Friday, 13 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “YouTube Opens Partner Program to Everyone”


Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “YouTube Opens Partner Program to Everyone”

YouTube Opens Partner Program to Everyone

Posted: 13 Apr 2012 02:18 AM PDT

Youtube Creators

YouTube‘s Partner Program, previously opened only to producers of very popular content, is now open to all content creators from the 20 countries where the program is available.

To become a YouTube Partner, you need to enable your YouTube account and successfully monetize at least one of your videos.

YouTube’s guidelines for successful monetization are here, but in a nutshell, your best bet is to create original content while owning all the rights to commercially use all the visuals and audio in your video.

YouTube Partner program is currently available to everyone in these countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

Newcomers to the program won’t immediately enjoy all the perks popular content creators have, such as custom thumbnails and banners. “We are working on making these and other features available to more newly-made partners over time,” says YouTube.

More About: YouTube, YouTube Creators, YouTube Partner Program

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6 Cuddly Mascots Created by Tech Companies

Posted: 13 Apr 2012 12:01 AM PDT

1. Travelocity Gnome

This little fella became an instant favorite because fans were able to interact by taking him to their own destinations. There's just something cheeky and highly enjoyable about taking a photo of a garden gnome standing in front of an epic vista. Image courtesy of Flickr, CoryGurman.

Click here to view this gallery.

Trying to gain attention in the tech industry can be daunting. If you don’t make a booming first impression or raise millions in your first VC round, you could be destined for obscurity.

In order to stand out from the crowd, some startups adopt mascots for their products. However, a mascot’s success all depends on the public’s reaction. (See Microsoft Word’s Clippy or the hand puppet for examples of what not to do.)

The trick is to make your product lovable enough that the public embraces whichever mascot you’ve chosen. URL shortener’s pufferfish is a great example. The company introduced a clever mascot to make the brand more three-dimensional.

Here’s a few mascots that caught our eye. Know any that we overlooked? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Business, features, Marketing, Tech

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Funding Frenzy! iPhone-Friendly Watch Nets $1 Million More on Kickstarter

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 09:02 PM PDT

Remember when the Pebble, the watch that talks to your iPhone or Android device via an array of open-source apps, was asking for a mere $100,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter?

Well, actually, the Pebble is officially still only asking for $100,000 on Kickstarter. But the Internet has responded with a loud chorus of “shut up and take my money!”

The Pebble’s funding hit $500,000 Wednesday evening. It reached $1 million in investment, just 28 hours after the Kickstarter launched.

By midnight Friday ET, the hot little e-paper wristwatch had blasted past the $1.5 million mark.

There are 35 days remaining in the Kickstarter.

Not bad for a device nobody has actually tested in the wild yet. (Though some own its predecessor, the Android-only InPulse watch.)

SEE ALSO: iPhone-Friendly Watch Gets $500,000 Kickstarter Funding in a Day

Each early investor gets a Pebble at a slight discount ($115 versus $150). But what the funding frenzy really suggests is a burning need that has so far not been met — to extend the capability of your smartphone, especially your iPhone, to other wearable devices.

But only in a way that makes sense. Part of the Pebble’s appeal is this: it’s a relatively simple, dumb device that lets the phone do the heavy lifting. It communicates with your apps, rather than trying to replicate them.

Perhaps most importantly, the information is displayed using a technology — Kindle-like e-paper — that isn’t likely to drain the watch’s battery. (What the constant Bluetooth communication does to it remains to be seen.)

Meanwhile, the celebration is only beginning at Pebble Technology in Palo Alto. “We popped a bottle of champagne at $200k, because we missed the $100k milestone,” founder Eric Migicovsky told Mashable.

At this rate, he’ll be on caviar and oysters by day 35.

How much funding will the Pebble get? Place your bets in the comments.

More About: android, inPulse, iphone, kickstarter, pebble, trending

Startup Stops Sites Selling Your Information in One Click

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 08:12 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: SafeShepherd

Quick Pitch: SafeShepherd finds and removes your information from websites that sell it.

Genius Idea: Automating each of about 25 personal information vendors’ removal processes.

Want to know somebody’s birth date? Address? Phone number? Whether they’re divorced?

There’s an entire genre of websites such as Spokeo, Radaris, White Pages and Been Verified that will gladly sell you such information. They pick it up from sources such as government records and public social media profiles.

“Twenty years ago all the information was legally public as well,” SafeShepherd CEO Robert Leshner says, “but none of this information was accessible. Unless you lived in the same town as somebody and were willing to go get the records, you probably couldn't get them. The Internet has made it easy.”

You may be just checking out someone before your first date, but some of these sites’ customers have more malicious intentions — like identity theft.

Most personal information sites allow you to remove listings about yourself, but the process can involve following complicated instructions, emails and other kinds of takedown requests. It’s a project.

SafeShepherd aims to make it easier to opt out of personal information site listings. It shows you where you’re listed and automates the removal process when you want to opt out.

The startup, which graduated from accelerator 500 Startups in August, will let you remove up to 10 records for free. A free search for my name, however, yielded no results that were actually mine.

It also seems like a wasted effort to remove your information from 10 sites, but leave it standing on 15 others.

To see and remove all records, SafeShepherd charges a monthly fee of $14 or an annual fee of $65. Leshner says the site also plans to introduce a family plan that allows users to protect spouses and children.

So far the site has about 8,000 paying and non-paying users, who have between them removed about 23,000 records.

Would you pay to remove your information from vendors? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Darwin Bell

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

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

More About: bizspark, privacy, Safeshepherd

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Meme Alert: Ridiculously Photogenic Puppy

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 07:54 PM PDT

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy was so two days ago. (Literally.)

Internet, make room for the pooch that should probably be Zeddie Little‘s best friend, Ridiculously Photogenic Puppy!

An increasingly hyperbolic series of captions explain why this impeccable pup is unstoppably cute — and doggone likely to take over the planet.

The new meme combines the still-fresh memory internet’s favorite face and an adorable puppy, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see it take off.

How long can the “ridiculously photogenic” memes keep coming? Let us know in the comments.

Ridiculously Photogenic Puppy

Used as seeing eye dog... Owner regains sight

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Meme, viral

JK Rowling Upgrades Website, Teases First Adult Book

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 07:12 PM PDT

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling released details of her forthcoming adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, alongside her newly redesigned website Thursday.

Until Thursday, the author’s website,, had been under construction and inaccessible for several months.

The new design reflects a cleaner, more streamlined aesthetic. It’s available in a variety of languages and dialects — including both British and American English.

Absent, however, are the easter eggs and similar touches of whimsy.

Instead, milestones in Rowling’s professional life are plotted on a flowing timeline, accompanied by text, photos and video. The palette is subdued and faintly feminine.

Details about the book itself are sparse. Publisher Little, Brown & Co. has described it as a “blackly comic” novel aimed at a demographic generations older than the one targeted by the Harry Potter franchise.

It will be published in hardback and ebook form worldwide on Sept. 27. Of the plot, the publisher says:

“When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”

Rowling’s seven-novel Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies and been adapted into top-performing feature-length films. It will be difficult to imagine such success for Rowling’s next novel. Tell us: Are you planning to read it, or will you wait for the reviews to come in first?

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, fast50

More About: jk rowling, the casual vacancy, trending

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‘Hunger Games’ Satire Blasts Politicians, Plays With Food [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 06:34 PM PDT

International relief and development organization Oxfam American has released Food Games, a Hunger Games-inspired satire video featuring a food fight between an elephant and a donkey.

The animals irresponsibly throw around food, mimicking how Oxfam feels Congress is acting with the 2012 Farm Bill.

Oxfam’s simple message: “When kids play with food it’s cute. When Washington does, it costs lives.”

“We want people to share the video, talk about it, and act. The goal is to use arresting images to make some real impact for the people who need it most,” says Hill Holliday creative director Lance Jensen, who created the video.

Oxfam hopes Congress will vote to increase international food aid programs, because the Farm Bill will expire later this year. Though the organization says there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone, politics are getting in the way.

SEE ALSO: 20 Hilarious 'Hunger Games' Memes Taking Over the Web

Oxfam is encouraging its supporters to target the House and Senate Agriculture committees on Twitter at @HouseAgNews and @SenateAg with links to the video. Oxfam also created an online petition, calling for food aid reform.

In addition to spreading on social media, Oxfam plans to run the video as a TV ad in the coming weeks.

Do you think the video is a powerful tool to trigger discussion? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: congress, hunger games, Social Good, trending, US, viral video

XLR8 Turns Your Ford Focus Into a Ferrari

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 06:23 PM PDT

We can’t always hit the road in the wheels we’d like to. A new app called XLR8, however, can at least make your family sedan sound like the sports car of your dreams.

Using your phone’s accelerometer, XLR8 plays sounds similar to what your car might sound like if it was something a little fancier. The audio revs up as you start, just like a vehicle does.

It idles when you’re stopped at stop lights, and pays attention to your vehicle’s acceleration, responding accordingly.

“I’m a race car aficionado as well as a sound designer with a passion for the sound of a well-tuned engine,” Robb Rinard, Creative Director at 2XL told Mashable. “When I was little, I was the kid who would sit at the breakfast table and make race car sounds with my mouth for fun while dreaming about tearing up the track.

“When I grew up, I had the great fortune of partnering with programming genius Rick Baltman (he's done stuff like program Auto Pilot in unmanned spy planes). It was Rick who made my idea for XLR8 a reality.”

The app uses Hollywood recordings of real supercars. While it’s designed to be used in your car while you drive, it can also be used in manual mode when you’re not driving.

The manual mode lets you control the virtual engine by hand, turning your sofa into a super car.

XLR8′s Android and iPhone app includes just the Classic V8 Muscle Car. However, a NASCAR engine, Ford GT40, and the exotic Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars are all available as in-app purchases.

What do you think about XLR8? Would you use it while driving around town? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, gmalandra

More About: android, App, cars, iOS, iphone

7 YouTube Channels of Nerd Entertainment

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 05:59 PM PDT

If two left feet keep you from Dancing with the Stars, or the thought of visiting the Jersey Shore makes you break out in hives, then listen up.

There’s a new breed of entertainment being produced by nerds for nerds on YouTube, and we have some of the best of the bunch right here.

So strap on the suspenders, and get to watchin’.


Freddie Wong and his FreddieW Channel are something of a legend on YouTube. That's thanks to his insanely well-produced videos, featuring Hollywood-level special effects. Most episodes are inspired by video games or action movies, but they're also almost always laced with a bit of comedy. He's so famous that he's been able to get actors like Jon Favreau and Shenae Grimes to guest star.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: contributor, Entertainment, features, YouTube

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Exposed by ‘Digital Trail,’ Fox News Mole Tweets Termination Letter

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 05:50 PM PDT

The Fox News mole that Gawker found inside the conservative cable TV station has been outed and fired. He posted his termination letter to Twitter on Thursday for the world to see.

Joe Muto (right) began working for Fox News in 2004, and was an associate producer for hit show The O’Reilly Factor since 2007.

Since being exposed earlier this week, Muto has used his personal Twitter account to fill out the story, promise more inside info and playfully lament his downfall. Here’s the photo he posted Thursday morning after being canned:

Muto’s first anonymously written post for Gawker appeared Tuesday. He detailed working conditions inside the controversial company and posted video footage not meant for the broadcast. But his clandestine glory didn’t last long.

By Wednesday, Fox News claimed to have identified the leak. Muto responded with a short, taunting Gawker post titled “I Am the Fox Mole, And I'm Still Here.”

Just several hours later, he wrote another Gawker post titled “Hi Roger. It's Me, Joe: The Fox Mole,” referring to Fox News president Roger Ailes.

In the latter post, Muto said “it was the digital trail that gave me away.” He wrote that he used his personal computer login to access video footage, which made him the prime suspect in the leaks. It was just a matter of time, he said, before his jig was up.

How much was Muto’s from-the-belly-of-the-beast info worth to Gawker? $5,000, according to Forbes. Lawyers for Fox News, meanwhile, say Muto’s “admissions are admissions of likely criminal and civil wrongdoing” and that the company “will pursue its rights and remedies in the appropriate legal forums.”

Muto, for his part, doesn’t seem all that shocked his mission came to such an abrupt end. On Wednesday evening he posted this tweet:

Do you support Joe Muto? Do you think the risk he took was worth $5,000? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image via

More About: trending, Twitter

Turn Your Facebook Fan Page Into a Mobile App [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 05:16 PM PDT

Creating mobile app for your brand can be quite the endeavor. A new product from mobile app builder Cabana attempts to help you cross that hurdle, by creating a mobile app using information from your Facebook fan page.

Called Fan Page Mobilizer, the Facebook app lets the owner of any Facebook fan page take that contact and reformat it into a mobile web app.

The web app pulls information from the fan page, and uses it to power the content you see in the mobile app for your brand.

Getting started with the Facebook app is as easy as identifying what page you would like to turn into a mobile app, then choosing the title for the page, icon image, and start-up screen.

Fan page owners can include any information they want from their page in their mobile app, including wall posts, images, and events.

Essentially just a mobile-friendly version of your traditional fan page, the mobile app is accessed by going to a URL (so you’ll have to pass that out to anyone who might want to take advantage of the app).

Since everything in the app comes from your fan page, updating the app’s content is as easy as updating the fan page on Facebook.

Creating a mobile app for a fan page also doesn’t require you to be the owner of that page. So if you have a brand you like to follow, you can create an app for it on your mobile phone that will update as the actual fan page owner updates the page’s content.

Fan Page Mobilizer currently only works for iOS devices, however, an Android version is reportedly on the way soon. The app builder is free for anyone who likes the Facebook app on Facebook. Otherwise, the cost is $5.

More About: android, App, Facebook, iOS, iphone, trending

Is Boeing Developing a Super-Secure Spy Phone? [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 04:44 PM PDT

Earlier this week it was reported that aerospace and defense firm Boeing is developing its own mobile phone for the James Bonds of the world — namely, the defense and intelligence communities.

The phone will compete with other “highly secure communication devices,” but will have a lower price-point than what’s currently available, said the National Defense Magazine’s blog.

The Boeing phone — for that’s it’s name — will be released late this year, and was developed on Android’s open source operating system.

Brian Palma, vice president of the company's secure infrastructure group, told the blog, similar secure, encrypted devices cost $15,000 to $20,000 per device and use proprietary software and hardware.

With the Android platform, they can lower the cost of the phones, but not to a level where the average consumer will purchase it, Palma said.

The magazine reported that the President of Boeing Network and Space Systems Roger Krone told reporters in Arlington, Va., that the phone likely marks the first time the company will offer a communication device designed to use cellular networks.

The blog also noted a trend Boeing reported in employee device preferences: “Boeing sees a larger business trend where employees once went to work to take advantage of information technology because it was far superior to what they had at home. Nowadays, it is the opposite. The consumer products have outstripped the office IT, and they wonder why their work has far less robust computers and phones.”

Boeing, a company that’s mainly known for making airplanes, introduced its Dreamliner jet last summer. The 787 Dreamliner has 19-inch windows that can be electronically dimmed, plus the cabin has a higher humidity to increase comfort.

What do you think about Boeing making phones? What do you think would be a fair price for this phone if it hit the consumer market? Tell is in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, webphotographeer

More About: Boeing, cellphone, device, Mobile phone

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How to Make An Entire Mall Think You’re Famous [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 04:22 PM PDT

Thomas Elliot is a “famous” dude who has Virginia shoppers going nuts over him — for doing nothing at all.

Along with his team at Chill Hill Media, Elliot (whose name is actually Thomas Cramer — his middle name is Elliot) entered MacArthur Center Mall in Norfolk, Virginia with the intention to trick everyone into believing he was a celebrity.

According to Cramer, it only took four minutes to do so.

“It just so happened to catch wind so early — a gentleman had asked for a picture not knowing who I was and then the security witnessed it,” says Cramer. “I think the security coming to aid was one of the biggest facilitators of it, just because it drew so much attention.”

The simple stunt landed the “celebrity” three security guards, which Cramer says the team initially ducked into a Vans store to avoid what they thought was going to be conflict. Instead, they remained with them throughout the entire trip to the mall. According to Cramer, there was very little communication between security and his team during the process.

“I didn’t say a word — they never asked who we were, they never asked what we did,” says Cramer. “We didn’t lie to security, we just didn’t talk about it. It was just assumed that I was a celebrity and they needed to fend off fans.”

Mall-goers pegged Thomas Elliot as a character from The Hunger Games, Spiderman and even Titanic — all of which Cramer says neither he nor his team came up with. The idea to collect tweets came after the experiment.

Although Cramer claims this was case study and a social experiment, he says first and foremost he just wanted to accomplish a really cool project.

Mission accomplished.

More About: pranks, trending, viral, viral videos

Mashable Photo Challenge: Work in Progress

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 04:07 PM PDT

Last week in the Mashable Photo Challenge we were happy to see you explore the idea of firsts. A gallery of our featured photos can be found in this post and on our Facebook page.

This week we want you to look at the next step. Show us a work in progress. As with your take on “firsts,” you are free to interpret this challenge however you would like.

You can send us a photo of a construction site or even something more abstract.  Just be sure to include a description of your photo, so we understand why your submission represents a work in progress.

We want you to use whatever image capturing device you have — whether a smartphone or a DSLR. We used an iPhone 4S and the Camera+ app to create our image of a work in progress: one of the basic tools of construction, a hammer.

How To Enter the Challenge

  • Take a picture that represents a work in progress to you. Be sure to include a caption describing your photo.
  • Upload your photo to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram or the photo-sharing service of your choice, and drag and drop it in the picture widget below OR
  • Tweet your photo to @mashablehq with the hashtag #MashPics. If you need more than one tweet to write your caption, just send us another tweet.
We will choose images based on composition, originality and overall appeal.

Submit your photo by Wednesday, April 18 at 12:00 p.m. EST. We’ll feature some of our favorite photos on Mashable, as well as on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

More About: community, Mashable Photo Challenge, photography

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Elon Musk: Why I’m a Space Junkie [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 03:25 PM PDT

dragonlab-orbit-l (Courtesy of SpaceX)

If all goes well on April 30, Elon Musk's Dragon spaceship will become the first private space vehicle to rocket off into space and dock with the now-completed International Space Station.

It will be yet another major milestone for Musk, who seems to make a career of them.

The 40 year-old entrepreneur runs not one, not two, but three major businesses revolving around his two of his key interests: renewable energy and space travel. Musk is also keenly interested in the Internet and began his entrepreneurial career by building, running and then selling PayPal over a decade ago.

Today, he's chief designer and CTO of the private space company Space Exploration Technologies (better known as SpaceX), Co-Founder of Tesla Motors, which makes electric cars, and Chairman of Solar City, the U.S.'s largest solar power company, which Musk told me may IPO later this year.

Still, with the launch date nearing, Musk will have to turn more of his attention to SpaceX.

Mashable wanted to understand what led Musk to take on this high-risk enterprise. Was Musk a space junkie as a child?

Not so much. In fact, Musk, who was born two years after the first lunar landing had trouble pinpointing the first space mission he witnessed on TV.

To be fair, he lived in South Africa at the time, which had terrible television options. "We literally had one channel and it was only on for half a day," Musk says.

Musk said his interest in space came not so much from witnessing the work NASA had done before, but from his own firm belief that "we should be a multi-planet species."

Even so, he never thought he'd be working on space-related projects — because "I thought that was the province of large governments.”

Musk started pitching the idea of a small greenhouse on Mars ("Mars Oasis," he calls it), mainly so he could get people excited about traveling to and beyond the Red Planet.

As NASA wound down its manned space missions in the early part of this century, Musk began to ramp up. Eventually SpaceX, which also makes the Falcon 1 rocket, was competing to be the first private business to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, potentially taking over from the Russian Soyuz capsule. SpaceX's Dragon is currently the only cargo option, according to Musk.

Musk, by the way, is not a manned-mission purist. He said that most space travel will be unmanned and even this first Dragon test mission will be guided not by human hands, but by Dragon's own robotic mind.

"The thing that’s interesting and slightly scary is that Dragon is a robotic spaceship, automatically navigating itself to the space station," Musk explained. “It does pause at various points and ask if everything is OK. So it asks permission to proceed."

Musk paused and added with a laugh, "But who knows, it could be like Hal 9000, ‘Open the pod bay doors,' and it doesn’t do it."

Not everyone is on board with privatized space travel. Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have reportedly criticized NASA’s increasing reliance on Musk's company, claiming it threatens U.S. space dominance.

Still, Musk's SpaceX is all but embedded within NASA — and vice-versa, since the company has both ex-NASA employees and actually NASA employees hard at work on the Dragon project.

"It's important to acknowledge the role of NASA,” says Musk. “I would not have been able to start SpaceX without what the amazing work NASA has done in the past. Nor would SpaceX be where it is today without the help of NASA.”

For as much as Musk respects NASA, he's quick to acknowledge one of the key benefits of SpaceX's vehicle: It costs eight times less to fly the Dragon than it did the Space Shuttle.

So what does the future hold for the billionaire entrepreneur? Space, of course. Musk says that five years from now he'll make the journey himself.

More About: elon musk, SpaceX, trending

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NFL Star Has Epic Twitter Implosion, Claims He Was Hacked [UPDATED]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 02:47 PM PDT

National Football League wide receiver Jabar Gaffney offered a lesson in how not to use Twitter — by posting a train wreck-like series of tweets that had his name trending worldwide Thursday afternoon.

Gaffney posted an expletive-laden stream of messages to do with his wife, following another recent profane tweet about his cousin and fellow NFL player Lito Sheppard.

In the middle of the string of tweets, Gaffney did take the time to clarify that the two dust-ups are not related.

Here, edited for language is the tweet that started Gaffney’s Thursday afternoon rant: “4-12 is my anniversary woke up and couldn’t find my soon 2 be ex wife anywhere. F___ dat b____ I can’t wait till its final in a few weeks”

Some 15 minutes later, he posted this message:

SEE ALSO: NFL Player Gets Twitter Death Threats After Gaffes

The post fueled speculation that Sheppard, who Gaffney blasted in this tweet from a few days ago, had relations with his wife on the couple’s anniversary. But Gaffney responded to that speculation with this profane tweet, again edited for language:

“Ain’t nobody f____d my wife but for anybody saying any slick s___ better watch ur girl and not let me get hold to her”

Later, Gaffney summarized the situation thus:

“Last tweet: b____ ain’t grateful no matter what u do for em. Homeboys will change on u. I keeps it 100 don’t read into that’s all it is.”

He capped off the rant, with another “final” tweet and invitation for future discourse:

This isn’t the first time Gaffney has tweeted recklessly. In November he used Twitter to tell a fan to “kill urself.”

UPDATE: Gaffney posted this a few hours after the outburst of profane messages: “This is the real Jabar and my acct was hacked that wasn’t me saying all of that so disreguard whatever u read.”

Do you think Gaffney’s account was actually hacked? Let us know what you think in the comments.

BONUS GALLERY: Athletes’ Biggest Tech Gaffes

Cappie Pondexter

After a tsunami devastated Japan this March, Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA's New York Liberty tweeted, "What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes." Later she continued hypothesizing with this tweet: "u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so you can't expect anything less." Predictably, Pondexter's tweets sparked a strong backlash, and she eventually took to Twitter again, this time to apologize (left).

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Social Media, sports, Twitter

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Google Announces 2-for-1 Stock Split

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 01:51 PM PDT

Google is planning a two-for-one stock split that will take effect sometime after June 21. The split, which investors have been requesting for some time, is designed to preserve the power of existing shareholders.

The company is planning to create a new class of non-voting capital stock, to be listed on Nasdaq under a yet-to-be-determined ticker. Existing stockholders will get one share of the new stock for every Google share they currently own. Google employees in the future will get non-voting shares.

In a letter to shareholders, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin noted they are “halfway” through a plan to sell a “modest percentage” of their overall stock. The pair announced the plan in November, 2009 and say they’ll end the sale in 2015. “We both remain very much committed to Google for the long term,” the letter reads.

The stock split announcement came on the heels of the company’s first-quarter 2012 financial results. Google’s non-GAAP earnings per share hit $10.08 vs. The Street‘s estimate of $9.65. Gross revenues for the quarter were $10.65 billion, a 24% jump over the first quarter and 6.6% over the fourth quarter’s $10.58 billion.

Google’s stock was up about 0.5% in after-hours trading on the news.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RonBailey

More About: Google, Stock split

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3 Marketing Lessons From Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 01:47 PM PDT


Matthew Siegel is the co-founder of Indaba Music, an online community of musicians making and promoting music. He was named one of Billboard's "30 Under 30" power players of the music industry in 2010. Follow him @matthewlsiegel.

This week, pages upon pages of commentary have been written about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, the astronomical valuation applied to the deal, and the competitive impetus for the transaction. But what's most interesting is what it implies about Facebook’s perspective on content creation versus content distribution.

Before Instagram, Facebook was exclusively a way to distribute. It didn’t provide tools to actually create (with the exception of typed status updates). Instead, it largely left creation to others — notably Zynga for games, native camera applications for photos, and record labels and Spotify for music.

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram represents the acquisition of a technology platform that enables people to create and share. Think about it. When you take out your phone and snap a photo, not only do you use Instagram to create content, but you almost always immediately use the app to share it, too.

The larger shift toward content creation has been on the horizon for some time. Just look at Pinterest. While many users aren't creating the images themselves, they are the creators of their own pinboards, and the time spent crafting those vehicles for self-expression is undoubtedly astronomical.

That makes this space ripe with deeper user interaction, and that's worth something. Facebook certainly thinks so. They just spent $1 billion on a company with no business model — just the proven capability to engage consumers while they create. Marketers should take a cue from Facebook's move and apply the following tips.

1. Seek Out Content Partners

If content creation isn't your brand's core competency, don't reinvent the wheel – look to others who can help. Just as Facebook acquired Instagram, marketers too can work with companies that deliver content creation capabilities. Running a campaign with a content partner can, in the end, result in far more engagement than expected.

2. Embrace Platforms with Traction

One of the first things Mark Zuckerberg said after the deal was that Instagram would largely be left alone, and the existing experience will remain intact. Marketers often go in the other direction. They try to micro sites, special flash platforms, or their own apps, which can limit the possibilities for sharing and consumer participation. Companies like Facebook and Instagram are already great at powering content creation and distribution. So are sites like Pinterest. Marketers should leverage each platform's expertise, instead of trying to create something similar from scratch.

3. Make Room for Amateurs

Content creation can sound scary, because not everyone has the skill to create good music, photos, or video. Smart platforms and campaigns like Instagram and Pinterest make room for the pros, but they largely believe in the creative possibilities of the consumer audience. Anyone can snap a photo, just as anyone can create a pinboard. Marketers shouldn't relegate themselves to all pros. Pros create aspirational content that people will want to share, but amateurs bring reach.

This May, Mashable will be be exploring the future of digital marketing at our signature conference, Mashable Connect. See below for all of the details.”

Event Information

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

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.

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.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ymgerman

More About: contributor, Facebook, features, instagram, Marketing

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Barnes & Noble Lights Up Simple Touch Ereader With GlowLight [HANDS ON]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 01:30 PM PDT

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight Light is Off

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In a darkened room, on a bed no less, Barnes & Noble today introduced us to its latest E Ink innovation: in-screen lighting. Called GlowLight, the new integrated, LED-based lighting system on the Nook Simple Touch is a smart and likely welcome idea for those unwilling to give up reflective E Ink technology for its brighter, LCD-based tablet counterpart.

It's also an idea that's been tried before. Sony's PRS-700 E Ink reader (released way back in 2008) offered two built-in LED side-lights. That now-discontinued reader, however, was larger and much heavier (10 ounces versus just under 7 ounces) than the new Nook Simple Touch. So Barnes & Noble isn't the first, but it has found a way to update its touch-screen ereader without increasing the weight or, the company promises, ruining battery life.

Barnes & Noble introduced the patent-pending technology today as part of its latest Nook ereader, which looks exactly like the last Simple Touch, but is actually 5% lighter. It's now the lightest of all Nook products. The company backed up the GlowLight introduction with some very obvious stats about bedtime reading. In a poll conducted earlier this year, the book seller found that two out of three Americans read in bed (stunning) and reading lights in bed actually interrupt sleep more "than a frisky partner's midnight moves." More interestingly, 50% of respondents said they'd read in bed more often if it did not impact their partner's sleep.

The desire to read in bed is probably as old as reading. However the relatively new innovation of ereaders, both E Ink- and LCD-based, changed the in-bed reading landscape. Many read with their LCD-based iPads, Nook Tablets and Kindle Fires. Unfortunately, some believe that “unnatural” LCD backlighting can keep you awake.

E Ink readers, which typically need an external light (like a lamp or the sun) are most like reading a book, but still require that in-bed reading lamp. Barnes & Noble competitor Amazon now sells a Kindle ereader with an LED lamp built into the Kindle holder. The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight is along the top edge, under the protective touch screen, yet sheds even light on top of the E Ink screen below.

SEE ALSO: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color Welcomes Netflix, Comics, More Apps

It's also, at least according to Barnes & Noble, quite energy efficient. The company promises 30 days of reading — if you read 30 minutes a night — on one charge (the light can last for 60 continuous hours on a charge).

While the current Nook Simple Touch costs $99 (same as the current Amazon Kindle Touch), the new GlowLight model will run you $139. Nook officials counter that you're saving money on an external light and the anti-glare screen, which is now built into the Simple Touch reader.

In practice, using the new ereader is easy. Barnes & Noble set us up on a comfy bed in the penthouse of a swank New York City hotel to get the full experience. We turned on the light by holding down for two seconds the signature "n" button on the device. You can adjust the light's intensity by going to settings (also under the "n"). During our test drive, the brightness was turned all the way up. The screen looked great, the text was as clear as ever and the Nook Simple Touch’s screen reacted swiftly to our gestures.

The new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight goes on pre-order today and should arrive in Barnes & Noble Stores in May.

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch sales may not have been as strong as the company hoped, but this latest update indicates it's sticking with the technology (even as it continues push its LCD-based Nook Tablet). What do you think of this latest innovation? Would you buy a Simple Touch over a Kindle Touch because of it? Sound off in the comments.

More About: barnes & noble, e-ink, ereader, nook, trending

9 Ways to Follow Coachella on Social Media

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 01:06 PM PDT

1. Facebook

Stay apprised of Coachella updates and tips by following the music festival on Facbeook.

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California’s most famous music festival, Coachella, is back and ready to take on the throngs of hip, dance-crazed fans. For the first time ever Coachella will span two weekends instead of one, from April 13-22.

The lineup features artists like Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Florence & the Machine, The Black Keys and Bon Iver. Concert goers spend their days roaming the fields of Indio, CA, camping on-site, viewing interactive art, people-watching and, of course, rocking out to some quality bands.

SEE ALSO: 45 Insider Instagram Pics From Bands at SXSW

Whether you’re planning to brave the California valley or you’ll be tuning in from afar, keep an eye on Coachella social media updates. We’ve found 9 places where you can follow the action on the web.

Below, check out our playlist featuring tracks from every artist performing at Coachella that we could find on Spotify (there’s only a few that were missing).

Know of any other awesome Coachella Tumblrs or Pinterest boards? Share away in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, messycupcakes

More About: Coachella, Entertainment, Events, Facebook, Music, pinterest, reddit, Social Media, tumblr, Twitter

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Nike’s #MakeItCount Video: The Best Branded Story Ever Told?

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 12:50 PM PDT

Casey Neistat tricked Nike.

The sporting giant hired the film director and editor Max Joseph to create a commercial for the Nike FuelBand featuring the slogan “Make It Count.” But at the last minute, the duo strayed from the agreed-upon spot, and set off on a journey around the world using Nike’s money and advice to “Make It Count.”

“The ‘Make It Count’ film was the third film I was to make for Nike and at the last minute I thought, ‘If I could do anything in the world and make it count what would I do?’” Neistat told CNN.

It took 10 days to use up Nike’s cash. Neistat and Joseph traveled 34,000 miles, visiting 16 cities in 13 countries on three continents. The result is a four-and-a-half-minute film, which still features Nike’s “Make It Count” branding.

Neistat says they shot enough footage for 10 feature films. He also uploaded an album of still shots to Facebook.

The film has been viewed more than one and a half million times on YouTube in less than three days.

Nike, needless to say, has been pleasantly surprised with the film’s viral reach.

More About: Nike, trending, viral videos, YouTube

This Alarm Clock Is Determined to Wake You Up [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 12:22 PM PDT

If you feel akin to a bear awaking from hibernation in the morning or find yourself shouting at your alarm clock, “Just five more minutes!” inventor Paul Sammut has an alarm clock you won’t be able to ignore. The 25-year-old Hoboken, New Jersey engineer created what some are calling the world’s most persistent alarm clock.

The Nixie Ramos alarm clock does not let you reset the wake-up time once it goes off, and if you unplug it, it will operate from a battery. There are only two ways to stop the alarm clock from dinging. The first way (which is the way it was designed to be used) is to go to the wireless keypad — which you should place in another room — and type in the day’s date. The second way, Sammut admits, is to smash it to smithereens, but with a $350 price tag you might want to opt for the first method.

The Ramos was also designed to look appealing (maybe so you’re less inclined to smash it in the morning). The clock face was created using Soviet Union-produced neon-colored nixie tubes which were originally designed to go in spacecraft and tanks. You can get the alarm clock’s wood box frame in one of two finishes: natural teak or dark stain. The Ramos offers a one-time adjustment to personalized settings. You can set the alarm clock so that it gives you one 10-second alarm, waits one minute and then goes off again until you defuse it. But once wake-up time approaches, Ramos won’t allow any changes. Oh, and Ramos also talks to you when you’re setting it.

The alarm clock is currently in final design stage and is about to go into production. It is available for pre-order and will begin shipping out this September.

Summut also offers two other alarm clocks. The LED Ramos ($200) is smaller than the Nixie and does not let you select a finish, but does come with the separate defuse panel. The Ramos Custom ($800!) is fully customizable with exotic woods and separate extra wiring should your alarm clock’s lights need replacing.

Would you buy one of the Ramos alarm clocks? Which one? What features do you like/dislike? Tell us in the comments.

More About: Alarm Clock, inventors, Soviet Union, technology

Why Instagram Was Worth $1 Billion to Facebook

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 12:07 PM PDT

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

"Had Facebook been built today, it would be mobile."

That was a casual statement made last Thursday by James Pearce, head of mobile developer relations for Facebook to a small group of writers (including myself) during a lunch at Facebook HQ.

I thought Pearce’s statement was intriguing, but it got a whole lot more interesting Monday morning when Facebook dropped $1 billion to buy its biggest competitor in the mobile space: Instagram.

Why Instagram?

Instagram was beating Facebook at its own game, and the social network needed to stop it before it was able to do more.

The photo-sharing app is essentially everything Facebook wants to be on your mobile phone. Facebook wants people using its mobile app to share photos of what they’re doing with friends and to share their location -– something Instagram users have no problem doing.

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family.” Zuckerberg said in the announcement Monday. “Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”

Instagram was already huge. With the launch of its Android app last week it was poised to get even bigger, fast. While the company was valued at $500 million just before the Facebook buyout, it could certainly have grown to a $1 billion valuation on its own.

Adding Android support also puts the photo-sharing app in the hands of much of the smartphone-carrying population. Add a desktop app into the mix –- there are a few unofficial ones available already -– and you’ve got a fully-fledged social network on your hands.

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Zuckerberg said. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.

“But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

Facebook wasn’t just buying an app. They were buying out the competition.

The bigger picture

To Facebook, being part of the mobile game means being one of the apps you’re using on your phone most regularly.

So while Instagram the app is a huge win for the company, the bigger win for Facebook is the staff of the company who built it.

In the Instagram announcement, Zuckerberg noted Facebook’s plans to “try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products” and that the company was “looking forward to working with the Instagram team, and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.”

One thing Facebook is trying to build is a support system for web-based app developers. If you can run an app in your browser, then you can eliminate the App Store or Google Play store entirely. I could purchase the same version of Angry Birds to run on my iPhone as my friend using a Windows Phone. Developers could make one version of an app rather than one for each platform, lowering their cost and making it easier to get it in the hands of consumers.

Facebook sends 60 million people to third-party apps every month. While the social network has certainly gotten a substantial amount of users to use its iPhone and Android apps, the majority of people visiting Facebook on their mobile phones today are doing so through the mobile web.

The company is throwing a lot of weight behind a Ringmark, a mobile browser test suite. The open-source project is attempting to set standards for how mobile apps access hardware and run on your phone, and give developers an idea of what mobile browsers their apps might run in.

In its blog post announcing Ringmark, Facebook claims it’s working on the project "in order to make the mobile web better." That sentiment was echoed by Pearce at our lunch, when he said the project was helping Facebook discover "how can we help smaller developers realize mobile web as a option." The project, however, could also help Facebook.

Facebook already has a pretty sizable amount of backers for Ringmark, including huge browser manufacturers, handset makers, and app developers. With platform launch partners like Mozilla, Nokia, AT&T, Adobe, Netflix, Microsoft and Zynga, Facebook has all right players in place to make it happen. And with Instagram, now it also has a popular app with a ton of users to bring over to the mobile web as well.

“Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.” Zuckerberg said in the announcement. Those additional people could potentially be those accessing the app via the mobile web.

What it all means

Integrated into Facebook, all those web-based apps could equal a ton of cash for the company — especially if it’s the one powering the HTML5 web store where all those apps will be sold.

Interesting to note: Neither Google or Apple have agreed to partner with Facebook on the project. Pearce said he couldn’t say why the two companies had declined to be part of the group. Both companies, however, do have huge app stores -– huge sources of revenue for them — that could be threatened by the success of a rival web-based app store.

Microsoft, currently trailing behind both companies in sales, is a part of the group. Developers currently shy away from creating apps specifically for Windows Phone. Web-based apps could come to Windows Phone the same time they arrive on iOS

There’s no denying that Facebook’s purchase of Instagram is part of a bigger picture. The company has eliminated its competition while gaining a team that has proven it can create a popular social app out of nothing. It will be interesting to see over the next weeks, months, and years how that purchase plays out and what Facebook decides to do with app, as well as the mobile web.

Why do you think Facebook bought Instagram? What do you think are Facebook’s mobile plans for the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, instagram, Ringmark, trending Founder Jason Sadler Answers Reader Questions [LIVE CHAT]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 11:51 AM PDT’s chief t-shirt wearer, Jason Sadler, decided to he wanted to get paid to wear t-shirts for a living in the fall of 2008. With zero followers on social media, no video experience and a small Rolodex of contacts, Jason dove head first into becoming a virtual billboard for any company that wanted to be on his t-shirt. Every day in 2009 Jason wore a different t-shirt, made an accompanying YouTube video, hosted a live video show, tweeted, Facebooked and blogged about the companies on his chest. 

Fast forward four years and has been mentioned by many news outlets, including the Today Show, CBS Evening News, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and of course Mashable. Jason and his team of t-shirt wearers have worn shirts for over 1,200 companies, ranging from small mom and pop businesses to Fortune 500 companies. In the ever growing social media landscape, Jason has built a highly engaged community that actively consumes advertisements every day of the year.

Outside of daily t-shirt wearing in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, Jason is an avid sports fan, enjoys playing Scrabble, loves movies and frequently travels to speak publicly about monetizing social media and creating community.

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

More About: Advertising, Business, entrepreneur, Live Chat, Startups

5 Hot New Events In Social Media, Dev, Advertising and More

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 11:40 AM PDT

From digital advertising conferences to programming hackathons and everything in between, you’ll definitely find a swanky locale to suit your professional and personal interests on Mashable’s new Events Board. Whether you’re an event organizer or an event-goer, our Events Board is an essential resource for helping you build relationships, engage face-to-face and learn about new trends in the business.

Exciting new events are always added to Mashable’s Events Board in a variety of industries, and every week, we round up five freshly-posted events that you should definitely add to your calendar. Keep checking the board for the newest listings of conferences, meetings and expos spicing up the tech scene around the world.

Advertising: WebIt Congress

Date: 10/10/2012 – 10/11/2012
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Focusing on the advertising and marketing industries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the WebIt Congress offers lectures, panels and a showcase expo dedicated to networking with digitally-minded companies and clients. Speakers this year include President EMEA of OMD Nikki Mendonca and Mozilla Europe Founder and President Tristan Nitot, among others.

Dev and Design: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit

Date: 6/26/2012
Location: San Francisco, California

Hosted by media jobs and education site MediaBistro, the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit is a day-long conference that discusses the current breakthroughs and future viability of the mobile apps world. Topics for the conference range from a panel on monetization to a lecture on developing HTML5 games, providing expert speakers from startups, VCs and major companies.

Entertainment: The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012

Date: 6/12/2012 – 6/13/2012
Location: San Francisco

The TV of Tomorrow Show is the live events division of [itvt] — InteractiveTV Today — and will be running its annual West Coast gathering for those in the C-suite and upper-management in the Interactive TV industry. This event, a combination of lectures from executives working in TV, second screen and video distribution and an exhibit space for upcoming technologies, is also the platform for [itvt]‘s Awards for Leadership in Interactive and Multiplatform Television.

Social Media: BlogHer ’12

Date: 8/2/2012 – 8/4/2012
Location: New York City, New York

Now in its eighth year, the BlogHer conference brings together thousands of female bloggers to network and discuss all facets of producing and managing a website of original content. The conference runs on a track system, so attendees can pick what panels and seminars most accurately reflect their own web presences. The program will also hold two pre-conference events on August 1, HealthMinder Day and Pathfinder Day, that are isolated and limited to 200 attendees.

Startups: LeWeb 2012

Date: 12/4/2012 – 12/6/2012
Location: Paris, France

Last year, 3,500 participants from 76 countries attended LeWeb, a top-tier event for the European startup industry. Special tickets are already released for this year’s annual conference and 200 participants have already registered. Also, for the first time ever, LeWeb is holding a second event in June in London, England, with popular tech figures such as Michael Arrington and Joe Fernandez scheduled to speak. Bundle packages for both conferences are available.

Want to promote your upcoming event on Mashable’s Events Board? Click here.

More About: Events, features, mashable

Can This App Let You Control Your Dreams?

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 11:30 AM PDT

It’s common knowledge that dreams reflect our subconscious thoughts and feelings. But is it possible to actually manipulate our subconscious, so we can think, feel and dream however we want?

That’s the premise behind Dream:ON, a new iPhone app being used as a mass-participation study to test whether people really can influence their dreams.

“Getting a good night’s sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people’s productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical well being,” said Professor Richard Wiseman, the psychologist behind Dream:ON. “Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that.”

Here’s how it works: After downloading the app free from the iTunes store, participants choose a specially designed soundscape and wake-up time and leave their phones on their beds. Presumably, the accelerometer on the app will measure the sleeper’s motions and track when he enters a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage — when the most vivid and memorable dreams occur — and starts dreaming.

Once the sleeper is in REM mode, the app will play the soothing sounds he’s chosen beforehand. The theory behind the soundscapes is that they’ll influence the sleeper’s dreams, and under the right conditions, they can help lead to lucid dreaming — the kind of dream in which you know you’re dreaming.

With the app, participants have the option of posting a brief description of their dreams to a central database. They can even tag any friends who appear in their dreams on Facebook — that is, if they’re comfortable announcing who they’re dreaming about.

Results so far from the study, documented on the Dream:ON Twitter account, are mixed.

Still, for Wiseman and his colleagues, that’s the point of conducting the study. They hope to have at least 10,000 participants, and after a few months, they’ll examine the data to see if it really is possible to influence your dreams.

What do you think of this new Dream:ON app? Will you participate?

More About: apps, trending

Farmer Eaten Alive by Chickens in Herman Cain Ad

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 11:18 AM PDT

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has recently been peppering YouTube with a series of provocative Internet ads which attempt to bring attention to his views on the U.S. tax system.

The description of the latest Herman Cain ad on YouTube argues, "The farmer is fine, but the average American taxpayer isn't!"

In the video, a farmer, who is supposed to symbolize the average American taxpayer, is feeding chickens, who signify big government. The farmer is eventually attacked and eaten by the chickens.

When asked about the ads on April 10, Cain said, "If I went out there with namby-pamby ads to drive home a point, nobody would notice.”

More About: Advertising, presidential campaign, viral marketing

YouTube Favorites ‘Hunter and Bear’ Return for Interactive Sequel [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 10:24 AM PDT

Back in 2010, Tipp-Ex, makers of a brand of white-out tape, became a YouTube sensation with an innovative video. Viewers were able to control the plot of the video a la Mad Libs.

The initial ad, which has received 19.2 million views on YouTube, featured a camper who confronts a bear. After the initial 30-second video, viewers could either opt to shoot the bear or not. In either case, they were able to enter a verb to fill in the sentence: “A hunter ____ a bear.” (The hunter of course used the product to white-out the word.)

Two years later, the pair are back with a sequel. This time, instead of entering a word, you enter a year. If you type “1968,” for instance, the bear and hunter appear in a psychedelic sequence. “1″ prompts a trip back to the manger in Bethlehem. But my favorite may be 1990s “Saved By the Bear.” It would be nice if Tipp-Ex could have sprung for a cameo from Dustin Diamond, a.k.a. “Screech,” though. I’m sure he’s available.

More About: Advertising, Marketing, Tipp-Ex, viral videos

Nest Labs Hires Apple’s Former Patent Chief for Honeywell Lawsuit

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 09:55 AM PDT

The same patent lawyer who defended iPad, iPod and iPhone technology is now defending thermostat tech for Nest Labs.

Nest Labs announced on Thursday that Richard Lutton Jr., Apple’s former chief intellectual property officer, will be joining the startup thermostat maker as general counsel.

His first task will be to defend the company from a patent lawsuit filed by Honeywell in February, which alleges Nest Labs’ only product, a $249 self-adjusting thermostat called Nest, infringes on seven of its thermostat patents.

Nest Labs says Honeywell is using a patent-attack strategy to stifle competition.

“Instead of countering product innovation with its own new products, Honeywell has a track record of responding to innovation with lawsuits and overextended claims of intellectual property violations,” the startup wrote in a response filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

In the filing, Nest Labs argues that Honeywell’s patents are “hopelessly invalid” because they were used by other companies for years before Honeywell applied for them.

Patent lawsuits have become so prevalent in technology that Google cited them as one reason it wants to pay $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility. In an interview with The New York Times, Lutton says that the number of patents Apple applied for per year increased from about 50 to about 1,000 since 2001.

In 2010, 107,792 patents were issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. While the system was designed to protect innovation, many entrepreneurs cite cases when it was instead used to stunt it.

If Apple-grade patent lawyers become a staple of the modern technology startup, it will be easy to see their point.

More About: apple, Nest, nest labs

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Is Pinterest’s Exponential Traffic Growth Slowing?

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 09:38 AM PDT

Pinterest has been heralded as one of the fastest-growing social networks to ever grace the web, bringing in more referral traffic than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn.

But according to digital analytics company comScore, the popular site — which allows users to collect and share things they like on the Internet — has showed some signs of slowed traffic from unique visitors. Although the number of unique visitors is still up compared to recent months, Pinterest brought in unique visitors at a lower growth-rate during the February to March time period compared to January to February.

For example, Pinterest attracted 6.1 million new unique visitors between January and February, for a total of 17.8 million. But the site’s traffic only jumped by 900,000 unique visitors from February to March for a total of 18.7 million unique visitors.

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

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the site is slowing down in traffic or popularity. It is common for sites to often experience large growth spurts. In addition, it’s almost necessary that growth slows down in order for the influx of new visitors to solidify as a user base, comScore told Mashable.

A spokesperson from Pinterest told Mashable that the company doesn’t share or comment on user statistics.

The news comes on the heels of Pinterest becoming the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian Hitwise, which measures total visits, not unique visitors.

Although Pinterest has been around since March 2010, it picked up steam in fall 2011 and has since generated significant buzz on the web.

1. Hands

Pinterest via Edris Kim.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Facebook, pinterest, Social Media, trending, Twitter

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