Friday, 4 November 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Nook Tablet Is Coming November 16 for $249 [REPORT]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Nook Tablet Is Coming November 16 for $249 [REPORT]”

Nook Tablet Is Coming November 16 for $249 [REPORT]

Posted: 04 Nov 2011 03:11 AM PDT

Barnes & Noble will launch a new member of the Nook family of tablets and e-readers, the Nook Tablet, on November 16 for $249, according to leaked presentation slides published by Engadget.

Furthermore, the company plans to reduce the price of Nook Color from $249 to $199, while the Nook Simple Touch’s price will drop from $139 to $99.

The announcement will likely come November 7, when Barnes & Noble will hold a press conference in New York City, and we’ll be there live to cover the event.

However, if the leaked presentation slides are legit, we already know a whole lot about the upcoming Nook Tablet. It will sport a 7-inch IPS color touch screen with a 1024×600 pixel resolution, a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage and a microSD expansion slot.

Visually, it will be very similar to the Nook Color which, besides the price cut, will also get a software update with some nice additions, such as Hulu Plus, more magazines and comics as well as access to music via services like Rhapsody, Grooveshark, Pandora and MOG.

Finally, the Nook Simple Touch will reach version 1.1. The details about the update are sketchy, but Barnes & Noble claims the device has 25% faster page turns than any other e-reader and the longest battery life providing 2 months of reading.

The stir-up in Barnes & Noble’s tablet lineup is a logical answer to Amazon’s recent price cuts and launch of Kindle Fire.

Check out Amazon’s Kindle line of products, which B&N’s Nook devices will directly compete with, in the gallery below.

The $79 Kindle.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image source: Engadget

[via Engadget]

More About: e-reader, nook, nook color, Nook Tablet, Nook Touch, Tablet

Google Could Be Planning to Completely Disrupt the TV Business [REPORT]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 09:18 PM PDT

Google, enormously successful in online advertising, might be casting an envious eye toward the $150 billion-per-year pay television market. Such a venture has the potential to turn today’s business of television advertising and distribution upside down.

The company’s already announced plans to build a fiber-optic high-speed Internet service in Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan., and according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription required], now Google might be thinking about ways to expand that into pay video and telephone services.

That would put Google in direct competition with cable companies and phone companies that have expanded into what’s called the “triple play” of communications: cable television, telephone and high-speed Internet.

The Wall Street Journal said “no final decisions have been made,” but added Google has talked about including content owned by Disney, Time Warner and Discovery Communications. Further evidence would be the rumored hiring of cable TV executive Jeremy Stern, who is said to be leading those discussions with the media conglomerates.

This would put Google in a position where it could not only sell subscriptions to the pay TV channels, but sell ads on those channels as well. It would also put its video-on-demand services in a sweet spot, perhaps moving many of its video capabilities over to the streaming-video Internet side, rather than the conventional cable TV business model.

Google might even be able to turn YouTube into a sort of “virtual cable TV,” where customers could pick and choose the programs they want, and it might be available on a national, or even international scale.

And, as its Google TV continues its current expansion onto a variety of hardware platforms (including, perhaps something manufactured by Motorola Mobility, which Google now owns), the Android-based Google TV might make it easier for customers to search and sort through the tremendous numbers of programs that could be available on such a service.

Google’s negotiations with content creators could also give Google TV an advantage it has never enjoyed before, where the biggest weakness of the company’s potentially groundbreaking TV service was the lack of cooperation of content creators. If it puts itself on equal footing with the other pay TV providers, it might be in a better position to offer its Google TV service as a hub for video, no matter where it comes from.

More About: Google, google tv, Pay TV, television, YouTube

Beyond Barrel Roll: 10 Hidden Google Tricks

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:43 PM PDT

Oh, those whimsical Google nerds. The Mountain View-based search giant may not have Apple’s design chops, but it certainly knows how to code a good joke.

We got a taste of that fact on Thursday with the highly popular “Do a Barrel Roll” search trick, which went viral on Twitter and brightened a million work days. But that’s only the latest in a long line of quirky features Google has embedded in its products. We’re not talking about useful stuff like the in-search calculator, or Google’s much-documented April Fool’s jokes. These are all fun built-in tricks you can amuse yourself with right now.

Check them out, and let us know in the comments if you have any other favorites.


Enter "Google Gravity" in the search bar. Hit "I'm feeling lucky" (if you have Google Instant enabled, it's on the right hand side of the suggested searches). Then watch your world fall down.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google

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SideTour Brings New Experiences To You, No World Travel Necessary

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:21 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: SideTour

Quick Pitch: SideTour lets you experience the world with like-minded people.

Genius Idea: Provides a place to host and discover new authentic experiences.

The world is full of boundless experiences, some cultural and others educational or adventurous. The problem is, not all of us are unencumbered and many of us just don’t have the money to travel the globe for these experiences.

But what if we didn’t have to travel or spend excessive amounts of money? What if we could experience these worldly events with the click of a mouse? Well now we can, at SideTour.

SideTour is a place to discover and explore parts of the world through experiences hosted by interesting, creative and talented people.

Want to have dinner with a banker-turned-monk at a monastery in the East Village? If that doesn’t interest you, how about a hands-on look inside New York City’s prominent graffitti culture? Or if you’re an aspiring chef, learn to cook a three-course, French farmhouse-inspired meal that will leave your guests in awe.

"If we think about life being a collection of experiences, our mission is to make those experiences more remarkable," said Vipin Goyal, CEO and one of four co-founders of SideTour.

SideTour works by offering high-quality experiences in New York City provided by different hosts. Each experience is built as an appointment-based platform, and is designed with a specific date, time and number of available spots. The site enables participants to meet new people and partake in remarkable experiences.

If you’re not sure if a specific experience fits your interests, you can review comments on SideTour by people who have met the host or attended the event before.

For example, “Dine with a Banker-Turned-Monk at an East Village Monastery” is one of SideTour’s popular and postively-rated experiences right now. If you want to know more about the experience, you can check out the comments left by people who had dinner with the monk, Rasanath Dasa, before. Here’s one comment:

SideTour Comment

Hosts have to submit their unique idea online which SideTour will review based on originality. If the idea is accepted, the host will receive an online form that allows them to add a description and details about the experience. The SideTour team then works with the host to edit and finalize the description.

There is no cost to become a host. Hosts set prices according to the experiences involved, and SideTour takes a 20% fee on completed transactions.

“Our goal is for SideTour users to discover authentic unique experiences that aren't offered anywhere else,” said Goyal. “On the host side, our hope is to have a platform where they can share their capabilities, talents, passion, and make money while doing that.”

SideTour — founded in July — started as a global marketplace for cities around the world. Although experiences are currently only available in New York City, SideTour plans to expand to other cities.

The company has raised $1.5 million so far and is continually adding new experiences inspired by a variety of passions and talents.

Image courtesy of SideTour, SideTour

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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CastleVille: Social Gaming Finally Meets MMORPG [PICS]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 07:59 PM PDT

CastleVille may be the newest “Ville” game in Zynga’s lineup, but it is a game all its own, thanks to its living world and MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) elements.

The game, which is making its debut Friday on Facebook, brings many of the traditional elements that have turned FarmVille and CityVille into multi-billion dollar successes, including city building, exploration, self expression and playing with friends. However, the game also boasts some gaming aspects that have popularized MMORGPs such as World of Warcraft, including player customization, an enhanced reputation system and a trade system that will roll out in the coming weeks.

“We’re beginning to see the design of what an MMORPG would look like to a broad audience,” says Zynga Dallas Creative Director Bill Jackson.

The core feature of the game is the ability to create and build your own kingdom, complete with castles, bridges, plants, walls and townspeople. Users can then show off their creations off to their friends, just like previous games in the “Ville” series. It also includes the familiar dynamic of helping neighbors finish their buildings, beating up baddies and collecting coins.

Deeper Gameplay: MMORPG Meets Social Gaming


Click here to view this gallery.

Jackson and his team took the gameplay of CastleVille a few levels deeper, though. For example, crafting is a major component of the game. Users can craft armor, potions, art and other items. This is necessary to complete a series of quests that push the game’s storyline forward. A revamped reputation system not only lets you collect hearts for helping friends, but also lets you spend them on treasures you can show off in your kingdom.

“It’s not just a level up system. It’s a currency,” Jackson says.

The game is also far more animated than previous games in the “Ville” series. The trees shake when you hit them and rabbits hop around the landscape. There are hundreds of animations and easter eggs that can be discovered by interaction with the CastleVille world.

“There are so many of them going on in the game world that it creates a sense that the world is a living, breathing thing,” Jackson claims.

Quests, currency and interactivity are hallmarks of MMORPGs, but CastleVille isn’t an MMORPG. Users don’t have to get online at the same time to take out a boss. Like all Zynga games, gameplay is asynchronous, so you can play CastleVille on your own schedule. However, the game will soon be adding one major element of MMORPGs: a trade system. In the weeks ahead, users will be able to trade pretty much anything as they attempt to build the best kingdom possible.

“This is a full trading system,” Jackson states. “You can trade anything in the game. When you visit a town, you can see what they have offered for sale and make a deal and see what’s available in the shop.”

The game was developed by the Zynga Dallas office, formed after Zynga acquired Bonfire Studios. The developers behind Bonfire Studios, and thus CastleVille, are the same people who created the award-winning Age of Empires and Halo Wars video games. Perhaps that’s why the game fuses so many traditional gameplay elements into its overall structure.

This doesn’t mean the game isn’t mainstream, though. “Our focus with the title was to make it broad and accessible,” Jackson says.

Check out some screenshots of the game in the gallery above, and let us know in the comments what you think of the newest “Ville” game.

More About: CastleVille, farmville, Gaming, mmorpg, social gaming, Zynga

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Steve Jobs Predicts the Future in 1990 [VIDEO]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 07:22 PM PDT

In this fascinating raw footage from 1990, Steve Jobs talks at great length (for 50 minutes) to a WGBH-Boston interviewer about computers, the efficiency of human beings’ locomotion compared with the animal kingdom, his early experience with programming and his ideas about the direction he saw technology taking in 1990.

The discussion turns to his company he formed after his first stint at Apple and its object-oriented software — Next, the software that forms the basis of Mac OS X. Jobs points out how his operating system is 10 times as powerful as any PC, is a true multitasking system, and has sophisticated networks built in. It was a whole new system, built from the ground up.

A prescient statement: Networking was going to be the next revolution, “which will define and create the home computer market,” Jobs said. Even though he acknowledges that networks had already made a big mark in education and the military, he talks about how the network at Next helped the company work together as a team in a way it never could before, claiming it reduced the number of meetings the company had by 50 percent. He predicts users would be able to hook a computer up to a network at home using radio links and fiber optics. “We’re working on that — that’s our goal for the next five years.”

He got some things wrong: Computers will be radios, stereos, things like that? “No,” says, Jobs. “I think they’ll be just computers.”

The interview goes on much longer, where he talks about Xerox PARC and many other topics, and touts how it’s easier to write software for Next, where new software apps can be created in a fourth of the time. “It’s turned out beautifully,” he says. Indeed, it has.

[via PBS]

More About: pbs, Rare Video, steve jobs

3 Ways Digital Innovation Can Make Luxury Brands Exclusive Again

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 06:29 PM PDT

Duke Greenhill is the founder and CEO of Greenhill+Partners, a premiere New York-based creative marketing agency specializing in luxury brands and engaging the emerging affluent. You can reach them at

Luxury brand marketing must preserve exclusivity — on that we can agree. But successful luxury brand marketing today must also put the "e" in experience.

A recent article in AdWeek entitled "Is Digital Killing the Luxury Brand?" explores an important question: Does the democratizing power of digital media intrinsically dilute brands built upon exclusivity? However, the article misses the point. With the global economy in the proverbial can, exclusivity (primarily created through price) is not what high-end consumers are most concerned with.

Luxury consumers in this economy are more interested in whether a luxury product is "worth it," and that all depends on the experience. While protecting brand exclusivity is a viable concern, such digital and new media tools offer inestimable opportunities to market luxury brand experiences.

With that in mind, here are three cutting-edge digital technologies that can help save the luxury brand experience.

1. Augmented Reality

You receive a card in the mail with instructions to visit a certain website. On that site, you hold the card up in front of your computer's camera and, as if by magic, the screen doesn't show a card at all, but rather a luxurious handbag or bracelet. This is but one (pedestrian) application of augmented reality (AR).

Outside of Harrod's department store, watch company Tissot handed out wristbands that, when worn in front of an AR screen, allowed the shoppers to virtually "try on" watches. Now apply this technology to online shoppers. A recent study shows that 55% of the biggest luxury spenders prefer to shop online, in part to find better deals, but also to preserve anonymity.

Imagine a luxury boutique able to tap that demographic by erecting a temporary, mobile AR screen in their top-tier clients' homes or places of work. The clients virtually try on garments, accessories and jewelry. Their simple gestures record whether the client is interested in the items or not. With that information, the boutique sends the selected items to the client, who tries them on at home, returns the unwanted ones and is billed for those they keep. That client receives unprecedented experiential value, not to mention exclusivity.

2. Dynamic, Creative Video

Luxury ecommerce is booming, in part because wealthy U.S. consumers are spending much more time online — up to 30.3 hours from last year's 5 hours.

The challenge of luxury ecommerce is recreating the in-store experience. With dynamic, creative video, luxury ecommerce sites can tailor the online shopping experience the way you would tailor your own in-store experience. For example, when you visit your favorite store in person, you don't stop and look at products that target the opposite gender, or products you have no interest in. You walk straight to the most intriguing section.

Dynamic, creative video similarly "re-edits" online video content in real-time, depending on the individual user. Video content changes on the fly to reflect customers’ tastes, preferences age and gender. Toyota is already using video to promote the Camry, and Shopzilla is using it to suggest more relevant products to shoppers.

The same technology can be further applied to the overall design of the online store. Imagine an ecommerce portal that actually appears different, based on individual user taste.

3. Facial Recognition

No two faces are alike — what could be more exclusive? By coupling that exclusivity with hyper-targeted customer service and messaging, luxury brands can provide their customers with a priceless experience.

Facial recognition technology is making that possible. Unilever's facial recog kiosks dispense free ice cream to smiling fans, and the Venetian resort's system tailors restaurant and entertainment options based on a passerby's preferences.

But imagine this: Upon walking into a luxury store, an elegantly crafted facial recognition system greets you, instantly individualizing your unique experience by determining your age, gender, purchase history and preferences. The service informs you of new inventory, current sales and upcoming promotions that may interest you. If you like, the system will upload selected information to your mobile device via Bluetooth, and if it's a big store, will also use your phone's geo-location to guide you around.

That's exclusivity, an experience that's finally "worth it" – and this technology exists today.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Shenki

More About: Augmented Reality, contributor, ecommerce, facial recognition, features, luxury brands

10 Best iPhone Arcade Games

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:32 PM PDT

1. Jetpack Joyride

In this fast-paced game, players control their jetpack-clad character through hazardous corridors full of lasers, electric fields and missiles. Along the way, earn coins and tokens toward cosmetic upgrades like new jetpacks, costumes, distance credits or revival ability. Luck is a big factor in this game, but it cuts both ways.

Price: $0.99

Click here to view this gallery.

Although physical arcade games may be a dying breed, their influence lives on in mobile. Plus, many of the games still only cost quarters to play.

Traditional arcade games featured short bursts of gameplay that propelled you toward a high score. That fits mobile play just fine. These 10 mobile arcade games are perfect to play when standing in line or waiting for the bus. Short and sweet!

SEE ALSO: 10 Retro Games for the Modern Mobile

Check these out, and let us know your favorites in the comments below.

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

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Groupon’s IPO: What You Need To Know

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:03 PM PDT

Groupon is expected to finally set a price for its IPO late Thursday, the last in a series of hurdles in its path to go public that have included questions about the viability of its business model and SEC questioning over accounting practices.

Sources have told Reuters and The Wall Street Journal the share price will likely be slightly higher than the $16 to $18 that the company suggested in its previous filings.

If the company sets its share price at $19 or $20, it will be valued at about $12 or $13 billion. Sources told Bloomberg the company has already stopped taking order due to demands for shares.

Plenty of critics aren’t willing to predict a successful IPO, however. One site called it “another example of orchestrated hype that has you in the crosshairs.”

Groupon’s IPO process has been closely critiqued. Here’s how they got to this point:

  • Since Groupon filed with the SEC to go public in June, Wall Street has been buzzing with arguments about whether it is worth what was at one point expected to be a $15 billion to $20 billion valuation.
  • Critics point to the large percentage of funding its stockholders and directors took off of the table (86%) after its last three rounds, decreasing momentum and an increasing number of large competitors such as Amazon and Google.
  • Groupon, muzzled by the SEC quiet period that restricts companies from making some public statements during a period of time surrounding their IPOs, responded with a post from its spokescat. Supporters pointed to Groupon’s 83.1 million subscribers and potential to pivot.
  • Meanwhile, the SEC held up the process while questioning an odd metric in the IPO filing that seemed to intentionally direct attention away from Groupon’s marketing costs. Groupon ultimately refiled in August using standard accounting metrics — which turned what had appeared to be operating profits into operating losses.
  • Initially, Groupon had planned to raise $750 million. In October, it lowered its goal by about a third and set the goal at between $480 million and $540 million.
  • Groupon plans to sell just 4.7% of its outstanding shares, according to Reuters; that would make it the second smallest stake float in the past decade. Offering a small float could push the stock price upward on the first day of sale, as LinkedIn demonstrated earlier this year when its share price on a 9.4% stake soared during its first day on the market.
  • Analysts have cautioned investors to not jump at Groupon stock when it’s first released.

    Jim Cramer, host of the show Mad Money, told the San Francisco Chronicle it’s best to let the dust settle before buying in, and Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena told CNBC he thinks there will be a lot of “enthusiasm out of the gate” for Groupon that will settle “more into what can be supported based on the cash flow.”

    More About: groupon, ipo

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CBS Supercharges Sweeps Week With Social Media

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 04:14 PM PDT

CBS is giving its November Sweeps a social media twist. From Nov. 5 – 11, the anchors for CBS Sports and stars from CBS TV shows will take over the Facebook and Twitter accounts for their respective programs.

CBS is dubbing the event “Social Sweep Week,” and it’s another example how the network is embracing social media with its on-air programming. CBS kicked off a week of social media buzz for the Fall TV season, using Facebook and Twitter to promote new and upcoming programming.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the week kicks off with the SEC on CBS, broadcasting Southeast Conference college football games. Other shows getting the social treatment include The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and CSI.

Throughout the day, CBS stars will post photos and video links from the set, and answer fan questions and comment on various posts.

Sweeps Week is a key part of the time periods when Nielsen does full nationwide surveys of TV ratings. During Sweeps periods, which include November, February and May, networks air their most elaborate episodes and cliffhangers as an incentive for viewers to tune in (and thereby enhance ratings).

Even though the national ratings periods have lost significance, thanks to fast-tracks and overnight ratings for virtually every market, the trend of pushing for increased viewership continues today.

It’s good to see CBS embracing social media in this way.

We’ll be talking about the future of social TV at the Mashable Media Summit tomorrow.

More About: cbs, social sweep week, social tv, TV

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Google+ Adds More YouTube and Chrome Features

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 03:49 PM PDT

Google announced further integration of YouTube and Chrome into its Google+ social network.

The search giant made the announcement in its official Google blog on Thursday, showing how it has continued its integration of YouTube into Google+.

Last summer, Google incorporated the ability to play YouTube videos in Google+ Hangouts. Now it takes that a step further, offering a YouTube icon on the top right of the Google+ interface that does a cool slide move when you mouse over it, asking “What would you like to play?”

Once you’ve entered the name of a video, topic or your favorite musician or band, a pop-up window appears, displaying a list of related videos that might interest you. I tried it by entering “Beatles,” and a Beatles video started playing in a dynamically re-sizing window, while offering more like it underneath.

Share a YouTube video and anyone in your chosen share circle has access to a related playlist, right from your post.

The company also announced a couple of new Google+ Chrome extensions — one is similar to a previously released version that lets you add a +1 to web pages, but now you can also share them with your circles right from its drop-down interface. The second extension lets you see your Google+ notifications right from your Chrome browser:

For those who don’t care to use the Chrome browser, Google says it’s offering a new version of Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer that also has these two new features on board.

More About: chrome, Google, YouTube

LinkedIn by the Numbers: 131 Million Members, 1 Million Groups, 400% Mobile Growth

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 02:53 PM PDT

LinkedIn‘s growth metrics are up: The professional social network now has 131 million members and more than a million groups, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner told listeners on an earnings call.

Weiner says more than 15 million people joined the business social network in the third quarter of 2011. That’s a boost of 63% compated to the growth rate this time last year.

And more of those users are accessing the service through mobile. Weiner says mobile pageviews are up by 400% year-over-year. In total, mobile accounts for 13% of LinkedIn’s unique visits.

The LinkedIn Share button is also gaining traction. The Share button is now on 180,000 domains, up from 100,000 in the second quarter. There are now 40,000 developers using the LinkedIn APIs, an increase of 30% from the second quarter.

As for revenue, the company already announced that revenues jumped by 126% to $139.5 million, but broke down the growth of main revenue streams. LinkedIn’s Hiring Solutions product now has 7,400 customers, an increase of 159%.

LinkedIn didn’t say how many people are using its Marketing Solutions, but claimed it is growing at a 113% year-over-year rate. Finally, Premium Subscribers have doubled in the last year and is growing “faster than overall membership.”

Despite the positive numbers (and beating Wall Street estimates), LinkedIn shares are taking a pounding. The company’s stock is down by more than 9% in after-hours trading.

More About: earnings, linkedin

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Where Is Yahoo Headed? Its Product Chief Has a Clue [INTERVIEW]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 02:43 PM PDT

Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving says that he’s not interested in the vacant Yahoo CEO job, but is instead focused on a big pipeline of mobile products and beating Nielsen at its own game.

In an interview with Mashable, the charismatic Yahoo executive claims he’s not vying to replace Carol Bartz, who was unceremoniously bounced from the company in September.

“No. I’m a great product guy,” Irving emphatically responded when asked whether he’d make a good CEO for Yahoo. “Even if I did make a good CEO for any company, I’m a product guy first and foremost.”

Irving admits that the turmoil with Yahoo’s leadership has made it tough to recruit talent, though he says new recruits are convinced once they meet with the team and see the products they’re working on. “When your CEO exits your company in a quick fashion, people notice,” he says. “People read what they read.”

However, Irving claims the turmoil hasn’t affected the company’s product pipeline. He says Yahoo can’t prevent what the media is saying and what his friends are reading, but his team is still working on “incredibly cool stuff.” Yahoo released four products Wednesday, including Livestand, a social newsstand app for the iPad that competes with Flipboard.

“We all know what we’re trying to build here,” Irving said. “Not just for Yahoo, but for the web. We’re steadfast in that, and everyone in the product organization knows that.”

IntoNow and the Yahoo Vision

Irving showed excitement about IntoNow for iPad, another product that Yahoo released Wednesday. The app can “listen” to a TV show and figure out what show and episode the clip comes from, but it now comes with tweets and information related to the show. This makes it an ideal TV-watching companion. “It allows you to have a personal experience for television when your’e in a shared environment,” Irving stated.

Perhaps the most important thing about the app, however, is its ability to track user behavior as they watch. Irving says Yahoo knows if someone is “in front of the TV or at the fridge” based on their behavior with the app. Activity on the app can reveal whether somebody is interested in an on-screen character or presenter, or has tuned out and is doing something else.

Irving even made a bold claim about how much information Yahoo can gather through the app: “We will know more about what’s happening on TV than Nielsen,” he said.

This information opens up a huge opportunity for brands. Irving explained the app may know somebody is watching a Coke commercial during a TV show. “Couldn’t you advertise Pepsi?” Irving said. He believes the app provides a better place to advertise, since viewers’ attention moves away from the TV and towards the tablet during commercial breaks. In fact, Pepsi and IntoNow have already partnered on one promotion; users that tagged a Pepsi MAX commercial received a free soda.

How does IntoNow and Livestand fit into Yahoo’s overall strategy and future? We’ve heard Yahoo say over and over that it considers itself the premiere digital media company. Irving fleshed out that description by saying today’s web is good at relevance, but isn’t good at “providing real meaning” to the things we watch and interact with.

“The vision and mission of the company,” Irving said, “is bringing personal meaning to the web.”

More About: Blake Irving, interview, Livestand, Yahoo, Yahoo Livestand

HTC Rezound to Run on Verizon’s Speedy 4G LTE Network [PICS]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 02:21 PM PDT

HTC rolled out the HTC Rezound smartphone for the Verizon 4G LTE network on Thursday, and besides packing some seriously impressive specs, it doesn’t look too bad, either. Let’s take a look.

Running the Android Gingerbread operating system, otherwise known as version 2.3, it’s packing a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with a gigabyte of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. All that’s displayed on a 4.3 inch 720p display, and the good news is HTC has beefed up its battery to handle all that screen real estate.

Just look at it with that snazzy slim body, all-black with swank-looking red trim that makes it appear to be a Droid Incredible from a distance. By the way, if you were waiting around for an HTC Vigor, this is it, renamed to Rezound, presumably to make it seem even more vigorous.

That red trim is part of its Beats audio affiliation, first introduced on the HTC Sensation smartphone in Europe in September. That’ll include upgraded earbuds and a special electronic profile that’s supposed to rock your world as soon as you plug in those special earphones (pictured in our gallery below). I’ve tried Beats headphones and laptops, and their enhanced audio quality makes us take notice when we see that Beats logo on anything else. We’ll believe it enhances the sound on a smartphone, though, when we hear it with our own ears.

Nothing new: its 8-megapixel camera assisted by a dual LED flash and an F/2 .2 lens, and that’s accompanied by a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for conferencing. And by the way, it’s too bad we won’t see the brand-new Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) of Android loaded on board at first, but the company says it’s ready for such things and will see that operating system pushed into it early next year.

Will this smart-looking handset be a rezounding success? The HTC Rezound will enter a crowded market on Nov. 14, available at Verizon Wireless and Best Buy for $299 with a 2-year contract. Take a look at the pics of this new phone in the gallery below, and you’ll notice that it’s not exactly the slimmest phone in the world, but perhaps you need a little more heft to pack in all that serious hardware.

HTC Rezound is slightly over a half-inch thick

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: htc, LTE, Rezound, verizon

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Klout: Talk-Up a Startup, Get Some Equity

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 02:06 PM PDT

Klout is partnering with a startup called Wahooly to offer high-ranking members the ability to become investors in startups in return for helping publicize the young companies.

In about two weeks, Klout will approach users with a score of 45 or more to check out Wahooly. In January, those users who opt in will be able to choose from 200 startups in which they’d like to invest. Dana Severson, founder of Wahooly (the name refers to the wahoo, arguably the world’s fastest fish, which travels in schools), gave the following hypothetical example of how the service will work:

“Say Startup A wants to offer a 5% equity arrangement to 5,000 users. We’d give 25,000 the opportunity to join and choose 5,000 among them.” Once that cutoff is reached, Wahooly will track the investor’s social media activity. Severson says investors don’t have to talk about their startup, but “that’s what our model is all about.” Their equity stake will increase or decrease based on their perceived brand advocacy in social media channels. “If they choose to do nothing and don’t mention word one, then their share is diluted,” Severson says.

Joe Fernandez, CEO of Klout, says his users will embrace the opportunity. “Klout users tend to be some of the most passionate early adopters on the web and love having access to exciting new products like Wahooly,” he says.

The concept, says Severson, will help startups desperate to get the word out and Klout users who are looking for an investment opportunity. The idea has some precedent, most obviously with Kickstarter‘s crowd-funding platform. Earlier this year, a Danish man also invented a concept called Startuplotto that offered 1% stake in participating startups to thousands of people who agree to become part of the startup’s user base.

Nevertheless, the proposition may raise some ethical issues. Do stakeholders have to disclose their relationship with their startup? Severson says no, as long as the company hasn’t gone public, bought back shares, gotten acquired by another company or sold any shares on the secondary market. As for ethical concerns, Severson points out that people who own shares of Apple are not required to disclose that relationship if they discuss the iPhone or any other Apple product in social media channels.

What do you think? Would you talk about a company in exchange for a piece of it? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Juanmonino

More About: Facebook, klout, Twitter, Wahooly

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LinkedIn Beats Targets, but Stock Price Falls

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 01:55 PM PDT

LinkedIn‘s third-quarter revenues rose 126% to $139.5 million, but the company posted a net loss of 2 cents per share. Investors were unimpressed, sending the company’s stock price down 7% in after-hours trading.

LinkedIn CFO Steve Sordello said in a statement the company was happy with the revenue growth: “LinkedIn plans to maintain a long-term perspective with investment in our key strategic areas.” Despite the after-hours decline, the results beat analysts’s expectations of a loss of 4 cents a share and revenues of about $128 million.

Investors were watching LinkedIn’s 3Q results closely since its stock has maintained a price roughly double what it was when the company offered shares to the public in April. LinkedIn’s $9 billion valuation is now about 18 times this year’s projected annual revenues of around $510 million.

LinkedIn also claimed 131.2 million members at the end of Q3, an increase of 63% year over year. The company passed 100 million members in March. According to comScore, LinkedIn has 87.6 million unique visitors per month.

The earnings also come as trading restrictions on 94 million LinkedIn shares will be lifted on Nov. 21. Insiders and employees had been barred from selling stock within the first 180 days of the IPO.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Mario Sundar

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10 Classic Video Game Memes

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 01:23 PM PDT

1. "Get Over Here" -- Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat had all kinds of memorable moments including the incredible amount of gore, fatalities and outlandish costumes. We decided to go with Scorpion's "Get Over Here." Stay till the end of video for "Finish Him" as well.

Click here to view this gallery.

Video games defined the youth of Millennials. Either you owned a cool system, had a friend who owned a cool system, or you were busy asking your parents to finally buy you a cool system. All of those games have created a weird pseudo-culture of instantly recognizable quotes, moments and yes, memes.

Nostalgia occupies a soft spot in the hearts of every generation. Here at Mashable, a recent easter egg on Google Search has brought out our inner children. Simply typing “Do a barrel roll” into search — a reference to the Star Fox series of games — will make the whole Google page flip around.

Well, our staff got so into the spirit that we dug up 10 other classic video game memes that give the same tingly, nostalgic feeling. Which ones are your favorites?

More About: features, games, Gaming, memes, trending, video games

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Siri Down: Did Apple’s iPhone Voice Assistant Go Missing? [UPDATED]

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 12:47 PM PDT

UPDATE: Siri appears to be working again for us, as of 5 p.m. ET. Let us know if you’re still having difficulties.

If you notice someone barking orders to their iPhone then giving it a puzzled expression, it could be because Siri isn’t working.

The voice-based intelligent assistant, baked into the iPhone 4S, needs to connect to external servers to perform any of its tasks. For many users Thursday, there’s been only one response to any query: “I’m sorry, I’m having trouble connecting to the network.”

SEE ALSO: Siri, Seriously: 10 Ways We’re Really Using Apple’s Voice Assistant [POLL]

We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation, but the service appears to have been down since at least 12:30 p.m. ET. That’s when users started posting to this MacRumors forum, complaining of being unable to access the service.

As most of us iPhone 4S owners know, Siri will occasionally have trouble accessing the network — but the problem tends to go away in a matter of minutes. An outage of three hours or more suggests some serious problems with Apple’s servers. We’ll keep monitoring the Siri situation. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you’re having problems too.

More About: apple, iPhone 4S, siri, trending

Top 25 Most-Shared Stories in October

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 12:17 PM PDT

Top 25 Most Shared Stories in July

News surrounding the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — and subsequent tributes — inspired you to share our stories with your family, friends and co-workers last month.

Our infographics also attracted heavy attention, including the “Facebook by the Numbers” gem that, among other eye-catching stats, reveals that the top four TV shows based on Facebook Likes are all cartoons: Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Based on figures from Mashable Follow‘s M Share button, the following 25 stories got the most love, with all of them garnering about 315,000 combined shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Buzz (Google will soon shut down Buzz, but it was still alive in October for these stats). To keep track of the most-shared stories at anytime, log into Mashable Follow and click on “Top Stories” next to the Mashable logo. You’ll have the option to view the top stories of the day, week, month or year.

SEE ALSO: Top 25 Most-Shared Stories in: September | August | July | June | May

Thanks for reading and sharing our content. We look forward to seeing which stories you share in November.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, flyparade

Web Typography 101

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 11:51 AM PDT

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The rise of web fonts has given way to a broader understanding — and respect — for typography, typefaces and the way text is displayed online.

Typography is an essential part of visual design — and as any print publisher will tell you, the way that text is arranged and displayed can have an enormous impact on how its message is presented and interpreted.

Although typography entered the digital age long ago, it’s only been in the last few years that we’ve really seen advanced typography and typesetting take off online. This is, in large part, thanks to broad browser support for CSS3 and web font standards, the rise of web font services like Typekit (which was recently acquired by Adobe) and the increasing adoption of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and ereaders.

The one downside of the proliferation of broader web typography is that there are more opportunities for bad typography to make its way online. Text that is presented in the wrong style or weight, line spacing and kerning that is difficult to read and other mistakes can lead to legibility and readability issues online.

Understanding some of the basics in typography can make crafting web content and using web fonts a better experience for everyone.

Typeface Types

Most of us have heard the terms “serif” or “sans serif” but what do they mean?

A serif typeface (or font) has strokes and other semi-structural details on the ends of letters. Fonts like Times New Roman and Baskerville are serif fonts. This is the font that most newspapers and magazines use. Georgia, one of the most popular fonts on the web, is a serif font.

A sans serif typeface doesn’t have the semi-structural details on the ends of the letterforms. Fonts like Helvetica, Arial and Gotham are serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are often more readable on smaller devices, which is why the default font on most mobile platforms is a sans serif font. Apple uses Helvetica Neue, Microsoft uses Segoe and Google recently created its own sans serif font for Android, Roboto.

A monospaced typeface is a typeface that is non-proportional. That means that the amount of horizontal space between letters and characters is uniform. On the web, monospaced fonts are most often used when presenting computer code examples. The use of a monospaced font, especially when interspersed with standard variable-width fonts, is a visual cue that the text is a computer or code-related action. Common monospaced fonts include Menlo, Consolas and Courier.

Script typefaces have fluid stroke designs and are aesthetically similar to handwriting. Script fonts that vary in formality and calligraphy styles, like the font Zapfino, also exist. These are most commonly used on the web for large headings and tend to perform poorly for blocks of text or in small sizes.

Kerning and Leading

Beyond just a typeface, good web typography also utilizes good kerning and leading.

Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between characters in proportional fonts. In other words, it’s how closely letters are to one another. Kerning is optimized by character pairs, whereas a technique known as tracking, adjusts the space evenly between characters.

Kerning is possible in web typography thanks to various JavaScript techniques like Lettering.js and Kern.js.

Leading is the distance between the baselines of lines of type, in other words, the space between each line in a paragraph of text.

Leading can drastically impact how type is read and presented. Too much leading, and type is unwieldy. Too little, and it can be hard to read.

Using CSS, line type can be adjusted for web fonts and standard web type.

Other Resources

To learn more about typography and how it is used on the web, you can check out our earlier post on web type resources.

Two great resources are Typedia and Typophile, which both have their own wikis with definitions and examples.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tazytaz

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Amazon Introduces Kindle Lending Library

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 11:31 AM PDT

Amazon has introduced a new lending library for Kindle owners that lets them borrow one ebook a month for free, if they have an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon is offering more than 5,000 titles, including New York Times bestsellers, that Prime members can borrow. The offer, however, requires you own a Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard or Kindle Fire — you can’t borrow books if you use a Kindle app on another mobile device.

The book and online retail giant seems to be stretching the definition of “borrow” for the new feature since there are no due dates. What you’re getting in effect from Amazon is a free ebook per month. You can, however, only borrow one book at a time.

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is the latest enticement for Prime. Prime members already get “free” shipping and streaming video via Prime Instant Video. Amazon introduced Prime in 2005 and continues to add perks like expanded streaming content from Fox and others.

The move shows how much Amazon values Prime. Since the company reportedly loses money on the actual sale of Kindles, it’s gambling that it will make up the deficit as consumers buy ebooks. Amazon’s penchant for forgoing short-term gains in favor of a long-term strategy was also in evidence in its third-quarter earnings, where net income fell 73% as the company built fulfillment centers and expanded its Kindle offerings to pave the way for future growth.

What do you think? Does this new feature make you want to buy a Kindle or sign up for Prime? Let us know in the comments.

More About: amazon, amazon prime, Kindle

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“Do a Barrel Roll” on Google, and You Won’t Be Disappointed

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 11:00 AM PDT

“Do a barrel roll” has become a trending topic on Twitter and elsewhere, thanks to an easter egg on Google Search.

Type the phrase in Google, and the screen will tumble around (it’s a barrel roll, after all). The same thing happens if you search for “Z or R twice.” If you’re feeling lazy, you can simply click here and see the effect for yourself. Because it was built in HTML5, it doesn’t work on all browsers. Firefox and Chrome seem to support it best.

SEE ALSO: ESPN Tebow Article Spawns Fill-in-the-Blank Meme and #OccupyTebow

Both phrases are references to Star Fox 64, the classic 1997 Nintendo game that sucked up a giant chunk of my life when I was a kid. Peppy, the game’s veteran space pilot rabbit, tells hero Fox McCloud to “do a barrel roll” (a feat accomplished by pressing “Z” or “R” twice) multiple times throughout the game. The phrase spawned an Internet meme that has stood the test of time.

We have no clue how long the Google easter egg has been around (we’ve emailed Google for more information), but we love it. It’s yet another testament to Google’s quirkiness and nerdy demeanor.

SEE ALSO: Why the 5 "Best Internet Meme" Finalists Went Viral [INTERVIEWS]

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to power up my Nintendo 64 and take down Andross, because only I have the brains to rule Lylat.

Update: “Today's fun query, ‘do a barrel roll’, was created by a Google software engineer with the primary goal of entertaining users — while showcasing the power of CSS3, a presentation feature of modern browsers,” a Google spokesperson tells Mashable. “The ‘do a barrel roll’ query, which causes the search page to spin, will remain in place for a while.”

10 Classic Video Game Memes

1. "Get Over Here" -- Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat had all kinds of memorable moments including the incredible amount of gore, fatalities and outlandish costumes. We decided to go with Scorpion's "Get Over Here." Stay till the end of video for "Finish Him" as well.

Click here to view this gallery.

For more of Mashable’s coverage of Internet memes:

Touchscreen Makes Its Way Onto Keyboard of the Future

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 10:37 AM PDT

Touchscreen keypads seem to be progressively taking over the old-fashioned keys on our devices such as phones, tablets and ebooks. But the touchscreen keypad has now made its way to the computer — with the “keyboard of the future.”

The Keyboard “ABC,” created by designer Iaroslav Neliubov, features a touchscreen surface that can be configured to any language with customized keys. It has a built-in CD/DVD drive, SD memory card reader and USB port to make storing files easier. The keyboard’s most appealing feature is its ability to change color with just the touch of a finger.

The keyboard also has built-in sound dynamics and is supposed to work well with left-handers. Take a look at the gallery below to see the sleek, black polished device. Could this be the keyboard of the future?

Built-in CD/DVD Drive, SD Card Reader and USB Port

Click here to view this gallery.

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Where’s iTunes Match? Latest Dev Build May Offer Some Hints

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 09:59 AM PDT

Along with an early build of iOS 5.0.1, Apple has provided developers with an updated version of iTunes 10.5.1 that is compatible with its upcoming iTunes Match service.

When iOS 5 arrived last month, it included a slew of new cloud-based features, but the much-hyped iTunes Match cloud music storage service was missing. iTunes Match allows users to upload their non-iTunes purchases to the cloud for easy access on multiple computers and iOS devices. Apple told us that the feature would be live by the end of October, but as we enter November, iTunes Match is still unavailable to regular users. We’ve reached out to Apple for information regarding the delay.

The updated version of iTunes that is now available to developers adds some new refinements to the iTunes Match service, indicating that it might be close to release.

iTunes Match works on up to 10 devices, including five computers authorized with your Apple ID. You can also use iTunes Match with two different Apple TV 2 devices.

Once enabled, iTunes Match lets you access not just your tunes, but also your playlists, from other devices. You can download hard copies of music to your device, or you can stream the audio from the cloud.

The service isn’t demonstrably different than what Amazon offers with its Cloud Player or Google Music, with one big exception: Apple will query your music to see if it already has songs in its database. If it does, rather than uploading your existing files (which might be lower quality), it will provide access to high-quality 256kbps versions of the songs. That also prevents users from having to upload their entire library to the cloud.

Of course, iTunes purchases are instantly available. In fact, all users can now take advantage of iTunes in the Cloud, which gives users a chance to access past purchases from multiple devices and makes downloading purchases to multiple devices seamless.

We’re not sure why iTunes Match is delayed, but once the service arrives, we’re sure it will be a hit. It costs $24.99 for a year of service, but the benefits of having access to your entire music library anyway is worth the cost.

More About: apple, Cloud Music, itunes, itunes-match

Google Tweaks Search Ranking Algorithm

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 09:58 AM PDT

Google’s search algorithm underwent another little upgrade today. This time, the search giant tweaked its ranking algorithm to help more recent information zoom to the top of search results.

The change, which will affect about 35% of searches, is designed for queries about recurring events, recent activity in the news and frequent updates. Writing in The Official Google Blog, Google fellow Amit Singhal outlined how each of those categories would be affected by the change.

A recurring event, for example, might be the Olympics. “If I search for [olympics], I probably want information about next summer's upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics,” Singhal writes. A “freshness algorithm” will ensure that Summer 2012 Olympics results float to the top. As for recent events, a search for “Occupy Oakland Protest” would yield the latest news. “You’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old,” he writes. Frequent updates refers to things that aren’t a hot topic or a recurring event, but nevertheless change often. For instance, a search for “slr cameras” should produce only the most-recent models.

The latest tweak builds on a Google initiative called Caffeine that provided 50% fresher results for searches than Google’s previous index. The reason? As Carrie Grimes, a Google software engineer, outlined in a December 2010 blog post about the completion of Caffeine, “People’s expectations for search are higher than they used to be. Searchers want to find the latest relevant content and publishers expect to be found the instant they publish.”

Given Google’s dominance in search, any change to its algorithm will be closely watched. The company’s last major change, Panda back in February, diminished the impact of content farms and gave Google’s YouTube higher visibility. Google, however, updates its algorithm 500 to 600 times a year, according to SEOMoz, and tends to announce major tweaks every few months or so.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Kontrec

More About: Google, Google Caffeine, Search

The Only Thing This High-Tech Baby Monitor Doesn’t Do Is Change Diapers

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 09:19 AM PDT

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

Baby monitors are more tech-savvy than ever. Did you know you could check up on your baby via Skype? Yep, there’s a baby monitor for that.

Lorex Technology is one of the early innovators in the baby monitoring space, having spiffed up that little gadget to be the optimal baby-watching machine. With competition from other technology companies entering the baby monitoring space — such as Withings with its upcoming Smart Baby Monitor — Lorex is leading the way in technological advancements in baby monitoring.

We spoke with Gilad Epstein, Lorex Technology’s vice president of product management and marketing, to learn about Lorex’s mission, innovations and insights on the future of baby monitoring technologies.

Taking DIY Video Surveillance to the Crib

Lorex Technology pioneered the do-it-yourself video surveillance market 15 years ago, alleviating the problem of having to hire contractors to install at-home security systems.

While video surveillance has been Lorex’s bread and butter since then, the company has picked up on a trend of increasing at-home surveillance needs within the past few years. Consumers aren’t looking for high-tech security systems, though — they’re looking for simplified plug-and-play products that help them monitor children, pets and elders in their homes.

Based on that growing need, the company launched its Lorex Live product line, which focuses on simple, plug-and-play wireless products, says Epstein. One of the most innovative products in this line is the Lorex Live Connect, a wireless monitor that enables its users to access video remotely via Skype, among other features. This product breaks the mold in the DIY surveillance space, and we’ll use it as an example to highlight just how creative Lorex is getting with baby monitoring.

Tricking Out Baby Monitors

With its roots in security surveillance, Lorex has embedded some of its core technologies into its baby monitoring products. Epstein explains a number of innovations the company has packed into the Lorex Live Connect monitor, as well as in its other products. Here’s a master list:

  • Digital Wireless Transmission: Gone are the days when the only options were analog audio or video. Lorex’s productions transmit signals digitally, so you won’t pick up your neighbor’s audio on your monitor, and the screen doesn’t get fuzzy when you turn on your microwave. Going digital enhances security and eliminates interference.
  • Two-Way Audio: Most baby monitors only feature one-way audio, so that you can hear your baby, but your baby can’t hear you. Lorex enables parents to soothe their crying offspring when they’re not in the room.
  • Automatic Night Vision: It’s unrealistic to leave the light on in your baby’s room at all hours of the night, so Lorex incorporated automatic night vision into all of its baby monitors.
  • Video Recording: Lorex’s baby monitors feature one-touch video recording onto an SD card. Furthermore, although not marketed as a baby monitor, one of Lorex’s wireless monitors features motion-activated recording, a standard in the surveillance market, but quite rare in the wireless baby monitoring space.
  • Photo Snapping: A lot of cute moments happen when you’re not in the room with your child. Lorex’s baby monitors feature photo-snapping abilities, so that you can catch those cute moments remotely.
  • Audio-Triggered Video Recording: The Lorex Live Sense features audio-triggered video recording. So, if your baby starts crying, the video recorder starts recording, so that you can play back to see what caused the baby to cry.
  • Multi-Camera Monitoring: While each baby monitor comes with one camera, each monitor can support up to four cameras, allowing for a multi-camera experience. In this case, you can actually use the system to monitor more than just your baby — other popular camera placements include the front door, a toddler’s room and the den, says Epstein.
  • Remote Monitoring with Skype: Lorex’s integration with Skype enables parents and care-givers to connect to their monitoring systems while they’re away.

Lorex is also pushing the envelope in the design department, continuing to enhance the look and usability of its baby monitoring products, based closely on the iPhone‘s sleek user experience, says Epstein.

Addressing Market Challenges

Epstein explained that Lorex is working on a few key areas of improvement, namely improving the consume-friendliness of its products.

The company is focusing on implementing more appealing product designs, so that consumers are proud to showcase the baby monitors in their homes. Furthermore, Lorex is improving upon the monitors’ usability, stressing intuitive navigation, once again harkening Apple’s lead in this space.

On a more basic level in the baby market, though, Lorex needs to focus on safety requirements, making sure that the products it is producing are safe for use around babies, says Epstein. Of course, this is a challenge and necessity for any consumer product in an infant-focused industry.

The biggest challenges that Lorex has overcome with flying colors, though, are bandwidth limitations and remote connectivity. Modern homes are overburdened with wireless signals, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from a multitude of devices — Lorex “makes sure that its technology coincides well with other wireless signals,” says Epstein, making sure the signal is efficient and hopping at a very fast pace, so that it doesn’t collide with other signals in the home.

Lastly, with its Skype integration, Lorex has brought remote capability into a market that previously did without it. The Skype connection creates a gateway straight to the user’s system, so that a connection can occur anytime.

Trends in the Baby Monitoring Space

Epstein points to a number of trends he foresees in the baby monitoring space. “Being able to connect remotely and being able to do that on the device of your choice” is the most important trend in baby monitoring right now, says Epstein. Consequently, Lorex is continuing to seek out cross-platform solutions for remote connectivity and will adapt as new devices are introduced into the consumer market.

On a more technical note, Epstein foresees improvements in screen resolutions and video recording capabilities, as well as design options. In the design arena, Lorex plans on releasing more aesthetically-pleasing and ergonomic products that feature touch navigation, toggles and minimal design, as inspired by the smartphone market. Furthermore, the company is taking a step towards color customization, with plans to launch sleeves for its monitors.

Your Thoughts

Lorex Technology is lending its creativity to the baby monitoring market, but the space still has a long way to go before it wows tech-immersed consumers like you, the educated and tech-savvy Mashable crowd. What features would you add to Lorex’s baby monitors to make them even more innovative? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Will Anonymous Target Facebook on Nov. 5?

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 09:08 AM PDT

anonymous image

Anonymous, a group of hacker activists, have made a mysterious career out of big game hunting. The group, or hackers purporting to be part of Anonymous, have previously attacked targets such as Bank of America, Sony and even government sites. Now, the group may be targeting Facebook on Nov. 5.

The bad news is Anonymous is probably good enough to take down the social network, if only for a brief while, if they felt like it. The good news — for Facebook fans — is that the group frequently uses threats and warnings as a way to get people thinking about their targets without actually diving in. Facebook is now a target for abusing user privacy.

There was a mild buzz around the Internet about Nov. 5 as a potential Facebook attack date. Nov. 5 corresponds to Guy Fawkes Day, a UK holiday celebrating the failed plot by a crew of conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, to blow up British Parliament in 1605 and kill King James I. The holiday is supposed to celebrate the saving of the King’s life, but in recent years, it seems the revelry now favors Guy Fawkes and the idea of speaking truth (or gunpowder) to power. Fawkes was later popularized in the graphic novel-turned-movie V for Vendetta, which introduced a highly stylized Fawkes mask worn by rebels and revelers.

Anonymous seems to have dropped the Facebook attack, nicknamed “OP_FB.” There is little recent action on their Twitter account and there have been no new or significant statements specifically targeting Facebook. Instead, Anonymous is turning its attention to more public-friendly targets such as disrupting child pornography sites and threatening to attack the Zeta Mexican drug cartel (Anonymous has since backed down from the latter).

As of Nov. 3, — a kind of Anonymous open forum — included a post saying:

Ideas for OP_FB:
Post ideas here guise. We are more powerful than DDoS attacks, and facebook isn’t going to keel over from something so small. We have more power than this and we should utilize it.

However, this seems more like brainstorming than a concerted attack. Even if Anonymous doesn’t decide to attack the world’s most popular social network, the threat itself certainly makes you think about just how much information Facebook owns and what its doing with our personal privacy.

Do you think Anonymous will go after Facebook? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, f/stop

More About: anonymous, Facebook, hackers, hacking, trending

Angie’s List Plans to Raise as Much as $114.3 Million in IPO

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:56 AM PDT

Angie’s List, an online marketplace for local services, plans to raise as much as $114.3 million in its initial public offering sometime this month.

The 16-year-old company filed its intentions to offer 8.8 million shares for $11 to $13 each with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. According to Bloomberg, the pricing event is scheduled for Nov. 16.

About 2.5 million of the 8.8 million shares will be sold by current stockholders. Angie’s List won’t pocket any of the profit from the sales of these shares, but it expects to earn about $66.4 million from the remaining 6.25 million shares.

The paid membership service helps customers find local service providers by verifying consumer reviews and provides a “complaint resolution team” if the result isn’t up to par. Like many other Internet companies that have recently submitted IPO filings, it is not yet profitable.

In August, Angie’s List announced its intentions to join Groupon and Zynga on the list of Internet companies planning to go public sometime this month.

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Kina Grannis + 288,000 Jelly Beans = Epic Music Video

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:43 AM PDT

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

We’ve seen some interesting and unique music videos in our time, but we’ve never seen one composed of 288,000 jelly beans … until now.

Singer/songwriter Kina Grannis and music video director Greg Jardin decided to do something unique with Grannis’s new music video “In Your Arms.” From start to finish, the video features dozens of moving scenes made entirely of jelly beans. As Jardin explains in a behind-the-scenes video, the idea was inspired by jelly bean art, which replicates famous photographs and paintings using nothing but Jelly Belly candies.

Of course, a still picture made out of jelly beans is completely different than making a moving music video out of them, especially when you’re inserting a human being into most of the scenes. The team created frame after painstaking frame and shot them in what is essentially a stop-motion music video. Grannis would then lay down on a piece of glass above the frame in odd but precise positions to get the scene just right. They even made a plaster mold of her entire body at one point in order to make a jelly bean version of her body.

The entire process took more than a year to complete, but the result is the music video you see above. The video hasn’t even been out for 24 hours, but it’s already garnered more than 4,000 likes on YouTube, and that number continues to grow.

“One of the toughest things about working on the video was that we could put in an eight hour day of work and come away with not even one second of the video completed,” Grannis tells Mashable. “Psychologically, that can really mess with you! On the upside, we did get to see what we created at the end of every day. It was those tiny rewards that kept us going.”

Grannis first garnered mainstream attention through social media, specifically through her song “Gotta Digg,” which quickly zoomed to the top of the social news website Digg (this was back when the site was relevant). She then won a contest where her music video “Message From Your Heart” was featured during a Super Bowl commercial. Grannis also happens to be the winner of one of our recent YouTube Cover Song Face-Offs, specifically for her rendition (with Imaginary Friend) of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Check out the music video above. If you want more of Grannis, we’ve included a few of her videos in the gallery below.

In Your Arms - Behind The Scenes

A look behind-the-scenes at how the jelly bean music video was made

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More About: kina-grannis, Music, music video, trending, viral-video-of-day, YouTube

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You Can Now +1 Photos on Google+

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:17 AM PDT

Google+ users can now give photos the same +1 vote they’ve been giving other types of content since Google+ launched in June.

Vincent Mo, Google+ Photos engineering lead, announced the new feature on his Google+ profile Thursday, saying that it was one of the top requests for Google+ Photos.

In order to +1 a photo, click on it to open the photo viewer. You'll see the +1 button at the bottom left side of the photo.

The feature is now available on the Google+ iPhone app and will soon be added to the Android app and mobile site.

With its expanded functionality, the +1 button looks even more like Facebook’s “Like” button — a simple thumbs-up that works across any type of content. As Facebook makes its buttons more specific with “Facebook Gestures” that allow people to watch, listen and read (but not “dislike”), it will be interesting to see if +1 follows suit or breaks the mold. Perhaps the -1 button?

Last week, many company exec’s profile photos were edited with scary effects for the launch of Google+’s Creative Kit, which includes photo editing features. Take a look through their Halloween pics.

Google Execs are Scary Monsters for Halloween

Dave Girouard, Apps Guy at Google

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More About: Google, like, Photos, trending

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