Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Get Real-Time Fashion Advice Before You Go Out [APP]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Get Real-Time Fashion Advice Before You Go Out [APP]”

Get Real-Time Fashion Advice Before You Go Out [APP]

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:55 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.

Name: Go Try It On

Quick Pitch: Crowdsourced advice on your look, before you go out.

Genius Idea: Go Try It On is a website and iPhone app [iTunes link] that enables users to get real-time feedback on their outfits before they make a purchase or leave their bedrooms.

The site, which launched in March 2010, attracts 80,000 unique visitors per month, 30% of which are from outside the U.S. More than 250,000 have downloaded the iPhone app, about half of which are active users, founder and CEO Marissa Evans claims.

Both the website and app have a sleek, easy-to-use interface. Users can upload photos from their desktops or iPhones, or snap one on the spot with a webcam, and ask the community (or, if they prefer, a private set of friends) to approve a particular look or help them choose the best of three options.

The site’s most active users tend to be young women in their teens and early twenties; 20% of registered users are men, Evans, a graduate of Harvard Business School, says.

If Go Try It On sounds a lot like another startup we’ve covered, you’re not alone. When asked how the startup differed from Fashism, Evans said that Go Try It On was making a greater investment in data and analytics.

Soon, Go Try It On will begin displaying that data in a way that is useful to members. The site will notify a user if she tends to get good feedback when she wears white skinny jeans, for instance, and send her product suggestions to further expand that look — a service that might prove useful both to the user and the startup, should it generate affiliate revenues from the suggestions it serves.

Evans also believes that users are “about 10 times more engaged.” While I wouldn’t place any bets on that number, I will say that the community is certainly very active. Within an hour of uploading a photo on a Friday afternoon, I received 23 votes and 2 comments on my look. The feedback wasn’t particularly insightful, but it did up my confidence about a recent dress purchase.

Go Try It On currently has a full-time staff of five, including the three founders. The startup raised a seed round of funding last fall from Index Ventures.

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.

More About: fashion, fashism, Go Try it On, startup

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70+ Essential Resources for the Serious Gadget Lover

Posted: 13 May 2011 07:25 PM PDT

Since childhood, Gen Y-ers have been tapping gadgets and gizmos for all sorts of tasks. Epic television show Inspector Gadget taught us that helicopters deployed from a hat, lasso neck ties, and inflatable trench coats were technical feats within our reach.

Mashable has reviewed quite a few advanced gizmos that would have Mr. Gadget dazed and confused. We’ve put together a master list of the hottest mobile devices, computers, tablets, cameras, cases, accessories and other tech gadgets that we’ve reviewed over the past few months.

Of course, if you’re still hungry for more gadget reviews and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech & gadgets channel on Twitter and Facebook. Go-Go-Gadget Copter!







Music & Media

Cameras & Photography

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

More About: camera, case, computer, gadgets, keyboard, List, Lists, media, Mobile 2.0, music, Review Roundup, tablets

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How Open Source Projects Can Prepare Students for Better Careers

Posted: 13 May 2011 06:20 PM PDT

Paula Hunter is the executive director of the Outercurve Foundation. With over two decades of open source experience, she has served in leadership roles at organizations such as Open Source Development Labs and United Linux. Follow her on Twitter @huntermkt.

Free and open source software (FOSS) is at the root of the most innovative products, technologies and services of our time. The Social Network may have taken some Hollywood liberties, but there's still a big story to tell about today's colleges as the hotbeds of innovation, much of it driven by FOSS.

Today's top entrepreneurs are using FOSS as the building blocks for innovation. Instead of writing an entire solution from scratch, developers can assemble large parts of their solutions from liberally licensed FOSS projects, and focus their creative energies.

FOSS also serves as a training ground for new developers. Good developers have always known that the way to improve is by reading well-written programs. Good FOSS projects in dynamic communities provide a wealth of examples for students to read, understand, and work on.

Free and open source software isn’t just a good way to program — it’s giving students a leg up in their education and job prospects. Here’s how.


Working within a FOSS project community brings new benefits. First, there's the real-world experience of participating in a distributed team. More and more of the world's software projects are developed in highly connected developer communities around the globe, regardless of whether they are public and liberally licensed or closed and proprietary. The communications and social skills learned from an experience like this will be essential.

Development skills will also be honed. This is achieved through constructive feedback and the experience of working within a mature, well-run FOSS project team. This experience provides version control, configuration management tools, regular automated builds, and testing and packaging issues. These are essential professional software development skills that are seldom well-taught in formal school settings.

Experience and Networking

Job and career success often come through one’s professional connections. The broader network inherent in larger FOSS projects can yield big opportunities.

Companies want to know what job candidates can do. Participation in FOSS projects can generate a very public portfolio of practical work. This beats a resume any day. It also makes it easier to show your previous work to a potential employer. If you’ve coded for other companies, the work may be locked behind proprietary protections. But FOSS projects are free and easy for anyone to view.

For college student Eric Schultz, FOSS was a way of adding experience to his resume. Even though he said he didn’t know how to program complex projects, working with a team has helped him pick up skills and add samples to his portfolio. “It's also a really great networking opportunity,” Schultz said. “I think that it's helpful because you meet people who already are in bigger businesses — people who are at the top of their field — and all of a sudden, you're on their radar. So purely from a networking standpoint, it's really helpful."

A number of universities are discovering the benefits students are gleaning from FOSS work. Rensselaer and Oregon State University have open source centers of expertise for students. UC Berkeley teaches a web-based course.

Employers aren't ignorant of the relationship between students, FOSS projects and employment opportunities. Several years ago, Google set up the "Summer of Code" program, wherein FOSS project leaders propose summer work, and students bid for the positions, with Google paying $5,000 to each accepted student. Google continues to invest heavily in the program.

University students who actively participate in FOSS projects and communities can create their own job opportunities, whether it's a summer internship, full time employment, or lining up a job for graduation next year. Companies hungry for new talent have much to gain by engaging with students that have participated in these endeavors.

Interested in more Dev & Design resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, track5

More About: design, dev, developer, education, foss, free and open source software, program, tech, technology

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Why Today’s Developers Might Be Programming Themselves Out of Tomorrow’s Jobs

Posted: 13 May 2011 05:40 PM PDT

Christopher Kahler is a co-founder and CEO of Qriously, a service for measuring real-time public sentiment by replacing ads with questions in smartphone apps. Follow him on Twitter

In late 2010, Apple approved 14-year-old Robert Nay's app, Bubble Ball, for publishing on the App Store, where it quickly racked up 2 million users and, for a short while, even wrested the ever-popular Angry Birds from its perch at the top of the download charts. It’s a staggering achievement for a young teen with no formal programming experience -– never mind education. No skills. Nada. Zip.

Nay used an application called Corona that essentially allows users to build smartphone apps using a graphical interface, eliminating the need of any coding skills. He's a pioneering user of the next generation of platform dependencies — innovations upon which further innovations can be built.

The term “platform dependency,” referring to products and services that are symbiotic with an existing platform (FarmVille on Facebook, Tweetdeck on Twitter, Rapportive on Gmail, and so on), has been discussed at length in several recent blog posts that weigh its dangers and opportunities.

While these relationships are not unique to “our” industry, the heady pace of evolution in the information sector, modeled with equal parts idealism and fantasy, is pointing toward some fascinating outcomes. The most fascinating of these is also the most paradoxical: The smartest kids are coding themselves into unemployment.

Before I'm viciously indicted with committing the Luddite fallacy, give me a chance to qualify: Smart kids code platforms that are making it increasingly redundant to know how to code — look at Nay for instance. As such, coding as a skill is becoming a casualty of efficiency, which is a beautiful thing. Coding is a means to an end, and if new methods are developed that enable us normal folks to achieve comparable results, then that's a win in my book.

To a certain extent this is already happening, albeit to a less romantic degree. Take Google App Engine for instance. Instead of needing to set up whole server infrastructures, you just upload a simple web app and Google handles everything else, from load-balancing to scaling. Many companies don’t even go that far. A Facebook Page, with its built-in tools to distribute content, advertise, promote and engage with an audience, is often all you need.

Beyond the purely technical realm, services and layers are appearing to make aesthetic skills more and more redundant as well. Enterprise software company Cloudera used 99designs, which recently scored $25 million in funding, to crowdsource its logo on the cheap. And apps like Instagram and Retro Camera that allow users with little “skill” to take brilliant photographs.

Eventually, you won't need to have any technical knowledge in a world increasingly defined by technology.

Rather, the only thing you will need to have is an idea, and having good ones will be the only meaningful thing setting you apart from others. I like to think of it as the triumph of creativity over learned skill — a change that some believe has ramifications for formal education as well.

The only remaining question is: Where are your ideas going to bubble up from?

Interested in more Dev & Design resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

More About: apps, platforms, programming, web apps, Web Development

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Experience New Film Bridesmaids Inside of Group Texting App Fast Society

Posted: 13 May 2011 05:12 PM PDT

Group-texting app Fast Society is teaming up with Universal Studios, promoting Bridesmaids (which opens today) in-app.

If you’re unfamiliar with Fast Society, you were obviously sleeping back in March, when group-texting apps like GroupMe and Beluga were duking it out for the role of go-to service. We haven’t heard much from the group-texting sphere over the last few months, so this is an interesting development — especially when it comes to monetization.

Previously, Fast Society had a similar partnership with MTV’s Skins; branding appeared through the app, including a 5-second pre-roll audio ad and a takeover on the iPhone app.

For this particular promotion, Universal and Fast Society will reveal photos, audio clips and texts depicting conversations between two of the film’s characters. Users will then be able to interact with that content via the app.

This promotion showcases some of the unique features of the app, including the ability to share audio clips with multiple friends, an addition that competitors Beluga and GroupMe lack.

Because they’re offered as free apps, services like Fast Society rely on these kinds of promotions in order to monetize. While GroupMe had a branded initiative at Austin City Limits, Fast Society has seemed the most adept at launching interesting partnerships that play into its brand image — “Built to Party.”

More About: Beluga, fast-society, group texting, groupme, Mobile 2.0

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Will Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter Following Help Two and a Half Men?

Posted: 13 May 2011 04:09 PM PDT

Warner Bros. Television and CBS confirmed Friday that Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen on the top-rated comedy series Two and a Half Men.

The Hollywood Reporter published the first reports of the deal Thursday, which will mark Kutcher’s first return to network television since That ’70s Show. For his part, Kutcher tweeted, “what’s the square root of 6.25″ from his account on Thursday evening. The answer, of course, is two and a half.

With Kutcher, CBS and Warner Bros. Television are looking for an actor that can step in for Charlie Sheen and perhaps bring in a new audience of his own. Sheen’s meteoric meltdown not-withstanding, Two and a Half Men is a show that has never been overtly social. Charlie Sheen only joined Twitter after being suspended from Two and a Half Men. Kutcher could offer the show, its producers and the network and opportunity to engage with fans in a way that isn’t all about spectacle and meme-tastic quotes about “tiger blood.”

With 6.7 million Twitter followers and a sizable following on Facebook, Kutcher is one of the most socially connected celebrities in the entertainment business. The big question now that he has joined the show is, what impact will his social media presence have on the show’s ratings?

Christy Tanner, the general manager and executive vice president of TV Guide Digital, alluded to Kutcher’s new role in her presentation at Mashable Connect on Friday. We spoke to her after the presentation to get more insight into the potential impact Kutcher and his social fanbase could have on the show. “Two and a Half Men won’t live or die by social media,” Tanner told us. “The show will continue to be successful if fans continue to find the show funny.”

That isn’t to say that social media won’t have any impact on the show. “This is an incredible opportunity for Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre, Warner Bros. Television and CBS to leverage Ashton’s Kutcher’s tremendous social media following,” Tanner said.

The key, as with everything, is with execution. After all, Kutcher’s Twitter following and strong presence in social media hasn’t helped make his films successful at the box office. As Tanner pointed out to us, however, film and television can be very different, especially when it comes to social media.

With a weekly series, rather than just one opening weekend, Kutcher, CBS and Lorre will have the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. According to Tanner, “this could be a great opportunity to see what can move the needle with social media and its impact on engagement and ratings.”

For his part, Charlie Sheen told TMZ that Men will fail without him, saying, “Enjoy the show America. Enjoy seeing a 2.0 in the demo every Monday, WB.”

We’ll see. It’s certainly hard to imagine an Ashton-infused Two and a Half Men doing any worse than Sheen’s one-man shows. Do you think Ashton’s social media savvy will have a positive impact on Two and a Half Men? Let us know.

More About: ashton kutcher, charlie sheen, television, tv, tv guide, two and a half men, winning

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HOW TO: Make Your PR & Marketing Believable

Posted: 13 May 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Public relations and marketing professionals have dug themselves into a hole. With the overwhelming amount of PR spin and marketing messages flying at consumers on a daily basis, individuals are constantly on guard, trying to spot the underlying motives behind each claim, motto, message or deal that brands introduce. Many times the assumption by consumers is that marketing messages are motivated by greedy or deceptive intentions. This phenomena is what Ogilvy’s SVP of Global Strategy & Marketing, Rohit Bhargava, called a “believability crisis” during his presentation at Mashable Connect 2011.

“Affinity has become the new secret weapon — we believe in people and companies that we like,” said Bhargava. For those in the public relations and marketing industries, it is important to gain back the trust they’ve lost from consumers by understanding what makes people, ideas and organizations more believable.

Bhargava spoke about what he calls Likeonomics, which “explains the new affinity economy where the most likeable people, ideas and organizations are the ones we believe in, buy from and get inspired by.”

What makes a person or organization believable, then? Bhargava said that Likeonomics is based on being simple, human, brutally honest and emotional.

1. Simple

To be more believable, the first step is simple and based on personal relationships, said Bhargava. “Be genuine, be honest, be open.” He believes that this concept has powered the social media revolution and the brands that have embraced it.

Bhargava pointed to Ally Bank as an example of a brand that gets it. Using the slogan “Straightforward,” the bank sheds light on deceptive industry practices and aims for complete transparency on rates and terms. Says one Ally ad, “we make money with you, not off you.”

2. Human

If you’re trying to build relationships, it’s a good idea to be human. Simply said, but not easily done.

Bhargava pointed to Innocent, a UK beverage brand that puts a lot of initiative into showcasing the humanity behind its brand. Each winter, Innocent runs the Big Knit, in which Innocent fans knit and send in hats to place on top of its smoothie bottles that are placed in stores. For each hat knitted, the company pledges 25p to Age UK to help make winter warmer for older people across the UK.

This initiative not only illustrates that the company’s founders care about those around them, but it is also a genius marketing idea. Walk into any grocery store and take a look at the beverage aisle (or almost any aisle). Row after row, you’ll see similarly shaped and colored packages. Now place smoothie bottles with cute knitted hats into the picture — get the point?

3. Brutally Honest

After ranking last in a consumer preferences survey of national chains in 2009, Domino’s Pizza launched its humility-filled Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign, which featured consumers hating on the product. Consumers complained that Domino’s Pizza crust tasted like cardboard and its sauce tasted like ketchup, among other pitfalls. Domino’s listened and its chefs got to work, reinventing a “new pizza.”

Relationships of any type are based on trust — trust isn’t possible without honesty. Bhargava said that brands must practice “brutal honesty and extreme transparency” in order to “get people over that hump of ‘I don’t believe you. I don’t trust that what you’re doing is anything more than spin.’”

Bhargava noted that “disclosure is not the same thing as honesty.” Outing the naughty deeds that your company participates in on your annual report isn’t enough.

4. Emotional

Founded by eccentric millionaire Christian Ringnes, The Mini Bottle Gallery is billed as “the world’s first miniature bottle museum.” Having recently visited the museum in Oslo, Norway, Bhargava told the story of its founding and why its so unique.

Ringnes “treats the museum with a great sense of humor, because he realizes that he has built an entire museum around something that most people who might think of visiting consider silly or at least strange,” said Bhargava. As a result, he doesn’t take himself too seriously when he markets and promotes the gallery. “The museum itself features a built in slide, a monthly award for the “tackiest miniature bottle” and even a fake brothel with a collection of 40 custom bottles from the 40 legal brothels in Las Vegas,” explained Bhargava on his blog.

Because collecting the mini bottles is his personal passion, it’s Ringnes’ goal to get potential visitors emotionally invested in it, too.

What do you think of Bhargava’s theory of Likeonomics? Let us know in the comments below.

View Rohit Bhargava’s Mashable Connect presentation below:

More About: business, MARKETING, mashable connect, mashable connect 2011, PUBLIC RELATIONS, rohit bhargava

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Music Startup & Coffee Shop Team Up for Live Online Concert Series

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:59 PM PDT

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a classic L.A.-based coffee chain, is partnering with StageIt, an SF-based music startup, to bring an exclusive series of concerts to a web-wide audience.

The Live from The Coffee Bean concert series will be performed live from Coffee Bean stores and will stream exclusively on, where fans will get an intimate, front-row-seat experience with indie bands and musicians.

StageIt solves a problem the music and tech industries have been working on for a couple of years: How can musicians make money online beyond just selling tracks and merchandise? The startup lets fans and “superfans” purchase virtual tickets for webcam-based performances that include live chats with the artist.

StageIt aims to create special experiences for fans, and also aims to let artists find and speak directly to the fans who care most about them. The platform also has a built-in tipping system for fans who want to show a little extra love — and they often do.

StageIt solves a problem unique to the music industry and does so very well. We’re sure the company’s provenance has a lot to do with its early successes; founder Evan Lowenstein is one half of Evan and Jaron, the pop group behind the 2000 hit, “Crazy for This Girl.” Sometimes it takes a musician to come up with good tools for fellow musicians.

The Coffee Bean lineup kicks off May 16 with indie-pop singer Lelia Broussard and alt-rock artist Terra Naomi, who will perform from a Coffee Bean store in Beverly Hills. Both artists are particularly known for their popular YouTube clips.

image courtesy of Flickr, philman

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Dodge Rolls Out First “Filmstrip” Banner Ad

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:49 PM PDT

Dodge has rolled out the first so-called "filmstrip" ad.

Filmstrip ads, a format developed by Microsoft and explained in this video, thread a long version of a banner ad through a standard window, which users can scroll to see more. The large banner is intended to move the consumer through the purchase funnel, from awareness to loyalty.

In Dodge's case, the full banner — created by ad agency SapientNitro — is actually five banners pieced together. The intent was to show off the Dodge Grand Caravan’s product and safety features.

Other advertisers may adopt the format soon as well. In February, in Microsoft's Advertising Blog, Jennifer Creegan, the company’s senior director of brand advertising, wrote that General Motors and T-Mobile were also considering the format.

Filmstrip was one of six selected by the IAB Rising Stars competition for new formats in February. The competition was designed to improve click-through and engagement rates for online advertising. Display ads have notoriously low click-through rates.

More About: advertising, Dodge, IAB, MARKETING, microsoft

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Misunderstood & Overlooked? Gowalla Revisits Its Roots To Find Stories in Location

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

Gowalla’s story has been defined by a tech press fixated on a Foursquare-Gowalla rivalry that may be non-existent. Two years post launch, the startup can no longer allow this to continue lest it get prematurely branded a loser and forgotten by the media altogether.

I say prematurely, because in an exclusive interview with Mashable, CEO and co-founder Josh Williams took me back in time, telling me the story of how Gowalla came to be and the original vision of giving permanence to special moments — it has nothing to do with checkins.

We also traveled to the future, a coming-soon reality where Gowalla’s mobile applications will look and function entirely different and help users craft individual and group narratives using their location history.

From past to present and future, one thing became clear in our time travel: Gowalla is not a checkin application. It was never intended to be such and it has no allegiance to the mechanism. The checkin, as Williams sees it, is merely a means to an end, a mode of transportation to a more exotic destination.

In fact, the checkin as we know it may have no place at all in future iterations of the applications. “How do we make pulling out your phone and the effort you go through to say where you are, worth the while?” says Williams. This is one of the primary questions the startup is working to answer.

A checkin just isn’t enough, he tells me. “What if we just got rid of the checkin altogether? Not that it’s going away, but maybe it’s not the right thing for our service.”

It sounds like he’s happy to concede the checkin to Foursquare, and he agrees.

“Yes, definitely,” he says. “Dennis [Crowley], to his credit, has been banging on the checkin space for almost a decade, even before Dodgeball … they’ve done a really good job at defining what ‘checkin’ means to a very large audience.”

Foursquare, he says, was born out of friends in New York wanting to hook up with each other in the city. But, Gowalla is about helping users find a way to share big life moments.

Williams and the rest of the 30-person Austin-based team are quietly working to better support big life moments. “We’ve spent the last nine months rewriting the entire underpinnings of Gowalla in order to remix our data in more interesting ways,” Williams says.

Perhaps now would be a good time for a history lesson on Gowalla’s origins.

Williams begins by telling me about PackRat, a mildly successful Facebook game he worked on with a small team prior to starting Gowalla. The social game, one of the first back in 2008, was doing well enough — pulling in a few million a year via virtual goods — that the team considered going the Facebook application studio route.

“Frankly, we weren’t excited about the social gaming space … it didn’t rub us right,” says Williams. “Effectively, we were encouraging people to sit on their butts all day.”

A period of soul-searching ensued, and Williams took a weekend trip to Lake Tahoe. He took a photo of the lake with his iPhone and experienced what he calls a “moment.” He wanted to share the photo with his dad in a way that would add permanence to the moment. “It’s where the idea of a passport on your phone was born,” he says.

The Gowalla experience, as its highly active (most use it weekly) but modest user base (more than 1 million members) well knows, is centered around this notion of the passport. The user collects stamps and pins in commemoration of adventures. The checkin is the equivalent of saying “I was here;” the sharing features are akin to “wish you were here” sentiments.

This is not an application purposed to drive foot traffic to merchants or an intended intermediary for discovering nearby friends. Gowalla is for crafting the narrative of your life, as defined by the places you go, the people you meet and the photos you capture.

That’s not to say the experience is perfect. Far from it. One problem: Group trips. Now, experiences are wholly individual in nature, but there’s a need to group data between friends sharing the same moments. Part of the application rewrite, says Williams, involves remixing data and letting users create albums and build digital scrapbook. Gowalla will introduce a completely overhauled mobile user interface so users can see and feel the journaling aspect of the intended experience.

The foundation of the service has already been rebuilt and Gowalla has early builds of the new mobile app undergoing internal testing, but Williams is not ready to set a firm date on the pending release.

When it does arrive, the new app will answer the “What’s the point?” question in both function and design, Williams promises. Perhaps then we’ll see a Gowalla narrative form that is uniquely its own.

Gowalla CEO Josh Williams is speaking Friday evening at Mashable Connect in a session entitled “Where are we going?”

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Porn Found at Osama Bin Laden’s Compound

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:26 PM PDT

U.S. officials have confirmed that a stash of porn was found in Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.

The porn, which consists of “modern, electronically recorded video,” is “fairly extensive,” the officials told Reuters, which broke the initial story Friday. The officials could not confirm exactly where the porn was discovered in the compound. They also could not confirm whether bin Laden himself had bought or viewed the stash. Though bin Laden’s compound had televisions, it did not have an Internet connection or hard-wired communications network.

The porn cache isn’t the only disclosure to come out of the May 2 raid by Navy SEALS. On May 7, the Pentagon released five videos featuring bin Laden. Those videos, released without audio, show a gray-haired bin Laden watching himself on TV, and on another occasion, rehearsing a speech in front of an armoire. The raid yielded 2.7 terabytes of data and is the “largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever collected,” officials told the AP.

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Solar Plane Makes First International Flight

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:15 PM PDT

Solar Impulse, an aircraft powered only by solar energy, has completed its first international flight — from Payerne, Switzerland to Brussels, Belgium.

The plane took off from Payerne at 8:40 a.m. (2:40 a.m. ET) Friday, covered approximately 480 kilometers (300 miles), flying over France and Luxembourg at 3,600 meters (11,880 feet) and landing at the Brussels Airport at around 9 p.m. (3 p.m. ET).

Solar Impulse made its first flight back in April 2010, when it covered 87 miles. However, today’s 12-hour flight was the first real test for the four-engine, 3,500-lb plane, as it required navigation through international air traffic networks.

The Solar Impulse team was led by pilot Andre Borschberg and adventurer Bertrand Piccard. “I feel relieved. For the last month, my biggest nightmare was that the plane would not arrive due to technical problems or due to weather problems,” Piccard said.

Solar Impulse’s next mission is scheduled for June, when the plane is slated to fly to France, where it will be exhibited at the Paris Air Show. The project’s ultimate goal is to be the first solar-powered, piloted, fixed-wing aircraft to circle the Earth.

A video stream of the event, which is still ongoing at the time of writing, with pilots being interviewed after the flight, is available here.

Image courtesy of Solar Impulse

[via Physorg]

More About: flight, plane, solar impulse, solar plane, solar power

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Meetup To Launch Facebook Tab to Help Brands Mobilize Fans

Posted: 13 May 2011 02:02 PM PDT

Meetup will launch a tab for Facebook fan pages in June, announced Meetup Co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman on stage at Mashable Connect on Friday. The feature will allow brands to mobilize their followers via the more than 600-million-strong platform.

With the app, a Facebook fan page administrator can declare a Worldwide Meetup Day directly from Facebook. The brand will not have a Meetup Everywhere page, nor will fans be required to navigate away from Facebook to sign up for or organize a Meetup.

“We’re really focused on it being a Facebook experience,” Heiferman said.

After a website overhaul in January, Worldwide Meetup Days became the focus of Meetup Everywhere. The feature allows organizations to initiate a Meetup theme and date across their fan base, making it easier for them to spark Meetups around a particular activity or topic.

Many brands have been declaring Worldwide Meetup Days on their Meetup Everywhere pages during the past few months. However, reaching their true fan base through the platform has been challenging. Now organizations will be tapping into their existing Facebook community rather than building a following from the bottom up on Meetup.

“What we've seen is that the most exciting brands in the world right now are having these Meetup days –- Zynga, Etsy, Instagram, Foursquare, Mashable, Threadless –- and one of the common requests we got was: ‘We have more fans. How can you make it easier for more fans to be involved?’” Heiferman said. “The answer was to make it as easy as one click on the brand’s Facebook page.”

The new tab will also help brands to introduce the concept of Meetup to their followers. Though social media has enabled a constant virtual dialogue between organizations and their fans, Meetup’s mission is about getting people to engage face-to-face around a common interest. The ability to inspire these intimate in-person connections is a more telling sign of an organization’s effect on its followers than a mere click of the Like button.

“A mark of a great brand in the 21st century is Meetups: people caring enough to Meetup about the brand,” Heiferman said. “So that’s why we made “Meetup for Facebook Pages” — to make it easier for more brands, organizations and movements to declare Meetup Days. It’s about unleashing real communities.”

The Facebook tab was created for brands that have yet to create a Meetup Everywhere account. It functions differently from a Meetup Everywhere page and cannot be used simultaneously, said Kathryn Fink, strategy and community maven at Meetup.

Many brands with successful Meetup Everywhere presences have already leveraged Facebook as a communication tool to get fans on board with Worldwide Meetup Days. “We understand though, that some partners would love a way to host the entire Meetup experience within their Facebook context,” Fink said. “Once the app is live, we’ll work with individual organizations on a case-by-case basis to figure out which type of engagement makes the most sense for them, strategy- and community-wise.”

Meetup has not yet named its launch partners. Five spots will be reserved for organizations attending Mashable Connect, Heiferman said.

Would you organize or attend a Meetup for a brand you like on Facebook? Tell us in the comments.

Attend a Monthly Mashable Meetup Near You »

More About: mashable connect, mashable connect 2011, meetup, meetup everywhere, scott heiferman

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This Week’s Top Funding & Investment Stories

Posted: 13 May 2011 01:49 PM PDT

Welcome to the Mashable Connect edition of "Top Funding Stories," a weekly series where we summarize the big startup funding and investment stories of the week.

Here’s what we found interesting this week:

Clearspring Nabs $20 Million from IVP & Others

Clearspring, the creator of the AddThis sharing widget, has raised $20 million from Institutional Venture Partners and several of its existing investors. Previous investors include New Enterprise Associates, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Ted Leonsis (AOL), Steve Case (AOL), Nigel Morris (Capital One) and Ron Conway.

Facebook Networking Service BranchOut Secures $18 Million

BranchOut, a startup for career network via Facebook, raised $18 million in a Series B round. The round was led by Redpoint Ventures and joined by Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Floodgate Fund.

Further News

  • Send the Trend raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by Battery Ventures.
  • Pageonce, a mobile-based personal finance management service, raised $15 million from Morgenthaler Ventures, Pitango Ventures and board chairman Liron Petrushka.
  • Liquidspace, a service for finding co-working and business spaces on-the-fly, raised $3.6 million in a round led by Shasta Ventures.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kizilkayaphotos

More About: funding, investment

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Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: The Play Edition

Posted: 13 May 2011 01:31 PM PDT

This week’s YouTube Roundup theme comes to us courtesy of YouTube comedy master, Jack Vale, and it’s oddly fitting considering all of Mashable is in Disney World: Play.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vale, check out the above video, part of his popular “Nonsense” series, in which he speaks to unsuspecting strangers in utter gibberish and films their reactions.

I’m going to try this out at Epcot later on tonight.

Babies Playing

Jack Vale: I'm a dedicated husband and father of five and watching my kids play keeps me feeling like a kid.

Goofy "How To Play Baseball"

Josh Catone: In honor of Mashable's trip to Disney World, here's Goofy explaining how to play America's pastime.

The Play: Bears Attack the Band

Josh Catone: Speaking of "play," this is The Play.

Laughing Baby Ripping Paper

Sarah Kessler: Paper. So fun!

Baby Laughing at the Wii

Amy-Mae Elliott: I take Sarah Kessler's paper and raise her Wii golf!


Ada Ospina: My fave play. I wanted to live Rent!

"I'm Yours"

Ben Parr: If by "babies playing" you mean "toddlers playing the ukulele!"

Charlie Bit My Finger - Again !

Brie Manakul: Charlie bit me!

High Five For First Kiss

Brenna Ehrlich: This is what I remember on the playground -- chasing boys and trying to kiss them. Luckily, I grew outta that -- kinda...

Image courtesy of Fickr, urbantofu

More About: favorite-youtube-videos, jack-vale, play, videos

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Why Online Communities Are Redefining the Concept of Local

Posted: 13 May 2011 01:16 PM PDT

community image

Formerly at VentureBeat, NBC and Gawker/Valleywag, Owen Thomas now serves as founding editor of The Daily Dot, the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web.

When we talk about community, we talk about places and spaces. But online communities transcend geography.

That tends to mess with our heads. In trying to understand the new, it helps to fall back on the old, using metaphors drawn from familiar sources. Cities have streets, blocks and neighborhoods. Why wouldn't virtual worlds have the same?

In the ’90s, when we started to colonize cyberspace by the hundreds of thousands (and then by the millions), virtual cities became all the rage. Academics and technologists argued, in all apparent seriousness, that we would click on a 3D picture of a supermarket to go shopping, then wander our avatars down virtual streets to go to our next task.

Yahoo bought GeoCities — a collection of homepages organized by neighborhood. AOL and Tribune launched Digital City. Corporations from Citigroup to SAP moved into virtual terrain.

These city metaphors all failed. Why? Because they proved utterly unnecessary. The older generation, who might have used them as a crutch, found them unwieldy. And digital natives moved directly into new neighborhoods that they built from scratch — forums, message boards, blogs, and ultimately social networks.

And yet we keep falling back on the notion that online communities — entities like Facebook, Twitter, even Mashable Follow — are “places.” They occupy mental space, if not physical space. Look no further than XKCD's famous map of online communities, which attempts to chart where we live our lives online in whimsical fashion.

Facebook, were it a country, would be the third largest in the world. Twitter, depending on how you count its users, could land in the top 10. Reddit, the freewheeling headline-discussion site, is bigger than Cambodia.

Yet the amount of reportage devoted to these communities is miniscule. Sure, there's plenty written about Facebook's booming advertising sales or Twitter's feuds with its developers. But does any of that matter to the hundreds of millions of people using those sites?

The New “Local”

I find the current vogue for hyperlocal media, which focuses on ever smaller physical spaces, curious — as if the nobility of reporting on the small and uneventful should be rewarded in the marketplace.

Don't get me wrong: There's a lot of creativity being put into hyperlocal journalism, and it may turn into something interesting. But I think there are far larger, far more interesting, and far more important unexplored territories for journalists to cover.

It's time to wear out our keyboard covers, not our shoe leather.

I've always found it striking that Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's creators, is an urban-design enthusiast. The microblogging service was inspired in part by the short messages sent over traffic-dispatch systems Dorsey once programmed. Indeed, Twitter was once thought of as a tool for telling your friends where you were from moment to moment.

You can still do that, if you like. But Twitter, in the hands of millions of users, has transformed into an utterly new kind of place-announcer. You no longer tell your friends where your body is. Instead, it's about where your head is at. It's a real-time map to the geography of the mind.

And that's where we might find a useful analogy to cities. Instead of the literal metaphors which reproduce the physicality of cities, shouldn't we look at the deeper characteristics of our urban spaces?

Jane Jacobs, the late author and one of the great thinkers about modern cities, railed against top-down urban planning. But she was a steadfast defender of cities' mutability.

By occupying the urban landscape, we define it and transform it. The buildings and businesses come and go; the people remain. The real digital cities are made of us.

Interested in more Social Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, romakoshel

More About: community, facebook, online city, online communities, social media, twitter

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Will Node Power the Next Twitter? NowJS Is Betting On It

Posted: 13 May 2011 12:59 PM PDT

Real-time apps are the future of the web, and new platforms for supporting that kind of technology are sprouting up everywhere.

One such promising technology is NowJS, an out-of-the-box architecture for real-time web apps.

NowJS uses the ever-so-trendy Node.js and to make it easier to build real-time web apps. Devs can use NowJS to build chat, news feeds, web analytics, video games, dashboards and more. It’s a simple and lightweight technology for large-scale web apps.

In a chat in Mashable‘s San Francisco office, Darshan Shankar, one of the devs responsible for NowJS, said, “We’ve simplified the communication layer of really complicated web applications. The next Twitter or Facebook will use us, and they’ll be a lot better for it.”

Shankar’s startup is Flotype. Based in Berkeley, California, the fledgling company is composed of three UC Berkeley computer science dropouts chasing the Web 3.0 dream. The co-founders include Eric Zhang and Sridatta Thatipamala, whom Shankar calls “truly genius hackers.”

“Our value proposition is the technology,” said Shankar, who emphasizes that NowJS isn’t the kind of platform-as-a-service that might compete with Heroku or Joyent. “You can host your app wherever you want,” he continued, adding that competitors with the two aforementioned powerhouses are “probably doomed.”

Rather, the startup’s business model is based on enterprise sales. “We’re building a scalable, robust version of NowJS that runs on a cluster of servers,” Shankar wrote in an email, “thereby allowing our customers to deploy applications facing millions of concurrent clients.”

Flotype has raised a seed round and has a handful of clients currently.

To see how NowJS can be used to make a chat server in 12 lines of code, check out the video below:

Image based on a photo from iStockphoto user alxpin

More About: flotype, node, node.js, nowjs, startup, y combinator

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Google News for Mobile Now Surfaces Nearby News

Posted: 13 May 2011 12:11 PM PDT

Google News for mobile is getting more location-aware, now using your location to serve up news items relevant to your whereabouts.

Friday, Google rolled out the new feature, called “News Near You,” to iPhone and Android owners using the U.S. English edition of Google News for mobile.

“Now you can find local news on your smartphone,” Google News Product Manager Navneet Singh says of the update. “We do local news a bit differently, analyzing every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.”

Google News for mobile will prompt you with a pop-up message asking if you’d like to share your location. Should you choose to do so, news concerning your location will show up in the “News Near You” section at the bottom of your homepage, and a “Jump to” drop-down menu will let you navigate to the section quickly.

More About: Google, google news, local news

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Here’s How Corporations Dodge Taxes [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 13 May 2011 11:35 AM PDT

Fifty years ago, corporate taxes accounted for 30% of all federal revenue. Now, that number has dropped to just 6.6%.

In this graphical wonderland from Online MBA, we take a look at how corporations have dodged … er, optimized for lower taxes over the years.

From setting up overseas subsidiaries to adventures in “creative” finance, huge companies such as GE have made an art form of lowering the amounts they pay to Uncle Sam year over year. In fact, some of these companies even hire former IRS employees to find more (and more profitable) tax loopholes.

Take a look at this infographic, and in the comments, don’t hold back — tell us how you really feel about corporate tax “minimization.”

Click image to see full-size version.


More About: business, corporations, tax

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HOW TO: Build a Local Startup Community

Posted: 13 May 2011 10:52 AM PDT

builder image

Travis Oberlander is an entreprenuer and startup geek based in Los Angeles. Travis is chief editor and founder of, where he covers Los Angeles startup news and culture. Follow him on Twitter

For years the common belief was that the only place to start a tech company is in Silicon Valley. Startups outside of the Bay Area were largely overlooked or ignored. Lately, that myth has been exposed, and startup ecosystems have sprung up all across the United States. Cities not normally referred to as “tech hubs” have started to draw the attention of the media and the public.

In the tech world, my hometown of Los Angeles, California has long been considered the red-headed step child of its more successful northern counterpart. However, in recent years, a number of legitimate startups have set up shop around the city. In response, Los Angelenos have started to embrace, define and build a startup ecosystem. In the process, we’ve learned a few lessons.

1. Don’t Try to be Silicon Valley

It does nobody in your community any good if you build your startup with an eye on “bigger” or “better” cities. Embrace the uniqueness of your city or community; if you truly want to found a Silicon Valley startup, it’s best that you do it there.

Los Angeles is the capital of entertainment. New York is the king of media. Raleigh-Durham is a leader in life sciences. What industry is your region known for? Focus on that and involve the leaders of those industries in the startup ecosystem.

2. Work Openly

The process of bringing together entrepreneurs has been made exponentially easier by the coworking phenomenon. If done right, these spaces become incubators for new businesses and help drive job growth in the area.

CoLoft, in Santa Monica, has become the unofficial hub of tech startup activity in Los Angeles. On any given day, you’re bound to see entrepreneurs working side-by-side chatting, giving advice and even collaborating on projects. These coworking spaces also become the site of hackathons, meetups and startup weekends.

3. Get Creative With Regular Events

Mixers and parties are easy, but they can become monotonous and don’t always provide the best environment for building relationships. Organizing meetups, demo days and startup weekends are great ways to drive creativity and collaboration. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only these types of events. Think outside of the box. Try activities that don’t involve “work.”

Entrepreneurs in Seattle can, weather permitting, go on day hikes into the foothills of the Cascades. Hackers from Durham can organize weekend pickup games against their Chapel Hill counterparts. Look to your local area for inspiration and when in doubt, browse through for more ideas.

4. Find a Local Evangelist

A local celebrity VC can be a huge asset, but it’s only a part of the equation. Recognize the local entrepreneurs who are dedicated to spreading the word about your community. Embrace what they’re trying to do and support their efforts. These people will attract fresh talent and reach out to leaders elsewhere to promote your engaged and thriving community.

Aside from advocate entrepreneurs and VCs, back up the efforts of blogs and media interested in campaigning for your region. Los Angeles has the tireless efforts of Ben Kuo at and Efren Toscano at TechZulu. Portland has Rick Turoczy at Silicon Florist. Who’s the blogger in your locality that’s eager to write about your startup?

5. Pay it Forward

Finally, realize that as a community you’re all in this together. Openly support new entrepreneurs or startups in need of help. Also, don’t be reluctant to celebrate the successes of others. These companies can become patron companies and, if they’ve grown out of your engaged startup community, will give back to the young startups not just through capital but through business development. Sometimes all it takes is one success to raise the tide for others.

There’s never been a better time to foster a local startup community. With the right ingredients of dedication, collaboration evangelism and support, you’ll set your startup ecosystem on a path for continuing success for decades to come.

Interested in more Startup resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kid’s Birthday Parties

More About: business, community, ecosystem, social media, startup, startup community

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Twitter Is Down

Posted: 13 May 2011 10:36 AM PDT

Twitter is down and fail whales abound.

Some users have experienced problems loading the service since about 1:30 ET. Twitter announced that it is aware of the situation on its status log: “We are currently experiencing site stability issues. There may be intermittent issues loading We're working to fix it as soon as possible,” the post says.

This is the latest in a long history of outages on the social network. Last July the company vowed to improve its reliability, citing an upcoming move to a dedicated data center of its own.

We’ll continue to update you with more information, as it becomes available.

If you’re experiencing withdrawal, feel free to have your own 140-character conversations in the comments.

More About: twitter

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Creatives: Build the Perfect Online Portfolio, No Code Required [PICS & VIDEO]

Posted: 13 May 2011 10:14 AM PDT

Behance, the network for creative professionals, has added a new tool to the creative’s arsenal.

ProSite is a simple as drag-and-drop way to create truly stunning online portfolios. Projects in these portfolios will be linked to other sites in the Behance network, such as LinkedIn, AIGA and AdWeek.

To get started, a designer (or illustrator, or director, or tattoo artist, etc.) uploads traditional or multimedia projects to Behance. Once the Behance projects have been created, you can choose a layout from the ProSites library — and layouts are customizable, so no two sites need look alike.

Once your projects and layouts are set up, just drag and drop your projects into your new portfolio site as you want them to appear. You can then adjust the sizes of the project thumbnails, switch up the margins, pick your own colors and (best of all, in our opinion), select from a roster of gorgeous web-friendly fonts for your site.

You can add unlimited galleries and extra pages (such as Contact and About pages) to the site, and you can post it on your own custom URL, if you like. The ProSite-made portfolio will integrate well with social media tools, and anything you add to your Behance projects will automatically get pushed to the portfolio site without your having to lift a finger.

Once it’s finished, Behanced charges $11 per month to publish and host the site — a pretty sweet deal and one that’s highly competitive. There are no ads on any ProSite portfolio.

Behance CEO Scott Belsky said ProSite is “the best thing we’ve ever built,” and he doesn’t think the new tools will be much of a money-maker for his bootstrapped and profitable company. This is just a feature the creative communities have been requesting for some time, he said Friday in a conversation at Mashable Connect. For real revenue opportunities, Belsky is looking toward the opening of Behance’s API, slated for later this year.

Check out the video and images below, and you can see more examples here.

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

ProSite Portfolios From Behance

top image courtesy of iStockphoto user kryczka

More About: behance, Connect, Creative, designer, designers, mashable connect, mashcon, portfolio, pro, prosites, website

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Odd Future Dances to Rebecca Black: Happy Friday the 13th

Posted: 13 May 2011 09:46 AM PDT

Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks.

Indie rappers Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (a.k.a. Odd Future) busted out the Rebecca Black during a recent performance and danced — boyband-like — to “Friday.”

Perhaps the band was celebrating the recent release of Tyler, the Creator’s new album, Goblin (as teased via QR code on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). Goblin is currently number five on the iTunes chart.

We, for one, so excited.

More About: Friday, goblin, Odd Future, Rebecca Black, youtube

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The 19th Annual Internet Meme Convention [COMIC]

Posted: 13 May 2011 09:25 AM PDT

It’s that one time every year when Keyboard Cat and the Double Rainbow Guy can talk shop over cocktails.

Mashable Comics are illustrated every week by Kiersten Essenpreis, a New York-based artist who draws and blogs at

More Mashable Comics:

- Stand-Up Web Developers
- The Secret Social Media Lives of Goldfish
- There's a Badge for That
- Tech Cereal: Part of a Connected Breakfast
- Technical Difficulties: The Eternal Annoyance

More About: conferences, Events, humor, keyboard-cat, mashable comics, memes, rick astley, sad keanu, viral, web culture

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Hulu Nears Deal With Networks [REPORT]

Posted: 13 May 2011 09:04 AM PDT

If you rely on Hulu to watch programs on NBC, Fox and ABC, your Internet television fix is likely safe for several more years.

Hulu is expected to close a deal by the end of the week with key network providers that extends its content licenses, reports All Things Digital. These licenses were signed two years ago, but don’t expire for several more years. The impending deal would extend them further.

People familiar with the negotiations told All Things Digital that the basic structure of Hulu will stay the same: the site will offer free, ad-supported programing as well as a premium Hulu Plus subscription option that offers more programming and multi-device access.

What is likely to change are programming windows, the length of time that must pass after a show airs on television before it can be posted online and how long it can remain there. Networks want the gap between television and Internet air time to be larger to increase the appeal of watching a show at its scheduled time.

The network providers might also negotiate a non-exclusive deal that allows them to stream content on sites like Netflix and Amazon.

More About: abc, Fox, hulu, nbc, video, web video

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Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:49 AM PDT

Thanks to this week's advertisers and partners for enabling us to bring you the latest social media news and resources. Mashable’s sponsors are as social media savvy as our readers!

Advertise with us and get noticed.

Mashable is seeking site sponsors for our large, diverse audience — social media users, venture capitalists, early adopters, developers, bloggers and many more. You’ll receive hundreds of thousands of views per day in addition to weekly recognition as part of our “thank you” to our premium sponsors. Are you interested? Contact us for more information and to receive our media kit and rate card.

This week, our valued sponsors are: LoopFuse, Mygazines, GFI Vipre, BMW i,, Elance, Discover Digital Group, Global Strategic Management Institute, Mynewsdesk, Ford, Spigit, Sprout Social, Site24x7, IDG, Elsevier, Vocus, Hubspot, Level 3 Communications, Qualcomm's Snapdragon, CUNY School of Professional Studies, Sourcebits, Oneupweb, SoftLayer, SRDS, Buddy Media, Gillette, Clickatell, Microsoft BizSpark, MaxCDN and Eventbrite.

LoopFuse provides forever-free marketing automation software that closes the loop between sales and marketing with smarter lead capture, scoring, and nurturing — plus integration. LoopFuse helps marketers build better pipelines, run more efficient marketing operations, and enable more effective sales teams leading to increased revenue and reduced costs. Learn more about lead nurturing with LoopFuse.

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BMW i is a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles — it delivers smart mobility services. Visit

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Elance is where where businesses tap into the human cloud for immediate access to the talent they need, when they need it. Elance offers the flexibility to staff up or down, and is faster and less expensive than traditional staffing and outsourcing. Check out Startup Cloud to learn how to hire and manage in the human cloud.

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Site24x7, an online website monitoring service which allows users to monitor their website, web application and online web transactions. Users can get instant alerts when their website goes down. Site24x7 allows monitoring from across 25+ global locations. Site24x7 pricing starts from $1/Month/URL. Sign up for a 15-day Free Trial!

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With the explosion of mobile devices, advertising dollars will begin to shift to mobile for tech marketers this year. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke talks about the rise of social and how IDG helps marketers create social campaigns. The line is fading between social media and traditional media. Earned media or sharing of information within social networks is becoming mainstream whether on a PC or mobile device. Learn more.

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Elsevier‘s SciVerse Application Marketplace and Developer Network enables developers to build apps based on trusted scientific content. In 2008, the prominent science publisher Elsevier launched SciVerse to provide developers with access to ample research data. SciVerse also sponsors "Apps for Science," a $35,000 developer challenge to accelerate science. Learn more.

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HubSpot offers inbound marketing software that helps small and medium sized businesses get found on the Internet by the right prospects and converts more of them into leads and customers. HubSpot's software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and small business owners to manage SEO, blogging, social media, landing pages, e-mail, lead intelligence and marketing analytics. Learn more.

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Level 3 Communications is an international provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed.

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset platform is redefining mobility by offering an optimal combination of mobile processing performance, powerful multimedia, wireless connectivity and power efficiency. Inside your smartphone beats the heart of a dragon.

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SoftLayer provides global, on-demand data center and hosting services from facilities across the U.S. it leverages best-in-class connectivity and technology to innovate industry leading, fully automated solutions that empower enterprises with complete access, control, security, and scalability.

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Facebook Amps Up Security With Text Message Login Approvals

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:39 AM PDT

In its quest to improve account security, Facebook has unlocked a new feature that uses text message confirmations to prevent unauthorized account access.

Login Approvals is simple: before your Facebook account can be accessed from a new computer, Facebook will send you a text with an access code. You then have to type in that code before accessing your Facebook account.

Once the account challenge is completed, you can choose to save that computer as a trusted device, which will prevent the Login Approval popup from appearing again. If you lose your phone, you can still access your account from these trusted devices and use that to authorize access to a new device.

Login Approvals is now available as an opt-in feature in Facebook’s account settings. It was built by Andrew Song, one of Facebook’s engineering interns.

As users pour more information into their Facebook accounts, the social network has been ramping up its efforts to improve security. Facebook has implemented temporary passwords via SMS and in the past year introduced a remote logout feature. It’s all part of Facebook’s efforts to stop phishing scams and clickjacking attacks, a problem that just won’t seem to go away.

More About: facebook, Facebook Engineering, Facebook security, Login approvals, security

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Gorgeous Danger Mouse Music Project Shows the Possibilities of HTML5 [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:22 AM PDT

Music video director Chris Milk has once again pushed the boundaries of the traditional music video, demonstrating how HTML5 and WebGL technology can be used to create intriguing stories in-browser.

At Google’s I/O conference, Milk and, along with Aaron Koblin from Google Creative Labs, unveiled their most recent project, "3 Dreams in Black.” The video was created for "Black," which comes off the upcoming album Rome, presented by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, featuring Jack White and Norah Jones on vocals. Now, anyone can check out the video experience on a dedicated website. (Make sure you’re using Chrome to view it.)

The video takes users through the dream world of a character named Temple, a girl who exists in a post-apocalyptic realm. Gorgeous images of trains, bedrooms and bison in a lush landscape are interspersed with 3D animations of twisting creatures and images, evoking the unreality of a dream.

Users can explore the landscape with their mouses and can contribute creatures using a 3D-model creator. Those creatures reside in a desert that Temple arrives in at the end of the video (look out for Reddit guy).

According to Milk and Co., this is just the first in many experiences — spanning various and sundry forms of media — associated with the album.

Milk and were also responsible for “The Wilderness Downtown,” an HTML5 experience created for the Arcade Fire’s album, as well as the accompanying Wilderness Machine (a machine that spits out user-generated postcards during the band’s stage show). Milk also created a crowdsourced video titled “The Johnny Cash Project,” which earned him a Grammy nomination.

If you check out the video now, fair warning: It is a little wonky. However, keep in mind that it is an experiment designed to showcase and test the abilities of new technologies, the same way “The Wilderness Downtown” did. That video experience showed off the capabilities offered by HTML5, including audio, video and canvas tags.

This particular video boasts WebGL, a new technology that brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. (You can play with the tech here.)

The traditional music video has morphed and evolved in the past year or so, due in no small part to Milk. "We have greater capacity for tracking complex stories on multiple platforms for longer periods of time,” he says in an announcement.

Yes, film-based music videos can still be revolutionary and inspired, but technologies like HTML5 open the opportunities for creating landscapes and evoking moods not otherwise possible in the leanback space of the tried-and-true video format.

Still, we have a long way to go before this kind of video is truly embraced (for one, HTML5 is still in an experimental phase, and there are some hiccups) — take the panel in which the MTV OMA for “Most Innovative Music Video” was awarded. (Disclosure: I was on said panel.) Panelists questioned whether a video like “The Wildness Downtown” was exclusionary, because it only works online and not on television. They also pointed out that it didn’t always work.

However, we are only on the cusp of such artistic frontiers, remember, and as more and more of our entertainment becomes web-based, we can see videos like "3 Dreams in Black" becoming more ubiquitous.

More About:, chris-milk, chrome, danger-mouse, daniele-luppi, Google, HTML5, jack-white, music, Norah Jones, pop culture, trending, video, webgl

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To Counter Groupon & LivingSocial, Travelzoo Does TV [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:01 AM PDT

Media attention for Groupon and LivingSocial has prompted travel deals publisher Travelzoo to launch its first TV campaign, a $1.5 million effort.

The ad above features a choreographed number called the “Travelzoo Top 20 Dance” (named after the site's list of daily deals published every Wednesday) to the tune of Toni Basil's 1982 hit "Mickey.” The spot will air during Dancing with the Stars on May 16. The dance was choreographed by Jennifer Hamilton, who put together dances for the Austin Powers movies, among others. An ’80s tune with dancing is likely a bid to seek viral success on the web, since both elements often propel social pickup.

Travelzoo is also running a Facebook-based contest asking consumers to upload a video of themselves doing the dance. Prizes include vacation-for-two packages and Travelzoo T-shirts.

Travelzoo’s competitors have also run high-profile TV campaigns recently and have been in the media spotlight. Travelzoo, founded in 1998, has 23 million users, but doesn’t have the name recognition of the others.

More About: advertising, groupon, LivingSocial, MARKETING, Travelzoo

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Which TV Shows Are the Most Social? [STATS]

Posted: 13 May 2011 07:39 AM PDT

The most social shows on TV aren’t necessarily those with the highest Nielsen ratings. That’s the big takeaway from a new research study from, which ranks the most social TV shows from the 2010-2011 television season.

When we look at TV ratings, it’s almost always in the context of what programs have the most viewers. Historically, this is a useful metric for advertisers, but as traditional television viewership (and even ownership) continues to decline, it’s more important to track users’ engagement with programming, especially across social sites.

The rankings, which are based on episode checkins, Facebook Likes and site comments, offer an interesting look at not only what shows are most social, but also how viewers really use social media to interact and engage with their favorite shows.

Top 10 Most Social Shows of the 2010-2011 TV Season

2. American Idol
3. Criminal Minds
4. Glee
5. House
6. Fringe
7. Bones
8. Castle
9. Smallville
10. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Although some of these shows, like NCIS and American Idol, are also extremely popular in the Nielsen ratings, that isn’t the overall rule. Programs like Glee, which have huge social media followings and a great web presence, barely rank in Nielsen’s Top 40.

Smallville, a program that is wrapping up its tenth and final season, has a tremendously strong social fanbase, despite being one of Nielsen’s lowest rated programs.

How Users Engage With Social TV

Beyond simply looking at which TV shows are most social, also researched how viewers use social TV. In the past 12 months, we’ve seen a wave of second-screen experience apps appear for devices like the iPad, encouraging users to engage with social media while watching the show live.

According to, Twitter leads Facebook when it comes to engagement while a show is airing. Fifty percent of users said they tweet about the show they are watching, compared with only 35% who said they post to Facebook.

Christy Tanner, general manager and executive vice president of TV Guide Digital, will discuss the report at Mashable Connect Friday in her presentation, “The Truth About Social TV.”

Is Your TV Experience Social?

Do you engage with social media while watching TV? Are there certain shows you follow religiously online? Let us know in the comments how you use the social web to enhance or augment your TV experience.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Terraxplorer

More About: connected devices, mashable connect 2011, social tv, television, tv, tv guide,

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