Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “HTC Flyer Coming to Best Buy on May 22”

Mashable!

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “HTC Flyer Coming to Best Buy on May 22”


HTC Flyer Coming to Best Buy on May 22

Posted: 20 May 2011 01:25 AM PDT


The Flyer — HTC’s foray into tablet territory — will become available for purchase from Best Buy on May 22.

The 7-inch Android tablet sports a powerful 1.5 GHz single-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage space (expandable with microSD memory cards). Two cameras are also on board: a 5-megapixel one on the back and an additional 1.3-megapixel camera on the front for video calls.

Finally, you get HDMI output, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi but no 3G, and all of this will set you back $499.99. If 3G/4G connectivity is a must, you might want to wait for Sprint’s version of the device, which should be launching soon.

[Best Buy via BGR]

More About: 7-inch, best buy, htc, HTC Flyer, Tablet

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


6 Important Tips for First-Time Startup Investors

Posted: 19 May 2011 10:03 PM PDT

investing image

Bill Clark is the CEO of Microventures, a securities broker/dealer that uses crowdfunding to allow investors to invest between $1,000 to $10,000 in startups online. You can follow him on twitter @austinbillc.

An angel investor used to be defined as someone with a high net worth. They typically have more than $1 million and privately invest money in startup businesses that are seeking capital. The SEC restricts investing in private deals to mostly accredited investors. I say mostly because there are some opportunities for non-accredited investors to participate on a limited basis. The definition of an accredited investor in the U.S. is a person who either has a net worth (excluding a primary residence) of $1 million, an income of $200,000 per year for the last two years, or $300,000 in household income per year for the last two years.

Angel investing has gained a lot of popularity despite anxieties over the bubble bursting. You need to understand what you are getting into before making that first investment. The general rule is that you shouldn't invest more than 10% of your net worth, since startups can be risky. Investments typically range from $25K to $250K, but with startups needing less capital to launch these days, the amounts are shrinking.

Aside from the accredited investor rule, you don't need to have any additional qualifications to become an angel, but you do need to make sure you understand the following concepts.


1. Be Ready to Write the Check


Make sure you have access to your capital so that when you find a great startup you have the money readily accessible to invest. You don't want to have to wait to liquidate a CD or a stock, or try to get money out of your IRA and watch a great opportunity pass you by. Also, you don't want to waste the startup's time if you can't get access to your funds. You can develop a bad reputation if you start committing and backing out of deals at the last minute. The startup community is a huge network, and word travels fast if you are unpleasant to deal with.


2. Understand the Risk


The majority of startups fail. As long as you understand the investment may be risky and you might not get your investment back, then you are at least being realistic when thinking about investing. If you stress too much while writing the check, it means it may not be the right time for you.


3. Investing In Multiple Deals


Given the high rate at which startups fail, it’s wise to spread your risk by investing in more than one. The goal is for a few successful startups to more than pay for the ones that fail. Ron Conway has made this "Spray and Pray" strategy successful. The thought is that you invest in a lot of deals early on and then narrow your focus in on those that are more successful and require additional funding.


4. Investing Takes Patience


You need to realize that even if your startup is successful, it could take five or more years to get your investment back. The most common way to get your money out of a private company is a liquidity event, such as a public offering or an acquisition by another company. Those events take time, sometimes even up to 10 years. Be patient.

In the past few years there have been additional opportunities for investors to sell off shares. For example, Groupon raised almost $1 billion, some of which was to allow shareholder liquidity. Also, new platforms like SecondMarket and Sharespost help with liquidity by linking your company shares with an interested buyer.


5. Understand the Exit Strategy


Every startup should have a clear exit strategy that they can share with investors. They should have a list of competitors who might be interested in an acquisition or the plan could be to go public like LinkedIn or Facebook. If you’re not clear on how the startup is going to exit, or they can't give you a list of potential competitors, you should think twice about investing.


6. Mentoring and Connections


While you’re assessing a startup for investment, the startup is probably looking at what you can bring to the table besides a check. A big part of angel investing is helping out the companies you invest in by either mentoring them or connecting them to additional people who can help them succeed. In the end, investing isn’t just about the money.


Helping an entrepreneur who is trying to build a great company can be extremely rewarding. You are also surrounded by smart, creative people who come up with really interesting ideas. The downside is that it never gets any easier saying no to someone who is passionate about a project.

Have you thought about becoming an angel investor? Share your experiences in the comments below.


For more lists, how-tos and other resources on this topic, check out Mashable Explore!

Image courtesy of Flickr, wonderwebby

More About: angel investor, business, how to, investment, List, Lists, MARKETING, startup, startups, tips

For more Startups coverage:


Sundance Institute-Inspired Music Community Puts Power in Hands of Bands & Fans

Posted: 19 May 2011 08:47 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: Bobcom

Quick Pitch: Bobcom is an indie online community that lets bands reach fans, get industry support and sell music.

Genius Idea: Promote your band, score fans, sell jams.


“[The site was inspired by] Robert Redford’s Sundance,” says CEO Michael Feeney Callan, referring to the institute that the actor founded in 1981 to inspire indie filmmakers. “I worked closely with Redford for several years on his biography (currently a New York Times bestseller) and was vastly impressed by his commitment to promote marginalized filmmakers.”

“I fully acknowledge the value of the ‘jury of three’ and conventional A&R led industry model, but strongly feel the Internet offers a new-style democracy that gives artists greater control of their careers and a different way to break out,” Callan adds.

The site is extremely simple. Users can sign up — for free — as fans or musicians (musicians are all “fans” as well). If you sign up as a musician, you can create a profile (or port over a pre-existing one from Myspace) complete with music, videos, pictures, blogs and gigs. Note: you sign up as an artist, not a band — you then add your bands to your profile (handy, as many artists are in multiple bands).

Artists can also upload music for sale and choose their own price, retaining 56% of sales (this seems a little low to us — artists on TuneCore selling through iTunes keep 100% of revenues after iTunes takes a 30% cut).

Bobcom also offers artists a few extras that keep the site from just being a social network. First, bands can search other artists by location and instrument to find new members. Second, the site offers something called Fasttrack competitions.

Fasttrack competitions are similar to the kinds of opportunities available from sites like ReverbNation and Indaba Music — basically, artists can enter for the chance to score gigs. Other members of the site then help those artists attain their goals by listening, sharing, favoriting and fanning, all of which ups the musician’s “Bobscore.”

“Already we have put a band in Abbey Road Studios to record an EP of original songs, and placed four artists in our Channel 4 premier television series, Sounds from the Cities,” Callan says of Fasttrack.

Bobcom will also be launching another TV series soon, kicking it off by working with YouTube’s new livestreaming abilities. The show will feature the winners of the next Fasttrack competition, which will afford musicians a chance to play at The Cavern Club Liverpool, England, where The Beatles played their first gig.

Platforms like this are becoming more and more common — in various iterations. Already we have seen WHOOZNXT, My Major Company, Crowdbands and the aforementioned Indaba Music offering similar services to bands.

Which platform and model do you think is most promising when it comes to bands making it independently?

Image courtesy of Flickr, susieq3c


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: bobcom, business, MARKETING, music

For more Media coverage:


Gmail Chat & AIM Are Now Interoperable

Posted: 19 May 2011 07:52 PM PDT


AOL and Google have taken their instant messaging partnership to a new level with complete interoperability among AIM, Gmail and Google Talk.

Gmail users have been able to access their AIM account through Google Talk since 2007, but AIM accounts couldn’t message Google Talk accounts and vice versa. The juggling of two IM accounts has limited the usefulness of AIM within Gmail. Google announced in blog post, though, that the two companies have made some interoperability changes to their chat clients.

The first big change is that AIM users can now send messages to their Google contacts and vice versa. This works no matter which client a person is using, so they can IM a friend that uses AIM via Google Talk, Gmail, iGoogle, Orkut or any other Gtalk client. Gmail users will now see a prompt asking them to add their AIM buddies directly to Gtalk. Users will have to add @aol.com to the end of the AIM contact they are trying to add to make it work (e.g. screenname@aol.com).

Because users can add AIM contacts directly through Gmail, Google has removed the ability to sign in via AIM. This would normally be a problem for Google users that have hundreds of AIM contacts in their Gmail chat client, but AOL has created a tool to help them quickly add their AIM buddies to Gmail.

The changes may not affect users immediately, but they are big changes. AOL and Google have tens of millions of instant messenging users each. Combining their user bases makes both chat platforms far more useful, which could help them fend off competition. They need to worry about Facebook, whose FbChat service has grown in popularity, and Skype, which has more than 500 million users and is now owned by Microsoft.

More About: aim, aol, facebook, facebook chat, fbchat, gchat, gmail, Google, google talk, gtalk, iGoogle, orkut, Skype

For more Social Media coverage:


Google Wants to Become Your Personal Finance Advisor

Posted: 19 May 2011 06:08 PM PDT


In its attempt to break into the personal finance market, Google has launched a new tool for finding and comparing financial products.

At its core, Google Advisor is a personal finance comparison tool. It helps you check the rates for mortgages, credit cards, CDs, checking accounts and savings accounts by providing a list of financial instruments that meet your search criteria. For mortgages, Google provides data such as APR, monthly payment, fees and contact details. If you’re looking for a credit card, the search giant provides data on rewards, card type, purchase APR and the annual fee.

Google Advisor isn’t a search engine, though. It’s really a comparison engine with a lot of filters. If you need to find a 30-year fixed mortgage for a $650,000 home in Alameda County with a 660 credit rating, you will probably find it. Google advisor also features certain offers based on low APRs or the interest rate.

At the moment, mortgages are treated differently than the other financial categories. While Google doesn’t get paid if you find a credit card, CD, checking account or savings account through the search giant, it does make money whenever you contact a mortgage lender. You will noticed that mortgages have “sponsored results” while other financial instruments simply have “matching results.” Sponsored results could to other financial products expand over time.

Google has long wanted to break into personal finance, a sector where it could potentially make billions in advertising and referral fees. In March, Google acquired UK price comparison website BeatThatQuote for $61.5 million. There are a lot of similarities to BeatThatQuote and Google’s new finance service, and that probably wasn’t an accident. This is likely just the beginning of a series of tools Google will release to conquer the personal finance arena.

What do you think of Google Advisor? Do you trust Google to get you the best financial data? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: finance, Financial Advisor, Google, Google Advisor

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Liberty Media Makes $1 Billion Bid to Acquire Barnes & Noble

Posted: 19 May 2011 05:03 PM PDT


Liberty Media, the conglomerate that owns Starz, Encore and the Atlanta Braves, has made a billion dollar bid to acquire Barnes & Noble.

On Thursday, Liberty Media sent a proposal to Barnes & Noble’s board of directors to acquire the publicly-traded company for $17 per share. With a little more than 60 million outstanding shares, the acquisition would be worth just north of $1 billion. The bid is a 20% premium from Barnes & Noble’s closing price of $14.11. The stock’s price has skyrocketed to $16.97 in after hours trading.

The book retailing giant put itself up for sale in summer 2010. It has faced falling book sales because of the astronomical growth of Amazon and the rise of ebooks and digital media. B&N is the creator of the Nook ereader, but its competing in a market dominated by the Amazon Kindle. In 2006, Barnes & Noble was worth $3 billion.

The acquisition, which would give Liberty Media and its chairman John C. Malone control of more than 700 retail locations and more than 600 college bookstores, still faces several hurdles. It must not only secure shareholder and regulatory approval, but the deal is contingent on Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio’s continued involvement in the company.

More About: amazon, barnes & noble, media, nook

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


New Web App Makes Sharing Code & Comments a Snap

Posted: 19 May 2011 04:28 PM PDT


Interaction design firm ZURB unveiled its newest web app, Chop, at RailsConf 2011. Chop is a code review app created to allow designers or developers share snippets of code, along with annotations.

Users can paste in bits of code, choose their language, and then get a well-formatted bit of code (with syntax-highlighting depending on the language chosen) that can then be annotated. Simply select a line or lines from the document and then add your note.

Once users share the URL with someone else, that user can see the code, the annotation and add their own comment or reply to the code. In a world that already has Pastie, Pastebin and dozens of other code pasting sites, one might wonder if another is really necessary.

In the case of Chop, the annotations add some flare to the experience, which can be especially useful when instant messaging tools or email can’t adequately point out why a certain line of code needs to be adjusted.

Chop was built using Backbone.js, a framework that “supplies structure to JavaScript-heavy applications.” The net result is that pages load faster, especially when it comes to annotating parts of the tool.

ZURB used Backbone.js when it relaunched its popular web app Notable earlier this year. On the ZURB blog, engineer Matt Kelly discusses how using Backbone.js was able to speed up interactions within Notable significantly.

Have you used Backbone.js in any of your projects? Let us know in the comments.

More About: backbone.js, chop, chop app, notable, zurb

For more Dev & Design coverage:


College Guys Who Reference Alcohol On Facebook Have More Friends [STUDY]

Posted: 19 May 2011 03:24 PM PDT


Undergraduate men who often mention or post photos of alcohol have more Facebook friends than those who don’t, according to a study that will soon be published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

The study combed through the public profiles of 225 male undergraduate students at one university for references to alcohol, including photos that contained an alcoholic drink — not just a cup — and specific textual references. It found that 85.53% of the profiles contained at least one reference to alcohol. On average, they contained 8.5.

Men older than 21 made about 4.5 times as many references to alcohol on their profiles than younger men did. And the number of references a man posted significantly correlated with the number of Facebook friends.

How students reference drinking on Facebook is of interest to those who want to prevent collegiate alcohol abuse. The study cites research published in 2002 that shows the strongest influence of alcohol consumption rates among college students is perceived peer use (which often exceeds actual peer use). Another suggests that media may exceed traditional peer influences for forming peer social norms.

“Our hypothesis is that because alcohol in college students is a predictor of social acceptance, there could be a similar correlation in the social networking world with alcohol references…[posting alcoholic references] might be a mechanism for peer acceptance,” says Katie Egan, who led the research as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, Egan Snow

More About: alcohol, facebook, study

For more Social Media coverage:


LinkedIn Is Now Worth More Than These 13 Household Names

Posted: 19 May 2011 02:46 PM PDT


LinkedIn's $8.9 billion valuation means the company now has a larger market cap than JCPenney, MolsonCoors and even United Continental Holdings, the world's largest airline.

The company ended its first day of trading (under the symbol LNKD) at $94.25 — more than twice the opening price of $45. That valuation easily puts LinkedIn among the 500 largest companies in the U.S.

To get an idea of how big LinkedIn is now, here are some other well-known companies with valuations in the same range:

More About: chipotle, electronic arts, Expedia, ipo, jcpenney, linkedin, Red Hat

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Facebook Smear Campaign Has No Lasting Effect on Facebook or Google [STATS]

Posted: 19 May 2011 02:19 PM PDT


Despite major blowback from a Facebook-funded smear campaign against Google meant to raise questions about Google’s privacy settings, the perception of neither company has been significantly damaged.

According to data from social media analytics firm NetBase, which processed data from more than 70,000 news stories, blogs and forum posts, tweets and comments on social networks, the sentiment about both companies changed very little in the aftermath of the news.

Negative sentiment about Facebook — particularly mentions that also included Google — rose May 11, the evening the news broke, and peaked the next day. But by May 13, sentiment was largely positive again, and by May 17 sentiment about Facebook had returned to its pre-smear levels even when mentioned with Google. Google, it appears, was hardly affected.

Woe to the 24-hour news cycle and our short attention spans, I suppose.

Facebook Net Sentiment
Click for full-size view.

Facebook Sentiment, When Mentioned With Google

Google Net Sentiment

More About: facebook, Google

For more Social Media coverage:


Mashable Surpasses 500,000 Facebook Fans [OMG!]

Posted: 19 May 2011 01:56 PM PDT


Mashable earned a big achievement Thursday when we gained our 500,000th fan on our Mashable Facebook fan page.

We want to send a huge thank you to all our readers who “like” us on Facebook for making this milestone possible. It’s a goal we’ve been striving for ever since we announced our real-life Facebook fan wall in November. At that time, we had about 300,000 Facebook fans.

As our audience has grown, so has our staff. We now have 45 employees in the U.S. and Europe. In fact, there are so many new people at our New York City headquarters, we’re soon moving offices to accomodate everyone.

That said, we’re keeping our opt-in period for the real-life Facebook fan wall open until we move this summer. We’ll post the wall in our brand new space, ringing in a new era for Mashable.


Connect To Participate



Thanks for Your Support


We’re thrilled to have reached the 500,000 threshold, and we truly appreciate your readership and support. You help make Mashable an inviting space with an engaging community. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Our Facebook fans live across the globe and represent every age group. Here’s a look at who they are and where they come from:


Source: HootSuite Analytics


Help Us Spread the Word


  • Invite your friends and colleagues to connect with our Facebook fan page.
  • Like this post on Facebook and let your friends know you’ll be on the World’s Largest Facebook Wall.
  • Tweet this post with the hashtag #LargestFBwall.

The real-life wall will be a celebration of our 500,000 fans achievement and a “thank you” to readers for helping us build such an amazing community. Here’s a rendering of what the wall might look like.



More About: facebook fan page, facebook fans, Facebook Like, Facebook wall, mashable

For more Social Media coverage:


Shopkick & The CW Strike Deal To Deliver Rewards for Watching TV Ads [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2011 01:49 PM PDT

The CW Television Network is now the exclusive television partner of Shopkick, a mobile shopping application that rewards its more than 1.5 million members for walking into stores and scanning product barcodes. The network made the announcement at its Upfront presentation in New York Thursday.

With the network-startup team up, CW advertisers will be able to reward Shopkick users with offers intended to drive them to stores if they watch select ad spots.

Television viewers will be prompted to open the Shopkick application on their Android or iPhone devices before a commercial airs. The application, using the device’s microphone, will then be able to recognize an advertiser’s spot and deliver instant rewards to the viewer.

“Shopkick's first network partnership with The CW is a revolution for advertisers,” Shopkick CEO and co-founder Cyriac Roeding says. “The cellphone is the only interactive medium that consumers have with them while they are watching television and while they are shopping in the store.”

The relationship, arranged to help advertisers close the loop between TV ad buys and in-store purchases, is similar to the one forged between IntoNow and Pepsi for a TV ad-tagging promotion started last month. Yahoo acquired IntoNow just five days after the promotion was announced.

More About: cw, MARKETING, shopkick, television

For more Startups coverage:


How 5 Non-Profits Are Innovating With Mobile

Posted: 19 May 2011 01:31 PM PDT

phone nature image

Holly Ross is the executive director of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network, where she helps her members put technology to use for social change. You can follow her on Twitter at @ntenhross and read the NTEN blog.



Even before that first cup of coffee, an increasing number of us are reaching for our mobile phones in the morning. That makes mobile the perfect fit for non-profits that want to capitalize on every and any moment an individual is inspired to act on behalf of a cause. 


While the Red Cross made text-to-give campaigns famous after the Haiti earthquake, there are a variety of additional opportunities to use mobile to engage your audience in a cause. In fact, it doesn't take an expensive investment in a custom built application to make mobile work. Dozens of providers have emerged in the last several years to serve the non-profit market with off-the-shelf solutions for a variety of mobile needs.



Non-profits, both large and small, are using mobile to educate, activate, and engage audiences of all sizes. Here are five examples of non-profits rocking mobile for social good.



1. WNYC and NYT Bird Map


birdmap image


As it turns out, you don't have to head to the Bronx Zoo to find wildlife in New York City. In fact, over 355 bird species live or spend time in New York throughout the year. To highlight the avian side of the city, WNYC and The New York Times asked their listeners and readers to text BIRD to 30644 and share their favorite bird-watching spots.

Results are compiled in an online map. Hundreds of people have responded so far, with the Red Cardinal topping the list of most-spotted winged creatures.




2. California Teacher's Association


cta image


Wisconsin's teachers may have been in the spotlight this February, but in California, where over 40,000 teachers have been laid off due to severe budget cuts, the California Teacher's Association (CTA) is fighting to preserve teaching jobs and restore other education funding.

They are able to text their supporters and, when the supporter responds, automatically connect that supporter to their state legislator via a phone call. In the first few days of the campaign, hundreds of calls have been made because of the texts, saving CTA time and money compared to the traditional phone tree method.





3. Alliance for Climate Education


haiku image


Forget a string tied around a finger. If you want today's teens to remember to do something, you need to text them. That's what the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is doing. When ACE visits a school to present an educational assembly, instead of encouraging the audience to silence their mobile phones, they ask the kids to take them out and text in a pledge — one thing they will do to make the environment better.

Students are also asked for their email addresses that are integrated directly into the organization's database, allowing them to follow up with each student about their pledge in multiple ways. So far, over 90,000 students have texted pledges and the organization is looking to integrate mobile into other campaigns, including a Halloween haiku contest.




4. Planned Parenthood Federation of America


planned parenthood image


Sexual health isn't an issue most teenagers find easy to ask questions about, but having the right answers about it can change — and even save — lives.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is making it even easier for teens who are looking for answers about delaying sex, birth control, STD prevention and treatment, emergency contraception, sexual orientation, pregnancy testing and abortion to get the information and services they need.

Spots on MTV and banners on the PPFA mobile site direct teens seeking support to text the organization with questions, which are answered by trained professionals who point to information and, in some cases, can book the teens for an appointment at their local clinic — all via text.






5. The Marine Mammal Center


marine mammal image

If you've ever visited San Francisco, chances are you went to Pier 39 and heard (if not saw) the famous sea lions. The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the wildlife to educate a wider audience about their work to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured marine mammals.

Using signs at the end of the pier, MMC offered new text subscribers a free seal ringtone. Subscribers got the ringtone, as well as an invitation to visit the nearby Marine Mammal Center. Since the campaign launched, they've recruited nearly 1,500 supporters to the cause.




The Future of Mobile and Social Good


While mobile is still a new strategy for the social sector, consumers are moving rapidly to this channel. "When people get online now, they are increasingly using their phone instead of a laptop or computer," says Doug Plank, CEO of Mobilecause. "And when you look at the history of online giving, how quickly it was adopted by non-profits and donors, mobile is outpacing it. While mobile campaigns have begun to produce impressive results for causes on [their] own, it can be even more impressive as part of an integrated campaign that also includes email and even direct mail.”

"We know that the opportunistic timing of email and mail can boost response,” says Jessica Bosanko of M+R Strategic Services. “Non-profits are often seeing similar results with text messaging now — with supporters who are signing up for texts far outperforming the rest of the file, and strategically placed texts capable of increasing performance to email messages." 



Michael Sabbat of Mobile Commons sees the sector getting smarter about how it uses mobile, bringing business intelligence to mobile strategies. "Organizations can be smarter about how they communicate with supporters. If the supporter uses the mobile web, they will be texted a link to donate. If the supporter doesn’t use the mobile web, they receive a phone number in their text. We’ve come a long way to know who the supporters are, so we are not just blindly sending everyone the same message."


Has your non-profit embraced a mobile strategy? Share your experiences in the comments.

Disclosure: The PPFA is a member of NTEN


For more lists, how-tos and other resources on this topic, check out Mashable Explore!

Image courtesy of Flickr, Srdjan Stojiljkovic

More About: charity, Mobile 2.0, non-profit, nten, social good, social media, tech

For more Social Good coverage:


WordPress.com Drops Support for IE6

Posted: 19 May 2011 01:15 PM PDT

WordPress Dashboard

As the Internet Explorer 6 Deathwatch continues, another web service — WordPress.com — has announced that it is ending support of the nearly decade-old web browser.

Citing “increasingly complex code trickery to make the WordPress dashboard work,” the company announced an end to IE6 support.

The dashboard will still load for IE6 users, it just won’t function very well. IE6 users will be alerted that their browser is outdated and given direct links to browser updates or to download an alternative browser via the Browse Happy website.

In addition to dropping IE6 support, WordPress.com has also rolled out some new features, including a revamped and redesigned dashboard and a new distraction-free writing mode.

These features — as well as the end-of-life for IE6 support — will make their way to self-hosted WordPress installs with WordPress 3.2. The beta version of WordPress 3.2 is available for download now and the final version is expected to land sometime in June.

WordPress.com, which hosts millions of websites, joins a long list of providers that have officially decided that enough is enough in regards to IE6. In March, Microsoft launched its own global campaign calling for the end of the browser.

More About: IE6, internet explorer, WordPress.com

For more Dev & Design coverage:


LinkedIn Finishes First Day as Public Company Valued at $8.9 Billion

Posted: 19 May 2011 01:10 PM PDT


LinkedIn has ended its first day as a publicly traded company with shares above $94 each, 108% higher than the $45 at which each share was initially priced.

Shares climbed all the way to $122.70 this morning before settling below the century mark. More than 30 million shares of the company changed hands on Thursday. At $94, LinkedIn is now valued at $8.9 billion, 36 times the $243 million in revenue the company generated in 2010.

For comparisons sake, Google traded at 5.5 times its 2010 revenue at the close of trading on Wednesday, while Salesforce.com traded at 10.4 times its revenue and recently public Demand Media traded at 4.4 times its revenue.

See Also: LinkedIn Is Now Worth More Than These 13 Household Names

More About: ipo, linkedin, trending

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Grant From MythBusters Offers Advice for Aspiring Hardware Hackers

Posted: 19 May 2011 12:58 PM PDT


If you’ve always wanted to tinker with hardware — up to and including building robots — but didn’t know how to start, Grant Imahara of the science-themed, blow-em-up TV show MythBusters has some advice:

“Anything that’s already broken is fair game! The worst-case scenario is it stays broken. The best-case scenario is you find out how it works or, even better, transform it into something else.”

Hardware hacking, like other kinds of hacking, boils down to getting your hands dirty and possessing a desire to know what makes things tick. And for many hackers, that desire starts at an early age.

“I think it’s something you’re born with — the desire to know how things work inside,” Imahara tells Mashable. “And you can tell your kid is a hardware hacker if none of the Hot Wheels cars have wheels, if the remote control gets take apart on a weekly basis.

“The best thing to do is give them more things to take apart so they can see how things work on the inside. Give them tools, and teach them how to use those tools.”

Imahara, who is hosting a Memorial Day Science Channel special on combat robotics, says he also started hacking at a tender age. “Even when I was young, I would build things with Lego or make ‘robots’ out of cereal boxes — long before I learned metalwork. The desire to build was always there.”

Although Imahara has a degree in electrical engineering, he says the robot-builders he’s met — especially those who take their bots into combat competitions — come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds.

“When I started Battle Bots in 1999, the guy sitting next to me was a high school teacher with no robotics experience at all. There were special effects guys, engineers, software guys who just wrote code — all kinds of people who had a desire to build something,” he says. “And they would do it in their garages or even their kitchens…. You don’t need to be an engineer or have your own machine shop.”

Imahara also notes how much the tools for would-be hardware hackers have grown in the past decade or two.

“I remember when I was a kid and I was interested in robots, there was really nothing out there but Erector Sets and Tinker Toys,” he says. “But now there’s such a variety of robotics-specific choices that you can buy off the shelf and get someone building and programming and exploring.”

For older sorts, Imahara also gives a nod to Maker Faire, which he calls “fertile ground … It’s about ideas, and taking those ideas into something physical.”

He recommends taking a trip to Amazon to browse through the many available books on robotics. His own book Kickin’ Bot is a specific how-to guide for building combat robots.

“And these days,” Imahara adds, “you’ve also got the Internet. There are thousands of webpages and open-source guides.”

Image based on photo from Flickr, dahveed

More advice from Imahara on first design.

More About: developers, engineers, gadgets, grant imahara, hackers, hacking, Hardware, mythbusters, robotics, robots

For more Dev & Design coverage:


Why the Success of the Smart Energy Grid Requires a Multipronged Approach

Posted: 19 May 2011 12:19 PM PDT


Eric Dresselhuys is the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Silver Spring Networks and has more than 13 years of experience in developing smart grid solutions to address the industry's most pressing challenges.

The prevailing discussion surrounding the smart grid is rightly focused on customer engagement. Sadly, that discussion has turned into an argument of gadgets versus behavioral modification tools — in-home displays and programmable thermostats versus community comparisons and social media. This argument creates a false dichotomy and runs the risk of keeping whole segments of people from engaging with their energy consumption habits. The reality is that energy efficiency is too important and broad for any one-size-fits-all solution. A portfolio of choices needs to be available, including some that haven't even been thought of yet.

Most companies want you, the consumer, to think that you only need one option for receiving your energy use data. For example, a leading smart grid software developer offers customers behavior modification tools such as a monthly summary of their energy use — after they've already used their power. In contrast, a leading smart home thermostat company offers a range of gadgets such as an in-home thermostat that shows how much energy is being used in real time but lacks behavior modification tools that encourage a change in energy habits.


An Either-Or Approach?


Offering an either-or approach hasn't resonated with the general population. If utilities offer only behavior modification tools, such as an energy statement from the utility that shows you how to save, they're only reaching a fraction of consumers. This single option isn't good enough because only 29% of people trust their electricity suppliers to help them optimize their energy use. Likewise, in a February 2011 pilot program led by Cape Light Compact of Barnstable, Massachusetts, where consumers were only offered gadgets such as a measuring device and a website to monitor their energy use, 25% of participants actually increased their energy usage.

The either-or approach to solving the energy usage debate highlights the fact that we have been removed from the inner workings of our electricity system for years. We get our monthly utility bill and pay for what we consumed without much thought or discussion. This explains why some participants increased their usage in the Cape Light study — they were lacking the complimentary behavior modification tools from their provider. When customers are only offered the option of gadgets, they can track their energy use at that time but are not offered perspective after the fact to change their usage in the long term. It's likely then that consumers want and need options on how they receive information on their energy use.

Think about the many different ways that we can communicate: email, texts, social media, phone calls or meeting face-to-face. We’re bound to want a similarly broad array of options for how we save energy. In my family alone, there are different levels of engagement regarding our energy use. I want more interactive automation and control, my wife wants a "set-it-and-forget" option, and my 80-year-old father might want a simple pricing signal and easy to implement suggestions. Engagement must be done in a way that makes sense for the individual consumer.

It's clear that those seeking to serve the smart grid consumer engagement market have drawn an imaginary line in the sand. Vendors without gadgets say customer engagement needs only behavior modification tools. Vendors without behavior modification say customer engagement requires only gadgets. One approach alone cannot possibly address the breadth and diversity of energy users.


The Intersection of Two Ideas


In an effort to prove that consumers need both gadgets and behavior modification tools, Oklahoma Gas & Electric recently finished part one of a two part study and the interim results have been positive. When educated and empowered, customers demonstrated that they could partner with OG&E to meet the utility's 2020 Plan to delay the building of two fossil fuel power plants. The key findings conclude that reduction in energy is directly correlated to price, that a comprehensive employee and customer education plan is critical to smooth deployment and that a web portal is the most cost effective customer tool.

The interplay between tools and behavior is key, and giving people information about their energy use is the first step. With information, consumers are more apt to respond to the influence of behavior modification tools. As they begin to understand how their usage compares to others and receive suggestions on how to save, people will naturally want more gadgets, tools and automation to help them implement their energy choices in an effective way.

With these systems in place, utilities and regulators can implement pricing structures that create the appropriate incentives for customers, ideally driving the behaviors that decrease costs for everyone. This in turn will create freedom of choice, participation and transparency. This was key to Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s successful smart grid pilot program. Customers chose to participate, chose their plan and then chose how they were going to behave.


The Right Way Forward


"Gadgets versus behavior modification" is the wrong debate. Rather, the answer is simple: Offer a variety of gadgets and information tools to consumers and offer them choice. It's not a question of what's best for the utility; it's what's best for the consumer that will make a company successful.

When implemented effectively, gadgets and behavior modification tools complement each other and create a virtuous circle of efficiency and savings. As we increase the penetration of distributed renewable energy and as electric vehicles become more commonplace, this interaction with our energy use will become even more complex. There’s no point in focusing on limitations or becoming complacent. I say we give the people what they want.


For more lists, how-tos and other resources on this topic, check out Mashable Explore!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ehabaref

More About: business, energy, energy grid, environment, gadgets, green, social good, tech, technology

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


Plizy Recommends Videos To Watch on Your iPad [INVITES]

Posted: 19 May 2011 12:01 PM PDT


Plizy, a video curation company, is launching in private beta Thursday an iPad application for video discovery.

The iPad application curates and personalizes web video selections using a patent-pending recommendation engine that takes your Facebook and Twitter social graphs into account and adapts to your preferences and interests.

Plizy’s goal is to satisfy users who just want to watch video and don’t want to bother searching or browsing for content. “You just have to launch the app and enjoy,” creator Jonathan Benassaya explains.

The application offers a three-screen experience: A homepage with a mosaic of the user’s video channels, the video player and a communication screen for sharing and discussing videos with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

The interface offers a unique way to dive into video content. Fire up a channel from the homepage to watch a selection of Plizy-curated videos. Swipe through videos by using the bottom navigation or hitting the fastforward and rewind buttons. Content is algorithmically and semantic-selected for you.

“The recommendation engine works through different layers,” says Benassaya. “The first layer is the social layer. Through Facebook, we analyze what you do and what your friends do … we analyze how you interact with some people to determine if these people are close friends or not.”

The social analysis piece ensures that Plizy only recommends videos to watch from your closest friends.

The recommendation engine’s interest layer and semantic analysis tool look at your twees to determine tastes and preferences. The point, says Benassaya, is “to understand if you prefer technology, art, history etcetera.”

The final layer is what Benassaya calls a “collaborative filtering engine.” This engine analyzes patterns to identify users with similar tastes and ultimately discover additional content that you will like. All three layers combine to create what Plizy calls an “entertainment graph” for each user.

Plizy has raised $1.2 million in angel funding. Eventually, it will introduce applications for Android and connected TVs. It also plans to create a marketplace for premium content. It competes with Showyou, another social media-infused video viewing application for iPad.

Plizy for iPad is available to select private beta users. Mashable readers can get their hands on a Plizy invite here.


Plizy Mosaic





Social Networks, Channels & Categories





Science & Tech Category





Channel Builder





Plizy in Landscape





Click to Share





Facebook Integration





Twitter Integration





Plizy in Portrait





Plizy Timeline in Portrait





Share to Facebook/Twitter




More About: entertainment, ipad app, plizy, social meida, startup, video

For more Startups coverage:


How Much Did LinkedIn Shares Cost Before the IPO?

Posted: 19 May 2011 11:45 AM PDT


It seems as though investors who purchased LinkedIn shares while it was still a private company got quite a deal.

SecondMarket, a platform on which ex-employees, investors and founders can sell private-company stock to accredited investors, has released the pricing history for LinkedIn shares.

In March, LinkedIn shares on SecondMarket sold for $35 — less than half of the $83 that LinkedIn stock opened at Thursday morning. As of this writing, LinkedIn stock is trading at $105.

It’s too early to say where the market price will settle. For now the newly revealed share prices of LinkedIn’s private days contradict speculation that valuations conveyed by platforms for private-share trading like SecondMarket are exaggerated.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating conflicts of interest in such platforms because officials were “concerned that the middleman role could cause conflicts of interest, especially given the challenges of ascribing a fair value to privately traded shares.”

Here is the past year of LinkedIn common stock price per share on SecondMarket, based on the last closed trade in each month:

  • April 2010 – $14.50
  • May 2010 – $17
  • June 2010 – $17
  • July 2010 – $21.50
  • August 2010 – $23
  • September 2010 – $25
  • October 2010 – $23
  • November 2010 – $25
  • December 2010 – $25
  • January 2011 – $34
  • February 2011 – $35
  • March 2011 – $35

More About: ipo, linkedin, SEC, SecondMarket

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Panic at the Disco Asks Fans To Submit Clips for New Music Video

Posted: 19 May 2011 11:28 AM PDT

“Instagram for video” Viddy may have only just launched, but it’s already been seized upon by dapper rock band Panic at the Disco. The band is asking fans to download the app and help create the video for its new single, “Ready to Go.”

“We had been discussing the idea of creating a crowd-sourced video on our upcoming tour, and when we stumbled upon Viddy a couple weeks ago it sounded like it could be exactly what we were looking for,” the band tells us.

If you recall, Viddy is a social video app that lets users apply filters and other effects to short clips shot on their iPhones. Panic at the Disco is asking fans to follow their account, PanicAtTheDisco, and film the band performing on tour — as well as the crowd, venue, etc. Fans can then tag #readytogo, so that the band can aggregate the clips for the upcoming video.

“We have the best fans in the world, and it continuously ceases to amaze us how passionate they are about our band, so anytime we can find a way to collaborate with them it’s a huge win,” the band says. “There probably isn’t a better way to capture our live show than through the eyes of the fans themselves.”

Moby recently launched a similar campaign around a his new album, Destroyed, in which he hosted a stream of the disc on a dedicated site featuring user-submitted Instagram photos.

The realm of social video- and photo-sharing apps seems to be a fertile one for bands hoping to interact with their fanbase. We’ll be interested to see what campaigns emerge as apps of that nature become more ubiquitous.

Image courtesy of Panic at the Disco

More About: MARKETING, mobile apps, moby, music, panic-at-the-disco, viddy, video

For more Media coverage:


President Obama on Tech’s Role in Mideast Uprisings

Posted: 19 May 2011 11:16 AM PDT


In a speech early Thursday, President Barack Obama laid out the U.S.’s stance and outlook on the uprisings in the Middle East and Africa. He affirmed technology’s role in powering these movements and stressed the U.S.’s support of access to information and the Internet.

“In fact, real reform will not come at the ballot box alone. Through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information,” he said. “We will support open access to the Internet, and the right of journalists to be heard — whether it’s a big news organization or a blogger. In the 21st century, information is power; the truth cannot be hidden; and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.”

It was “active and informed citizens” who were able to topple a dictator in Egypt, and Obama suggested that others around the Middle East might also be able to accomplish similar outcomes.

“The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. In the recent protests, we see that talent on display, as people harness technology to move the world,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that one of the leaders of Tahrir Square was an executive for Google. That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street.”

That Google executive Obama mentioned is Wael Ghonim. He created the Facebook Page We Are All Khaled Said and has since been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

In his closing remarks, Obama returned to the role of technology.

“We will help governments meet international obligations, and invest efforts anti-corruption; by working with parliamentarians who are developing reforms, and activists who use technology to hold government accountable,” he said.

More About: barack obama, Egypt, uprisings

For more Social Media coverage:


Microsoft Offers Students Free Xbox With $699 PC Purchase

Posted: 19 May 2011 11:00 AM PDT


Microsoft is offering what may be its strongest incentive yet for students to buy a Windows PC: a free Xbox.

Starting May 22, the company will give a free Xbox 360 4 GB console, valued at $199, to high school and college students who buy a Windows PC priced $699 or more. Verification of student status has to be provided in-store (where a student ID is required) or online (where you need a “.edu” email address). The deal will be available at Best Buy, the Microsoft Store, Dell.com and HP.com. Microsoft announced the deal on its Windows Blog on May 19.

Though it may seem strange that Microsoft is offering a deal aimed at students at a time when school is letting out, a rep says late May is a big purchase time for prospective college students. "Students have told Microsoft that they want technology that gives their person life fun and entertainment and also allows them to manage their school work and life with ease," the rep says. "Windows delivers that."

The deal also comes after Microsoft reported weak sales for its consumer PC unit last quarter, partially due to the introduction of Apple's competing iPad 2.

To get the word out about the deal, Microsoft has also released this video featuring a Spartan supersolidier from the Halo series attending a high school graduation:

More About: apple, iPad 2, microsoft, PCs, Xbox 360

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Sharp Unveils World’s First Super Hi-Vision HDTV [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2011 10:48 AM PDT


Sharp and NHK are showing off the world’s first Super Hi-Vision display, pointing the way to a future where high definition TV will be many times sharper than the HDTV we’re familiar with today.

This 85-inch prototype screen was jointly developed by Sharp Corporation and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), finally creating a monitor that can display the jaw-dropping ultra-high definition of the Super Hi-Vision format NHK has been working on since 1995.

How high is this Super Hi-Vision’s definition? To give you an idea, today’s HDTV resolution lets you recognize faces in the crowd, where Super Hi-Vision will allow you to determine whether the pupils in the eyes of one of those faces are dilated. I’ve seen a screen with just half this resolution, and even that is astonishing.

By the numbers, according to Sharp, the TV’s resolution is 16 times higher than a conventional HDTV, with a 33-megapixel screen made up of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels. Compare that with the relatively measly 1,920 x 1,080 pixels of the HDTV we are all so fond of, and you’ll agree that we’re in for a treat.

While we’ve heard rumors of this ultra-HD format undergoing tests in the 2012 Olympics, NHK says it plans to begin trial broadcasts via satellite in 2020. Meanwhile, consider this a peek into the TV of the future.

Here’s a video about the screen from DigInfo News:

More About: Future HDTV, HDTV, NHK, prototype, Sharp, Super Hi-Vision

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


EMI Inks Deal With Another Digital Music Service — eMusic

Posted: 19 May 2011 10:27 AM PDT


EMI has apparently been a busy label lately, reportedly signing licensing deals with Spotify and Apple’s rumored cloud-based music service. And Thursday EMI announced a deal with eMusic.

Members of the digital music service will now have access to more than 15,000 albums from EMI’s catalog, including music from artists like Brian Eno, Radiohead (who left EMI a few years back), the Beastie Boys, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem.

EMI albums 12 months and older will be available starting Thursday, and eMusic hopes to add more new releases in the coming months. The service now has deals with all the majors — Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI — and most of the indies (minus Merge, Beggars and Domino). Altogether, that makes 12 million songs.

EMI already had deals with music subscription services like Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody and Napster, so this isn’t really a groundbreaking announcement, but together with recent murmurings about Spotify and Apple, it seems the label is intent on expanding further.

A rep from EMI told us that this recent deal has nothing to do with EMI’s sale in February to Citigroup Inc.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, George E. Norkus

More About: apple, business, EMI, emusic, music, spotify

For more Media coverage:


HOW TO: Hire (or Be Hired as) a Team of Devs

Posted: 19 May 2011 10:11 AM PDT


If you’ve ever struggled to build a well-oiled machine of a tech team, here’s an excellent new resource for you. GroupTalent allows you to hire a pre-assembled team of software engineers all at once.

This is a great solution if you’ve thought of acquiring a startup for talent alone, if you have an idea that needs to be built, or if your company is trying to branch into a different area — such as mobile apps — and you need to quickly get a skilled team in place.

GroupTalent lets devs build and showcase their own teams, too. You can piece together a group if you’re working with other devs at a small startup or on an open-source project, if you’ve worked together in the past, or if you’ve built projects together while at university — wherever two or more are gathered together, as the saying goes.

And in addition to working within an established dynamic with familiar players, GroupTalent says you can command higher salaries as a group than you might as individuals, too.

On the site, teams can create group profiles with data from LinkedIn and GitHub. You’ll be able to specify areas of expertise and roles within the team. Below is an example of what a team profile looks like.

From the employer side, managers could benefit by meeting their hiring goals more quickly. And you’ll have the advantage of knowing your new co-workers will have an established dynamic and work well together.

Every team and company goes through an approval process, so whether you’re a dev team or a hiring company, you know you’re talking to vetted professionals.

GroupTalent launched Wednesday. The company is based in Seattle, and its founding team was in the Y Combinator 2008 batch of startups.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto, lisegagne

More About: developers, devs, engineers, group talent, grouptalent, teams

For more Dev & Design coverage:


See How Celebrity Hairstyles Look on You With InStyle iPad App

Posted: 19 May 2011 09:55 AM PDT

InStyle has launched an iPad application that enables users to sample more than 50 different hair cuts, styles and colors in a realistic rendering.

Rarely have I encountered an app [iTunes link] so addictive (though perhaps that’s my vanity speaking), nor one that utilizes the iPad’s touchscreen interface so well. Gone are the days of clunky web apps that promise to let you see what you’d look like in a range of different hairstyles, instead leaving you looking like a worst-case scenario from PSD: Photoshop Disasters.

The app invites you to pull a headshot from your Facebook or iPad photo libraries, or take one on the spot using one of the cameras on your iPad 2 device. Like Lancome’s virtual makeover tool, InStyle‘s app can detect the shape of your face, which you can further adjust with your fingers so that any hair styles you try on are positioned more accurately.


The app will then suggest a range of styles based on your face shape, or you can browse galleries of hairstyles by style (such as bangs or weddings), celebrity, length or color. Once you’ve selected a style, you can adjust the shape of the hair to better frame your face, as well as change the color.

And, after you’ve found your next daring cut, you can use the Salon Finder to locate and book an appointment at one of InStyle‘s editorially approved hair salons in the U.S. The app will even provide keywords to describe your chosen cut to your stylist, should you decide not to bring your iPad with you.

The app, which makes a range of 50 hair styles available to users for free, can also be upgraded for $5.99 to access a larger library of 200 hairstyles, which will be expanded every two weeks, as well as recommendations based on your face shape and past browsing history.

Now, getting on to the more important question: Should I dye my hair red?

More About: fashion, hair, instyle, ipad

For more Media coverage:


Canon & Nikon Cameras Square Off [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 19 May 2011 09:35 AM PDT

In an infographic that’s likely to ignite a powderkeg of controversy, Dutch website Beste Product compares Nikon and Canon cameras in a photographer’s equivalent of a Mac versus PC (or Coke versus Pepsi, cats versus dogs) cage match.

We present this infographic not because we agree with it, but because it contains a plethora of data about sales figures, preferences and aggregated opinions that we found interesting. However, a lot of us are Nikon aficionados, strongly disagreeing with this infographic’s conclusion. Why? Popularity does not necessarily dictate quality.

How about you, commenters? Canon or Nikon? Scroll down to comment or vote in our poll.



Infographic courtesy of Beste Product

More About: cameras, Canon vs Nikon, comparison, DSLR, sales figures

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


With Latest Firmware, Boxee Box Is Finally Ready for Prime Time

Posted: 19 May 2011 09:18 AM PDT


The Gadget of the Day Series is supported by the Energizer® Inductive Charger, which brings you the next generation of charging with Qi technology. Qi is the new universal standard for wireless charging … now that's positivenergy™.

Product: Boxee Box by D-Link

Price: $199.99 list, available for less at some online outlets

What It’s Good For: Watching TV shows, movies and web video content on the big screen. The Boxee Box is unique in the connected device space, because it can deliver content both from the web and from a home network.

Who It’s Good For: Media lovers with lots of movie, music and TV show downloads and would-be cord cutters. Because it’s more expensive than an Apple TV or Roku, the device is really aimed at those users that have extensive media collections on a home network and those that like to access other third-party content services.

Limitations: Although the Boxee Box comes with a web browser for enjoying full-screen web video, there aren’t dedicated apps for most major TV networks or for Hulu Plus. There is no native storage built into the device, though users can connect an external USB hard drive, SD card or USB thumb-drive for accessing content not on a network. The remote control, while great to hold and easy to use, is hard to see in the dark — especially when using the QWERTY side.

Bottom Line: With the latest 1.1 firmware update, the Boxee Box is finally ready for prime time. Apps supporting commercial and subscription content are finally available in large quantities and the out-of-the-box support for local files across a network is unparalleled. The new Boxee web browser is one of the best implementations we’ve seen for surfing the web on the big screen.


A Look at the Boxee Box by D-Link


When the Boxee Box launched in November, we were really excited to get the device in our hands and give it a try. As a longtime fan of the Boxee media center software, I was really looking forward to seeing what D-Link and Boxee could do with their own dedicated hardware.

The Boxee Box immediately went head-to-head with the new Apple TV, the Roku XDS and the Google TV. On paper, Boxee had everything going for it — except for price. At $199.99, the Boxee Box costs twice as much as the Apple TV and is $120 more than the mid-level Roku XD.

The software — the heart and soul of the Boxee experience — had some issues at launch. Many of the early bugs were fixed, but the bigger problem was that content wasn’t fully available at launch. Longtime Boxee users like myself were disappointed to see services that worked on our Mac mini setups — especially Netflix — unavailable on the Boxee Box.

Fast-forward six months and it is a totally different experience. Not only is the software more stable and more responsive, the content choices are increasing all the time.

In addition to Netflix, users can access content from VUDU, MUBI, TED, YouTube, SnagFilms and dozens of other sources.

The latest update includes a new HTML5 app that works beautifully with the HBO GO experience. In fact, an increasing number of Boxee Box apps are being built with HTML5, which opens up the content possibilities even further. For content (read: Hulu) that isn’t available in its own app, the web browsing experience on the Boxee Box is quite good. To me, it represents everything that Google TV should have been, but wasn’t.

We wish the remote control glowed in the dark (or had backlit keys) and that an official Hulu Plus app was available for the Boxee Box, but as it stands, this is the only device in its class that can access web content while also serving up local MKV, AVI and MP4 files from across a home network. For the home theater or gadget enthusiast, the Boxee Box continues to get better and better.


The Boxee Box




Looks can be deceiving. The unique shape of the device may look like most pieces of home theater equipment, but it's small, unobtrusive and can easily be hidden in a corner or behind a sofa or chair.


Side Connections




The Boxee Box is outfitted with connections -- supporting HDMI, optical audio output, analog audio out, two USB ports and an ethernet port.

The Boxee Box also has built-in WiFi and can accept full-size SD/MMC cards.


Bottom View




The bottom of the Boxee Box is made of soft rubber, which means it won't scuff up your hardwood floors.

The accent of "Boxee Green" is a nice touch.


Boxee Remote




The Boxee remote is really like two remotes in one. The standard size has two buttons and a navigation pad.

On the other side of the remote is a QWERTY-style keyboard. The buttons are soft to the touch and are easy to press. It makes entering in show names or passwords much faster than navigating around a TV menu. The one downside: It's very difficult to see the keys in a dark or dimly lit room.

Fortunately, iOS and Android devices can also be used as a remote control.

Photo courtesy of D-Link


Boxee Home Screen




The home screen of the software is inviting and should look familiar to those that have used Boxee on the Mac or PC. There are a few UI changes, but menus and sections have been designed for easy access with a remote control.

Photo courtesy of Boxee


HBO GO on Boxee




If your cable provider supports HBO GO, you can enjoy your favorite current and classic HBO programs and movies on the Boxee Box.

Thanks to HTML5 and the new and improved Boxee web browser, watching an episode of Game of Thrones or True Blood is just a remote click away.

Photo courtesy of Boxee


Series Supported by Energizer®


The Gadget of the Day Series is supported by the Energizer® Inductive Charger, which brings you the next generation of charging with Qi technology. Qi is the new universal standard for wireless charging. Energizer® has always been designed with performance and responsibility in mind … now that's positivenergy™.

More About: boxee, boxee box, connected devices, connected tv, dlink, Gadget of the Day Series, HBO GO, HTML5, product reviews, review

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


LinkedIn Founder Worth $1.8 Billion as Stock Price Climbs

Posted: 19 May 2011 09:04 AM PDT


Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman is now worth $1.8 billion and CEO Jeffrey Weiner is worth $213 million, based on the company's current stock price.

At around 11:30 a.m. ET, LinkedIn (symbol: LNKD) was trading for around $92. Taking that into account, here's how the company's major stockholders are being compensated, as outlined in a recent SEC filing.

"Entities affiliated with Sequoia Capital," a.k.a. Michael Moritz, now holds stock worth about $1.5 billion. David Sze of Greylock Partners nets $1.3 billion and unnamed "entities" at Bessemer Venture Partners have stock worth $421.2 million.

Other LinkedIn execs include:

  • Steven Sordello, CFO: $83.5 million
  • David Henke, VP of engineering and operations: $31 million
  • Dipchand "Deep" Nishar, SVP products and user experience: $45.9 million
  • Erika Rottenberg, VP, general counsel and secretary: $29.7 million

More About: ipo, linkedin, Reid Hoffman

For more Business & Marketing coverage:


Epic Camera Battle Subs Gunshots For Snaps [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2011 08:56 AM PDT


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

An ad for a camera store that’s sweeping the web this week gives a whole new meaning to the term “point and shoot.”

This commercial for The Camera Store depicts a battle between photographers in which cameras are subbed in for guns.

Suggested topics for discussion regarding the possible deeper meaning behind this vid: 1). How some believe that pictures capture your soul, 2). The sometimes vicious nature of the paparazzi, 3). The fierce competitive nature of the photography field.

More About: camera, humor, MARKETING, pop culture, viral-video-of-day

For more Video coverage:


0 التعليقات:

إرسال تعليق

حدث خطأ في هذه الأداة