Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Top 7 Mashable Comments of the Week”


Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Top 7 Mashable Comments of the Week”

Top 7 Mashable Comments of the Week

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 03:11 PM PDT

We’re back with our weekly top comments from the Mashable community.

In this column, we showcase the week’s best comments from our readers, on our site and from our Facebook page. We’re always looking for insightful contributions that spark discussion, add unique perspective, or simply make us laugh.

This week, some of the most-discussed topics that we covered included the Ugandan people’s response to the KONY 2012 campaign and Yahoo’s announcement of a patent suit against Facebook.

Below, check out this week’s roundup of our top 7 comments from our readers.

Breakable iPad 2

Whit McGhee shares his opinion about the increased frequency of iPad 2 breakage. He describes how more of the population purchased an iPad 2, making the device available to a wider audience.

Original comment posted on:
Why the iPad 2 is Far More Likely to Break than the Original iPad [INFOGRAPHIC]

Click here to view this gallery.

If you haven’t commented on a Mashable article before, check out Mashable Follow, our content curation and social tool, as well as our comment guidelines to learn more. We’d love for you to join the conversation.

Remember to comment on next week’s articles for a chance to be in the top comments roundup.

More About: comments, community, mashable follow, top comments

For more Social Media coverage:

Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 02:24 PM PDT


From March 9 to 18, South by South West (#SXSW) took place in Austin, Texas. Mashable had a big party at SXSW and we met lots of great people, including a few employees of LEGO. The Danish company surprised SXSW with its original business cards: LEGO figures with LEGO's employees' names on them. This picture, featuring Dennis Petersen's figure (@dennisbp, 1000+ followers), is the most-popular #SXSW picture tweeted so far.

Click here to view this gallery.

Twitter continues its explosive growth, and this week was certainly no exception. Boosted by SXSW, there was a multitude of pictures placed on the microblogging service from that super-popular festival. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that our most popular Twitter picture of the week was from SXSW.

There was a record volume of pictures to choose from this week — 47 million — and our intrepid denizens of Twitter photography at Skylines used their brilliant algorithm to determine which ones were the most popular.

The result? A surprisingly diverse group of shots. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some poignant enough to bring a tear to the eye. There’s even some gentle ribbing of the sacred iPhone in there.

If you’re looking for the best Twitter pics in the world, you’ll be pleased with this week’s batch, which somehow gives you microcosm of the planet — a slice of life from today’s world, circa 2012.

In case you missed them, here are last week's Top 10 Twitter Pics.

More About: Skylines, Top 10 Twitter Pics, trending, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

How Booze Goes Social for Saint Patrick’s Day

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 01:02 PM PDT

Saint Patrick’s Day is known for heavy boozing, and major Irish brands like like Guinness, Jameson and Baileys are taking the annual opportunity to full marketing advantage.

Thanks to digital and social media, these beverage companies have devised innovative ways to make consumers feel a part of the party without even setting foot out the door.

Using livestream, social media and interactive tactics, these brands are able to turn the Irish holiday into one big global party — in fact, some are going as far as attempting to achieve a Guinness World Record for it.

Whether it’s for VIP vacation prizes or simply more likes on Facebook — here are the big and small digital things brands are doing in marketing for St. Patrick’s Day.


Jameson is sending out a global invitation to “embrace your Irish spirit,” relying on 35 radio stations from 11 different countries that will broadcast from the Old Jameson Distillery. On top of that, there will be a livestream available online from ten different Jameson global parties.

Looking for party decoration or drink recipes? Jameson has made a St. Patrick’s Day Guide with a party pdf that includes cocktail ideas, party banners and even a guide to Irish slang.

If whiskey tasting’s your thing, Jameson regrets to inform you it has yet to discover a way to make that virtually possible. However, there is a video that gives a good introduction to the Irish whiskey. You can even download a comparative tasting mat to use as you watch along.


Guinness is gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day with hopes to achieve the Guinness World Record for “Largest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.” This year, the company is launching a global online campaign to officially make it the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”

“Every year, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by millions of people all around the world as a special occasion imbued with the spirit of true Irish friendliness – it has become the perfect opportunity to get together with friends, raise a pint of Guinness and enjoy one of the greatest days of the year,” says Guinness’s master brewer Fergal Murray.

After signing the campaign, Guinness has an animated interactive infographic filled with facts about its beer and St. Patrick’s Day. For example, did you know every year 13,000,000 pints of Guinness are poured on St. Patrick’s Day? That’s enough to fill 60 percent of the Empire State Building.

Each factoid on the infographic is sharable to your social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and email.

There’s also a Guinness Storehouse app, available for Android and iOS, that lets you tour the storehouse from your phone and browse the Dublin skyline. Additional features include an extensive timeline about the company’s history and recipes.


For users in need of a little Irish spirit on their Facebook profile, Baileys Irish Cream has an app for that. You can jazz up your profile picture with a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” logo from an app on the Baileys Facebook Page.

Whether you want a hot drink, cold drink or dessert, the Baileys website has plenty of recipes when you’re ready for a St. Patrick’s Day nightcap.

Is St. Patrick’s Day a big seller for your company? Let us know in the comments how you’re celebrating.

Image courtesy of skywaaker

More About: Marketing, Saint Patrick's Day

AT&T Loses Throttling Case, Pays $935 to Customer

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 11:53 AM PDT

AT&T decided to pay up after a California small claims court judge ruled it was unfair to throttle a cellphone data plan advertised as unlimited.

Matt Spaccarelli, 39, challenged AT&T in February after he noticed his 4G network wasn’t operating as fast as it should. Spaccarelli is among the 5% of AT&T customers who use the most data. He told the court speeds slowed once he used 1.5GB to 2GB of data after the billing cycle began.

The judge said slowing down data violated AT&T’s unlimited data plan terms and ordered AT&T pay $850 plus $85 for court costs.

The cellphone provider initially said it planned to appeal the ruling, but decided to pay Spaccarelli late Friday afternoon. He tweeted a picture of his check for $935:

In an email, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed AT&T wrote a check to Spaccarelli, but would not comment further.

AT&T is still throttling Spaccarelli’s phone — he had a .31 Mbps download speed on Saturday — but he considers the court ruling a win. He said he plans to use the money to shut off his cellphone service before his contract is up and to go to the AT&T stockholders meeting in April in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“To me the check means AT&T didn’t stand a chance in the appeal,” Spaccarelli said. “If they did, they wouldn’t have paid me.”

AT&T’s pay-up decision comes after the company offered to settle the case. AT&T asked Spaccarelli to sign a non-disclosure agreement [PDF] that threatened to shut off his phone service for tethering. Spaccarelli refused to sign the agreement.

“It isn’t about the money,” Spaccarelli said. “It’s about getting the service I’m paying for. I pay $130 per month and with that I expect a little bit of reasonableness. ”

SEE ALSO: Your Bandwidth Will Be Throttled. Here's Why.

Both AT&T and Verizon throttle users who gobble up the most data. About 17 million AT&T customers have unlimited data plans, according to the Associated Press. Small claims court is the only legal route that has been successful for challenging AT&T’s throttling policies. A Supreme Court case last year ruled AT&T does not have to allow class action lawsuits, so customers can’t rally in court for a policy change on throttling.

AT&T put limits on its “unlimited” data plans earlier this month. The company said 3G and 4G customers who use more than 3GB during a billing cycle will experience slowing speeds and 4G LTE customers won’t be allowed more than 5GB. Even with the change, AT&T says 95% of its smartphone customers won’t be throttled.

Spaccarelli said he has found a way to avoid slow speeds. He bought a second iPhone and plugged in a SIM card from Straight Talk, a reseller. He said the download speed is 3.83 Mbps on a AT&T 3G network. “Not bad for paying $45 per month for unlimited talking, texting, data and no contract,” Spaccarelli said.

More About: att, iphone 3g, iphone 4g, throttling, trending

For more Mobile coverage:

SpaceX Prepares Dragon Spacecraft for Human Flight [PICS]

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 11:06 AM PDT

SpaceX is preparing a spacecraft to accommodate seven astronauts on its first flight. With the goal of sending a manned Dragon spacecraft first to the International Space Station, the company’s built a prototype of the capsule, including seven comfy seats for those lucky voyageurs.

SpaceX, a company run by PayPal cofounder and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, hopes to soon pick up where NASA’s 30-year shuttle program left off last July. With a little help from NASA, the company’s designing the spacecraft’s seating, lighting, storage spaces and environmental controls for the comfort and safety of its crew.

As you can see in the gallery below, this is not a tiny tin can where astronauts are crammed in like sardines — the company says Dragon’s big enough for seven adults that are up to 6’5″ tall and weigh 250 pounds. There’s enough room in the capsule for three others to stand and help the astronauts get comfortable in preparation for their mission.

Brags SpaceX on its website, “In fact, Dragon has so much interior volume, that we could place an entire three-person Russian Soyuz capsule descent module inside Dragon’s pressure vessel.”

How long will it be until this relatively large spacecraft — atop its mighty Falcon 9 booster rocket — makes it to the International Space Station? The company’s not ready for human spaceflight just yet — the first step is to send an unmanned cargo version of the Dragon spacecraft filled with supplies to the International Space Station, a mission that was originally scheduled for February 7 of this year.

The company announced Friday it is aiming for a April 30 launch with plans for docking with the space station on May 3, according Aero News. Although this upcoming mission will test maneuverability and docking, a first for a privately developed spacecraft. SpaceX has contracted two cargo missions for this year, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for July. In all, SpaceX has 16 flights on its manifest through 2015.

So far, SpaceX has successfully flown the Falcon 9 rocket with the SpaceX Dragon capsule on top, in a mission on December 8, 2010. The spacecraft orbited the earth at an altitude of around 190 miles for three hours, and the company was able to test its maneuverability before it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this month, the Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon booster passed a crucial test, a dress rehearsal for its unmanned first voyage to the International Space Station.

Do you think private space exploration will be as successful as NASA’s exploits?

Take a look at this gallery of the interior of the Dragon spacecraft and some of its other attributes:

Dragon Prototype

According to SpaceX, "SpaceX and NASA conducted a day-long review of the Dragon crew vehicle layout using the Dragon engineering model equipped with seats and representations of crew systems." Photo: SpaceX

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: elon musk, International Space Station, NASA, space, SpaceX, trending

For more Startups coverage:

How a Mysterious Robot Dinosaur Won Over Tech’s Top Influencers

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 10:32 AM PDT

“Wait, are you going to write my answers in human talk?” a man wearing a grey cardboard dinosaur head asks me. His hands are covered in what looks like metallic duct tape, and I can see a microphone secured to the bottom of his cardboard snout.

He switches back to his online personality, which is based on a robot T-Rex named Grimlock from the original Transformers cartoon. On the Internet, the voice of “FAKEGRIMLOCK” is written in all caps with caveman syntax. In person, it’s an artificially low growling voice that struggles to misuse pronouns.


Nobody knows who FAKEGRIMLOCK is, but in some circles, he counts as famous.

It’s the Saturday of South by Southwest Interactive, and he has been called upon to promote a startup called Shelby.TV by chatting with tech influencers invited to meet a “mystery celebrity.” The video startup’s plan is to post the resulting reactions online. My curiosity about who would persistently impersonate a robot dinosaur and how this could come to constitute celebrity, combined with a miscommunication surrounding the word “interview,” has landed me a reluctant starring role in this production.

I ask him why he adopts a dinosaur personality in blog comment sections, his own site and on Twitter.


FAKEGRIMLOCK, who says on his blog that he works in the IT department of a small Midwest startup, first started getting noticed a couple of years ago in the comment section of the technology blog TechCrunch. Most blogs have anonymous commenters they call trolls, but what FAKEGRIMLOCK does is a bit different. His comments, despite being written in robot speak, are usually on-point and insightful rather than purely malicious.

Occasionally he doles out compliments, and he has a habit of phrasing them like the Dali Lama’s Twitter account: “IF PARTNERS NOT AGREE ON WHO ARE TOGETHER, IT NOT PARTNERSHIP, WILL FAIL.” Or, “BEST TIME TO BREAK WORLD IN HALF IS WHEN IT SHOWS UP TO STOP YOU.”

One reader called him the best reason to read the blog. Although FAKEGRIMLOCK says the publication deleted some of his comments, at least one writer started to appreciate him.

“At first he was annoying and now I can’t help but look for his nuggets of wisdom,” wrote former TechCrunch writer Steve Poland on recommendation site Jig.

Fake Grimlock, who refuses to join Facebook, started focusing on other blogs’ comment sections when TechCrunch switched to Facebook comments.

“Celebrity” might be a stretch when describing the robot dinosaur’s status. At South by Southwest, I informally polled about 25 startup founders, VCs and others who are deeply involved in the tech scene on whether anyone had heard the name, but failed to get a positive response. What FAKEGRIMLOCK has cultivated, however, is respect from a bunch of very smart people.

He’s written guest blog posts, complete with cartoon illustrations, for The Lean Startup author Eric Ries, Union Square Ventures Principal Fred Wilson and Foundry Group Managing Director Brad Feld.

“I'm a huge fan of FAKEGRIMLOCK, occasionally commenting on his comments, but often laughing out loud or smiling with recognition of their brilliance when I saw them,” Feld wrote on his blog.

Despite having a relatively small following (about 7,000 on Twitter), FAKEGRIMLOCK was able to raise more than $22,000 from just 300 backers on Kickstarter who wanted to see his cartoons in print.


An excerpt from FAKEGRIMLOCK’s guest post on Brad Feld’s blog.

As he becomes more well-known in entrepreneurial circles, FAKEGRIMLOCK sees his role as an inspiring one.


The “be yourself” line is hard to take coming from someone wearing a cardboard robot head, but somehow it also seems sincere.

Who is Fake Grimlock? Even Shelby.TV’s founders, who brought him to SXSW, say they failed to get a real name out of him. It might be that nobody, anywhere, actually knows — and wouldn’t recognize the name if they did. That, as far as I can tell, is his point.

More About: fakegrimlock, features, Marketing, Startups, sxsw, trending, Twitter

For more Business coverage:

76 New and Hot Stories You Might Have Missed

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 09:23 AM PDT

Digital Tree

It’s been a tough week for some of us to get back into the work groove after a week of networking parties at SXSW (First-World problems?) but never fear, because it’s the weekend again and we’ve rounded up this week’s features for you right here.

If you didn’t get to attend SXSW, be sure to catch up on our coverage of the event — there are photos, panels and infographics listed below. The new iPad also grabbed our attention this week, after months of speculation and waiting.

To get you in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, we’ve got a couple things for you. What’s at the end of the rainbow? A pot of this week’s social media resources!

Editor’s Picks

Ethics and Social Media: Where Should You Draw The Line?

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 08:29 AM PDT

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

As social media usage continues to rise, it's only natural that statistic correlations will be made about the individuals who use the medium. This isn't a bad thing; it's common to deep-dive into demographic information and behavioral data. While there will always be exceptions to the “correlations” that emerge from such data, universal truths about social networking usage and user behavior can be valuable.

The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) is the oldest non-profit organization in the U.S. dedicated to independent research and advancement of high ethical standards and practices in both public and private institutions. Since 1994, the ERC has produced the National Business Ethics Survey (NBES), available for free to the public, to gather information about employees' perspectives of ethics in the workplace. Dr. Patricia J. Harned, president of the ERC, says the NBES is the only longitudinal study that represents the views of the U.S. workforce in business.

The ERC's latest report is one of the first to explore the possible connection between ethics and social media. "Social networking has become very important in our culture, and we wondered if the technology is influencing employees' views about ethics at work,” Harned explains. “Additionally, over the past few years, we have seen companies establish policies concerning social networking in the workplace, so this year it seemed fitting to add questions on the topic."

National Business Ethics Survey Results

One of the most fascinating conclusions in the report is that “active social networkers show a higher tolerance for activities that could be considered unethical.” But Harned says the findings are not an indictment about the character of social networkers: "It appears that they are more willing to consider things that are 'gray areas' — issues that are not always clear in company policies as wrong; and that's an area for further study."

The report also points out that active social networkers are at higher risk for observing misconduct. Harned stresses that it’s observing wrongdoing, not necessarily participating in it. "You could also look at another set of our responses — particularly the high number of active social networkers who reported misconduct — and say that social networkers behaved appropriately," she explains.

Defining Ethics And Influence Factors

In order to understand any potential connection between ethics and social networks, it only makes sense to step back and discuss what ethical behavior means. Jay Shepherd, author of the book Firing at Will: A Manager's Guide, sums up unethical behavior with a sentence.

"It's like pornography: You know it when you see it. It's as simple as knowing the right thing to do, then doing the wrong thing."

Harned adds that perceptions of ethics are influenced by many things. "One influence is the values that we learn as children. But another aspect is the influence of people along the way in our lives,” she says. “It could be that there is something about the conversations and the world view that comes through the connections of social networks that influences employees' views about what is right and wrong."

Is There a Logical Connection Between Ethics and Social Media?

There is some skepticism about trying to draw conclusions about ethics based upon social networking usage. Shepherd suggests the study perpetuates old-school thinking. "The idea that social networkers are more apt to be unethical is absurd. It's just that you're more likely to hear about it. In my experience, social media participants are likely to be more advanced in terms of relationships and thoughtfulness — not less."

One definition in the study that drew attention was the classification of "active social networker" as one who “spends 30% or more of their work day participating on various social network sites." Shepherd says his reaction was, "Seriously? That's a ridiculous amount of time. Those employees aren't even working; who cares what they think?"

Maybe it's exactly this time-wasting factor that creates the perception toward connecting social networking and ethics. Dwane Lay, human resources director at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, also feels the connection might not be directly causal. "Social media tools are the latest in a long line of time-stealers in the workplace, following in the footsteps of March Madness brackets, afternoon golf games, morning water cooler gossip or cigarette breaks,” Lay explains. ”But social media like Twitter and Facebook are more visible from a distance (of both time and space), so they are easier to criticize and quantify."

Should Ethics Blend Into Social Policies?

Both ethics and social media are important in the workplace, so the question becomes: What is the best way to manage them? Should they be treated as two distinct conversations? Or should ethics be addressed in social media policies? Shepherd recommends keeping it simple. "My social media policy is just two words but covers everything: 'Be professional.' Unprofessional employees are going to act unethically whether or not they're plugged in to social media."

Kristen Fyfe, senior communications manager at training and development association ASTD, points out the component that both ethics and social media must have in common to be successful. "Clarity is the most effective element for both ethics and social media policies,” Fyfe says. “Companies that have not incorporated behavior expectations into their employee handbooks should make that a top priority."

Ensuring Both Ethics Compliance and Social Media Success

Whether you choose to incorporate ethics into your social media policy or handle the topics independently, there's agreement that setting expectations, conducting training and holding people accountable is necessary. Lay shares some practical advice on how to ensure employees are in compliance with corporate ethics, but it really applies to any policy, including social media.  

"First of all, read the policy. Not fun, granted, but educational,” he says. ”Second, remember that if you identify yourself as a member of a company or organization, you are always on stage. Act like it. How you respond online will have as much or more resonance than in person, so either be on your best behavior or don't act as a brand advocate."

More Questions Than Answers

Perhaps there aren't any definitive conclusions about ethics and social media usage. After all, social networking is still in its relative infancy in the workplace. But we're learning that social influence exists, and its true impact is just coming to the surface. Further exploration across the social landscape is needed.

What do you think? Are social networking and ethics connected in some way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- Should Small Businesses Follow Everyone Back on Twitter?
- Are You Falling into the Pricing Trap?
- How to Innovate for Top Social Media Sites

Graphics courtesy of Ethics Resource Center: 2012. Thumbnail courtesy of iStockphoto, contour99

More About: business social networking, ethics, features, mashable, open forum, Social Media, trending

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day: Celebrate With Google Doodles [PICS]

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 07:16 AM PDT


Google began its St Patrick's celebrations in 2000 with a green logo sporting a jaunty leprechaun's hat.

Click here to view this gallery.

Top of the morning to you! Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and here at Mashable we’re celebrating with a gallery of all the Doodles Google has ever posted on March 17.

There’s plenty of different shades of green, a good few shamrocks and yes, you guessed it, a leprechaun or two to be spotted in our ultimate Saint Patrick’s Day Google Doodle collection.

SEE ALSO: How to Animate Your Google+ Profile

So, don an oversized green hat, grab yourself a Guinness and take a look through our image gallery. Let us know in the comments below how you’ll be celebrating St. Paddy’s special day this year.

More About: dev and design, features, gallery, Google, google doodles, st patricks day, trending

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