Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 9 News Updates - including “44 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed”

Mashable: Latest 9 News Updates - including “44 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed”

44 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 03:16 PM PDT

Big things have happened this week in the world of tech and social media — Facebook acquired Instagram, Google redesigned Google+ and YouTubers rapidly shared yet another Herman Cain ad that doesn’t make much sense. With all of this going on and more, it’s understandable if you missed some of our latest resources. But now it’s time to catch up with our weekly features roundup!

This week, we’ve covered services to help you migrate Instagram photos to your desktop, ways that educators can use Pinterest for the classroom and types of high-tech clothing that can make your life easier. We also have tips for maintaining digital customer loyalty, apps to help you prepare for allergy season and creative hacks for a new cover photo on Google+. We even spoke with standup comedian Jim Gaffigan about his new online comedy special.

Get started!

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Social Media

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Business & Marketing

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Image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci.

More About: Business, COMMUNICATIONS, Features Week In Review, Social Media, Tech

IndieGoGo’s Co-Founder Wants Kids to Launch 10 Startups in 10 Years

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 03:12 PM PDT

Slava Rubin, co-founder and CEO of crowdfunding website IndieGoGo, has an ambitious plan to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in the minds of students: He wants them to launch a new startup every year for ten years in middle school through college.

“The best way for students to become entrepreneurs is through practice and experience,” writes Rubin in his contribution to the #FixYoungAmerica book, to be published in May. “LeBron James became a basketball star because he practiced and played basketball regularly from an early age, not just because he watched Michael Jordan on television.”

Rubin believes entrepreneurship deserves a place in classrooms nationwide, right alongside calculus and biology. Few schools, says Rubin, teach students that they can become successful entrepreneurs and business owners, so the career field doesn’t appear on students’ radars the way that “doctor” or “lawyer” might.

“Most college students think their options are limited to the jobs they’ve already been exposed to,” says Rubin. “No one mentions ‘entrepeneur.’”

Rubin’s curriculum is divided into four parts, one for each semester of the school year. During the first semester, students would learn the basic theories of business and crowdfunding. Next, students would be tasked with brainstorming ideas, research and designing their marketing campaign. In the third semester, students would run their campaign and pitch to investors. Finally, students would review their experience and apply the lessons they learned to next year’s project.

Coming up with an idea, a business plan and a sales pitch for a new startup every year may seem like a daunting task to many, but Rubin says it’s about teaching confidence. He certainly doesn’t expect every one of these startups to succeed. In fact, he insists that failure is an important and humbling part of becoming an entrepreneur.

“Kids will grow and learn from their mistakes,” says Rubin.

Rubin also acknowledges the difficultly of instituting such a sweeping education reform in a political climate where major changes often face considerable opposition. For him, the plan is about disrupting the American education system in a way that’s not limited by any constraints.

"I didn't limit myself by how feasible [this plan] was tomorrow,” says Rubin. “I wanted to come up with my proposed solution in a blue-sky way, considering reasonable limitations."

Raising money through crowdfunding, says Rubin, will help these students streamline the process of opening a business. Rubin also points out that it’s a time-honored tradition, and not a new concept born of the Internet age — New York City, he writes, turned to contributions from residents when it needed to raise money to build a base for the Statue of Liberty.

For Rubin, this is all about teaching kids that anyone with a good idea and a dream can become the next Zuckerberg.

“I think it's really unfair how massive a leap I had to make to become an entrepreneur,” says Rubin. “It didn't feel comfortable or safe or intelligent in a common sense way — when it really it could be if it was taught in the education infrastructure."

Rubin’s plan is part of the #FixYoungAmerica campaign, an initiative to help reduce youth unemployment through entrepreneurship.

SEE ALSO: Can We Fix Young America With Technology and Entrepreneurship?

Do you think it’s worthwhile for students to learn entrepreneurial skills in a hands-on way? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mediaphotos

More About: entrepreneurs, fixyoungamerica, Small Business, Social Good, Startups

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Uranus Auroras Spotted by Hubble Telescope Scientists [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 02:51 PM PDT

Conditions are bizarre on the peculiar seventh planet in our solar system, Uranus. Much is different from our planet, including auroras, which were spotted by the Hubble telescope last November.

The space telescope, Earth’s workhorse of observational power, snagged images of a couple of auroras on the surface of Uranus months ago, but it took until now to process those images into these intriguing photos we see today.

Take a look at our video, which explains not only why the alien world of Uranus is so different from our own, but sheds light on how these pictures of Uranus‘s unusual magnetosphere were obtained.

More About: Hubble, space, technology, Video

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Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 02:16 PM PDT

1. Instagram

A huge story this week happened Monday, when Facebook bought popular photo sharing app #Instagram for $1 billion. @PatrickMoorhead (25,000 followers), who writes for Forbes, Mashable and Techpinion, had a text conversation with his 12-year-old daughter about the news. He shared this screen capture of the conversation on Twitter along with the tweet: "What my 12 YO daughter thinks about the Facebook-Instagram deal."

Click here to view this gallery.

The number of photos on Twitter keeps up its explosive growth, with this week’s humongous batch numbering 56 million pics from which to choose. That’s 4 million more than last week!

To pluck the most fascinating 10 out of that multitude of photographic expression, we needed to bring in the big guns: our esteemed partners at Skylines. They’ve developed a powerful algorithm to separate the good from the bad using hashtags and a veritable ocean of numbers.

SEE MORE: Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Helping us make sense of it all is the inimitable Skylines trendwatcher Julie Donders (@IkbenJulie), gracing us with her insights in each caption alongside this pantheon of pictorial pleasure.

So now it’s time for you to feast your eyes on the results of our global pic picking, and do let us know in the comments which one was your favorite of our top 10 Twitter pics of the week.

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

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

Top 7 Mashable Comments of the Week

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 01:16 PM PDT

Out of all the stories from this past week, none drew a bigger response from our readers than Facebook acquisition of Instagram. The Monday announcement prompted many users of the photo-sharing app to delete the app altogether.

Mashable reader Trager Jonnes understood the outrage that some Instagram users felt about the acquisition “given FB’s history of awful privacy controls and commercial use of personal information.”

In addition to our community’s reaction to the Instagram acquisition, readers also continued the discussion about employers asking interviewees for their Facebook login information. Mashable commenter rjsinc added his opinion that ”your personal time has nothing to do with your work for most jobs.”

At Mashable, we’re always on the lookout for thoughtful, insightful comments that add to our story or further the discussion. Take a look at this week’s top comments and let us know what you think.

Amber Gordon, Gary Reed, Chris Sully, Trager Jonnes

Instagram users threatened to leave after it was announced that Facebook acquired the network. Comments originally seen on Many Instagram Users Already Heading for the Exits

Click here to view this gallery.

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

More About: community, top comments

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Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 12:07 PM PDT

1. Flower-Shaped Solar Satellite

This elegantly shaped satellite has controllable mirrors that gather sunlight around the clock, turning that sunlight into energy and then sending it back to Earth with an onboard microwave transmitter. Sound far-fetched? Not to NASA, which is funding this spectacular idea. The basic design of the unit is underway, and miniature prototypes to test the concept are in the offering. But there's no word on when such a satellite will be ready to begin generating power from space. [via DVICE]

Click here to view this gallery.

Putting our reviewers’ hats on this week, we got our hands on four exaggerated examples of state-of-the-art tech, including a laughably enormous television, a monster camera, a whole-house digital video recorder and a world-class workstation shoehorned inside a 27-inch monitor.

But even that wasn’t enough. As is our wont, we peered into the future at a lovely flower-shaped solar satellite, thought we were in the future when we saw an HD broadcast system that you can carry anywhere, discovered a hard drive whose astonishing speed gives us a peek at what all computers will soon be able to do and lusted after a unique timepiece that was the darling of the tech industry this week.

SEE ALSO: Previous editions of Top 10 Tech This Week

Enjoy those future-forward objects and a lot more on Top 10 Tech This Week — the most concentrated, efficient and exciting tech coverage on (and off) this planet.

Here’s last week’s Top 10 Tech.

More About: cars, Gadgets, Tech, Top 10 Tech, trending

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Is a Yacht Philippe Starck’s ‘Revolutionary’ Apple Project? [RUMOR]

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 11:17 AM PDT

World-famous French designer Philippe Starck told a French radio station on Friday that he’s working on a “revolutionary” secret Apple project that will surface in eight months. The designer said that he couldn’t reveal more details because of Apple’s “religious cult of secrecy.”

Apple flatly denied Starck’s involvement with any of its upcoming products while rumors about the project flew wild. Some speculated Starck could be involved with an Apple TV, others suggested that he’s working on a new Parisian Apple Store.

The answer, it appears, seems to be out to sea: Jobs commissioned Starck to design a “sleek and minimalist” yacht with 40-foot-long glass walls. The pair met in Cupertino, California on a monthly basis to talk about the ship, according to Jobs’ official biography.

However, neither Apple nor the alleged maker of the yacht, Netherlands-based Feadship, are commenting on the plans. They do, however, match Jobs’ penchant for simple yet beautiful design and engineering.

French newspaper Le Figaro reported that Starck is planning on staying in touch with Jobs’ widow Laurene, possibly to finish work on the ship. However, the designer hasn’t confirmed that the yacht is the “revolutionary” project to which he was referring on the radio broadcast.

Do you think the ship is the “revolutionary” product, or does Starck have something else up his sleeve?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Bluberries

More About: apple, steve jobs, Tech, trending

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New CISPA Draft Narrows Cybersecurity Language as Protests Loom

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 10:42 AM PDT

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has released a new draft of the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), narrowing the definition of “cybersecurity threat” in response to alarms being sounded throughout the technology community.

A “discussion draft” was posted to the committee’s website Friday afternoon. It shows amendments already cleared by the committee as well as those still being debated, and some of the language that caught the ire of the technology community has been altered or is now under debate.

One proposed amendment narrows the category of information shared under CISPA from that about “theft or misappropriate of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information” to “efforts to gain unauthorized access to a system or network, including efforts to gain such unauthorized access to steal or misappropriate private or government information.”

The mention of “intellectual property” in the first version of the bill is partially why CISPA piqued the early attention of the technology community, which is standing guard for a legislative resurrection of the much-hated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

However, the new draft didn’t backtrack from a national security clause which civil liberties groups have warned could result in the intelligence community abusing the bill. The new draft of CISPA would restrict the federal government from affirmatively searching any data shared with it by private firms about cybersecurity threats — unless the purpose for the search is for protecting “national security,” a category seen by some observers as overly broad. It also protects shared information from requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Additionally, a proposed liability clause protects private firms and the government from lawsuits in relation to “willful misconduct” involving cybersecurity data. Anyone trying to sue a firm or agency on those grounds will have to prove an intention to achieve a “wrongful purpose,” that misconduct was carried out without “legal or factual” justification, and that the harm caused by the action was greater than the benefit.

Some passed amendments state that CISPA won’t require private firms to share cybersecurity threat information with the federal government, the government won’t be able to withhold threat data from private firms that haven’t sent any threat data to the government, and the Inspector General of the intelligence community will be required to submit an annual report to Congress detailing the bill’s impact on civil liberties.

The new draft reflects some of the key points stressed by CISPA’s authors during a conference call with technology journalists and bloggers held earlier this week — namely, that the bill’s intention is to make it easier for companies and the government to share knowledge of cybersecurity threats on a two-way basis and that the authors were listening to opponents of the bill.

Facebook, an advocate of CISPA, released a statement Friday afternoon explaining that the company backs the bill because it allows it to receive information about cyber threats. Kaplan said the company would not use CISPA to share private information about its users to the government.

“The concern is that companies will share sensitive personal information with the government in the name of protecting cybersecurity,” wrote Joel Kaplan, vice president of U.S. public policy at Facebook.
“Facebook has no intention of doing this and it is unrelated to the things we liked about HR 3523 in the first place — the additional information it would provide us about specific cyber threats to our systems and users.”

Meanwhile, a group of Internet freedom advocacy organizations and technology blogs are planning a “week of action” against what Rebecca Jeschke, Electronic Frontier Foundation’s media relations director called “bad cybersecurity legislation” beginning Monday morning.

“We want Congress to reject legislation that uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government, hands the reins of America's cybersecurity defenses to the National Security Agency,” said Jeschke.

CISPA is likely to be opened to a full vote on the House floor later this month.

You can read the discussion draft below — changes highlighted in green have already been adopted, those in yellow are still being debated.

Discussion Draft Hr 3523

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: CISPA, internet, Politics, SOPA, US

Google Doodle Pays Homage to Street Photographer Robert Doisneau

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 09:09 AM PDT

Today’s Google Doodle features photographs from the famed French photographer Robert Doisneau on his 100th birthday.

Born April 14, 1912, Doisneau was one of the original street photographers — he wandered the streets of Paris snapping away with his Leica camera decades before thousands of Brooklyn’s hipsters would do the same throughout Williamsburg.

Doisneau picked up street photography at the age of 16. He entered the world of professional photography in a creative graphics studio and was later hired by French carmaker Renault. After being fired, he became a professional photojournalist and never looked back. He served as a war photographer during World War II and was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor before he died in 1994.

Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall),” a photograph of lovers kissing in the streets of Paris taken in 1950, became his most famous work. Doisneau was once sued by a couple that mistakenly believed themselves to be the pair in the photograph, because French law dictates that a person owns the copyright to their own likeness.

Doisneau won the case after revealing that he asked a different couple for permission to take the photograph. “Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate,” he said while explaining why he didn’t take the shot without permission.

What do you think of today’s Doodle?

The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, google doodle, photography, trending

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4 Ways to Outdo Your Competitors

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 08:11 AM PDT

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

Do you ever feel like there's a competitor around every corner? Budding entrepreneurs often hesitate to follow their business dreams because they believe their target market is already so saturated that there simply is no more room to absorb any new entrants.

However, savvy small business owners can make it in a crowded field, even one filled with a couple of 800-pound gorillas. The key to your business’ success doesn't hinge on finding a completely empty field, but how you define your company and its place in the market.

Here are four easy ways to set yourself apart from the din of voices in your industry. Do you have any tips for making it in a crowded market? Let us know in the comments.

1. You Don't Have to Reinvent the Wheel

Many first-time entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they need to blaze a new trail to be successful. Of course, the market always needs innovators, but a business doesn't necessarily have to be disruptive in order to succeed.

Rather than struggling to come up with a brand new idea, take a look at your target industry and see where there's a void to be filled. Then, figure out the best possible way to service that need and run with it. Starbucks wasn't the first company to sell coffee, but they did revolutionize the coffee shop by selling an experience along with a caffeine fix.

These days there may be more than 17,000 Starbucks all over the world, but other coffeehouses around the country are finding a niche. From Smokey Row in Des Moines, Iowa, to Rock City Café in Rockland, Maine, local coffee shops are succeeding by promising more than a cup of coffee and a place to sit. They're tapping into some of the most primal elements — community, connectedness, security and comfort.

Your product and service may be similar in many aspects to that of the competition, except for a few defining factors — and those are the key to everything. You should be good (or great) at all the basics, and then put your energy and focus on being exceptional at what makes you different.

2. Customer-Centric Companies Win

When trainer Chris Stevenson wanted to open a fitness center in Southern California, many questioned the decision. Here he was, in the heart of the recession, starting a business in an area that was already saturated with multiple boutique gyms and two large, corporate, chain fitness centers competing for the same customers from the same nearby neighborhoods.

Yet despite contending against huge chains with deep pockets and big advertising budgets, Stevenson Fitness is hugely successful today. Why? Chris focused on creating a one-of-a-kind culture at his company that defies people's expectations of what a fitness center can be. There's no snootiness, intimidation or pretentiousness at Stevenson Fitness. Yes, it offers top-caliber facilities and a great range of classes, but what sets Stevenson Fitness apart is the friendly, approachable personality of the entire staff. The tag line “Your community, your gym” says it all. His company continues to grow because customers love what Chris's company gives them.

No matter how big your business gets and how much staff you bring on, I always advise business owners and top management to stay as close to their customers as possible. Talking to customers one-on-one is the best way to truly take the pulse of the market, customer needs and just how your company is doing.

3. Don't Compete on Price

Eager to attract customers, many small businesses feel the only way they can compete in a crowded market is to undercut the competition on price. I have to admit that my husband and I fell into this same trap with our company — we dropped our prices to unsustainable levels. Our business grew, customers were happy, more customers came in, yet we were nearly losing money with every new order.

This happens to many small businesses in crowded markets. They find themselves running as fast as they can, yet they are still barely bringing in enough money to keep their operations afloat. Faced with this situation, what we did do? We repositioned from competing on price to competing on service.

In a saturated market, someone will always be able (or willing) to absorb a lower cost than you. You'll need to find a new way to stand out; for us, this was by offering personal service. We began providing free business consultations to everyone who wanted one. We increased our customer service. We even increased our prices to support the higher service levels, and we saw sales and repeat business rise. The key was defining who we were and what made us different, and then focusing on being as exceptional as possible in those differentiating areas.

4. Saturation Can Mean Strength

A competitive and crowded industry indicates that customer demand exists, and that the market is viable. If you carve your own niche, there will be room for your business.

If you're considering starting a business, don't be disheartened if a lot of other companies are already offering a similar kind of product or service. You should still look before you leap and do your research on how you can stand out, but don't let the idea of a saturated market stand in your way.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

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

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Maliketh, fotosipsak

More About: Business, competition, features, mashable, open forum, trending

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