Saturday, 15 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “California Declares Oct. 16 Steve Jobs Day”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “California Declares Oct. 16 Steve Jobs Day”

California Declares Oct. 16 Steve Jobs Day

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 09:21 PM PDT

Steve Jobs Memorial at Stanford

California’s governor has chosen a day to dub as Steve Jobs Day: Oct. 16, the same date Apple will hold a memorial at Stanford University.

In a tweet sent to his more than 1 million followers Friday night, Gov. Jerry Brown said, “This Sunday will be Steve Jobs Day in the State of California.”

Jobs died Oct. 5 and was buried two days later during a small private funeral. Since his passing, the world — including U.S. President Barack Obama, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — has mourned his passing and celebrated his achievements.

SEE ALSO: The Life and Times of Steve Jobs [INFOGRAPHIC]

Several memorials also have cropped up to honor the man who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. The New York Times reported Friday night that Oct. 16 also will be when Apple holds a memorial for Jobs at Stanford University for “prominent Silicon Valley executives.” Jobs famously gave a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005.

Previously, Apple announced it would put on an employees-only memorial on Oct. 19 at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Apple Store W 14th, NYC

Photo by Jehangir Irani

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More About: apple, california, steve jobs

Fashion RSS Reader Bloglovin’ Signs Up 1 Millionth Member

Posted: 14 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: Bloglovin’

Quick Pitch: A visual RSS reader and community for style blogs.

Genius Idea: Bloglovin’, a web and mobile-based newsreader and community centered primarily around fashion, celebrated its 1 millionth user registration this week.

With 2 million user-submitted blogs, it is the largest single blog index in the fashion category, pulling in approximately 3.5 million uniques and 65 million pageviews per month, says Stockholm-based founder and CEO Mattias Svenson. Its audience is, predictably enough, young women obsessed with style: the average visitor is a 22-year-old female who visits 50 times per week, according to Bloglovin’s advertising page.

Svenson says the idea for Bloglovin’ came out of a coffee meeting with style blogger Carolina Engman in late 2008. During breaks in the discussion, she would pull up dozens of blogs in separate browser windows to see if any of her favorites had been updated — something that struck Svenson and his co-founder, CTO Patrik Ring, as a process that could be improved.

Two weeks later the pair launched a beta version of Bloglovin’, which brought in more than 1,000 signups in its first week. The site’s growth has been driven largely by widgets bloggers have posted on their own sites, urging readers to subscribe to them on Bloglovin’, says Svenson.

Beyond its visual RSS reader for the web, iPhone and Android phones, Bloglovin’ also functions as a discovery vehicle. Users can browse a feed of popular posts by category, such as lifestyle or photography, and see which blogs have built the largest followings on Bloglovin’ and/or are quickly amassing them.

The bulk of Bloglovin’s undisclosed revenue is advertising. The startup has worked with numerous large brands, including L’oreal, MTV, H&M and Levi’s to develop display campaigns, as well as facilitate partnerships with various bloggers. Svenson acts as the go-between for said partnerships, connecting brands with bloggers not only with the largest audience, but also ones that are a good fit for the brand in question.

Svenson says that right now the startup is focused on improving the mobile reading experience, which he doesn’t believe is as easy or seamless as it could be.

How It Works: Video

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, bloglovin, spark-of-genius

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AT&T and Sprint Say iPhone 4S Launch Ignites Record Demand

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 07:30 PM PDT

iPhone 4S Sales and Activations

AT&T and Sprint turned to Twitter on Friday to announce record demand for activations and sales sparked by the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Sprint, which didn’t start carrying iPhones until this month, recorded its best day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family.

“We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/1pm ET,” Sprint Product Chief Fared Adib said in an announcement. “The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers' desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan.”

AT&T, on the other hand, touted activation figures and warned customers about potential activation problems via a tweet that said, “We are on track to double single day record for activations.This may produce slower activations for some: systems continue at record levels.”

SEE ALSO: Should You Choose AT&T, Sprint or Verizon for Your iPhone 4S?

Sprint’s tweet had an entirely different tone: “Thank you Sprint customers! iPhone 4S & iPhone 4 launch bring our best ever day of sales for a device family.”

We’ve reached out to Verizon for comment. We’ll update this story when Verizon responds.

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the company is “pleased” with sales. “Nationwide our stores reported brisk sales and steady customer traffic all day,” she added. “We are looking forward to the weekend.”

BONUS: 25 Essential Apps for Your New iPhone 4S

Here you’ll find social standbys, top music hits, super addicting games, practical utilities and a few up-and-comers.


Music streaming startup Spotify has taken the U.S. by storm with a web and mobile service for on-demand, all-you-can-stream (at a price) access to a replete music catalogue of more than 15 million songs.

The iPhone app provides instant streaming access to all the playlists you've built, playlists you've subscribed to and all of your Facebook friends' playlists. It also features offline listening and lets you search Spotify's entire catalogue by track, album or artist.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, at-t, iphone, iPhone 4S, sprint

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Apple vs. Microsoft: Two Opposite Approaches to Building an OS

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 06:14 PM PDT

Microsoft and Apple are the developers of three of the most popular operating systems in the world (Windows, iOS & Mac OS X), yet their approaches to building the infrastructure that powers laptops, tablets and phones couldn’t be more divergent.

Microsoft recently published a blog post that addressed specific issues that Windows 8 developer preview users had with the start screen.

The Windows 8 team specifically tackles the complaint that the new Windows 8 start screen, which uses the app-style metro interface, isn’t effective at organizing apps (it was originally organized alphabetically) and doesn’t display enough apps on one screen (it originally displayed about 20 apps). Microsoft dives deep into the UX issues of start menus, even calculating how many apps Windows 8 can theoretically fit onto one display at different monitor resolutions.

In the end though, Microsoft concluded that its users were right about the Windows 8 start menu and made two important changes to it as a result. First, it now supports folder-style organization of apps. Secondly, Microsoft is making the start screen denser, meaning that more apps will be visible on a single screen.

The Apple Approach to OS Development

Microsoft’s approach lies in stark contrast to Apple‘s approach to OS development. The notoriously secretive company doesn’t like unveiling products until they are polished. It doesn’t publish detailed stats about how people are using its products. And it rarely makes dramatic changes based on user feedback.

It’s an approach that has worked just fine for Apple (more than fine, in fact). Steve Jobs and his team have been able to develop products and features that users wanted long before users they even knew they wanted them.

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups,” Steve Jobs told BusinessWeek in 1998. “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

This is why you won’t find an Apple blog that details user behavior in iOS. This is why Apple only gives developers a few months to play with new versions of Mac OS X before they get released to the public, while Microsoft will release a new version of Windows to developers more than a year before its official debut.

Both companies are wildly successful with their operating systems. Windows is still the world’s most popular OS, while Apple keeps selling iPhone and iPads by the millions. But we’re about to see what happens when these two opposing philosophies to development butt heads. Microsoft is preparing for war against the iPad, and Windows 8 is its weapon of choice.

Will Microsoft’s philosophy to development trump Apple’s approach? We don’t know the answer to that question yet, but we do know that the fireworks are just getting started.

Check out the galleries below if you want to do a side-by-side comparison of Apple and Microsoft’s approaches to building an OS. Let us know which philosophy you prefer in the comments.

Gallery: Windows 8

Windows 8 Metro Home Screen

This is the Metro interface in Windows 8

Click here to view this gallery.

Gallery: iOS 5

New Home Screen With Notification

Notifications are a big deal in iOS 5. Taking some cues from Android, iOS has finally unified the notification system and made it less clumsy and intrusive.

Message now appear at the top of the screen (though you can choose to allow them to display in the middle) while you are using the phone and they don't interrupt what you are already doing.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, iOS, microsoft, Windows 8

iPhone 4S: Confessions of an Upgrader [REVIEW]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 05:42 PM PDT

iPhone 4S Review

Caution: This review is expressly not for owners of Androids, BlackBerries, Windows Phones or any dumbphone. It’s not that I don’t respect you guys; some of my best friends tote Androids. It’s that I’m not one of you.

I really can’t tell you whether it’s worth switching to the iPhone 4S because I don’t live your life. Your choice of operating system is perhaps the most personal choice the tech world offers.

Sure, I may review Android phones once in awhile and pretend neutrality long enough for objective analysis. That’s part of my job. I’d even consider buying some of the 4G Droids, if they had better battery life.

But when it comes to comparison shopping, I’m not going to be a reliable witness. I can’t possibly give you objective advice if there’s a chance I can convert you to iOS. You might as well go clothes shopping with that friend who likes to borrow all your threads.

I got on the iPhone train in 2009, with the release of the 3GS. I’d held out for two models, determined not to fall victim to the usual expensive ritual of the early adopter. I wanted to wait for Apple to get it absolutely right.

And they did: The 3GS was a solid smartphone, indisputably the best of breed (this was before any serious Android competition had come along). Aside from the usual AT&T coverage issues, which cleared up as time went on, it was virtually flawless.

"It occurred to me that very few switchers or newbies would brave the lines on a day like today. This day’s for us, for the iPhone owners who’ve been curious about a faster, still-better version of our device for years and couldn’t wait a moment longer. This review’s for us, too.”

So much so that I saw no point in upgrading to the iPhone 4, planned on waiting out my two-year contract for the following phone (and yes, for the record, I was one of the millions who thought that phone would be called the iPhone 5, but I’ve made my peace with the S-based numbering system.)

In the madhouse that was my local Apple store Friday morning, I didn’t encounter anyone who wasn’t upgrading from another iPhone. Most of them, like me, were 3GS owners on the two year plan. Some, like my wife, had managed to hold out since the 3G. One or two had lost their iPhone 4.

And it occurred to me that very few switchers or newbies would brave the lines on a day like today. This day’s for us, for the iPhone owners who’ve been curious about a faster, still-better version of our device for years and couldn’t wait a moment longer. This review’s for us, too.

The Apple store handled purchasing better than ever. They processed a line a couple hundred people strong so fast it could make your head spin, partly because we’d been handed tickets with our choice of color, size and provider. They’re excellent at upselling, too, of course — but Apple Care Plus, which covers you for two instances of dropping your phone down the toilet, kind of sells itself.

I managed to sail through the activation process with no hassles — completely unaware of the AT&T activation problems that seem to have marred this day for many. Syncing the phone itself turned out to require a couple of hard restarts of both phone and computer.

I went through one hard-wired sync — the last that will be necessary, thanks to iOS 5 — and a couple of Wi-Fi syncs. Afterward, the home screen looked oddly out of place, yet familiar. Pro tip: Make a backup of your old iPhone first, then restore from that backup — or you’ll be left wondering why all your icons appear to be the way they were in 2010.

SEE ALSO: 25 Essential Apps | AT&T and Sprint Say iPhone 4S Launch Ignites Record Demand

Like most else in the Apple experience, however, it wasn’t a dealbreaker. I simply plugged the 3GS back in, backed that up with a right click, then “restored” the 4S from that backup. It left me with my apps set up just the way I like them, plus a dozen apps that seem to have forgotten which folder they’re in. No big deal.

Is it noticeably faster? Oh my goodness, yes. Safari loads pages on my 4S faster than it does on my 2010 Macbook. Google Maps popped up with my location in no time flat. Plenty of games played, if anything, too speedily. All kinds of annoying delays that seemed part of smartphone life, such as syncing or waiting for the camera to switch to a video camera, have simply vanished.

Is the 8-megapixel camera noticeably better? That’s an easy one — absolutely. Pictures seem brighter and sharper, especially indoors. The video camera has image stabilization, which did clear and valiant work even when I shook the phone like there was an earthquake. It turned my fake magnitude 7.0 into, let’s say, a magnitude 4.6.

iPhone 4s Box Top

Hard to tell that there's anything different about this iPhone from the box alone.

Click here to view this gallery.

The biggest question, of course, is Siri. I have mixed feelings about him/her. I say “him,” because that’s what Siri is when you switch it to UK English — a man. And it was in British English, my native dialect, that I encountered the most problems. For instance, it appears Siri isn’t allowed to tell me about nearby restaurants here in the U.S. — simply because I would like to continue talking like a Brit. I smell a discrimination lawsuit.

Naturally, you’ll go through the novelty stage with Siri. You’ll enjoy its myriad answers to “What is the meaning of life?” or “Will you marry me?” But you’ll also be surprised by how much it gets right. It seems to understand every kind of weather-related question. It understands you’re most likely to ask for directions to towns nearest you. Ask to call your wife, and she’ll ask which of your contacts she is.

SEE ALSO: Siri: Not Why You'll Buy the iPhone 4S, But Why You'll Fall in Love With It

My initial hunch is that I’ll end up using Siri in the car the most, with the end of the day a close second. (It’s so much easier to ask to be woken up at a specific time than set a specific alarm.) It won’t be an enormous part of my life, but it will help me out in significant ways, often in the moments I most need it.

And that’s how the whole 4S feeling goes. It’s not the largest upgrade my life has ever received. Going from a Palm Treo to an iPhone 3GS was a greater leap, naturally.

But the phone-based side of my existence — the connecting, networking, researching, learning and entertaining — will be improved in a hundred different ways, many of them small, all of them important and happy-making in their way.

I thank the iPhone 3GS for two years of loyal service, and I fully anticipate getting the same from the 4S.

More About: apple, Gadgets, iphone, iPhone 4S, Opinion

Why No One Company Will Ever Monopolize the Internet

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 04:59 PM PDT

Jonathan Rick is a social media strategist in Arlington, VA. You can follow him on Twitter @jrick and read his blog at

The pace and power of web-fueled innovation is stunning. One day we're swearing by Outlook, the next, we can't live without Gmail. These changes exemplify the beauty of the Internet — the possibility that greener pastures are but a click away.

On the other hand, the list of tech innovations that could have been is quite long. Before we get into those, a few caveats:

  • Some of the companies below may not have missed the boat so much as skipped the ride. Oftentimes, these businesses simply chose to perfect their core businesses instead of tacking on new features.
  • None of these companies has been “MySpaced.” To the contrary, each remains well-regarded and innovative in its own right.

So, how did tech companies miss the boat?

1. Google Docs missed the SlideShare boat. Sure, Google Docs can display PDFs and PPTs, but documents are slow to load, maximized by default, and can’t easily be shared or embedded. By contrast, SlideShare is known as “YouTube for documents” because it’s fast, user-friendly and social.

2. Google Docs missed the Dropbox boat. The search giant passed on adding synchronization to Google Docs (or GDrive). Meanwhile, Dropbox pioneered this feature, for which it’s now the gold standard. And, in an ironic twist, during a five-day, company-wide hackathon, Dropbox developed the ability to sync its accounts with Google Docs. (Although Google may soon unleash a Dropbox killer.)

3. Microsoft Office missed the Google Docs boat. Only after companies, governments and non-profits had “gone Google” did Redmond release a cloud-based, collaborative version of its cash cow, Office (along with a few videos that contrast Office with Docs).

4. iTunes missed the Spotify boat. Apple cornered the digital music market years ago, but besides the all-important $0.99 per song price tag, Cupertino never really innovated with iTunes. Specifically, the software’s lack of social and streaming services created massive opportunities that Spotify — and Pandora, Amazon, Google, and Facebook — pounced on. Apple now is playing catch-up with Ping (pathetic) and iCloud (promising).

5. Mapquest missed the Google Maps boat. When I was in college, “Mapquest” was so popular that we used it as a verb. Today, it seems the only people who use this site are those who still have an AOL email address. The reason: thanks to relentless innovation (mash-ups, Street View, GPS-enabled mobile apps), Google Maps has presented itself everywhere you want to travel.

6. Google Latitude missed the Foursquare boat. Ironically, the founder of Foursquare was a former Googler who left because Mountain View wouldn’t allocate enough resources to his team, “leaving us to watch as other startups got to innovate in the mobile + social space.” Google still hasn’t made it with Latitude, whereas Foursquare’s points system, partnership with American Express, and merchant features have generated growth of a million users per month. (Perhaps this is why Google may want to buy Foursquare instead of compete with it.)

7. Facebook missed the LinkedIn boat. When I learned of LinkedIn, I thought, can’t you already do this with Facebook? Well, yes, but not without some hassle. Reed Hoffman, LinkedIn’s founder, recognized that, while we want to be hip in our personal lives, we strive to be practical and maybe even a little boring in our careers. This is why we use one email address for pleasure and one for business, and why we use Facebook to socialize with friends and LinkedIn to network with colleagues. Recognizing this, Facebook continues to hype its business pages, while such professional credibility comes naturally to LinkedIn.

8. Facebook missed the Twitter boat. When I learned of Twitter, I thought, can’t you already do this with Facebook? Indeed, at its core, Twitter is merely the Facebook status update. Yet Facebook lacked Twitter’s simplicity and pith, a void that ascetic Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, was keen to fill. Apparently, 100 million people agree.

9. Blogger and WordPress missed the Tumblr boat. Finally, when I learned of Tumblr, I thought, can’t you already do this with Blogger or WordPress? Just write shorter. Again, you could, but not with Tumblr’s base-bones simplicity, dynamic community and effective reblogging feature. Microblogging, it turns out, is different from blogging. (No doubt, this is why Blogger just announced Dynamic Views.)

10. Yelp missed the Foodspotting boat. Even though Yelp remains the top social network for restaurant reviews, it overlooked an essential facet of the dining experience: pictures. Foodspotting seized this opening, made it mobile, and now is expanding its focus beyond foodies.

So why do these examples matter?

The beauty of the web is that it dramatically lowers the traditional barriers to entry, so an entrepreneur can penetrate an already saturated market. For instance, despite heavy competition from the likes of LinkedIn, Yahoo, Facebook, Google-owned Aardvark, and, Quora plunged into the Q&A fray. In short order, it carved out and capitalized on a niche.

Examine the above list and you arrive at an under-appreciated conclusion: Internet innovation is so fierce and constant that it undermines the notion of zero-sum market share. Instead of vying for a piece of the same fixed and static pie, webtrepreneurs bake whole new pies. Not for nothing does Jeff Bezos insist that the Kindle comprises a “different product category” than the iPad. Just because a company maintains a seeming monopoly on a market doesn’t mean the market is devoid of opportunities. When there’s an innovator, there’s a way. With the web, Goliath is always vulnerable.

Sure, tech giants are somewhat limited. Just reference the lawsuit from the Justice Department, the investigation from the Federal Trade Commission or the hearing from Congress.

Internet innovation comes in tidal waves, big and bold. By contrast, when’s the last time your microwave got a radical upgrade? Or your shower head? And how’s that electric car coming along?

In the end, the web’s rising tides lift the only ship that matters: the user’s.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, aluxum

More About: Business, contributor, Facebook, features, Google, itunes, Tech, tumblr

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Why Gazelle Sponsored the First Duo in Line at NYC Apple Store

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 04:31 PM PDT

Thursday evening we spoke to Jessica Mellow and Keenen Thompson, 20-somethings who were, at the time, occupying the first two spots in the line for the iPhone 4S at Apple’s flagship store in New York City.

The pair had been there for 18 days “for the experience,” they said. But they got something more than that — namely, sponsorship from electronics reseller Gazelle.

The sponsorship included a cash sum, two new iPhone 4S devices and a range of branded swag appropriate for the adventure, including a tent, chairs, sleeping bags, sweatshirts and snacks. During the final five days, they were able to order around a runner from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to, say, pick up a meal, or charge a cellphone. The company also paid to have Zipcars parked across the street so that Mellow and Thompson could sleep.

This is the second time Gazelle has sponsored line waiters at Apple’s 59th Street Store. When the iPhone 4 launched, the company sponsored Greg Packer, who has become somewhat notorious for always being first in line for Apple product launches. Gazelle had in fact planned to reach out to him again before Mellow and Thompson contacted the company, says Kristina Kennedy, director of brand and communications at Gazelle.

Kennedy says that the sponsorship gives Gazelle an opportunity to engage in a new kind of marketing — one that’s particularly fun for them as a company.

“An iPhone launch is more than a product launch, its a cultural event,” she says. “It gets quite a bit of press coverage and we get mentioned in it.”

And, given that Gazelle is in the business of selling used iPhones, those press mentions are particularly valuable at this time.

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, gazelle, iphone, iPhone 4S

Virgin Galactic to Charter Suborbital Flights to Space With NASA

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 04:00 PM PDT

NASA, temporarily finding itself without a craft to send humans into space, has turned to Virgin Galactic for one suborbital flight and the option for two more. The U.S. space agency has agreed with Richard Branson’s private space venture to carry up to 1,300 pounds of scientific experiments aloft on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo.

The total package, if all three flights are taken, is valued at $4.5 million. On board those chartered flights, Virgin Galactic will provide a flight test engineer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This represents the new direction NASA is taking with Virgin and other private space companies such as SpaceX, with NASA, the organization that landed the first humans on the moon, now turning to Virgin to boost a few experiments into the upper atmosphere — not even into orbit.

Does this mean NASA is getting desperate? Not necessarily. While the space agency regroups with hopes to get humans into space again in a few years, NASA can still perform suborbital experiments that require human interaction. At the same time, it continues to send robotic probes throughout the solar system and beyond. The agency has lately detailed advanced planning that stretches way into the future, projecting its next 25 years of space exploration in an ambitious Global Exploration Roadmap.

Meanwhile, this joint venture also highlights the viability of private spaceflight. In fact, we’ve counted nine private sector companies getting involved in private space travel, with more on the way. Virgin Galactic, which hopes to send tourists into space by 2012, gains a tremendous amount of credibility by renting out its craft to the mighty NASA. It’s quite an endorsement for private spaceflight, perhaps a harbinger of more public/private ventures to come.

Virgin Galactic promotional trailer starring Richard Branson

Introduction by Richard Branson, interviews with Brian Binnie and Mike Melvill, with video footage from the SpaceShipOne test flights. For more information, please visit . The "Virgin" and "Virgin Galactic" names and logos are trademarks of Virgin Enterprises Ltd and are used under licence. (C) Virgin Galactic 2006. All rights reserved. All intellectual property rights subsisting in the content of this video are owned or used under licence by Virgin Galactic. This video is for personal use/private viewing only. Any alteration, modification, redistribution, reproduction, exploitation, broadcasting, transmission or storage (whether electronically or otherwise) or part or all of the contents of this video in any form is strictly prohibited.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: NASA, space, Virgin Galactic

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Apple iPhone 4S: The Unboxing

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 03:43 PM PDT

There is a certain joy in unboxing virtually any gadget for the first time, but Apple raised the event to an art form with its always stylish packaging. The Apple iPhone 4S box, though, doesn’t mark any new style breakthroughs.

Apple’s signature white box is a doppelganger for the iPhone 4 packaging. Inside, the phone looks and feels like the previous iPhone 4. This gallery’s comparison photos bear that out. Setup, though is a bit different, thanks to iOS 5. There’s a large, gray-patterned “Welcome” screen and that motif carries through until you have the phone ready to go. Those of you who downloaded the mobile operating system on Oct. 12 and updated your older devices are probably already familiar with these screens.

Once you’re done with initial setup, you can dive into the iPhone 4S device’s newest toy: Siri: The intelligent Assistant. This voice-recognition system works pretty much right out of the box. The first question I asked it (by popular demand) was “When is the iPhone 5 coming out?” Siri’s first answer was that I didn’t have anything on my calendar for at 5 p.m. The second attempt fared better though and Siri told me, “Everything you need to know about Apple products is at Apple’s website.” Below the response, which it both spoke and printed on the screen for me, was Apple’s URL. Later I asked Siri, “Why are you so cool?” Its response: “I just am.”

Most of Siri’s responses came quite quickly and Apple execs explained to me that it’ll actually improve over time as it personalizes for my voice (I can also clear this personalization, if I choose). More interesting is that Siri will crowdsource to eventually improve for all users.

I’m still busy setting up the phone and will report back later on the rest of its features and performance. Did you buy an iPhone 4S? If so, tell me why and what you think of the phone in the comments.

More About: apple, Gadgets, iphone, iPhone 4S, Mobile

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25 Essential Apps for Your New iPhone 4S

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 03:00 PM PDT

So you’re getting an iPhone 4S. Fantastic. But with more than 500,000 apps in the App Store, finding the best ones is no easy task. Mashable is here to help.

We’ve compiled a short list of our absolute favorites. Here you’ll find social standbys, top music hits, super addicting games, practical utilities and a few up-and-comers.

This isn’t the be-all-end-all list of must-have applications, of course. So, we encourage you to add your app suggestions in the comments below.

More About: features, iphone, iPhone 4S, iphone apps, Mobile, web apps

Occupy Wall Street Hackathons Want to Build a Better Protest

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 02:50 PM PDT

Occupy Wall Street has an IT department. The movement’s technologists, like their park-squatting counterparts, are a decentralized group. But they’ve independently started hackathons this weekend in New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Even before the first protester showed up at Wall Street on Sept. 17, a group of people had started working on the movement’s technology components . The so-called Internet working group has held meetings that covered how to edit the site openly, how to run the Twitter account and what server space to use. It’s not necessarily the most organized operation, but it’s becoming more so.

“I think we’re going to see a few people leading the helm really soon and saying this is what we need, this is what we’re working on right now,” says Occupy Together NYC Hackathon creator Andrew Gwozdziewycz, who is a casual member of several listervs that discuss the movement’s technology needs. “So far that doesn’t seem to be happening yet. … They are taking over the main website and centralizing control of it.”

Meanwhile, hackathoners like Gwozdziewycz are hoping to build better technologies that aid the movement and its on-the-ground protesters. He, for instance, plans to build a group messaging app that sends text messages to groups members that are in a similar location.

"Right now they're using the people's microphone to broadcast the fact that there's a working group meeting at the library,” Gwozdziewycz says. “And that's a lot of noise for no reason when people could be coordinating on their phone."

A hackathon at Meetup headquarters on Friday aims to build programs that aid the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Gwozdziewycz is a Meetup employee and is hosting the hackathon at the group meeting platform’s Broadway-Avenue office on Friday. About a dozen hackathon participants are there working on communication platforms, media aggregation tools or even, in one case, a “distributed decision making platform.” Aaron Williamson is working on an ongoing project that aims to preserve privacy online. He, like most of the people who are running and participating in the Occupy Wall Street hackathons, has not been very involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“Honestly I haven’t even gotten down to the movement,” he says, “mostly because I have a full-time job.”

"I don't really know a whole lot about what is going on down there,” says Cameron Cundiff, who was thinking about building a tool that could sort which Tweets are most relevant to protest activities. “I've only seen what I've been able to gleen in popular forms, but I wanted to learn more and I also think it's an interesting design challenge because you don't want to screw that up, helping someone who is under pressure and the risk of being arrested. It gives you constraints that are pretty hard."

Hackathons in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., that will start on Saturday morning and Friday evening respectively are also anticipating good turnouts. Matt Ewing, a clean energy startup co-founder, started inviting people to the San Francisco hackathon on Tuesday evening and says that about 50 people have signed up. Stefan Fox, a developer for the New Organizing Institute who started the D.C. hackathon, says his RSVP list looks similarly promising. Although neither of them was aware of the other’s event when they started planning their respective hackathons, they’ve since decided to run a common chatroom for participants.

“If you think that software and the web are powerful tools, then hackathons like this are a good way to add some value,” Ewing says. “It's a 21st century movement. People are going to be taking it and tweaking it and forking it in all different directions based on what they're interested in.”

More About: hackathon, Occupy Wall Street, ows

Motorola Xoom “Family Edition” Starts at $379

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 02:38 PM PDT

Motorola is rolling out a “Family Edition” version of its Xoom tablet that will sell for $379, $120 less than the standard Xoom.

The Family Edition has 16 GB of storage compared to the Xoom’s 32 GB and is bundled with almost $40 worth of apps, plus Zoodles, a safe mode for kids. Otherwise, the tablet, which will be sold exclusively at Best Buy starting Sunday, is fairly identical to the $499 Xoom. In a press release, Motorola claims the $379 is a “limited time value price.” Eventually, the price will rise to $399, $100 less than the entry-level price for the kid-friendly iPad.

Motorola plays up the Family Edition Xoom’s ability to handle grown-up apps as well. “After the kids fall asleep, Motorola XOOM Family Edition lets you get back to work with email access, document editing capabilities with Quickoffice Pro HD, and Web surfing that looks just like a PC,” the release states.

Xoom’s price cut comes after Hewlett-Packard memorably exited the tablet market by cutting the price of its TouchPad to down to $99. Meanwhile, Research in Motion has found the tablet market challenging as well, cutting the price of its PlayBook to $299 in late September, though the price has come back up to $499 since then. Xoom also competes with Amazon’s Kindle Fire‘s $199 price tag.

More About: apple, best buy, HP, ipad, Motorola, Touchpad, xoom

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“The Muppets” New Trailer Reveals Epic Plot of Awesome [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 02:12 PM PDT

The latest full-length trailer for The Muppets is now online.

It’s no secret that we’re excited about this movie. Really excited.

The film hits theaters this Thanksgiving and stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams, along with Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppet gang.

In the second trailer, Disney finally gives us insight into what the film is all about — a nice break from the parodies that Disney has peppered across the net for the last four or five months.

In an effort to save the Muppet Theater from being put out of business by an evil oil man, ultimate Muppet fans set out to reunite Kermit and the gang to stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever.

Disney is smartly targeting older audiences for this film — playing up the nostalgia that many adults in their twenties and thirties have for the series and characters. The studio is also running active social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and various Muppet websites.

Segel co-wrote the script with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller. Fans of Marshall know that Segel is a big Muppet fan. Flight of the Conchords co-creator James Bobin is directing the film and Conchords star Bret McKenzie acted as music supervisor.

In short, it’s a hipster dream come true. We can’t wait.

More About: disney, muppets, the muppets

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Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 01:31 PM PDT

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My Blackberry Is Not Working! [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 01:02 PM PDT

It sure was a big week in the world of mobile — BlackBerry users experienced a service outage, and Apple’s iPhone 4S became available in stores.

To celebrate these fruit-themed mobile events, we bring you the broken blackberry video. Watch this disgruntled blackberry owner try to return his precious fruit to the store owner.

The video’s advice to blackberry owners: “You could try using a mouse to drag the blackberry to the trash. Then after you’ve done that, you might want to launch the blackberry from the desktop.”

The video also alludes to Apple’s rapid product launch cycle, claiming in the past two weeks, two new apples have become available. Following a 16-month wait between iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, we’re not sure that pun totally works right now, but the comics make up for it when they whip out an “eggs box £3.60.”

The clip initially aired on the BBC on Christmas Day 2010 as part of the comedy sketch program The One Ronnie for comedian Ronnie Corbett’s 80th birthday (Corbett is best known as half of the former comedy duo The Two Ronnies).

BONUS: The 10 Funniest Tweets About the Blackberry Outage


Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, blackberry, viral-video-of-the-day, YouTube

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Facebook Timeline: 10 Simple Tips and Tricks

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 12:41 PM PDT

Although users have generally applauded Facebook‘s new visual Timeline design, they may still need some time to get used to the changes.

To help you switch over from the old design to the new, we’ve pulled together 10 simple Timeline tips and tricks, including how to hide content from your Timeline, how to emphasize what you want to show off, and how to activate other useful customization options.

SEE ALSO: How to Enable the New Facebook Timeline NOW | How to Fill In Your Timeline

Take a look through the gallery above to see our top tips and tricks for getting started. Share any other tips in the comments below.

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, features, gallery, How-To, tips and tricks

Somewhere Over the Double Rainbow [COMIC]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 12:16 PM PDT

There’s no place like Facebook.

Mashable Comics are illustrated every week by Kiersten Essenpreis, a New York-based artist who draws and blogs at

More Mashable Comics:

1. The Earliest Social Network Ever Discovered

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, humor, mashable comics, Movies, Social Media

4 U.S. Government Agencies Getting Social on YouTube

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 11:45 AM PDT

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA, that makes a full platform of marketing software and tools for better B2B lead nurturing.

The U.S. government has been engaging with social media, including YouTube, since 2009, when it signed Special Service Agreements with the major social networks to ensure compliance with federal terms and conditions. Also in 2009, YouTube unveiled its U.S. government video portal to showcase federal agency content.

Since that time, YouTube has played an increasingly important role in many federal agencies' communications. While some agencies have experienced significant success using YouTube, others face challenges incorporating YouTube into their regular outreach efforts. Here are four federal agencies that are hitting their stride, along with a few helpful lessons.

1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has provided online video on its website for years. The use of YouTube and social media, however, is still relatively new for the agency — it’s been in the works for about a year and a half.

"There's no debating that we've seen a tremendous increase in social media use," says David Miller, director of corporate communications at the NOAA. "Clearly social media is in our communications arsenal and is going to continue to be."

For an agency used to providing broadcast video to television networks, making the transition to YouTube isn't necessarily a technical challenge, but like any organization, resources can be tight. As a federal agency, there are also compliance issues — such as closed captioning — to consider while prepping each video.

While NOAA wants to upload video in a timely manner, particularly in response to emergency situations such as Hurricane Irene, there are still logistical issues to overcome. For example, getting someone on a plane to the hurricane zone to videotape the situation can be challenging, as there are limited seats during these missions and many researchers with critical work to do. Still, Miller is optimistic that NOAA will upload current event videos more quickly over time.

NOAA currently has more than 800 subscribers to its YouTube channel, logging more than 80,000 views on 21 videos. The most popular clip — Scientists Discover and Image Explosive Deep-Ocean Volcano — received over 51,000 views. However, most videos average between a few hundred views to around 1,000. Links to NOAA's multiple YouTube channels and social media accounts can be found on its website.

2. Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is using YouTube to reach the broadest audience possible, says Carol Crawford, chief of the CDC's Electronic Media Branch.

One of the first government agencies to adopt YouTube, the CDC has been uploading videos to the network since April 2007. Under the channel CDCStreamingHealth, the agency offers videos on topics ranging from immunization, smoking, HIV and many other diseases that the agency works to control, prevent and cure. And to increase accessibility, some videos are available in Spanish.

"The process for picking and publishing a video topic can be very organic," explains Crawford. "Educators and communicators across our very large organization come up with an idea when they see a need."

The agency’s 200 videos have been viewed more than 4 million times.

"We are happy about that,” says Crawford. “We want people to have access to good health information around the clock. I like to think that our users can watch a video on vaccination or smoking on their phone or tablet while they are waiting at the doctor's office."

The agency's most popular videos were about H1N1 flu during the 2009 outbreak. The videos were nothing fancy — just CDC experts talking on camera — but people were worried and were seeking credible information from the CDC. During the peak of the H1N1 pandemic, the agency turned around one video per day to meet the demand for updates.

Crawford emphasizes the need to be thoughtful about using web video and incorporating it into an overall communications plan.

"Look at your audience and make sure a video is the right way to communicate to them. Make sure you have a plan to promote your video to your audience. And be sure to go back and evaluate your efforts," Crawford advises. "Short and sweet is best — people don't tend to watch long videos."

3. United States Geological Survey (USGS)

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) joined YouTube nearly three years ago. Over time, the agency’s members realized they needed to modify what they were doing.

After their initial efforts, the USGS decided to turn off comments on their YouTube channel.

"At the time, we didn't have the ability to monitor those comments as well as we would have liked. At some point, we may open that up again, but we need to step back and address the best way for us to approach that before we do so," explains Scott Horvath, web and social media chief at USGS.

At present, USGS staff uploads videos first to their website in a multimedia gallery, and then posts it on YouTube shortly after. Horvath sees two benefits to using YouTube — the ability to post HD quality video, and the ease of embedding YouTube videos into other sites and networks.

The agency's more popular videos tend to be ones uploaded from their original YouTube channel and often include animals as subjects — Hatching of a Mojave Desert Tortoise, Elk Licked My Web Cam, and Status of Grizzly Bears in Northwest, which showed bears during a DNA study that looked like they were dancing with trees.

Right now, the USGS is more active on Facebook and even more so on Twitter, but Horvath doesn't discount the importance of being on YouTube to make his agency more accessible to the public. One barrier, he says, is that it’s difficult to upload videos in a timely manner.

"We need to look at how we can integrate video creation and production into our existing process to better respond to emergencies," Horvath says.

Links to the USGS social media accounts can be found on the agency’s website.


NASA’s YouTube presence is among the top channels viewed on the network. During the Hubble repair mission, the NASA YouTube channel was number one.

"That’s an impressive accomplishment when compared to the major networks and entertainment organizations that are a part of the YouTube community," says Robert Jacobs, of NASA’s Office of Communications. "Communities like YouTube are too large to ignore. I believe you need to have a presence there, and it’s given NASA an opportunity to reach people who might otherwise not know about the agency’s activities."

When the last space shuttle launched, NASA had more than three-quarters of a million people watching the event live on But residing just on the NASA website isn't enough anymore.

"We know that there’s an excited audience out there wanting access to the video on YouTube. We turn news events around in a matter of minutes, including the STS-135 launch video," says Jacobs, "Success of your social media effort is measured now, in part, by how fast you can turn around the video."

Another example of fast turnaround took place when the President called the four Atlantis astronauts of STS-135 during the final space shuttle mission and the six Expedition 28 residents of the International Space Station.

While Jacobs acknowledges that people get excited about the number of views videos get, he says he learns more about what people think from the comments and questions they post on the agency's YouTube channels.

"The whole point of these communities is to be a part of the conversation,” says Jacobs. “If you just post a video and walk away you’re wasting your time.”

NASA has had its share of viral videos, including a video from a NASA-produced documentary with William Shatner about the recent retirement of the space shuttle that hit over 90,000 views.

Another popular video was an animation of a Black Hole eating a star. NASA also produced a series of videos with popular vlogger Hank Green around the theme that NASA “decreases the suck and increases the awesome.”

When Hurricane Irene was a breaking news story, Jacob says every science video and view of the storm from the space station was very popular, proving that timeliness matters.

"It is important to think of YouTube as a tool, not the tool. While it is important to be in this community, this is not a 'one size fits all' multimedia universe. Agencies should offer the same access on their own websites, etc.," says Jacobs.

And it all should be integrated, he says. If you look at the NASA YouTube channel and @NASA on Twitter, the pages have the same look and feel as The website also has a dedicated page to help users find all the agency's social media offerings.

"NASA isn’t recognized as a leader in social media because some so-called expert or consultant told us what to do," says Jacobs. "We’re a leader because we’re constantly looking for better ways to share our story… My job is not to market NASA. My job is to clean the windows so people get a better view and more access to their space program. They deserve it. After all, they pay for it."

Series supported by HubSpot

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA, that makes a full platform of marketing software and tools for better B2B lead nurturing.

More About: contributor, Digital Marketing Series, features, mashable, NASA, YouTube

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Siri: Not Why You’ll Buy the iPhone 4S, But Why You’ll Fall in Love With It

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 11:16 AM PDT

When Apple announced the iPhone 4S, the company touted the phone’s faster processor and improved camera. It took a deep dive into Messages, Newsstand, notifications and the many new features of iOS 5.

But what Apple concentrated on most was Siri, the iPhone’s virtual assistant. Built on the foundation of artificial intelligence technology developed from the CALO project, Siri takes natural language and turns it into action. Weather reports, calendar appointments, text messages, among other things, are all accessible just by talking to Siri.

Without a doubt, Siri is the most prominent new feature of the iPhone 4S. Yet, when I visited the line outside Apple’s flagship San Francisco store, not a single person mentioned it as the reason they were buying the new iPhone.

SEE ALSO: Siri: From App to Apple & Beyond

I asked at least two dozen people in line, “What is the number one reason you’re in line to buy the new iPhone?” Answers almost universally fell into four categories:

  • I have an iPhone 3G/3GS, and it’s time to upgrade.
  • I have (insert dumbphone model here), and it’s time to upgrade.
  • I lost my iPhone 4, and I need a new iPhone.
  • I want the better camera.

Nobody mentioned Siri as their primary reason for getting the phone. That’s something we should all have expected. Siri is one of those features you have to use to fully understand and appreciate. You only grasp just what it can do for your life once you start playing with it — and this my experience when I tried it out.

Nobody is buying the iPhone 4S for Siri. But once they start using the phone and experience its artificial intelligence capabilities for themselves, they will be hooked. Siri will be the reason a lot of people will love — and not just like — the new iPhone. In two years, when they’re ready to buy a new phone, they’re going to get an iPhone because Siri has changed how they fundamentally perceive their phones.

Bonus: Siri Has a Personality

1. What is the meaning of life?

Siri: "Try and be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book every now and then."

Image courtesy of Flickr, Aylanah

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, iOS 5, siri

More Bad News for Google+? Research Shows Sustained Downward Trend in Activity

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 11:01 AM PDT

Google+, the social networking service from Google, may have more than 40 million users, but traffic and activity levels are on a continued downward trend, according to a new research report.

“After a brief blip in Google+'s traffic surrounding the site going public, we saw a prolonged and sustained downward trend in overall activity coming from the site,” according to the latest report from Chitika Insights, the research arm of online ad service Chitika. “At its greatest, the gap between peak and trough measured over a 70% decline in traffic.”

Chitika Insights revisited its initial Google+ traffic study and extended it to run through Oct. 12, after Google announced its third-quarter earnings Thursday.

The updated findings, says Gabe Donnini, a data solutions engineer and author of the report, show that while Google+ may have 40 million users, those users are not returning to, or actively using, the social network. Google, he says, has yet to provide users with a compelling enough reason to become active on Google+. He predicts, based on the data, that the downward trend will continue.

Chitika Insights measures the data behind its online advertising network — a network that includes hundreds of thousands of publishers, Donnini says. The research center’s Google+ traffic index measures the rate of referrals from the social network.

“People and businesses use Google+ to share information and links across their networks,” Donnini explains. “In this case, the number of referrals does correspond to the usage for types of sites where the main purpose is to share, especially in the form of links.”

Just how confident is Donnini in the company’s assessment of Google+? “We are extremely confident in our methodology … it shows that the activity coming out of Google+ has been on a downward trend,” he says.

Still, we should note that Chitika does not have the complete picture. Until Google reveals the number of active Google+ users or shares updated engagement metrics, we can’t fully know whether activity levels and traffic to the social network are tapering off.

Google declined to comment on Chitika’s findings.

More About: Google

RIP Google Buzz

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 10:48 AM PDT

Google is shutting down the last remnants of Google Buzz to focus on Google+, the company announced on Friday.

“In a few weeks we'll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+,” Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product, wrote on The Official Google Blog. “While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout.”

In addition, Google is shuttering Code Search on Jan. 15 and other social media offerings, including the Twitter-like Jaiku — which will also be discontinued on that date — and iGoogle’s social features. As previously announced, Google Labs will also shut down.

Launched in February 2010, Google Buzz was initially seen as a threat to Twitter and Facebook, but never lived up to its promise, becoming one of the biggest flops of the year. It is likely that Buzz will be viewed as a forerunner to Google+, which had a stronger start, hitting 40 million users in its first three months, according to Google CEO Larry Page.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, traveler1116

More About: Google, google buzz, google labs, Jaiku, trending

Apple iPhone 4S Is Here: Ask Us Anything

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 10:30 AM PDT

Apple iPhone 4S Box

We, like many of you, waited on the long lines and now Mashable has a bunch of Apple iPhone 4S phones in its possession.

For those of you who might have been asleep for the last two weeks, the iPhone 4S is the latest iPhone. No, it isn't the eagerly anticipated iPhone 5 (maybe next year), but it is a new device with faster guts (A5 dual-core cpu, better antennas, World Phone capabilities, 8 MP camera) and does have a load of exciting new features.

West Coast Bureau Editor Chris Taylor and I are busy setting ours up. Mine is on Verizon’s network. Chris is running his on AT&T in San Francisco. We’re anxious to try out iOS 5 on the device it was designed for, dig into the iCloud and spend quality time with Siri: the Intelligent Assistant voice recognition feature. Siri really isn’t an app since it’s backed into the device.

We imagine that many of you are doing the exact same thing as us. Right now, you’re opening up the iPhone 4S box for the very first time. We’ll share our discoveries and photos in the live blog below. You can, too. Better yet, we’re here to answer whatever questions we can about the new iPhone, iOS 5, the cloud and, of course, Siri. I’m sure you, like us, want to know if the device is any thicker or heavier. Does it handle calls better? If so, why? How easy is it to set up iCloud? I’m wondering if Siri is really as smart as she sounds.

So let’s dive in!

More About: apple, iphone, iPhone 4S

How Non-Profits Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Craigslist founder turned philanthropist Craig Newmark set out to discover which U.S. non-profits were the most effective social media users. It turns out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between social media savvy and an organization’s net worth.

“The deal is, it’s not about money, it’s about getting people to talk with each other to make people’s lives better,” says Newmark, who now focuses his energies on his non-profit craigconnect, which seeks to maximize the use of online tools for the common good.

It’s difficult to pinpoint social media savvy through numbers, although the study compares a variety of metrics. While most of the stats focus on Twitter use, the infographic also evaluates LinkedIn, YouTube and RSS feeds.

Are you surprised that money doesn’t necessarily result in social media success? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: craig newmark, CRAIGSCONNECT, non-profits, Social Good, Social Media

For more Social Good coverage:

iPhone 4S Activation Attempts Slam AT&T Servers [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 09:37 AM PDT

What happens when hundreds of thousands of people try to activate their brand-new Apple iPhone 4S phones at the same time? It brings AT&T’s activation servers to their knees.

Taking my iPhone 4S out of the box and eagerly jumping into its activation sequence, I was met with disappointment. Watch the video to see the gory details.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 4S: Leaked Hands-On With Siri [VIDEO]

Judging from the reactions on Twitter and elsewhere, we’re apparently not alone. Our experience so far is with AT&T. Tell us in the comments about your activation experiences with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

UPDATE: After repeated attempts to activate, now the message asks us to try activating using iTunes:

That was met with a similar fate:

Sigh. Sad trombone.

While you wait for that email, take a look at all the fun you’ll have with your new iPhone 4S with its shiny new iOS 5:

New Home Screen With Notification

Notifications are a big deal in iOS 5. Taking some cues from Android, iOS has finally unified the notification system and made it less clumsy and intrusive.

Message now appear at the top of the screen (though you can choose to allow them to display in the middle) while you are using the phone and they don't interrupt what you are already doing.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: activation, apple, att, iPhone 4S, trending

For more Mobile coverage:

The Economics of Social Gaming [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 09:28 AM PDT

The Social Media Infographics Series is supported by VocusSocial Media Strategy Tool, a free, six-step online tool that lets you build a custom social media framework tailored to your organization's goals.

The only thing cooler than a million dollars is, well, a billion dollars.

Fortunately for social game creators, that’s just how much the industry is set to rake in this year. Indeed, it’s big business, and it’s not just for Internet nerds. In fact, one out of every five Americans over the age of six has played an online social game at least once — that’s 56 million people, all told.

Zynga alone has 232 million monthly players and nearly $600 million in revenue, and the industry is poised to keep on growing. Check out the infographic below to learn more about the economics of this booming industry.

Are you a social gamer? Let us know your favorite one in the comments below, and tell us whether you’ve shelled out some green for the love of the game.

Infographic design by Nick Sigler

Series supported by Vocus

This series is supported by VocusSocial Media Strategy Tool, a free online tool which 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. Try it today!

More About: features, mashable, Mashable Infographics, social gaming, Social Media Infographics Series

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Occupy Wall Street Protesters and Police Clash [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 08:56 AM PDT

Occupy Wall Street, the social media-spawned movement that has gone viral across the U.S., turned violent Friday morning after the New York City mayor’s office announced cleanup of Zuccotti Park would begin at 7 a.m. Protesters have held their ground in lower Manhattan since Sept. 17, and though this morning’s arrests are not the first, many across the web say the movement is heating up.

Word of the cleanup came Thursday afternoon, when Zuccotti Park owner Brookfield Properties stated they would spend Friday cleaning the location, which had become unsanitary. Following protester outrage that the cleanup would ultimately lead to eviction, Brookfield agreed to delay the park’s cleanup until a mutual agreement could be reached.

The empowered protesters, confidences boosted for postponing the cleanup, rallied behind the cry, “The people will never be defeated,” as they headed toward the stock exchange. Clashes ensued as police tried to keep protesters from marching down Wall Street. Police arrested protesters waving brooms (brought for park cleaning) and throwing bottles. One protestor reportedly threw a garbage can.

Several videos, including the one above, have been uploaded to YouTube, with comments such as “Largest Occupy Wall Street crowd I’ve seen.” As more videos are uploaded, and subsequently spread across the social web, the grassroots movement is further resembling this year’s Arab Spring.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, dubbed the “American Fall,” originated when AdBusters asked if the U.S. was ready to begin a Tahrir moment Sept. 17, protesting “Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.” And thus, the hashtag #OCCUPYWALLSTREET was born July 13.

Some of the most discussed tweets this morning come from big names like Silicon Valley wiz kid Sean Parker and business mogul Russell Simmons, showing how mainstream the protest movement has become. Take a look at what people are saying about OWS on Twitter this morning.


Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, The Whistling Monkey

More About: Occupy Wall Street, ows, Twitter, YouTube

Apple Store Lines: It’s All About the Experience [PICS]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 08:29 AM PDT

“What a tourist trap,” muttered one man in a suit to another as he passed the large crowd in front of New York City’s flagship Apple store on Friday morning.

Moments later, a petite woman with gray hair broke from her jog as she passed the barricaded crowd — some of whom had been waiting in line to buy the iPhone 4S since Sept. 27. “Why don’t you get a life?” she yelled.

It’s true that the people who spent hours in a line so large that it requires dedicated crowd control are, in some ways, wasting their time. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint stores — which also started selling the new iPhone Friday — had small lines and no camping gear in front of them this morning. Most people waiting in the long line at the flagship Apple Store will probably receive their phones later than those who sauntered into non-Apple stores around 8 a.m.

But nobody in the line seemed to care about the practicality of the situation. Here’s what doesn’t happen at the AT&T store: Every major broadcasting channel does not show up. Nobody hands out beach balls. And it’s less likely that someone will show up with live animals in hopes of promoting their startup. There is no crowd countdown to the store’s opening, and no happy group of uniformed twenty-somethings to line your path as you enter the store, cheering you on as though your intent to buy a phone is a major accomplishment.

Nobody will sponsor you to hang out in front of the AT&T store, as Gazelle has sponsored the New York City 5th Avenue store’s first in line.

As line leaders emerged from the Apple with blue bags in hand around 8 a.m., they all said it was worth it.

NYC Flagship Apple Store: iPhone 4S Launch

One of the first people in line makes his way into the store.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, Apple Store, iPhone 4S

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iPhone 4S: Apple Store Lines Grow Across the U.S. [PICS]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 07:33 AM PDT

The iPhone 4S goes on sale today, and as expected, Apple fans are queuing up around the world to have first crack at the newest smartphone.

Mashable teamed up with mobile workforce app Gigwalk to bring you pics from major metro area Apple Stores across the U.S. From storefront campsites to proud new owners, here’s the view from the ground.

If you’ve snapped any pics from the Apple lines in your neighborhood, submit them here, and we’ll feature them on Mashable.

Photos courtesy of Gigwalk.

More About: apple, features, iPhone 4S, pics, trending

Google Prepping iTunes Competitor [REPORT]

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 07:13 AM PDT

Google plans to take on Apple and Amazon with its own MP3 store that will open in the next several weeks and accompany its Google Music Beta service, according to a report.

Citing “numerous music executives,” The New York Times reports that Google’s new store would “most likely be connected to” Music Beta, Google’s cloud music service.

Google reps could not be reached for comment on the report.

The move would come as Apple prepares to open its cloud music service, iTunes Match, later this month to the general public. That service, now in beta, keeps copies of a user’s MP3s in the cloud, regardless of where the user originally bought them, for $24.99 a year. Amazon introduced its Amazon Cloud Player in March and has been selling MP3s online since 2007. Amazon Cloud Player, which costs $20 a year, has no storage limit. Google Music’s limit is 20,000 songs.

Music Beta launched without the cooperation of record labels and, according to the New York Times report, Google is still in talks with labels over the MP3 store launch.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Brandon Giesbrecht

More About: amazon, apple, Google, google music, itunes, mp3

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Microsoft’s Acquisition of Skype Is Now Official

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 05:51 AM PDT

Microsoft has finalized the $8.5 billion acquisition of VoIP service Skype, initially announced in May 2011.

The deal had to pass regulatory approval in several markets, with Europe being the biggest hurdle for Microsoft. The EU Commission has previously fined Microsoft for antitrust behavior.

Under the terms of the agreement, Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of that division.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis; it was acquired by eBay in 2005, but eBay couldn’t find a way to integrate it into its business and subsequently sold it to an investment group led by Silver Lake in 2009.

The $8.5 billion deal with Microsoft is a very profitable exit for that group of investors, which includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board — they paid $2.75 billion for Skype.

As for the future of Skype and the challenges Microsoft faces, the first and foremost will be the fact that Skype is not yet profitable. However, Skype’s huge user base (more than 663 million users, 170 million of which use the service monthly) and constant growth make it an appealing purchase for a company that knows what to do with it.

“Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s goal to reach 1 billion users daily,” said Bates in a statement. Check out his comment on the acquisition in the video below.

More About: acquisition, microsoft, Skype, voip

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