Saturday, 31 March 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Shoptiques Lets You Shop Boutiques Like a Local”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Shoptiques Lets You Shop Boutiques Like a Local”

Shoptiques Lets You Shop Boutiques Like a Local

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 07:48 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Shoptiques

Quick Pitch: Shop local boutiques online.

Genius Idea: Brings an offline industry online; lets you shop by neighborhood.

It all began with Paris and a shoe.

While shopping in France’s capital four years ago, Olga Vidisheva stumbled across what she describes as a “tiny, one-location wonder boutique with the friendliest, most stylish owner.” There, she found a pair of suede sandals unlike anything she’d ever come across in a department store, which she promptly purchased and packed into her suitcase home.

Vidisheva says she has wanted to go back to that boutique ever since, but has never been able to. Since that time, she’s discovered some fantastic boutiques stateside, picked up a MBA from Harvard Business School and is now on a mission to make the experience of browsing and buying from boutiques available to everyone everywhere through her newly launched site, Shoptiques. The sites lets you buy clothing and accessories from 50 boutiques with one flat shipping and return fee.

Shoptiques isn’t the first business that’s attempted to bring the boutique industry online. London-based, which raised $18 million in January, has made the inventories of some 200 boutiques available for online purchase. Backend solutions like Shopify have also made it easier for small businesses to set up storefronts on the web.

So what makes Shoptiques different? The biggest differentiator is product. Farfetch focuses on upmarket brands and products with pricetags not infrequently in the high hundreds and low thousands. Brands aren’t a focus on Shoptiques, and products are priced between $50 and $300.

Shoptiques also invites you to shop differently: that is, like a local. Shops are organized by neighborhood, so you can pull up all the inventory from Brooklyn, for instance, or West Hollywood. From there, you can filter by color, price, size and style. You also have the option to browse across cities by category, just like any other apparel retail site.

Shoptiques is a recent alum of Y Combinator’s accelerator program and has raised an initial seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital, General Catalyst and SV Angel, among others. The startup takes a “healthy cut” of each sale made on the site, Vidisheva tell us. Everything sold online is brought in and photographed by Shoptiques. Once a sale is made, the boutique is responsible for shipping it to the customer and keeping track of remaining inventory.

Inventory and sales growth are top priorities for Shoptiques going forward, as are further curation and personalization features, Vidisheva says. “If your style is classic, and mine is edgy, we should experience the site in a different way,” Vidisheva says of Shoptiques’s plans for personalization. “Perhaps we’ll start shoppers with a quiz, recommend that they follow a few boutiques and go from there.”

Mobile is also on the roadmap, with an emphasis on bridging the online and offline shopping experience. “We want to become a destination for boutique living and shoping,” Vidisheva explains. “If you’re on the streets of Nolita, we want to tell you which boutiques near you have stuff. We really see our boutiques as partners, and we want to drive traffic to their offline stores as well. We benefit because they’ll be in business a long time, and we want to work with them for a long time.”

All that’s very promising, but we still feel one element is missing from the shopping experience: the interaction with that friendly, stylish boutique owner Vidisheva met in Paris. Phone numbers for each of the boutiques are provided on the site so that shoppers can ring when they have a question about styling or fit. But we’d love to be able to jump in a video or even an SMS chat with boutique workers while we were shopping, or see how a particular piece has been styled on a store mannequin.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Alija

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: ecommerce, fashion, retail, shoptiques

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Did This Guy Just Land the Coolest Job in Sports Social Media?

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 07:26 PM PDT

Meet Austin Schindel, sports fans. You’re going to wish you had his new job.

For the next year, he’ll travel around the country to some of the country’s funnest sporting events — starting with Major League Baseball games and the NFL and NBA drafts — to tweet his behind-the-scenes experiences from the @XFINITYSports Twitter account. It’s a full-time, salaried, contract gig and may just be the coolest job in sports social media.

Schindel won the position through an Xfinity contest asking fans to demonstrate their passion for sports and knowledge of social media. His new job was announced Friday. When he got a call at his current internship telling him the good news, he says, it was a bit hard to contain himself.

“I had to refrain from screaming in the office,” he told Mashable. “It was a little bit of disbelief mixed with a lot of excitement.”

Schindel is a senior at George Washington University, set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. As a five-year-old, he says, he preferred SportsCenter to cartoons. He’s not a newbie to working in sports media either, having done media relations for the Washington Redskins and Washington Nationals, and freelance writing for

He calls his new job is a dream come true, but that his friends — who helped vote him through an early contest round on Facebook — haven’t turned green with envy.

“Everyone’s been really supportive,” says Schindel, who also will also receive a home entertainment setup as part of his big win. “They know I’m getting every single sports channel, so they’re gonna want to use that,” he adds with a laugh.

You can also live vicariously through Schindel at his personal Twitter account, @austinschindel.

What is the coolest social media job you can imagine? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Social Media, sports, Twitter

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YouTube Earth Hour Campaigns Dare You to Take Action for the Planet

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 06:56 PM PDT

YouTube is launching a new platform called “I Will If You Will” for Earth Hour 2012, which lets users challenge others to take an environmentally friendly action for the planet.

Earth Hour, now in its sixth year, encourages people to turn off their lights for 60 minutes one day a year. It’s celebrated annually on March 31 between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. This year, the campaign is hoping its impact will last more than one hour.

“In its sixth year, with hundreds of millions of people taking part in Earth Hour, we want to go beyond the hour to encourage positive action for the environment,” Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley said. “The power of social media enables us to unite the global community in the endeavor to protect the planet.”

The “I Will If You Will” campaign is hosted by YouTube and was spearheaded by the Earth Hour founders, the World Wildlife Foundation and Leo Burnett. Supermodel Miranda Kerr is also on board.

As part of the campaign, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax movie will turn the main character’s mustache green if 500 children commit to switch off their lights for the hour, the president of Fiji Epeli Nailatikau will walk 30 kilometers if businesses and NGOs make pledges, and Miranda Kerr will teach a yoga class to 500 fans who create their own challenge (a condition which was already met).

YouTube also plans to dim its entire site with a virtual light switch for the hour, as it did last year. The social video platform has donated nearly 15 million digital impressions for Earth Hour. Also joining in Earth Hour this year are more than 5,000 cities and towns in 147 countries.

Will you turn out your lights for Earth Hour? Will you challenge your friends to take action?

Image courtesy of Earth Hour

More About: earth hour, Social Good, YouTube

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‘The Voice’ Now Lets You Vote on Facebook Timeline

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 06:27 PM PDT

The Voice - 600

Fans of NBC’s The Voice can now vote for their favorite contestants via a new app for Facebook Timeline.

Facebook Timeline users can begin voting for artists on The Voice on Monday, when the app will be released. Fans can also share their views with Facebook
friends, connect with others and track artists via the app.

“This app gives our already socially-savvy fans another way to connect and share,” Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment, said in a statement. “From declaring their favorite artist to discovering friends' preferences to interacting with more content, the app creates a fully social online voting experience."

It also allows users to access related content from the show, including performance videos and blogs.

This isn’t the first time The Voice has turned to the online world to encourage voting. Last year, the show allowed fans to vote by buying the contestants' songs on iTunes.

Other shows have also used social media to help with the voting process. In November 2011, the U.S. version of The X Factor allowed viewers to vote for their favorite performer via direct messages on Twitter

Meanwhile, American Idol let viewers vote on the show's Facebook page during season 10.

Facebook announced in January that it would be adding apps to its site, so members could share more information about their interests, what they’re reading and what they’re doing online. Apps currently range from The Washington Post to Nike.

Are you more likely to vote for contestants on shows such as The Voice via social networking sites, rather than texting? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, Music, Social Media, social tv, the-voice, Twitter

The Evolution of Facebook for Brands

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 05:59 PM PDT

Jason Weaver is the CEO of Shoutlet, an enterprise social management software company he founded. He has been involved in social media strategy development since its inception for brands that include Disney, SC Johnson, and eBay. Follow him at @Shoutlet.

Facebook Timeline for businesses is officially here, and companies large and small are anticipating how the new changes will affect their existing Facebook presence. The early data creates a promising picture, with one report suggesting that brands are getting an average 46% more engagement with Timeline. But before we look too far in the future, let's take a look at the major Facebook milestones that got us to this point.

SEE ALSO: 3 Reasons Facebook Brand Pages Are Good for Businesses

Brand Pages (2007)

Facebook has only been around for eight years, but what's particularly hard to believe is that it was roughly five years ago that the social network opened up Facebook Pages, allowing brands and celebrities to create a profile dedicated to developing and posting original content meant to encourage fan interaction.

The introduction of brand pages is what moved the needle for Facebook, helping them make the transition from a networking platform for college kids to one that included young professionals. Since then, we've seen Facebook’s user base grow to more than 845 million monthly active users. Brand pages allowed this audience to build social relationships with a company for the first time ever.

“Becoming a Fan” (2009)

Brand pages were one of the first ways consumers could “raise their hand” online. By becoming a fan of a certain company, users said something about themselves to their friends. For brands, this meant developing content and a voice for an entirely new channel, one that taught many of them about what resonated with current and potential customers. This created a shift in how social media was viewed by businesses. It went from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” business tool. Now, we're seeing companies invest heavily in their social presence due to the incredible value of social fans.

Contests and Promotions (2009)

With contests and promotions, updated and expanded in 2009, brands grew their fan bases. A fan's involvement in a contest or promotion told that fan's network that they thought a brand was cool, and that others should consider becoming fans, too. For businesses, contests and promotions opened up conversations about fan-driven revenue and the monetary value of a Facebook presence.

Storefronts and Ads (2010)

As Facebook became a hub for product sharing, brands started seeing the potential in using it to make money directly from the platform. Facebook commerce was particularly seen as a way to develop a source of additional revenue, but the value wasn't just in the click-to-conversion. Product popularity was boosted by sharing among networks, and brands began to learn which products were hot among various audience sets.

This year, Facebook unveiled the ads premium model, where marketers will be able to take page posts and turn them into ads. These ads can be targeted to anyone. The combination of ads plus social commerce is a natural way for a brand to bolster certain products. This revolutionary step was the perfect lead into Timeline.

Facebook Timeline (2012)

So what does the switch to Facebook Timeline for brands mean now? It means telling brand stories and sharing engaging content takes center stage. Everything from the cover photo to milestones is a part of a brand's ability to add to its online persona. Instead of disparate posts, Timeline is designed to allow a brand to truly narrate a story, over time.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, -Oxford-

More About: contributor, Facebook, features, Social Media

This Camera Lets You Take Photos With Your Hands

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 05:39 PM PDT

Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences have created a prototype for a new type of camera called Ubi-Camera that lets you snap a photograph by creating a rectangle with your hands.

Here’s how it works: Connect the device to your index finger and then form a rectangle with your fingers. Your finger rectangle works as a viewfinder for the camera, and photos are taken by pressing on the device firmly with your thumb.

The Ubi-camera has a built-in range sensor that can tell the amount of space between the camera and the photographer’s face, and uses that information to create a shot. For instance, when you take a photo with your face close to the camera, you get a wide-angle shot. When you move your fingers further away you can snap a close up. Zooming in on photos is done later on a PC.

Researchers did a brief demo of the camera for DigInfoTV, showing off how the device is able to capture pictures:

The range sensor uses infrared technology, which occasionally has difficulty detecting faces and can be affected by light — something the developers hope to update in the future.

In its current prototype form the Ubi-camera also needs to be connected to a PC while you take a photo; however, developers hope to make a stand-alone version of the camera in the future that can be used away from a computer screen.

Can you see yourself using the Ubi-camera? Let us know your thoughts on the unique camera in the comments.

More About: camera, photo

Help Investigate ‘The Killing’ Online

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 05:12 PM PDT

As AMC gears up for season two of The Killing, the network has launched an online interactive case file so that fans can participate in figuring out who killed Rosie Larsen.

The Killing debuted last year; its story centers around the murder of teenager Rosie Larsen. Each episode encompasses 24 hours and the first season centered on the first two weeks of the investigation. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a combination of Twin Peaks, Law & Order and 24.

As season 2 opens, lead detective Sarah Linden is still trying to solve the case. At, users can interact with the case file, read official case documents, look at crime scene photos and view documents about the various suspects in the case.

The interactive case file will continue to be updated throughout the season, changing and updating based on what happens in the show.

While this sort of transmedia experience isn’t new — TV shows have been employing varying degrees of online interaction for more than a decade — it is a sign of the growing importance that digital plays in traditional TV narratives.

While not a true social TV play, these types of experiences are all building keeping fans engaged in programming when it’s not on the air.

As a network, AMC has focused on digital with its other hits — including The Walking Dead and Mad Men.

The Killing comes back to TV on Sun. April 1. Let us know what you think about the rise of transmedia and interactive experiences in the comments.

More About: amc tv, The Killing, transmedia

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How to Enchant Your Audience With Social Media [VIDEO]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 04:47 PM PDT

Guy Kawasaki is arguably one of the most recognized names in social media. He is a former Apple evangelist and currently a best-selling author, angel investor and entrepreneur.

Behind the Brand host Bryan Elliott talked with Kawasaki about his latest book Enchantment, in which he describes how businesses should “enchant” their customers to achieve their goals. Kawasaki said it’s about more than gaining people’s dollars. “You have to gain people’s hearts, minds and actions.”

“The three things you need to have to enchant people are likability, trustworthiness, and a great product,” said Kawasaki.

Kawasaki also said that if businesses are enchanting, the customers will come. He advises to pursue customers before worrying about big-name coverage.

“I believe nobodies are the new somebodies. If you get enough nobodies to embrace, use and love your product, then the A list has to notice,” he said.

Kawasaki hopes his book is helpful to people — as helpful as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnagie. He said his dream “enchanting” project would be working for Google helping bring people over to Google+.

Take a look at the video and tell us what you think in the comments. You can also tweet at @BryanElliott with any questions.

More Recent Episodes of Behind the Brand:

More About: behind the brand, features, Google, guy kawasaki

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No, You’re Not Fat — Facebook Just Makes You Think You Are [STUDY]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 04:18 PM PDT

Struggling with body weight issues? Facebook may be partially to blame, a new study suggests.

A new study conducted by The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore found that social media is negatively impacting how people view body size.

The study — which was conducted among 600 Facebook users ages 16 to 40 — revealed that 51% of participants said that looking at photos of themselves and others on the site makes them more feel more self-conscious about their body image.

“When people look at pictures of themselves and others on Facebook, it heightens their dissatisfaction with their body image,” Steve Crawford, associate director at The Center for Eating Disorders, told Mashable. “Our culture is so weight obsessed, and Facebook isn’t helping. In fact, it’s making people feel fat.”

Crawford said the center’s findings revealed that 75% of people believe they need to lose weight.

“The site is making it easy for people to put pictures up of them online, so people can comment on them. Someone might note how thin someone looks, but it just reinforces the notion that the thinner you are, the better you look.”

SEE ALSO: Got Tons of Facebook Friends? You May Be a Narcissist, Says Study [VIDEO]

Meanwhile, 51% also said they spend time comparing their own lives to others based on the status updates they read and the pictures they see. About 32% said they felt sad when comparing their profiles to others on the site.

“Facebook is a great way to maintain contact with family and friends, but it should help you feel good about the relationships you have, not sad,” Crawford added.

Facebook is also influencing the way people feel attending social events. About 44% said they are self-conscious while out with friends because pictures might end up online, and 43% said they will avoid taking a picture if they don’t feel they look their best.

“If Facebook is augmenting your body dissatisfaction, you need to rethink your use of the site and even consider logging off for a while to regroup,” Crawford said.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, izusek

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, Social Media, Twitter

8 Crazy Gadgets to Buy If You Win Mega Millions

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 04:02 PM PDT

1. Personal Killer Whale Submarine

Price: $100,000

What does it do?: If you won the lottery, why not jump into a 17-foot watercraft that resembles a killer whale? The submarine can travel underwater at 25 miles per hour or hydroplane on the water's surface at 50 mph. The watercraft fits two people who can enjoy the watery view through the glass top or by watching an LCD screen that captures the rear view.

Click here to view this gallery.

What would you buy if you won Friday’s world-record $640 million Mega Millions jackpot? That’s this week’s thought-provoking question being thrown around online and offline across the U.S.

You can purchase plenty of things with the half a billion dollar prize, including the eight gems we rounded up in the gallery above. “Mega Millions” is currently number one on Google’s hourly updated list of top 20 trending topics, so you’re not alone in wanting to get in on all the action.

SEE ALSO: 20 Over-The-Top Tweets About the Mega Millions Jackpot

Lottery tickets cost $1 per play. To win, a player must match all of his or her six numbers on a ticket to the numbers picked during the drawing. The jackpot is paid in 26 annual payments or in a smaller cash option. The cash option this go-around is $389 million.

SEE ALSO: 7 Tools to Generate Your Random Mega Millions Numbers

How many tickets did you buy? Would you snag any of the gadgets in the gallery?

More About: features, Gadgets, innovation, Lists, lottery, Mega Millions, Tech, trending

Twitter Limits TweetDeck Access After Security Fears [UPDATE]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 03:36 PM PDT

Update: As of 9pm PST Friday, TweetDeck service has been restored. Twitter issued the following statement regarding the outage:

As soon as we learned about the issue today, we took TweetDeck down to diagnose the situation. We discovered a bug that caused a very small number of TweetDeck users to have access to other TweetDeck users' accounts. (The accounts that could be accessed were random; it was not possible to select specific accounts and access them.)

No one’s password was compromised, and we aren’t aware of any instances where this access was used maliciously. As a precaution, we removed account credentials associated with affected TweetDeck users; they will need to log in to authorize the TweetDeck application to access their accounts.

Twitter has shut down access to TweetDeck after a bug appeared to give users access to accounts that are not their own.

The TweetDeck web app is currently offline. If you’re currently logged in to the latest software version, Mashable tests show, you will not be able to get back in after logging out.

A Twitter user named Geoff Evason discovered the bug on Friday, and tweeted a message to TweetDeck and Twitter suggesting they look into the issue.

According to Evason the bug gave him access to "hundreds" of Twitter and Facebook accounts by simply logging into the service using his own account. In order to prove he wasn’t lying he also sent out a test message from one of those accounts.

TweetDeck has confirmed that the service is down via a Twitter post — however, the company has not indicated when the service will be back up and running or the reason behind the outage.

We reached out to Twitter for more information on the outage, and a representative indicated the company had nothing more to say at this time other than the tweet acknowledging the outage itself.

Twitter recently updated TweetDeck to add better list management, inline media support and improved retweeting support.

More About: tweetdeck, Twitter

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U.S. Ambassador: I’ve Been Hacked By Russian Journalists

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 03:30 PM PDT

Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, took to Twitter Thursday night to accuse Russian media organization NTV of hacking his cell phone and email account.

McFaul was about to meet with a Russian human rights activist in Moscow on Thursday evening when NTV reporters confronted him, according to The Telegraph. McFaul’s schedule had not been made public.

The Telegraph report suggested that NTV engages in “Kremlin-linked smear campaigns” against human rights activists and opposition political parties.

In McFaul’s first tweet about the incident, he wondered how NTV figured out where he’d be:

Soon afterward, he presupposed that reporters found a way to read his emails and listen in on his phone conversations:

After McFaul’s accusations, reporter Jace Foster offered a possible explanation: the Russian consulate keeps close tabs on the ambassador and releases his schedule to the media.

However, when questioned by a follower, Foster suggested that the U.S. State Department publishes his schedule, a claim that McFaul refuted.

McFaul and Foster engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue, wherein Foster assured McFaul that she didn’t have access to his calls or email — but Foster doesn’t work for NTV. Eventually, McFaul tweeted that he was considering making his schedule public because he is “always happy to interact with press.” Later, McFaul called NTV’s actions “wild” in a TV interview held in the Russian language.

McFaul became the U.S. ambassador to Russia in December of last year. He was formerly an academic and an advisor to President Obama. He’s the first ambassador to Russia who hasn’t been a career diplomat in nearly three decades.

Do you think McFaul was hacked, or are his allegations ungrounded? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Savushkin

More About: hacking, russia, Social Media, Twitter, US, World

Keith Olbermann Takes to Twitter After CurrentTV Departure

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 03:09 PM PDT

Keith Olbermann’s latest fallout with his employer is playing out all over social media. The news came out Friday afternoon that Olbermann has been replaced at Current TV by former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer. Olbermann tweeted his full statement before posting it to Twitlonger.

In an open letter to viewers on Current TV’s website, founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt wrote that Current was founded "on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."

Olbermann responded that the “claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue & will be proved so in legal actions I will be filing against them”

In Olbermann’s place, "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer" is launching Friday at 8 p.m.

Check out the Storify below to see Olbermann’s statement and the news of his departure broke on Twitter.

More About: Storify, Twitter

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7 Tools to Generate Your Random Mega Millions Numbers

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 02:56 PM PDT

Lottery Tickets

Here’s a hypothetical situation: You’re offered a lot of money — say, $640 million, give or take — and you can do anything with it. Buy a mansion. Invest in Apple. Donate to charity (that’s first on your list, right?). Everything’s at your fingertips. There’s just one catch — you have to pick the six perfect numbers first.

People in the U.S. are buzzing about the record-high Mega Millions lottery jackpot. Maybe you’ve bought countless tickets, coaxed your coworkers into getting in on the action, or tried to lessen the competition by convincing people that the lottery was cancelled altogether. You’ve even imagined headlines in your honor (“Mashable Intern Wins Mega Millions [EXCLUSIVE]).” Hey, I can dream too.

The most important aspect of getting your hands on all that dough, of course, is picking the winning numbers. But how do you choose? What if your lucky numbers just aren’t working, or what if you’re buying so many tickets that you just want the numbers chosen for you? And what if you don’t trust those lotto machines?

We’ve found seven random number generators that could help you select lotto combinations. Because we care about our readers at Mashable, we’ll tell it straight: You’re not going to win. These numbers are random. They will not increase your odds of winning. But hey, in case you do, remember to give us a cut of the winnings. *It’s only fair.

*Not really.

1. (Web)

Built in 1998 by Mads Haahr of the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, touts that your numbers will be chosen by "true randomness" from atmospheric noise.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, davidf.

More About: apps, lottery, Mega Millions

Groupon Revises 4Q Results Downward; Stock Falls 8.5%

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 02:40 PM PDT

Groupon on Friday cited an unexpected number of refunds in the latter part of 2011 for a surprise revision in its fourth quarter results. The announcement prompted an 8.5% drop in the company’s stock in after-hours trading.

The revisions cut Groupon’s previous 4Q revenue results by $14.3 million to $492.2 million from $506.5 million. Net income also fell by $22.6 million, or 4 cents a share.

The restatement was apparently driven by higher-than-anticipated refund rates. “The revisions are primarily related to an increase to the company’s refund reserve accrual to reflect a shift in the company’s fourth quarter deal mix and higher price point offers, which have higher refund rates,” reads a statement from the company. Translation: The company had not set aside enough money for refunds to customers.

Groupon, whose accounting has been questioned by the SEC, says it has hired accounting firm Ernst & Young to oversee its operations in 2011 and has been working with another unnamed “global accounting firm.”

The latest restatement comes after a topsy-turvy ride for the company’s stock since it went public on Nov. 4. Before the latest announcement, the stock was trading at $18.38– $1.62 less than its opening price.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, cruphoto

More About: daily deals, groupon, SEC

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‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ Has Earned $500,000 in 5 Years [VIDEOS]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 01:58 PM PDT

That precocious Charlie is more than a finger-biter — he’s a moneymaker.

The family that created the most viewed amateur YouTube video ever — featuring a biting baby and his talkative older brother — has made a half-million dollars from ads surrounding that video.

Speaking to ABC’s Nightline, the boy’s father said the whole thing started when he posted the video in 2007 for his son’s godfather in Colorado.

The video captured a few million views within its few months.

Howard Davies-Carr, the boy’s dad, said he considered taking the video down at that point — but didn’t, because there were already many parody videos and copies on other websites. Once the video reached 50 million views, the family began raking in cash from YouTube ads and television spots.

SEE ALSO: Charlie Bit My Finger Reimagined as a Zombie Film [VIDEO]

With more than 436 million views, the video has become a pop culture phenomenon. The only video watched more on YouTube is the official theme of the 2010 World Cup.

Playing off the popularity of the video and their adorable boys, the family started a blog in 2009 to document the kids’ lives. They also have a Twitter account, @harryandcharlie, a YouTube channel with other videos of their boys (there are four), and a Facebook page.

There are dozens of “Charlie Bit Me” parodies, songs and various auto-tuned remixes — take a look at some in the gallery below.

Charlie bit my finger - again !

The original video posted in 2007.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: viral videos, YouTube

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Fake ID Users Beware: Face-Scanning Software Guesses Your Age [VIDEO]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 01:40 PM PDT

Are the days of fake IDs over?

That may be so, thanks to new facial recognition software. API, used by photo apps, can now detect the ages and moods of individuals in pictures.

The API is most notably integrated in the Photo Finder and Photo Tagger Facebook apps. The update will now allow apps to list estimated ages, as well as the minimum age and maximum age of people in photos. It also looks at a person’s facial features to determine the mood in the photo.

How accurate are the age scans? When Mashable tested the app, we found mixed results. The age predictor was dead-on at times; at other times it was 13 years off. The updated facial-recognition algorithm predicts age by looking at indicators such as wrinkles and skin texture.

Check it out for yourself by uploading a photo under “method parameters.” Then click the “call method” button. A white box will appear around your face with red dots pinpointing the eyes, nose and lips.

Hover over the white box and an attributes box will list your age, mood, gender — and how genuine your smile is.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Turns On Facial Recognition For Tagging By Default

How can app developers use this new API? The technology can be integrated into parental-control apps or be used by companies to restrict content based on user age or interest.

A part of the update, says its facial recognition will be 30% more accurate. The formula is propelled by new ways to detect poses and posts of interest in a photo.

How dead-on is’s new API? Did it guess your age? Tell us in the comments and we’d love to see your photo.

More About: face recognition,, Video

‘Project Runway’ Star Tim Gunn Joins Twitter, Makes It Work

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 01:21 PM PDT

Beloved Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn joined Twitter Friday. His first tweets are humble and friendly, like his real-world personality.

Since his first tweet at 10:41 a.m., Gunn has gained more than 4,000 followers.

Gunn is a fashion consultant and a former faculty member at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. But he is most famous for his presence on fashion reality show Project Runway, where he has advised competing designers since the show’s first season in 2004.

@TimGunn has already tweeted @NinaGarcia, Project Runway judge and Marie Claire fashion director. However, the countdown begins: When can we expect Gunn to tweet his signature mantra — Make it work!?

Now that’s worth a retweet.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

More About: celebrity, Social Media, Twitter, viral

Google Whips Up 3D Graphing Goodness in Search

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 01:11 PM PDT

Add one more thing to the list of fun stuff you can do directly from Google‘s search box: 3D Graph Plotting. And these aren't just still 3D charts. They’re colorful and fully manipulable, all thanks to Google Chrome Browser's support for WebGL.

According to a post in Google’s Inside Search blog, the new features are an enhancement to the 2D graphing functionality Google launched late last year. Google announced the new update by providing a sample equation that, if you have the Chrome browser, you can drop right into the address bar: "tanh(y(y^4+5x^4-10(x^2)(y^2))/(x^2+y^2)^4)". Hit enter and you get a lovely, dynamic 3D graphic.

The resulting 3D plot can be rotated with your mouse or by hitting the play button within the graph window. That window also includes zoom controls and details on the X, Y and Z plot axes. You likely still have to be a math whiz to know what the graph and numbers actually mean.

As Google Engineer and self-described math lover Adi Avidor explained in the post, “This feature is available globally, so now millions of students can explore and interact with compound math functions right in their search results.”

SEE ALSO: Beyond Barrel Roll: 10 Hidden Google Tricks

The 3D plotting function works in Chrome and Firefox, two browsers which support WebGL hardware acceleration. Microsoft‘s competing Web Browser, Internet Explorer does not support WebGL because of security concerns. As a result, putting any of these equations in Google Search inside of Internet Explorer simply results in a whole bunch of search results with even more complex equations.

Google has a couple of equation-to-3D plotting examples that you can see for yourself in these animated Gifs. Brownie points if you can tell us in the comments the equations Google used to create these 3D Graphs.

Google 3D Plot flower_small

Google 3D Plot goodHeart_small

More About: Google, math, Search

Got Visa or Mastercard? Your Data May Have Leaked

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 01:00 PM PDT

The personal data of thousands of customers — from all major credit card brands — has been leaked from a third-party processing company.

The massive leak was first reported by the security news blog Krebs on Security, following reports that MasterCard and Visa were warning banks of a possible breach.

According to a follow-up story from The Wall Street Journal, the breach came from the Atlanta-based payment processing firm Global Payments, not from a credit card company. Global Payments works with debit cards, credit cards and gift cards.

The Wall Street Journal’s report suggests the possible window for the breach was between Jan. 21 and Feb. 25.

So far, there are no indications that any customers have experienced fraudulent transactions on their accounts.

MasterCard said it was investigating the breach, and that its core network was not hacked.

“MasterCard is currently investigating a potential account data compromise event of a U.S.-based entity,” MasterCard said in a statement. “As a result, we have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk. It is important to note that MasterCard’s own systems have not been compromised in any manner.”

MasterCard added that it has notified law enforcement of the breach and an “ongoing forensic review” has been launched.

Visa also acknowledged a “data compromise” of an outside company, but said there was no breach of Visa’s own network.

"Visa Inc. is aware of a potential data compromise incident at a third party entity affecting card account information from all major card brands,” Visa said in a statement. “There has been no breach of Visa systems, including its core processing network VisaNet. Visa has provided payment card issuers with the affected account numbers so they can take steps to protect consumers through independent fraud monitoring and, if needed, reissuing cards.”

Neither Visa nor MasterCard issue their own credit cards. Instead, they process transactions made on cards issued by banks and other financial institutions.

Global Payments did not immediately return Mashable’s request for a comment. We will update this post with any reply.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DNY59

More About: credit cards, cybersecurity, leak, mastercard, trending, Visa

Drunk ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Cover in a Cop Car Is Full of Win [VIDEO]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 12:44 PM PDT

Is this the real life — or is this just fantasy?

People often hope to achieve internet fame by uploading a cover song onto YouTube. But most of them aren’t performed while drunk in the back of a police vehicle.

Robert Wilkinson, a 29-year-old from Edson, AB, was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for intoxication, and evidently didn’t agree with the charges. After pleading his case in slurred speech, he decided to describe his ordeal by belting out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Despite his inebriated state, Wilkinson manages to belt out the entire song, accompanied by some serious headbanging and air drumming.

If we were to nitpick, we would point out that the actual lyrics are slightly different — “open your eyes” rather than “open your minds,” for example — but we doubt we could remember them perfectly under such circumstances either.

Before he could finish the song, an RCMP officer tells Wilkinson to quiet down.

"I can't … because nothing really matters," he responds. "Anyone can see. Nothing really matters … even the RCMP!"

At least he didn’t mean to make his mama cry.

More About: bohemian rhapsody, trending, viral video

Facebook Is Building a Search Engine [REPORT]

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 12:27 PM PDT

Is Facebook building a Google rival — one that would use your location and your friends’ tastes?

A team of more than 20 Facebook engineers — led by a former Google programmer — is at work on a vastly improved search engine within the site, according a Businessweek report.

The idea, according to two sources, is to take better advantage of the heaps of content Facebook users create on — and off — the site every day. With people sharing status updates and supporting brand pages on the network, as well as using Facebook’s “Like” button to mark articles and videos from external sites, there is certainly a lot to take advantage of.

Mashable contacted Facebook for more information and got this response from a company spokesperson: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation around products.”

Google has boosted its presence in the social space recently, opening the Google+ network last fall and a “Search, Plus Your World” feature to tepid response earlier this year. So it’s interesting to see Facebook potentially make a stronger move into the search world.

A large-scale shift to a “semantic web,” where online data is is able to be delivered in more nuanced and complex ways, is gaining momentum among tech futurists. Wikipedia recently announced a project called Wikidata that aims to make its content smarter by cross-updating among Wikipedia pages when they are edited. A more robust Facebook search functionality would be another step toward that semantic web.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has consistently downplayed the level of direct competition between Facebook and Google. "I don't think that this is going to be the type of situation when one company wins all this stuff," he told Charlie Rose of PBS last fall.

If the Businessweek report is true, however, it will add yet another area of heightened competitive overlap between the two Silicon Valley giants.

Would an improved social search engine within Facebook make you use Google Search less? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, youngvet

More About: Facebook, Google, mashable video, Search, trending

RIM-sanity! Beyond the BlackBerry Bloodbath

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 12:16 PM PDT

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

In response to Research in Motion’s ugly quarterly earnings report, newly-minted CEO Thorsten Heins is shaking up the executive team.

Not only has Jim Ballsillie — RIM’s co-CEO until January — resigned from the board of directors, but the COO and CTO are gone too. The company continues to search for a new CMO. This is all part of Heins’ plan to turn RIM around.

But is it enough? Probably not. Heins’ comments on Thursday’s earnings call suggest the company needs more than new blood. It needs a new understanding of its market.

True, a real change in leadership needed to happen for the company to move forward, as I noted when I sized up RIM’s faltering position four months ago.

And during the call Heins seemed to recognize the vast struggles his company faces. RIM continues to lose ground in the United States — and even on its home ground, Canada. The markets where RIM is seeing growth are not as profitable for BlackBerry services.

The enterprise, once RIM’s area of strength, is quickly shifting to Android and iOS devices. Why? As Heins pointed out on the call, the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) movement — where employees bring their own smartphones and tablets into the office instead of a company-issued BlackBerry — has left RIM at a disadvantage.

In the last year, we’ve seen even larger corporate entities (which are historically slower to adopt new changes to their technology stacks) adopt a BYOD-friendly approach. It’s a cost-saving measure, and it’s also more convenient for employees.

SEE ALSO: It Doesn’t Matter if RIM is Lying, It’s Still in Deep Trouble

Focusing on Enterprise Alone: a Losing Battle

So Heins acknowledged that RIM is struggling to convince customers to bring a BlackBerry device to work, and that this is a growing problem for BlackBerry going forward. But his solution — double down on enterprise and stop focusing so much on the consumer — makes no sense.

Heins knows that BlackBerry is starting to falter in the enterprise because no one wants to use a BlackBerry at home and bring it to work. So why is his solution to this problem to ignore the consumer market?

Rather than focusing on a product that makes consumers like it so much they want to use it at home and at work, Heins seems to want to focus on getting enterprise teams and IT departments excited about adopting BlackBerry device management software (software that will also manage iPhone and Android devices) and pushing the benefits of BlackBerry 7.

Keep in mind, BlackBerry 7 devices are such a failure that RIM had to take a huge inventory write-down this quarter — and isn’t even going to give guidance on sales in the coming quarters.

Heins seems to believe the BlackBerry is still a desirable product amongst the executive elite and the high-market consumer. It’s not.

BlackBerry 10 Will Make or Break the Company

What RIM needs is an excellent device. One that will win back users because of it’s great user interface, solid features and winning design.

With the BlackBerry 10 operating system, RIM hopes to achieve those goals. Its previews have been positive, and the underlying ecosystem at the heart of BlackBerry 10 is promising. Still, no devices based on it have been announced yet.

Is the OS enough? The Windows Phone platform is incredible from a user point of view; many of the phones are fantastic to use. Still, Microsoft has struggled to overcome objections from users who have been burned by other versions of Windows, and to gain ground with developers.

The difference between RIM and Microsoft is this: Microsoft has the resources and the time to be in this fight for the long haul. It can take a slow growth approach. Indeed, Microsoft is using Metro as its springboard for its new UI across devices.

RIM is not so lucky. The company is still profitable — but with average selling price and average units sold decreasing every quarter, something has to give.

The BlackBerry maker is starting to look a lot like Palm looked before it was acquired. Palm’s last hurrah was the Pre and webOS. For RIM it will be the PlayBook and BlackBerry 10.

How would you rescue RIM from the hole it’s in? Let us know in the comments.

More About: blackberry, blackberry playbook, op-ed, RIM

For more Mobile coverage:

How to Respond to Any Situation With an Animated GIF

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 11:50 AM PDT

When someone talks to me during an important text


Click here to view this gallery.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, an animated GIF has to be worth at least a billion, right?

There’s something unusually satisfying about reacting to everyday moments via GIF — and that’s exactly what the Tumblr site #WhatShouldWeCallMe aims to do.

SEE ALSO: 10 Hilarious Animated GIFs that Took the Web by Storm

The site churns out about 20 to 30 posts a day that hilariously respond to common occurrences, like receiving an annoying phone call or testing out the bed in a hotel room.

We’ve highlighted 15 funny vignettes, but for more laughs, we highly recommend checking out the whole blog.

More About: animated GIFs, features, humor, trending, tumblr

Do Democrats Have an Advantage on the Web?

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 11:33 AM PDT

Joe Trippi, author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everything, served as Howard Dean’s campaign manager in 2004 and as a senior advisor for John Edward’s 2008 bid. According to him, the Democrats have a “huge, huge advantage” on the Internet and social media.

Trippi is in a unique position to make that judgement call — during the Dean campaign, he combined his twin loves of politics and technology to form one of the earliest digital-centric presidential campaigns in U.S. history. Four years later, Obama for America would take the Trippi playbook all the way to the White House.

Currently, he runs Trippi & Associates, a political multimedia firm. He blogs at and tweets under @JoeTrippi.

Trippi will be speaking about the future of digital campaigning at this year’s Mashable Connect conference. Mashable sat down with him before the conference to ask him about the 2012 election, social media and the Internet.

In your 2004 book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, you argue that the Democratic party has a “leg up on the Internet ladder” as long as they continue to be a progressive, forward-moving party. Do you think that the Democrats and progressive organizations still have that “leg up” on the Internet in 2012?

Yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Democrats have a huge, huge advantage on the net and in social media. I mean, some Republicans are starting to show that they're getting it: Ron Paul has been building his network out there, but the Romney campaign kind of seems to be even flagging; Gingrich and Santorum are trying, but they doesn't seem to be building anything out there of significance. As a party, they're far behind.

SEE ALSO: 5 Essential Mobile Apps for Keeping Up With U.S. Politics

What got them into the hole is that George W. Bush didn't need the Internet. He broke every fundraising record of a presidential campaign in 2000, and he was doing it again in 2004. Obama out of necessity built on what Dean had done out of necessity…There's some real power here that can change at least the way campaigns are being run. [Obama's] got 13 million people in his network. Three million give half a billion dollars and the GOP has nothing, literally starting at zero.

The Republicans don't have the network. [James] Carville used to say, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Now it's “the network, stupid.”

A major part of President Obama’s success in 2008 had to do with his database — his campaign wasn’t stuffing supporter information into shoeboxes, but rather they built a huge digital stockpile of information about the people the campaign interacted with on a daily basis. The presidential campaigns are doing this again in 2012, but should voters be concerned who owns this data and what happens to it after the election’s over?

Every campaign I know of has been very strict about its privacy rules and disclaimers, and abides by them.

The Kerry campaign had a huge problem at end of 2004 because they had a very clear privacy policy that said names were only for the “Kerry for President” campaign. When he lost, there was no way to say “Hey, Democratic Party, here's these names.” Part of the problem once Obama became president was that there really wasn't a way to move 13 million people from the campaign to the White House.

I think overall there is a problem, and people should be worried about privacy on the net. Anytime they Google something or visit a page, sites are all collecting their info and selling it or using it. Campaigns are no different — people need to be aware of that. I think it's going to be a bigger and bigger concern.

Recently, Arianna Huffington suggested that social media is being used by journalists — especially those of the political variety — to highlight fleeting “mini-controversies” while ignoring “the stories that matter.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Who decides which stories matter? Will just editors decide because they know better than the rest of us? Or is it what we're all interested in and what's trending because we're having conversations about it?

The great thing about social media is that you don't have limited column space — there's endless room for content. And the great thing about that is that it's in the hands of people that decide which stories matter by rating, retweeting, posting, etc. That's a different editor — a different editing — that has to happen at the New York Times, where editors decide what's going to make it and everything else loses.

Every one of these conversations is happening before. They were happening over neighborhood fences, at water coolers and at the dinner table. People thought, “I was having the only conversation about Alec Baldwin.” It turns out, no, the entire planet's talking about him. The press wasn't able to listen in and say, “Wow, everyone at the water cooler is talking about Alec Baldwin,” but now they can. Smart reporters are realizing there's a story here.

The other thing that's happening is, because we can see what conversations are happening, the press then picks one and says, “That's a bigger story.” Now you're seeing this massive echo chamber between conversations happening on social media. And the press flocks to something it perceives as a big story, which generates more conversation…This really grows and magnifies it and reverberates in ways that we haven't witnessed before in terms of speed, power, how it can impact a large group of people or get somebody fired. Because of that echo chamber, I think we're seeing bigger reactions to things.

In that same 2004 book, you dismissed television as a one-way medium, citing the Internet as the invention which will restore two-way conversation. What do you make of services like NetFlix and Hulu, which revert the two-way Internet-capable box back into a TV, and have millions of subscribers between them?

How long is it until you can't tell difference? They're both the same thing — you've got the Internet box that has your own TV station, and because you're putting in “Trippi” and “Mashable,” you're getting everything you want.

I think [these services] are going to continue to empower all of us to connect, but it's not gonna be the same box. I was referring to a box in which the only people who can put anything on it are people who can afford millions of dollars in TV ads to tell you what to think, without you saying anything back. I think all these things — NetFlix, Hulu — will continue to turn the tables. There's no way those are only going to be used by “the powers that be,” so to speak.

With YouTube, a lot of it is still one-way, but I think you're going to start to see some different uses of video. In the Edwards campaign, there was this really cool thing that happened: We put a video up of [Edwards] working on building a home for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. He ended the video by saying, “So, that's what I did for my community service today. Tag you're it.” And what happened was pretty amazing: People started to make videos of things they did and said, "John, you're it," and we played a game of tag. Some kid in Iowa cleaned up a river. People trying to one-up each other, all off of Edwards' sort of off-the-cuff remark.

I think you're going to see things like that — all this is still very primitive, but there's some amazing things that can happen once these tools are developed. I think things are going to happen differently as more people are using and experimenting with them.

Joe, thank you for sitting down with us today. We’re very excited to have you at Mashable Connect this year

I’m excited to be there as well, thanks for having me today.

From May 3-5, 2012, join Mashable for our biggest conference of the year and explore the future of digital. Our annual destination conference brings our community together for three days to connect offline in an intimate setting at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World®. At this year’s conference you’ll hear from leaders like Joe Trippi, Lawrence Lessig, Roger McNamee, Hilary Mason, Pete Cashmore and others about how emerging digital media and technology will shape our lives now and in the years to come.

Registration is now open.

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

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More About: campaign, internet, mashable connect, Politics, president obama, Social Media, US

Angry Birds Space: How the Physics Works

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 11:07 AM PDT

learn physics with Angry Birds Space 600

The Angry Birds franchise owes a lot to Isaac Newton. The legendary 17th-century scientist defined the classical laws of gravity, after all, and without them, the game’s designers would have had nothing to go on in crafting how things move in its virtual world.

Consequently, the game’s heroic-yet-furious birds wouldn’t be able to exact their high-impact revenge on those smug, green pigs. Without the laws of gravity to guide them, the pigs’ Rube Goldberg-esque structures simply wouldn’t come crashing down.

The thing is, the game doesn’t use real physics to model how things move. That’s according to Rhett Allain, an associate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. The latest version, Angry Birds Space, which escalates the avian-porcine conflict to the final frontier, uses science that’s even further from reality, he says.

Allain says he took on figuring out the game’s physics because it was a challenge. Without ever contacting the game publisher, Rovio, he wrote an extensive analysis of the physics of Angry Birds Space for Wired. The question remains: Why spend so much time analyzing a silly game?

“My goal is to use this as an educational tool,” Allain told Mashable. “I love doing analysis for Angry Birds because it’s a lot like real physics but it doesn’t have the same answers. Obviously in this case the gravitational force is not the same as what you could look up in a textbook. I want to to try to find the answer, just like we do in science.”

SEE ALSO: 'Angry Birds Space' Downloaded 10M Times in 3 Days

It’s clear Angry Birds Space doesn’t use real physics (for starters, the gravity of each “planet” is limited to an arbitrarily-sized bubble). It instead uses some kind of rule structure that determines the motion of the birds and their targets. In his analysis, Allain had to make a lot of assumptions, such as the typical mass of a bird, the bird’s velocity when it hits a gravity well, and the size of the planets.

After working out the math and plotting how he thought the birds probably move, he compared his work with some video captures of the game (he quickly got good at launching birds so they would “orbit” the little planets). The results were pretty close (see the excerpted chart below). He also found a few surprises.


“For Angry Birds Space, it looks like gravity on the birds is just a constant value,” he says. “One of the things that’s important for orbital motion is that the further away you get the less that force is. In this case, it looks like that’s not true.”

As for how the accuracy of the game’s physics compares with the “terrestrial” version of Angry Birds, Allain says it’s not even close. Although the regular game takes some liberties with science (momentum isn’t conserved when the white birds drop their eggs, for example), the outer-space version is off-the-charts ludicrous.

“In space,” he explains, “if this were actual gravity, the mass of the planets would have to be so large in order to get these kinds of orbits — bordering black hole density. At least neutron stars.”

Of course, those departures from reality are what makes the game fun to play. Allain says every game that has things happening in real time has its own laws of physics.

“When you make a game, there’s two things you could do: You could say this object is constrained to move in this way, or I could make up some rules. In Fruit Ninja, do i say that the fruit moves up or moves down and I tell the game how the fruit should move. Games that deal with things that can change in unpredictable ways all have some type of model.

“Some are more interesting to look at than others.”

What are some of your favorite games with with either real or imagined physics? Share your experiences in the comments.

BONUS: A Tour of Angry Birds Space

Angry Birds Intro

The Angry Birds, with all new characters, are blasting off in pursuit of their piggy foe.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: angry birds, angry birds space, games, Gaming, physics, rovio, Science, trending

Spotify Facebook Timeline Shows Music History Dating Back 1,000 Years

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 10:50 AM PDT

Spotify's Facebook Timeline

Spotify's Facebook Timeline features key dates in music history going back more than 1,000 years.

Click here to view this gallery.

Streaming music-service Spotify unveiled on Friday its Facebook Timeline fan page which boasts an ongoing history of music dating back more than 1,000 years.

Although Spotify launched in 2006 — and debuted in the U.S. in summer 2011 — the company wanted to give its Facebook fans a comprehensive look at the early beginnings of music.

From Eminem and Frank Sinatra’s first album release date to the birth of German composer St. Hildegard of Bingen in 1098, Facebook users can navigate Spotify’s Facebook Timeline page to learn more about music history. In addition, the Timeline features a link within most entries to the artists’ songs on Spotify, so fans can listen to their music as they search the page.

SEE ALSO: Spotify Expands App Platform | Facebook Limits Apps that Can 'Listen' [VIDEO]

“We'll be adding more and more huge historical landmarks in the coming weeks as well as keeping you up to date with the freshest and most important music moments of today,” Spotify said on Facebook.

Earlier this week, Spotify announced plans to keep the service free in the U.S. indefinitely. The company initially granted U.S. consumers access to the platform with no restrictions for six months. For those that didn’t signed up for a premium package — ranging from $4.99 to $9.99 a month — the site would be limited to 10 free hours of streaming music each month.

It’s unknown how long the streaming service will remain free in the U.S.

What do you think of Spotify’s Facebook Timeline? What are some Facebook brand pages you are impressed by? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, Facebook brand pages, facebook timeline, Music, Social Media, spotify

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Mashable Photo Challenge: Candy Creations

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 10:35 AM PDT

Angry Birds Candy Creation

A very basic, but sweet Angry Birds level

Click here to view this gallery.

Our weekly Mashable Photo Challenge is back. Last week we asked you to show us What’s in Your Laptop Bag. We were impressed with the entries we received — which you can see in a gallery of some of the best photos and on the Mashable Facebook page.

In this week’s Mashable Photo Challenge we have a very different prompt that will challenge your creativity and craftiness in addition to your photography skills. In the spirit of spring, we chose a cheerful challenge for this week.  As Easter draws near, stores have stocked their shelves with an assortment of brightly colored candy.

We want you to take advantage of all that candy and see Your Candy Creation.  Create a scene, character or display out of candy.  Make anything from candy Star Wars to a candy iPhone – and everything in between.  Push your creativity to the limit!

At Mashable we chose to construct a candy Angry Birds level complete with a Hubba Bubba slingshot and gumdrop Bad Piggies.

With our photo challenge, we want to emphasize the value of all types of photography.  We love to see everything from professional quality photos to filtered Instagram shots.  We will choose images to display based on creativity, composition and overall appeal.

For further confectionary inspiration, check out the Seattle Times’ Peeps Gallery and this Royal Wedding inspired photo from the Washington Times.

How To Enter The Challenge

  • Take a picture showing Your Candy Creation
  • Upload your photo to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram or the photo-sharing service of your choice, and drag and drop it in the picture widget below OR
  • Tweet your photo to @mashablehq with the hashtag #MashPics.

Submit your photo by Wednesday, April 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST. We’ll feature some of our favorite photos on Mashable as well as on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see your photos!


More About: community, Mashable Photo Challenge, photography

YouTube Slam: Make Your Own Video Duels, Share Them in Google+ Hangouts

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 10:12 AM PDT

YouTube Slam, a 3-month-old interactive video-discovery tool that randomly spits out two videos at a time for one-on-one battles, now allows users to craft their own matchups — and share them in Google+ Hangouts.

As previously, public voting determines each duel’s winner. Friday’s update adds a fun layer to YouTube Slam, which Google describes as a “place for discovering talented amateur singers, the most adorable clips and the craziest videos on YouTube.”

Users have cast more than a million votes since Slam launched in December.

Now those users can take the reins and create “Slams” with their playlists. It’s simple: go here, then click on the “Create Slam” button that appears next to each playlist.

Playlists with more than two videos will feature rounds of duels instead of just one head-to-head battle.

“When you click ‘Play Slam’ you'll be taken into your game, and we'll show the highest scoring videos and players on the leaderboard page of your Slam,” the company said in a blog post Friday.

Another new feature lets you play custom or existing Slams live with friends inside a Google+ Hangout. To do so, click the "Play Slam with your friends" link.

Interested only in discovering new videos and not creating Slams? You can still browse Slam’s five category pages: bizarre, comedy, cute, dance and music.

What do you think of YouTube Slam and its new interactive features? Let us know in the comments.

BONUS: 7 Best Interactive YouTube Videos

1. Mad Men: The Game

In anticipation of the hit show's fifth season, the Fine Brothers released this 8-bit game on March 21. Its main appeal is in the multitude of inside jokes for those familiar with the show (my personal favorite is when Don and Pete are racing to Cooper's office and they dodge a secretary riding a John Deere ride-on mower).

Warning: There are numerous spoilers, so if you haven't watched the first four seasons, we don't advise playing it just yet.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, video discovery, viral videos, YouTube, YouTube Slam

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10 Excellent PC Games for Less Than $10

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 09:54 AM PDT

1. Magicka

Mix a top-down RPG, a little Diablo-style hack and slash, and a healthy dose of humor, and you've got Magicka.

As a wizard fighting the forces of evil, summon water, earth, fire, lighting and other elements in specific combinations to cast powerful spells. But you'll have to be quick to succeed, and remembering spell combos that exploit enemy weaknesses in the thick of battle can be daunting.

Adventure with friends and time your spells to multiply their effects. The combinations are limitless, and its a blast inventing new spells as you go. The game is hard, so prepare to die early and often.

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s a great time to be a PC gamer. The most anticipated studio titles can be downloaded the moment they’re released, the classics you grew up with are increasingly available again, and independent developers have the means to create worlds the industry only dreams of.

If you’re looking for a weekend gaming fix, but not too keen on dropping 50 bucks for the latest EA thrill ride, consider platforms like Steam and Good Old Games, which offer a wealth of entertainment on the cheap.

SEE ALSO: 10 Classic Video Games You Can Play Online for Free

We’ve selected 10 of our favorite low-priced PC games — a good mix of modern classics, indie innovation, and nostalgia-soaked reissues — which all come in under $10.

So grab one, or grab a few, and get lost for a while.

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

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