Friday, 6 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Intel and Nissan Bring Multitasking to Infiniti Vehicles”


Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Intel and Nissan Bring Multitasking to Infiniti Vehicles”

Intel and Nissan Bring Multitasking to Infiniti Vehicles

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 02:22 AM PDT

Intel Infiniti

Intel and Nissan have revealed an in-car infotainment system that will bring an interesting array of features to some Infiniti vehicles.

The system was revealed at the New York Auto Show and showcased within Nissan’s concept car, the Infiniti LE.

It will sport an Intel ATOM CPU and bring multitasking to the car: for example, the driver could receive traffic or navigation information, while feeding a movie to the passengers at the same time.

Other interesting features include the ability to control some aspects of the vehicle with a smartphone; for example, an NFC-enabled phone could let you into the car without a key.

Another example is the car sending a notification to the owner’s smartphone after another car bumps into it in a parking lot.

We can expect to see these features in high-end Infiniti vehicles, beginning in 2013.

More About: Infiniti, intel, Nissan

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Americans Reading More Ebooks on Computers Than Ereaders, Phones [STUDY]

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 09:18 PM PDT

One in five Americans read an ebook in the past year, according to a 3,000-person survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. Of those one in five, 42% said they read an ebook on a computer, making it the most popular device for reading electronic copies of books.

It’s a surprising finding, in part because desktops aren’t the most enjoyable nor convenient device for reading ebooks, and partly because most ebook publishers and retailers have prioritized mobile, ereader and tablet reading experiences over the desktop. Amazon, for instance, launched two generations of Kindle ereaders, as well as applications for smartphones and tablets, before it released apps for Macs (March 2010), the web (September 2010) and PCs (November 2010).

After personal computers, the survey found that ereaders are the most popular devices among ebook readers (41%), followed by cellphones (29%) and tablets (23%).

What else do we know about people who read ebooks? For one, they’re more voracious in their reading habits. The average ebook-reading person read 24 books in the past 12 months, compared to 15 for non-ebook readers. And ebook-reading respondents are not abandoning print: 88% said they read print as well as ebooks last year. Test subjects indicated they preferred ebooks for quick access and portability, but chose printed books for reading with children or sharing with others.

Collectively, ebook reading is on the rise. According to Pew, four times as many people are reading on ebooks on a given day now than two years ago.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mikkelwilliam

More About: amazon, ebooks, ereaders, Kindle, nook, Pew

ParkWhiz Makes Parking at the Baseball Game a Cinch

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 08:53 PM PDT

You’ve got your glove, you’ve got your hat, you’ve got your tickets. But where to park? Driving in circles around crowded lots can be a huge hassle that takes the shine off a day at the ball game.

ParkWhiz aims to change that. The Chicago-based platform function as a reservation system for parking lots, allowing venues and third-party lots to post spaces online for event ticket-holders to purchase. It’s recently expanded to now serve 19 Major League Baseball ballparks just in time for the 2012 season. And it plans to extend its baseball reach further.

“We’re still not in all the stadiums yet, but we’re working on that,” says co-founder Jon Thornton.

Here’s how it works: Stadiums, amusement parks, “enterprise lots” and other places that sell parking spaces can list spots on the site or through the ParkWhiz API. Then you search for a space on the site, and can print a parking pass or get an e-ticket. When you reach your destination, just present the paper or e-ticket and don’t waste your time driving in circles.

Locations can simply sell general spots in a lot or charge premium rates for spaces located, for example, near the exit. Prices range from $3 for parking at a Minnesota Twins game to more than $1,000 for a prime Super Bowl slot.

Thornton says baseball stadiums represent about 20% of the site’s business right now and that site’s business has tripled in each of the past two years.

ParkWhiz’s baseball roots run deeper than the sport simply fueling a significant chunk of its business. Thornton says the idea was born in part when co-founder Aashish Dalal had a terrible experience trying to park at a Boston Red Sox game, “so we set out to build a company to basically solve that problem.”

Have you used ParkWhiz? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, hepatus

More About: apps, ParkWhiz, sports, Startups, travel

25 Most-Buzzed Universities on the Internet

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 08:34 PM PDT

MIT is the most-buzzed about university on the Internet, beating out its Massachusetts neighbor Harvard for the top spot.

The Global Language Monitor‘s TrendTopper MediaBuzz rankings measure the brand equity of 210 universities and 200 colleges, using data from social media, the blogosphere, and more than 175,000 print and electronic media outlets.

It’s the first time a technological institution has come in first in the rankings, conducted every nine months. MIT propelled itself to the top through the announcement of its OpenCourseWare program, which allows students around the world to take advantage of MIT course offerings and earn certificates, free of charge.

“The higher education world is in the midst of a major upheaval that has only begun to sort itself out,” said Paul JJ Payack, Global Language Monitor president. “You can’t have an institution of MIT’s stature give away its product for free, or millions of students opting for on-line schools or educations provided by for-profit organization, and of course the globalization of higher ed and not record significant change.”

The top 10 was rounded out by the University of Chicago, Columbia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell, UCLA, Stanford, Yale and University of Texas-Austin.

The complete ranking of the top 25 are listed below.

  • 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2. Harvard University
  • 3. University of Chicago
  • 4. Columbia University
  • 5. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • 6. Cornell University
  • 7. University of California – Los Angeles
  • 8. Stanford University
  • 9. Yale University
  • 10. University of Texas – Austin
  • 11. University of Washington
  • 12. University of Pennsylvania
  • 13. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • 14. University of California – Berkeley
  • 15. Princeton University
  • 16. Ohio State University – Columbus
  • 17. University of California – Davis
  • 18. Indiana University – Bloomington
  • 19. Virginia Tech
  • 20. New York University
  • 21. Duke University
  • 22. University of California – San Diego
  • 23. Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 24. Johns Hopkins University
  • 25. University of Virginia

Which universities to do you hear a lot of buzz about online? Sound off in the comments.

BONUS: Top 10 Social Media-Savvy Universities

1. Harvard University

Harvard -- which has more than 1.6 million fans on Facebook and 107,000 Twitter followers -- posts everything from news about its latest research to video footage of its men's basketball team winning the Ivy League championship.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, xxz114

More About: education, Social Media, universities

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Waygoz, a Social Network for Trading Video Games

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 08:25 PM PDT

Waygoz, a new social network targeted at gamers, encourages them to play more used games, but it wants to cut out the middleman of the used-game retailer altogether.

The secondary market for video games has become a monstrous profit machine. Used video games make up about 25% of game retailer Gamestop’s sales, but account for almost half of its annual profits, according to an analysis by The PA Report.

Game developers are upset about the retail situation as well, which Gamestop and Best Buy dominate. Industry veteran David Braben, founder of Frontier Developments, recently told Gamasutra that the secondary market was responsible for some games dying on the cutting room floor.

“In some cases, it’s killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won’t reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales,” Braben said. “But it’s killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day-one sales are it, making them super high-risk.”

Waygoz hopes to change that, introducing a tool that allows gamers to connect with others online to swap their used games.

“Our idea was that gamers already have great networks,” says Waygoz product manager Josh Kerbel. “There’s no need to give money away.”

On the service, gamers can create accounts, show what games they have for trade, and create wish lists for games they really want to play. The system asks for users’ zip codes, so it can show how close they are to other users for easy trades.

“We really want the users to get off the couch, get out of their house, and build friendships with other gamers,” says Kerbel. He added that Waygoz tries to encourage its users to be as active as possible to grow trust in the community, which he thinks encourages people to swap more.

In its beta form, Waygoz was open to users in Toronto, Canada. It had 1,500 users, a small sample, but 500 swaps occurred during the trial period. Wednesday night Waygoz opened its doors to all other markets.

Users’ accounts are linked to their real identities to increase transparency. Also, every user has a community rating — a sort of trustworthiness metric — next to his or her profile. The site even suggests public locations for gamers to meet, like fast food chains and coffee shops.

The other benefit is that gamers can learn about titles they’ve never played before, and see what other gamers are saying on each game’s page. For anyone who has missed out on classic titles, it’s a good chance to pick up suggestions.

Are you interested in a service like Waygoz to trade used games? What do you think of its business model? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy Flickr, Sergey Galyonkin.

More About: features, gamestop, Gaming, social gaming network, social network, used games

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How Subaru Is Making Cruise Control Smarter Than You

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 08:00 PM PDT

Ever veer out of your lane while driving, only to be jolted into noticing by the loud honk of the car you’re about to hit? What if your car could actually “see” the lines on the pavement and warn you when you start to move outside them?

That’s the idea behind Subaru’s EyeSight system, debuting at the New York Auto Show. EyeSight consists of a pair of cameras mounted on either side of the rear-view mirror. They act as a kind of always-on extra pair of eyes for the driver, helping out when, for whatever reason, danger may be imminent.

The cameras constantly scan the road and the traffic around you, so the system is smart enough to know when you’re on the highway and when you’re in a parking lot.

There are three main benefits. First is pre-collision braking, which can detect when an object suddenly appears in the path of the car. If something jumps out, and the driver doesn’t react right away, the system can apply the brakes on its own, slowing and even stopping the car.

In a similar manner, EyeSight can also improve your cruise control by always maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. And, yes, there’s a lane-departure warning, too.

SEE ALSO: Porsche Unveils High-Tech SUV, Sleek Sports Car to U.S. Market

Subaru cautions that the system isn’t intended as any kind of replacement for simple driver care and paying attention to the road. Like other sensor-based driving or parking-assist systems, it’s just a convenience, and a far cry from the self-driving cars Google and others are working on.

Subaru will offer EyeSight on the 2013 Outback and Legacy models but hasn’t said how much it will add to the price of the car.

What do you think of EyeSight? Have your say in the comments.

BONUS: The Best of the New York Auto Show

Terrafugia's Transition Flying Car

Here's that flying car you've been dreaming of your whole life. From aircraft company Aircraft company Terrafugia comes the Transition car, which touts four wheels, two wings and the ability fly two people anywhere.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: EyeSight, subaru

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8 Tips To Maximize Your Brand’s YouTube Presence

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 07:43 PM PDT

Michael "MJ" Jaindl is chief client officer at Buddy Media, maker of the social-enterprise software of choice for eight of the top ten advertisers in the world. Visit Buddy Media's blog for more on social marketing.

Creating an account on YouTube is simple, and building a channel for your brand is quick and easy. But at a time when most brand managers know the potential of this video-hosting medium, it's not enough to simply have a presence. A brand must stand out to viewers by turning its channel into a destination. Otherwise, it runs the risk of getting lost among the more than 3 billion videos already viewed on YouTube each day.

SEE ALSO: 6 Best Practices For Small Business YouTube Marketing

This is why brands need a YouTube game plan that covers all aspects of the brand channel, including aesthetic, video content, and comment moderation. Below are eight tips for creating such a plan and turning your brand's YouTube channel into a video hotspot.

1. Create a Schedule

While every brand may not have the resources to churn out new videos every week, laying out a schedule and adhering to it will force you to create fresh content. That will draw people back to the channel, which is what you want. One way to make sure you’re creating regular video content is to develop a recurring series with a theme. This will make it easier to come up with ideas when you are stuck. DirecTV, for instance, has a playlist on their official channel devoted to how-to videos that provide users valuable information on their dish product.

Using an activity calendar like the one shown above, you can remind your social networks about the type of content you’re publishing. You can create one yourself by syncing your YouTube content schedule with your other social networks to map out a strategy for cross-promotion.

2. Keep it Short

YouTube generally caps videos at 15 minutes, but the closer you get to that limit, the less likely you are to keep viewers engaged. Consider that those watching may not have that kind of time. Telling a story in one or two minutes will help ensure that anyone watching sees your entire message. Many brands upload their television ads, which are usually under five minutes, to YouTube. A good example is Acura's Super Bowl commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld, which has received more than 18 million views.

3. Promote

One of the great things about YouTube is its sharing functionality. On the other hand, with 48 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, there is a lot of competition for eyeballs on the site. This is why you must use existing digital assets to promote your channel and its content.

Start by posting your videos across social networks to increase viewership, but remember that this will not necessarily drive traffic. You must also make sure you are posting links to the channel itself and actively encouraging users to subscribe. Earning subscribers will increase the chance that people will see new videos as soon as they log in to the YouTube homepage.

It is also critical to optimize videos by entering a title with targeted keywords, a detailed description (the more the better!), and relevant keywords in the tags field. Filling in the important textual details will make it easier for users to find your videos because Google displays YouTube videos on the first page of search results.

4. Have a Channel Aesthetic

YouTube gives you plenty of options to create a customized appearance for your channel. Make sure you create an aesthetic reflective of your brand’s overall digital presence. To ensure that visitors know they are watching a video coming straight from your organization, use logos and colors they already associate with your brand. In this example, Ford uses a simple design with a header that provides a familiar feeling to those accustomed to seeing Ford's online presence.

5. Don't Ignore the Comments Section

There are two separate areas where you need to monitor comments. Users can comment on your channel homepage as well as below individual videos. YouTube administrators have the option to allow all comments, moderate comments before they are approved, or disable all comments. This is the case for both the channel and for individual videos. Additionally, comments can be moderated after the fact, by reporting them as spam or simply removing them from the comments section.

It is important to monitor the chatter on videos and your channel page to make sure you are responding to conversations that warrant a response, as well as moderating inappropriate content that may pop up. Because comments are displayed so prominently, you can’t ignore them. Of course, you shouldn't delete every negative comment, but you can set standards for deleting comments with foul language or other offensive content.

6. Choose Your Featured Video Wisely

First impressions are everything. So when someone lands on your channel, don't you want to put your best foot forward? Select a high-quality video that is entertaining, timely, and relevant. Switch the featured video regularly in order to keep your channel fresh and appealing. You also want to make sure your featured video has an eye-catching title that will make people want to watch it.

The homepage for the Under Armour channel has a good example featuring Cam Newton. Notice the starter image that appears beneath the play button. You have the option to change the starter thumbnail within the video's settings, too.

7. Make Playlists of Related Content

Creating playlists are a great way to help viewers find more relevant content once they are finished watching a video. With the new YouTube layout, brands can place featured playlists front-and-center on the channel page. Within a playlist viewers can easily find related videos and can watch them, one after the next, without needing to manually press the play button. It's important to make sure your playlists are accurately labeled so that users know exactly what they will find within each one.

8. Pay Attention to Analytics

YouTube provides free analytics for your channel. This means you have access to performance data (views, subscribers); engagement data (likes, comments, shares, etc.); demographic data (location and gender of viewers); and per-video metrics. By reviewing this information you can better gauge how effectively you are utilizing the content on your channel and how you can fine-tune it to create an even better experience for your viewers and subscribers.

Editor’s Note: Ford and Under Armour are clients of the author’s company.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ozgurdonmaz

More About: brands, contributor, features, social media marketing, YouTube

Flexible Touchscreen Could Prompt Sleeker, Curvier Tablets, Smartphones

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 07:11 PM PDT

Can your iPad do this?

Perhaps someday. Atmel, which makes hardware used in devices from Samsung, Acer and LG, this week introduced XSense, a flexible touchscreen the company claims can fuel a new wave of lighter, sleeker bendable smartphones and tablets. The video above, aimed at industrial designers, posits that the flexible touchscreens could also be used for “completely new products” such as coffee machines and watches.

According to a press release, the company was able to make this breakthrough via a “proprietary roll-to-roll metal mesh technology.” A rep says the screen is “very bendable” and achieves that flexibility by using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) rather than more common, stiffer materials.

Atmel’s not the only company that believes bendable screens are the future. LG last week announced that it has started mass production of an electronic paper display (EPD) product, which will launch in Europe next month. LG's EPD is a 6-inch, 1024×768 e-ink plastic screen. It’s 0.7mm thick, it weighs 14g, and LG claims it’s resistant to scratches and drops from up to 1.5 meters. Of course, its biggest claim to fame is its flexibility: LG claims the screen allows bending at a range of 40 degrees from its center.

Nokia also introduced a prototype handheld device last year that lets you bend and twist the screen to complete actions like scrolling and zooming. Samsung has also told analysts it plans to introduce phones with flexible displays sometime this year.

More About: atmel, flexible screens, Gadgets, ipad

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‘Texts From Hillary’ is Your New Favorite Clinton-Themed Tumblr

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 06:39 PM PDT

“Texts From Hillary” is the latest Tumblr blog making waves on the political web, and for good reason — it’s downright hilarious.

The meme blog is built around two photos of a sunglasses-clad Secretary of State Clinton checking her cellphone on a military C-17 aircraft from last October. The original photos were taken by Reuters’ Kevin Lamarque and Time’s Diana Walker.

Those photos are used to portray Clinton as a rough-and-rumble, all-business Secretary of State.

“Hey Hill, whatchu doing?” asks President Obama in one example — to which Clinton cooly replies, “running the world.”

And when a worried woman texts her that it’s 3 a.m. and “something’s happening,” Clinton calms her nerves with an assertive “cool it” — a reference to this ad the Clinton presidential campaign ran against then-Senator Obama during the 2008 primary season:

Texts From Hillary was the idea of Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe, both communications professions living in the Washington, D.C. area. The pair were talking about the photos of Clinton that were spreading around the web, and they quickly turned it into a meme.

“Mind you, this all happened at the bar after a few drinks,” says Lambe. “But when you hang out with Tumblr friends — these are the kind of things you discuss.”

Lambe’s got a few influential followers on his regular blog, and they helped him take the new satirical Clinton site viral. Lambe says while they never expected it to go crazy, they’re thrilled that it did.

“Of course, I’m waiting for Hillary to text me,” he added.

The new meme suits Clinton, who has recently enjoyed coverage portraying her as an excellent choice for heading up the State Department. And, who knows, if she decides to run for president in 2016, a whole bunch of free, positive publicity certainly couldn’t hurt.

Do you love the Texts From Hillary blog? Post your ideas for Texts From Hillary memes in the comments below!

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, SEIU International

More About: Hillary Clinton, Meme, Politics, tumblr, US, viral

Meet New York City’s Other Taxi of the Future

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 06:18 PM PDT


We’ve already met New York City’s so-called taxi of the future, the Nissan NV200. However, there’s a dark horse contender for the position: VPG’s MV-1. The issue at hand: wheelchair accessibility.

A little background: The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission decided last year that it was going with Nissan to build the next generation of taxis for the city. However, at the same time, widespread dissatisfaction with the city’s wheelchair-accessible taxis was boiling over because of stories like this one.

The city was sued over the scarcity of taxis for the disabled, and last December a judge ruled that the Commission failed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in picking Nissan. The Commission now has to come up with a plan to address the needs of wheelchair users.

VPG wants the MV-1 to be the solution. The SUV-like vehicle prioritizes wheelchair access but still has enough room for four people and the driver in addition to a wheelchair passenger. A ramp extends from the side either manually or via motorized lift (see video below), letting wheelchair users ride in from the curb.

The first MV-1 hit the road in October. The City is currently testing a couple of dozen of them to see how they work in the fleet, company reps say. The MV-1 exceeds the requirements of the ADA, is still comfortable for everyday people, and offers a relatively green compressed natural gas fuel system as an option, so VPG has high hopes it could actually usurp Nissan as New York’s future taxi of choice.

That’s probably a long shot, but it does have the home-field advantage: VPG is based in Florida, and the cars are made in the U.S.A.

SEE ALSO: Watch the First Real Flying Car Unfold Its Wings [VIDEO]

The multipurpose vehicle comes in two versions: The standard one with manual ramp that is the basis of the NYC cab ($39,950), and a luxury version with leather seats and the motorized ramp that’s targeted at individuals ($41,950).

Do you think the MV-1 should be New York’s taxi of the future? What about other cities? Sound off in the comments.


VPG says its VM-1 multipurpose vehicle exceeds requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and hopes it finds a place in New York City's next-generation taxi fleet.

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How One Non-Profit Aims to Create Open-Source Government

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 06:00 PM PDT

As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the Sunlight Foundation is taking the ethos found among the open-source software movement and applying it to government. It’s one goal is to publish the government’s public data in an easy-to-access location, at no cost to users.

Unlike similar services, its data is free. The foundation says its work is for the benefit of concerned citizens and investigative journalists.

By putting the U.S. government’s data online to create more transparency and accountability, Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Sunlight Foundation is making public data more accessible for American citizens. It sounds like a tall order, but the company’s ambitions have always been high.

“The co-founder and president, Mike Klein, originally wanted to create something like the Pulitzer award,” says Gabriela Schneider, Sunlight Foundation’s communications director. “He met with Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen and others, and they told him that another award would be great, but if you’re starting something new, focus on digitizing data and putting it online.”

And that’s just what the foundation did. The Sunlight Foundation runs Sunlight Labs, an open-source group of developers that makes new digital tools for users to explore the government’s data. Not just the federal government, either — Sunlight Labs is working on the “Open State Project,” applying the same public access objective to the governments of all 50 states.

The Sunlight Foundation also runs Sunlight Reporting Group, a collection of journalists who cover open government. This specific project also incorporates a teaching element to the company by showing other journalists how to become data hounds, sniffing out stories from mounds of raw government information.

Aside from serving as a source of government data and a reporting organization, the Sunlight Foundation serves a third critical role: think tank. It advocates for policies that make government more “open and transparent” — it wants government data more easily searched, and it calls for data to be made available in real-time.

“There's a whole cottage industry of places that sell subscriptions so you can follow legislation, lobbying efforts and campaign contributions where they take government info and provide it for a fee,” says Schneider. “We were founded with the ethos of turning that upside on its head. We want as many eyes as possible on [government] information, so that we can all make sense of it together.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sjlocke

More About: data, features, government, mashable, Politics

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Sorry, Larry Page. Steve Jobs Really Wanted to Destroy Android

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 05:31 PM PDT

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

Steve Jobs passed into legend a little more than six months ago. Now it seems the arguments over his intentions for Apple are just getting started.

In the Jobs-approved biography by Walter Isaacson, the Apple founder is seen railing against Android toward the end of his life. Insisting that Google stole its look and feel from the iPhone’s iOS, Jobs vowed to declare “thermonuclear war” on Android. That’s quite an image.

Recently, Google CEO Larry Page has tried to play down that comment. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, released Wednesday, Page said he thought Jobs’s attacks were “for show,” adding that “it's useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that.”

Isaacson has fired back. In a Q&A session following his lecture at the historic Royal Institute in London, the biographer and former TIME editor insists that Jobs’s genuine passion on this topic was not to be underestimated.

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google, you f___ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.’ Grand theft,” Jobs told Isaacson in the book. “Make no mistake. They want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”

He would not be swayed, not even by settlements. “It wasn't a matter of money,” Isaacson explained. “He said: ‘You can't pay me off, I'm here to destroy you.’”

What Page was actually trying to focus on in the Bloomberg interview was the fact that Jobs spent so much time with him toward the end, mentoring the young founder and CEO.

How, therefore, could their companies be anything but the best of friends?

Enter the Gates

But Page clearly hasn’t read the parts of the biography pertaining to another Jobs rival: Bill Gates.

The Microsoft founder could also be smiling and shaking Jobs’s hand one minute, and be the target of his fury over Windows “theft” the next.

That was part of Jobs’ genius, and also his weakness. He could be best friends with his worst enemies. (See also: Sculley, John.)

I’m not saying that Jobs railed at Page about Android in person the way he fumed about Windows. He was older, and wiser, and was clearly fond of the younger man, a prodigal genius with a killer product.

But Jobs’s fondness for Gates stayed as solid as his lifelong hatred of Windows. Clearly, he was capable of mentoring Page and plotting corporate strategy to destroy Android at the same time.

What’s the Beef?

Did Jobs have anything like a point?

Yes, from his perspective. Not at all, from Page’s.

Jobs was firm in his belief that Eric Schmidt — then Google CEO — had sat through Apple’s board presentations on the development of the iPhone, and been inspired to create a competitor. More than inspired, Jobs said.

Android was launched a year after the first iPhone. Schmidt left the Apple board a year after that, citing conflicts of interest between the companies. Jobs never stopped being furious with him.

SEE ALSO: Apple Wins Patent Victory Over Android, But Does It Matter?

To Googlers, the anger seems odd. After all, the search giant acquired Android Inc. in 2005, two years before the iPhone launch. At the time, it was known that both Google and Apple had strong interests in the mobile space.

But Jobs won that race with the iPhone, by a year. He basked in glory as the world went wild for it.

And then he saw suspiciously similar handsets with suspiciously similar operating systems, all of which were driven by a company run by a guy sitting on his board. Who knew a lot about the design of the product early in its life.

Even the most placid of CEOs might go thermonuclear in those circumstances. And Jobs — well, once he started a vendetta, the biography makes clear, it took a lot to make him stop.

SEE ALSO: Google Must Tell Apple Its Android Secrets, Says Judge

He buried the hatchet with Windows, at least in a business sense, a mere 12 years after that feud started. But that was 1997, he had just returned to Apple, and the company was on life support.

Going by that reckoning, the earliest Page could have expected Jobs to quit his “thermonuclear war” on Android would be sometime in 2020.

What would that war have meant, in practice? A bunch more lawsuits, possibly. Ever more aggressive acquisitions and patents, very likely. Jobs focusing his genius design mind on making sure each iPhone iteration blew every Android handset out of the water, most definitely.

It would never have been for show. Never just to rally the troops. Given his obsession, Jobs’s strong distaste for the design of Android would have been the supercharged energy cell inside him. Had he lived, it never would have died.

Perhaps — depending on how Tim Cook steers the good ship Apple — it hasn’t.

More About: android, apple, Google, iOS, larry page, steve jobs, trending

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Sink or Swim? Twitter Reviews ‘Titanic 3D’ in 140 Characters or Less

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 04:40 PM PDT

James Cameron’s blockbuster film, Titanic, is back — and this time you can see all of the tragic, iceberg-induced action in 3D. Titanic 3D was released April 4 and is already drawing heated reactions across Twitter.

Some Twitter users have been overcome with a rush of nostalgia, while others were reminded how much they disliked the movie in the first place, when it was released December 1997.

Titanic held the record for highest grossing film in the world for over a decade, and cemented itself a place in popular culture.  The 3D reboot coincides with the 100th anniversary of the real Titanic, which set sail April 10, 1912.

SEE ALSO: Tweets Chronicle the Journey of the Titanic as if in Real Time

Check out these responses and reviews for Titanic 3D.  Are you going to see Titanic 3D, or was once enough for you?

Nils Parker

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of  Twentieth Century Fox Films Corporation, Paramount Pictures

More About: Entertainment, features, Film, Movies, Social Media, Twitter

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Twitter Sues Five Major Spammers

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 04:23 PM PDT


Twitter’s had it with spammers and wants to send a message with the help of law enforcement. On Thursday, the company filed a suit against five separate web tools and providers that allegedly make it easier to spam people on Twitter.

“Twitter now has more than 140 million active users, and we continue to grow at a record pace,” Twitter said in a statement. “As our reach expands, we become a more attractive target for spammers. Even though spam is a small fraction of the content you can find on Twitter, we know just how distracting it can be.”

The defendants in the suit are TweetAttacks (, TweetAdder (, TweetBuddy (, James Lucero (of and Garland Harris (of, and are allegedly in violation of The Twitter Rules.

View the suit here.

“Taking legal action sends a clear message to all would-be spammers that there are serious and costly consequences to violating our Rules with their annoying and potentially malicious activity,” notes the statement.

Twitter is not the first social network to get the law on its side to combat spammers. Earlier this year, Facebook and the Attorney General of Washington state teamed up to file two lawsuits against “clickjackers” who worked to spread spam on Facebook. In 2009, Google fought “Google money” schemes and the following year targeted illegal online prescription pharmacies.

Twitter’s made a move to tackle security issues and user fraud recently with its acquisition of security firm Dasient earlier this year, and what it says is its continuously -expanding anti-spam engineering team.

What do you think about Twitter’s lawsuit against these websites? What do you think the outcome will be? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, courtneyK

More About: Google, spam, spammers, trending, Twitter

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MLB Fan Cave: The Core Of Major League Baseball’s Social Strategy

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 04:13 PM PDT

MLB Fan Cave

On Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, the MLB Fan Cave was alive with energy. Nine baseball uber-fans, still pleasantly reeling from their meeting with former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, were watching three important things occur: The Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers game, the Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets game, and the arrival of their brand new couch.

As the so-called Cave Dwellers stated, it was a very important moment for them. That couch was where they would spend the next six months of their lives.

The MLB Fan Cave is a shrine to Major League Baseball in downtown New York City, decked out in baseball memorabilia, quirky artwork with high-tech touches, and televisions — lots of televisions. The Fan Cave, and the people in it, are at the very core of Major League Baseball’s social media strategy.

According to Tim Brosnan, the Executive Vice President of Business for Major League Baseball, “The Fan Cave is designed to create content that literally runs minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, that has baseball running through it. It makes baseball part of the conversation whether or not there is a game going on or a highlight being played.”

"”We want to be part of the conversation on the digital water cooler. The Fan Cave gives us things to talk about every minute of every day.”

Nearly everything in the Cave plays a part in bringing baseball into the digital conversation. The artwork in the Cave has QR codes placed below it, leading to videos of the artist creating the piece, and what appears to be a frame with an odd design inside is actually a Bluetooth speaker, to which anyone can wirelessly connect music devices.

“We want to be part of the conversation on the digital water cooler,” says Brosnan, “The Fan Cave gives us things to talk about every minute of every day.”

The nine individuals are employed full time by Major League Baseball to live, work and watch baseball in the Fan Cave. They were chosen from a pool of 22 thousand applicants based in part on their social media acumen. They all quit their jobs to move here — in former lives, they were television producers, students, journalists, actors, and even hazmat cleanup specialists.

They all used social media in uniqe ways to rise above the crowd of applicants — they managed to get professional athletes to petition their cases on Twitter, made rap videos, and tattooed their bodies with 38 MLB mascots and logos arranged on either side of their torsos (American League teams on the right, National League on the left).

As Cave Dweller Eddie Mata put it: “We love baseball like you love your family.”

All nine Cave Dwellers, however, aren’t going to make it to the World Series. Throughout the course of the season, they will be eliminated until a winner is crowned. According to Brosnan, “They're going to have to prove to the general public and the folks who are keeping the cave dwellers here — or asking them to go home — that they get social media, and that they know how to attract people to be part of their conversation.”

The Dwellers will be judged not only on the volume of social conversation they can generate, but also on their creativity creating content for the social space.

However, it’s not just about social media. “We want nice people here,” said Brosnan. “It's a long, hot summer on these couches.”

iPhoto Wall

An Apple computer is connected to a large screen TV, allowing you to take a picture of yourself projected onto the wall. The photos are immediately printed, and the snapshots of the more famous passerby are put up on the wall.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Major League Baseball, MLB, Social Media, sports

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What’s at Stake When Employers Ask for Social Media Passwords? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 03:07 PM PDT

Following reports that some employers around the U.S. have solicited social media access and/or passwords from potential hires, both Facebook and government officials have protested.

Not only is sharing social media passwords against many of the major networks’ terms of service, the practice has also been viewed as an invasion of privacy by the ACLU.

Furthermore, the companies, government agencies or colleges that have gained access to the social media accounts of potential employees or students may become liable for any content posted therein. For instance, if a job candidate has posted an admission of guilt for a crime, his or her employer may find itself legally vulnerable.

SEE ALSO: Debate Over Giving Employers Your Facebook Password Continues

The folks at have created the following infographic in response to the social media privacy debate. The graphic features the “Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights,” a petition drafted by concerned social media users after the 2010 Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference. You can access the “bill” here.


More About: Facebook, infographics, privacy, Social Media

Google CEO Releases ‘Mega Ambitious’ Letter, Still Not Evil

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 02:38 PM PDT

Integration, integration and more integration. That’s the theme of a lengthy state-of-Google blog post by CEO Larry Page, which was published on the company’s Investor Relations blog on Thursday.

“We have always believed that it's possible to make money without being evil,” Page writes, echoing the company’s recent statements to Congress.

“In fact, healthy revenue is essential if we are to change the world through innovation, and hire (and retain) great people.”

The update runs through Google’s successes, as well as its plans for this year and beyond. Page wrote about Google’s desire to focus on big ideas and take “uncomfortably exciting” risks.

“It may sound nuts, but I've found that it's easier to make progress on mega-ambitious goals than on less risky projects,” he writes.

“Few people are crazy enough to try, and the best people always want to work on the biggest challenges. We’ve also found that "failed" ambitious projects often yield other dividends.”

Some key highlights:

More than one million businesses now use Google's advertising products, Page writes. He goes on to say the mobile advertising space is rapidly growing.

Page reiterates the claim that Google+ has 100 million active users, but doesn’t define “active”. Previous claims have included users of Google+ integrated products — such as Gmail and Google Maps.

So far, there have been more than 120 Google+ integrations, writes Page, to ensure a seamless and intuitive online experience from one Google product to another.

Gmail now has 350 million users. AdSense, which has paid more than $30 billion to partners, was the result of a "failed" project, he writes.

“In 2006, when Google acquired YouTube, we faced a lot of skepticism. Today, YouTube has over 800 million monthly users uploading over an hour of video per second,” Page writes.

See a theme here?

Google takes challenges head-on and aims to be a company “deserving of great love,” the CEO says. Its future endeavors include refining Google search and continuing to invest in security.

In light of the fact Google is in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility, Page assures Android users it will continue to be an “open ecosystem.”

What jumps out for you in Page’s letter to investors? Tell us in the comments.

More About: Google, larry page, trending

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Nyan Cat Survives 1 Year as an Internet Sensation

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 02:12 PM PDT

Nyan Cat Anniversary

Nyan Cat, the Internet’s favorite 8-bit animated feline, turns one year old today after surviving a whirlwind 12 months as a Pop-Tart-shaped viral sensation.

Illustrator Chris Torres introduced Nyan Cat to the masses on April 5, 2011, when he uploaded a video of it to YouTube. The clip has amassed 69 million views and spawned a slew of remixes, products and video games. Torres initially unleashed Nyan Cat to a smaller audience via his website LOL-Comics on April 2 of last year.

Torres and fans are celebrating in New York City with a birthday party hosted by 21st Street Games, which recently released Nyan Cat Adventure for iOS. The party will be livestreamed starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The popular Non-Stop Nyan Cat website showcases Nyan Cat wearing a party hat (see above). The homepage lets fans wish the Internet sensation a happy birthday.

We threw some questions at Torres to find out more about the long-lasting meme he created.

Q&A With Nyan Cat Creator Chris Torres

Mashable: Has the success of your creation exceeded your wildest dreams?

Torres: Nyan Cat has transformed into this viral entity that has surpassed not only everything I originally expected for my art but for memes in general. It’s gained its own amazing subculture with incredibly creative fans, and it’s already reaching 70 million views on YouTube. I originally only wanted to make Nyan Cat for a Twitter avatar for myself, but I’m so excited and happy that people all over the world are enjoying it, too.

Mashable: If Nyan Cat could make friends, what memes would it befriend?

"Hands down, Keyboard Cat would be Nyan Cat’s best friend. … Nyan Cat’s language has still not been able to be translated yet.”

Torres: Hands down, Keyboard Cat would be Nyan Cat’s best friend. They both have similar startups and Keyboard Cat plays one mean keyboard.

I could also see Nyan Cat being friends with the original Hamster Dance meme, since they share very similar traits — animated GIFs paired with insanely addictive music.

Mashable: What is Nyan Cat saying? And will its vocabulary ever expand?

Torres: Nyan Cat’s language has still not been able to be translated yet, so it is difficult to say. However, it has picked up a few American words such as ‘love’ and ‘happy,’ which leads me to believe everything Nyan Cat says is done so I spread joy to the universe.

Mashable: So many products have been created around Nyan Cat. Are you making money?

Torres: It’s really hard to say how Nyan Cat is doing financially, but I’m very grateful for all of the support it’s getting. When I originally created the art, it was for an American Red Cross charity, and I feel that it’s now my calling to continue helping people around the world with the worldwide attention it’s gained. Last year, Nyan Cat was able to help organizations such as The American Red Cross, Child’s Play and Doctors Without Borders. I will definitely continue helping those in need for as long as Nyan Cat sails the skies.

Mashable: What have been your favorite Nyan Cat moments so far?

Torres: Oh man, there are seriously too many to choose from. I think the clear winner though is teaming up with 21st Street Games. These wonderful people created the other successful game, Techno Kitten Adventure, and are now working with me on a new game called Nyan Cat Adventure, which was recently released for iOS and Xbox Live Indie Arcade. This week, they flew me out to their headquarters and we’ve been partying all day to celebrate Nyan Cat’s first birthday. I am extremely grateful for how awesome they’ve been to me.

BONUS: 3D Printer Brings Internet Memes Into the Real World

Did you know you can infuse your offline world with 3D versions of Nyan Cat and other memes? Yup, all thanks to the folks at Shapeways and its 3D printing technology.

1. Sad Keanu

Now you can physically place poor, sad Keanu anywhere you want. You can put him on your cubicle at work or your piano at home, apparently.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Anniversaries, apps, birthdays, memes, mobile apps, mobile games, nyan-cat, viral

Major League Baseball Uncorks a Social Media Homer

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 01:34 PM PDT

Can Major League Baseball pitch a perfect season with social media? The league is taking impressive steps to beef up its social presence and engagement with fans this year.

On Wednesday, it lured followers into tweeting a hashtag promoting the MLB.TV streaming service, launching the #MLBTVme hashtag to a plum spot on Twitter‘s national and global trending charts for hours.

What was the lure? As more users tweeted that #MLBTVme hashtag — and the longer it trended — more prizes were given away, and the longer the giveaway lasted.

With Thursday’s official Opening Day, the league introduced designated social media-savvy “real-time correspondents” for all 30 of its ballparks to provide on-the-ground updates and content. And it’s launched Tumblr and Pinterest accounts for every club.

“Baseball is really a social conversation for us,”‘s director of new media Andrew Patterson says. “There’s a game going on, but there’s a conversation happening too.”

Here’s how the league put a unique twist on its #MLBTVme promotion. The official @MLB account tweeted a series of relatively simple trivia questions with the hashtag. Fans who correctly answered the questions were entered into a random drawing to win several high-end prizes including iPads, XBox 360s, Roku devices and PlayStation 3s, all of which came with free MLB.TV subscriptions. The hook? The longer fans tweeted #MLBTVme and kept it a trending hashtag, the more prizes the league gave away.

The hashtag was mentioned more than 57,000 times Wednesday, according to Dave Feldman,’s social media director. When the league asked fans to name the only pitcher to throw an Opening Day no-hitter, the answer — Bob Feller — trended worldwide as well.

SEE ALSO: Major League Baseball Policy Endorses Use of Social Media | How Major League Baseball Stacks up on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

A longer-term aspect of MLB’s social media strategy is its new cadre of digital correspondents for each ballpark. Correspondents are paid by the game and provide short updates and photos of players’ pre-game routines, lineup cards and other behind-the-scenes features.

Then, “once the game starts it’s not sitting in the press box, it’s getting out with fans in the crowd, talking to who caught foul balls and home runs, and making the ballpark a social and mobile experience for fans,” says Arturo Pardavila,’s director of social media content.

Correspondents’ photos, videos and updates are sent to headquarters, then published to the site’s Cut4 section and syndicated to league and team social accounts.

“Integrating more social and mobile into the experience isn’t an aberration, it’s more likely to become the norm,” Patterson says. “The idea now isn’t just to package the content we have and put it out on social media — it’s to create content we know works well on social.”

What do you think of Major League Baseball’s social media efforts? Let us know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, skodonnell

More About: Facebook, sports, Twitter

Pinterest Gets More Personal: Time to Choose Your Own Board Covers

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 01:11 PM PDT

Pinterest released Thursday a much-requested feature: the ability to choose the pin that appears on the cover of your boards.

The update gives you greater control over the appearance of your profile page. For addicts like me, it’s an opportunity to more extensively obsess.

You can now edit a board cover by hovering over it with your mouse. An “Edit Board Cover” button will appear (see below, left); click on it and you’ll be able to rotate through all of your pins to select a cover image.

It’s also possible to adjust the position of the thumbnail for a better fit, although you can’t crop or resize it. Click “Set Cover” to finish. And you can choose board covers within each board by mousing over your pins.

Click on “Edit Board Cover” (left) to change the image.

Board covers were introduced as part of a big redesign Pinterest rolled out last month. Between then and now, users had no control over their board covers: by default, the latest pin served as the board cover.

Personally, I’d often find myself seeking out new images to pin if my board covers didn’t look right. That’s probably not normal behavior, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who did it. Did you? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, s_falkow

More About: pinterest

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Obama Signs ‘Game-Changing,’ Crowd-Funding JOBS Act

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 01:01 PM PDT

President Obama called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act a “game-changing” bill moments before singing it into law Thursday afternoon.

The JOBS Act is a bipartisan bill which aims to make it easier for startups to grow, hire employees and contribute to the United States’ sluggish economic recovery.

The bill classifies startups as “emerging growth companies” that can turn to online investors to raise much-sought-after startup capital — similar to how websites such as Kickstarter let users raise money for films, books or other projects.

Those companies would also be able to sell up to $50 million in shares before having to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and have up to 1,000 shareholders — double the current limitation.

“One of the great things about America is that we're a nation of doers,” said President Obama at a White House signing ceremony, where he was flanked by members of Congress and some of the nation’s top entrepreneurs.

“We think big, take risks and believe that anyone with a solid plan and a willingness to work hard can take even the most improbable idea and turn it into a solid business."

Supporters of the bill, including AOL co-founder Steve Case, welcome it as a sign that politicians are beginning to understand the vital role entrepreneurs play in the American economy.

Case has been an extremely vocal supporter of the JOBS Act. He raised support for the bill in the tech community and amongst entrepreneurs, politicians and the general public.

“It’s a sign that folks in D.C. came together in a bipartisan way to focus on the role that entrepreneurs play in innovating and creating jobs and putting policies in place that will maximize the likelihood of the U.S. remaining one of the world's most entrepreneurial countries,” Case told Mashable.

“The US isn’t the leading nation of the world by accident. It was the work of entrepreneurs that led us to be the leading economy in the world. Entrepreneurship is the fast track to job creation.”

Case says the JOBS Act is only a first step in a larger fight to make it easier for entrepreneurs to create new businesses, hire more workers and create economic growth.

“There's still work to be done,” added Case, pointing to high-tech immigration as the next challenge. “There's a balance in celebrating this achievement and thanking everyone that made this possible. Overall, it's going to be a good step forward and a good day for entrepreneurship in America.”

The bill was hailed as a rare bipartisan success by Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Majority Leader.

“Both parties in Congress, the President and entrepreneurs like Steve Case came together on this bill that will increase capital formation and pave the way for more small-scale businesses to go public and create jobs,” said Cantor in a statement.

“The bipartisan JOBS Act represents an increasingly rare legislative victory in Washington where both sides seized the opportunity to work together, improved the bill and passed it with strong bipartisan support.”

SEE ALSO: JOBS Act: What Crowdfunding Means For Your Startup

House Republicans introduced the bill late last year. It sailed through the House on a 390-23 vote, but met fierce opposition from some Senate Democrats. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that the JOBS Act goes too far in deregulating business and warned Congress would regret passing the bill.

The Senate passed the bill in late March on a 73-26 vote after amending it to tighten up investment restrictions and requiring startups to disclose financial information to investors. That vote sent it back to the House, where the amended version passed last week 380-41.

President Obama was an early supporter of the JOBS Act and was widely expected to sign it without delay.

Image courtesy of Steve Case

More About: barack obama, entrepreneurs, jobs act, Politics, Small Business, Startups, US

Global Internet Slowdown: Is Anonymous to Blame?

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 12:47 PM PDT

Anonymous is claiming responsibility for a cyberattack against Chinese websites — one that may also be having an impact on Internet speeds across the world.

Networks in North America, Europe and especially Asia were running at significantly lower speeds Thursday. Asia’s cyber backbone was especially hard hit, seeing packet loss of 33% or more, according to the monitoring website Internet Traffic Report.

Anonymous, a loosely knit group of hackers, took credit for defacing up to 500 Chinese websites Thursday, according to ABC News.

"Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall," reads a message left on the homepages of attacked sites.

Other messages encouraged Chinese citizens to join a revolution against the Chinese government and left instructions for bypassing Internet filters installed by the Chinese government to prevent citizens from freely accessing the web.

There was no explicit connection between the site defacements and the Asian slowdown. But Anonymous's attacks also often come in the form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). Thousands of connections are made to a specific server causing it to crash from an overload of web traffic.

If such an attack is carried out on a massive scale, it can have consequences for Internet speeds across the world.

An eerie, two-word message left on an Anonymous Twitter account seems to back up that theory: "Don't panic," with a smiley face emoticon.

SEE ALSO: The Evolution of Anonymous

Last month, 25 Anonymous members were arrested after police in South American and Europe infiltrated the group and identified several people involved in the organization.

Images courtesy of Flickr, gaelx

More About: anonymous, china, cybersecurity, ddos, hacking, internet, trending, US, World

‘Draw Something’ Hits 50 Million Downloads in 50 Days

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 12:41 PM PDT

Mega-hot mobile game Draw Something has been downloaded 50 million times in the 50 days since its launch.

Zynga calls the Pictionary-esque Draw Something the fastest growing mobile game of all time.

“We believe it’s not only the fastest growing original mobile game of all time – 50 days to hit 50 million downloads – but one of the fastest growing web sensations that we’ve seen,” Zynga said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: How 'Draw Something' Is Taking Over the World [INFOGRAPHIC]

Social gaming giant Zynga acquired OMGPOP, the creator of Draw Something in March for $180 million.

According to Zynga, more than 6 billion drawings have been created since launch.

The ad-free 99 cent version of Draw Something is the top paid download in Apple’s App Store, as well as the store’s top grossing and top free download. The social game is also available in the Android marketplace.

Have you downloaded Draw Something yet? Why do you think the game is such a viral download? Tell us in the comments.

BONUS: 25 Best ‘Draw Something’ Sketches From Mashable Readers

1. Axe

A clever interpretation of the memorable body spray. By timstahl87

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Draw something, omgpop, social gaming, Zynga

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Google’s Blogger Lets You Upload Webcam Images

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 12:17 PM PDT

Google Blogger

Google’s blog publishing platform, Blogger, rolled out a feature on Thursday that allows users to add webcam images into posts.

“This is a fun and useful feature that allows people to capture moments with their webcam and easily reshare it,” a Google spokesperson told Mashable.

To post webcam photos, simply select “insert image,” click “from your webcam” and snap a few pics. Blogger keeps the last three photos and lets you select your favorite to insert into the post.

Comments on the blog where the announcement was posted are mostly positive. Users have offered suggestions for Blogger, such as including the ability to post live webcam broadcasts (though that would undermine Google+ Hangouts).

Blogger was created by Pyra Labs (co-founded by Ev Williams, who went on to help launch Twitter) and acquired by Google in 2003.

In March, it was discovered that Facebook required Blogger users to go through a Captcha check in order to filter spam. That may be a move on Facebook’s part to continue the digital cold war between the two companies. By contrast, users are not required to type in a jumbled-word to post from a WordPress blog.

Posting content from Google’s to Google+ is easy. Blogger recently went through a string of integrations with Google+, like many of Google’s products.

Are you impressed with this new feature? Do you operate a Blogger account and will you be adding photos from your webcam? Tell us in the comments.

More About: blog, blogger, blogging, BLOGS, Google, picasa

Need Some AP Test Prep? These $40 Apps May Help

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 11:59 AM PDT

High school students at more than 18,000 schools are preparing for May’s Advanced Placement exams, which bestow college credit upon high scorers.

Now Macmillan’s adaptive learning startup is preparing to market its study tools directly to those students for the first time.

The company Prep-U is launching AP test-prep apps for US History, AP Chemistry and AP Psychology on Thursday.

Based on technology previously sold as an online study companion to textbooks, the apps first determine a student’s current mastery level through a series of quizzes. Thereafter, they serve up quiz questions at that level.

The idea is to never ask a question the student already knows for sure or one that will completely stump them, thereby focusing attention where it’s needed.

As students progress, they’ll get harder questions. They can track their progress in each category of expertise on a dashboard. If teachers assign the app, they can check in on students’ progress as well.

Prep-U’s technology is based on a theory most commonly referred to as adaptive learning. It’s a system around which — as Barbara Rifkind, an independent consultant who advises education enterprises and a former vice president at Pearson Education, put it in a November interview — "There's relatively little controversy in theory.”

The idea of adjusting questions for individual students’ levels is something most textbook publishers, as well as several startups, are dabbling in. In November, Pearson announced it would be integrating startup Knewton’s adaptive learning technology in more than 750 textbook titles.

McGraw-Hill has an adaptive learning product called LearnSmart complete with mobile apps, and a startup called Grockit surrounds an individualized test-prep learning path with social features.

Prep-U previously powered textbook companions for third-party textbook companies. It says 98,700 students purchased its technology for $20 as part of their required college course materials.

Each AP test prep app will cost $40, and Prep-U will develop the content — between 1600 and 3600 questions — without the help of a third-party publisher. The new apps’ success depends on whether students are willing to pay for the apps without necessarily being required to do so.

“We believe there's a market direct-to-student,” Troy Williams, a vice president at global publisher Macmillan, says. “We're willing to invest to build this ourselves.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Hafizov

More About: adaptive learning, education, Macmillan, textbooks

Find Out if Your Mac Has the Flashback Trojan — the Fast and Easy Way

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 11:40 AM PDT


According to a report Thursday, more than 600,000 Macs could be infected with the nasty Flashback trojan.

We’ve already detailed how to check your Mac to see if you’re infected — but that requires some command line code, and we know that not all users are comfortable doing that.

Now we’ve gone one step further and wrapped those commands into two AppleScripts.

Why two? Well, there are actually two areas of your hard drive that need to be checked for nasty files.

These files simply run the terminal commands and let users know if they have anything to worry about. They aren’t the most beautiful creations, but they do the job.

You can download the scripts here (hosted by CloudApp). After unzipping, simply double-click on “trojan-check” and “trojan-check-2.”

If you get an image that looks like the image below, you’re in the clear.

If either of the scripts reports something other than “does not exist,” go to F-Secure’s website and follow their removal instructions.

Even if you aren’t infected, make sure you install the latest Apple security update for Java to fix the vulnerability that allowed this nasty exploit to exist in the first place.

Did you find yourself infected? Let us know in the comments.

More About: apple, flashback, mac, security, trending, trojan

Facebook Coming to Nasdaq With the Ticker ‘FB’ [REPORT]

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 11:07 AM PDT

Facebook will be traded on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “FB,” according to a report.

Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The New York Times reports that Nasdaq won a battle with the New York Stock Exchange for Facebook. Nasdaq is home to Apple, Google and others, but NYSE scored wins last year when LinkedIn and Pandora Media allowed their stocks to be traded there.

Facebook could not be reached for comment on the report. The social networking giant is reported to be preparing its $5 billion IPO for May. If Facebook manages to raise this capital, it will be on a shortlist of the biggest tech IPOs of all time.

The company was also said to halt the trading of its shares in secondary markets SharesPost and SecondMarket last week. Facebook filed its initial prospectus with the SEC for the IPO in February.

Bonus: How the Social Media IPOs of 2011 Fared

1. Yandex (YNDX) -20.8% from its IPO Price

Yandex, a Russian search engine, raised $1.3 billion when it went public in May, making it the biggest social media IPO of the year.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Katrina.Tuliao and Crunchies2009 via Flickr

More About: facebook ipo, nasdaq, nyse, sharespost, trending

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Watch the First Real Flying Car Unfold Its Wings [VIDEO]

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 10:56 AM PDT

Score a big victory for flying cars. The Terrafugia Transition — the first serious flying car, or more accurately, drivable plane — just completed its first test flight, putting it on course to be available to auto and aircraft enthusiasts in next year or so.

The Transition has been in the works for more than six years, but it’s officially introducing itself to the automotive world this week at the New York International Auto Show.

The company’s pilot, Phil Meteer, flew the Transition in upstate New York earlier this week, and he says the company has an aggressive schedule to get through all 75 test flights required by the FAA to be certified as a light-sports aircraft.

With that certification, any driver with a pilot’s licence will be able to fly the Transition out of one of 5,000 general-aviation airports all over the country.

The range is rated as 400+ miles, so it’s fine for short hops to places like Nantucket, or if you want to fly from New York to Boston without the hassle of going through airport security.

“This is real,” says Meteer. “I’ve driven it. I’ve flown it. This particular vehicle has been three years in the making; it’s made from production molds.

“It’s street legal — it has a Massachusetts licence plate on it. Any driver can drive it, and any pilot can fly it.”

SEE ALSO: New York Auto Show: The Coolest Car Tech So Far

Since the Transition will be certified as a lightweight two-seater aircraft, it can only weigh a maximum of 1,430 pounds — relatively light, even for a car. So it’s more more suited for short trips and commuter flights than serious travel.

Still, you can’t beat the convenience of a plane that runs on premium gasoline from any gas station (not regular gas, since it needs the high octane), unfolds its wings in less than a minute and requires just 20 hours of training to learn to fly (though Meteer says most people will require more).

Terrafugia expects the Transition to be certified and for sale by the end of 2013. As you might expect, it’s a little costlier than your average Lexus: It starts at $279,000.

You can put a $10,000 refundable deposit down now, though, if you want to be one of the first in line. Auto Show attendees can put down just $2,500, but that’s non-refundable.

Browse some close-ups of the Terrafugia Transition and its cockpit below, and let us know what you think of it in the comments.

The Terrafugia Transition Flying Car

Terrafugia expects its flying car to be ready for purchase by 2013 for $279,000. It'll be certified as a light-sports aircraft and have a range of 400+ miles.

Click here to view this gallery.

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Crowd-Powered: Why Doritos Lets Fans Make Its Super Bowl Ads

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 10:46 AM PDT

The Modern Media Agency Series is presented by IDG. CenturyLink thought an online game would engage IT professionals. In eight months, 90,000 people played the trivia contest. IDG's Howard Sholkin spoke with CenturyLink's Joanne Kernie at the awards ceremony and digital conference in March 2012.

Crowdsourcing is not a new concept for the world of advertising — focus groups have existed for years, and still do. But crowdsourcing has moved online.

For six years, Doritos has held its Crash the Super Bowl, a program that relies on the consumer to turn its Super Bowl airtime into one of the most memorable ads of the evening.

The Doritos brand claims that its core mission is to challenge the status quo and hand the power over to its consumers. The company also believes this program is an opportunity to help promote creative individuals.

“We always knew that our consumers had creativity at the highest level, and they’ve had amazing success from the program,” says Chris Kuechenmeister, senior director of public relations for Frito-Lay North America. “We’ve had the number one act on the USA Today AdMeter because of our consumers.”

After combing through 6,200 video entries, Doritos offered its five finalists the chance to win a $1 million prize if their commercial concept hit the number one spot on the USA Today AdMeter. This year the winners were also incentivized with the chance to work with The Lonely Island, SNL comedian Andy Samberg’s musical trio.

Another first this year: USA Today ran a Facebook Super Bowl Ad meter, with a separate $1 million up for grabs. The new AdMeter allowed users to view and vote on the ads.

Two different Doritos commercials — “Man’s Best Friend” and “Sling Baby” — won first in the USA Today and Facebook AdMeter. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how a consumer-generated campaign translated into big returns for the chip brand.

How Technology Turned the Underdog Into a Film-Making Rock Star

Not only have crowdsourcing and social media created the opportunity for literally anyone to be showcased, but there are also tons of advances in technology that make it easy for a participant to compete — and win — on what Kuechenmeister describes as a "shoestring budget."

This year, the winning ad on the USA Today AdMeter, "Man’s Best Friend," was created for just $20. Creator Jonathan Friedman, a freelance graphic designer and musician, used the money to buy dog treats, a cat collar and a bag of Doritos. Friedman then shot the video with the equipment he already owned, and then edited the whole thing on his computer.

"He was able to use technology and some scrappy resources to essentially beat dozens and dozens of videos that were created by high-end ad agencies who spent tons of dollars, and he was a million-dollar winner because of it," says Kuechenmeister.

Kuechenmeister says many of the finalists go on to do some noteworthy things in film, advertising and other creative industries. Past contestants have been signed by big agents and other major Hollywood influencers — including a winner that was picked up by George Lucas. In short, the program has become a successful springboard into much bigger projects for many of these participants.

"They've used this as an opportunity to create something new, and now they can showcase this in their reel,” says Kuechenmeister. “It helps open up new opportunities to showcase their work because they participated in this contest.”

Behind the Scenes of a Super Bowl Ad Campaign

Relying on the consumer to create videos for the Super Bowl, perhaps the biggest event to showcase commercials, is not necessarily an easy feat. Doritos launches the program right around the beginning of the football season, and requires a small army of agencies and an incredible amount of hours devoted to watching thousands of submissions.

This year, Goodby Silverstein and Partners, the ad agency behind the creative aspects of the program, spent five days straight watching the 6,200 entries.

“It’s still definitely a lot of work to set up a system to curate all the entries, and to make sure that you’ve generated a program that will give you back successful material,” says GSP’s Communication Strategy Director Max Heilbron.

The teams that watch these videos have been doing this for years, says Heilbron. One of the things they take into consideration when selecting the finalists is what will perform at the Super Bowl.

Social media also has to be factored into the selection process, not only because it’s a huge resource for the entrants to drum up support, but from the brand’s perspective, a video needs to perform. The other major winner of Doritos’ program, “Sling Baby,” was the first commercial to win the Facebook AdMeter and scored fourth on the USA Today AdMeter.

And watching the videos is just one part of the process. Running a Super Bowl ad, whether it's made by the company or crowdsourced by the consumer, requires an army of agencies to operate smoothly. The Marketing Agency, which is attributed with the original concept of the contest, manages the contest. Ketchum PR, OMD and entertainment marketing agency UEG also performed core functions for the contest and helped to secure The Lonely Island as a partner, which was a nice draw for contestants.

“The cash prize is great, but when interviewing [finalists], we learned from so many of them that a huge incentive was because they were just trying to get their foot in the door, to get a job in the entertainment industry or advertising industry,” says Heilbron. “So to sweeten the deal a bit, we thought it would be nice if part of the prize was to work with The Lonely Island on a project in the future.”

Will we be seeing Crash the Super Bowl in future years? That depends. Doritos evaluates the success of the program every year, and then determines if it will bring it back in the future. It's yet to be confirmed if we'll see another success story like this year’s winners, but Kuechenmeister says the Doritos brand team is "extremely pleased and proud of this year’s program."

Series presented by IDG

The Modern Media Agency Series is presented by IDG. The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Who would've thought a trivia contest would attract 90,000 players? CenturyLink did. The game for IT decision-makers won the online vote for best tech program in BtoB's People's Choice Social Media Marketing awards, and more than half of the game players also registered on the site. IDG Strategic Marketing Services was the premier sponsor for the third straight year of the BtoB program.

IDG's Howard Sholkin interviewed CenturyLink Marketing Director Joanne Kernie at the awards ceremony and digital conference in March 2012.

More About: Advertising, crowdsourcing, doritos, features, mashable, Modern Media Agency Series, Super Bowl

Mashable Launches New Events Board

Posted: 05 Apr 2012 10:33 AM PDT

We're delighted to announce the launch of a new Events Board, which aims to bring together event organizers and the Mashable community.

We have long recognized that one of the great challenges for the Mashable community is that it's difficult to discover all relevant regional, national or international events for one's industry or profession. 

Likewise, event organizers have had a similar challenge of making their events discoverable to a large-scale, relevant audience. Based on our success at bringing together employers and job seekers through our Job Board, we feel that we can also help solve similar challenges of bringing together audiences and organizers for industry events.

We've done our best to make all features of the Events Board simple, easy and accessible. The Events Board was designed and developed by MyUpcoming, a Belgian-based company, which has been a great partner in helping Mashable create this new product for our community.

Event seekers will enjoy quick, social and easy engagement with the Mashable Events Board.

  • Easy access to event details: Each event listing includes the top-level information to quickly assess and connect with an event. We'll provide a brief event description, Facebook and Twitter URLs for each event, and a link to the event website.
  • Social sharing: Event listings can quickly be shared to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, giving our Mashable community additional ways to share an event with their social networks.
  • Filters and sorting options: The Events Board has filters, so you can easily search and sort openings by location (for both U.S. and non-U.S. events), event date, event category, among other options.

Event organizers will have a variety of tools to maximize their exposure on the Mashable Events Board.

Key details about an event listing

  • Brief description about an event that the Mashable community would find relevant.
  • Direct links to an event's website and key contact information for potential attendees and sponsors to connect with an event organizer.
  • Logo that best represents the event and adds visual appeal on the Events Board.

Social reach

  • Each event listing allows event organizers to add links to their event's Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  • Event listings can quickly be shared to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, giving our Mashable community additional ways to share an event with their social networks.

Promotional features with listing an event

  • The Basic Listing includes all of the above features and remains on the Events Board until the day of the event.
  • The Highlighted Listing adds promotion at the top-right of the main Events Board page.
  • The Featured Listing adds promotion in the most premium spot at the top center of the main Events Board page.
  • Finally, both Highlighted and Featured Listings are included in our Event Listing Module that lives on every Events Board and Event Listing page.

For more information and to get started, click below!

We hope you enjoy this Events Board! We look forward to enhancing it with additional features based on your feedback. Please let us know what you think in the comments below!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RonTech2000

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