Saturday, 22 December 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Apple Drops Sweet Christmas-Themed iPad Ad”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Apple Drops Sweet Christmas-Themed iPad Ad”

Apple Drops Sweet Christmas-Themed iPad Ad

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 03:29 AM PST

With just four days to go until Christmas, Apple dropped this sweet little ad Friday night showing off the benefits of FaceTime on the iPad.

The ad, from TBWA\Media Arts Lab, shows a girl singing the venerable "I'll Be Home For Christmas" while strumming a ukulele on an iPad. Meanwhile, on an iPad Mini, we see what looks like her beaming grandpa nodding along and smiling. The ad ends somewhat poignantly as she concludes that she'll be home for Christmas "if only in my dreams." Ironically, it looks like she won't be home for Christmas, but at least the two can have some face time anyway.

What do you think of the ad? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Apple

More About: Advertising, apple, ipad, ipad mini

Rise Alarm Clock App Makes Waking Up Pleasant

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 09:04 PM PST

This beautifully designed iPhone alarm clock app will change your mornings. The minimalist Rise Alarm Clock [iTunes link] for iPhone by Simple Bots is a refreshing way to wake up.

The unique alarm clock is intelligently intuitive. Fresh out of slumber, you won't have to rummage around for the right button to shut off the harsh tones. A simple swipe and pull will turn off the alarm. Click once to give yourself another five minutes of blissful sleep.

SEE ALSO: Late-Night Gadget Use Damages Your Sleep Cycle [INFOGRAPHIC]

Before going to bed, simply move your finger up and down to set a time to get up the next morning. Turn the alarm on or off by swiping the iPhone screen. There are…
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More About: alarm clocks, iPhone alarm, iphone apps

New Species of Spider Named After President Obama

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 08:32 PM PST

President Obama has already made history, but he now has another outlet where his name will be remembered for decades to come: arachnology textbooks.

Barack Obama now officially has a species of spider named after him. President Obama made an appearance in a Spider-Man comic back in 2008, and this picture of him adorably getting caught in a young Spider-Man's web is making the rounds, so we can't think of a better president to bestow his name to an arachnid.

Check out the video for the full story.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, AliciaEBoyce

More About: mashable video, obama, president obama, Science

A Spotify Subscription Makes a Stellar Last-Minute Gift

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 07:36 PM PST

In a last-minute bind for a holiday gift? Don't worry, we've got your potential saving grace: a subscription to music-streaming service Spotify.

More About: apps, Gift of the Day, holidays 2012, spotify

$140,000 Kickstarter Project Learns: Don’t Mess With Apple

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 07:08 PM PST

How would you like a portable battery that could charge any kind of phone -- including the latest iPhones -- without any kind of adapter. That was the whole thrust of Pop, a rechargeable battery that would have built-in cables for almost every kind of port, the Lightning connector included.

If it sounds too good to be true, that's because it was. Pop is dead before it even went into production, even though it had a very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $140,000, more than double its original goal.

Why is it dead? It's because Apple has the final say on which devices use its connectors, and it had issues with the Pop. Find out more in the video above.

Homepage image
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More About: apple, kickstarter, speaker

NASA Captures Solstice Solar Portrait

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 06:13 PM PST

At 11:12 UT (6:12 a.m. EST), the world didn't end (as far as I can tell), but it was a significant time none-the-less. That was the exact minute of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (or the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) -- when the daylight hours are shortest and the sun reaches its most southern position in the sky at noon. This is all due to the Earth's tilt relative to the sun (read more on the Earth's axial tilt and how it affects the seasons).

The ever-watchful NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the time of solstice from orbit. Although the SDO is always imaging the sun through a multitude of filters, this is a great excuse to showcase the fanta…
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More About: NASA, space, sun

2012′s Biggest Winners and Losers

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 05:24 PM PST

It's been the most manic of years, with extreme highs and heart-breaking lows. Ultimately, we all have our good times and our bad. With that in mind, I hope we can cheer 2012's winners and empathize with the year's losers.

More About: apple, Facebook, features, Google, instagram, microsoft, op-ed, space, Year End 2012

Facebook Poke App Is Frustrating as Hell

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 04:53 PM PST

Facebook Poke: Startup Screen

Poke, the new iPhone app from Facebook, lets you send short messages, photos and videos to friends that automatically self destruct after a few seconds. If you have the Facebook app on your phone already, logging in is effortless.

Click here to view this gallery.

I was never a big poker on Facebook. When I joined the social network in 2007, giving someone a "poke" was still pretty common. It was a connection that stopped short of an actual friend request, a way to test the waters of a reconnection with, say, an ex.

The new app, Facebook Poke (as it's listed in the App Store), doesn't have much in common with poking of old. It's essentially a clone of other texting apps where all the messages have a built-in self-destruct. It's ideal for clandestine activities, shall we say.

Here's how it works: Let's say you have a sudden urge to send one of your Facebook friends a photo of a, er, cucumber. But you don't want to just send them a cucumber pic th…
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More About: apps, Facebook, iOS, poke

Google XPhone: Long on Mystery, Short on Details

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 04:20 PM PST

Google's newly-acquired Motorola division is working on a next-generation iPhone competitor known internally as the XPhone, according to one report.

But details are scant when it comes to what the device is, and what exactly makes it next generation.

The report, in the Wall Street Journal, suggests the previously undisclosed device is due for launch "sometime next year" and has already gone through a number of iterations.

A flexible screen has apparently been considered and abandoned on the XPhone, as have ceramic molds that would allow for unusual shapes and a panoramic camera with better color saturation. Some of the potential features were nixed as a drain on battery life. What…
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More About: Google, motorola mobility

Maximize Your Safety with AfterShokz Sport Headphones

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 04:06 PM PST

If you find yourself taking your headphones on-and-off constantly when you need to chat with someone, a new pair lets you listen to the sounds around you while also having a jam session.

AfterShokz recently released its second generation headphones that uses an "open ear design" in which sound is transferred by way of bone conduction. The AfterShokz Sportz M2 don't go into your ear, or cover your ear. Sound is transferred along your jaw line through two small transducer pads that sit in front of your ears on your temples. Sound is transferred to your inner ear via vibrations.

SEE ALSO: Headphones Use Military Tech to Deliver Tunes Directly to Your Inner Ear

This experimental de…
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More About: bone conducting, earbuds, Headphones, sound quality

This Year in Twitter: 9 Important Milestones

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 03:30 PM PST

With tweets flying through cyberspace every second of the day, we're writing history with the touch of our fingertips. In 2012, Users documented events, political battles and heart-wrenching moments throughout the past year, and Twitter itself made history on a few occasions.

Here's a look back at the nine biggest Twitter milestones of 2012.

Twitter's Sixth Birthday

Single-digit birthdays are usually celebrated with cake, balloons and confetti, but on March 21, 2012, founder Jack Dorsey, recognized Twitter's six-year accomplishment with a tweet — what else would you expect?

It's 12:50. Happy 6th Birthday @twitter. From 1 tweet to over 1 billion every 3 days. I'm so proud of ou…
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More About: contributor, features, Social Media, Twitter, Year End 2012

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hamlet Book Breaks Kickstarter Record

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 03:06 PM PST

Webcartoonist Ryan North's Kickstarter campaign has broken the all-time record for being the most funded publishing project ever. His reinvention of Shakespeare's classic, Hamlet -- To Be Or Not To Be: That Is the Adventure -- is a choose-your-own-adventure style story.

The illustrated book is described as "80,000 words of comedy and mayhem," with jokes, swordfights and ghosts. It allows readers to either choose the actual path through the book by following the choices marked by Yorick skulls or make their own decisions and find themselves in comical alternate universes.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hamlet Storybook Poised To Break Kickstarter Record

North set a goal of $20,000 and asked $20 for a signed paperback copy plus a digital version. He reached his goa…
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More About: choose your own adventure, funding, kickstarter

Scientists Explain Why Rudolph’s Nose Is Red

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 02:37 PM PST

Scientists in the Netherlands published a report about just why Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's nose is, in fact, red. Results may surprise.

More About: Christmas, Newsy, report, study, videos

The Trash We’ve Left on the Moon

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 02:12 PM PST

The image above shows the remains of the Apollo 17 site in the moon's Taurus-Littrow Valley -- an image, released in 2011, sharp enough to show the tracks of the astronauts and their lunar rover in unprecedented detail.

At top left you can see the mission's ALSEP, or its package of scientific instruments. In the center is the lunar module's descent stage ("Challenger"), as well as the module's experimental pallet, the ladder leading down to the lunar surface, and the life-support backpacks (PLSS) that crew members Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt tossed out of their ascent module just before leaving the moon.

You can also see paths left by walking astronauts and tracks left by lunar bugg…
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More About: moon, NASA, space

Why xkcd Is Wrong About Instagram

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 01:48 PM PST

Mashable OP-ED

First, let me state for the record: There will always be a special place in my heart for xkcd. Randall Munroe's webcomic has been a reliable source of amusement and enlightenment since it began in 2005. That former NASA robot programmer and his stick-figure 'toons have choked me up, made my jaw drop, and soothed my fears with science.

But sometimes, just sometimes, Munroe gets things profoundly wrong.

That's the case with his latest strip, an analogy that's supposed to take Instagram's side -- a side even Instagram itself isn't taking any more -- in its terms-of-service kerfuffle. And before you say "dude, it's just a webcomic," consider that this particular web…
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More About: comics, instagram, xkcd

This Is How Facebook Tried to Make Money Off You

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 01:26 PM PST

For better or worse, this will go down as the year that Facebook really put a dollar sign in front of its users.

More About: Facebook

Psy and Bieber Face Off as ‘Gangnam Style’ Hits a Billion Views

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 01:09 PM PST

While Justin Bieber has long been heralded as King of YouTube, this infographic tells a different story, pitting "Gangnam Style" against Bieber's "Baby."

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, gangnam style, justin bieber, Music, psy, viral videos

Is This Jet Pack the Future of Flying?

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 12:40 PM PST

Who doesn't want to zip around with a jet pack, Iron Man-style? A new Kickstarter project is trying to make personal flying more of a reality.

Called the Jet Vest, the personal flying belt uses micro-jet turbines instead of the traditional hydrogen peroxide rocket engines to propel users into the air for about four minutes of flight. Not only is the Jet A fuel it uses a lot safer, the cost of each flight is less pricey too: About $20 for each flight, compared to $1,200 - $1,400.

SEE ALSO: Dude, Where's My Flying Car?

But the team says it doesn't plan on selling them just yet.

"The function of the Jet Vest will be used for flying in large scale special events such as the Super Bow…
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More About: kickstarter

Facebook Introduces Snapchat Competitor, Poke

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 12:32 PM PST

Facebook on Friday announced its rumored Snapchat competitor, which it is calling Poke.

Like Snapchat's app, Poke (named after the famous, much-derided Facebook feature), lets you send a message, photo or video to Facebook friends. The messages expire after 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds, though. The utility of such an app has prompted some debate. Snapchat's name has been widely linked to sexting, though the company denies it was designed for such use.

What do you think? Will you use Poke? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, CWLawrence

More About: apps, Facebook, snapchat

83 of 2012′s Best Viral Videos Crammed Into 4 Minutes

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 12:20 PM PST

Hey, this year's over, and it's been crazy, but here's a wrap up. So watch it maybe.

Anyone with an Internet connection busted moves to "Gangnam Style" or cringed at a half-naked dude's icy pool flop. The seemingly endless flow of viral videos clocked up billions of YouTube views in 2012. You probably watched so many, they're all jumbled up in your head anyway, which puts you in perfect mindset to watch the clip above.

SEE ALSO: The Least Watched Viral Videos of 2012

The masters of obscure YouTube gems at VideoGum sliced up 83 of 2012's best viral videos and crammed 'em all into four minutes that will knock your Hot Cheetos and Takis off.

BONUS: The 10 Most Viral YouTube Vide
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More About: viral videos, Watercooler

John Kerry Could Be a Socially Savvy Secretary of State

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 12:02 PM PST

John Kerry's Twitter use shows he would carry on Hillary Clinton's role in bringing social media to the State Department.

More About: barack obama, john kerry, Politics, US

The Official Mashable Community’s Holiday Wish List

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 11:44 AM PST

The wish list is synonymous with the holiday season. It's the one time of year where we can selfishly list all the gadgets and devices we've been drooling over, in the hopes that we get to unwrap them when the time comes.

You want the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a Nintendo Wii U and a Samsung Galaxy Camera? Add it to the list!

Here at Mashable, we wanted to participate in this yearly tradition and find out what is on your annual wish list. In a series of polls, we asked you which devices were your hearts' desires in the categories of laptops, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles and cameras.

We took your responses, and compiled the master wish list of the Mashable communi…
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More About: community, holiday wish list, holidays 2012, wish list

Seinfeld Plays Ball in ‘Who’s on First?’ Remake

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 11:33 AM PST

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's iconic "Who's on First?" comedy routine from the 1930s just got a refresh from a few of today's funnymen.

More About: billy crystal, Entertainment, jerry seinfeld, jimmy fallon, TV, viral videos

10 Hot PC Game Bargains for the Holidays

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 11:17 AM PST

1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

If you like your fantasy dark and brooding, The Witcher (based on a series of Polish novels) is the game franchise for you. This gorgeous sequel has exciting combat mechanics, a rich plot and serious difficulty. Just make sure your PC specs are up to snuff -- you'll need a modern graphics card to run this bad boy at full capacity. Sale Price: $11.99 Get it from:

Click here to view this gallery.

'Tis the season for deep discounts on the great PC games you've been dying to play all year. Cloud delivery platforms like Steam and GOG are a treasure trove of bargains on classics and top sellers. Grab them for yourself, or gift them to friends for the holidays.

SEE ALSO: 50 Winning Holiday Gifts for Gamers

But be quick! Most of these deals end in early January -- some even expire within the next day.

What will you be playing over the holiday break? Post your faves in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of CD Projekt RED

More About: Entertainment, features, Gaming, holidays 2012, video games

10 Adorable YouTube Videos of Baby’s First Christmas

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 11:04 AM PST

1. Wrapping Paper, Y U So Hilarious?

Who needs presents? The wrapping paper is entertainment enough.

Click here to view this gallery.

Fah la la la d'awwwww.

'Tis the season for adorable videos. "Baby's First Christmas" is a landmark event in every parent's life, and we've put together some of the cutest videos on YouTube, which show little kids getting their first taste of holiday cheer.

SEE ALSO: 12 Funniest 'Parents Shouldn't Text' Messages of 2012

If a special little someone came into your life this year, check out this video and learn how to craft your own commemorative ornament. Otherwise, just watch these videos and let your heart grows a few sizes.

Want to show off your kid's first big holiday? Let us know in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, wfyurasko

More About: holidays 2012, Video, YouTube

10 Terrific Gifts for the Apple Fan in Your Life

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 10:46 AM PST

Apple iPhone 5

If your Apple lover hasn't yet taken the plunge, now is the time. The iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet; it's thin and light and has serious processing power. Plus it has an improved camera for capturing and sharing those spontaneous moments. Price: From $199 with a 2-year contract. Photo courtesy of Flickr,Brett Jordan.

Click here to view this gallery.

Picking the perfect holiday gift can be difficult, especially if you're not quite sure what the recipient likes. Luckily, if someone on your list is an Apple fanboy or girl, you can be sure anything related to their precious iDevices will surely be a hit.

Whether they already have an iPad, a new iPhone or anything Apple related, rest assured, they will always want more. We've rounded up 10 items sure to be a hit with the Apple lover in your life.

Check out the gallery above and let us know which ones are on your list, or if we missed any.

More About: apple, holiday gifts, holidays 2012

Report: Apple Maps Most Popular iPhone App in 2012

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 10:23 AM PST

iPhone owners may not have loved Apple's Maps, but they used that app more than any other on the platform in 2012, according to Nielsen.

Maps was used by an average of 32.4 million iPhone owners a month, besting Facebook, which ranked second with 28.6 million users. Here's the full list:

Apple's Maps was a pr disaster for Apple. After users complained, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology. Earlier this month, Google Maps became available on iOS 6, netting 10 million downloads within its first 48 hours of release.

The Nielsen study only looked at data from January through October, so information on usage for Google Maps was not included. It's also worth noting that the data for…
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More About: android, apple, Google, iOS, maps, Nielsen

Spin Magazine Halts Print Publication

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 10:13 AM PST

Spin became the latest magazine to pull out of print, halting production after 27 years.

The publication, which is owned by Buzzmedia, broke the news to subscribers on Friday: "Spin has halted publication of our print edition to invest more deeply in our digital properties, including, Spin Play for iPad, and Spin mobile," the company wrote on its site. "Special arrangements have been made with alternative publishers to fulfill your Spin print subscription for the remaining term: you will automatically receive your new magazine in the mail, with the option to ask for a full refund. We appreciate your patience during the transition of your subscription."

Two weeks after the onl…
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More About: magazines, spin magazine

NRA’s Call for Armed Guards in Every School Prompts Immediate Backlash

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 10:13 AM PST

The National Rifle Association called for armed guards in every school as a reaction to last week's massacre in Newtown, Conn., prompting an immediate backlash from social media users on Friday.

During and after the press conference where the plan was unveiled, NRA-related hashtags dominated Twitter trends across the United States.

From transcript of NRA presser: "Herp, derp, herpitty derpiitty derp derp."— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) December 21, 2012

WOW SERIOUSLY!!!N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence......— Karizma(@KARIZMANYC) December 21, 2012

NRA I am disappoint. Please use my membership fees to educate yours…
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More About: newtown, Politics, sandy hook, US

Soul Singer’s Blues Receive New Life on Kickstarter

Posted: 21 Dec 2012 09:55 AM PST

Lester Chambers of the 1960s soul group The Chambers Brothers has been waiting a very long time for his time to come. The 72-year-old blues singer has shared the stage with legends like B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Cash -- just to name a few. The artist shared a photo in March that revealed his troubling experience with the music industry.

"The music giants I recorded with only paid me for seven of my albums. I have never seen a penny in royalties from my other 10 albums I recorded," writes Chambers, holding up a gold record. "I am now 72, trying to live on $1,200 a month."

Internet users flocked to Chambers' story, and their support might give the artist his long-awaited du…
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More About: alexis ohanian, crowdfunding, kickstarter, Music

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