Friday, 10 February 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Wolfram Alpha Goes Pro, Google’s Home Entertainment System”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Wolfram Alpha Goes Pro, Google’s Home Entertainment System”

Today’s Top Stories: Wolfram Alpha Goes Pro, Google’s Home Entertainment System

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 04:57 AM PST

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Wolfram Alpha Goes Pro

Online computational engine Wolfram Alpha has launched a Pro version of its service, adding numerous input/output options for a price of $4.99/month or $2.99/month for students. A free trial of Wolfram Alpha Pro is also available.

Google Working on a Home Entertainment System

Google is working on a home entertainment system that will let you stream music and movies wirelessly throughout your home, the WSJ reports citing people familiar with the company’s plans. If the report is true, this would be Google’s first major foray into hardware, positioning the company as an even bigger competitor to Apple.

LinkedIn Reports Strong Q4 Earnings

LinkedIn’s Q4 2011 earnings are in, and the results beat analysts’ estimates. LinkedIn reported net income of $6.9 million on a $167.7 million revenue, compared to analysts’ expectations of $159.7 million. The company’s revenue for the entire 2011 was $522.2 million, a 115% year-over-year increase.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

More About: apple, first to know series, Google, linkedin, wolfram alpha

For more Business coverage:

With Shortcut App, Kooaba Says QR Codes Are a Thing of the Past

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 03:58 AM PST

Just as QR Codes seem to be appearing in print ads everywhere, Zurich-based startup Kooaba wants to relegate them to history.

“We believe QR-Codes are belonging to an intermediate technology used for things it was never meant for,” the company writes in a recent blog post. “Despite the enormous media attention QR is getting, it still is not at a level where people are really using it.”

Kooaba’s solution? An app called Shortcut that doesn’t relay on odd black and white designs, but instead scans print pages themselves and directs users to relevant content online.

The app has been in development for some time, but Kooaba on Wednesday announced a redesign that introduces a Path-like user interface and support for print ads to go along with its database of thousands of major newspapers. Kooaba also renamed the app Shortcut, scrapping the old moniker of Paperboy.

Kooaba says the new interface is more intuitive, and the update also includes features such as double-tap zoom and improved recognition capability.

QR Codes have become a popular way for advertisers to link the physical and digital worlds. When someone sees a physical ad, they can use their smartphone to scan the boxy code box tucked away in one corner and then get brought to a corresponding web page.

But Kooaba says that, “Although QR is being experimented with, we believe it is not really practical for interactive print. It was a makeshift solution, accessible to everyone.”

While QR Codes often don’t work as intended, the company argues, Shortcut will truly marry the physical and digital realms.

Do you think that it’s time for QR Codes to go? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

More About: QR Codes, Startups

Wolfram Alpha Pro Now Available for $4.99 a Month

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:17 AM PST

Online computational engine Wolfram Alpha has launched a Pro version of its service.

Wolfram Alpha Pro essentially offers more options for both data input and output. For example, you can upload images, audio files, or feed the engine numeric or tabular data and it will automatically crunch it and generate a report.

“Our goal is to do what a top data scientist would do if given the user’s data — but to do it automatically in just a few seconds. Wolfram|Alpha Pro automatically applies a large number of algorithms and heuristics, as well as uses its built-in knowledge, to derive the most important conclusions from data, and generate an organized report for the user,” said service founder Stephen Wolfram.

On the output end, Wolfram Alpha Pro can automatically generate CDF (Computable Document Format) with interactive controls for animation and manipulation. You can also customize graphical and tabular output and download raw data in more than 60 formats.

Finally, the pro version brings numerous new options: favorites, history, display options, whole page download and an on-screen keyboard for special technical symbols.

Wolfram Alpha Pro is available for $4.99/month, or $2.99/month for students, and you can also subscribe for a free trial.

More About: wolfram alpha, Wolfram Alpha Pro

Love-Seekers Beware: Online Dating Fraud Rose 150% Last Year

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:32 AM PST

Lonely hearts seeking love this Valentine’s Day, be wary. Online dating fraud rose by 150% percent in 2011 as scammers and hucksters turned up the false charm and predatory trolling.

That’s according to data shared with Mashable by fraud protection agency Iovation, which works with several major Internet dating services. Iovation reached that number by employing patented technology that analyzes hardware and software, rather than mine for personal information, says Molly O’Hearn, vice president of operations.

Iovation found that in 2011, 3.8% of all transactions it processed for online dating sites were fraudulent. That includes users misrepresenting themselves to try to acquire personal information, directing users to phishing sites, spamming people with unrelated messages, or persistently harassing users.

From 2009 to 2010, dating fraud on the sites Iovation monitors declined slightly, from a rate of 1.5% to 1.4%.

The spike in 2011 was due to two trends in the industry, according to O’Hearn. The first is that “while dating sites have been around for several years, we’re now entering an era where the later adopters are willing to give it a go,” she says. “With that growth comes more bad guys, because it represents an opportunity.”

Another emerging opportunity, O’Hearn said, is the proliferation of dating sites targeted at specific niches — people who are Catholic, Jewish, virgins or pot users. This narrowing of the field allows scammers to better target their marks and tailor their nefarious strategies.

O’Hearn said that one common scheme involves trying to direct conversations off-site to personal email or instant messaging accounts, where it’s easier to mine for information. Another preys on the sympathy of possible paramours by asking for money to deal with crises like huge medical bills or the need to visit a dying relative.

O’Hearn said that two main giveaways of swindlers are the use of the world “love” in the early stages of correspondence, and people whose syntax and use of language don’t jibe with their pictures or where they claim to be from.

So, if that charming blue-eyed farm boy from Nebraska suddenly tells you he wants to “make nice date with you, love” for Valentine’s Day, take the suger with a few grains of salt.

Do you believe that online dating fraud is on the rise? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pearleye

More About: fraud, online dating

Tesla Motors Unveils Model X Electric Minivan/SUV [PICS]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 08:51 PM PST

Tesla Motors has introduced the Model X, its third electric car, and like its brandmates, this one is an all-electric vehicle.

Built on the same chassis as the four-door Model S, the Model X is a hybrid — a cross between an SUV and minivan — and it has what Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk calls “falcon wing” doors. They’re similar to the gullwing doors often seen on concept cars but rarely on actual shipping vehicles.

Musk says the advantage of those lifting doors is the ease of getting in and out of the car even when parked in a tight parking spot. And, it’s possible to stand up in the car while those doors are open making it easier to enter and exit.

In an early look given Thursday to GigaOm, Musk said this Model X vehicle will be priced similarly to the Model S, which will cost between $50,000 and $70,000. However, even though the Model X shares a chassis and drive train with the Model S, the X will have a 10% shorter range because of its extra weight.

In the mysterious online press event, the company presented a silhouette shot of the the new vehicle, along with a quote underneath from CEO Musk, “Most cars are pretty blah. This is not.”

The vehicle’s availability date wasn’t announced so far, but you’ll be able to reserve a Model X starting at noon Pacific Time on Feb. 10, 2012.

Here’s a gallery of shots, captured from video of the press event.

Tesla Model X: The tease shot

Click here to view this gallery.

Bonus gallery: Tesla Model S

Tesla S at CES

Click here to view this gallery.

Photos by Curtis Joe Walker

More About: cars, Electric Car, Tesla

Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 07:54 PM PST

Next time you write an email subject line, think twice about the words you’re using.

Loading your message with words such as “confirm,” “join,” “press,” or “invite” is not a good idea if you want a response, says data from Baydin, the makers of email plugin Boomerang.

Baydin recently extracted data from five million emails its users handled — either using the company’s “email game” or scheduled for later via Boomerang. It found that some subject-line words, such as “apply” and “opportunity,” got more responses than words from the aforementioned list.

Its data also suggests the best time to send emails is before work. Users who scheduled messages to read later, using Boomerang, most often wanted to deal with them around 6 a.m.

Already sending emails packed with “opportunity” at 6 a.m. and not getting a response? You’re in good company.

Baydin’s average email game player deleted about half of the 147 messages he or she received each day. Ninety minutes of the two hours he or she spent on email each day went to just 12 messages.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, chezzzers

More About: baydin, Boomerang, email, infographics, trending

For more Business coverage:

Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop Over Facebook Post [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 07:29 PM PST

The disgruntled teenage daughter of a tech-savvy, gun-toting father just got a very public lesson in respecting one’s elders.

“That right there is your laptop,” the father, named Tommy Jordan, says in a YouTube video while pointing a video camera at a computer on laying in a patch of dirt and grass. “This right here is my .45,” he says, moving a pistol into the frame.

He cocks the weapon and shoots nine exploding hollow-point rounds into the laptop.

Okay, rewind.

Jordan’s 15-year-old daughter apparently wrote a Facebook post complaining about the chores she has to do at home and the overall hassle that her parents make her life. The father took exception to the public airing of grievances, and so decided to exact his own bit of public revenge, according to the video description, as well as Facebook and Reddit posts he appears to have made.

The role of social media in family life has been debated since social networks began to catch on, but Jordan appears to be taking a proactive approach.

In the video, which is titled “Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen.” and looks to be shot from a tripod, Jordan sits down in a chair outdoors with a computer print-out in hand. He dedicates the recording to his daughter and, “more importantly for all her friends on Facebook who thought that her little rebellious post was cute, and for all you parents out there who think your, you know, kids don’t post bad things on Facebook.”

Jordan says he works in IT for a living (and, indeed, appears to run a company called Twisted Networx) and chastises his daughter for thinking she could hide the note from him with privacy settings. He then reads the purported note aloud after explaining, “since you want to hide it from everyone, I’m going to share it with everybody.”

In the note, the daughter says that she should be paid for the chores she does and her parents overwork her, criticizing them harshly. Jordan says that her complaints are mostly unjustified, and contrasts it to the work he had to do growing up.

After about seven minutes of preamble, he gets up from the chair and plugs the computer full of lead.

Jordan writes in the video description: “Maybe a few kids can take something away from this… If you’re so disrespectful to your parents and yourself as to post this kind of thing on Facebook, you’re deserving of some tough love. Today, my daughter is getting a dose of tough love.”

Mashable has attempted to contact Jordan for further comment, but so far has not received a response.

Do you think this is an effective use of social media in parenting? Appropriate or inappropriate? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, parenting, trending, YouTube

‘Bed Intruder’ Antoine Dodson Returns With Slow Jam [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 07:07 PM PST

Hide your kids, hide your wife: YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson is climbing through your computer window and trying to snatch your attention once more. His “Bed Intruder” autotune went viral in 2010. Now, in a bid to transform from gimmicky viral star to recording artist, he’s back with “Lovesick Lullaby.”

Dodson unleashed the new slow jam over the weekend. The video has 164,000 views so far — not bad, but hardly the 98 million views “Bed Intruder” garnered.

The low-budget video above partners Dodson with musician Brent Morgan, who posted his original version of "Lovesick Lullaby" in September 2010 and an updated duet of the track in May 2011. The original renditions and Dodson’s take feature different verses but the same chorus.

Bed Intruder,” the massively auto-tuned music video that used footage from a 2010 news interview of Dodson, won a Mashable Award for "Best Internet Meme” in January 2011. Listen to it below.

SEE ALSO: Live LOLz — Cheezburger Plans Grammy Awards Memes in Real Time

What do you think of Dodson’s new song? Are you surprised at his comeback? Let us know in the comments.

More About: antoine dodson, bed intruder, memes, Music, music video, viral videos

For more Entertainment coverage:

Online Dating: 7 Fun New Sites for Finding Your Match

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 06:36 PM PST

The latest wave of online dating sites forgoes mysterious equations in favor of straightforward, sometimes unexpected, matching techniques.

Whereas, eHarmony and OkCupid promise to calculate your ideal mate based on your actions and stated preferences, these new sites use some interesting new criteria such as common friends, activities, alma mater or even face structure to make matches.

A team commissioned by the Association of Psychological Science recently deemed the purely algorithmic approach to online dating no more effective at predicting compatibility than a good old-fashioned chat.

We’re not sure that any of the seven approaches below would be any more effective. But many of them are certainly more fun.

1. Clique: Stop Dating Strangers


When the dating world plugged into the Internet, it largely catered to the classified-style dating that preceded it — facilitating meetings between strangers who might like each other. But the age-old method of meeting dates through friends was largely ignored by online dating sites.

Clique, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary Valentine's Day, is trying to make that method its niche. On the invite-only site, only you, your friends and people connected to you by fewer than three degrees are visible. When you're browsing profiles, you can see how you're connected to each person, and your friends can make match suggestions for you.

Upside: A personal reference for every potential date.

Downside: Your common friends will inevitably hear feedback about your dates.

2. Sparkology: Ivy League Men Only


Sparkology has set out to filter its community with rigid criteria. To join the site, you need to be a college graduate. If you’re a man, you need to be a verified graduate of a school on the site’s list of “top universities.”

Payment also works a bit differently than traditional dating sites. Women pay a flat fee per month to be on the site. Men pay a small fee to start conversations, which theoretically prevents them from spamming everyone on the site.

Upside: Men have to invest each time they communicate and are less likely to do so when they aren’t sincerely interested.

Downside: Although the site’s founders point out that its list of top universities includes 85 schools, Sparkology is still no doubt missing some interesting, successful people who don’t happen to have a top-notch college degree.

3. Nerve Dating: Less-Painful Introductions

Nerve Dating

Once a site for listing personals, Nerve Dating relaunched in 2011 with a focus on natural ice breakers. Users post mini-updates on their profiles that answer simple questions such as “What did you do last night?” Whether they read a book, saw a concert or watched TV, the hope is that it will give others a reason to connect. Browsing the site is free, but unlimited messaging costs $20 per month.

Upside: there’s something to talk about when you message someone for the first time.

Downside: Another status to update.

4. SinglesAroundMe: Location-Based Dating


SinglesAroundMe is an Android, BlackBerry and iPhone app that lives up to its name. Quite simply, it uses the GPS feature on your phone to find singles near you, literally plotting them on a map. Profile information is pretty limited, but there’s an option to message people to find out more if you fork over $2.95 per month or $19.95 per year. So far I have gotten one message on the network: “you are a fake!drop dead.”

Upside: Dating people near you seems practical.

Downside: When proximity is the major criteria of interest, there may be reason to question the motives of people who contact you.

5. HowAboutWe: Activity Dating


HowAboutWe puts focus on the date rather than the individual. Users propose fun activities. Other users can send them messages if they like their ideas. To send such a message, however, you’ll need to fork over between $7.99 and $34.99 per month depending on how long you commit.

Upside: Fewer coffee shops, more adventures.

Downside: “How about we… communicate only through facial expressions for the first 30 minutes of our date.” How about not.

6. Soul2Match: Similar Faces

Soul2Match promises to match singles based solely on one piece of information from each of them: their headshot. Founders Jorn Eiting and Linda van Liempt are serious. They cite several studies that show what we're all really looking for in our ideal mate is ourselves.

"The more two people have similarities in their faces, the more they look alike, the happier they are in the relationship, the stronger the relationship," Eiting told Mashable in September.

The website compares your mugshot with other faces to rate your compatibility.

Upside: Entertainment.

Downside: Remember that research the company cites? Some of it shows that couples with similar levels of attractiveness are the happiest. Other research says people trust those who have similar facial features more than those who don't.

The best proof for Soul2Match's matchmaking method is a 1999 study that used computer-graphic image manipulation to generate male faces that looked like female participants. For example, if a woman's cheekbone stuck out 0.3 percent more than the average woman's cheekbones do, the program would generate a male face with cheekbones that stuck out 0.3 percent more than the male average. Women were more likely to rate faces as attractive that had been manipulated to match their own.

Trouble is, a later study by Lisa M. DeBruine of McMaster University showed that people are more likely to rate faces similar to their attractive when it's the same sex than photos of the opposite sex.

"The same-sex bias … is a product of specialized responses to facial resemblance as a cue of kinship," DeBruine wrote; it helps us "favor kin in a non-sexual prosocial context and avoid kin in a mating context."

In other words, her theory is that it's all part of the brain's recognition mechanism that helps us be nice to family members — and avoid incest.

7. Grouper: Group Dating

Grouper arranges group dates between three women and three men.

Upside: Less pressure and a “meet three new people for one time commitment” structure.

Downside: Here’s to hoping you and your friends don’t all fall for the same person in the other group.

BONUS: 12 Pinterest Boards for Valentine's Day Inspiration

1. Etsy

Etsy is a no-brainer for gifts, and even though its Valentine's Day board is rather sparsely populated, the content is super original.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, adventtr

More About: features, love, online dating, relationships, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

Longform iPad App Makes Web Content Readable [HANDS ON]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 06:18 PM PST

Most people who start this article won’t make it to the end — at least not in a way that they could pass a comprehension test.

Studies have shown that the mere presence of a links in online text and the practice of jumping between digital documents impede understanding. Others have determined we read faster when we’re online and that switching between tasks — as we are likely to do while pinging, tweeting and browsing — leads us to overlook important information.

These factors make it difficult to concentrate on this 350-word article, but create a downright hostile environment for long-form content.

A two-year-old site called Longform has created an online refuge for articles longer than 2,000 words. It posts about four long articles every day and makes them easy to add to mobile reading apps such as Instapaper, Read It Later and Readability.

Now it wants to give those articles a similar refuge on the iPad with an app it launched last week.

The app populates long-form stories automatically and removes the step of bookmarking webpages with an Instapaper-like tool. When you open it, online stories fit for offline reading are already there.

In addition to content from the Longform site, readers can add publications such as the New Yorker, Fast Company and The Awl. They won’t get every article from these sites, only those that pass a certain length threshold. Longform co-founder Aaron Lammer compares the app to Flipboard, but with only long-form content.

“I think the web is great for three-minute experiences, which is what it was designed for,” Lammer says. “But if you're sitting on the train, then you go through a lot of three-minute experiences. I think a 20-minute experience is better for the tablet.”

Add Publications

There are about 25 publications from which you can choose to receive content. Longform only delivers the features from each publication -- leaving out the short news stories, slideshows and videos.

Click here to view this gallery.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

More About: apps, Longform

Twitter: Now You Can Tweet By Satellite

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 05:35 PM PST

Twitter has announced a new partnership with major satellite providers to give their subscribers access to Twitter SMS, the original text-based Twitter service.

According to a statement released Thursday, the company has partnered with Iridium and Thuraya, the world’s two largest satellite providers, to increase the number of people that can use Twitter SMS worldwide. The company said the new partnership will help guarantee greater global access to the microblogging network.

“Now, even if phone lines and the Internet are inaccessible — for example, in a war zone or after a natural disaster — people will be able to share news and stay informed via Twitter,” reads the statement.

Where cell towers are susceptible to being knocked offline by weather, earthquakes or military attack, satellite networks are often more stable.

The partnership keeps the company close to its original roots in SMS, which is the standardized text messaging feature found in cellphones and other mobile devices. When Twitter began in 2006, it was designed to utilize SMS to easily send a short message to a group of people. As the service grew, it launched its own platform aside from SMS.

However, tweets can still be sent via SMS, and it’s that feature which has made Twitter popular in parts of the world with scarce mobile broadband connectivity. Users who are on a mobile carrier that offers Twitter SMS support can make use of two-way “short codes.”

One roadblock: some cell carriers don’t support Twitter SMS. But Twitter has a solution for users on those carriers.

The company has set up a number of “long codes,” which people can use to send tweets. After setting up a Twitter account for long code use, a user can put such a code in the “recipient” field of a text, and Twitter will automatically pick up their text and tweet it from their account. That can be helpful in low or no-bandwidth situations such as political upheavals or regional emergencies.

So far, Twitter has set up long codes for users in the UK, Germany and Finland. Long codes are limited to outgoing tweets only.

What do you think of Twitter’s efforts to increase Twitter SMS’s availability worldwide? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, enot-poloskun

More About: cell phones, Mobile, mobile phones, SMS, Twitter

For more Mobile coverage:

Valentine’s Twitter Campaign: Your Tweets Read by ‘Golden Voice of Love’

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 05:10 PM PST

Ted Williams, the former homeless man with the golden voice who hit YouTube fame in early 2011, is back for a Twitter-based Valentine’s Day campaign for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

From Feb. 12 to 14, Williams will shoot up to 100 videos for the brand’s “Golden Voice of Love” campaign. The videos will feature Williams applying his sonorous tones to reads of selected tweets using the hashtag “#VoiceOfLove,” which Twitter users can send to their paramours. (@kraftmacncheese will tweet messages to the winners to notify them.)

As with past programs Williams has executed for the brand, there’s a philanthropic component as well: Each #VoiceOfLove tweet will trigger a donation of 100 boxes to Feeding America, a homeless advocacy group. Kraft will give up to 100,000 boxes.

Williams catapulted to YouTube and Reddit notoriety in Jan. 2011 after Columbus Dispatch videographer Doral Chenoweth II filmed a brief interview with Williams, who was panhandling at the side of a highway. Mainstream media picked up on the video and Williams appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, among other places.

Williams was soon given a chance to cash in on his sudden fame when Kraft tapped him to do voiceovers for its Macaroni & Cheese ads. Though Williams faded from view since then, Kraft continued to use him as spokesman. Last month Entertainment Tonight also did a profile of Williams, who had suffered a few setbacks over the last year, in which he was shown to be sober and living with his girlfriend in a nice condo.

More About: Advertising, Kraft, Marketing, ted-williams, Twitter

How to Structure Your Startup to Avoid Double Taxation

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 04:25 PM PST

Creating a legal entity for your startup will establish much-needed separation between you and your business. Shielding your personal assets is the first and foremost reason to think about incorporating.

But let's face it. When it comes down to choosing a business structure, small business owners are typically concerned about one thing: taxes.

There are a whole host of reasons to incorporate as a C Corporation. For example, the C Corp is the preferred structure if you intend on seeking VC funding or taking the company public. But forming a C Corp involves more paperwork, legal fine print and potential double taxation.

Understanding the Pitfall of Double Taxation

From a legal stance, a C Corp is a separate entity that can sue and be sued. When it comes to taxes, a C Corp is a separate tax payer that files its own federal and state (where applicable) tax returns. This means that profits are first taxed with the corporation. Then, if the corporation decides to take that profit and distribute dividends to shareholders, the dividends are taxed again (this time, on each shareholder's personal tax statement).

To better understand the potential of double taxation, let's look at an example: Carl owns a graphic design business and formed a C Corporation (he's the only shareholder at the moment). His business took in $90,000 in profit in 2011. As a C Corporation, the business would first be taxed on the profits, paying $19,000 (assuming $13,750 plus 34% of the amount over $75,000).

Carl wants to take that money home, and decides to distribute it to himself as a dividend. He will also owe taxes (at the 15% qualifying dividend rate) on the dividend payment.

Carl’s total tax payments amount to $19,000 (corp) plus $13,500 (personal), totaling $32,500.

Avoiding Double Taxation: Pass-Through Tax Treatment

Two business structures are often preferred for small businesses, since they avoid this double taxation burden: the LLC (limited liability company) and S Corporation. With these business structures, the company is taxed more like a sole proprietor or a partnership than as a separate entity, like the C Corporation.

Company profits are "passed through" and reported on the personal income tax return of the shareholders.

Here's what it would mean for Carl and his graphic design business: Carl incorporates his graphic design business as a C Corporation, then chooses to elect “S Corporation Status” by filing form 2553 with the IRS in a timely manner (note: the S Corporation deadline is 75 days from the day your company is formed, or March 15 for existing companies).

His company earned $90,000 in profit in 2011. As an S Corporation, the business itself pays no income tax. Since Carl is a shareholder and also works in the business, he must pay himself a reasonable wage for his activities. This will be subject to his personal income tax rate.

Then, he can distribute the rest of the profits to himself as a dividend, which are taxed at a 15% qualifying dividend rate.

Please bear in mind that these examples are over-simplified to introduce the concept of double taxation at the highest level. As expected, nothing is ever so simple when it comes to the world of business taxes. Discussing your particular situation with a trusted tax advisor or accountant can go a long way to helping you determine which business structure and tax treatment is optimal for you.

The LLC and S Corporation

Both the LLC and S corporations offer the pass-through tax treatment explained above. And both will protect your personal assets from any potential liabilities of the company (whether from an unhappy customer, unpaid supplier or anyone else who might pursue legal action).

Yet, the LLC and S Corp feature some key differences as well. Stay tuned for my next post, when I explore these differences and how they impact your business.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, bluestocking

More About: Business, corporate, features, LLC, Startups, taxes

For more Business coverage:

Hipsters From 2062 Slam Social Media [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 04:04 PM PST

Think about how you’ll describe social media to friends and family in 50 years. Now, watch this “Future Hipsters” video in which badass elderly folks show us how silly all things social media really could sound.

“You could get away with anything in those days,” one dude says. “I built an app that did absolutely nothing.”

That’s just one thought-provoking quip from the slick video that also pokes fun at QR codes, community mangers and online relationship status updates.

Entrinsic, a social media-strategy agency, rolled out “Future Hipsters” as a promotion for next week’s Social Media Week. Film production companies Sons and Daughters as well as Posterboy Edit pitched in, too.

“Created for Social Media Week 2012, this video captures interviews with octogenarian hipsters as they take a look back on what social media and digital culture were back in the day,” reads the video’s description.

SEE ALSO: Social Media Marriage Proposals — 10 Clever Ways to Pop the Question

If you could feed the hipsters some lines, what would you have them say? Sound off in the comments.

BONUS: Well, It’s Not 2062 Yet. So …

… like flowers in early spring, new social media job openings are sprouting across industries as companies of all sizes look to create or expand their social squads. Check out the 10 resumes below or the 7 ingenious ones here to help you land a gig in the industry that the future hipsters above have no hesitation skewering.

1. Put Your Best (QR) Face Forward

At first glance, Victor Petit's resume looks similar to any other text-based CV. But flip the document over and you'll find a full-page image of his face as well as a QR code where his mouth would be.

Once a recruiter scans the QR code and places his or her phone on top of it, a video pops up revealing Petit's mouth, ultimately completing the full-page image and allowing the recruiter to hear Petit's voice.

QR codes are easy to make and can help you get noticed, especially if you ditch the standard black-and-white QR code and opt to add some pizazz to your design.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: community management, QR Codes, Social Media, social media week, trending, viral videos

For more Social Media coverage:

17 Most-Popular Photos From Flickr Commons

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 03:36 PM PST

Female Aircraft Worker

"Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies."

Image courtesy of The Library of Congress, Flickr.

Click here to view this gallery.

Flickr Commons, a collaboration between the photo-sharing site and the Library of Congress that began in 2008, has released 17 of its most-popular photos to celebrate its fourth anniversary.

The project began as an effort to increase exposure to some of the world’s historic photographic treasures and to crowdsource public knowledge about the archives. The Commons has a “no known copyright restriction” policy, which means the Internet community’s use of the Commons’ images is not limited. Typically, items uploaded to Flickr are the property of their owners.

“The Commons have really showed institutions the benefits of sharing their photos archives,” Fiona Miller, product marketing manager at Flickr told Mashable. “This has really played a big part for institutions, who typically have had a closed approach to their content, because they want to keep their content within the boundaries of their four walls. The wealth of knowledge they get back from sharing that content is really incredible.”

Initially, the Commons included 1,500 images from the Library of Congress. Today, the Commons now includes more than 56 institutions in 12 countries and features more than 200,000 photos.

The Flickr community has deeply engaged with the Commons since its launch: 127 million views, 7 million favorited images and 130 million member comments.

Probably the most interesting of those stats are the comments, which have often lent historical context not previously known by their home institutions’ records. The Library of Congress, as well as other institutions, have used the Flickr community to learn about mystery photos, such as identifying orphans who survived the Titanic and modern-day locations of buildings.

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways Museums Are Reaching Digital Audiences

One of the photos in the gallery above, NASA‘s “Blue Marble” image of the Earth, became one of Flickr’s most popular images in less than two weeks, receiving more than 3.5 million views in less than two weeks.

Where do you see the future of digital archiving going with projects like the Flickr Commons? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: flickr, photo sharing, the commons, trending

For more Social Good coverage:

How Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Lays the Smackdown on Social Media

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 03:04 PM PST

“Can you smelllllll….What the The Rock! Is cooking?!?”

That became a ubiquitous catchphrase when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a Worldwide Wrestling Federation megastar around the turn of the millennium. Unlike most wrestling-ring bruisers, however, Johnson has done a lot more than just “lay the smack down” on hapless “jabronis,” as he was fond of saying.

He won a college football national championship as a hard-hitting defender at the University of Miami in 1991. He’s become a bona fide movie star too, appearing in action hits such as Fast Five, The Scorpion King and Walking Tall. He’s even a bestselling author. His autobiography The Rock Says… spent weeks atop The New York Times charts in 2000.

Recently, Johnson added another feather to his cap: the title of Must-Follow Actor or Actress on Social Media, as voted by readers in the annual Mashable Awards. Since joining Twitter less than a year ago, and Facebook a few months before that, Johnson has become a staunch advocate of social media’s power to connect. His Facebook Page has more than 5 million “Likes” and his @TheRock Twitter account has nearly 2 million followers. He’s especially active on Twitter, posting updates multiple times each day and constantly tweeting back to fans and encouraging them to “bring it” in every aspect of their lives.

Mashable recently caught up with Johnson to talk about his newest award, his thoughts on social media, and relay a few questions from the fans who helped vote him number one.

Q&A with Dwayne Johnson

So, our readers love you. How did you feel about being voted people’s must-follow actor or actress?

It was damn cool to get recognized. I’ve always been a very private person so felt for a long time that social media wasn’t really for me. So it took a little bit of nudging. But it’s been one of the greatest decisions professionally — and personally — that I’ve ever made. It’s meant more to me than I ever imagined. So to be recognized as the Mashable community’s must-follow actor after a short amount of time is so damn cool.

How have you made yourself so successful on social media? Are there certain points you try to drive home or things you try to do every day?

When I launched Twitter my biggest goal was just to be authentic, so that people know that when their tweet alert goes off on their device, that it’s coming directly from my hands. I also try to make it a platform for three things — motivation, encouragement and entertainment. And it’s a great way for me to have my finger on the pulse of what my fans do and don’t like in terms of projects and overall sentiment, because there’s no other platform on Earth that gives me that instant feedback.

You’re well known for a number of different things — football, wrestling, acting. Do you find social media helps you reach one group of fans in particular?

I never want to segment my fans in any way. It’s been a great way to reach multiple groups of people — from sports fans, to movie lovers, to WWE lovers, to fans who want to share stories of encouragement, who have beaten cancer. My mom is a survivor, so that brings in another group of people. I just want people to get some value from it, whether that means a motivational quote I send out at 3 a.m. when I wake up or an incredibly inappropriate, but funny, dirty joke.

"I’ve always been a very private person so felt for a long time that social media wasn’t really for me. So it took a little bit of nudging. But it’s been one of the greatest decisions professionally — and personally — that I’ve ever made.”

This is from lifeinthechickencoop on Tumblr: “Being a third-generation pro wrestler, would you encourage or discourage your own child from entering the profession?”

That’s a great question that I get asked often. I would encourage my children, or anyone else’s, to get involved in pro-wrestling-slash-sports-entertainment if that’s their dream. It’s very personal and deep for me because I come from a long lineage of pro wrestlers, so I have a lot of love for the business. It’s provided an amazing opportunity for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. But the first thing I always tell kids is get their college education. Then if pro wrestling is what they want to do, I’m all for that. But understand that with great success comes consistent hard work.

This is from Stephanie Quilao on Twitter, and makes sense given your busy schedule. “What is your weekly fitness routine like?”

Five days a week, I get up between three and five in the morning. I love training when the sun is coming up because it just allows me to put on my headphones and step off the crazy treadmill that is everyone’s life. I’m in there for about and hour and a half, hour and forty-five minutes, and when I hit the gym I’m coming to clang and bang.

Now for the most-asked question by our readers: “What is The Rock cooking these days?”

I’ll tell you what I’m cooking just for Mashable readers, the first time I’ve answered this in years. I’m cooking grilled Chilean sea bass, sliced mango on the side…nah, that’s B.S. I ain’t cooking anything but being an ass-kicker on Twitter and a good tequila drinker.


Johnson, who still makes appearances in the wrestling ring, has successfully employed social media to help spread his trademark catchphrases.

Click here to view this gallery.

Photo courtesy of Dwayne Johnson

More About: Facebook, features, interview, mashable awards, Social Media, trending, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

Type This Into Google for a Valentine’s Day Surprise

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 02:25 PM PST

Romantic math geeks, your moment has arrived. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, go ahead and type (or paste) this into Google search:

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

Twitter user @Huckberry tipped us off to the fact that typing in the algebraic equation plots several different functions on a graph that forms the shape of a heart.

The series includes various square roots, absolute values and cosine functions — mathematical functions often taught in high school math courses. The plotted lines change direction due to the absolute value function flipping the sign of the x-coordinate, creating a mirror image across the y-axis.

The “cos(300x)” part of the formula was also written to make the line go quickly up and down as it traces out the interior of the heart. This creates the colored-in effect. Meanwhile, if you change the “300″ number in the equation to “500,” the color fills up the heart. That part of the formula is related to frequency.

Although the equation wasn’t written by Google, this is not the first time users have been able to type in certain keywords into search for a seasonal surprise. For example, type “Do a barrel roll” and the word “askew” into Google. Check out some more fun search tricks in the gallery below — and let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any.

Beyond Barrel Roll: 10 Hidden Google Tricks


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: Barrel Roll, easter eggs, Google, trending, valentine's day

Microsoft: You’ll Never Turn Off Devices Running Windows on ARM

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 02:02 PM PST


Microsoft described in detail Thursday exactly how Windows will work on ARM devices. The new strain of Windows, retooled from the ground up for low-power devices like tablets, will be identical to the regular desktop version in many ways, and Microsoft says it’ll ship some test units to developers by the end of February. Actual products are planned for the general release of Windows 8.

In a departure from traditional Windows machines, ARM-based devices running Windows will be complete “end-to-end” products, meaning you won’t be able to buy Windows as a piece of software separate from those devices — it comes fully integrated. Microsoft says it will service and improve the software over the “useful life” of the device.

Another new feature: Users will never need to turn off Windows on ARM devices, Microsoft says. Instead of going into sleep or hibernate modes, WOA machines will have a Connected Standby mode, similar to smartphones. When the screen goes dark, the a WOA device will go into a “very low-power mode” where the battery can last “for weeks.” Microsoft says it’s working to build the feature into standard x86 PCs as well.

Up until this year, Windows has been the domain of machines running the x86 chip architecture, with processors made by Intel and AMD. Microsoft announced in early 2011, though, that it would be creating a version of Windows to run on devices that use chips based on the ARM architecture. While x86 is synonymous with Windows PCs, ARM is the only game in town for mobile devices — cellphones and tablets.

SEE ALSO: ARM Shrugs Off Intel's First Smartphone

Recreating Windows on ARM (or WOA, as the company calls it) is key part of Microsoft’s strategy to get its core software on devices of all kinds. In a blog post, Microsoft’s president of Windows, Steve Sinofsky, confirmed that the WOA experience would be identical to the desktop experience for Windows 8 in many ways.

First, WOA uses the exact same Metro interface across both flavors of Windows, with support for touch and being able to call up apps (like email) easily from other apps. Those built-in apps — specifically photos, mail, contacts and calendar — will be identical to the desktop versions.

Just like with the regular Windows, users can easily turn off Metro and simply use the desktop Windows Explorer with WOA. Microsoft promises the “complete Windows experience,” including the same hardware-acceleration for HTML5 functions in Internet Explorer 10.

Microsoft Office has been built for WOA, too. Full-featured versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote will all be available on ARM devices, all re-tuned for low power consumption and the touch capabilities of Windows 8. Documents created in the new Windows apps — part of Microsoft’s Office 15 upgrade — will be compatible between the WOA and desktop versions of Office.

A few lucky developers will get their hands on WOA devices possibly by early next month, when Microsoft says it will ship test units to some hand-picked people. Microsoft is also quick to point out that it still has a lot of work to do on Windows 8. “The code is not done,” Sinofsky writes.

What do you think of Microsoft’s revelations about Windows on ARM? Let us know in the comments.

Windows on ARM devices

Microsoft's Scott Seiber sits beside devices from Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, all of them running a version of Windows for ARM-based devices.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: arm, ARM Holdings, microsoft, mobile processors, Processors, smartphones, tablets, Windows, Windows 8

When Should You Go All-In on Your Startup? [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 01:47 PM PST

From bootstrapping his company, to raising a seed round last year, to his company’s recent $8 million A round, Neil Capel exemplifies the grit and hustle typical in successful entrepreneurs. Capel founded Sailthru, an enterprise software-as-a-service company that uses clickstream data to individually tailor marketing emails to each user, which Capel says will exponentially increase the lifetime value of a customer email address.

Check out our interview with Capel to find out how he went from a consultant at Morgan Stanley to founding a company that will soon be expanding globally and his thoughts on when you should consider going full-time on your startup.

This Venture Studio Classic was originally released on September 22, 2011.

Follow Venture Studio, in association with Mashable. The show is hosted by Dave Lerner, a 3x entrepreneur and angel investor. To join Venture Studio’s Facebook page, click here.

More Recent Episodes of Venture Studio:

More About: email marketing, entrepreneurship, mashable video, Startups, Venture, venture studio, Video

For more Business coverage:

Twitter Joke Trial: Judges Don’t Get Social Media, Says Stephen Fry

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 01:39 PM PST

judge image

TV personality, activist, and social media comedian Stephen Fry has taken sides in the Paul Chambers “Twitter Joke Trial,” saying that British judges fundamentally don’t understand how Twitter works.

Fry’s stance is more interesting for the larger question it raises about the rising role of social media and the generation gap between users of social networks and those asked to adjudicate them.

Chambers was arrested for a tweet he sent about Robin Hood Airport in England in January 2010. The airport suffered repeated service delays and disruptions due to cold weather, prompting Chambers to tweet:

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!

Chambers was later convicted for sending a “message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” under the Communications Act 2003, causing him to lose his job, gain a criminal record and a mountain of fees and legal costs. Chambers lost several appeals and is awaiting his latest appeal, due this month.

Fry has publicly stood behind Chambers saying the verdict was unfair and even helping Chambers with his continuing legal costs. The real problem, according to Fry, is that British Judges are simply too out of touch with modern social tools such as Twitter. This is what Fry said in a recent interview:

“It was so clearly a joke, so clearly just a frustrated person going “Oh, damn.” It’s like me saying “I’ll kill my wife if she’s late again.” It’s that. It’s as simple that. And I’m afraid there’s a generation of judges and a generation of people at the Crown Prosecution Service that just don’t get Twitter, that just don’t get social media, who don’t understand that it’s part of a conversation.”

Saying you’re going to blow up an airport is clearly not a good idea, even if in jest, but the court’s reaction has been labelled unfair and disproportionate to the “crime” committed.

Fry’s interview, appearing on the BBC’s Newsbeat, addresses problems beyond just Chambers’ appeal. Similar questions were raised during the SOPA and PIPA debates when legislators and members of the government admitted ignorance at the nitty gritty of the bills they were trying to pass.

Fry’s allegations are even more topical now that the U.K. Supreme Court has joined Twitter (@UKSupremeCourt) this past month, joining the Judiciary of England and Wales at @judiciaryuk.

Should judges and authorities go through social media training or has Fry overstepped his mark? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Beinecke Library

More About: law, Social Media, Twitter

LinkedIn Hits 150 Million Members

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 01:26 PM PST

LinkedIn on Thursday announced it has 150 million members in its network, a 20 million increase over November.

The figure was disclosed in a press release the company issued Thursday announcing its fourth quarter and full-year 2011 results.

The company posted revenues of $167.7 million, beating the analysts’ consensus of $160 million for Q4. Adjusted profit was $0.12 cents per share, which beat analysts’ projections of 7 cents a share. LinkedIn’s stock was up more than 5% in after-hours trading.

The Q4 revenue figure was a 105% jump over the same period in 2010. Revenues for full-year 2011 was $522.2 million, a 115% increase over 2010′s $243.1 million. Once again, Hiring Solutions was the company’s largest source of revenues, providing $84.9 million for the quarter. Marketing Solutions, meanwhile, brought in revenues of $49.5 million, while revenues from Premium Subscriptions totaled $33.3 million.

“Q4 once again exceeded our expectations for member engagement and business growth. It was a fitting end to a memorable year in which we reinforced our position as the pre-eminent professional network on the web,” said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. “We believe continued focus on our members and technology infrastructure positions us well for accelerated product innovation in 2012.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, smi23le

More About: earnings, IPOs, linkedin

For more Social Media coverage:

FarmVille Toys Are Coming: Zynga and Hasbro Sign Licensing Deal

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 01:14 PM PST

If Angry Birds and Cut the Rope can have toys, why can’t FarmVille?

Social gaming juggernaut Zynga is teaming up with toy maker Hasbro to create a “wide range of toys and gaming experiences” based on Zynga properties and brands, a release read.

The first products are expected to hit the market in Fall 2012. The agreement gives Hasbro license to develop and distribute an array of products in various toy and game categories for Zynga’s various properties. The companies will also be able to co-brand merchandise, which could potentially lead to digital product tie-ins.

The Hasbro/Zynga deal is just the latest to create real-life products out of social games. Angry Birds is a bona fide brand of its own, with licensees for everything from toys to plush dolls to baby clothes. Disney’s social network for tweens, Club Penguin, sells plush toys that also act as in-game bonuses.

While Zynga has an enormous audience — 227 million users play its games every month — its biggest hits (CityVille, FarmVille and Words With Friends) don’t have immediately recognizable mascots or protagonists like Angry Birds. Sure, the -Ville franchises share similar character designs but the games are largely about individual player experiences.

That doesn’t mean that products based on the brand can’t work. Speaking only for myself (and not the rest of Mashable) this recovering FarmVille addict would be tempted to buy a miniature FarmVille playset or stuffed Truffle Hunting Pig.

What about you — do you want your own mini CityVille or Words With Friends toy or tie in? Let us know.

More About: casual games, hasbro, social games, toys, Zynga

For more Entertainment coverage:

Hipstamatic Releases Lens for New York Fashion Week

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 01:02 PM PST

In conjunction with New York Fashion Week, iPhone photography app Hipstamatic has released a cool-toned lens (i.e., filter) designed to capture the aesthetic of classic American beauty.

The lens was developed in partnership with fashion photographer Chiun-Kai Shih, whose work has appeared in GQ, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, among other well-recognized publications. This is the second lens Hipstamatic has developed with Shih to commemorate NYFW. Last year, the pair released a lens called “Chunky,” which gives images a highly saturated, hazy glow. A spokesperson for Hipstamatic says the first lens was one of the most popular in the app’s history, and thus it made sense to partner again.

The lens and accompanying “Old Glory” camera case is available for free download [iTunes link] between now and Feb. 16. On Feb. 17, the lens will go on sale along with the camera case and two new films, Blank Freedom 13 and US1776, for $0.99. The new features are part of a broader theme Hipstamatic is exploring in 2012: “reinventing Americana.”

Designers from nine fashion labels — Converse, Cole Haan, Steven Alan, Billykirk, 3×1 Made Here, Saturday Surf NYC, 16sur20, Robet Geller and Title of Work — will be using the lens to capture preparations for their shows this week, which will go on display at a gallery in New York City next Thursday. Below, a selection from designer Steven Alan.

Photo credit: Steven Alan

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: chiun-kai shih, fashion, hipstamatic, nyfw

Apple Hit With 250,000 Signatures Protesting Labor Conditions in China

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 12:46 PM PST

Fair-labor organizers delivered 250,000 signatures to Apple stores in six cities around the world on Thursday in protest of the company’s working conditions in China.

Apple’s main factory, Foxconn, has faced numerous accusations of providing an inhumane work environment to Chinese workers.

“It’s hard to hear tales of people jumping off buildings and using their hands until they can’t anymore,” said senior organizer of William Winters, who delivered a stack of petitions to the San Francisco Apple store on Stockton Street. The rest of the 250,000 signatures were being delivered to Apple stores in five other cities in the U.S., the UK, Australia and India.

Foxconn has been accused of making laborers work long hours without breaks, use dangerous chemicals that have caused severe health problems and exposing workers to dangerous conditions. The repetitive work and spartan living conditions have also been to blame for suicides at the factory.

Charlotte Hill, communications manager at, pleaded with Apple to use its creativity to “think ethically” and create an iPhone without using factories that have harsh working conditions.

“No iPhone is worth that cost,” she said.

A group of protestors and an even larger group of media gathered outside the San Francisco Apple store in mid-morning as employees watched from inside the store. An Apple employee who wouldn’t give his name said the employees had no idea the demonstration was going to happen. It was a peaceful event — Winters and a group of other protestors brought the petitions inside the store and soon exited.

The electronic signatures were gathered through and Apple fan Mark Shields started the campaign after he listened to an episode of the This American Life podcast and was sickened to learn about the working conditions for employees at Foxconn.

Winters said they hope that by delivering their message to Apple and Tim Cook, it will shine a spotlight on “workers in China at the Foxconn factory who work in inhumane conditions.”

“I’m fairly confident that Apple’s going to get the message loud and clear,” he added.

Apple released its list of suppliers last month in an effort to be more transparent. Apple also agreed to a labor audit by the Fair Labor Association. It’s the first tech company to do so.

“We hope this sparks a revolution of sorts with consumers who now realize that they can go to and start a petition for social change and actually create a change they want to see in the world,” Winters said.

What do you think about Apple’s labor practices in China? Have you or will you get involved in any Apple protests or sign a petition? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Camrocker

More About: apple,, china, Foxconn, labor conditions, petition, protest, trending

Live LOLz: Cheezburger Plans Grammy Awards Memes in Real Time

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 12:35 PM PST

I Can Has Cheezburger plans to turn the 54th Grammy Awards into a laughing matter by giving viewers an outlet to write funny captions for red carpet and ceremony photos.

The “Live LOLing” event starts Sunday at 4 p.m. PT when Cheezburger’s ROFLrazzi site, Twitter profile and Facebook page will begin publishing Grammy images with humorous captions — in lolcat meme format.

People can click “Recaption This” to plop their own witty text on the photos. Participants can then share their creations on their social networks.

Cheezburger editor in chief Emily Huh told Mashable that she anticipates viewers to provide humorous perspectives regarding celebrities’ fashion choices, performances and speeches, as well as their general reactions to winners and losers.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Grammys Embrace Digital, Mobile and Social Media

“Our community wants more timely content and this is a great way for them to showcase and share their sense of humor on the awards as well as interact rather than just watch the show,” says Huh, who thinks Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry will be popular choices to recaption. “They always wear a showstopping fashion piece that everyone loves to talk about.”

I Can Has Cheezburger celebrated its fifth anniversary in January, just a week before all Cheezburger sites went black Jan. 18 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.

SEE ALSO: 'The Day The LOLcats Died' Song Clobbers SOPA Supporters [VIDEO]

Cheezburger has spawned or acquired more than 50 sister sites such as FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme, Memebase and The Daily What since 2007.

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, grammy awards, grammys, i can has cheezburger, memes, Music

For more Entertainment coverage:

Popularity of an Article Can Be Predicted Before It’s Tweeted [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 12:24 PM PST

HP Labs says it’s possible to know if your tweet will be a dud before you type the 140 characters.

Researchers have developed a formula that predicts the number of times a news “article will be tweeted with surprising accuracy.” The researchers predicted tweet popularity with 84% accuracy based on ranking news articles by four criteria.

In the new study called “The Pulse of News in Social Media: Forecasting Popularity, HP Labs used a statistical model to rate the popularity of 40,000 news articles published during nine days in August 2011.

The statistical model considered four things when evaluating the popularity of the article: 1. the source of the news article; 2. the category of news; 3. whether the article was emotional or objectively written; and 4. name dropping. For example, mentioning Lady Gaga in an article can increase the likelihood the story will be successful on Twitter. The study found that an article’s emotional or objective tone did little to sway its popularity.

“HP Labs' study reinforces the intuition that the source of news matters most in determining how many tweets will link to a given article,” HP said in a statement. “But as social media continues to increase in importance, key questions remain about how users are influenced to act – beyond clicking the ‘retweet’ button – and the nature of journalism in 140 characters.”

Watch the video to learn more about the study.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RomanOkopny

More About: HP, mashable video, trending, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

Yahoo’s New Visualization Beautifully Shows What’s Happening on the Web

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 12:00 PM PST

Yahoo has launched a new webpage that visualizes what’s happening on the web in near real time — and it’s totally beautiful.

The Content Optimization Relevance Engine (C.O.R.E.) HTML5 site hopes to show users the “behind the scenes” process Yahoo uses to match readers with content on their personalized homepage, using technology developed in a Yahoo research lab a few years ago. While Yahoo’s homepage used to be arranged by editors, it now uses an algorithm to match individual user preferences.

“We can provide users with insights through the lens of the 700 million users that come to our site each month,” Todd Beaupre, Yahoo’s senior director of product management, personalization and social platforms, told Mashable.

The interactive site optimizes content discovery, showing you what’s popular for a variety of user demographics, such as U.S. city, gender, age and interest (news, finance, lifestyle, Yahoo’s entertainment, sports and health). You can also chose a number of these characteristics at once, such as female sports fans in Cleveland or 35- to 44-year-olds in Atlanta.

As far as utility goes, you can think of the site as a tool to provide similar insight to Twitter trending topics or Google trends.

“We’ll see that we put out a sports story, but the human interest angle means that it’s being clicked on by women, more so than men interested in sports,” Beaupre says, noting that Yahoo delivers about 13 million content combinations each day to visitors to its homepage. “We bulit this because we can’t always predict accurately what people are going to click on.”

The C.O.R.E. visualizer features Yahoo’s original content as well as content written by Yahoo’s partners.

For some additional insight, you can click on the “i” logo on the bottom of the site to reveal five HTML5 interactive infographics, which attempt to put the scope of Yahoo’s data into perspective.

Yahoo previously launched a similar tool Mail Visualization that shows emails as they are delivered across the world. You can watch emails delivered across the globe, visualized through circles corresponding the mass of mail delivered. Yahoo says it has two more data visualization projects up its sleeves.

What do you think of Yahoo’s visualization? What insight do you find most useful from its real-time trends? Let us know in the comments.

More About: dev and design, HTML5, Yahoo

Who Really Invented the Web? Texas Trial Questions Tim Berners-Lee [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 11:48 AM PST

Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web, testified this week in a Texas courtroom against a company that claims it has a patent on the same technology.

The man who claims to have the patent on the “interactive web” is Michael Doyle. His company, Eolas Technologies, has filed suit against many of the world’s biggest Internet companies — including Google and Yahoo — over the case. Doyle’s lawyers say the companies owe him millions in royalty payments for using such common functions as watching online video or search suggestions pop up automatically when typing into a field.

Doyle claims that he and two co-inventors came up with the interactive web at the University of California in 1993. They filed for the patent (viewable here) in 1994 and were awarded it in 1998.

Berners-Lee famously created the first website in 1991. He also designed and built the first web browser, called simply WorldWideWeb (later renamed Nexus). Berners-Lee initially came up with the idea to join hypertext with the Internet while working at CERN in Europe and performed his work on a NeXT computer designed by Steve Jobs.

At the patent trial this week, Berners-Lee said patents like the ones Eolas holds could be a serious threat to the Web.

This is far from the first time Doyle and Eolas have sued big companies over its patents. Back in 2003 it won a huge victory over Microsoft to the tune of $521 million. Although that verdict was overturned, Microsoft ended up settling with Eolas for an undisclosed sum rumored to be over $100 million.

If Eolas succeeds in its argument that it holds patents on fundamental web technologies, some of the world’s biggest Internet companies could end up owing the company billions.

Eolas reportedly has just a two-room office in Tyler, Texas and just one full-time employee.

[via Ars Technica]

More About: patents, Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web

For more Tech coverage:

Mass Effect 3 Gets iPad Version with Action-Packed ‘Infiltrator’ [PREVIEW]

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 11:35 AM PST

mass effect infiltrator image

Mass Effect 3 is coming to an iPad near you in the form of Mass Effect Infiltrator, an iOS game aimed at expanding the game’s narrative and give players some mobile combat.

Infiltrator isn’t a direct port of the latest Mass Effect game. Unlike its big brother, a sci-fi role-playing game known for its over-the-shoulder shooter gameplay and massive, branching story-lines, Infiltrator is all about fighting. Mashable got a demo of the game played on an iPad and hooked up to a television at an EA showcase.

The story follows a soldier called Randall Ezno as he travels the universe tracking down alien species. Infilitrator will start overlapping with the main campaign of Mass Effect 3 as Ezno begins feeding information and items to Commander Shepard, the protagonist of Mass Effect 3.

That overlap isn’t just window-dressing. Items and information collected in Infiltrator will also appear in-game for Shepard to use. These items aren’t crucial to completing the console game, but they will make the going a little easier and encourage mobile players to keep powering through Infiltrator‘s missions.

Those missions are large run-and-gun affairs. The demo we saw had Ezno taking cover behind various objects and popping out to take down enemies with a variety of familiar, Mass Effect weapons. The game will have a unique narrative that ties into the series’ mythos but the game’s emphasis is clearly on short bursts of action. It also looks like Infiltrator will hook up to Origin, EA’s recently launched online gaming service.

The graphics on Infiltrator look incredible and surprisingly on par with the console version. Part of this is due to some clever game design — smaller areas and fewer enemies allow for greater fidelity — but Infiltrator is still one of the best looking mobile games we’ve seen. You control Ezno by using touch-based analog-sticks (like a standard first-person shooter control). Shooting controls work by tapping on enemies for aiming.

Infiltrator will also be available on iPhone and iPod — though given the scope, scale and graphics quality, it seems made to be played on an iPad. No word on an exact release date or price, but EA reps said the game would launch around the same time as Mass Effect 3.

More About: Gaming, iOS, ipad, mobile gaming, trending, video game

For more Entertainment coverage:

WikiLeaks Suspect Bradley Manning to Be Arraigned Feb. 23

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 11:24 AM PST

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and war reports to WikiLeaks, will be arraigned before a military judge at Fort Meade, Maryland on Feb. 23, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Some of the 22 charges against Manning include aiding the enemy, disclosing classified information to a person not authorized to receive it, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, and violating Army computer use rules.

The charge of aiding the enemy potentially carries the death penalty, but Army prosecutors have said they will seek a life sentence if Manning is found guilty of all charges. Manning’s defense has argued that the Army didn’t do enough to deal with Manning’s emotional and behavioral problems.

In a court martial, an arraignment is used to inform a defendant of the charges against him. Manning will also be given the chance to enter a plea and request a military judge or jury.

Bradley’s court martial was first announced last Friday, but no date was then set. In a preliminary hearing held last December, military lawyer and official investigator in the case Lt. Col. Paul Almanza approved all of the military’s charges against Manning.

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning has the right to a trial within 120 days of being arrested or 1 of the "preferral of charges." Manning’s arrest happened in late May of last year, more than 400 days ago. But his “clock” was stopped twice, once while Army doctors determined if he was fit to stand trial and again while evidence and security clearances were being sorted out.

After his arrest, Manning was held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia. His transfer to a medium-security facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas came after public outcry against the Pentagon’s handling of the accused solider.

Manning previously served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq where he held top-secret clearance. His alleged leak included over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, 400,000 U.S. Army reports dealing with Iraq and 90,000 referencing Afghanistan as well as video footage including the now-infamous “Collateral Murder” video.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is appealing an extradition order to the British high court. Should the court deny his appeal, he will be sent to Sweden to answer allegations of rape and sexual misconduct.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, LeggNet

More About: bradley manning, wikileaks

Back to the top