Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 27 News Updates - including “Meet Pinterest: A Private Social Pinboard That Collects Your Online Memories”

Mashable: Latest 27 News Updates - including “Meet Pinterest: A Private Social Pinboard That Collects Your Online Memories”

Meet Pinterest: A Private Social Pinboard That Collects Your Online Memories

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 08:30 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: Pinterest

Quick Pitch: Pinterest is a digital pinboard for things you love.

Genius Idea: A bookmark that makes it easy to save photos from any webpage.

When Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann was looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend, he turned to his own product for inspiration. He found the right one on the list of a jewelry enthusiast, and pinned it to his digital board.

He also used Pinterest to help plan the wedding, keep track of potential future vacation destinations, list his family’s favorite recipes and just remember images that fit the title “little things I love.”

This flexibility is part of Pinterest’s draw. Expressing passion for a hobby is just as easy as browsing for your next purchase. But what’s even more addictive about the site — a collection of collections — is that it’s just as much about the users as it is what they’ve posted.

“The things you collect say a lot about you, and we wanted to bring that experience online,” says Silbermann.

Here’s how Pinterest works: Users create lists about anything and fill them with photos from around the web. They can follow other lists and users, and “repin” specific items. An Instapaper-like bookmark makes adding to a list from anywhere much easier than writing a blog post or uploading an image to a photo-sharing service. And the browser experience is ideal for the small attention spans of web readers — almost no text, almost all pictures.

Pinterest revealed Friday that it had raised a $27 million round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz.

The site is still not open to the public, and users need to request an invitation to use it. Silbermann says that there are no monetization plans in the works. It’s unusual for a startup in private beta to get this much attention from a top investment firm — especially a startup with no clear path to making money.

What Pinterest has is people’s attention. Judging by the 4.5-star iTune rating of its iPhone app, that attention is positive. Though the company declined to reveal information about their userbase, almost 30,000 users have taken time to rate the app in the app store.

That’s about as many ratings as Tumblr’s iPhone app — which had a four-year head start.

Image courtesy of istockphoto, chieferu

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, pinterest

For more Business coverage:

Steve Jobs’ Secret Formula: How He Won Over Critics, Scored 317 Patents & Changed the World

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 08:04 PM PDT

I arrived at Apple’s headquarters a little before 9 a.m. after a beautiful drive down the 280 from San Francisco on a sunny July day. This wasn’t any ordinary trip to One Infinite Loop. Steve Jobs was on stage, but he wasn’t going to announce any products.

Just two days earlier, Apple hastily called for a press conference to address the growing rumors and complaints surrounding the company’s newest product, the iPhone 4. It was a terrible couple of weeks for Apple. You may remember it better as Antennagate.

As I listened to Jobs speak about the antenna issues of other smartphones during his press conference at Apple Town Hall, it was clear he was far from nervous, panicked or upset. Rather he was poignant, focused and even humorous as he took question after question from the press.

He took the whole controversy in stride. He even opened the press conference with the hilarious iPhone antenna song. In the end, Antennagate proved to be just a bump in the road; the iPhone 4 became the world’s best-selling smartphone.

What I remember the most from that press conference was something he said. I think it exemplified everything that made Steve Jobs who he is:

"We care about every user, and we're not going to stop until every one of them is happy."

The Many Faces of Steve Jobs

I have had the honor, on several occasions, to see Jobs captivate an audience with his showmanship and his passion for the products he was showing off to the world.

I’ve also had the chance to chat with many people who have seen him work his magic in person. In some cases, Jobs ripped them apart for not reaching his incredibly high standards. But every single person I’ve talked to was been impressed by his ability to see the future in his mind and launch innovations that would bring the world closer to it.

Steve Jobs was many things: an innovator of ideas, an inventor of products, an entrepreneur who knew how to build a multi-billion dollar business, and a rare individual with the capability to see the future.

SEE ALSO: Memories of Steve Jobs: Interviews & Inspiration

Did you know that Steve Jobs has 317 patents to his name? His name appears on the patent for the first iPod design. His name is on the patents of various laptop designs. He even holds 13 different patents for the unique packaging of iPhones and iPods.

What made him excel in all of these areas wasn’t his genius or some magical formula. There were plenty of times he missed the mark.

What made him successful, and made up for any qualities he lacked, was that he kept trying. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance,” Jobs once said in an interview in 1995.

It’s that rare combination of passion and skill that changed the world and made Jobs a legend. It’s that rare combination that helped him change the world by making our lives easier and connecting us in ways we never knew was possible.

Here’s to Steve Jobs, the world-changer.

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.

More Coverage of Steve Jobs’s Death

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

For more Business coverage:

Toys Take On Consoles: Spyro the Dragon Returns in Social Videogame [PREVIEW]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 07:21 PM PDT

spyro image

After a long break from videogame consoles, Spyro the Dragon is back in Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. The purple dragon’s new outing is another cute platform game, but there’s one major, potentially industry-changing feature: real-world toys that participate in the game.

Skylanders features a unique control system called the Portal of Power. Place the three toy figures that on the portal, and it will instantly zap that figure into the game as a playable character. Mashable had a chance to try out the new features and see just how well it worked.

The Figures

skylanders image

Skylanders plays like a standard platform game: Beat up bad guys, solve puzzles, and so on. Players can switch between a cast of 32 different playable characters (the “Skylanders”) each with their own attacks, abilities and elemental powers. Some characters are more effective in certain areas; others can access secret paths.

You switch between characters not by hitting a button, but by physically swapping out figurines on the Portal of Power. Each character has an RFID chip which automatically registers and loads up the character as well as track any equipment or levels they’ve earned.

There is, of course, a catch. Each game pack only comes with three characters — the other 29 need to be purchased separately. Naturally, developer Activision has been accused of trying to milk its users for cash. Skylanders is launching along with the toy line at Toys ‘R’ Us. Individual characters sell for $7.99, while packs of three cost $19.99. You cannot reach certain areas in-game without characters that you might not own. In one instance we were barred from a section because we needed a “Life” element. We were then presented with the option to watch a commercial-type video featuring the character Stump Smash, sold separately.

While the figures come with a high price tag, they are nicely detailed. Players won’t have to buy all 32 to complete the game. You only need one character from each element to unlock all sections.

Does It Actually Work?

portal image

The system works surprisingly well. Changing characters feels natural and there is almost no loading time. “Your toys feel alive,” says Alec Sokolow who co-wrote the game along with Joel Cohen. “In our mythology they’re not really toys, they’re heroes from Skyland that have been exiled into our land.” Both Sokolow and Cohen worked on Pixar’s Toy Story; the idea that toys have an inner life has clearly carried over. The stories’ whimsical tone and action figure tie-in clearly skews to a younger crowd.

So What’s the Point?

packs image

Anyone who only plays Skylanders by themselves will miss the point of the game. In solo play, the figures are just a nifty way to switch characters and nothing more. The real magic is in Skylander‘s unexpected social elements. Any of the figurines can be used with any version of the game across any console. This means players using an Xbox 360 can bring their figures to a friend’s place and instantly boot up — even if they’re using a PS3.

This encourages social gaming. Can’t beat a level? Invite a friend to bring a powered-up Skylander and help you through a tight spot or simply battle them out in the arena mode. The game is strangely addictive and the mechanic rarely gets old thanks to how well it’s implemented.

“Kids really do believe that their toys are magical and alive and I know that there has been talk over the decades to merge the toy world and the video game worlds” Sokolow says. “It's this marvelous concept that people have been trying to figure out: How do you get something in our world to play out on the screen?”

It’s clear that the Skylanders figures are an easy way to sell merchandise. That, however, isn’t the whole story. Sokolow and Cohen have not only brilliantly written them into the story but translated that shiver and wonder that maybe our toys really could come to life.

More About: Gaming, previews, video game

For more Entertainment coverage:

Will the New Facebook Lead to Information Overload?

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 05:54 PM PDT

Soren Gordhamer is the organizer of the Wisdom 2.0 Conferences, which brings together staff from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Zynga along with Zen teachers and others to explore living with awareness and wisdom in our modern age. You can follow him at @SorenG on Twitter.

If you've been spending much time on the new Facebook, you've likely been asking, "Do I really care that my friend just listened to Lady Gaga on Spotify? Is this worth my attention?"

Facebook, of course, is insisting that you do care.

SEE ALSO: 10 Facebook Timeline Designs That Will Blow You Away [PICS]

We have moved into a new era of sharing. With it comes the opportunity to better know the interests and activities of friends and family on a moment-to-moment basis. At the same time, so much utterly overwhelming information has the possibility to destroy the beauty of the platform.

Possibly at no other time has the question, “Just what is the purpose of social media?” been more relevant.

From the Intentional to the Automatic

With new Facebook we are seeing a shift from the Intentional ("Wow, this is an awesome song. I'd really like to share it with my friends.") to the Automatic (Many of your actions, such as listening to a song, are posted without your direction.). Don't take this shift lightly; it's potentially a game changer, though in what direction is uncertain.

The Ticker streams our friends' activities in our face like never before. This activity will surely expand as automatic posting applications multiply. Facebook is anticipating that more of such content will encourage more engagement, but is it a big risk?

The Balance Between Relevant and Irrelevant Content

The potential danger is that there will be too much information to make the site useful. It sets up an increasing flood of content, making it more difficult than ever to find what is relevant. The shift forces more people to ask, "How much of my own time do I want to spend reading about the activities of someone else's life?"

Reports show that more and more people are feeling overwhelmed by technology, and a recent National Sleep Foundation study found that a whopping 63% of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. We may be increasingly connected, but that does not mean that our quality of life necessarily improves.

It's not likely we will see a mass exodus from Facebook in the coming months, but people will need to spend more time and effort weeding through irrelevant information. The service may increasingly tax our attention and patience.

Why Facebook Has Never Been Free

It's important to realize that there is a cost to social sites like Facebook. Recent posts rumored that Facebook planned to charge users for maintaining accounts. Others countered that Facebook would always be free. However, Facebook has never been free, at least, not since it began displaying ads. We pay for Facebook with our attention.

Even though most of us try to avoid the ads that appear on the side, we don't. If we were all masters at ignoring ads, businesses would stop displaying them.

I have nothing against an ad-supported site, but the quality of content needs to be high enough to outweigh the intrusion of advertisements (which seems to be increasing). My time is worth it.

The New Era: A Question of Attention

Our handheld devices allow sharing in ways few of us could have imagined five years ago. In less than 15 seconds, we can upload a mobile photo to all our online friends. This is both a blessing and a curse, and poses enormous challenges that the social media of today must address.

I'm guessing you, like me, find yourself asking, "Just how much information about that high school acquaintance do I really need?" Of all the things we can dedicate attention to – exercising, spending time with our children or family, reading a book – why spend it on social media? What purpose does it serve?

In a broad stroke, the answer is that it must strengthen, not decrease, the quality of our lives. Therefore, simply increasing the quantity of information about our friends is not the answer. In the short term, pageviews may increase as people try to keep up with the increased content, but inevitably there is only so much time and attention we can spare. The question of relevancy will become evermore important.

So, while there may be no financial cost in spending time with social media, in many ways we pay with something far more valuable: our attention. How we dedicate attention is essentially how we choose to spend the limited heartbeats of our lives. This is a lesson the social networks of our time would benefit from.

More About: content, contributor, Facebook, Facebook Ticker, facebook timeline, features, Social Media

Steve Jobs the Movie? Author Sells Rights for $1 Million Or More [REPORT]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 04:52 PM PDT

Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs, including the late Apple chief’s last ever interview, isn’t even on bookshelves yet. But that hasn’t stopped one movie studio from pouncing on the rights to make a movie out of it.

According to
, Sony Pictures has struck a deal with Isaacson and his publishers that will give them $3 million if the movie is produced — and a guaranteed $1 million even if it isn’t. Isaacson’s book, previously slated for March 2012 and then brought forward to November 21, will now be published by Simon & Schuster later this month. It includes the final interview Jobs ever granted; Isaacson, in a story for (behind its paywall), says the interview took place “a few weeks ago” at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto.

Sony is the studio behind both The Social Network and Moneyball, giving it the best track record we’ve seen for turning real-life business stories into excellent movies. If the producers can secure the services of Aaron Sorkin, the West Wing creator who wrote both of those films, Jobs’ life may well have the screenwriter it deserves.

SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs Authorized Biography Release Date Bumped Up

Jobs’ early career at Apple — up until 1997, at least — has already been the subject of one TV movie, The Pirates of Silicon Valley. That film, produced by TNT in 1999, was loosely based on the book Fire in the Valley and dealt with the parallel rise of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It starred ER actor Noah Wyle in the Jobs role; Wyle’s portrayal was so eerily accurate that Jobs invited the actor on stage to prank the audience at a Macworld conference later that year.

Would the life of Jobs make a compelling motion picture on its own? Let us know your take in the comments.

SEE ALSO: Memories of Steve Jobs: Interviews & Inspiration

More About: apple, Sony Pictures, steve jobs, Top News, Walter Isaacson

For more Entertainment coverage:

Dalai Lama Joins Google+, Plans Hangout With Desmond Tutu

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 03:16 PM PDT

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has officially joined Google+ — and he’s already planning a Hangout with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Hangout, announced Friday on the Dalai Lama’s Google+ profile, will take place Oct. 8 at 10:30 a.m. South African time (GMT+2.00). That’s 4:30 a.m. ET in the U.S. The live video conversation will be part of the Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in Cape Town, South Africa. The event coincides with the archbishop’s 80th birthday on Oct. 7. A link to the Hangout will be available approximately 20 to 30 minutes before it starts.

The Dalai Lama had originally planned on visiting South Africa in person this weekend, but visa woes prevented the holy leader from entering the country. However, that didn’t stop the Dalai Lama from posting a video (below) on Google+, wishing the archbishop — an activist who first rose to prominence opposing apartheid in the 1980s — a happy birthday.

This was all done on the same day the Dalai Lama joined Google+. Another post on the social network welcomes the Dalai Lama’s potential Google+ followers with a mission statement of sorts: “He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture and religion.”

While the Dalai Lama may be new to Google+, this isn’t his first social media presence. He also has a Twitter account with more than 2.5 million followers, along with a Facebook page with more than 2 million fans.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jan Michael Ihl

More About: Dalai Lama, desmond tutu, Google, Social Media, social networking

Occupy Wall Street Newspaper Raises $54,000 on Kickstarter

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 02:04 PM PDT

There’s a new newspaper on Wall Street, and it’s targeting a very different demographic than the classic publication. The Occupied Wall Street Journal, a newspaper dedicated to the Occupy Wall Street protests that began on Sept. 17, distributed its first issue on Saturday.

Backers on crowdfunding site Kickstarter have picked up the printing bill for 50,000 copies and have already chipped in enough money for a second issue. The New York Times says that at the time of its first issue, the paper had raised more than its goal of $12,000 using the site. At this point, that number is close to $54,000.

“PLEASE KEEP CONTRIBUTING! We don’t have billions like FOX News nor are we bankrolled by the Koch brothers,” reads an update to the paper’s Kickstarter page. “We only have YOU! You have our tremendous gratitude, but this money will only pay for two issues.”

Resulting pledges have put The Occupied Wall Street Journal in ranks with Kickstarter’s most funded projects in the writing and publishing category. It’s just $2,000 behind the periodical in the section with the most funding, a website for smart sports writing.

The four-page first issue of the protest’s paper includes profiles of protesters, instructions on how to help the movement, a map of Zuccotti Park (where a group of protesters have been camping out since Sept. 17) and a rundown of the protest’s third week by Arun Gupta, one of the paper’s founders and a senior editor of a free newspaper called The Indypendent.

SEE ALSO: Occupy Wall Street Protests Sprout 928 Offshoots On Overnight

Most Kickstarter backers of the paper receive either a heartfelt thank you or mail delivery of the product. Those at higher levels of investment get their return through a collection of books about economic inequality.

Image courtesy of Flickr Commons, Nick Gulotta

Photos: Occupy Wall Street

Brooklyn Bridge Protests

via @watergatesummer

Click here to view this gallery.

Videos: Occupy Wall Street

Protesters Film Arrests

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Occupy Wall Street, the occupied wall street journal

For more Media coverage:

5 Web Apps for Managing Your Parents’ Computer Troubles

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 01:52 PM PDT

Parents don’t always have a reputation for technological savvy. In fact, they may see their computers as sources of constant mystery and befuddlement. Perhaps they consider you the most tech-literate person they know, and therefore, come calling for help. Constantly.

Managing their constant barrage of IT questions can be taxing. Sites like ShowMeWhatsWrong and Google's TeachParentsTech can be a good start.

Ease your pain further by recommending these five applications to help alleviate your parents' IT anxiety.

1. Prism

Reducing the number of clicks to reach a site can be of enormous help to web-impaired parents, and bookmarks don't always cut it. Prism can turn any webpage into a real app on your system that opens via the dock or taskbar. Open Facebook from your Start menu if you're on a PC, or from the dock if you're on a Mac. You can even customize icons to display information, like number of unread emails.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apps, cloud computing, contributor, family, features, web

Steve Jobs Eulogy by “Last True Hacker” Goes Too Far

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 01:41 PM PDT

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

The reaction to Steve Jobs’s death from most members of the technology establishment — including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the founders of Google — has been dignified, heartfelt and respectful.

Those adjectives do not apply to the reaction of Richard M. Stallman, the leader of the free software movement and the so-called “last true hacker,” who responded in a different way.

On his personal political blog, Stallman remembers Jobs as “The pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool,” and remarks that “I’m not glad he’s dead but I’m glad he’s gone.”

Stallman is known for his radical and often controversial beliefs, especially as it comes to software — or, more specifically, Stallman’s vision of software freedom. He famously surfs the web not from a web browser but from a daemon he runs from the command line that emails him the contents of a web page.

Apparently, going around your ass to get to your elbow is just that much more free than using a web browser. All hail software freedom. The freedom to get absolutely nothing productive done.

Stallman is influential, for sure. His work on GCC, the Gnu Compiler Collection has had a huge impact on the way that modern software is written. Furthermore, without the GNU system and its toolchain, Linux would not exist as it does today.

Still, I’m bothered by Stallman’s remarks. The man is famously anti-social and his views on software freedom (don’t you dare call it open source!) have put him at odds with practically every person who has ever touched a computer. Despite that, I would have hoped the man had enough common sense and compassion to at least refrain from comment.

Mr. Stallman is certainly entitled to his own opinion and to express that opinion any way he wants. I just wish he would be more open to others expressing opinions that differ from his own. For instance, some might argue the freedom to choose something closed is just as important as the freedom to choose something open.

Furthermore, I am bothered by Stallman’s stance that art, music and film are worthy of being provided protection under the law, but software is somehow a lesser form. Why should anyone who develops software not be allowed to use their code or share their code as they like? To me, that undervalues every single software developer. Including Mr. Stallman.

Stallman’s full comments:

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die – not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

Do you think Stallman went too far with his remarks or was he right on? Let us know.

[via The Loop]

Image courtesy of Flickr, jolieodell

More About: free software, Opinion, Stallman, steve jobs

iPhone 4S Pre-Orders Underway: Having Any Luck? [POLL & OPEN THREAD]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 01:03 PM PDT

Pre-ordering for the iPhone 4S got underway early this morning, and the process hasn’t been entirely smooth. But it’s better than the fiasco of the iPhone 4′s pre-ordering situation last June. And unlike last June, you can pre-order a white iPhone 4S.

Starting about 40 minutes after the advertised pre-order time of 12:01 a.m. PT, those early adopters who wanted to be first in the virtual line for online ordering met mixed results.

One of us here at Mashable got lucky on the Apple iPhone site, ordering his iPhone 4S without incident at around 12:45 a.m. PT. Another one of us went through an arduous process that stretched out well into the wee hour of 4:30 a.m. ET, and after filling out the forms required to order the phone three times, each attempt was met a final screen saying that “an error has occurred.”

Elsewhere, those who were attempting to order vented their frustrations on Twitter, where it appeared that most of the problems were experienced by U.S. AT&T customers. We gave up at about 4:30 a.m. But according to TUAW, starting at 5 a.m. PT, Apple started taking reservations for the new iPhones rather than orders.

By about 8 a.m. PT this morning, that had changed. Two of us were able to order the iPhone 4S from the Apple Online Store’s iPhone app, and made it through the ordering process. However, although the order seemed to go through normally, neither of us received a tracking number or order confirmation after the process was complete. One of us received a server error and neither of us has received an email confirmation yet.

AT&T users should be aware that their phones will be shipped to the address AT&T has on file. If you need to change or update that address, that must be done first in AT&T’s account settings as the shipping address cannot be changed at or during the checkout phase at AT&T’s website.

The good news? It looks like those who ordered their new iPhones this morning will be receiving them next Friday, Oct. 14.

Are these experiences typical? Please let us know in the comments about your experience with pre-ordering an iPhone 4S so far.

Meanwhile, if you’ve attempted an online pre-order of the iPhone 4S, please vote in our poll, and tell us about your experience in the comments below.

More on the iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S looks and feels exactly like the iPhone 4.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, iPhone 4S, pre-order

For more Mobile coverage:

Amazon Launches French-Language Ereader and Kindle Store

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 12:37 PM PDT

Amazon is launching a French-language Kindle, available Oct. 14, and an accompanying Kindle Store.

The E Ink ereader, which is the French-language equivalent of the recently announced, $79 Kindle, is available for pre-order at for 99 euros.

The French Kindle Store contains 825,000 books, of which more than 30,000 are written in French, and another 4,000 are free, French-language classics.

Popular French newspapers and magazines, including Le Monde, Les Echos and Le Figaro are available by single purchase or subscription.

Independent authors can now also sell their ebooks directly to the Kindle Store through the Direct Publish Program.

More About: amazon, france, Kindle

For more Business coverage:

Steve Jobs Videos’ Traffic Soars [STATS]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 12:25 PM PDT

With the passing of Steve Jobs, the Internet has exploded with tributes to the Apple co-founder in prose and through video.

One of the reasons Jobs’s death has had such an impact on the online community at large is because of his public visibility. Jobs was a unique businessman in that he appeared frequently in front of the press, developers and the public at large to introduce new products and expound upon his vision for the future. Many of these moments have been archived online via sites like YouTube.

Visible Measures reports traffic to videos featuring Jobs, including his moving Stanford commencement address (below), soared in the hours following his death.

The Stanford address, for example, was averaging 2,000 views a day; not bad for a speech made in 2005. On Oct. 6 the clip was watched more than 8 million times.

Likewise, product presentations for devices like the iPod, iPad and iPhone generally collect about 24,000 views a day in aggregate. Yesterday, those presentations amassed over 6.8 million views.

Finally, the historic interview of Jobs alongside Bill Gates from AllThingsDigital pulled in over 850,000 views yesterday, up from 11,000 views a day in September.

Steve at Stanford

Steve Jobs demos Apple Macintosh, 1984

Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh to the world. Computing would never be the same.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: steve jobs, visible measures, web traffic

Sprint Stock Plunges Despite iPhone Availability

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 11:58 AM PDT

Sprint placed a big bet on the new iPhone 4S. Now, its stock shares are falling because the company might not have enough money to finance its ambitious plan to build a faster LTE network, a company official disclosed in an investor meeting Friday.

At time of writing, Sprint stock had lost 10.78% of its value on the day, priced at $2.69. According to The Wall Street Journal, Sprint Nextel plans to roll out its 4G wireless network next year, but Sprint finance chief Joseph Euteneuer says the company might need to tap into capital markets or a $900 million line of credit to finance the project.

The company has high expectations for its iPhone customers, which it says will be some of its most profitable. This is despite the fact that Sprint Nextel must pay higher subsidies for iPhones than it does for other phones in its line. In addition, the company is now the only U.S. wireless carrier to offer unlimited data plans for iPhones.

The company is now selling the iPhone 4, and began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4S early Friday morning.

Do you think Sprint will be able to continue its plans to build a faster LTE network, given the promise of increased profitability from iPhones? Let us know what you think in the comments.

iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S looks and feels exactly like the iPhone 4.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: iPhone 4S, LTE, sprint

For more Business coverage:

Beyoncé Music Video Shows Off Twitter Record-Setting Baby Bump

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 11:46 AM PDT

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

The very baby bump that set the record for most tweets sent per second — a whopping 8,868 — is buzzing across the Internet again. Beyoncé’s latest video “Countdown,” released Thursday night, prominently features the artist’s pregnant belly.

The video starts with a nod to movie star Audrey Hepburn, with Beyoncé done up in a 1960s mod look. The diva places her unique stamp on the track when she turns sideways, revealing just how far along she is in her pregnancy. The video presents Beyoncé as simultaneously classic (in fashion sensibility) and unconventional (in behavior).

Beyoncé has a knack for creating viral videos. Searching for “Single Ladies” on YouTube yields no less than 23,500 results, including everything from parodies to how-tos of her dance anthem.

What do you think of Beyoncé’s decision to show off her pregnancy? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: beyonce, Entertainment, music video, viral-video-of-the-day

For more Entertainment coverage:

Netflix Gets “The Walking Dead” and More From AMC

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 11:22 AM PDT

Netflix has signed a new content agreement with AMC Networks that will bring the critically acclaimed TV show The Walking Dead to Netflix members in the U.S. and Canada.

The multi-year agreement for The Walking Dead follows Netflix’s earlier partnership with AMC that brought Mad Men to its service. Netflix customers got access to AMC’s Emmy-winning drama back in July. They can also stream past seasons of AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Season one of The Walking Dead is available on Netflix beginning today. Future seasons will become available to Netflix members just prior to the subsequent season release. In other words, Walking Dead fans will need to wait until next year to see season two, which means that purchasing episodes on Amazon or iTunes is still the hardcore fan’s best bet.

Netflix also signed a non-exclusive agreement to bring additional shows from AMC Networks to its streaming service. These include show from IFC, Sundance Channel and WE TV. You know what that means? Bridezillas is on Netflix. Finally.

Netflix continues to sign content agreements with new partners. These agreements are a key part of of Netflix’s new strategy that separates its disc-by-mail service from its now-flagship subscription streaming service.

Netflix is facing increased competition, not just from subscription-streaming competitors like Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video, but from cable and satellite companies.

Are AMC programs like The Walking Dead enough to keep you committed to Netflix?

More About: amc tv, netflix, subscription streaming, walking dead

For more Entertainment coverage:

iPhone 4S Cases: 15 Fresh Designs [PICS]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 11:13 AM PDT

Let’s get one thing straight — most iPhone 4 cases will fit the iPhone 4S, so if you’re upgrading your phone, but happy with your existing case, you don’t need to splash out on a new one.

That said, some people will want a fresh new look for their fresh new phone, and that’s where we come in.

We’re always on the lookout for striking iPhone cases, and as the 4S goes on sale, we thought we’d compile a roundup of designs that have caught our eye recently.

SEE ALSO: 10 Cases Compatible With the Verizon iPhone | 4 Fantastic iPhone Cases for iPhotographers [PICS]

Take a look through the photo gallery below. Let us know in the comments which case you’d like to see covering your new iPhone 4S.

1. Rabbit Smile Mail Icon

A cute concept makes for a unique case. There's a phone icon version available too.

Cost: $18

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: accessories, apple, cases, features, gallery, iphone, iPhone 4S, iphone cases, trending

The Rise of the Distributed Agency Model

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 10:39 AM PDT

Brian Casel is the co-creator of Skipper, the Team Relationship Management system designed to help distributed teams grow and scale their business. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

Across the world, but particularly within the web design industry, the distributed agency model has gained widespread popularity. Centered on the idea of working remotely, more businesses are adopting the distributed agency model as a practical and beneficial alternative to keeping an in-house staff.

The distributed agency model, or "virtual agency," as it’s sometimes called, is simply an agency that hires and collaborates with workers remotely. The team might be made up of full or part-time employees, freelancers, contractors, partners, etc. These employees might be spread across a particular city or over the entire world. In short, a distributed team is location-agnostic.

nGen Works recently closed its main office when it became apparent that the majority of its team lived and worked miles away. Founder Carl Smith wrote in the company’s blog:

“When we first started nGen Works we knew we 'had' to have an office for people to take us seriously … Because of our flexible nature and the requirement for nGeneers to live their lives on their terms, that old red beauty is only home to two of the 14 people currently working with nGen. We've held on to it for sentimental reasons, but now it just doesn't seem to make sense.”

Then there’s Shane and Peter, an agency team of independent freelancers. Its website explains:

“Our team is comprised of freelancers all over North America (with a couple Europeans and Australians thrown in for good measure). They're all independent business owners, and they're all brilliant at what they do. They decide when and how they work. Our teams come together to tackle projects that are far larger than they could tackle on their own.”

Motivations Behind Going Distributed

Both large firms and small shops are embracing agency distribution for different reasons.

Large firms see hiring remote workers as a way to save on overhead costs and maintain a healthy bottom line. Also, the distributed model helps them stay competitive by recruiting specialized talent that is not necessarily local.

On the other hand, small shops and freelancers see the distributed agency model as a viable path to scale up and grow their business without investing too much or incurring debt. For a solo studio owner looking to grow, it's more practical to partner with or hire remote workers than to invest in an in-house staff.

Benefits of Being Distributed

While every shop operates differently, there are a few key benefits shared by distributed agencies.

  • Low Overhead: Your business will save loads of overhead costs when it doesn't need to pay for a large office stocked with equipment, utilities, commuting costs and more.
  • Unlimited Talent Pool: When you're able to look for talent beyond your local area, you have access to virtually unlimited resources.
  • Happier, More Productive Team: When workers, particularly independent freelancers, are able to work their own hours, using their own equipment, without having to conform to an office environment and schedule, it can lead to a more productive operation.

Based on my own experience running a small distributed agency, I believe one very important benefit of this model is the people.

A distributed agency will have success with a certain type of worker — one who thrives in a remote collaboration setting. Remote workers are inherently self-motivated by their passion for creating outstanding work. Plus, they're incredibly effective at communication and collaboration over long distances. Of course, not everyone is cut out for this, but you can certainly find enough remote work rockstars when you can choose from a worldwide talent pool.

How To Make it Work

The first step is to re-think meetings.

As many of us know, meetings are a common complaint of working in a large office environment. Often, they can be more of a sap on time than a benefit. The conversations had in these meetings can actually (and more effectively) be handled over a series of emails or chats. Jason Fried describes this concept as "Slow Time:"

"Slow time is 'Maybe it takes two or three days to have this conversation. And we do it over periods of 15 minutes here, two minutes there, four minutes there.' And that's fine. It doesn't need to happen all at once."

Focus on team relationship management.

When your team is distributed across several time zones and, therefore, is not in direct contact at all times, it's important to develop systems that tie everything together. Everything from networking with new talent across the globe, to developing working and friendly relationships all require extra effort in the distributed agency setting.

It might mean you plan in-person team get-togethers once or twice a year to build friendships and experiences that strengthen camaraderie.

Think about staying tuned into and engaged with the social media activity of your teammates, both in and outside of work.

Remain accountable at all times.

This goes for both managers and workers within a distributed agency. Everyone must go the extra mile to ensure that he's staying available, providing updates and meeting deadlines. That means checking in with teammates to ensure they have everything they need from you. It means providing periodic updates on your progress — even if you haven't completed a task.

Organization, accountability and personal interaction provide the pillars of a successfully run distributed agency model. Does your business qualify?

Images courtesy of Flickr, Giorgio Montersino, ianus

More About: Business, contributor, features, jobs, management, remote worker

For more Business coverage:

How the iPhone 4S Stacks Up Against the Smartphone Competition [CHART]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 09:49 AM PDT

The iPhone 4S is officially available for pre-order and will be available to pick up in stores next week. While the fifth generation iPhone is certainly the most anticipated new mobile handset to hit stores this year, it is by no means the only game in town.

In addition to choosing between AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, consumers have more iPhone alternative options today than ever before. Understanding that phone specs only tell part of the story, we decided to see how the iPhone 4S stacks up against the competition, including the iPhone 4, the Droid Bionic, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the BlackBerry Torch 9850.

Just a note to Windows Phone fans — we didn’t forget about you. Look out for future articles focusing on the new Mango release and how the new Windows Phone devices stack up against the Android, iOS and BlackBerry competition.

Built in Storage
Screen Size

iPhone 4

1Ghz A4
3.5″ 960×640 Retina Display
VGA (front), 5 Megapixel (rear)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, GSM or CDMA

iPhone 4S

1Ghz Dual Core A5
16GB, 32GB or 64GB
3.5″ 960×640 Retina Display
VGA (front), 8 Megapixel (rear)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GSM and CDMA worldphone, Siri
$199 (16GB)
$299 (32GB)
$399 (64GB)

BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860

1.2Ghz Qualcomm 8655
Up to 32GB microSD
3.7″ 800×480
Rear 5 Megapixel
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Available in CDMA or GSM
$99 (Sprint)

Droid Bionic

1Ghz Dual Core
16GB plus a 16GB microSD
Expandable to 32GB microSD (48GB total storage)
4.3″ 960×540
VGA (front), 8 Megapixel (rear)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE
$299.99 (Verizon)

Galaxy S II

Dual Core 1.2Ghz (AT&T and Sprint) Dual Core 1.5Ghz
Up to 32GB microSD
4.3″ 800×480 (AT&T), 4.5″ 800×480 (Sprint and T-Mobile)
2 Megapixel (front), 8 Megapixel (rear)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, available on multiple carriers,
WiMax 4G (Sprint)
$199 (Sprint and AT&T)
$229.99 (T-Mobile)

More About: blackberry torch, droid bionic, Feature, iphone 4, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S II

For more Mobile coverage:

Occupy Wall Street Protests Sprout 928 Offshoots On Overnight

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 09:07 AM PDT

Occupy Wall Street, which began with a couple hundred protesters in Manhattan’s financial district Sept. 17, has sprouted “Occupy Seattle,” “Occupy San Francisco” and several other solidarity events in more than 200 cities across the U.S.

The independent events, some simply community discussions, have been loosely tracked with Facebook, Google maps and links lists. Now, group meeting platform is assisting the protesters in their grassroots efforts.

“We were contacted by the good people at, who got in touch because they heard we were in need of some technical assistance and advice,” says a blog post on Occupy Together, a site linked by Occupy Wall Street websites and protest publication The Occupied Wall Street Journal‘s Kickstarter page. “Little did we know we'd go from listing 4-5 locations in one night to receiving hundreds of emails in a day. We were slowing the flow of information because us volunteers weren't able to keep up.”

Meetup previously worked with activist magazine Adbusters, an early organizer of the protests, on a project called “buy nothing day,” according to Meetup VP of community and strategy Andres Glusman. Adbusters made the introduction between Meetup and Occupy Together, which ultimately decided to use the platform’s free organizing tool, Meetup Everywhere.

SEE ALSO: Occupy Wall Street Newspaper Raises $54,000 on Kickstarter

Instead of continuing to maintain a list of protests, the site now features a Meetup widget showing 928 Meetups in 906 cities across the world, most added since Oct. 5 — and many with 0 participants.

Organizing on Meetup, a platform designed in many ways for grassroots organizing, has thus far been less common for “Occupy” protesters than organizing on Facebook. In most cases, the Facebook Pages trounce the new Meetup pages as far as attending participants go. The Occupy Wall Street Facebook Page has more than 130,000 Likes. It’s equivalent Meetup page has 23 “occupiers.” Similarly, Occupy San Francisco has 8,672 Likes and just 27 occupiers. A website called Daily Kos plotted the Facebook Pages on a Google Map (shown below) to make them easier to find.

Meetup has a couple of advantages from an organizing standpoint: a centralized landing page and a format focused on clear actions. It makes sense both the free platform and the unofficial organizers of protest information found it a good fit for Occupy Wall Street offshoots.

Scott Heiferman, Meetup’s CEO, has tweeted about his own involvement in the protests and is a backer of the The Occupied Wall Street Journal‘s Kickstarter page.

Truth be told, both Facebook and Meetup are pretty chaotic as organization platforms. It’s hard to tell who, if anyone, will actually show up to any of the scheduled events. But that, according to Occupy Together, is part of the point.

“The GREAT thing about all of this, is that it's completely in line with the whole idea of this decentralized movement,” the site says. “Any single person can start an action in their area, and where one stands up there will likely be another to join you.”

Perhaps, but at many of the new zero-participant Meetup locations that have been set up in places such as Jerusalem and Bologna, that one person is still lonely.

Below is Occupy Together’s Meetup Everywhere page and Daily Kos’ Google map of Facebook Pages.

More About: meetup, Occupy Wall Street, social movements, trending

Samsung, Google Delay Nexus Prime, Video Sneaks Out Anyway

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 08:49 AM PDT

A leaked video of what appears to be the first smartphone to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

A video of what appears to be the Samsung Nexus Prime (or Galaxy Nexus), the first smartphone to run the next iteration of Google’s Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, has been leaked.

The video appeared around the same time that Samsung and Google postponed a joint press event scheduled for next week’s CTIA convention in San Diego, where both companies were expected to unveil the phone.

The companies issued the following joint statement:

“Samsung and Google decide to postpone the new product announcement at CTIA Fall. We agree that it is just not the right time to announce a new product. New date and venue will be shortly announced.”

From the statement, it’s impossible to determine why exactly the event is being postponed, or if it’s even related to the leak. Perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich is not yet ready for a public viewing, or maybe the phone itself is delayed. Perhaps both companies decided that CTIA would not attract enough attention for the launch.

UPDATE: Steve Jobs’s death — and not anything to do with the Nexus Prime — incited the postponement, sources have told AllThingsD.

Given that the phone has long been rumored for a Thanksgiving launch, and that both an official teaser (below) and a leaked video (above) have already appeared, we expect we won’t have to wait too much longer for the unveiling.

Samsung Smartphone Teaser

A teaser video for what is rumored to be the forthcoming Samsung Nexus Prime (or Galaxy Nexus) smartphone.

More About: android, galaxy nexus, Google, ice cream sandwich, nexus prime, samsung, trending

One More Thing: Classic Steve Jobs Surprise Announcements

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 08:15 AM PDT

There was no “one more thing” at the Tuesday’s Apple media event. Steve Jobs, already very ill, was absent from the conference, and the surprise announcements at the end of most events (which were often just as exciting as the main announcements) were his trademark move.

Some of these surprise announcements over the years weren’t done by Jobs — Phil Schiller’s announcement of DRM-free iTunes in 2009 comes to mind. But maybe “one more thing” just doesn’t have the same ring to it without Jobs, who died Wednesday after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

However, it’s a good time to remember some of the nice surprises Jobs gave us over the years. Check out the gallery of our favorites below and let us know what your favorite “one more thing” announcement was in the comments.

AirPort Base Station

Along with the first iBook, Steve Jobs unveiled the AirPort Base Station at the Macworld Expo in 1999. It was a cleverly designed gadget that enabled the iBook to wirelessly connect to other computers on the network or via the Internet.

Click here to view this gallery.

More Coverage of Steve Jobs’s Death

More About: apple, one more thing, steve jobs

For more Tech coverage:

Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 07:28 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!

Advertise with us and get noticed.

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: Diet Coke®, Vocus, MessageMaker Social, Lenovo, The Awareness Social Marketing Hub, AceProject, BMW i, Discover Digital Group, Sprout Social, IDG, CUNY School of Professional Studies, Oneupweb, SoftLayer, SRDS, Buddy Media, Clickatell, Microsoft BizSpark, MaxCDN and Eventbrite.

Diet Coke® is the drink that helps you stay extraordinary, and now it brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

Diet Coke supports Mashable’s Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series.

VocusSocial Media Strategy Tool is a free, six-step online tool that lets you build your own custom social media framework in six easy steps. It helps you determine your organization's goals, explore the latest MarketingSherpa research data, and create your own workbook packed with the strategies, tactics and resources you need.

Vocus supports Mashable’s Social Media Infographics Series.

MessageMaker Social is the social media management system (SMMS) that lets you publish and manage targeted content across a large number of social interaction points while generating actionable intelligence. This smart, simple SaaS solution elevates your company's social presence among thousands of social Pages and accounts, helping you meet compliance regulations, maintain brand consistency, maximize engagement and generate actionable intelligence — without adding additional human resource costs.

MessageMaker Social supports Mashable’s Social CEO Series. Follow MessageMaker Social on Twitter.

Lenovo does not just manufacture technology. They make Do machines — super-powered creation engines designed to help the people who do, do more, do better, do in brand new ways.

Lenovo supports Mashable’s Tech Innovators Series. Follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Awareness supports Mashable’s Social Media For Business Leaders Series. Follow Awareness on Twitter and Facebook.

AceProject is a collaboration-oriented project management web application that empowers you to manage projects, tasks and time sheets. Create your free AceProject account here.

AceProject supports Mashable’s Digital Collaboration Series. Follow AceProject on Twitter.

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

BMW i supports Mashable’s Global Innovation Series. Follow BMW i on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

DDG supports Mashable’s Social CMO Series. Follow DDG on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Follow SoftLayer on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Follow SRDS on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Follow Clickatell on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Mashable uses MaxCDN – Content Delivery Network to deliver its static content such as pictures, helping Mashable load much faster. Try it on your site now, and get a 25% discount with this coupon code: mashable.

Follow MaxCDN on Twitter and Facebook.

Eventbrite is an online events marketplace where tens of thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes manage, promote and sell tickets to their events. Make your event a success on Eventbrite.

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

Additionally, thanks to the following partners for making Mashable happen:

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.

Follow Webtrends on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Follow W3 EDGE on Twitter.

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%.

Mashable sources many of its photos from iStockphoto. Follow iStockphoto on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Mashable provides exclusive content on Check it out here, and follow Dyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Concentric Sky is the only App Developer officially endorsed by Mashable. Learn more here, and follow ConcentricSky on Twitter.

We can get your name out there.

Contact us for more information about supporting Mashable’s growth and development. Alternatively, visit our advertise section for more details about:

  • Competitive direct ad sales
  • Sponsorship opportunities for events and other channels
  • Sponsored giveaways and contests
  • Custom ad deals and partnerships

More About: mashable, Sponsors

For more Social Media coverage:

VW Releases Inventive Facebook Timeline Cover for Fans

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 07:06 AM PDT

A mockup of a Facebook Timeline profile with the VW image.

After having seen some clever cover photos from users of the new Facebook Timeline, it was only a matter of time before brands (and their agencies) brought their ideas to the fore.

VW is among the first. The automaker has created an appropriately themed image for Facebook users in need of a cover for their redesigned profile pages, which are expected to go live sometime Friday.

The cover image matches the current out-of-home and print advertising being used to market the 2012 Beetle, which already uses — fortuitously enough — the tagline, “Profile Update.” Extending the campaign to the new Facebook profile layouts was practically obvious, a spokesperson said.

How do you feel about turning your Facebook profile into a marketing vehicle?

Cover Image

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, Marketing, VW

What Banks and Lenders Know About You From Social Media

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 06:30 AM PDT

Ken Lin is the CEO of Credit Karma, a free credit management service that provides credit scores, personalized savings recommendations and financial education tools. You can follow Credit Karma on Twitter @CreditKarma and read its blog here.

Many Americans may be unaware that their social media conversations and posts are providing banks and lenders with a treasure trove of information. In fact, a growing number of banks and lenders are currently building a data repository – collecting, storing and analyzing data – in the hopes that one day it could help them determine your potential credit risk and also tailor marketing directly to you.

The earliest we'll see banks and lenders begin to act is five years down the road, once they've had time to evaluate and correlate specific social media behaviors to actual credit risks. For example, tweeting about walking away from your home may translate as an indicator that you may be delinquent on a future loan. Now banks are doing the math to determine whether these kinds of comments or tweets actually prove true down the road.

Bottom line, if banks and lenders can prove that using social media data as a business tool is successful in assessing behavioral patterns and preventing future losses, then why wouldn't they?

Marketing Will Change; Underwriting May Not

At the very least, banks will use this information to tailor their marketing efforts, even if the underwriting process doesn't change. For example, a bank may choose not to show John Smith an advertisement for their latest credit card if he recently tweeted about declaring bankruptcy. Instead, he may see an ad for that bank's pre-paid credit card.

Banks want to focus on bringing in the most qualified customers, and are trying figure out new ways to reach that goal. Social media presents this opportunity. Underwriting, a bank or lender's assessment of the eligibility of a customer to receive their products, may not change just yet, however. After all, banks can't tell Congress they denied someone a loan because their "social graph" wasn't optimal.

What Banks and Lenders Will Be Looking For

  • Anything indicative of changes in your financial circumstances. These may include phrases or keywords that you use on social media platforms, such as walkaway, laid off, fired, broke, moving to your parents house, etc. Banks will examine the correlation between these tweets and actual financial behaviors.
  • What your social media connections are doing financially. The idea here is that your friends have similar habits and characteristics as you. If one of them tweets about financial hardship, to banks that could mean you might also have trouble later on. UCSD professor James Fowler explores a similar concept in a study about divorce: Being friends with someone who gets divorced makes that person 147% more likely to get divorced themselves.
  • Upcoming life changes. Similar to financial changes, the idea here is that banks want to know when you're approaching major life events, such as getting married or buying a safe car to transport your new child. This information allows banks to tailor certain products and services toward you.

Advice for Consumers

  • Know your privacy settings. Always remember that anything you say in the public domain is never truly anonymous. To lessen the number of people who can view your posts, be sure to set all of your privacy settings appropriately.
  • Think before you post. Even though you may be excited about getting married or upset over losing a job, remember that it could come back to haunt you.
  • Keep in mind that everything can be traced back to you. One of the most overlooked aspects about posting on social media platforms is that the Internet has made it easier than ever before to trace things to the source. That means pictures, wall posts, status updates, and even "anonymous" blog comments.

Banks Check Up On You in Different Areas of Your Life

Of course, social media isn't the only place banks and lenders are digging around for additional information on you. They are also interested your income, the value of your home, whether or not you pay your rent or utility payments on time, and even if you've stopped receiving direct deposits.

  • Income estimation : Credit bureaus can use credit information to determine your earnings based on previous loans and credit card limits. The Federal Reserve now allows lenders to use income estimates to determine that credit card applicants have the ability to pay. Banks are increasingly looking at these figures before granting credit.
  • Home values: If your home is underwater (you owe more on your home than what it is currently worth), banks and lenders may be more hesitant to give you new lines of credit since they worry about being able to recoup losses from your tangible assets.
  • Rent payments: These are not currently factored into credit scoring models (Experian is looking to change this), but could provide banks and lenders with enough information to assess credit risk on a thin credit file.
  • Bank deposits: If your bank deposits stop suddenly, this may constitute a red flag to a bank or lender who may assume you lost your job or your source of income. Banks will pay special attention to this because it could help identify which of their customers may need special attention.

In the end, consumers should be aware that any public information is fair game in this economic environment, and social media may be the newest cautionary landscape.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, AnikaSalsera

More About: banking, Business, contributor, features, Marketing, privacy, Social Media

MTV Film “(Dis)connected” Fights Digital Abuse [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 06:00 AM PDT

MTV’s new movie, (Dis)connected, tackles what it means to grow up in a digital world, and it provides lessons for teens on how to handle digital abuse. Today, Mashable is debuting a clip from the movie.

The film, premiering Oct. 10, is another in MTV’s long line of TV movies tackling tough subjects for its young demographic. (Dis)connected tells the story of four young people living in different cities who know each other only through a live streaming site. Even though the four never meet in person, the Internet allows them to have huge, and potentially negative, impact on one-another.

(Dis)connected is part of MTV’s “A Thin Line” campaign, a social good initiative to create tools and inform teens about staying safe on the web. Each of the four characters in the film deal with separate online dangers and scenarios such as offline isolation, meeting partners online, breakups that spread to online profiles and anonymously antagonizing other users.

MTV conducted a digital abuse survey in conjunction with the Associated Press and found that 76% of 14- to 24-year-olds surveyed said digital abuse was a serious problem; 56% said they experienced digital abuse. MTV and the AP conducted the same survey in 2009 and found that youths in 2011 were significantly more likely to intervene if they saw someone “being mean online.”

The network also held chat sessions with personalities such as sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage and the Jersey Shore‘s Vinny Guadagnino to talk to teens about digital abuse. “Everyone has a Facebook, everyone has a cellphone and everyone has a Twitter but people don’t really talk about the negative aspects of it,” says Guadagnino, who says he can relate to being digitally abused. “Every time I publish something, someone’s calling me a douchebag or an asshole so it depends how seriously I take those comments and how personal I feel towards the feedback I get. I’ve become pretty good at not taking it so seriously.” Guadagino got involved with (Dis)connected to help other young people handle their own abuse.

SEE ALSO: 5 YouTube Projects That Are Making a Difference

For Savage, the film is also about teaching kids how to navigate the digital world: “You either develop BS-detectors through painful trial and error or you get your ass handed to you. … And you can get that through fiction as well, you can get that through narrative.”

The Internet is a tool that can be used for good or ill, though Savage has a pretty simple formula: “Don’t be a dumbf–k and don’t be a douchebag,” Savage says. “When it comes to things like this, you just want to move the needle in a positive direction. If you can send the edges off of some problem spots, then that will spread.”

(Dis)connected is inspired by Abraham Biggs, a 19-year-old who battled bipolar disorder and webcast his suicide after being harassed by digital abusers.

More About: cyberbullying, digital abuse, mtv, Social Good, Video

iPhone 4S Pre-Orders, Facebook In-Line Translation, French-Language Kindle: This Morning’s Top Stories

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 05:46 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 four particular stories of interest today.

iPhone 4S Available for Pre-Order

Apple’s next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 4S, is now available for pre-order in the U.S. and UK. Not sure what carrier to choose? See our guide.

Samsung & Google Postpone Nexus Prime Launch

Samsung and Google have postponed an event where the two were expected to unveil the Galaxy Prime smartphone, the first to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

Facebook Launches In-Line Translation Tool

Facebook has quietly introduced a tool that makes instant, in-line language translations appear with a single click.

Amazon Launches French-Language Kindle has launched a French-language Kindle ereader and accompanying French Kindle Store.

Further News

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

More About: first to know series

Without Steve Jobs: The Pixar Story

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 05:36 AM PDT

Steve Jobs and Pixar

Steve Jobs did not found Pixar. He bought it from Lucasfilm in 1986. By then, it had existed for seven years as a computer graphics group within the Lucas organization.

Jobs did not, at least initially, even envision Pixar as an entertainment company. When I first encountered it in the early ’90s, the then-erstwhile Apple CEO had Pixar churning out 3D animation software (I still have the box at home).

Pixar Typestry 1 and 2 were little-known but well-produced Windows applications that let enterprising users create 3D text on their home PCs. (By “3D,” I mean computer-generated objects that look like they have volume and dimension, not stereoscopic 3D) . The software was pretty easy to use, but rendering on a then state-of-the-art 486 DX/2 computer could take all night. The last time I met with a Pixar representative in, I think, 1994, she told me the software division was dying, but the company was cooking up something even more exciting: movies. I looked at her for a long while as my mind conjured images of two or three desktop computers churning away at thousands of rudimentary 3D frames. I lied and said it sounded exciting and then went on my way.

Don't get me wrong. I loved 3D. In fact, the news that Pixar would exit the software business in favor of movies saddened me. I wanted to create my own 3D animations in my living room.

A year later Pixar and Disney released Toy Story. I was first in line to see it and fell in love.

What's the point of my story? Pixar did all this under the guidance of Steve Jobs, who died this week at the age of 56. He owned the company and while Jobs may have envisioned Pixar software and even Pixar computer systems, he listened when John Lasseter pitched him on a feature-length, all CGI-movie.

Then Jobs did what the best managers often do: He got out of the way. As Lasseter explained in a Facebook tribute, Jobs “saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us,” and had only one request of the animated films: “make it great.”

Some believe, as I do, that without Steve Jobs, Pixar would not have survived long enough to make Toy Story or any of the films that followed. He reportedly paid just $10 million for the business; a strong indication that no one else wanted Pixar. And when others urged Pixar to pick up the pace and churn out more CGI films per year, Jobs let Lasseter and Co. maintain a relative snail’s pace — at least for a film company, ensuring a slow-but-steady stream of high-quality and award-winning movies.

What follows is a look at Pixar's best work and some whimsical captions about what would have happened if Steve Jobs had not supported Pixar in those early days. Jobs eventually sold Pixar to Disney in 2006, well after it had produced many of its memorable films.

Steve Jobs actually had a significant impact on many parts of our daily lives, so you might want to add your own "Without Steve Jobs … " ideas in the comments below.

The Early Pixar Team

Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios (left)

Click here to view this gallery.

More Coverage of Steve Jobs’s Death

More About: 3D, disney, pixar, steve jobs, trending

HSN Brings QR Codes to TV Shopping

Posted: 07 Oct 2011 05:00 AM PDT

HSN is incorporating QR codes in its TV programming for a four-day series of sales on electronics and other products that fall in the “innovation” category, beginning Friday.

Jill Braff, EVP of digital commerce at HSN, says the shopping network was already aware that its viewers were using laptops and mobile devices to research products they were seeing on TV. QR Codes will allow HSN to facilitate that process, sending users to product pages where they can pull up additional information and complete their purchase. It will also help ensure that viewers complete those purchases with HSN, rather than another retailer.

Braff says that the biggest challenge is educating users about how to use QR codes. A sizable chunk of HSN’s viewers — most of whom are women in their 30s and 40s, according to third-party measurements — own smartphones and are aware of QR codes, but don’t know to use with them.

SEE ALSO: 15 Beautiful and Creative QR Codes [PICS]

“It reminds me when TV studios were putting SMS codes on movie posters, and people didn’t know what to do with them,” she recalls. “We’ll explain step-by-step how to get the mobile reader on air and on our website … We’ll also answer call-in questions and questions on our Facebook Page.”

HSN already used QR codes in a print campaign for electronics products earlier this year. Although Braff admits that the number of scans was relatively modest, she noted that 86% of those who scanned the codes were first-time buyers. Perhaps QR codes’ unperceived potential, then, is in new customer acquisition.

Despite the earlier success, Braff stresses that the four-day TV promotion is still a test. HSN will be looking at the number of scans and sales conversions, as well as conversational feedback, to determine whether the company wants to incorporate the technology into future events related to electronics or perhaps even the holiday season.

In June, 14 million people in the U.S. — or about 6.2% of the country’s mobile audience — scanned a QR code, according to estimates from comScore.

More About: HSN, QR Codes, shopping

For more Entertainment coverage:

Back to the top