Thursday, 13 June 2013

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “'Plants vs. Zombies 2' Is a Sequel Worth the Wait”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “'Plants vs. Zombies 2' Is a Sequel Worth the Wait”

'Plants vs. Zombies 2' Is a Sequel Worth the Wait

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 04:19 AM PDT


LOS ANGELES — The zombies are coming!

On July 18th, PopCap, a division of Electronic Arts (EA) is releasing Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time! A play on words, the time reference in the name of the game is a gentle jab at how long it’s taken the studio to create the game, as well a reference to time travel, which plays a huge role in its storyline.

Redesigned from the ground up, Plants vs. Zombies 2 offers similar gameplay to its predecessor, while bringing a number of new places and new experiences into the mix.

I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Plants vs. Zombies 2 at E3 this week, and much like the original version found myself almost instantly addicted, spending 40 minutes playing the demo version of the game rather than the 15 I had originally intended. Read more...

More about E3, Popcap, Plants Vs Zombies, Entertainment, and Gaming

How to Customize Your Mobile Google Maps Experience

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 03:42 AM PDT


This year's Google I/O conference unveiled a brand new Google Maps app for mobile. With this update, Google combined all of its mapping tools (Street View, satellite imagery, real-time traffic, etc.) into one sleek, user-friendly direction beast.

Your Google map is fully customizable, and will recommend locations and deals that may interest you, based on your search history. First, though, you need to figure out how to use it. To help, we've created this guide to the mobile Maps app.

Have any more questions? Post them in the comments below and we'll answer them for you. Read more...

More about Google, Mobile, Google Maps, Apps, and How To

8 Bizarre Social Networks You Won't Believe Exist

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 03:03 AM PDT


The Internet is home to hundreds of different social networks. Aside from the big-wigs, plenty cater to a more niche variety of interests

We browsed the web and compiled some of the strangest, most hobby-specific ones we could find. Some are geared toward a specific audience, while others are just plain — well, weird. Take a look at our collection below.

Are there any bizarre ones we missed? Share your coolest finds with us in the comments.

1. Date My Pet

Big date tonight? That's great. Until the two of you get back to your apartment ... and all your catsBe cool, you tell yourself, just pray he/she isn't allergic Read more...

More about Social Networks, Lists, Social Media, Features, and Wtf

Apple Might Launch a Bigger iPhone, as Well as a Cheaper, Colorful One

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 01:26 AM PDT


Apple is looking into launching iPhones with a 4.7-inch and a 5.7-inch screen, Reuters reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter

The company is also considering launching a cheaper variant of the iPhone, that would cost around $99 and come in 5-6 colors

The moves are described as being "under discussion," meaning they may never actually happen. If they do, however, it would mean Apple has more or less abandoned its position as the standard-setter in the smartphone market and become just another trend-follower

Long-known for its limited palette of products, Apple always focused on the premium segment of the market, claiming the form factors of its devices, as well as the prices, are just right. For example, Samsung currently offers smartphones and phablets with more than 10 different screen sizes, while Apple has only two: the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S and the 4-inch iPhone 5 Read more...

More about Iphone, Apple, Tech, and Mobile

Google Sees Jump in Iranian Phishing Scams as Election Looms

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 12:18 AM PDT


Google revealed on Wednesday that phishing activity in Iran has jumped, as its citizens prepare to hit the polls on Friday.

For nearly three weeks, the search giant has "detected and disrupted" tens of thousands of Iranian user accounts that were targeted by email-based phishing scams originating in Iran, according to a blog post blog post published Wednesday.

"The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday," wrote Eric Grosse, Google's vice-president of security engineering Read more...

More about Google, Phishing, Phishing Scam, Iran Election, and Us World

'300: Rise of an Empire' Trailer Debuts Online

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 10:56 PM PDT


A trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire, the follow-up to 2006 action film 300, surfaced online Wednesday. Similar to its predecessor, Rise of an Empire is filmed in a graphic-novel style, and depicts mortal-turned-god Xerxes in his bid to overtake more territory

A two-and-a-half minute trailer, above, reveals intense battle scenes between Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro reprising his role in 300) and woman-warrior Artemisia (Eva Green of Casino Royale fame) against Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton). The film is based on Frank Miller's latest graphic novel, Xerxes.

Directed by Noam Murro, 300: Rise of an Empire is slated to hit theaters on March 7, 2014. Do you plan to watch it? Tell us in the comments, below. Read more...

More about Films, Trailers, Entertainment, and Film

iPhone Users Can Expertly Retouch Portraits With Facetune

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 09:56 PM PDT


Something about that portrait you snapped just isn't cutting it.

Maybe it's that pesky blemish, stubble or unruly strand of hair that's trying to ruin your pic again. But fear not, the people from Lightricks Ltd. are making your photo-editing needs easier (and cheaper). Meet Facetune, which at time of writing was ranked number three on the App Store's top paid apps chart. The program allows you to touch up your portraits with intuitive tools "previously reserved for the pros."

Facetune retouching screenshots

The app allows you to smooth skin, remove stray hairs, implant or color hairs, clear away imperfections, and remove red-eye and white-eye effects, among other features, with an array of editing tools (screenshots above) — the goal here, essentially, is to make your face look better. Read more...

More about Apps, Photo Editing, Photography, Facebook, and Twitter

Spray-On Clothing Opens Door For Next-Level Tech

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 08:59 PM PDT


When news broke a few years ago that an experimental spray-on liquid fabric could become wearable clothing, people were wowed by what sounded more science-fiction than fact. Fast forward a few years and that same technology is on the cusp of being introduced into our daily lives in the form of a host of applications that could very well change the face of art, consumer products, and even conservation.

The company behind this technology is called Fabrican. Developed by clothing-designer-turned-chemist Dr. Manel Torres, who was originally looking for a faster way to produce clothes, the idea came to the self-proclaimed fashion doctor when he went to a friend's wedding and saw someone getting sprayed by silly string, the popular 90s-era toyThat's when Torres got his "aha" moment and decided to pursue an instant, nonstick fabric. The result was the creation of instant garments you can remove and even wash. Read more...

More about Fashion, Art, Science, Wearable Tech, and Tech

Move Over, Hoverboards: This Bike Lets You Fly

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 07:59 PM PDT


A new mode of personal transportation has beat hoverboards to the market: the flying bicycle.

Czech companies Duratec, Technodat and Evektor have created a prototype of a flying electric bicycle. Unlike E.T.'s run-of-the-mill two-wheeler, however, this one looks more like a snow bike

Including six battery-powered propellers, the bicycle weighs 209 pounds. It has four main motors and one main propeller. A Wednesday demonstration of the bike in Prague featured a remote-controlled, five-minute flight with a mannequin in the rider’s seat. Engineers working on the bike say it will need better batteries before actual people can take a spin in the sky Read more...

More about Tech and Dev Design

Frequent Twitter and Facebook Users: You Might Be Narcissists

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 07:32 PM PDT


Listen up, active tweeter and Facebook-poster: you might be a narcissist.

At least, that's according to a new study from the University of Michigan. It found that frequent social media use could be fueling narcissistic tendencies in social media users of all ages

Michigan researchers Elliot Panek, Yioryos Nardis and Sara Konrath published their study results online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. The study analyzed how much the subjects posted to Facebook and Twitter each day, as well as time spent on those sites reading posts and comments. It also surveyed the participants about their social media use and took personality traits into account. The study participants included 486 college undergraduates and 93 adults, whose average age was 35. Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, Narcissism, and Social Media Users

'Jony Ive Redesigns Things' Tumblr Pokes Fun At Apple's iOS 7

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 06:56 PM PDT


Apple's colorful new iOS 7 redesign has received its fair share of criticism — but none so creative as that from a Tumblr called "Jony Ive Redesigns Things."

The blog began after Sasha Agapov, a Los Angeles-based art director, posted his version of a Jonathan Ive redesign of Google's search engine on his Dribbble page. Agapov's inbox was soon flooded with submissions from the Dribbble community, so he created the Tumblr as "a place to store all the good stuff."

As for his take on the new iOS, Agapov told Mashable, "I've installed it, and only could handle it for a couple of hours — the new functionality, interaction and UX changes are great, but the colors and icons were really throwing me off a bit. We can't really judge the new look now, since it's gotten mixed reception, and perhaps Apple'll make some steps to improve the visual part of the new iOS and release a prettier version this fall." Read more...

More about Apps Software, Dev Design, Watercooler, and Pics

Denny's Controversial Tweet Goofs on the NSA Scandal

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 06:28 PM PDT


Most brands have avoided commenting on the NSA's surveillance of phone calls and web activity, but Denny's has proven to be a surprising outlier

The restaurant chain offered the following tweet on Tuesday, making light of the issue:

Denny's knows what you're craving before they

— Denny's (@DennysDiner) June 10, 2013

The brand, a prolific tweeter, didn't repeat the gag on its Facebook Page

Denny's social media is handled by Gotham, a New York-based ad agency that attempted to inject the brand into conversations around the Academy Awards, among other events.

What do you think of Denny's tweet? Tell us in the comments, below Read more...

More about Twitter, Marketing, Denny S, Business, and Nsa

Robot to Help Ailing Boy Throw MLB First Pitch From 1,800 Miles Away

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 05:22 PM PDT


A boy sick with a rare disorder will throw out the first pitch at a Wednesday night MLB game from 1,800 miles away. How? Google Fiber and one high-tech robot

The kid's name is Nick LeGrande. He's 13 years old, a big-time baseball fan and he suffers from a rare blood disorder called aplastic anemia.

Nick's a great young baseball player but the condition doesn't let him play the game he loves or be around large crowds, at least for the time being. Nick sobbed when doctors told Nick he'd have to stay away from the game for a while, his mom says in the video above. Read more...

More about Robots, Mlb, Entertainment, and Sports

George Takei's Facebook Ghostwriter Apologizes

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 04:47 PM PDT


Hip, hilarious and oh-so-topical, George Takei has one of the most popular and beloved Facebook feeds on the social web. His compassion and humor have helped him smoothly reincarnate himself as a modern Internet sensation after starring as Hikaru Sulu on the 1960s Star Trek TV series

That's why many of his loyal fans were dismayed to learn last week that their online hero is not, in fact, the clever one-man idea factory he seems to be on Facebook

How'd the secret get out? An email that journalist Rick Polito sent to Jim Romenesko's media-watching blog. In the message, Polito said that he's been paid $10 per joke for producing content — some of which "got 10 likes per second for hours" — for Takei's Facebook page Read more...

More about Social Media, Facebook, and George Takei

Facebook Won't Disclose Response to NSA Requests

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 04:25 PM PDT


If you were hoping for more Internet companies to come out and reveal more details about government surveillance, like Google did on Tuesday, we have bad news for you. Asked on Wednesday about how it handles requests stemming from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Facebook said it could not disclose anything

"We are prevented by law from talking about anything related to FISA, including processes,” said Jodi Seth, a Facebook spokesperson.

On Tuesday, Google revealed more details on how it handles requests originating from Section 702 of FISA, which provides the legal basis for the controversial — and still mysterious — National Security Agency PRISM program, revealed last week by The Guardian and The Washington Post. Read more...

More about Privacy, Surveillance, Prism, Us World, and Us

Seth Rogen Has 'Avoided the Wrath' of Amanda Bynes on Twitter, So Far

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 03:32 PM PDT


Actress Amanda Bynes has been on a Twitter rampage — tweeting to tell Rihanna, Courtney Love and Miley Cyrus that they're ugly — yet she has spared comedian Seth Rogen

"I've avoided the wrath so far," Rogen tells Mashable, before revealing his candid analysis of people, in general, who let loose emotionally on social media:

I think it's a difficult temptation. If you're the type of person that has poor decision-making abilities then having instant access to thousands, if not millions and millions of people, is maybe not the best thing for you. A lot of these people are really proving that. When it used to be harder to expose your insanity to the world, it was probably more beneficial for, you know, people who were crazier. Now, with a 140 characters, you can really change your perception of people instantaneously or people's perception of you. I've typed and deleted several tweets that could have been potentially threatening Read more...

More about Twitter, Films, Entertainment, Netflix, and Celebrities

Can Pink DSLRs Make Pentax Relevant Again?

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:59 PM PDT


Pentax, the venerable photography company that nearly disappeared before it got acquired by Ricoh in 2011, has a new plan to stand out in the camera market by adding what it sees as a key missing ingredient in today's cameras: color.

Not the color the camera captures, but the physical color of the camera. In two of its new models — aimed at millennials — Pentax is offering custom colors. Buyers can choose from 120 different color combinations for the new K-50 DSLR and the Q7 ultra-compact mirrorless camera, from conservative white-and-silver to daring pink-and-green.


More about Dslr, Pentax, Tech, and Mirrorless Cameras

10 Ways to Mess Up Your Wedding Day

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:47 PM PDT


For those fortunate to have found love, the wedding day is one of life's great milestones. But sometimes when you're trying to make everything right, things go terribly wrong.

Whether the best man pushes you into a pool or your drunken party guest (literally) brings the house down, there's always the chance that something might put a damper on your big day

Here are 10 ways to ensure some serious wedding mayhem.

1. Make a zipline entrance.

2. Take photos with your wedding party on a poorly-constructed dock.


3. Choose your clumsiest friend as the best man.

More about Videos, Lists, Weddings, Youtube, and Watercooler

Myspace Promotes Relaunch With $20 Million Ad Campaign

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:12 PM PDT


Myspace is back — and it's spending a lot of money to make sure everyone knows it

The once-dominant social network will begin airing its first commercials tonight to promote the public launch of the new and significantly redesigned Myspace, now under new management. The full unedited commercial, which you can watch above, is part of a $20 million ad campaign spanning broadcast, radio and digital platforms, according to a rep for the company.

It remains to be seen whether the company can change the public perception of Myspace. As the company's new co-owner Chris Vanderhook noted in an earlier interview with Mashable, "There's no fancy marketing campaign that will change that overnight." Read more...

More about Myspace, Ads, Business, and Advertising

Senator Calls Out Reporter's Tweets in Real Time

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:04 PM PDT


Something new happened in Congress on Wednesday: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called out a reporter's tweets in real time.

The callout came during a Senate committee hearing originally intended to deal with cybersecurity. In light of recent revelations, the hearing focused more on the government's digital surveillance programs

Rosie Gray, a reporter at BuzzFeed Politics, tweeted a critique of Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) — a sharp defender of those surveillance programs — for what Gray considered an attempt to keep discussion of the program behind closed doors. Read more...

More about Privacy, Congress, Twitter, Us World, and Politics

Yahoo Acquires Photography App Maker GhostBird Software

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:01 PM PDT


Another week, another Yahoo acquisition: This time, the Internet giant has acquired 4-year-old GhostBird Software, the San Francisco-based company behind mobile photography apps KitCam and PhotoForge2.

In an e-mailed statement, Yahoo said that it would be integrating many of the features in GhostBird's mobile apps into Yahoo's Flickr apps. Co-founders Travis Houlette and Ye Lu are joining the Flickr team in San Francisco.

Both KitCam and PhotoForge2 are being pulled from Apple's App Store, and no further updates for the apps will be released. Those who have already downloaded the apps will still be able to continue using them, however. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Business, Startups, Apps Software, and Ghostbird Software

Motorized La-Z-Boy Chair Is the Best Invention Ever

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:50 PM PDT


Couch potatoes of the world: Meet your idol. The man you see above is a real hero, as evidenced by the La-Z-Boy recliner he appears to have converted into an automobile. This means one thing, and one thing only: He is a genius who figured out a way to avoid ever getting off the couch.

It appears the video was recorded in China — further proof the rest of the world has some serious catching up to do. But if this is what Chinese world domination looks like, then sign me up

Let us know what you think of this motorized La-Z-Boy the comments Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Watercooler, and Videos

Does Facebook Really Need Hashtags?

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:40 PM PDT


Congratulations, hash symbol. You've come a long, long way. Remember when we used to call you a pound sign or a number sign? Remember when people used to confuse you with the musical symbol for sharp? Remember when Bell Labs technicians gave you the made-up name "octothorpe"?

Well, no longer. After conquering Twitter over the last six years — thanks to early power user Chris Messina, who first suggested hashtags — you're about to become a familiar sight to the billion-plus users of Facebook, too. Perhaps a little too familiar

Two questions remain to be answered, hash symbol: Will you be overused? And were you really necessary on Facebook in the first place? Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Hashtags, Social Media, and Hash Tags

Sushi Restaurant Tests Drone-Driven Food Delivery

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:38 PM PDT


With plans to save African wildlife, drop beer on concertgoers and penetrate tornadoes, we wonder: Are there any tasks drones won't try?

This next airborne, drone-based development might not necessarily come as a shock, but it’s sure to enhance (or at least differentiate) your dining experience.

London-based YO! Sushi, renowned for being the first sushi chain in the UK to deliver food via conveyor belt, is taking its service innovation to the next level: It’s introducing the world’s first flying restaurant tray (see image below).

Sushi Drone

“YO! Sushi is all about delivering a whole concept in an unusual and exciting way,” explains CEO Robin Rowland. “Amazing food, conveyor belts, exciting staff and lots of technical assistance.” Read more...

More about Technology, Sushi, Ipad, Tech, and Gadgets

Dads, Feel Your Babies Kicking With Huggies Pregnancy Belt

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:19 PM PDT


We may have just found the perfect Father's Day gift for dads-to-be in Buenos Aires: a "pregnancy belt" that lets expectant fathers feel their babies kicking in real time (sans baby bump).

The belt, developed by Huggies Argentina, looks like a typical fake pregnancy belly — but it replicates a baby's kicks "from mom's belly to dad's belly," according to the video above. The belt is synched with an accompanying belt worn by the mother.

It's a heartwarming video, with many of the dads-to-be in the ad getting teary-eyed. As one YouTube commenter joked, "Does the belt also sit on the dad-to-be's bladder so that he has to pee every five seconds?" Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Ads, Commercials, Huggies, and Watercooler

Soccer God Messi Denies Tax Fraud Allegations on Facebook

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:07 PM PDT


After being accused of tax fraud in Spain, international soccer demigod Lionel Messi took to Facebook to refute the allegations

Spanish tax authorities on Wednesday accused the FC Barcelona and Argentine national team superstar and his father of weaseling out of more than $5 million in taxes between 2006 and 2009, according to Reuters. The pair is accused of using shell corporations in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to obfuscate from Spanish tax collectors money earned by selling Messi's image rights

A conviction could reportedly land both men in jail for up to four years Read more...

More about Facebook, Soccer, Taxes, Entertainment, and Sports

Despite ESPN's Move, It's Not Game Over for 3D TVs

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:55 PM PDT


On Wednesday, ESPN announced it was pulling the plug on its 3D channel after three years — a move that follows AT&T's exit from the market. After being touted as the "next big thing" in 2010, 3D TVs appear to be going the way of the Flip camera

That's not remotely the case, however. Sales of 3D TVs are thriving. The reason you don't hear as much about 3D is because it has become just one of several high-end features, not a draw in itself.

Sales in the United States for 3D TVs will hit 5.7 million this year, a 39% increase from last year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That's good news for manufacturers, as 3D-enabled sets cost double the average price of a TV. Some 17% of TVs will offer 3D functionality this year, versus 12% that offered it last year. That said, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the CEA, says that the days are gone when 3D alone was a prime motivator for a purchase. "In reality, consumers are buying for a suite of feature sets," DuBravac says Read more...

More about Media, 3d, Espn, 3d Tv, and Business

Facebook Hashtags Take a Page From Twitter's Ad Business

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:50 PM PDT


Over the years, Facebook has borrowed a few notable features from Twitter, including adding verified accounts and introducing the options to mention other users with the "@" symbol and "follow" influencers. But on Wednesday, Facebook introduced a feature popular on Twitter that may have a much bigger impact on its revenue: hashtags.

Facebook announced in a blog post Wednesday that it is rolling out a series of hashtag features in the coming weeks, including clickable hashtags — available today — and trending hashtags, which should be available soon. The move is billed as a way to "bring conversations more to the forefront," but as with most features Facebook introduces these days, advertising revenue is certainly a big part of it. Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Ads, Hashtags, and Business

8 Neighbors You Should Try to Avoid

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:24 PM PDT


There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration when looking for a new apartment, from rent to room size. Who you'll be residing near, however, can be even more important than whether or not the space gets enough natural light

Remember that no matter the coziness level of the breakfast nook, it'll be hard to eat your toast if the guy next door likes to practice chainsaw juggling in the morning (when he's fresh). So while you're mentally arranging your bedroom, take a peek out the window and make sure your potential new digs don't come complete with any of these neighborhood deal breakers Read more...

More about Lists, Watercooler, Pics, Home, and Neighbors

Study: Car Infotainment a Looming Public Safety Crisis

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:05 PM PDT


Just as Apple starts bringing a special version of Siri into cars, an AAA study throws a bucket of cold water on the next step in "safe infotainment" for the latest vehicles. The study found that of all the typical in-car activities studied, speech-to-text systems were "the most cognitively distracting."

The study results were expressed in workload ratings, where a baseline number of 1.0 was assigned to a single driver without any distractions inside the car. Listening to the radio was rated 1.21, having a passenger in the car, 2.33, and talking on a cellphone, 2.45 (with hands-free cellphone use rated at 2.27). Most dangerous was listening and responding to email using speech-to-text, garnering a 3.06 rating on the cognitive distraction scale. Read more...

More about Cars, Study, Tech, Us, and Distracted Driving

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