Friday, 16 March 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Steve Wozniak First in Line for the New iPad [VIDEO]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Steve Wozniak First in Line for the New iPad [VIDEO]”


Steve Wozniak First in Line for the New iPad [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 03:41 AM PDT


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is once again first in line for the new iPad, but this time at a different location than usual, Shira Lazar reports.

Wozniak and his wife are currently waiting in line for the iPad at Westfield Mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

“My wife was actually the first in line, I’m the second. We came about noon. We’re used to Northern California stores, where the lines start that early. I have a keynote speech coming up (in LA) this morning, right after I get the iPad,” explains Wozniak.

Woz is well known for waiting in lines for Apple products, although as a co-founder and one of the most important people in Apple’s history, he could probably get them without having to wait in lines.

For Woz, however, waiting in line and experiencing a new gadget for the first time, surrounded by fellow Apple enthusiasts, is part of the fun.

“It’s become a ritual. Because I’ve done it so many times, I’m doing it again,” says Wozniak. “I wanna be one of the real people, who line up and wait all night…Apple’s just that important to us.”

More About: apple, ipad, steve wozniak, trending


Kansas Governor Deletes ‘Sarcasm Bombing’ from Facebook Wall

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 02:59 AM PDT


After receiving a flood of sarcastic Facebook messages — a seemingly coordinated action that one site described as a “sarcasm bombing” — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback decided to clear the comments from his wall Thursday.

The posts have been flooding Brownback’s page for the past couple of days in response to an anti-abortion bill introduced into the Kansas legislature. Brownback said he has not read the 69-page bill, but has said he would sign it.

It’s not clear if the surge of comments on his Facebook page was simply a result of the controversial legislation making headlines, or if it was an organized campaign. The defining characteristic of the comments: they all treat Brownback as if he were an expert on women’s health issues.

Here are some of the less lurid comments from Brownback’s Facebook wall:

  • “Hi Sam- I had sex with my wife and she didn’t get pregnant. I’m here to turn her in.”
  • “I just called your office, and they wouldn’t let me schedule a pap smear. I’m confused, aren’t you taking care of all this now?”
  • “Hey Governor Brownback, I was considering going on birth control because I’m fed up with being a teacher who has acne. Which one would you recommend for this?”
  • “UPDATE: My wife changed her pad. You may resume regular activities. Thanks again for caring so much, Sam.”

Mashable called Brownback’s office and spoke to someone who said they couldn’t comment. We left a voicemail and email message for Brownback’s media spokespeople and are waiting for a response.

Brownback is no stranger to being criticized on social media. Late last year, he apologized to an 18-year-old after her disapproving tweet about him landed her in hot water with school officials.

The student, Emma Sullivan, was on a field trip when she met Brownback and tweeted some unflattering remarks. Brownback’s staff contacted the girl’s school; Sullivan was lectured by the principal for an hour and asked to write an apology letter. She refused, and the governor later apologized on behalf of his staff for the incident.

Have you posted on the governor’s Facebook wall? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, MHjerpe

More About: abortion, Facebook, Facebook posts, reproductive rights, women's health


Top Tech Buzzwords You Use But Can’t Define [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 02:15 AM PDT


Do you really know what “The Cloud” means? What about “Big Data”?

The Global Language Monitor has released a list of the most confusing tech buzzwords of the decade, so far. The Cloud and Big Data top the list.

"High-tech terms have long spilled into popular culture," says Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. “To a large and growing extent, high-tech buzzwords are fueling the growth of English, which now serves as the Earth’s means of global communication.”

SEE ALSO: 25 Worst Passwords of 2011

To make its list, the Global Language Monitor tracked word frequencies in print and electronic media, the blogosphere, databases and the Internet. Below you’ll find the complete list of most confusing tech buzzwords. Quiz your friends to see who can best — or worst — define them.

  • Big Data
  • The Cloud
  • The Next Big Thing
  • Social Discovery
  • Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on)
  • Solid State
  • CERN
  • Solar Max
  • De-dupe
  • 3G/4G/5G
  • SoLoMo

What tech buzzwords do you find the most confusing? Do you disagree with this list?


BONUS: 10 Futuristic Sci-Fi Visions



1. Invisible Car





To promote its new fuel cell vehicle, which has zero exhaust emissions, Mercedes pulled a stunt that showed off an "invisible" car with incredibly low environmental impact.

Although Mercedes says the hydrogen-powered drive system is "ready for series production," it's speculated to not be in comercialization until 2014.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: buzzwords, mashable video, Tech

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KONY 2012: How Social Media Fueled the Most Viral Video of All Time

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 01:38 AM PDT


KONY 2012 took the social web by storm last week, as a 30-minute documentary seeking to arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony was viewed online nearly 100 million times.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project investigated how KONY 2012 became the most viral video of all time.

The key, Pew found, was 18 to 29-year-olds sharing links on Twitter and Facebook. While initially 77% of Twitter discussions were positive, the tone shifted as criticisms of the non-profit behind the film, Invisible Children, began to circulate.

KONY 2012: Is the Viral Campaign a Scam?

One of Pew’s takeaways was the importance of social media for spreading news to young readers.

Where did you learn about KONY 2012? Are Twitter and Facebook your go-to sources for current events?

More About: africa, kony 2012, viral video, YouTube

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Amazon Launches Kindle App Update for New iPad Retina Display

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 09:09 PM PDT

Kindle iPad App Picture

Amazon has released a Kindle app update that’s optimized for the high-resolution Retina display of the next-generation iPad.

The app aims to make reading on the iPad even more seamless, with crisper fonts and a new library view feature that makes e-book covers look more clear and bright.

The new iPad — which was announced last week in San Francisco — will launch on Friday, March 15 in the U.S. and nine other countries. Apple’s latest product in its iPad line touts an improved “Retina” display, a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, LTE support, 1GB of RAM and an improved A5X CPU with quad-core graphics.

The Kindle app brings a redesigned look to the interface. Those using the new iPad as well as previous models will see an option at the top of the homescreen that allows the device to access content from both the product itself and the cloud.

SEE ALSO: New iPad Hits Stores in U.S. and 9 Other Countries on Friday | New iPad: Early Review Roundup

Although users still can’t purchase content directly via the app, e-books can be purchased by visiting amazon.com/kindlestoreforipad in the browser.

Will you download the latest Kindle app? Do you think the new iPad’s Retina display will revolutionize the way we read content on tablets and raise expectations for what reading should be like on tech devices? Let us know what you think in the comments.


The New iPad Details Hit Apple.com




The new 9.7-inch iPad has 2048 x 1536-pixel retina display, 5-megapixel camera (with the same optics sensor from the iPhone 4S) and 1080p video recording. It is available March 16 in black and white, powered by A5X chip (with quad-core graphics) and supports 4G LTE networks. It's 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.4 pounds.

Wi-Fi only iPads cost $499 for 16 GB, $599 32 GB and $699 for 64 GB, while 4G versions cost $629 for 16 GB, $729 32 GB and $829 for 64 GB. Pre-orders start today, and the devices will be in stores March 16 in these 10 countries: U.S., UK, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Credit: Apple.com

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: amazon, apple app store, apps, ipad, Kindle, kindle app, retina display


10 March Madness Brackets That Have Nothing to Do With Basketball

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 09:01 PM PDT

If you want to talk the talk when it comes to March Madness, but don’t have the slightest interest in or knowledge of college basketball, the Internet is here to help.

Your friends and family have likely created their brackets for the NCAA championship. However, there are many other brackets you can fill out that have nothing to do with basketball. They range from songs about the weather to candy. And who doesn’t like candy?

SEE ALSO: 7 Baller Apps to Follow March Madness Online

For the non-sports enthusiasts, we’ve rounded up 10 online brackets that you’ll feel comfortable participating in, whether you like boy bands or hot models. There is something for just about everyone.

Game on, anti-athletes. Which bracket will you be filling out?


1. Funny Movies





Sixty-four comedy classics compete in The Doug Gottlieb Show's "Funniest Movie Ever" contest. This bracket is separated into four divisions: National Lampoon, Judd Apatow, Farrelly Brothers and Happy Madison.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: features, march madness, sports

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New iPad Teardown: ‘It’s Really Just a Giant Battery’

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 08:36 PM PDT


You may be busy preparing your line-waiting strategy for a new iPad on Friday morning, or plotting the fastest route to your local Wal-Mart to pick up a new iPad at midnight.

But the guys at iFixIt have trumped us all — by flying to Australia, where the tablet is already on sale, and proceeding to tear one apart.

iFixIt’s CXO Luke Soules was first in line to pick up the new iPad at the Telstra store in Melbourne, Australia.

He promptly took the device apart to find out what’s inside, with the help of heat, plastic guitar picks, and a plastic opening tool.

Curious about what’s going on under the hood?


Battery


The battery is perhaps the most notable thing Soules found in the teardown. The new iPad rocks a 42.5 watt-hour battery, a dramatic increase over the iPad 2′s 25-watt-hour power provider.

The iPad is going to need all that power to truck along on 4G and support the extra RAM and improved graphics in the tablet, and battery life is still rated at right around the same amount as its predecessor.

“Its 3.7 volts and estimated 10 hours of use (9 with cellular data network) are comparable to that of the iPad 2, but we assume the extra 17.5 watt-hours are put to good use powering the extra RAM and greatly improved GPU,” says Soules. “As is the case with most tablets, the iPad 3 is really just a giant battery.”


Processor


The new iPad comes rocking a A5X processor manufactured by Samsung. “Like the A5, the A5X system features a 1GHz dual-core CPU. The upgrade that earns it an ‘X’ is the new GPU, which Apple claims outperforms even Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor.” notes Soules.


Screen


The newest iPad’s screen is what has many clamoring to get their hands on one, and iFix it echoed some of the same points early reviews have made about the screen.

“Even turned off, the 2048×1536 pixel ‘Retina display’ seems to radiate with colors one could not begin to imagine,” Soules said during the site’s live teardown of the tablet. The model numbers on iFixit’s iPad make Soules believe that the screen — at least on its model — was made by Samsung.


Other Updates


Other improvements include the tablet’s new 5-megapixel camera, and LTE connectivity — although LTE is not available in Australia where Soules was giving the tablet a test drive.

You can check out the full play-by-play for the teardown on iFixit’s site. Tell us what you think is the most exciting feature of the new iPad in the comments.

More About: apple, iFixit, ipad, trending


How Iceland Is Rebuilding Its Economy With Social Media

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 08:15 PM PDT


REYKJAVIK, Iceland — While visiting Iceland for an online marketing conference last week, I found myself in the president of Iceland’s living room, scratching my head at how welcoming and eager he was to talk about the country’s use of social media and technology to rebuild the nation.

The fact that Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson — who has been running the country for 16 years and just announced last week that he will be running once again for re-election — invites strangers into his own home is not all that surprising, when you consider the way he runs the country.

Sure, it’s highly rare for someone in his position to open his door to people he doesn’t know, but this is precisely the way he approaches government in this tiny, snowy country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Iceland is a society based on the principle that everyone is a friend until proven otherwise,” Grímsson tells me. “Unfortunately, most societies are going in the opposite direction, assuming that everyone is a potential threat. That is a dangerous route to take because you fundamentally destroy the democratic nature of human encounters. That’s not how we approach things in Iceland.”

The country is currently undergoing a resurgence since its economic meltdown in 2008. Iceland opted not to bail out the businesses that were partly responsible for the country’s crisis, and has since created a new constitution to move ahead.

President of Iceland

Iceland President

I made my way to his home, a series of beautiful white buildings on the water, outside the capitol of Reykjavik. The taxi driver mentioned he met Grímsson once at an art event. Not to mention, the founder of Nordiac eMarketing Kristján M. Hauksson — who ran the 2012 Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference — mentioned he used to go to the same gym as the president. (Grímsson even gave the keynote at the conference the following day).

The president of Iceland’s accessibility is unique, as is his approach to embracing the Internet and modern technology to help boost the economy. In addition to the country’s quirky Tumblr blog (Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend), its Twitter account and its Facebook presence, Iceland has gone out of its way to spread awareness about the nation and increase tourism.

Iceland Blog

Its 2011 “Inspired by Iceland” campaign encouraged citizens to take travelers on tours throughout the country. Even the president participated, inviting tourists into his home for pancakes with whipped cream and rhubarb jam.

Overall, the Internet has played a big role in modern day Iceland. The government asks citizens to post online comments and feedback about what they think of its new constitution proposal. And although the president actually said he wouldn’t be running for re-election earlier this year, he changed his mind after Icelanders gathered thousands of signatures online as a part of an effort to keep him in office.

Iceland Tweet

But this begs the question: Is all of this possible because the country only boasts 300,000 residents, or could this let’s-all-work-together mantra work elsewhere?


Government Accessibility


“To some extent, the size of Iceland allows this happen,” says Grímsson, leaning back in his chair. “However, there are smaller communities in bigger communities that can look at Iceland as a model.”

Although some believe the president’s accessibility could be a risk to his safety, he says it’s a far greater risk not to build trust and relationships with his people.

“Many say that there should be more barriers up for a president when interacting with citizens and that they could even get killed, but this contradicts the way we want to live our lives,” he says. “There is a risk to giving a teenager a driver’s license, but we accept that risk and let them drive anyway.”

Iceland’s progressiveness in embracing modern technology is astounding. In fact, Iceland’s 2011 Constitutional Council crowdsourced its constitution, turning to social media sites to make the process transparent and to collect input from the public.

SEE ALSO: Iceland Unveils Crowdsourced Constitution

“In the aftermath of the financial crisis, we realized that this wasn’t just an economic or a financial crisis; it was also a social, political and judicial crisis,” says Grímsson. “If we were going to allow the nation to regain its strength and position, it wouldn’t be sufficient to deal with it in traditional economic and financial ways. We needed a different democratic approach.”

A draft of the document was posted online, where it encouraged recommendations and comments from citizens to amend it. “You can look at it as an innovative thing, in terms of modern technology, but it’s actually just a modern expression on an old Icelandic tradition,” says Grímsson.

Iceland

After the country was first settled by the Vikings, residents set up a parliament, an open assembly and open courts. It was based on rule of law and not on executive power.

“The tradition of conducting everything in a way that everybody could follow and have access to it was an early part of our history,” says Grimsson. “It has become a big part of the identity of Iceland.”

“Since Iceland is a small society, transparency here probably has a different meaning than larger societies where a bureaucratic state is in place,” says Grímsson. “It’s never been the case in Iceland. But like many other countries right now, we have a lot of activism created with the help of the Internet and social media.”


The Power of the Internet


When Grímsson announced he wouldn’t be running for re-election in 2012 — which could make him the longest serving president in the country’s history — Iceland’s residents started an online petition, urging him to stay in office.

“I decided not to serve more in the presidency, and thought I could be useful doing other things,” says Grímsson. “However, a lot of people wanted me to continue, and didn’t want to open the presidency up during a time of uncertainty.”

He agreed to run again under the condition that once the uncertainties regarding the economy and other matters were more resolved, he would have the right not to serve the full time.

“It goes to show that you can get so much accomplished with the help of the Internet at a much faster rate than ever before,” adds Grímsson.

As for how he plans to approach the campaign, he’s still weighing his options.

“There is this danger that if you become too fascinated by technologies and communicating with people digitally, it lessens the personal encounters,” says Grímsson. “There is also a risk that technology could become the main field of communication, and that could also impact transparency and trust. I wouldn’t want that to happen in Iceland.”


Inspired by Iceland


The country has been embracing the Internet to boost tourism, and it seems to be working. Hauksson of Nordiac eMarketing says that Iceland has experienced a nearly 20% increase in tourism in 2011. The campaigns have certainly helped, but public awareness also increased when the world learned of Iceland’s economic crisis and its recent volcano eruption. In addition, airlines like EasyJet have expressed interest in flying to Iceland.

By logging on to InspiredbyIceland.com, tourists can sign up for free tours, meet local residents and, of course, even visit the president’s house.

Inspired by Iceland Invitations from Inspired By Iceland on Vimeo.

“By participating in the campaign, it carried out the message that everyone is a friend until proven otherwise, and that we can all work together to spread awareness,” says Grímsson. “It was very successful and promoted Iceland without huge costs.”

Grímsson noted that technology is having a greater impact on politics in both small and large communities. “What could have taken months to accomplish is now possible in just hours, thanks to mobile phones and the Internet.”

He referenced one of President Obama’s speeches in Washington D.C. Amazingly, a crowd in Cairo, Egypt turned down his initiative via tweets and online messages even before he had finished speaking.

“Technology is becoming a side show to whatever is happening — it’s giving people the opportunity to be active and influential almost immediately,” he says.

Do you think Iceland’s tech efforts can work in other countries? Can nations learn from its model? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 221A

More About: crowdsourcing, Facebook, features, Social Media, tumblr, Twitter


Amazon to Offer $10 Gift Card for $5 Next Week

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 08:02 PM PDT

Amazon

Amazon will use a two-for-one gift card offer next week to get consumers to check out AmazonLocal, its daily deals service.

On Tuesday, March 20, Amazon will let consumers buy a $10 gift card for $5. The catch: They have to go to amazonlocal.com to redeem it. The card is good for any Amazon merchandise, though. The retailer is limiting buys to one per customer.

Mike George, vice president of AmazonLocal, says the promotion is the most high-profile yet for the service, which launched last June in Boise, Idaho. AmazonLocal is now in 90 locations in 26 states and Washington, D.C.

Though others, including Facebook, have backed out of the daily deals category after it seemed to cool off last year, George says Amazon is applying its experience in the online retail space to the segment. “Some of our customers have up to a 17-year relationship with us,” he says. “Our job is to make sure they can make really informed purchase decisions.”

AmazonLocal isn’t the retailer’s only competitor in daily deals. Amazon has a stake in LivingSocial, the number two player in the category, next to Groupon. Last year, Amazon lent its considerable heft to LivingSocial for a similar deal, offering a $20 Amazon gift card for $10. LivingSocial sold more than 1 million of the vouchers and greatly increased its visibility.

That offer came after Groupon partnered with Gap in August 2010 for a deal that offered $50 in merchandise for $25.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, youngvet

More About: amazon, daily deals, groupon, LivingSocial, trending

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First Look: ‘Max Payne 3′ Takes Cinematic Shooters to the Next Level

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 07:42 PM PDT


In crafting Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games says it wanted to put the "art of shooting back in the shooter."

This follows the spirit of the first two games, created by Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment. The Max Payne franchise always paid homage to the gritty John Woo action style. Now the series is back from an eight-year hiatus, and Rockstar wants to continue the strong traditions of the first two, while exploring new gameplay ideas. Rockstar released a video that explores some gameplay elements of the sequel on Thursday.

We had the opportunity to see a highly polished chapter of Max Payne 3 at Rockstar's New York offices this week. From what we saw, the game will truly impress old fans of the franchise, become a staple for fans of Rockstar's games, and bring in those unfamiliar to series.

Max Payne, the titular main character, has had a hard life since we left him eight years before. He has drifted along on pills and booze, and runs into an old friend from the force, Raul Passos, who invites him to come do private security in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As New York is no longer hospitable to him, Max agrees, and finds himself working private security for wealthy Rodrigo Branco, his beautiful wife, and two younger brothers.

We were dropped into the chapter where Rodrigo's wife has just been kidnapped with a ransom of $3 million. The brothers were debating how to handle the situation in a cut scene. For fans of the original, the graphic novel-style cutscenes have been updated. They are fully rendered movies, but still retain the graphic novel flavor with kinetic text to emphasize important phrases and occasional comic-styled panels breaking up the action. The game also flirts with splashes of color that make the whole world a little more surreal, again eliciting a feeling of illustration.

The cutscenes deliver us to a soccer stadium, where our Rockstar guide points out the action seamlessly resumes without a loading screen in sight. It's something Rockstar has clearly labored over for this title. After receiving a gunshot to the arm, Max is running for his life as the ransom attempt has gone to pot, and narrating the whole time. The most important thing kept intact from the previous titles is the voice acting by James McCaffrey, who gives Max his husky, world-worn rasp unmistakable to fans.

The exciting addition is that McCaffrey has done all the acting for the role as well, providing motion capture that Rockstar said they turned into over 400 animations, so Max always looks like he's moving fluidly. Motion capture was also used for larger elements of the game. The soccer stadium that soon becomes a battlefield was a set built for the game, and enemies were motion captured attacking Max and Raul.

The most important thing for Rockstar to clinch was “bullet time.” The physics-powered effect made battle sequences truly epic in the original games, and its a concept finessed in Max Payne 3. Bullet timing allows you to look like a complete badass, slowing down the action during clutch sequences to make Max perform deadly, beautiful dives while laying waste to his foes. Even better, the killing blow focuses the camera on enemies, allowing you to view their death in bullet time as well. It makes me think this is the kind of game you can play with friends watching and cheering you on as you perform more and more ridiculous action-hero inspired moves in slow motion.

A Rockstar representative told us the game is probably eight to ten hours per playthrough, but he hopes gamers will keep playing to perfect their runs through each chapter, and learn more fun ways to defeat foes. He described it as perfecting the "choreography" of the action sequences. We can see it happening, too, as the game was enjoyable to take in from a spectator's perspective on Rockstar's couch. It feels very much like a movie. There is hardly a heads-up display to speak of, leaving you to focus on the action. The use of color, tight edits and dramatic lighting made it feel like an experienced cinematographer had their hands all over the game.

“'Cinematic’ is often used to describe games with great cutscenes, but our approach applies to the entire game,” a Rockstar rep said.

Players still have almost two months to wait until May 15, when Max Payne 3 hits Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The PC version will come a little later.

More About: features, Gaming, Max Payne, rockstar games, video games

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‘PayPal Here’ Accepts Payments from iPhones [HANDS ON]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 07:24 PM PDT


PayPal unveiled its new PayPal Here, a small business mobile payment system. First shown on Thursday, it’s a combination of a free mobile app and thumb-sized card reader, putting a PayPal cash register in the pocket of anybody who wants one.

“When PayPal does something it doesn’t start small … PayPal does things globally,” said eBay CEO John Donahoe shortly before unveiling the app, and something that’s likely to give the company an advantage over the competition. The company launched PayPal Here Thursday at select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, with plans to be available to any merchant who is interested in the service soon.

PayPal as a whole is now available in 190 markets and supports 25 different currencies. The service has tons of room to grow, and PayPal already has the customer base in place to make that growth happen quickly.

PayPal’s triangular dongle for accepting swiped credit card transactions fits in the headphone jack of any iPhone or Android handset. Its front slides down slightly to “lock” the reader in place — a characteristic PayPal feels is an advantage over Square, its cube-shaped counterpart.

While the ability to swipe cards is certainly a standout feature, the PayPal Here app is also capable of accepting check and credit card purchases by capturing photos of the check or card in question, and the app can also be used to keep track of cash transactions.

If your business is one that bills customers, then the app also has a sleek interface for creating invoices that can be sent to customers via email and paid using a PayPal account or any credit card.

In addition to offering merchants a new option for accepting payments, PayPal also announced an updated version of its consumer mobile app Thursday. The updated app allows you to find local businesses that accept PayPal payments, check-in at a business, and then simply say "Charge My PayPal" when it comes time to pay.

Integrated with PayPal Here, merchants will be able to see a photo of you and your name in the PayPal Here app, and can charge your purchases by tapping your picture. The entire process is simple and straightforward, with the best part being that merchants are using the same app to take PayPal payments as they are cash, check, and credit card transactions — it all works together.

If you’re already familiar with Square and the Square Register, then a lot of the features of PayPal Here and the updated PayPal app are going to look pretty familiar.

We were able to spend hands-on time with both apps, and used the updated consumer app -– which you can grab for iPhone today — to make an all-important purchase for our San Francisco office at Kara’s Cupcakes. Check out the gallery below for a look, and let us know what you think about PayPal Here in the comments.





A blue triangle-shaped dongle allows you to accept swiped credit card payments using the PayPal Here app

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apps, iphone, mobile payments, paypal, trending

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How Tech Helps You Make Sweet Music [CONTEST WINNERS]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:55 PM PDT

Advances in digital media have dramatically changed not only in the way we consume music, but also the way we create it. First came Napster, which opened up file-sharing to the masses. Now, through services like iTunes and Spotify, we have more music at our fingertips than ever before.

A lot of the music on those services is made by people like you, often created without ever having to leave the house. From recording to distribution, it is now easier than ever before to create high-quality music and get it heard by others.

In this spirit, we asked you to show us how tech is changing the way you make music. The responses we received showed a variety of set-ups, featuring keyboards, laptops, pedals and other gear. We saw an impressive range of displays, from compact desktops to fully developed home studios.

We chose 10 winners and asked them to tell us about their arrangements. These 10 musicians will be receiving Skullcandy Aviator headphones that feature the Mashable logo, as well as a matching iPhone case. Check out the winning entries below.


1. Marius Masalar





Marius has updated his tech music setup as he has had changing music responsibilities. He is currently using a Korg & Akai Midi controller for software samplers and synthesizers.

He also relies heavily on various iPad music apps, including Animoog, NodeBeat HD, iDensity and Alchemy, just to name a few. Marius said he often feels like he is making music from the future with the seamless integration of his gadgets.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Vesnaandjic

More About: Contests, Gadgets, Music, Tech


Pinterest Scams on the Rise: Protect Yourself [PICS]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:43 PM PDT


1. An enticing board





This board appears to be full of special offers of some sort.

Click here to view this gallery.

The popularity of picture-based service Pinterest also makes it an increased target for scams, according to one online security expert who spoke to Mashable.

Pinterest’s simple, intuitive interface — fueling its popularity — also makes it an easier target for scammers than other social networks, says Catalin Cosoi, chief security researcher at the antivirus software provider BitDefender. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where clever sentences and closed networks add obstacles for would-be scammers, a simple eye-catching photo can entrap imprudent Pinterest users and spread quickly.

“It’s very tricky because, so far, for Facebook and Twitter it’s quite easy to spot a scam — you have to install an app or follow a certain link,” Cosoi says. “With Pinterest, on the other hand, it’s only a picture you have to click on or re-pin.”

Most Pinterest scams so far involve surveys, and are the most common plots across all social media sites, according to Cosoi. A seemingly great offer for a discounted service or product will first ask users for personal information.

That personal information enables more directly targeted attacks and come-ons to unsuspecting users. (See gallery above for examples.)

“When a service is new and there are a lot of users joining, there’s a false sense of security,” Cosoi says.

So how can prolific pinners avoid becoming prey? Cosoi says to use extreme caution when providing personal or professional information — as opposed to tastes and favorites — online. He also recommends using link scanners and other malware-fighting tools.

Pinterest is aware of the spam and phishing challenges it will face with continued growth, and says addressing them quickly is a “tremendous priority.”

“Our engineers are actively working to manage issues as they arise and are revisiting the nature of public feeds on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into them,” a company spokesperson told Mashable in an email.

Pinterest isn’t the first social network to face security issues, though, and won’t be last.

“This is something we’ll see everyday,” Cosoi says. “As a service becomes more popular, malware writers and scammers will see if they can use the tool for bad, as well.”

Have you come across attempted scams on Pinterest? What were they like? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS GALLERY: Inside Pinterest Headquarters



The Surprising Exterior




This is the front of the Pinterest office in downtown Palo Alto.

Click here to view this gallery.

Scam gallery images courtesy of BitDefender

More About: online security, pinterest, Social Media, trending


Want Your New iPad Early? Forget the Apple Store

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:17 PM PDT


Picture the scene: You stroll into the office Friday morning toting a new iPad, casually showing off its Retina display and 4G capabilities, while boasting about how you got it eight hours ahead of all those nerds in line at the Apple Store.

If you live near a 24-hour Walmart, and don’t mind staying up until midnight, that could be you. Alternatively, if you live in New York City, you can head down to the 24-hour Best Buy in Union Square — though again, you’ll have to wait until midnight.

In an unusual move, the two big box retailers are getting the jump on the Apple Store by selling the new iPad at 12:01am local time on March 16, the day the third-generation iPad goes on sale. Apple Stores across the U.S. will be releasing their iPads to lines of eager customers at 8am local time. (Stores in Australia, 17 hours ahead of the U.S., are already selling them.)

Along with the Apple Store, AT&T, Verizon, Target and Radio Shack stores will all start selling the new iPad Friday. Best Buy stores that aren’t in Union Square will start selling the tablets at 10 a.m.; some Best Buys will start handing out tickets for the iPad at 8 a.m.

What isn’t known is how Walmart got away with stealing the Apple Store’s thunder. The famously controlling tech company seldom allows others to sell its products first, so we’re wondering what kind of backroom deal happened here — or whether Bentonville is currently experiencing the wrath of Tim Cook.

To find your nearest 24-hour Walmart, click here.

Will you be nabbing an iPad at midnight? Let us know in the comments.

More About: apple, best buy, ipad, trending, WalMart


Rush Limbaugh Joins Twitter

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 05:25 PM PDT


Radio host Rush Limbaugh announced on his Thursday show that he’s opened a Twitter account.

His handle @limbaugh is not to be confused with Fake Rush Limbaugh at a similar handle, @Iimbaugh (where the letter L is actually an upper-case letter “I”) but with only 679 followers. The real Rush already has more than 107,000 followers, but has yet to be verified.

His first tweet recommended a story by The Daily Caller about NY Times ads airing on his show and criticized the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America.


He joined Twitter, he said on the show, to engage his “army” of followers:

“Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I've been saying, nah, just do what you've been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that's fine, but … there's an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it. I'm just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate. It's that simple — you just retweet them.”

Earlier this month, Limbaugh stirred up a storm of controversy when he labeled a college woman with a derogatory term after she asked that health care coverage included contraception. After which, big advertisers such as AOL withdrew their sponsorships.

Will you follow Rush Limbaugh on Twitter? Will you message him? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RomanOkopny

More About: radio, Rush Limbaugh, trending, Twitter

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Peel App Reveals Most-Booed ‘American Idol’ Contestant

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 04:46 PM PDT


TV discovery app Peel on Wednesday launched Idol Interactive Experience, a second-screen engagement platform that lets viewers “cheer” or “boo” contestants and judges in real time.

Peel data from last night’s top 12 performance show reveal which singers are most likely to be eliminated during tonight’s results show. Leading the chorus of boos were not-so-stellar performances from Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick and Shannon Magrane.

The graphic above depicts the intensity level of cheers (in blue) and boos (in orange) for singers as they performed, or as in Jermaine Jones’s case, as he was disqualified for his recently surfaced criminal past.

Peel users pressed buttons on their iOS devices to express how they felt about the performances and judges’ comments. And before host Ryan Seacrest even opened voting to the masses, users got to see the sentiment results from other Idol viewers.

For example, the results updated in real time as the contestants sang and the judges gave their critiques. Hollie Cavanagh topped the Idol Interactive Experience’s leaderboard for her rendition of Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love” (pictured left).

Front-runner Jessica Sanchez — who wooed America last week with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” — didn’t impress the judges this week with “Turn the Beat Around,” but the Peel community still put her in third place just behind Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet.

Interestingly, judge Jennifer Lopez garnered the most cheers of the night but also the most boos out of the three judges.

Fellow judge Randy Jackson got the most love with 70% positive rating.

SEE ALSO: 'American Idol' Judge Turns To Pinterest After Sparkly Pin Ignites Buzz

"We think we're still just in the first inning here as far as what social TV is capable of," Peel's vice president of marketing Scott Ellis recently told Mashable.

Mashable will be bringing you Peel data every week until a winner is announced, but do you think a tool like this can accurately predict who will be eliminated? Sound off in the comments.


Watch the March 14 Performances and Judge for Yourself



Phillip Phillips Sings "Hard To Handle"


Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, powerofforever

More About: american idol, apps, Entertainment, mobile apps, Music, second screen apps, Social Media, social tv, TV


Animation Mocks Instagram Fans [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 04:05 PM PDT

Instagram‘s latest developments have been turned into an amusing animation that pokes fun at impatient Android users, Millennials’ fascination with the photo-sharing app and cynical camera owners of a previous generation.

The animation comes on the heels of co-founder Kevin Systrom announcing at South by Southwest on Sunday that an Android app for Instagram will be unleashed “very soon.”

Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese company known for creating funny and sometimes offensive animations that focus on current events, used the SXSW news to visually portray how Android users (including myself) feel about the still iOS-only app: Hurry up, Instagram.

The 95-second video also recounts a bit of Instagram history, saying, “The name Instagram is a derivative of Instamatic, a popular line of cameras manufactured by Kodak starting in the 1960s.”

SEE ALSO: Jason Mraz Picks Instagram Contest's Best Snapshots [PICS]

Instagram, which came out in 2010, has been downloaded 27 million times. Last year, Apple dubbed Instagram its App of the Year in 2011. Systrom appeared in Best Buy’s Super Bowl ad in February 2012.


BONUS: 13 Products You Can Make From Your Instagram Pics



1. Bangles





This Instagram'd bangle on Etsy is made by BuyMyCrap.

"We fell in love with the Instagram process and how it allows you to create pieces representative of yesteryear with different tones, filters and effects," says Lainey Bard, who's affectionately known by her customers as Mrs. Crap. "Since we create wearable works of art, we decided to include Instagram inspired pieces in our shop."

The Craps access the Instagram API via iPod to pull photos. Bangles are sold for $40.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: android, animation, apps, humor, instagram, iphone, mobile apps, photography


Lenovo Plans to Be First to Make a Windows 8 Tablet [REPORT]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 03:15 PM PDT

Lenovo-yoga-600

Windows 8 won’t be ready for consumers until fall, but that’s not stopping hardware makers from fighting to be first in line to build hardware for Microsoft’s new operating system.

Lenovo is planning to be the “first to market” with a Windows 8 tablet, The Verge reports.

Citing a “source,” the report says Lenovo is planning to be ready to ship the device in October and that it will have an Intel chip, so it clearly won’t be a Windows-on-ARM device. Other than that, there aren’t any details on exactly what the machine will be, although given those basic criteria (tablet, Intel, Windows 8), there’s at least one suspect: the IdeaPad Yoga.

Lenovo showed off the Yoga at CES earlier this year, and it got a lot of attention due to its unusual form factor: a laptop with a keyboard that folds over completely to transform it into a tablet.

SEE ALSO: How Windows 8 Tablets Could Seriously Challenge the iPad

Michael Dell had also said publicly that Dell would offer a tablet when Windows 8 launches, and Nokia recently confirmed months of speculation that it was working on a tablet as well. There have also been reports that HP and Asus are working on Windows 8 tablets as well.

A key differentiator among Windows 8 tablets will be whether they’re based on a traditional PC chip or one that uses the ARM architecture. While the new version of Windows has been engineered to be near-identical on both, ARM-based Windows devices are going to be “end-to-end” devices (meaning Windows would come fully integrated) and have a few special features, like an ultra-low-power mode. However, most legacy apps won’t work on them.

Are you interested in Windows 8 tablets? What would you like to see in them? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga



IdeaPad YOGA




The Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA is marketed as a 4-in-1 device. Really, it's a 2-in-1, but users might find it useful nonetheless.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: IdeaPad Yoga, lenovo, tablets, trending, Ultrabooks, Windows, Windows 8


Former Facebook PR Head Shares Strategy for Successful Launches [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 02:48 PM PDT


The Leaders in Digital Series is supported by Samsung. Follow Samsung USA on Google+ and Twitter, and like them on Facebook.


As Facebook's first PR director, Brandee Barker dealt with everything from the launch of News Feed to the Beacon controversy to huge rounds of investment.

Since leaving Facebook in late 2010, Barker has advised a who's who of startups on communications and social media strategy, including Square, Spotify, Quora, Groupon and AirBnB.

We had a chance to catch up with her earlier this week at SXSW in Austin, where she participated in a panel discussion on “How to Launch a Product.”

In an interview off stage with Mashable, Barker offered advice to startups looking to make a splash at the conference, described the anatomy of a successful launch and took us behind the scenes of some of the crises she had to navigate in her tenure at Facebook.

Watch the interview in the video above.


Series supported by Samsung

The Leaders in Digital Series is supported by Samsung. Follow Samsung USA on Google+ and Twitter, and like them on Facebook.

More About: Facebook, features, leaders in digital series, mashable, Startups, trending

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Why the iPad Can’t Use FaceTime Over LTE: It’s Apple’s Call

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 02:08 PM PDT

facetime-icon-600

The first wave of reviews of the new iPad are in, and they’ve discovered something borderline scandalous. It’s impossible to perform a FaceTime video call over the iPad’s 4G LTE connection, The Verge reports. While eyes quickly turned to the carriers for the omission, it’s Apple that decided not to include the feature.

Responding to a query from Mashable, an Apple spokesperson said FaceTime has always been Wi-Fi only and that the company had no new announcements about the service.

We also contacted Verizon and AT&T. AT&T had no comment. Neither did Verizon, apart from confirming that the decision was Apple’s, not theirs.

When Steve Jobs first unveiled FaceTime on the iPhone 4, he had grand ambitions for the Apple-made video-chatting service. At the unveiling, he said that while FaceTime would be limited to Wi-Fi networks in 2010, though he strongly implied Apple was working with carriers to bring the service to 3G networks. So far that hasn’t happened.

SEE ALSO: Apple Will Give You Credit for Your Old iPad

The emergence of 4G LTE seemingly brought some hope that FaceTime would be extended to carrier networks. After all, one of the goals of 4G technologies such as LTE was to make make it possible for high-bandwidth services like video chatting to become commonplace without clogging networks.

It’s worth noting that the iPad can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, with a user theoretically connecting to the iPad from a separate iPhone or iPad, using FaceTime that way. The iPhone has this capability, too (though obviously over slower networks).

Do you think the iPad’s inability to use FaceTime over LTE is a problem? How big? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


A Tour of the Key Features on Apple’s New iPad



1. Retina Display




The most touted feature of the new iPad is its ultra-high-resolution "retina" display, which clocks in at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels -- a million more pixels than a 1080p HDTV. Thanks to the extra pixels and the iPad's new graphics processor, the screen has 44% better color saturation. The screen's pixels are so small, Apple says it had to change the design of the LCD itself to elevate the pixels above the circuitry to prevent distortion. Apple calls it the best display ever made for a mobile device, and -- from the specs -- it's hard to disagree.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: 4g lte, apple, att, facetime, ipad, LTE, trending, verizon


European Spotify Users Get Exclusive to The Temper Trap’s New Album

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 01:23 PM PDT

The Temper Trap's New Album

Australian indie band The Temper Trap is releasing the follow up to its 2009 album Conditions in May, but fans on social music player Spotify in Europe won’t have to wait that long.

The band, best known for their international hit “Sweet Disposition,” will release tracks from its second album, The Temper Trap, on Spotify before anywhere else. The exclusive songs on Spotify will slowly roll out between now and the May release dates of the album, according to Spotify PR Manager Sally Whatley. This is an exclusive for Spotify users across Europe.

The team will notify interested fans when tracks are available for streaming on Spotify Facebook page.

The Temper Trap’s sophomore album, featuring a 12-song set, will debut in Australia, New Zealand and Germany on May 18. The release day for the U.K. and Europe is May 21. U.S. and Canadian audiences can buy or download the CD on June 5. The full album will also be available on Spotify on May 21 in Europe.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Limits Apps that Can 'Listen' [VIDEO]

“We've been busy rehearsing, and are really excited about getting on the road and premiering some new songs from the album – first at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and then on a short sold-out tour of North America later this month,” stated the band on its official website.

The Temper Trap released an exclusive track, “Rabbit Hole,” on YouTube on March 8. The video, which already has 174,400 views, features slow-motion water color effects that match the album’s cover art. “Rabbit Hole” is available on Spotify starting Thursday in Europe.

The band’s first official single off the new album will be “Need Your Love” and come out March 27. This is the first release featuring the group’s new addition, Joseph Greer on keyboard and guitar.

Listen to the early release here:

More About: Music, music streaming, spotify


Top 7 Tax Deductions for the Self-Employed

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 01:09 PM PDT


These days, more professionals are shifting from the role of full-time employee to freelancer, a movement that some refer to as a gig economy. If you have freelance income to report by U.S. tax day (Apr. 17), your taxes will be more involved than your colleagues’, who only have W-2 forms.

Whether this is your first year self-employed, or you're an experienced entrepreneur, freelancing comes with a whole new set of tax issues. But you can still find plenty of opportunities to cut your tax bill.

As a sole proprietor, you can deduct a lot of your expenses, such as the cost of a computer, office supplies and work-related travel. You may even be able to deduct your health insurance premiums and part of your rent or mortgage.

Read on to learn more about some of the key deductions available to freelancers, self-employed taxpayers with small or startup businesses, or other sole proprietors.


1. Health Insurance


As part of the Small Business Jobs Act, self-employed taxpayers, including sole proprietors reporting income on Schedule C, may be able to deduct the cost of health insurance for themselves and their families. However, the deduction isn't available if you were able to participate in an employer-subsidized health plan (either by your employer or spouse's employer). And this deduction can't exceed the earned income you collect from your business.

If applicable, take this deduction on Form 1040 Line 29. You can find a Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040 (scroll down to line 29).


2. Home Office


If you work from home, you may be entitled to deduct a portion of your housing costs. To qualify, you must use part of your home, "exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business," or "exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business."

Home office deductions are based on the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes. If you use a spare room (180 sq. ft.) as an office and your home is 1,900 sq. ft., then you can write off 9.5% of certain home expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, insurance (homeowners or renters) and utilities. Direct costs relating to the space, such as repairs or paint, can also be deducted.

Although this deduction is commonly considered a red flag for an IRS audit, if you play by the IRS's rules and qualify, don't be afraid to take this legitimate deduction. For a full explanation of the home office deduction, including eligibility and record-keeping requirements, check out IRS Publication 587.


3. Monthly Utilities


If you are taking the home office deduction, you may also deduct a percentage of your heating and electricity bills. You may be able to deduct a portion of your home Internet bill, if you can prove it's work related.

Of course, if you rent or have purchased a dedicated, out-of-home office, utilities for this space are 100% deductible. Additionally, phones used for business are legitimate self-employed deductions. This includes a second line in your home or a cellphone for business use.


4. Office Supplies


You can deduct the cost of equipment you buy for your business, such as filing cabinets, desk, printers and office supplies like pens and envelopes.

What about your laptop and tablet? If they are used for your freelance or small business, they can be deducted. However, if you only have one laptop and use it partly for business, and partly for personal purposes, you can only deduct the percentage of its business use (e.g. 60% for business). Refer to Publication 535 for more details on business expenses.


5. Autos and Commuting


In general, commuting is considered personal use and is not deductible. If you're self-employed and have an office outside of the home, you cannot deduct your commute to the office. However, you can deduct travel to meet a client, purchase business supplies or conduct research. Travel expenses include any public transit, parking and tolls.

If you're driving to meet a customer or conducting business travel, you can deduct a standard mileage rate for this travel (Note: you could also opt to calculate your auto deductions, based on actual expenses; refer to IRS Publication 463 for more details.)

For the standard mileage rate, you'll need to use two different rates for your 2011 calculations. For Jan. 1 through June 30, 2011, the standard rate is $0.51 per mile; for July 1 through Dec. 31, 2011, the rate is $0.555 cents per mile. Again, refer to Pub 463 for all the details.


6. Travel


If your trip was primarily for business purposes, for example, to meet with a potential client or attend a conference, you can deduct certain expenses. You should be able to fully deduct any transportation costs (plane tickets, taxis, airport parking, etc.). You can deduct hotel costs for any business days; if you combine work and play, you can't deduct lodging and meals for your personal days (although transportation is still fully deductible).

Business owners and self-employed taxpayers can write off 50% of business meals, as well as entertainment. If you take a client to a basketball game, you can deduct 50% of the ticket costs, as long as business was discussed before or after the event. If you're away from home overnight, you can claim a daily meal allowance of $46 per day in small localities. (Most major cities will qualify for a higher standard meal allowance; per diem rates are listed in Publication 1542.)

While it's always advisable to hold on to any receipts, you particularly need to keep track of receipts for your meal, lodging and entertainment expenses. Publication 463 advises you which expenses can be deducted.


7. Retirement Plans


Self-employed business owners can stash money away in tax-deferred retirement plans. For example, in 2011 you can contribute up to $49,000 into a SEP IRA or solo 401(k) plan. To qualify for your 2011 tax return, you needed to have set up a plan by Dec. 31, 2011. However, once the plan is established, you're able to deduct contributions up to your tax-return filing date (Apr. 17).


Smart Approach


As with any tax strategy, the best way to avoid trouble is to be honest about your income, deduct only the expenses you're entitled to, and keep all receipts and supporting documentation to back up your deductions. And of course, consulting with a qualified tax professional is always wise to make sure you're following the rules and enjoying all the deductions available to you.


Moving Forward


If you're self-employed, operating as a sole proprietor, tax time can be yet another reminder that you haven't addressed your business structure yet.

Talk with a CPA or tax advisor to see whether an S Corporation (which can help business owners reduce their self-employment or Social Security/Medicare taxes) is right for you. The LLC and S Corp can protect your personal assets on the off chance your business is sued or can't pay its debts. While it's too late to impact your 2011 taxes, the end of tax time is a perfect time to reassess what's next for your business.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, bluestocking, Flickr, 401K

More About: Business, entrepreneurs, features, freelance, Startups, taxes

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What Does The iPad Line Look Like In Your City?

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:57 PM PDT


Apple’s new iPad hits stores on Friday, March 16 at 8 a.m. local time in ten countries, and as usual, people are already starting to line up outside Apple Stores worldwide in order to purchase the new tablet.

Waiting in line overnight outside Apple stores on big product release days has become a tradition among Apple enthusiasts. These gatherings tend to turn into something of a celebration.

When lining up for Apple’s previous release, the iPhone 4S, people saw farm animals, large sums of money being turned down for a spot in line, and even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who joined the line in order to buy his own device. He even tweeted about the experience:


Because stores open at 8 a.m. local time, customers in Australia have less than three hours left to wait.


Show Us Your Photos


Are you waiting in line to buy a new iPad? Do you think your city has the longest line?

Tweet your photos to the hashtag #ipadline, or upload them here, and show the rest of the Mashable community!

For some inspiration, check out the photos that the Mashable community sent during the iPhone 4S release.

Image courtesy of flickr, goodrob13

More About: apple, ipad


Top 3 Ways to Track the Republican Presidential Nomination Online

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:49 PM PDT


If you’ve been following the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, you know one thing: delegates mean everything.

But some states use complicated arithmetic to figure out which candidate won how many delegates, so it can be difficult to track each candidate’s quest to gain the magic number of 1,144 to lock up the nomination before the Republican National Convention in late August.

Rest easy, armchair campaign managers: the Internet’s got your back. Mashable has found three websites with excellent interactive tools for keeping tabs on the all-important delegate race.


The Washington Post


The Washington Post’s Republican Primary Tracker shows a simple bar graph illustrating the delegate race. It’s sorted by total number of delegates earned in primaries and caucuses so far.

The campaigns of Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry are crossed out, as they’ve both left the race — although Huntsman managed to grab two delegates before doing so.

Underneath the bar graph, the tracker breaks down the delegate count by state. It shows the total number of delegates available in each state, how many were picked up by each candidate, and how the state allocates delegates.

By clicking an arrow next to “delegate allocation,” visitors to the site are told about each state’s delegate rules: are they winner-take-all? Are the delegates bound to candidates?

The allocation can get pretty hairy. Here are the rules in Georgia, for example: “31 delegates are allocated according to order of finish statewide for everyone over 20% of the vote. 42 delegates are awarded proportionally by congressional district (three per district) unless one candidate receives a majority of the vote, in which case they receive all of that district’s three delegates. The other three delegates are the state’s Republican officials.”

But the really impressive feature on The Washington Post’s site is its interactive tool:

A unique graph shows how many delegates have been snatched up so far and how many are left until the convention. It marks important dates such as Super Tuesday, and clearly shows that all-important number of 1,144. As a user drags his or her mouse across the graph, it shows which candidate won how many delegates in which states, as well as how many more delegates are up for grabs in upcoming primaries and caucuses.


The New York Times


The New York Times’ Republican Delegate Tally has a pixel-inspired graph, with one pixel representing one delegate. Like the other graphs, it clearly shows the 1,144 mark and how many delegates are left to go: 1358, as of Thursday afternoon. There’s a state-by-state breakdown with an explanation of the rules, too.

Unlike The Washington Post, but like the Republican Party, The New York Times’ tracker has ditched Huntsman and Perry’s campaigns altogether.

The New York Times also has a colorful, easy-to-read Primary Map. The colors clearly show which candidate brought home the most delegates in each state. Dragging a mouse cursor over each state reveals more information: The percentage of primary or caucus votes each candidate won in that state, how many delegates that translates to and, if a state has yet to vote, the date of its primary or caucus.


Politico


Politico’s Delegate Tracker opens up with a clear, concise explanation of the nomination process. It follows with a bar graph, similar to the other publications. Candidates are sorted by delegates won so far, and there’s a “finish line” showing the magic number of 1,144.

Politico chose to ditch Perry, but Huntsman remains: perhaps because he managed to grab a pair of delegates before dropping out of the race. Politico also has the state-by-state breakdown with neatly sorted data.

Where Politico’s delegate tracking site really shines, though, is with its interactive map of results. The map is green-clad, which doesn’t do much for easily telling which candidate did well in a certain state. But click on a state that’s already held its primary or caucus, and you’re dramatically zoomed into a data wonderland. County-by-county data is available, letting users easily delve into the nitty-gritty of a state’s results.

Historical data from 2004 and 2008′s presidential elections is available too, presumably for users to get some context into a state’s political leanings.


Happy Tracking!


Which website’s delegate tracker is your favorite and why? Have you seen any other great delegate tracking websites out there? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Politics, republicans, US


Will Streaming March Madness Games Kill Your Office Network?

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:34 PM PDT


Smartphones. Tablets. Computers. Streaming video to devices of all sorts is gaining momentum quickly, and college basketball fans are among the converted. Last year, use of the March Madness On Demand streaming service increased by 47% for the tournament’s first three rounds, delivering 10.3 million hours of video in just over a week.

But a lot of that streaming happened at work. March Madness games tip off all the time, a lot of them happen during the day, and the event attracts many casual hoops fans. According to a recent study by the IT staffing company Modis, more than two in five IT professionals say March Madness has affected their network, with 34% reporting the event has entirely shut their network down in the past and more than 35% saying it’s slowed operations.

Brian Jacobs, a senior product manager for the network monitoring service Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold, told Mashable that heavy video streaming by employees during March Madness can have unforeseen consequences by impacting other business necessities such as phone service quality.

But Jacobs also cautions that it’s impractical at this time of year for office managers to expect sports-minded workers to simply ignore the games.

“The more pragmatic approach is saying to stream it over your cellular network rather than the corporate network,” Jacobs said. “If admins take the tack of, ‘if you’re going to break the law, do it in a responsible way,’ they might see fewer problems.”

According to the Modis study, 75% of IT professionals say employees should be forbidden entirely from watching sporting events such as March Madness during the workday. Nearly two-thirds say their department takes action of some sort to block, throttle or ban streaming of non-work content.

Jacobs says another possible compromise for office managers is setting up TVs in a break room for employees to catch games without burdening networks and granting them a limited amount of time to catch some of the action. It’s an idea some companies have apparently already caught on to: 45% of respondents to the Modis study reported their office has set up a March Madness viewing location for employees.

Still, Jacobs says the biggest mistake hoops-crazed workers can make is assuming they’ll be able to stream games on company time without being caught.

“There’s nothing anonymous in today’s world, so you could really get yourself in trouble if you work for a particularly draconian IT department,” he said. “I’ve seen some companies where, if you try to go to certain websites, your name gets put on an automated list.”

Do you watch March Madness at work? Do you think doing so should be allowed? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: March Madness Must-Follows


If you can’t stream the games, at least follow along on Twitter with these great sources.


1. @GoodmanCBS




Jeff Goodman is a CBSSports.com writer. His SiriusXM show, Inside College Basketball, regularly has interesting and timely guests as well. Follow his Twitter feed to find out who's on when.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, mediaphotos

More About: march madness, Mobile, video streaming

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10 Futuristic Products in Development Now

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:30 PM PDT


1. Invisible Car




To promote its new fuel cell vehicle, which has zero exhaust emissions, Mercedes pulled a stunt that showed off an "invisible" car with incredibly low environmental impact.

Although Mercedes says the hydrogen-powered drive system is "ready for series production," it's speculated to not be in comercialization until 2014.

Click here to view this gallery.

Everyone jokes about the flying cars and robot maids we’ve seen in movies and television, but it turns out the “future” we’ve dreamed of is well on its way.

The majority of these are just concepts, but all are definitely in effect, one way or another. In fact, you can technically purchase a flying car for the low, low price of $200,000. However, it will be a bit longer until we can purchase them as easily as a Honda Civic.

Every day we advance in technology, space exploration, medicine and more. From mind reading to in vitro meat, here are ten crazy peeks at what is coming for the future.

This May we’ll be exploring the future of digital at our signature conference, Mashable Connect. See below for all the details.


Event Information



Our annual destination conference, Mashable Connect, brings our community together for three days to connect offline in an intimate setting at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World®. It will take place in Orlando, Florida from Thursday, May 3 – Saturday, May 5. Registration is now open.

Register for Mashable Connect 2012 in Lake Buena Vista, FL on Eventbrite

Held in a unique location away from everyday distractions, Mashable Connect is a rare and valuable opportunity to be surrounded by digital leaders across industries. You'll spend time with Mashable's passionate and influential community, hear from top speakers who will provide insight into the the technologies and trends that are shaping the next era of digital innovation, and get to spend time with the Mashable team.

To keep Mashable Connect as intimate as possible, only a limited amount of tickets are available.



A Look Back at Last Year's Mashable Connect



1. Mashable Connect Race Powered by Gowalla




Team members check in to a race location at Magic Kingdom during the Mashable Connect Race powered by Gowalla.

Click here to view this gallery.


Supporting Sponsor



Sponsorship Opportunities


A limited number of sponsor opportunities are available for Mashable Connect. This is an excellent opportunity to get in front of Mashable's passionate and influential audience. Contact sponsorships@mashable.com for opportunities.

Image courtesy of Flickr, romainguy

More About: features, future, Gadgets, Science, Tech

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Mr Porter Launches Global Augmented Reality Fashion Hunt

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:13 PM PDT


Men’s apparel retail site Mr Porter, which we dubbed one of the three best personifications of the content and commerce model, is staging a mobile treasure hunt across five cities to celebrate its first birthday.

After debuting in Sydney, the treasure hunt kicks off in New York Friday and runs until March 22. Paris (March 23 to 29), London (March 30 to April 5) and Hong Kong (April 6 to 12) will follow.

Interested parties are invited to download augmented reality app Goldrun [iTunes link] to participate. The app will guide users to locations in each city, where Mr Porter shopping bags will appear — via augmented reality — on their phones. Each bag will contain a prize, such as Lanvin sneakers, Paul Smith cufflinks or a pair of A.P.C. jeans.

Mr Porter is also giving away $2,500 gift certificates for one winner and a friend via Facebook.

In addition to the giveaways, the UK-based retailer is also releasing a printed special edition of its weekly journal. There is, of course, a digital tie-in: users can shop from the pages using Mr Porter’s Style Help app for iPhones, powered by augmented reality app developer Aurasma.

As an online-only retailer, Mr Porter — and its parent company, Net-a-Porter — are compelled to be more creative when staging offline events. Net-a-Porter has certainly risen to the challenge, staging shopping events and giveaways for Fashion’s Night Out and collection launches that required the use of mobile devices at specific locations.

In general, UK retailers have proven much more digitally proactive when it comes to online and offline promotions. Topshop, for instance, has brought in augmented reality-powered fitting rooms, Instagram-styled photoshoots, SCVNGR hunts and QR code-activated catwalk livestreams to its stores. Tesco also rolled out an AR-enhanced catalog last year. And this Saturday, Ted Baker London will set up a digital portrait service at stores in the UK, New York and Ireland, after having delighted shoppers with a live, Twitter-operated styling event in late 2010.

More About: aurasma, fashion, GoldRun, Mobile, mr porter, net a porter, retail

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HootSuite Founder Ryan Holmes Answers Reader Questions [LIVE CHAT]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 11:58 AM PDT

HootSuite's energetic CEO Ryan Holmes founded Invoke Media, the agency that created the highly successful social media dashboard. He has been active in all aspects of HootSuite’s operations, focusing on strategy, business and product development, as well as technical and social networking trends.

HootSuite is Ryan's fifth startup, with other ventures in a variety of industries. From founding a pizza restaurant chain, to building the top online paintball supplier in Canada, to creating Invoke Media, Ryan has established himself as a multi-faceted professional within the entrepreneurial community. Ryan frequently presents at international conferences, including TEDx, 140tc, OMNA, 140conf, IMA, and Open Network Labs, where he speaks about entrepreneurship, startups and the crossroads of marketing and the social web.

When he's not grinding away at the HootSuite office, he can be found rock climbing, doing yoga, paragliding or hanging out with his dog Mika. He is also an international voice for startups, and has been featured and quoted in media sources including the The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and Venture Beat.

YEC Global is an international mentorship program of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only non-profit comprised of promising young entrepreneurs. Its goal is to promote and support young entrepreneurs around the world, as well as foster the thriving global entrepreneurial ecosystem by sending delegations to various countries around the world to lead in-person, peer-to-peer mentorship programs, creative sessions, panel discussions and business competitions. The program also offers one-to-two week internships at YEC-member owned companies.

More About: Business, features, hootsuite, Live Chat, Ryan Holmes, Social Media, Startups, Twitter

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PayPal Takes On Square, Launches ‘PayPal Here’ Credit Card Reader

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 11:06 AM PDT


Your favorite food truck owner, small business owner, and enterprising girl scout now have a new option when it comes to taking your credit card payment: PayPal Here.

Announced Thursday at an event in San Francisco, PayPal Here is set to go head-to-head against mobile payment pioneer Square for part of the small business pie.

Much like Square, PayPal Here will have a card reader that plugs into your mobile phone via the headset jack on your handset. While Square’s reader comes in the form of a white square device, PayPal’s will instead be a blue triangle. The encrypted reader will be available for free to small business owners and can be used to accept credit card payments.

“Consumers are changing how they shop and pay,” says eBay CEO John Donahoe. “Retailers are looking for a technology company they can trust and eBay is that company.”

While the PayPal Here app is designed to be used hand in hand with the card reader, the app can also be used to accept checks, keep track of cash transactions, and accept credit card transactions in situations where you might not have your card reader present. Merchants such as plumbers can also use the app to send an invoice for services on the spot. The invoice comes to a customer via email, and can be paid using any credit card or via PayPal online.

Credit card and check transactions can be accepted by capturing a photo of the check or card in question, and customers select a tip amount and sign for the transaction directly on the phone’s screen.

Started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in 2010, Square has set the standard for how small businesses accept payments using their mobile phones. The service recently announced it processes an astounding $4 billion in payments each year, and launched a new app that allows iPads to be used as cash registers.

Square is now used by NYC cabbies to collect fares, and by some campaign workers on the road trying to collect donations to support a presidential candidate.

PayPal Here charges users 2.7% compared to the 2.75% per transaction charged by Square. Each merchant that signs up for the service will also be given a PayPal Debit card which can be used to take cash out of your local ATM as soon as a sale is made, or can be used as a Mastercard to make purchases — purchases using the card will earn a merchant 1% back instantly, essentially taking that transaction fee down to 1.7%.

In addition to PayPal Here, PayPal also showed off an updated version of its mobile app today adding a Local section where you can browse for merchants in your area that currently use PayPal.

Much like Square’s register app, you can then notify a merchant you’re on your way to make a purchase. Your name and profile photo will show up for the merchant at its point of sale, allowing you to complete the transaction by simply asking for your purchase to be billed to your PayPal account.

PayPal Here readers started shipping to select merchants Thursday. If you’d like to sign up to receive a reader you can do so at paypal.com/here.

More About: ebay, mobile payment, paypal, Square, trending

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Google Grabs Digg Founder Kevin Rose [REPORT]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 10:45 AM PDT


A day after his Oink app folded — and only five months after it was founded — Kevin Rose is going to Google, according to a report.

AllThingsD says Rose and a few others from his startup, Milk, have been hired by the search giant. This is not an outright acquisition of Milk, according to the site’s anonymous sources, but a hiring of Rose and a handful of his employees, starting Monday. (TechCrunch disagrees, claiming that the entire Milk team has been “aquihired.”)

Rose, 35, co-founded Digg in 2004 with Jay Adelson and two others. The site aggregated popular links, which users voted on, and became very popular very fast. Rose went on to cofound Revision3, a related company that produced the DiggNation podcast, which also featured Rose.

But a much-criticized, buggy redesign in 2010 heralded a long decline for Digg, as it lost users to rival Reddit (which now gets twice Digg’s traffic). Rose left Digg a year later, and Diggnation broadcast its last show at the end of 2011.

If Rose is indeed heading to Google, it would seem to make sense to put him on the Google+ team. The nascent social network has benefited from the search giant integrating it with all its products, but it lacks a widespread appeal and stickiness compared to rival Facebook.

Despite Rose’s recent job switches, he has a track record of building popularity among a younger, more diverse audience. Oink achieved an impressive 150,000 downloads in its first month.

How do you think Rose would fit in at Google? Let us know in the comments.

More About: digg, Google, kevin rose, oink



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