Friday, 11 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Persistent Toddler Gets Shot Down by Crush Again and Again [VIDEO]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Persistent Toddler Gets Shot Down by Crush Again and Again [VIDEO]”

Persistent Toddler Gets Shot Down by Crush Again and Again [VIDEO]

Posted: 11 May 2012 04:39 AM PDT

Sometimes — no matter what you do — you just can’t get a girl to like you in the same way you like her. The kid in this video, for better or worse, is finding that out at an early age.

The little boy, our protagonist here, spends a solid two minutes leaning in for a kiss or cuddle time with his would-be toddler girlfriend. But the young lady is not having it. She pushes him away. She turns her back on him. She shoves him to the ground multiple times. Even his put-both-hands-on-the-ground-and-scoot-around move won’t work. That move always works!

The cute video has gone viral with more than 200,000 views since it was posted to YouTube on Monday. Its origins are unclear, but the video’s information is all written in Portuguese.

Sometimes, kid, you just gotta count your losses and move on. But thanks for the laughs.

More About: Video, viral, YouTube

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Today’s Top Stories: Web Browsing on Xbox 360, Bing’s Social Search

Posted: 11 May 2012 04:14 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Bing Gets a Big Social Overhaul

Microsoft has launched a major overhaul of its search engine Bing, putting a big emphasis on social search and discovery. Important changes include a new social sidebar with Facebook (and, eventually, Twitter, Google+ Quora and LinkedIn) integration and the option to directly ask your social buddies questions on specific topics.

Yahoo CEO Claims he Never Provided a Resume to Yahoo

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson claims he never provided a resume or incorrect information to Yahoo, Reuters reports citing sources familiar with the matter.

Thompson found himself at the center of a scandal when it was found that he does not have a computer science degree, despite what was stated in his official company biography. A recent report said Thompson would resign from the Yahoo following the incident, though this has not been officially confirmed.

Xbox 360 to Get Full Internet Explorer Browsing

Microsoft is testing a modified version of IE9 for use on the Xbox 360 console, The Verge reports citing unnamed sources. Xbox 360 users can already perform some limited internet searches, but the new IE browser for Xbox will let them surf the web as they would on a PC.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: bing, features, first to know series, mashable, microsoft, Yahoo

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Location-Based App Lets You Stand in an Artists’ Shoes [VIDEO]

Posted: 11 May 2012 02:37 AM PDT

Visiting a major landmark, one often suspects numerous artists over the years have created paintings from where you stand. Using your smartphone, you may soon be able to find that out more easily than ever before. A new startup app called Geocoded Art aims to connect people with artworks depicting the places they visit to see those images as the artists viewed them.

The project is being pitched to the crowdfunding community on Kickstarter. Currently, Geocoded Art is integrated into Google Earth, but the crew at the startup wants to make it available to travelers on their smartphones. The Geocoded Art website lets you peruse art by region, artist name or the name of the artwork, in case you want to pre-plan a trip based on scenes in paintings.

You can be a supporter of the project for a minimum of $1. So far, they have raised around $600 of their $7,500 funding goal with 18 days to go before the campaign closes.

A video on the Kickstarter page walks you through what it would be like to view the world with this app in your hand.

Google recently launched Photo Tours to take users closer to the destinations they search.

What do you think of Geocoded Art? Would you use this while traveling? Sound off in the comments.

More About: art, travel

For more Dev & Design coverage:

New ‘Facebook Terms and Policies Hub’ Answers Your Policy Questions

Posted: 11 May 2012 12:52 AM PDT

Facebook, infamous for its changing policies and confusion among users about what they’re getting themselves into when they use the world’s largest social network, has finally aggregated all its terms and policies under the same roof.

That roof — — contains, in the words of Facebook, “Everything you need to know, all in one place.” The Facebook Terms and Policies Hub, as it’s called, is clear and easy to navigate, with headlined links and sub-headlines. However, all of these links actually lead to a lot of information.

Clicking on the three big links — Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Data Use Policy and Community Standards — leads you to details about privacy, account security and how your information is shared. It also links to information about Facebook’s position on just about everything controversial on the Internet, and by extension, on Facebook. Violence, bullying, hate speech, nudity and intellectual property are just a few of the issues on which Facebook has a firm stance.

The policies portal also has links regarding ads and sponsored stories, credits, pages, platform payment terms, promotions and branding resources.

A spokesperson for Facebook released the following statement regarding the new hub:

“This week, we began rolling out the Facebook Terms and Policies Hub, a central resource for all of our policies. Our hope is that this new resource will make our policies more transparent and accessible for the people who use Facebook by offering easy access to answers to specific policy questions ranging from platform to ads to content.”

With the range of policy questions aggregated under the Facebook policies hub, it’s a reminder of just how expansive the world’s largest social network is — and how important it is for users to keep up with Facebook as it continues to expand. Facebook privacy has always been a contentious issue among users, but the inclusion of topics like sponsored stories and page information under the same “policies” roof emphasizes something important: There are many different sides of Facebook. It’s not just a social network — it’s a business.

Are you satisfied with Facebook’s new terms and policies hub? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Facebook, policy

Bantr App Unites Soccer Fans at Home and at the Match

Posted: 10 May 2012 07:50 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.

Quick Pitch: A social network for soccer fans around the world that lets them pose questions and vote on coaching decisions, referees’ calls and player performance.

Genius Idea: Real time polling and a focus on just one sport — which happens to be the world’s most popular.

Liverpool fan Peter McCormack endured Roy Hodgson’s brief but underwhelming stint as manager of the famed British soccer club. As he lamented the team’s poor performance, McCormack often found himself in debates with friends in England about Hodgson’s tactics and which players “were fit to wear the shirt,” as he puts it.

But McCormack and his friends also wondered — what did other fans think? How could they see reliable information on how a large sampling of Liverpool fans feel? The newly released iPhone app Bantr was born out of that question.

Bantr lets users meet other soccer fans, check into matches and — most interestingly — pose questions and participate in polls on game action and team strategy. Launched as a website about a year ago, Bantr hit the iTunes App Store earlier this month. McCormack, a web developer for 15 years and lifelong soccer fan, says the transition was fueled by user feedback.

“Everyone was really supportive, but they all said, ‘I don’t always have my laptop open, but I have a phone whether I’m at a stadium or at the pub,” he told Mashable in an interview.

Bantr currently supports Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Champions League, Europa League and all of England’s divisions including the Premier League. Major League Soccer is on the way soon, and the European championships and World Cup will be supported as well. McCormack says the Bantr team is currently focused on just soccer, with its globally regulated rules and statistics for a reason — they can add a new league in a day and a new language in a week.

The company secured nearly $400,000 in seed funding and is in the process of raising a Series A round. McCormack says the solid investment numbers are significant because they mean Bantr can focus on its user experience and quality without having to muddy the game with advertisements for quick revenue. Bantr’s web app has about 11,000 users, McCormack says, and the iPhone version reached 1,000 downloads in its first day with no advertising beyond Facebook and Twitter blasts.

Focusing on just one sport to start — the company would like to expand somewhere down the line — is a wise move. It allows Bantr’s developers to concentrate on making the soccer experience as excellent as possible, and there are no shortage of soccer fans around the world. (McCormack says nearly 20% of Bantr users are from the United States, and a significant portion comes from India and Asia as well.)

Real time voting for fans is another cool feature that could help Bantr stand out from a crowding field of social sports apps. Time will tell, however, if those advantages are enough to make Bantr a long term success.

Have you tried Bantr? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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.

Image courtesy toksuede, Flickr.

More About: apps, sports, Startups

Is This the Weirdest iPad Speaker Stand Ever? [HANDS ON]

Posted: 10 May 2012 07:19 PM PDT

Ever wished your iPad had a kickstand so you could stand it up on a counter and use it as a small TV?

Bang & Olufsen hears you. Its new BeoPlay A3 iPad speaker dock is ideal for doing just that.

The A3 — released under the company’s new consumer brand, B&O Play — is more than just a regular kickstand. The wedge-shaped speaker dock grips your iPad by the edge, and you can stand it up in either portrait or landscape orientations.

You can even rest the tablet facing upward, and the dock will give it a slight slant — ideal if it’s in your lap and you want to type directly on the touchscreen.

It also boasts a feature called Adaptive Stereo Orientation, which adjust the sound based on how you hold it. The A3 is equipped with three tweeters, and whichever two are working at any given moment is determined by the built-in accelerometer.

We played around with the A3 for a bit, flipping it this way and that. We were pleased to find there is absolutely no delay in the audio when it re-orients itself.

The product itself has a very unusual shape, all edges and triangular surfaces. That’s to give us as many ways to use it as possible — but it also gives the BeoPlay A3 a funky design, almost sci-fi retro. It’s a little on the heavy side, but any decent speaker would need to be.

SEE ALSO: 5 Classy Speaker Docks to Boost Your iPad's Audio

To our ears, sound from the A3 was miles ahead of the iPad’s built-in speaker. Still, as a battery-operated device, it has limits to how loud it can play.

You’ll be able to hear it across your kitchen, but this isn’t room-filling sound. Bang & Olufsen rates it at five hours of playback (presumably at “typical” volumes), and it’ll charge your iPad if you plug it in.

Before you mount your iPad in the dock, you’ll need to wrap the edge in a provided bumper. Two are provided — one for the first iPad, and another that fits both the iPad 2 and the new iPad. It’ll be available at the end of May for $549.

Besides the BeoPlay A3, Bang & Olufsen also debuted the BeoPlay V1 TV. Available in 32-inch ($3,249) and 42-inch ($3,999) sizes, the TV is equipped with wireless capabilities for displaying content from your phone or tablet. It also has an alcove in back that can hold an Apple TV box for easy storage.

With B&O Play, Bang & Olufsen hopes to reach a younger, more connected kind of customer. It launched the brand’s first product at CES, an iPhone/iPad speaker called the BeoLit 12.

Although the company wouldn’t say how many of those speakers it’s sold, it did say that 70% of the customers were new to Bang & Olufsen.

What do you think of B&O Play’s latest offering? Let us know in the comments.

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A3

The BeoPlay A3 iPad speaker ($549) has a wedge shape so you can stand it up vertically, horizontally, or facing upwards with a slight tilt.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Bang & Olufsen, ipad, speakers

Photobomber Trolls Tourists at Leaning Tower of Pisa [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 May 2012 06:50 PM PDT

Here’s a perfect example of the good kind of troll — the one who leaves no high five left behind. Everyone wants a special snapshot when they visit a historical monument like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Darius Groza wants to make sure visitors get that perfect image.

SEE ALSO: Can an Internet Troll Pick Up a Girl IRL?

The prankster, who writes for Romanian blog JEG, runs into pictures and gives a big high five to tourists posing ironically like they’re holding up the building.

What’s not ironic is the fact that a Radiohead cover of “Creep” is playing in the background. Who wants to see more good-hearted pranks like this on the Internet? Sound off in the comments.

More About: trolls, viral, viral videos, YouTube

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Text4Baby Mobile Services Gives New Moms Health Updates

Posted: 10 May 2012 06:25 PM PDT

What every mother wants for Mother’s Day: healthy children. A free mobile service called Text4Baby sends breaking health information to new and expecting mothers.

Participants in the program receive between one and three text messages each week informing them of health alerts or offering advice for breastfeeding, labor or other prenatal issues. The alerts also provide reminders for thing such as taking prenatal vitamins and scheduling check-ups.

To sign-up for Text4Baby, simply visit the website, or from your cellphone text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. The next step is to enter your baby’s birthdate or due date if you’re expecting, plus your zip code. Whether you’re expecting your first child or you’re already a mom, the text messages will cater to your profile. Once you have your baby, or if your due date changes, users can text UPDATE to the same number and change their profile. The service lasts until your child is one year old.

In November 2011, researchers at the University of San Diego school of medicine analyzed the effectiveness of the Text4Baby program. The study resulted in some compelling findings:

  • 63.1% reported that text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed.
  • 75.4% of participants reported that text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs that they did not know.
  • 71.3% of participants reported talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a text4baby message.
  • The program launched in 2010, and so far more than 323,000 people have signed-up to receive health updates. The service was founded by Johnson & Johnson and CTIA — The Wireless Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. Health information for the text program is provided by Johnson & Johnson and its partner, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies.

    CTIA helps to make text messages free, even if moms don’t have a free texting plan. This program also won’t tap into a person’s text message limit if she has one of the plans listed on the site.

    “Today, mothers have their cellphones attached at their hips, so it’s an easy way to reach women all over the country,” a spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson told Mashable.

    What do you think about Text4Baby? Tell us in the comments.

    Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, SquaredPixels

    More About: health, mothers day, text messaging

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    Zuckerberg’s Hoodie: the Next Facebook Revolution?

    Posted: 10 May 2012 06:07 PM PDT

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

    Who would have thought, as 2012 dawned, that a piece of cotton could become so political?

    First, of course, there was the shock of the Trayvon Martin case, where a Florida teen clad in the offending garment — and carrying nothing but soda and Skittles — was shot to death by a man who took one look at Martin’s garb and thought him suspicious.

    Suddenly, it seemed, wearing a hoodie was the most controversial statement you could make — one that cut across lines of age and race. Youths participated in hoodie marches, demanding justice and an end to profiling. Rep. Bobby Rush wore one on the floor of the House of Representatives in solidarity with Martin, and was booted off for doing so. Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera urged teens not to wear them, then backed down in the wake of stinging criticism from his own son.

    Now, less than two months later, it’s Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who is making a cultural statement with his hoodie. And he isn’t about to back down. Perhaps without realizing it, Zuck has stepped into the vanguard of a wider cultural war — one of young against old, Silicon Valley against Wall Street.

    As numerous outlets have reported, Zuck wore the hoodie — his signature garment — to several meetings with large banks and other institutional investors this week.

    Was that a problem? It was for at least one of those investors. Analyst Michael Pachter of the firm Wedbush Securities, who is generally bullish on Facebook stock, went on Bloomberg TV to complain about Zuckerberg’s attire. He suggested it spoke of immaturity, and went on to state that Facebook would do better without Zuck as the CEO.

    Cue laughter, outrage, and a couple of dueling satirical Twitter accounts — @Zuckerbergshood and @Zuckshoodie.

    Pachter, responding to criticism across the blogosphere, has since clarified his statements. He wears a hoodie too, he has said, on occasion, out of the office. He just thinks that when you’re presenting to bankers, you wear a jacket as a mark of respect. He pointed out that Zuck wore a suit to meet the President last year (ignoring the fact that Steve Jobs, seated on the other side of Obama, was proudly displaying his signature Jobs gear — black turtleneck and jeans.)

    SEE ALSO: Obama Toasts Tech with Industry Luminaries [PICS]

    Interestingly, Pachter thinks it would have been okay had Zuck worn a jacket, a T-shirt and jeans. How times change. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt would have prevented you from getting a loan in a bank in 1972, let alone presenting to its top investors. Can we assume, then, that stuffy Wall Street types will routinely wear hoodies to work by 2042?

    Clearly, there is a culture clash at work here. On Wall Street, clothes still maketh the man. I get that. (As I write these words, I’m wearing a suit for the purpose of a panel discussion later in the day). But that doesn’t make suit-wearing the dominant culture.

    In Silicon Valley, nobody cares about what you wear. They care about how good your code is. Who’s to say they’re wrong, or that they shouldn’t take that ethos with them when they travel?

    By sticking to his hoodie — and we hope he does — Zuck is indeed sending a signal. Not that he doesn’t care about big investors, or else he wouldn’t be there. But simply that he isn’t going to change who he is, or what Facebook is.

    The company has a proud hacker culture, as is clear to anyone who visits its new headquarters. Employees are not only encouraged to wear what they please, they’re encouraged to “hack their space” and graffiti on the walls.

    Wedbush Securities should be glad that Zuck refrained from taking a sharpie to their conference room, at least. And perhaps it’s time for them — and investors like them — to show a little respect to the hoodie generation, and the massive, interlocking virtual world of social media it has managed to build.

    What’s your take on Hoodiegate? Let us know in the comments.

    Facebook HQ. You Like This

    The company is now completely moved out of its Palo Alto pad, and into the much more spacious Menlo Park facility it broke ground on last year.

    Click here to view this gallery.

    More About: trending

    Facial Recognition App IDs Your Friends Using Facebook

    Posted: 10 May 2012 05:59 PM PDT

    Want to make tagging friends in Facebook photos a bit easier? New facial recognition app Klik launched out of beta on Thursday.

    Simply download the iPhone app and get ready to snap of picture of your friends or family. Before you even click the button to take a pic, the app immediately recognizes your friends’ faces. After you take the pic, Klik will identify the face (if they’re on Facebook) and identify who that person is. If the app gets it wrong, you can find the right name from your Facebook contacts. Plus, Klik’s creators say the app gets smarter over time and should become increasingly better at identifying people in photos the more you use it.

    To familiarize the app’s facial recognition technology with the faces you know, simply connect the app to Facebook. The facial recognition software will analyze each face in your photos and remember the name associated with each tag — although this could take up to one full day.

    Once you’ve taken and tagged a photo, you can apply a variety of filter options. From there, you can post the photo to Facebook or Twitter. Klik also has a social component — users can view your friends’ photos and see the locations where those pics where taken.

    Klik was developed by, a facial recognition software company. Currently,
    Klik is available for free in the app store for iOS 4.3 or above.

    What do you think about this app? Would you use Klik? Tell us in the comments.

    More About: apps, Facebook, facial recognition

    Facebook IPO Meeting Weaker-Than-Expected Demand [REPORT]

    Posted: 10 May 2012 05:42 PM PDT

    Facebook‘s long-awaited IPO isn’t living up to the hype, according to a report.

    Bloomberg reports that institutional investors being wooed by Facebook’s IPO roadshow are skeptical about the company’s prospects since ad revenues haven’t kept pace with user growth. The report cites “people with knowledge of the matter” who are not identified. Reps from Facebook could not be reached for comment on the report.

    Facebook’s IPO is scheduled for May 17. If institutional investors aren’t sold on the company then the company will rely more on retail investors — those who sell for personal accounts — rather than the former who are made up of banks, insurance companies and pension funds. Retail investors are still bullish on the company, according to the report. The company could still drum up enough demand to sell its shares on the high end of a projected range, according to Bloomberg.

    Meanwhile, an investor poll by Bloomberg found that 79% of investors, analysts and traders who subscribe to Bloomberg thought that Facebook’s $96 billion valuation was too high. (A poll by Mashable found 37.6% of respondents said Facebook shares were priced too high while 28% weren’t sure.)

    The apparent cool reaction comes after Facebook amended its S-1 form on Wednesday to reflect the fact that the number of ads per daily average user is dropping. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also drew criticism for his casual dress during the roadshow. Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg that Zuck’s decision to wear a hoodie is a “mark of immaturity.”

    Bonus: How the Social Media IPOs of 2011 Fared

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

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

    Click here to view this gallery.

    More About: facebook ipo

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    Are Millennials the Most Distracted or Engaged Generation?

    Posted: 10 May 2012 05:02 PM PDT

    Adora Svitak at Mashable Connect

    Plenty has been penned on the time teenagers and young adults “waste” on the Internet. Facebook is often vilified on this account.

    And while Internet addiction, bullying and diminishing attention spans are certainly of concern, the empowerment these new channels offer may outweigh the drivel. So argues Adora Svitak, the 14-year-old author, educator and speaker who recently discussed millennials and social media on stage at Mashable Connect in Orlando, Fla.

    Svitak made a compelling case for social empowerment among “the generation of eye-rollers,” drawing from recent trends, studies and anecdotes from her own life growing up in the thick of a changing social landscape. Only problem is, adults can have a hard time understanding just how beneficial that engagement can be.

    Facebook Is the New Study Hall

    It’s a challenge for kids to live in a world of constant communication (as we all do), and suddenly turn it off in a classroom of textbooks and blackboards. I’ve heard it likened to teleporting kids to the 1950s for six hours each day.

    Take a recent anecdote about how a school administrator disabled Google’s chat feature, only to find students sharing Google Docs in order to chat in the sidebar.

    Similarly, Svitak explained how her peers at school use Facebook for fun, but also as a collaborative educational tool.

    “We use Facebook as a study hall, posting a lot of resources for upcoming tests,” she said, pulling up a comment thread full of links, likes and conversations about art history.

    Indeed, Facebook itself recognized the potential here when it launched Groups for Schools, where students and teachers could collaborate in a sanctioned social environment. Facebook’s platform just became richer with the ability to share files within groups as well.

    Whether via “official” channels or not, study will happen where students live. For now, that’s on Facebook, and fighting it will likely be a losing battle for educators.

    Meme Culture Is the New Rock and Roll

    There’s always been a cultural gap between parents and children. It can take the form of music — rock and roll or hip hop, for example. Or perhaps humor — The Cosby Show vs. South Park. The divide happening online, according to Svitak, lies in meme culture.

    Svitak’s mom is an early tech adopter. Her dad builds Windows Phones for a living. But according to Svitak, when it comes to web culture, they have no idea what’s going on. They don’t share the same touchstones she does with her older sister.

    “Memes are a world that my parents don’t quite understand,” said Svitak, however “inescapable” they are in her own Facebook feed. They are a new language — a way to communicate casually and humorously — almost like slang. And like all youth vernaculars, they can be a springboard into more topical conversations.

    When the hilarious Tumblr blog Texts From Hillary spread across the web, it made an impact on young people, said Svitak. “So many of my peers saw Hillary Clinton’s cool factor,” she explained. Kids whom she assumed didn’t care about news or current events were suddenly talking about it.

    New Marketing: Contests and Causes are King

    Young people have access to infinite entertainment, news and social choices, which means traditional marketing tactics won’t fly. If brands want to reach millennials, they need to wrap their messages in an engaging package. Contests and causes resonate well, according to Svitak.

    She cited a recent promotion by shoe retailer Vans, in which the brand encouraged fans to design their own shoes and share them on Facebook. One of her friends posted the creation above, and received about 40 “likes” within minutes. “If I pay you $100, will you let me keep them?” read one of the comments on the post. There’s no better brand play than a fan creating art around your product and her friends getting excited about it.

    “I think that my peers deserve more than products to buy wrapped up in advertising,” Svitak said. “We need ideas to share and causes to believe in — opportunities to lead and teach.”

    The idealism of youth is indeed a reckoning force when amplified by social media.

    “Teenagers invest themselves deeply in causes,” said Svitak. When it comes to marketing, “there’s a lot of idealism to tap into. Teens don’t have cash, but they can do good by using their smarts.”

    Svitak mentioned microlending website, which empowers people in developing nations with small, low-interest loans. The reach of lending campaigns in her Facebook feed are magnified as kids share and tag friends to get them involved. “We can use peer pressure in destructive ways, and amazing ways,” she said.

    The net benefit of this public discourse about brands and causes is a new era of corporate transparency, according to Svitak. “Not only do we share things we really like, but we share things that we hate.” Just as a brand aims to harness the power of social, a public misstep can be equally damaging. Svitak cited clothing retailer Urban Outfitters’ political donations to candidates with anti-gay platforms. The controversy caused a stir on the web after prominent tweeters like Miley Cyrus called the company out.

    Indeed, the most viral video ever — KONY 2012 — compelled young social media users to watch and share a 30-minute documentary about atrocities in Uganda.

    While many have found fault with KONY 2012, or have debated its value, it remains a testament to the unmatched influence of online youth. “Imagine KONY 2012 with no youth involvement,” said Svitak. “It wouldn’t be possible.”

    More About: Adora Svitak, Facebook, features, Marketing, mashable connect, memes, millenials, youth

    Fuel Cell Charges Phones for 2 Weeks [VIDEO]

    Posted: 10 May 2012 04:45 PM PDT

    Midday phone death is a hassle for anyone, but it gets even worse if you’re out and about. A new product can help you avoid that frantic search for an outlet the next time your phone’s battery tanks.

    Lilliputian Systems has created a butane-powered fuel cell, which acts as a “plug in your pocket,” according to the company.

    The device, which connects to a phone via a USB port, holds enough energy to charge a cellphone battery about a dozen times. After that, the butane cartridge can be replaced and the charger used again. It will soon be available at gadget retailer Brookstone.

    Check out the video above for the full details.

    Would you carry an extra piece of equipment around if it meant you could repeatedly charge your phone anywhere?

    More About: chargers, Gadgets, Mobile, Tech

    Paralyzed Football Player Signed to NFL Uses Social Media to Inspire

    Posted: 10 May 2012 04:27 PM PDT

    It’s an iconic sports image: Eric LeGrand, wheelchair-bound after being paralyzed from the neck down during a game a year prior, leading his Rutgers University teammates onto the field through a snowstorm as fans chant his jersey number.

    LeGrand was paralyzed in October 2010 when he injured his spinal cord making a tackle during a kickoff return in October 2010. A year later, Sports Illustrated readers voted his symbolic return to the field as 2011′s moment of the year, landing LeGrand on the magazine’s cover.

    Today, LeGrand has a new role as an advocate for spinal cord research and source of inspiration for fans around the world — and he says social media plays a key part in his mission.

    “I’m posting things every single day,” LeGrand told Mashable in an interview. “I just want to motivate people not to take everything for granted and to be the best people they can be.”

    LeGrand has nearly 60,000 followers on his Twitter account, which he set up several months after his injury. He frequently tweets updates on his progress, motivational quotes and photos. Last July, a photo he tweeted of himself standing upright with the help of a machine rallied support. His Facebook Timeline, which has about 47,000 followers, traces the narrative of his recovery as well as his life before the the injury. He also posts video messages using Tout.

    Last week, LeGrand’s former coach at Rutgers — who now coaches the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers — signed him to a contract with the team. LeGrand’s exact role with Tampa Bay is still being determined and the contract does not guarantee any money, but the gesture gained widespread media attention. This photo LeGrand posted to his Facebook page with the caption “Newest member of the tampa bay buccaneers” on May 2 has received a whopping 26,000 Likes.

    Fans regularly use Facebook and Twitter to thank LeGrand for his inspiration and marvel at his positive attitude. But LeGrand says the fame that’s resulted from his injury has simply given a larger platform to his natural disposition.

    “I’m still the same person I always was, but now it’s kind of taken off and if I can inspire youth by just being the person I am and being happy, then that’s great,” he told Mashable. “Especially since last week with Tampa Bay, it’s blown up even more. Now I post something and get like a thousand Likes in the first hour — that means people are paying attention.”

    Image courtesy Eric LeGrand.

    More About: Facebook, Social Media, sports, Twitter

    For more Entertainment coverage:

    Why Instagram Won’t Be the Last Billion Dollar App

    Posted: 10 May 2012 04:03 PM PDT


    Ravi Mehta is vice president of product for Viximo. He drives product strategy for Social Zone, Viximo’s mobile app platform that helps developers expand their reach and increase monetization via compelling, app-specific social features. Follow him @ravi_mehta.

    By now, it’s clear that mobile has arrived in a big, earth-shaking way. Last year smartphones outsold PCs for the first time in history. By 2015, mobile devices will account for almost 80% of Internet usage.

    It’s also intuitively clear. There’s a whole new generation of mobile-first users who will regard PCs as bulky and antiquated. And it’s abundantly clear from successful examples like Draw Something, which hit a million users in just nine days, and Instagram, which accumulated a staggering $2 million in enterprise value per day from inception to its $1 billion acquisition by Facebook.

    SEE ALSO: Why the Future of Social Is in the Palm of Your Hand

    But are dramatic mobile successes just anomalies that will die down as the industry takes shape? Or are we seeing a fundamental shift in the speed at which new ideas and new businesses can grow?

    There's a very good chance it’s a fundamental shift. The telephone heritage of mobile devices is inherently social. As a result, mobile devices play a very different role in people’s lives than PCs. Savvy app developers recognize this and are tapping into a set of consumer behaviors that are specific to mobile. When combined, these elements translate into explosive growth. Here’s why.

    Ingredient 1: New Modes of Usage

    Mobile devices provide developers with a new set of tools, but these tools take time to master. So while the first generation of mobile apps checked off the feature boxes for things like gestures and location services, the next generation of mobile apps are weaving together disruptive innovations that couldn’t exist before. There are four trends driving the next generation of mobile success stories.

    Lightweight Media Creation: Media creation on the PC is dominated by heavyweight applications aimed at a prosumer demographic. Mobile is all about keeping it light. That’s not only changing the way we take pictures, but changing every creative endeavor, including writing (iA Writer), music generation (Figure), brainstorming (Paper), painting (SketchBook Pro), movie production (iMovie), podcasting (Audioboo), and coloring (My Coloring Book).

    Instant Social Sharing: Smartphones are the ultimate medium for sharing with friends. Apps like Instagram leverage the potent formula of lightweight media creation and instant sharing on this device. We're continuing to see this formula work with apps like Viddy and Socialcam.

    Innovative Input Methods: Mobile phones offer a rich palette of input methods with their multi-touch interfaces, integrated cameras, and microphones. New modes of input have been a key element in a number of app success stories. For example, Outfit7 has used microphone input and tap gestures to create a fun pet interaction experience that has resulted in more than 300 million downloads for their Talking Friends apps franchise .

    Geolocation 2.0: Check-ins are a good start, but the really innovative app developers are using location to mediate how people interact with the world around them. For example, Banjo is enabling social discovery by projecting a user’s social graph onto a real-world map, and GymPact is using location, plus cash incentives, to help people get fit by going to the gym.

    Ingredient 2: Hypercharged Virality

    When was the last time you ran out of a meeting with your laptop to take an email or Facebook message? Probably never, but I bet you’ve run out of a meeting to take a phone call, or pulled out your phone to return a SMS. Mobile devices command a premium on our attention. With push notifications, app developers can now tap into that attention-grabbing magic.

    Draw Something uses push notifications brilliantly. With a few taps, a player can strike up a match with a friend or acquaintance. Once that match is going, push notifications fly back and forth as players trade turns. The result is a conversation that has the same rhythm and social richness as chatting with SMS. When compelling social interactions are combined with the ability of push notification, what we have is a formula for virality that can’t be matched on a PC.

    Ingredient 3: Business Models That Really Work

    On the web, the majority of consumers hate purchasing software. In fact, web app developers only monetize a handful out of every 100 users. In contrast, the majority of smartphone users have purchased content via their devices. This change in behavior has enabled mobile business models that really work.

    Micro-Impulse: With low price points, like $0.99, it's possible to sell software and reach millions of users at the same time.

    Virtual Goods: Just 18 months ago, pay-to-play games accounted for 90% of iOS game revenue. Today, free-to-play games account for more than 50% of iOS game revenue. In-app payments have enabled game and app developers to combine frictionless distribution with a business model that enables game developers to win by providing long-term entertainment value.

    Try Before You Buy: Although Apple doesn’t allow trial versions of apps, some developers, like the creators of Paper, have done a great job of providing a compelling core experience via a free app and then using in-app payments to allow users to upgrade to the full experience from the same app.

    More About: contributor, features, instagram, mobile app development, mobile apps

    Apple’s ‘Ghostbusters’ Spoof Circa 1984 Hits YouTube

    Posted: 10 May 2012 03:41 PM PDT

    Just a week after a video featuring a 1984-era Steve Jobs portraying FDR hit the web, even more magic from the vaults of Apple Corporate have hit the web, and this time we have theme music! And not just any theme music, we’re talking Ghostbusters.

    NetworkWorld — which got the original “1944″ video scoop — posted an epic opening video from Apple’s 1984 International Sales Conference. The video is called “Blue Busters” and the conceit is a pretty straight Ghostbusters parody, with Apple employees working as “Blue Busters” to eradicate the use of IBM machines on the desktop.

    As Macrumors points out, you can see cameos of Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in the video at the 2:21, 3:00 and 4:04 marks.

    Who would have guessed that Jobs was the kind of guy who was into making humorous corporate videos?

    What to Expect When Your Kid Becomes a Meme

    Posted: 10 May 2012 03:29 PM PDT

    There’s no parenting textbook that will entirely prepare you to raise a child. So, when your child goes viral on the Internet, even grown adults have no control over what gets shared. How do you protect your kid and remain a good parent?

    At the web culture conference ROFLcon, the parents behind Success Kid and David After the Dentist discussed what it’s like to raise a child — while managing his brand.

    “I knew on the way home that it was a really special picture, and I was excited that I got it,” says Laney Griner about the image of her then 11-month-old son, Sammy, holding a clenched fist and wearing a smug grin.

    Griner, who is a photographer, posted the image on Flickr and Facebook to share with family. The image went viral and Sammy became Success Kid, an Internet meme associated with achievement.

    “It was just weird to me; I didn’t get it,” says Laney. “I felt like maybe I was too old to get the whole meme thing.”

    SEE ALSO: ROFLcon: What the Internet Talks About Offline

    Internet users took the image and ran, adding phrases out of Griner’s control. Because his face appears slightly conceited in the picture, Sammy’s meme briefly evolved into “Imma F**k You Up” or “I Hate Sandcastles.” Griner was fortunate that it naturally evolved into Success Kid, but she decided to license the image to Getty to protect herself and Sammy.

    Advertising agencies discovered the image on Getty and contacted her. But using Sammy’s picture in ads, like Virgin Mobile UK, required several contracts, so Griner removed the image from Getty and licensed it herself.

    David Devore is the father who filmed the above video clip, “David After the Dentist.” His wife had to work that day, and his son David, Jr. was nervous about a trip to the dentist, so he decided to record the experience and share it with family.

    “I just got really lucky,” says Devore on capturing a funny moment with his son.

    Devore says that YouTube‘s policies are partly responsible for the video going viral. Because privacy settings limit users to only five emails, he decided to just make the video public to share with friends and family, “because no one’s going to care about this.”

    Instead, the video earned 3 million views within three days.

    As a father, the biggest initial concern for Devore and his wife was whether the people viewing and sharing the video were ridiculing David, or making fun of him.

    “Once we realized that it was all very positive for him — not necessarily toward me, which I can deal with that — we just decided to embrace it and enjoy it, and have a special experience with our family,” says Devore. “And that’s what it’s been. It’s been a lot of fun.”

    SEE ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: David After the Dentist Part II [VIDEO]

    Because the video was uploaded to YouTube, the family received revenue from the site’s partnership program. They’ve also entered into discussions with Vizio and TiVo, and David, Jr. will be featured in a Guinness Book of World Records about viral videos.

    But there are negatives to raising a child with unexpected Internet fame. Both parents admit that they’ve been accused of exploiting their child.

    However, Devore sums up his idea of child exploitation in one phrase: “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

    At 44, he also says many people roughly his age don’t understand the nature of the Internet, which can make defending himself a bit awkward. “I think you just need to take it with a grain of salt — yes, you need to be smart about it and cautious, but I think there’s a slight overreaction to posting photos of your kids and that sort of thing. Just calm down a little bit, you know?”

    In Sammy’s case, his mother posted the beach picture to social media — where it traveled on the web was out of her control. She says that she’s not worried how people react to her decision because there are more people getting joy out of the picture than anything else.

    “It doesn’t even matter anymore,” says Griner. “People like it and it makes them happy. He’s a funny kid.”

    SEE ALSO: How a Distasteful Meme Sparked a Web Culture War

    At the conference, Jay Maynard, known for his viral fame as Tron Guy, brought up an interesting point: How will this web exposure affect the children in their 20s and 30s? Could this type of Internet celebrity status at a young age destine a child for disappointment?

    David, Jr. (David at the Dentist) answered Maynard with an earnest “no,” that’s not going to happen.

    Five-year-old Sammy has a lot to say about his celebrity status. When asked what the best part of being famous was, he responded, “When I was a baby, I was putting sand in my mouth, and then I was famous — and that’s why I was born.”

    Here’s what he had to say about scary things on the Internet.

    Do you think these parents are handling the situation well? What would you do if you couldn’t control an image or video of your child on the web? Let us know in the comments.

    More About: david after the dentist, features, Kids, Meme, parenting, Success Kid, viral, YouTube

    Your Spankable Robot Butt Is Here, Baby [VIDEO]

    Posted: 10 May 2012 03:00 PM PDT

    Ready to smack some robot ass? You can if you want to. Meet Shiri.

    What is Shiri? Nobuhiro Takahashi and his team at the Tokyo University of Electro-Communications describe their creation in the video above as “a buttocks humanoid robot that expresses various emotions with organic movement of the artificial muscles.”

    So basically, a robot butt that clenches, twitches and responds to slaps like a person butt. Seriously, check the out the video for more details and a look inside how Shiri was made. The smacking action starts around the 2:25 mark.

    According to the Japanse dictionary app Kotoba, “shiri” most commonly means buttocks. But using a different set of Japanese characters with the same pronunciation, the word takes a second meaning — “personal profit, self interest.”

    What’s the weirdest humanoid robot you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.

    [via Kotaku]

    More About: robots, Video, viral

    Twitter Hires Hint at Email Expansion

    Posted: 10 May 2012 02:41 PM PDT

    Twitter App

    Twitter has hired the team behind personalized email marketing provider RestEngine.

    The startup runs re-activation, merchandising, cross-promotion and viral acquisition email campaigns that it personalizes using social graph data.

    Here is the statement RestEngine posted on its website:

    We’re very excited to announce that the RestEngine team is joining the Twitter flock! Just over two and half years ago we founded RestEngine to help social app publishers send targeted one-to-one emails based on a subscriber’s social graph. It’s been an incredible journey where we had the opportunity to work with some of the leading social app publishers.

    With our customers, we’ve iterated on our social marketing automation platform while defining a new set of best practices for this brand new world of outbound social marketing. We’re thrilled to now focus our email skills and marketing automation know-how on a much larger scale at Twitter.

    Three of four employees at the company will join Twitter, according to TechCrunch.

    Twitter recently acquired Summify, a startup that sent users daily emails with five stories they should read, based on what their friends were talking about on social networks.

    Though a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on why the company bought RestEngine’s personalized email marketing team, some have speculated that it could be working on an email digest of “great tweets you missed.”

    More About: RestEngine, Twitter

    For more Business coverage:

    Facebook Faces FTC Probe Over Instagram, Unlikely to Delay IPO

    Posted: 10 May 2012 01:49 PM PDT

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly launched a competition probe into Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.

    The investigation could take up to 12 months, but it will not necessarily delay Facebook’s IPO, which is expected next week.

    “Typically speaking, unless the FTC has actual regulatory concerns — in other words they think the prospectus doesn’t have all the information the investing public might need — then Facebook can go ahead and IPO,” James Brau, a professor of finance at Brigham Young University, tells Mashable.

    Brau says he would expect, given a major concern, that the FTC would not prevent Facebook’s impending IPO.

    David Balto, a former policy director at the FTC who now works as an anti-trust lawyer, agrees that the FTC standing in the way of Facebook going public on schedule would be unlikely.

    The probe itself is routine, as the FTC requires detailed filings for all acquisitions larger than $68.2 million.

    Facebook said in its IPO filings that it expected the Instagram acquisition to close by the end of the second quarter, but that now seems unlikely. Experts say the FTC could take six to 12 months to approve the acquisition.

    “Facebook is in the middle of the targets of antitrust enforcers,” Balto tells Mashable. “There are certain dominant firms that get the most intense scrutiny.”

    While the investigation will not necessarily delay Facebook’s IPO, it will delay the benefits the company sought in the acquisition. Facebook is not allowed to integrate Instagram technology or staff until the deal is approved, according to The Financial Times, which cites two people familiar with the matter.

    More About: Facebook, ipo

    For more Business coverage:

    Bill Clinton Speaks on the Power of Wireless Innovation

    Posted: 10 May 2012 01:36 PM PDT

    Former president Bill Clinton lauded mobile technology at the close of the CTIA Wireless conference Thursday.

    "Wireless technology has done more to lift people out of poverty than any technology,” said Clinton in a speech at the annual gathering put on by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.

    One example he gave came from when he was in South East Asian countries after a tsunami there, working with widows of fishermen in the country. "If we gave every one of them a cell phone, they could immediately find out what the cost of fish was and increase their income $30-50% over a year,” he said.

    He also spoke on the impact that mobile technology has had in healthcare and banking, providing services that might have not otherwise been available.

    "Diverse options are healthy and disagreement is good," Clinton said. "What works in real life are creative networks of cooperation.” Clinton added that people need to take advantage of their differences to move forward with challenges, and that party lines shouldn’t get in the way of innovation. "Cooperation in the modern world works better than conflict…if our goal is creative cooperation, we’re going to be fine."

    This year marked Clinton’s second trip to CTIA. His first visit came in 2007, when he traveled to the show with former president George Bush. That year, Clinton says toured the show floor in a golf cart and left with "the biggest goody bag" he had ever received at any convention — full of new technology his daughter explained to him when got home.

    What impact do you think mobile technology is having on the world around us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

    Image credit: Taylor Hatmaker

    More About: Bill Clinton, CTIA 2012

    For more Mobile coverage:

    Reddit Users Ask a Google Employee (Almost) Anything

    Posted: 10 May 2012 01:21 PM PDT

    In response to a Reddit user asking for someone from Google to do an AMA, which is their version of a Q&A, a software engineer from Google has been answering questions about working for the company.

    He agreed to answer questions, but made it clear that he wouldn’t violate his NDA. He also made sure to note that he was speaking for himself, and not as a representative of Google.

    The anonymous Googler, who works out of the Kirkland engineering office, answered questions about company culture, how to get a job there and Google+.

    IAmA Google employee. AMAA.

    SinSha: What was the application process like? What does Google look for in an employee?

    My application process started with an internship, which involved submitting a resume and passing two phone interviews. From the internship I did a “conversion”, which involved several more interviews plus the feedback from my internship.

    If you want to know what Google is looking for, I suggest you read Steve Yegge’s blog entry.

    Chachbag: Do you solve most of your problems at work by Googling them?

    A surprising number. It’s kind of scary. :)

    IHateWaffles: forgive me this seemingly shallow question, but I’ve read so many Googlers talk about Google, yet the one thing I never hear about is the ladies at Google. What’s the % of women you work with as a software engineer, does Google hire any hotties? Thanks :)

    I don’t know what the percentage is. I work with some extremely talented women, though.

    JayP812: Why do so many of the logo doodles honor little-known artists? Just a trend I noticed.

    Who do you think makes the doodles?

    danheinz: Do you use google+ or Facebook more often?

    G+. I don’t use Facebook any more. The signal/noise ratio got too low for me.

    But that’s a personal choice of mine and I can see why others might not make the same one. The stuff I share gets to the people I want to share it with, and that’s what is important to me. shrug

    chiisana: Some people, myself included, feels that Google, the company, is making a huge mistake pushing Google Plus into people’s faces right now. And instead of becoming relevant and or remotely near successful, it is actually hurting Google’s public image. What are your thoughts on Google Plus project, and the marketing approach taken by the company?

    Would you complain that Google is pushing Google into people’s faces? Don’t think of Google+ as the page at It’s a common social layer for all of Google. Once you realize this, you’ll see why it might feel like it’s being “pushed in your face”. How many Google products do you use that are social in any way (i.e. involve relationships with other people)? I’ve stated above why I think having that common social layer is important/good.

    As for the marketing approach, I don’t really have any comment since I don’t really know anything about it :P

    GrinningPariah: As someone who works for Microsoft, “sup”. :P Always interesting to see how the other side lives. From what I heard, you guys can expect about the same pay, better perks, but to work harder for them. Which brings me to my first question!

    Is it considered taboo in Google culture to go home at 5pm, like it is a lot of places in the software industry lately?

    Also, do you “drink the kool aide” and get behind Google products even when they are not so well received? As a follow up, how do you feel about G+?

    And finally, what do you think of other company’s efforts to step to Google?

    I don’t think it’s taboo to go home at 5. I sometimes go home much earlier. My personal policy is that if I realize I am being entirely ineffective (say, I’m overly tired or having a bad day, or just not in the groove), I won’t waste my or Google’s time by sitting and staring at my workstation – I go home. On the days where I’m in the groove and making great progress, I’ll keep working from home in the evenings (because I want to).

    I don’t usually personally promote products I’m not actually excited about. I actually really like G+ for what it is. Products have to be social these days, because the internet and the web is about people now, not just documents. So without G+, all Google products would have to either have no social features, or each have separate friend lists. Neither of those is acceptable.

    Competition is good. I’m a user too, remember? One of the awesome things about the web is that the hurdles for competition are so low, so everyone keeps everyone else on their toes. Ultimately we wind up with better products.

    liucifer: What’s the dress code like?

    I don’t think we have one. I think it falls under the other codes, primarily “don’t be a jackass”.

    But I’ve seen folks in suits, kilts, pajamas, sweats, etc.

    Penroze: How many hours a week do you work?

    How many hours a week does the typical Googler work?
    Years ago I heard they even put software problems on the bathroom stalls. Is this still true?

    I don’t know how many hours a week I work. I think it varies. But probably around 40, on average. More when I’m more excited about work. Less when I’m not.

    I don’t know about the typical Googler, but we try hard to get people to strike a good work/life balance.

    I haven’t seen software problems, but we do post all kinds of useful advice. Sometimes it’s advice about software practices like unit testing. There’s one that’s been there for a while now trying to tell me all about what the liver does.

    choompaloompa: What is the use of Google products like inside Google, like would it be acceptable to submit a report or document using Docs or have a professional long distance meeting over a hangout?

    Extensive. If anyone submitted a report or doc with something other than Docs, they’d get funny looks and probably get mocked mercilessly ;) We use hangouts all the time. We really believe in “eating our own dogfood”.

    globalsunshine:Is it true that Google (and most software companies) don’t like older people? It seems like there is only a small population of software engineers over the age of 40. Do you know what happens to them or is this just a myth?

    Google actually has an internal group just for older folks (along with all sorts of other demographics). From what I understand, they do everything they can to prevent anyone from being discriminated against due to age. But I don’t work for HR so I can’t give you a very detailed answer.

    hoteljuliet: How much “brainstorming” time do you get in a day?

    It varies a lot depending on what phase of a project I’m in. For a while last year, I spend like 90% of my time brainstorming. Today I spent 0%, since I was just trying to get some code checked in.

    choompaloompa: Does anyone work from home or is it compulsory to work at the office?

    Tons of people work from home. If you can do your job, there’s no real requirement on where you are. Of course, there are advantages to being in the office – face to face time with coworkers, being able to be in a meeting in person, etc. But there’s no requirement that you be in the office at any time.

    themailmanC: How encouraged is daytime (or anytime) napping?

    There are napping pods specifically designed for that purpose! Many offices also have quiet rooms where you can go recline way back in a comfy chair and nap.

    shakensunshine: That sounds really awesome. I wish my office had that. How comfortable are those napping pods?

    I don’t use them. I sleep in the massage chairs ;)

    More About: Google, reddit

    Mashable Photo Challenge: What Does Family Mean to You?

    Posted: 10 May 2012 01:08 PM PDT

    Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13, and while different countries celebrate the holiday at other times and in other ways, the idea of honoring your family is equally valid any day of the year.  We want to use this opportunity to explore the idea of family.

    For this week’s Mashable Photo Challenge, we want you to send us an image that represents family to you. This photo can be as simple as a portrait of your own mother, a newborn family member or your siblings. It could be something old or something new. Or it could even be a more abstract expression of what family means to you.

    The idea of a family is wide-reaching — not every experience reflects the “nuclear family.” We want you to feel free to express your interpretation through an image.

    As always, this photo challenge is up to you. Just send us a short description along with your photo.

    SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Make Your Pics Pop

    As an example, here is a photo of Mashable’s community manager Meghan Peters with her canine counterpart, Holly.


    How To Enter the Challenge

    • Take a picture that represents family 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 16 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 your photos!

    More About: community, Holidays, Mashable Photo Challenge, parenting, photography

    Mozilla and Google Cry Foul Over Browsers in Windows 8

    Posted: 10 May 2012 12:52 PM PDT


    If you thought you’d be happily browsing the web in either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox on that Windows 8 tablet you’re planning on buying, think again. According to Mozilla, Microsoft is planning to restrict the capabilities of third-party browsers on the tablet version of Windows 8, called Windows RT.

    In a blog post, Mozilla expresses great concern over the possibility that Microsoft might restrict browsers other than Internet Explorer from working as a full-featured browser on a Windows tablet. While a third-party browser such as Firefox would still run in the touch-friendly Metro environment, it wouldn’t have access to the Windows “classic” desktop. Consequently, the browser would be cut off from the “speed, stability and security” of a modern web browser, Mozilla says.

    Google echoed Mozilla’s worries in a statement.

    "We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation,” Google said. “We've always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder.”

    Answering a query from Mashable, a Microsoft spokesperson directed us to the company’s official blog post about Windows on ARM (since renamed Windows RT), which has a lot of information about Internet Explorer but does not mention third-party browsers at all. The spokesperson wouldn’t say whether or not the final build of the software would restrict the capabilities of third-party browsers.

    SEE ALSO: Ex-Microsoft Employee Launches 'Fixing Windows 8′ Site

    For the desktop version of Windows 8, full-featured browsers from third parties will be supported, and both Mozilla and Google have publicly said they’re working on versions of Firefox and Chrome that will be designed for Metro.

    If Microsoft does end up restricting third-party browsers on Windows 8 tablets, they would be in good company. Apple does not allow any other browser than Safari to run on iOS devices — the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Although other browser apps such as Opera and Atomic exist, they are all essentially skins for mobile Safari, or are simple clients that use cloud computing to do all the “heavy lifting” of web browsing (see update below).

    Android is much more open. Many third-party browsers (including Firefox) are available for Android phones and tablets, but with many different versions of Android running on different devices, their performance and capabilities can vary widely.

    What’s your take? Should Microsoft open up Windows tablets to other browsers, or is it simply following standard practices, established by Apple? Let us know in the comments.

    Update: Shortly after publication, Opera offered this statement: “Most alternative browsers on the iPhone are indeed skins of Safari. Opera Mini actually isn’t. Opera Mini only has a lightweight client on the device. All the processing is done in the cloud. We use our rendering engine, but it doesn’t reside on the device.” We have amended the story to reflect Opera’s statement.

    Image courtesy of iStockphoto, largeformat4x5

    BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8

    Start Menu

    Here's what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it's a little unwieldy in practice.

    Click here to view this gallery.

    More About: Firefox, google chrome, Metro, microsoft, mozilla, trending, web browsers, Windows 8, Windows RT

    Rebecca Black’s Former Producer Creates Sequel to ‘Friday’

    Posted: 10 May 2012 12:19 PM PDT

    Every Friday, when you catch yourself humming Rebecca Black‘s infamous weekend anthem, you can thank Patrice Wilson. He’s responsible for writing the song.

    But how do you come back from being the man known and ridiculed for “Friday?” Well, you write another song explaining what it’s like.

    “I figured I might as well kind of tell the story of what happened,” says Wilson, who addresses the backlash with a sense of humor in the new video. “When people see that it’s not getting to you, then maybe they can start liking you. With all the hate, I just wanted to make something that would make people smile.”

    The song, “H.A.P.P.Y.,” is a sequel to “Friday.” Continuing with the days-of-the-week theme, the video picks up right where Wilson left off in Black’s video: Saturday.

    SEE ALSO: Top 5 Rebecca Black "Friday" Covers”

    After Black’s song hit mainstream media, it received a lot of negativity. As the song continued to spread, Wilson was accused of exploiting children and ripping off musicians.

    “I think that people can’t understand how a no-name person could come up overnight and become as huge as she is and was back then,” explains Wilson.

    The criticism led to a depressive state for Wilson, and he admits that he gained weight due to the stress. In the beginning of the video, Wilson makes light of that dark time by crying in front of a self-critical fake news report. By the time he filmed the video, though, Wilson had to wear a fat suit because he had already lost the weight.

    “Friday” was ridiculed by other musicians who worked hard to push out singles, while Black’s nursery-rhyme lyrics and catchy hook received tons of publicity. Today, the song has more than 30 million views on YouTube — although, there’s a significant difference in the ratio of likes to dislikes.

    “I still love the song. I think it’s my masterpiece,” says Wilson. “But I’m trying to create other songs and not just dwell on ‘Friday.’”

    After the song became a hit, Wilson wanted to move on to create other songs. Monetary issues, among other things, got in the way, and Wilson moved on from Ark Music Factory, which he co-founded.

    Today, Wilson is founder of his own studio, Pato Music World.

    According to Wilson, “H.A.P.P.Y.” was written more than a year ago. Between starting a new company, financial issues and production, the song got pushed back, but was finally released Sunday.

    Coincidentally, Rebecca Black released her latest video, called “Sing It,” this week. Wilson says he was very adamant about keeping the song from becoming a “Rebecca Black vs. former producer” competition.

    However, when asked what he thought about Black’s new single, Wilson believes he’s created a more entertaining video for people to enjoy. Regardless, Wilson says that he is not concerned about how many views the video gets. After a year in the making, and a rocky 2011, he is just happy to be moving on.

    “I promised everyone that I was going to be making ‘H.A.P.P.Y.,’ and I got to release it,” says Wilson. “If it does great, it does great. If it doesn’t, I’m just going to keep on making music, because that’s what an artist does.”

    More About: Entertainment, features, Music, Rebecca Black, trending, Video, YouTube

    For more Entertainment coverage:

    60+ Hot Events in Social Media, Startups and Business

    Posted: 10 May 2012 12:02 PM 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 from the selection of more than 60 events 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.

    In addition to featuring events all over the world, exciting new listings are always added to Mashable’s Events Board in a variety of industries. 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.


    HealthTech NextGeneration

    Date: 5/24/2012 – 5/25/2012
    Location: San Francisco, California

    Heath administrators, government advisors and tech executives will come together at the HealthTech NextGeneration event, which focuses on the intersection of the health and technology industries. In addition to two days of keynotes and parallel track seminars, there will be an exhibition with many companies, including sponsors Intel and Deloitte. Ticket prices are $300 and include full event access, unlimited Wi-Fi and two meals for the day.

    Emerging Media Conference (EmMeCon) Seattle

    Date: 6/19/2012 – 6/20/2012
    Location: Seattle, Washington

    Executives from CNN, Home Depot and Bing have already registered for EmMeCon, an event focused on emerging trends and technologies in a variety of industries. The first time this event will be held in Seattle, VIP tickets (at a cost of $1,087.85) are running out quickly and ticket sales will end the day before event. Tickets in limited qualities will be sold at the door.

    Social Media

    DMA2012 Conference & Exhibition

    Date: 10/13/2012 – 10/18/2012
    Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

    DMA2012 is a global event for marketers and marketing experts that also offers intensives, certification programs and an exhibition for conference attendees. The event’s track system covers nine different areas of marketing, including data management and consumer loyalty, but attendees are encouraged to pick and choose their own programs. Register by June 29 to save up to $300 on your event ticket.


    General Assembly Digital Buffet

    Date: 6/11/2012 – 6/15/2012
    Location: New York, New York

    Interested in learning the ins and outs of programming? The General Assembly Digital Buffet is a week-long series of seminars that go through the multiple facets of developing a digital startup. Each day has an umbrella topic, such as “Digital Business” and “User Experience,” with a variety of classes and workshops around that theme. Attendees can register for a single day for $299 — those interested in attending for the week can contact General Assembly directly for rates.


    Mobile Local Media San Francisco

    Date: 6/27/2012
    Location: San Francisco, California

    Hosted by independent marketing research company BIA/Kelsey, Mobile Local Media San Francisco is a one-day conference that focuses on the trends and strategies for social, local and mobile (aka SoLoMo). Topics on the agenda range from local ad-targeting to media distribution and feature speakers from Yelp, SCVNGR and PayPal.

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

    More About: Events, features, mashable

    Google Can Prioritize Its Products in Search, Says Legal Expert

    Posted: 10 May 2012 11:48 AM PDT

    Can Google and other search engines prioritize self-promoting results in search — and still enjoy constitutional protection under the First Amendment?

    Yes, according to a report commissioned by Google from professor Eugene Volokh, an expert on constitutional and Internet law who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Google has quickly expanded outside the world of search over the past decade, now offering popular products in email, social networking, mapping and other services which often appear in search results on the site. Other search providers, such as Yahoo and Microsoft, also offer myriad other services that appear prominently in search results — for example, Bing Maps.

    Google denies prioritizing their own products in search results for an unfair business advantage, arguing they appear in search results because they’re either the most relevant results or because they offer data relevant to a search query. Someone searching for an address, for example, would likely be interested in a map of that spot, says Google — so a Google Map gets embedded into search results.

    However, Volokh’s report says that if they ever chose to actively prioritize their own products in search, the practice would fall well within the limits of constitutional protection.

    “Even if it is assumed that Google engages or plans to engage in … prioritizing, that prioritizing would constitute the legitimate exercise of Google’s First Amendment right to decide how to present information in its speech to its users,” Volokh wrote.

    Some Internet users fear that Google and other search outlets have been or are planning to modify their search algorithms to promote products owned by each respective company, despite the company’s insistance of the opposite. Such users also worry that such tampering would lessen the value of search results. If results aren’t delivered organically, they argue, how could they be trusted to be accurate?

    Google encountered blowback when it introduced “Search Plus Your World,” which adds information from Google+ to web search results.

    However, Volokh’s report compared search results to the editorial decisions made every day at newspapers and magazines — choices granted First Amendment protection.

    “Google, Microsoft's Bing, and Yahoo! Search exercise editorial judgment about what constitutes useful information and convey that information — which is to say, they speak to their users,” wrote Volokh.

    “In this respect, they are analogous to newspapers and book publishers that convey a wide range of information from news stories and selected columns by outside contributors to stock listings, movie listings, bestseller lists and restaurant guides.”

    SEE ALSO: Google Probe: Meet the FTC's Secret Weapon

    Google is currently under an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission on exactly this subject. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

    “We use data sources that are our own because we can’t engineer it any other way,” Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt told the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. “I disagree with the characterization that somehow we were discriminating against [competitors].”

    Schmidt also pointed out that if Google users were unhappy with search results, it would drive them to use competing products, costing the company business.

    “While we understand that there is no objective right answer to most search queries and that the answer is a ‘scientific opinion,’ we also recognize that if we do not give users the best possible search results, they are likely to click away to one of our competitors,” he said.

    Do search results deserve First Amendment protection? Can a report on the subject commissioned by Google be trusted? Sound off in the comments, and read the full report here:

    Google First Amendment Report

    More About: Google, Search, US

    Twitter Users React to Controversial ‘Time’ Cover

    Posted: 10 May 2012 11:34 AM PDT

    Time unveiled a very revealing cover for its latest issue, and Twitter users have had plenty to say about it.

    The cover features Jamie Lynne Grumet, a 26-year-old California mom, shown breast-feeding her son Aram, who turns four next month. In the issue — titled, “Are You Mom Enough?” — Grumet is interviewed about her parenting decisions and the modern relationship between mother and baby.

    Internet users responded quickly to the cover — it has already been Photoshopped, criticized and applauded.

    Due to the provocative nature of the image and its widespread popularity, some feel that the cover is hurting the boy’s reputation in the future. Some feel that it’s exploiting mothers. Others have found humor in the cover, manipulating the image and the topic by referencing other bits of pop culture.

    Here’s a round-up of what Twitter users have to say about the controversial topic. Do you agree with anyone in the gallery? Let us know in the comments.

    1. @MsJamieLynne

    Grumet herself has already tweeted about the magazine's release, followed by several retweets from Time and Twitter users promoting the interview.

    Click here to view this gallery.

    More About: cover photos, features, magazine, parenting, time magazine, trending, Twitter

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    Budget Camera Accessories on Kickstarter Stabilize Moving Shots [VIDEO]

    Posted: 10 May 2012 11:32 AM PDT

    Professional and amateur movie-makers have been there before: After you spend hours capturing video, you realize your footage is too shaky. MoveeGo, created by Los Angeles-based engineer Sylvain Lepoutre, is a low-cost solution to a frequent problem.

    The Kickstarter project hopes to make iPhone and compact camera footage significantly better. The MoveeGo package offers two incredible camera stabilizers that will make video footage crisp and stable, every time.

    SlideeGo, one option costing $79.95, is a metal beam you gently slide your camera across, allowing for smooth pans from side-to-side.

    Then there’s the SteadeeGo, a stabilizer costing $69.95, which dispels shakiness by letting videographers walk, climb stairs and move with their cameras.

    The camera accessories can be assembled without tools in a few minutes and the stabilizers are conveniently built to fit in a backpack. You can see the SlideeGo and SteadeeGo in action in the video above.

    Currently four days away from its Kickstarter funding end date, MoveeGo has raised about four times the initial goal of $3,300. So far, 178 backers have pledged $15,257.

    What are your must-have camera accessories for handheld cameras? Tell us in the comments if you’re interested in the MoveeGo package.

    Image courtesy of Flickr, badswan

    More About: digital cameras, gopro, kickstarter, Mobile

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    Groupon: Sound Investment or Risky Business? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Posted: 10 May 2012 11:16 AM PDT

    Groupon‘s financial history hasn’t always been this precarious, but lately, the daily deal site seems to be teetering on a stock market tightrope.

    In April, the company’s stock price plummeted on news that the SEC planned to investigate Groupon’s Q4 earnings restatement. Groupon claims that customer refund rates were higher than anticipated, a loss which prompted a shift in earnings.

    SEE ALSO: 10 Giant Things Less Valuable Than Facebook

    The infographic below, based on research gathered by, details the high and low points of Groupon’s finances and stock offerings, and breaks down a hypothetical coupon scenario to demonstrate how money is distributed to merchants.

    Do you still purchase Groupons? Where do you see the company heading in the next year? Share your ideas in the comments below.

    Image courtesy of iStockphoto, GiorgioMagini

    More About: finance, groupon, infographics, SEC

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