genius of the iPod was (and still is, with the iPhone) that, while the music industry actually believed that it had found a good (i.e., closed and controlled) way to extract money from otherwise freeloading consumers, the iTunes/iPod/iPhone ecosystem became the dominant hardware solution for the consumption of free music.”

4. The Accessories Market

Hundred of companies have created viable businesses on the back of the iPod. The iPeripherals marketplace is vast — and arguably unique — in its sheer scale and variety of products.

Evan Stein, the director of marketing for SDI Technologies’ iHome brand (the manufacturer of the first iPod clock radio) says the iPod changed consumers’ expectations.

“The iPod is a worldwide cultural phenomenon whose cross-media functionality (e.g. music, photos, video, etc.) has redefined what people could ever expect from an electronic device, and has created a new multi-million dollar industry of supporting accessories.”

From speakers and headphones to in-car kits, covers, cases and skins, to novelty iProducts, the relationship between the iPod (and later iPhone) and the accessory market is self-propagating. The more iPods Apple sells, the larger the market for accessories. The larger the amount of accessories, the more likely people are to buy into the iPod ecosystem.

Griffin Technology has been described as one of the first companies to realize the commercial potential of the iPod, introducing its first iPod accessory just a year after the MP3 player launched.

“The abundance of devices that work with the iPod has opened the door for accessory manufacturers worldwide, and without it, the mobile accessory industry wouldn’t be what it is today,” says president of Griffin, Mark Rowan.

5. Changing Consumer Perceptions of Apple

The iPod has had an enormous impact on the average consumer’s opinion of Apple. “Pre-iPod, Apple was primarily a computer company,” says Jordan Selburn.

“The Macintosh, despite increasing popularity with the introduction of the iMac, was still a niche product,” continues Selburn. “The success of the Macintosh computers can be attributed to the company’s focus on the consumer rather than on raw technology (a critical success factor that seems to still elude many companies). The iPod brought that philosophy to the consumer electronics market and, as a result,…consumers now see Apple as a company where technology just works, and you don’t need a Ph.D. to listen to a song.”

Leander Kahney believes it was the iPod that solidified Apple’s mainstream appeal. “Before the iPod, Apple had a reputation for making nice but expensive computers…But as the iPod became cheaper and more popular, so more and more consumers were introduced to the Apple brand. Someone who got an iPod for Christmas would wander into the Apple Store and start checking out the other products. Next thing you know, they’ve replaced their old PC with a MacBook. Then they buy an iPhone, then an iPad. So the iPod has a tremendous ‘halo effect’ — the halo from the iPod shines a light on Apple’s other products. It took a while, but Apple these days is thoroughly mainstream.”

Jonathan Seff, who also notes the “halo effect,” suggests the real breakthrough came when Apple first launched an iPod that worked with a Windows PC, and then when it introduced iTunes for Windows.

“When the iPod starting supporting Windows PCs, it opened Apple up to a whole new world of people who would never have considered buying anything from Apple. It took Apple from being a computer company for Mac users to a consumer electronics company for the masses. That led to the iPhone and the iPad, both of which are huge cross-platform products.”

In Conclusion

Ten years later it’s hard to believe we’re talking about the massive impact of a pocket-sized, $399 gadget, especially considering consumer reaction to the device was initially lukewarm.

“Many people looked at the iPod when it came out and couldn’t believe the price and the comparative lack of features,” says Joshua Porter. “But once it became a hit, other companies had to redefine what great was in their own houses, but by then Apple was ahead of the game — and still is.”

Images courtesy of 37Prime, osaMu, EverJean, Robert S. Donovan, Peter Gerdes

More About: apple, features, ipod, Music

WATCH: Steve Jobs’s Biographer on “60 Minutes” [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 05:45 PM PDT

60 Minutes has posted its two-part interview with Walter Isaacson, the authorized biographer of Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs, which aired at 7 p.m. local time Sunday evening.

We’ve embedded parts one and two below. You can also check out some of the highlights from the transcript here.

Steve Jobs, Part One

Steve Jobs, Part Two

More About: 60 minutes, steve jobs, trending, Walter Isaacson

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Steve Jobs’s Biographer on “60 Minutes”: The Highlights

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 05:29 PM PDT

60 Minutes‘s interview with Walter Isaacson, the authorized biographer of Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, aired on CBS News around the U.S. at 7 p.m. local time Sunday evening.

The segment appeared two-and-a-half weeks after Jobs’s passing, and less than 24 hours before Isaacson’s biography hits bookshelves. Excerpts of the biography, which contains information derived from interviews with more than 100 individuals among his acquaintance, as well as some 40 interviews with Jobs himself, have already appeared at many media outlets.

Below, we’ve identified some highlights from the transcript of Sunday evening’s segment. You can watch the segment in full here.


  • Jobs invited Isaacson to write his biography seven years ago. Isaacson thought the request “presumptuous and premature, since Jobs was still a young man.” What Isaacson didn’t know at the time was that Jobs was about to undergo surgery for pancreatic cancer.
  • Isaacson describes Jobs as “petulant” and “brittle.” “He could be very, very mean to people at times. Whether it was to a waitress in a restaurant, or to a guy who had stayed up all night coding. … And you’d say, ‘Why did you do that? Why weren’t you nicer?’ And he’d say, ‘I really want to be with people who demand perfection. And this is who I am,” recalls Isaacson.
  • Isaacson attributes much of Jobs’s personality and drive to a few key moments in his childhood. Isaacson tells one anecdote involving the construction of a fence with his adoptive father Paul. “And [Paul] said, ‘You got to make the back of the fence that nobody will see just as good looking as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know, and that will show that you’re dedicated to making something perfect.’”
  • Jobs was also influenced by the Bay Area, and not just the Hewlett-Packard offices located nearby, but also its counter-culture spirit. “He was sort of a hippie-ish rebel kid, loved listening to Dylan music, dropped acid, but also he loved electronics,” Isaacson describes. He says that when Jobs worked at game-maker Atari they had to put him on the night shift because he walked around barefoot and never bathed, and so employees didn’t want to work with him.
  • Jobs took a seven-month leave from Atari to travel through India. His encounters there and with Zen Buddhism “really informed his design sense,” says Isaacson. “That notion that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication [came from that trip].”
  • When Jobs returned, he began making a primitive computer for hobbyists in the garage of his parents with Steve Wozniak, Apple’s other founder. They started with $1,300. By the time Jobs was 25 Apple was worth “maybe 50 million dollars,” Jobs said in a taped recording with Isaacson. “I knew I never had to worry about money again.”
  • Jobs also had a natural disregard for authority, and felt that normal rules didn’t apply to him, Isaacson explains. One manifestation of that principle was visible in a Mercedes sports coupe he owned, which he refused to put a license plate on.
  • Isaacson says Jobs’s house in Palo Alto is completely unremarkable. “[It's] a house on a normal street with a normal sidewalk. No big winding driveway. No big security fences,” Isaacson says. He recalls that Jobs said he “did not want to live that nutso lavish lifestyle that so many people do when they get rich.”
  • Jobs did meet his biological father, who once ran a restaurant in Silicon Valley. But Jobs never revealed to his father who he was. “I was in that restaurant once or twice and I remember meeting the owner who was from Syria,” Jobs said on tape. “And it was most certainly [my father]. And I shook his hand and he shook my hand. And that's all.”
  • Jobs’s cancer was discovered accidentally while he was being checked for kidney stones in 2004. A cat scan revealed a malignant tumor in his pancreas. Jobs delayed the operation for its removal for nine months while he tried a number of natural remedies first. By the time it was operated on, the cancer had spread to tissues around the pancreas. Isaacson says he believes Jobs regretted the delay.
  • Through 2008, Jobs continued to receive secret cancer treatment even though he was telling everyone he had been cured. The cancer had spread to his liver by this time.
  • In the last two-and-a-half years of his life, Jobs no longer wanted to go out or travel, but wanted to focus on the products he was building at Apple: namely, the iPhone and iPad. “I think he would’ve loved to have conquered television [as well],” says Isaacson. “He would love to make an easy-to-use television set. … But he started focusing on his family again as well. And it was a painful brutal struggle. And he would talk, often to me about the pain.”
  • Jobs occasionally brought up the subject of death in their last meetings. “I saw my life as an arc and that it would end and compared to that nothing mattered,” Jobs said in a taped interview. “You're born alone, you're going to die alone. And does anything else really matter? I mean what is it exactly is it that you have to lose Steve? You know? There's nothing.”
  • Jobs also said he began believing in the existence of God “a bit more.” “Maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on,” Jobs said on tape. He paused before he continued, “Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

More About: 60 minutes, apple, steve jobs, Walter Isaacson

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Top 12 Mashable Infographics

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 04:17 PM PDT

1. How Airlines Have Taken Flight With Social Media

[Full Graphic]

An analysis of how some of the most social airlines -- like Virgin America, JetBlue and Delta -- have utilized social media to drive their marketing and to reward loyal customers.

Click here to view this gallery.

Everyone loves an infographic, and here at Mashable, we’ve taken an interest in producing our own infographics. In the gallery above, you’ll see some of our favorite Mashable infographics that were researched and visualized in-house to help you see the big picture in tech history. Because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

More About: features, infographics, Mashable Infographics

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How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 02:52 PM PDT

Over the past few years, we’ve seen social media used in the job market in a number of ways — startups, small businesses and large corporations alike are diving into the socialverse to find top talent, and job seekers are likewise getting creative with social media.

Social media monitoring service Reppler recently surveyed more than 300 hiring professionals to determine when and how job recruiters are screening job candidates on different social networks.

The study found that more than 90% of recruiters and hiring managers have visited a potential candidate’s profile on a social network as part of the screening process. And a whopping 69% of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles — an almost equal proportion of recruiters (68%), though, have hired a candidate based on his or her presence on those networks.

Check out the infographic below for more results from the survey, including what details on a candidate’s social profile make recruiters tick.

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

Infographic courtesy of Reppler

More About: features, infographic, job recruiting, job search series, trending

Robot Plays Angry Birds [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 01:44 PM PDT

Robots can do a lot. We’ve seen them compete in the Hawaii Ironman and play in an orchestra. But play video games?

The Bitbeambot does exactly that — play Angry Birds, Rovio’s far too addictive mobile game.

Scientists began innovating with robotics to help humans with necessary processes. Gaming, as fun and addictive as it may be, falls far from these initial aspirations. Playing Angry Birds is a stress reliever, an escape from real-world toils.

SEE ALSO: Meet the Newest Angry Bird [VIDEO]

Now that there’s a robot who can plan Angry Birds, what do you think is the wildest capability robots are yet to conquer? Let us know your ideas in the comments.

More About: angry birds, Robot, Video

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10 Retro Games for the Modern Mobile

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 01:07 PM PDT

Despite modern gaming technology, gamers are still eager for a throwback, now and then.

Modern mobile gaming has adopted retro style to create new experiences. Although the graphics and sound on retro games were once considered modern, now they're considered an art form. Some have updated franchise games popular in the '80s and early '90s. Other games look like they could have been plucked straight from a past era.

Any way you stack it, retro has been reborn on iOS. Here are 10 throwback games you’ll love.

1. 1-bit Ninja

This game looks like something straight from a 1989 Game Boy, and plays like it too. Players race to reach the end of each level in less than two minutes by jumping on enemies' heads and trying to collect special coins along the way.

The game enters the 21st century with its 3D setting -- some level features look like obstacles, but are actually part of the background. Thankfully, the player can tilt the camera to help expose these tricks.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: features, Gaming, iOS, ipad, iphone

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YouTube Spreads Images of Turkey’s 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 12:30 PM PDT

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook eastern Turkey Sunday at 1:41 p.m. local time. Across the world, we can watch images of the destruction, thanks to YouTube.

While we’ve seen Twitter boast that it’s faster than earthquakes, when it comes to getting news from a population across the world, YouTube uploads add a needed level of depth and imagery.

As many as 1,000 people are feared dead in the mountainous region, full of poorly constructed buildings, reports The Guardian. The worst affected areas are the towns of Ercis and Van, where 80 buildings and 10 buildings respectively have collapsed, including a student dormitory.

Residents of the affected areas are reporting lacks of food, water and shelter. Through YouTube, we can see exactly what the destruction they’re facing looks like.

Although a number of countries have pledged to help in the relief efforts, we are yet to see many campaigns mobilize online. You can donate to Global Giving, which is the first site we’ve seen with a targeted campaign set up.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr user webbilgi.

More About: Earthquake, YouTube

YouTube Cover Song Face-Off: Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 12:00 PM PDT

Each week, Mashable picks a popular song, finds 10 covers of it and asks you to vote for your favorite.

Ever since Facebook brought real-time music streaming and discovery to users’ News Feeds and profiles, Spotify integration has shown us that our friends are huge fans of American indie pop band Foster the People.

It’s no wonder several dozen musicians have covered the band’s hit song “Pumped Up Kicks” on YouTube. We’ve chosen 10 of the best versions and corralled them into the video gallery below. Pump up your speakers and then vote for your favorite rendition in the poll.

Next week’s Face-Off is for Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” so submit your favorites in the comments section.

Cris Cab

Click here to view this gallery.

To listen to more covers used in past YouTube Cover Song Face-Offs, click here.

**The winner of this poll will be selected Oct. 28 at 9 a.m. ET.

Last Week’s Face-Off Winner: Artist vs. Poet

The pop punk cover of Nicki Minaj’s "Super Bass" from Artist vs. Poet mustered 30% of the votes in last week's Face-off to beat out its nearest competitor by just 6%.

“We did a cover for Nicki Minaj's ‘Super Bass’ and we released a small clip as a joke … however, so many of you were demanding the full version we decided to finish it,” the band wrote in a Tumblr post. “We will be making a YouTube video for the release of that song that will feature You or you and your friends singing/rapping/dancing/being goofy/doing whatever to our version of the song and we will include your clips in our video.”

Check out that crowdsourced video below. Artist vs. Poet also released an original song, “Doin’ Alright,” this month (see video number four). The band plans to release a new EP in November.

Here’s a collection of covers from last week’s winner.

"Super Bass" Cover

Original by Nicki Minaj.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Entertainment, Music, music videos, viral videos, YouTube, YouTube Cover Song Face-Off

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Is Tech Too Damn Distracting?

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 11:17 AM PDT

Watch where you're going--Illustration by Lance Ulanoff

I'm a bad man. I simply do not pay attention the way I used to. I do so many things that I promised myself I would never do: Work on the computer when I'm supposed to be listening to someone on the phone. Watch my tweets flow by on my laptop while someone is standing right in front of me, talking to me. And worst of all, I sometimes Tweet or text while walking on New York City's crowded streets and avenues.

What’s happened to me? Better question: What's happening to us?

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

When I'm walking with my head bowed, staring intently at a little 4-inch screen, there's another noodle head heading right towards me, doing the exact same thing. It's a wonder there aren't more collisions on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

This is not a new problem. A noteworthy 2008 Ohio State University study and an excellent New York Times article based on it outline the issue in excruciating detail.

From the New York Times:

"Slightly more than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 because they got distracted and tripped, fell or ran into something while using a cellphone to talk or text. That was twice the number from 2007, which had nearly doubled from 2006, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University, which says it is the first to estimate such accidents."

The article is from January 2010. In 2009, US. smartphone penetration sat at roughly 32% of all Americans. This year it's edging toward 50%. Imagine all those millions of people walking, talking, driving and crashing into each other. Actually, you don't have to imagine. Just look around you.

Technologies like voice search on Android phones and Apple's new Siri: Intelligent Assistant on the iPhone 4S could at least stop people from looking down and typing on their phones. Still, talking on cellphones on the street and in the car is almost just as distracting.

A 2009 University of Utah study (PDF) found that people were significantly distracted, even when conducting hands-free cell phone conversations. From the report:

"…even when participants looked directly at objects in the driving environment, they were less likely to create a durable memory of those objects if they were conversing on a cell phone. …Moreover, in-vehicle conversations do not interfere with driving as much as cell-phone conversations do, because drivers are better able to synchronize the processing demands of driving with in vehicle conversations than with cell-phone conversations."

Which probably means technologies like Siri and Android voice search may not help as much as everyone thinks.

Let's get out of the car for a moment and back on the sidewalk. I've witnessed innumerable people using Bluetooth headsets to talk and walk at the same time. This activity is quite different than walking with a group of friends and talking, and when you do it, you always look a little nutty, apparently talking to nobody but yourself. I can tell you that when I use a headset and walk to the train, I can scarcely remember my trip. I'm seeing everything and have not collided with anyone, but the memories simply aren't there. It's as if they were pushed aside in favor of the conversation happening largely inside my head.

That University of Utah study calls this 'Inattention Blindness" and I'm sure it's real. Be honest. Haven't you ever driven for a while, daydreaming until you realized you did not remember the last few minutes — or more — of the drive? No memory of turns, signals, acceleration, breaking; yet there you are, someplace else, all in one piece.

In the home, I have multiple screens competing for my attention and I am as guilty as they come when it comes to losing track of what's going on around me. The only solution I've found is to literally put away all these screens. Hide my phones, close my laptops, turn off the TV and actually pay attention to whomever is standing right in front of me.

I don't expect everyone to permanently pocket their phones, end in-car, hands-free phone conversations and turn off that iPad. However, being aware of the issue could be half the battle. I'm just not sure this battle is one any of us, especially me, can win.

What about you? Is your tech and social distraction out of control? What do you do to maintain balance and not lose focus on what's real? Tell us in the comments.

Illustration by Lance Ulanoff

More About: android, distraction, iphone, siri, smartphone, technology

Microsoft YouTube Channel Hacked

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 10:34 AM PDT

Computer giant Microsoft’s official YouTube channel appears to have been hacked Sunday morning. All of the official videos, including recent ad campaigns, have been removed from the account. In their place are short clips soliciting advertisers, not surprisingly, as the channel has some 24,000+ subscribers.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET, four videos have been uploaded to the account, all time-stamped within the past two hours. A fifth video, most recently uploaded, seems to have been removed. The video, “Garry’s Mod – Escape the Box,” featured what appeared to be an animated gunman shooting at the inside of a construction box.

The channel’s description reads, “I DID NOTHING WRONG I SIMPLY SIGNED INTO MY ACCOUNT THAT I MADE IN 2006 :/.”

More About: hacking, microsoft, YouTube

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Missouri Repeals Law Banning Teacher-Student Facebook Friendship

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 09:56 AM PDT

Remember back in July when the state of Missouri enacted legislation making Facebook friendship between teachers and students — as well as any sort of social networking — illegal?

After teachers complained the ban was unconstitutional and interfered with education, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon altered the state policy in a new bill signed Friday. The initial state senate bill, which has come to be known as the “Facebook Law,” is no longer in effect, reports The Kansas City Star.

Instead, all Missouri school districts will have until March 2012 to create their own social networking policies.

The Missouri State Teachers Association, concerned about First Amendment rights, had sued the state over the law, claiming it was too vague. They were awarded an injunction Aug. 26, two days before the law was supposed to go into effect.

Do you think social networks can facilitate education? Or was Missouri right to ban online networking between teachers and students? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RichVintage

More About: education, Facebook

56 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 09:12 AM PDT

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Weekends at Mashable mean the weekly features roundup is coming at’cha. You ready to rock this list?

This week, we spent some quality time with Siri, and now we can’t live without her. Then, we moved on to the Motorola Droid Razr, following the past week’s event with Verizon. Curious about our review? Read on. Then skip over to a gallery of rapture photos — or rather, what’s going to happen when the world ends. While you’re waiting for the apocalypse, we suggest you catch up on your reading…

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

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Tech & Mobile

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More About: Business, Features Week In Review, List, Mobile, Social Media, web

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