Friday, 14 December 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “The 6 Best Facebook Games of 2012”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “The 6 Best Facebook Games of 2012”

The 6 Best Facebook Games of 2012

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 02:10 AM PST

Sim City Social

While city building games are all over Facebook, it was nice to see the king return in 2012. Sim City has set the standard for city design since the 1980s, and the Facebook version brings back so many of the great features players love. Sim City Social capitalizes on players constructing cities with their friends, and how those relationships can form. While it still follows the conventions of a social game (energy consumption, bug your friends to improve), it offers a deeper and more customizable play experience. If anything, it serves as a nice way to curb the cravings for the PC Sim City release coming out next year.

Click here to view this gallery.

Let's face it: Most Facebook games aren't great. The constant bombardment of notifications, the suggestions to buy extra stuff at every turn, and the zillion popups are all hallmarks of an ecosystem that irritates serious gamers.

Mark Zuckerberg asserted earlier this year that 291 million Facebook users played games through the social network. While massive titles like FarmVille and Words With Friends claim the lion's share of the users, Facebook has a diverse range of games that many may appreciate.

SEE ALSO: 7 Kid-Friendly Games for the Holidays

We rounded up our picks for the Facebook games that went above and beyond this year. Check out our list above, and let us know which one…
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More About: Facebook, Gaming, Zynga, facebook games, social games

Windows Phone App Store Expands to 37 New Countries

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 11:59 PM PST

Microsoft has expanded its Windows Phone App Store to 37 new countries around the world, mostly in Africa and Asia.

The full list of new countries receiving the App Store is as follows: Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (DRC), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The App Store is now available in a total of 191 markets worldwide, while the web version of the Store is available in 112 markets.…
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More About: app store, microsoft, windows phone

Robot Bartender Takes to the Skies

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 10:40 PM PST

Always on the lookout for ways to enhance efficiency and reduce costs, airlines now have a new toy: a robot bartender.

The Skytender Trolley is not going to be a shiny and convivial robot clanking down the aisle and asking you, "What'll you have?" But it's only a step away from that.

Mounted onto the same kind of trolley flight attendants use today, the Skytender works like a soft drink dispenser at a fast-food joint. It can mix up 15 different drinks, and the system lets airlines choose more than 100 different beverages or flavors to offer passengers, including hot and cold drinks -- even wine.

If you've noticed how many drink cans and bottles must be opened by flight attendants…
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More About: Airlines, Video, robots

This Robot Is Going to Space to Keep Astronauts Company

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 07:19 PM PST

A consortium of Japanese companies will send a humanoid robot into space in 2013. Its mission will be none other than to keep astronaut Koichi Wakata company and help him run operations on the International Space Station, sort of like a humanoid HAL 9000.

The robot is still under construction, but once built, it will be 13 inches tall and weigh 2.2 pounds. It will be able to recognize faces, do simple experiments such as mixing liquid, and send information back to scientists on the ground. The companies, which include car-maker Toyota, will build two robots, sending one into orbit and keeping one on Earth as a backup.

SEE ALSO: RoboAppStore Adds Functionality to Your Favorite Robots
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More About: popular science, robots, space

Which Smartphone Is on Your Holiday Wish List?

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 07:05 PM PST

The smartphone is a mainstay of 21st century life. No matter how old you are, you have probably enviously eyed the latest model of your favorite phone sometime over the past few months. Maybe you were holding out on upgrading your device until the holiday season, hoping that a loved one would purchase a newer, faster, sleeker phone for you.

If you are lucky enough to receive a brand new smartphone during the holidays, which one do you want? Our picks for the top devices this season are the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Lumia 920, the Droid DNA and the Nexus 4.

SEE ALSO: Which Video Game Console Is on Your Wish List? | Which Tablet Do You Want to Receive This Holiday Season?
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More About: Droid DNA, Nokia Lumia 920, iphone, nexus 4, samsung galaxy SIII, smartphone, smartphones

Dana White Explains the UFC’s Social Media Choke Hold

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 06:50 PM PST

In this exclusive Q&A, UFC president Dana White discusses the mixed martial arts organization's astounding success on social media.

More About: Sports, ufc

Facebook Builds Stronger Bonds Than Twitter, Study Says

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 06:19 PM PST

Here's one simple way to strengthen your real-world ties: Connect with relatives, colleagues and pals on Facebook.

The social network's structure naturally promotes stronger friendships, a study led by Indiana University post-doctoral research fellow Emilio Ferrara found.

Researchers examined millions of Facebook users and their social relationships. The data scientists measured community sizes, intimacy within friend circles and interactions using the Label Propagation Algorithm — a statistical formula that can collect and process information coming from large-scale networks such as Facebook.

The study's results confirm all the time we're…
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More About: facebook friends, friendship, social networks

‘Google Now’ Could Compete With Fitness-Tracking Apps

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 05:58 PM PST

Without much fanfare, Google updated its Google Now section of the Google Search app with one potentially awesome feature -- the ability to track steps and cycling.

A blog post about the app mentions that the update will let you check the weather, access boarding passes, find activities to do and more -- it's basically a nifty travel app. With Google's suite of connected tools, having a fitness tracking app just might make perfect sense.

SEE ALSO: Fitbit Ultra, Aria WiFi Scale Make Getting in Shape Social [REVIEW]

If Google does create a gadget to enhance the fitness tracking features of its app, it'll compete with app/gadget fitness duos such as Nike+ FuelBand, LINK by BodyMedi…
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More About: App, Google Now, fitbit

Wearable Wagging Tail Matches Your Mood

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 05:46 PM PST

If you've ever lamented the fact that you don't have a tail, today is your lucky day.

A Kickstarter project for a device called Tailly is attempting to create a tail for humans that not only looks like it belong on your favorite pet, it responds like it is as well.

Using sensors built into Tailly's belt, the device reacts to your heart rate and responds accordingly. So, when you get excited your tail might wag a little faster than when you're just hanging around the house.

"Tailly is not just a toy, nor is it a fashion accessory or a gadget. It is those three items combined, and, since it reacts to the heart beat rate, an extension of the users' body," says the project
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More About: kickstarter

U.S. Counterterrorism Agency Can See All Your Files

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 05:15 PM PST

At a secret White House meeting last March, the Department of Homeland Security argued against a sweeping change in rules covering the way the government collects information on American citizens. The DHS lost.

That's the gist of a cracker of a story from the Wall Street Journal's Julia Angwin today.

Angwin pieced together heavily redacted documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, plus information gleaned from unnamed sources, to establish that the National Counterterrorism Center now has clearance to examine any federal government file on any U.S. resident or citizen and to retain that information for up to five years.

The NCTC will also allow foreign governments t…
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More About: U.S. government, department of homeland security, terrorism

Cory Booker Talks Being a Twitter Superhero With Jon Stewart

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 04:47 PM PST

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is in the business of putting superheros to shame.

At least, according to "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. But few would argue with the hyperbolic statement. The mayor recently went on a "food-stamps diet" to demonstrate solidarity with Americans relying on SNAP benefits, pulled a woman from a burning car and let New Jersey residents affected by Hurricane Sandy live in his home.

"You pull babies out of burning buildings, you have reversed the rotation of the earth to save Lois Lane. How does this happen to you? Do you patrol at night? Are you filming an episode of Cops?" Stewart asks Booker.

To which Booker replies that yes, at one point, he…
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More About: US politics, cory booker, jon stewart Enterprise Offers Managed Hosting for Businesses

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 04:16 PM PST

Automattic, the company behind, announced its Enterprise service Thursday as an option for customers who have outgrown the capabilities of's services but don't need the extra features and expense of WordPress VIP.

It used to be easy to tell the difference between self-hosted WordPress accounts and was the free, hosted option that offered users a fast, easy way to blog but limited what plugins or design changes a user could make to her site.

Over the years, Automattic has added additional upgrades, letting users remove advertisements from their sites, upload and embed video and better customize the look…
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More About: WordPress,, automattic, managed hosting, web hosting

Facebook For iOS Now Supports Uploading Photos to Albums

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 03:46 PM PST

In addition to updating its Android app, Facebook pushed an update to Facebook for iOS on Thursday.

Version 5.3 of the app includes a faster –- now native -- timeline, as well as a faster loading news feed.

The most important feature in the update, however, has to do with photos rather than speed. Now when you upload photos to Facebook through your iOS device you can select an album for those photos to go into. A feature already available in Android, album functionality is something iOS users have been without since the app's launch.

The company recently made the decision to move from HTML5-based apps to native applications.

Both Facebook's iOS and Android apps are now…
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More About: Facebook, android, iOS

Puerto Rican Inmates Tweet About Life in Prison

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 03:32 PM PST

Three inmates in Puerto Rico want you to follow them on Twitter so you won't follow them to prison.

The tweeters are part of a pilot program called Follow Me So You Don't Follow Me, or Siguenos para que no nos sigas in Spanish. According to Fox News Latino, the trio shares three daily updates in Spanish, revealing the harshness of life in jail in the southern Puerto Rico town of Guayama. Each tweet is signed by either Inmate 1, 2 or 3.

Otro fin de semana sin ver a mi familia en esta epoca de union. Joven disfruta de la libertad. via @confinado2— Follow2unfollow (@followtunfollow) December 11, 2012

Translation: Another weekend without seeing my family at this time of year. Y
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More About: Twitter, prison

See Your First Screen Name Illustrated on Mashable

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:57 PM PST

There's something great about the first screen name you ever had. For many of us who started using the Internet in the 1990s, logging on wasn't something we imagined would be tied to our professional lives. Things were simpler then; our user IDs for emailing and instant messaging often reflected something more innocent about ourselves. A favorite band or book. An activity we practiced or a sports team we cheered for. Our birthdays or other significant dates often featured prominently in these early digital nicknames.

Before the days of Linkedin and professional branding online, we were allowed to express ourselves differently with our online identities. Because we love weird cultural ephe…
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More About: email

Mysterious Package Addressed to Indiana Jones Arrives at UChicago

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:54 PM PST

The University of Chicago on Tuesday received a peculiar package address to Indiana Jones.

More About: Indiana Jones, Watercooler, tumblr

Mr. President, Build This Death Star

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:41 PM PST

Here's an interesting twist to the fiscal cliff negotiations. A petition calling on the U.S. to build a Death Star has reached 25,000 signatures on the "We the People" White House website a day ahead of its deadline -- meaning the Obama Administration, according to its own rules, must prepare an official response.

The cost of turning the fictional Death Star into a fully operational battle station was estimated by economics students at Lehigh University last year to be $852 quadrillion, or roughly 13,000 times the global GDP. So there goes the budget deficit.

On the other hand, once built, a Death Star could be used to shake down other nations, not to mention alien civilizations, for t…
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More About: Star Wars, the white house

Behold, the Subtle Greatness of Google Maps for iPhone

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:39 PM PST

We're glad to see Google Maps back on iOS, and so is Sacha Greif, a Kyoto-based designer, coder and entrepreneur who points out the subtle excellence in the new app that rolled out for iOS Wednesday night.

He likes its style: Google has carried over its now iconic and clean design from its other apps into this one, and he likes the white/light-gray look of it all. Although Greif doesn't much care for some of Google's other design choices (he's looking at you, Google Reader), he thinks Google Maps' clean look works particularly well on mobile platforms. He loves the typeface choice, too, which he thinks "looks like it's been through Weight Watchers." He's right. Just look at those slim s…
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More About: Google Maps, design, iOS

Can Assange Really Become an Australian Senator?

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:33 PM PST

Even when he's locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange's ambition doesn't wane. Apparently, he now wants to be a senator. Yesterday, Australian newspaper The Age reported that Assange wants to run in the 2013 Australian federal election and even create a Wikileaks party in his native country.

Leaving aside the chances of winning the seat, it's not entirely clear whether he is actually eligible to run for senator in the first place, Australian legal experts say.


According to the Commonwealth Electoral Act of 1918, to run for a congressional seat, a person needs to be at least 18 years old, an Australian citizen, and be eligible to…
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More About: World, julian assange, wikileaks

Jelly Bean Is Coming to Verizon’s Galaxy S III

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:33 PM PST

If you're a Verizon Galaxy S III user, then the carrier has the perfect holiday gift for you: the latest version of Android.

Galaxy S III smartphones on Verizon will be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Friday.

Jelly Bean brings a number of new features to the Galaxy S III including Google Now, Google's built-in digital assistant resembling Apple's Siri. Jelly Bean also updates notifications on the phone, allowing you to return missed calls and email from directly within the notifications window.

With Jelly Bean the camera on your Galaxy S III will also see an upgrade, adding a number of built-in Instagram-like filters to the camera app. Videos you record with your phone c…
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More About: Galaxy S III, android, samsung

Spoiler Alert: November’s Viral YouTube Videos Uncovered

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:20 PM PST

Prepare for the magic to end -- the Fine Bros. are recounting the top 50 viral video sensations of November and straight-up cutting to the chase.

So if you pulled a Rip Van Winkle and fell asleep for the entire month, you don't have to worry about catching up with all the Internet chit-chat. It's right here.

Turns out, most of the videos have common themes -- people think the videos are fake, they go "awwww" upon seeing them and/or believe everyone in the video to be a badass.

SEE ALSO: Past Viral Video Recaps

Nonetheless, the list is exhausting, as is watching these guys talk fast enough to cram 50 videos into four minutes.

So watch the above video, and then go seek…
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More About: Viral, YouTube

What Parents Need to Know About Facebook’s New Privacy Controls

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:19 PM PST

Facebook changed its privacy settings on Wednesday and it's important to know what the new changes mean for users, especially your digitally-connected children.

You might notice that now all your privacy settings are housed under one area called Privacy Shortcuts. But you may not see the changes on your profile yet -- Facebook said it will be rolling this out through the end of this year.

SEE ALSO: Here's What the New Facebook Privacy Settings Will Look Like

Nicky Jackson Colaco, manager of privacy and safety at Facebook, tells Mashable these settings haven't been changed so much as moved, and one setting has been enhanced. The goal was to make it easier for users to access, and be…
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More About: Children, Facebook, Social Media, parents, privacy, settings

4 Best Practices for Digital Marketers in 2013

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:10 PM PST

Jonathan Gardner is director of communications at Vibrant Media, a leading digital ad company. He has spent his career as an innovator at the nexus of media and technology, having worked in communications and as a journalist.

Another year, another attempt to predict the future. If 2012 was the year of Korean dance videos, citizen curation and Superstorm Sandy, who can possibly tell what 2013 might bring?

It's exciting to think that a year from now we'll be buzzing about all new startups, fresh apps to obsess over and maybe even a new device or two we can't imagine ever having lived without.

But in the realm of digital marketing, the writing's already on the wall. Here are t…
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More About: Marketing, Predictions 2013, Social Media, contributor, features

Manage Your Kickstarter Campaign With This Simple Dashboard

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:05 PM PST

Soma, a water filter company, built a dashboard to track its recent Kickstarter campaign and it is now offering the tool for free as a Chrome extension.

More About: kickstarter

10 Simple DIY Gift Ideas on Pinterest

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 02:02 PM PST

1. For Organizing Ollie

One for each size of googly eye. Pinned by, from House to Home

Click here to view this gallery.

Whether you prefer to give from the heart or you're just plain broke, DIY is the way to go for gifting. And Pinterest is chock full of inspiration.

SEE ALSO: 10 Foolproof Gifts for Your Office Secret Santa

To help you out, we've collected 10 simple craft projects that would please any member of your kooky family. So, fire up the glue gun and shake up the spray paint. These handmade crafts will be the hit of the holidays.

Be sure to share your own DIY tips and ideas in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy Teghan Delude, from Honestly WTF

More About: Gifts, diy, features, holidays 2012, pinterest

Will the Next Big Social Network Be All About Video?

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 01:56 PM PST

Spreecast founder and CEO Jeff Fluhr believes social video is the next logical step after text- and photo-based social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

More About: social video, spreecast, startup, valleygirltv

Would Susan Rice Have Been the Next Great Social Diplomat?

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 01:46 PM PST

Susan Rice has taken her name out of consideration for secretary of state amid political controversy over September attacks against an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

"If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly -– to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities," wrote Rice in a letter to President Obama obtained Thursday by NBC News.

Had Rice been selected by President Barack Obama for the job and her nomination cleared by Congress, she would've replaced the outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton. Would Rice have kept up her predecessor's legacy of social and tech-savvy diplomacy?

Rice r…
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More About: Politics, US, World

NSFW Christmas Lights Sneakily Reveal Naughty Bits

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 01:30 PM PST

Warning: Slightly NSFW

Hiring someone to install your Christmas lights? Treat that person with a heavy dose of holiday kindness, or you might be in for a big surprise.

That's what happened to the city of Brighton in the U.K., whose holiday decoration installer got a bit too creative.

But if not for this video shot from specific camera angles, the not-so-subtle cheeky humor might have gone unnoticed. Or maybe not.

Update: Look out! Could be a hoax. But it's still funny, and if it's fake, this is some remarkable effects work.
Update 2: It's a fake, according to The Argus.

BONUS: 15 Weird and Wacky Christmas Tree Ornaments

Graphic courtesy The Poke

More About: NSFW, christmas lights

EU Settles Price-Fixing Investigation With Apple, Publishers

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 01:18 PM PST

The European Commission has reached a settlement with Apple and four book publishers, ending a year-long investigation into whether the fives parties have been fixing e-book prices.

In September 2011, European regulators began investigating claims that certain publishers - Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), HarperCollins (News Corp., USA), Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of Macmillan, Germany) and Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) --had priced their e-books in a way that prevented booksellers from selling books more cheaply than Apple, violating EU antitrust rules. According to an earlier report in Fortune, Steve Jobs cut a…
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More About: Media, apple, publishing

Ancient Galaxy May Be Most Distant Ever Seen

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 01:16 PM PST

Astronomers have spotted seven galaxies that existed just a few hundred million years after the universe's birth, including one that may be the oldest found to date.

The potential record-holding galaxy, known as UDFj-39546284, likely existed when the universe was just 380 million years old, researchers said, and may be the farthest galaxy ever seen. The other six distant galaxies all formed within 600 million years of the Big Bang, which created our universe 13.7 billion years ago.

UDFj-39546284 was detected previously, and researchers had thought it formed just 500 million years or so after the Big Bang. The new observations, made using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, push its probable…
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More About: NASA, pics, space

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