Saturday, 7 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Instagrille Is Instagram For Windows Computers [VIDEO]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Instagrille Is Instagram For Windows Computers [VIDEO]”

Instagrille Is Instagram For Windows Computers [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 09:00 PM PDT

A Windows application called Instagrille is bringing Instagram to your Windows computer. Able to do most of the same things you can do with the mobile version of the app –- except unfortunately upload photos — the free desktop app can be used to browse through photographs on the service, follow and unfollow other users, and leave and receive likes and comments on uploaded photos.

On Tuesday Instagram came out with its long-awaited Android app, and within 24 hours the app had more than 1 million downloads. Friday the company also added Android tablet and Wi-Fi handset support. Currently Instagram is only officially available as an Android and iOS app, however, another desktop called Carousel allows the service to be used on Macs (and allows you to upload photos from your desktop).

Instagrille was created by SweetLabs, a startup backed by Google and Intel that is working on Pokki, a platform that helps developers create connected apps on standard web languages such as HTML5. Currently there are more than 150 different apps in Pokki, including Instagrille. While currently only for Windows PCs, the company has plans to release Instagrille for Macs later this year.

Instagram hasn’t announced plans to work on its own desktop software, although if the company continues to grow, that might be something we see in the future. Instagram could also decide to purchase Instagrille, Carousel, or desktop apps like them and make them its own.

Do you have the desire to use Instagram on your desktop computer? Can you see yourself using Instagrille on a PC? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: instagram, photo app, photo sharing

Quincy Creates Clothes for Your Shape, Not Your Size

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 08:13 PM PDT

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

Name: Quincy

Quick Pitch: Garments based on your cup size, bust measurement and torso length.

Genius Idea: Clothing for your shape, not your size.

Between 1939 and 1940, the U.S. Department of Agriculture surveyed the body measurements of 15,000 American women to come up with a standardized sizing system for women’s apparel. That system, which reflects the average body proportions of women who were substantially shorter and thinner than American women today, remains the basis of the U.S.’s current ready-to-wear sizes for women’s apparel.

That a system designed to produce well-fitted, mass-produced clothing off the rack is broken is obvious: Simply think about the proportion of garments you’ve tried on that haven’t required some degree of tailoring, or just looked flat-out awful.

It’s that very problem that inspired Christina Wallace and Alex Nelson, fellow graduates of Harvard Business School, to found their own label, Quincy. The label, which is designed by former Project Runway contestant Althea Harper, launched with five blazers last month.

When selecting a blazer on Quincy’s website, you don’t choose a size between 0 and 12. Instead, you select a bust size between 32″ and 38″, an A/B or C/D cup size, and length (petite, regular or tall).

“It’s height, hip to waist ratios, and bust measurements that vary the most between women,” Wallace says of the rationale behind Quincy’s sizing system. The Michigan native, who has a background in costume design, recognized the opportunity for a better fit system after taking a patternmaking course at the Fashion Institute of Technology last summer.

“[Nelson and I] looked at the dress forms, and they didn’t look like the bodies of anyone we knew. So we decided to create women’s clothing manufactured to accomodate shape rather than size,” says Wallace, who herself struggles to fit into traditionally sized clothing because of her height.

Wallace and Nelson could have gotten into custom, made-to-order clothing, just as Blank Label and Indochino have for men’s shirts and suits, respectively. But they opted to do sized clothing — “it’s a lot cheaper and quicker, and returns are much easier,” says Wallace — that is simply, well, better-sized.

Blazers are priced between $198 and $258, pitting Quincy against the likes of women’s workwear labels such as Ann Taylor, J Crew, Brooks Brothers and Theory. Wallace emphasizes that Quincy is “not meant to be a high-end, exclusive line,” but as “affordable and accessible as possible.”

Quincy will be introducing a line of blouses and dresses in the coming weeks, followed by pants and skirts a month later. Full suiting will be made available this summer. Also on the horizon: expanding the size range and international shipping.

The startup has been bootstrapped so far, and is in the midst of a raising a seed round of funding.

Would you order clothing from Quincy? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: bizspark, fashion, quincy, retail, spark of genius series

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8 Handy Tablet Styluses to Boost Your Creativity

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 07:20 PM PDT

1. Cosmonaut by Studio Neat

Studio Neat designed the Cosmonaut as an alternative to all the pen-like styli already out there. This crayon-inspired stylus works with nearly every capacitive touchscreen device, and is great for the kids. Price: $25

Click here to view this gallery.

Whether you’re sick of getting fingerprints all over your iPad or you want to get seriously creative, try a stylus for your tablet.

The above styli range from crayon-like to paintbrush-inspired. One even doubles as a ballpoint pen. Most of the gadgets are compatible with nearly any capacitive touchscreen, so you don’t necessarily have to own the latest and greatest iPad. (That’s the newest iPad’s name, right?)

Which stylus is your favorite? Know of any others you’d add to the list? Or do you prefer your fingertip only? Let us know your stylus thoughts in the comments below.

More About: accessories, features, Gadgets, ipad, Mobile, Tablet, trending

Draw Something: Show Us Your Best Celebrity Portraits

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 06:22 PM PDT

Lady Gaga Draw Something Portrait

In just a few short weeks, Draw Something has become a major hit. How major? Fifty million downloads in 50 days.

That’s so huge that Zynga believes it to be the fastest growing mobile game of all time. Zynga acquired OMGPOP, the company that created Draw Something, in March for $180 million.

If you haven’t jumped on the Draw Something bandwagon yet, the game is something akin to mobile Pictionary, in which two players take turns drawing something for the other to guess. The app has been extraordinarily popular in both the App Store and Google Play (formerly known as the Android Market), where it is currently the top paid app in both retailers. The free version ranks as number-two and number-four, respectively.

We’ve been having so much fun seeing people’s remarkable artwork on the app recently, and as the number of users grows, there’s even more inspiring work. Now, along with our partners at CNN iReport, we’re asking you to send us your best work. This time, we’re asking you to show us your best celebrity renditions. We’ve already seen some outstanding portraits, like Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Conan O’Brien. Now we’re asking you to wow us once more.

Simply take a screenshot of your best celebrity portrait. Then, all you have to do to get involved is upload your photos through the widget below. You can also tweet your responses to us by using the hashtag #drawceleb.

Our favorites will be featured on Mashable and CNN iReport. We can’t wait to see what you draw!

More About: apps, community, Draw something, Gaming, ireport, omgpop, Zynga

110 Trending Topics in 5 Hours: How WWE Wrestlemania Body-Slammed Social Media

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 05:25 PM PDT

Behind strong pushes on Twitter and YouTube, WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII laid the smack down on social media last weekend, teaching a digital engagement lesson to the sports entertainment world.

The five-hour pay-per-view broadcast at one point had seven of the top nine worldwide trending topics on Twitter. It generated 110 worldwide trends over the show and pre-show’s five hour period, according to Jason Hoch, WWE’s senior vice president of digital.

“We thought the week was a blast, and it was really special to hear from fans over and over just how awesome it was,” Hoch says. “It was really special for us to see fans connecting with our brand in a unique way.”

WWE reps shared a number of other Wrestlemania social stats, exclusive to Mashable:

  • A partnership with YouTube to deliver Wrestlemania content gained a total of more than 3.9 million views for the week surrounding the event.
  • Despite being a pay-per-view broadcast, Wrestlemania was TV’s most socially engaged program on April 1, according to Trendrr.
  • The hashtag #Wrestlemania was mentioned more than 610,000 times on April 1.
  • The high level of social engagement delivered record traffic to, and a 30% increase over traffic during Wrestlemania the year before.

WWE streamed a kick-off press conference a few days before the event on YouTube and, as personalities answered questions submitted by fans via Twitter. Stars including The Rock, John Cena and Triple H also posted original webisodes to the YouTube homepage during the week. The Rock and Cena complemented their in-ring bout with a “Twitter Face-off”, in which they got fans to battle for tweet supremacy using the hashtags #Cenation and #TeamBringIt. Mike Tyson served as Wrestlemania’s “social media ambassador,” delivering fans behind-the-scenes access through social networks.

“This isn’t a one-off for us,” Hoch says. “This is just continuing to build on the foundation we’ve created.”

WWE ranks among the sports world’s digital leaders. Its Facebook page boasts more than 8 million fans, which Hoch says trails only the NBA on that network. The @WWE Twitter account has more than 1 million followers, and stars such as Cena and The Rock have become huge online as well.

Hoch believes Wrestlemania’s social success this year will have a ripple effect on other organizations.

“To me, it raises the bar for a lot of other players out there,” he says. “We’ve learned a lot from things like the Super Bowl and Grammys, and I think our holistic approach this year really raised the bar for a lot of organizations. But it’s just the start for us.”

BONUS: Secrets to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Social Media Success


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

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Facebook, Social Media, sports, Twitter

Facebook Relationship Status Update Sparks Gun Fight

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 05:05 PM PDT

Gunshots were fired at a Georgia Waffle House Friday morning over a Facebook post. The fight broke out at the late-night eatery around 5 a.m. local time. The source of the dispute: someone’s relationship status on Facebook.

According to authorities, one group of women was inside the Augusta restaurant when another group of ladies approached. An argument ensued regarding someone’s relationship status on Facebook, and the fight was eventually taken outside where one of the women fired four shots in the air. That woman is now in police custody.

The other women involved fled the scene in three vehicles, all of which are thought to have contained firearms. No additional details about the incident have been released.

This is undoubtedly not the first debate that has ensued from someone changing their Facebook relationship status. Going from "Single" to "In a Relationship" on the site has become a common way to announce a new relationship. If things get complicated there’s a status for that, and breaking up can make just as big a splash on the social network as announcing a new love.

If you think changing your relationship might incite a parking lot brawl, check out our guide to changing your Facebook relationship status without alerting your friends.

More About: Facebook, relationship, Waffle House

4 Ways to Rethink the Press Release

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 04:47 PM PDT

Jonathan Rick is a director at Levick Strategic Communications. He contributes to Levick's Bulletproof Blog. Follow him @jrick.

Every year, for the last ten years, someone has proclaimed that the press release is dying. While the rumors of its demise are exaggerated, they are not totally unfounded. That’s because the press release is, in fact, being eclipsed by digital alternatives that are more flexible, more interesting, and more relevant.

In 2010, when Google made a major announcement not by press release but by blog post, we reached what seemed like a milestone. Five years earlier, a company of Google's stature would have issued a statement on a newswire. Now, a Google executive was crafting a more thoughtful narrative that the company published on its official blog.

This shift in medium and message represents a new era in corporate communications. News now needs to be conveyed in an empathetic tone and delivered in a user-friendly format.

And Google isn't the only company using this strategy. Dell breaks news on its blog all the time. When Netflix has something to say, it complements a traditional release with a first-person post. Southwest Airlines takes the prize for a blog that whips CNN-type announcements into HBO-like celebrations.

What's so encouraging about this trend is that it isn't exclusive to corporate behemoths. To the contrary, smaller companies can leverage blog-centric communications with great success. Here are four examples of those that do it well.

1. Zillow

Zillow, the real estate company, has a great blog where it bypasses the typical corporate press release. Instead, it opts for more conversational posts like: "Whether you're driving around a neighborhood checking home values on your smartphone, using an iPad to draw a search around that dream neighborhood while waiting at the airport, or doing some serious house hunting on your computer at home, there are multiple ways to home search and shop with Zillow."

Similarly, new hires are introduced by their respective manager in a first-person post.

The Lesson: Keep it human. Your stakeholders, and your customers, prefer it that way.

2. Patagonia

Those searching Patagonia’s website for a press release will look in vain. Instead, media folks are invited to join the Patagonia PR Facebook group. This group is dedicated to keeping journalists, writers, editors, and other media informed about Patagonia and its outdoor clothing products. While a social network isn't technically a blog, it works. In fact, Patagonia also operates a robust blog.

The Lesson: Passion, even edginess, does not get in the way of your message. Passion actually shows personality, and that there's a real person behind your press shop.

3. Innocent

When the British smoothie-maker Innocent announced new juice blends earlier this year, it did so via press release and blog post. The difference between the two versions speaks volumes.

    Here's the press release: "We've been so pleased with how popular the juice has been that we got back in to the kitchen and have made some delicious juice blends, which we think everyone will enjoy just as much."

    Here's the blog post: "You can choose from our delicious apple and raspberry recipe or totally tasty tropical (sorry), depending on whether you need to be transported to a dappled orchard or a desert island."

The formatting differences between the two are even more glaring. The press release lacks any social sharing buttons. Its claim to fame: it's downloadable as a PDF. The blog post features the colorful new bottles and video created for the occasion. There's also a promise to reward the most interesting comments with a free case of the new blends.

The Lesson: Entertaining consumers is as important as informing them.

4. ServInt

When ServInt, a web host, announced a new line of servers from their Flex brand, the press release followed the tried-and-trite formula. "ServInt, a pioneering provider of managed cloud hosting for enterprises worldwide, today introduced its new line of fully managed, dedicated servers under the Flex brand."

Then things got interesting on their blog, ServInt Source, which ran three posts about Flex. First, ServInt's sales director touted the servers' "power and options." A week later, its vice president of marketing connected the new machines to the company's new brand identity. Finally, the COO placed these changes in the context of industry-wide developments.

What's significant about this approach is how it turns a single announcement into multiple opportunities. With press releases this continuity is difficult. A blog, however, is perfect for ongoing updates.

The Lesson: Make it personal. Comments from soldiers in the trenches are more memorable than a few quotes from a chief executive.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 12_Tribes

More About: contributor, corporate blogs, features, Marketing, Social Media, trending

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Heat Map Displays 75% of Global Stock Market on App Interface [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 04:16 PM PDT

Stock traders are used to seeing important numbers in cluttered market tickers. The new StockTouch app allows you to visualize the stocks of 1,350 companies on one interface.

The StockTouch app is a easy-to-read heat map that displays the top 100 U.S. and top 100 global companies in all 9 industry sectors of the market. The creators of StockTouch built this new-age stock ticker to bring data visualization to the masses. The new app covers nearly 75% of all global trading activity.

The vibrant app displays 50,000 tiles of heat. The stocks are organized in colorful squares. Green squares show stocks are gaining in value, while red squares show losses. Users can zoom in to view an individual stock accompanied by a statical performance graph. Links to news articles about the stock also available about the stock. StockTouch has more than 9,500 charts and 16,000 news stories related to more than 1,350 companies.

On its website, the company says: “StockTouch tells you more in five seconds than you would learn reading financial news all day.”

The app gives an overview of the current market throughout the day, though, it is not in real time. The app updates usually every five minutes or less. Users can refresh the page to see the most up-to-date fluctuations in the market. Users can look at the history of stocks. The app is also good for studying a company’s past as it stores up to five years worth of data on each stock.

Users can view the market by price, volume S&P 500 and the breakdown ranks of stocks with a sector such as energy, industrial, consumer, etc.

The app is available in the iTunes store. It is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad running iOS 4.0 or later.

Watch the video to find out more information about StockTouch and to see it in action. Tell us what you think of the app in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Apple iTunes.

More About: stock market, Video, wall street

Crowdfunding: What it Means for Investors

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 03:31 PM PDT

Bill Clark is the CEO of Microventures, a securities broker/dealer that uses a process similar to crowdfunding which allows backers to invest $1,000 to $30,000 in startups online. You can follow him on Twitter @microventures.

The crowdfunding feature in the recently passed JOBS Act will not only impact startups, it will affect investors, too. That’s because the law allows almost anyone to invest in a startup. There is one catch, however.

In the amended bill, the Senate gave the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 270 days to interpret and issue the rules for the public. That means potential investors may have to wait until 2013 before it’s legal to make an investment. In the meantime, there are a few things they should consider.

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

In about 90 days the Access to Capital for Jobs Creators Act should go into effect, allowing companies to tell the public that they are raising capital. In the past, this type of solicitation was illegal and could exempt the company from raising money privately. Now, startups should be able to solicit their deal, which could mean that more investors will be able to hear about it.

The caveat is that only accredited investors can participate in those deals where the company is soliciting. In other words, this will only apply to investors who fall into the following categories.

  • Your net worth is more than $1 million, excluding your home
  • You have $200,000 in new income for the last two years and a reasonable expectation to make $200,000 in the current year
  • You have $300,000 in household income for the last two years and a reasonable expectation to make $300,000 in the current year

If you do not fall into those brackets, then you have two options. First, you can look at campaigns on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. While you can't make an actual investment in a company, you will get something for your contribution. For example, if you invest in a video game you might get a copy of the game. Looking through the projects and treating them like investments is a good way to start learning how to filter the good from the bad.

Second, you can also sign up at Angellist. Check out company descriptions and see if there are any startups that you might be interested in. If you find one, you can contact the founders and see if they are raising capital. You may have to invest the more traditional angel level amount of $25,000 to $50,000, but that will vary by deal.

If you choose to wait until 2013, then as a new investor you will need to fill out a suitability questionnaire which will ensure that you understand the risks associated with investing. There are some restrictions on how much you can invest in a given year. This measure will help protect investors from putting too much of their money into potentially risky companies.

For example, if you make $75,000 per year, you can invest $3,750. If you make more than $100,000 annually, then you can invest 10% of your income or net worth, with a maximum total investment of $100,000 per year. If you make $250,000, then you will be able to invest up to $25,000 in startups in a given year.

Once you know how much you can invest, make sure you do your homework on the company you select. Conduct your due diligence by talking to the founders, reviewing a business plan or pitch deck, researching the competition and the market size, and looking at what the company intends to do with the funds.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, djgunner

More About: contributor, crowdfunding, features, investors, Startups

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Etsy Will Send 20 Women to Summer Hacker School

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 02:42 PM PDT

Etsy Hacker Grants

Etsy, the handmade goods marketplace fueling the online community of crafty entrepreneurs, wants to give women in technology a boost.

The ecommerce network is driven by a large community of female vendors and buyers, but Etsy’s own engineers and operations managers don’t reflect its audience.

It’s a constant effort for Etsy to find and hire qualified female engineers, but there just aren’t enough. Three of the 96 engineering and operations employees last September were women. Since then, that number has gone up to 11.

To try to continue to improve that number, Etsy will send 40 passionate programmers — including 20 women — to Hacker School in NYC, the “writer’s retreat” of the coding world.

The VP of Etsy’s engineering team played a big role in facilitating this women-in-tech-driven project. In an Etsy Blog post, Marc Hedlund explains that he has been an engineering manager for 17 years, hiring talent from coast to coast. He has hired hundreds of men and only dozens of women.

“In sharp contrast, before joining Etsy, I had hired about 20 women in engineering roles, total, and it wasn't for a lack of effort. Other managers I know have reported similar experiences,” Hedlund said in the blog post.

“Many people agree that real solutions to this problem need to start as early as middle school,” Hedlund said. “For my three-year-old daughter, I am thrilled to hear discussion of solutions at that level. For our company, I'd like to start solving the problem a lot sooner.”

The initiative should also improve the male-to-female ration within the developer program. Since the Hacker School’s launch in July 2011, it has only had one female participant. Participants in Hacker School’s three-month, round-table hack sessions are carefully selected. Must-have characteristics include a die-hard love for programming, experience and a great personality.

Sonali Sridhar, one of the cofounders of Hacker School, told Mashable the summer session will be business as usual. Although, the Hacker School will have its sessions at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn.

“We bring an extremely passionate group of people who want to learn more,” Sridhar said. “It’s all about coming together; it’s a peer-to-peer system and work on projects.”

SEE ALSO: Women in Tech: How One Entrepreneur Blazed a Trail

The learning-intensive Hacker School is free, and the $5,000 per-person scholarship will help students fully immerse themselves in the program.

“We want people who love programming who want to be hackers, we don’t focus on people who want to make a product or become entrepreneurs,” Sridhar. “It’s a nurturing community in that sense.”

In the blog post, Etsy said Hacker School will maintain full control of participant selection. Both companies are rooting for women.

The Hacker School sessions are project-based and don’t derive from a curriculum or anything formal. Rather, individuals are offered a space to add fire to their own projects, with help from peers.

Do you think opportunities like this will get more young women interested in tech and coding? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Etsy

More About: development, Etsy, women in technology

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Got a Hot App? Microsoft Will Pay Top Dollar for a Windows Phone Version

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 02:12 PM PDT


Microsoft has a plan to beef up its Windows Phone catalog of apps. And it involves cash — lots of cold, hard cash.

In the mobile world, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is a toddler compared to the mature ecosystems of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. That means the number of apps on offer in the Windows Marketplace is just a fraction of those available from its counterparts — it’s officially 65,000 to iOS’s 600,000 and Android’s 500,000. Some counts put it higher.

When I reviewed the Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone earlier this week, I was surprised at how many apps are on offer from major brands like Twitter, Facebook and eBay.

What I didn’t realize was that Microsoft is paying some of those companies to develop apps for the Windows Phone, since they normally wouldn’t dedicate the resources to create apps for a platform that has less than 4% market share.

Take Foursquare. The service’s Windows Phone app is a beautiful example of how the platform’s interface, called Metro, can shine. Fonts are large, type pops and the menus have a fluid movement that makes the whole experience come alive.

But Foursquare didn’t create the app. Microsoft paid an outside company to do it, The New York Times reports. Foursquare was involved — and the app is listed in the Marketplace as coming from “Foursquare Labs, Inc.” — but since the growing startup has limited resources, it spends most of its time fishing where the fish are: iOS and Android.

SEE ALSO: Angry Birds Space Is Headed to Windows Phone 7

Foursquare is not alone. Microsoft is said to be paying developers anywhere between $60,000 and $600,000 to create apps, presumably for well-known or rising brands, to shore up its app catalog.

With Nokia as a partner, Microsoft has help. The “Nokia Collection” in the Windows Marketplace has even more big names, offering apps from CNN, ESPN and Univision. However, all of the apps are made by Nokia, not the companies themselves.

What Microsoft and Nokia are doing may seem a little desperate, but it’s actually not that surprising. Windows Phone is playing catch-up, after all, and it needs to everything it can to close the “app gap” between its platform and the others, appearances be damned. If an app is in the catalog, and customers like it, does it matter who made it and why?

That’s up to you. Does the fact that Microsoft directly finances some of the apps in the Windows Marketplace matter to you? Would it influence whether or not you’d buy a Windows Phone? Have your say in the comments.

BONUS: The Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900, Home Screen

The Nokia Lumia 900 ($99.99 from AT&T with contract) is the first Windows Phone to have a high-speed LTE network connection.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apps, microsoft, Nokia, trending, windows phone

Counting Down the Days to Mashable Connect

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 01:55 PM PDT

With only a few weeks away until Mashable Connect, now’s a better time than ever to get your pass to Mashable‘s biggest conference of the year.

This three-day conference is a must-attend event for leaders of the Connected Generation. There, industry leaders will shape the ideas and trends that will impact the space in the coming years. This is a rare opportunity to spend time with digital leaders and influencers, hear from some of the leading minds who are thinking through some of the toughest issues in the space, make true connections with key contacts, and spend time with the Mashable team.

You’ll be surrounded by digital influencers, including brands, agencies, strategists, entrepreneurs, creatives and marketers. Companies joining us at Mashable Connect will be Barneys New York, CNN, Digitas, Discovery, Euro RSCG, eBay, HBO, Klout, Microsoft, MTV, National Geographic Society, UN Foundation and many more.

There are limited tickets available to Mashable Connect, so get your pass now.

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

Conference passes are all-comprehensive; they include three nights at the beautiful Contemporary Resort, meals, content sessions, breakout sessions, special activities and transportation to and from the Orlando Airport.

To see a full list of topics and speakers at Mashable Connect, visit our agenda.

Event Information

Our annual destination conference, Mashable Connect, brings our community together for three days to connect offline in an intimate setting at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World®. Registration is now open.

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

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

You can see our full agenda of topics and speakers here.

A Look Back at Last Year's Mashable Connect

1. Mashable Connect Race Powered by Gowalla

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

Click here to view this gallery.

Supporting Sponsors

Sponsorship Opportunities

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

More About: Conference, digital, Events, mashable connect, speakers

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Google+ Grew 27% in March, Logged 61 Million Visits [STUDY]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 01:39 PM PDT

Countering perceptions that Google+ is a ghost town few actually visit, total visits to the social network actually grew to 61 million in March, up 27% from the previous month, according to Experian Hitwise.

The following chart, which the researcher provided to Mashable, shows that Google+ has enjoyed relatively steady growth in monthly visits since it went live last June:

The data comes after Google CEO Larry Page claimed in a state-of-Google blog post on Thursday that Google+ now has 100 million active users, 10 million more than the figure he shared with analysts in January.

Page didn’t outline how he defined “active.” The level of activity fell under scrutiny after comScore released data showing that users spent just 3.3 minutes on Google+ in January compared to 7.5 hours for Facebook.

Google, which took issue with that data, asserted that 50 million users access “Google+-enhanced” products daily and that 100 million do so once per month. However, “Google+-enhanced” includes YouTube, Google Play and the company’s homepage.

More About: Experian Hitwise, Google, trending

‘Hipster Games’ Contestants Fight for PBR, Brunch [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 01:20 PM PDT

Behold The Hipster Games where the saying goes, “May the trends be ever in your favor.”

This nearly three-minute clip shows what the hit movie, “The Hunger Games” might be like for hipsters. One woman and one “woman-ish man” from five districts — Portland, Austin, Brooklyn, Oakland, and Silverlake — must fight to the death.

The video was directed by Los Angeles resident Christopher Guerrero, president of Wyoma Films. The film short was written by Brett Salinas and Camille Campbell. Guerrero said it was filmed in Silver Lakes and Los Feliz — both areas in Southern California — about two weekends ago.

“Well, a feature length version wasn’t originally planned but that would be really fun to do,” Guerrero said, adding that idea of creating a feature film is growing increasingly appealing.

He said he enjoyed “The Hunger Games,” adding that he loved a suggestion in a Washington Post article that his team should take-over director Gary Ross’s position due to the fact Ross reportedly said he would not direct future films in the series.

What do you think of this parody? Tell us in the comments.

More About: hipster, the hunger games, YouTube

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Marine Might Get the Boot for Anti-Obama Facebook Posts [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 12:57 PM PDT

People are up in arms about reports of companies firing their employees over Facebook posts — but what if someone makes derogatory comments about their boss, and their boss happens to be the president of the U.S.?

That’s exactly the case for Sgt. Gary Stein, a Marine who may be dismissed from military service after criticizing President Barack Obama on his Facebook account. A Marine Corps administrative board suggested Stein be released on an other-than-honorable discharge for his posts, according to the Associated Press. Such a discharge would strip Stein of his military benefits.

Stein posted several jabs at the president, including an image of a Jackass movie posted edited to feature Obama’s face. Stein also posted that he would not follow the president’s orders, but he later backtracked somewhat, saying he would not follow unlawful orders — including arresting U.S. citizens, taking their lawfully-owned weapons or violating their constitutional rights.

According to Stein, who’s served nine years in the Marines, his comments came during a debate about allowing NATO to put American soldiers on trial for the burning of Muslim holy books in Afghanistan last month.

The Marine’s lawyers argued that Stein’s actions are protected under the First Amendment.

“We’re truly surprised and disappointed but it was an honor to fight for a hero like Sgt. Stein and every other Marine’s right to speak freely,” said Stein’s defense attorney.

However, members of the military are subject to stricter rules concerning free speech than civilians. Military men and women in uniform are barred from joining political clubs, for instance. All members of the military are expected to follow the orders of the president, who serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Capt. John Torresala, the prosecutor in the case, also warned that Stein’s postings might’ve had a negative impact on the behavior of younger Marines.

Stein told the Marines board that he loved serving in the military and that he was planning on re-enlisting when his current tour of duty ended six months from now. His case is to be considered by a Marines general, who may agree with the board and dismiss Stein or send the case to the secretary of the Navy.

Do you think Stein should be kicked out of the Marines for his anti-Obama postings? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, MivPiv

More About: barack obama, Facebook, marines, mashable video, military, Politics, Social Media, US, Video

How Oprah is Revolutionizing Social TV in Real-Time

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 12:36 PM PDT

Oprah - 600

Oprah may have retired from her daytime talk show nearly a year ago, but she’s hardly out of sight from her fan base. In fact, her latest series airing on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is perhaps one of the most advanced shows in the social space right now, as she connects with her home and live audience in almost unprecedented ways.

Oprah’s Lifeclass — which is currently in its second season, airing on Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT — features various motivational speakers and guests who aim to help viewers overcome challenges. Last season recapped lessons, revelations and aha moments over the past 25 years on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

But this isn’t your typical Oprah show. She is incorporating social media and interactivity into every episode across various platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Skype and Instagram. For example, Oprah encourages viewers at home and in the audience to live tweet responses to the topics mentioned on the show and then discusses them in real-time with her guests.

“We have a team backstage that monitors the tweets that come in, and we push out some for Oprah to see and discuss live on the show,” a spokesperson for the OWN Network told Mashable backstage at a live taping. “We tell the audience and everyone at home to use their phones and interact with the show as it airs, and people couldn’t be more excited to do so.”

During most episodes, Oprah is positioned in front of several TV screens that display the tweets. Backstage is a room dedicated to what the show calls “Skypeville,” where fans can be Skyped in to the live show and interact with Oprah.

During last week’s episode — which was filmed live at Radio City Music Hall in New York City as part of a multi-city tour — several viewers were Skyped in from Australia and London to parts of the U.S. to discuss some of their biggest fears.

Oprah Lifeclass Live - 600

“It allows Oprah to truly interact with her audience in new ways, and makes her feel that much closer to her audience — and they feel the same way,” says the spokesperson. “It creates for a much deeper on-air discussion, too.”

Oprah’s Lifeclass also incorporates Facebook polls into the show and offers real-time results. Those viewers tuning in online are awarded with a behind-the-scenes look at what happens during commercial breaks. In essence, the camera never stops rolling, and only those watching online are privy to that footage. Fans can also post comments on the site and interact with others watching the show.

To make the experience even more personal, Oprah snail-mailed journals to her fans so that they could take notes during episodes.

Apart from the show, Oprah is extremely active on social media, especially Twitter. “Every tweet she sends is hers — the marketing team isn’t allowed to go anywhere near her Twitter account,” says the spokesperson.

Although Oprah’s Lifeclass doesn’t have too much formal marketing, it relies mostly on word-of-mouth marketing. It invites a traveling blogger corp. to its live shows to tweet during each episode and feature behind-the-scenes commentary.

As OWN aims to boost viewership of the show and its network, its buzz on social networking sites is thriving. The Oprah team says in the last week alone there were 414,780 mentions on Facebook and 3,026 answers posted to the Lifeclass wall on, along with over 29,000 views to the wall. Meanwhile, the web cast brought in nearly 2.6 million viewer minutes from 149 countries.

What do you think of Oprah’s use of social media to interact with viewers in real-time? Should other shows be taking a similar approach? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Harpo Inc./George Burns

More About: Entertainment, Facebook, instagram, Marketing, oprah, Skype, social tv, trending, Twitter

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How Social Media Can Help You Land That New Job [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 12:19 PM PDT

Does your job suck? Do you just wish you had a job to begin with? Social media can play a major role in finding that first gig or hopping to a better one.

In 2012, companies are projected to use social media to recruit for more than four out of five job openings. Some 95% of recruiters have already successfully hired candidates found through LinkedIn, while Twitter and Facebook help connect job-seekers with employers as well.

Recruiters use social media for a variety of reasons — it saves them money, raises brand awareness and is a good way to target people with specific skill sets. But most of all, recruiters say it helps them find solid candidates who might otherwise never even get on their radar.

SEE ALSO: What's at Stake When Employers Ask for Social Media Passwords? | Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30 Every Day — And You Should Too

So how best to get noticed? Eye-tracking studies have shown that people spend an average of under six seconds looking at social media profiles, meaning first impressions are key. Job titles and profile photos get the most attention, so those are among the most important sections of your page to spruce up.

This data was all pulled together by, a site that connects students with Internet-based education programs. OnlineDegrees compiled reports from a variety of sources and research organizations — including Mashable — to fill out the picture of how social media can boost your job search. For more, check out the infographic below.

Has social media ever helped you in a job search? Let us know in the comments.

How to use social media to land a job

Courtesy of:

More About: Facebook, infographics, jobs, linkedin, Twitter

Google Tops List Of Most Popular Companies, Survey Says

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 11:59 AM PDT

A survey commissioned by ABC News and Washington Post shows that Google is the most popular company in the U.S. — above Apple, Facebook and Twitter.

Eighty-two percent of Americans expressed a positive opinion of the world’s top search-engine site, with 53% saying they strongly favored the company.

The results were published just as Google CEO Larry Page posted a lengthy state-of-Google-type letter on Thursday laying-out the company’s future plans and listing its accomplishments so far. One section of the letter, under the sub-headline “Love and Trust,” spells out Google’s commitment to being well-liked in the eyes of the public:

“We have always wanted Google to be a company that is deserving of great love,” the letter reads. “But we recognize this is an ambitious goal because most large companies are not well-loved, or even seemingly set up with that in mind. We're lucky to have a very direct relationship with our users, which creates a strong incentive for us to do the right thing.”

SEE ALSO: Google CEO Releases 'Mega Ambitious' Letter, Still Not Evil

The survey was conducted by Langer Research Associates in New York City. The random sample of 1,007 adults was conducted via landline and cellphone from March 28 to April 1. The margin of error is 3.5 points.

To view the entire poll, click here.

Google, Apple and Facebook did not reply to request for comment as of press time.

It was recently discovered that Page’s approval rating within the company has declined 2% in comparison to his predecessor, Eric Schmidt. While Apple’s CEO Tim Cook ranks higher in popularity compared with the late Steve Jobs.

What do you think about this survey? Do your think that Google should have the top spot? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RonBailey

More About: apple, Business, Facebook, Google, Twitter

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9 Ways to Engage Your Employees on Pinterest

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 11:28 AM PDT

Pinterest Pics

Social media is all about user/customer interaction — that much we know. But many businesses value staff engagement as well. Pinterest‘s collaborative approach encourages employees to not only get to know each other, but also to communicate their personalities and tastes to the wider public.

Marketing and communications agency Red Door Interactive recently launched a Pinterest project that encourages staff members to contribute ideas and inspiration for its new office. The board, titled “San Diego Office Inspiration,” encourages 63 staff member contributors to pin interior design, architectural and decor ideas for the new office, which they’ll be relocating to Oct. 2012.

Red Door’s director of social media, Crosby Noricks, is an early adopter of Pinterest, and was even featured on the social network’s blog back in Sept. 2011. She decided that Red Door’s collaborative office inspiration project was the perfect way to launch the brand’s own Pinterest presence.

“We value the opinions and aesthetic preferences of all our employees and have really enjoyed their discoveries as well as seeing the engagement on our collective suggestions,” she says.

SEE ALSO: Why Is Pinterest So Addictive? [INFOGRAPHIC]

And the sky’s the limit when it comes to inspiration. Red Door’s new office space will be significantly bigger than its old digs, and the staff was not given a budget cap. “This was unrelated to budget — it was more about collaboration, contribution and of course, inspiration,” says Noricks. “We encouraged a ‘dream big’ approach to creating the ideal office.”

Turns out, the staff is dreaming about gymnastics-inspired meeting spaces, giant hammocks and vertical gardens for its new office. Noricks adds her two cents: “I'm personally voting for the treadmill desks and a photobooth!”

Here’s a look at how a number of companies are encouraging their employees to get involved via Pinterest.

1. Red Door Interactive

Red Door employees are encouraged to share their versions of the perfect office as inspiration for the company's upcoming move.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Business, design, engagement, office, pinterest, Social Media, Startups

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Humanoid Robot Has Muscles, Joints and Tendons [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 11:02 AM PDT

Technophobes beware — the Eccerobot may be your worst nightmare. A team of scientists have created a robot inspired by the human build, so it can act more like living, breathing people.

The Eccerobot team aims to create robots with bones and joints, making movements more rounded and not so robotic. The idea behind the project is that human capabilities stem from the intricacies of our skeletal and muscular systems.

The Eccerobot, having muscles and bones — forearm rotators and shoulder blades — will allow for complex movements. Copying the mechanics of our intricate bodies, the scientists helped relieve some of the limitations of robotic bodies.

Typical robots are built with standard engineering techniques with stiff parts. Their Eccerobot counterparts with muscles and tendons will be able to walk and move their arms with more speed and rhythm.

“You can use the passive compliance to make it absorb the energy in the right way to allow for safe interaction and to store energy in the muscles to produce fast movement,” explained Hugo Gravato Marques with the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Switzerland, in a YouTube video.

The completed robot model now is a half-torso that sits on a mobile platform. It has arms with numerous parts that detect strain. Bones are made from a thermoplastic material that morphs into shape with heat. It can hold objects, shake hands and lift its arm smoothly.

SEE ALSO: Scientists Train Robots to Better Understand Humans [VIDEO]

Other parts include high-speed, high-definition cameras for eyes. For ears, the robot is equipped with an audio-detection system that allows for voice commences. Thinking touch sensory is impossible for robots? Not quite — the researchers have even equipped the Eccerobot with “force-sensitive-resistors” on its fingertips and palms.

The creators of the Eccerobot include the University of Sussex, the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the University of Zurich and the University of Belgrade.

The next step is to improve the robot’s movement, interaction and controlled manipulation. The scientists believe that this will pave way for a new era in robotics, according to

What do you foresee in the future of robotics with devices that can mimic human appearance and mechanics? Tell us in the comments.

More About: mashable video, robots, Tech, trending, Video

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Anonymous Leads ‘Time 100′ Poll, But Did the Hacktivists Rig the Results?

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 10:42 AM PDT

Anonymous, the loosely knit hacker collective that has taken credit for a range of data breaches, information leaks and website takedowns over the past eight years, is now topping the Time 100 Poll in the final hours of voting.

The organization has accumulated 382,574 “yes” votes — 100,000 more than runner-up Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, India.

But are those votes valid — or has Anonymous rolled out yet another hacking campaign?

One tipster thinks it’s the latter. The tipster, who declined to reveal his name to us, is a supporter of Modi’s. He noticed that Anonymous has been accumulating around 14,000 votes per hour, jumping from approximately 40,000 votes by midday Thursday to more than 380,000 votes by midday Friday.

Voting for Time‘s 100 most influential people of the year ends at midnight. The final list — which will be determined by the magazine’s editors and not popular vote — will be announced April 17, alongside the poll winner.

We’ve reached out to Time to see if the votes are authentic and where they’re coming from. We’ll update this post with information as we get it.

UPDATE: With official comment from Anonymous:

The Poll

More About: anonymous, time, trending

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7 Crazy Tech Toys You Could Buy With Your Tax Refund

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 10:16 AM PDT

This year’s average tax return is $2,946, according to the Associated Press.

It’s slightly down from last year, but there are still some pretty crazy things you could purchase with about three grand in pocket change. We’ve rounded up seven that you can blow your money on. Or you could just, you know, save it while our economy recovers from a crippling recession.

What kind of tech are you in the market for? Let us know in the comments.

1. 3D Printer

This one's not the top of the line, which would require you to shell out an additional $2,000. But you can still create prototypes and models from home with this personal 3D printer. Cost: $1,495

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: features, Gadgets, taxes, Tech, toys, trending

Tumblr Relays Texts From a Dog

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 10:00 AM PDT

What if your dog could text? It might go a little like this.

TextFromDog, a new Tumblr, relays dialog as it might occur between a dog and its owner. The author, @OctoberJones, hasn’t shared much info about himself, but the language appears to be British English (not to mention NSFW.) “My dog sends me texts. I post them here,” he writes by way of explanation. “Yeah, it’s weird.”

We agree.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andrearoad

More About: dogs, humor, texting, trending, tumblr, viral

Political News Site Rewards Users for Smart, Thoughtful Comments

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 09:47 AM PDT

If you’re fed up with the less-than-eloquent dialogue in the comments threads of political news stories around the web, then popular online forum service Topix has an answer for you.

Politix is a bipartisan site that lets users take a stand on the latest political news. As users interact with the latest news on the site, Politix automatically builds a profile that collects each user’s political views in one space.

News articles posted on the site are selected by human editors, but it’s the user comments and profiles that are the gold mine for Politix.

“We're trying not to be a news site, but a home for your political engagement online,” says Topix CEO Chris Tolles.

Comments are embedded into the site, and Politix rewards users that leave well-reasoned and thought-out comments via a Twitter-style verification system.

According to Tolles, that boosts the level of discourse across the entire site — a welcome reprieve from the kinds of comments one often finds at the tail end of online political news.

“Politix isn't about consuming content passively, but about inspiring citizens to participate and engage in the political process by interacting with the news," adds Tolles.

“By giving Americans a meaningful platform to convey their opinions around key issues, we hope to have a significant impact on the tone of, and process for, political conversations in this country."

When asked if Reddit’s upvote/downvote-based system was an inspiration for Politix’s comment-based design, Tolles confirmed that he’s an admirer of that site.

“I'm a big fan of Reddit, but Reddit and Digg are about, 'here's an article voted up and voted down,’” says Tolles. “Once you're a Reddit user and you've talked about a bunch of issues, but where does that lead you? There's no result of any of that activity. The product of Reddit is the discussion.

“With what we've built, the product is a profile. I don’t think we’re going to replace Reddit, but it’s something in addition to that.”

Users are given a daily poll based on the news. The results are mapped out geographically, letting you see where people in different parts of the country stand on a particular issue. Politix also makes it easy for users to identify where all of the presidential candidates stand on a wide variety of issues.

Ultimately, Tolles wants to amass a dedicated group of users that get plenty of use out of Politix. And considering parent site Topix has over 10 million member members, that’s a reasonable goal.

“For us, a win would be a strong set of users that get a lot out of it,” says Tolles. “If we see people getting value out of the product, that's a win. For us, it's the evolution of how people interact with news online.”

At the moment, Politix is in beta, and best viewed on mobile devices. A full desktop version is set to launch soon.

Will you use Politix to discuss the news of the day? Lets us know in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign

More About: Politics, Social Media, US

Pinterest is Now the No. 3 Social Network in the U.S. [STUDY]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 09:18 AM PDT

Pinterest is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian Hitwise.

A new report from the researcher shows Pinterest got 21.5 million visits during the week ending Jan. 28, a nearly 30-fold increase over a comparable week in July. Not surprisingly, the site skews female with a 60/40 ration of women to men visitors.

Experian rep Matt Tatham says Pinterest beat its next-closest competitor, LinkedIn, in total visits in February. Tatham says the rankings by total visits for March is as follows:

  • 1. Facebook: 7 billion
  • 2. Twitter: 182 million
  • 3. Pinterest: 104 million
  • 4. LinkedIn: 86 million
  • 5. Tagged: 72 million
  • 6. Google+: 61 million
  • The report, which tracks visits rather than unique visitors, is based on web traffic and doesn’t factor in visits from mobile sites. According to Experian’s reckoning, Foursquare only got 2.9 million visits in March and Instagram got 10.2 million.

    ComScore, which doesn’t measure mobile traffic either, but ranks sites by uniques rather than total visits, did not include Pinterest in its list of the top 50 web properties in February. However, LinkedIn made number 27 with 36 million visitors. ComScore listed Pinterest as its number three “top-gaining” properties, however, with 17.8 million total visitors that month. ComScore’s March figures were not available at press time.

    More About: Experian Hitwise, Facebook, Google, pinterest, trending, Twitter

SOPA 2.0: Why the Fight for Internet Freedom Is Far From Over

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 08:55 AM PDT

Is the fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) over? Not even close, according to Internet law expert Lawrence Lessig.

Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. A world-renowned expert on Internet, copyright and trademark law, Lessig is an outspoken advocate for Internet freedom and net neutrality. He’s authored multiple books including Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace and Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity.

According to Lessig, the battle over SOPA may have been won, but the war’s far from over. The general idea behind the bill, says Lessig, can resurface anytime in a new bill with a different name — and the tech community as well as citizens concerned about Internet freedom need to remain ever vigilant for the next attempt to clamp down on Internet freedom in the name of copyright protection and intellectual property.

Lessig will be speaking at Mashable Connect this May about the continuing battle for Internet freedom in a post-SOPA world. Mashable sat down to speak with him about SOPA and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the technology community’s ability to organize around political issues and how people perceive freedom on the Internet today.

Q&A With Internet Law Expert Lawrence Lessig

Is SOPA really "dead?"

I think that particular statute's dead, but the issues and the idea will revive themselves in some other statute. It's going to be very hard for any senator to reverse himself in the face of Chris Dodd's almost direct threat that the MPAA's going to retaliate against people that oppose SOPA.

That means that if it's going to come back, it'll be in a different form.

What kind of another form? Could it be written as a bill against child pornography?

A child pornography bill is always good, or it might be a reform act or dropped into a budget act. They're not giving up. They're resilient and they'll fight again.

Why haven't we seen anti-ACTA protests in the U.S. the way we see them in Europe and how we saw them here with SOPA?

We're kind of out of sequence because the policy steps necessary to get the U.S. to sign on have already been taken. We could get a bill to withdraw, but that's a harder fight.

What do you think of the President Obama’s decision to label ACTA an “executive agreement,” allowing him to sign ACTA without Congressional approval?

I think it's unconstitutional. Jack Goldsmith and I wrote a piece that mapped out why it's unconstitutional. We hope we get the chance to test that.

Do you think the tech community is now better prepared and organized for whatever they perceive to be the next threat?

I hope so, but I think it's not likely we're going to see many similar fights, because not many issues unite the community in the way this one did. It's going to be hard, for example, to imagine another battle that they would take down Wikipedia for.

How could the tech community better organize itself?

We're going to have to find other, narrower ways to get coalitions together. I think one thing we saw was the important value of mediating institutions like Demand Progress to rally understanding among the community. I think the community was a critical thing — when you've got thousands of calls to members of Congress, and those calls are all focused pressure in a way that Congress couldn't resist — that made it possible for the community to beat the most powerful lobby in Washington.

The tech community needs to recognize the importance of these institutions and support them so they continue to thrive — so the next time we have a fight, there's someone to sound the alarm.

Children are growing up online, but with little knowledge of the Internet's open-source origins. Does that give the "powers that be," so to speak, the opportunity to reinvent the Internet as a more restricted environment?

Yeah, I do. I think as people experience code-based control of sites like the iTunes Music Store or Facebook and begin to take for granted the way these controls work, they think less about how things could be different.

We need to fight against this lack of awareness. Inside these entities — like Facebook — there have to be much stronger organizational methods [that let] people push this idea. These systems that are controlling behavior have been baked into the tech, and they could be baked differently.

I think the resistance to this will continue to be grassroots — organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been great in facilitating that.

Is it correct to look at the debate between Intellectual Property and Creativity as a zero-sum game?

Not in every case. I think in the privacy debate, for example, better infrastructure could give more privacy and better security — a better place for identity. Better copyright law could give the copyright industry and artists what they want — but it's hard for the industry to imagine this, so they fight this change. And it's hard for anybody to imagine what this different infrastructure might look like, so we don't get many people rallying for this change.

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

Event Information

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

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

You can see our full agenda of topics and speakers here.

A Look Back at Last Year's Mashable Connect

1. Mashable Connect Race Powered by Gowalla

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

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More About: ACTA, features, internet, Lawrence Lessig, mashable connect, privacy, SOPA, US, World

Horses Get the ‘Pimp My Ride’ Treatment [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 08:38 AM PDT

If equestrians were ever wondering when Xzibit would pimp their ride, the wait is now over. YouTube user freddiew — or “F Dubs,” as he’s called in the video — created this parody of Pimp my Ride. He hooks a horse up with some stunner shades, chrome spinners and a mini fridge.

SEE ALSO: The iPad Is Now Available For Horses [VIDEO]

We don’t know how that’s even possible, but throw some air horns in and this video is bound to make you laugh — and you have to admit, a real-life unicorn is pretty cool.

More About: features, horses, viral videos, YouTube

Learning Experiment Sparks Student Imagination With Cute Robots

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 08:23 AM PDT

The World at Work is powered by GE. This new series highlights the people, projects and startups that are driving innovation and making the world a better place.

Name: Reboot Stories

Big Idea: With a trilogy of experiential learning projects, Reboot Stories aims to engage children from low-income school districts with imaginative and educational activities.

Why It’s Working: Reboot Stories is pushing the boundaries of traditional learning by incorporating technology and multimedia into classrooms that otherwise would lack the resources to do so.

How do you get a child excited about learning? What about a child growing up in an underprivileged school district where the classrooms can lack the resources for even basic, traditional programs? For Lance Weiler and Janine Saunders, creating an inspiring and engaging educational program that integrated digital learning became a major passion.

“We wanted to look at a way to drive opportunities within education by letting students be a part of their own education, where they get to put their hands on it,” says Weiler, who serves as creator and story architect for each project.

With Saunders serving as creative producer, they created Reboot Stories to bring their educational projects to life. Their first project, Robot Heart Stories, launched in October 2011 on a very minimal budget. Robot Heart Stories brought together two fifth grade classrooms — one in Montreal and the other in Los Angeles — to help power the journey of a small robot who crash-landed onto Earth.

“Each day matched a curriculum that was built for both classrooms,” Saunders explains. “The Montreal kids centered around the creative aspect of her journey — basically the communications team. The L.A. kids were her tech and science team.”

The robot (whom the students named Laika, after the dog who first orbited the Earth) traveled for 10 days and interacted with the children through videos, photos and a website that tracked her progress. The children were tasked with teaching Laika about Earth and mapping out her journey from Montreal to L.A., where she would board her spaceship and return home.

“We mapped out the route was and we worked with a really great award-winning photography team, and Laika was on the road,” Saunders says.

The project was a success, and Weiler says there’s potential for the project to be a repeatable model for classrooms all over to engage in their own meaningful experience with Laika. Weiler says that kids in both classrooms not only showed a positive reaction toward Laika and her journey, but also eagerly interacted with the educational activities in the classroom.

“There was something about her living in the real world that really got the kids very, very excited, and that was a really beautiful thing,” Weiler adds.

With the first Robot Heart Stories behind them, Weiler and Saunders are now producing Wish for the Future. Where Robot Heart Stories focused on innovating and imagining outer space, Wish for the Future takes a more grounded and personal turn. Through the project’s API, anyone can make a wish for something they’d like to see happen. Wishes are then granted through a creative act such as writing a story or singing a song. Weiler says that the project, when prototyped, helped kids act in a meaningful leadership role with adults.

“We did a wonderful ‘think and do’ lab with kids in charter schools in New York, where the kids came in and they led adult teams through the ideation of ideas that they had and their wishes for the future,” Weiler says. “And those wishes were amazing.”

As for the future of Reboot Stories, Saunders says that they’re going to gear up for another Robot Heart Stories installment, with Laika journeying around the world. A third, to-be-determined, sea-focused adventure is in the works, too. For this crew, the creativity is always flowing.

“There are these amazing participatory surprises because we let elements of that storytelling become owned by those kids,” Weiler says. “And it keeps repeating itself, like a birthday present.”

Interested in giving your own Wish for the Future? Send your wish through the API below:

Series presented by GE


The World at Work is powered by GE. GE Works focuses on the people who make the things that move, power, build and help to cure the world.

More About: Children, education, features, mashable, World at Work

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Jon Stewart Calls Out Obama on Social Media Overload [VIDEO]

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 08:08 AM PDT

The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart is fed up with President Barack Obama’s constant tweeting, checking in and, most of all, his emails asking for donations.

“Seriously, there are exiled Nigerian princes getting Obama campaign emails going, ‘Ease up on the money thing, fella,’” Stewart said jokingly.

Obama’s campaign revolutionized digital’s and social media’s use in presidential campaigns during his 2008 bid. As his re-election campaign begins to build up steam, it’s turning to supporters for donations — often sending emails with friendly subject lines such as “hey” or “dinner?” to entice people into opening them. Unfailingly, these emails end with a call to action to donate to the president’s campaign — much to Stewart’s dismay.

What are your thoughts on donation-soliciting emails from political campaigns? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, barack obama, jon stewart, Politics, US, World

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin Caught Wearing Google Glasses

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 07:52 AM PDT


Looks like the Google Glasses are real after all. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was spotted wearing them in San Francisco by a prominent tech writer, and he even managed to snap a photo of the prototype specs.

Blogger Robert Scoble met up with Brin at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and, seeing that Brin was wearing a pair of the freshly unveiled Google Glasses, took a photo of the two of them with his camera, which he promptly posted on Instagram and Twitter.

Scoble says Brin wouldn’t let him try on the sci-fi specs, which communicate with the wearer’s smartphone to relay information and turn the glasses into a futuristic heads-up display. However, he did say the glasses appeared to be very lightweight, and that they seemed to be flashing info to Brin as they talked. He also said they looked “self-contained,” not requiring other hardware (although a wireless connection to a phone wouldn’t be visible).

The Google Glasses, which the company officially unveiled Wednesday, have sharply divided the Internet. While many tech enthusiasts have praised Google for daring to make a useful and lightweight version of a mainstream heads-up display, detractors have pointed out the many potential pitfalls (such as user distraction) and how silly they could end up looking.

Still, with Brin wearing them in public, a final product may be coming sooner than later. Initial reports said the glasses would go on sale by the end of the year, but a Google spokesperson later told Mashable that was “extremely unlikely.” Scoble tweeted that the glasses were many months, if not years away from being “productized,” though it’s not clear if Brin said so or if it’s his own speculation.

What’s your view of Google Glasses? Vote in our Poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by Robert Scoble

More About: android, Augmented Reality, Google, Google glasses, heads-up display, trending

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