Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Pearson and Knewton Prove Learning Is Personal”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Pearson and Knewton Prove Learning Is Personal”

Pearson and Knewton Prove Learning Is Personal

Posted: 01 Nov 2011 04:31 AM PDT

College Laptop

One of the largest textbook publishers in the world is making its digital course offerings more data-driven and individualized. Pearson announced Tuesday an extensive partnership with Knewton, a startup that specializes in adaptive learning technology.

The technology personalizes the presentation of educational material based on students’ strengths and weaknesses. Pearson, McGraw-Hill and other publishers have developed products that incorporate this kind of technology. Knewton plans to power Pearson’s product MyLabs, which has more than 750 titles.

In addition, Knewton and Pearson will work together to develop full course solutions that facilitate blended learning in classrooms. Knewton COO David Liu says those courses won’t be released until at least 2013 and will likely look much like math remediation classes that Knewton has already launched at six universities.

Students in these courses use the computer during class time to work through material at their own speed. Through diagnostics taken along the way, the program creates a “personalized learning path” that targets exactly what lessons they need to work on and then delivers the appropriate material. Points, badges and other game mechanics theoretically keep students chugging through courses with more motivation. In the meantime, teachers learn which students are struggling with exactly which concepts.

“It frees me up from having to address one lecture to 60 or 70 students at once,” says Scott Surgent, associate director of mathematics at Arizona State University, in a Knewton promotional video about the courses. “I can roam around the Knewton laboratory and help the students as needed.”

Barbara Rifkind, an independent consultant who advises education enterprises and a former vice president at Pearson Education, says that instruction differentiated for individual learners — the focus of Knewton’s technology — has been one of the most discussed areas in educational practice for the past 10 years.

“There’s relatively little controversy in theory, but it all depends on the execution and how the teaching system integrates into classroom and school or college practices,” she says.

Pearson, which led a $33 million round of funding for Knewton, plans to take Knewton’s technology beyond individual classes. The partners envision hooking up entire departments to the system. Data collected about how a student learns in one class would follow him or her to his next class.

“We kind of eliminate the cold start,” Liu says.

SEE ALSO: How Online Education Is Changing the Way We Learn [INFOGRAPHIC]

Arizona State University has already added Knewton courses for all freshmen math and is considering also using the technology for economics and two other subjects.

But Knewton doesn’t want to be in the course-building business. From the very beginning, its intention has been to sell its technology. First it packaged that technology in test-prep books and courses that it sells directly to customers. The courses it developed for universities were another stepping stone demonstration of what it could do. But ultimately, Ferreira says, the company wants to open an app store where third-party developers can sell educational products built on Knewton technology. It has already started working with partners in private beta.

"We don't have to guess about teaching methods,” Liu says. “It's literally what worked the best … we have that information now, and it's incredibly powerful."

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, atreides64

More About: adaptive learning, education, Knewton, pearson, publishing, textbooks

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Dress Your iPad 2 in Dinosaur Bones and Diamonds for $8 Million

Posted: 01 Nov 2011 02:25 AM PDT

We’ve seen many expensive gadget makeovers, but this one probably takes the cake for being over the top: An iPad 2 dressed in gold, diamonds and bones of a 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex.

Stuart Hughes’s iPad 2 Gold History Edition, as this ultra-high-end gadget is called, is a regular iPad 2 on the inside.

On the outside, however, it’s encrusted with 53 flawless diamonds, 24-carat gold, and the thigh bone of the aforementioned predator, splintered and shaved into an ammolite rock that covers the front frame of the device.

Only two units will be made, so if you’ve got £5 million ($8 million) to spend, hurry up. Just remember you can buy 16,000 regular iPad 2s for the price.

More About: apple, diamonds, Gold, iPad 2, luxury, Stuart Hughes, trending

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How Much Money Will Consumers Spend This Holiday Season? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 01 Nov 2011 02:06 AM PDT

We all know consumers spend more during the Holiday Season than any other time during the year. But did you know 38% of people have already began their yearly shopping extravaganzas?

Online shopping now beats out shopping in stores (for the social media users who responded to the survey) and electronics are at the top of their shopping lists. Seventy-two percent get gift ideas from Facebook, the most popular social network for researching.

The infographic, created by Lab42, also includes some interesting stats, such as the average shopper in 2010 spend $107.50 on themselves. Thirty-one percent of people will spend over $700 this year.

Lab42′s data comes from an online survey of 545 social media users between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20.

Take a look through the information and let us know in the comments how your habbits compare to the survey’s respondents.

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20 Dramatic Divorce Tweets From Kim Kardashian’s Sisters and Haters

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 10:13 PM PDT

Using Twitter on Halloween Day, Ryan Seacrest announced that TV personality Kim Kardashian filed papers to divorce NBA player Kris Humphries, who were married for less than three months.

Soon after, Kardashian's sisters shared their thoughts via Twitter (see tweets four through seven in this gallery), as did an army of people poking fun at the divorce filing. Here's a collection of those tweets.

Click here to view this gallery.

Kim Kardashian’s short-lived marriage — just 72 days with NBA player Kris Humphries before divorce papers emerged — has landed her two worldwide trending topics on Twitter: #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage and #KimKMarriageWasShorter.

Ryan Seacrest, producer of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, posted a tweet Monday announcing that Kardashian filed for divorce. E! News also confirmed the news, saying “irreconcilable differences” caused the breakup.

Twitter was abuzz on Halloween day with tweets from Kardashian’s sisters (see tweets four through seven), news outlets and an army of people poking fun at the divorce filing by taking advantage of the two trending topics.

Online Conversations About the Divorce Filing Were Primarily on Twitter

Ninety-three percent of the online conversations Monday about the divorce filing were posted on Twitter, according to data from social media analytics firm NetBase. In the pie chart below, Twitter (a.k.a. “microblogs”) accounts for the majority of the dialogue, whereas public data from Facebook — represented by “social networks” in the chart — only takes up 1% of the overall social chatter.

This chart illustrates the change in sentiment of conversation about “Kim Kardashian” (all sources) over the past month.

Netbase also compiled results from four searches related to Kim Kardashian. Netbase also provided examples.

Search on "Kim K" on Twitter only = 3171 soundbites
Net Sentiment (from -100 to +100): -21, Passion Intensity (can be Love or Hate from 0 to 100): 46

  • Kim K can get someone much better than that ogre lookalike anyway
  • I see the popular topic is Kim K & Kris H getting a divorce, iw as so sure they'd last fo…can't even finish that lie with a straight face
  • I feel something greater in the world is going on while my whole timeline is concerned with Kim K
  • I like Kim K but lets face it, she'll marry anybody just so she can say she's married
  • I don't know which I hate more-Jersey Shore or Kim K
  • RT @__quelboo: I hate Kim K so much, she does everything in life for money and attention

  • I heart Kim K & she's prolly laughing at these tweets all the way to the bank
  • I loved Kim K & Kris Humphries relationship awwww sorry they didn't make it

Search on "#ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage" on Twitter only = 1584 soundbites
Net Sentiment: 0, Passion Intensity: 40

  • #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage a list of the championships the Browns have won in the last 10 years
  • Middle school "relationships". #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage…those at least lasted a week til one person got bored with the other
  • That wait to eat during thanksgiving Dinner #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage
  • #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage My websites URL, My drive to work, My to-do list…
  • I dieeeeeee RT @TheOnlyKingOfGt: #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage Rob Kardashian's Work Resume'.

Search on "Kardashian" on Twitter only = 5731 sound bites
Net Sentiment: -7, Passion Intensity: 51

  • Kim Kardashian makes everything worse for herself !
  • Guess the Kardashian Koolaid was too strong!
  • Kim Kardashian is giving Armenians a bad name
  • Smh RT @nealbrennan: Kim Kardashian fails to pick up 2nd season of her own marriage
  • Sorry guys, I just hate Kim Kardashian to a cellular level
  • So excited for Kim Kardashian's fairytale split
  • Kim kardashian can do better than his tall goofy ass anyways
  • Love Kim Kardashian so much I hope she's okay <3 @KimKardashian
  • I want kim kardashian back with reggie bush!

Search on #kimkmarriagewasshorter – on Twitter only = 178 soundbites
Net Sentiment: 0, Passion Intensity: 40

  • #kimkmarriagewasshorter These trends are ridiculous!
  • Even tho I don't like Kim kardashian at all I think this t.t is kinda rude #kimkmarriagewasshorter I dont think she's having a great time…
  • #kimkmarraigewasshorter Than Ashlee Simpsons singling career, auto tune had more feedback
  • #kimkmarraigewasshorter all the ads that pop up when you wanna watch a video on YouTube

More About: celebrities, kim kardashian, Kris Humphries, trending, Twitter

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Contently Provides An Open Marketplace for Writers and Publishers To Connect

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 09:43 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: Contently

Quick Pitch: Contently is an open marketplace for writers and publishers.

Genius Idea: Empowering and connecting quality writers and brands.

It’s not uncommon to hear of writers, journalists and publishers hitting roadblocks in their careers.

There are the writers and journalists who find it nearly impossible to search for, yet alone land exceptional freelance opportunities. Then there are the publishers who are faced with countless requests from writers, making it difficult to select the most experienced or distinguished journalists in the bunch.

That’s why three startup entrepreneurs founded Contently, a website geared towards empowering and connecting quality writers and brands.

“We realized that there is an inefficiency in freelance writing because writers have to spend a lot of time hassling after editors and work,” said Shane Snow, one of the three co-founders of Contently. “As the world moves increasingly towards freelance, we wanted to build a marketplace for freelancers and to allow publishers to become more efficient.”

After starting off as an open marketplace for writers and publishers in 2010, Contently gradually evolved into a platform for journalists to manage their freelance careers and for publishers to obtain access to millions of the world’s top writers in their industry.

The website is geared towards two audiences – writers and publishers – and enables writers to build a professional portfolio to showcase their work and strengthen their personal brand. Each portfolio is copyright-protected and includes personal information such as the user’s biography, education, location and recognition.

Contently makes it effortless for users to create personal portfolios within seconds by allowing writers to extract their published articles from websites. For example, Contently will obtain all of the articles written by a specific Mashable writer on Mashable.com and upload them to the user’s portfolio. It’s that simple!

Contently also provides users with access to quality freelance opportunities.

“At this stage we are excited about giving journalists an easy, awesome way to showcase their work and build their personal brands online,” said Snow, who also writes for Mashable. “The free portfolios are step one towards our goal of empowering journalists to manage their careers in social media, and increasingly, the freelance world.”

Contently also provides a platform for publishers to commission quality writing from experienced journalists, writers and bloggers, and manage their writers and editorial calendar all on one website. Publishers can use this resource to manage editorial for companies and to increase their volume of writers.

The New York-based startup team raised approximately $350,000 in 2011, and includes top developers on the East Coast and editors who previously worked at notable companies such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe and BusinessWeek.

The site’s users include thousands of professional journalists and writers, some of which are from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, MSNBC and the Denver Post, among other companies.

“The goal of the site is to empower writers whether they are freelance, have a job or want to connect with other writers,” said Snow. “I hope Contently allows journalists and writers to be able to make a living doing what they love and find fulfilling work.”

Writers and journalists interested in using Contently have to request an invite by inputting their e-mail address on the website. Publishers must fill out an online application to be accepted to the publishers platform.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto

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.

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Google+ for Android Gets Revamped [PICS]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 08:51 PM PDT

Home Screen

Click here to view this gallery.

Google has launched a new version of Google+ for Android, complete with a new look, a new UI and support for Ice Cream Sandwich.

Version 2.1 of the updated Android app provides a cleaner and more streamline version of the app that is consistent with the design changes implemented in Android 4.0. Notifications have been moved to the top right, the interface has been tightened and photos have been enhanced and enlarged. Even profile pictures have been enlarged to improve the user experience.

“We worked closely with the Android team as they developed Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich), so you’ll see the same attention to beauty and simplicity in our new design,” Google product manager Ben Eidelson explained in a Google+ post.

According to the release notes, Google+ for Android features improvements to battery life, navigation, performance and notifications. The app also includes a new UI for posting to Google+ and support for Google Apps.

Google+ for Android looks and feels sexier with the changes. We’re hoping that the iPhone version gets the same facelift soon as well. Check out screenshots of the new app in the gallery above, and let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Images courtesy of Google+, Ben Eidelson

More About: android, Google, trending

Google Reader Backlash: 10,000 Users Sign Petition to Save Old Version

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 08:18 PM PDT

Now that Google has officially switched to its new version of Google Reader, complete with Google+ integration, the company is facing the righteous fury of a social network it barely seemed to recognize: the Sharebros.

This small but maniacally dedicated community of Google Reader users was able to share stories and comments with each other until Monday, when the new version of Reader forced them to start using Google+. But the Sharebros are not taking the snub lying down.

Since the changes were announced earlier this month, more than 10,000 Sharebros have signed a petition to Google created by Washington, D.C.-based grad student Brett Keller.

“Many of us have been faithful users of your Reader for years,” the petition reads. “It’s central to our daily information consumption … Reader builds tremendous goodwill from a core group of heavy Internet users, leading us to recommend this and your other services to our friends.

“Eliminating Google Reader or its features (like following friends’ shared items) is short-sighted because you will alienate some of your most loyal users, sparking a vocal backlash.”

Among those loyal users: Iranian activists. Google Reader is the most visited site in Iran, having gained much of its popularity during the “green revolution” of 2009. The country’s government has banned most social networks and blogging services; Sharebros inside the country say Reader has been an extremely useful way to share news and comments under the radar.

Some Iranian users had as many as 7,500 followers on Reader, according to Iranian blogger Amir.

Many Sharebros have taken to Twitter to vent their anger, posting under hashtags such as #OccupyGoogleReader. While there are workarounds for Sharebros to transfer their following to Google+ circles, many indicated they would not be interested in switching.

“Dear Google: taking away my Google Reader functionality will not make me use Google+,” wrote blogger Megan McArdle. “It will only make me mad.”

Even some Googlers joined in sympathy with the Sharebros, such as engineers Kevin Fox (who helped design an early version of Reader) and Mihai Parparita.

Will that be enough to convince Google to give Sharebros an option to roll back the changes? Or does CEO Larry Page’s much-heralded focus on social media mean that the Sharebros must be sacrificed for the greater good of Google+? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: Google, google reader, larry page

Top 4 Ecommerce Tools for WordPress

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 07:59 PM PDT

Brian Casel is the founder of CasJam Media, a web design shop that works with clients worldwide designing custom WordPress CMS sites. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

Remember when WordPress was used only for blogging?

Even all of the talk about WordPress being a true CMS seems to be old news these days. Therefore, make way for latest phase of WordPress' evolution: ecommerce.

If you're selling products online, you need to take a serious look at WordPress as your platform for ecommerce. Third party shopping cart plugins for WordPress are not so new anymore. They've been slowly developing and evolving within the WordPress community for years. Today, ecommerce on WordPress is ready for prime time.

Before we get into which WordPress shopping carts you should consider using, let's talk about why it's a good idea to integrate your CMS and shopping cart together under one roof (WordPress).

Clean Integration of Your CMS and Your Shopping Cart

Gone are the days of running two separate systems on your website: one for your marketing site/blog and another for your online store. By fully integrating your shopping cart with your WordPress CMS, you have complete control to cross-promote your products with other site content.

For example, your homepage might be used to promote "hot" products as well as your latest blog headlines. You might want to announce a flash sale in your homepage slider and carry that callout through the rest of your site using global WordPress widgets.

From an administration standpoint, you (or your client) only need to use one login for one system to manage everything in the operation. Plus, it's easier to view and measure your sales funnel when your analytics tool tracks a single website.

Seamless User Experience for Your Customers (and Your Developer)

How many times have you experienced this? You land on the beautiful homepage of some business. They have an appealing design, strategic and friendly marketing copy and an overall positive user experience. So far, you like what you see, so you click the link labeled "Store."

Suddenly, you're taken to what seems to be a completely different website, with an outdated design and clunky customer experience. Your impression of the website, and in turn, your opinion of this brand, has taken a turn for the worse. Now you're not so sure about buying its product.

A fully integrated shopping cart system built into your WordPress site ensures that customers experience the same design and quality from homepage to checkout.

For developers, it means not having to fiddle around with two different systems, "faking" integration by closely matching two stylesheets, or making updates in two places each time. Integration means one codebase, centralized functionality and easy maintenance.

Top 4 Ecommerce Tools for WordPress

The following are just a few of the more popular systems out there, and new ones are popping up all the time, particularly as the WordPress community continues to expand.

As you can see, the ability to sell products on a WordPress site has come a very long way. With all of the amazing plugins and frameworks that have been developed in this space, ecommerce on WordPress certainly deserves real consideration for any new online store project.

1. WooCommerce

Just last month, WooThemes released its ecommerce framework, WooCommerce. This is arguably one of the most comprehensive shopping cart solutions available for WordPress. It originated as a fork of the popular Jigoshop plugin, and offers a host powerful features including multiple product types (simple, configurable, downloadable, etc.), inventory management, comprehensive shipping and tax options, marketing tools and powerful reporting features. The admin user experience is powerful yet easy to use. Like everything from Woo, it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

Click here to view this gallery.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the possibility of selling products on a WordPress site has come a very long way. With all of the amazing plugins and frameworks that have been developed in this space, ecommerce on WordPress certainly deserves real consideration for any new online store project.

More About: BLOGS, contributor, ecommerce, features, Web Development, WordPress

What I Learned From Four Days With the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 06:40 PM PDT

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

The world’s most successful entrepreneurs play hard, but they work even harder. That much was made clear after the dust settled on f.ounders, an event that has quickly become one of technology’s premiere conferences.

There aren’t many events where you meet two heads of state, eat dinner with Bono, and party with 150 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. But that’s exactly what happened at the f.ounders conference in Dublin, Ireland last week. The conference brought together the founders of Skype, YouTube, Netflix, Rovio, GroupMe, StumbleUpon, 4chan and more for four days of intensive networking, extravagant dinners and Irish hospitality — you couldn’t walk five steps without somebody offering you a Guinness.

Launched last year by Irish entrepreneur Paddy Cosgrave, f.ounders gets unusually high marks from its attendees. “It’s certainly the best conference I remember attending,” declared Atlas Venture Partner Fred Destin. “It was a conference that lived up to, and even exceeded, the hype,” said Ben Rooney, the Wall Street Journal Europe‘s technology editor.

With help from the Irish government, f.ounders treated guests like rock stars. On the first night, the attendees participated in a bar crawl with Bono, ate dinner in Trinity College’s famous library (it was the inspiration for the library in the new Star Wars movies), and were surprised with a full orchestra for the after-dinner entertainment. The next day, the Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny addressed the conference just before the attendees were bussed to a reception with the outgoing President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

Meeting the founders was McAleese’s last act as President. It demonstrates the importance of the event to Ireland, which is looking to attract entrepreneurs to help it rebuild a downtrodden economy.

Learning from the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs

Founders 2011

Click here to view this gallery.

When you stick 150 of the smartest and most ambitious people in the world together, you don’t get the typical conversation. I remember being asked to breakfast on the first day of the conference by Best Buy CTO and Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens. Our discussion dug deep into some of the issues facing startups and local businesses. Why isn’t Groupon Now taking off? Why hasn’t OpenTable expanded its platform beyond restaurants? How do you help small businesses better manage their excess inventory?

It was only the first of many in-depth conversations. One night at dinner our table had a heated debate on whether Europe could produce its own Google in the next decade, while I spoke with another founder about the evolution of technology journalism. Founders were making deals with a handful of VCs attending the conference, and large groups of attendees would stumble from the club into the hotel at 3 AM. At f.ounders, 4 AM was an early night — some stayed up until 8 AM drinking Jameson’s and making new connections, then showed up looking fresh for their panels just three hours later.

I learned that intensity is a trait shared by all great entrepreneurs. And not just intensity for their businesses, but for everything they do. It’s the same intensity that drove Steve Jobs to commit to a fruitarian diet — and to turn Apple into a world-class company

Second, I learned that Europe is brimming with entrepreneurial talent. The continent may not have the money or startup community that has turned Silicon Valley into the world’s technology hub, but it is catching up fast. Israel, London, Dublin and Berlin especially are building the foundations for a new breed of European entrepreneur — one more willing to take the risks necessary to build billion-dollar businesses. Israel has been churning out high-profile startups such as Waze and Shaker. London is wooing entrepreneurs with friendlier business laws and a budding startup community called “Silicon Roundabout.” Berlin boasts one of Europe’s strongest economies.

Finally, I learned that kindness and empathy are fundamental to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs may be brutally honest, but fostering relationships with partners and building enduring communities requires empathy, self-sacrifice and a willingness to help others without expecting anything in return.

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

More About: bono, Column, dublin, f.ounders, features, founders, ireland, Opinion, Startups, The Social Analyst

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How To Sell a 2000 Corolla Like a Boss [VIDEO]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 05:06 PM PDT

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

You had me at: “Do you need a reliable, sexy vehicle to get you to the renaissance fair?” This home-made, surprisingly slick car ad comes from Clark Olson Media, a media company with a clear sense of humor. Clark Olson Media submitted the video as part of a video car review contest for Kelly Blue Book, a car retailer.

We’re not entirely sure if this video actually makes us want to buy a 2000 Corolla, but it certainly makes us want to give Olson a high-five. At this point, he might not need it. The video, released in mid-June, has picked up more than 200,000 views. Maybe it’s the rocking funk music, or the way he keeps saying Corrroooollaaaa, or the way that … no, it’s definitely the way he says “Corolla.”

More About: Video, viral-video-of-the-day, YouTube

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The Fake Curiosity Shop: Altoids Makes Ridiculous Online History [PICS]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 03:58 PM PDT

altoids image

Visitors to the Hall of Curiosity website will find a mini-model of a T-Rex with an Altoids box for a head, a tarot card called the “Knight of Altoids” and a variety of other strange creations featuring Altoids boxes.

At first blush, the website appears to be a well-designed site for historical absurdities. In reality, the Hall of Curiosity comes from EnergyBBDO, the ad agency behind Altoids. Each item in the hall is meant to illustrate a fake-historical moment in Altoids history (such as the Altoids T-Rex). Most of the artworks are being auctioned on eBay with proceeds benefiting Americans for the Arts, a charity that supports arts education.

If it sounds like a strange way to market a mint, well, you’d be right. The idea for the Hall came from Andrei Chahine and Ryan Stotts, two Altoids creative leads at EnergyBBDO. The two made most of the artwork and what they couldn’t do, such as create a functioning solar system model, they commissioned outside artists to create. “We made 89% of it,” says Chahine. “We commissioned a couple artists, like the one who made the Russian dolls — she was a media buyer who’s actually a really kick-ass artist.”

The Hall of Curiosity has a home-spun, cobbled-together spirit that makes it different from traditional marketing campaigns. Indeed, most of the artwork was done for fun without Altoids even knowing. “We had all of these tins sitting around our office,” Stotts says, “and the mind wanders.”

altoids image

That tongue-in-cheek nature is inimical to the Altoids brand. Each tin carries a silly fact and a “Curiosity,” or crafty how-to, like turning the Altoids wax paper into a dunce hat for your hamster. The ironic, vintage feel is very much in style. “That was something we talked about,” Chahine says. “There is this kind of resurgence of this old-timey-ness, ornate wallpapers and wooden frames.”

“Little shops will have this apothecary vibe,” Stotts chimes in. “I think Altoids fits very well with this sort of curious craftsmanship.” People have bee using Altoids tins for crafts for some time, Chahine says. A Google search turns up guitar amps or survival kits made from discarded wrapper and boxes. Placing the items for sale on eBay was a way of proving that a Altoids hood ornament was a real thing someone made as opposed to some snazzy Photoshop work.

Some of the items are going for curiously high amounts. Bids start at a dollar, but some have shot up to $71 (the Altoids Orrery), $50 (the Altoids tarot cards) or $29 (the Altoids hood ornament). Bidding ends November 5.

The team says more curiosities will be added to the hall every week — some from the in-house crew, some from commissioned artists such as a “strange sort of ski-scene” from Minimian, a studio specializing in tiny dioramas.

“I think the site feels really genuine and people appreciate that,” Stott says. “Originally we just wanted it to look like some dude just making these things who was an Altoids fan.”

If that was the goal, then (ridiculous) mission: accomplished.

Is the Hall of Curiosity a hit or a miss? Do any of the items look worthy of purchase? Check out some of the images below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Tarot Cards

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Marketing, Social Media

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Google Reader Gets a Redesign, Adds Google+ Integration

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 02:55 PM PDT

Google has begun rolling out a new version of Google Reader, one that sports a brand-new design and deep integration with Google+.

The new Google Reader sports a more spartan interface. It’s similar to the Google Calendar redesign and Gmail makeover the search giant launched earlier this year.

The greater change is the addition of Google+ sharing. Google has replaced the “Like” button with the +1 button, which lets users share content to their Google+ accounts. Reader users with a Google+ login can choose which circles they’d like to share articles to using Google+ snippets.

The Google+ integration replaces the Google Reader social features the company unveiled in 2009. “Integrating with Google+ also helps us streamline Reader overall,” Google Engineer Alan Green said in a ” target=”_blank”>blog post. “So starting today we’ll be turning off friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality.”

While Google Reader’s notes got some usage, dropping them in favor of Google+ is the logical move for a company that is now trying to unify all of its social efforts under one banner. The company recently killed off Buzz while adding Google+ to Maps.

What do you think of the new Google Reader? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Google, google reader, Top News

13 Halloween-Themed Facebook Timeline Designs [PICS]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 02:40 PM PDT

1. Renee Pierce Smelley

We just love Renee's gruesome green profile pic.

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s Halloween, so we’ve taken a look at how people are celebrating the spookiest day of the year on Facebook.

The social networking site’s new Timeline design means you can display a big image at the top of your profile. We put together examples from Mashable readers who’ve Halloweened up their pages, as well as linked to some images you can use on your profile.

SEE ALSO: 10 Facebook Timeline Designs That Will Blow You Away [PICS] | How to Enable the New Facebook Timeline NOW |

Take a look through our selection of 13 (don’t be spooked by the “unlucky” number) and link to your Halloween-themed social media profiles in the comments below.

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, features, gallery, Halloween

7 Tips for Boo-tiful Web Design [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 02:08 PM PDT

Listen up, ghouls and boos, we’ve written a lot about web design here at Mashable, but on one day a year, it’s appropriate to call on some more, um, spirited individuals to lay down the laws of basic and proper web design.

We hope you know by now not to use Comic Sans. And while everyone loves an animated GIF, they’re only funny or entertaining when they’re … funny or entertaining. And that blinking text? Get rid of it, unless you’d like to be liable for a few seizures.

Below, you’ll learn from Frankenstein font snobs, mouthy mummies, impatient pumpkins and spiders on the web to help you make your website more of a treat than a scare to browse.

Infographic courtesy of Mint Leaf Studio

More About: infographic, web design

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Happy Halloween: 8 Techy Costumes From Mashable Readers [PICS]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 01:51 PM PDT

Words With Friends

Arielle Calderon went all-out with her Words With Friends costume. Our best player at the office just sent her a game request. It's on!

Click here to view this gallery.

Happy Halloween, Mashable readers!

Last week, we asked you to send us photos of yourselves in your tech-themed Halloween costumes. We’re really impressed with the creativity you’ve shown! You’ll find our favorites in the gallery above.

SEE ALSO: Genius Turns iPad Into Amazing Halloween Magic [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

More About: costumes, Halloween

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#Snowtober: 11 Twitter Users Share Weather Anomaly [PICS]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 01:26 PM PDT

1. @GoPSUTony

"PIC: Field level at Beaver Stadium as the crews work to remove the snow..."

University Park, PA

Click here to view this gallery.

Despite the debate over proper hashtag labeling (#snowtober, #snotober or #snoctober), all nor’easterners can agree on one thing: Saturday’s snowstorm was quite unexpected.

Twitter users snapped pics in awe of the premature winter weather and tweeted incredulous captions. Click through the gallery to see how these 11 Twitter users weathered the storm. Let us see any of your storm pics by posting in the comments below.

More About: features, Social Media, Twitter, Weather

iPhone Owners: Are You Losing Battery Life? [POLL]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 01:11 PM PDT

We’ve seen a number of stories about iPhone 4S users whose batteries have drained far faster than they could reasonably expect. By way of acknowledgment, Apple has reportedly been reaching out to affected users.

Now several sources are suggesting the culprit is a bug inside iOS 5 — meaning that anyone who upgraded, even on an older iPhone, may be affected.

So we want to hear from the legions of iPhone-toting Mashable readers. Have you had a problem? If so, which device and iOS were you using?

Take our poll below, and let us know the specifics of your problem in the comments. We can’t promise to fix it (although turning off time zone location services does seem promising as a temporary solution), but we do hope to help settle the question of whether this is a hardware or a software issues.

SEE ALSO: Apple Enlists iPhone 4S Users to Solve Battery Problem

More About: apple, battery, iOS 5, iphone, iPhone 4S

Daily Deals: Beloved by Consumers, Less So by Merchants [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 01:05 PM PDT

There are few things U.S. consumers love more than a bargain, and the spread of daily deals sites has given them plenty of their beloved and then some. Americans will spend an estimated $2 billion on daily deal sites this year alone — a figure that’s expected to double by 2015.

Merchants, however, are telling a different story. While daily deals sites are helping many businesses attract new customers, turning those new arrivals into repeat customers has proved unexpectedly difficult. Furthermore, consumers aren’t spending over the allotted amount of their deals. Businesses are taking a hit as a result.

What will this growing pattern mean for consumers, businesses and daily deals sites? It’s difficult to say. But this infographic seems to make one thing apparent: Merchants are going to need to turn elsewhere if repeat business is what they’re after.

More About: daily deals, groupon, infographic, LivingSocial

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A Potential Fix for iOS 5 Battery Woes: Your Time Zone Settings

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 12:58 PM PDT

Since the release of the iPhone 4S earlier this month, a number of users have complained about the device’s battery life.

One intrepid user thinks he might have found a fix. Oliver Haslam at iDownloadBlog reports that turning off the ability for iOS to automatically update its time zone may be the key to improving the battery life on the iPhone 4S.

Haslam reports that after turning off the “Setting Time Zone” toggle within the “System Services” section of “Location Services” (in the Settings app) has nearly doubled his phone’s battery life and increased standby time nearly three-fold.

Haslam also surmises that the problem isn’t actually with the iPhone 4S but with iOS 5. By turning off the automatic time zone functionality, Haslam saw improved battery life on various iOS 5 devices, including the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

The Potential Problem

Haslam thinks that a bug might have crept into iOS 5 that keeps the phone pinging various location servers to update its time zone. This constant pinging drains the battery.

I’ve seen location-based apps that aren’t properly optimized suck battery life like a sieve. In fact, I initially blamed the new Radar feature in Foursquare for iPhone for my battery woes. Disabling that feature definitely improved performance on my device.

SEE ALSO: iPhone Owners: Are You Losing Battery Life? [POLL]

Other users have targeted iCloud and other sync services as the culprits responsible for declining iPhone 4S battery life. At Macworld, Christopher Breen detailed his own exhaustive efforts to try to track down the source of his phone’s draining battery.

No Magic Cure

Although turning off the “Setting Time Zone” feature might work for some, it isn’t a guaranteed solution. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

It seems that there is a very real software problem affecting not just the iPhone 4S, but potentially other iOS 5 devices. We’ve reached out to Apple for official comment on the battery issue.

Has your battery life declined since upgrading to iOS 5? Let us know.

[via The Telegraph]

More About: apple, battery life, iPhone 4S, Top Stories, trending

How Cellphones Shape the Lives of College Students [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 11:56 AM PDT

The majority of college students today use smartphones — although three-quarters don’t foot their own bills. Not surprisingly, this has changed the classroom dynamic. Some 88% text during class; 40% use their phones for last-minute test prep; and a quarter take their devices out during each class.

This infographic, created by HackCollege, delves into the intricacies of how college students in the U.S. use their mobile devices. The leading two operating systems are Android and Apple’s iOS, holding an almost equal market share of 43% and 42% respectively.

And the tidbit we pull out in honor of Halloween: 25% of college students who are smartphone owners have used their devices in mischievous ways.

How have cellphone behaviors changed since you were in school? Do you think mobile has redefined the college experience? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Generation Mobile

Created by: HackCollege

More About: college, Mobile, smartphone, trending

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Ubuntu Wants to Be on Your Phones, Tablets and TVs

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 11:41 AM PDT

Ubuntu, the Linux distribution with a serious case of Mac-envy, has ambitions of moving beyond the PC to the tablet, smartphone and connected device space.

At the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical — the company that funds Ubuntu development — said that the time is right to move the distribution to additional devices. On his blog, Shuttleworth says that by April 2014, Ubuntu “will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud.”

This isn’t the first time Shuttleworth has made big proclamations about the future of Ubuntu. In July 2008, he boldly proclaimed that the open source software OS could surpass Apple in UI in two years. Three-and-a-half years later, Ubuntu looks a lot more like OS X, but has hardly surpassed Apple in terms of interface and user experience.

Still, Shuttleworth argues that Ubuntu is well positioned to thrive in a world where computing takes place on a myriad of devices, from the car to the living room, thanks to its Unity user interface.

Competing Against Android

This isn’t the first time that Ubuntu has vowed to take on alternative platforms. In fact, the Unity user interface was originally designed for netbooks and other smaller-screened devices. Throughout the past year, Ubuntu has gained support for touchscreens and ARM processors.

Here’s the problem: An operating system based on the Linux kernel that can be augmented to phones, tablets, in-car systems and connected TVs already exists. It’s called Android.

While Android is most frequently used to power smartphones and tablets, it has become the base OS for a multitude of embedded devices. Plus, as Amazon has shown with the Kindle Fire, it’s entirely possible to use Android without using Google’s user interface or additional platform components.

This leaves Ubuntu in a precarious position. The distribution already struggles to straddle the line between community involvement and strong, designated leadership from a parent company (in this case, Canonical). Convincing developers optimize applications for use on additional devices may prove difficult.

[via Engadget]

1. TiVo

Underneath the digital video recorder TiVo's user-friendly and popular interface is a modified version of Linux. We have a hunch that those Linux underpinnings are responsible for TiVo's snappy response and smooth video playback.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: connected tv, Linux, Tablet, Ubuntu

5 Reasons Google+ Could Win the Social Enterprise Battle

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 11:16 AM PDT

Balakrishna Narasimhan leads solution marketing for Appirio, a cloud solution provider that helps enterprises adopt, connect and extend cloud platforms such as salesforce.com, Google and Workday. Follow him on Twitter: @bnara75

Last Thursday, Google announced that Google+ will be available for Google Apps users. This means that the millions of people using Google Apps for their businesses will now have access to the Google+ social collaboration platform.

With Google+'s unique features for search, selective sharing and rich communication, it offers consumers a very different user experience than the established social networks. For individuals, Google+ has quickly become a great place to build your interest graph — that is, find the latest content and people related to topics you're interested in.

SEE ALSO: Google+: The Complete Guide

With its seamless integration with Google Apps, Google+ promises a very different type of social enterprise experience. In fact, Google+ has five unique advantages over other social business platforms.

1. Smart Integration With Existing Google Apps

Google+ is fully integrated with Google Apps. As a user, you don't need a new login — it's just another tab like mail, calendar, docs or video. Most business users spend their day in mail or calendar, so a tool that's easily accessible from the daily workflow has advantages over third-party software.

Thinking a bit ahead of where the product is, the possibilities that are opened up by the integration with Google Apps are pretty exciting. You can imagine "+1" buttons and rich collaboration across sites, docs, spreadsheets, presentations, blogs, videos, photos and more. Or imagine working within a doc and starting a hangout with collaborators while sharing your screen. For companies using Google Apps, taking advantage of these features would require no additional software, logins or changes in behavior.

2. Google+ Already Knows a Lot About You

Because of its tight integration with Google Apps, Google+ could take advantage of what it already knows about each business user, including whom they email, how often and how recently, as well as the topics they write about and search for. Google+ is in a position to help an enterprise user not only quickly build out his internal circles, but also discover those outside the company who are talking about the same topics or industry. If Google chooses to pursue this, it would make a great tool to help each user build out broad interest-based professional networks.

3. Google+ Is Uniquely Positioned to Help You Find and Share Interesting Content

Nobody has a better index of what's on the web than Google. So nobody is better positioned to help you find interesting content and people from both inside and outside your company. Google+ Sparks let you follow the latest from the web on topics you're interested in, and one can imagine something similar within your domain. Internal Sparks could let you quickly find content and experts within your company on work-related topics you're most interested in.

4. Google+ Integrates Public and Private Sharing

Unlike other social enterprise platforms, which keep most shared content behind company walls, Google+ integrates public and private sharing. When I'm using Google+, I can decide for each post whether I want to share it with my colleagues, my clients, or certain subsets of either category. Also, because a number of websites have already embedded +1 buttons, it's easy to "like" content from across the web and share it with targeted groups.

5. Android Phones Sync Easily With the Entire Apps Suite

Finally, an Android mobile phone brings this complete integration to users on the go. Activating Android handsets with your company’s Google Apps account brings all this productive and social functionality to the palm of your employees’ hands. And the wide variety of devices and carriers means greater flexibility.

A Video Explanation of Google+

The Google+ project: A quick look

Google provides an overview of the entire Google+ project.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Business, contributor, features, Google, Social Media, trending

Battlefield 3 Has Record Opening Weekend Despite Tech Woes

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 09:58 AM PDT

battlefield image

Battlefield 3, a new first-person shooter video game from EA and DICE, has hit the ground running with great sales numbers and a slew of online problems. The game, released Oct. 25, was hit with serious problems in its first weekend, Kotaku reports.

Gamers were blocked from going online and joining multiplayer games. Other players were booted mid-game thanks to widespread server issues. These faults haven’t stopped Battlefield 3 from shipping more than 10 million copies of the game, according to EA, with more than 2.2 million players logging in to play online.

EA has yet to say what exactly caused the problem, though the company, unsurprisingly, is saying the popularity of the game and its online multiplayer is overloading its servers. The influx of more than 2 million players set a record for “Peak Simultaneous Users,” an EA spokesperson tells Kotaku. “Regardless of the cause or platform, our online teams are standing by to identify the issues and addressed them as they arise. We will not rest until we’re at 100 percent.”

Battlefield 3 switched the popular shooter franchise to a new Origin online service and the inclusion of a game-based social layer called Battlelog. EA, however, is standing by Origin and claims the new service isn’t responsible for the problems. After some days of maintenance and bugs, EA now says Battlefield 3‘s online features should be up and running smoothly.

Battlefield 3 has long competed with Activision’s franchise to be the best real-world, first-person shooter. Both games are known for their highly cinematic, albeit short and linear, single-player campaigns and hugely popular online multiplayer offerings. Any glitches or delays in the multiplayer could hamper the future success of Battlefield 3. These problems unfortunately aren’t entirely new. Battlefield 3 held an open beta that had a tremendous amount of technical glitches. Commenters have been quick to point out Battlefield‘s history of launch difficulties.

Still, if Battlefield 3 can overcome its launch woes and deliver a seamless multiplayer experience, EA stands ready to give Call of Duty a serious run for its money.

Are these problems just more of the same for EA or will Battlefield rebound and take the first-person shooter crown from Call of Duty? Sound off in the comments.

Battlefield 3 Screenshots

These screens are from Battlefield 3. While it's not stated, the resolution and details of the screens suggest they're taken from a PC build of the game.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: games, Gaming, Social Media, trending, video games

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Barnes & Noble to Unveil Nook Color 2 Nov. 7?

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 09:26 AM PDT

A little more than a year after Barnes & Noble unveiled the first-generation Nook Color, the bookseller has sent out a press invitation for a mysterious Nook-related announcement in New York City Nov. 7.

The Nook Color 2? Very likely.

We don’t know anything about the hardware or what version of Android it will run, but we’re looking forward to the round of leaks and rumors that will undoubtedly surface in the upcoming week. What we do know, is the device will need to outperform Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet if it wants to make any serious headway in the tablet/ereader market.

Mashable will be reporting live from the event, sharing the new product details as they are revealed.

You can check out the main competition in the gallery below.

The $79 Kindle.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: barnes & noble, nook, nook color 2

Armani Exchange Evolves Ecommerce with Videomix App

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 09:21 AM PDT

videomix image

Armani Exchange is turning ecommerce into couture with the launch of A|X VIDEOMIX, an iOS app that lets users create digital fashion shows and then shop their looks.

The app comes with some looks from Armani Exchange’s Fall collection. Users can mash together the run of show, pick from eight music tracks and select backgrounds. These virtual shows featuring real models can be emailed or posted on Facebook and Twitter. Armani Exchange’s fall looks can also be browsed and purchased right from the app, the idea being that people are more likely to buy a look if they chose it for their show.

The app, developed in conjunction with Sodamedia, is essentially a glorified commercial showcasing some of Armani Exchange’s looks. It does, however, give a peak into the design house’s new focus on digital. Users of the app will get a special “SuperShow” created by Giorgio Armani and will also get invites to contests, promotions and prizes for the most viewed user video.

models image

VIDEOMIX won’t die with after this season. The app will be updated in November with looks from Armani Exchanges holiday collection as well as with gift-giving add-ons. Many design studios put their seasonal fashion shows online but few have devoted an entire app to the experience. It’s a clever piece of marketing, which not only gets Armani Exchange products into more hands but also gives fans a more intimate way to view these seasonal previews. “It’s getting back to our customers,” says Tom Jarrold, CMO for Armani Exchange. “They're super digital. I think half of our customers have an iPhone, which is pretty amazing. … It really is where they're spending their time, so we want to reach them where they are.”

VIDEOMIX follows on the heels of STYLEPAD, an interactive website and catalog series similarly showcasing new looks. VIDEOMIX’s emphasis on customization and social sharing takes the brand a step forward, but is it a winning strategy? Would you spend time on an app like VIDEOMIX? Will creating a runway show make you more likely to buy Armani Exchange clothes? Let us know in the comments.

armani image

More About: App, ecommerce, fashion, Gadgets, iOS, Social Media, Tech

Style.com Goes Retro, Launches Print Magazine

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 09:07 AM PDT

The inaugural print issue of Style.com made its debut Monday, in an unusual move for a web magazine.

The issue, a recap of the spring 2012 runway collections, is an interesting adaptation of the web to print form. Large-format layouts, which are adorned with graphic elements from ’80s-era operating systems, look as if they were formatted in HTML/CSS rather than InDesign. Tweets are printed alongside full-page ads from major fashion advertisers like Versace and Valentino. The collections are ranked not by editorial preference but by page view numbers.

We’re still not sure about the closeup cover image of 17-year-old model Lindsey Wixson, which may have been designed to look pixelated but instead looks like a low-resolution test copy. The issue is pretty decent otherwise.

A print launch is unusual move for any publisher, online or traditional. True, Style.com is run by a division of Conde Nast, a company with robust printing operations already in place. But most companies (Conde Nast included) have focused primarily on digital launches as of late. Even new titles are being released first as digital-only editions.

Still, the glossy could help Style.com, which has been operating online-only since 2000, reach new audiences — that is, if it can reach newsstands first. In a release statement, Style.com/Print‘s publishers said the first issue would be available at “select newsstands” for $14.99. We assume “select” means “not many,” but we’re still awaiting further clarification from Conde. The glossy is also available for online purchase at style.com/magazine for $6.99 plus shipping.

Is it a smart idea for a web site to launch of print magazine in 2011? Would you buy it? Let’s hash it out in the comments below.

For a further preview, check out the gallery below. Images obtained via The Huffington Post.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: conde nast, magazine, Media, style.com, style.com/print

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What Does 7 Billion People Mean? There’s An App For That

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 07:10 AM PDT

National Geographic 7 Billion App

Today, we woke up to the discomfiting news that there are now 7 billion people inhabiting Earth. Seems like just yesterday there were only six billion. It’s an important milestone for the world and one big enough that, like most other major events and activities, has its own app: National Geographic Society 7 Billion.

The iPad app is simply called “7 Billion,” which is a number big enough to get anyone’s attention. According to the free app, which is downloadable right now from Apple’s App Store, it would take you 200 years to count to 7 billion out loud. In other words, you’ll never finish. Still, these are the kinds of tantalizing tidbits you’ll find throughout this information rich app. It’s part of National Geographic‘s year-long series on the world’s new population number. National Geographic will deliver new features to the app throughout the year (Cities are the Solution is coming in December).

Inside the app, which ran fairly smoothly on my iPad 1 (but could use clearer navigation — I had a bit of trouble getting out of the opening video), you’ll find more than a dozen features and numerous charts, infographics and photos and videos on everything from how income and the average number of children impacts per-country population growth, to what the 7 billion people means for our food and resource supplies. Here’s just some of what I learned from the app:

  • In 2045, there will be 9 billion people
  • Every second, 5 people are born
  • Every second, 2 people die (you can see the problem)
  • We’re all living longer: The average Life span is now 69 years old
  • By 2050, 70% of us will be living in urban areas
  • We have enough space for all these people: 7 billion people could fit shoulder-to-shoulder in Los Angeles
  • In 1975, there were three mega-cities (cities with 10 million or more people)
  • Today, there are 21 mega-cities

National Geographic 7 Billion App Intro Page

This page fills in with words and then images of people. You need to tap the page and then access a menu in the upper-left hand corner to start using the iPad App.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, Apple iPad, apps, national geographic, trending

China Drives Strong Sales for HTC

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 06:47 AM PDT

HTC recorded substantial increases in profit and revenue in its third quarter earnings report Monday, citing accelerated sales growth in China as one of the reasons for its success.

Profits amounted to $624.6 million, up 68% from the same period a year ago and 7% from the previous quarter. Revenue jumped 79% year-over-year to $4.54 billion.

Sales in China were nine times greater in the third quarter than what they were a year ago, HTC said. Other handset manufacturers are experiencing similar growth in the region. Greater China accounted for 12% of Apple’s sales in fiscal 2011, up from 2% in 2009, Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed earlier this month. He noted that the iPhone 4 and iPad were among the strongest sellers in the area.

HTC’s total handset shipments were up 93% to 13.2 million compared to the year previous.

HTC’s forecast for the fourth quarter was less optimistic. The company expects to generate between $4.18 billion and $4.51 billion in revenue, up 20% to 30% year-over-year. Shipments are estimated in the 12 million to 13 million range.

More About: china, htc, Q3 2011

5 Digital Tools That Make Shopping Easier

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 06:19 AM PDT

The Trendsetter Tech Series is supported by smart. Test drive the space saving, eco-friendly, totally unique, smart. Visit smartusa.com to find a new smart center near you. smart — unbig. uncar.

Believe it or not, Black Friday is only about a month away. Before you head out with the rest of the unwashed masses, you would be wise to avail yourself of some tools that will save you money and time.

No, we’re not talking about a billy club for whacking other shoppers blocking the sales racks. We mean digital tools that give you knowledge and discounts before, during and after the point of sale.

To get a sense of what’s out there, check out this list we’ve compiled of the top five digital shopping tools for this holiday season.

1. Google Wallet

If you think about it, it does seem a bit archaic that we're still walking around with pieces of plastic and paper to buy our stuff. Google Wallet, which the company rolled out in September, is an attempt to turn your wallet into a metaphor. It's not widely used, but it's in more places than you think, and Google's "Where it Works" page will help you get started. For now, you can only use it if you have a Nexus S 4G from Sprint.

Click here to view this gallery.

What apps and services are in your arsenal for your holiday shopping season? Do you use QR or bar code scanners to get a good deal as well? Let us know in the comments below.

Series supported by smart

The Trendsetter Tech Series is supported by smart. Test drive the space saving, eco-friendly, totally unique, smart. Visit smartusa.com to find a new smart center near you. smart — unbig. uncar.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mbortolino

More About: apps, Digital coupons, features, Holidays, mashable, shopping, Trendsetter Tech Series

Halloween Google Doodles Through the Years

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 05:54 AM PDT


A duo of pumpkins greeted Google users for the first ever Halloween illustration.

Click here to view this gallery.

Here at Mashable, we love Google’s homepage “Doodles.” The online giant is well-known for its Halloween-themed logo each year.

For your viewing pleasure, we have collected all of Google’s October 31 homepages into a great gallery.

Join us in celebrating Halloween the Google way and take a look through the images above. Let us know in the comments which is your favorite — and why.

More About: features, gallery, Google, google doodles, Halloween, trending

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