Friday, 14 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Tablets Drive Deeper News Consumption [STUDY]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Tablets Drive Deeper News Consumption [STUDY]”

Tablets Drive Deeper News Consumption [STUDY]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 05:02 AM PDT

Tablet owners tend to consume a greater variety and volume of news on their devices, and tablets’ visual, interactive features encourage in-depth exploration, according to a joint study from Starcom MediaVest and the online division of the BBC.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said that they read more news stories and follow a greater variety of news topics. More than three-fourths said that tablets make the overall news experience more enjoyable, and more than a third said they spend more hours per day with media because of their tablets.

The findings were derived from six informal, in-depth interviews and a 1,100-person survey of people in the U.S. ages 15 to 54, 88% of whom were already in possession of a tablet. All identified themselves as consumers of news content.

The study also found that two in three tablet owners frequently use their devices while doing other things, such as watching TV or spending time with friends, a habit that was even more frequent among those who had owned a tablet for seven months or longer. (Said behavior has already fueled the development of a variety of tablet apps designed to be used while consuming content on a second device, namely television sets.)

Additionally, respondents tended to gravitate more toward established news brands on their devices over “news aggregators” — a statistic the BBC will no doubt enjoy touting to advertisers. Significant numbers of respondents also said, amusingly enough, that they would sooner give up sports (47%), coffee (44%) or Facebook (44%) before giving up their tablet news apps.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, arakonyunus

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More About: bbc, ipad, Media, News, starcom mediavest, study, tablets

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Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak First in Line for the iPhone 4S

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 02:15 AM PDT

Steve Wozniak

We’re quite sure that Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, could make a phone call and get an iPhone 4S well before it hits the stores. However, he hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s first in line in front of the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California, waiting for his iPhone 4S.

“The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed,” tweeted Wozniak as he took his place in front of the store.

Wozniak is known for showing up in lines for new Apple products; he was in line for the iPhone 3GS back in 2009, and again for the iPhone 4 in 2010.

This year, he managed to get first place in line (usually, the crowd insists that he goes up front), and he’s killing time by chatting with other Apple fans and signing their iPhones.

Although he could get the latest versions of Apple products in an easier way, Wozniak claims he likes to stand in line at new product launches. “I want to get mine along with the millions of other fans,” he said to CNN.

[via Twitter, CNN]

More About: apple, iPhone 4S, steve wozniak

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Android Gets an Official Twitter Account

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 01:33 AM PDT

It’s a bit surprising that Google’s smartphone and tablet platform didn’t find a use for the @Android handle on Twitter until now, but that problem has now been rectified.

You won’t find much to read just yet, but if you want to follow the future adventures of iOS’ biggest nemesis, hop on over to @Android and hit the follow button.

The official account of the Android developer team is still over at @AndroidDev.

In one of its first tweets, the Android Twitter account posted a video of Google employees erecting a 10-foot tall Ice Cream Sandwich statue; check it out below.

More About: android, Google, Mobile, smartphone, social networking, Twitter

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Romney Trying to Win Election With Web Ads?

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 09:49 PM PDT

Presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney has rolled out a new political web ad attacking President Obama and Chinese trade practices.

The ad, titled “Obama Isn’t Working: Trade,” slams China for counterfeiting U.S. goods and technology from big companies like Apple, HP and Google. It then questions why Obama and the current White House have yet to challenge China on these allegations and start actively protecting U.S. goods and patents.

What’s most interesting, however, is that Romney has yet to run a TV ad in the primary or caucus states in support of his 2012 presidential bid, according to the Weigel Blog on Slate.

The primary and caucus elections are some of the first steps in the Presidential election process, so they are the likely first targets for political ads. Weigel points out that many of the Republican candidates have been gun-shy about running TV ads.

It’s possible the candidates are waiting to amass more funds to pay for more-expensive airtime. Or, they could be engaged in an informal standoff for who will try to rule the airwaves.

On the other hand, web ads are a smart move. They are relatively cheaper to make and broadcast and naturally appeal to younger, web-savvy voters — traditionally a weak spot for Republicans.

Take a look at the ad and let us know in the comments what you think. Does Romney have a shot? Is his web strategy a hit or a mistake?

More About: Advertising, election, Mitt Romney

5 Hidden Gems in iOS 5

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 09:11 PM PDT

This week we’ve given iOS 5 the in-depth treatment and highlighted 10 of our favorite features — and we’re still not done exploring everything the new iOS 5 has to offer.

We’ve tracked down five features in iOS 5 that while small on the surface, pack a serious punch. We’re calling these “hidden gems” because they take a little bit of effort to find. The fact that we’re still finding new things in iOS 5 underscores how big of an upgrade Apple has really delivered.

What is your favorite hidden gem in iOS 5? Let us know.

More About: apple, Feature, iOS 5, ipad, iphone

iPhone 4S: First in Line at NYC Apple Store Turns Down $1,500 [PICS]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 08:35 PM PDT

We visited Apple’s flagship store in New York from 7 to 9 p.m. ET Thursday, where roughly 25 people were in line for the iPhone 4S. The device goes on sale Friday at 8 a.m. local time.

Spirits were high despite the drizzle. Passersby frequently stopped to question those at the front of the line — and, in one case, to donate an umbrella.

But no one’s spirits were higher than Jessica Mellow of Harlem, 26, and her friend Kennen Thompson, 21, who hold the first two places in line. The two, adorned in bright orange swag from their sponsor Gazelle, have endured a variety of weather since arriving at the store 17 days ago, using donated trash bags to stay dry and slipping into Zipcars parked across the street to nab a few hours of sleep.

They’ve been recording their experiences — including the death of Steve Jobs, and subsequent media flurry around the flagship store — on Twitter and

The pair have been close friends since meeting three years ago doing film promotions. Mellow is a freelancer in promotions, but appears to be more (truly) passionate about creating and modeling face and body art. She has owned both an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. Thompson, a self-described “Apple fanatic” who has owned every iteration of the iPhone and worked for Apple retail, handles social media “for a variety of blogs.” He has been working from his laptop in line.

And why have they been out there for 17 days? “For the experience,” they say.

“It’s not about the money, it’s not about the phone, it’s about the experience,” says Mellow. “We wanted to have this whole experience and ride it out to the end. It’s a goal we set for ourselves.”

Mellow and Thompson already turned down an offer of $1,500 for the first-in-line spot earlier this evening, they say. (The woman who was first in line for the iPad 2 traded her spot for $900.) They also turned down what they believed was $800 from someone who believed they were homeless.

“We kind of have these ridiculous consciences,” Mellow says. “We didn’t want to deceive anyone.”

“We’re going to stick it out till the end,” she adds.

Rainy Night

Otter Box was on hand to give out iPhone 4S line survival kits.

Click here to view this gallery.

Photos by Stephanie Haberman

More About: apple, iPhone 4S

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Startup Replaces Captchas With Brand Messages for Better Web Advertising

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 08:00 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: Solve Media

Quick Pitch: Solve Media replaces Captchas with Ads.

Genius Idea: Web advertising that consumers literally can’t ignore.

Captchas are an easy way to prevent automated bots from diminishing the quality of a website, which is why you’ve probably spent a good amount of time squinting at their bent, fuzzy text. Current computer programs have a hard time reading them, and it turns out that so do humans. On average it takes us about 12 seconds to solve one. They’re one of the only online spaces where consumers involuntarily apply any focus.

In other words, Captchas are excellent advertising real estate.

“People are not paying attention to banner ads,” says Solve Media CEO Ari Jacoby, who cofounded the company in September 2010. “When they’re sending email they're focused on email, when they're playing games they're focused on that, and when they're reading an important news story they don't even see the ad.”

Solve Media replaces Captchas with ads that require consumer participation. A recent Toyota campaign, for instance, required consumers to type in “Prius goes plural” to prove they were humans and not bots. The ads are easier to read than Captchas, and this theoretically saves consumers time. Meanwhile, Solve Media serves likely bots tougher problems so security isn’t compromised by the easier puzzles it serves to consumers.

More than 2,000 publishers, including AOL, the Tribune Company and Meredith Corporation, have partnered with Solve Media. Revenue share differs from site to site, but Jacoby says Solve Media and publishers typically split it.

The company has also recruited more than 75 advertisers including Toyota and IHG (which owns Holiday Inn). Just as Google sells advertising based on how many people click on promoted search results, Solve Media also sells ads based on how many consumers actually type in a brand message. So far, that’s happened about 18 million times.

Consumers are forced to engage with a brand in order to participate in web activities. It’s like television advertising before Tivo.

“[Banner] ads are adjacent to the content we're reading as opposed to network television, where the ads are literally sandwiched between content segments,” Jacoby says. “We took a page from [television's] playbook.”

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: Advertising, bizspark, solve media

How the iPhone 4S Will Change Mobile Gaming

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 07:17 PM PDT

Carter Dotson is a freelance writer from Texas, covering the mobile and gaming industries since 2009. He has written for 148Apps since 2010, and hosts the weekly mobile gaming podcast The Portable Podcast.

At the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, Apple may have revealed an iPhone 4S physically similar to the iPhone 4, but which represents a major leap forward in smartphone performance. This will be most noticeable in gaming, the most used of smartphone apps.

The iPhone 4S is powered by the A5 processor, which contains 512 MB of RAM, identical to the iPad 2. Apple claims the A5 has twice the processing power and seven times the graphics speed of the A4 chip that powered the iPhone 4, the original iPad and the iPod touch 4th generation.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Live Multiplayer Games for iPhone

What do today's more powerful specifications mean for the future of iOS gaming? The A5 devices can now accommodate games that rival the graphics and complexity found on consoles. Furthermore, many current games will now be able to support better graphics on the A5 chip; games such as Infinity Blade and Dead Space were updated to support the improved capabilities of the A5 when the iPad 2 was released. It's likely other games will get similar updates with the release of the iPhone 4S.

Three particular technologies will highlight the A5 chip’s capabilities.

The Unreal Development Kit

First, the Unreal Development Kit allows developers to utilize the powerful Unreal Engine, which powers many PC and console games (most notably the Gears of War series), for iOS games. The Infinity Blade 2 demo at the “Let’s talk iPhone” event demonstrated the console-quality detail users can look forward to. Alongside more powerful hardware, full-fledged console and PC-style Unreal Engine games on iOS are now a reality.


The second technology is Unity. While this engine has been used in iOS games for years, one recently released game illustrated the engine's console-quality capabilities: Shadowgun. This game features an impressive level of detail, even on A4 devices, but even greater quality when played on the iPad 2′s A5 chip. Hundreds of 3D games use Unity as well; look forward to their impressive visuals thanks to A5 chip technology.

Flash-Based Gaming via Adobe AIR

The third and somewhat unlikely candidate is Flash-based gaming through Adobe AIR. The point-and-click adventure game Machinarium was recently ported to the iPad 2 using Adobe AIR. These types of games may need the A5 chip to run properly on iOS, so the new iPhone 4S will open a much bigger market for them. And, Machinarium managed to reached number one in the iPad App Store, despite being limited to iPad 2. So restricting support to only A5 devices is not necessarily a detriment to sales. More popular hardware-intensive Flash games will be making their way to iOS.

The Value in Older Hardware

Despite the A5 chip gaming advancements, Apple will also keep older hardware in play, particularly third-generation devices: the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3rd generation.

Apple only gave the iPod touch a cosmetic upgrade, in place of any internal hardware upgrade. After all, Apple described the iPod touch as the most popular handheld gaming console in the world. Apple has typically let its devices remain in use with updates for two years. If this pattern holds true, the A4 devices will be around for awhile. Many games won’t need more powerful hardware after all. For example, Where’s My Water is not a hardware-taxing game, and yet it currently sits at number one for paid apps on both the iPhone and iPad (as of this writing).

Apple retains the iPhone 3GS as a means of bringing customers into the fold of iOS, when they otherwise might not have ever owned an iPhone at all. Apple’s exciting little secret is that the phone is still quite capable. It features the same amount of RAM as the iPod touch 4th generation and the original iPad. And while its processor is slightly less powerful, it features a lower-resolution screen for games to render. This will help developers continue running demanding games on lesser hardware. In fact, 3D games will likely have similar performance on the iPhone 3GS as on the A4 devices' Retina Display resolution.

It’s telling that Infinity Blade 2, the same game used by Apple to show off the A5′s capabilities, will be available for the iPhone 3GS. The hardware is still capable, so there’s no reason for it to go away any time soon.

While gaming has the potential to advance to all-new levels — and there will be games that exploit the A5 processor’s power — the majority of games should be perfectly playable on all current iOS devices for the foreseeable future. Apple appears to be playing both sides of the gaming market here: welcoming games that push the newest hardware envelope, while also allowing older-generation devices to play the majority of new releases. It's this flexibility that will continue to strengthen the App Store gaming market.

What do you think? Will mobile iOS games begin to rival console games? Are you interested in buying an iPhone 4S to play the latest and greatest titles? Let us know in the comments below.

Special thanks to Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios and Josh Presseisen of Crescent Moon Games for their contributions to this article.

More About: apple, contributor, features, Gaming, iPhone 4S

The Rise of Customer-Driven Innovation

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 06:28 PM PDT

Julie Wittes Schlack is SVP of innovation and design at Communispace. You can follow her on Twitter @jwschlack or read her blog here.

Numerous studies demonstrate that 70-80% of all new products fail. Lack of relevance, lack of differentiation, inappropriate pricing and muddled messaging all factor into a brand's struggle when launching a new product.

However, the ultimate judgment of new products falls to consumers, who, ironically, are often absent from the development process. That development stage stands the greatest chance of generating transformative new ideas early on, before the brand has made a significant investment.

Over the last decade, the Internet has enabled consumers to help brands drive front-end innovation and generate consumer participation in all stages of a product's lifecycle. Many brands are investing in "customer co-creation" techniques to avoid late-stage product failures.

Crowdsourced co-creation, in which a broad pool of consumers is invited to suggest ideas and/or respond to specific design challenges, has been widely adopted by marketers. The strategy can potentially shorten the time it takes to get new products to market, not to mention, can leverage an empowered consumer culture. For example, uses an online e-suggestion box to solicit ideas from customers, who can also rate the ideas of others. The company then reports back to this "crowd" of engaged consumers when certain ideas move into development.

For all its benefits — including a broad reach and a high volume of submitted ideas — this approach poses significant challenges. For some brands, the sheer volume of ideas can be daunting to review and assess, sometimes because these sites become prime targets for disgruntled customers to post their customer-service grievances. In addition, these sites' public nature makes it easy for competitors to pounce first on promising ideas.

Therefore, private communities act as alternatives to public customer ideation sites. Privacy removes the threat of the poaching competitor and allows companies to longitudinally interact with a smaller group of customers (typically 300-500). This format also enables community facilitators to lead an ideation and concept development process that is more structured — thus, potentially more fruitful — than the e-suggestion box approach. Finally, a private environment can provide a more intimate setting for open and honest discussion of product challenges.

Should You Involve Your Customers in Product Creation?

Regardless of whether you opt for a public or private approach, there are several factors to consider before investing in a co-creation initiative.

  • Recruit the right customers. Carefully consider the types of people from whom to solicit ideas. Think beyond their key demographics and consider recruiting them based on their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Use a structured approach. Don't ask consumers what they want in a new product without giving them a structured brainstorming approach, or something to react to. Wide open, blue-sky approaches place too much pressure on consumers to produce what they think is "right" in your eyes. More importantly, when consumers don't have a structured approach, they're more likely to apply principles and ideas from other companies to your product.
  • Manage your expectations. Consumers can only produce ideas based on what they know — their needs — and are not equipped with the knowledge of what's feasible from a financial and manufacturing perspective. Thus it's crucial to have processes in place that enable internal R&D resources to vet, narrow down, and refine consumer-generated ideas.
  • It's more about needs than solutions. Start by determining unmet needs or barriers. Then, feed those needs back to consumers to help inform their ideation process. The ideas your customers generate may not be production-ready, but you can use your understanding of those needs to develop consumer-relevant products of your own.
  • Seek fresh eyes in evaluating ideas. In addition to asking the people who submit ideas to also rate them, consider transporting those ideas to a different venue to get a fresh outlook.

Images courtesy of Flickr, james_michael_hill, Mick Orlosky

More About: Business, contributor, crowdsourcing, features, startup

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An iMessage-Inspired Eulogy for Group Messaging Apps

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 05:51 PM PDT

It is often said that when one door closes, another door opens. But the phrase, it seems, can sometimes work in reverse.

As Apple launched its iOS platform on Thursday — including a new BlackBerry Messenger-like app called iMessage — the sound of a door closing behind the brief boom of group messaging apps was almost audible.

GroupMe, Fast Society, Kik, Beluga, Glassboard, Yobongo, Hurricane Party, Betwext, Brightkite, CloudTalk, HeyWire, PingChat, TextPlus, GroupedIn, Mogwee and the others we routinely forget about — it has come time for us to say goodbye.

We fondly remember the long hours spent squinting at some of your feature lists, trying to find something to differentiate between you as you copied each other's features at a rate that made it impossible to choose one or the other. Together we moved from group text messages, to push notifications, to conference calling and photo-sharing.

How we enjoyed the bold twists some of you added to the game. Sure, we thought to ourselves, let's chat with strangers. Let's start a party — using group messaging.

Learning more about you kept us buzzing until we were blue in the face at South by Southwest. “Who would win the horserace?,” we asked ourselves. It was so exciting. We were convinced we had found the next Twitter.

But in the end, you were too good of a too-easy idea to make it on your own.

Your powers were destined for bigger companies. We watched without surprise as Slide turned out Google's group messaging app, Disco; Beluga became Facebook's and Groupme became Skype's.

Apple joined the game that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) started without paying for a startup to play. It does most of what you do, but it comes loaded on our shiny new iPhones with iOS 5.

We can send messages back and forth between ourselves and our iPhone-owning friends using Wi-Fi or our mobile networks — without using up any text messages. We can make groups for real-time chat. And there’s even a feature that tells us when our friends also have iMessage, so we can use it instead of sending a text message.

Now we won’t pay for text messages or download your app.

We don't think it's fair either, but there's still time to pivot. Integrate social media accounts, become in-store customer service chat or give us something completely new.

It’s not too late for a bit of a resurrection.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, RobertHoetink

More About: group messaging, imessage, iOS 5

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Hulu Is No Longer For Sale

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 04:54 PM PDT

Hulu and its owners have announced that they will not sell the popular video site after all.

“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success,” Disney, News Corp., Providence Equity Partners and Hulu’s senior management said in a joint statement. “Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu."

Hulu started considering a sale in June after Yahoo expressed interest in acquiring the world’s second largest video website. Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Dish Network and others were reportedly in the running.

However, none of the bidders offered an amount that was satisfactory to its owners. Google apparently offered more than $4 billon for the site, but wanted longer-term guarantees to its video content. Hulu’s premium videos are primarily provided by Disney (which owns ABC), Comcast (which owns NBC-Universal) and News Corporation (which owns Fox).

In the end, Hulu’s owners simply couldn’t find a compelling reason to give up one of their biggest digital success stories. Apple, Amazon and other technology companies have transformed the distribution models for TV shows and movies in the last few years. Hulu is one of the entertainment industry’s best weapons in the battle to take control of their online destinies.

More About: disney, hulu, news corporation

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Apple’s iCloud: Fine on Mobile, Dead on the Desktop [REVIEW]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 04:44 PM PDT

Along with iOS 5, Apple officially released iCloud Wednesday. The successor to the much-maligned MobileMe, iCloud is Apple’s first major attempt at unifying its product lines with online storage.

Unlike MobileMe, iCloud is free to anyone with an iOS 5 device. It’s also available for OS X Lion — and yes, that means you have to spend $30 on the upgrade if you’re on Snow Leopard, a fact some have compared to a Mac user tax. On the PC side, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 are supported.

Could iCloud be a Dropbox or Google Docs killer? Here’s the skinny.

Mail, Calendar, Reminders and Notes

If you’ve used MobileMe, the email, calendar and notes component of iCloud will be old hat. Apple is giving users a free email address and lets them keep calendars, contacts and email synced across devices.

iCloud is designed to work with Mac OS X Mail and Outlook on Windows, but you can also access email, calendars and contacts directly at

For iOS users, the syncing aspect of contacts and calendars is fantastic. Apple has updated the web interfaces from the MobileMe days, making the mail, calendar and address book apps dead ringers for their iPad and Mac OS X brethren.

Unfortunately, iCloud cannot subscribe to a Google calendar. Using the website to view my calendars, I only see the ones associated with iCloud, not the others that are accessible on my phone, iPad and Mac.

All iCloud users get 5GB of free storage; that includes your email inbox.


Photo Stream is an iCloud feature that will publish every photo that you take on an iPhone or iPad and store it in the cloud for 30 days. Up to 1,000 recent photos are accessible across your devices.

This means that accessing a photo I took on my iPhone or iPad no longer requires emailing that image to myself. Likewise, I can now get all my iPhone shots imported directly into my Aperture library on my Mac. Photos are automatically downloaded to the Pictures folder in Windows or in your library in iPhoto or Aperture.

Photo Stream isn’t permanent; the photos only remain accessible for a month. The stream can be manually reset, but individual photos cannot be removed. Users need to save an image to their camera roll for permanent storage and editing.

It would be nice to have a web component to Photo Stream, so you could view snaps from someone else’s computer.

Documents and Data

iCloud can also store documents and data files. Users can choose to backup their iOS devices, including app data, to iCloud. This is instead of a traditional iTunes-based backup.

Some programs have exceptionally large data stores. Fortunately, in iOS, you can choose what programs to back up. If an app is downloaded on another device or reinstalled on an existing device, the settings and data appear as they did before.

Apple has touted iCloud’s integration with its iWork apps, which led some to think this might be a competitor to Google Docs or Office 360. Unfortunately, it’s not. It isn’t even close.

From a pure iOS play, the way that iWork integrates with iCloud is quite brilliant. Users have access to any files they create in Pages, Keynote or Numbers for iOS on another iOS device. That means I can start a document in Pages for iPad and finish it up or edit it in Pages for iPhone.

I can also view the file on the web — though I have to download it, and can’t edit it online.

Here’s where iCloud integration falls apart: Mac apps. With iWork ’09, iCloud integration is simply pitiful.

In order to access a document I started on an iOS device, I must download it from a browser, open that file in my Mac application, and then save the changes and upload the file back to iCloud.

Meanwhile, iOS apps that use Dropbox work seamlessly on the desktop. If I open that file on my Mac and save it back to my Dropbox folder, changes are automatically linked within those iOS apps.

Music and Video

I’ve already discussed iTunes in the Cloud, but it bears repeating that this is one of the best features of the entire product.

Having easy access to songs and TV shows you’ve already purchased is a dream. Even better, iTunes Match will make libraries accessible across devices, without the need to carry around a full iPhone or iPad.

iCloud vs. MobileMe

MobileMe launched alongside the iPhone 3G in 2008. Doomed almost from the start, the service suffered embarrassing bouts of downtime that forced Apple to give customers months of free service.

Eventually, MobileMe became a more stable product. Unfortunately, its price of $99 a year didn’t justify many of the features that competitors like Google offered for free.

I was a paying MobileMe user because of the Find My iPhone feature. Apple eventually made Find My iPhone free; a good decision. The rest of the features — save iDisk and iWeb publishing — have made the migration to iCloud.

I was willing to pay for MobileMe even after Find My iPhone became free because of the MobileMe Sync feature. MobileMe Sync allowed users to keep their settings, keychains and mail rules consistent across Macs. What this meant was that a change I applied to my MacBook Pro, in terms of a serial number for an app I purchased or a password to a website, was automatically synced on my iMac.

Unfortunately, this feature is not part of iCloud. There is no word on whether it will get added in the future.

Current MobileMe customers need to convert their accounts to iCloud. To compensate, Apple has given those users an additional 20GB of storage for their files, data and backups through June 2012.

iCloud vs. Dropbox

I was hoping iCloud would be Apple’s answer to Dropbox. In its current state, it isn’t even close. Clearly it was built with only one OS in mind: iOS.

This is in stark contrast to Dropbox, which was built to be device-agnostic. With Dropbox, I have a folder in Finder that I can add things to or access. In iCloud, I have to rely on supported apps like Mail, iTunes and iPhoto.

Conclusion: Does iCloud Live Up to its Promise?

As a free service, iCloud is absolutely worth it for the contact and calendar syncing alone — as well as Find My iPhone/Find My Mac and the ability to do cloud-based iOS backups. The $24.99 a year iTunes Music Match service is worth its weight in gold.

When it comes to the desktop, iCloud is a step back from MobileMe. This was clearly a product designed for the mobile OS alone. In spite of requiring Mac OS X Lion, iCloud interacts with Mac OS X at a very minimal level.

We might be in a post-PC era, but we aren’t there all the way. If Apple wants developer and platform support for iCloud, it needs to make the service useful to those of us that use a regular computer.

More About: apple, cloud computing, Dropbox, Feature, icloud, mac apps, OS X Lion

Google Chrome Browser Has 200 Million Users

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 04:23 PM PDT

Google‘s 3 year-old Chrome browser just hit the 200 million user mark, CEO Larry Page announced Thursday.

The fast-growing browser had about 160 million users in May, up from 120 million in December 2010, according to eWeek, which correctly predicted Chrome would hit 200 million users in October.

Chrome’s growth had been noted elsewhere. The browser has about 15% market share and in some markets, like the UK, it has surpassed Firefox’s share to become the second most popular browser after IE. Among Mashable readers, meanwhile, Chrome is the most popular.

The huge installed base for Chrome is good news for Google, which just started rolling out its first Chromebooks in June.

More About: chrome, Firefox, Google

How to Deal With Email Overload

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 03:45 PM PDT

Ari Meisel is co-founder at Less Doing, where he works on making every task in life and business more efficient. You can follow him on Twitter @liontex and read his blog at

People spend a lot of time on email — way too much for their own good and productivity. Email is a disruptive technology that can take you on a tangent you never intended, and eat up time faster than most other voluntary activities.

Email has addictive qualities. Most of us receive email that is unimportant, and yet we continue to check our inboxes incessantly.

To free you from email burden, try these simple techniques.

1. Optimize

To optimize email, you need less of it. Try using a service called to get yourself removed from mailing lists, promotional emails, etc. It uses a Gmail plugin, or you can just forward emails to

Try aggregating. Sometimes you receive non-essential emails that are actually beneficial. Aggregating and unsubscribing will cut down on a lot of the incoming mail you receive to begin with. Services such as FriendFeed send a daily summary of social media activity. Dealery will send all the best daily deals, so you don’t need to individually subscribe to Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. For good measure, sign up for a Google Alert on yourself, as well as a news aggregator like The Daily Beast.

Next comes organization. I’m a huge fan of OtherInbox, which integrates with Gmail and automatically organizes your messages into folders like “Shopping” and “Business.” Imagine an inbox with 1,000 messages; after initiating OtherInbox, you can watch that inbox shrink to 14 emails — in one click. Furthermore, OtherInbox will learn from you, and therefore, get better over time. As an added benefit, OtherInbox has its own unsubscribe service. It will also automatically recognize tracking numbers in an email, then put the delivery date in your calendar alongside relevant shipment information.

Become a filtering ninja. Whether Gmail, Outlook or another service, most email systems allow for filtering. Any type of email you get with some regularity (and some you don’t) should have a filter assigned to it. Sometimes accounts forward emails with certain keywords to an assistant, or provide a specific automated response. Regardless, use filters often.

Answer questions ahead of time. Take away the need for people to email you in the first place. Try including an FAQ section on your website, for example. Answer those mundane, repetitive questions ahead of time. Or, try putting relevant information in your signature. I use UnityFax to get faxes by email. I like Virtual Post Mail to get postal mail in my email inbox.

Finally, use WiseStamp to generate nice little icons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blog. I also like to include a link to Tungle in my signature, which gives people access to an appointment book synced with my calendar in real time. That way, I never have to waste time or emails setting up meetings.

Include a sentence in your email signature stating that you only check your email once a day, but if the matter is urgent, the sender can use AwayFind. This service creates an emergency contact page that routes messages to you by voice or text.

Now that you've optimized your emails, you'll need to get better at “processing” them. Check out The Email Game, which adds game dynamics to email processing. When you get an email you have a few seconds to decide what to do: whether to defer it to a later time, delete it or reply to it. If you decide to reply, you have only a short time to craft your response. Depending on how well you do, the game rewards points, all the while training you to process email faster.

If you really want to geek out, go to Read Fast, which trains you, little by little, to speed read. I gained 30 words per minute after one article.

2. Automate

I use to keep track of deadlines within the email realm. It’s a simple concept: Whenever you send an email, you can set an email reminder for any time period. For instance, if you write an email to a potential client, you can choose to CC "" Three days later, if that client hasn't responded, he'll get a reminder email, as will you. If you BCC "," only you get the reminder. You’ll find that after a couple weeks of using, you'll stop worrying about follow-ups. It’s out of sight, and out of mind — the way it should be.

Gmail plugin Canned Responses is indispensable. The plugin lets you create template emails. For example, if you frequently get requests for product information, you can create a template email with all the info. That way, it only takes two clicks to send, rather than five minutes spent writing the email. In combination with filters, you can set automatic template responses to certain keywords, completely removing the task from your plate.

Another great plugin is Boomerang. Among other things, the tool allows you to delay sending certain emails until a later date. Deferring emails makes you more productive by corralling people into your schedule. If you respond to an email immediately, you’ll likely just get more email. But, if you send at a more strategic time, you may be in a better position to deal with that message more efficiently.

The last tool in the automation process is an autoresponder. Your autoresponder should take the same route as your email signature by anticipating people's needs and provide solutions beforehand. Tell them whom to contact for certain requests, and let them know where to get the information they want.

3. Outsource

Once you’ve worked up the email ladder of optimization and automation, you will undoubtedly still be left with messages that require human interaction — but maybe not your own. That’s where virtual assistance comes into play. I use FancyHands to deal with nagging tasks I don’t have time for. Simply forward an email with one line of instructions. Then the service calls people to request information and organizes files into something more useful.

The most important thing to remember is that every problem has a solution. When you examine tasks within the framework above, you can get technology working for you, instead of the other way around

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: contributor, email, features, How-To, productivity

Be a Part of Mashable’s iPhone 4S Coverage

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 03:10 PM PDT

In case you didn’t already know, Apple is releasing the iPhone 4S Friday. But you probably did know.

Chances are good that unless you are an Android devotee, are (or were) chained to your Blackberry, or think Windows Phone is the mobile OS of the future, you thought about getting yourself one of Apple’s new mobile devices.

Many of you early adopters, however, are already either tracking your iPhone 4S shipment like a hawk or are readying a bag with a tent and a sweater (or two) to prepare for your campout at your local Apple store in the wee hours of Friday morning. In fact, some of you may already be there.

While the Mashable staff will do our best to capture the vibe of the iPhone 4S release day, we need your help. There are about 350 Apple retail stores in the world. And as much as we wish we could, we cannot make it to every single one of them. That’s why we’re asking our readers to be a part of our coverage.

We want to hear your story, see your pictures and watch your videos. So, when you are outside waiting in line at an Apple store, take a picture of what it looks like. When they open the doors and the frenzy begins, take a video. If something funny happens, tell us in the comment section below. If you’re in line and want to share from the scene, tweet any photos you may grab to @MashableApple with the hashtag #iphone4S. It goes straight to our editors!

We can’t wait to see what you send us!

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Why Education Needs to Get Its Game On

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 02:49 PM PDT

Gerard LaFond is the VP of marketing for Pearson's College and Career Readiness division and the co-founder of Persuasive Games. He's currently working on the gamification of education through the Pearson start-up, Alleyoop.

Kids spend hours a day on sites like Facebook and YouTube. They play highly immersive video games, watch engrossing shows on their HDTVs and interact with apps on their mobile devices. All of this is in stark contrast to how they spend their days at school, where educators lecture and write on blackboards, then ask kids to read boring textbooks and practice abstract skills or memorize obscure facts. The cycle of lecture, test and repeat is not the best way to engage kids. In fact, it might be the best way to alienate them.

We are wasting the huge opportunity offered by technology to engage and immerse kids in curiosity-based learning and discovery. Schools should not just prepare students to pass state assessments and standardized tests. We should also prepare them for the complex real-world situations they will certainly face. If we recalibrate our education system to meet the needs of the digital natives, we can produce eager, life-long learners who are well-equipped for 21st century careers.

SEE ALSO: 4 Excellent Indie Games With Real Educational Value

If we believe part of the solution to our education problems is better engagement, then perhaps we should turn to the engaging world of video games to help us get there.

The Freedom to Fail in a Safe Environment

There are many lessons from the world of video games that we can apply to education and see immediate results. For one, games can create a risk-free environment for learning and discovery. In most games, failure is a given. Often players must “die” several times before accruing the knowledge and skills necessary to win. Since a certain amount failure is normal within the game, players will naturally take the approach of trial and error to discover the path to success. This is a very effective way for teens to learn, and it does not require peers or adults telling them they did something “wrong.” Importantly, there is no shame around this type of failure; it’s simply part of the process of learning (and, eventually, winning.)

While this type of risk-free environment can be difficult to replicate in the classroom, educators and parents should keep in mind that creating opportunities for students to safely fail is the best way to ensure that real learning breakthroughs occur. Kids who are not frustrated by failure, who instead see it as part of the process, are less likely to give up on learning. This is a valuable lesson that can be modeled through learning games and applied in the real world.

The Power of Game Mechanics

Secondly, good games are designed to make players want to work hard to achieve a goal. In the game world this is known as "grinding." Grinding is the hard (often repetitive) work that is required to achieve a desired outcome. According to Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of Reality is Broken, World of Warcraft players will spend an average of 600+ hours grinding before they get to the good stuff. Yet players will persevere because they really want to get to the good stuff. This is important, because math, like many other valuable skills, requires grinding for mastery. Why can't school be engaging, goal-oriented and game-like? If it was, perhaps we could get teens to grind out a hundred extra hours of studying and attain better college and career prospects.

You might be skeptical about the possibility of making school fun. The truth is that school doesn't have to be as fun as World of Warcraft — it just has to be less boring than it is today.

In addition to risk-free environments and grinding to reach goals, games have many other properties that make them a perfect vehicle to address our education problems. There has been a lot of buzz around the idea of gamification, particularly in the world of marketing. It is touted as an effective customer engagement mechanism, and many brands using game dynamics have seen positive results. If we apply this strategy to education, I believe we can realize an equally positive impact on society as a whole. If we tap into motivational game dynamics like small achievable goals, desirable rewards, constant positive feedback and compelling interactive content, then we can design an educational experience that speaks to teens.

If you’re looking for a real-world example of game dynamics being used well in the classroom, take Ananth Pai. The third grade teacher from Minnesota was disappointed in his classroom’s math scores. To improve them, he decided to "gameify" his classroom with titles like Brain Age on the Nintendo DS and Flower Power, among others. Math is a subject that requires grinding for mastery at every level, even in the 3rd grade. Pai has successfully used video games and in-class game mechanics to manage and motivate his students, improving their math scores by a significant margin.

At a recent game conference, Pai reminded us that there are real kids behind these numbers — kids with interests and passions and goals. Whether it's the 3rd grader trying to catch up in math and reading, the 8th grader struggling with fundamental algebra skills, or the 11th grader preparing both academically and personally for college, these kids need us to design a better game. Until we have SchoolVille or World of 21st Century Skillcraft, let's replace lectures and testing with play and discovery and begin fostering a passion for lifelong learning in all of our students.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, KentWeakley

More About: contributor, education, features, gamification, Gaming, video games

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From Brick to Slick: 38 Years of Cellphone Evolution [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 02:35 PM PDT

Ah, the good old days, when cellphones were the size of bricks. Some were so big you had to carry a separate bag containing their electronic innards, and if you weren’t careful, you might end up with a dislocated shoulder by the end of the day.

They generally weren’t called cellphones at all — most of us codgers called them “car phones” back then, because that was the size of conveyance you needed to lug around all of their electronic parts.

Fast forward to today, where cellphones have gotten plenty smart. One factor caught our eyes: Notice how different all the phones start looking around 2007. Wonder what happened then (cough! iPhone cough!)?

This infographic from Wilson Electronics (maker of cellular signal boosters for buildings and cars, so they know about these things) takes you from Dr. Martin Cooper’s laughable handset (that looked more like a cream-colored shoe than a phone) up to today’s darling of the moment, the Apple iPhone 4S.

Tell us in the comments how many of these cellphones you’ve used, which one was your favorite, and how you would compare your previous model to today’s latest phones.

Infographic courtesy Wilson Electronics

More About: cellphone evolution, infographics, smartphones

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Android Event Is a Go: Ice Cream Sandwich, Samsung Nexus Prime Launch Oct. 19

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 02:13 PM PDT

Google and Samsung have announced an Android press event Oct. 19 in Hong Kong.

While the event doesn’t specifically mention the focus of the event will be “Ice Cream Sandwich,” the next version of Google’s mobile OS, the invite itself features the iconic Android character in the form of an ice cream sandwich. You do the math.

The event will also be the official debut of the Samsung Nexus Prime, which will be the first smartphone to run the new Google OS. The Nexus Prime reportedly contains a dual-core 1.2 to 1.5 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 4G LTE.

The Google-Samsung event was originally scheduled for Oct. 11 but was delayed out of respect follow Steve Jobs’s death.

The other big question you all may have is why are Google and Samsung showing off the new Android OS in Hong Kong? Why not do it in San Francisco, where most technology journalists live? The answer is that the event corresponds with the AllThingsD's AsiaD Conference, which kicks off not long after the Google-Samsung press conference. Andy Rubin and a Samsung executive will be speaking at the conference, presumably about Ice Cream Sandwich and the Nexus Prime.

Bonus: Leaked Footage of the Samsung Nexus Prime

More About: android, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Google, ice cream sandwich, nexus prime, samsung, Samsung Nexus Prime

Vogue, Bon Appetit & Conde Nast Traveler Coming to iPad in Early 2012

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 01:53 PM PDT

Three of Conde Nast’s biggest titles — Vogue, Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler — will arrive on the iPad by early 2012, Bob Sauerberg, president of Conde Nast, said Thursday.

The announcement accompanied the arrival of nine of Conde Nast’s other titles — Allure, Brides, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Wired — on Apple’s newly released Newsstand app. It offers publishers two things they have long been asking of Apple: greater discoverability within the App Store ecosystem, and the ability to automatically deliver new issues to subscribers’ devices.

Vogue tested the iPad waters earlier this year with an iPad app built around a March 2011 cover story on Lady Gaga (screenshots below).

In a separate announcement, Rodale disclosed that print subscribers of Women’s Health, Prevention and Runner’s World will soon be able to access the iPad editions of those titles for free through Newsstand. Men’s Health will likewise be available sometime next week.


Click here to view this gallery.

More About: bon appetit, conde nast, conde nast traveler, ipad, Media, vogue

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The Cow at the Apple Store: iPhone 4S Launch As Marketing Opportunity

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 01:34 PM PDT

Dillon Horowitz is on his way to New York City’s flagship Apple store from Woodstock, N.Y. with a cow named Daizy, a calf and a milking goat.

Horowitz’s plan is to host an animal meet-and-greet for the Apple fans who have already started lining up in anticipation of the iPhone 4S release. He’ll be handing out cups of warm milk, putting up cardboard cutouts of cows for photo opportunities and — of course — dropping lots of cards with QR codes on them linking to an iPhone game he created: The Milking App.

Horowitz and his Cows Gaming cofounder Gilad Shai aren’t the only business people who have spotted a marketing opportunity in the captive audience which tends to gather in front of Apple stores hours or even days before new product launches. Earlier this year, a man who paid $900 for the first spot in the iPad 2 line cited promotion for his app as his primary motivation. In Sydney, two doors down from the iPhone 4S line, Samsung has a pop-up store that sells the Galaxy S II for just $2. And iPhone-case maker OtterBox is handing out survival kits and pizza to the line in front of an Atlanta AT&T store.

This is the first time we’ve seen an Apple line promotion involve a live cow, however. Getting permission to bring a group of farm animals to the city involves no small amount of paperwork, and Horowitz says he started the process of applying for a permit about a year ago. Originally he wanted to bring the cow to Union Square, but decided on the Apple store because “it just felt right.” Daizy will be stationed across the street from the Apple store on public property from about 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday.

Her trip to New York City has certainly got our attention, but it also has us wondering how much of Apple’s consumer catnip can really rub off on those who crash its party. Will Daizy’s trip to the Apple store really foster affection for The Milking App? Horowitz certainly hopes so.

“You should really come down to meet Daizy,” Horowitz says. “She’s a really charming, amazing cow.”

Image courtesy of istockphoto, FrankvandenBergh

More About: iPhone 4S, The Millking App

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Google+ Has 40 Million Users, Says Larry Page

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 01:22 PM PDT

Google came very close to its first $10 billion quarter and hit another milestone: 40 million users for Google+, as the company announced its third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

Google posted $9.72 billion in revenues, a 33% jump over the same quarter in 2010. Operating income for the quarter was also up. Such earnings hit $3.06 billion for the quarter compared to $2.55 billion in the year-ago quarter.

In a press release from the company, CEO Larry Page also said that Google+, the company’s fledgling social network, now has 40 million users: “People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started!” says Page.

More to come.

More About: Google

How People Use Smartphones and Tablets While Watching TV [STUDY]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 01:08 PM PDT

So you watch TV without another screen to hand? You may soon be in the minority. TV viewing is increasingly becoming a multi-screen experience.

This is especially true for owners of tablets and smartphones in the U.S., 40% of whom use their devices while watching TV on a daily basis, according to data from Nielsen. In fact, only 12% of tablet owners and 13% of smartphone owners say they have never used those devices while watching TV.

What are we doing on those devices? More than half of smartphone or tablet owners are checking email during programs and commercial breaks, while around 45% are surfing the web for unrelated information. Some 42% are visiting social networking sites — a trend that is greater among women — and nearly a third are checking sports scores or looking up information related to the TV program they’re watching.

Fewer than 20% of them are looking up information related to ads they’ve seen on TV. Still, that’s a pretty significant amount.

Unsurprisingly, few ereader owners use their devices while watching TV. Only 14% do so on a daily basis, and nearly half say they’ve never done so. We expect those numbers match the number of people who read printed books while watching TV. Reading simply isn’t as compatible with TV viewing as smartphones and tablets are, particularly with the recent influx of apps designed to be used during programming.

Personally, I was surprised that so many people were using their devices during programming. I’ll frequently turn to my Kindle or check email on my iPhone during a commercial break, but I have a difficult time ignoring programming once it’s on. What about you? How do these statistics compare to your own TV-viewing habits?

More About: ipad, Nielsen, smartphones, tablets, TV

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1-Year-Old Plays With Magazine Like It’s an iPad [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 12:47 PM PDT

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

Kids today. They think the world revolves around them, that texting trumps face-to-face conversations and that print magazines are actually iPads.

Say what? Well, about that last part: While there are apocryphal stories about toddlers trying to activate their TVs by touching their screens, the same apparently holds true for non-electric objects. As this video demonstrates, to a 1-year-old, Apple‘s iPad is something that’s literally been around all of their lives.

So rather than be amazed at all the things an iPad can do, this child is confounded by what a paper magazine cannot do. Makes sense, right?

More About: ipad, technology, trending, viral videos, viral-video-of-the-day

Libraries Fight Back: Ebook Checkouts Up 200%

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 12:35 PM PDT

ebook image

With the rise of digital books on the Kindle and the iPad, how is your local paper-based library keeping up? By fighting fire with fire.

Ebook checkouts increased by more than 200% in 2010, according to a recent study from OverDrive, the leading distributor of ebooks and digital audiobooks to libraries.

Ebook checkouts continue to accelerate, almost tripling through September. This adds to the more than 12 million ebook checkouts so far in 2011, paidContent reports.

More than two-thirds of public libraries in the U.S. now offer ebook checkouts, more than 15,000 of which use OverDrive’s platform. That includes heavy hitters like the New York Public Library.

While patrons will always have use for hard copies of books and manuscripts, ebooks can reach far more people while appealing to a younger demographic of new library patrons. OverDrive partnered with Sony, Amazon and Barnes & Noble to make sure their books were available across a range of high-tech ereaders and phones.

Ebook checkouts may be cannibalizing hard copy checkouts — but if that means more people are reading books, the library is doing its job.

Would you rent an ebook instead of purchasing it? Do you think these numbers can continue to grow? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, goXunuReviews

More About: books, ebooks, ereaders, Gadgets

How One Startup Got 101 Angel Investors — and $30 Million in Funding

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 11:55 AM PDT

OneWire, an employee recruiting platform, has raised $30 million since 2008. That’s not bad for a startup, but nor is it an eye-popping amount. What’s turning heads in the tech scene is the way OneWire raised it: all from individual investors, and not a penny from venture capital firms.

OneWire has 101 angel investors. David Tisch, an investor who advises early stage startups as the managing director of TechStars New York City, says there’s no average number when it comes to angels — but anything more than 10 seems like a lot.

Kerry Rupp, a managing partner at Dreamit Ventures, reacts similarly. “101 opinions can be pretty overwhelming,” she says.

And yet overwhelming opinions were exactly what OneWire co-founders Skiddy von Stade and Brin McCagg were trying to avoid by wrangling its funding this way. Startups often raise a small sum from angel investors and then accept a larger sum from a venture capital firm. But for every happy partnership between a venture capital firm and an entrepreneur, McCagg says, there’s a sour relationship where a VC took decisions out of an startup’s hands.

"The investors do own the majority of the company, but we don't have an 800-pound gorilla in the room.”

“If you have one big investor that is $30 million,” McCagg says, “they basically own you and tell you what to do. … The investors do own the majority of the company, but we don't have an 800-pound gorilla in the room.”

Its unconventional approach to funding doesn’t seem to have hurt OneWire. Though not yet profitable, it has hired 50 people, lists companies such as Goldman Sachs and Deloitte among its clients, and occupies 10,000 square feet of office space on Madison Avenue.

McCagg argues that having 101 investors makes sense for OneWire because the success of its all-in-one talent management platform depends upon recruiting large companies as clients. Having those companies’ executives as investors doesn’t hurt this effort — and every meeting with a potential investor doubled as a sales call.

Every investor in OneWire is no more than one degree of separation from a co-founder. Von Stade ran a headhunting business for 14 years. OneWire is McCagg’s third startup. His second, a business-to-business version of eBay, had investors that included Chase Bank, Goldman Sachs, General Electric Capital and eBay.

These are not your average Rolodexes. McCagg says that most of the investors are so wealthy that the amount they’ve kicked to OneWire, on average about $300,000, is negligible to them.

“None of them put in enough that they want to run the business,” he says. “We take their advice very seriously, but it's not like we have 101 cooks in the kitchen.”

"I just hear that they’re going to have 101 people telling them what to do, whether or not those people have voting control.”

There is no shareholder meeting (McCagg doesn’t think that many would show up if there were). The main communication that OneWire has with the majority of its shareholders is a quarterly letter to keep them abreast of the company’s activities.

Even so, the prospect of giving 101 different investors — no matter how low maintenance — a stake in one company makes some entrepreneurs wary.

“I just hear that they’re going to have 101 people telling them what to do,” Rupp says, “whether or not those people have voting control.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, jronaldlee

More About: angel investors, funding, investors, onewire

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How the Millennial Generation Uses Mobile [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 11:36 AM PDT

Millennials — that is, American consumers between ages 18 and 34 — are a mobile generation. That much is clear from the infographic below.

According to data collected by location-based ad network JiWire, Millennials own an average of 2.4 Internet-connected devices. Of those who connect to JiWire’s free Wi-Fi networks, 62% percent are using smartphones and nearly a third are using tablets. Twenty-eight percent use location-based apps multiple times per day for locating stores (54%) and points of interests (46%), as well as connecting with others (40%) and checking in (32%).

Surprisingly, there is one area where older generations are more active on mobile. Although Millennials feel more comfortable buying low-priced goods through their mobile devices than those over 35 (27% vs. 18%), older device owners in general felt more comfortable making purchases — particularly big-ticket items — by a 10% margin.

How do these findings align with your own mobile behavior?

More About: jiwire, millenial, Mobile, mobile shopping

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Google Maps Adds 3D Graphics, Lets You Zoom Into Street View

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 11:23 AM PDT

Google has released an upgrade to Google Maps that offers 3D-style graphics and lets you swoop into Street View without a plugin.

The upgrade, called Google MapsGL, uses Google’s Web Graphics Library (the “GL” part) to bring 3D-like graphics to the browser. To use MapsGL, you have to have supported browsers like Chrome 14+ or Firefox Beta with compatible video cards. If that’s the case, go to Google Maps‘ homepage and you should see a prompt.

Adapting GL to Google Maps is the company’s latest application of GL, which has been used in music videos and Google Body Browser, a sort of Google Earth for the human body.

As Evan Parker, a software engineer at Google outlines in the video below, MapsGL also brings vector maps that are available on Android to the desktop and offers sharper satellite views that can now be smoothly rotated. Another new feature is the ability to take “Pegman” — Google’s name for its drag-and-drop Street View locator icon — and place him within an area and then seamlessly transition to Street View.

More About: Google Maps, google street view, webgl

Behold: The iPhone 4S Disassembled

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 11:04 AM PDT

Life’s not fair. Before you can even get your hands on an iPhone 4S, the people at FixIt have already torn one apart.

While the general public felt a bit let down there was no iPhone 5 released, the folks at FixIt were disappointed to see Apple once again used pentalobe screws instead of something more challenging. After disregarding the “Authorized Service Provider Only” tag, the disassemblers found the iPhone 4S has a superior battery, which most likely can’t be transplanted into an iPhone 4. The final payoff? A gander at the phone’s Apple A5 chip.

The latter is considered the Holy Grail of the endeavor since the 1 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB of DDR2 RAM houses Siri, the 4S’s defining feature. “If Siri has an address, this is it,” according to the FixIt post. “Though iCloud integration can be used with any iOS 5 device, Siri only works with dual-core devices.” FixIt then got die photo of the processor from Chipworks, which is displayed below.

You can see FixIt’s thorough tear down here.

BONUS: iPhone 4S Product Details

iPhone 4S

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

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: FixIt, iPhone 4S, qualcomm, teardown

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$4.7 Billion in Digital Goods Will Pass Through PayPal This Year

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 10:30 AM PDT

eBay says that its PayPal division expects to hit $4.7 billion in total payment volume (TPV) of digital goods in 2011.

The projection, announced at eBay’s X.commerce Innovate developers conference, would be a significant increase in transactions for digital goods — up 28% from 2010, when digital goods accounted for a TPV of $3.4 billion.

PayPal defines digital goods as the “direct or indirect payment of any digital asset.” This includes virtual goods, digital music, news, media, online video and virtual currencies like Facebook Credits.

“The big message is our belief that there’s a lot of opportunity in digital goods,” PayPal’s Senior Director of Emerging Opportunities Carey Kolaja told Mashable.

The company also announced that it is teaming up with Microsoft to bring in-console payments to the Xbox 360 before the end of the year. Users can already utilize their PayPal accounts on the Xbox Live website, but starting this holiday season, users can log in to their PayPal accounts on the Xbox 360 and pay for games and other digital content with PayPal. Kolaja says more than 70% of gamers already have PayPal.

Although PayPal didn’t get into the specifics of which digital goods are most popular among users, the company did reveal that gaming, digital music, publishing and social media are some of its major focuses. “Music has been a heavy, heavy focus for us,” Kolaja said.

PayPal is working with publishers, such as The Wall Street Journal, on figuring out how best to monetize their content on the web. Virtual good transactions have also become more popular, thanks to the rise of social gaming. PayPal is moving aggressively to be the payment provider for all of these digital transactions. The reason is simple: PayPal expects $150 billion of digital goods will be distributed in the next few years.

The digital payments giant is also offering developers additional support for their HTML5 apps. PayPal announced a new set of HTML5 APIs that will allow developers to integrate in-app payments with their HTML5 apps. Previously, developers had to use Java to integrate PayPal’s APIs to successfully accomplish this sort of integration.

Are you surprised by the amount of digital goods PayPal is processing? How do you typically pay for virtual goods? Let us know in the comments.

More About: ebay, microsoft, paypal, xbox, Xbox 360

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Netflix Is Getting The CW’s Programming

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 09:28 AM PDT

Netflix has signed an agreement with CBS and Warner Bros. to bring content from The CW network to Netflix members in the U.S.

Netflix’s deal with The CW, running through the 2014-15 season, will include access to current, previous and future programming.

Past seasons of shows like One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries will be available to members starting Oct. 15. Supernatural and 90210 will come to Netflix in January. New shows from the Fall TV season, including Ringer, Hart of Dixie and The Secret Circle will become available in fall 2012.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has signed a broad agreement with CBS. In fact, CBS is one of Netflix’s strongest content partners. The bigger news is that this is one of the first major content partnerships that also involves Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. and CBS formed The CW in 2006 out of the ashes of previous TV networks UPN and The WB. In the past six years, the network has honed its focus on young-adult, female-oriented programming.

The CW makes a lot of sense as a Netflix partner. The network makes its programming available to viewers online the day after shows air on broadcast. Now, Netflix will give catalog content a big boost.

Is Catalog Content the Answer?

It’s great to see Netflix expanding its catalog of content. The remaining problem, however, is that content is not accessible until the following TV season. Meanwhile, its two biggest competitors — Hulu Plus and TV Everywhere — are bringing content to users the day after it airs.

TV Everywhere, the broader cable initiative in which Time Warner (Warner Bros. parent company) is investing, is an increasing threat to Netflix. In response, cable providers and networks are now working together to offer subscribers access to more content on more devices.

When looking at the success of HBO Go, which recently became available on Roku and Xbox 360 devices, TV Everywhere’s potential as a disruptive force is apparent.

Meanwhile, Amazon is quickly building its catalog of television shows and movies. Amazon’s streaming catalog for Prime members isn’t as good as the content offered by Netflix, but the service is less expensive — and includes free Amazon shipping to boot.

Netflix will need to focus on closing its distribution window or upping the quality of its content if it wants to compete against the cable and premium providers.

More About: netfiix, subscription streaming, the cw, tv everywhere

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