Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “5 Tips for Great Content Curation”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “5 Tips for Great Content Curation”

5 Tips for Great Content Curation

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 08:54 PM PDT

Steven Rosenbaum is the CEO of, a real-time video curation engine for publishers, brands, and websites. He’s also the author of Curation Nation.

You’ve heard the buzz word — curation — being thrown around like it’s a gadget we all know how to work. In reality, good content curation isn’t as simple as pushing a share button. It’s actually a combination of finding great content and following some simple best practices on how to successfully share that content.

If you’re a curator looking for some boundaries in what feels like the Wild West, here are five best practices to consider.

1. Be Part of the Content Ecosystem

Be part of the content ecosystem, not just a re-packager of it. Often, people think of themselves as either creators or curators as if these two things are mutually exclusive. What a curator really should do is embrace content as both a maker and an organizer. The most successful curators include sites like The Huffington Post, that embrace the three-legged-stool philosophy of creating some content, inviting visitors to contribute some content, and gathering links and articles from the web. Created, contributed, and collected — the three ‘c’s is a strong content mix that has a measurable impact. Why? Because your visitors don’t want to hunt around the web for related material. Once they find a quality, curated collection, they’ll stay for related offerings.

2. Follow a Schedule

Audiences expect some regularity, and they’ll reward you for it. It doesn’t need to be a schedule that you can’t keep up with. If you want to curate three new links a day, and write one big post a week, that’s a schedule. Make sure to post at the same time each week. This is so readers know when to expect new material from you. Consistency and regularity will also bring you new users, and help you grow a loyal base of members who appreciate your work. A good example of someone who gets why a schedule makes a difference is Jason Hirschhorn via his MediaReDEF newsletter. He never misses a publish date.

3. Embrace Multiple Platforms

It used to be that your audience came to you. Not anymore. Today content consumers get their information on the platform of their choosing. That means you should consider posting short bursts on Tumblr, images on Pinterest, video on YouTube, and community conversations on Facebook. And don’t leave out established sites and publishers. If your audience hangs out on a blog, you may want to offer that publication some guest posts or even a regular column. Essentially, you have to bring your content contributions to wherever your readers may be.

4. Engage and Participate

Having a voice as a curator means more than creating and curating your own work. Make sure you’re giving back by reading others and commenting on their posts. A re-tweet is one of the easiest ways to help build relationships with fellow bloggers and curators. And your followers will appreciate that you’ve pointed them to good content. One word here, I never hit an RT without clicking through to read what I’m recommending. You can also lose followers if you don’t put in the effort to recommend material that you really think merits their attention.

5. Share. Don’t Steal.

Take the time to give attribution, link backs, and credit. The sharing economy works because we’re each sharing our audiences, and providing the value of our endorsements. If you pick up someone’s work and put it on your blog, or mention a fact without crediting the source, you’re not building shared credibility. You’re just abusing someone else’s effort.

The important thing to realize is that we’re increasingly living in a world of information overload. So when people choose to listen to you it’s because you’re able to separate signal from noise. You provide a clear, contextually relevant voice within the topic or topics that you create and curate.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, JamesBrey

More About: content curation, contributor, features, online marketing, Web curation

Free Online Human Translation Service Takes On Babelfish, Google Translate

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 08:38 PM PDT

Had enough of machine-based online translation services such as Babelfish or Google Translate?

Ackuna is a crowdsourced translation project, connecting individuals around the world with human translators who can give you just the right phrasing. The free-to-use site is a side project of Translation Services USA.

“We’re building a community of translators and people who need translations, where people can get together to break down the language barrier” Nick Smith, an Ackuna web producer, told Mashable.

“There will always be a place for professional translation services for big books and business communications, but this is more for causal translations and stuff that doesn’t need to meet a deadline.”

Smith says Ackuna is perfect for someone who is traveling or preparing for a trip. There’s a peer review process, to ensure that translation and grammar are correct. You can also vote on the accuracy of a translation and even earn badges for participation.

SEE ALSO: 15 Mobile Translation Apps for the International Businessperson

The site’s still new, having been launched in late March. The project is the work of about five developers and graphic designers. So far, about 15 languages have been translated. Smith says there’s potential to crowdsource translations for any number of languages.

“What we have over Google Translate is that it’s a human doing the translation,” Smith says. “Google Translate is a computer running an algorithm, which may or may not lead to natural language.”

The search giant’s translations branch, Google Translate, lures in 200 million users each month.

Would you try crowdsourcing translation projects rather than using Google Translate? Let us know in the comments.

More About: crowdsourcing, google translate, languages, translation

Forget Emoticons — Skype Wants You to Use ‘Humoticons’

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 08:15 PM PDT

As part of Skype’s latest marketing campaign, the video call service has launched a Facebook app geared at making our interactions more human: Skype Humoticons.

The app basically allows us to recreate classic emoticon images — such as the smiley face, sad face or tongue-out face — with our own real-life expressions. You can post existing photos to a “Humoticon gallery,” or snap new pictures within the app. The results can be shared on a Facebook wall, downloaded, or turned into a URL to share in an Instant Message.

The “It’s Time to Skype” campaign launched earlier this month, is based on the premise that social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are “degrading humanity.” Some of the slogans Skype is using for the campaign: “140 characters doesn’t equal staying in touch” and “Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.”

Photo courtesy of Adweek

The reasoning behind Skype Humoticons? “Because nothing can replace the look on your face,” according to a Skype blog post.

There is a distinct irony in the campaign. At the same time it blasts Facebook and Twitter, Skype isn’t above using both social networks for promotion purposes. As part of the “It’s Time for Skype” social media campaign, for example, the hashtag #timeforskype will be used on Twitter.

And not only does Skype have a video call integration feature on Facebook, but the entire Humoticons campaign is housed on a Facebook page.

Do we really need to mimic emoticons to put the humanity back in our conversations? Will you use them, or are they just another superficial way to show what we’re feeling? Sound off in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Skype Humoticons

More About: Facebook, Marketing, Skype

HelloFax Turns Google Drive Into a Fax Machine

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 07:53 PM PDT

HelloFax got one step closer to its goal of eliminating the fax machine this week. The service has been integrated into Google Drive.

HelloFax’s Google Drive integration allows you to fax any document from Google Drive, as well as receive faxes from others in a special HelloFax folder within the drive.

The service also allows you edit and sign PDF documents in your browser, removing the need to print important documents to sign and then scan them back into your computer to print them –everything can be done paperless.

"Our objective as a company is to end faxing everywhere for everyone" HelloFax CEO Joseph Walla told Mashable. "It’s so wasteful. It’s environmentally unfriendly, and it’s a waste of time"

HelloFax started out as a weekend project for Walla and his co-founder Neal O’Mara, a project that quickly grew into much more. While initially just a simple faxing app, the the two later added the ability to edit and sign documents in your browser.

"What we found out is that the only reason people fax things is that the vast majority of these documents are being signed," says Walla. He says millions of people are searching regularly online for faxing, but very few are looking for electronic signature.

"What we’ve found is a lot of people joined us for faxing, and now they’ve converted to electronic signatures. We have a lot users who were fax users and now they don’t fax at all."

HelloFax is currently used worldwide, and has gained a tremendous amount of traction particularly in Silicon Valley, where it is used by number of startups and even some larger companies.

When asked what’s it’s like to have a business with the main goal of essentially ending the industry its a part of, Walla compared HelloFax to its new partner Google.

"We see faxing the way Google probably sees Android. It’s this way of expanding and protecting its core business which is search. Our core business is documents and document signing, and faxing is just this transmission method that hasn’t gone away."

The company actually stopped working on the fax portion of its service over a year ago, and is now focusing development efforts on e-signatures.

In addition to Google Drive, HelloFax is also integrated with Dropbox and Box. If you sign up for the service now through Google Drive you can get 50 free fax pages per month as well as unlimited signature requests and document signing.

More About: fax, Google, Google Drive, hellofax

George Zimmerman’s Website Closes After He Raises $204,000

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 07:19 PM PDT

trayvon martin

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, has collected more than $204,000 in supporter contributions online, his attorney Mark O’Mara told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper Thursday.

Zimmerman went into hiding on Monday after paying 10% of his bail. was created by the defendent in mid-April. The website, linked to two personal PayPal accounts, was shut down Friday.

Here’s what Zimmerman had to say on the site:

I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment.

Zimmerman appealed to supporters, asking them to contribute to his mounting legal debt. Zimmerman was arrested weeks after he shot and killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, 17, while on duty as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain on Feb. 26.

He was formally arrested and charged with second-degree murder on April 11.

SEE ALSO: Trayvon Martin’s Killer Pleads for Support Online

O’Mara said he was only aware of two accounts maintained by Zimmerman’s friends containing about $2,700. He found out about the PayPal accounts on Wednesday night.

“In talking to George [Zimmerman], after I was trying to shut down his full Internet presence because of some impersonators and other problems with Twitter and Facebook, he asked me what to do with his PayPal accounts,” O’Mara said Thursday during the CNN T.V. interview.

“I asked him what he was talking about, and he said those are the accounts that had the money from the website he had, and there was about $200,000 to $204,000.”

Zimmerman was released Monday after paying a portion of his $150,000 cash bond. Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. determined the amount on April 20, after hearing testimony from attorneys representing the Zimmerman family and the Martin family.

O’Mara asked the judge during the bond hearing to put a “reasonable” bond in place. O’Mara suggested $15,000 because of the Zimmerman family’s insufficient funds, according to footage from the hearing.

The Martin family lawyers responded to the news by saying the court should “revoke the bond” and Zimmerman should be “held accountable for misleading the court.”

“His silence was an indication of untruth,” Martin Family attorney Benjamin Crump told CNN. “When he heard the testimony that he had no money, that he had no money raised in this website, he knew whether he communicated that to his attorney, whether his attorney solicited that information from him or not. He knew where the crux of the matter was at that bond hearing.”

The Martin’s family attorneys have requested Judge Lester reconsider his bail after hearing the news. On Friday, the judge postponed making a decision about changing the bond, to hear more information.

O’Mara said supporter donations will still be accepted in the future under his supervision.

“Now that I am aware of it we are certainly going to deal with it in a much more transparent way,” O’Mara said. “We certainly tend to open a defense fund under my purview done the right way. I’ve had dozens, hundreds actually of people wanting to donate.”

More About: george zimmerman, trayvon martin

How to Maximize Your Facebook Engagement

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 06:38 PM PDT


Brian Carter is vice president of marketing and customer success at InfiniGraph. He’s also the author of The Like Economy and the forthcoming LinkedIn For Business. Follow him @briancarter

If you have a Facebook page, you likely know how important it is to get likes and comments. Without those, your EdgeRank suffers, and your posts are seen by fewer fans in the future. Facebook has already admitted that the average Facebook page only reaches about 17% of its fans. Since less than 1 to 2% of fans go back to your page, EdgeRank and newsfeed visibility are critical.

When you get a new fan, you have the opportunity to keep them engaged. If you don't, they’ll simply stop reading your posts. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you determine how best to engage your Facebook customers.

Which Days are Your Fans Most Responsive?

You need to maximize likes and comments to be visible to fans. Part of getting better engagement results is knowing which days of the week your fans are most and least responsive. This is different for every company and industry. Knowing the best day of the week for all Facebook pages won't help you with your brand. So even if the best overall day is Tuesday, your company's best day might be Sunday.

For example, recent research indicated that the most responsive day for high-fashion brand pages is Wednesday, while the most responsive day for outdoor clothing brand pages is Thursday. Why should brands care? Well, even if you post every day, your greatest focus should go to those days when followers are most responsive. So, if your best day is on the weekend, make sure you have that covered.

It also turns out that the best days of the week to post on Facebook are not always the same days brands create the most posts. Sometimes it’s a Sunday, and maybe no one is working. It appears that the amount a brand posts is not based on their most responsive days, but perhaps just on convenience or coincidence.

Case Study: Chanel

When you compare individual companies, you see that the days they do the most posts are not the same days that they get the most likes and comments per post. For example, see the following charts:

Here is when Chanel posts the most (average posts per day over 90 days):

And here is when their fans are the most responsive (likes + comments per post):

Chanel's fans are most responsive on Saturdays, but it’s their second-to-least posted on day of the week. Most likely, their social media person isn’t working that day, and they’re not scheduling posts for that day. Without realizing it, they’re missing out on a lot of likes and comments, which of course hurts their Edgerank and lowers their fan page’s post visibility.

This highlights that you shouldn’t post most when it’s convenient for you, but when your fans are most responsive. 

How to Maximize the Most Engaging Days

If you want to figure out this data for your page, here are the steps:

  • 1. Go to your Facebook page insights and click on likes.
  • 2. Click on export data. Choose post level data, then select at least a two-month range so you have a good sample.
  • 3. Save it and open it in Excel.
  • 4. There's not a quick way in Excel to group dates by day of week, but with a bit of manual work, you can find the average lifetime of engaged users per post, per day of the week.

The only shortcoming here is that the data is limited by how good and engaging your posts have been. It's better to look at 10 to 20 brand pages per industry. You will have to manually look at hundreds of posts, or find a way to scrape that data. Then you can find the average likes and comments per post, per day of the week across an entire industry.

If one of your competitors is doing a much better job at getting likes and comments, you might want to follow their lead. It could be, in part, the days of the week they post, and also the type and quality of content.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ymgerman

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

Watch Leonard Nimoy Welcome Space Shuttle Enterprise to New York [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 06:14 PM PDT

When the Space Shuttle Enterprise made its final landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, it was greeted by a special guest: Leonard Nimoy.

The Star Trek actor and director gave an emotional speech to welcome the spaceship, which bears the same name as the starship that was home to Nimoy’s character, Mr. Spock. Saying that seeing Enterprise again was a “reunion” for him, he recounted the story of how the NASA orbiter got its name.

Back in the 1970s, when plans for the Space Shuttle program were progressing toward building prototype ships, the first ship was supposed to be named Constitution. However, fans of the original Star Trek started a letter-writing campaign to President Ford, asking him to change the name to Enterprise.

He did, or rather, he directed NASA to do so. Then, in a gala dedication ceremony on Sept. 17, 1976, which included Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and most of the original cast as guests, Enterprise was officially unveiled at Rockwell’s plant in Palmdale, Calif.

SEE ALSO: Space Shuttle Discovery Flies for the Last Time

Designed as a test vehicle, Enterprise sadly never flew in space. It lacked many key systems (such as main engines) for journeys to space, although the design made it possible to add those later. In 1986, after the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed, NASA briefly considered refitting Enterprise for spaceflight, but it opted instead to construct Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Enterprise has made its final flight, and Nimoy was once again present — seeming to look at it with deep emotion at one point (you can see that moment in pic No. 4 in the gallery below). While that may not have been in keeping with his Star Trek alter ego, his final words to Enterprise as it prepared for its permanent exhibit at New York’s Intrepid museum were more characteristic of Mr. Spock: “Live long and prosper.”

Here She Is!

Enterprise treats the crowd at John F. Kennedy Airport to a low-and-slow fly-by. Image Credit: Alex Fitzpatrick

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: NASA, space shuttle, Star Trek

Jack White Concert Asks Viewers to Create Digital Photo Mosaic

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 05:41 PM PDT

Fans of White Stripes rocker Jack White and his newly released solo album, Blunderbuss, will get to revel in an interactive live streamed concert Friday night starting at 9 p.m. ET.

Thirteen cameras will capture the action on stage at Webster Hall in New York City, and viewers tuning into the live stream online or on their mobile devices will get to pick one of three camera angles: black-and-white, balcony and director’s cut.

The show is part of the American Express Unstaged concert series, which began in 2010 and has since attracted 70 million live stream views on YouTube and Vevo for artists such as Coldplay, Sugarland, Duran Duran and Arcade Fire.

Each concert pairs an artist with a well-known director (such as John Legend with Spike Lee and Mary J. Blige with Adam Shankman).

"It’s a bit like a soccer match — there was no set list.”

White roped in filmmaker and actor Gary Oldman, who was busy Friday in the control room melding his vision with White’s for the live stream.

“It’s a bit like a soccer match — there was no set list,” Oldman told reporters before peppering White with compliments. “He’s a sweetheart.”

Viewers can participate during the live stream in several ways. For example, they will be tasked with creating a digital mosaic by submitting photos of themselves. Doing so unlocks five never-before-seen portraits of White shot by Oldman.

Fans also can engage in a public chat within the live stream or on Twitter with the hashtag #AmexUNSTAGED.

Black-and-white camera shots come into play because Oldman wants to evoke a 1960s ambiance. Oldman also got rid of the camera that soars above the crowd and stage to avoid making the concert look like American Idol, he said: “I can’t stand that.”

Typically, the concerts coincide with the artists’ album releases. White’s Blunderbuss came out Tuesday.

BONUS: Jay-Z Rocks SXSW at AmEx Twitter Event

Most recently on the music front, American Express had rapper take the stage at South by Southwest during an event to promote its new Twitter-based discounts program.

Jay-Z Performs at SXSW

A sea of camera phones lit up Jay-Z's free concert Monday night at South by Southwest during an event for American Express's new Twitter-based discounts program.

Although the show at Austin City Limits Live was reserved for AmEx cardholders with SXSW badges, American Express offered a livestream to the masses. The footage is still available to watch here.

AmEx pimped its recently announced Twitter initiative, which allows AmEx members to sync their cards to their Twitter account for hashtag-related savings, at the concert venue.

Photo by Brandon Fuller

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: american express, celebrities, Entertainment, Gary Oldman, jack-white, Live Stream, Music, White Stripes

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Falling Bear Fallout: Student to Sue School Paper over Viral Photo

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 05:18 PM PDT

A University of Colorado Boulder student took a picture for his school paper on Thursday. Within hours, the photo was famous.

One day later, the student is planning on suing the paper.

The picture, taken by Andy Duann, was published as part of a story about how a bear wandered onto campus and was tranquilized in order to remove it from a tree.

Gil Asakawa, who advises the Independent, the publication Duann works for, told Denver Westword the photo had received more than 10,000 page views by 5 p.m. Mountain Time Thursday — and "eventually crashed the Independent's site."

According to Poynter, the rights to the viral photo have been purchased by the Denver Post, The Colorodo Daily, and Poynter. However, Duann isn’t thrilled about how the Independent is handling the exposure. "They did not pay me even a penny,” he said.

"I worked my ass off for CU Independent and in return I get nothing."

Duann adds that a professor who specializes in copyright law told him "that I definitely own the copyright," he told Poynter in an email. “We are going to write a letter to inform them not to use the photo any more, and we will take further action to collect the money from them.”

Besides the press the photo has received, it has — naturally — been meme-ified. The photo has been combined with another recent CU meme, the "totally psyched dive bar girl." There is also an animated GIF, and a Facebook album of photos.

How should photographers be compensated when their pictures go viral? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: law, lawsuit, legal, viral

Yahoo Escalates Patent War With Facebook

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 04:47 PM PDT


Yahoo just took its war of lawsuits with Facebook to the next level, adding two more patent-infringement claims to the 10 it filed for back in March.

The company also accused Facebook of not having a good-faith belief in the counterclaim it filed almost a month ago.

"Today Yahoo! filed additional claims against Facebook in U.S. District Court related to two additional patents on which Facebook infringes,” Yahoo said in an emailed statement.

“As we have stated previously, Yahoo!'s technologies are the foundation of our business that engages over 700 million monthly unique visitors and represent the spirit of innovation upon which Yahoo! is built. We intend to vigorously protect these technologies for our customers and shareholders."

In the face of the new claims, Facebook was more succinct: “We remain perplexed by Yahoo’s erratic actions,” a Facebook spokesperson said, also in an emailed statement. “We disagree with these latest claims and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”

With the “erratic” dig, Facebook seems to be depicting Yahoo as the tech-company equivalent of a crotchety old man. Considering Yahoo specifically calls out Facebook for using recently acquired patents as the basis of its lawsuit — even though some of the patents in Yahoo’s claim were acquired as well — the image may well stick.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Adds Yahoo Patent Lawsuit to IPO Filing

A quick recap: Shortly after appointing former PayPal executive Scott Thompson as CEO, Yahoo warned Facebook that the social network was infringing on its intellectual property — specifically, 10 patents that relate to Internet technologies.

It then went ahead and sued Facebook a few weeks later, becoming something of a tech-industry pariah in the process.

Facebook, rather than try to end the suit with a quick settlement, set out to arm itself for a retaliatory strike. The social network quickly acquired many patents from both IBM and Microsoft. Facebook also countersued Yahoo — saying that it, too, was guilty of patent infringement.

The whole affair would be funny if it wasn’t a symptom of a wider, all-out patent war. In the last year we’ve seen Apple, Google, Microsoft and a host of others sue the pants of each other, and a company that barely does anything can claim to hold a patent on the web itself.

So this latest salvo in the Facebook-Yahoo patent war likely won’t be the last. What’s your take on the ongoing dispute? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Facebook, patents, Yahoo

What Do You Do When Your Co-Founder Quits? [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 04:16 PM PDT

Deciding to leave your full-time job for your startup isn’t easy. But what happens when one founder is on board and the other would rather continue to take home a steady paycheck?

That issue plays itself out in the third episode of TechStars, where one company’s co-founder decides to stick with their day job instead of join the accelerator program full-time. The problem: she still wants to keep her unvested equity in the startup she helped create.

Watch the Full Season of TechStars on Mashable

In this episode, we also see the TechStars startups deal with challenges defining their business models and face questions from investors over their expertise in the industry they’re trying to transform (New York City real estate).

Check out the latest episode above, and be sure to leave your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.

TechStars on Mashable

Getting into a top startup accelerator program can make the difference between a company making it big and being lost in the ether. Mashable is going behind the scenes of that experience by bringing the show TechStars to our community.

We've made the entire series available on-demand, and chopped it up into short segments that are ideal for Internet viewing. Over the course of the next couple of months, we'll also be sharing each episode as part of a Mashable post, giving our community a chance to discuss the themes of each show in our comments section. You can read more about TechStars on Mashable here.

More About: mashable video, techstars

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How AMC Chose the Artwork for ‘The Pitch’

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 04:08 PM PDT

As AMC prepares for the premiere for its new original series The Pitch, the network faced a unique challenge — how to develop an ad campaign about a TV show about ad campaigns.

We spoke with Linda Schupack, EVP of Marketing at AMC, about pitch process for the key art around The Pitch that the network engaged in with its agency, Empire Designs. Schupack walked us through the process of deciding on the right elements for the campaign, as well as some of the rejected concepts.

The Pitch, which premieres on April 30, 2012 at 9:00pm, is a show that brings viewers into the world of advertising as two agencies compete head-to-head to win the work of a new client. Each week, different agencies face off to win the work of a new client, including major brands such as Subway or the environmental solution leader Waste Management.

When deciding on the key art for the show, Schupack says the network needed to focus on understanding the show, its audience and what elements of the show will appeal to the broadest audience.

“With The Pitch, we felt that it was the real-life competition aspect, the personal drama and the sense of high-stakes/real stakes,” Schupack says.

Schupack also wanted to focus on some of the differentiating factors between The Pitch and other unscripted shows. “We wanted a campaign that felt different from other unscripted shows out there,” Schupack adds.

Focusing on the competition aspect of the show, Empire Designs initially offered up some concepts with real people in a competition setting. The problem with this approach, says Schupack, was because there wasn’t a set of recurring characters, the network would be forced with using stock photography of people — never an ideal situation.

After that idea was nixed, Empire and AMC went for a more high concept and typographical campaign.

Early iterations showcased office supplies used as weapons. These concepts, which included Sharpie’s turned into bow and arrows, were popular, but the network was concerned that the concept wouldn’t be able to work digitally.

An episode of The Pitch premiered earlier this month on and on Netflix — and the network anticipates a lot of online and digital interaction with the series — thus, it was essential that the key art translate across different mediums.

Ultimately, it was the pitch process itself that led Empire Designs to arrive at the final idea: An exploration and visual representation of the pitch process itself.

Click through the gallery to see some of the various iterations of this campaign before Empire Designs and AMC finally found the winner.


Click here to view this gallery.

And the Winner Is

This is the final key art AMC chose for the campaign.

Let us know what you think of the various concepts, as well as the final choice. The Pitch premieres April 30 on AMC.

More About: amc tv, Marketing, pitching, The Pitch

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Microsoft: 30 Years of Hardware and a Few Surprises

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 03:47 PM PDT


More Microsoft mice than I've ever seen in one spot.

Click here to view this gallery.

Microsoft has been making hardware for a long time. That's right — the company best known for its world-dominating operating system, Windows, has been spitting out gadgets for 30 years.

And while they haven’t always been pretty, some of these devices have become industry, business and household staples.

During my recent trip to Microsoft's sprawling Redmond campus, I was led into a room that one might call the hardware vault. This relatively small conference room did not include every piece of hardware Microsoft has ever made, but it did offer an impressive collection and glimpses of more than a few classics.

There were many mice — who does not remember their first Microsoft Mouse? — some early ones, some new. Keyboards? Yes, a ton them. Here and there, I also spotted a bunch of yellowing, older gear and a few things I've never seen before.

Noticeably absent was some of Microsoft's successful hardware: the Xbox (any generation) and the new Kinect. Also missing: Microsoft's misguided forays into sound cards and routers. Fortunately, I can still close my eyes and see them.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Research: Bringing Sexy Back

Microsoft is quite proud of its hardware history and some of its latest innovations. In recent years, it's done some impressive stuff with mice. The latest Explorers offer haptic feedback and, with new Windows 8 drivers, will allow you to scroll horizontally (if you've seen the new Metro interface, this actually makes a lot of sense).

Microsoft Senior Manager Ben Reed told me that as the world moved to mobile computing (laptops now outsell desktops), a person's mouse has become "a vehicle of self-expression." To wit, Reed proudly showed off a collection of designer Wireless Mobile Mice Microsoft commissioned last year and some of the latest designs they just introduce in March. The limited-edition mice are only on sale for six months.

As he spoke he used what I consider the best Microsoft mouse ever made, the new wireless ArcTouch mouse. It's a device that literally changes shape to fit the curve of your hand.

To commemorate 30 years of hardware, Microsoft took 30 of those mice and had them hand-painted and then numbered. So now they're unique, not for sale and, yes, Mashable has one of them.

Check out some of the classic hardware and Microsoft's new gear in the gallery, and don't miss the 30th Anniversary Mouse. Later this week, we'll tell you how you can win it.

More About: Hardware, keyboard, mice, microsoft

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6-Year-Old Autistic Boy Is a Piano Rock God [VIDEOS]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 03:30 PM PDT

Ethan W. is on his way to YouTube stardom. A few new videos of the smiley six-year-old playing classic piano pop songs have been uploaded, and one of them — Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” — has caught fire on the web, garnering nearly 80,000 views in three days.

We’ve seen many remarkable kid musicians on YouTube, but Ethan is particularly amazing. According to the description on the videos, he’s playing the songs from memory — in some cases, after hearing them only once.

SEE ALSO: How a Social Network Helps Families Coping With Autism

Check out more of his stellar performances below. It may well be the best thing you’ve seen all day.

1. "Piano Man" - Billy Joel

The video that hit it big.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: autism, Cute, features, Kids, Music, videos, viral

TriggerHappy App Turns Your Phone Into an Advanced DSLR Camera Remote

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 02:49 PM PDT

Three photo-loving engineers want to simplify digital photography with a simple cord-and-phone-app combo that’s gaining immense support on Kickstarter.

Photographers, meet the TriggerHappy Camera Remote — a device that turns your phone into an external camera remote for most modern Nikon and Canon DSLRs.

Though it’s still six days away from its Kickstarter funding deadline, TriggerHappy has blown past its original $25,000 goal. So far, the team has collected $185,247 at the time of posting. Backers who pledge $50 or more will receive the TriggerHappy cord and app. The cord will connect to nearly all iOS and Android devices through a standard audio jack.

TriggerHappy lets a user quickly snap pictures without fail and fire rapid sequences of shots with one touch. The app also allows individuals to create easy presets — automatic interval changes, duration of shots and shutter speed settings.

The app streamlines processes. Photographers can easily navigate the app instead of scrolling through every tab within the camera to find specific menus. High dynamic range time-lapse series and complicated functions are easy to set.

SEE ALSO: Beyond 1080p: Canon Unveils $15,000 Camera with 4K HD Video

The patent-pending invention can, among other features, trigger a camera, manage time-lapse photography and shoot in HDR mode.

The team of engineers behind the TriggerHappy unit and app are Kevin Harrington, Brett Gottula and Luke Duffield. With the money raised, the engineers will incorporate new features to the app including face-detection capabilities, lightning detection and audio waveform detection.

The TriggerHappy Camera Remote will cost $69.99 plus shipping. There are adapters for most Nikon and Canon models. TriggerHappy can also be used with many Kodak, FujiFilm, Sony and Olympus models.

Is there a need for TriggerHappy? What other camera functions would you like an external app for? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Ben Fredericson

More About: camera, Canon, DSLR, kickstarter, Nikon

11 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Gmail’s New Interface

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 02:16 PM PDT

1. Display Density

An easy fix, head to your Settings button and select a display density. "Compact" makes your inbox shrink down to a tidy, manageable list.

Click here to view this gallery.

New Gmail launched to all users on April 23, and a lot people are still getting used to the new look. If you don’t have the time or energy to investigate at all the new features, try some of our tips and tricks above.

We’ve highlighted 11 Gmail options that will help you adjust to the new design. Some are cosmetic, while others improve efficiency. Either way, these tips will have you Gmail-fluent in no time.

SEE ALSO: Gfail! What the World Says When Gmail Goes Down

Are you happy with new Gmail? Cast your vote in the following poll, and share your Gmail tips and tricks in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, temizyurek

More About: email, features, gmail, Google

The Space Shuttle Enterprise Hitches 10 Absurd Rides

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 01:48 PM PDT

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was transported to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport Friday morning on the back of a Boeing 747. The retired vessel will remain temporarily at JFK until she is transported to her new resting place at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Mashable covered the Enterprise’s journey live from JFK.

SEE ALSO: 8 Out-of-This-World Photos of the Space Shuttle Enterprise
SEE ALSO: Spot the Space Shuttle Enterprise With Mashable
In the spirit of web culture, we’ve taken a few moments to have some fun in honor of the Enterprise. In place of the 747, we’ve put the Enterprise atop some more unlikely transport vessels. Have a look at these absurd slides, have a good laugh, then mount the shuttle on a target of your own.

We’ve included a template of the shuttle and a photo widget at the bottom of this post.


The Enterprise hopping its way to JFK? Image courtesy of flickr, graftedno1,fossilmike

Click here to view this gallery.

Add the shuttle to whatever silly object or creature you’d like. Drop your photo into the photo widget below or tweet it to us using the hashtag #MashMemes.

More About: NASA, space, space shuttle

Facebook App Fosters Community for Breast Cancer Patients

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 01:23 PM PDT

A new Facebook app, Circle of Support, provides a rare support community for people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

This secure Facebook community allows people suffering from MBC to share their struggles and receive support from their friends and family. Recent research by Genentech, the company that created the app, shows many MBC patients feel their needs are not met and others around them do not understand what they are experiencing.

“The Facebook app was designed as a part of this overarching program to provide additional support for people with MBC,” Susan Willson, a spokeswoman for Genentech told Mashable. “As a company, we felt there was more we could be doing outside of the lab to support people with the disease. We wanted to match the innovation inside the lab with innovation outside of the lab.”

With the new Facebook app, an individual living with MBC can select Facebook friends who they would like to invite to join their support network. The patient can chose suggested support activity ideas — such as weekly phone calls, movie outings, prepared meals or going for a manicure — that friends and family can see they are seeking and subsequently provide.

MBC, an advanced form of the disease with no cure, means the cancer has spread from the breasts to other parts of the body. Patients with MBC often do not relate to the movement behind the Pink Ribbon and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because they have no shot at survival. More than 155,000 people in the U.S. are living with the aggressive cancer.

“It was an area that really needed a light shined on it,” Willson says. “The great survivor stories come from women living with a different experience.”

SEE ALSO: How a Social Network Helps Families Coping With Autism

Genentech’s embrace of Facebook is unusual among pharmaceutical companies. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca shut down their Facebook pages last year, when Facebook began requiring pharma brands to allow open comments. Others, such as Janssen UK’s Psoriasis 360 page, have shut down because they require too much maintenance.

Do you think Circles of Support taps an unmet need for patients with MBC?

More About: Breast Cancer, Facebook

Failure to Pitch Perfect MLB2K12 Game Leads to Hilarious Tweets

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 12:50 PM PDT

Players are expressing their woes online after failing to pitch a perfect game on the recently-released MLB 2K12. Gamers who successfully pitch perfection can compete for a chance to win a trip to New York City and a million dollars.

The MLB 2K12 Perfect Game Challenge Tournament invites players to pitch a game without getting a single opposing player on base. A perfect game in baseball is a beautiful achievement; only 21 players in the history of MLB have pitched one, and now gamers must attempt the same feat.

Nearly 750,00 have tried so far, according to the MLB 2K12 Facebook Page, and of those, fewer than 700, or 0.1% of entrants, have made it on the leader boards. The top eight players will be flown to New York to visit the MLB Fan Cave and compete against each other for $1,000,000.
While this is the third year of the competition, 2K Sports Marketing Director Chris Snyder said they have changed the rules drastically to allow for more social involvement.

“Before, it was more difficult to enter, and the first person to hit a confirmed perfect game won the prize,” Snyder said. “Now there is a huge community element as people keep making multiple attempts. We were glad that we listened to our community, and that so many more people are excited about participating.”

Snyder said some players have been streaming each of their attempts on services like TwitchTV, gaining a following as people watch them try to play through an entire game with no hits or walks.

For 2K Sports, the timing of this year’s contest couldn’t be more perfect. Just last week, White Sox pitcher Philip Humber pitched a perfect game, becoming the 21st player to become a member of “The Perfect Club.” As a result, professional MLB players are also getting in on the virtual perfect game action.

Of course, with such a small success rate, there is bound to be frustration. With the help of 2K Sports community managers, we’ve rounded up the most extreme and disappointed Twitter updates of players on the quest for the perfect game in the gallery below.

For those who want to participate, players with an Xbox 360 or PS3 copy of the game still have until Monday, April 30 to give it their best shot. Have you tried to pitch a perfect game? Let us know in the comments.


Click here to view this gallery.

More About: 2k, games, MLB, mlb2k

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FaceVault App Brings Facial Recognition to iOS [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 12:39 PM PDT

A new app called FaceVault brings facial recognition and pattern-based unlocking to iOS.

It works just like Facial Unlock on Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich, but there’s a key difference — Apple is much more strict about what goes on its lockscreen.

Though Apple had previously rejected this kind of facial recognition app, FaceVault marks the first time you can turn your smartphone into a “virtual safe-deposit box” with your mug. The app uses your iDevice’s front-facing camera and the Eigenface algorithm — considered to be the most advanced technology in facial recognition — to analyze your face.

“The algorithm can ignore the fact that you’re wearing glasses or a new makeup look, and still unlock the app,” Robert Neagu, the app’s creator, told Wired via email.

When the facial recognition system fails, you’re redirected to another screen, where you can unlock the app with a pattern-based code. FaceVault also adds a layer of security to your camera by keeping an archive of login attempts — so you can keep track of potential break-ins.

However, the security of FaceVault does have some caveats. On the app’s description page, it states, “FaceRecognition is less secure than a Pattern,” “Someone who looks similar to you could unlock this app” and “You must have an active internet connection to perform recognition.” And unlike the Android, you can’t choose the pattern-based lock system over the facial lock system on FaceVault.

However, we wonder if Apple might adopt something like this in the future. Patently Apple reported the company filed a patent for face and presence detection security in 2010. And this wouldn’t be the first time an Android feature came to iOS. Remember the notification center update?

You can try out the FaceVault app by purchasing it at the iTunes store for $0.99.

Have you already tried FaceVault? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Thumbnail courtesy of Apple

More About: android, apple, apps, facial recognition

This Projector Lets You Watch TV, Play Games on Any Wall

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 12:27 PM PDT

The Summer Gadget Series is presented by the Galaxy Nexus from Sprint. Android 4.0, Google Wallet and Google Play make it pure Google. Truly Unlimited data from Sprint makes it unstoppable. Check it out.

Product: WowWee Cinemin Slice Pico Projector

Price: $429.99

What It’s Good For: Projecting movies, video games and photos onto your walls, ceilings or even the side of your house.

Limitations: You’ll need to be in a dark place to get the best video quality, and the projector is only capable of displaying images 60 inches in size.

Bottom Line: The Cinemin Slice can spice up your traditional movie watching experience, and it lets you show videos from your smartphone, computer or tablet with several people at once in a unique way.

Sure, you can watch movies on your couch, but where’s the fun in that? WowWee’s Cinemin Slice pico projector lets you display everything from your favorite films to your favorite video games anywhere you have a blank wall.

The Slice can display a 60-inch image from up to 10 feet away, so you can use it to show Hulu or Netflix on your bedroom wall or ceiling while you’re trying to sleep, or use it to play your favorite Xbox game on the side of your house while lounging in the backyard. While the projector produces a bright image, you’ll need to be somewhere pretty dark to display the best quality.

The Cinemin Slice has a 30-pin Apple connector so you can connect your iPod, iPod touch, iPhone or iPad to play media, as well as a mini-HDMI/AV port for connecting other types of devices and a VGA port for connecting up your laptop. The projector is also plug-and-play, which means you can just connect up your device of choice and start watching videos with no additional software or setup required.

Visuals on the machine are pretty solid, but not high definition. Images are displayed at a 854 x 480 resolution, at a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1000:1 contrast ratio. The projector has a manual focus and a 90-degree hinge so you can position it to display video at just the right angle and sharpness.

The Cinemin Slice comes with an infrared remote control for changing tracks and adjusting volume. When you’re watching your video with others, the Slice plays audio through its built-in 6-watt stereo speakers. And for times when you’re viewing solo, you can use the projector’s headphone jack to listen privately.

The Cinemin Slice is available now at select retailers for around $430. WowWee also manufactures a more portable version of the Cinemin Slice, the Cinemin Swivel, for those on-the-go.

Series presented by the Sprint Galaxy Nexus


The Summer Gadget Series is presented by the Galaxy Nexus from Sprint. Android 4.0, Google Wallet and Google Play make it pure Google. Truly Unlimited data from Sprint makes it unstoppable. Check it out.

More About: features, ipad, iphone, mashable, Movies, pico projector, Summer Gadget Series

8 Out-of-This-World Photos of the Space Shuttle Enterprise

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 12:21 PM PDT

Here She Is!

Enterprise treats the crowd at John F. Kennedy Airport to a low-and-slow fly-by. Image Credit: Alex Fitzpatrick

Click here to view this gallery.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Friday morning. Mashable was on the scene for a special event celebrating her arrival to New York.

Enterprise will temporarily reside at a JFK hangar before being loaded aboard a barge and shipped via the Hudson River to her new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told Mashable, this is a hugely significant event for NASA and New York City. “New York City will now be the northern-most outpost for NASA,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Spot the Space Shuttle Enterprise With Mashable

More About: NASA, space, space shuttle, trending

How Mark Cuban Does Business [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 11:46 AM PDT

Jesse Draper is creator and host of "The Valley Girl Show" through which she's become a spokesperson for startups and helped pioneer the way of new media content distribution. Formerly a Nickelodeon star, Draper is now CEO of Valley Girl™ where she oversees the show and runs technology blog

Mark Cuban, the “Shark” in Shark Tank, had a giggly time with us while he told us about one of his investments coming out in Walmart later this year: Lipstixx, a lip balm company that changes flavor when you kiss someone.

But when Cuban does business, it's all about email. "I've literally invested $4 million in people I've never met," he says while explaining his process of investing in people via email as long as they can prove themselves to him, also via email, by answering his tough as nails questions on their business models.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Mark Cuban

It may be all about virtual communication for Mark Cuban when it comes to business, but it's definitely about face time when he is on the basketball court. Cuban has been fined over $100,000 by the NBA for various misconducts surrounding the game. "I'm just a fan," he told us, so we had a little fun and suggested something to help him stay in his seat: duct tape. It's certainly cheaper than those fines. Take a look.

More Video from The Valley Girl Show

More About: entrepreneurship, mark cuban, sports, trending

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10 Free WordPress Themes for Photo Lovers

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 11:28 AM PDT

1. Fullscreen

Fullscreen is a one-column photography and multimedia theme with a side-scrolling homepage. You can use it to create photo blogs, video blogs or portfolios.

Click here to view this gallery.

When it comes to pictures, we just can't snap enough of them. And we love adding filters, playing with tilt-shifts, and uploading our creations to social media for the world to enjoy.

There’s Flickr, with 28 photo uploads every second. Instagram (pre-Facebook) comes in at a slightly more impressive 60 photos uploaded per second. Then there’s Facebook — some 250 million photos are uploaded to this social network every day.

SEE ALSO: RIP Picnik: 7 Free Alternatives for Quick Photo Edits

What can we say, it’s the year of the visual. So why not organize all those amazing images with one of these 10 free WordPress themes made especially for shutter bugs?

Which theme is your favorite? Suggest more photography theme options in the comments below.

More About: features, flickr, instagram, photography, WordPress

NBA Playoff Teams’ Seasons in Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 11:11 AM PDT

The NBA’s lockout-shortened regular season has come to a close and the 2012 playoffs tip-off Saturday. It was a pretty remarkable season on the court — LeBron James’s statistical genius, Jeremy Lin‘s magical run and Blake Griffin’s thunderous dunks being just a few of many highlights.

But pro basketball had the Internet atwitter, too. Men and women — okay, mostly men — took to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms to follow the action, offer opinions and debate which team looked most primed for a championship run, according to the infographic below.

Taykey is a startup that tracks and analyzes social media sentiment to optimize marketing for major brands including Pepsi, Sprint and Victoria’s Secret. But Mashable got it to use their social media ninja tools to look at the NBA. The infographics below show how the conversation surrounding all 16 NBA playoff teams ebbed and surged from mid-December through late April, where the chatter took place and who was most engaged.

Here are a few quick findings that jump out. Of all the teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder had by far the highest portion of talk on YouTube, according to Taykey; perhaps Blake Griffin’s epic dunk over Kendrick Perkins and Ron Artest’s violent elbow to the head of James Harden played roles? The two teams with the highest percentage of women chiming in — the Lakers and Clippers, at 17% apiece — both play in Los Angeles. The 25 to 35 age range was most engaged for each team, the Memphis Grizzlies being the only to have less than 40% of their buzz from that demographic.

Check out the full picture below. It’s a fascinating chunk of information for hardcore hoopheads and social media nerds alike.

What role will social media play in your NBA playoff experience? let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, sports, Twitter, YouTube

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10 Kindle Cases That Look Like Books

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 10:33 AM PDT

1. LightWedge Verso

The Verso features a few classic book-style covers. We like the embossing, spine and gilt detail on this classy maroon number. Cost: From $39.99

Click here to view this gallery.

The Amazon Kindle offers you an entire digital library in the palm of your hand. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that you can get book-themed cases for the device.

Some you may have already seen, such as the popular DODOcase, but now we’re taking a look at alternative options for Kindle-owning bibliophiles.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Kindle Fire Cases

Whether you want to disguise your e-reader as something a little more analog, pay homage to a literary classic you love, or enjoy the leather look and feel of a vintage tome, we’ve got a case to suit.

So, have a browse through our veritable library of book-themed Kindle cases above. Let us know in the comments below which ones you’d add to your bookshelf.

More About: accessories, cases, features, gallery, Kindle, trending

Facebook Rap Asks ‘Why Don’t You Look Like Your Profile Pic?’

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 10:12 AM PDT

Dan Bull, an English rapper, is attempting to glom on to the hype around Facebook with a rap questioning, among other things, why our profile pics look so much better than we do in real life.

The catchy, Streets-like tune also takes on shopworn Facebook complaints about Mafia Wars and FarmVille requests as well, leading to the line, “If only there was an application that let me smash your face in.”

Oddly, the song’s refrain mentions “600 million people” on the service. However, Facebook announced this week that it had passed 900 million users. Perhaps that’s because Bull was hoping to double his efforts with the carbon copy Twitter Rap (below) and split the difference between the two services’ user bases?

More About: Facebook, rap, viral

Klouchebag Site Mocks Klout, Measures Your ‘Asshattery’

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 09:36 AM PDT

1) Justin Bieber on Klouchebag

While Klout measures influence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Foursquare to assign its users scores from 0 to 100, Klouchebag calculates "how much of an asshat you are on Twitter."

How? Klouchebag judges your tweets based on four criteria: Anger ("profanity and rage"), Retweets ""'please RT's, no or constant retweeting, and old-style"), Social Apps ("every useless checkin on foursquare or its horrible brethren"), and English Usage ("if you use EXCLAMATION MARKS OMG!!! or no capitals at all, this'll be quite high").

Click here to view this gallery.

Whether you love or hate Klout, you’ll get a kick out of Klouchebag. The website went live Friday morning and pokes fun at what Klout is trying to do: gauge online users’ influence across social networks.

While Klout measures influence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Foursquare to assign its users scores from 0 to 100, Klouchebag calculates “how much of an asshat you are on Twitter.”

Klouchebag obviously mashes together two familiar words — Klout and douchebag.

The lower your Klouchebag score, the less of a douchebag you are. Two accounts have the perfect asshat score of 100. We won’t spoil the fun of discovering them for yourself, but if you really want to know quickly, flip through the gallery above to see one and click here to see the other.

London native Tom Scott created the site in one day after reading a Wired article about Klout on Thursday that irritated him, he told Mashable shortly after launching Klouchebag.

“Klout annoys me for the same reason that search engine optimization annoys me — it’s an enormous amount of effort designed to game an arbitrary and often-changing system,” Scott says. “Imagine if all that time went into actually making interesting things or caring about the people around you.”

To pinpoint your score, Klouchebag judges your tweets based on four criteria:

  • Anger: “profanity and rage.”
  • Retweets: “‘please RT’s, no or constant retweeting, and old-style.”
  • Social Apps: “every useless checkin on foursquare or its horrible brethren.”
  • English Usage: “if you use EXCLAMATION MARKS OMG!!! or no capitals at all, this’ll be quite high.”

If your Klouchebag score is high, don’t fret. Scott apologizes to you in advance: “Sorry. Don’t take it personally. This is about as scientific as Klout’s own measurements — which is to say, it’s pretty much a crapshoot. You’re probably a lovely person. Although you might want to cut down on the swearing a bit.”

SEE ALSO: Man Hysterically Fails at Explaining Klout to His Boss [VIDEO]

Scott initially wanted to name the site, but the domain was already taken.

On Klout’s end, the San Francisco-based startup has had a busy 2012. Just in April, Klout launched brand pages and an iPhone app.

More About: humor, klout, online influence, Social Media, trending, Twitter, viral

Mashable Photo Challenge: How Do You Spend Your Lunch Break?

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 09:05 AM PDT

Lunch is a part of our daily routine. Whether you spend the time at your desk cramming in some extra work, or you’re at home relaxing in front of the TV, we want you to share a moment from your lunch break for this week’s Mashable photo challenge. So, when it’s time for lunch, snap a quick photo and send it to us.

For example, Mashable headquarters is located near Madison Square Park in New York City. Sometimes after a morning at work, Mashable staff members will grab some food and walk over to the park to enjoy their lunch breaks.

I snapped this Instagram photo of the Metropolitan Life Tower while sitting in the park eating pizza on my lunch break.

Send us a photo of your favorite lunch time hideaway or routine — or send us an actual photo of your lunch. It’s up to you. You can use any camera or editing software you’d like.

As always, feel free to interpret this prompt any way you would like. We’re looking forward to seeing more of your great photos!

How To Enter the Challenge

  • Take a picture that represents a lunch break to you.
  • 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. OR
  • Drop your photo into the picture widget below.
We will choose images based on composition, originality and overall appeal.

Submit your photo by Wednesday, May 2 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 send in!

More About: community, Mashable Photo Challenge, photography

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Type ‘Zerg Rush’ Into Google for a Pleasant Surprise

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 08:51 AM PDT

Google is giving us another reason to goof off on a Friday with an Easter egg related to the popular game StarCraft.

If you type “Zerg Rush” into Google, the “O’s” in Google take over the page. If you double click, your cursor turns into a plus sign. Click on the O’s and you wipe them out. Google then tabulates your score and, in a social media twist, lets you post your score on Google+.

For the uninitiated, Zergs are an alien race of insectoids in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft. In the game you “rush” them by amassing your battle units and blitz them.

Google’s motivation for this latest Easter egg is unclear, except perhaps as a way to migrate more users to Google+.


Enter "Google Gravity" in the search bar. Hit "I'm feeling lucky" (if you have Google Instant enabled, it's on the right hand side of the suggested searches). Then watch your world fall down.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, alija

More About: easter eggs, Gaming, Google, Starcraft, trending

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